PROTESTING THE PROSECUTION
Holy Land 5
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Net Briefs - 07-09
Nicolas J.S. Davies
Big Brother AT&T
Courts & Education
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Target Planned Parenthood
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
A Jewish Anarchist
Tyranny of Oil
OFF THE TABLE
Z PAPERS ON VISION & STRATEGY
Z PAPERS ON VISION & STRATEGY
Gabriel matthew Schivone
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The Gay Divorcée
I'm one of those dykes who was born queer. Almost from the beginning it was clear that little Sukey was on a collision course with the feminine mystique. By the time I was three, I had earned my creds as a militant tomboy. I refused to wear a dress. In kindergarten I went so far as to sabotage a particularly hated garment by calmly dumping paint down my front, amazing my peers.
By the age of six, I had lost the dress wars, but was quite certain that I would never, under any circumstances, get married. After all, every time I tried to fantasize about growing up and getting married, I drew a complete blank. And having babies? Definitely not. I didn't want any part of it. Who needed a husband? I knew I would be supporting myself financially rather than looking to a man to take care of me. The whole marriage thing seemed totally irrelevant.
Then came the feminist and gay liberation movements of the 1970s and I learned that my personal struggle was actually a political struggle against systemic oppression—sexism. Somewhat later, alas, I also figured out that marriage is the main social institution tasked with enforcing sexism, by imposing gender roles, justifying slave wages for women, and maintaining profound inequality between the sexes. Women are primarily responsible for raising and educating the children and performing domestic work. This is all vitally necessary from a social point of view, yet entirely unpaid, devalued, and privatized labor.
It was only necessary to look at divorce proceedings to understand that marriage as an institution is fundamentally about property and has little to do with love. By the time I found myself in family court in California in 2008, having petitioned to dissolve my "domestic partnership" and worried that I might have to pay alimony, it hit me how married I had been. Almost by default, without realizing it, I had bought into the institution of matrimony and the property arrangements it imposes. How had this happened?
When I met my ex in the mid-1990s, I had been practicing serial monogamy for many years with pretty much unsatisfactory results. What I wanted were the basics: a "life partner," a sense of belonging, a family. I was ready to stop looking and build a committed relationship. When my ex wanted to finish her degree, it seemed practical to register as domestic partners, so that I could cover her under my health insurance plan at work. When domestic partnership rights were expanded, I remember telling straight co-workers, "I just want the same rights you all take for granted."
In retrospect, it's amazing how quickly we went from what I thought was a loving feminist partnership of equals to a "marriage" in which I, as the one who was working, was cast in the male role. I used to grumble that I had all the obligations of the guy minus male privilege.
In 2003, new legislation was passed in California which required domestic partners to file for divorce in order to dissolve their unions. We could have opted out then, but who wants to introduce the delicate topic of divorce when you are in love? Besides, weren't we and others like us transforming and reinventing marriage in feminist, queer, radical terms? Unfortunately, we were the ones being transformed. Our ideals of equality, sisterhood, and mutual support had been reduced to dependency, resentment, guilt, and a mound of mutual debt.
I've always prided myself on my implacable resistance to a system that oppresses me on multiple fronts of gender and sexuality and class. You might say now I've come full circle and returned to my radical roots.
Frederick Engels had it right. In The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State he traces the evolution of human society from a communal matriarchal system based on shared resources to patriarchy, based on male domination and the private accumulation of wealth.
So, should gays be allowed to marry? Of course. It's a civil rights issue. But let's be real: marriage, whether gay, straight, or otherwise is a socially conservative institution and should not be the only or even the main goal of gay activists. Queers should stop trying to show straights we are just like them and supporting single-issue causes like wedlock. Instead, we need to connect our struggle with other oppressed groups and fight for a world where all our rights are guaranteed. These days I'm committed to nothing less.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.