epporsimuove: Bisexual and Brilliant on a Rainbow (bisexual and brilliant)
I really don’t have anything to say today. I have been having an exciting and civil discussion about abortion all day on Facebook (weird, right?). I am going to copy a bit of what I wrote here so I can remember this because I think it is something I am going to be talking about a bit more.

The question was whether a fetus was a human and therefore watching an ultrasound before an abortion would be traumatic, or whether it was just an object in which case an ultrasound should not be traumatic at all.

My reply:
It is not one or the other. It is not a binary; not a baby or an inanimate object. Until birth (or the third trimester, second by some states) the fetus exists as Schrodinger's cat, neither a person nor inanimate. Some religious and spiritual beliefs have a different view of when the mass of cells becomes a person, that's fine. But it is not a fact, it is a belief. Therefore, the government should not be making decisions based on said belief.

The issue of personhood is the crux. Not when is a fetus alive or human, but when is it a person? I have heard all different types of rationales. The instant of conception (which is kinda odd because most fertilized eggs don't embed and are thus ejected from the body), when the heart beats, when there are brainwaves, when it is can survive outside of the womb, at birth, or (my personal belief) when the mother forms a relationship with it. It is unprovable in quantifiable terms and therefore should not be influencing our legislation.

So, now I am thinking of doing a post on my absolute hatred of binaries.

I would also like to say that my journal is usually not so abortion heavy, but the recent Oklahoma law has me up in arms.
epporsimuove: (Default)
So I went to yoga, ate dinner (eggs in spicy tomato sauce…mmm), and watched an episode of Farscape and Glee. I think I have finally calmed down enough to talk about Oklahoma.

Last Friday (23 April 2010), Governor Brad Henry vetoed two anti-abortion bills passed by the Oklahoma congress. He signed a third bill mandating new signed in the offices of abortion providers.

Today, the Oklahoma State Senate voted 36-12 to overturn the governor’s veto.

Descriptions of the two bills and commentary )

BTW: The title is from the song "Oklahoma" from the ridiculously funny musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
epporsimuove: Bisexual and Brilliant on a Rainbow (bisexual and brilliant)
As most people know, I am a big supporter of health care reform. I support a strong public option. I support universal health care. If I had my way, we would have socialized health care (whatever that means).

So, of course, I was happy that the health care bill passed the house last night. However, I am happy purely because we passed a health care bill. But that bill itself...

I cannot believe that an anti-abortion amendment was attached to this bill. What is more, I cannot believe that 64 Democrats, two of them women, voted for this amendment. The Democrats have a large majority in both chambers of Congress. There is a Democrat sitting in the Oval Office. Why, then, are my reproductive rights being taken away? This is a battle we have already fought. On a bill that is supposed to be progressive, moving us forward, why are women being moved back? What's more, why is it always women's rights that are the first to go? No one would ever consider taking away insurance coverage for Erectile Disfunction or other male health care issues.

I am so upset right now.

The text of the amendment:

The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.

There is a lot more about this amendment and this bill (the influence of the Catholic church, the "move towards the right," the abysmal behavior of Republican male representatives during speeches by their female Democratic colleagues yesterday, the fear mongering by the right). Anyone who wants to talk about it, let me know. I need to blow off some steam, and I need to talk to people about it.

Cross posted at lj. There are some other comments there.
epporsimuove: (Default)
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the intersection of labels and identity. We build much of our identity based on labels. Don't believe me? Quick, describe yourself in thirty seconds or less. Go ahead, I'll wait.

My description would be something along the lines of "I am a white, female, uu, liberal, bisexual feminist." All of which are labels, and not even all of the labels which I assign to myself. In fact, they are labels created by someone else, but which I have now commandeered and identified myself within. No one has the right to tell me I do not deserve to label myself as I do.

To give a more concrete personal example, my description of myself as bisexual is often challenged, for various reasons. The challenges range from "bisexuals don't really exist, they are just confused/lying/etc" to declarations that I am not bisexual enough to be labeled as such because I have not had sexual relationships with both sexes or genders. When such label objections come up, I am forced to defend my identity.

Two recent events have really compounded this idea of labeling and identity for me. The first is the recent attention surrounding track star Caster Semenya and trans mayoral candidate Melissa Sue Robinson. Both have recently been discussed in the media, and generally not respectfully. (I blogged a bit about Caster Semenya earlier this week, and here is a brief, and not perfect, discussion of an article about Melissa Sue Robinson.)

The importance of labels and identity is very apparent when dealing with sex and gender. Anyone who does not easily fit into a male-female observed gender (the gender an observer assumes a person to be) and an observed gender that matches their own gender identity, will often be forced to defend their own gender labeling and identity. For Robinson, this means constantly being labeled "a transgender" (and their are a myriad of problems with that statement) and often being referred to as a male. For Semenya, I would be incredibly surprised if every article about her from now on does not label her a hermaphrodite, regardless of whether that is a label she wishes to adopt herself.

The second event was a recent outpouring of discussion about whether men can be feminists. Some said yes, a feminist is someone who exemplifies and values a 'feminist' mentality. Others said no, the definition of a feminist requires a gender/sex of female.

All three of these examples depend on differing definitions of the label discussed. And the problems extend beyond feminist and gender and sexuality examples: the LDS (Mormon) church, for example, is often considered not Christian; although most of my friends and acquaintances in the LDS church consider themselves to be Christian.

Where the problem lies is not simply in our different definitions of what bisexual/female/male/feminist/Christian/etc is, but in our own identity connections to those terms. Do people care as much when it is not the definition of their own label that is being questioned? When we meet others who label themselves as we do but do not do so in the same manner, our own identity and 'right' to that label is called into question. Likewise, when we meet people similar to ourselves who labels themselves differently, our 'right' to reject that label is questioned.

So, in the end, my point is this: everyone has the right to craft their own identity and to assign whatever labels desired to that identity. If you do not agree with their own self-labeling, declaring that label to be false is not the correct response. I, at least, will respond positively to a respectful question: "I often think of a bisexual as...How do you define it?" Please don't be offended if you don't change my mind, I probably won't change yours. And, really, neither of us should be expected to. But dialogue and genuine attempts at understanding, that should be expected.
epporsimuove: (Default)
Despite not talking about it much, I have been following the Caster Semenya "scandal" pretty closely. It is bringing up a lot of different issues, from a discussion of what makes a woman, to an ongoing conversation about the media's epic fail in covering the story in a respectful manner. Take, for example, this stunning piece of brilliance from Yahoo!News, which was the first thing I saw when I finally got online today. The piece discusses the recent rumours that Semenya's gender testing has revealed her to be a hermaphradite (these are, of course, still unverified). Nothing really new, but

Reading the IAAF rules, it would appear that Semenya would be allowed to run if her condition was treated.

Allow me to put on my angry face as a I say this is not a condition, and she does not need to be fixed.

Also, your funny quote for the day:

Not having ovaries isn't something that goes unnoticed.

Actually, unless you have x-ray vision, not having ovaries can easily go unnoticed, as ovaries are not visible on the outside. Sounds like the writer needs to go back to health class.
epporsimuove: (Default)
Today in Iran, a massacre occurred that is being called Iran's Tienanmen Square. The information is still vague, but reports are coming out of the country about police hacking through protesters with axes, pushing people off of bridges, and bludgeoning protesters with clubs. Just to make this exceedingly clear; THIS IS NOT OKAY. And, no, there is nothing the US can do about it.

First, there are a few troubling comments that I have seen repeated over and over again that I would like to address.

Iran Links Dump: from feminism to news )

Anything I am missing? What have you been reading? What do you think?

ETA: Updated Liveblogging links for today.
epporsimuove: (Default)
I have quite a few things I want to talk about in the next few days, among them religion (Christianity and Islam), Iran, and this.

It is the last one I want to address in this post. It involves a very offensive video game, and the creator's mistaken and misinformed ideas about love and relationships in the modern media. I am leaving this post public for now.

The path to true love is obviously through abuse and torture, right? )

I have to admit, were the creator not so vocal about his beliefs surrounding this game and adamant that this is okay, I would likely support his right to produce and sell the game wherever. It is, after all, a game. There are plenty of books out there that have rape scenarios, and I do not want them banned. But the creators of those put them out there with the intention of playing on certain fantasies. They are not there to suggest a someone should actually implement them.


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