by Abaki Beck
Sunday Suggestions & Connections is a weekly feature pairing recent news stories with related social justice readings or resources and ideas to take action.
Happy first week of March! In the United States the presidential campaign gets more and more unbelievable by the day (#makedonalddrumpfagain). Somehow, it is now politically acceptable to debate about the size of a candidate's penis and maliciously name call, yet discussing police brutality, climate change, or other issues of actual substance is out of the question. But really, why do we rely on mainstream media for “news” anyway?
Speaking of Republicans behaving ridiculously, the Supreme Court made a decision this week that temporarily blocks a Louisiana anti-abortion law that would have shut down all but one abortion clinic in the state. The law, called a targeted regulation of abortion providers or TRAP law by some activists, would require all abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. While this sounds harmless enough, it actually has no medical benefit and is often difficult to obtain. It would have left more than 90% of Louisiana women living farther than 150 miles from the nearest abortion provider. These TRAP laws, which currently exist in 44 states, are huge infringements on women’s rights and disproportionately impact lower income women and women of color. TRAP laws, though marketed by Republicans as in support of women’s health, have resulted in the closure of many abortion clinics throughout the country.
Check out these resources on reproductive justice, and the intersections between access to contraceptives, racial justice, immigration status, sexual exploitation, and more:
Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change (this comprehensive, intersectional book has over 40 chapters on topics related to reproductive justice)
Indigenous Women’s Reproductive Rights (the Hyde Amendment limits federal funding of abortions, meaning that access to abortion and other contraceptives is severely limited for Native American women, many of whom receive healthcare from Indian Health Service)
Also this week, the South Dakota Governor vetoed a bill that would have prevented trans public school students from using the bathroom aligned with their gender identity. Similar laws have been proposed throughout the country, with some of the argument in support of the laws centering around sexual violence: that if “anyone” could use “any” bathroom, a rapist or child molester might come into the women’s room and prey on your children and wife. This rhetoric - aside from being completely ridiculous - enforces the stereotype that trans people are sexually deviant, violent, or trying to trick people. Student advocates have argued that such laws discriminate against trans students and would make them susceptible to bullying and harassment. In contrast to laws like the one in South Dakota, other schools throughout the country (including 150 colleges) are creating gender neutral restrooms in an effort to support the comfort and safety for all genders.
When advocating for trans equality and inclusion - whether in relation to bathrooms or prisoners rights - it is incredibly important to center trans voices and trans stories. Below, find resources that do just that:
Aging Fiercely While Trans - Forum (videos)
Darkmatter - A trans, South Asian performance art duo whose work is political, provacative, and often quirky
Return the Gayze - Poetry, essays, and videos by spoken word artist and activist Alok Vaid-Menon
Janet Mock - Blog of Janet Mock, a trans activist, author, and tv host.
Transcending Gender Project - A photo series celebrating people of all genders
Brown Boi Project is an organization that works to eradicate sexism, homophobia, and transphobia
Before we wrap it up, here are a few more relevant stories to read this week:
There may be life on Saturn’s moon (Life without white supremacy? Sign us up)
Thank you for engaging! Have a happy Sunday, and keep fighting the good fight!