Also.Also.Also: Rachel Maddow Talks Depression And Other Stories We Missed This Week

Hello! Did you know that here at Autostraddle, we are all constantly trying to write a thing? Sometimes there are too many things and not enough keyboards to write those things. Here’s what we missed this week!

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) recently released the fourth edition of their Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Project Curriculum, developed and taught by 46 of the top adolescent medicine specialists in the country to improve teens’ medical care. And guess what? They thought about us! The organization has found that (surprise) adolescents suffer when their healthcare providers are ignorant to their life experiences. In response, the curriculum offers dos-and-don’ts for medical practitioners for topics ranging from trans* health to reversing the damage of homophobia to the health of LGBT youth. Videos and Powerpoints abound!

Before we delve into anything else too complicated, let’s discuss the fact that Jane Lynch is the Comedy Central Roastmaster for the roast of Roseanne Barr. Lynch said she has “long fantasized of ripping Roseanne Barr a new one.” In other words, the roast already sounds like it’s going to be amazing.

Brazen: Trans Women Safer Sex Guide, is now available in PDF form. This is a huge deal, as it used to be super hard to find and it appears to be the most (only?) concise, frank and inclusive discussion of sexual health for trans*women and their sex partners. Brazen was written by Morgan M. Page and published by The 519 in December of 2011. Now everyone forever wherever can educate themselves on safer sex! Pass it along.

Fred Karger, the gay Republican presidential candidate, ended his campaign on Friday. Although his campaign was hardly close to successful, it achieved an impact in that it happened, after all. And even better — he refuses to endorse Mitt Romney.

As if that wasn’t enough, the DC Republican Committee voted Thursday to adopt inclusive language in their platform via the single Earth-shaking phrase: “We, the Republicans of the District of Columbia support the belief that all individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, are entitled to full and equal protection under the laws and the Constitution and that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.” Well said.

Maureen Walsh, the Republican who delivered a moving speech on the floor about her support for gay marriage in her home state of Washington, is seeing financial support pour in from gay marriage supporters across the country as she defends her seat. Plus, in addition to gay Republicans there may also soon be a black mormon woman named Mia Love serving the party in Congress – in order to represent her home state of UTAH. Utah, you guys.

But just to keep it a little more real, let’s all reflect on the seven most anti-gay U.S. Representatives for a second. Hint: they’re all Republicans!

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith is not a Republican, and last week he introduced HR 6046 – the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012 (MSET) in Congress. The bill would alter the standing definition of “spouse” so that same-sex military families can have the same access to benefits that opposite-sex partnerships do, such as insurance and housing allowances. Here’s ten for you, Adam Smith.

When Chuck Norris wrote an opinion piece last week about how President Obama is seeking to create a “pro-gay Boy Scouts of America” and promote a pro-gay agenda (gasp!), GLAAD hit him back by calling him a “fame-hungry has-been” and pointing out that Mitt Romney, whom he endorsed, also advocated for gays to be allowed in the Boy Scouts previously. In larger news: there are people who care about Chuck Norris in the world.

Beginning on July 26, verbal consent will be required for an HIV test in Massachusetts, whereas formerly written consent was required. And if you’re a lesbian in China, all that is now required for you to give blood is your willingness — because the 14 year-old ban on queer lady blood donations has been lifted! (Unfortunately, it still stands for men.)

In news you already knew, bullying has lasting effects. The newest realization to come out of that hard fact? Bullied girls will have health problems in their adulthood.

A box of tissues is in order for the death of Dr. Richard Isay, AKA the man turned psychiatrist / psychoanalyst / activist who made it possible for homosexuality to no longer be viewed as a “disease” in his own medical community. He passed away from cancer at the age of 77 on Thursday.

If you are still depressed about Nora Ephron’s passing, perhaps this retrospective will help you process. Ephron was a journalist who stood her own and then became famous for screenwriting, directing, and producing — most notably for films like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle. These are two of my mother’s favorite movies, just as a sidenote.

This week Rachel Maddow also bared all to Rolling Stone, but only emotionally. Sorry. She opened up to the magazine about her cyclical depression, building on a discussion she began with NPR on the same topic earlier this year. It’s a really great read so you should, you know, read it.

Junot Diaz writes very good books that you would probably also love to read. It turns out much of his perspective on race, which permeates his work (purposefully), was shaped by women of color and their role in the 80’s “gender wars.” His interview with the Boston Review — both parts — are filled with his feelings on race and women. This is a must-read. At one point he described the experience of reading the works of women of color and kind of had a femigasm, I think:

And for me, what was fascinating was that the maps these women were creating in their fictions—the social, critical, cognitive maps, these matrixes that they were plotting—were far more dangerous to the structures that had me pinioned than any of the criticisms that men of color were throwing down. What began to be clear to me as I read these women of color—Leslie Marmon Silko, Sandra Cisneros, Anjana Appachana, and throw in Octavia Butler and the great [Cherríe] Moraga of course—was that what these sisters were doing in their art was powerfully important for the community, for subaltern folks, for women writers of color, for male writers of color, for me. They were heeding [Audre] Lorde’s exhortation by forging the tools that could actually take down master’s house. To read these sisters in the 80s as a young college student was not only intoxicating, it was soul-changing. It was metanoia.

Sarah Robles is the strongest woman in this country, arguably. I argue this mostly because she lifts heavy things for a living and is the United State’s “best chance” at winning an Olympic medal for weighlifting in the upcoming season. This is all of note to you because sexism and the patriarchy have rendered her hard work and dedication so unworthy of financial support that she struggles to eat. (The good news is, she loves herself enough for all of us — and works hard at that, too.)

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. The Rachel Rolling Stone piece was really good but it made me so sad. It made me want to give her a hug and be like, Rachel, dude, you’re literally the greatest. But the best and most thoughtful people are so often the ones assailed by self-doubt. I think Bertrand Russell once said something along those lines.

  2. I lurve Rachel Maddow and I had no idea that she struggles with depression. Reading the comments on that article though….GRRR. I know it shouldn’t but that shit just pisses me off! People are ignorant!

  3. I appreciate the brief acknowledgement that there are some Republicans taking steps towards equality. I know my party has a long way to go and as a lesbian Republican (I know, I know, but I’m a fiscal conservative, y’all) it can be frustrating. But I believe more and more Republicans are changing their minds about LGBT equality everyday, especially within the younger generations. In short, we just need the old dudes to die off and we’ll be golden.

  4. Also can we have an honorable mention for
    Ricky Lubey Fecal Matter Santorum?

  5. The Rolling Stone article was insightful and well-written…Also, about that link you posted that linked to the article? I just spent five minutes responding to someone’s comment challenge to “Name one conservative who was invited to step foot on her show.”

    I gave video clip/photographic evidence of three. This is why I almost never let myself scroll down to read the comments on any website except this one.

  6. Junot Diaz is an amazing man. It was my privilege to be able to take a class with him years ago and his passion not just for writing but for reading and exploring other people’s writing was evident in every class. He obviously loved interacting with students and trying to guide them towards being better, more interesting writers. He was hella funny too.

  7. The Junot Diaz interview was amazing, thank you for finding it! there are so many parts of it I want to read over and over until they sink in. I loved Oscar Wao, and this interview makes me want to read it again, with a better eye for how colonialism and sexual violence intertwine and shape the story.

  8. Super massive thanks for the heads up on Brazen! At least 50% of my friends are trans* of one flavour or another, and its great to be able to link them to this :)

    Re: Rachel Maddow and depression. I’ve heard something about this before, but its really moving reading that interview.

  9. I loved the Rachel Maddow article, though I felt sad for her too. I think it’s not just depression in there, but a whole load of LGBT-person-with-Catholic-upbringing syndrome. I see the same thing in Dan Savage. I felt a strong affinity with both of them before I knew they were raised Catholic, and I think this is why.

    • I drew the same conclusions and can relate.

      Rachel Maddow is definitely a personal hero of mine.

  10. While I loved When Harry Met Sally I was/am deeply disturbed by the unabashed disability-phobia I’n Sleepless in Seattle. Yes it was only one short scene, but considering how little visibility there continues to be for people with disabilities in mainstream entertainment/media, (apart from objectifying “uplifting” victim/hero stories)it’s impact cannot be denied. In the airport scene where the lovers are about to meet, one of them (sorry I refuse to watch it again to verify which) is going through the potentially horrific surprises that may await their discovery of the other, the possibility that he/she could be an amputee (offensive language, as it is always more respectful to ‘put the person before the disability and say, for ex ‘person with epilepsy’ rather then ‘an epileptic’).

    • Sorry I meant to say that he/she runs through the potentially horrific surprises… including that the other may be an amputee, or ‘have no legs’.
      So dissapointing from a movie feauturing Rosie odonnell. Although she was relegated to ‘chubby'(=asexual) best friend’ role, ala the amazing but underused janneane garofolo (sp?)

  11. “If I’m not depressed and I’m on and I can focus and I can think through something hard and without interruption and without existential emptiness that comes from depression, that gives me – not mania. But I exalt. I exalt in not being depressed.”

  12. There is still so much stigma attached to mental illness; I think it’s wonderful that Maddow is opening up about her depression in such an honest (and heartbreaking!) way. I was really surprised when it was brought up in her NPR interview, and that seems to echo the general reaction to her statements: “You seem so happy! How can you be depressed?”.

    However, I didn’t really like how the linked article (Mediaite) kept putting “clinical” (as in: clinical depression) in quotation marks. It really got to me when the article refereed to Maddow’s depression as “what she calls “clinical” depression”. No, I’m pretty sure that’s not just what Maddow calls it-I think her doctors and the DSM-IV probably call it that, too. Somehow that wording felt kinda snarky to me, but I’m probably just reading way way too much into it!

  13. Pingback: Sunday News Round-Up, Antibiotic-Filled Edition « Women's Health News

  14. As a Texan who grew up watching “Walker, Texas Ranger”, I didn’t know there were people who DIDN’T care about Chuck Norris.

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