Also.Also.Also: Political Women Don’t Need Broomsticks and Other Stories We Missed

Well I’m tired of all my Halloween decorations and I’m ready for it to be spring. How’s it going with you? Here’s some stuff we missed while I was glaring at that pile of pumpkins on the table!

You Should Give

+ Monica Roberts needs our help after being evicted from her home with no resources. Donate!

Many of you know former contributor Monica Roberts. She’s a force of nature: the award-winning blogger behind TransGriot; a founding member of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition; an accomplished writer, lecturer, organizer, conference speaker, and activist; a proud trans woman of color, and a passionate advocate for transgender civil rights.
And today, she was this close to being homeless, after being unjustly evicted from her home in Houston, Texas by an intolerant family member.

Some Queer Stuff

+ No, The South Isn’t a “New Frontier” for LGBT Rights

These national spotlight pieces rarely, if ever, discuss the organizations and coalitions that already exist in the South and have for some time. These pieces miss the work put in by LGBTQ-affirming religious coalitions, safe schools coalitions, and state equality groups to slowly but surely change their communities, their places of worship, and their state and local policies. It seems that more national news is made highlighting the blatant and egregious examples of bigotry that happen in our region.

We can count on these examples to be highlighted as if they define the South and its response to its LGBTQ people in its entirety. Southerners on New Ground, the first pride parade in Tuscaloosa, or LGBTQ people happily thriving don’t make the news because they don’t fit the narrative of the South being backward.

+ Gay Sex is Gay Sex and Politically, That Matters from Jamilah King

Let’s just put this out there: Gay sex is gay sex. Gay sex is hot. Gay sex is not straight sex. While most sex among straight adults isn’t a legal matter, gay sex is different. It’s still inherently political. As far back as 1779, Thomas Jefferson wrote a law in Virginia for which the penalty for sodomy between two men was castration. In 1948, Congress enacted the District of Columbia’s first law against sodomy, posing as punishment 10 years in prison, a $1,000 fine and mandatory psychiatric treatment. As recently as 1997, 21 states in America had enforceable sodomy laws, which made it a crime to have gay sex. Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that sodomy laws amounted to an “unconstitutional invasion of privacy,” and even though district attorneys have declared such laws to be virtually unenforceable, 12 states — including Michigan, Mississippi and Texas — still have them on the books. In recent years, as many as a dozen men were arrested by the East Baton Rogue sheriff’s office for violating Louisiana’s statute against “unnatural carnal copulation.

Doll Parts and Other Things

+ Read Rebecca Carroll‘s breakdown of Lena Dunham’s Race Problem

And then I am catapulted back to what it is that bothers me so deeply about Dunham. It is absurd and frankly racist that the literary world’s axis is now set to spin based on whatever utterances are made by a 20-something white woman who grew up in wealth, likes to get naked and have sex on TV and call it feminism, and who is almost entirely exclusionary on the subject of race.

+ This was kinda fascinating: Playboy Pinups on Meeting the Male Gaze

+ Study That Says Listening To Beyoncé Makes You Dumb Is Offensive, Dumb

+ If You’re Lucky Enough to Earn a Living From Your Art, You’re Probably White, with charts and stats! Sobering, depressing charts and stats.

+ Why Your Cat Thinks You’re a Huge Unpredictable Ape

That’s because no matter how much we love them, cats are our captives, domesticated aliens with no way of explaining their customs, or of interpreting ours.

+ An oldie but a goodie: Why Do Witches Ride Brooms?

+ Just some light reading on smart, spiteful children. You’re welcome.

+ Oh I meant to tell you that Joan Jett is launching her own clothing line at Hot Topic.

+ Roxane Gay‘s Theses on the Feminist Novel

+ Why Women are Such a Minority in Elected Office by Nancy Cohen: “The obvious answers aren’t necessarily the most accurate. Here, five studies help clear up the gender disparity in politics.”

+ Clair Huxtable is Dead: On Slaying the Cosbys and Making Space for Live, Analise and Mary Jane from Brittany Cooper

For far too long, Black women in particular, have been saddled with the representational baggage of the Cosby Show. Even though Raven Symoné’s comments about her being “American” not “African” strike me as short-sighted and misguided, I understand her desire to move out from the shadow of the Cosbys.

I say that as an avid lover of the Cosby Show. Cliff Huxtable’s progressive gender politics and the show’s overt rhetoric of anti-sexism has struck me in my adult years as decidedly progressive for the time. But it’s a sham. How can a man who is a vicious hater of women get all the rhetoric right, offering up an idealistic view of what a “good, feminist family man,” might look like? It turns out that dudes, or their carefully crafted representatives, can sound right, and seem right, and still be all the way wrong. It turns out that you can have progressive feminist politics on the outside and still be deeply emotionally damaged and fucked up on the inside.

And Finally

+ Cartoon Network censored its first gay kiss, ostensibly to protect the kids who are desensitized to pretty much every type of violence on earth but definitely can’t handle the fleeting idea of two men’s lips touching. Sure.

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Laneia is the Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 922 articles for us.


  1. Ah, I love these “Also” posts! I actually had never heard the broom legend.

    I could relate to the cat rituals of coming home and leaving, the belly rub part reminded me of this cartoon by the oatmeal (who is a hilarious seattle web-comic author if you aren’t familiar with him) –

    Regarding the south –
    This is the one region of the US that I’ve never really explored, so I can’t really speak for what it is like there. But I do know that a HUGE spectrum exists within individual regions, states, or even cities. I grew up in Washington – that’s a pretty progressive state, right? But looking back at my peer circle and church growing up, it seems almost like a foreign world. Men were the head of the household. Pre-marital sex was a sin. And of course homosexuality was a sin. But of course, we’re oh-so-tolerant because “We will accept gays as PEOPLE, just not their lifestyle. We’ve all sinned, even if some sins are ‘more disgusting’ than others.” (And that’s pretty much verbatim.) I literally did not meet an (openly out) queer person until I was 15 and a bi girl came to our youth group (and was subsequently subjected to questioning by other kids about her “sinful” lifestyle).

    …But I digress. I guess what I’m saying is, there’s work to be done everywhere, even in “progressive” regions. There are pockets everywhere: pockets of goodness, pockets of hatred. My heart goes out to people in the south or anywhere else who are subject to discrimination and bullying. And I can understand the part about not wanting to leave a place you call your home, too.

  2. I am soooooo tired of hearing that the South is the last hold out for gayness and that the North and West are pillars of safety for the LGBTQ community. I come from a Louisiana family, but grew up in NJ–and I’ve seen homophobia in both places. I’ve seen acceptance in both places. This idea that the South is backward when it comes to gay rights is similar to the stereotype that lots of Southerners are inbred and stupid.

    The state with the most same-sex families is….Mississippi! Mississippi! Louisiana has some amazing local LGBTQ activist groups. Two cities have non-discrimination ordinances (one city recently attempted to pass one, but it failed despite support from the business community). A hate crime bill was passed in 1997 which included sexual orientation (actual or perceived). We’ve had a thriving gay community in New Orleans and other areas for decades. Homophobia exists everywhere, in every “gay-friendly” city, in every “conservative” state. Acceptance is also found everywhere–north, south, east, west.

    • “Homophobia exists everywhere, in every “gay-friendly” city, in every “conservative” state. Acceptance is also found everywhere–north, south, east, west.”

      Cool fact about Mississippi; I did not know that.

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