• San Antonio, Texas has passed a historic nondsicrimination bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status. The ordinance, said the city's mayor, is a definitive statement that "there are no second-class citizens in San Antonio." [BuzzFeed]
• Some enterprising asshole created a site called GhettoTracker, ostensibly so that users can aid travelers by pointing out "which parts of town are safe and which ones are ghetto, or unsafe." After a well-deserved public shaming, the site has been retitled "Good Part of Town," but no worries—so far it looks to be just as racist and horrible as its first incarnation. [Gawker]
• In better-than-usual toy news, Lego unveiled its newest figurine—or "minifig," if you're hip to the Lego lingo—and she's a female scientist! In what's probably just a coincidence, she also looks exactly like my 8th-grade biology teacher, Ms. Rofman. [Fuck Yeah, Feminism]
Look at the set of flasks on her, huh?
Anything you want to add? Let us know in the comments!
Photo: Ma Rainey and her backing band in 1925. Via NotesOnTheRoad.com
When Gertrude "Ma" Rainey—known as "The Mother of Blues"—sang, "It's true I wear a collar and a tie… Talk to the gals just like any old man," in 1928′s "Prove It on Me," she was flirting with scandal, challenging the listener to catch her in a lesbian affair. It might not seem like a big deal to us now, but back then, pursuing same-sex relations could get you thrown in jail.
Today is not just any Wednesday—it's the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. All of today's links are about the impact of the speech and the civil rights issues we still face today.
• What problems still limit equality in our country? This piece sums it up: "It's about systematically cutting off certain groups of people from the right to vote, to earn a living wage, to make choices about their own bodies, to recognize and provide for their families." [Advocate]
• The name of the original march was actually the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." We've made progress promoting civil rights, but many of the march's original goals for creating economic equality have been forgotten. [PolicyMic]
Michelle Tea is unstoppable. She runs a feminist book press, leads a high-energy performance tour, and has published four memoirs. Now, after nearly two years of documenting the trials and travails of trying to get pregnant as a queer woman, Tea is starting up a new site, Mutha Magazine, for writing about parenting issues. The site aims to address the "whole spectrum" of parenting, including perspectives from people who are nannies, babysitters, or just like hanging out with kids.
I talked with Tea on Friday, August 16, about the exciting new site.
• Carmen over at Autostraddle has a great piece about everything that's wrong with Lady Gaga's new song "Burqa/Aura": "To Lady Gaga, the burqa is a sexual accessory, instead of a garment with layers of significance that she doesn't have the experience to understand or the right to play with." [Autostraddle]
• Writer Olivia Messer details the widespread, daily sexism that's part of the culture of the Texas capitol. [Texas Observer]
• A four-part series in the Cleveland Plain-Dealerdigs into unsolved rape cases from the city and finds that not all rapes were investigated equally—whether police took each case seriously depended a lot on race and age. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
• No surprise, but abstinence-only sex-ed cirricula are full of gender stereotypes so bad that they would be hilarious if they weren't actually being taught in schools. For example: "Women need affection while men need sexual fulfillment; women need conversation while men need recreational companionship." [RH Reality Check]
• To kick off Pride Week, Vancouver, BC installs permanent rainbow crosswalks in one of its fanciest neighborhoods. Some LGBT advocates say that's great, but it might be better to put rainbow crosswalks in affordable neighborhoods, too. [Straight]
What did I miss? Add what you're reading to the comments.
There is some quality gay TV on the airwaves right now. According to GLAAD, about four percent of series regulars in the 2012-13 season were LGBT, many of them on massively popular shows like Glee. Similar things can be said of movies—recent films like The Kids Are All Right include queer love in their stories and receive Oscar nominations in return. The visibility of LGBT characters on TV and in film has had a stunning turnaround in the past 20 years, considering how taboo the subject of queerness has been historically. And, for me, it raises a question: where the heck are all the queer characters in video games?