Also.Also.Also. Rachel Maddow Should be the First Gay President and Other Stories We Missed This Week

Hello, firecrackers! This week my friends and I went to the Lincoln Memorial to see the Capitol Fourth fireworks and it was so pretty! Here’s the news we missed while I was drowning in a sea of DC tourists.

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 We Still Need to Care About Hobby Lobby

+ There are few things I love more than puns and feminism, and Cyndi Lauper’s article “Girls Just Want to Have Birth Control” covers both. Well, it’s not so much a pun as an allusion to her song but still, she has important things to say.

The decision handed down this week makes clear that this isn’t an argument about religious liberties. Rather, it is a rejection of women’s rights across the board, hidden within an argument that our most basic health care is “controversial.” The subject of birth control should be far from controversial. To many women, the only thing controversial about it is that we are still fighting this battle.

+ I love Rachel Maddow just as much as I love puns and feminism and this takedown of the Hobby Lobby decision does not disappoint.

+ In this week’s news that will surprise no one, the Hobby Lobby ruling is even more harmful to people of color. 

At this point it’s no longer news that those in our communities who are the most vulnerable suffer the most when increased restrictions and barriers are put into place — and pregnancy and reproduction has been a hotbed of these kinds of restrictions over the last few years. As the Obama administration figures out how they might fill the gap left by this ruling (even the majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, offers this as a solution), we have to keep in mind that women of color are once again going to be relying on a safety net to get basic needs met. And that’s a safety net with more and more holes.

Let’s Talk About LGBT Families!

+ According to a study by the University of Melbourne, the kids of same-sex parents are just as happy as those of heterosexual parents, if not happier!

The study surveyed 315 same-sex parents (80% female and 18% male) with a total of 500 children across Australia. It looked at a spectrum of family contexts “from previous heterosexual relationships, to assisted reproductive technologies and same-sex co-parenting arrangements.” (LGBT joint adoption is only available in four of the eight states in Australia, while individual LGBT adoption is fully legal in six.) The parents reported on various aspects of their children’s health and mental wellbeing.

+ The Asian Pride Project is making it easier for families to embrace LGBT identities.

The ultimate goal: Helping immigrant Asian Americans to feel publicly comfortable as the parents and family members of out queer children.

“Usually LGBT advocacy groups are focused on the individual,” says Leslie Kuo, who curated the exhibition on behalf of MOCA and APP — think of the “It Gets Better” project, which is designed to help gay youth address challenges of isolation, shaming and bullying. “But the Project is really about using the family as the building block of a wide, grassroots movement. It’s such an Asian cultural idea.”

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+ Hollywood has done a less-than-stellar job of representing LGBT people, parents, and families. Clearly, queer experiences exist far beyond those of white gay men and the film industry needs to start reflecting that.

These characters have shown people that gay parents are just like any other parents, that gay men are just like any other men, and that gay people are just as imperfect as their straight counterparts. But if your knowledge about gay life and the gay rights movement came solely from television and movies, you might think that the only people fighting the good fight are good-looking, affluent gay white men and their good-looking, affluent white boyfriends and husbands.

Representation Matters

+ Ruth Hunt, the Chief Executive of Stonewall UK, speaks about the challenges of being a lesbian leading the organization. 

She said: “What I was really struck by, was – this is somebody who was on Twitter, highlighting that experience [of women being marginalised in the LGB movement] – was [the criticism] ‘how can a lesbian represent gay people?’
“And I was really struck by that, as an idea. Not, ‘how can a lesbian represent gay men?’, but ‘gay people’. And I think that’s certainly something which is still a re-occurring theme.”


With Executive Orders, the Limit DOES Exist

+ “Gay President” Obama’s anti-discrimination executive order isn’t actually stopping discrimination all that much.

South Dakota is one of 29 states where you can be fired for your sexual orientation, and one of 34 states where you can be fired for your gender identity and expression. President Obama recently issued an executive order barring federal contractors from such firings, but executive orders can only go so far. Repeated attempts to add sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-discrimination laws have fallen apart before making it to the signing desk.

+ Even with marriage protections on the books, LGBT discrimination in the workplace is still a tremendous problem.

The fight for nationwide gay marriage will turn out to be a hollow joke if gay couples in red states are too afraid of discrimination to actually get married and enjoy the dignity of true, state-prescribed equality. Because the Republican House refuses to consider gay rights measures—and because states like Tennessee and Alabama seem unlikely to act on their own to protect sexual minorities—the best solution is probably the one gays have relied on for decades: the courts. Thanks to federal lawsuits, judges are already considering the idea that existing law outlaws anti-gay discrimination in every state and that the Constitution guarantees same-sex adoption rights. The same logic that shoehorns anti-gay discrimination into sex discrimination could be used to turn the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination clause into a protection for LGBT people.

 You Should Give!

+ The Highlander Research and Education Center is a wonderful, historic retreat and education space with friendly staff and plenty of rocking chairs. It’s where organizers like Martin Luther King were trained and where the song We Shall Overcome was written. Its programs foster youth and community empowerment and grassroots activism. It’s totally awesome. And it needs your help!  Highlander currently has an Indiegogo campaign going to purchase new supplies for its kitchen, which produces delicious, healthy, wholesome food for the people staying there. I can tell you this personally because I participated in a retreat there which was one of the best experiences of my whole entire life. And the food was delicious. And everything was wonderful. So please, donate!

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Leo is a homemaker and educator based near Boston, MA.

Leo has written 26 articles for us.


  1. You’re welcome to vote for who you wish for “gay president” but before we elect Rachel Maddow for anything, how about she actually so much as utters the word “transgender” once on her show? I’m curious if she ever mentions how a trans woman employed by Hobby Lobby had a long-standing discrimination suit against the company? Rachel doesn’t like to mention trans people and prefers to refer to the LGBTQ community as “gay” thereby making the T invisible. That’s not what I want in a gay president.

    • I don’t watch her(partially due to being at work when she’s on) but I didn’t realize she marginalizes trans and queer people like that. :-/

  2. Two things: 1) I’d actually probs vote for Maddow v Hillary for first female president, though I love them both. Hillary’s just got a bit of the crazy eyes thing going on. I don’t blame her—she’s been through hell—but I’m kind of afraid she’s just going to freak the fuck out at any moment.
    2) IT IS SO IMPORTANT to talk about lesbian erasure from LGBTQ history. In Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, my hero for life Edie Windsor mentions it for a split second, how no one ever talks about the fact that lesbians have been fighting right along with the gay boys. Sure, while Stonewall was happening, the ladies were also having to fight for equal pay, access to birth control, divorce rights, educational rights, employment rights, representation, domestic violence issues, rape culture, and the goddamn ERA, but they were ALSO fighting for their rights in terms of their sexuality, which I think has a lot to say about how badass they were. So it’s even worse when they’re just written off entirely, not spoken about in the slightest. Makes me so mad. I think that’s why US v Windsor was that much more important, because a woman, a LESBIAN, made that change happen, with her woman (LESBIAN) lawyer.
    Bitches get shit done, man.

    • “Hillary’s just got a bit of the crazy eyes thing going on. I don’t blame her—she’s been through hell—but I’m kind of afraid she’s just going to freak the fuck out at any moment.”

      Hey. So, I know that you probably were not trying to come off as someone who holds sexist and misogynist views of female politicians. From the second half of your comment, it seems like you are totally into rad ladies who make progressive change happen. But, when people use words like “crazy” and “freak the fuck out,” it is not only not cool with a lot of folks who live with mental illness, but it reinforces age-old misogyny re: women are too emotionally unstable to be good politicians.

      • Ok.
        No, I obviously don’t hold “misogynistic and sexist views.” Good lord. Nothing in my post is misogynistic/sexist and saying that makes zero sense. I mean, really. Nothing I said about Hillary had anything to do with her being a woman. Nothin’.
        I SPECIFICALLY mentioned that’d it’s because she’s been through hell, yo, and reached a level of desperation that is not healthy for anybody. Not that it was because she was a woman. So, you’re reaching pretty far.
        For the record, if we were talking about Romney, I’d say the same goddamn thing (although the shit he’s gone through is warranted, so)
        The word you’re looking for is “ableist.” Now, I have a laundry list of diagnoses, and I very much thing that “ableist” is slung around way too much. Do I think Hillary is mentally ill? No. Do I think she has poor coping skills? Absa-fucking-lutely. So I think she’s been holding in all of her feelings about the shit that’s happened to her for a very long time and at some point that’s bound come out in maybe not the healthiest way, and no, I don’t think breakdowns are good for ruling a country, for her health, for anybody. Again, the same thing would happen if Romney became president, or McCain. They’ve all just been through some stuff (warranted or no) and reached an unhealthy level of desperation.
        But I’m going to say again that I feel like you’re reaching preeeetttty far to find something to be pissed about in something I said.
        Peace out.

    • Woya..

      Maggie was not calling you sexist or misogynist. They were pointing out the fact that Hillary Clinton, along with just about every other single person with a vagina who has ever had a polititcal position of power in this country, has the argument used against them by men (conservative, democratic, green party, doesn’t matter) that these people with vaginas absolutely should not be voted into office because “[they’re] just going to freak the fuck out at any moment.” because all of their volatile woman hormones will surely send them over the edge. They simply cannot handle the stress, because they are fragile things with lady-parts. The history of hysteria is no joke.

      Also. Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State. Can you please provide one instance in which she demonstrated her “poor coping skills”? Was there an unresolved nuclear crises that I missed? Or am I confusing that with her office coordinating the denuclearization of half a dozen countries (most of those missions conducted in secrecy until their completion was revealed) in Obama’s first term? Or maybe you’re referring to her Senate career, where she served on 5 Senate committees (Budget, Armed Services, Environment and Public Works, Health/Education/Labor and Pensions, as well as a special Committee on Aging.. nbd really), while also being the Chairwoman of Steering and Committee Outreach for the Senate Democratic Congress. Did I miss a public breakdown of her’s? Or are you privvy to some details of her private life that the rest of us are not? I’d really like to know.

      • Ok, honestly, I don’t need to defend my political views to you, or anyone, and honestly, my original comment was semi-joking. I am well aware of the history of hysteria and misogynistic comments, thanks, and I am well aware of what people with vaginas in positions of power are told on a daily basis. I have a vagina. So.
        This is getting a little too out of hand. I don’t really owe you a breakdown of my opinions on things. My original comment should’ve been taken with a grain of salt.

        But, I will say, if I *had* to choose, I’d rather not have a settler colonist as president, or even Sec of State. So, not Maddow, not Clinton, maybe more Diane Humetewa or Lisa Johnson Billy, or particularly Susan Allen (a lesbian)
        But uh, yeah, my original comment has been blown way out of proportion. So peace out, y’all.

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