by Rachel Hope Cleves
Without a doubt, there has been tremendous change to the legal landscape of same-sex marriage during the past year. Even supporters might be feeling winded by the sudden acceleration of the marriage equality movement. So perhaps it is a good time to pause, take a breath, and reflect on the history of this moment, looking beyond the past year’s changes to the centuries-long tradition of same-sex marriage in the United States. During oral arguments in United States v. Windsor, Justice Samuel Alito, speaking from the bench, declared that same-sex marriage was “newer than cell phones.” His comment, intended to discourage his fellow judges from striking down DOMA, betrayed a profound misunderstanding of American history. Same-sex marriage is a minority tradition older than the nation itself.
By Helen McBride
As Ireland moves away from its uneasy coalition with the Catholic church, the issue of gay rights in Ireland is gaining more traction. The upcoming same-sex marriage referendum has resulted in gay rights being discussed on Irish television. On the January 11 edition of the Saturday Night Show on RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, Rory O’Neill (aka Ireland's arguably most famous Drag Queen, Panti Bliss) became the center of a national controversy over gay rights and homophobia in Ireland. During his live on-air interview with host Brendan O'Connor, O'Neill described a number of Irish journalists as well as a pressure group named the Iona Institute as homophobic in their views toward same-sex marriage.
For the last 14 years, University of Oregon’s Women’s Center has coordinated OUT/LOUD, one of the only queer focused women’s music festivals nationwide. Following the controversial cancellation of Bitch as the OUT/LOUD headliner in 2010 due to questionable comments made in a blog about her then partner, discussions began about the oppressive nature of including performers that would be exclusive to the community and musicians that have been featured at traditionally -exclusive events. Though it seems implicit that trans* people would be included in a queer festival, the women’s festival circuit is guilty of a long history of exclusion of trans* and gender variant folks from queer and women’s spaces. Aside from marking a debilitating division within these communities, these exclusionary practices stem from an extensive history of defensive rhetoric regarding -exclusion policies and criticism of women’s identities from academic authorities and women-only spaces.
by Rachel Epp Buller
Once upon a time, AIDS was a focal point for artists in the United States.
My design students and I recently read Maud Lavin’s Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design, in which she discusses the rise of political art and design in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan.[i] The Eighties – the decade when the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and social services were cut dramatically. Lavin asserts that, because the liberal mainstream seemed to disappear almost completely during the years of Reagan popularity, a variety of artist collectives took on the mantle of politics, social action, and public health.
By Elizabeth Reis
In 1998 I taught a new class at the University of Oregon called “Transgender History, Identity, and Politics.” Back then there were only one or two students who knew what “transgender” meant when I asked them on the first day of class. The others had enrolled either because the class hours fit their time schedules or because they had taken other classes with me and liked my teaching style (or had received a good grade!). I have taught the class several times over the past fifteen years, but this term I have noticed a distinct difference; it’s astonishing how the class composition and its general knowledge about the subject has been transformed in such a relatively short time. Change happens.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
It has recently come to our attention that some of our employees are offended or distracted by our LGBT employees who flagrantly display their sexual orientation in the workplace. Management has expressed concern that worker productivity is at risk if we fail to take action on this matter. This feeling of unease, we would like to assure you, is not isolated to our own company. Recent news reports make it abundantly clear that “overt displays of sexual orientation” (ODSO) is on the rise across the United States and that various government officials are beginning the arduous task of addressing ODSO in the workplace.
By Sean Cosgrove
Usually DIY anything means hours of pain and frustration: IKEA flatpacks, or a lost Sunday at the hardware store trying to work out how to correctly measure a straight line so you can progress further towards that table-making course which seemed so attainable months ago (clearly I’ve never experienced that...) The #DIYrainbow, however, is of a completely different ilk. I promise.
By Adam Turner
In the past few weeks I've heard the "born this way" argument pop up all over the place in classes and everyday conversation. I quite appreciate its value as a strong, proud anthem of self-empowerment (implicitly in the face of an unaccepting world). It's also a pretty sweet jam. The foundation associated with it seems also to be up to some great things, and I certainly agree with their mission "to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated." I'm not here to critique the song. But it is a handy jumping-off point for a larger issue
By Tiffany Wayne
Recently on Facebook some friends were passing around a quote by comedian Ellen DeGeneres who was responding to the charge that same-sex marriage will “threaten” heterosexual marriages. Ellen quipped:
“Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine...”
I get you, Ellen, but you’re missing the larger point. Same-sex marriage does threaten “traditional” marriage.
By Austin McCoy
Some political observers have pointed out how President Obama’s second inaugural address contained plenty of memorable lines. The President’s affirmation of women’s rights, civil rights, and gay rights, via his Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall allusions, does not just stand out as an impressive use of lyrical alliteration; it represents the acknowledgement of Obama’s electoral coalition. Also, Obama’s nod serves as a ringing validation of the same manifestations of “identity politics” that some critics have chided while lamenting the fate of the U.S. Left after the 1960s. Obama’s adoption of the rhetoric in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution highlights feminists’, civil rights advocates’, and gay rights activists’ efforts to expand democracy by forcing the nation to live by its own creed articulated in the founding documents.