Republicans Oppose the Violence Against Women Act—and Lesbians

The Republicans are reluctant to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act this year.

Why?

Because nondiscrimination against lesbians is included in the bill.

The poet Adrienne Rich, who died this past month at the age of 82 and who raised three sons before adopting an exclusively lesbian orientation, wrote the following about lesbian experience in the Forward to her 1983 book, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence:

The lesbian, unless in disguise, faces discrimination in hiring and harassment and violence in the street.

Evil energies directed at lesbians has been a social problem for millenia. Contemporary society can fix it. Yet 21st century Republicans still won’t support lesbian nondiscrimination.

Why?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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17 Responses to Republicans Oppose the Violence Against Women Act—and Lesbians

  1. David Yates says:

    Why? Probably because they’re as sick and tired of identity politics as the rest of us. Why shouldn’t being against ‘violence against women’ be enough? Doesn’t the ‘women’ part of that automatically include lesbians? Why should they be given a special category? Why should it essentially be, “We’re against any and all forms of violence against women. BUT we’re ESPECIALLY against it if it’s lesbians who are the victims”?

    • andrewclunn says:

      If that’s the case, then why specify women? Why not just against violence?

      However, I will admit that this is a clearly a ploy by Democrats to paint Republican bias against homosexuality (which is bad enough) as being a bias against women instead.

      • David Yates says:

        Oh, I have no problem ranking violence against women differently than simply violence in general. Just as I do violence against children, the elderly, or the physically or mentally disabled. For instance, a lesbian is not necessarily more vulnerable or weaker than a straight woman, but generally-speaking, a child is.

      • David Yates says:

        I meant, of course, that generally-speaking a child is weaker and more vulnerable relative to a full-grown adult.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Andrew,

        As you know, lesbians are women. If you don’t respect their rights, it’s hard to say that you fully respect the rights of women to their bodies, sexual orientation, and forms of association.

        —Santi

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        David,

        I think you are wrong to say that lesbianism doesn’t come with special dangers—that straight women and lesbian women run similar risks in being open about their identity.

      • andrewclunn says:

        Wow David. Did you really just compare women to children, the elderly, and the mentally disabled?

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      David,

      You’re straw manning by using the word “especially.” All that’s necessary here is an “also.” Why can’t Republicans say, “We’re ALSO opposed to violence and abuse directed at lesbians”?

      And poor you. You’re tired of gay people out of the closet and asserting their dignity and equality. Really?

      Why aren’t you happy and energized by the fact that, for the first time in human history, gay people are being treated with a degree of decency and respect? That seems hopeful to me—an advance in the kingdom of heaven on earth (to put it in metaphorical terms).

      Like other human advances (such as medical cures and refrigerators), the gay rights movement—like the black civil rights movement—should be a source of hope for you. What’s not hopeful about it? What’s not energizing and life affirming about it?

      —Santi

      • David Yates says:

        Okay. I’ll grant it was a little much to add “especially” — a little! — but I also think it unnecessary to require that Republicans add the “also” clarification. I should think it entirely sufficient that Republicans (or anybody else) be anti ‘violence against women’, period.
        Moreover, I merely declared myself sick and tired of identity politics, not of gay people coming out of the closet. Frankly though, I do find it at least a little sad that anybody would find it necessary to define themselves based primarily on where they put their penis (or whatever, as the case may be). But I’m certainly not “tired” of anybody asserting their worth and dignity as human beings. As a Christian, it is my conviction that all are created in God’s image, and are therefore worthy of care and respect.
        And finally, although I may not get quite as ‘juiced’ as you appear to be at the advent of the ‘gay rights’ movement, as I’ve just alluded, I’m not entirely opposed to it either. Indeed, the couple my wife and I hang out with the most is a married gay couple.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        David,

        Your response is certainly fair and moderate (in my view).

        And even if, as a Christian, you feel you cannot get all that jazzed about the gay rights movement as such, I’d ask you to give that a bit more thought. An expansion of the realm of free conscience and human dignity, it seems to me, is in keeping with the teachings of Jesus (who forced no one) and John Stuart Mill-style Enlightenment liberty (which most conservatives at least profess some respect for).

        Indeed, once the first estate (the nobility) and the second estate (the official church of a country) gave way to the bourgeois middle class, the free market place of ideas, and the public opinion of the third estate (the masses of the people), then sooner or later blacks, gays, Jews, religious sectarians of every stripe, atheists, women etc. would come forward and assert their rights in that marketplace, attempting to win over public opinion and asserting their rights in courts of law.

        If that’s not a good thing, then the American and French revolutions overthrowing the aristocratic order and establishing free speech, courts protecting civil liberties, and elections were not good things.

        In my view, Christianity will show progress on the day that authoritarians stop dominating the political face it presents to the public, and more and more Christians join gay and women’s rights parades as friends supporting their right to conscience (if not approving of particular sexual behaviors).

        PFLAG Christians? Maybe there already is such a group.

        —Santi

  2. Tom says:

    This is just standard Democratic politics. Distract from the terrible economy and hope voters won’t remember it. Black unemployment is 44%. Teenage unemployment is 26%. Our economy isn’t growing. China is keeping us from sinking, currently. If they stop growing, we’ll go into a depression. Due to the election, B. O. has paused his war on business. Expect that to resume after the election if he wins. That might be enough to push us into a depression, even with China.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Tom,

      Well, quite obviously, if Obama wins, it will put you and other r-wingers into a depression.

      Meep, meep.

      —Santi

  3. Tom says:

    Oh, I am offended by all the rhetoric designed to make me feel bad because I oppose homosexuality. The practice is bad enough, but the rhetoric is abominable. Homosexuals are merely promiscuous for themselves. Those who advocate homosexuality or try to make it more acceptable are far worse. To all of you I say, “IFIYGD.”

    We already have laws which can be used whenever anyone is a victim of violence. This latest tactic is simply more liberal deception. You can tell when a liberal is lying. His lips are moving.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      How simple your worldview is. It must be comforting to be so doubt-free and patronizing of the intelligence and motives of others. I wish I was as certain of anything as you appear to be of everything.

      I suspect, however, that it’s a show you have to work yourself up to. I bet, deep down, you have doubts.

      —Santi

  4. Chica 4 Pets says:

    David does not seem to be aware of the history of oppression, discrimination, and segregation that lesbians have been the victims of. You are applying the “gender orientation blind” theory to the problem which is a hallmark of the bigoted. It is a cousin of the nefarious “color blind theories” that are aimed at destroying special protections for the oppressed groups.

    • David Yates says:

      Please. I’m Metis, which means I’m half native (or what Columbus mistakenly called ‘Indian’). On top of that, I’m disabled. Yet, I still refuse to give in to identity politics and its inherent appeal to ‘victimization’. It’s pathetic, weak, resentful, and unhealthy. It seeks to find excuses for one’s inevitable failures, rather than owning them, learning from them, and doing one’s absolute best to rise above them. As good intentioned as it may be, allowing people to effectively wallow in their ‘victimhood’ is not doing them any favours.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        David,

        Like you, I believe in free will. But I’m not going to ignore what is not free in us. We are far from perfectly free creatures. After the x factor of human freedom, roughly half of what we are is genetic, half environmental. There is a combination of factors here. It’s not pathetic or unhealthy to notice the truth and keep the full picture in view.

        —Santi

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