Making Hyde History

Excited to share this project Margaret Middleton and I are working on together. We created this history exhibit from the future about the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds for being used for abortion which limits access to abortion and disproportionately affects low income women of color.

We're calling this project the #MuseumoftheFeministFuture and we debuted it at the Repeal Hyde Art Project's Can't Hyde the Future event. Very grateful for the support of Repeal Hyde Art Project, The Clinic Vest Project and Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund for this exhibit.

"Making Hyde History" is a history exhibit from an imagined future in 2067.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is an executive order, signed by President Hillary Clinton as her first act in office. The executive order enacts the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee, effectively repealing Hyde and increasing abortion access for all.

We used real "historic" pamphlets Jamie J. Hagen had collected volunteering as a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood.

The clinic escort volunteer vest was donated by the The Clinic Vest Project. The label explains how historically protesters had used fear and intimidation at clinics that provided abortions to deter patients. Volunteers would wear vests to signify they were there to keep patients safe.

The #MuseumoftheFeministFuture has docents!



The CLAGS After Marriage conference

As a CUNY alum, Hunter College BA and Brooklyn College MA,  it was exciting to be a part of the CLAGS  (Center for LGBTQ Studies) After Marriage conference. This is the first CLAGS event I participated in and it was an excellent space where activists and scholars engaged in conversation and reflection.  I was on the Transnational Issues in LGBTQ politics  panel and received insightful feedback from the audience about what organizations and issues to consider in future research.

In the open plenaries of the first day of the conference much attention was given to the reality of how poverty and lack of economic justice as a cornerstone of organizing to meet the needs for queer communities.  Two of the speakers who made the most impression on me were Paulina Helm-Hernandez and Amber Hollibaugh. I've read Hollibaugh for years and admired her work with Queers for Economic Justice as an outspoken queer femme. The conversations at the conference sparked both inspiration and outrage, but fueled the work that so many of us who attended the conference do to continue to shine a light on the margins to bring the concerns for the communities we know and love to the center of the movement.

Follow along with the conversations from the conference at the #AfterMarriage hashtag on Twitter.

About the conference:

"On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution provides same-sex couples the civil right to marry. After the ruling, rainbow memes and #lovewins hashtags flooded the internet. But in addition to the celebration, we also began to hear more about what activists and academics have been saying for decades—that LGBTQ politics is about #morethanmarriage.

The marriage equality campaign has been criticized for limiting LGBTQ political mobilization within a narrow “homonormative” framework, making invisible all of the many pressing issues that impact diverse LGBTQ-identified individuals. Since the ruling, donations to some LGBTQ organizations have declined, and longstanding organizations have shut down.

There is an urgent need for a major public conversation about this turning point in LGBTQ politics. This conference will convene such a conversation, raising the profile of the countless similar conversations already unfolding among activists, funders, and academics in order to explore possible agendas for LGBTQ politics and scholarship after marriage.

Many of the panels were recorded and will be available to view/listen to in the future.



Let's talk about the new independent expert on LGBT issues

This sumemr the UN Human Rights Council voted to appoint a person to look into homophobic and transphobic violence. An important moment! But as you can imagine, there was much maneuvering to even get the appointment and it comes with certain restrictions, not the least of which is a limit to a three year term. In my piece for The Establishment I interview a number of people about the expectations and possibilities riding on the new position from activists and academics alike.

This piece gets at the challenging policy and practice nexus. While there is now policy prioritizing looking at LGBTQ issues, how this translates to practice depends on a number of questions: Who will decide which issues to address with a literal world full off problems to examine? How will local, national and international organizations communicate about these issues? And perhaps the question top of mind right now: who will be appointed as the new independent expert?

The new independent expert will report back to the UN at the end of each year of their term. With that in mind, in a year's time this role may prove an important test in terms of what type of leverage the global human rights community is able to exert for vulnerable LGBTQ individuals around the world. 



Just Hanging Out With Hundreds of Academic Feminists

Last month I attended the International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFJP) conference for the first time. The theme this year was "Deconolozing Knowledges in Feminist World Politics" and it was hosted by the University of Cincinnati, just across the river from where I went to high school in Northern Kentucky.

As I was preparing my presentation it occured to me this would be the first time I would be attending a conference about international politics where the audience would be primiarily (if not exclusively!) made of feminists. This is a wonderful feeling! Roxanne Kristalli created a Storify of tweets from the weekend so be sure to scroll through to get a sense of some of the conversations and panels at the conference.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to meet some of the feminist scholars who have so influenced my work, including V. Spike Peterson. I also really enjoyed the panel about a new book edited by Annick Weber, Researching War. The book will be a great teaching tool but also includes chapters where researchers reflect on challenges, mistakes made, and the responsibility that comes with being a feminist researcher engaged in projects researching war. I already snagged a copy!

My presentation was about a project I'm just starting regarding queer asylum seekers and I was able to get some very helpful and motivating feedback that I will be sure to channel as I continue writing over the summer.


Queerphobia in a Post Marriage Equality America

As a volunteer on the GLAD Answers hotline where we receve calls from LGBTQ individuals about various forms of discrimination it's all too clear to me how dangerous it is to make assumptions about the progress marriage equality marks in American history for LGBTQ communities. In my first piece for The Establishment I address the larger structures of inequality that remain unaddressed by the marriage equality and point to the many activists who have long spoken out about this topic.

For this story I spoke with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney of the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project. I also included videos from DarkMatter, a trans south asian performance art duo I saw perform in Cambridge last month who rocked my damn world.

I also point out in this piece that we can't make any assumptinos about forms of queerphobia (transphobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, homophobia) being on the decline considering the lack of reliable hate-crime statistics dependent on reports from police departments, a place where many queer and trans people do not find it safe to report.

The story was cross-posted over at HuffPost Queer Voices where it was the lead story for a couple of days. People in the comment section on their Facebook page raised some interesting points including the queerphobia within the queer community against trans folks and the rise of hate crimes in general since 9/11.



Although I haven't read the book yet I learned that Gerald N. Rosenberg's book The Hollow Hope speaks to the concerns of using federal legal reform to make change. The narrative of progress from federal legislation in case after case is called into question in a way that appears to be holding true for queer and trans communities as well.

I anticipate more pieces in the coming months about America as a post marriage equality nation. I hope they will engage in some of the critical questions and concerns raised by activists who have long worked for racial and economic justice.