Last August, the Army private now known as Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison. A day after the trial, Manning announced plans to undergo hormone therapy and begin public life as a woman. Her coming-out shone a light on a population that media rarely discusses: transgender women in prison.
I have a fat, accordion-style file folder—each section stuffed with mangled envelopes from across the country—full of heavy-hearted, handwritten letters from women I’ve never met. Shaylanna, Venus, Prada, and Eva: every letter flaunts the industrial, pre-stamped return address of a state prison, and every signature is a transgender woman living in a male facility.
Decades from now, we might reflect on these sweltering few months as the Summer of Dolly—a time when everyone’s favorite rhinestone-studded, sky-high heel wearing, bleach blonde beehive-sporting songbird showed that she can still cause a ruckus even at 68 years old.
Ariel Schrag started her career making autobiographical comics in high school. Her comics exploring her life and queer identity articulated in a deft style what it feels like to grow up as a misfit. Her debut text-only novel Adam (out this June from Houghton Mifflin) is also about a nerdy teen who doesn’t fit in. But in a departure from her earlier work, this time the self-conscious protagonist is an adolescent boy.
Thanks to today's Supreme Court decision, Hobby Lobby and other for-profit companies run by religious individuals will face no punishment if they refuse to provide insurance coverage for female birth control. As one person astutely noted, "Crafting now leads to unwanted pregnancies." All of this action is sparking some creative energy! It's time we got some new hobbies, preferably ones that involve lobbying for reproductive rights.
Here are eight fun new lobbying hobbies to help counter today's decision.
Craft a vintage-inspired protest sign! When Missouri legislators debated a bill that would require mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, reproductive rights supporters whipped up 1950's costumes and retro protest signs that harkened to the era before abortion was legal. The message was clear: don't force us back to the Mad Men era. Host a party to make big, showy signs so that you and all your friends will be ready for the next big rally. (photo by @AlisonDreith)
The Hobby Lobby birth control case decided at the Supreme Court today hinges on a debate over freedom of religion. Five out of nine Supreme Court justices (all male) say that the religious beliefs of people who run companies trump the rights of workers to access reproductive healthcare. The rest of the Supreme Court justices—including all three women on the court—agree that freedom of religion shouldn’t impinge on employees’ access to contraception.