Activism and movements

I love how when you sit in a classroom, someone often tries to teach you how to do practical things in the world. The class I took a few years ago on community organizing is just making me laugh out loud now; I just don’t think there is any classroom experience that could really prepare you for what it actually looks like and feels like to try to connect with people to move change forward.

In Oregon, House Bill 3059 would mandate that all entertainment clubs display posters that spell out what rights independent contractor entertainers (strippers, DJs, comedians) have, as well as maintain an anonymous hotline entertainers can call to report violations or seek clarification.

I think it’s a stupid bill, if at least a tiny step forward in spreading accurate information to strippers in Oregon on what their status actually is and how they are actually treated.

I think I have effectively alienated myself from a few people who are staunch supporters of the bill. And more closely aligned myself with other workers who think empowerment and respectability politics is pretty bullshit (as do I). But it’s kind of killing me that there are such divides within the community. That is exactly what dominant culture encourages people of oppressed communities to behave: divide and conquer. Fuckers!

You can’t organize a community that doesn’t want to be. You can’t effectively talk to a community and get a solid read on what it needs or wants if the community isn’t organized.

It honestly feels like a shit show. All of the interpersonal politics and drama and history that shapes and influences the real way policy (organizationally, institutionally, legally, culturally) is created. Some of it is petty and some if it isn’t. Some of it comes down to fundamental differences of opinion that can’t be bridged or glossed over; these differences really matter in building a movement, and yet it is still tough to know- is this the right way to go about pushing for change? Alienation never feels right to me, but maybe it should? How do we “call in” as opposed to “call out” possible supporters and opponents? How do you stay diplomatic while still remaining true to your message?

Breast Bikini Ever

I’m sure many people have seen this, but I needed to share it myself. It’s so awesome: The TaTa Top

Also, it was a crappy week for women’s reproductive rights.

The abortion ruling from SCOTUS


The Hobby Lobby ruling from SCOTUS

I enjoyed this post from the Gottman blog on emotional attraction

Any news-y news you want to share?

Contagious Love

I was meeting my lawyer today to finalize our prenup… we were sitting in the Starbucks a half mile away from my apartment. Nearby, two twenty-something people sat across  a small table from one another, clasping each other’s hands, beaming at each other. Clearly enjoying one another, in love perhaps.

I smiled to myself as my lawyer explained what legal rights I was waiving by agreeing to this prenuptial agreement. I can’t claim spousal support or all of J’s belongings if he dies without a will naming me as a his heir, yadda yadda. (I know: J and I wrote this together).

Hawaii legalized gay marriage today, I remembered, smiling some more.

I kept glancing at that couple. Their energy was contagious, and it made me feel in love. Even more so than I already felt, receiving legal counsel on a document that will help J and I move forward with our legal arrangement, an offshoot of our committed and loving relationship.

It was a lovely morning.

Who Is Marriage For?

This post has been all over the place. I am grateful for this response that was published, although it doesn’t capture my feelings and thoughts.

Who is marriage for? Is it for you? For you partner? For your future family? What if you don’t want to raise children?

“Getting married” is, to me, a distinct issue from being in a long-term, committed relationship. When we talk about the actual act of “getting married” we are talking about a legal and financial agreement. However, I am aware that in the popular lexicon, “getting married” means making the final, absolute decision to remain with one partner f-o-r-e-v-e-r. No wonder Seth and pcrowling were freaked out before they had their respective weddings: committing (monogamously) to one person for the rest of your life is a freaky decision.

Being in a relationship, of any flavor, should be a balance between your needs and desires and personality and those of your partner. That being said, people are entitled to make certain sacrifices if that is how they feel they should ethically operate within a relationship (Seth, for example, found solace in thinking about getting married for his wife and future family). My big caveat is: as long as those who are sacrificing are intentional about their decisions and don’t blame their partners for the sacrifices they have made. (Don’t be a martyr!)

It just so happens that my latest DatingAdvice post went live today: Can You Have Marriage & Kids in an Open Relationship? Here is a snippet; be sure to go read it!:

“How does marriage fit with an open relationship? What about having kids? Do I want those things?

Legal marriage is, to me, just that: a legal document dictating a financial agreement with a partner.

Therefore, getting legally married is a financial arrangement and agreement and can overlap with any relationship structure, given it is between two people (and in many states still, two straight people).

Legal marriage is not allowed between more than two people in any states.

This part is less important in my relationship.

While we both see the practical benefits of getting legally married (and so we probably will soon), it is less important than being clear on our other relationship agreements and maintaining transparency, trust, communication and commitment to one another.

We know many people who are married and have open relationships, and their reasons for getting married ranged from the practical, financial and legal benefits, to the practicalities of raising children together, to the symbol of being in a long-term and loving relationship.”

Porn & Condoms

Apparently I am a little late to this scene, but Tristan Taormino has added a new twist to her condoms-in-porn stance. You can read her full piece here and the CNN coverage about it here. (yeah, they were published in late September. I don’t know how I just found out about this!)

Taormino was deeply against Measure B, proposed in LA county this past year, mandating condom use on porn sets. A big reason she cited was the fact that the use of condoms while shooting porn can create major internal wear and tear for female-bodied people, actually increasing their susceptibility to contracting STIs. Another was that condoms don’t protect against all STIs. Some people develop latex allergies. She also thinks that the government involvement in porn is about politics and not about sex worker rights, health, and safety.

However, her commitment to porn actor health and safety, and her own personal story (her father died of AIDS in the mid-90s), has caused her to change her professional standards. While before she allowed actors to freely choose to shoot scenes with condoms or without, now she will be requiring condom use in her porn productions. 

I definitely encourage you to read the piece on her site (the first link) and read on to hear from porn actors about their preferences for shooting with condoms or not and why. It was fascinating and enlightening for me to read about, and there are a variety of views represented. One major theme from many people was that they would prefer condom use be normalized.

I would tend to agree with Taormino- that the fight over condom-use regulation is about politics and not the actual safety of sex workers. I think porn actors should truly have the choice to use condoms or not; they shouldn’t have to worry about marketability, profit, or branding in making the choice to have sex with a barrier. Safer sex shouldn’t be dependent on a company’s profit margins. 

My logical brain wants condom-use in porn to be normalized. Actors deserve to practice safer sex, just like anyone else. My lustful brain fantasizes about condom-free sex and probably would be a bit more turned on watching condom-free sex. But this also relatively moot, since I don’t watch porn. I opt for erotica that simply describes condom-free sex 😛

Regardless, I am glad that Taormino is as brave, ethical, and reflective as she is: it takes guts to have complex motivations and reasoning behind professional decisions, to own personal experiences that inform them, and to publicly acknowledge when your professional stance changes.

Prenuptial Agreement & Getting (Legally) Hitched!

School has officially taken over my life… I am hoping that it will slow down to a reasonable pace in a couple of weeks, but until then, I am eternally grateful to J for everything he has been doing: walking the dog, making the bed, making AMAZING meals, watching Games of Thrones, doing the dishes, doing laundry, and more. Sadly, blogging has taken a temporary backseat to all of my other reading and writing, but I am confident it will come back soon.

Anyways, one of the things that J and I did this past weekend was work on our prenup. Why?, you might ask. Because! We are going to get legally married soon!

Legal marriage, to us, is just about a legal financial arrangement. And we don’t agree with the way the state lays out that financial agreement. For instance, I don’t want alimony (spousal support) if J and I were to break up. And neither does he. So it was important to us to have a pre-written agreement prior to getting married.

We are thankful to J’s brother and sister-in-law for allowing us to use their postnup agreement as a starting place for ours. With J’s legal knowledge, it was relatively easy to construct our own, and then for me to send it off to a lawyer who will represent me in making sure I fully understand it and consent to it. J is representing himself (wahoo!!)

There is some weird information out there about prenups- I think there is a stereotype that they are unfair and a symbol of a broken relationship. I think, rather, they are a symbol of a communicative and healthy relationship. 

The current form of legal marriage makes sense to us in the context of a couple in which one person works outside the home and the other within it, raising kids or not. If the marriage agreement is that one person earns money and the other is a homemaker and/or raises children, it makes sense that if that couple were to divorce, the homemaker deserves some sort of spousal support.

Because this situation is not the one that J and I are entering (or plan to have), we wanted something that felt more relevant to us.

In any case, we are both excited to be legally married and reap the societal benefits offered by legal marriage. (Yes, another example of couple privilege.) If you are interested in seeing our prenup, feel free to email us and we would be happy to share this resource 🙂