Tag Archives: Politics

How One Lesbian Couple Changed Angela Merkel’s Mind About Marriage Equality

So, what changed? Well, it turns out that Merkel’s views were changed the same way that so many people’s are — by meeting a same-sex couple and spending time with them and their family. At a recent event with women’s magazine Brigitte, Merkel said she had “a life-changing experience in my home constituency,” after being invited to have dinner with a lesbian couple and their eight foster children.

Continue reading at: Angela Merkel Same-Sex Marriage Equality Germany (Source)

When Queerness Is Cultural Capital, Lesbians Go Broke.

Jocelyn Macdonald
AfterEllen.com

“When Mike Pence advocated for conversion therapy as a Congressman, he wasn’t targeting those people who like to be ball-gagged or beaten during sex. He and his cronies are coming for those of us who want to live that gay lifestyle (with and without ball gags). Theresa Butz didn’t get to explain the infinitesimal nuance of her identity to the man who raped and murdered her for having the audacity to live with her girlfriend. The violence that lesbians experience is specific to being lesbian, and the culture that lesbians enjoy is specific to being lesbian. Both ends of this, the good and the bad, are the stuff a movement is based on. Queer identity and queer culture both stop short of speaking to this lesbian experience.”

Continue reading more of Jocelyn Macdonald at: When Queerness Is Cultural Capital, Lesbians Go Broke. – AfterEllen (Source)

Politicians refuse to back Serbia’s lesbian leader because of her sexuality

By nominating her, Vučić effectively made her Prime Minister of the conservative country but also needs backing from parliament.  Some MPs are refusing to vote for her because of sexuality however, which will prevent her from being confirmed by Parliament.

Continue reading at: Politicians refuse to back Serbia’s LGBT leader because of her sexuality (Source)

Serbia gets its first female – and lesbian – prime minister

Goran Miletić, a civil rights activist and Belgrade Pride organiser, said: “Even in some western countries it would be big news and a positive signal if a gay or lesbian person became prime minister or minister. It is even more important for a country where 65% believe that homosexuality is an illness and 78% think that homosexuality should not be expressed outside homes. The appointment of a lesbian can only be a positive message.”

Continue reading at: Serbia gets its first female – and gay – prime minister | World news | The Guardian (Source)

Lesbian questions Tory candidate Kristy Adams about beliefs concerning homosexuality

A lesbian has demanded the Conservative candidate for Hove confirm whether she thinks homosexuality is a sin.  It comes as Tory Kristy Adams failed for a third time to provide a clear statement on the subject.

Angela Paterson, a care worker from Hove, said that when she attended a church to which Mrs Adams has links, parishioners prayed to rid her of the “demonic stronghold” of her homosexual thoughts.  Miss Paterson, 46, said the experience had been deeply emotionally damaging and when she discovered Mrs Adams was standing in Hove she had immediate concerns over her beliefs about homosexuality.

Continue reading at: Gay woman tells Tory: give me a clear answer (From The Argus) (Source)

Australia: Penny Wong says religion is blocking marriage equality

“At the centre of the opposition to equality of marriage rights for gay and lesbian members of the community is the conflation of religious concepts of marriage with secular concepts of marriage,” she said.

“Religious attitudes to marriage continue to impact on much of the political debate that has delayed the recognition of the marriage equality rights of the gay and lesbian community.”

“The problem with this, of course, is the application of religious belief to the framing of law in a secular society, and in societies where church and state are constitutionally separate.”

Continue reading at: Penny Wong says religion is blocking marriage equality – Star Observer (Source)

DNC hires first lesbian CEO, former head of EMILY’s List

The Democratic National Committee has for the first-time ever hired an out lesbian at its chief executive officer, appointing the former head of EMILY’s LIST to the top leadership position. The DNC named Jess O’Connell as CEO after she served four years at EMILY’s LIST, which seeks to elect pro-choice women to public office. Her appointment comes shortly after the election of Tom Perez as DNC chair.

Continue reading at: DNC hires first lesbian CEO, former head of EMILY’s List (Source)

The Lesbian Avengers 25 Years Later: “We Did It, And We Can Do It Again”

“It’s good to remember that activism works,” she tells me, “because everyone needs a sense of hope right now.” Cogswell and her former Lesbian Avenger cohorts are hopeful the exhibition will help reignite that DIY activist spark, and bridge the gap between the movement’s history and our current challenges.

Continue reading at: The Lesbian Avengers 25 Years Later: “We Did It, And We Can Do It Again” | NewNowNext (Source)

Georgia: City honors life of first out lesbian Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner

Poster

Several hundred mourners gathered on Saturday to honor the life of the late Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner, who died of breast cancer on April 18. Garner was a beloved community figure and the first openly LGBT Fulton County Commissioner.

Garner made an impact in a variety of different communities and circles throughout her life, and speakers at the service at Ebenzer Baptist Church reflected on the legacy she left through her work in neighborhoods, as county commissioner, as an Atlanta intown activist, as a champion for those in need and her work in social justice and LGBT rights.

Continue reading at: City honors life of late Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner (Source)

Elaine Noble: The first lesbian state lawmaker

If you’re feeling hopeless with our current crop of legislators in Congress, consider Elaine Noble– the first out lesbian elected to state legislature– and be inspired.

Elaine Noble made US election history even before Maura Healey, Harvey, Milk, or Tammy Baldwin as she was elected as representative of the Boston district in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1974.

Prior to this, no out lesbian (or gay man, for that matter), had won a state-level office. So when she did run for the position, she faced an overwhelming wave of homophobic threats.

Continue reading at: Elaine Noble: The first lesbian state lawmaker | Lesbian News (Source)

Chelsea Savage: Lesbian, cult survivor, politician, sets her sights on Virginia House seat

Chelsea Savage survived life in a cult, found the strength to leave her husband, and is now an out and proud lesbian looking to begin a political career.

Continue reading at: Lesbian cult survivor sets her sights on Virginia House seat / LGBTQ Nation (Source)

This Powerful Instagram Chronicles Important Moments In Lesbian Herstory

Lesbian Herstory Project

Rakowski went on to talk about how lesbian history often tends to take a backseat to other identities along the queer spectrum when it comes to visibility and how history is remembered.“Women’s history is often not told or recorded or championed, lesbian history even less so,” she continued. “I think it’s valuable to learn from the past, learn what lesbians were experiencing and thinking in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s — there’s been so much progress is society but still so much oppression. Even if I don’t agree with lesbian views from the 1970s (for example) I still think it’s important we learn and read and respect their history and experiences.”

Continue reading at: This Powerful Instagram Chronicles Important Moments In Lesbian Herstory | The Huffington Post (Source)

The Amazon Trail: Questions from a lesbian high school student

What still needs to be achieved in the current movement?

“So much. We will never erase all of the hate and fear directed at gay people. Difference is too threatening to many non-gays, especially those who follow religions that demonize us. Being out is the essential basic step to achieving and preserving something like equality. Encouraging and supporting one another, as the Golden Crown Literary Society and lesbian publishers do, for example, are necessary. Legitimizing our right to exist through the legal system will protect us to some extent. Electing supportive non-gays and gays to local and national office is another tool that can protect us in the future. Fighting demagogues every step of the way is a must. We will continue building our culture until it’s so strong our would-be oppressors and executioners can’t begin to tear it down.”

Continue reading at: The Amazon Trail: Questions from a lesbian high school student | LGBT Weekly (Source)

Lydia Polgreen: Black Lesbian Changing Journalism

The last time Lydia Polgreen felt boredom — real boredom, the soul-crushing kind — she was 21 and working for a company in suburban Virginia that helped applicants for H-1B visas. The job was a stopgap between college, where she’d studied Marx and Hegel, and a hazy, uncertain future in which she imagined she might teach philosophy. In the meantime, there she was toiling in some random job, waiting for each day to end. “At some point I thought, This can’t be how my life is going to go. This isn’t for me,” she recalls. “I’m not a person who should ever be looking at the clock, waiting for things to be over — that’s not my destiny.”

Continue reading at: Lydia Polgreen: Meet the Queer Black Woman Changing Journalism | Out Magazine (Source)

I’m A Lesbian In India And I’m Suffocating

“If I say screw it and come out as a lesbian to society, I can go to jail for it.”

Continue reading at: I’m A Lesbian In India And I’m Suffocating | NewNowNext (Source)

Lesbian Feminists Challenge Latin America’s Political Discourse

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.

Continue reading at: Lesbian Feminists Challenge Latin America’s Political Discourse – Latino USA (Source)

Court: Civil Rights Law covers LGBT workplace bias, sides with lesbian teacher

A federal appeals court in Chicago has ruled the 1964 Civil Rights Act does protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination.

The Hively case stems from a lawsuit by Indiana teacher Kimberly Hively alleging that the Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend didn’t hire her full time because she is a lesbian.

Continue reading at: Court: Civil Rights Law covers LGBT workplace bias – Chicago Tribune (Source)

Trump’s Defence Secretary urged to overturn appointment of ‘ungodly’ lesbian Air Force chief · PinkNews

Source: Trump’s Defence Secretary urged to overturn appointment of ‘ungodly’ lesbian Air Force chief · PinkNews

Lesbians in the News 18/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

12/04/2015 – 18/04/2015

Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Mary Kristene Chapa

Mary Kristene Chapa

Laws, Politics and Policies:

Representation:

Social and Health Issues:

Remembering our sisters:

Religion:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 04/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

29/03/2015 – 04/04/2015

Even identity politics doesn’t protect lesbians – Aderonke Apata “not a lesbian”

Aderonke Apata, source: The Independent

Aderonke Apata had appealed to the High Court in the UK when her bid for asylum for sexuality-based persecution was rejected. The UK government argued that she was not a lesbian on the grounds that she had previously been in a heterosexual relationship in her home country of Nigeria, and that she had previously appeared more feminine. Her claim that her ex girlfriend, brother and son were killed and her submissions of sex tapes did not affect the outcome. The Home Office representative declared “The “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race.”

The judge decided that she was not a lesbian and that she “played the system”, despite a very real fear of persecution if she returns to Nigeria, having been internationally publicised as a lesbian, where lesbians are punished by law and through (increasingly violent) homophobia.

We now have the bizarre position in the UK where you are able to identify as a woman and legally change your recorded sex on public records, if you meet the criteria, but you are not able to identify your own sexuality – clear proof of identifying and living/acting AS A LESBIAN  is insufficient.

In the words of Antilla Dean:

So if you are male, you can identify as a woman and that’s cool.

If you are, actually, a lesbian, and identify as one, and dress as one, and love another female as a female, you are gaming the system.

A campaign in support of Aderonke Apata has been launched by the Proud2Be Project, whose patron she is.


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

Laws, Politics and Policies:

  • Indiana Passes Anti-Gay/ Lesbian Discrimination Law – Lesbians Are Being Discriminated Against in Every State, Not Just Indiana, by Victoria Brownworth. Not just about wedding cakes and videos, this law which purports to protect religious freedoms permits situations like the paediatrician who recently refused to see the baby of lesbian mothers, and the refusal to hold a funeral service unless a family edit being lesbian out. These are not frivolous or options services, these are basic services that everyone should be able to access at the beginning and the end of their life, regardless of who they are. The refusal to provide them shows a distressing lack of compassion and love. National LGBTI and civil rights groups are lobbying for the  introduction of protections for Indiana’s LGBTI community.
  • The anti-gay backlash continues in America with 20 anti-gay proposals in Texas, including one prohibiting the “burden” of religious exercise without a compelling state interest. Setting the bar this low, without the normal phrasing to prevent only “substantial burden”, could have horrific unintended consequences as religious practices could used to justify a wide variety of unacceptable behaviour.
  • Confederate license plates are seemingly acceptable while the words gay and lesbian are banned. A court case in Texas reminds us of the existing situation in Maryland.
  • The Civil Rights Commission in Michigan released an ordinance template to enable cities and townships to roll out anti-discrimination members for LGBTI residents. 35 municipalities already provide some form of local protection from discrimination.
  • Dallas mayoral candidate Richard Sheridan, an anti-gay activist, has been charged in connection with vandalism linked to homophobia.
  • Bob Jones III has finally apologised for violent homophobia from the 1980s. Although the Bob Jones university continues to actively exclude LGBTI students and alumni, is this apology the start of a shift?
  • The US healthcare system continues to fail meeting the needs of the LGBTI community, including lesbians who are reportedly at a higher risk of breast cancer, have higher rates of smoking, and whose needs for HPV and cervical cancer screening are not met, no doubt for a variety of reasons. As laws supporting religious freedom gain traction, it is likely that the provision of healthcare to lesbians will suffer, as it will for women in general.
  • Indiana Governor defends the state’s religious freedom laws and claims that they aren’t intended to discriminate against lesbians and gays but he is not planning to make lesbian or gay residents a protected class.  If existing legal mechanisms that exist to protect residents from intentional discrimination are not used, the claimed intent to not discriminate seems dubious at best.
  • Meanwhile in Maryland, laws are being developed to provide fertility treatment to married lesbian couples.
  • North Dakota is another state with laws permitting discrimination on the basis of religious freedom, but unlike other states has practically no anti-discrimination legislation with legislation that would ban sexuality-based discrimination soundly rejected by lawmakers for the third time in six years.
  • In an optimistic note perhaps, one of the lawyers who successfully argued against California’s Proposition 8 in the Supreme Court believes that the US will see federal protections for lesbian and gay Americans in the next couple of years.
  • Lawyers for the same sex marriage case in the US Supreme Court prepare for the case to be heard later this month.
  • In a Japanese first, the Tokyo Ward recognises same-sex marriage.
  • What is the affect of same sex marriage – an interesting question posed in lessons From One Year of Same-Sex Marriage in England and Wales. Equality before the law is undoubtedly critical, as is protection of lesbians and our families, but the introduction of same sex marriage is not a silver bullet solving social problems and/or homophobia. In places where the protections for lesbians and their families already exists, the fight for marriage equality ahead of more concrete needs like adequate and appropriate healthcare, for example, seems to prioritise symbolic mainstreaming over these urgent practical needs. Perhaps as national LGBTI communities we need to consider our immediate needs and develop a strategy to achieve them?

Representation:

Social and Health Issues:

  • Homophobia in aged care – the documentary Gen Silent illuminates the homophobia ageing lesbians and gays may face and their consequent return to the closet. Previous studies have raised similar concerns about treatment of ageing lesbian and gay Australians.
  • According to the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, lesbians earn less than straight or gay men but more than straight women, based purely on working longer hours. This backs up an assessment of society as a structured around male dominance and heterosexuality – that is, supporting heterosexual men and penalising women, irrespective of their sexuality.
  • A University of Illinois study reportedly shows that a sexuality shift early in life is tied to depression. It is curious that they didn’t suggest that the study could be showing how is that coming out is difficult and stressful for many kids, in the absence of a supportive and accepting community.  Most societies groom children to heterosexuality from birth, with social institutions and rituals promoting and supporting them, and social attitudes, structures, laws and behaviours strongly opposing homosexuality in many cases. It makes perfect sense, in that context, for kids coming to terms with or deciding to be open about their homosexuality to have increased rates of depression, especially if familiar, peer and social rejection (both emotional and physical) are taken into account.  It also makes sense for that process to be delayed by the social and cultural hostility surrounding the kids.
  • Lesbian and bisexual women reportedly experience unequal outcomes under Cuba’s healthcare system, with lesbian specific needs and issues either ignored or overlooked. Of particular concern, similar to experiences in other countries, is the way lesbian-specific sexual and reproductive health needs are not met. Many gynaecological processes are discouragingly invasive; lesbian-specific risks for sexually transmitted infections (STI) are not well understood or communicated; and the problems involved in disclosing personal details to health care providers, especially around sexual activity, and discourage women from receiving the required health care.
  • Millenials, the current generation of young adults, are reportedly the generation with the highest rate of “identification” as LGBTI, with the rates doubling since the last survey in 2011.  Much of the change may be in the reported rates of bisexuality, although it is unclear whether the data in the two reports compares similarly segmented generation groups and whether the methodology used to determine LGBT identification was comparable. Interestingly, nearly 40% of millennials also reported that same sex behaviour was morally wrong, with a further 13% reporting that it depended on the situation, significantly undermining the argument that Millennials are a lesbian, gay and bisexual friendly generation. The reported rates of LGB identification are not close to Kinsey’s reported 10%, but factoring in same sex contact but not identity may explain some of this variation, according to a new book on sexual behaviour and statistics.
  • Schools that actively protect LGBT kids may be contributing to lowered rates of depression and suicidality, although it is unclear from the report whether this is based on sexuality specific measures or school wide attitudes against bullying on multiple fronts. What is not reported is the rates of sexual harassment of girls, which will also affect lesbians, and which education institutions around the US, and the world, have systemically failed to address .
  • A Canadian lesbian couple were denied daycare spot due to their sexual orientation and will be filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.
  • In Switzerland, priests have started blessing same sex couples, with one removed for blessing a lesbian couple in 2014.

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.