March 16, 2006: Affirmative Action, Women’s Rights and Images

As always, I thank BTL’s editors and former publishers Susan Horowitz and Jan Stevenson for inviting me to add my voice to BTL pages and the Pride Source family.

When asked to pen a short anniversary piece reflective of my most significant body of writing for BTL as a columnist, I didn’t hesitate to accept.

The piece “Affirmative Action, Women’s Rights and Images" was written for BTL in honor of Women’s Herstory Month. Penned as a poem, this piece is most significant to me because it represents so much of what is wrong in the world while reminding all women what we can become with awareness, tenacity and self-love.

Since publishing this piece with BTL in 2003, I’ve reproduced it in a print anthology with Poets and Allies for Resistance. It is included in my self-published print book and Audible Audiobook, ”Rootwork: Triumph Over Trauma." The piece is a part of my public readings and has been an obvious choice when performing at community events and open mics.

The poem serves as an intentional call to action for women to recognize their potential, follow their dreams and embrace and garner enough self-love to pass down the good to our children and future generations. A global call for women to unite, if you will, in spite of all the microaggressions that greet women and girls out in the world.

Today, women around the globe are asking for calls to action on protecting women’s reproductive health and basic rights. While abortion remains safe at home in Michigan (for now), we know we have to stay awake and active in the movement.

There remain far too many queer women still pushing back on heath maintenance that includes seeing a gynecologist and reporting for annual mammograms. That has to change, as a disproportionate number of lesbian and bisexual women don’t schedule or keep appointments for physical and emotional well-being. Equating disclosure about loving women with shame leaves women at risk. Preventative care matters, and we must be diligent about practicing self-care.

As a survivor, I want to see an end to sexism, racism and domestic/intimate partner violence. That absolutely includes same-sex couples, along with pan and trans fam. Know that the work continues, and that I remain committed to addressing and ending trauma in our communities.

I’ll end with the close of “Affirmative Action, Women’s Rights and Images”:

“I’m not a man hater,” I wrote. “This is just my prayer for the future of my girls and girl children worldwide.”

Survival is key! The struggle continues. Peace.