Category Archives: Gender

Recent events in Florida’s Capital

[This was originally posted on the Tallahassee Socialist Organization’s blog]

By Mike C

There were a few events of interest in Tallahassee in the past week or so that should be noted:

Egypt Solidarity Demonstration 2/5/11

About a week an a half ago, a small crowed comprised of many TSO members stood at the Capitol to show their support for the Egyptian revolution.  The demonstration was a last minute call for a rainy day and was well received by those driving by on the crowded intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe St.

The demonstration was covered by the newspaper of the Florida A&M University, the FAMUAN:

It was a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon as protesters assembled on the Capital Lawn carrying handwritten signs reading, “Freedom in Egypt” and “We Support Egypt.”

Local residents and organizations held a solidarity rally to express their support for freedom in Cairo.

Anti-government protests, demanding economic and political changes, began in Egypt on Jan. 25.

Since then, tens of thousands of people are filling the streets of Cairo and other cities and have called for President Hosni Mubarak to resign after 30 years in power.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” a famous quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., helps to define one of the many reasons why American protesters are voicing their opinions.

“It should affect us all as Americans because it is what a truly American concept is about putting in a democracy,” said Alla Hadi, an Egyptian-American attending Florida State, whose family, and friends that are worried about what is going on in Egypt.

“We have to voice our support.”

This demonstration was held the same weekend as demonstrations across the country, from California, to New York City, Washington, DC. and South Florida all held similar events, as well as other Southern cities like New Orleans. (For more information on other demonstrations, check out the ANSWER Coalition’s article)

Public Hearing on Racist Immigration Bill 2/7/11

On February 7th, a public hearing was held to discuss the possibility of the introduction of a bill similar to the now infamous  racist “SB1070” Arizona law that promotes racial profiling.  As the Florida Progressive Coalition Blog reports, 90 percent of the speakers at the hearing were opposed to the prospect of such a bill with only 2 people speaking in favor of it during the entire event.  Folks came from all over the state to voice their opposition to the bill as well as people from Tallahassee.

Here’s one example of the opposition voiced during the hearing:

Pro-Choice Action 2/17/11

Last but certainly not least was the recent visit to the Florida State campus by a group that attempts to equate abortion to genocide.  Florida State students organized a counter demonstration to show that groups that go around attacking womens’ rights are not welcome on their campus and that opposition will be loud and heard.  Chants like “When choice is under attack, What do we do? Stand Up, Fight Back!” were heard in a busy section of the FSU campus while those promoting their anti-choice message were attempting to spread their message of hate.

While the group that was traveling by may seem like a fringe group in its message, their visit to Tallahassee comes at a time when abortion rights are under attack by the Right-wing in America (including attempts to limit access, attacking Planned Parenthood).

The pro-choice counter-demonstrators outnumbered those anti-choice by dozens, and stayed until the anti-choice folks packed up for the day, opposition to their second day is expect as well.  The student newspaper is also expected to run a story on the event.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under ANSWER Coalition, Florida, Gender, Human Rights, immigration, Imperialism, Leftists in the U.S. South, LGBT, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Students, Women

Census: Southern same-sex parents raising children at higher rate

Originally published on http://www.PSLweb.org, the website of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Black and Latino couples twice as likely to have children than white couples

By John Peter Daly

FEBRUARY 3, 2011

 

Gay families: raising children with love despite hardships.

In the mainstream media, same-sex couples with children are often portrayed as predominantly white, well-to-do and living in the urban North East or on the West Coast. However, recent data tell a different story.

The 2010 Census indicates that these images are false and ignore the ethnic diversity of families of same-sex couples. Counting gay and lesbian couples with or without children, there are an estimated 581,000 such families in the United States, reports Gary Gates, a University of California, Los Angeles demographer. About one-third of lesbian couples have children as do one-fifth of gay male couples.

More than in any other region in the U.S., child-rearing is most common among lesbians and gays in the Southern states—a region historically known for its institutional racism and bigotry.

In Florida, for example, gays and lesbians have been banned from adopting for 33 years. The ban was lifted just last October in a three-judge state appellate court hearing that declared Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoption unconstitutional.

Yet, data from the 2010 Census showed that Jacksonville, Fla., has one of the largest populations of same-sex couples rearing children in the entire country (32 percent), second only to San Antonio, Texas (34 percent).

Also in the leadership of creating same-sex parent families are couples from Black and Latino communities. Black and Latino couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children, according the Census Bureau sample.

These families are also more likely to be struggling economically. Lesbian and gay families are facing many of the same tough economic times as heterosexual couples with children, but the denial of basic rights for these families makes the economic downturn all the more challenging. For example, very few companies offer health coverage for a domestic partner. This impacts the health of the partner and children. Statistically, children of same-sex couples are less likely to have health coverage.

The new information about gay and lesbian parents paints a picture of a sector of the U.S. working class. Many of these parents already had children from previous heterosexual relationships before coming out or entering into a same-gender relationship; others sought to be foster or adoptive parents. Gay and lesbian couples have actively participated as foster parents even in states like Florida, where until recently lesbians and gays could care for foster children but not adopt them.

Irish revolutionary Bobby Sands once said, “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” Perhaps it will be the laughter of the children of gay and lesbian parents in the South that serves as a call to action for the necessary social changes to support and nurture a redefinition of family in a reorganized society free of racism and LGBT bigotry.

Leave a comment

Filed under African Americans, Alabama, Arkansas, Atlanta, class struggle, Florida, Gender, Georgia, Human Rights, LGBT, LGBTQI, Louisiana, Queer, Race

Psychosis, Phallus, and Ronnie Van Zant’s Ashes

Submitted by Isolau Vanickova

 

In 2000 the tombs of Lynyrd Skynyrd front man Ronnie Van Zant and one of his band mates were vandalized near their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. For uncertain reasons, the vandals had attempted to remove part of Van Zant’s cremated remains. Many speculated on whether the perpetrators were doing it out of disrespect or adoration. Either situation seemed plausible, with the ubiquity in that band’s hometown of raging drunk “free bird” criers and their distraught and rebellious children alike. For many southerners in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s heyday, Van Zant’s message was a sort of vindication. Unavoidably embedded in the spirits of the times around them, many of the young whites in the South wanted neither to allow for the bigoted system to triumph nor to pander to northern paternalism, such as that criticized by Van Zant and company in “Sweet Home Alabama,” his tongue-in-cheek response to Neil Young from 1974.

The message seemed clear enough: We can do it ourselves, “Montgomery has the answer.” In fact, it is precisely in the song’s lyrics expressing the progressives’ collective national disdain for pro-segregation Alabama governor George Wallace that the particularizing blow against Young is delivered:

“Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow…”

Young, for his part, adored the independent solidarity expressed by his musical counterparts. If the “southern man” was thus vindicated, both reunited with his comrades to the north and unimpeded by their economic and cultural dominance, then the formula for a certain change had been created. Perhaps the most important example of that change can be found today not in the change to unity between southern freedom riders and northern student protestors, but in the change in Governor Wallace to a particular sort of born-again Christianity. Although he publically claimed that a 1972 assassination attempt had changed his perspective on race, one cannot help but think that Wallace’s future political ideology – one thriving if not predominant today – had already been arrived at by Young and Van Zant. As the man who had once physically stood in the path of federal troops at the University of Alabama to prevent its integration began to seek the black vote, those in the young white vote had already begun to seek new terms for their place in American society. This new ideology, shared by Van Zant and Wallace alike, came to be known as “states’ rights”.

“States’ rights” had long been the calling card of pro-segregationists in the south as it had been of their pro-slavery civil-war era ancestors. Opposition to the federalist system has never been exclusively southern nor exclusively conservative as it is most familiar to us today, but what was unique about Wallace’s political craftsmanship was its ability to so thoroughly alter the entire nation’s future. Arriving at an appropriate time, the populist call to smaller government has become what has been called the “Southernization” of American politics, and of America in general. As the lyrics go: “Now Watergate does not bother me/ Does your conscience bother you?” So it is that the striking out against the paternalistic north has become the striking out against the paternalistic federal state, where we’re all, with a healthy dose of defiance, going back to Sweet Home Alabama.

It is no wonder then that for some of a later generation in the South the figure of Ronnie Van Zant would loom so ominously over them as an unbearable paternalistic symbol itself. Thus the attempt to steal his ashes begs the Lacanian questions: Was this a vulgar attempt to capture a relic of phallic significance on the part of the Skynyrd generation? Or, was this an attack on the Primordial Signifier (the Name-of-the-Father)? For the sake of psychoanalytic questioning, both questions are important. What is the contemporary political ideology without its phallus, the “southern man”? Maybe even more important, if it is the father’s phallic signification that is being attacked, what must the continued import of such signification be if the ultimate result of an oppositional struggle is not to result in psychosis, lacking the symbolic connection between the imaginary and real orders? The threatening echo that the “southern man don’t need [one] around anyhow” continues to ring true with the surreal comic and horrific qualities of Slim Pickens riding an atom bomb to oblivion.

The mystery of the would-be grave robbers still continues unsolved. Ronnie Van Zant’s remains have since been relocated, allegedly buried in an impenetrable concrete vault. They rest in Jacksonville’s Memorial Park in the newly gentrified, liberal- and art-promoted Riverside neighborhood, the recent site of racist graffiti bearing tea-party sympathies. His final resting place remains unmarked.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gender, Psychoanalysis, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, Theory, Uncategorized, United States