The Official Website Of Urvashi Vaid

Lesbian Concentrate

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 [...]

The Dream Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives — A Post By Jessie from Racism.Com

The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives :: This week the U.S. Senate voted on two landmark pieces of legislation: the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) and the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for young people who came to this country as children. The repeal of DADT succeeded, while the DREAM Act failed to pass. Gay and lesbian activists and their allies who fought for the repeal of DADT are understandably elated with the overturning of the 17-year-old ban. But, so far at least, white gay and lesbian progressives have failed [...]

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 [...]

Role of Lesbians in the 1979 and 1987 Marches on Washington – Article from University of Michigan

The below article is reprinted  from the excellent web site Lesbian History constructed by historian Esther Newton at the University of Michigan. The site contains many excellent articles. The Role of Lesbians in the 1979 and 1987 Marches on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights by Jean E. Balestrery The year 1979 witnessed the first historic national political “March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights” (1979 Official Souvenir Program). Since 1979, there have been three similar ensuing Marches on Washington for civil rights of the broader, more inclusive LGBT community, notably in 1987, 1993 and 2000. Utilizing a semiotic framework, this paper explores the role of lesbians [...]

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 [...]

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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