Let’s talk about House Bill 695

July 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm (women's issues) ()

I’m from North Carolina, and right now, some people are trying to fuck with the my home state, which is fucking with my heart.

Let me walk you through it.

WHAT HAPPENED TODAY?

Today, Tuesday July 2nd, North Carolina Senators took a look at a bill about Sharia Law (a bill that had absolutely nothing to do with reproductive health) that curiously had a bunch of last-minute additions tacked onto it- additions that are restrictions and regulations pertaining to abortion clinics.

I’ll let WRAL explain what happened next.

Newton’s (Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson) committee was originally scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. this morning. That committee was canceled.

The Senate met for much of the day, handling a variety of bills in other committees and on the floor. Just before 5:20 p.m., Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, announced that there would be a recess and that the Senate Judiciary 1 Committee would meet at 5:30 p.m.

Until 5:30 p.m., the measure on the committee’s calendar only reflected a bill that dealt with the family law provisions of the bill, [and not the abortion measures].

Essentially, this was a sneak attack. Planned Parenthood was not given enough notice to make it to the 5:30 session in time, but anti-abortion groups Family Policy Council, Christian Action League and N.C. Values Coalition were in attendance.

House Bill 695 has passed committee and has tentatively passed the full Senate. The Senate will debate the measure again on Wednesday morning (THAT’S TOMORROW) before returning the bill to the House.

So why all this sneakiness? Why would they want to attach such inflammatory measures to an unrelated bill, and why would they wait until the last minute to announce it, and why would they do this on a holiday week? Because HB 695 is fucked up.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT HOUSE BILL 695?

I’ll let Raw Story explain:

The legislation would allow any health care provider to opt out of providing abortion-related services, prohibit health plans offered through federal health care exchanges from offering abortion coverage, outlaw sex-selection abortions, require doctors to stay in the room during the entire abortion procedure, force abortion clinics to obtain patient-transfer agreements with local hospitals, and mandate that abortion clinics meet the same stringent standards as outpatient surgical centers.

Currently, only one abortion clinic in North Carolina meets the standards of outpatient surgical centers, since they have to have things like hallways of certain dimensions, rooms of a certain size, and etc. You can read the specific provisions they tacked on here.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? 

If you’re in NC and you’re free Wednesday morning: there is a gathering at NC General Assembly at 9am tomorrow morning, to show them that they cannot pass a bill this restrictive in some sneaky, back door dealings without any public notice. Here’s the Facebook event for it.

If you’re anywhere and you cannot go to the NC General Assembly tomorrow: You can make some phone calls and send some emails. Here is the list of people to contact, and for starters, let’s send good old Buck Newton an email to let him know how we feel about him trying to do so many things with our bodies without checking in with us even slightly.

Sen. E. S. (Buck) Newton 408 LOB (919) 715-3030 Buck.Newton@ncleg.net

These politicians may not listen to us, but they can’t do stuff in the dark anymore. It’s a new, Twitter-based, UStreamed world out there. Spread the word. If you’re going to pass a law that affects what I do with my body, you at least need to be able to look me in the eye while you do it.

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On Girls and not liking sexual experiences.

March 13, 2013 at 10:47 am (relationships, Uncategorized, women's issues)

I watched the most recent episode of Girls last night, and like many of you, I found it to be completely devastating. They really put all the girls, including Adam’s girlfriend, through the ringer. If you haven’t seen it, Adam gets drunk and starts getting kinky with his new girlfriend- something we’ve seen him do many times with Hannah- and she starts off being kiiiinda into it, but starts shutting down pretty quickly. He doesn’t seem to notice. By the time he ejaculates on her chest (something that has never been shown on TV before), she has essentially gone away inside.

As she wipes herself up and puts her dress back on, she says, quietly, to herself as much as him- “I don’t think I like that. I like really didn’t like that.”

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Random thoughts

February 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm (food, GLBTQ issues, relationships, women's issues)

Hi everyone! I haven’t had much time or energy to write stuff for Gynomite lately- I’ve been writing for other sites, I’ve been writing two bigger projects (which involves sending them out to people, getting notes, and changing everything), and last week was the pilot taping of The Meltdown: The TV Show. All of these things have kept me busy.

I am constantly jotting down little phrases that are ostensibly things I’d like to write about, so I thought I’d go through a few of those that, although I love the ideas, don’t really have the legs to become their own thing.

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Stuebenville: Read. Tweet. Repeat.

January 4, 2013 at 11:41 am (women's issues)

I don’t have anything new to add to this conversation or this story. I just want people to read it and spread the word, because if social media is good for anything, every once in a while it’s good for bringing horrible dark stuff into the light.

The basics of the story:

In Stuebenville, Ohio, high school football is a big fucking deal.

On August 11, 2012, several dudes from the Big Red High School football team drugged a 16 year old girl, raped her unconscious body, dragged her bodily to several parties, took video and pictures of her, urinated on her, and eventually dropped her off in front of her parents house.

On August 27, 2012, two of those dudes (Trent Mays and Malik Richmond), were charged with rape and kidnapping. Many people in the town jumped to defend the boys charged, attacking the victim, and dismissing the entire incident. A volunteer head coach for the Big Red team told the New York Times that the victim made the whole thing up as an excuse for a night of partying. The gallows humor of these denials is that the boys themselves made pictures, videos, and basically live tweeted the entire incident. One kid, Michael Nadianos, goes on for 12 full minutes about how passed out the girl was when they raped her. I couldn’t watch the entire video, but you can see it in the links below, as well as some of the pictures and tweets.

This group of friends, some on the team and some not, are known around the school as”The Rape Crew”.

In a town where football is such a big fucking deal, the prosecution for a case like this is an uphill battle- in that the prosecutors don’t seem to want to prosecute. They couldn’t seem to find any of the videos, tweets, or pictures that the Rape Crew took during the incident. The head prosecutor tried to talk the victim and her family out of filing charges because it would hurt her too much. This prosecutor, by the way, is the MOTHER OF ONE OF THE KIDS IN THE RAPE CREW AND ALSO ON THE BIG RED TEAM.

Eventually, for both Mays and Richmond, the kidnapping charges were dropped and the rape charges were transferred to the juvenile court. Both men were released on bail.

I didn’t hear about this until Anonymous decided to get involved. They dug up literally everything on everyone involved, and they are urging people keep talking about this until we decide that justice and a young girl’s dignity is worth more than a fucking football team.

Links: Anonymous treasure trove of info on the case- LocalLeaks, a quicker overview at RawStory, and coverage from Jezebel

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Curvy.

December 23, 2012 at 11:06 am (Uncategorized, women's issues)

I recently read this article at NY Mag about how pretty much every female celebrity is now considered “curvy“. The article discussed how calling every woman that makes the term meaningless, and that the term “curvy” should still have meaning.

Sure sure, I agree with all that. But I also am one of the millions of women who is completely and totally obsessed with the concept of curvy celebrities. Why? Let’s discuss.

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Always the bride, never the bridesmaid.

December 8, 2012 at 11:21 am (relationships, women's issues)

I wrote this for another website but they ended up not running it, so here it is!

I am 33 years old and I’ve never been a bridesmaid. I was Maid of Honor in my sister’s wedding when I was in college, I was present at the handfasting ceremony of my high school girlfriend, I have taken a few girls to get abortions, but I’ve never been a bridesmaid. And today, for no reason at all, this started to bother me.

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What Women Need to Know about the Affordable Care Act

August 1, 2012 at 9:18 am (women's issues)

I got this from Lean Forward (via Rob Delaney), and just decided to repost it in its entirety because that’s how important it is. If you’re a woman, you should read this. If you want free preventative health care, ladies, it is yours.

Women across the country have reason to celebrate tonight. Why? Because on Wednesday, the law that provides American women with access to preventive health services, including birth control, at no cost—no co-pay, no increase in premium, no deductible—goes into effect.

This victory wouldn’t have been achieved without the work of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) who originally proposed requiring insurers to provide this coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, and without the resolve of the Obama administration, which stood firm when opponents attacked the measure—sometimes in vitriolic terms.

But our work isn’t nearly done. Unless American women actively take advantage of these benefits, our efforts will have been in vain. And polls suggest that too many American women don’t know about them. That’s why we need to spread the word.

It guarantees them a free annual well-woman visit, and if needed, follow-up visits. That visit will now include a no-cost screening for domestic or intimate partner violence. For sexually-active women, the visit must also include a free annual screening for HIV and counseling for other sexually transmitted infections.

It entitles women over 30 to a DNA screening for HPV (human pappilomavirus) every three years, regardless of pap smear results. Detecting and treating HPV will reduce these women’s risk of cervical cancer.

It allows pregnant women to receive a free screening for gestational diabetes, not only ensuring that they receive care during their pregnancy, but reducing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in later years. They are also entitled to comprehensive support for breastfeeding, including assistance for moms struggling to breastfeed, as well as equipment like breast pumps, which is especially important for new moms returning to work outside the home.

- Finally, perhaps the best known benefit of this policy is that adult women can access contraception at no cost. This includes any FDA-approved form of contraception, including sterilization procedures, but not any form of abortion. To reiterate what we’ve said from the start: Access to contraception allows women to control the timing of pregnancies, ensuring that mothers and their children are as healthy as possible.

Although the contraception coverage policy is well known, it is also shrouded in misinformation. No woman should hesitate to take advantage of contraception coverage or any of these services because she fears doing so will increase her or anyone else’s taxes. Although other federal programs do, and should, provide funding for contraception and health services for the poorest women in our communities, this regulation has no impact on anyone’s taxes because it is not funded by the government.

But let’s not leave out the most important information: how to access these benefits. Women receive these preventive services through their private insurance from their school or employer. They don’t need to sign up for this program or pay any additional fees. But they do need to find out when their next insurance plan year begins, and make sure their plan qualifies. That’s because—with the exception of women who access their insurance through certain religiously-affiliated non-profits and schools, who unfortunately must wait another year for contraception coverage—this policy takes effect August 1But each woman’s insurance plan will implement these benefits with the next new plan year after today. So if a woman’s insurance plan year begins on September 15, she’s eligible for these services beginning September 15.

So tonight, women of America, I hope you’ll celebrate. But don’t forget to share the information as well!

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When ladies live as dudes.

July 27, 2012 at 9:56 am (women's issues)

I’ve recently become fascinated with people who lived their entire lives as another gender, and especially fascinated when women live as men to do jobs that they wouldn’t have been allowed to do otherwise.

My two favorite stories:

James Barry with his manservant John and his dog Psyche.

James Barry was born in 1789 and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. After graduation, he started work as a doctor in the British Army. He was placed as a Regimental Assistant, then a Hospital Assistant, then Assistant Staff Surgeon, serving in India and South Africa. He performed the first successful Caesarian section where both mother and child survived, and then became an Inspector General and the Principal Medical Officer. Along the way, he got in lots of fights, was arrested and deported from Saint Helena for “internal politics”, and was generally known for being feisty and opinionated. During the Crimean War, he actually got into an argument with Florence Nightengale. (!!!) He was insistent on good hygiene and treating the poor with dignity, and his only constant companions were his manservant John and his pet dogs.

When he died in 1865 of dysentery, the female chairwoman who examined his body discovered that he was actually a female, and told everyone at the funeral. James Barry was actually Margaret Ann Bulkley, and she took her uncle’s name when she registered for college so that she could become a doctor.

Billy/Dorothy “Tippy” Tipton was born in 1914, and was in school bands from the get go. He was an accomplished musician, and when he started leading bands in 1936 for radio stations, he was dressing as man on stage, but by the 40s, he was living as a man onstage and off. During this period, he was living with a woman named Non Earl Harrell who was believed to be his lover. They broke up in 1942. He then lived with a woman named Betty Cox, who said that she had a heterosexual relationship with Billy. How? Well, he taped up his chest and wore a cup every day, and told Betty (and subsequent women) that he was injured in a car accident that left his ribs and genitals permanently messed up. After Betty, he lived with a popular stripper named Kitty, and together they adopted several children. Billy was signed in the 50s and toured and released albums as The Billy Tipton Trio.

Kitty has said about Billy: “He gave up everything… There were certain rules and regulations in those days if you were going to be a musician.” Their children became rambunctious and Billy and Kitty separated over how to raise them, with Billy becoming the primary parent.

Late in life, Billy became a talent booker and would play standards as different characters like Liberace and Elvis. He then became a teacher to other musicians. He retired due to arthritis, and in his 70s, his health started to fail. He attributed it to emphysema, but he was wrong: it was a severe hemorrhaging peptic ulcer. As doctors tried to save Billy, his son William discovered that his father was, in fact, a woman. The doctors told the entire family. When he died, Kitty tried to have his body cremated so no one would find out, but one of the sons went public.

Please enjoy the Billy Tipton Trio with “Sweet Georgia Brown”.

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Politics before safety, aka FUCK YOU TOPEKA KANSAS

October 12, 2011 at 11:09 am (women's issues)

In an absolutely stunning, shithead, chicken-playing move by the government in Kansas, they have voted to repeal the law against domestic battery.

Here’s the timeline:

  • On September 8th, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor announces he will stop prosecuting misdemeanors committed in Topeka, including domestic battery, because his office couldn’t afford to do it after county commissioners cut his budget by 10%. By refusing to prosecute those cases, the city attorney’s office would have to do it instead
  • Interim City Manager Dan Stanley responds by saying the city was unprepared to prosecute these cases. Councilwoman Karen Hiller added that it would cost the city $800,000 a year to hire the staff and rent jail space for the new caseload, but only about $200,000 for the county to increase Taylor’s budget enough to resume prosecutions.
  • After several iterations of the proposal drafted and discussed, the repeal of the illegality of domestic battery is brought to a vote, with Dan Stanley encouraging the governing body to approve it to send a message. That message? Only the district attorney’s office is legally empowered to prosecute domestic batteries committed in Topeka, and they can’t “dump” that responsibility on the city. (Yes, because wouldn’t that be so disrespectful to the city?)
  • On October 11th, Topeka’s governing body voted 7-3 to repeal the part of city ordinance banning domestic battery in hopes that the DA office will re-evaluate how they prosecute this crime and decide that they can do it after all.

They keep insisting that this repeal doesn’t decriminalize domestic battery, as it remains a state law.  One article I read stated that over 30 cases had been dropped since the start of this dispute, but since I didn’t see that anywhere else, I have no idea if that’s true. You can read more about this whole mess here and here.

What they don’t realize is that it doesn’t matter if they dismiss 0 or 100 cases as a result of this. What matters is that these assholes have chosen money over the respect and safety of women. Period. Chad? Dan? I don’t care if you don’t have the money to prosecute domestic violence cases- do it anyway. Do it for you moms, your sisters, your wives and your daughters. Do it because you respect women enough to not use them as a flashy bargaining tool. Do it because it’s the work we asked you to do by voting you in, you stupid fucking assholes. We don’t care about your petty budget problems. We care about women.

Here’s City Manager Dan Stanley’s phone number- 785-368-3725

And here’s District Attorney Chad Taylor’s- 785-233-8200 x4330

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Nancy Upton FTW

September 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm (women's issues) (, )

So, American Apparel is terribly lame. The founder has been accused of all sorts of creepy things, their clothing is ridiculously overpriced, their advertising is sexist and exploitative to the point that people are over talking about how sexist and exploitative it is, oh my god that manager’s manual?!, they disparaged overweight customers (before throwing them a bone), and now this:

The Next Big Thing.

In a gross PR move, American Apparel is now attempting to cater to the plus sized market by holding a plus size model contest, voted on by the public.

I couldn’t find any direct link to the contest from their home page, and I couldn’t find any press releases in which American Apparel tries to explain this new contest, except the blurb on the contest page that says “Think you’re bigger,
better and more booty-ful than the rest? Submit a recent photo of your face and physique for a chance to be our Next BIG Thing.” Pretty hip, guys.

When I checked last, there were 976 entrants to this contest, and the woman who is ranked highest has become my newest hero. Her name is Nancy Upton. Her pics submitted to be considered American Apparel’s Next Big Thing are all of herself sexually objectifying food, because that’s what big girls do, right?, and the quote on her profile is “I just can’t stop eating”.

If you go to her Tumblr, which was created in conjunction with her entering the contest, you can read why she chose to fuck the system in such a gleeful way:

I’ll clarify two things:

1. I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone who chooses to display their body to other people, be they plus-sized, petite or anywhere in between. I believe the women who entered the American Apparel “contest” are beautiful, brave people, and my attempt here to respond to the company’s course of action is JUST that- it is in no way a comment or critique of the women who have submitted photos.

2. I don’t believe that beauty should be qualified as BECAUSE of someone’s size or IN SPITE of someone’s size. Beauty is beauty, it’s fluid, it’s objective and it doesn’t need to be justified to or by anyone.

And after the jump, you can see a few of Nancy’s photos, which prove her second point quite nicely. I beg of you, please go to Nancy’s profile at American Apparel and VOTE VOTE VOTE! She should win because she’s stunning, but she should doublewin because American Apparel deserves this gorgeous kick in the nuts.

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