I am a black woman and my best friend is a gay man. He came out to me the summer between our senior year of high school and our freshman year of college.
“I really need to tell you something,” he began, while driving us home from our summer job at the local pool. I didn’t know what to expect — an admission of love, maybe? That would be awkward.
He pulled the car over, then stared deeply into my eyes and said, “I’m gay.”
I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Oh, that’s cool with me,” I replied.
He was excited that we would remain friends and was especially happy to have someone to go out and “meet boys” with. Together we frequented New York City’s gay clubs and bars, more often than the straight ones. Splash, Therapy or Barracuda, but The Ritz was a mutual favorite. It was a two-floor bar with a huge dance floor, usually jam packed with sweaty, shirtless men by 1 a.m. The environment offered us both freedoms: I could be as black as I wanted: dance to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” twerk it, shake it and break it (while being applauded), and he could be as gay as he wanted. Keep reading »
“Look at me. Look in my eyes. Let me tell you why I’m here. I’m here because I figure that the women who come here have already agonized over this decision enough. They have considered their own circumstances, looked at all the options, and come to the best possible decision that they can make. Once they get here, they deserve support. So please don’t listen to those people, because they aren’t listening to you. Only you know your story, and only you have the right to tell it.”
Clinic escorts are never supposed to say “good morning.” We are taught to never presume anything about the women and men whom we guide into the clinic, including however good or bad their morning is going. I usually ask them if they had trouble finding the clinic or I make a generic comment about the weather. During these raw moments of extreme vulnerability, I would rather that they judge my clichés than focus on the self-righteous hate speech emanating from the protestors. Most of the time, I am able to get them safely from their cars to the front door of the health center with little more than comments about traffic and Google maps. But sometimes it’s not that simple. Keep reading »
Sometimes to get the public’s attention, you have to go to pretty extreme lengths. Which is why six female Greenpeace activists are in the midst of a 1000-foot climb up the side of London’s Shard building, in order to protest arctic drilling.
The Shard was chosen for its proximity to Shell Oil’s building. “They don’t want us talking about their plan to drill in the Arctic. We’re here to shout about it from the rooftops,” wrote the women in a statement pre-climb. The climbers hope to hang a huge piece of art on the peak of the building, which will highlight the beauty of the arctic. You can watch a livestream of their ascent — shot from helmet cams – here. Keep reading »
Oh, FEMEN. Whether you respect their antics or think they’re terribly offensive and annoying, you have to admit they’re good at publicity stunts! The topless feminist activist group’s latest hijinks? Going into a mosque in Stockholm, Sweden, while wearing burqas and then whipping off the veils to reveal their bare breasts underneath and political slogans written across their stomachs. Keep reading »
By now you’ve probably heard that Abercrombie & Fitch is an exceedingly offensive company that aims to create clothes exclusively for the young people that CEO Mike Jeffries deems “cool.” But did you know that A&F has a long history of sexism, too? As The Huffington Post explains, back in 2005, activist Heather Arnet of the independent advocacy group, The Women and Girls Foundation, escorted 16 teenage girls to Abercrombie’s headquarters to protest a line of — surprise! – offensive T-shirts. The girls had decided to stage a boycott, affectionately named “girlcott,” of T-shirts which pit women against each other, baring phrases such as “I had a nightmare I was a brunette,” “Blondes are adored, brunettes are ignored,” and “Do I make you look fat?” Keep reading »
This past weekend, I spoke on two panels at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy’s reproductive rights conference. One of my panels, “Bringing Social Justice to the Family Table,” tackled how to combine an activist lifestyle with family life. Along with three other panelists/mothers, I spoke about how to foster awareness of the world around us and how to engage our children in social justice issues from an early age. We spoke about our pre-kid lives as activists and how we wove it all in when we became parents. For many on the panel, including myself, that involved work in the reproductive rights movement.
I’ve written before about how becoming a mother has only strengthened my pro-choice beliefs, and I made sure to reiterate that stance while on the panel. I think there is a fear surrounding motherhood, that the moment you pop out a baby, all other aspects of your identity cease to exist and you become solely “mommy.” While there was certainly a period of transition while I figured out how to connect this new aspect of my identity with what was already there, I eventually found ways to make it all work harmoniously together.
When my son was only a few months old, I placed him snug against my chest in a baby carrier and manned a table for Planned Parenthood during a sidewalk sale event in my town. I handed out condoms and pamphlets on birth control and STI prevention while discreetly nursing my son in his sling. I spoke with people about the best ways to schedule appointments while my gurgling baby babbled happily away. Nobody seemed to bat an eye at the fact that my son was with me as I volunteered. Keep reading »
Ladies, now’s the time to get vocal about what you believe in. Women around the world are wielding signs, donning body paint, and marching in parades in support of women’s rights and gender equality, against violence toward women, and to raise awareness for other important political and social causes. As we continue Women’s History Month, let’s look back at the evolution of female protesters. From the French Revolution to the women’s suffragist movement to civil rights, here are some memorable moments involving women around the world getting their protest on. Read more…
This holiday season, The Frisky staff is committed to giving back. Throughout the month of December we’ll be telling you about some of the charities and nonprofits that we support, why they’re important to us, and how you can support them too, if you’re so inclined. First up, Winona tells us why she believes in Girls Inc.!
Who they are: Girls Incorporated
What they do: Empower girls age 6 to 18 to achieve their full potential through mentoring and hands-on experiences.
Why I support them: Before I came to write full-time for The Frisky, I ran a program at Portland Community College that partnered with local high schools to get more teenage girls signed up in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes. I met some really amazing young women who were excelling in science and technology (including a particularly gifted robotics club member who I’m convinced will grow up to be either the best President we’ve ever had or the most fearsome dictator the world has ever known), but I also saw a lot of girls falling into familiar patterns of silence, deferring to male classmates, and opting out of high level math and science classes because they were uninterested or intimidated… Keep reading »