Women: Wake up! LGBTQ+ rights are yours, too!

Have you noticed how often some group or some individual with an anti-gay screed, proposal, project, rant, etc. is advocating policies that repress women at the same time that they’re repressing LGBTQ+ individuals?

One example is a recent meeting of the World Congress of Theocrats. They insist that families should be “the source of ordered liberty, the fountain of real democracy, the seedbed of virtue.”  Their platform, “The Natural Family: A Manifesto,” is against LGBTQ+ rights, a woman’s right to reproductive control, and no-fault divorce. It also promotes a lifestyle in which families should earn a living wage, which sounds great until they reveal that this wage should go only to the husband. This group doesn’t limit itself to the U.S. In fact, each time they meet outside the U.S., there’s an upsurge of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the host country. And given the antediluvian attitude behind these efforts, they must also be repressing the rights of women everywhere.

In Omaha, Nebraska recently, a rabid group of anti-gay citizens shouted down speakers at a meeting to discuss updating the public school system’s 30-year-old sex education curriculum. The biggest problem seemed to be that the proposed changes would include information about non-straight and non-cisgender ways of being. Some of these haters went so far as to berate and verbally attack LGBTQ+ students who were there to support the changes, yelling at them up-close-and-personal for being evil and sinful, telling them they were going to hell, and shouting into their faces that they should apologize for their sexuality. One woman stood and literally screamed about the need to keep her daughters “pure.” Which leads me to wonder what “pure” means. If her daughters don’t know anything about LGBTQ+ people, will that keep unwanted pregnancies and STDs away? Does she think purity is the same as ignorance? In fact, ignorance is widely acknowledged as the main strategy to keep women suppressed in many different cultures, and the education of these women has shown itself to be the saving of them.

Even some feminists are holding other women back. One famous woman doing this is Germaine Greer. She and her ilk insist that transwomen are not real women. She says they’re men and should stop masquerading as women. Here we have another instance of ignorance. Greer is certainly smart enough to do what I did, and discover that transwomen tend to have female brain structures, whatever their genitals look like. Her position seems to be that because these transwomen lived a good part of their lives as men, they can't understand the subjugation "real" women have suffered. To which I say, "And Ms. Greer cannot possibly understand the suffering trans individuals have suffered." So as a transphobe, Greer is holding back transwomen while promulgating ignorance within the feminist community.

It’s almost too easy to point out the coincidences of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and limiting women’s rights by the GOP's current cluster of candidates who are presidential wannabes. They speak at gatherings such as the National Religious Liberties Conference in support of hate-mongers who like the idea of a Rose Bowl float on which a gay person would be stoned to death while preaching the kind of “family values” that can be maintained only if everyone is straight, married to someone of the opposite sex, and in a family that’s ruled (or at least presided over) by the man. They think we should continue to pay women significantly less than men for the same work and abide by laws that allow a man to decide what a woman can and can’t do with her own body.   

It’s time we start calling out the parallel efforts of too many (not all, by any means, but—yes, too many) straight males to suppress anyone who doesn’t have sex the way they do. Not only do we need a “new normal” for our daughters, as Craig Yoshihara points out; we also need a new normal for life.

So this is a call to women everywhere: Wake up! Rise up! Support your own rights, and your own well-being, by supporting the rights and well-being of anyone whose rights are being trampled in the name of—in the name of what? Male dominance, perhaps? No, wait—straight male dominance.