Sex & Gender Equality

“There is no way of measuring the damage to a society when a whole texture of humanity is kept from realizing its own power.”
Adrienne Rich 

“Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity—the female sex.” 
Mahatma Gandhi

“In a world where women are commodities, a woman who refuses to sell herself will have the thing she refuses to sell taken away from her by force” 
 Angela Carter

“I raise up my voice not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” 
Malala Yousafzai 

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women” 
Maya Angelou  

“A woman brings so much more to the world than birth, for she can birth discovery, intelligence, invention, art, just as well as any man.” 
Shannon Celebi

“The victim is always morally superior to the master. That is the victim's ambivalent triumph. That is why there have been so few notoriously wicked women in comparison to the number of notoriously wicked men. Our victim status ensures that we rarely have the opportunity.” 
Angela Carter

“Instead of getting hard ourselves and trying to compete, women should try and give their best qualities to men. Bring them softness, teach them how to cry.” 
Joan Baez  

“Being gay is natural. Hating gay is a lifestyle choice.”
John Fugelsang

“Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?”
Ernest Gaines

“Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”
James Baldwin

“Each of us has a short ride on this earth and as long as we stay in our lane and don't affect someone else's ride, we should be allowed to drive as we see fit.” 
Rob Thomas

Documentaries & Videos

 Since it is often assumed that people on the left side of the political spectrum are pro-choice, I think it’s important to explain my stand on abortion. I consider myself pro-life. I consider my position on abortion in line with all of my other beliefs around protecting life, equality and freedom. The philosophy I use to determine where I stand on an issue is: When the freedom, life or quality of life of a being is affected by a policy or action, I stand against that policy or action. The issue of abortion is one of great depth, and I find the current conversation around it very shallow and dominated by the voices on the extreme sides of the issue. There is a sizable percentage of people who feel that abortion should be done only in certain circumstances and/ or only up to a certain point in the pregnancy. I think a lot of people do not feel free to speak their mind about the issue because of how hostile the conversation has been up to this point. In order to really understand each other, we need to have a deep, honest, lengthy and civil discussion on the subject. I feel that men have the right to and need to be a part of that discussion as they are 50% of why this is an issue, even more when accounting for historical and current forms of patriarchy and its legacy. I need to follow my moral compass, and I have contemplated the issue of abortion for over two decades now. I can find nothing to sway me to believe that anyone has such authority over another life, even if that life is inside of you.
 
Of course, I believe that if the woman’s and/ or baby’s life are at risk, the right course of action should be determined by a medical professional. As far as rape, my biggest concern there is that a woman is put into that position in the first place. I think the outrage should be directed more at the fact that women still cannot move about this world safe from such violence. I think protections should be in place in the meantime, but I feel that the ultimate goal should be to eliminate the practice of rape in its entirety. I feel that a lot of the pro-choice side of the debate has been about conforming to a really dysfunctional system or finding ways to breathe within it. Most of the animal kingdom strives to protect their offspring. I don’t see us moving away from that as human progress. I see it as something that we have done in order to navigate through this dysfunction. I’ve made my purpose in life about finding a way out of that dysfunction. Part of that will be organizing our systems in a way that takes care of our basic needs and allows us the opportunity to survive in the world we were born into. Many of our systems now prevent that from happening, and many people who consider themselves pro-life when it comes to abortion also support many of these systems that are anything but pro-life, which is a huge contributing factor to why many woman feel they need to turn to abortion. Pro-life means pro-life. It’s not just when it’s convenient for you. Providing adequate sexual education and access to birth control would likely cut abortions down by more than half. There are many solutions to this, but we need to have open and inclusive conversations in order to get there. I feel like the only way out of this is through listening to each other. It’s hard to do that over all the yelling around this debate right now. Everyone needs to soften and listen. The best conversation I’ve seen yet about it was in the documentary Lake of Fire. I’ve linked it above.
 
Another controversial topic I’m highlighting above is prostitution. I feel that when money is involved, it becomes a power dynamic, which makes me extremely uncomfortable. Any way you look at it, it’s not a choice because other viable options for survival are not guaranteed within this system. They are more often withheld. While someone’s livelihood is dependent on such interactions, I do not see that as consensual. I see it as coercion. There are different levels. Some people have more freedom in that industry than others, but the majority of people do not. And a great many of them are raised, forced and/or sold into it. I have noticed recently that the most marginalized and powerless in the sex trade are at times forgotten about or silenced in discussions about it. I feel it’s very important that their voices become the loudest in this discussion. This practice is a remnant of patriarchy and power. We cannot eliminate patriarchy without eliminating the practice of buying and selling of women’s bodies, any bodies for that matter. The sex industry from prostitution to pornography is built on the objectification of bodies, often violently and most often those of women.  I think it’s really important that we look at how that has contributed to and continues to support the systems that hold us down.

Articles

-Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage across the US  - The Guardian 2015

-Female NY Prison Inmates Say Sexual Abuse Is Rampant - Gothamist 2016

-Everything You Know About 'Sex Work' is Wrong  - World News Trust 2015

-Everything You Know About 'Sex Work' is Wrong Part 2  - World News Trust 2016

-Men in Iran Don Women’s Clothes to Protest Cross-Dress Punishment - Gay Star News 2013

-New Zealand Parliament Chambers Break into Song after Passing Marriage Equality - Truth Wins Out 2013

-Colombia Legalizes Gay Marriage, Huge Victory for LGBTI Rights - Telesur 2016

-Female Chief in Malawi Breaks up 850 Child Marriages and Sends Girls Back to School - Inhabitots 2016

-UN Sex Abuse Scandal, 11 Congolese Women Impregnated by Envoys - Telesur 2016

-Bolivia Bans Men Violent Against Women from Public Positions - Telesur 2016

-This Woman Housed More Than 450 Victims Of Sex Trafficking - Huffington Post 2016

-Stanford Sexual Assault Case: Victim Impact Statement in Full - The Guardian 2016

-Silence and Silencing at Jivamukti Yoga and Beyond - Decolonizing Yoga 2016

-From Bikinis to Burkinis, Regulating what Women Wear - New York TImes 2016

-Many Men Talk like Donald Trump in Private. And Only Other Men Can Stop Them - Washington Post 2016

-Women in Iceland Protest Country’s 14 Percent Pay Gap by Leaving Work 14 Percent Earl - New York Times 2016

-Pictures from Women’s Marches on Every Continent - New York Times 2017

-Denmark Doctors Declare Circumcision Of Healthy Boys ‘Ethically Unacceptable’ - Huffington Post 2017

-Hundreds of Nuns Trained in Kung Fu are Biking the Himalayas to Oppose Human Trafficking - Business Insider 2017