The Ovary Office – An Introduction

The Ovary OfficeI am just going to come right out and say it: I am not here to push politics down your throat, guilt you into activism, or judge you for your beliefs. Easy enough, right?

I sat for hours thinking about how I could share all of my passion for social justice within our community without sounding preachy, pushy, or passive aggressive. The fact of the matter is, and this will be increasingly obvious as time goes on, I am not like many other queer women. I am an activist and an athlete, compassionate but straightforward, and frustrated but motivated like never before (among many other contradictory qualities).

My goal with this section is to keep you up to date and knowledgeable about all of the things that are going on in our community- the good, the bad and the ugly. I am sure you have heard someone use the historical term “family” to sneakily refer to a fellow member of the LGBT community, and that is something that I feel has slowly faded in the minds of our generation. It is easy to get caught up in the gleaming phallic poles that frame Halsted or the beer-bikini-banana hammock Hollywood beach and I don’t blame you. I love this city and all it has to offer, how accepted we are and how lucky that there are entire neighborhoods dedicated to us.

Unfortunately with our luck comes the separation of a community that once had no choice but to bind together in order to survive. There is a separation not only among the never-ending letters that define our community, but between race, class and even communities within our own city. This isn’t just about marriage equality and civil unions, but the hate crimes that go unnoticed, the discriminatory legislation that, if passed, could hurt us all, and many other things that are ignored in mainstream press. The L Stop is the start of something that will bring us together as sisters, white or black, bisexual or queer, southside or northside.

I know women well enough to recognize that you are going to do what you want whether or not you read, or agree, with what I have to say. It doesn’t have to take money, time or even dedication to make a difference- it takes consciousness.  From local to national news and events, it is my goal to keep the readers of this website informed about what’s happening within our community but fails to make it to the news or the discussions on the beach- mixed with reality and hopefully a little humor in the process.

Enjoy perusing this awesome new resource for women in Chicago and please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any events, ideas or world-changing projects that you want to share!

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About Lauren

Lauren was born and raised in South Minneapolis and like many other innocent midwesterners got sucked into the black hole of Chicago politics 4 years ago. As the LGBT Coordinator for the Gery Chico for Mayor Campaign she attempted to take on the entire city and hasn’t looked back since. Now working for a communications firm, she spends her extra time running around with cases of PBR playing in different sports leagues, hosting couchsurfers from all over the place, and deciding how she is going to change the world. A simple lady at her core, she has decided that the first person to send her an edible arrangement must be the one.


16 Responses to “The Ovary Office – An Introduction”

  1. Lauren,
    So great to see you in print!! V and I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with you last Saturday. You passion is a wonderful thing! Wishing you the success you deserve.

    Posted by Pat | May 19, 2011, 6:16 pm
  2. Congrats Lauren. This is something that is long overdue and you can give the women here a vantage point they won’t get from the news alone. Thanks for taking this task on.

    Posted by Meg* | May 19, 2011, 6:25 pm
  3. Great introductory post. Speaking of the bad and ugly, I hope you’ll take the time to post about Shirley Q. Liquor, the uber-racist drag/ministrel show that has been booked for next Friday at Hydrate in Boystown!!! There will be a demonstration/boycott

    Posted by KrisDeLaRash | May 19, 2011, 8:31 pm
  4. Lauren, you are point on!!!…keep it coming..drop the inhibitions and judgements…we are all colors of that rainbow used to symbolize diversity, however in this rainbow community we allow a dark cloud and rainfall to stop our progress. I am grateful to read your L-Stop..the station is full…lets get in the train and move it forward with no pushing or shoving or leaving a passenger behind! Peace and Love!

    Posted by Kimya | May 20, 2011, 8:18 am
  5. Lauren, although I am not part of the LGBT community, I enjoyed reading your blog and very much agree with your thoughts. Keep standing up and speaking out about your cause. I think it’s just a matter of time before many people start to recognize this type of discrimination for what it is and give everyone the equal rights in which they deserve. This obviously won’t happen overnight but with strong, educated and passionate individuals like yourself exposing such injustice, the tides will turn in your favor sooner than later/never. I’m proud of your accomplishments and look forward to reading more of your blogs. Keep up the great work!

    Posted by Travis LaFernier | May 20, 2011, 9:37 am
  6. Lo, love it girl! Keep up the wonderful work and I can’t wait to see more of this! Finally a way I can hear about whats going through your mind in your busy life! Go get it

    Posted by Robs | May 20, 2011, 10:10 am
  7. This blog is top notch, I fully agree about the increase in letters when referring to the community as LGBT LGBTT LGBTTQ… Why not just A+? That could incorporate everyone.

    Shirley Q. is anything but racist, she works with blacks all the time. Kris you of all people should know that. I’m surprised that comment came from someone who describes their own art as, “KrisDeLaRash has spoken her EVER-EVOLVING TRUTH through her art, music, and poetry. Hailing from the south side of Chicago, Kris sculpts a (SOMETIMES ABRASIVE) reality that IMPELS her audience to critique, embrace, and improve our world.”

    She is trying to impel her audience into action too, I would imagine she thinks there is more important action than protesting a drag show at a bar in boystown. I find is interesting that nobody has a problem when a black man (Tyler Perry) runs an equally ridiculous character off at the mouth for many a mainstream movie. With all the true hate that is out there I think we better all start think long and hard before we start pointing the finger at new hate.

    Posted by Cooper | May 20, 2011, 12:33 pm
  8. Cooper,

    Working “with Blacks” all the time doesn’t excuse one from racism, anymore than dating a woman excuses a man from sexism.

    Derailing will get you nowhere. Instead, I would recommend you listen to people’s lived experiences. Blackface should have no place in our community.

    Posted by Karari Kue | May 21, 2011, 3:34 am
  9. Karari,

    I think you are having a serious problem understanding the definition of racism. I doubt you need me to copy and paste it here for you because I imagine that you have the ability to use a dictionary yourself. However, if you need the help, I’d be glad to send you a couple links where you can read up on race and racism.

    I never said that the fact that she works with Blacks is, in itself, enough to prove she isn’t racist. I offered the fact that she chooses to preform with Blacks as an extra piece of information on the situation. I figured there were people (like you) that had no understanding of the dynamics in her performances.

    And then we actually examine what you wrote, based on the points in your post, one is forced to believe that anyone who uses blackface in a performance is, by definition, racist. I would have to disagree.

    Racist white men don’t sit down and plan shows with RuRaul. Racist white men don’t perform shows in clubs filled with gays of every race. Racist white men don’t fight for change (in an effort to protect the stifled culture and society) in the inner cities of America.

    You recommend that I listen to peoples lived experiences, what ones would those be? There were no lived experiences posted in relation to this matter. I never attempted to derail anybodys points, nobody ever made any legitimate points.

    Karari, explain to me why it’s racist for a white man to make jokes about a black women but it’s not racist for a black man to do the same. Racist is not the word you people are looking for.

    If you were to accuse him of participating in “Classism” you might have some ground to stand on.

    It is seriously important that people understand the definitions of the words they use, come on folks. This is yet another situation where someone is so interested in adding more hate to the world that they are going to accuse someone else of being hateful. It’s interesting that people can pretend to be on a mission to quash hate and really just be creating it as they go.

    I have two pieces of advice, expand your vocabulary so you can properly accuse others when you want to create hate. And, you’ll stop a lot more hate inside yourself then you’ll ever stop in society. Work from within.

    This pointless discussion of race is taking away from a superb blog written all about the coming together of a community. Anyone who still thinks that race is a real thing is as backwards as someone who thinks people choose their sexuality or someone who thinks all “sinners” go to “hell”. It’s 2011 people, think like it.

    Race is a made up concept, get over it.

    Posted by Cooper | May 21, 2011, 12:14 pm
  10. Oh and I will point out that Racism and Sexism are not the same. That is one set of words you should really look up.

    Posted by Cooper | May 21, 2011, 12:17 pm
  11. “There is a separation not only among the never-ending letters that define our community, but between race, class and even communities within our own city. This isn’t just about marriage equality and civil unions, but the hate crimes that go unnoticed, the discriminatory legislation that, if passed, could hurt us all, and many other things that are ignored in mainstream press. The L Stop is the start of something that will bring us together as sisters, white or black, bisexual or queer, southside or northside.”

    I’m not asking anyone for permission to be disgusted or offended. Nor am I asking anyone for permission to vocally disagree with other artists. Thank you, Cooper for checking out my website, but your ad hominem/color-blind racism response is not new.

    We were able to get Shirley Q’s performance cancelled because it’s not just MY myopic opinion that Shirley Q’s act is deplorable.

    I respect your opinion, but well, let’s see if you can do the same.

    Posted by KrisDeLaRash | May 23, 2011, 11:39 am
  12. p.s. I actively critique Tyler Perry, and I do not endorse or patronize any of his productions. However, let’s not ignore the history of minstrel shows, of the Hottentot Venus and the commodification/exploitation of black female bodies even in comedy. Shirley Q is not an anomaly, and isn’t the first “artist” I’ve boycotted.

    p.p.s. Just because you don’t see what’s offensive about Shirley Q, doesn’t mean that you speak for everyone else. Just because you believe this is a post-racial society, doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone else. Your need to silence and invalidate the concerns of myself and other people (not all people of color, many white allies) who do not want this kind of entertainment in spaces they consider “safe” because this kind of entertainment is not safe.

    Posted by KrisDeLaRash | May 23, 2011, 11:50 am
  13. ..actually proves that racism is alive and well, because your posts (both of them) contain several racial microaggressions including this idea that you know how to interpret Shirley Q, and that a person of color couldn’t possibly be smart or thick-skinned enough to get it. You don’t get to invalidate people’s feelings just because you don’t see anything wrong with it. Disagree if you will, but shutting down a person as a hate-monger because they are simply naming their oppressor is symptomatic of the problem you say doesn’t even exist.

    Posted by KrisDeLaRash | May 23, 2011, 11:54 am
  14. I never attacked you, only the points you made. That means ad hominem is not the logical fallacy that you are looking for. I distinctly went after your points and the words you used. Ad Hominem is what you did when you called me a racist.

    I know you weren’t asking anyone for permission to have oppressive outbursts, you clearly feel that you have been oppressed and now you think it is your right to do it to others. At least I can’t see why else you would attempt to quash some of the most basic rights of other Americans, correct me if I’m wrong.

    If you respected my opinion you would not have called my response “color blind racism” , again that was you who attacked the arguer and not the argument, the ad hominem ball still bounces on your side of the net.

    But, from your point of view it must be a good thing you got her show cancelled, now lets see what this country turns back into when we start cancelling all the performances and shows that offend us. If we go farther into it we can ban books that offend us, get rid of religions that offend us, hey we can just get rid of the people that offend us.

    I never said I didn’t see what was offensive about her, I said I didn’t find her racist. There is a big difference between the two statements, but you can continue to read whatever little parts of my responses you desire. There really isn’t a need to read the whole thing unless you’d actually like to attempt to understand what I’m saying.

    I never said you didn’t have a right to speak, I simply said that people should think long and hard before declaring others to be hateful. If we’ve learned anything in life it’s that hate is cyclical.

    I was also warning a blog, that is interesting in pulling together a community, that creating hate isn’t always the best way to do that.

    I didn’t attempt to silence you, I didn’t hike down to the show with my fire hose and blow you off the corner, I let you say what you had to say.

    In this case you actually were able to get the show cancelled and I didn’t have any issue with that. I don’t care what you do with you time and energy and I never have. I was posting in response to what you said about having a blog post encouraging a protest. You offered your opinion and I offered mine. I thought it was a horrible idea and a worse idea for the blog to participate, I am thankful it didn’t.

    I am amused by you typing things like, “You don’t get to invalidate people’s feelings just because you don’t see anything wrong with it.” Then at the same time you go out to performances and get them shut down in an attempt to invalidate what that person is doing. In a discussion like this you attack the person and and you attack the character of those who disagree with you. You do all this without knowing the person at all.

    Do you think it’s possible that you should have been looking in the mirror when you said, “You don’t get to invalidate people’s feelings just because you don’t see anything wrong with it.”?

    I am a human, I clearly know how to interpret Shirley Q. I interpret her the same way you do, I take it in through the eyes and ears and combine it with all the knowledge my brain has ever acquired. Then within microseconds my brain has interpreted it. How is that a micro-aggression in any way?

    Are you the only one who knows how to properly interpret her? What if maybe your interpretation is wrong and mine is right?

    Now, clearly I don’t interpret it the same way you do, but I’m more than happy to stay out of your realm.

    (Two of the lines you wrote will fit really well here with just a few minor changes. I will copy and paste them.) You don’t get to invalidate people’s feelings, just because you see what’s offensive to you about Shirley Q, doesn’t mean that you speak for everyone else. (Wow, we keep coming back to that line, It’s like you wrote it thinking about yourself.)

    I never even hinted about people of color not being smart, you simply made that up. Fact of the matter is I don’t ever use the term “people of color”.

    I never claimed to speak for everyone else, that is actually one of the things that makes me sad on a regular basis. There are too many people who don’t think like me. There are too many people who think like you. People who think they can voice their opinion as loud as they want but as soon as someone else voices an opinion it isn’t okay.

    You claim to be able to respect another person’s opinion, I kinda believe you might be able to respect it if they happened to share your opinion.

    Now, in closing I’ll make a few final points. I never said it was a post-racial society, I said it that race is a made up concept. We all belong to one race (it happens to be called the human race) and nothing about where you were born or who you descended from makes you any more or less of a human being.

    Those who think that race exists are still stuck in an age where we were controlled by real oppressors (the gods). Racism is alive and well and I never debated that, I simply said that it was my opinion that Shirley Q was not a racist. I am not a racisim denialist, simply a race denialist. Yes I write human when I fill out the race section of forms or paperwork.

    We live in a country where the KKK got it’s start, where the Black Panthers fought and died, in a city with race riots that captured the attention of a nation nearly a century ago yet we still have no racial equality. We live in a country with Texas, we live in a place where people are killed for being who they are, whether that be the color of their skin or their sexual preference. The day that I consider white performers who collaborate with black performers to be the racist people in this country is the same day I stand up and say that we’ve made a huge hunk of progress.

    I never said you didn’t have a right to be offended by the show, I I said there is better stuff to spend you time being offended about. Stuff there are somethings that can actually help change the world. Apparently though you actually think that Shirley Q is your oppressor, or so your last post claimed.

    Again, just so you know, I never said that a problem doesn’t exist, I said it isn’t where you’re looking for it. But, whatever, as long as you want to look for hate you’ll be able to find something to call hate. Or we could all try to get stop hating for a generation or two and see how that changes the world.


    Posted by Cooper | June 5, 2011, 3:45 am
  15. You provide such and important component of our site.

    Posted by Casey | September 6, 2011, 6:30 pm
  16. Hello,

    We briefly talked while you were in Minneapolis last weekend. You stopped me while we were at The Local in Downtown Minneapolis on Saturday. You asked us about our shirts and took a picture(tweeting us out I believe). I wanted to contact you and say thank you. Also, took a look at your blog and I am very impressed. Feel free to email at the above email or find me on twitter @ijcward. Great(if but briefly) meeting you. Glad we are allies in the struggle for civil rights.

    Posted by John W | October 20, 2011, 8:16 pm

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