As I said in my previous entry, I am queer and a part of the movement for reproductive justice. Now, let me be clear—as opposed to what some anti-choice folks have plastered on the internet—abortion or being for reproductive justice does not make you gay. Being part of the queer community does not make you a part of the movement for reproductive justice. In fact, many people are confused about my caring some much about reproductive justice issues. After all, as someone who is queer and who is a cisgender* woman whose partner is a cisgender woman, I can’t get pregnant on my own. Sometimes in pro-choice conversations, I am the only queer person, and often in the queer community I’m the one bringing up reproductive justice, but here’s why the movement for justice for the queer community and the community working for reproductive justice should come together and realize that they are trying to rip open the same oppressive cultural ideas:
1) Laws regulating what people can do with their bodies affect LGBTQ people and women who want to make decisions about their bodies.
Queer bodies are regulated by institutions, laws, and society just like women’s bodies are used. In the most recent healthcare debate, the people’s bodies who were used as bargaining chips were often queer people and women seeking abortions. That Executive Order was used as a bargaining tool for healthcare, and abstinence only sex education were thrown in just as same-sex couples were continued to be charged taxes for being on their partner’s health insurance.
2) A lot of youth who are queer have abortions or become pregnant teenagers.
We are told from a young age that women, to be real women, must procreate. We are expected to do so in order to be “real women.” Many young queer women feel they must have sex with men in order to prove that they’re straight, that they’re real. Because they lack education and safety and experience sexual assault and rape at high rates, many get pregnant and are denied the right to have control over if and when they have children.
3) There is a value that heterosexuals must have babies and queer people shouldn’t.
At the same time as abortion legislation that restricts reproductive justice for many women, queer people don’t have access to sexual health information. Queer people are denied the right to adopt children just as women are being forced to have children. Queer people are said to be bad parents, even though studies have shown that there is no difference in the adjustment of children with queer parents or in their likelihood to be queer themselves. (Just like my straight parents didn’t make me straight).
4) Information is dangerous when it comes to sex.
The current culture says that sex is dangerous and we shouldn’t have a lot of information about it. We are not provided information because information will lead us to have more sex, which is bad. What is proven, however, is that knowledge really is power. It’s important for folks to have education about how to protect themselves from STIs, what the risks of sex are (like that anal sex and oral sex are really sex and have positive and negative consequences), and how to have a consensual, mutually satisfying sexual relationship with another person.
We’re working toward a very similar goal—justice for our bodies and for our families. We are working for medically accurate and socially responsible information for all people. Responsible healthcare for people when they are making important decisions about their bodies whether that is to have a child, to have an abortion, to make the external body match one’s internal gender identity, or to have safe sex with another person. For me, a world in which there is reproductive justice is a world with queer justice, a world in which our bodies are not victims of social control and our families are not subject to whims of someone else’s ideology.
*Cisgender – A person whose biological sex and gender identity match up. For example, when I was born I was assigned a female sex, and I identify now as a woman. This provides a counterpoint to transgender, which is an umbrella term for folks who were assigned a biological sex that does not match their gender identity or expression.