Friday, June 26, 2009

You Didn't Have to Change, Michael...

This video is from "Free to Be, You and Me" and features a young Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack. The movie, music, and book influenced my life in ways that I cannot even begin to appreciate. Oh, Michael, when Flack sings, "You don't have to change at all," I think she meant it...

I am going away this weekend, so sorry that I never got to this week's "womyn of the week", but I'll tell you who next week's is - Dorothea Dix! Did you not learn about her in your psychology class?! Then stay tuned next week...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a "Thrill" to Honor Michael Jackson-I Just Wish It Wasn't So Soon

Michael Jackson was obviously a tortured man. Excuse me, genius! I don't know if the allegations against him about child abuse/molestation are true, but I do know that there were some shady things going on - on both sides. Jackson should not have been sharing his bed with young boys or dangling his son outside a window, but the white media and lawyers should not have been trying so hard to dismantle a successful black man's career, which I think was their real reason for all the attention on those issues in the first place. And let's not forget the parents! Alanis Morisette, who was a child actor/singer before becoming famous, has equated pushing children into acting to child abuse. I'm sure her statement also applies to any child star treatment.

Whatever your views are on Michael Jackson, it cannot be denied that he was a true innovator. I remember watching his videos growing up and they were so wonderful. They transported me to a fantasy world of wonderful dancing, graphics, and stories. And equality! I remember being surprised when Thriller came out, because even though I was probably eight, I noticed that the premise was a horror film where the main characters are black. It's funny (weird, not ha-ha) how sometimes one does not notice an -ism until it's gone. Oh, and I mean gone as in not present in a video that's only a few minutes long. This is not a post racial world, as much as some people like to claim it is-for claiming something does not always make it so. Life just ain't that easy...

For your viewing and listening pleasure, here is Thriller:

I'm sorry that it's not the original, but for some reason it is not allowed to be embedded and I'm not posting a link, because some of the comments are too racist and hateful and I simply won't subject you guys to that. This version, however, almost brought me to tears as it was performed by men in a Filipino prison. I thought it quite poetic that the prisoners would be the zombies. lol I'm going to learn more about this group, because those same prisoners have apparently made a lot of videos of them dancing to popular songs. I am just astounded! For those who don't think that music therapy is real, think about how hard it must be getting a whole prison system to cooperate together in order to make a video like this. *sigh* If only I could have finished that music therapy degree...

Stonewall 40 - March and Rally June 27 - Transgender Rights NOW!!!

I don't post as often as I would like, because my internet seems to work only when IT wants to. I mostly post events from other sites right now, because I am so busy. Hopefully I will get a newer, better job soon, so this can be a better site. But until then... If you can attend, then do! Alas, I will be out of town, but what's your excuse?!

Stonewall 40: Atlanta, GA

June 27 - March and Rally
March steps off at 3pm
Rally at 4pm

1969 to 2009
40 years

Come as you are, come as you would like to be.
Come to remember, come to celebrate.

Forty years ago Transgender people and their Gay and Lesbian neighbors rioted in the dark, fighting the police and the authorities block-by-block, demanding the right to be treated as human beings, with dignity and respect.

Today we can march together in the sunlight, being out and honest about who we are. And the police will be there as escorts to keep us safe.

Transgender and gender-non-comforming people kicked the door open for Gay Pride. This is the year to bring it full-circle, walking in the sunlight to demand "Transgender Rights Now!"

Step-off time is at 3:00pm at Freedom Park (Moreland Ave. and Freedom Parkway)There will be 3 banner trans issues highlighted by the march

Employment Non-Discrimination
Access to Public Services (health care, housing, etc.)
Public Safety (bathrooms, prisons, police, etc.)

Rally for transgender rights scheduled at 4:00pm on the steps of First Existentialist Church on Candler Ave.

The Pre-March speakers are:

Cheryl Courtney-Evans, of TILTT
DeeDee Chamblee, of LaGender
Sir Jesse of Decatur, of the Feminist Outlawz
The rally speakers are will talk about the three main issues. Confirmed speakers include:

Maxwell Anderson, of Dr. Maxwell Anderson & Associates
Rev. Paul Turner, of Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Tracee McDaniel, of Juxtaposed Center for Transformation
Monica Helms, of the Transgender Americans Veterans Association
Rev. Dennis Merideth, of the Faith & Community Alliance
The Atlanta Sedition Orchestra has agreed to be executive noise-makers for the March and the Rally.
(Stonewall Inn Today)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Events Coming Up and a Plea for More...

This is what happens when no one sends me any material - I scour my friends' facebook pages for events! Slightly creepy, perhaps, but since no one is sending me any material except for the occassional spam, a blog moderator has gotta do what a blog moderator's gotta do... Look over these events and see which you can attend or support. Don't forget that if you have an event, or post, artwork, or link that you would like to share/promote, just send it to As for why the links aren't working, I don't know - I guess Blogger just wants to be difficult tonight...
Movie screening of "Iraq in Fragments"
This film illuminates post-war Iraq in three acts, building a vivid picture of a country pulled in different directions by religion and ethnicity.

Afterwards there will be discussion about Iraq and the human cost of war with Ahmed Ali, former Iraqi correspondent for the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, featured in the book:
Red Zone: Five Bloody Years in Baghdad by Oliver Poole

For more information or to RSVP please contact Lola Ibitoye at or at 404-586-0460 x21

Host: AFSC Middle East Peace Education Program-Atlanta

Type: Music/Arts - Preview

Network: Global
Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Location: Atlanta Friends Meeting meetinghouse
Street: 701 West Howard Avenue 30030
City/Town: Decatur, GA

Phone: 4045860460

Students for a Democratic Society's 4th National Convention!!!
Host: Students for a Democratic Society

Type: Education - Workshop

Network: Global
Start Time: Friday, July 10, 2009 at 10:00am
End Time: Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 12:00am
Location: Middle Tennessee State University
Street: 1301 East Main Street
City/Town: Murfreesboro, TN


Join students and youth from across the United States for Students for a Democratic Society's 4th National Convention. This year's convention will be in the lovely town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee (nearest airport is Nashville), on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.

It's just six weeks away on the weekend of July 10 - 12, so make your travel plans now! The convention will begin Friday during the day and run through Sunday, so try to arrive Thursday night and plan on leaving Sunday afternoon/evening.

Please register using this form:

In addition to discussing SDS work over the past year, we'll have lots of exciting workshops, anti-oppression and collective liberation work, trainings, and discussions of campaign strategy for the future. You don't want to miss it!!

We'll send out more information in the next two weeks with information about how to submit workshop, discussion and campaign proposals. In the meantime, if you'd like to get involved in the nuts and bolts of planning the convention, click on this link to get connected with the national convention planning group:

Don't forget to check out our website for updates:

And follow us on Twitter!:

"Outside Blackness" at America, I AM
The Artistry of Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker
Host: D. Dionne Bates
Type: Music/Arts - Exhibit

Network: Global
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009
Time: 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Location: Atlanta Civic Center
City/Town: Atlanta, GA

Dr. Dionne Bates proudly announces her partnership with the International Federation of Black Prides and for the presentation of "Outside Blackness: The Artistry of Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker." This thought-provoking dialogue explores the creativity, courage, and activism of artists who boldly spoke truth to power and whose cultural imprint helped change the image of what it means to be Black in America.

Presented by the International Federation of Black Prides and, "Outside Blackness" serves as a supplement to the African-American traveling exhibit, America, I AM.

Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009
Place: Atlanta Civic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Time: 2:30 p.m.

Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. to allow attendees time to walk through the America, I AM exhibit.

For tickets, please contact:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 25 - Suicide Prevention Teleconference - FREE!

I'm sorry for the late notice, but I just got this in an email myself! If you want to attend, you have to register by 5pm today!!!***

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health invites you to register now for a free teleconference training titled, “Suicide Prevention and the Role of the Social Determinants of Health.”

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM (Eastern Time)

To register for this training teleconference, please click here for the registration page.

Please note: Registration for this teleconference will close at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on Friday, June 19, 2009.

Training Summary
Social determinants (e.g. lower economic status, poverty, substandard housing, unemployment, and poor nutrition) can lead to anxiety, insecurity, low self-esteem, social isolation and a range of health and mental health disorders. Long periods of anxiety and insecurity and the lack of supportive friendships are damaging in whatever area of life they arise. The lower people are in the social hierarchy of industrialized countries, the more common these problems become.

Economic turmoil (e.g., increased unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress) can result in many negative health effects - impacting both physical and mental health. It can be particularly devastating to a person’s emotional well-being. Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress, which in turn can substantially increase the risk for developing such problems as:

Substance Abuse
Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Unemployment and other kinds of economic distress do not "cause" suicide directly, but they can be factors that interact dynamically within individuals and affect their risk for suicide. These financial factors can induce strong feelings such as humiliation and despair, which can precipitate suicidal thoughts or actions among those who may already be vulnerable due to life-experiences or underlying mental health concerns that place them at greater risk of suicide.

Suicide reaches across invisible lines that exist in all communities. Since communities are made up of several networks including education, health, judicial, family, faith, and social systems, it is important for organizations to work together across fields and disciplines to educate people on the importance of overall well being including mental health. Building communities and environments that support wellness, will deliver improved outcomes for people with mental health problems, and in turn affect the manner in which suicide prevention efforts are conducted and the success of those efforts.

1 Friedli, Mental Health, resilience and inequalities. London, Social Exclusion Unit, Office of Deputy Prime Minister, World Health Organization, 2009.

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A SAMHSA Guide: Getting Through Tough Economic Times, Suicide Warning Signs, Last accessed May 2009.

This training will:

Discuss the impact of economic turmoil on mental health and suicidal thoughts and behavior and the strategies and coping techniques that may be used to manage that impact.

Share effective public health strategies in working with the network of community-based organizations and groups to provide increased levels of wellness programs and support to those who are severely affected by the economy.

Share effective strategies for building resiliency, and promoting social inclusion and wellness among at risk populations.

Send in Your Questions
We invite you to send in your questions in advance of the teleconference. Please submit your questions by e-mail to Please note that sending a question does not guarantee that it will be addressed directly during the teleconference. We will provide the speakers' contact information so that you may contact them directly for a response to your question or for additional information.

You also will have an opportunity to ask questions after the speaker presentations. Speakers will answer as many questions as possible during the question and answer session. Please note that if you provide your name and organization at the time you ask your question, we may use it during the call. Anonymous questions may be submitted.

Training Sponsor
This teleconference is sponsored by SAMHSA's Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (ADS Center), a project of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The session is free to all participants.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Woman of the Week - Sojourner Truth

At least once a week, I am going to post about a womyn who has worked hard for equal rights. This womyn may be famous or she may be obscure, she may be alive or dead, but she will be someone that everyone needs to know. At first, I was not going to start with Sojourner Truth, because I assumed that every feminist knows who she was and likewise, thinks of her with the utmost respect. Unfortunately, a few months ago I discovered that I am wrong! The counselor that I used to see in Milledgeville, who claims to be a feminist and has taught feminist classes, did not know who she was, and I must say, in my opinion, if you do not know, then you cannot claim to be a feminist. *I do not say womanist, because it is inconceivable to me that there could be a womanist who does not know and honor Sojourner Truth.

I remember reading about Sojourner Truth in school during history class and I thought she was the coolest person I had ever read about. Sadly, it was only a two-page spread in my history book. Her famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman?" was printed and it was noted that when she was once questioned on whether she was "a man in disguise" she showed her bare breasts to the crowd. It silenced her misogynistic oppressor, but it unleased a hunger for justice and an admiration for an unbeatable womyn that will never die. I framed her speech and wonder with agony why one never finds her speech on educational or inspirational posters. Here it is:
(as adapted to poetry by Erlene Stetson, from the book, "Ain't I a Woman! - A Book of Women's Poetry From Around the World")

Ain't I a Woman?

That man over there say
a woman needs to be helped into carriages
and lifted over ditches
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helped me into carriages
or over mud puddles
or gives me a best place...

And ain't I a woman?
Look at me
Look at my arm!
I have plowed and planted
and gathered into barns
and no man could head me...
And ain't I a woman?
I could work as much
and eat as much as a man-
when I could get to it-
and bear the lash as well
and ain't I a woman?
I have borne 13 children
and seen most all sold into slavery
and when I cried out a mother's grief
none but Jesus heard me...
and ain't I a woman?
that little man in black there say
a woman can't have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn't a woman
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!
If the first woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn the world
upside down, all alone
together women ought to be ale to turn it
rightside up again.

Sojourner Truth is originally named Isabella and is born a slave in upstate New York in 1797. During late 1826, she escapes to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. Sadly, she had to leave the other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants until their twenties. Then, around 1828, she wins a law suit to recover son Peter, who had been illegally sold into slavery in Alabama. She also converts to Christianity around that time. In 1846, Isabella adopts the name Sojourner Truth.

During the years of 1844-45, she joins the utopian Northampton Association in Northampton, Mass., where she meets the anti-slavery reformers Giles Stebbins, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Parker Pillsbury, Frederick Douglass and the health reformer Sylvester Graham. She also meets Olive Gilbert, an abolitionist-feminist who later wrote the Narrative of Sojourner Truth.

In 1850, Truth starts attending anti-slavery and women's rights conventions. In 1851she joins abolitionist George Thompson's speaker's bureau, traveling to Rochester, NY, where she stays with Underground Railroad leader, Amy Post -- in May, attends women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio, where she delivers the famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech, later recorded by Frances Gage.

In 1852, she became famous for asking Frederick Douglass at an abolitionist meeting, "Is God gone?" Truth continues to wow audiences and it is in 1858 when she bares her breasts to an audience in Indiana.

In 1862, the London World Exhibition awards a prize to William Story's statue, Libyan Sibyl, which was inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe's romanticized description of Sojourner Truth.

The next year, even though Truth is ill, she writes for the "Anti Slavery Standard" and also brings food that Thanksgiving to the soldiers of the 54th regiment, Mass Volunteers (the "Glory" regiment), as her grandson, James Caldwell, is a member.

In 1864, while employed by the National Freedman's Relief Association, she visits Abraham Lincoln. In 1865 she works at the Freedman's Hospital in Washington and while there, rides the Washington, DC, streetcars to force their desegregation. (She was only a hundred years ahead of her time!)

Truth keeps on speaking during the 1870s on giving freedmen their land out West, on temperance, on female suffrage and against capital punishment.

In 1883, Sojourner Truth dies due to tumors in her leg. She lived a long life, but her legacy is not over!

1890 Frances Titus collects $44 from Truth's friends around the country, along with funds from Battle Creek community leaders, and uses the money to erect a monument on Truth's gravesite. The inscription reads, "Born a slave in Ulster Co., New York in the 18th century, died in Battle Creek, Mich., Nov. 26, 1883, aged about 105 years. -- 'Is God Dead' --" Francis Titus had been Truth's traveling companion and biographer and a few years later, she commissions artist, Frank Courter, to paint the meeting between Truth and President Lincoln.

In 1961 an historical marker, commemorating the members of Truth's family who are buried with her in the Oak Hill cemetery plot, is erected by the Sojourner Truth Memorial Association, at the urging of local historian Berenice Lowe.

Before 1961 and after, Sojourner Truth receives many honors, including the honor of having a Mars probe named after her in 1997. To find out even more about her life visit this website:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why I plan to emulate Dr. George Tiller

By Rozalyn Farmer Love

For the AJC

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

If I’d passed her on the street, I probably wouldn’t have known her. Her gait is a bit stiff and her left eye somehow different from her right. She’s not famous, exactly, but some people might know her name: Emily Lyons. She’s the nurse who survived the 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham at the hands of Eric Rudolph.

I was 14 years old when that clinic was bombed, killing a police officer and spraying Emily’s body full of hot nails and shrapnel. Back then, I lived in a small Alabama town, went to church every Sunday and was adamantly opposed to abortion. But by the time I met Emily last year, I was president of the Birmingham chapter of Medical Students for Choice, a group supporting abortion rights. Watching her walk slowly into our fund-raiser on her husband’s arm —- a woman who’d endured more than 18 operations —- I thought of all she’d been through and knew that I’d come to the right decision in my support of reproductive rights.

That conviction only became stronger after I read that Kansas physician George Tiller had been murdered at his Wichita church.

I’m a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I plan to become an obstetrician-gynecologist. I dream of delivering healthy babies, working with families and supporting midwifery. But as part of my practice, I also envision providing abortions to women who need them.

The road I took to get here isn’t your stereotypical one. My parents are conservative Christians who believe abortion is wrong. Growing up, I naturally shared their view. But I’ve also wanted to be a doctor since I was 4 years old, and in high school, I began to feel drawn to issues of women’s health. In college, I designed my own major to broaden my understanding of women’s health by including psychology, sociology and women’s studies.

I also served as a counselor for a volunteer organization that helps victims of rape. I sat in hospital rooms with young women who would look at me and say, “I just couldn’t carry his baby.” I could feel their desperation.

At the same time, I found myself shocked at how little many of my friends —- women who were studying biology and planning to become doctors —- knew about their own sexual health. They didn’t know about or couldn’t get the reproductive health care they needed because of barriers put up by their culture, their religion and their parents.

I began to feel as if I were leading a double life. At school, the choices I saw women struggling with were forcing me to question my old convictions. When I went home, I’d go to church with my parents but would find that my views contrasted starkly with those I heard in the sermons. It was a difficult time, because I felt that neither my family nor my church would welcome my questions or understand my struggle.

For the most part, I don’t talk to my parents about those beliefs. They already feel as though I’ve turned my back on much of what they taught me because my husband and I bought a house and lived together for a few months before we were married. Two and a half years later, that rift isn’t fully healed. I know that my views on reproductive rights would be another blow.

But ultimately, we have more in common than they might think. I agree that ending an unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy. When I advocate for reproductive rights, for choice, I don’t claim that abortion is morally acceptable. I think that it’s a very private, intensely personal decision. But I was stunned when one of my professors, a pathologist and a Planned Parenthood supporter, told me that decades ago, entire wings of the university’s hospital were filled with women dying from infections caused by botched abortions. It’s clear that women who don’t want to be pregnant won’t be deterred by limited access to providers or to clinics. And I believe that it’s immoral to let them die rather than provide them with safe, competent care.

I still have a long way to go in my medical training. I’ve never witnessed an actual abortion procedure, though I have been trained, through my work in Medical Students for Choice, in manual vacuum aspiration, a simple procedure used for both incomplete miscarriages and elective terminations in the first trimester. I plan to choose a residency program that provides further training —- a place where I won’t worry that asking to be taught to perform an abortion could somehow limit my future options. At the start of medical school, I was very careful about how I presented my views to the faculty for fear that I could jeopardize my grades or hurt my chances for recommendations or of being accepted into a program run by any of the professors.

As I continue my education, my views on abortion are still evolving. Take late-term abortions. When I first heard about them, I was horrified.

It wasn’t until I spent time in ultrasound rooms in graduate school that I began to see late-trimester abortions in a very different light. In one case, the patient’s baby had just been diagnosed with a lethal congenital anomaly. The high likelihood was that it wouldn’t survive after birth for more than a few minutes. As long as the baby remained in her mother’s womb, however, she would live. I asked the physician what this woman’s options were. The answer was, not many. She could choose to continue the pregnancy, but then she might be waiting for almost 20 more weeks to give birth to a baby that would never take more than a few breaths on its own. She was past the point where she could legally terminate the pregnancy in Alabama. If she could get an appointment in Atlanta within the next week, she might be able to have the procedure there. Beyond that, there were only a few physicians in the nation who would perform an abortion in such a case.

I could hardly wrap my mind around the agony that this woman and her husband must have been facing. They needed a caring physician to help them through this dark moment, and if they chose not to continue the pregnancy, they also needed a physician who was both skilled enough and brave enough to provide them with the care they needed. They needed Dr. Tiller.

I can’t yet imagine doing the kind of work that he did. When I think about my future practice, I think about a doctor I met at a conference who spoke candidly about the harassment his children endured at school because of what their father did. I wonder what seventh grade might be like for my children if I choose to provide abortions.

I’m not the only one with questions. Once, after Medical Students for Choice co-hosted a panel discussion on reducing the number of abortions by providing better education on reproductive health, some of my classmates approached close friends of mine. They were puzzled that an abortion-rights group was talking about wanting to reduce abortions —- and that it viewed ending unwanted pregnancies as a tragedy. Mostly, though, they were confused about what I was doing there. “I know Roz goes to church every Sunday and that she’s a good person,” one classmate asked. “Why would she be involved in a group like this?”

I know my answer to that question. Someday I hope my classmates will understand, too.

Rozalyn Farmer Love is a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

"Making a Way out of No Way - a Womanist Theology"

Today, which happens to be Thursday, June 11, my good friend Monica A. Coleman is going to be at Charis Books & More at 7:30pm delivering a discussion about her new book, "Making a Way out of No Way - a Womanist Theology." I have not read the book yet-I will after I finish my current-but I will go ahead and advise you to attend if you are in the area. I promise you will not be disappointed!!

There is something you should know about Monica Coleman - she is smart. As in WOW! smart. As in, when she graduated from Harvard she was named one of the twenty-five “intellectual elite” of her graduating class. And yet, I know firsthand from talking with her that the words she uses are easily understood. Coleman is not someone who wants to sit aloft on her intellectual pedestal, but instead wants to spread her message to all.

Karen Baker-Fletcher, Ph.D. Professor of Systematic Theology at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, says this about Coleman's book: “Monica Coleman’s elegant prose makes Making a Way out of No Way a clear and accessible introduction to postmodern womanist theology. This book is a wonderful synthesis of the best of the past with attention to the foibles of our twenty-first-century present and realistic hope for creative future possibilities.”
(Did I mention that she's gorgeous too?!)

Coleman's newest book-she also wrote the book, "The Dinah Project," about how the church can help heal victims of sexual abuse-articulates the African American expression of "making a way out of no way" for today's context of globalization, religious pluralism, and sexual diversity. Drawing on womanist religious scholarship and process thought, Coleman describes the symbiotic relationship among God, the ancestors, and humanity that helps to change the world into the just society it ought to be. "Making a Way Out of No Way" shows us a way of living for justice with God and proposes a communal theology that presents a dynamic way forward for black churches, African traditional religions and grassroots organizations. And please come to the discussion, even if you are not Black or female, for womanist theology applies to everyone! We should all look into the ways that our society can be made into the "just society it ought to be."

*Much of the material for this post was gathered from her website, which is linked to on the right side of the page, under the "Support Your Community" section. Just click on her name, Monica A. Coleman to learn more about her and her work. Or come tonight! (Or come visit Circle of Grace Community Church in Atlanta, of which she is a member!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body - a Book Review

I also have a blog called, "Hope is Real!" about feminism and mental illness, with a particular emphasis on eating disorders. Some of my posts from that site will also be posted here, like this one was a few weeks ago:

A very important aspect of recovery is learning about your disorder, but I have found most material about eating disorders to be 1) extremely triggering, as they describe in detail the self-loathing thoughts and behavior practiced, and 2) written for someone else, i.e. family, friends, caregivers, therapists, the next door neighbor's dog... which does, at least, explain all the heavy descriptions. But I, as a person in recovery from an eating disorder, want a book that is written to be read by me. I want material that is empowering, that addresses the deeper issues, and that does not remind me of the all the harmful behaviors that I already know I can do myself. Fortunately, I found a fabulous book that is not triggering at my favorite bookstore, Charis Books & More, in Atlanta called, "Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image,"

The book is a collection of short essays by different women and a few men about their relationship with their own body. I could not put the book down! While each person chose to center their essay around a different body part or feature that they felt uncomfortable or awkward about, what the book ultimately reenforces is that everybody in this society has body issues and that the biggest thing that we can do as a society, and as feminists, to break the insanity is for us as individuals to start loving and accepting our own body. A radical notion, I know, but oh, so worth it!

Another thing I love about this book is that the writers are a diverse group, from every race, ethnicity, region, religion, and sexual orientation in the United States. This how the book describes the writers, "The writers assembled here celebrate the body in all its splendored shapes, sizes, colors and textures. In doing so, they expand the national dialogue on body image to include race, ethnicity, sexuality and power-issues that, while often overlooked, are intimately linked to how women feel about their bodies. Body Outlaws offers stories by those who have chosen to ignore, subvert or redefine the dominant beauty standard in order to feel at home in their bodies."

I am also glad that one of the writers is Diana Courvant, who is also a transwoman. Her story, "Strip!" is for me, one of the most powerful. In it, she strips in front of a large group of people, while giving a talk about being trans, in order to show that having a body in transition is not "freakish," which sadly, are using her therapists' own words. Trans people are not freaks and neither are those with disabilities, or who are queer, or who are abormally short, tall, have a large nose, or an enormous butt! We are who we are and that is all we should ever have to be, for that is hard enough.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reporting on Human Trafficking in North Korea Equals a 12 Year Sentence?! Free Ling and Lee!!!

Lee and Ling, two American journalists were near North Korea reporting about the horrible female trafficking going on there, who were most likely captured, brought into North Korea, and imprisoned. There are those who are going to blame the two journalists and say they should not have even been near a hostile land. I say they are brave women who deserve honor and freedom. More complete news is below.

Journalists get 12 years in N. Korean labor camp

By VIJAY JOSHI, Associated Press Writer Vijay Joshi

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea convicted two American journalists and sentenced them Monday to 12 years of hard labor for crossing into its territory, intensifying the reclusive nation's confrontation with the United States.

The Obama administration said it would pursue "all possible channels" to win the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV media venture.

There are fears Pyongyang is using the women as bargaining chips as the U.N. debates a new resolution to punish the country for its defiant May 25 atomic test and as North Korea seeks to draw Washington into direct negotiations.

Washington's former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson called the sentencing part of "a high-stakes poker game" being played by North Korea. He said on NBC's Today show that he thinks negotiations for their "humanitarian release" can begin now that the legal process has been completed. Other South Korean analysts also said they expect the two to be freed following negotiations.

The journalists were found guilty of committing a "grave crime" against North Korea and of illegally entering the country, North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korean guards arrested Ling and Lee near the China-North Korean border on March 17. The two were reporting about the trafficking of North Korean women at the time of their arrest, and it's unclear if they strayed into the North or were grabbed by aggressive border guards who crossed into China. A cameraman and their local guide escaped.

The Central Court in Pyongyang sentenced each to 12 years of "reform through labor" in a North Korean prison after a five-day trial, KCNA said in a terse, two-line report that provided no further details. A Korean-language version said they were convicted of "hostility toward the Korean people."

The ruling — nearly three months after their arrest on March 17 — comes amid soaring tensions fueled by North Korea's nuclear test last month and signs it is preparing for a long-range missile test. On Monday, North Korea warned fishing boats to stay away from the east coast, Japan's coast guard said, raising concerns more missile tests are being planned.

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama used strong language on North Korea's nuclear stance and said his administration did not intend "to continue a policy of rewarding provocation."

Verdicts issued by North Korea's highest court are final and cannot be appealed, said Choi Eun-suk, a North Korean law expert at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at South Korea's Kyungnam University. He said North Korea's penal code calls for transferring them to prison within 10 days.

The United States, which does not have diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, was "deeply concerned" about the reported verdict, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in Washington. He said officials would "engage in all possible channels" to win the reporters' release.

At the White House on Monday, deputy spokesman William Burton said in a statement: "The president is deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities, and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release."

The families of Lee, 36, and Ling, 32 had no immediate comment, spokeswoman Alanna Zahn said from New York. Gore also had no comment, spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said.

Lee is Korean-American and speaks Korean, but it is not clear how well. She lives in California with her husband and 4-year-old daughter Hannah. Ling is Chinese-American and a native of California. Her sister is National Geographic "Explorer" TV journalist Lisa Ling.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University, said the 12-year sentence — the maximum allowed under North Korean law — may have been a reaction to recent "hard-line" threats by the U.S., including possible sanctions and putting North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But he predicted the journalists' eventual release following diplomatic negotiations.

"The sentence doesn't mean much because the issue will be resolved diplomatically in the end," Kim said.

Just weeks after arresting the women, North Korea launched a multistage rocket over Japan in defiance of international calls for restraint. The U.S. and others called the launch a cover for a long-range missile test, and the U.N. Security Council condemned the move.

The U.N. censure enraged Pyongyang. North Korea abandoned nuclear disarmament talks, threatened to restart its atomic program and vowed to conduct nuclear and long-range missile tests if the Security Council failed to apologize.

The North followed through with its threat and staged its second-ever underground nuclear test. U.S. officials say the North appears to be preparing another long-range missile test at a west coast launch pad.

Some analysts called the arrest of the Americans a timely "bonanza" for Pyongyang as the impoverished regime prepares to negotiate for aid and other concessions to resolve the tense standoff over its nuclear defiance.

"North Korea refused to release them ahead of a court ruling because such a move could be seen as capitulating to the United States," said Hajime Izumi, professor of international relations and an expert on North Korea at the University of Shizuoka in Japan.

But now, "North Korea may release them on humanitarian grounds and demand the U.S. provide humanitarian aid in return," he said. "North Korea will certainly use the reporters as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the United States."

Their release could come through a post-negotiation political pardon, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies.

The sentence is "a terrible shock for all those who have repeatedly insisted on their innocence," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement, noting that North Korea is ranked as Asia's worst country for press freedom.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists urged South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S., the five countries involved in the stalled disarmament talks with North Korea, to work for the journalists' release."

The sentencing comes a month after Iran released Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who had been sentenced to eight years in prison for on a charge of spying for the United States. An appeals court reduced that to a two-year suspended sentence and she was freed May 11.

Little is known about prison conditions in North Korea. But Rev. Chun Ki-won, a South Korean missionary who helped arrange the journalists' trip to China, said inmates in North Korean labor camps frequently face beatings and other inhumane treatment while being forced to engage in harsh labor such as logging and construction work.

Chun, however, predicted the North would send the journalists to a labor camp.


Associated Press writers Jae-soon Chang and William Foreman in Seoul, and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mission Statement

Feminism, at its core, is a critique of power. ~ Rev. Connie Tuttle
(founder of Circle of Grace Community Church, the world’s only feminist Christian church)

Feminism should be an inclusive community!

But unfortunately, all too often it is not. Whiteness also has a privilege and white womyn, glad to have the luxury to enjoy some of the benefits that men enjoy, often use their own to diminish other womyn of color. Other womyn try to diminish each other daily too-those who are thin, healthy, wealthy, more educated, gender normative, more spiritual, come from the “best” country, and the list goes on…

This has to stop!

We must stop tearing each other down and start building each other up!

And so I have started this blog as a way to build an inclusive, supportive, feminist community. This is a place where I want womyn from all walks of life to post about anything related to feminism, as long as it is promoting sisterhood and not privilege. I want this site to promote not just womyn’s posts, but also their own artwork and events.

This is a trans, womanist, mentally and/or physically disabled, fat, religious, atheist, poor, uneducated, and yes, even male, friendly blog!

I want this to be a place of dialogue and that means no hate speech is allowed. Disagreements? Sure! Obscene language? Okay! Hate? No! I’ve found that when hate speech is allowed, meaningful dialogue dissipates. I am the moderator, so my judgement is final.

If you have any ideas, send them to me at

If you would like to submit a post, event listing (for any area), or artwork, send them to me at

If you know of any links that I should add, send them to me at

If you have any questions or comments, send them to me at the same address:

Please remember that I have just started this site AND I am already incredibly busy, so if I do not have something on this blog that you think is crucial, try not to get upset, but send me the link or the post yourself to the address (do I REALLY need to type it again?!):

This is a place for marginalized voices! Let them be heard!!!