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INCITE! AT THE US SOCIAL FORUM!!!: connecting w/ folks

Wednesday, 6 June 2007 1 comment

INCITE! AT THE US SOCIAL FORUM!!!
HEADING TO THE US SOCIAL FORUM IN ATLANTA?
WONDERING HOW TO CONNECT WITH INCITE! FOLKS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHILE YOU’RE THERE?
PRE-CONFERENCE FORUM –
DEVELOPING LIBERATORY RESPONSES TO VIOLENCE
TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Please join us at the US Social Forum to advance our work on creating community-based alternatives to address violence and strategies to build safer, supportive, and more peaceful communities! The movement to create community-based, transformative justice is at an exciting moment! Across the U.S., a small but growing collection of organizations are developing and piloting models that address intimate and community violence that do not rely on State intervention. While in different organizational stages, most of us are already working together in some capacity, but we have not yet been able to formally gather and share our experiences, struggles, challenges and successes –a unique opportunity that the upcoming U.S. Social Forum can provide.
For this reason, Generation Five, Critical Resistance, Creative Interventions, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and Action + Community= Transformation would like to invite your organization to participate in a pre-forum convening for individuals and organizations that are currently doing national or local work to develop violence-prevention/intervention models that do not rely on state intervention. Read more…

living life; limping through relationships and finding balance

Wednesday, 6 June 2007 Leave a comment

It is hard sometimes to find one’s place–to find stable ground. Life seems to present a variety of challenges–from the teenage angst that each of us encountered [whether we were aware of it or not], to what do I do with my life and to how to I create a family [whether that is a family of one or with another]. The disruptions of life are just that: disruptions.

I had a recent encounter where a loved one began to ask questions about relationships and finding balance in relationships. This is a difficult one largely because the relationships about which this person was mentioning is a formative and integral relationship. But, just how formative and integral are relationships when one feels abused, neglected, put-down, shut-out, etc.? They may become toxic over time and this toxicity mayvery well just creep up on us. This is a sad reality, but reality nonetheless that presents itself to each of us. So, how do we live life and in relationships where we encounter such difficulties? We must discern–using both internal and external resources–we must find the balance that preserves us.

Perhaps that is what Jacob was doing when he was asking for a blessing from the Angel of the Lord? Caught in a “wrestling” match, he found himself wanting that fierce person to be present. The Angel was indeed present, but soon the angel would be leaving–but before so, Jacob was left with a limp and his name was changed. Wow! What a disruption in this could-be “spiritual”/”heavenly” relationship. I wonder if it felt more like a dungeon or being a prisoner of war during the time when they were wrestling?

Perhaps that is how we feel when we enter into times of darkness in relationships? We become prisoners of this war of challenges and finding power in relationships. We walk with a limp. And, sometimes we stumble. We try and reach out, but our faint voice cannot be heard over the clutter that we hear inside of us. We are certainly off balance. We are far from the reality of life and balance, yet we are living, still.

And so, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel and he departs back to his family–a changed person.

That’s a great story for Jacob, but what about that person who doesn’t know really why they have a limp? What has tormented them in silence [or perhaps blatantly] that has now produced the limp? Where is their prison? Furthermore, where is their freedom? How does one find balance from the perspective that the limp presents a pretty definite disadvantage and/or disability? That is where I get stumped. I don’t know where to find the balance? I don’t know how to be healed of the limp?

What if the limp is permanent? What is the balance can never be restored like you thought? Are there ways that we can live, be in relationships, and find balance that look radically different than what our minds and history and traditions tell us?

I sure hope so! Peace to YOU who is currently struggling with the limp.

faith, poverty, politics, “skinny” bibles and phat diets

Monday, 4 June 2007 Leave a comment

I have just had a lovely “coffee” hour w/ a friend.  I love the place where we typically meet for coffee.  Its an organic, vegetarian sort of place where I truly love the Mexican hot chocolate–w/ soy!  Today we gathered and whilst it was quite loud with dishes banging about, I found myself invited into the conversations of life.

My friend, clergyperson, scholar, feminist, pastor and good friend and  I talked about writing.  I shared how I have a sense and call and perhaps an urge to write.  From where does that urge or call or sense come?  Is it internal?  Is it external?  I don’t know?  I tend to err on the fact that it is both internal and external.

And so, I come to this virtual space and begin to press the labeled buttons on my mac thereby producing words, sentences, thoughts.  My words are coalescing into a sense of meaning that is billowing from within, but this sense probably has been affected by external stimuli.

And there you have it…I have come to a place where the written narrative woven with embodied experience is bubbling within me.  I have also come to a place where [the] “church” [that group of folks who form an organic gathering] has become another place that has been inviting me into her presence and waves of justice.

I continue to look for the wavemaker–that One who partners with me to do the good work of justice and continues to help me make little moves against destructiveness.

Illinois women not getting the care they need

Thursday, 31 May 2007 Leave a comment
 
Chicago Foundation for Women
 

Illinois women not getting the care they need

New report reveals Illinois women in health care crisis

May 31) Women in Illinois are more likely to need medical services than men and yet, they are less likely to get it and often go without, according to the final report, ” A Study of Uninsured Women in Illinois,” released today by Chicago Foundation for Women.

 

“As the legislature grapples with the budget, we hope these numbers remind them that spiraling health care costs have put women’s health and safety in jeopardy. These women are caught in a health care crisis,” said Hannah Rosenthal, executive director of Chicago Foundation for Women. “But there is a solution. Illinois Covered is an ambitious plan that will offer coverage to hundreds of thousands of women previously uninsured.”

 

The report, the first extensive look at uninsured women in Illinois, also found one in every four Chicago woman has no health insurance. And the numbers are even higher for Latinas in Illinois–which means women are teetering on a dangerous edge risking both physical and financial security.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEND A NOTE TO YOUR LEGISLATOR

 

Click here to read the report.

 

Click here to read the press release.

 

Categories: Ethics, Feminism, Politics, Society

‘Hall of Shame’ Exposes Dangers of High-Level Homophobia

Wednesday, 30 May 2007 Leave a comment

‘Hall of Shame’ Exposes Dangers of High-Level Homophobia International Day Against Homophobia Highlights Persistence of Prejudice

(New York, May 16, 2007) ? Pope Benedict XVI, US President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have undermined human rights by actively promoting prejudice against lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people, Human Rights Watch said today in its annual “hall of shame” to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.

On May 17, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups in more than 50 countries will commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, an initiative launched in 2005 that commemorates the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its roster of disorders. Read more…

Tuesday’s Telepathy::Feminist news that you can count on!

Tuesday, 29 May 2007 Leave a comment

thanks to chicago foundation for women for their TUESDAY STARS

Bravo and brava to everyone who helped pass Illinois SB 75, the First Offender Probation Act, so women convicted of felony prostitution will have the opportunity to see their charges dismissed after 24 months probation. This bill failed last year, but thanks to strong support it will soon become law (Gov. Blagojevich is expected to sign it soon). Thanks to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless as well as the elected officials who helped—and people like you, whose individual advocacy helped get the needed votes.

Lauren Breayans, Lauren Chief Elk and April Grolle witnessed a gang rape by a college baseball team of an underage girl who was passed out drunk at a DeAnza College campus party in San Jose, Cal. Despite eye-witness testimony and DNA evidence, the case was dismissed as too weak to prosecute. We applaud these women for speaking out to local media to seek justice. “It makes us think that no girl is ever going to want to come forward” with rape charges because “they’re going to think it doesn’t even matter,” said Chief Elk. “But it does.”

NEWS IMPORTANT TO YOU
MEMORIAL DAY: WOMEN IN THE MILITARY
This weekend we remembered and honored our soldiers who served in the military. We ask you to also to remember the women who serve and how they are affected by service or association to the military. Check out these stories:
Department of Justice finds male veterans are jailed for rape twice as often as other men.
Servicewomen can’t get emergency contraception.
Sexual assault by men in the military is the “private war of women soldiers.”
FDA APPROVES LYBREL
The FDA this week approved the drug Lybrel, an oral contraceptive that would halt menstruation. All birth control pills halt ovulation, though Lybrel stops even the “fake period” resulting from hormonal withdrawal. The Sun-Times asked women what they think of Lybrel. TELL US in an email: Would you prefer to use it, once it’s available in July, or not?

STEREOTYPES: WORDS CAN HURT
Girls often suffer math anxiety precisely because they are expected to do worse than boys, a study by the University of Chicago finds. When people worry, they erode their “working memory,” a type of short-term memory. Plus, these anxieties can spill over into other subjects, which can lower scores on standardized tests or grades in classes that come after math.

TAKE ACTION
Bills and policies that need your energy. Up-to-date as of Friday, May 25.
NOTE: the Illinois Legislature adjourns May 31. Take action now.

ILLINOIS ACTION – CONTACT YOUR STATE REPS
YES on Illinois SB 12: Increase Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income families. Read the fact sheet. We need action THIS WEEK.

YES on Illinois HB 1826: Legalize civil unions in Illinois. Read the fact sheet. We need action THIS WEEK.

YES on Illinois SB 5 and SB 1: Illinois Covered and state tax reform to fund it.

YES on SB 715 (now in the house) for school health centers. Opponents object to reproductive health services, such as referrals for birth control. Clinics will also provide students with immunizations, counseling and asthma care. Read more at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.

YES on HB 949 (now in the senate) to increase the TANF grant by 15 percent for low-income families. Like the minimum wage, TANF has not kept up with inflation. Read more.

FEDERAL ACTION – CONTACT YOUR NATIONAL REPS
YES on U.S. Senate Bill 1105 and NO to a promised veto: Matthew Shepard Act, to expand “hate crime” to include gender, sexual orientation and disability status. CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE NOW.

YES on U.S. House Resolution 121: Ask Japan to apologize for the “comfort women” of World War II.

NO to federally-funded abstinence education. Tell your Congresspeople to let Title V funding expire June 30. Remember, studies show it doesn’t work. Read more on cfw.org.

YES on federal HR 2064, the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, so women in the military can access emergency contraception. In the Armed Services committee.

YES to U.S. S.972/H.R.1653: Responsible Education About Life Act for medically accurate, comprehensive sex education. Read the fact sheet.

WHAT IS MISSING?
We add perspective to recent headlines

The story: Baseball players are manly men, but sportswriters who cover them are girly. Chicago Tribune sports columnist Rick Morrissey said writers’ reactions to White Sox coach Ozzie Guillen swearing on a live radio show were “like a 6-year-old tattling on her brother.” He wondered aloud if sportswriters like himself “have lost our compass guywise, if we ever had one” since baseball “might be the last bastion of American guyness,” where men are together all the time, reveling in “arrested emotional development.”
What it didn’t say: Morrissey made a black-and-white distinction: There are real men and then there are the rest, but we think men don’t have to live inside the “man box.” Athletes don’t have to “walk with [their] knuckles dragging behind” to be good at sports and sportswriters don’t have to avoid criticizing men to be good at their job. When we ask “What will it take?” we know one answer is changing the way we think. Learn more about the “man box” and masculinity from anti-sexist activist Jackson Katz, also a former athlete.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
TOMORROW
MAY 30: Reproductive health issues briefing via conference call, 3 p.m.

NEXT WEEK
JUNE 7: Music Matters Concert: Singers and Songwriters Unite Against Violence featuring Jill Scott, 8 p.m. (“What Will It Take?” special event)

LATER IN JUNE
JUNE 13: 2007 Impact Awards with Dr. Ruth Westheimer, State Senator Carol Ronen and Silvia Rivera, 6 p.m.

JUNE 13: Not to my mother, my sister my friend: A day-long youth conference in Urbana (“What Will It Take?” cosponsored program)

JUNE 21: Town Hall – DeKalb/Rockford, time and exact location TBA

COMING IN JULY
JULY 26: The Fairway Network Annual Charity Golf Tournament, 1 p.m.

For more programs and events see our calendar page or the “What Will It Take?” statewide events page.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Catch up on more at our Press Room or our Past Events page at cfw.org or our News page on whatwillittake.org.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN “WHAT WILL IT TAKE?” If you see our PSAs on TV or hear them on the radio, or if you see one of our ads in newspapers, on buses or on billboards, email lfletcher@cfw.org saying when and where the ad appeared. We will enter you in a drawing for a t-shirt and a few surprises. Please include your name and a daytime phone number.

Speakers bureau: Want a free speaker to come and tell you or your organization about “What Will It Take?” Contact Laura Fletcher at (312) 577-2824 or lfletcher@cfw.org. More about the speakers bureau…

JULY 12 tickets to “The Color Purple” in Chicago on sale now, to benefit the Sojourner Fund of the African American Leadership Council.

SAVE THE DATE
SEPT. 11: The Foundation’s 22nd Annual Luncheon and Symposium, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Featuring Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, speaking on how women’s rights are human rights.

Waiting for the Call

Thursday, 24 May 2007 Leave a comment

I’ve recently become interested in this group. In a recent email, the following was shared. I hope that you find the information informative and meaningful. Read on!

Church Within A Church Movement

Sharing a Must Read

Waiting for the CallFrom Preacher’s Daughter to Lesbian Mom

Jacqueline Taylor’s memoir takes readers

from the foothills of the Appalachians – and her childhood in a strict evangelical household where dancing, movies on Sunday, and even saying “gosh” or “gee” were forbidden – to contemporary Chicago, where she and her lesbian partner are raising a family. In a voice that is comic, clear-eyed, and loving, Taylor recounts the challenging and hilarious journey that carries her in profoundly different directions from those she or her parents could have ever envisioned.

Taylor’s father was a Southern Baptist preacher, and she struggled to deal with his strictures as well as her mother’s manic depressive episodes. After leaving college, Taylor finds herself questioning her faith and identity, questions that continue to mount when – after two divorces, a doctoral degree, and her first kiss with a woman – she discovers her own lesbianism and begins a most untraditional family that grows to include two adopted children from Peru.

Even as she celebrates and cherishes this new family, Taylor insists on the possibility of maintaining a loving connection to her religious roots. While she and her partner search for the best way to explain adoption to their children and help them answer the inevitable question “Which one is your mom?”, they also search for a church that will unite their love of family and their faith.

Told in the great storytelling tradition of the American South, full of deep feeling and wry humor, Waiting for the Call engagingly demonstrates how one woman bridged the gulf between faith and sexual identity without abandoning her principles.

Reverend Mel White says of Waiting for the Call;

“This deeply moving story of a lesbian Christian’s journey to

self acceptance is a rare celebration of life. I found myself alternately weeping and then laughing out loud at Jacqueline Taylor’s memoir of her staunch Souther Baptist father and clever but sometimes manic mother, of her missteps on the road to a long-lasting, committed relaitonsip, and of the wit and wisdom of her adoptive daughters.”

– Reverend Mel White

author of Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right

and cofounder of Soulforce

 

Book Review: Waiting for the Call: From Preacher’s Daughter to Lesbian Mom

Originally published in Bay Windows, April 19, 2007.

When I first read the title of Waiting for the Call: From Preacher’s Daughter to Lesbian Mom, I expected the tale of a woman rejecting her religious upbringing and denouncing her parents as she came out. Jacqueline Taylor’s memoir is thankfully not as simple as that. It is an insightful, compassionate story about coming out, motherhood, and faith, woven into a narrative that reveals the many layers of what we mean by “family.” It is less about rejection than transformation.

The daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, Taylor grew up often resenting the strictures placed upon her. At the same time, she admired her father’s role in the community and her mother’s quick wit, and enjoyed helping in the church. We see her inching away from her parents’ worldview, disagreeing with them at times, but never ceasing to love them.

When she insists upon going to a forbidden movie in high school, her father’s response shows that this is a story in shades of gray, not black and white. He says he won’t give her permission, but understands and respects her arguments for going. “If you do decide to go to this movie against my will,” he explains, “I will accept, even if I do not condone, your decision.”

These words echo later, when Taylor comes out after two opposite-sex marriages. After a struggle, her parents are willing to meet her halfway. “You are our daughter and our love will always be supportive of you . . . even when we disagree with what you do,” her father writes. Taylor, for her part, tells them she knows their acceptance of her doesn’t mean their views on homosexuality have changed. She knows they have come far already, and respects this.

This is more than a coming out story, however. Taylor also tells of her mother’s struggle with manic depression, and her own questioning of a God who could allow such things to happen to good people. She finds, though, that she can’t give up on the notion of a higher power. Jesus, she says “kept showing up on the side of the folks at the margin, the ones the church and society deemed unworthy.” It is this core belief that keeps her from abandoning God entirely, even when coming out puts her at odds with the tenets of her family’s religion. When she has her own children, then, she finds herself not abandoning religion but rather turning to a welcoming United Methodist church.

It is in Taylor’s description of her journey to and through motherhood that she is at her most touching, wise, and eloquent. She and her partner Carol adopt two girls from Peru in 1989 and 1990. Taylor shows us their evolution as parents, as they come to realize each child’s unique needs and learn to be “ambassadors for different kinds of families” in their community.

She conveys the many challenges of being an international adoptive family, both in dealing with others and in helping her daughters find a sense of belonging and identity. She and her partner address these issues by telling stories, real and imagined, of their daughters’ biological mothers, playing games of finding lost kittens, and finally, by making a pilgrimage back to Peru. Taylor not only reflects on the meaning of the trip for her girls, but acknowledges the losses of the biological mothers and their relatives. “We can never love one another enough to make these losses disappear,” she writes. “But I have to hope that by making room for all those loving bonds to survive and even be cherished, we make the losses more bearable.”

Her own parents never leave the narrative. We watch them become supporting, loving grandparents, despite the ongoing difference of opinion about sexuality. Bonds of love and family can trump, even if they do not resolve, all disagreements.

Taylor doesn’t paint a straight, finite line to acceptance, however. After her mother’s death, for example, her father starts dating another woman. Taylor is proud that he told his new love about his lesbian daughter, but clashes with him over his continuing insistence that he doesn’t “condone or understand” her lesbianism. He then admits his language “doesn’t accurately reflect where I am at this point in my journey.” Taylor here takes us beyond politics and platitudes and shows us all the nuances of real life.

The book’s only weakness is that it sometimes feels rushed, leaving the reader wanting more detail. When her partner goes to Peru to adopt their second daughter, her trip “was fraught with all the ups and downs and challenges that typified these adoptions,” but Taylor doesn’t elaborate further. When they look for a welcoming church for their family, “It took us awhile to find the right fit,” but she tells us none of the ins and outs of their search.

This is a fine and needed work, however. It shows that the LGBT community and the religious community do not have to be distinct or antagonistic. In fact, the subtitle is deceptive, for even as Taylor becomes a lesbian mom, she never ceases to be a preacher’s daughter. She believes in God’s call, giving herself to “a life of celebration and service” in her family and community. LGBT parents, adoptive parents of all sexualities, and anyone who has ever pondered the meaning of family or faith will find resonance and inspiration in her journey.

 

Waiting for the Call is published by The University of Michigan Press. Jacqueline Taylor is available for book readings or by phone for book discussions. Please contact UM Press for scheduling.The book can be ordered by phone: 800.343.4499 or on line at www.press.umich.eduCost is $18.95 with discounts available for quantity purchases.Perfect for Sunday School or small group book discussions.
A note from a reader to Ms. Taylor:What a gift your book is to anyone who has loved and been hurt by the church, and who has had to forge a pathway to faith on their own. I have recommended it to many people in my church. I live in Massachusetts and have been a faithful Unitarian for many years.