The Official Website Of Urvashi Vaid

Texts

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 [...]

Looking Forward: The Future of GLBT Activism

This presentation was made at Northeastern University Law School on March 24, 2005. ©2005 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 I want to talk about justice and affirmation. About where we find ourselves and where we can imagine being. About what we face. I want to reflect briefly on the broad political context that shapes the work of those of us who are interested in social justice and deep [...]

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 [...]

Ten Lessons From LGBT Activism

"The key dilemmas of our times involve moral choices.  What do we value?  What do we not value? What threats do we prioritize...When do we turn to tradition and when do we turn away?  The morality we need at this crucial time is not the “faith of our fathers” nor the “traditional values” of our mothers.  It will not be found in the exclusionary forms of fundamentalist religions dividing the world today, even if it is disguised in the rhetoric of community and love." This presentation was made on April 17, 2009 at the Unitarian Universalist Intergenerational Seminar titled "All in the Name of Faith:  Rights, Religion and Responsibility" held at Hunter College in New York. [...]

On the Family: A Rainbow Families Agenda

"We undeniably ...should be able to adopt and foster parent without stigma and opposition.  But shouldn’t we be also fighting against barriers that unfairly exclude our heterosexual friends and families as well?  What about the realities of single parent families...Could what we promote for ourselves also benefit the heterosexual single mom or dad down the street?  I think we would all answer yes, of course.  But this framework – of pursuing a socially just agenda rather than just a gay one – is not the dominant frame of the GLBT movement." This Keynote was given on April 12, 2008 at the Rainbow Families Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Copyright 2008 Urvashi [...]

Race, Sex, and Power: Observations in 2008

"The color-blind or post-racial paradigm appeases the powerful without yielding much in exchange other than their comfort." A version of this presentation was given as part of the Opening Plenary Panel at the Race, Sex and Power Conference at the University of Illinois, Chicago on April 11, 2008. Copyright 2008 Urvashi Vaid The response to this conference certainly indicates the continued salience of, what that Marxist Leninist study group that one of my friends once belonged to used to call, “the primary contradictions.”  Indeed, the hierarchies of dominance and submission that those primary contradictions of class, race, sex, gender, and sexuality represent continue to [...]

The Enemies of Love and the Future of LGBT Politics

"We are engaged at the highest level in this century in a fight between liberty and authoritarianism, between democracy and oligarchy, between pluralism and fundamentalism, between movements with visions rooted in liberation for all and movements with visions rooted in elitism...This is a struggle about competing visions of human freedom and responsibility." A version of this presentation was given in May of 2007 at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Copyright 2007 U. Vaid The title of my talk comes from a song by the Canadian poet and song writer, Leonard Cohen.  In a song called The Traitor, he writes:  I could not move to warn all the younger soldiers /That they had been [...]

Sexuality & Its Discontents: The Challenge of Building a Progressive LGBT Movement

"The class divide is evident in the different between those who attend the fancy black tie dinners that raise political monies for our national organizations, and those who use the services provided by our social service agencies. You see the former represented in the media and on the L word; but you will not even see the latter referenced in a footnote to a report on poverty. The GLBT poor are invisible. So is the GLBT working class. A version of this presentation was given at Miami University Ohio in March of 2004 ©2004 Urvashi Vaid I want to speak to you tonight as an individual – as someone who spent more than 20 years working nearly full time in the GLBT movement. What I [...]

The Color of Violence: Conference on Violence Against Women of Color

"To develop a more politicized violence against women movement, a movement that fights for women of color, requires us to reinvigorate grassroots organizing that can augment the crisis intervention and service models that we are currently deploying. We need this movement because our culture is one that accepts violence against women as inevitable. It is... the ordinariness of it that ...needs to be challenged, and can be challenged only by organizing." This talk was given on April 28, 2000 at a Plenary Panel at the first Color of Violence Conference.  The Panel followed a keynote by Angela Davis.  The conference was held at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Copyright 2000 [...]

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