Religious freedom for all?

I do not keep up with politics as much as I should so when the “Religious Liberty” Executive Order was brought to my attention, I was shocked.  Partially because this would allow even more discrimination than there already is in this country and the fact that Thomas Jefferson said in 1802 that there should be a separation from church and state in our Constitution and that the issue still arises over 200 years later is whacked.  Come on United States!  Moving forward should not mean going two steps back.  As much as this order would give white Christians an advantage (even though they are more privileged already than the majority in this country), calling the executive order “Religious Liberty” is very narrow minded and hypocritical.  Promoting a religious liberty while banning and discriminating muslims and other groups of people, is not very encompassing of all religions.  It should be called Christian Liberty Executive Order.      Not to mention, that Trump had to dial back the EO because of homophobic wording, is horrific.  If you had to dial back because you slipped in some LGBTQ+ discrimination, well guess what? Just from that we already know your intentions of the EO so you might as well scrap the damn thing.  Allowing hate back into the lives of others because of some health care bans is some bull and you can only justify your actions with your religious beliefs so far until shit hits the fan.

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I <3 UD Day

In class we have talked about religious discrimination against the LGBTQ community and how the religion and sexuality do not have to be mutually exclusive. I never understood the religious arguments against the LGBTQ community. To me God loves all his children and Jesus took in the rejects of society, so why would God hate the gays? It’s antithetical Today we saw this hate speech come to our campus yet again, and yet again I was overwhelmed by the response our campus had. There were counter protesters surrounding these hateful signs with signs of acceptance and love for all blue hens. Students were drowning out the speech with chants and screams. They handled themselves with profound maturity and I couldn’t be more proud that our campus consistently responds in this way. Gaga Manifesto called for more extreme measures to be taken to right the wrongs of our systems, but the acts of the counter protesters showed that even small actions are important. We will never be able to convince these people that ‘gay is ok’ simply because they will never listen, but we can protect other students from having to hear these words and feel the impact of the hatred from these few.

Readings for Friday, May 12

For Friday’s class, please look into:

This Guardian write-up about being LGBTQ+ in other countries (this is a few years old, but still interesting).

Also, take a look at this map about gay rights around the world. 

This analysis of media representations of queer characters/ identities

We’re talking about representations of non-normative identities and other countries’ perceptions of LBGTQ+ individuals on Friday, so take a look to see if you have anything you want to discuss that relates to these topics, such as specific examples of representations (or anything else on a topic you’d like to bring up in class).

A Guy for Grimm

Though I had heard the name Gavin Grimm before, I never really new the details of the case, nor the plight that this young man has been going through. Firstly, it is amazing to hear that such a young individual has been able to find himself in a world full of hate, stuck to his bearings and has been an advocate even though he never asked for it. If it was up to me, I would never want to be a face of a movement, being compared to Norma McCorvey and Jim Obergefell, its simply amazing that he has been able to stay so optimistic through all of this.

It is still disheartening to hear that this is still an issue though, on both the local and national level. In terms of students, parents and faculty at the school, it just does not make any sense to me why people would feel uncomfortable for someone using the same bathroom as them. Everyone does it and as long as no one poses any real threat to another, I do not see why it really matters which bathroom a person uses.

In terms of the legal issues that have arose, you would think that in this day and age the law would have caught up with the thoughts and feelings of the majority of America. I do not understand how leaders could just so blatantly go against the wishes of the majority and actually believe people will just sit down and take it. I also do not understand why this issue needs to go to the Supreme Court. It is simply enough to allow people to just go to the bathroom wherever they feel most fit and comfortable.

For a lot of current issues that are talked about today, I could go back and forth, playing devil’s advocate and occasionally seeing both sides of an argument. For this however, it just seems as though certain individuals in power are being petty and power hungry and are actively trying to create a divide in America. Through these stressful – to say the least – times, it is remarkable that people like  Gavin Grimm are still fighting for what is right.

Go Grimm, GO!

Reading this article about Gavin Grimm was the first I have heard the details on this case. It makes me so happy and joyous that a brave kid is willing to go through this for justice and equality, but also angers me that it has to get to this point. How horrible is it that he has to be targeted out in his school for using the bathroom and is forced to go to the nurses office or a single stalled bathroom when no one else has to do this. He shouldn’t have to face this and should be allowed to use the bathroom designed for his gender. For those students and parents who felt “uncomfortable”, I can’t seem to find a legitimate reason for someone to feel this extreme from a max. couple minute interaction one may have in the bathroom. Overall, it baffles me how strongly people are against the LGTBQ community, because I cannot seem to understand why people care so much in a negative way about other people. JUST LET PEOPLE LIVE. Regarding this case, no one is saying you have to join Grimm in the stall or change their own bathroom uses. It is one thing if Grimm did not feel comfortable himself and chose to use the single bathroom, but that is not the case.

The highlight of this article was the quote “There has been such social and cultural change in the hearts and minds of people in this country,” she said, “and I think that’s only going to grow, even if there is a legal setback.” If, as a country, we keep changing our own thoughts towards these specific topics and become more accepting, we can eliminate all of these issues that arise. Awareness, I think, is a big way of getting people to accept and grow in a positive direction regarding this community. Grimm got a shout out at the Grammy’s which I can only imagined gained him positive support and awareness. I think that having this acceptances and acknowledgment from celebrities and icons that so many people look up to is a great way to get support. Grimm is a brave and incredible kid to be going through all of this before he even graduates high school. He is a role model and is doing an incredible thing for the transgender community.

ACLU, you rock

After reading the article about Trump’s “religious freedom” law I felt sick. And angry. And terrified. How can he do this?? After reading the Gavin Grimm article and then this one which showed a tweet made by the ACLU, I decided to Google what that exactly was. The ACLU stands for the American Civil Liberties Union, a non-profit organization, whose mission statement is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country.” I’m kind of embarrassed for myself for not knowing this organization. But more importantly, my heart is so full that this organization exists and is willing to fight for the LGBTQ community. The article stated that the ACLU has already made a promise to take Trump to court (again) if he proceeds with this. Because really, the country does have a commitment to keep church and state SEPARATE.

 

I also want to talk about Mike Pence for a second. Why does he hate the LGBTQ community so much?!? Why doesn’t he put that hate towards the abuse and scandals that happen within the Church he loves so much?? Why does he target a community who wants nothing more than to be treated equally? Now he and the Trump administration want to take away Obama’s EO that prohibits discrimination against LGBT employees from federal contractors. It also allows employers to, basically, opt out of covering contraceptives if they are religiously against it. What? Sometimes I don’t understand Trump or his advisors- don’t they know the church and state are separate and are to remain separate? This whole thing makes me upset but it also makes me sad and disappointed that this whole thing is still a thing. Why can’t we just let people, who aren’t harming anyone, be who they are? Ugh.

Gaga Feminism

When thinking about celebrities and how they need to do their role in the fight for equality for all peoples, I typically think of new fresh faced celebrities, ones who are still in pop culture and people who the younger generation would call relevant. Not until reading Halberstam’s “Gaga Manifesto” did i start to think about it differently.

Halberstam called fro not going along with the present day way of going with things but rather called for a total upheaval, anarchy in a sense, a complete overturn of the way things are done, and brought up examples of celebrities who have not stood silent while injustices have occurred. First calling out Lady Gaga and her “Monster Manifesto” calling for change, Halberstam then lists numerous other names, from Gwen Stefani, to Yoko Ono.

By having such a vast array of pop celebrities in the argument, Halberstam proves that this is just not a current issue, that the call for an anarchist form of feminism has been on the table for many years and does not seem to be leaving anytime soon. Though it is disheartening in the sense that the fight has been a uphill battle for such a long period of time, it also instills hope in the sense that people have yet to give up on the fight.

Gaga Feminism: Possibilities and Limitations

Halberstam’s “Gaga Manifesto” laid out a series of promising liberatory possibilities outside of traditional institutional frameworks, but swept away the very real issue presented by the lack of directed vision in social movements without really addressing it in-depth.

I agreed with the piece’s rejection of the emphasis many modern social justice movements place on working withing existing institutional systems, and Halberstam’s allusions to new, more anarchic methods of organization struck me as prudent. Oftentimes, movements become so caught up in attempting to change things from within that they fail to see that they are becoming a part of the systems they hate and strengthening those systems’ legitimacy in the process. The university provides one such example, where, by allowing for limited forms of classroom-based dissent providing places for activists within the faculty, rich investors are able to harvest tuition from a larger, more diverse student crowd while strengthening the image of academia as a place of lively, enlightened debate. Thus, universities come to be considered progressive despite their role in exacerbating class and race divides—as a demonstration, next time you’re at the dining hall, take a look at the students ordering the food and the people serving it.

Unfortunately, Halberstam seems to fall prey to the same problem he critiques, as he goes on to name his new brand of feminism “Gaga feminism” after a woman who has a net worth of approximately $275 million and who, far from being an outsider, fits neatly in amongst the most finely groomed elites in Hollywood. Gaga’s deviance is performance, a temporary departure from normality that fades with the lights of the stage. This, also, is what Halberstam misses in his critique of Slavoj Žižek’s rebuke of Occupy Wall Street: Žižek desires societal change just as much as Halberstam, but he recognizes the futility of a movement content to waver aimlessly outside the castle gates. No matter how “revolutionary” the moment may feel, eventually the police will come calling with their guns and their tasers and their riot shields to make sure everyone finds their way back home. Žižek is calling for a greater revolution, not a lesser one.

Halberstam’s piece opens up many interesting avenues of discussion, but ultimately fails to pursue them in favor of a politics centered literally on “failure.” The worst thing to lack in a world spiraling towards disaster is a plan.

Gaga Feminism

I was really intrigued by the Gaga Manifesto reading. It really forced me to re-evaluate my own thinking. How extreme and radical should our ideas of feminism be? How much of the system really needs to be replaced? I think that these are important questions to continue to ask ourselves. Putting women in power may not solve structural problems that our society faces. When we look at issues of class or race they may not be addressed by putting more women in leadership. We might not see women addressing larger issues of gender either. How can we start to insure that we are able to address all of these issues? Is our system salvageable or should it be completely re-written? I’m still not totally sure how this would even really be done and it is definitely something that I have been thinking about a lot lately.