This Week: Sexual Violence Against Native Women, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Storytelling

November 24, 2015

Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. “Confronting sexual violence against Native women”
An interview with attorney and professor of law Sarah Deer about her new book published this month, The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America. Deer’s book “delves into the history and politics of why Native American woman face disproportionate levels of sexual violence… proposes tribal leaders and governments be given more freedom to enact strong anti-rape measures instead of having to rely on a confusing mix of federal, state, and tribal jurisdictions to respond to claims of sexual violence… [and] warns there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach for the nation’s 560 federally recognized tribes and governments.”

2. “Congressional LGBT Caucus Launches Task Force On Transgender Equality”
“A new congressional task force dedicated to transgender equality was launched Tuesday. The group, announced by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, was created in response to an ‘epidemic of violence against the transgender community,’ the caucus says… After announcing the new task force, the LGBT Equality Caucus held Congress’ first forum on issues of violence against the transgender community, particularly violence against trans people of color. Issues raised at the forum included the importance of education, the need for legislation to protect trans people, including transgender children, and the importance of starting a national database to track incidents of violence against trans people.” Friday was Transgender Day of Remembrance.

3. “Supreme Court to hear major abortion case”
Irin Carmon: “At issue is a Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and mandates that abortion clinics meet standards for outpatient surgery centers… The case marks the first time the court will consider one of the hundreds of restrictions on abortion passed on the state level in recent years. A Republican wave in statehouses in 2010 resulted in a record 288 new restrictions in the past five years, according to the Guttmacher Institute. For decades, abortion opponents have pursued an incremental strategy towards banning abortion, and the restrictions on clinics are a key part of that strategy. The pro-choice community calls the laws at issue TRAP laws, or targeted regulation of abortion providers… Without the Supreme Court stepping in to prevent the full force of Texas’s omnibus abortion law from taking effect, the massive state would be left with 10 abortion clinics serving 5.4 million women.”

4. “Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women of Color In The Legal Profession”
“This week, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association released their sixteenth annual report on women and minority general counsel of Fortune 500 and 1000 companies… After reviewing these reports, it is evident that opportunity gaps faced by women, especially women of color, need to be addressed… According to MCCA’s survey, one in four African-Americans serving as chief legal officers for Fortune 500 companies have left those positions this year, prompting a drop in the total number (from 54 to 51) of minority general counsel among those companies. Yet, as Lydia Lum notes, more than 60 of these companies have appointed new chief counsel since the previous survey.”

5. “Da Art Of Storytellin’ (A Prequel)”
Author and professor Kiese Laymon on OutKast, Southern identity, and storytelling. Laymon: “Literary voices are built and shaped—and not just by words, punctuation, and sentences, but by the author’s intended audience and a composition’s form. It was only after listening to ATLiens, discovering Toni Cade Bambara’s Southern Collective of African-American Writers, and reading the work of my Mama’s former student, the hip-hop journalist Charlie Braxton, that I realized in order to get where I needed to go as a human being and an artist, in order to release my own spacey stank blues, I had to write fiction. Toni Cade, Charlie, Dre, and Big showed me it was possible to create and hear imaginary worlds wholly fertilized with ‘maybe,’ ‘if,’ and ‘probably.'”

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