With the landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States legalizing gay marriage last Friday, June 26, 2015, one would think only celebrating and rejoicing would be heard throughout these 50 states, which are founded upon the principles of “liberty and justice for all”. However, one does not have to look far to see the glaring reminder of the right-wing religiosity that plagues American culture and politics.
The vile response by evangelicals and fundamentalists has been most prevalent on social media with an extra helping of crazy being bandied about in the news media. The past seven days have offered a shocking reminder at just how deep the fundies’ misguided hate runs in this country. Lifelong friends have been unfriending and blocking each other. Preachers have threatened to light themselves on fire. Businesses have posted “No Gays Allowed” signs on their doors. Narrow-minded troglodytes everywhere have shown their true colors amidst the “rainbowification” of the United States.
The one thing that has not happened is the earth imploding, or falling out of the sky, or hell freezing over, or some other catastrophic calamity causing the end of life as we know it — even with the religious right prognosticating that marriage equality would end life as we know it. In fact, everything looks pretty normal from here … and I’m in the Red State of Mississippi. The marriage equality ruling was blocked by Governor Bryant — whose son is gay! — and Attorney General Jim Hood, but the people demanded their equality — backed by the Supreme Court, and won. Things are looking good here as gay and lesbian couples have been getting their marriage licenses around the state.
Amazingly, the LGBT community and allies have taken the high-road amidst all the vehemence spewed by so-called Christians. Yet, real Christians, who actually live by Jesus’ teachings of love and tolerance, do count themselves amongst the allies, and hopefully, they will drown out the cacophony of the religious nuts’ anti-gay and anti-equality rhetoric that has filled the media since Friday.
Sure, it’s a balmy summer’s day, but not because of the predicted fire and brimstone.
Apocalypse, anyone? Not today.
GOOD NEWS: Girls under 16 can get the morning-after pill in the UK.
BAD NEWS: The girl will first be interrogated by the pharmacist before being able to purchase it. The pharmacist gets to choose whether or not the girl really needs the morning-after pill.
How is this even the pharmacist’s business or right to authority over the girl’s body? Sure, one reason for needing the morning-after pill is because of unprotected sex. But maybe it wasn’t unprotected sex. Maybe the condom broke. Maybe it was rape. Maybe it was incest by a relative. Whatever the story is, the girl will have to recount the tale while standing in line at the pharmacy and hope that the pharmacist is not a misogynist or religious nut who will impose his/her personal feelings on the girl’s need for medical care.
According to the article in The Guardian:
A girl hoping to buy the pill will be asked whether she is willing to tell her parents that she has had unprotected sex, or if not, whether she is willing for somebody else to tell them. There will be questions intended to ascertain whether the girl is “Gillick competent” – meaning she has sufficient understanding of what has happened to her and the consequences of taking the morning-after pill.
So much of women’s rights seems to take us two steps forward and one step backward. Why is the guy never penalized or embarrassed or harassed? It is ALWAYS the female who has the burden of embarrassment and shame when dealing with the consequences of sex or rape.
Every teenage girl has a right to body autonomy. Her body. Her choice. Give girls the pills without the third-degree.
In case you missed the Tony Awards on Sunday, history was made as Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team to win both the Best Score and Best Book for a musical in a Broadway season. To put it into perspective, the Tonys have been around since 1947, and it’s 2015. Yes, that’s 68 previous years in which women are practically non-existent in most of the creative and design categories. But Fun Home helped change that.
Tesori put it succinctly during her acceptance speech when she said, “I didn’t realize that a career in music was available to women until 1981 — I saw the magnificent Linda Twine conduct A Lady and Her Music: Lena Horne (sic). And that was my ‘Ring of Keys’ moment, which, by the way, is not a song of love but a song of identification because, for girls, you have to see it to be it.”
This is absolutely true! In order for girls to want to be the creators of musicals — and plays, and operas, and symphonies, and televisions, and films, girls have to see themselves reflected in the works they see produced. We need more women as writers, composers, directors, designers, and producers who are creating art from the perspective of women instead of women being presented in art through the filter of men’s perception of us.
Congratulations to Tesori and Kron, and I hope seeing their accomplishments will encourage girls to want to work at the proverbial drawing board not just in the spotlight on stage.
* Originally posted on MusicalTheatreMagazine.com’s blog.*
The topic of non-consensual circumcision has routinely made the nightly news as the fate of a four-year-old boy and his intact penis have been the center of attention of news coverage in America and beyond.
As you know, I am a staunch body integrity activist, and in the situation of circumcision, we activists who fight to protect boys and girls from non-consensual circumcision are called intactivists. I have written about circumcision several times on this blog, and I’ve written about this case once before. I’ve even done a radio episode on the topic of male circumcision, and I’ve answered a reader’s question via my YouTube channel regarding the effects of male circumcision on women. But I was waiting to write more about this court case in the hopes that the final verdict would recognize the boy’s right to body autonomy and self-determination. Unfortunately, the result of this case is heartbreaking.
The case involves Chase, a boy caught in the middle of a battle between his two parents, Heather Hironimus and Dennis Nebus. The parents both originally agreed to the circumcision when Chase was an infant, but the mother, Hironimus, changed her mind. Fast forward past a long court battle and skipping town to avoid having the procedure done on Chase, Hironimus has finally given her consent to the unnecessary body mutilation of her son, which shocked and saddened intactivists around the world.
Heather Hironimus has been a heroine to intactivists who have been following the case, nicknamed in social media as #SavingChase. Her motherly instincts to protect her child in full alert, she fled with Chase, staying on the run to prevent her son from undergoing a cosmetic medical procedure to amputate a perfectly normal, healthy, and functionally important part of his penis. There is absolutely no reason for this (or any) circumcision to be performed. Hironimus turned herself in and was jailed May 14, 2015.
Today, she signed the “consent” form to have Chase circumcised, and by “consent”, I mean the court-coerced agreement to have her son’s sexual anatomy harmed in exchange for her freedom. If a woman had “sex” with a man because the alternative was bodily harm to her child, that is not actual “consent” — we would still call that rape. The justice system has ordered the sexual assault on a four-year-old boy, who has actually verbalized his terror at having the procedure done to his body. That means, the owner of the penis has said, “No.” Yet the court has ordered him raped anyway.
Even though Hironimus signed the “consent” to have her son mutilated, The Sun Sentinel reports Hironimus’ legal battles are not over:
Now, she’s facing a criminal charge that carries a maximum punishment of five years in state prison if convicted…. She is charged with interference of custody, a third-degree felony, from her months of hiding with the boy in a Broward County domestic violence shelter.
There is absolutely no reason to violate any baby boy’s (or girl’s) right to body autonomy and self-determination. Every child has a basic human right to decide what happens to his or her body. The lies about circumcision being better or safer are perpetuated here in the United States by medical companies and organizations that profit financially from the sale of foreskins to cosmetic companies and biotech labs.
Female circumcision is now illegal in the United States, and the same lies about removing a boy’s foreskin being safer, healthier, and looking better were all used in the propaganda to justify female genital mutilation in days gone by. In fact, the male foreskin has at least 16 known functions to protect the penis and urinary tract, and it contains cells that prevent bacterial infections and the spread of viruses. But actual science does not seem to matter when a societal and cultural “tradition” is determined to have its way.
And if you want to get into the religious argument, this boy is an American citizen, which means he has a First Amendment right to freedom from religion. Chase and his body have been used in a tug-of-war between two parents who couldn’t get their act together — I am not even sure why the father has gone to this length to have his son mutilated. At least the mother was trying to save the boy an unnecessary medical procedure that no one should be able to order except Chase himself. And Chase HAS verbalized that he does NOT want part of his penis amputated. What about the doctor who is to perform the abhorrent procedure? The Hippocratic Oath instructs to “first do no harm”. Will the doctor heed that oath when Chase is brought in kicking and screaming, “NO!”, to the procedure to which he has not consented?
As any feminist knows, body integrity and the right to choose what happens to your body is a basic human right. If you want your penile or clitoral foreskin removed, you should have the choice to do that when you are 18+. No one should have the authority to force you to have unnecessary, medically unfounded, cosmetic surgical changes to your body that will have lasting effects physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. Your body. Your choice.
In my opinion, the father, this judge, and the doctor will all be guilty of sexually assaulting a minor. And they should go to prison, not the mother.