• A Tumblr has been made in recognition of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's awesomness—The Notorious R.B.G. (which includes the comic at right) [Notorious R.B.G.]
• Speaking of abortion restrictions, here's a report on what the huge turnout of protesters to support Wendy Davis in Texas says about the future of the state: "They were the Texans that national observers rarely see—and they are helping to plant the seeds of a progressive revival in the state." [American Prospect]
• What does "cooling-off period" mean? Natasha Vargas-Cooper explains the language of abortion restrictions and how it negatively affects women. [Buzzfeed]
• The People's Record reports on the "invisible American workforce: prisoners." American inmates are paid almost nothing to make a wide variety of products—from chicken to college dorm furniture. [People's Record]
Masha Tupitsyn writes about film, feminism, love, and being human in a media-drenched culture. Her new book, Love Dog, is a multimedia print version of a one-year blog project on love. The text is interspersed with film stills, URLs for movie clips and music videos, and more.
Love Dog feels like (one version of) what a book should be right now—a print text that's constantly in conversation with other texts and people and mediums.
It's not often that income tax audits make big news, but the mammoth of an audit that's been thrown Venus DeMars andLynette Reini-Gambell, a married couple and a relatively successful musician and poet respectively, has been getting some local press in their home state of Minnesota. This MinnPost article features an interview with the couple in which they discuss the details of the situation, but in short: the Minnesota Revenue Department is claiming that the couple's respective artistic careers are not profitable enough to qualify them as "professional" artists and is demanding around $100,000 in back taxes for work-related tax deductions the couple has claimed over the years.
It's a given that the Middle East has a long way to go as far as LGBT acceptance is concerned. Remember that sound byte of Ahmadinejad claiming that Iran doesn't have any homosexuals? Turkey is supposed to be the most secular and liberal Muslim country in the Middle East, yet its religious, right wing government still considers homosexuality to be a disease.
Artistic mediums always have innovators, those people who weren't afraid to try new things with paint, words, light, film. Director Jeffery Schwarz's new film I Am Divine creates a portrait of how revolutionary drag superstar Divine brought drag from society's margins to the mainstream in his fearless and innovative way.
Elena Kostyuchenko (in the yellow hat) at the pro-gay Day of Kisses protest.
On January 25, 2013 the Russian State Duma swiftly passed a bill banning the "promotion of homosexuality." The bill will have to undergo two more readings and be signed by the Russian president before it becomes law. If this happens, it will give the Russian government the right to fine publications and individuals up to half a million dollars for "promoting homosexuality." Meanwhile, the law does not define what constitutes "promoting" and conflates homosexuality with, among other things, pedophilia. LGBT rights activists speculate that the passage of this law will lead to the government shutting down organizations, websites, and print publications that support the already besieged Russian LGBT community.
Protests for LGBT rights in Russia have a history of violence. Along with those brave enough to participate in them, protests often attract thugs calling themselves Russian Orthodox activists who pelt the LGBT protesters with eggs and physically attack them. The thugs discuss their plans for the beatings in their online forums on V Kontakte (a Russian version of Facebook), and cover their faces with scarves and masks in order to avoid being identified. Although the police are always present at such protests, the Orthodox activists seems to have their tacit approval.