This episode is brought to you in collaboration with Melissa C. Mark jewelry
, who will be providing Screw-U necklaces to members of the Feminist Book Club subscription box.
In recognition of Pride Month, today’s episode is dedicated to all the queer folx doing the hard work to create a more radically compassionate world.
We start today’s episode with an essay called History Repeats. This essay is a bit unusual. I wanted to use my platform to shed some light on the history of the Stonewall riots, which occurred in June 1969 and are the reason we celebrate Pride this month. I also wanted to draw some parallels to the abhorrent civil rights violations we’re witnessing in Texas and elsewhere, involving children being isolated from their immigrant parents. I’ve included a few articles in the resources section below.
Our guest today is Sacramento-area teacher Amy Estes, who is carrying the torch for the right for queer educators to teach in harassment-free classrooms. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Nope, she’s currently working with her union-provided lawyer to come to an agreement with her district. I am so honored that Amy shared her heartbreaking story with us. She discusses the instances that led her to call in the troops and seek mental health professionals, eventually taking the spring semester off. Luckily, this allowed her to spend a bit more time practicing important self-care through her standup comedy, but it hasn’t been easy. This is an ongoing situation and I’ve added a few links to some other media coverage in the resources below, but there aren’t any major updates to share since we recorded two weeks ago.
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June 28, 1969.
Only 49 years ago.
Police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Stonewall Inn was not without its faults. The mobsters who owned it served the queer community not out of the goodness of their hearts but as a new line of revenue. The police on their payroll looked the other way, so the bar was run on bare bones. No running water at the bar, no fire exit, and cheap liquor sold without a license.
The police not on the Mafia payroll stormed the club that morning. They arrested 13, citations varying from bootlegged liquor to violating New York’s gendered clothing statute, which stated a person could wear no more than three pieces of clothing traditionally made for the opposite sex. The police were aggressive, a sight that’s too familiar to marginalized communities. The queer community fought back, throwing objects at the police officers as they loaded people in the paddy wagon. Riots ensued.
The mobster owners set Stonewall Inn on fire with police and citizens still inside. There were miraculously no fatalities but the rioting and protests lasted for five days. But the violence eventually led to organizing, which eventually led to progress. But it’s still not equal.
June 13, 2018.
Only a week ago.
Police raid a Greyhound bus in California, demanding to see everyone’s documentation. One woman stood up, told the bus riders not to comply with this illegal request, and used Google translate to share the information in Spanish. The police leave.
June 20, 2018.
News breaks that children as young as 2 are being held in “tender age” shelters to punish their parents for crossing the border illegally.
Parents seeking asylum are being processed as criminals and their children will live with the trauma of a broken system.
Our government warns of infesting the country with people who don’t look like the rest of us, we the people who have a history of murdering, colonizing, enslaving, criminalizing, demonizing, and othering people of color, of any color that’s not white, of any culture that’s not English-speaking, able-bodied, God-fearing, rape-apologizing, violence-inciting, science-hating, power-hungry, capitalist and insecure men, whose masculinity is so fragile that they’ll weaponize their children and their neighbors and their language, who chose which parts of the Constitution they want to enforce, who choose which parts of the Bible to wield as a weapon, who forget that Jesus was a radical who knew that progress meant empowering the marginalized, who loved the poor and the sick, whose friends were sinners, heretics, and prostitutes, whose true teachings inspire us to raise others up instead of trickling resources down.
Human rights are at stake again. Stonewall wasn’t the beginning. The Trump administration won’t be the end. How far are we willing to let them go?