The Official Website Of Urvashi Vaid

Tagged: lesbian

Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Women Complicate The Story

As I read January 2nd’s Wall Street Journal story about the family of potential Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio (1), I was struck by the fact that New York City in 2013 will likely face a Democratic primary between an out lesbian candidate (New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and a man whose wife once identified as a lesbian, Chirlane MCray). Ms. Quinn is an out lesbian, who worked as a leader in New York’s LGBT movement before entering politics; she was married last year to her longtime partner Kim Catullo.  As normalized as gayness seems to be in New York, no one should underestimate how tough it will be for Quinn to win – no woman has ever been NYC mayor, much less a [...]

Fenway Women’s Dinner Party – Susan Love Award

Thank you Judy Bradford for that very generous recognition. It is an honor to receive it from both an institution and an individual whom I respect so much. We are, all of us formed by our early influences, and Boston’s LGBT movement was my schooling ground. The great American and lesbian feminist poet Adrienne Rich, who died three days ago, captured the spirit of the movement into which I came out in her 1976 masterpiece, 21 Love Poems. In Poem #13 she wrote: The rules break like a thermometer quicksilver spills across the charted systems, we’re out in a country that has no language no laws… whatever we do together is pure invention the maps they gave us were out of [...]

Remembering Paula Ettelbrick at her Memorial Service

These remarks were given at Paula Ettelbrick's Memorial Service on November 14, 2011 in New York City. Time proved her prophetic in warning that marriage would narrow our freedom even as it expanded our rights. I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned. In Dirge Without Music Edna St. Vincent Millay captures the strangeness of losing someone we love. It is devastating, if inevitable.  But it is harder still to have lost Paula’s critical mind, loving [...]

Paula Ettelbrick and Feminist Leadership

On October 7, 2011, the progressive, feminist and queer movements lost a brilliant leader and tireless activist when Paula Ettelbrick succumbed to a year-long battle with cancer. Paula's career, from her graduation from Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, to her tenure with numerous LGBT organizations and projects, was a testament to her dedication and her moral, feminist vision. Among other projects, Paula worked with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (as staff attorney and legal director), the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (as its Family Policy Project Director), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the [...]

Lesbian Avengers Documentary Project – Donate NOW

Reprinting a letter from Kelly Cogswell, Project Director on Lesbian Avengers Project December 6, 2010 Dear Friend: In 1992, six New York City dykes threw down the gauntlet: "LESBIANS! DYKES! GAY WOMEN!... We're wasting our lives being careful. Imagine what your life could be. Aren't you ready to make it happen?" By 1994, a multitude had responded, including me, a 24-year-old lesbian fresh from Kentucky. The fire-eating Lesbian Avengers mobilized twenty thousand dykes for a march on Washington, and almost as many for Dyke Marches in New York and San Francisco. More than fifty chapters spanned the globe, and periodicals from The New York Times to Newsweek had taken [...]

National Equality March on Washington 2009

This speech was given on October 11, 2009 at the National Equality March for LGBT Rights in Washington DC.  Copyright 2009 U. Vaid Together on this day, from all across this country, we gather to claim the love that law cannot invalidate. We are here to insure the full civil, political and moral equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people becomes the law of this nation and a reality across the globe. Our gathering happens in a broader context, one that shapes the outcome of our struggle for LGBT human rights. It is a broader context of malevolence at the heights of power – embodied in the cruel destroyers of the last eight years, who slashed and shredded [...]

Notes on Lesbians, History and Philanthropy

" I would argue that lesbians do not know what constitutes our issues, don't know what we ought to do with our political energies, don't know how to support each other and not working in a strong way to build a society that respects and values and cherishes women." This is an outline for a presentation made at a Lesbians and Philanthropy gathering hosted by the Horizons Community Foundation in San Francisco in 1999. There are two broad sections of this talk. The first section offers an analysis of contemporary lesbian life in the US and where lesbians find ourselves today - a sort of annotated history of lesbian politics in the last thirty years. The second section offers some [...]

Mapping The Future of Choice: Sex, Love and Birth Control in the 21st Century

"If silence on questions of values, or questions of sexual freedom, was necessary at one point or political expedient at another, let us be clear that in the next century it is not adaptive. A version of this presentation was at the Planned Parenthood Conference called Mapping The Future of Choice on January 21, 1998. Copyright 1998 Urvashi Vaid Inviting a lesbian activist to speak about Sex, Love and Birth Control is a bit like asking a Priest, both know more than you might think about the subject. It is one of the ironies of history that the movement I come out ~ the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement ~ focuses far more on love and birth today than it does on sexual [...]

Queer Asian Pacific Legacy Conference

A version of this presentation was given at the Queer Asian Pacific Legacy Conference on March 6, 2004 in New York ©2004 Urvashi Vaid Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame. W.H. Auden September 1, 1939 This is a talk about justice and affirmation. About where we find ourselves and where we can imagine being. About the broad political context shaping our lives today as API queers, internal dynamics of the GLBT movement and API people within [...]

Reading the Feminist Classics on the Street – 7.21.10

Inspired by one of those dinner moments where someone says “we should do this,” and then you do, some friends and I are doing street readings of feminist classics – the texts that shattered ways of thinking about women and men’s roles, gender, sexuality and the structures of the world that reinforce how we live out gender. These readings are taking place on the summer streets of Provincetown as a range of people walk or ride by every few minutes (more video excerpts are on my facebook page). We started by reading from the new translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s epic The Second Sex. I love the confidence in de Beauvoir’s writing – it is unequivocal, authoritative, [...]

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