Category Archives: Oppression

Rolling Our Eyes Won’t Cut it this Time. Stand with Planned Parenthood.

I’m embarrassed.  By my country, my government, my fellow human folks.  I’ve sat here quietly while all this de-fund-Planned-Parenthood nonsense has gone on, hoping it was just one more instance of those crazy right-wingers unsuccessfully trying to make the world a worse place, and instead successfully just making themselves look ridiculous–again.

But that’s not what’s going on.  This is serious business.  When the House voted last week to revoke all federal funding of Planned Parenthood, they placed the health care and reproductive choices of millions of women in peril. 

AND THESE ARE NOT JUST WOMEN LOOKING FOR ABORTIONS.  They are grandmothers looking for breast cancer screenings; trans folks looking for respectful pap smears; teen girls looking for ways to not get pregnant; expectant couples suffering stillbirth and miscarriage.  They are you, your mom, your sister, your cousin.

It’s time to not be quiet anymore.  Rolling our eyes at the anti-choicers won’t cut it this time.  Sign the I Stand for Planned Parenthood Petition and tell the Congress not to destroy 3 million women’s access to quality, affordable health care.


The Children of Tahrir Square

While I’ve had my eyes glued to Al Jazeera English over the past few weeks, Mai’a Williams of Guerrilla Mama Medicine–a resident of Cairo–has been living the Egyptian revolution live and in person.  Below are some of her photos, specifically of children, from Tahrir Square over the past few weeks.

Mai'a Williams and her daughter Aza dancing in Tahrir Square during the million Man March 02/09/11

I’m not going to spout a bunch of rhetoric here about the value of giving your children the experience of engaging in full scale social revolution, or the turmoil of decisions around safety…I’m just going to post these photos.  Photos of families and children whose presence in Tahrir Square this month has made the world a different place.  Thank you to Mai’a and everyone in these photos.

"family at tahrir sq protests last week""woman standing with two children, one of whom holds the egyptian flag"


"woman standing with two children, one of whom holds the egyptian flag"


"mother carrying child during protests on friday--day of rage"

"boy teaching girl how to throw rocks in front of a mosque in tahrir sq.""mother carrying child during protests on friday--day of rage"

Call for Birth Stories from LGBTQ parents

In the world of pregnancy and birth, there’s not much space devoted to the voices of queer or trans birthing folks.  When’s the last time you read a transman’s birth story, or noticed a lesbian couple’s birth photos floating around the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ world of Facebook?

Kristen Ethier of Chicago’s Kaledioscope Doula wants to change that!  Here’s her call for submissions of birth stories from lesbian, queer, gender non-conforming, or FTM transgender parents:

What’s this all about?

There are vast collections of birth stories written by heterosexual folks.  It is time for your stories to be heard & recorded as a part of our queer history.  I am asking you to share your story with me because I am passionate about your story of the day you welcomed your child to the world being heard, in your own words. Send me your story whether you were the parent who gave birth or the co-parent who supported your partner when your baby was born.

I am not certain about the direction this collection will take & I will respond to your e-mailed story to ask permission before posting/publishing it.

Who’s asking?

Hi. I’m Kristen. I’m a queer feminist birth doula and childbirth educator in Chicago. I am passionate about the power of queer voices in pregnancy & birth culture. You can learn more about me at

All submissions can be e-mailed to

Outlaw Midwives #2 is here!

Outlaw Midwives #2 is here!  Thanks to the work, vision, intention, manifestation, joy, and rage of Mai’a Williams and the swarm of incredible folks involved in this zine.  Read it online here, and read Maia’s intro here:

I love volume 2 of outlaw midwives.  I love it because it is full of personal stories from the frontlines of birth work and mothering.  As I printed out the articles and sat on the floor with glue stick and scissors, stapler and paper, I could hear the air crackle around me as the electric heater burnt slowly.  These pages are pointing to a path of liberation and magic.  To a place where justice = love.

These stories run the gamut, from supporting women’s access to abortion to discovering that breastfeeding can be painful and exhausting.  From questioning who homebirth is really for, to mamas discussing marginal identities in the natural birth community.  There are visions for what midwifery could be, should be, and what it should never have become.  Stories about death.  And yes, stories about birth.  Most of all, these are stories, our stories, that we need. Continue reading

Smiling at Fred Phelps

How the fuck do you smile at Fred Phelps?

Scotty Weaver was an 18 year old gay Alabaman who liked to dress in drag. He was brutally tortured & murdered by 3 teenagers in 2004. Fred Phelps is glad he's dead.

I’m watching the documentary Small Town Gay Bar, and there’s this loooong interview with the infamous Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church.  He’s smiling and happy and cheerful as he describes the wrath that God is bringing down on us all for our acceptance of “fags.”

And the kicker is, you can hear the (liberal, LGBTQ friendly) filmmakers chuckling along with him as he spews his hate to their camera with a huge grin on his face.

I get that they did what they had to do to get the interview.  I can identify with having to compromise yourself for a moment in order to accomplish a larger goal.

But imagining myself sitting across a table from Fred Phelps, smiling and chuckling along with him–EVEN just for a few minutes, for a fantastic purpose–makes my skin crawl.  My head is spinning at the thought of it.

End rant.

Mamas of Color Rising…and Rising and Rising!

The momentum over at Mamas of Color Rising makes me tired just reading about them!

They host a monthly potluck & clothing swap, they fundraise like crazy–I’ve heard their homemade empanadas are worth every penny–and it seems they know how to throw a mean benefit party.

But their most exciting endeavor?  The Sister Doula Training, wherein they’ll train 20 women of color to become certified doulas.

This is one part of our current campaign around access to equality in birthing and prenatal care for women of color. This training will be a first step in implementing a women of color doula and birth support project here in Austin, TX.

Sending Mamas of Color Rising some solidarity and love from the Rocky Mountains!

Gendered Language in this Safe Space

This post originally appeared today at the Full Spectrum Doula Network, so the language is directed toward that particular community.  But the message applies to the larger reproductive health community as well–and is a key element to the work we have to do to create an inclusive movement that fully represents the vibrance and diversity of this world.

One of the core goals of this community is to create a safe space for the full spectrum of doulas and other reproductive health workers.  For transgender or genderqueer folks working in the reproductive health world, part of feeling safe is not being asked to constantly, on a minute-to-minute basis, identify within the conventional gender binary of male and female–and not constantly, on a minute-to-minute basis, having your gender assumed as female because of your work as a doula or midwife.

This post is just a gentle nudge to remind folks here that your language matters.  To remind folks that part of creating a safe space lies in challenging ourselves to change our behaviors that might be alienating or denigrating to folks we really don’t mean to oppress.

Here, in this safe space, you don’t have to be a ‘lady’ or a ‘she’ or a ‘woman’ (or even a ‘womyn’ for that matter) to be a doula or a midwife or an advocate.

Many of us have talked about how Continue reading