Though I often speak of the lack of presence of queer women at community events, I will be the first to admit that I don’t really blame you all for preferring to stay away. It can be very intimidating for some women to enter a room full of men who all seem to know each other, and still feel like a productive and important addition to any event. When it comes to donating money, time or energy, why put those hard earned resources towards a cause or organization that has never directly reached out to you? I may have, actually, HAVE continually preached the idea that the only way we can earn that respect and representation is by inserting ourselves into these causes, making a statement through numbers. You are all the first to hear me announce that I will no longer push the fact that queer women opt out of representing ourselves in certain situations where we are forgotten in the acronym under which we all fall.
Now don’t see this as a cop out for standing up for what we deserve and what we believe. The only reason I have been thinking so much about the above statement, is because right now what we need to do brings us back a few decades. Instead of fighting for rights and recognition as lesbians, we need to step back and realize that we must do as our mothers once did and fight for the fact that we are WOMEN.
If you think that the recent Susan G. Koman announcement about stopping its funding towards Planned Parenthood (and its quick reversal) was the big and easily solved issue, you are wrong. In the past few months, we have seen the misogynists of the world take center stage with their opinion of those who use contraception as “sluts” and beliefs that transvaginal ultrasounds will be an effective pre-abortion tool. I would love to shake my head at such ignorance and believe that these opinions will quickly be silenced by the progressives of the 21st century, but the reality is that these are not just ideas, but they are threats that are going to be affecting women for years to come. In the first half of 2011, almost 1,000 measures related to reproductive health and rights were introduced to state legislatures, and throughout the entire year, there were a record number of restrictions on abortion rights passed by the states.
I think we can all agree that one of the great parts of being in a same-sex relationship is the fact that we need not worry about accidental pregnancies and that if we do decide to conceive we will have one of the MOST monitored pregnancies possible, giving us the privilege of a more or less well planned family. Though lesbians may not use birth control for the reason of pregnancy prevention, many continue to rely on its availability for other health issues, not to mention our own means of protection. Within and beyond our own community lie those who need to speak up and be spoken for. Those who identify as bisexual, queer, etc AND our heterosexual sisters, mothers and friends still need the voice of other women, those who believe in sexual freedoms. If it weren’t for the countless allies that support our freedoms, we wouldn’t be nearly as represented as we now are.
Today I am not asking you to be a proud queer, stand up for an umbrella community, or to place yourself in one box or the other. What I am asking is for you to come together in support of being a woman. This Saturday, Equality Illinois is hosting its yearly Spring Women’s Social. This event is an amazing mix of women of all types who gather as themselves for an afternoon to celebrate just that-being a woman. From 4:00pm-7:00pm, join over 100 women at Mignonette (1747 W Belmont) for an afternoon of solidarity, cocktails and more as we come together to represent the women of Equality Illinois and beyond. Tickets are selling fast, but you can buy them online here to reserve your space. Though all of the proceeds go towards Equality Illinois’ Education Fund, each ticket also provides you with cocktails, appetizers and fun prizes- consider it activism with some perks!
While we may be under attack from those who are determined to silence us as individual women, they have no idea what they are in store for when we come together as one. I hope to see you all this Saturday as we all gather- no intimidation, no awkwardness- just a family of women who all want to be treated as equally as the next guy. See you Saturday!
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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.