Friday, February 17, 2012

No Women on House of Representatives' Birth Control Panel

from hartford.edu
In yet another egregious action by the neo-cons of the United States' central government, House Republicans created a panel to discuss birth control insurance coverage, and yet, no women were invited to participate.

On the Democratic Congressional Committee website, they have a petition going, "Where Are the Women?" and every woman should sign it:

"Join Leader Pelosi in our call to Speaker Boehner, Eric Cantor, Chairman Issa and all House Republicans to demand that women be brought to the table when discussing women’s health issues. Help us gather 50,000 signatures before Congress heads home tomorrow."
NARAL Pro-Choice America also had something to say in response to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform denying a female law student from testifying on the importance of access to birth control. This is insult to injury considering the hearing panel consists of 10 people, 8 of whom are men.

 NARAL's president Nancy Keenan issued this statement:
“Just when you think the U.S. House of Representatives could not be more ridiculous, here comes a hearing on contraception to which women are not allowed to talk about the importance of birth control. When it comes to women’s health and privacy, the committee would rather listen to eight men than one woman who supports contraception.” 
Democrats and women of America, get off your ass and get moving. The attack on Planned Parenthood was just the beginning. The Republicans are already working toward winning as much governmental power as they can in 2012. If they win, the women and the poor of America will pay the price.

Be the voice of change!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

As people around the world celebrate love on Valentine's Day, I feel it is important to bring attention to a day that has probably never made the American evening news and will certainly never pop up on trendy blogs. A few days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) brought attention to the 8th annual International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a barbaric custom actively practiced in 28 countries in Africa and the Middle East and which occurs "under the radar" in other countries with high numbers of immigrants from these areas, including the United States. FGM encompasses the removal of the clitoris and usually some of the labia via a razor blade, knife, or broken piece of glass. FGM is performed on girls ranging in age from infancy to 12 years old with no anesthetic and no proper wound dressing.

It is crucial to understand the difference between male circumcision and Female Genital Mutilation. In male circumcision, which is equally appalling, the foreskin of the penis is removed. The removal of the clitoris in the female is equivalent to the removal of the head of the penis, not just the foreskin.


FGM proponents in these developing countries claim the purpose of FGM is to prohibit a female from enjoying sex as an adult, thereby reducing the chance that she would take lovers outside of marriage. The custom is so entrenched in these cultures that it is the mothers and grandmothers who force the girls to be mutilated -- they tell the girls they will be considered "ugly," "unclean," or undesirable to a potential husband if the girl is not cut.

An important site working to end this practice is the Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project. On their site, they explain three kinds of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) that are routinely performed in Africa and the Middle East.
"The first and mildest type of FGC is called 'sunna circumcision' or Type I. The term 'Sunna' refers to tradition as taught by the prophet Muhammad. This involves the 'removal of the prepuce with or without the excision of part or all of the clitoris.'

"The second type of FGC, Type II, involves the partial or entire removal of the clitoris, as well as the scraping off of the labia majora and labia minora.... Clitoridectomy was invented by Sudanese midwives as a compromise when British legislation forbade the most extreme operations in 1946.

FGC Ed. & Networking
"The third and most drastic type of FGC is Type III. This most extreme form, consists of the removal of the clitoris, the adjacent labia (majora and minora), and the joining of the scraped sides of the vulva across the vagina, where they are secured with thorns or sewn with catgut or thread. A small opening is kept to allow passage of urine and menstrual blood. An infibulated woman must be cut open to allow intercourse on the wedding night and is closed again afterwards to secure fidelity to the husband." 
Rights groups are working tirelessly to bring awareness to the issue of FGM, and some countries have adopted new laws that prohibit FGM. However, the fight is an uphill battle for two reasons. First, the practice of FGM is socially and culturally tied to tribal initiation traditions. Secondly, the women in the tribes are brainwashed by the ingrained misogyny of the culture.

Indian Muslim Observer
Imagine if your mother said the only way you would be considered beautiful is if you have your external sex organs slashed away in a hatchet job? That is the mentality that is perpetrated on these girls, who grow up to repeat the cycle with their daughters and granddaughters.

The effects of the mutilation not only effects the girl who is  subjected to the assault, but also to other girls. FGM is not usually performed in sanitary conditions, and the mutilator usually does not wash the cutting implement after each cutting. The transmission of disease can occur not only at the time of the mutilation, but later as the wound becomes infected due to lack of medical treatment.

Death is also a consequence of FGM due to the girl going into shock or developing internal hemorrhages, bleeding out, as well as becoming septic. Aside from the wound itself becoming infected, the urinary tract, bladder, and the entire pelvic region is susceptible to infection.


In an interagency statement between OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, and the World Health Organization, these organizations officially call for the end of FGM:
"This Statement is a call to all States, international and national organizations, civil society and communities to uphold the rights of girls and women. It also calls on those bodies and communities to develop, strengthen, and support specific and concrete actions directed towards ending female genital mutilation."
The full document is available on the WHO's website in several languages, including Arabic, English, Freech, and Portuguese.

For the record, I find any form of circumcision to be barbaric, whether it is the Jewish tradition of circumcising newborn males that has been adopted in so-called Christian countries, including the United States, or Female Genital Mutilation that occurs in patriarchal, developing countries, and now in so-called democratic, "free" countries. The misconceptions of being uncircumcised are as unsubstantiated by science and rational thought as the notion of FGM making a girl "beautiful" is simply ridiculous.

Support women and the beauty of women's sexuality by doing your own research about this horrendous practice and bringing an end to Female Genital Mutilation around the world.

Friday, February 10, 2012

JC Penney Stands Behind Ellen!

While American women spoke up in support of Planned Parenthood, another aspect of women's rights -- freedom of sexuality -- was being attacked my more hate-mongering conservatives.

Ellen DeGeneres is an out and proud woman. And that's okay by retailer J.C. Penney, who refused to buckle to demands to drop Ellen as its spokesperson.

The ultra-conservative group One Million Moms, which is part of the American Family Association, had begun a campaign to coerce JCP to kowtow to right-wing pressure. Astonishing everyone, J.C. Penney stood strong, explaining that it "stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres."

Herndon Graddick, a representative with GLAAD, issued a statement of support as well as a reminder that the battle is far from over:
"This week Americans spoke out in overwhelming support of LGBT people and J.C. Penney’s decision not to fire Ellen simply for who she happens to love. But while Ellen has the nation on her side, in 29 states today, Americans can still be legally fired just for being gay. Our elected officials should use this incident as yet another example of the support for legal protections for all hard working employees."
Be sure to tell J.C. Penney how proud YOU are that they won't submit to the neo-con's intolerance. Write a big Thank You on J.C. Penney's Facebook page as well as a send them a sweet tweet of gratitude and support. They seemed to have come a long way since pulling their support from Ellen's sitcom back in 1997... but it's the 21st century now, and hopefully, J.C. Penney is supporting Ellen for the right reason... as in for the "rights" of men and women to live openly about their sexual orientation without fear of anti-LGBT attacks.

Which reminds me... I left some things in my shopping cart at JCP.com, and I will also show them my support with my consumer dollars.

(Re-posted from my blog for ArousedWoman.com. Copyright 2012 by Trish Causey.)

Susan G. Komen Finally Shows Its True Colors - And It's NOT Pink!

Anyone who was within tweet-shot of a social media gizmo last week could not escape the public's coverage of Susan G. Komen's latest turn against women and the pursuit of a cure for cancer... (of course, the cure for cancer already exists, but that would mean growing certain herbs the FDA deems illegal and that Big Pharma couldn't make billions of dollars from our ability to heal ourselves by going back to earth... but I digress...)

Why people were outraged at Susan G. Komen foundation pulling current and future funding from Planned Parenthood is a mystery to me.  In 2010, the Komen branding nazis began suing smaller charities that were using the phrase "for the cure" in their mottoes. Smaller local or regional groups that raise money to support breast cancer research and women in their local areas suddenly had to give up use of the words "for the cure" or spend their hard-raised funds on lawyers to stand up for their rights to maintain their mottoes. Clearly, Komen had become too big for its britches... or just filled with neo-con bitches?

While Komen and right-wingers were trying to sneak money away from Planned Parenthood under the pretense of not giving money to organizations under "investigation," no one was speaking up for Planned Parenthood and why it is being attacked by Congress and their "investigation" in the first place. Again, I digress...

A few days in the hot-seat, and Komen finally came around to pretending to make amends. Komen issued a statement. Komen's press release consisted of a banal "apology" and "explanation":

"The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

... We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics."
Yeah, right.

Susan G. Komen's public image is officially tarnished. But better than that, women around the United States spoke out and spoke UP for women's access to healthcare, women's access to choice about their bodies, and women's refusal to be a pawn in the political machine of Republican conservatives who will try to rip away the last of our basic freedoms should they win the Presidency and/or control of Congress in 2012.

Last week was a beautiful week for democracy, activism, and showing the world the vagina revolution didn't end in the 1970's!

(Re-posted from my blog for ArousedWoman.com. Copyright 2012 by Trish Causey.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

UPCOMING SHOWS!

  • Human Rights Campaign - LGBT Activism: Jan. 24 @ 11 a.m. ET.
  • American Indian Rights
  • Sexuality Series - The Truth About Polyamory
  • Sexuality Series - The Science of Female Sexuality
  • Living as a Transgender or Transsexual Person
Call in to listen and ask questions: (347) 838-9812. OR Listen online and type your questions in the chat room: http://www.blogtakradio.com/activistsvoice.






Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sexuality Series

The Activists' Voice with Trish Causey recognizes that sexuality is a huge part of activism -- from marriage equality, women's reproductive rights, to abuse survivors' rights, being able to have sex with whatever adult you choose as well as having multiple orgasms ('cause who doesn't want that?!).

AV's Sexuality Series hopes to help listeners reclaim their bodies from the oppression of religion and government's patriarchal and misogynistic propaganda.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

REPLAY: Reason Rally in Washington, DC, 2012

If you're a free-thinker and want to be a part of the largest secular event ever, then the Reason Rally is where you want to be next March. Listen to the replay of my interview with Dave Silverman, organizer for the Reason Rally, to learn more about free-thinkers, secular civil liberties, and atheism today. Just click the play button on the blue box to the right.