The Official Website Of Urvashi Vaid

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Critical Perspectives from Queer Race Theorists

Homonormative by Kim Funk, All Rights Reserved Linking racial exclusivity to the desire of the middle class LGBT mainstream to integrate into the state, family and cultural institutions of our society is a complex argument to make, and one that many critical race theorists have eloquently made in recent years. Two contributions I read in preparation for the CLAGS lecture (reprinted elsewhere in the texts section on this site) made me sit up and get provoked. Not only is the challenge of mainstream integration the tendency to be absorbed without deeply changing the status quo, but the very act of admission requires of the outsider a differentiation of themselves and a dis-affiliation [...]

Election Tea Leaf Reading

The airwaves are thick with analysis of the story written by Rove, that other Karl, and his band of electoral wizards. Here are a few immediate observations. 1. The vote reflects a resounding thumping of the existing Democratic Party, its approach to governing and its ability to communicate the value of its leadership.  The wins eked out do not disprove this fact, they only accentuate it by showing that it was possible to win, if the party leadership had been more effective. 2. From President Obama to Harry Reid, from Nancy Pelosi to Tim Kaine, from the Democratic Governors Association to the DSCC, Democrats lost because they are seen as out of touch with people's real concerns, [...]

SAGE Award Remarks – 10.25.10

"I am not a member of any LGBT movement that narrows its focus away from ending sexism, racism, and economic injustice." A version of the prepared remarks below was given at the Annual Award Dinner of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) in New York City on October 25, 2010. The Ken Dawson Advocacy Award was presented to me by Virginia Apuzzo. Thank you. I was 21 years old when I first heard Ginny Apuzzo speak. It was 1979, and it probably was in Boston. From the minute I heard her speak, I was smitten. Women did not claim their political power, their space in the mainstream world as out lesbians, their intellect or their humor as boldly as Ginny did (and still does). She [...]

Military Justice: Looking Forward

"The contributions made by progressives, feminists and anti-militarists to the struggle for justice, often against their own beliefs are substantial. They should not be erased. Indeed, they invite a reconsideration of the idea of solidarity, and perhaps a revival of that outdated notion." “There was a time before liberation.” -- Tom Wilson Weinberg The lyrics of Tom Wilson Weinberg’s song from the 10% Revue have been ringing in my ears as read and listen to the responses following Judge Virginia Phillips decisions, first holding Don’t Ask Don’t Tell unconstitutional, and then ordering a stay on all discharges. The spineless response of the Obama Justice Department [...]

Yes, I’m a Witch! Lesbians in the 1970’s

Fans of deep music trivia will recognize the title of this blog as a Yoko Ono song, from an album released (by Astralworks) in 2007 in which artists remixed earlier Yoko Ono song. The title song was originally issued in 1974. Fans of deep women’s liberation herstory might recall one of the first direct action/zap action groups in the movement was called W.I.T.C.H. (the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy From Hell) founded in the late 1960’s by activists like Robin Morgan and others (see wikipedia). Yoko was clearly influenced by women’s liberation movement, as was John Lennon – its evident in both of their songs. (An identification with women’s liberation [...]

Out the Military-Industrial corporations’ silence on Don’t Ask!

It’s been a long campaign to end anti-LGBT military discrimination. And I really hope we will get there this year. Hooray for Lady Ga Ga for injecting new life into it and all praise to the tireless efforts of so many LGBT organizations and activists (current leaders include SLDN, Palm Center, Servicemembers United, Service Women’s Action Network, ACLU, NGLTF, HRC, LLDEF, LCR among many others). As we wait for the US Senate to vote to end the anti-gay military policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, one thing irritates me. The silence of the defense industry in this battle. Many (but not all) of the top defense contractors in the US have passed non-discrimination [...]

Making Sense of the Fall 2010 Primaries

"Instead of Tea Party scores big, the story of this election should be either “Tea Party promises more than it delivers”, or “T-Party wins a little, and loses a lot of cash for its investors.” It’s not easy to make sense out of the incoherence of yesterday’s primaries – especially when media tools are busy trying to tell us there is a clear narrative. The story many are busy writing focuses on the startling fact that “insurgent” right wingers are defeating “mainstream” Republicans, and that Palin is the new Kingmaker.   Where have these people been for the last two decades?  They did not pay attention in 1988, when Robertson defeated Bush Sr. in Iowa, or in [...]

Ideas needed to defeat the Right

"Middle class America wants to feel better about itself and listening to progressives does not leave them feeling good or inspired at all." “Everyday like the last one, Everyday like a rerun” – Patti Smith, Piss Factory What was striking about the Glenn Beck rally was its familiarity, not its strangeness. Everything about it was a repetition of messages and ideas reinforcing the version of American tradition that ‘imagineers’ on the right have promoted for decades. A national identity erased of color or class or gender or religious plurality. A restoration fantasy of “taking this country back” (to the pre-civil war 1850’s at least, if not the 1760’s). The banal [...]

Launching this site

Many years late, I am putting out a personal web site, proving again that I've never been in a trend on time! For years, friends have said I should just put out some of the texts of talks I have given, that I should write about the conferences, or travels or experiences in organizing that I have because they are odd and rare, or just that I should write more. And for years, I have said, when I have time I'll do it. So here it is. But what is this web site trying to do? It provides a direct channel to interact with others who are thinking or organizing around the themes that preoccupy me. Themes like, social justice (or how to make the "good life" the reality for the largest [...]

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