This cartoon talks about the perils of even trying to tell stories about the work that people do, at great risk to themselves, to help women achieve reproductive justice. Via silk_noir.
And this one — which is much more uplifting, and which I have now watched three times — is a video of a number of GLBTQQI (and allies?) teenagers lipsynching to Lily Allen’s “Fuck You Very Much” as a response to prop h8 being upheld. I particularly enjoy the use of phallic popsicles to create imagery that can be used as a weapon against bigots. Via ktsparrow.
UPDATE: Watching this second video a fourth and fifth times, it really grinds home to me how much the people in this video are the kind of people I consider “my people.” It’s beyond me how anyone can look at such joyful profusion, so much color and joy in the way they dress and act and exist, and see something threatening or disgusting.
Yet I know they do. When I was a teenager, my presentation — though abnormal for teenagers — was never enough to unsettle adults. In fact, I probably dressed in a more adult-friendly way than most teens. Long skirts, pseudo-professional clothes, often bizarrely formal for a high school student. But my friends didn’t.
There was one girl I spent a lot of time with. A pixie-like joy of a person, Dawna, who wore her blonde hair almost totally shaved, and strung chains on her jeans. People who saw her knew there was something unusual about her. They didn’t take joy in her oddness, in her willingness to sing in the middle of the street, in her humor, in her desire to leave strange and beautiful things in public places for strangers to find and puzzle over. They shouted “dyke!” at her from car windows; they deployed store guards to follow her around; they sneered and snarled.
When I was 17 and Dawna was 15, she went out with me and started acting very strange. “Is she on meth or something?” a friend of mine asked. I said, “I’m sure she isn’t” — but I was wrong. She was on meth. She called me that night, crying. She’d been taking a lot of drugs for a long time — to try to deal with the pain of her isolation, the pain of how people pricked and pained her, and othered her, and told her she was nothing.
I told her I’d help. I arranged for her to be transferred to my high school and set her up with the teachers who’d been best for me. Nothing worked; the teachers who were more than happy to deal with my casual attitude toward authority had no tools in their kits to handle a girl who was too depressed to go to class. I’d thought they would recognize in her, as they had in me, independence and intelligence. I suppose they did. But even if they wanted to, there was nothing they could do.
I always worried Dawna would die. I thought she would overdose or commit suicide. When I read a few years ago that she was dead, and the obituary hinted at a cause of death that couldn’t be announced to potentially scandalized ears, I knew I was right.
She was twenty-two.
Dawna lived twenty-two years in the toxic hatred of our homophobic, gender policing, joy-killing world. And then it murdered her.
When people stand with bigots to say that gay marriage is an evil to society — when they agree gay people should be excluded on the basis of their sexuality — when they doubt gay people’s goodness or morality — they contribute to the deaths of people like Dawna. Yes, I do mean you, individual Alas commenter who may be a good person in other ways. You participate in a culture that kills people like my friend, and “fuck you very much” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I hope that someday people will realize what they’re doing when they vote and act hatred. In the meantime, I can only be glad that there are still colorful, inspiring, joyous, unique people in the world, and try to give those people my love and support.