After an epic flash mob proposal, Samantha and Leah’s winter wedding took place on the historic riverfront of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The couple, who had already been together for ten years, wrote that they “were going for a laid back yet elegant vibe with a mix of the old with the new, (first look photos on a roof top bar but a ceremony in an old warehouse).”
“We have always had a Champagne Taste on a Soda Pop budget,” they say, “So we had furs for the bridesmaids but DIY decor! Our wedding was all about our friendship to each other and creating a warm space that was completely surrounded by love, family, and friendship.”
What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples?
The best advice we can give is to not worry about appeasing people’s expectations. Be as traditional or unique as YOU BOTH want. Just because your wedding may look different to some, you are still allowed to have traditional elements if that is what you have always pictured. At the end of the day, your wedding is all about you and your partner, so do not stress about the little things that you feel like you “have to have” because people expect it.
For example, we stressed a long time about having thank you gifts or not because we felt like it was an unnecessary expense but were worried people would be expecting it. We ended up skipping the party favor and served McDonalds cheeseburgers at the end of the night instead and of course, no one was disappointed!
What advice do you have for vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples
Be open, accepting, and willing to think outside of the box. It is 100% okay to ask what you are unsure of (like pronouns, future names, who wants to walk down the aisle first, etc.) but make sure to listen to what the couple is asking. Also, just think before you speak! Nothing frustrated us more than when someone would ask so who’s the “groom” in your wedding….There is no groom we are both brides!
Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
I think the best part about planning our wedding together was that since we were both brides we were able to do almost everything together! Our favorite among the pre-wedding activities was having a joint bachelorette party. Our friend group is so incredibly close that there was no way we could have had separate parties without the other being left at home completely alone.
Mildred Loic, also known as Shakiro, one of the trans women currently held in jail (Facebook/ Shakiro)
Two trans women in the central African country of Cameroon are facing five years in prison on charges of “attempted homosexuality”.
Mildred Loic and Moute Rolland were arrested for wearing women’s clothes in the country’s largest city, Douala, on 8 February. Police are said to have made the arrests while the pair were eating in a restaurant.
The women were denied bail on Wednesday (24 March) after a judge adjourned their case and sent them back to jail, their lawyer Richard Tamfu said.
Loic had built an online reputation as a cosmetician, becoming a local social media celebrity known as Shakiro with more than 100,000 Facebook followers.
She and Rolland are also facing charges of public indecency and not carrying identification, according to Reuters. They have pled not guilty.
Their arrests come amid a spike in LGBT+ crackdowns by Cameroonian authorities over the last year, leading to dozens of arrests.
“We have observed a resurgence in homophobic attacks this year,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is common for people to be abused in detention.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and punishable by up to five years in prison. The LGBT+ advocacy group CAMFAIDS reports that between 2010 and 2014, at least 50 people were convicted for crimes ranging from cross-dressing to a man texting “I love you” to another man.
Well! What a week! Welcome back to Boobs on Your Tube. Ryan’s Kryptonite wound is OUT OF CONTROL on Batwoman (and there’s lots of dyke drama, too!). Valerie declared Dickinson Season Two “an ode to Emily and Sue.” Good Trouble explored racism in comedy from the eyes of Alice attending the CBTV diversity workshop. (That episode also guest starred Rhea Butcher, who also was on this week’s To L and Back! See what we did there?) Would you like to read a touching personal essay about The Owl House’s Luz and Amity capturing the queer experience of a surprise first crush? We bet you would! Also, Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia presents a refreshingly typical teen dating story.
Heather found Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar to be a bananapants brain vacation and she thinks you deserve it. Shelli and Dani watched The United States vs. Billie Holiday and spent a lot of time thinking about the legacies of Black trauma on screen, and the twin legacy of Black queer erasure, and how both come to bear on the film, you should give absolutely give it a read!
It’s now officially March, and you know what that means! What’s New and Gay and Streaming on HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon?
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Pose’s third season (deputing this May) will be it’s last. No, I am not ready to talk about it. — Carmen
Black Lightning 404: “The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Four: A Light in the Darkness”
Written by Carmen
So Grace woke up, and then Anissa and Grace got married, and now we are on our way back home. Where Anissa and Grace fight… over whether or not Grace can move her things (including her prized comic book collection!!) into Anissa’s apartment? Which felt more like the kind of fight you have six months into a relationship and not after your married, but hey! I suppose that’s what happens when your gay on Black Lightning and the writers are always trying to fit your relationship milestones in around everyone else.
Ok, I realize I sound snarky, so let me follow that up by saying that initial fight leads to one of Black Lightning’s most romantic moments to date: Anissa buying a pristine, still in plastic, copy of Grace’s favorite issue of The Outsiders and wrapping it as a present to give her wife. If you’ll remember, Grace was reading that same issue when she and Anissa first met — all the way back in episode three of the very first season of Black Lightning, which is both a REALLY touching throwback, and a surprisingly refreshing piece of continuity on a show that’s often struggled to find some. I loved everything about it! And of course, as always, Chantal Thuy and Nafessa William sell what the writers don’t give them, Anissa and Grace remain so well loved and electric, despite whatever holes in the plot.
Their romantic moment is broken up by news of ~super villain nonsense involving Tobias Whale and Lala, which sends both Pierce sisters and Grace onto the scene. Grace complains that Anissa made her wear a hoodie “as a disguise” when as a shape shifter she can always be her own disguise. With that she changes her hair red, her eyes green, and puts on a very dope Mortal Kombat style outfit, officially naming herself “Wylde” — a reclamation of Shay Li Wylde, Grace’s birth name.
It maybe took four years in the making, but Grace Choi is finally OFFFICIALLY a superhero, cute name and all. And let me tell you from that upside down roundhouse kick she gave? It certainly was worth it.
9-1-1 407: “There Goes The Neighborhood”
Written by Natalie
With Hen busy with work and school, Karen’s been left to wrangle the two Wilson kids and she’s at her wits end. Recognizing how stressed her wife is, Hen puts down her Gross Anatomy book and volunteers to get the kids ready for bed. But before they can pick out the bedtime story, the family’s interrupted by a knock at the door: It’s Grammy! Much to Hen and Karen’s dismay, Hen’s mother, Toni, has decided to move from Las Vegas to Los Angeles — in the middle of a pandemic — and find a place in the neighborhood.
At work, Hen laments her mother’s arrival. She admits that the pair have a good relationship when there’s distance separating them but, in-person, Toni tends move in and crush everything in her path. Chimney and Bobby urge Hen to look at the bright side — her mom will be around to help with Denny and Nia — but Hen’s unconvinced: Toni is not the helping type. Later, though, Hen quietly admits to Athena that it’s been nice having her mother back in town. But no sooner than the words are out of her mouth does Hen overhear her mother questioning whether Hen should be going back to school at her age. The words echo a lifetime of her mother’s doubt that Hen’s had to deal with and she’s tired of it.
The next day, while Karen and the kids are at the park, they spot Grammy sleeping, not in her “cute little Airbnb,” but in her car. Upon hearing the news, Hen tracks down her mother who confirms that she’s been living in her car after losing her job (as a blackjack dealer) and being evicted. She kept the truth from Hen because she feared her daughter’s judgment. Hen scoffs at the notion: Her mother’s always been the judgmental one. Hen reminds her mom that she just said Hen was too old for med school. Grammy assures her daughter that’s not what she meant.
She applauds Hen’s determination, admitting that she’s always been jealous of her drive. She adds, “I look at the amazing life you’ve made for yourself and I’m in awe. You’ve built something, Henrietta, and I…I just don’t want you to lose it.”
At the root of it, Toni doesn’t want her daughter to end up like her but Hen promises that she’ll be okay because her mother made her a fighter. It’s clearly just the start of the conversations mother and daughter need to have but they’ll have plenty of time for that now that Grammy’s moving in.
It’s worth noting that the role of Hen’s mom, Toni, is played by the legendary out comedienne, Marsha Warfield. Best known for playing Rosalind “Roz” Russell on Night Court, Warfield was giving us black butch realness on television before most of us even knew what that was. Also? Given how Marsha Warfield’s own mother kept her closeted for most of her life, seeing her play the mother to a gay butch daughter has particular resonance. A great bit of a casting!
All American 307: “Roll the Dice”
Written by Natalie
Throughout All American‘s third season, the specter of the gang’s summer sojourn to Las Vegas has loomed large. Something happened there — something momentous for nearly every character on the canvas — but we’ve never known what until now. The episode revisits that weekend in Vegas… the weekend when everything started to change for Patience.
Knowing how much it means to his daughter, JP Keating rolls out the red carpet for Spencer, Jordan, Simone and JJ’s visit to Vegas. He secures a lavish suite for the crew and even sets up a private gaming room for them to enjoy. Coop jokes that she might have signed with the wrong Keating but Layla reminds her that she’s the Keating that secured Coop a sold-out stop in Las Vegas. Besides, Patience chimes in, it’s not like JP’s putting his own artists up in lavish suites.
In the gaming room, Patience’s frustration at being under JP’s thumb starts to show. Coop urges her to talk to JP about playing her own songs but Patience dismisses the conversation and just tries to have fun. Later, at the roulette table, Coop and Spencer catch up after their first ever summer apart. They fall into an easy rapport, the way old friends do, and it’s almost enough to make you forget the way their friendship has fallen apart. The pair joke about Layla and Coop getting closer on tour and Coop taking Spencer’s girl which… I mean… clearly someone’s been reading my All American fan fic.
The next day, Coop and Patience revisit the topic of Patience’s unhappiness and Coop urges her to talk to JP. Recounting some advice Patience gave her, Coop encourages Patience to be upfront with JP and find someone who accepts her for the artist that she is. Patience takes her girlfriend’s advice and plays her new song for JP. He loves the song and immediately shifts into producer mode, giving Patience notes to improve it. But as Patience is working on it, Lil’ Jewel bursts in singing Patience’s praises; she loves the song Patience wrote and is slated to head into the studio ASAP lay the track down for her new album. When Patience goes to confront JP, she spots him making out with Lil’ Jewel — the very married Lil’ Jewel — in the hallway.
Hurt, confused and frustrated, Patience sheds a few tears but wipes them away before Coop can see. She’s so happy for Coop’s success and she doesn’t want anything to tarnish the celebration. But because everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, the reverberations from this summer trip still linger… and they’re about to impact Coop and Patience in a big way.
S.W.A.T. 410: “Buried”
Written by Natalie
I wasn’t thrilled about S.W.A.T.‘s decision to kill off Erika Rogers, especially at the hands of a white supremacist. I liked the friendship she’d built with Chris and the support they gave each other as the lone women in SWAT. I liked her rapport with Hondo and how she could challenge him on race and on work in a way no one else could. But if you’re going to kill a compelling character like Erika, at least make the fallout worth watching….and so far S.W.A.T. hasn’t done that. But, maybe (hopefully), the show finally starts to turn the corner this week.
Chris stops by the locker-room at SWAT HQ to collect some things before her session with Dr. Hughes. She lingers by Erika’s old locker, removing the nameplate and placing it in her own. When Deacon asks how she’s doing, she just says she’s tired…in addition to her session with Hughes to get approved to return to duty, her final interview for the Tactical Leadership Institute is today and she was up late studying. Chris was always invested in winning the TLI competition but with Erika’s death, the opportunity to be in a place where everything doesn’t remind her of her loss is something she desperately needs. Deacon encourages her to make the interview about how she’ll best represent SWAT.
And, of course, Chris does just that.
Remembering Erika, Chris gets a little emotional, but she tells Commander Hicks, “Erika always reminded me that we had to be the proof that women can be SWAT…I want to win this thing on merit because that’s what’ll inspire other female cops to raise the bar for themselves in their own way, which makes the entire department stronger.” After the interview, she chastises herself for getting emotional but her performance is enough to win over Hicks and win the TLI competition.
Once the winner’s announced, Chris pulls Street aside to chastise him over the way he’s handling his relationship with his girlfriend, Molly. Chris urges him to let go of the pipe dream he has of them being together and to figure out his relationship without involving her. Tan interrupts to invite them both to celebrate the TLI results but Chris declines the offer and opts for a night alone. Except…she doesn’t spend it alone at all. Chris wakes up later, amid a sea of empty beer bottles and next to a guy whose name she doesn’t care to know.
Finally, we get some fallout.
grown-ish 315: “Over My Head”
Written by Natalie
Here’s what we know about Phil, the one-night stand that, nine months later, made Nomi Segal into a mother: his last name’s McGinnis, he’s from San Jose, he’s a Comm major at UC-Berkeley, he loves playing ultimate frisbee and he likes margaritas. Now — 14 months after that fateful night — Phil slips into Nomi’s DMs to let her know he’s back in town and wants to meet up… and Nomi’s forced to decide (again) whether to tell him about the adorable baby girl he fathered.
With Zoey on the road with Joey Bada$$ and the twins off at Olympic trials, Nomi’s left with only Ana to confide in. This never goes well. Ana urges Nomi to meet up with Phil and find out what kind of person he is but she resists. Nomi invites Ana to go on a date with Phil and get whatever she needs to feel fulfilled; after that, though, Nomi never wants to talk about Phil ever again.
“Just so we’re clear, this isn’t for my validation or my entertainment. This is for your daughter, because whether or not you want to know, someday she will and it would be nice if someone had those answers,” Ana explains. Yeah, you can definitely tell she grew up Catholic because she’s a master of shaming.
After his meeting with Ana goes horribly awry, Phil and Nomi finally do connect. Since Nomi can’t remember, he tells her about what happened prior to them hooking up 14 months ago. I think the show intends this to be cute — it’s her Sixteen Candles moment — but all I could think was, “she was so drunk that she can’t remember any of this and yet her slept with her anyway? That’s not romantic, that’s rapey.” Nomi’s so touched by the “romantic” gestures that she can’t remember that instead of telling him about his daughter, she gives into Paul’s kiss and they hook up again. Fingers crossed that the birth control works this time.
When she returns home, Nomi relays the night’s events to Luna’s babysitter, Luca. He encourages her to not to continue to meet up with Phil if she’s going to continue to keep this secret and Nomi agrees. But later, when she’s settling in to read to Luna, she discovers a thoughtful note from her dad about his experience raising her and Nomi reconsiders. She meets up with Phil at Titanium, apologizes for keeping the truth from him and introduces him to his daughter, Luna.
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Terry Sweet lost his life in the savage attack, while Bernard Hawkin was left permanently disabled (Screenshot: ITV)
Campaigners are fundraising to create a memorial for two gay men who were left for dead following a brutal homophobic attack in Plymouth 25 years ago.
Terry Sweet and Bernard Hawken were found lying 200 yards apart just after midnight on 7 November 1995 in the city’s Central Park. They had both sustained horrific injuries, with their faces and genitalia slashed and mutilated.
Terry, who was 64 years old, died at the scene, while 54-year-old Bernard survived the attack but was left brain damaged and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He died many years later as a result of his injuries.
The local LGBT+ community has now launched a fundraiser so they can erect a plaque and plant a tree in memory of Sweet and Hawken.
They needed to raise £500 to create the memorial, but they have already raised more than double that figure. Additional funds raised will go towards building a training course to help challenge hate crime in the city.
Alan Butler, one of the directors of Pride in Plymouth, asked the LGBT+ community to chip in so they can make sure Sweet and Hawken are not forgotten.
“We need to acknowledge as part of our history, as part of our heritage, to remember these two men, and to look at how far we’ve come, hopefully, in the last 25 years and how far we have to go,” Butler said.
“We find ourselves now in a position where we’re able to offer a permanent memorial to the two men, so a plaque on a bench at the scene of the attack, and also to plant a tree to look ahead to the future.
“So we’re very much hoping that people in the community will be keen to support us in creating that memorial and also looking at perhaps some educational material around hate crime and continuing to challenge it in the future.”
Three teenagers were jailed for life over the brutal attack in Plymouth.
The fundraiser was launched by Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth.
“To help us build this lasting memorial to Terry, please contribute to this crowdfunder,” he said.
“Every penny will make a difference to providing something beautiful in Central Park, but it will also help Pride in Plymouth continue their work in challenging hate in our city. Love is love, and you can make a difference by donating today.”
Three teenagers were later jailed for life for the brutal attack, and shortly afterwards, their friends and followers desecrated the crime scene with vile graffiti.
“In memory of Terry Sweet, may he rest in pieces… ha ha,” the assailants scrawled in spray paint. “No queers here, your [sic] banned or face death.”
On the path close to where Sweet was found, someone spray-painted the outline of a body next to the words: “Please step over spilt AIDS!”
The gruesome attacks shocked the city’s LGBT+ community, and became a symbol of the work that still needed to be done to stamp out homophobia.
Lynn Conway was fired by IBM in 1968 as she began her transition (Screenshot: YouTube)
It’s taken 52 years, but IBM has finally issued a full apology for firing the pioneering computer scientist Lynn Conway because she was transgender.
In 1964 Lynn Conway joined IBM Research, where she made major innovations in Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) chip systems. She is credited with several key discoveries that would go on to power smartphones, the internet, and national defence.
Despite her many foundational contributions to computer architecture, she lost it all in 1968 when IBM’s medical director outed her to the CEO, who fired her on the spot.
Conway struggled to support her family as a result, and the situation worsened when California’s Social Services threatened a restraining order if she attempted to see her children post-divorce.
But it wasn’t the end. Conway overcame the adversity IBM threw at her and worked as a computer architect at Memorex Corporation before moving to Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre. In the 70s and 80s she pioneered new VLSI technology that now underpins current microprocessor chip design.
Later in 1985, the University of Michigan hired her as a professor of computer science and electrical engineering and associate dean of its engineering school. She eventually retired in 1998 with the honorary title of professor emerita.
Now an 82-year-old trans activist, Conway has finally got the vindication she deserves after IBM apologised for its actions, having avoided the issue for decades.
“We deeply regret the hardship Lynn encountered,” the business giant told Forbes, admitting full responsibility for Conway’s firing all those years ago.
IMB agreed a formal resolution with Conway, and in early October the company emailed its employees an invitation to attend a virtual event titled “Tech Trailblazer and Transgender Pioneer Lynn Conway in conversation with Diane Gherson”, IBM’s senior vice president of human resources.
The event began with a heartfelt apology for Conway’s mistreatment, in front of 1,200 people.
“Diane delivered the apology with such grace, sincerity, and humility. Lynn was visibly moved,” said Anna Nguyen, a software engineer who attended the session. “I struggled to hold back tears.”
Conway was also awarded the rare IBM Lifetime Achievement Award, given to individuals who have changed the world through technology inventions.
But it pales in comparison to the long-awaited apology, which finally gave Conway closure to an event that shaped her life.
The COVID pandemic’s impact on businesses continues to rage on. The most recent gay casualty is Chicago’s Manhandler Saloon, at 1948 N. Halsted.
Manhandler Saloon first opened its doors in 1980. As its name suggest, it was a place you could in the hope of being manhandled in the back room area! It marked its 40th anniversary in September. However, the COVID pandemic of recent months has taken its toll. Chicago is a city that has seen a resurgence in cases in recent weeks.
2020 has seen a deluge of LGBTQ bars closing across the US. This is partly due to landlords increasing rents or leases expiring, but has also been greatly accelerated by the COVID pandemic. Other sex venues to have closed this year include the legendary Blow Buddies in San Francisco and The Crew Club Sauna – the last remaining bathhouse in Washington DC.
Bars to have closed include The Stud (San Francisco), Parliament House (Orlando), and Flaming Saddles (West Hollywood). Check out a fuller list here.
Newly updated, first North American edition — a paperback original — “Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love” by Naomi Wolf.
From New York Times bestselling author Naomi Wolf, “Outrages” explores the history of state-sponsored censorship and violations of personal freedoms through the inspiring, forgotten history of one writer’s refusal to stay silenced.
I never thought I’d be a professional feminist as a career choice; I certainly didn’t intend to be. Growing up in the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, at the height of various social justice movements in the 1970s including the fight for LGBTQ rights and the agitation of the “second wave” of feminism, I thought that by the time I was an adult, all of these battles would surely be won.
Sadly they weren’t. When I wrote “The Beauty Myth” at 26, which happened to be published when a new generation was seeking a way out of the torpor and “backlash” of the evil 1980s, I named in the book, and engaged with, what became known as the “Third Wave” of feminism. (Writer Rebecca Walker coined the phrase at the same time).
This led me to an unusual life opportunity: I happened to have a seat as an observer of (and at times a participant in) the drama of Western feminism for the next thirty years.
The headline is that the women’s movement has gotten smarter and better, and that we are in what I’ve called elsewhere, a Renaissance moment for feminism.
This is hard at first, I am sure, to believe since mainstream media, which is still reactionary when it comes to women, rarely documents our vast successes. News outlets still like to feature the battle for women’s rights in a few stereotypical ways. At best a story will run about women’s systematic victimization – which is all too real; but the huge efforts that go into our effectively pushing back — landmark court cases, giant settlements against employers, rapists put in prison, traffickers undone by good legislation, even gradual transfers of larger shares of wealth to women as they open businesses, drive companies’ profits and fight for equal pay – are downplayed or ignored. So women don’t see reflected in the news, many benchmarks of how very effective we are being accruing decades of revolutionary victories.
A reason that we are being so very effective as what is basically the most sweeping revolution in history also has to do with how feminism has grown and gotten smarter since the 1970s.
When I was in my twenties, a painful fact was that feminists of my generation had to start all over again simply explaining (and learning) what equity issues were; simply re-teaching and reiterating what most students who take gender studies today, see as Feminism 101; basic theory. In the 1990s, things were a mess: the first insight of feminism – it’s not my personal problem, it’s systemic, it’s Patriarchy – was hard for many women to achieve, as the analysis had been swept away and they were being told that their problems were personal, not political. The accomplishments and analysis of my mom’s generation, the Second Wave, had been erased in a very short time. This left younger women to grope in the dark, figuring out the basics of body image issues, pay inequity, work/family balance struggles, sexual and domestic violence traumas. But when Third Wave feminism arrived, with books such as Susan Faludi’s Backlash and Rebecca Walker’s collection To be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, younger women joined forces with enthusiasm.
Western feminism at the end of the 20th century, and into the 21st, had flaws. One central flaw was the fact that at first, white women’s issues and issues relating to women of more affluent economic classes, were often seen (or portrayed) as being central. An example of how simply bad a situation this created, from my own experience, is the fact that for a decade, I was invited onto panels – often made up only of white women – that were asked about “the conflict between mothers who worked and mothers who stayed home”, as if that was “feminism” – as if that the biggest problem that women of all backgrounds, faced.
A needed critique from women of color and women across the economic spectrum, forced a welcome upheaval in the form of a call for “intersectionality.” This critique was made easier by the fact that women’s (and later gender) studies programs had been established at many universities, thus giving feminist ideas institutional continuity that had eluded the Second Wave. One hugely positive result of this critique is that the image of the leadership of the women’s movement shifted, and more people became aware that women’s issues were diverse depending on whom you were, and that feminism was global; and that the most exciting advances and most important theory were being spearheaded by women in the Global South, and often presented by leaders of color.
Another problem in the past was divisiveness. During the Second Wave, sexual identity could be a battleground. Earlier feminism could be extremely Puritanical and judgmental about other women’s choices. Straight women such as Betty Friedan criticized lesbians, as in her famous 1969 warning about the “lavender menace.” https://www.thoughtco.com/lavender-menace-feminism-definition-3528970 Some groups, such as Radicalesbians, organized a reaction to this, and developed influential theories of “woman-identified women” that were exciting, but that also seemed to critique straight women for false consciousness. [https://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/wlmpc_wlmms01011/]. Women who identified as bisexual faced criticism too, for “not making up their minds.” This judgmental approach endured into the 1980s and early 1990s. Critique often turned women against each other.
Third Wave feminism was a huge step forward in that this group rejected the rigidity, divisiveness and judgmental tone of our moms’ era, creating a more inclusive discourse that was more open to the fact that women made different life choices and had different political agendas, and that there was space for all.
Fast forward to today. There’s never been a better time to be a young feminist, or a better feminism. The young women I meet today have rejected a lot of stupid binaries that have held people in thrall for the duration of history. They usually aren’t wedded to the idea that there are only two genders; they often celebrate the fact that gender is a spectrum, as they see it, and that it can be chosen. They have the important language and concept that sexuality can be a specific identity and/or it can be what they call “fluid” – a word and acceptance that could have liberated so many people in the past, had it been in usage. They are self-aware about white privilege, very often, and scan their own positions for unintended (or intended) racism or class blindness – a self-awareness that is often mocked by the right wing, but that is so much better than the obtuse omissions caused by the narcissism of privilege that often afflicted my own generation.
Younger feminists today have little fear of power or of making a scene in a good way; they are rarely burdened with spectres of what “nice girls don’t do”; they use social media, take to the streets, start blogs and businesses, out their harassers and rapists, choose their own body positivity, make their own family structures, decide their own fates, form their own alliances. I’ve never met a generation less impressed with others telling them what to do and whom to be. The world they are making for women – however you or they define that word – is going to be a world of radical freedom — if only pandemics and oligarchs don’t stand in their way.
Feminism has grown up, in my view, with this generation; and become as fluid and inclusive and diverse as is the human family.
Dr Naomi Wolf received a D Phil Degree in English Literature from the University of Oxford in 2015. Dr. Wolf taught Victorian Studies as a Visiting Professor at SUNY Stony Brook, received a Barnard College Research Fellowship at the Center for Women and Gender, was recipient of a Rothermere American Institute Research Fellowship for her work on John Addington Symonds at the University of Oxford, and taught English Literature at George Washington University as a visiting lecturer. She’s lectured widely on the themes in Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, presenting lectures on Symonds and the themes in Outrages at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, at Balliol College, Oxford, and to the undergraduates in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford. She lectured about Symonds and Outrages for the first LGBTQ Colloquium at Rhodes House. Dr Wolf was a Rhodes Scholar and a Yale graduate. She’s written eight nonfiction bestsellers, about women’s issues and civil liberties, and is the CEO of DailyClout.io, a news site and legislative database in which actual US state and Federal legislation is shared digitally and read and explained weekly. She holds an honorary doctorate from Sweet Briar College. She and her family live in New York City.
Today marks 15 years since PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen put the very first rudimentary version of this website live. He’s been reflecting on the past 15 years in this Twitter thread.
Incredibly, it’s 15 years, to the day, since I first started work on @PinkNews. It’s been a labour of love! We will celebrate later in the year, but I wanted to share a few memories about the journey from zero to tens of millions of users plus some of our achievements (1/22) pic.twitter.com/qSL0I3VGFB
I founded @PinkNews because I was unhappy with the way that gay media was run (the term LGBT+ didn’t really exist). Back then all of the media was effectively subsidised by porn and escort ads and news wasn’t well covered at all (2/22) pic.twitter.com/UJPzsraJee
There had been some proper newspapers: the Gay News, Capital Gay and the Pink Paper. But in 2005, just Pink Paper survived but was published monthly as a magazine and didn’t cover enough news and didn’t have a proper website (3/22) pic.twitter.com/utdMoqrgO6
I wanted @PinkNews to be different. No sex ads, constantly updating and with an accessible archive online. I registered the name and put a basic website online in July and formed the company in December of 2005, when we hired our first employee (4/22) pic.twitter.com/VnJ19tOJ8q
Our first foray into politics was a ground-breaking interview with Francis Maude, then Chair of the Conservatives, saying the party’s previous stance was morally wrong. It was the first @PinkNews mention by the BBC (5/22) pic.twitter.com/InZJpGri1z
Beyond politics, @PinkNews was ‘put on the map’ by publishing this story, which would ultimately lead to Ashley Cole reaching a settlement with the News of the World. Incidentally, my co-author and first PN employee @marcshoffman would later become my brother-in-law! (6/22) pic.twitter.com/ZqTx68FPMs
2006 was a special year: @SimonHughes came out as bisexual on @PinkNews and we won plaudits for our coverage of Ruth Kelly being appointed ‘Minister for Gays’, despite always abstaining on equality votes. (7/22) pic.twitter.com/fLJ0hWQkUS
It was also 2006, when we briefly tried and failed to be in print with ‘The PinkNews’. It was also when I was recruited to join @Channel4News as a correspondent and @PinkNews would be a side-project for the next six years. (8/22) pic.twitter.com/Sr4aA3niXl
In 2008, I was in California for the election of @BarackObama and Prop 8, the voter initiative to ban same-sex marriage in the state. When Prop 8 was passed, and I attended vigils, I became convinced that I needed to use @PinkNews to fight for same-sex marriage in the UK (9/22) pic.twitter.com/Y3MhEfDsBo
This interview with the then @stonewalluk CEO Ben Summerskill, convinced us that we would need to use the power of the @PinkNews audience to directly call for marriage equality from our political leaders as Stonewall didn’t look like it would under Ben’s leadership (10/22) pic.twitter.com/sgUMkhQMnO
When my friend @lfeatherstone became Minister for Equalities under @theresa_may in the Home Office, she was able to use these words to @PinkNews to help boost her case for the Coalition backing equal marriage. She documented this in her definitive book ‘Equal Ever After’ (12/22) pic.twitter.com/X8KcYTesje
By the end of last year, we had grown the @PinkNews team hugely, better representing our community in all its diversity. I wrote about what had been achieved 2010-2019 in this post on Medium. (20/22) https://t.co/vowZXDJF7W
This year has been pretty extraordinary. We’re working from home, but still growing. Three new full-time @PinkNews team members have started since March plus contractors & more to come. We’ve gone live with a new iOS entirely developed in lockdown (21/22) https://t.co/wTYX4iPRen
Finally, we have soft-launched @MyPinkNews, where we ask our loyal users to fund our investigative journalism, get special access to features & services. If you value what we’ve done over the past 15 years, now is the time to support @PinkNews (ENDS) https://t.co/7fhsm7G6Cj
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!
Five years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that marriage should be open to all couples, no matter their gender—and one of the strongest arguments in the case was the best interests of children. Yet even five years after marriage equality, we are still struggling towards full equality for our families.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won marriage equality nationwide:
Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples. This does not mean that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. Precedent protects the right of a married couple not to procreate, so the right to marry cannot be conditioned on the capacity or commitment to procreate.
Marriage equality advocates had worked hard to transform “think of the children” from an argument against marriage for same-sex couples into one for it. Back in 2008, during the Proposition 8 battle in California, marriage equality opponents tried to scare people by saying that marriage equality would require that students learn about homosexuality in schools (as if that were a bad thing). Prop 8 passed, and same-sex couples were blocked from marriage. By 2013, however, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in Windsor, the case that tore down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): “[DOMA] humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples…. [and] makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Variations of that argument were then used to win every other federal decision on marriage equality, except for the one in the 6th Circuit, which ruled against marriage equality and thus precipitated its hearing before the Supreme Court in Obergefell.
Most of the plaintiffs in Obergefell were parents (though not lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell), as I detailed here. Additionally, many children of same-sex parents contributed to the Voices of Children amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in Obergefell, organized by Family Equality Council, COLAGE, and Kentucky youth Kinsey Morrison. Many others spoke out in public forums, in their classrooms, or on the playground to stand up for their families. (The most well-known of these is perhaps Zach Wahls, who in 2011 spoke at an Iowa House hearing about a bill to ban marriage for same-sex couples, and is now an Iowa state senator himself.)
Marriage is an important institution for both practical and symbolic reasons, and the impact of Obergefell was positive and resounding. Marital rights and parental rights have a complicated and not coterminous relationship, though, and nonbiological mothers have had to bring lawsuits in many states, even after Obergefell, in order to gain legal rights to their children and be put on their birth certificates. (A short and probably incomplete list: Arkansas and Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Indiana.) And just last week, as I recently wrote, Indiana has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the right of married nonbiological mothers in same-sex couples to be put on their children’s birth certificates without second-parent adoptions, thus denying the children the security of having two legal parents from birth. (The Supreme Court has yet to say whether it will take the case.)
Additionally, the U.S. State Department is continuing to deny some children of married same-sex couples equal rights to citizenship—although a federal court last week said they were wrong to do so in one instance.
Furthermore, marriage is not the solution to all of our inequalities. The Supreme Court ruled last week that people cannot be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is another huge milestone; yet the Trump administration has also finalized a rule that says health care anti-discrimination protections don’t cover discrimination based on LGBTQ identities. More and more states and the federal government are permitting religiously based discrimination in adoption and foster care. And transgender people continue to face discrimination in many other areas, including military service.
Many LGBTQ rights organizations are pushing for the passage of the Equality Act, which would offer broad protections to LGBTQ people and our children throughout our daily lives. That seems a good idea, but will likely depend heavily on the results of the November election. Even as we look back with pride on the progress we’ve made over the past five years, then, let us also recommit to the work we still need to be doing.