5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Russia's Pussy Riot Law, Fired Lesbian Teachers, Right-Wing Attacks on a Trans Kid, and Good Old American Misogyny

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Russia's Pussy Riot Law, Fired Lesbian Teachers, Right-Wing Attacks on a Trans Kid, and Good Old American Misogyny
Sunnivie Brydum

Welcome to SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. Each Monday, we'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

5. Texas Republicans Are Scared of Wendy Davis — So They're Making It Harder for Married Women (and folks of color, or those of low-income, or transgender identities) To Vote

Remember Wendy Davis? The Texas Democrat who single-handedly led an 11-hour filibuster in the state senate to stall a repressive anti-abortion bill that shuttered most of the state's abortion clinics? Well, she's running for governor of Texas. 

And that has the rich white guys who currently occupy the Governor's mansion running scared — though we doubt their running shoes are as fabulous as Davis' hot-pink sneakers

Still, Texas continues to expand its assault on voting rights, pushing through a new voter ID law that requires any voter to provide current state-issued photo ID that reflects their current name, gender, and address. Now, it's well-established that these kinds of arbitrary voter restrictions have the effect of keeping otherwise eligible voters, who might lack the resources to have an updated photo ID, home on election day. 

Who might those people be? According to ThinkProgress, it definitely includes low-income folks who don't drive or have the need for or time off to acquire a state-issued ID. It will also impact students whose licenses often reflect their home address, not the temporary address they maintain on-campus that does, in fact, make them eligible to vote in that district. It will also certainly deter transgender people who haven't had the opportunity or resources to update their state-issued ID to reflect their authentic name and gender. And just to finish off gutting the voting base of most progressive candidates, strict voter ID laws like the one about to take effect in Texas also disproportionately impact people of color.

And, as Jean Anne Esselink points out at The New Civil Rights Movement, it's also likely to impact one of Davis' key constituencies: married women of childbearing age. Because the new law requires a voter provide original proof — no photocopies allowed — of a court order or legal document reflecting a name change, any married women who have taken their spouses' name but haven't taken the time to wait in line at the DMV to amend their license will now have to prove that they're not fraudulently trying to vote. According to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of women of voting age have access to the kind of ID that's required to vote in Texas as of November 5. 

Because, as we all know, voter fraud happens ALL. THE. TIME. If one redefines "all the time" to mean hardly ever. In 2012, a nationwide study of 2,068 cases of reported voter fraud uncovered just 10 instances of actual fraud. As the Washington Post notes, that amounts to about one case of fraud for every 15 million voters

But by all means, Texas, go ahead and make it even harder for law-abiding citizens to vote. Perhaps no one will notice now that the Supreme Court decimated the Voting Rights Act. 

4. Amid Rabid Homophobia, Russia Passed a Law to Protect Religious Believers' Feelings From Being Hurt

I so wish I were kidding with this headline. But as a new op-ed at our sibling site, The Advocate, reports, Russia's violent crackdown on LGBT people is only one side of the bigoted coin. 

Russian youth advocate and Moscow council deputy Vera Kichanova illuminates the background behind what will likely be known as Russia's "Pussy Riot Law," which essentially forbids anyone from doing or saying anything that might offend someone with stringent, orthodox (and Christian, of course) religious beliefs. Named after the all-female punk-protest band that saw two of its members convicted to hard labor camps after they performed a 30-second protest against President Vladimir Putin's repressive policies inside a Moscow Cathedral, the law prescribes prison terms of up to three years for "public actions expressing open disrespect for society and committed in an effort to offense the religious feelings of believers." 

"It’s likely not a coincidence that President Vladimir Putin signed into law an antigay bill punishing people for homosexual 'propaganda' on the exact same day the Pussy Riot Law passed," notes the Russian author. "Now we can see how these two laws work together."

To recap, right now in Russia, it is illegal — and punishable by jail time — to wave a rainbow flag, kiss your same-sex partner, say you believe gay people are worthy of basic human dignity in front of a minor, say anything that might offend a religiously devout person…. and just for kicks, if you're a single person living in a country that embraces marriage equality, don't bother trying to adopt one of Russia's estimated 600,000 orphans. They don't need your dirty, queer-loving support. Obviously, avowed homosexuals are banned from adopting, as well. 

This all sounds like the ideal atmosphere in which to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, don't you think? That paragon of sportsmanship and exhibition of human excellence will be on full display in the Russian city of Sochi in February — where President Putin has also banned any form of gathering, demonstration, or rally of any kind throughout the entire city for the full duration of the Games. 

Find more outrage on the following pages…

3. Arkansas Catholic School Fires Teacher Because She Stopped Living In Sin and Got Married

Of course, she got married to a woman, so the baby Jesus wept. And a beloved teacher was dismissed from her position at Mount St. Mary's Academy in Little Rock, Ark.

English teacher and coach Tippi McCullogh married her partner of 16 years in New Mexico last week. On her way home to Arkansas, she got a call from Mount St. Mary's principal, Diane Wolfe. 

"She told me she never thought the day would come, that I was a great teacher and that she would give me a glowing recommendation if I resigned," McCullough told the Arkansas Times. “She said her hands were tied when I signed a legal document.”

That document is McCullough’s contract, which has a clause allowing for dismissal if a staff member violates Roman Catholic teaching. When McCullough asked Wolfe how, specifically, she had breached the contract, Wolfe "said she wasn’t going to get into a theological discussion and there was nothing she could do," McCullough told the newspaper.

Right, because informing a teacher that she must leave her post for unequally enforced violations of vaguely defined "doctrine" totally counts as a major "theological discussion…" And not a basic, common human courtesy or anything. Christian love strikes again. 

2. Right-Wingers Totally Made Up Their Claim That Trans Student 'Harassed' Girls in Bathroom

And the transgender teenager's lesbian moms are righteously pissed…

When the notoriously antigay Pacific Justice Institute, which regularly sings the praises of the scientifically and ethically discredited practice of so-called reparative therapy that aims to turn gay people straight, claimed it had reports of a transgender teenager in Colorado who was harassing cisgender (non-trans) students inside the girl's bathroom, our Bullshit Meter registered levels off the charts. 

Indeed, after the false and unethically reported story — which included no outside sources, no efforts to contact the school where the alleged incident took place, and which publicly identified the 16-year-old trans student — got picked up by conservative media outlets including Fox News, the PJI walked back its claims, saying that the simple fact that the trans girl was using the women's restroom constituted harassment of the cisgender students. The Christian organization also admitted that the supposed harassment never actually occurred, but was the result of the fears voiced by one disgruntled parent who was entirely too concerned with a minor's genitalia. 

Now, almost a week after the story broke, the teenager's mother is speaking out. And just to add to the poetic justice that's certain to have these right-wing bigots' heads spinning and vomiting up pea soup… The teenager who's been targeted in Colorado has two moms. 

And they love and support their daughter — and know damn well this was a heinously inappropriate and ugly smear campaign falsely trying to drum up support for a pending legal challenge to a California law that declared schools must grant equal access to facilities for trans and cisgender students based on the gender with which they identify. 

The mothers of the teenager in question, who has been identified in responsible media reports as Jane Doe because she is a minor, learned about the alleged "harassment" when they got a call from their daughter's principal because media crews were arriving on campus to cover the story. 

"I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew they were coming for my daughter," said Doe's mother in a phone conversation with trans activist and blogger Cristan Williams. "I had no idea who started this, but we had we had to be there. I know my daughter. She’s a shy and timid person. It was upsetting. As a matter of fact, before we moved to this town, she was afraid that she would be bullied at school. She had a fear that if she went to this new school, something would happen and she wouldn’t be safe."

Discover the most outrageous piece of anti-LGBT news on the next page…

1. Bigoted South Carolina Mayor Says She's Being 'Crucified' for Her Antigay Rant 

The mayor of West Union, South Carolina continues to shriek that she's being "crucified" by radical homosexual activists who were somehow offended by her innocent little Facebook post… Which ranted about how "queers" will never have the blessing of God, and if you "Want to cover your queer with insurance? Buy a policy. Want your queer to get your stuff when you die? Make a will."

It's obvious that the world Linda Oliver lives in is actually run by power-hungry "queers" who just run around exploiting insurance policies and writing up new wills all willy-nilly. 

Of course, back here in the real world — and certainly in West Union, S.C., — LGBT people are routinely denied the right to add their partner to their employer-provided insurance unless the couple is legally married, which, surprise surprise, they can't be in South Carolina. And those queers — I'm going to stop putting the phrase in quotes because I identify as queer in an effort to reclaim what was once a derogatory word, although Oliver clearly wrote it with malice on her Facebook wall — who are fortunate enough to be able to afford and attain legal wills, powers of attorney, and other expensive legal documents that attest to their relationship, regularly have those relationships challenged. That challenge often arises in the most painful and heartless of settings, like when one partner falls terribly ill and their spouse is denied access to them inside the hospital, or when a working mother can't add her and her wife's daughter to their health insurance because the law considers the employee and her daughter legal strangers, or when a recently deceased person's parents refuse to allow that person's longtime partner to attend the funeral or make decisions about how the late person's assets should be divided.

But let's keep our focus where it belongs, shall we? And that is, of course, on Oliver, who is definitely the victim in all this. 

"All I can say is if people want to crucify me, that's fine," said Oliver in an interview with Greenville, S.C.'s WHNS. "I know that following Jesus, I'm going to be crucified." 

Because if Jesus died on the cross for anything, it was certainly to defend right of people like Oliver to hate, malign, and judge her neighbor and fellow man. That's what I got out of The New Testament, anyway. 

Watch Oliver's response below, where she completely misses the point and thinks that people are calling for her recall because she used the word "queer." Try again, Mayor.

 


FOX Carolina 21

 

Follow SheWired on Twitter.

Like SheWired on Facebook

 

Tags: #Women, #Stub, #Stub
READER COMMENTS ()