Hooray! The homophobes in Indiana are losing, just as their fellow haters are losing all across the country. I heard today on Dan Savage’s podcast that "Penced" is a new word that meet means “to eat shit on national TV.” (Here’s a link to Pence’s embarrassing interview with Stephanopolous.) Savage also said that we finally turned a corner, where homophobes have to pay for being homophobic.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, this is about the Christian fanatics in Indiana passing a "religious rights" law that really was an excuse to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people.
They passed this law and the economic backlash has been so massive (Apple, Yelp, Angie’s List ,the NCAA) that, to quote The New York Times, “A newspaper that once endorsed [Pence], The Indianapolis Star, took the unusual step of running a front-page editorial with giant block letters: FIX THIS NOW."
Now, Pence has started backtracking, saying he sees the need to “clarify that the law ‘does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone.’”
This is because of amazing organizing work by activists all over the country who urged companies to pull their business from Indiana. And responsible political leaders like Washington's Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray who both put a ban on some or all state and city sponsored trip dollars being spent in Indiana.
It's a great day. Of course, we have to keep the pressure up, make sure that the law in Indiana – and the similar one that Arkansas passed today for fuck’s sake – is repealed. We need to make sure that bigoted legislators understand that they face the fierce and massive economic retribution of responsible, conscientious and decent people.
But, as the Boycott Indiana! movement has been heating up over the past few days, I couldn't help but notice how effective this movement is compared to the effort to fight other laws that the religious right has been pushing, especially laws that limit a woman's right to an abortion or birth control through the same fucking tactic, by giving hospitals and doctors a “religious freedom” out.
I have a theory about why this is.
One of the things that the gay rights movement has done really well, and really beautifully is that they have clearly articulated their "yes!" The movement is about equality and love. Love! This is something that we can say yes to, with pride and fervor.
The closest thing that the abortion rights movement has to a yes is "privacy." I know this because I worked on this issue with advocates. They are really committed to privacy as the core value of this issue.
It's such a mistake. "Privacy is not a "Yes!" Privacy is "leave me alone." It’s not a rallying cry. It’s a shame shield.
Here's my idea of a rallying cry for the right to abortion and birth control and safer sex supplies for everyone. And you can dress it up in a cocktail dress or red lipstick or Butch boots or whatever turns you on. My idea of a rallying cry is SEX IS FUN.
That’s what abortion and birth control rights are really about. We should say so.
This is one of our main advantages over the right, and we are just leaving that ace on the table. We think Sex is Fun! Most people are having sex for fun! This is major recruiting opportunity! Why are we letting the other side shame us into silence about it?
I'd like to see Planned Parenthood and other groups that fight for women’s freedom get behind (in front of, underneath, in a three-way with) Sex is Fun. Recreational fucking (pardon the redundancy there) sex as a “Yes!”. When you're saying that Yes!, you can point out the slut-shaming tactics of the other side. The ways that they say "if you are beautiful and you strut like you know it, you deserve to be raped" or "If you enjoy sex, you are a slut and you don't deserve to keep your children" or “If you are pregnant, you have done something wrong by forgetting that your body is not for your own pleasure but for the production of obedient clones for the racist, sexist, homophobic patriarchy.”
Okay, hard to fit that on a picket sign. But I’m just saying.
You can't take that shit on armed with "Privacy." "Privacy" buys into the idea that you were doing something wrong and abortion is something to hide, along with Plan B, and RU 486, and lube, and sex toys and every other thing that you might want to put in your bedside drawer. I think we've got to take our bedside drawers and empty them out on the floor of the Capitol building the next time one of the bullshit anti-abortion bills comes up. I think women and men and queers and trans people dressed to party should storm the capital saying "Sex is Fun."
I’d sure as hell rather march for that than for “Privacy.”