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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, May 29th, 2019


Top Stories This Week

1. Recent developments in the ongoing struggle to protect people’s rights to legal, safe, and accessible abortions
2. The many intersections between abortion rights and LGBTQ+ rights;
3. Violence against trans people in the South;
4. Neighborhood surveillance technologies and their potential for othering and criminalizing people of color;
5. The caging of asylum seekers in private Louisiana jails;
6. Brown v. Board of Education and its present-day iterations;
7. Family abolition and a radical reconceptualization of pregnancy.


(Melissa Golden)

‘The Time Is Now’: States Are Rushing to Restrict Abortion, or to Protect It (The New York Times)

States across the nation are passing some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in decades, threatening the future of abortion access in America. Sabrina Tavernise writes, “It’s not the first time that activists in the abortion movement believed Roe was about to be overturned. When the Supreme Court took up Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case it ruled on in 1992, both sides of the issue felt certain that it would mean the end of federal abortion protections. Instead, it affirmed them, while opening the door for individual states to regulate at later stages of pregnancy. But nearly 30 years later, the country’s politics have grown more polarized.” Read more.


(Elijah Nouvelage/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Abortion Rights Are LGBTQ+ Rights, Too—And We Need to Fight Back (them.)

As Trish Bendix asserts, recent threats to abortion place millions of Americans’ safety and rights in danger, including millions of LGBTQ+ Americans: “Researchers have consistently found that queer people are more likely to experience poverty than non-queer people, and because impoverished people are more likely to rely on healthcare facilities that provide abortion, closing these clinics means severing some of the most marginalized within our community from accessible healthcare. For an organization like Planned Parenthood—whose clinics often function as an irreplaceable link to care for those living with HIV, on hormone replacement therapy, or in need of other forms of LGBTQ+-related care—bills that curtail abortion access often inadvertently curtail LGBTQ+ healthcare access, too.” Read more.


(Transgender Law Center)

Transgender People Report ‘High Levels of Violence’ in the U.S. South (Rewire.News)

A new study titled Grapevine: A Southern Trans Report found that nearly half of trans people living in 13 Southern states reported “high levels of violence by strangers,” including the police. Nico Lang elaborates upon Grapevine’s findings: “Forty-one percent of those surveyed say they have been targeted, harassed, or physically assaulted by members of law enforcement. Those numbers are even higher for transgender women and people of color. Of these uniquely vulnerable populations, nearly 6 in 10 trans women say they have experienced harassment or abuse from someone they do not know.” Read more.


(Intel Free Press/Wikimedia)

“Get Off My Lawn” Goes Digital (Jacobin)

Home security systems have become enmeshed in our digital lives, and as Dawn Foster contends, this proliferation of personal surveillance entails serious consequences. “People’s paranoia about protecting their wealth leads them to ramp up digital security; they appoint themselves as the effective police force, deciding what behavior counts as suspicious, what individuals fit the bill, and then plaster their images online and store footage and photographs of supposed ‘culprits.’ [...] The surveilled are young men, often in groups (or ‘gangs,’ to use the loaded descriptor), often not white, and are simply hanging about. Security systems have formalized the profiling and scapegoating of young people who are already routinely othered, and allow moderately affluent people to create a digital dossier of the people they would gladly turf out of a neighborhood.” Read more.



Asylum Seekers Are Being “Disappeared” in Private Louisiana Jails (Truthout)

Throughout the 19th century, enslaved people worked cotton and sugar cane fields near the small town of Ferriday, Louisiana. Today, Mike Ludwig notes that the local economy “is still extracting profit from maintaining the captivity of people of color today.” Ludwig writes, “River Correctional Center is one of several local jails and state prisons in Louisiana, Mississippi and beyond that have lucrative contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to incarcerate hundreds of people detained in the federal immigration detention system, which has swelled under Trump administration policies that prioritize the ‘indefinite detention’ of thousands seeking refuge in the United States.” Read more.


(Carl Iwasaki/Life Images Collection/Getty)

These Are Photos From the Brown v. Board Era, But Don’t Pretend School Segregation Is History (Mother Jones)

Accompanying a series of photos from the Brown v. Board of Education era, Mark Murrmann and Edwin Rios urge us to recognize that the case’s promise is “at grave risk.” Murrmann and Rios write, “Sixty-five years ago today, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren declared that ‘the doctrine of separate but equal has no place’ in America’s public schools. Segregated schools were unconstitutional. Gone were the ‘inherently unequal’ all-black schools and all-white schools. Or so we thought. [...] The triumphal version of the Brown story tends to obscure the ways that school segregation has persisted, mutated, changed its name so as to slip by unnoticed.” Read more.


(Sophie Lewis)

Want to Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family (The Nation)

The “abolition of the family” is perhaps the most infamous demand of The Communist Manifesto. To understand family abolition in the current age, Rosemarie Ho interviews feminist theorist and geographer Sophie Lewis. Rosemarie Ho writes, “Radical queer politics in the 1960s and ’70s added to their critique of the bourgeois family when activists challenged the heteronormativity of familial relations. [...] Lewis, a feminist theorist and geographer, takes up this forgotten struggle in her work. Her new book, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family specifically links family abolition to a radical reconceptualization of pregnancy itself. The act of carrying a child to term, she insists, is work—labor that has long been exploited and overlooked by the academy—and so is mothering.” Read more.


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