Feminism Was Here: JASMYN

November 17, 2010

JASMYN member The Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network, Inc (JASMYN), is a community organization with a 14-yr history of education and advocacy by and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) young people in the South. Through building empowerment, reproductive justice awareness, education, advocacy and support, JASMYN also works against bullying and harassment in schools. JASMYN is a Third Wave grantee. In the above photo, JASMYN member RJ shows that Feminism is at JASMYN! JASMYN members Auntie and Elmo            JASMYN members Auntie and GC         JASMYN members         JASMYN members Maurissa and Brianna          JASMYN members Sabrina and Suwanda

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Feminism Was Here: New York in the 80’s

October 17, 2010

feminism was here, old time nyc Submitted to our "Feminism Was Here" action campaign,

"I put this sticker on a picture that my father took of an empty New York City street in the 1980s. Feminism walks the streets of this city, every day."

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Feminism Was Here: No Regrets

November 29, 2010

Feminism Was Here: No Regrets "After Thanksgiving Regret?" No way. (Get your own "Feminism Was Here" sticker and show us where you put it.)

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Feminism Was Here: NYPL

September 14, 2010

Public libraries are accessible to all and hold our herstories. (Show us: where's your feminism at? We'll hook you up with stickers, and share your photos of where they end up here on our blog.)

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Feminism Was Here: Willard, Missouri

November 17, 2010

Feminist Baby Submitted to our  "Feminism Was Here"  action campaign. Greta Marshall in Willard, Missouri,  sent us this adorable photo of her baby. You're never too young to be a feminist!

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Feminism Was Here: Women’s Philanthropy

October 14, 2010

feminism was here, women's foundation of minnesota The Women's Foundation of Minnesota has been a major player in women's philanthropy for over 25 years. Their core values of Justice, Social Change, Inclusion, Feminism and Hope, guide their investment in the advancement of equality for all women and girls in the areas of economic justice, safety and security, health and reproductive rights, human rights, and political power, centered in the state of Minnesota.  Check them out!

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October 16, 2012

  Take a look at this comprehensive report recently released by one of our grant partners, Brown Boi Project, highlighting the importance of a “gender transformative learning” model. The report includes a glimpse into the work they do with masculine-of-center womyn and men of color that emphasizes mental health, self-actualization, and an acknowledgement of the privileges of masculinity. Brown Boi Project’s report draws attention to the importance of the work they are doing and the nuance involved in addressing issues such as these. “We believe that the same gender transformative learning that can keep boys of color in the classroom, will also reduce the levels of aggression and sexual pressure exerted on girls, and reduce the kind of gender policing that perpetuates violence against LGBT youth of color.” - Toward Healthy And Whole: Rethinking Gender and Transformation for Bois of Color To read the full report, click here.  

Posted in: Blog, Brown Boi Project, Grant Partners

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Home and Homophobia

October 11, 2010

In the wake of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi's death, a freshman who died by suicide after his roommate and a friend taped his sexual encounters with an older man and broadcast them over the internet, pundits are yammering about internet privacy. I have been tormented by questions of privilege that have been unacknowledged. I grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, an affluent town although relatively diverse, and share my origins here with Tyler's two harassers, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei. I have always credited my upbringing in this community for my motivation to do social justice and equality work. As the daughter of an immigrant who was raised speaking my "second language" first, I grew up among an immediate group of friends in which at least six languages were spoken fluently, three or four world religions were represented, most of us were people of color and many of us were immigrants ourselves or the children of diaspora. I have a profound love for these friends with whom I weathered the trials of middle school, high school, college and now life-after-graduation. I was honored to be standing shoulder to shoulder with these amazing people as we encountered the various challenges of immigration status or queer identity, our struggles with mental health, violence, illness and the myriad forms of alienation that arise in young adult life. I was and still am infinitely lucky for these friends: in my home community, I learned the beauty and freedom of fully living out our complex identities. As a feminist and queer activist in college, I thought I learned not to be surprised by hate. Now, as I reflect on the events of the past month and on the sheer number of suicides by LGBTQ youth, I am stunned. In the wake of these deaths, while the mainstream media panics about young people's lack of boundaries in the digital age or the vast power of the internet being so unknowingly manipulated, I wonder at the unrecognized power of privilege. The published yearbook photographs of Dharun Rhavi and Molly Wei are like any number of faces I know from senior portraits in my own high school yearbook years ago. Their familiarity is haunting. Our local paper reflects this same astonishment: here were two typical West Windsor Plainsboro students, as the article says, "smart, well-liked, on the threshold of promising futures," (as were we all.) They are the younger versions of the friends I grew up with, we would have taken AP classes and participated in music ensembles together, we left behind the same vapidly optimistic yearbook quotes. I am asking the question that goes unspoken: what does it mean that our hometown – our happy, high-achieving hometown – has produced Ravi and Wei? How have we collectively precipitated lethal homophobia? How complicit are we? (Are we?) I am deeply sorry that I never realized the malice and the suffering that could be at work under the surface of my own beloved community. Here is unrecognized privilege: why are we reluctant to see homophobia when it screams at us in the face? Blaming some combination of youth and the internet for Tyler Clementi's death is just as naively privileged. Instead, let us discuss education access and the impact of homophobic educational environments that prevent students from meeting their full potential. As a result of intense harassment from their classmates, queer students are over four times more likely to skip school and three times as likely to drop out of high school than their non-queer-identified peers. Let us discuss the disproportionate rates of homelessness among queer youth, realizing that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, recognizing those for whom home is not a safe place. Above all, let us realize how these hostile environments contribute to the overwhelming rate of suicide faced by queer youth: over one third of LGB youth and one quarter of transgender youth have reported a suicide attempt, rates that quadruple that of cis-gendered heterosexual young people. Let us observe in the identities of Wei and Ravi as people of color the possibility for members of various oppressed communities to work together rather than to tear each other apart. Oppression is a life-or-death reality for all of us, despite the exact nature of our difference. If we forget this, if we couch these realities with words like "diversity" or "civility," or if we substitute a "kids-these-days" quandary about the internet for a discussion of violence and privilege, we do so at our own peril. Following Tyler's death, demonstrators at Rutger's University challenged the impulse to create a "teachable moment" out of a very real body count:

At the end of the inaugural event for the university’s “Project Civility” campaign on Wednesday, nearly 100 demonstrators gathered outside the student center, where the president spoke. They chanted, “Civility without safety — over our queer bodies!”
For me, this is a moment to be reminded of Mother Jones' advice to "Mourn for the dead, and fight like hell for the living." (A quote, incidentally, that was hung prominently in my college's Queer Resource Center.)

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How Anti-Choice Billboards & Crisis Pregnancy Centers Target Women of Color

April 13, 2011

Writing at, Chicago Abortion Fund's executive director Gaylon Alcaraz describes the scene at a protest against the new anti-abortion billboards in Chicago:

As black women gathered to protest and demand the removal of those signs, which were posted up in the darkness from the night before, black preachers and other Life Always representatives stood at the microphone explaining why they chose this neighborhood and the president’s image for their tag line: “Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.”  These three identical billboards placed side by side on a building that face evidence of poverty, neglect and despair is ironic.  The lot in which the press conference was held is littered with broken glass and garbage, with grass nowhere to be found.  It is this scene that provided the backdrop for this Houston-based group to advocate for “Life Always.”  Yet, these outsiders fail to see the irony in telling black women in this depressed neighborhood not to abort their ‘babies.’ By coming into poor communities of color in an effort to regulate and attempt to control women’s decisions about reproduction and reproductive health, the group is spreading fear, myths and falsehoods not only about abortion (one lonely woman of color stood on stage and talked about breast cancer and abortion) but also about what these anti-choice organizations actually do.  For example, one preacher yelled from the podium that they advocate for more crisis pregnancy centers that would help women.  Yet, we all know that these centers do not help women but attempt to shame through various tactics, such as propaganda films and shoving mutilated dolls in front of women. One of the women that sought funding from the Chicago Abortion Fund, Nicole Goss, found a crisis pregnancy center before she found our information.  She had this type of experience.  In fact, she stated that the center she found herself in attempted to do everything to force her not to have an abortion, even telling her she was too far along to have a procedure – which was not true!  These centers are deceitful but very dangerous as well.  Nicole had a second- trimester procedure which proved to be not only more risky but drastically more expensive  than if she had access to an earlier first-trimester abortion.  This is a clear example of the deceptive work of these centers for which the preachers are advocating.
Over on Chicago Abortion Fund's blog, their members shared their reactions to the billboards:
What Life Always should have done was invested the time, energy and funds they used to put up those billboards into these neighborhoods and their schools. Fund and advocate for comprehensive sex education in the schools. Provide us with employment resources. - Brittany
Abortion is a choice and i know everyone is entitled to the own opinion however i still being this billboard should be removed. growing up in this community many would be surprise to know what goes on and what woman have to endure so i feel that attempting to alter someone minds and choice is wrong. Allow these woman to make there own choices who knows a few years down the road they too could be the next possible leader.... - Dominique Perry
You can keep connected with Chicago Abortion Fund's work in support of reproductive justice on their blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted in: Chicago Abortion Fund, Healthcare, Media, Reproductive Justice

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How Criminalizing the Sex Trade Contributes to Violence

May 12, 2011

Writing at The Guardian (UK), Third Wave's Melissa Gira Grant argues that outlawing the sex trade has contributed to a social economy of violence against people who exchange sex for what they need to survive. In addition, she questions how anti-prostitution stings re-enforce race, gender, and class inequalities:

...women, men and transgender people who are targeted in anti-prostitution street sweeps and internet stings may be charged with breaking laws against solicitation, but not all sex workers face the consequences of the law equally. Those who can afford to find clients away from the street, who have a mobile phone or computer access, are less likely to interact with the police. For those who are arrested, if they are in possession of condoms, these may be confiscated and used to build a case for prostitution against them. False arrest – sometimes, simply for walking in an area known for prostitution – is not uncommon, particularly for young people, people of colour, LGBTQ people and people perceived as gender nonconforming. In this fashion, discrimination and economics regulate the sex trade in tandem with the legal system.

Posted in: Anti-Violence, Blog, Criminalization, Media

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