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Standing Up To Transphobia: Lea DeLaria Says “No” to MichFest

28 May

DeLariaThe Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival — popularly known as MichFest — is one of the oldest ongoing music events in the country. Founded in 1976 as a women-only camping and entertainment event, it has been in the same location since 1982, drawing thousands of women each year. Sadly, it is also driven by what founder and organizer Lisa Vogel refers to as “The Intention.” This policy declares that only “womyn born womyn” are allowed to attend, actively excluding any women not assigned female gender at birth.

This deplorable transphobia flies in the face of true feminism and dangerously ignores our need to stand in solidarity. By subscribing to a narrow binary of gender identity, Vogel tragically perpetuates the kind of marginalization that she maintains the festival was created to eliminate. Since Nancy Burkholder — a trans woman — was ejected from the festival in 1991 transgender activists have worked hard to raise awareness of “The Intention” and its harmful effects.

This year an actor and comedian has led an exodus from MichFest in protest to the policy. Lea DeLaria, a strong advocate for all of the LGBT community throughout her career, has gained recent attention starring in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black. After signing up to perform at MichFest she learned about The Intention from co-star Laverne Cox — one of the most visible transgender entertainers. Not content to just walk away, DeLaria issued a strong statement rebuking Vogel and MichFest for their shameful practices. She also noted some of the more dramatic protests mounted by activists outside the festival, including physical harassment and bomb threats.

After over 30 years of gay activism and as an out, proud member of the LGBTQ Community, I do not wish to be a party to infighting. We queers need to find a way to stop this fighting and work together towards our common goal. Both sides of the Michigan Women’s Music Festival dispute refuse to listen to each other. Due to their unyielding stance, I am withdrawing from the festival. I truly look forward to the time when all LGBTQ stand as one. Perhaps then we can collectively laugh at how fucked up is it when I’M the voice of reason.

Nicely done, Lea. Other performers have joined the boycott, including out folk duo Indigo Girls, poet Andrea Gibson, and rockers Hunter Valentine.

NYT – Interactive Map of Poverty in the United States

7 Jan

Thank you to my friend Jennifer for writing about poverty. Please read her article and I would recommend also reading about the current distribution of wealth.

Indiana Jen

SNAPThe New York Times has published a powerful interactive map of poverty in the United states. The nation-wide map provides color coded information county-by-county. Additionally for highly urban areas, such as New York City and Los Angeles, it provides even more detailed and specialized information.

The map is generated from data collected from the census bureau. The Poverty Threshold in America in 2012 was $11,945 for an individual under 65 and $23,283 for a family of four.

To examine the interactive map, check out the map here.

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25 Feb

This is quite lovely. Thank you Jennifer Carey for sharing this: Library of Congress Electronic Exhibit – African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship

Indiana Jen

In honor of Black History Month, the Library of Congress is hosting the electronic exhibit “African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship.” The exhibit displays more than 240 artifacts, including documents, images, videos, and more.

The exhibit “explores black America’s quest for equality from the early national period through the twentieth century.”

This is a rich, multimedia exploration into the experience of African Americans in this country for over 200 years.

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John Boehner: Your Tax Dollars For Discrimination

11 Apr

I Really Hate Gays, Women, Blacks, and Old People

We all know that John Boehner and his Republican controlled House of Representatives have NOT created any new jobs, nor have they done anything to help the American people.  In fact, they held the American people hostage and blackmailed a deal to cut close to 40 billion in budget cuts, including cutting funding for Medicare, Planned Parenthood, and NPR.  So if we are in such a severe budget crisis, why is Boehner allowed to sign a blank check for lawyers to defend DOMA and perpetuate discrimination. Are we to believe that preventing marriage equality is more important that Medicare or creating new jobs? I’m reminded of the W administration with its fear tactics. Rather than looking at an unjust war, or how W was behaving more like a King than a President, he and Cheney would do the whole fear trick: “Oh look over there, something shiny–the gays are taking over.”  Really? Really? Is that same old tired trick going to work again? If you don’t want your tax dollars supporting discrimination, take action. Click here to watch the video.

Historic Moment Upon Us: Repeal DADT

17 Dec

Thanks, Jen Lockett for sharing this  video with me.  While I’m not a fan of Uncle Joe Lieberman, at least he is on the right side of history regarding DADT.  Please let the Senate do the right thing.  Show homophobic bigots like John McCain that he cannot stop civil rights!  Please watch this video and hope we stop discrimination in our armed forces.

Helping People in the Pacific Northwest…

9 Dec

In the wake of a disappointing and unfair admonishment from President Obama, this message from my friend Susan Stoltenberg is even more important.  Please look at this message for ImpactNW.

Beautiful thought…

14 Nov

Thank you, Bobby Belfry: “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

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