Tag: Original

The Equality Act is so overdue that many of the original sponsors are dead

Equality Act

Representative Bella Abzug, whose federal gay rights bill led to the Equality Act (Getty)

Republicans have been standing in the way of the Equality Act for so long that many of the bill’s original sponsors aren’t around to see its passage.

LGBT+ advocates celebrated yesterday (25 February) as the sweeping equality legislation passed through the US House. But it now faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where if history is anything to go by, Republicans will fiercely oppose it.

The earliest predecessor of the Equality Act first appeared in 1974, when representative Bella Abzug – nicknamed “Battling Bella” – introduced a bill to protect lesbian and gay people from discrimination.

It was a seminal time for LGBT+ rights in the US – just two years after the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness and three years before Harvey Milk’s assassination.

The original bill stated all people should be free from discrimination “regardless of their race, colour, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or national origin”.

These words were among the earliest documented congressional proposals to expand civil rights protections to the LGBT+ community.

Sadly the landmark legislation never even moved out of committee, as it was stalled and ultimately “killed” soon after its introduction. Abzug revived it the following year as the Civil Rights Amendments of 1975, but this too was quashed.

It wasn’t the end: Battling Bella’s bill would be reintroduced, suppressed and reintroduced again in various forms over the next 50 years.

By the time the modern-day Equality Act was reintroduced by Democrats in 2019 it was greeted by 240 co-sponsors in the US House and Senate, meaning that 45 percent of Congress already supported the bill even before it went to a vote.

It would pass through the House by a vote of 236-173, but even so, it wasn’t enough.

Once again the bill was stalled by the Republican-controlled Senate after the Trump administration labelled it a “poison pill” that would “undermine parental and conscience rights”.

The fight continues in 2021 amid an LGBT+ landscape that’s vastly different from where the bill began – and while many hurdles still remain, the Equality Act is undeniably closer to victory than it’s ever been.

Sadly, the battle has been going on for so long now that of the 23 co-sponsors who signed onto the 1975 bill, just a handful are still alive to see its victory.

Bella Abzug, the woman who started it all, passed away in 1998 aged 77. Though she never saw her bill passed into law she continued her tireless advocacy work all her life and was known as a leading figure in feminist and civil rights circles around the world.

A year before her death she received the highest civilian honour at the US, the Blue Beret Peacekeepers Award – a recognition of the legacy of hope and equality she leaves behind.

It’s sad but true (original) : actuallesbians

It’s sad but true (original) : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Original meme : actuallesbians

Original meme : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Audible Original tells story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read

Anne Bonny and Mary Read as Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty

Hell Cats is a new Audible Original about two queer pirates. (Audible)

Hell Cats tells the amazing true story of notorious female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and their queer romance that has been buried by history.

As young women in the 18th century, Bonny and Read defied every expectation placed on them.

Both were born out of wedlock and into poverty, and were raised as boys to give them a better chance in life.

But despite pressure from their families to become respectable members of society, the two women broke free, as the new Audible Original podcast Hell Cats reveals.

While Anne burned down her father’s slave plantation and, at just 18 years old, ran off to the Bahamas with her male lover, Mary continued to dress as a man to escape to sea and work on a ship.

Through dramatic twists of fate, Anne and Mary found their way to piracy and to each other.

Close-up of two women holding hands
Hell Cats is a thrilling tale of love, defiance and adventure. (Audible)

Embarking on an incredible adventure together, while also finding revenge on the men who had wronged them, the two pirates became possibly the most impressive power couple – and the most well-known female pirates – of all time.

Hell Cats, written by Carina Rodney and directed by Kate Saxon, captures the whirlwind drama of the pirates’ lives in a gripping tour de force of audio drama. The series immerses the listener in high-seas drama with a diverse cast of 52 voice actors.

Michelle Fox (Overshadowed, A Very English Scandal) plays Bonny, with Erin Doherty (The Crown, Les Miserables) as Read and Fisayo Akinade (Russel T Davies’ Cucumber and Banana) as Pierre Bouspeut.

 Anne Bonny and Mary Read as Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty
Anne Bonny and Mary Read are voiced by Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty. (Audible)

While the podcast series has healthy doses of treasure, duelling and swashbuckling, it also artfully explores themes of queer love, gender expression, equality and freedom.

It’s a poignant tale for queer listeners and an exciting piece of LGBT-storytelling, refreshingly different from the norm.

You can feel the action swirling around you as Bonny and Read subvert expectations, outsmarting law enforcement and leaving a line of scorned ex-lovers in their wake.

At its core Hell Cats is a story of two fearless queer women, bringing to life erased and forgotten LGBT+ history, and giving Bonny and Read the recognition they deserve.

Hell Cats is available exclusively on Audible, and an exclusive limited run of Hell Cats merch is available through Audible’s Instagram.