Activism

Food From the Cusps

Food From the Cusps
An interview with Kay Ulanday Barrett by Amelia Ayrelan ..., appeared in issue Food; published in 2013; filed under Activism, Art.
A Q&A with Kay Ulanday Barrett

Image courtesy of Visibility Project.

Safe Words

Safe Words
Article by Megan Lieff, Illustrated by Caroline O'Grady, appeared in issue Gray; published in 2013; filed under Activism.
The history of anti-abuse activism in BDSM

Sized Up

Sized Up
Article by Anna Mollow, appeared in issue Micro/Macro; published in 2013; filed under Activism.
Why fat is a queer and feminist issue.

Forty Years in the Hustle

Forty Years in the Hustle
An interview with Margo St. James by Anne Gray Fischer, appeared in issue Pulp; published in 2013; filed under Activism.
A Q&A with Margo St. James

The Audacity of Home

The Audacity of Home
Article by Jessica Hoffmann, Illustrated by Sze Wa Cheung, appeared in issue Habit{at}; published in 2013; filed under Activism.
Poor Magazine’s New Paradigm of Place

Family Practice

Family Practice
An interview with Victoria Law, China Martens by Kjerstin Johnson, appeared in issue Habit{at}; published in 2012; filed under Activism.
A Q&A with Victoria Law and China Martens

Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets
Article by Emi Koyama, Illustrated by Paul Windle, appeared in issue Underground; published in 2011; filed under Activism.
The tough talk of the new anti-trafficking movement

Illustration by Paul Windle

In the 2008 film Taken, Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative whose undercover past is called into action when his daughter is kidnapped while traveling abroad and sold into sexual slavery. Using his counterterrorism skills to torture and murder those who stand between him and his daughter’s captors, he eventually rescues his daughter and comes home a hero, with no consequences exacted for the violence he’s inflicted in the name of his daughter’s safety.

Tea Stained

Tea Stained
Article by Sarah Jaffe, Illustrated by Jing Wei, appeared in issue Make-Believe; published in 2010; filed under Activism.
Co-opting feminism with the gun-toting fillies of the Tea Party

It all started with Sarah Palin.

Or did it? Maybe it started a few months earlier, when Hillary Clinton downed a shot of whiskey and made some offhand, wrong-footed comments about “hardworking voters, white voters” who still supported her despite her African-American opponent’s lead in delegates.

Queers on the Run

Queers on the Run
An interview with Eric Stanley, Chris Vargas by Yasmin Nair, Illustrated by Aidan Koch, appeared in issue Action; published in 2010; filed under Activism, Film; tagged Criminal Queers, Homotopia, prison industrial complex, queer film.

Filmmakers Eric Stanley and Chris Vargas met at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2005 in a class on film, video, and gender where Stanley was the teaching assistant and Vargas a student. Both were radical activists on issues of prison abolition, queer antiassimilation, and trans justice, and both were heavily influenced by revolutionary feminist and political films like Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames and Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 The Battle of Algiers. Naturally, it wasn't long before the two began collaborating—their first film, Homotopia, was released in 2006.

The film reflected Stanley and Vargas's disillusionment with the recent concerns of gays and lesbians in the political sphere. Gone are the days when queers actively and openly resisted heteronormativity; gone are the many prisoner-solidarity projects that Regina Kunzel describes in her 2008 book Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality; gone is the grassroots fervor of past queer organizations like Gay Liberation Front and ACT UP that militated against state invasions of queer lives and politics. In their place are groups like Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who actively set about courting D.C. politicians on same-sex marriage. Instead of arguing that everyone needs health care, mainstream gays and lesbians are now insisting that an unfair system should be extended to include them.

The new film Criminal Queers is the pair's second attempt to confront the rapid mainstreaming of gay politics. Along with a bevy of radical and enthusiastic friends and lovers, they've made a sequel to Homotopia that finds the wedding crashers on the run. One of them, Lucy Parsons, languishes in jail after being denied bail, her gender identity—while she claims female pronouns, her state identity card marks her as male—throwing the state into confusion. Drawing upon the same visual repertoire as Homotopia, Criminal Queers is a mixture of satire and political critique, wrapped up in a classic prison-break narrative. The presence of perhaps the most famous prison abolitionist of our time, Angela Davis, lends weight to the film's rumination on the prison-industrial complex. Yasmin Nair caught up with Stanley and Vargas to talk about the PIC, the HRC, and feminist film in a genderqueer world.

How to Write a Protest Letter

Article by Jennifer L. Pozner, appeared in issue Obsessions; published in 2007; filed under Activism.

You flip to your local Clear Channel station to find a shock jock “joking” about where kidnappers can most easily buy nylon rope, tarps, and lye for tying up, hiding, and dissolving the bodies of little girls. Reuters runs an important international news brief about a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for an alleged sexual infraction—in its “Oddly Enough” section, where typical headlines include “Unruly Taxi Drivers Sent to Charm School.”

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