On Being an Abortion Doula

On Being an Abortion Doula

Robinson is one of over 20 volunteers for The Doula Project, a New York City-based nonprofit organization. The organization was started in 2007 as a way to provide caregivers to women undergoing abortions. In the words of the project’s mission statement, their doulas offer “all of the benefits of what is typically known to be the territory of birth doulas: pain management and relaxation techniques, information and education about pregnancy, and above all, emotional support and empathy.”

In 2009, the project expanded to encompass birth-work as well, though the majority of their clients are still women terminating pregnancies.

Such a wonderful, thoughtful interview. I am amazed and inspired by Annie Robinson’s wisdom and courage.

Thanks to Sarah for the link, and for understanding me so well.

High School in Southern Georgia: What ‘Career Technical’ Education Looks Like

High School in Southern Georgia: What ‘Career Technical’ Education Looks Like

“In the past, we’ve encouraged all kids to go to college, because of the idea that it made the big difference in income levels,” Rachel Baldwin told me on the phone this morning. She then mentioned a recent public radio series on the origins of success, and said: “The recent evidence suggests really goes back to something like ‘grit.’ I think you are more likely to learn grit in one of these technical classes. The plumber who has grit may turn out to be more entrepreneurial and successful than someone with an advanced degree. Our goal has been getting students a skill and a credential that puts them above just the entry-level job, including if they’re using that to pay for college.”

Being from southern Georgia doesn’t always give me a lot of pride, at least not when it comes to reading news stories. But this piece just made my whole day. I hope other public schools around the country follow suit.

What We Can Learn From the Embarrassing #CancelColbert Shitstorm

What We Can Learn From the Embarrassing #CancelColbert Shitstorm

Last night, The Colbert Report aired a segment skewering Washington R**skins’ owner Daniel Snyder’s pro-Native American charity that contains an anti-Native American slur (“R**skins”) in its name by suggesting Colbert, inspired by Snyder, would be starting his own charity, the “Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” A Twitter account controlled by Comedy Central tweeted the announcement without referring to the R**skins charity Colbert was skewering, which ignited a Twitter shitstorm that called for Colbert’s cancellation, a shitstorm that keeps getting more embarrassing. What can we learn from this? Besides “everyone calm the fuck down for a goddamn second”?

This article is fantastic for a number of reasons. The cultural analysis is hilarious and spot-on. I love the author’s tone and her complete annoyance at the whole thing. I also appreciated the fact that she wasn’t being condescending about it, she just said, look, the internet happens, let’s try to learn from this and move on.

And can we all just take a second to laugh at the absurdity of the R**skins starting a charity for Native Americans? BECAUSE REALLY?! How is that going to help ANYTHING?

/rant

America’s Baby Bust [Feb 2013]

America’s Baby Bust [Feb 2013]

Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.

Important note about this article: The author is coming from a significantly more conservative viewpoint than my own. I agree that America’s declining birth rate is a problem, but I don’t necessarily agree with what caused it or even the solution. But what he does well is to really examine why a low birth rate is a problem in the United States and other countries.

What do I think we can do about it? Subsidizing child care and making paid maternity/paternity leave a priority certainly wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think it would fix everything, but giving parents a support system is even more important now that most of us live far from our extended families. With our government being the complete clusterf*** that it is, however, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School [Feb 2006]

The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School [Feb 2006]

We haven’t had one from the archives in a while, and this article is a perfect supplement to my previous post about studying bisexuality. It’s also a favorite of mine.

Alair is headed for the section of the second-floor hallway where her friends gather every day during their free tenth period for the “cuddle puddle,” as she calls it. There are girls petting girls and girls petting guys and guys petting guys. She dives into the undulating heap of backpacks and blue jeans and emerges between her two best friends, Jane and Elle, whose names have been changed at their request. They are all 16, juniors at Stuyvesant. Alair slips into Jane’s lap, and Elle reclines next to them, watching, cat-eyed. All three have hooked up with each other. All three have hooked up with boys—sometimes the same boys. But it’s not that they’re gay or bisexual, not exactly. Not always.

Their friend Nathan, a senior with John Lennon hair and glasses, is there with his guitar, strumming softly under the conversation. “So many of the girls here are lesbian or have experimented or are confused,” he says.

Ilia, another senior boy, frowns at Nathan’s use of labels. “It’s not lesbian or bisexual. It’s just, whatever . . . ”

It’s just, whatever.

The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists

The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists

But in the eyes of many Americans, bisexuality — despite occasional and exaggerated media reports of its chicness — remains a bewildering and potentially invented orientation favored by men in denial about their homosexuality and by women who will inevitably settle down with men. Studies have found that straight-identified people have more negative attitudes about bisexuals (especially bisexual men) than they do about gays and lesbians, but A.I.B.’s (The American Institute of Bisexuality) board members insist that some of the worst discrimination and minimization comes from the gay community.

“It’s exhausting trying to keep up with all the ignorance that people spew about bisexuality,” Lawrence told me.

A.I.B., which was founded in 1998 by Fritz Klein, who was a wealthy bisexual psychiatrist, is countering that “ignorance” with a nearly $17 million endowment and a belief in the persuasive value of academic and scientific research. In the last few years, A.I.B. has supported the work of about 40 researchers, including those looking at bisexual behavior and mental health; sexual-arousal patterns of bisexual men; bisexual youth; and “mostly straight” men.

“We’re making great progress where there was little hard science,” said Sylla, who insisted that research “now completely validates that bisexual people exist.” A.I.B., he added, has moved on to more nuanced questions: “Can we see differences in the brains of bisexual people using f.M.R.I. technology? How many bisexual people are there — regardless of how they identify — and what range of relationships and life experiences do they have? And how can we help non-bi people understand and better accept bi people?”

Really fascinating article. Of additional interest is that the writer participated in a couple of the studies, the results of which surprised him. Much of this has been said before, but until now, I haven’t read much about this research, just about social perceptions.

Reading this was very reaffirming for me. Something that really struck a cord was a line towards the end:

Sylla added that it was important — both for his own sense of authenticity and for bisexual visibility — to continue to publicly identify as bisexual. “The world needs more out bi people so that bisexuals can find support and community, just like gay people have when they come out,” he said. “Many bisexuals just end up saying they’re gay if they’re with a same-sex person or straight if they’re with an opposite-sex person. It’s easier to do that — you don’t have to constantly correct people or deal with people’s stereotypes about bisexuality and fidelity.”

Yes. I am very public about my sexuality; I identify as pansexual, because I don’t believe in the gender binary, and I’m sure people are sick of hearing me talk about it. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten messages from other bi/pan folks who are thankful that I am so outspoken about it, because it means they know someone else besides themselves who identifies the way they do. We all need to feel like we’re not alone in the world.

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

A fascinating media analysis on a very controversial topic: what to do about the Washington R**skins? I won’t try to summarize such a lengthy, well-researched piece. I will tell you to read it though, whether you have an opinion about it or not.

For more about this issue, and other issues important to Native America, I encourage you to read Native Appropriations, one of my favorite blogs and the perfect place to dive into to learn more about why wearing a “Pocahottie”/Indian Warrior Halloween costume is not okay, why some people are offended by Indian mascots, and why you should not be that asshole wearing a Hipster Headdress.