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Posts Tagged ‘women’s rights’

These are my thoughts: Feb 8, 2017.

“Nevertheless, She Persisted.”
If I were to have a gravestone, that’s what I would want engraved on it. In BIG BOLD LETTERS.

My mother was a strong, stubborn woman; just not when it came to women’s issues. She didn’t believe a woman belonged in politics, in the military, in the ministry, in the cockpit of a plane. Her list of what women should never do went on and on and on.

She had no time for the Gloria Steinem’s of the world. She would say: Be a secretary, a seamstress, a housewife, a teacher, a mother…

I can remember how thrilled I was when Geraldine Ferraro was put on the Democratic ticket. I can also remember vividly how my brother mocked her, and me, and how my mother agreed that she had no place in politics.

I don’t know where my sense of feminism came from. I was raised in a family where men could do or say anything, and women simply cooked the meals, did the laundry, raised the children and tried to keep the status quo.

This wasn’t me – ever. It drove my mother nuts!

As I do my DNA/Ancestry research I’m seeing some strong women who most certainly were not secretaries or housewives. Perhaps it is simply in my DNA to not settle for less than what it is I deserve as a human being.

Now, I’m in my 60’s and living openly as a lesbian. My partner of 34 years and I march and blog and do whatever we can for our share, and every other woman’s share, of dignity in Trump’s America. We also march,blog and do what we can for gay rights, but that’s a whole other blog!

It’s not about gay or straight, and I wish it wasn’t about Republican or Democrat. It should be about women being treated with respect. It’s about men who don’t value a woman and women who simply accept that as what their life is. We need women to value their life more, value their feelings more, value their worth more.

“She Was Warned… Nevertheless, She Persisted.”

As one does…

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Tradition and history tells us that we must accept the results of a Presidential election and move on. There have also been those people who have been taking pleasure in telling me I must “move on.” “move forward,” “suck it up,” and many other little phrases that have done nothing but infuriate me.

I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to “move on.” I’m grieving, and I’ll take all the time I need to grieve the loss of The United States of America as I have known it.  The America of immigrants and diversity. The America of religious freedom and a press who did the work and could call themselves journalists without fear of retribution.  The America where women were starting to make their way to being equal and gay rights were a reality, not something we spent years marching and protesting and dreaming of.

With the election of Donald Trump, my America is gone. Angry white voters made sure of that, and Republicans in the House and Senate will put the icing on that big white, gun-toting, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic cake. Life as we all knew it, is over.

But, that’s what the disenfranchised voter wanted. That’s what they voted for, that’s what they honestly believe will “Make America Great Again.” No religious freedom, unless of course you are a Christian. No gay rights, but extra bonus rights for Christians to discriminate against “the gays.” No women’s rights, and again, extra bonus rights to the Christians who will do whatever needs to be done to not allow a woman to make any decisions when it comes to their bodies. No access to healthcare, unless you’re rich and can afford to go wherever you want.

The list of what he wants to do the first 100 days is stunning:  http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501451368/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days

So, no – I will not be “moving on” any time soon.  I will continue to support people of color, and respect people of all religions, and I will continue to send contributions to Planned Parenthood and any other organization this Administration will try and destroy.

And the moment this Republican run government starts to take God-given rights away from gays, immigrants, women or any other group of Americans, I will be marching and protesting and fighting – and I won’t be alone in that fight.

So, you all go ahead and build your walls, and ruin the land, and throw millions of Americans out of the Country. Go ahead and forget about equality and diversity and charity beginning at home.

At the end of your Presidents term, we will still be here. We’ll still be gay and transgendered, and Muslim and Jewish, and Mexican and women and democrats and independents and black and white and – well you know – Americans, and we’ll be more than happy to take our Country back when your little experiment has imploded on you.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Thomas Jefferson

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As a woman who will be turning the age of 60 in less than a month, one would think I would have a fine grasp on my life, wouldn’t one? And as an out and activist lesbian who writes a weekly column, one would think I could find the appropriate words for every situation I find myself in, wouldn’t one?

Lately, this has not been my experience.

I find myself in a position of knowing what is right for me, and yet not knowing how to get my point across with style and grace and not come off sounding pissy and self-serving.

Allow me to try to explain…

As a woman and as a lesbian, this Presidential Election is a clear choice between what is right and what is wrong for me.  President Obama is what is right; for women (me), for the gay community (me), for the citizens of the United States of America (me).  Period. End of story.

Each and every one of us should vote our conscience and in doing such, this is where the problem lies with me and those who choose to vote Republican in this particular Presidential Election.  For me, I take it personally when someone I know and who knows me is choosing to vote against my being equal to them in every sense of the word.  It’s personal to me that you believe that I’m somehow less valuable than you – that my life isn’t quite as important as yours. You may say: “Barb, I most certainly don’t feel that way,” but a vote for this Republican ticket most certainly says that you indeed do feel that way.

And how exactly am I to feel about you casting a vote against me?  Seriously, what am I to do with this smack-down of my civil and human liberties? You tell me how I’m supposed to treat someone who votes to make sure I will be kept as the “less-than” status for at least four more years – perhaps longer. Am I to treat you with the same disdain with which you are treating me with your vote?  Am I to wish the same inequalities for you and your family that you are voting for me and my family?

I’d like to think I could just shut you out of my life – and in some instances this is exactly what I have done, but…  I’m not sure this is really the right thing to do.  How do we reach people with the truth when we shut them out of our lives? How do we make people understand that the gay community is simply a community of human beings who simply want to live our lives as free and equal Americans if we cut out everyone who chooses to vote against us? Will this not just prove the point that we are pissy and self-serving?  Will that simply not keep us divided and uncommunicative?

Then again – how can I have any respect for someone who knowingly votes against me? How do I keep you in my life when I know your vote went to keep me from having the same civil liberties as you? That your vote went to make sure women don’t get equal pay for equal work. That you voted for a man who has no desire to allow women to make their own decisions about health-care and abortions, and that you care little for the environment and the arts and look at the elderly and disabled veterans as moochers and victims.  How do I find any redeeming qualities in your vote?

This is where my firm grasp on my life tends to slip a little. I know full well who I am; I’m out and proud and make no excuses or exceptions for that. But, I also understand that we all have differences, and we all see the world with different eyes.  Still, I’d like to believe that human dignity is something every one of us would see clearly through every set of eyes. I could be wrong, but I still have hope.

The one thing constant about life is that is just keeps going. We will all survive this election, some of us better than others depending on the outcome.  Either way, if you vote Republican and we come in contact with one another – I’ll be asking you face to face why you believe I’m not equal to you, and why you believe I don’t have the same right to everything this life has to offer as you do.  Don’t start by telling me your vote wasn’t anything personal against me – for it most certainly was – Start by telling me why your human dignity is more important than mine.  I’ll try not to be pissy and self-serving, but I can’t guarantee anything…

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I’ve been asked numerous times why I write so much about gay issues. Why can’t I just let things go? Why can’t I just let others have their opinions? Why must I protest and tell people not to shop at certain stores? Why do I think my opinion is right?

To be clear; it’s not my opinion, it’s my life.  I think if we all understood this, we would understand why it is I write about issues that affect my life.

Also – to be clear; I don’t think my opinion is right, I just believe that my life has as much meaning and deserves as much  love, respect and dignity as the person who follows me around a room reading their Bible to me telling me I’m going to hell.

Just because I’m forever trying to educate people about how it feels to be gay doesn’t mean I think I’m trying to force my gayness on to you.   What it means is that a straight person will have a different view of their life than I do, and if you don’t even bother to listen or educate yourself on how other people live, how can you possibly know that what happens in other people’s lives matters to the world at large?

I’ve been asked why I’m so hard on some people of faith, why do I feel the need to attack them, why can‘t I just let them be.   I would love nothing more than to just let them be, if they would simply do the same for me.  Just let me be.  For some reason though, who I am doesn’t jive with what they believe, so in order to keep me in line – they spend millions and millions of dollars passing laws that prevent me from living my American Dream.  Will I write about that? You bet I will, and I’ll be listing names of the people and the organizations that feel they have the right to say my life doesn’t matter.

To tell anyone they don’t matter, for any reason, is just wrong, and any religion that teaches you to hate and pass judgments on others is wrong.  No exceptions.  I don’t understand why more people don’t get this.  The more we are divided, the more we lose as a people. If you’re not offended because the Boy Scouts of America won’t let gay boys into their troops, you should be.  If you’re not offended that women are losing access to birth control – you should be.  If you’re not offended that United States Citizens are being denied their right to vote by the thousands – you should be.  If you’re not offended by Chick –Fil- A (a fast-food restaurant) giving money to a group known as Exodus International who mission statement is: “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.” You should be.  These things matter; not just to me, but to every single one of us.  It shouldn’t be people thinking of ways to divide us, it should be people thinking of ways to unite as one open, giving, accepting society.

It’s hard enough just living from day-to-day sometimes. We all, regardless of faith, sex, and orientation have the daily struggles of life, death, illness, family, jobs, money… We don’t need hate, anger, bigotry, thrown into the mix.

Being straight isn’t an opinion – it’s a life.  Being black isn’t an opinion – it’s a life.  Being a Muslim isn’t an opinion – it’s a life.

Being gay isn’t my opinion – it’s my life.

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Yesterday when I logged on to my Facebook page I read this little blurb that a “friend”  had written.  As I read this little blurb I was thinking – “What the hell is she thinking?”  And then I was thinking – “What the hell is she saying?” – And then it was – “Why the hell am I still reading?”  That soon turned in to – “I’m writing and telling her she’s crazy.”

Well, I did write a blog about it – but… I didn’t post it on my Facebook page.  I decided that the blog may come off as hurtful to some of my “friends” who aren’t involved in any way about what I was saying, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone who was innocent in this.  I must be maturing on some level and I suppose on those levels – this is a good thing.

Still – I wonder why there are folks who believe they have all the answers and tell the rest of us how we should handle our lives.

Then again – on some level isn’t this what I do when I write about the inequalities that face the gay community and women in this United States?  On some level am I not telling you how to live your life so the gay community and those of us who are women will be able to live our lives?  I mean – if you are not of the mind that gays and women deserve equal rights I will come off as a preachy, in-your-face, crazy Lesbian, won’t I?

We all come at the world from where we live and where we have lived. Our experiences are all different; our levels of pain and suffering differ from person to person from life to life.  I don’t need or want someone telling me not to complain about something when that something is as important as equal rights for the gay community or women being thrown under the bus.  This is my world – this is my experience, this is what I know to be true in this world.

There are some things in this world that are just wrong no matter through what eyes you are looking at it.  None of us should stop complaining about people being hungry or homeless. None of us should stop complaining about kids and adults being bullied for who they are, and none of us should stop questioning politicians who run on a platform of hate. None of us should stop calling out those Christians who hide behind the bible in their unending quest to stigmatize the gay community, and none of us should stop complaining about how divisive politics has become in this country.

And women – well, what can I say?  Make your voice heard before you have no voice. Again.

So – this is what I’m saying…  I’m not going to stop writing about what I know to be inequalities in this world.  I’m not going to stop complaining or demanding that things change.  If this bothers you in any way – just don’t read and feel free to take me off of your list of friends. For the honest question would be this;  if you don’t see the inequalities I write of  or even try to understand, then you and I don’t really have much in common and are we really “friends?”

Yes, we can volunteer and help where possible,  but change can only come through some sort of complaining. Change can only occur when you touch a heart – then the mind starts to think…  I’ll listen to what you have to say – right up to the point where you tell me not to complain. Then, you’ve lost me, for change can only come through constant complaining and vigilance for what is right and just.

Margaret Mead  said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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I don’t understand women who don’t understand what is happening around them. More to the point – I don’t understand women who know what’s happening around them and – don’t care.

My Mother is of the generation of women who didn’t believe women should have a say in anything important, like politics or religion.  Honestly, I don’t know if it was the whole generation of women, but, it most surely was my mother and all of the other women who had any influence on my young life.  Not that they weren’t strong women, they most surely were.  These women just had this whole mind-set which involved men having some sort of mystical power over them! They did pretty much what their husbands wanted to do. Period.

My mother was also of the belief that women had no place in all things men, especially the military and the church. Women did not belong on Navy ships on the Battlefield or on a pulpit.  There was no logic behind her thinking – it’s simply what she believed.  I asked her during one of our many debates on these issues why she didn’t believe a woman could preach the word of God, and she told me that women were not qualified to preach the word of God. I asked her why she felt that way and she had no answer – “It’s just the way it is, Barbara Susan, and the sooner you learn that, the sooner you will understand your place.”  Needless to say, I never learned it, and I never, ever understood what she believed my “place” was.

However, this is not 1952, this is 2012 and women have fought long and hard to obtain certain individual freedoms that have always been just a given for men. Women should not be having to sign petitions and make placards and protest about losing rights we fought so hard to gain.  Republicans seem to believe that it’s perfectly okay to do whatever they want to women with no apologies.

I know that during a Presidential election year many things get said and slogans get thrown around like cheap necklaces off of a float during a Mardi Gras Parade. The thing is; The “War on Women” is real.  It’s not just a liberal phrase to piss women off and rally them to the polls.  There really is a genuine war on women.  “Barefoot and pregnant” might be truer than any woman would ever want to believe in the year 2012.

I’ve heard all the arguments about birth control and contraception and abortion, but this is about so much more than that.  This is about men taking away the rights of women – this is about men wanting control – again.  This is about the religion of a few messing with not only the legal rights of all women but also with the health of all women in this United States of America.    This is no longer just about abortion. This is about a woman’s right and her ability to have access to birth control pills, pap smears and other important screenings that could save lives.

Republicans will tell you they want a smaller government, but they are the ones all up in your face about who you have sex with (gay rights), how you protect yourself when having sex (birth control) and controlling what happens when a woman finds herself pregnant (abortion) that, my friends is not smaller government – that’s religion and government gone amuck.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, and Independent or have no political feelings at all.  It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, or whatever.  What matters is that you’re a woman and your rights are being taken away from you, whether you use them or not.  That’s the bottom line.

I know the religious women among you believe you are doing God’s work.  Perhaps when the men decide you can no longer drive or vote or own property or have bank accounts  just because you’re a woman and there is some line of scripture that makes it thus – maybe then you will understand you were a tool for men to once again keep you in your place.  Do you know what your place is?

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