The Portly Dyke on PDA

I think this post from The Portly Dyke is something everyone needs to read.  As a follow up from posting about last Friday’s Day of Silence, this personal testimony complements things very nicely.  It’s a longer read, but seriously, read the whole thing if you have the chance.  The most powerful part for me was when TPD was talking about a friend who did not seem to fully understand  what it was like to be silenced and self-monitored in public because of one’s sexual orientation.  The author describes a challenge she issued to her friends:

So, I issued her and her husband a challenge (and I’ll issue the same challenge to any straight coupled allies here who want to raise their awareness of LBGTQ issues):

Spend an entire week pretending that you’re not a couple. Don’t write a check from a joint bank account. Hide all the photographs in your home and office which would identify you as a couple. Take off your wedding rings. Touch each other, and talk to each other, in public, in ways that could only be interpreted as you being “friends”. Refer to yourself only in the singular “I”, never in the “we”. When you go to work on Monday, if you spent time together on the weekend, include only information which would indicate that you went somewhere with a friend, rather than your life-mate. If someone comes to stay with you, sleep in separate beds. Go intentionally into the closet as a couple. For a week.

They took my challenge.

They lasted exactly three days.

My friend returned to me in tears on day four and said: “I’m sorry. I had no idea what it is like for you.”

[For those of you straight allies who are not coupled, but who want to play along, your challenge is (perhaps) simpler: Spend one week in which you make no mention and give no hint of your sexual orientation at all. When straight people around you are parsing the hotness of the opposite gender, go silent, or play along in a way that makes it seem as if you are part of the gang, but never reveals any real personal information. If someone asks you about your love-life, be evasive and non-committal. If you went on a date, and you’re talking about it later, de-genderize all the pronouns, or consciously switch them (him to her, her to him, etc.).]

That is how I lived for the first 32 years of my life, whether I was single or coupled.

Read the whole post here, pleeeease.  

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Quick Hit: What a Feminist Cabinet Looks Like

Spain now has a cabinet that is made up of a majority of women.  Prime Minister Zapatero has also added a position for a Minister of Equality, legalized gay marriage in his first term, calls himself a feminist, and, without apology, was not afraid to appoint a woman who is seven months pregnant to be the Minister of Defense.

Listen here to NPR’s coverage of Chacon’s appointment to the Ministry of Defense.  Although some of the comments Spanish citizens were making were disturbingly  misogynistic, it appears that most people are excited to see an example of a nation unafraid to defy patriarchal norms.

Viva Espana indeed!

Birth Control or Food?

I am on the Planned Parenthood email listserv, and received a message from them entitled “Pills or dinner?”

According to PP,

A legislative error made the price of birth control skyrocket for low-income and college-age women. It was a devastating, unintended mistake, and Planned Parenthood started working immediately to help Congress restore affordable birth control.

Please click this link to send a message to our Congress that women with low incomes and college students need affordable birth control. It’s quick and easy, and they have even written the letter for you!

Here is a good chunk of the automatic letter:

Beginning last year, however, women picking up their monthly supplies of birth control found that the cost had jumped from just $5-10 to $40-50 per pack, making it far more difficult to afford. Due to a provision included in the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), as of January 1, 2007, every college and university health center and hundreds of safety-net providers were unintentionally cut off from accessing low-cost birth control and passing on the low price to college women and low-income women. Skyrocketing prices are putting birth control out of reach for the college students and low-income women in need of family planning services to help them prevent unintended pregnancy.

Kthxbye.

LOLMaryWollstonecraft

LOLMaryWallstonecraftWe’ve come a long way.

*reference: lolcats.com

If your underwear could speak, what would it say?

I just love this!  It’s a contest where you get to design a pair of underwear that in some way communicates safe sex.  This sounds like such a great idea, especially since I feel like I constantly see such dumb, sleazy sayings on underwear from places like American Eagle.  Here’s the cute and clever description of what you have to do for the contest:  

In Brief: Communication is key to your sexual health – a simple chat BEFORE you get naked can help stop the spread of STDs, HIV and unplanned pregnancies. Start the conversation now by designing a pair of boxers, panties or a t-shirt with a design or message that says that YOU’RE GOING TO PLAY SAFE. Let your undies be your guide.

The Grand prize=$1000 and the contest ends May 15th.  So get to thinking!  What would YOUR underwear say?  Leave your ideas in comments!  This could be fun…

It’s Here! It’s Here! The Vagina Monologues are Here!

Exciting news: a group of Marquette’s own Vagina Warriors are performing The Vagina Monologues off-campus. The production will raise awareness about sexual violence and, with your help, will also raise some funds for the V-Day Campaign to end sexual violence.

Where: Ruby G’s (address: 2043 W. Wells)

When: Friday May 2, 7-10 p.m.

Suggested donation: $5-10

While it’s a shame that Marquette has dragged its feet for so long that an on-campus production is not feasible, I am so proud of the Vagina Warriors for their quick-thinking and organizing skills to put together a production at an off-campus venue.

Good work, friends! I look forward to seeing you perform!

Guest Post: The meaning of silence

I attended a soup for substance this week on Wednesday where members of the Gay Straight Alliance spoke about the Day of Silence.  All the students who spoke and gave their perspectives were great.  I asked reader and contributor, Ali, to allow me to share here what she shared on Wednesday.  The following is what she had to say.  Please take a moment to reflect on her words:

I would like to share with you Ellen Degeneres’ televised response to the shooting death of Lawrence King, a 15 year old who was killed after he asked another boy to be his valentine. I am sharing this because I believe that it is an un-politicized, non-partisan response, but more than anything, I think it is a human response that should be heard.

“I don’t want to be political, this is not political, I’m not a political person, but this is personal to me. A boy has been killed and a number of lives have been ruined. And, somewhere along the line, the killer, Brandon, got the message that it’s so threatening, so awful, and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine — that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible that to be gay, you can get killed for it, we need to change the message. Larry was not a second-class citizen. I am not a second-class citizen. It is ok if you’re gay.” 

Many people think of the “silence” in “The Day of Silence” in terms of the permanent silencing of people like Matthew Shepherd, Lawrence King, and countless others whose voices have been forever lost because of who they are. Today, I would like to share with you what the “silence” means to me.

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll likely confirm that I am a loud, outgoing, open-book. And for the most part, this is true. However, I am not as open when it comes to my sexual orientation and everything that is attached to that. This means that I am not as likely to share stories about vacations, dinners out, etc. Anything that is connected to my girlfriend is automatically less-likely to be shared. I have been dating my girlfriend for almost 3 years. I love her and she is a significant part of my life. I ask you (person in a heterosexual relationship) to think about how often you use the words boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, etc. How often does a sentence start with “My (opposite sex title) and I (traveled, ate at, saw, went to)…” I think using that kind of language is a luxury most people in heterosexual relationships can take for granted. They never have to think twice about using those terms, or whether they should use them at all. As a member of the LGBT community, I am constantly forced to think about the language I use. With my close friends, I say “Becky.” Around those I feel I can trust, I say, “my girlfriend.” Around strangers, I say, “my roommate.” Around my dad, I say, “my best friend.” And sometimes, I just don’t say anything at all. Continue reading