Equal Pay for Equal Work

Others have made the point that health insurance is a part of women’s wages, wages that we earn–not a privilege benevolently bestowed on us by men who may revoke it at any time, because taxpayers and religion.

I agree with that point–I’ve said it many times in face to face arguments and on facebook over the last month.

Women have an established right to equal pay for equal work. Allowing employers to restrict our access to birth control is a violation of that right.

We earn our health benefits. No matter how icky you may find our cunts, and how we use our cunts, you cannot restrict our access to the health benefits that we have earned by our work.

The debate on birth control is merely a new verse in the same old song. This is nothing more than the next attempt to take away the rights of women to be free and to choose our own destinies.

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Get Your Activism On: Stand Up For Gay Marriage

I got an e-mail from the Courage Campaign this morning–they’re gearing up for the next stage in the fight for marriage equality: Perry v. Brown is going to the Supreme Court.

Here is where you can donate to fund the campaign. Check this out, though: when I got the e-mail, CC was $5,343 away from their goal of $45,000. I just checked their page, and not only have they made enough, they’ve set a new goal of $50,000 and are less than one thousand away from meeting that goal as well!

If you can’t afford to donate, never fear–activism is about much more than raising money.

See this snippet from the e-mail I received from the Courage Campaign:

What are we going to do with those contributions? Well, some people think this is all up to to the lawyers in the courtroom… not so! Legal experts all agree: Supreme Court Justices read the newspaper, watch TV, and take stock of the nation. That’s why we need your support to move the polling numbers on marriage equality, get heartwarming stories of love and commitment between same-sex couples out in the news, and continue to be the #1 place for coverage of the Prop 8 trial on the web. It’s the best thing we can do to ensure the final nail in the coffin for Prop 8.”

If you can’t afford to donate, then help get the message out. Flood the blogosphere with posts supporting marriage equality. Write letters to newspapers across the nation. In other words, make sure that when the justices of the Supreme Court “take stock of the nation” be sure that overwhelming support for equality is what they see.

Check out my contribution here if you need inspiration. Now-let’s get our activism on!

I Believe in Marriage Equality

I believe in love. I believe in equality.

Those two simple facts mean that I must stand up, as an American, as a feminist, as a decent human being, and say this:

I believe in gay marriage equality.

Separate is not equal. Second-class is not freedom. It is a simple concept–and a lesson America learned a long time ago, yes? Well, apparently, we need a refresher course, so I’ll say it again:

Separate is not equal. Second-class is not freedom.

So long as gay marriage is available only in a smattering of states, and referendums on put on ballots across the country to actually vote for people’s right to be equal, America cannot call herself a free country. We are not the land of the free.

We are, however, the land of the brave. I see, every day, gay men and women standing up and openly existing–being who they are–in the face of hatred and violence. Here I am. I exist. I deserve equal rights. I am just like you. I love my partner. I want to be with them for the rest of my life. I, too, want the American dream.

Here I am. I exist. I am bullied. I am hated. I am harassed, assaulted, spat upon, and demonized. I am just like you.

Standing up in the face of such hatred, to put oneself in danger by openly being who they are–that is one of the bravest acts one can do, and I see it done every day.

How can I, as an ally, do anything else but stand with my brothers and sisters?

I couldn’t call myself a friend to the many people I hold dear if I didn’t stand up for them.

Stop that. That’s not cool. That’s discrimination. That’s not right. Your hatred won’t be tolerated here. I am not an ally to your bigotry. You won’t find a safe space to spew such hateful vitriol in me. I believe in equality. I believe my friends should be able to live their lives and marry who they love.

I believe my friends should be able to marry who they love. I believe everyone should be able to marry who they love.

I say this to friends and family. I say this to the people of Kentucky. I say this to Mitch McConnell. I say this to President Obama. I say this to the Supreme Court. I say this to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in gay marriage. And I won’t give up.

A Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

As the 2012 Presidential election season begins, I find myself trying to figure out whether or not I will campaign on your behalf.

You see, in 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. As a feminist, I wanted dearly to see such a proactive, feminist, capable, and successful politician like Hillary to be my President. I cannot express how badly I wanted Hillary as my President. I’m not alone. Millions of women, of feminists, wanted Hillary to be our President. We were heartbroken when she lost the nomination–to you.

But even so, we rallied to your cause. We worked hard for you. Millions of women helped you in your successful bid to the Presidency. We didn’t do it because of admonitions from male liberals that “McCain would be much worse.” No, we did it because of hope. We hoped that, even though we couldn’t have Hillary, that we could still have a feminist as our President. We hoped that we would finally have a president that would stand up for our rights. We hoped that you would be the leader of the Democratic Party that would stand up and say, “Enough. We’re not going to use women’s rights as a bargaining chip with Republicans. We’re going to live up to our promises. We’re not going to settle for being “better than the Republicans.” We going to stand up for equality, and we’re not going to back down. This is the right thing to do.”

To our dismay, you’re not. As hundreds of anti-choice legislation appear across the country that would undermine our rights and drag us back to second-class status, you’ve said nothing. You allowed your party to use women as a bargaining chip in the health care debate. As many have said, you and the Democrats have “thrown women under the bus.”

Why should I campaign for you? Why should I lend you my support and my aid?

I cannot answer that question, though the echo chamber of male Democrats and male liberals are crying “because he’s a Democrat! He’s better than Republicans! Do you want another Bush?”

The only reason that’s being given is a guilt trip. Vote Democrat, or else Republicans will win and things will be much worse for you. That’s the threat. Instead of support from my brothers, I get a backhanded threat.

I won’t be blackmailed, Mr. President. I need a damn good reason why I should support you again. No more hope–I want support. I want action. I want scathing reprimand from you to your party for stabbing in the back the millions of women who have supported and continue to support the Democratic Party.

The 2010 election was a mandate–but it wasn’t in favor of the Republican agenda. It was our answer to the Democrat’s treatment of its large, active female constituency: This is what happens when we stay home. Republicans win, and everyone suffers. Do you want us to stay home in 2012? Then keep your promises to your sisters. Fight for equality.

Let me share how I would like the next twelve years to go: I would like you to become the President we all thought you would be, that is, a strong ally of women–unwavering support for abortion rights. Equal pay. Strong support for victims of rape, harassment, and abuse. Strong condemnation of the men who commit these crimes. Equality for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The end to restrictions on the jobs women may have in the military. And that’s just the beginning. I want action. No election slogans. Action. Then, I would like my dream of 2008 to come true: I want Hillary Clinton to be my President.

Idealistic? No more than you during the 2008 Democratic primaries–which is why I dismissed you as unelectable. I still maintain that you won the nomination because of the split in the party between supporters of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Prove this political scientist wrong. Become the politician that women want you to be, and that Democrats need you to be.

Then I can give you my full, enthusiastic support. Until then, I’ll remain what my generation has been condemned to be thus far in our political lives: disappointed.

Brittany-Ann Wick

“They” Don’t Need Marriage, You Say?

So, this is for all you out there who think that our homosexual brothers and sisters don’t need marriage. This is what happens when you try to downgrade people into second-class citizens: even if they “do everything right” they still will be treated like second-class citizens. When you elevate marriage above all, and deny it to people because of arbitrary characteristics, those denied will not be given that social validation, and decades-long  relationships are disregarded, and lovers are called “roommates.”

The Fight for Domestic Partnership Benefits

The Benefits Committee may have recommended against it, but we’re not giving up! Yesterday afternoon, I received word that the faculty were holding a silent protest outside Wetherby–one of the administration buildings on campus. I tossed my laptop aside and rushed up the Hill.

Courtesy of L. Dowell copyright 2010

WKU faculty silently protest against the benefits committee's recommendation against adding domestic partnership benefits. Courtesy of L. Dowell © 2010

Word has spread across campus, and other events are being planned, in the hopes of convincing the administration to do the right thing. I have heard, but cannot confirm, that the President of the university, Gary Ransdell, is on our side. If he is, that’s great! More visible support is always welcome. Unfortunately, Gary cannot do this thing single-handedly.

Stay tuned!

Not Accessible, Unacceptable.

Western Kentucky University is not, by virtue of geography, a disability-friendly campus. Western students are called Hilltoppers for a reason. The joke goes that you can tell freshmen from upperclassmen simply by looking at their calve muscles. Complaints about attending class are often paired with complaints about walking “all the way up The Hill.” However, these complaints are from able-bodied students.

Steep inclines and stairs (lots of them) are not a feature of The Hill, they are par for the course. There’s no avoiding them. That’s part of the problem, but not for the reasons many students, faculty, staff, and administrators would think. Ramps are too rarely seen on campus. If a person, for any reason, must avoid using stairs, it would take much longer for that person to get where they’re going. Ramps are few and aren’t near most main walkways, curb cuts are more common, but too often they are poorly maintained. Where most students could simply take a direct route to their destination, disabled students cannot.

Building access is another issue. Stairs are everywhere. Most buildings on campus have at least one entrance that is completely unaccessible by wheelchair or scooter. Often, the only wheelchair-accessible entrance is on the side, or the back of the building (of course, front and back are relative here). Two out of the three main entrances to the main library (Helm-Cravens) have only stairs. No ramps. The Helm entrance, where one of the coffee shops is located, is one such place. If I were wheelchair bound, I would have to go around to Cravens, through the lobby, across the bridge connecting the two buildings, through the first floor of Helm, and out the door to the coffee shop.

Able-bodied students have four steps.

This is unacceptable. The Hill is no reason for Western Kentucky University not to be a physically-disabled-friendly campus. There is no reason that every entrance to every building cannot be accessible. Every door should be automated. My fellow students should not have to speed up, calling for the person in front of them to hold open the door for them. My fellow students should not have to take a wide, circling, “scenic” route to get to class. My fellow students should not have to circle a campus building to find an entrance they can use.

It is unacceptable. Hilltoppers can do better than that.