Category Archives: Political Corner

He Attacks Again

By: Alexis Martinez

On Tuesday morning, we woke up to a stream of tweets from Donald Trump. He was attacking and belittling the Transgender community. He called them a financial burden, and said that they couldn’t serve in the military anymore. This is extremely frightening and alarming. What happened to America being about freedom? Equality? This can’t be dismissed anymore.

This is the President of the United States. He is calling a whole community of people a financial burden. This is what he cares about. He doesn’t seem to understand what he’s doing. He is discriminating against the Transgender community because of money. He would much rather dismiss them than realize that they are human. Any American is allowed to serve their country no matter their sexual orientation or gender.

This isn’t surprising at all, but it is incredibly disappointing. Donald Trump claims that he will fight for the LGBTQ+ community but still continues to hurt them. Trans rights are human rights and every American deserves to fight for their country if they wish to.

Remember that you are important. You deserve the same rights as everyone else. Donald Trump’s constant attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are absolutely disgusting. But you have millions of supporters here with you. The transgender community fights every day and does more than Donald Trump has ever done. He hasn’t fought for anything in his life.

If you are feeling scared or overwhelmed right now, please talk to someone. Your feelings are valid and it is most important that you are able to vent and discuss how this impacts you. Feeling emotional in times like these is okay. Stay strong.

 

Sources

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/politics/trump-military-transgender-ban-joint-chiefs/index.html

 

 

Who is Lori Robinson?

By: Emma Ziulkowski

Lori Robinson is the first woman combatant commander for the United States Air Force. Robinson is tasked with making life or death decisions in regards to warfighting commands. Robinson monitors Air Force activities for Airmen serving in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Robinson’s expertise venture past aircrafts and war into space drones and cyber security. She was recently tasked to create allies with Canada to monitor the air and sea surrounding both nations. There is a plethora of responsibilities that come with Robinson’s new job title, but she displays nothing less than resilience.

Robinson should not be recognized for her accomplishments due to her gender. She is qualified for the position she has earned. However, I believe Robinson is an excellent role model to younger women. Robinson is recognized by Time magazine as being one of one-hundred most influential individuals listed in one of their articles. Robinson graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She acquired an overwhelming amount of education since college. Prior to her most recent promotion, Robinson has been climbing the latter of promotions since she began proudly representing the United States Air Force back in 1981. In addition, she is adorned by a compelling amount of awards. If you’re interested in viewing her long list of accomplishments, please visit: http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/108119/general-lori-j-robinson/

Again, Lori Robinson is an excellent role model for young women. She has proven that you may attain anything you wish if you work hard for it.

 

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/13/air-force-general-is-1st-woman-at-top-tier-us-comb/

Why Donald Trump’s Sexist Comments are Still Inexcusable

By: Cassie Manz

Donald Trump has spent a little over six months in office. Given his well-known and publicized past, his recent comments about MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski may not come as a surprise. However, as a country, we cannot become complacent in calling out his sexist and misogynistic behavior. If we do so, we run the risk of normalizing his behavior and making it seem acceptable.

In a series of twitter posts on June 29 Trump described Brzezinski as “Low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and said she had been “bleeding badly from a face lift” when she attended a social event at his Mar-a-Lago residence around New Year’s Eve. In a later tweet he described her as “dumb as rock.” He also insulted Brzezinski’s fellow host, and fiance, Joe Scarborough, in the series of tweets calling him “Psycho Joe” and “crazy.”

During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post obtained a recording of Trump talking to television personality Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood.” In the taping, Trump was recorded saying that “when you’re a star” you can do anything to women, like kiss them without waiting or “grab ‘em by the pussy.” The video incited national outrage and criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. In an article for the New Yorker, writer John Cassidy wondered what the Republican party would do with four weeks left till the election and a candidate who “once described his behavior in terms that fit a sexual predator?” Most people seemed sure that the public airing of the tape was the end of Trump’s presidential bid. Yet, despite these horrific comments, Donald Trump won the election. Although he did not win the popular vote, people still voted for him, including fifty-three percent of white women, according to exit polls.

The next logical question is “How?” How did women vote for this man to become president after what he said about women? How did people find it within themselves to brush these comments away, and still check the box next to his name on the ballot? For me, I am still not sure what the answer is.

But, we cannot allow what happened then to happen now. As women, trans women, women of color, and LGBTQIA folks, we cannot normalize Donald Trump’s comments and actions or allow them to slip by unnoticed. We must call out his sexist and misogynistic behavior, simply because it is wrong and unacceptable, because it is oppressive to our very existence. We would do it if he was one of our coworkers, if he was a relative, if he was still just a real estate tycoon, and we must do it while he is the President of the United States. The stakes are too high.    

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/us/mika-brzezinski-trump-tweets.html

http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/a-sexual-predator-in-the-republican-partys-midst

 

Defunding women’s healthcare worldwide

By: Nicole McLaren

https://mic.com/articles/173529/this-week-in-reproductive-rights-trump-defunds-the-un-s-maternal-health-fund#.qmpHqXwjV

The U.S. is in the position to have an impact on many issues all across the world, one of these being access to healthcare for women. The current administration has attacked women’s reproductive rights already with both words and policy not only in the US but globally. They have decided to defund the United Nation’s Global Maternal Health Organization.

This is an organization that provides reproductive healthcare including abortion services to women all over the world. According to the administration this is to prevent the UN from conducting “coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization”. This claim is baseless according to the as there is no evidence that the organization does either of these two things.

George W. Bush used the same argument to defund the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), claiming it was supporting China’s one child policy with these funds. Even though the UN has expressed that they do not support the one child policy and no funds are used to support it.

The UNFPA and UN Global Maternal Health Organization provide contraceptives, family planning services, prenatal care, abortion, sexual and reproductive health services as well as education for populations all over the planet. This will take away over $70 million from the organizations but this only makes up 7% of the organizations budget. This is not the first attack on international women’s healthcare that the administration has committed. They have reinstated the Global Gag Rule which is a ban on U.S. funding to be given to any organization that provides safe abortions.

It is important for women to have access to reproductive healthcare, including abortions, not only in the U.S. but across the globe. The current administration is working to limit access to these services for all women and we must combat that by standing up for the rights of women. One way we can do that is having access to information. The UNFPA has a newsletter that anyone can sign up for so that you can be informed about these issues. Here’s the link https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001-YNFZmXHhSP25d9kiBTi0ZxtEwaeIcM-UeLsaXPKYoHs5SAGE1WbNakIrfhkc_3wTTkXkKXbHJpBnXtbqkTATg_O174jFAyLQdNkQkPKQAk%3D&MERGE0=

How Justice Gorsuch’s could impact your ability to access healthcare

By: Nicole McLaren

The battle between Republicans and Democrats for the Supreme Court seat is officially over as Gorsuch was sworn into the lifelong position earlier this week. He is replacing Scalia who passed away and left an open seat for more than a year. There are some key things that you need to know about his views that could impact your rights to healthcare.

  • His views on abortion are unclear

He has not ruled on a case that deals with abortion. Although we can make some assumptions from his book in 2006 about assisted suicide where he states “the intentional taking of human life by a private person is always wrong”.

  • His stance on maternity leave is also not clear

Two former students have stated that he accused women of using their companies for maternity benefits. He has claimed the students misunderstood him and that he was trying to teach young women about the unfair treatment they will receive in the work place and during the interview process.

  • He has a record of putting corportations over women’s reproductive health rights

      In the Hobby Lobby case he ruled that closely held businesses are not required to provide their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owner.

With this knowledge we can work to combat the rhetoric against women’s right to access reproductive healthcare services by working in our communities to try to ensure the safety and rights of all women. This can be done through volunteering with organizations like Planned Parenthood or even sharing the stories of how women have benefited from access to reproductive healthcare services. The US federal government has a blog that shares these stories here is the link https://www.womenshealth.gov/blog.

Sexual Assault or Harassment at School & Title IX

By: Cassandra Hedrick

What Title IX is and How it Works

Title IX is one of the 1972 Education Amendments. It requires schools to receive federal funding for fighting sex discrimination. This includes not being able to participate in an activity because of your sex, being denied benefits from your school because of your sex, and being sexually assaulted on campus or by someone you know from school. Title IX protects students, faculty, and those of any gender identity. This means those who identify outside the gender binary are protected as well This means they must have protocols for stopping any sort of sex discrimination in classrooms, sports, and clubs. If you cannot find these protocols, you can file a complaint here.

Beyond just making sure kids of any gender are treated equally, Title IX primarily deals with sexual assault. If you have been sexually assaulted at your school or by someone who goes to your school, you can file a Title IX report. Your school should have the instructions on how to do this in an easily accessible place, such as the school website or in your school handbook. They should also have a Title IX director who you can contact. If they do not have these things, you should file a complaint.

Beyond this, Title IX provides a “bill of rights” for victims of sexual assault. This includes providing the victim with any resources available to keep them in classes, clubs, and sports, such as providing security, allowing them to change classes, or anything else to prevent them from dealing with their attacker.  The Title IX office is also required to tell the victim of their options to report the attack (to the school, police, or both) and counseling resources.

Once you do report, your Title IX director is required to investigate and give you and the attacker the opportunity to make statements and give witnesses. You also have the right to know what happens during every step. This gives victims peace of mind; by letting them know what is happening during the process, they are not left wondering what is happening. Once the investigation is over, you must be notified of the outcome.

Title IX is there to protect both students and faculty from any kind of sex discrimination, including sexual assault. Every schools’ Title IX procedure should be “well advertised,” but if you can’t find it, you should file a complaint. You should have a Title IX director that will walk you through every step in the process and keep you informed at every step. These procedures are put in place to protect and give peace of mind to victims of sexual assault.

Tom Price: Unhealthy choice for leader US Healthcare Services

By: Nicole McLaren

 

In the past two weeks the Trump administration has dominated the news, some of this has been about the nominations he has made for leadership positions in the executive branch. He has nominated Tom Price for Health and Human Services. This nomination could have a direct impact on access to healthcare services and could dis-proportionally affect women and others who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

Tom Price is a congressman for Georgia’s 6th congressional district. During his time in Congress he sponsored bills that attempt to dismantle federal funding for healthcare services and he has spent years attempting to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. There is also speculation that he used his power as a US representative to benefit a health company that he owns stock in. The bill reversed cuts in reimbursements to the company. Since 2012 he has traded about $300,000 worth of shares in almost 40 different health companies. He has directly benefited from the rising cost of health care in the US which poses a problem if he is going to be the leader of Health and Human Services.

He will now be in a place of power to directly influence healthcare in the US if he is confirmed as the head of Health and Human Services. This nomination could have direct impact on the access to affordable healthcare. The ability to access healthcare services including reproductive and preventative healthcare is extremely important. For women to be able to participate in society we must have access to these services so that we have a choice and a say in our futures.

It is also important to think about the impact this will have on women who need access to reproductive healthcare through Planned Parenthood and how funding for Health and Human Services could hurt the ability to access these things. Healthcare is a fundamental right for all people and we have to work to make that a reality.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/02/hhs-nominee-tom-price-bought-stock-then-authored-bill-benefiting-company/97337838/

https://www.congress.gov/member/tom-price/P000591?q={%22search%22:[%22tom+price%22]}&resultIndex=1

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/tom-price-obamacare-234668

Come Out of the Quiet

This speech by DeRay Mckesson caught my attention the other week, and I’ve been thinking a lot about his ideas since then.


(It’s really worth watching, but in case you’re just skipping ahead, here’s the part of it that I’m going to be talking about: even when a lot of us are ‘out’ about who we are, it can be easy for some of the less convenient parts of ourselves to get overlooked and/or pushed aside when we don’t prioritize talking about them.)

I really like thinking about this, because I feel like it fills in a gap in how we talk about marginalized identities. We’ve had the metaphor of in the closet for ages, but it describes a pretty all-or-nothing situation. My last big ‘coming out’ moment was almost 20 years ago when talking with my grandfather – ever since then, it’s something that comes up as I meet new people, but there’s no big reveal. And that metaphor has always broken down when it comes to talking about identities that are a lot easier to pick up on visually (many racial and ethnic minorities, a number of physical disabilities, etc.)

But regardless of how apparent these identities are, it can still be really easy for them to get overlooked. (The whole “I don’t see race” thing.) It’s not something that happens out of malice, but just a consequence of the fact that human beings are pretty self-centered – it’s easy for us to forget about perspectives that are different from our own unless we’re making a conscious effort to include them.

Which is why the idea of coming out of the quiet is so compelling. It captures the fact that we’re already here, and we’re already a part of things. We’re just told – in various ways – to keep it down when it comes to talking about things that challenge the status quo.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that all of our efforts are stronger when we include this breadth of voices, and that the costs of exclusion are far too high. So here’s to coming out of the quiet, in all of the various ways that we’re called to do so. May we end up making a glorious noise.

Tagged , , , , ,

Finding Your People

Recently, I was talking with some other folks at Planned Parenthood about how isolated some people who support PP and reproductive justice can feel. It made a lot of sense, but I realized that I hadn’t thought all that much about what kind of a toll that can have on people.

Part of that is definitely due to circumstance – I’ve lived and worked in various different ‘liberal bubbles’ for a while, and so even though my political opinions haven’t been universally shared, it’s always been somewhat easy for me to find moderately like-minded folks. (Given that meeting new people in the US often involves ‘what do you do’ as an opening question, I often let people identify themselves as kindred spirits early on. And there are also some abrupt changes of subject, too.)

So if in-person conversations aren’t necessarily going to be places where you find shared viewpoints, where do you look? When it comes to something like supporting women who have abortions or opposing the efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, people can easily find the statistics showing that that’s an opinion that the majority of folks in the US share. But abstract numbers can only do so much.

And this made me see a lot of the recent social media campaigns around PP in a totally new way. For most people, it was primarily about showing support for Planned Parenthood in the face of the ongoing attacks. But a side benefit of it is that you can be reminded of who the people are in your life who support this work. For people who feel isolated, that can be a real boon, and that feeling of camaraderie can translate into more in-person connections too.

Not everyone feels the same kind of need to cultivate community around these issues, but for those of us who do, I’m really glad that the internet is making is easier in a lot of ways. If we have to weather the kinds of political attacks that have been coming down lately, at least we can do it together.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Fighting back – what you can do

Orange logo that says "I stand with Planned Parenthood" in white text

image via The Riot

Feronians, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about how people can help fight back against all of the ridiculousness that’s been surrounding Planned Parenthood lately. From smear campaigns to pushes to take away funding to flat out lies about what happens at health centers, there’s no shortage of things to deal with! But sometimes it can be hard to know what to do specifically, since a lot of this is playing out on a sometimes distant-seeming national stage.

So if you’re fired up and looking for a place to get started, here are some places to begin!

  1. Write a Letter to the Editor
    Many individual voices together can make an impact that goes beyond all of the press conferences and interviews that we could ever hold. Write from the heart at home, or join one of our Wednesday Activist Meetings to join in with others doing the same.
  2. Share Your Story
    What draws you to reproductive justice? Are you one of the 1 in 5 women who’s used Planned Parenthood, or one of the 1 in 3 women in the US who’s had an abortion? What’s inspired you to become a supporter of this movement and this work?Particularly with all of the political rhetoric that gets flung around when it comes to reproductive health, the public conversations that take place often forget about the people who are at the heart of all of this. By talking about your particular connection to these issues, you can help to bring the focus back where it belongs.You can do this with people in your life, or reach out more widely through campaigns like Share Your Story or Humans of Planned Parenthood.
  3. Join Planned Parenthood’s Action Alert Networks
    You can text “Stand With PP” to 69866 to join the mobile action network, sign up for the local email list here, or find out more about volunteer opportunities near you.
  4. Make a Donation
    Especially as local affiliates work to fight back against baseless investigations and false claims, your support is more vital than ever. These attacks only serve to make the hardworking people at the health centers more determined to keep providing affordable, low cost sexual and reproductive health services to their communities.
  5. Follow Planned Parenthood on Social Media
    News is running at a breakneck pace these days, and we want to be sure you have all of the information that you need! You can get updates from Planned Parenthood on Facebook and on Twitter to hear about how what’s happening in the push back against these attacks, and about all of the work that happens in our health centers every day for the people who depend on us.
Tagged , , , , , , , ,