(Due to intense schedules and exhaustion…this blog is finally being completed at home)
Today is all about reproductive justice. We ventured in separate groups to our respective organizations. As we rode to the Grand Central Station stop, we had our feminist power pole to hold on through the jostling of the subway car.
Choices in Childbirth (http://www.choicesinchildbirth.org/) was our first stop this morning. There was a lot of energy in the air as Choices was involved in passing legislation, the answer which was coming at 11:30 that morning. The Midwifery Moderization Act was created because in NY a midwife needs the signature of an OB. Many OB’s are not willing to do so. The only hospital that would allow midwives to practice was St. Vincent’s hospital – which was recently shut down. In essence, it was illegal for midwives to practice. I still haven’t seen the full answer on if it passed in the General Assembly.
Choices is also involved with the producers of “The Business of Being Born”. This documentary was created by Ricki Lake in answer to her birth experience with the medical model of birthing and labor. Choices believes in a more holistic approach to birthing and in having choices for a woman’s body with her birth process. They showed us the film they compiled; they shortened the full documentary to give access in the classroom. We were able to give our opinion of the rough cut.
Personally, this film illustrated how cheated I was in my own birth process. Seeing how amazingly beautiful birth can be and relating my personal experience was opposite ends of the coin. No woman should look back at this part of her life and experience regret.
Some of the other organizations visited by students were the Guttmacher Institute, Choices Medical Center, and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
Our next adventure was to the Third Wave Foundation. As we waited to collect, some of us ventured into the thrift store next door. Luckily my luggage would not hold the beautiful purple couch so I settled on getting an eclectic collection of CDs.
We gathered in the conference room to hear about the work of Third Wave. As our usual roundabout group introduction occurred, we had to state our name, university, our work and our preferred pronoun. The progressive mindset is wonderful. The simple act of asking our preferred pronoun acknowledges what is often not spoken about and represented – that there is more than just the obvious.
Off to our next adventure, we went our separate ways again. My journey was to the Spence Chapin Adoption Agency. This adoption agency differed than the typical idea of an adoption agency because they really focus on the birth mother. She is often forgotten in the birth process and seeing this highlighted my lack of perspective in the facet of adoption.
After being a part of these organizations, I realized that the idea of reproductive justice isn’t just right to choice. The idea is often caught up in abortion and the highly personal debate of that volatile topic. The right to choice is in all aspects of a woman’s body. The process of birth has been controlled medically and it doesn’t have to be so. There could be so much dialogue here on how the medical establishment has negated the knowledge of a woman’s body personally and how instinct and trust has gotten women through centuries of birthing and body. However, I will leave it as we have the freedom to choose what we will have for dinner, we should all have the choice in if we will reproduce, how that will occur and how the birth process will be. Simple as that…
A bus ride and a subway ride back to the hostel…and we are off to the Queer Literary Carnival!!! But first I had the beginning of what turned out to be an ordeal to retrieve my phone.
Cassie overnighted my phone…so I was anticipating returning to the hostel and being connected again to the world. I checked at the front desk – no package. I scrambled online to check the status…it was denied at the delivery point. Come to find out, the hostel does not accept packages. I was told on Sunday they do by a person who I found out was an intern. Grrr….After dealing with the manager (whose title obviously went to his head…) I had it held at the station…in the Bronx!!! But alas no time this evening for a Bronx adventure.
As kismet would have it, I saw on Miriam Perez’s facebook that there is a reading tonight of queer voice. The Queer Literary Carnival is a montly presentation and tonight’s theme was Butch/Femme. Miriam Perez was reading as well as Syd Blackovitch – one of my fave porn people. Due to time we cabbed it to the Lower East Side and in true Teri form, I had the address but not the name. Already frazzled by the phone ordeal, the cab driver brought us to 442...not 42 as I had written it down. We arrived at the Phoenix, on time and in one piece.
Outside was our fab program director Lauren who we chatted for a few minutes. Then Miriam comes walking up with her partner and we reconnected on how we knew each other. Fab start!!!
We walked in and found our pplace amongst the very cool eclectic crowd. The host’s partner was super friendly. She showed us the cookes she made for the event and had us try one – chocolate chip rosemary with sea salt…OMG YUM!!! Amy and I are going to do a bake off when we get home.
Amongst the crown was Audacia Ray and Shelby Knox. We got to chat for a few until the readings started.
Happiness!!! I loved that the butch identity wasn’t limited to the female physiology. Jack Stratton did a great reading on his butch identity. Sinclair Sexsmith opened…and while I had not recognized his name, I recognized his alter ego – Sugarbutch Chronicles. LOVE!!! Other readers included Cheryl B, Teresa Theophano, Diana Cage and Miram Perez. Syd unfortunately missed her flight and was unable to make it. There were books for sale from Bluestockings which we happily picked up. Got to share my funny SF story about Miriam to her…and we satisfactorily called it a night. We even made it to the local press.... http://www3.timeoutny.com/newyork/tonyblog/2010/06/we-were-there-queer-literary-carnival/