A Working Mother Asks: Can We Please Talk About Working Parents Instead?

Another week, another spate of stories and “debates” about motherhood and working mothers and the right age to become a mother and on and on until oh my god, is there nothing else to talk about besides the ovaries and uterus of The American Woman? What about—just for funsies—the testicles of The American Man? After all, in a whole lot of cases, women are getting pregnant by their male partners. What say The American Man about the best age to become a father, or the ideal career path that fathers should take, or the struggle between financial security and a stable family?

I understand quite well that for many years—nay, decades—women have had a unique set of issues to contend with if they wished to have both children and a career. I also understand that while those issues have shifted over the years, there are still specific challenges to being a mother that earns a paycheck, whether she works outside the house or from home. But focusing just on the challenges and questions encountered by one gender perpetuates the notion that only this one gender needs to meet these challenges and ask these questions.

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Women don’t do housework and men work too much?

Flipping through a local newspaper the other day, two short articles really stood out. These two articles confirm how we feel about inequality in Sweden; that it is often assumed an issue that has already successfully been dealt with. Many Swedes appear to think that as a country, we have reached equality or even passed to the point in which men are now considered the “second sex”. It is often reiterated that Sweden is one of the most equal countries in the world, if not the most equal country. To us, this overconfidence is very troubling because it leads to the denial of male privilege and the persistent influence and power of patriarchy.

The first article that seriously annoyed us discussed the historical origin of Mother’s Day, explaining that from 1920 and on, Mother’s Day was celebrated with breakfast in bed and a day off from cleaning the house and doing chores. The article stated that it was probably a more important day in the past when most women were responsible for taking care of the household. Say what? But most women are responsible for taking care of the household! They are also responsible for taking care of the children while often working on top of that. Are Swedish women really so lucky as to be free from household chores? Research on the topic says no. [Read more...]

New Polls Reveal that Support for Same-sex Marriage is on the Rise!

Looks like public opinion on marriage equality in the U.S. is beginning to shift for the better. For the first time in 15 years of Pew Research Center polling, opposition to gay marriage has fallen below the 50% line.

Polls this year have found that more Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally than did so just last year. In two polls conducted over the past few months, based on interviews with more than 6,000 adults, 42% favor same-sex marriage while 48% are opposed. In polls conducted in 2009, 37% favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally and 54% were opposed.

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Apparently the Government Doesn’t Proofread in Texas

banning strait marriageSome like to call it an amendment goof. I prefer to call it irony at its best. Thanks to the investigative work of Democratic attorney general candidate Barbara Ann Radnofsky, we can all see exactly how a constitutional disenfranchisement of gay and lesbian couples can backfire. The irony is just far too delicious to resist. According to David Montgomery,

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas,” including common-law marriages.

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Thanks Will!: ‘An atypical act of juvenile delinquency’

You may have heard about 10 year old Will Phillips–the Arkansas 5th grader who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance unless and until the U.S. is truly a place that ensures ‘liberty and justice for all.’ If not, check out the original story as it was reported in the Arkansas Times.

You can also watch video of his interview with CNN. The news article is a little more detailed, but the CNN interview is absolutely priceless!

As I watched the video the first time, I thought, “What a great kid,” and not much beyond that. But towards the end, I really started to cheer for him. It occurred to me that, particularly for a 10 year-old-boy in a very conservative area, his willingness to stand up for the rights of others is truly an act of bravery.

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An accused “cis sexist” seeks to educate herself and others, gives big thanks to Twitter

The butterfly is an international symbol for the transgender community.

The butterfly is an international symbol for the transgender community.

I have to thank Twitter for educating me about an issue that continues to have an increasing importance in all societies. Although I was hesitant to start a Twitter account in the first place I now admit it has really broadened my horizons!

One area that I have had my awareness raised by Twitter is in the area of language. One term that I have learned is “cis sexist” or “cis gay.” I fully admit I was not familiar with this term  before seeing it on Twitter, but after seeing in in several Tweets I did a few Google searches on the term.

Although there is actually very little on the web about cis sexism, my understanding is that “cis” refers to a person who is comfortable identifying with the gender they were born with. “Cis sexist” or “cis gay” is being used, most commonly on Twitter, to describe cis individuals who do not respect or acknowledge the struggle of transgender individuals, or those who muddle gay rights issues and transgender issues together inappropriately.

Last week I was “drop kicked” by one of my followers on Twitter and publicly accused of being “cis sexist.” Ouch! [Read more...]

What the Shriver Report forgot to mention

feminis_difference_lgI’m taking a break from my usual legislative updates to discuss something that has been urking me for almost a week now. I simply can’t talk about issues relating to women without at least bringing this up once, so here it goes:

No doubt we’ve all been excited with the recent news coming out of the Shriver Report regarding the male to female ratio statistics in the American work force. I agree that it is a very exciting and historical time for women to now make up, not just half, but almost a majority of the labor force in a country that has historically refused to acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions of women. However, in reading and analyzing the Shriver Report, and the information contained in it, I came to a disturbing and familiar realization….

Not a lot has really changed. [Read more...]

Repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ as a National Priority

Don't Ask Don't Tell silences voicesYes, I said it. A national priority. For far too long we have had to sit back, waiting around for the president to get the courage to act righteously, while his administration works to acquiesce the LGBT community with tokenist attempts to include a “gay” agenda. Since 1993, when Clinton’s good intention manifested itself into a destructive policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ roughly 13,500 U.S. citizens serving in the armed forces have been discharged. Professional, courageous, committed, intelligent, service members with merit and passion are being turned away because of who they choose to love and who they choose to sleep with. Nearly $363 million dollars have been waisted within the span of 16 years, to enforce a policy that tells people they are less then human if they are gay, lesbian, trans, or bisexual.

According to a 2008 Washington Post-ABC news poll, 75 percent of Americans believe openly gay people should be allowed to serve. Right now there are roughly 65,000 homosexuals serving in the U.S. military, along with one million gay veterans. This is not a debate about a couple LGBT identified soldiers wanting access to the armed forces, and even if it were, it doesn’t change the truth about how net-detrimental DADT is to every person in our country. [Read more...]

DADT – A Story of Discrimination in the US Air-force Academy

DADT discriminatesKevin Calderwood, a passionate friend and ally to the community, came to me with a story of a friend intimately affected by the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy. Rather then attempt to represent his words, I would rather you read them for yourself. Kevin Calderwood is a full time student at Southern Illinois University, double majoring in political science and history. When he isn’t busy winning national championships in parliamentary debate, he’s committed to organizing and repealing the DADT. Here are his words.

I am writing this in a state of mind where I am upset and angry, so I apologize in advance if I am not making a lot of sense. For the last several years I have felt the need for the United States armed forces to allow gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans identified people to openly serve in the military. Until now, however, I have not been active on the issue beyond voting for politicians that have promised to repeal DADT. Most people in life are not active on political issues until they truly effect you or people you know. I have a friend that is a fully commissioned officer in the United States Air Force that is under threat of a dishonorable discharge and huge financial loss, not to mention all the horrors he has experienced because of the life he was forced to lead secretly. [Read more...]

Live Blogging: Obama Speaks at the HRC Dinner

LGBT rightsIf anyone is interested in joining the excitement of the HRC dinner, I suggest you check out the live feed at Bilerico. Bil Browning is at the dinner and taking questions live. Some highlights from Obama’s speech thus far (all provided via twitter)

“Do not doubt the direction we are headed and the destination we will reach.”
“Together we will move closer 2 where no 1 in American has 2 fear being gay or walk down the street holding the hand of their loved 1.”
“I will end ‘Don’t ask, Don’t Tell’, that’s my commitment to you.”

President Obama is addressing a large number of his constituents tonight to underscore their legitimate criticism of his failure to follow through on several campaign promises. Tonight is an olive branch opportunity for Obama to confirm his commitment to the cause of equal rights and convince a community of people that he does not intend to leave them behind. One can only hope that his well articulated speech tonight will translate into political action tomorrow. Too often LGBT rights are promised and then placed on the back burner when shit gets tough.

Obama stated, “I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I’ve made, but by the promises that my administration keeps.” When will it be the right time? Even the idea of a “right time” for equal rights says wonders about our political system.