There’s a limit to what any one person can accomplish in her time on earth. Marcia Freedman managed to blow right past the limit and just kept going.
Pioneering feminist, LGBTQ activist, Knesset member, author and co-founder of an esteemed Middle East peace organization, Marcia Freedman died Sept. 21 in Berkeley. She was 83.
“She was quiet and wise,” said Janis Plotkin, who decades ago recruited Freedman to serve on the board of the S.F. Jewish Film Festival. “She was a little woman but a giant in terms of intellect, kindness, thoughtfulness and her strategic approach to problem-solving.”
Freedman’s social and political activism took many forms. Much of her work centered on Israeli politics and seeking to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. She argued for a two-state solution long before it became a stated policy objective. As a young olah (immigrant) and member of Knesset, the state of Israel’s legislature, she also fostered groundbreaking women’s rights legislation, going toe to toe with her misogynist male colleagues.
Sally Miller Gearhart, the first out lesbian to receive a tenure-track position at San Francisco State University and a beloved LGBTQ rights advocate, died July 14, according to Jean Crosby, who sent out an email to friends. She was 90.
Ms. Gearhart had been in poor health for several years. She had lived for many years in Willits, California but had moved recently to a care home in Ukiah.
The GLBT Historical Society posted on Facebook about Ms. Gearhart’s passing, of which they were informed by her good friend, Ruth Mahaney.
“Losing Sally is like a huge tree falling. She was very tall, and she was so important in the world,” stated Mahaney. “She had been saying she wanted out of here, to be ‘up in the sky.’ She was ready to go.”
In 1973, Ms. Gearhart received the tenure-track position at SF State. She established one of the first women’s and gender studies programs in the country while at the university, and was a leading LGBTQ activist throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Yulia Tsvetkova is a young Russian artist and activist from Komsomolsk on the Amur (a city in the extreme east of Russia), who has suffered a homophobic and sexist campaign since March 2019, for defending the rights of women and LGBTI people.
She is accused of committing a crime of “production and dissemination of pornographic material” as a result of drawings of real women which she posted on social media as part of her activism. The criminal trial began on April 12 and she faces up to six years in prison. Given the desperate situation in which she finds herself, Yulia announced that she was on hunger strike on May 1, demanding that the process be sped up, the appointment of a public defender and the opening up of the trial, the hearings of which are held behind closed doors with all media excluded.
Unfortunately, since the process began, Yulia has been the target of homophobic attacks from various people, and of harassment and threats over the phone, on social media and by mail. In addition, she suffered harassment by the Russian police for more than a year, including arbitrary detention, searches at her home and workplace, an enforced psychiatric examination, and almost 4 months of house arrest during which time she could not get necessary medical care.
Previously, in December 2019, she was found guilty of committing an administrative offense, for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations between minors”, and was fined 50,000 rubles (780 US dollars) for being the administrator of two LGBTI communities online in the Russian social network VKontakte.
In January 2020 a new administrative action was initiated against her for publishing his drawing on social networks “Family is where love is. Support LGBTI Families”, which represents two same-sex couples with sons and daughters. For this, Yulia was found guilty in July 2020, and was fined again. In parallel, that same month, administrative proceedings for the same type of offense were initiated for the third time. (Translated)
Yulia Tsvetkova es una joven artista y activista rusa de Komsomolsk del Amur (ciudad del extremo oriental de Rusia), que desde marzo de 2019 sufre una campaña homófoba y machista por defender los derechos de las mujeres y las personas LGBTI. Está acusada de cometer un delito de “producción y difusión de material pornográfico” a raíz de unos dibujos de mujeres reales que publicó en las redes sociales como parte de su activismo. El juicio penal comenzó el pasado 12 de abril y se enfrenta a hasta seis años de cárcel. Ante la desesperada situación en la que se encuentra, Yulia anunció el 1 de mayo una huelga de hambre, exigiendo celeridad en su proceso, la personación de un defensor público y la apertura del juicio, ya que actualmente las vistas se celebran a puerta cerrada (tampoco hay prensa).
Lamentablemente, desde que se inició el proceso Yulia ha sido objeto de ataques homófobos de distintas personas, y de acoso y amenazas por teléfono, en redes sociales y por correo. Además, sufrió acoso por parte de la policía rusa durante más de un año, incluyendo una detención arbitraria, registros en su domicilio y su lugar de trabajo, sometimiento a un examen psiquiátrico, y un arresto domiciliario de casi cuatro meses durante el que no pudo recibir la atención médica que necesitaba.
Con anterioridad, en diciembre de 2019 fue declarada culpable de cometer una infracción administrativa, por “propaganda de relaciones sexuales no tradicionales entre menores”, y fue multada con 50.000 rublos (780 dólares estadounidenses) por ser administradora de dos comunidades LGBTI en línea en la red social rusa VKontakte.
Y en enero de 2020 se inició una nueva actuación administrativa en su contra por publicar en las redes sociales su dibujo “La familia es donde está el amor. Apoye a las familias LGBTI”, que representa a dos parejas del mismo sexo con hijos e hijas. Por este hecho, Yulia fue declarada culpable en julio de 2020, siendo de nuevo multada. En paralelo, ese mismo mes, se iniciaron por tercera vez actuaciones administrativas por el mismo tipo de infracción. (Original)
Lesbian activist and music legend Alix Dobkin died at her home in Woodstock, New York, after suffering a brain aneurism and stroke. She was 80 years old.
Dobkin, with fellow lesbian activist and musician Kay Gardner (1940–2002), recorded in 1973 what was arguably the first full-length album by, for, and about lesbians: Lavender Jane Loves Women. The songs, with titles such as “Talking Lesbian” and “Fantasy Girl,” were as bold and direct as the album’s title. As reviewer Liza Cowan wrote in DYKE A Quarterly, No. 2, in 1976: ” … I think Lavender Jane Loves Women is a far out, brilliant album. It is so blatant and specific, you never have to guess what Alix is singing about in a song … It’s our history and I want to know all about it.”
Cowan continued, “One thing that I feel is so fantastic about Alix’s music is that she sings so explicitly about Dyke experiences. I love and dearly appreciate that everything she writes about comes directly from her own experiences, and is written about as such.”
In 2008, María Pía Castro was 19 years old when she was found burned in Limache. To this day, no culprit for her murder has been identified. Her case, unfortunately, was closed ten years ago. In 2016, a man kidnapped and murdered Nicole Saavedra, 23, who was found days later with signs of torture and sexual violence. A year later, in San Felipe, 22-year-old Susana Sanhueza was also killed. That same year in August, DJ Anna Cook was raped, strangled, and beaten but her death was categorised as an overdose. What all of them have in common is having been lesbians and that their deaths were cloaked in silence and impunity, as with other unsolved hate-based killings.
However, despite the cruelty in the execution of these crimes, it was not until this year, with the recently expanded definition of femicide, that murders like these could be counted as sex-based crimes. But violence against lesbians has always been devoid of even minimal legal protection. And international recommendations, which treaty monitoring organisations such as Belém Do Para and the IACHR have been giving around due diligence of crimes against women, continue to be ignored.
En 2008, María Pía Castro tenía 19 años cuando fue encontrada calcinada en Limache. Hasta hoy no hay ningún culpable por su asesinato. Su caso, lamentablemente, se cerró hace diez años. En 2016, un hombre secuestró y asesinó a Nicole Saavedra, de 23 años, quien fue encontrada días después con signos de tortura y violencia sexual. Un año después, en San Felipe, Susana Sanhueza de 22 años también fue asesinada. Ese mismo año en agosto, la DJ Anna Cook fue violada, estrangulada y golpeada. Pero su muerte fue catalogada por sobredosis. Todas ellas tienen en común haber sido lesbianas y que en sus muertes existe un manto de silencio e impunidad, como en otros asesinatos motivados por el odio y que aún no encuentran justicia.
Sin embargo, pese a la crueldad en la ejecución de estos delitos, no fue hasta este año, con la reciente publicación de la nueva tipificación de femicidio que asesinatos como estos podrán ser contabilizados como crímenes por razones de género. Pero la violencia en contra de las lesbianas siempre ha estado desprovista de la protección legal mínima. Y se siguen desoyendo recomendaciones internacionales, que los órganos de vigilancia de los tratados como Belém Do Para y la CIDH ha venido dando en torno a la debida diligencia de los delitos en contra de las mujeres.
Independent federal Politician Lucia Rojas has faced harassment and attacks since deciding to run for office in 2018.
She received the typical lesbophobic questions, threats and an attempt was made to break into her house, with items stolen from her car. Her accounts have also been hacked.
Attacks increased when she was elected an independent deputy, with cyberattacks ramping up in earnest when she was part of a feminist march in August 2019. She has received death threats and reported them, with the case closed without investigation.
Several of my straight, gay, and bi male friends said those lesbophobic things to me. I’m butch and look very gay, which made me a visible target for sexual harassment. It’s partially why I moved from the American South, where all of this happened. I decided to share because recently the memories have been triggered. I want them out, and maybe writing about my experiences will help other lesbians.
Male friendships are tricky, no matter what a man’s orientation is. As you can see, many straight and bi male friends are really trying to hook up. Gay men project their own fears onto lesbians. Gay men have also groped me in dark, sweaty gay bars. Lesbians have to be careful around all men.
Chicago lesbian pioneer and civil-rights activist Jackie Anderson died after a short illness on Jan. 7, surrounded by family and friends. She was 75. Anderson is survived by her daughter Tracey Anderson and her grandson Torrence “Doc” Gardner. The family requests privacy at this time.
Born in Chicago, Anderson graduated from Roosevelt University and retired from a long career as assistant professor of humanities and philosophy at Olive-Harvey College, where she started work in 1975. She twice served as department chairperson. Her brilliant academic mind was among things her friends remembered most about Anderson. A steadfast feminist, she especially supported African American lesbian projects on Chicago’s South Side.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Thirty-something-year-old Yanileth Mejía sports an edgy bob hairdo, large dark sunglasses and provoking graphic T-shirts with lesbian feminist taglines like it’s her uniform. She knows her taboo lifestyle could lead to kidnapping, rape, torture or murder. It is a high price to pay but not uncommon in El Salvador, which has a reputation for one of the highest female murder rates in the world. The latest report from Insight Crime uses data from 2012 and shows El Salvador tops the list in Latin American femicide with a rate of 8.9 homicides per 100,000 women. Seven of the 10 countries with the highest femicide rates are in Latin America, and include Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.