FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: March for Our Lives

Hey y’all, welcome to this week’s Friday Open Thread! You made it through the week and you’re looking fabulous. I’ll hope you’ll hang out in the comments with me and let me know what’s going on in your neck of the woods.

Can I be honest? I really wanted to come up with a really cool FOT topic to discuss with y’all this week…a cool meme, recap some of my favorite moments from TV…just something light and fun so we could all get a break from the heaviness of the world. But, it’s just not me to pass up an opportunity to step on my soapbox and talk about a political issue. As you can imagine, I am a blast at parties.

This Saturday, in DC, across the United States and beyond, a movement started by a group of teens from Parkland, Florida, who saw their friends and teachers senselessly murdered on Valentine’s Day, will rise up to demand that their lives and safety of our young people become a priority. The March For Our Lives is about ending gun violations in our schools and in our community. It’s about confronting the cowardice that pervades our political system…the kind that substitutes thoughts and prayers for actual substantive change. It’s about saying: enough.

Back in 2016, the Fenway Institute issued a policy brief that laid out the argument for gun control as an LGBT public health issue. They argued that because LGBT communities are, disproportionately, more likely to be the victims of crime and disproportionately more likely to commit suicide, we have a vested interest in supporting effective gun control measures. Everything we’ve witnessed about gun violence since then — especially the pandemic of violence against transwomen — supports that thesis. We must champion this cause, we must do more…because it may well kill us.

It’s been kinda miraculous to watch these indefatigable kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, especially Emma Gonzalez. I want both to shelter them from everything else awful in the world and to let them roam freely so that they can achieve their fullest potential. Already, they’ve brought enough public pressure to bear on Florida Governor Rick Scott (R-NRA) that he defied the gun lobby and enacted new gun restrictions. Even Congress looks poised to make some progress: a current provision in the omnibus spending bill — which needs to be passed to keep the government operating — will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study gun violence. It seems absurd but the CDC hasn’t been allowed to even study the issue since 1996. It’s not enough, but it is a start.

So I’ll be spending my Saturday calling for an end to gun violence (find a sibling march near you) and then freezing my butt off on the sidelines of my nephews’ soccer games (Spring, where are you?!). Let me know what you’ll be up to this weekend and, if you head out to a #MarchForOurLives protest, what the event looks like where you are.


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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. Spends her Thursday nights trying to make #Shonday happen.

Natalie has written 76 articles for us.

37 Comments

  1. I’m repeatedly impressed by today’s youth. These teenagers are so incredible and inspiring. I am in awe of their work.

    To lighten the subject a bit, but staying on “youth of America” topic, has anyone seen Love, Simon? I saw it last weekend, and I’m so glad queer teens have this movie. Is it perfect? No. But it’s inspiring teenagers to come out, and it’s helping them. I wish I had this movie when I was in high school, realizing I’m gay/coming out. I can’t wait for the non cis male version of the movie.

  2. Thanks for this thread, Natalie!

    I don’t know why schools’ collective negative reaction to their students walking out surprised me so much. I guess I weirdly thought “taking steps to prevent school shootings” would be something that everyone could get behind?

    I was in the Columbine generation. I’ve participated in lockdown drills as a student, and helped to lead them as the employee of a school. It’s awfully strange sitting in a locked, dark room with students as an administrator beats on your door pretending to be a shooter.

    It seems to be getting worse and worse, and although there are no practical alternatives, it’s really hard to imagine sending my future kids to school at all at this point – particularly when administrators are denying the agency of children, utilizing police “resource officers” to keep their bodies on campus, and quelling their right to free speech.

    I’m not really going anywhere with this, but I’m frustrated, and the kids are amazing, and I’m glad they’re at the forefront of this. I hope tomorrow’s marches are well-attended across the country, and that the teenagers who are out there fighting for their future know that we’re all behind them.

    • @queergirl I think that your frustration is shared by most. I finished high-school, pre-Columbine, so it’s a bit surreal to think about all the things we subject children to now…and how, despite our best efforts, it’s woefully insufficient.

      It’s that time of year when school districts are doing their assignments for next year and, aside from all the regular considerations you have to make with kids about academics and student support — the only considerations you should be making — I’ve been thinking about to find a school for my nephews that keeps them safe, while not putting them at risk of being profiled by that school resource officers.

      • Absolutely. I am of the firm belief that we need to find ways to keep schools safe without police on campus — resource officers aren’t educators or trained in child development, and the police have clearly demonstrated that they are not good tools for deescalation. So-called resource officers are probably traumatizing a lot more students than they are helping, by virtue of what they symbolize alone. How do we locate and access the educational situations that will foster growth, learning and independence for our children under these circumstances?

  3. Well unfortunately I work Saturday so I can’t be at the march(though I will be down the street from it). Not sure what I will do at night, but surprisingly it was raining this week so it maybe a good time to take a nice hike Sunday as the sun is out(and slightly below average temps) and just enjoy the scenery. I do hope this march does something positive as we need it. Because I don’t want to see racists doing this every again. This could have easily happened in my area(also an area with lot Jewish people, but also West Asians).

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been mostly good. Yesterday I question myself that maybe I am soo straight that I need start HRT to admit I like men. But, then remembered the woman I like and went eww men. Thank you heterosexuality for forcing sraightness on me. Speaking of which if you have been reading my posts, I wasn’t sure if this woman I like, also liked me that way. I got my answer when she referred to me as her bestie, which is great cause I need more friends in my life, more so from the community. It’s also great cause the other lady(a nice queer Jew) I liked is back in L.A.(at least for now) and we had a wonderful Sunday. We’ve been partially texting gooey things all week and she called me her a total Jew Babe. I also got to spend time at Cuties Sunday morning with a fellow Straddler. Hopefully, things keep up.

    It’s Spring so this week was Persian New Year(which Iran, Afghanistan and a few other countries in east of Iran not India or Pakistan also celebrate). It happens the minute it turns Spring and we pretty much just eat rice with herbs and have table set with stuff that start with the letter that pronounced similar to sin in the Perso-Arabic alphabet. It’s always interesting to see how New Years differs from culture to culture. Plus a week before New Years we have a fire party were people literally walk and jump over fire, never done it, but sounds interesting.

    Sky before the rain came.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my thread. Have a positive weekend and hopefully warm first weeks of Spring.

    • Happy Nowruz, @needlesandpin! (NPR’s Code Switch, one of my favorite podcasts, did an episode on the Persian New Year last year if anyone wants to learn more about the celebration.)

      Sounds like you had a pretty good week and I hope it continues into the weekend. I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out with the girl you like but you can never have too many friends. I’m glad you took the opportunity to grow your community and support system.

      • Thank you, I will take a listen to it when I get the chance. Yeah it’s great to have more friends in the local community(and around the world). Plus, I am now sort of re-seeing a woman who I know is into me and recently came back into town.

  4. Hey I hope no one minds if I also call attention to an issue in my home state of Colorado. It has gotten virtually no press and a lot of people don’t know about it. This Tuesday there is a hearing for the proposed “Live and Let Live” bill. It is another so-called “religious freedom” bill like the one in Indiana. It explicitly discriminates against LGBT folks, and would give employers, business owners,and even some medical practitioners the right to refuse service to LGBT people. My partner and I are going to protest at the Capitol this Tuesday, March 23 and anyone in the Denver area should consider going. Thank you!

      • So I googled that, since I hadn’t heard anything about it, and the first thing that came up was a sex cam site, because the internet is crazy.
        But also, the way that bill is worded is just a hot mess. Like, what even is This? “LAWS AND GOVERNMENT ACTIONS THAT PROTECT THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND MORAL CONVICTIONS ABOUT MARRIAGE AND HUMAN SEXUALITY WILL ENCOURAGE PRIVATE CITIZENS AND INSTITUTIONS TO DEMONSTRATE TOLERANCE FOR THOSE BELIEFS AND CONVICTIONS AND THEREFORE CONTRIBUTE TO A MORE RESPECTFUL,DIVERSE, AND PEACEFUL SOCIETY.
        Also, WHY ARE WE YELLING?

        • Lol ya it’s definitely a hot mess, like “we’re going to legalize discrimination but pinky swear you won’t ok??” I’m hoping it gets cast out right away but who even knows anymore.

      • Ya, the Democrats will most likely shut it down. I didn’t mean to give the impression that it would definitely pass. I just don’t appreciate politicians taking swipes at my basic rights. Colorado can be surprisingly conservative,so the more visibility the better in my opinion.

  5. My six year old foster kid and I saw a fire truck and were talking about how they go to emergencies. She was asking what kind of emergencies there are. We listed fires and people getting hurt, care accidents. She kept asking what else. I’m pretty sure in the schools they practice intruder drills, and she does sometimes talk about the possibility that someone would try to take her. For now I say that my job is to keep her safe and her job is to help me. But not being able to keep our kids safe is scary.

    Tomorrow she and I will get together for breakfast with my dad. Then to the library so she can pick out books, lunch, and a trip to the animal shelter to visit the 70+ cats as a reward for having a good week. I just got it approved that she can visit with her grandmom and her brothers on Sunday, and our other foster kid is on a visit all week for spring break with her family, so on Sunday I can work on taxes and maybe mowing the yard! Things that are just easier if I don’t have to worry about the kids.

    My wife is at a kink workshop all weekend with her boyfriend, so they will probably be having a nice weekend, too.

    • @shewasnice That sounds like you’ve got a great Saturday planned with your foster daughter. I especially love that you’re going to visit an animal shelter as a reward to her…mostly because I’d like that reward for myself. I hope y’all have a great time.

      How is the process of getting foster kids to interact with their biological families? I feel like I only really know about it through television and can’t imagine sharing them. Do you find it helps your foster kids to be around their biological families?

      • Hi Natalie, that is a great question about bio families! We have been very lucky in the year that we’ve been fostering to have really good relationships with our kids’ families. One girl has been with us a year. She currently spends half of the time with her bio family and half with us with us. I also pick her up on the school days she’s with them and drive her to school (as their transportation is unreliable). We are definitely co-parenting. Her mom even said she’s glad gays are allowed to foster parent in our state as if her daughter can’t be with her full time, she’s glad that she’s with us. It is sort of like a divorced family except without the animosity.

        We had another girl for 6 months (she had been in the system for several years before coming to our home). Her mom finally was able to get and stay clean and now the two are together and seem to be doing well!

        I do find that the our kids have done better with getting to have visits with their families. I’ve known cases where parents were still using and not a good influence on their kids. But ours have been on the path of making better choices and trying to do right by their kids. Initial changes in visiting routines do take some getting used to for the kids (and there can be some initial acting out), but I’ve found our one is definitely more grounded when she has contact with her bio family.

        Another kid has been with us several months and I just asked her caseworker if she can have regular weekly visits with grandmom, which was approved by the judge. I do think it will be good for the kid, though there may be some difficult times as any new transition can be rough.

        The visiting the animal shelter has been a very workable strategy. I’m not big on rewards, but it does seem to help in this case. Also I’m not big on pets and this kid loves animals, so it works out well!

          • Aww, thank you, @Michael! After reading about commenting as a way of supporting the Autostraddle community, I’m trying to get better about commenting more (so the positive feedback is much appreciated!) I recently got a message from the person who did our foster care training. There is a lesbian couple going through the classes and they were wondering how it is fostering while queer in our midwest, small town, rural area. I’m excited about other queers fostering! There are definite pros and cons to the whole thing, and but for now it is a thing that I want to be doing, and it’s nice to have a place like Friday open threads to talk about it!

          • I’ll second the encouragement to keep sharing! Your kiddos sound great, and it’s a really cool perspective. I’m in medicine so I see more of the initial dysfunctional state leading to foster care or medical/behavioral issues when kids aren’t thriving and don’t often hear about kids and family systems who are in a situation that’s working out really well.

            P.S I’m shocked my parents never thought of taking me to a shelter as a reward. It’s genius

        • Thanks @Uintah! I’ve been trying to focus on the positives! The kids can be exhausting and the system can be exhausting, but sometimes we have a week without any meltdowns. It is exciting to see the kid we’ve had for several months progressing!

          A friend of mine had told our 6 year old about the shelter with its 70+ cats. One day after a meltdown the kid wanted to go visit. I did not have the energy and explained to her that she needed to be a good listener and help keep herself safe so I would have the energy to take her to visit the cats. It works so well as a reward! There is some logic to it, and it’s something that we can skip if she has a rough week and then come back to the next. Also the staff have been so sweet with her, answering her questions!

  6. I’m exhausted because I’m coming down with something probably.

    If I was going to a protest my sign would be something about how much I love certain WWII guns but you don’t see me whining about not getting my grubby lil paws on them.

    The M16 is a variant of the AR-15, like no I don’t care if it was civilian developed. Many military things were civilian developed. Come see the D-Day museum, you don’t even need to pay just take a gander at the lobby.

    Also like I think the uh ancestor of the AR-15 which was the AR-10 was created for the uh
    7.62×51mm(?) NATO rounds which were developed for military purposes.

    Someone should research this and make chart that can be downloaded and printed for protest signage

    I’m going to have nap and maybe defrost some soup.

    Good luck and godspeed y’all.

    “Let the CDC do it’s fucking job” would also be good sign maybe.

  7. hiii i called out of work yesterday bc I’m v depressed & vine compilations on YouTube are the only thing keeping me from googling like “carbon monoxide painful??” or “how to tie a noose” & mercury is in retrograde or w/e & thursday was TERRIBLE & i can’t afford to quit my job but my lease is up April 5 so??? & if I’d gone to work yesterday i would Absolutely have quit on my lunch break & never gone back

    but i think i have some kind of preformance review or i fucked up somehow bc my manager tried to call me at 9 AM and then emailed me “waiting for your return call…” like excuse you, I Am Not On The Clock

    if it can’t be said in an email then it can wait until Monday

    but I don’t think i will b better by Monday

    like zero historical evidence for me being better by Monday

    • I’m sorry your brain is being unkind to you. I recently got a table from my parents. One of the extra leaves has a piece of paper taped onto the bottom (quotes my mom woud read while doing exercises under the table). One says something along the lines of “Today you accomplished a thing- you’ve been alive one day longer than ever before!” I know it doesn’t always feel like a good thing, but it makes me happy, @Michael, knowing that you’re working with little people in your part of the world. Take care.

  8. unfortunately i’ll be missing the marches because in about two hours i will be on a plane to berlin!! my best friend is studying abroad there so i’m crashing with her for spring break and we’re going to live it up. i’m excited!!
    in other good news, i survived a really rough winter quarter! next quarter it won’t be freezing every day and i only have class two days a week, so it should be significantly less stressful than last.
    all my love and support to everyone at the marches today — y’all are doing good work.

  9. There’s a TV program in Argentina, on public television, that deals with international affairs. Today’s issue were the Russian elections. So, here I am, watching this and then a young man comes along and says: “young people don’t trust Putin so we didn’t vote” and I had to turned off my TV, the risk or throwing something and smashing it was too high.

    Nowadays you can see all over the world a way to denigrate any protest: “That march is political”. And I always find myself scratching my head and saying to that, is that an insult? What the hell is this people talking about? ANY PROTEST IS POLITICAL, THERE’S NO WAY AROUND IT.

    Politics has been denigrated by political parties and their members, a bunch of old people whose only purpose is to perpetuate themselves in positions of power and hold on to those with/for dear life.

    But the tricky part of this is that we can’t skip politics, because everything in life is politics, and for that we need political parties and political action. We need to get involved in politics with something more than a tweet and a post on facebook, we need to keep ourselves informed, we need to vote.

    We can’t just hope for the best, we need to demand our representatives to be that: our representatives, not just the arm of any lobby with money.

    Today’s march was something you should be proud as a country. I just really hope that this can translate into real results

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