My running team happens to be a local member of an international LGBT running club. I ran a half-marathon on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade this year, and as I was getting to the start of my race, I ran into a friend from the running team:
(Note: I am on a running team that is a local member of an international LGBT running club.)
Friend: Happy Roe v. Wade anniversary!
Me: Thanks! I wanted to put something on my shirt about Roe v. Wade but just didn’t get around to it in time.
Friend: That would be a lot of different messages on your shirt since our team logo is already on the front…and people might think our team has an official pro-choice stance.
Me: Ha, yeah, but I hope most people on our team are pro-choice.
Friend: Yeah but how will we recruit all those gay Republicans to join our team then?
Me: Hey you never know, they could be pro-choice Republicans...I mean they are already Log Cabin Republicans so….
One of the things I find interesting about the reproductive rights and LGBT movements is prevalence of the word “choice” and how one embraces it and one defends against it. CHOICE is synonymous with abortion in my mind and the reproductive rights movement has really latched onto this term because it acknowledges bodily autonomy and a woman’s control over her own self. However, the LGBT movement has had to fight off their opponents who say it’s a CHOICE to be gay, transgender, etc. Reproductive rights are all about CHOICE; it’s not being anti-baby or pro-abortion, but about wanting to have a CHOICE. The LGBT movement vehemently opposes the notion that being gay is a CHOICE and argues against those who say they can just as easily CHOOSE to be straight (after all, it just takes a little ‘Ted Haggarding’ to become an “ex-gay”, aka anyone can pray away the gay with the right amount of training and determination!).
When you Google “abortion homosexuality” the second link that shows up leads to a piece called “Abortion and Homosexuality Movements Are Linked in their War Against Life and Marriage”. Funny, I’ve always believed that the movements are intersected and linked too, but for very different reasons. For me, LGBT rights and reproductive rights are both about bodily autonomy. People can do whatever the fuck they want with their bodies!
There are the obvious alliances between the two movements. We are fighting the same enemies and share similar allies. The groups who hate and fight against one of these movements often fight against the other (Umm Westboro Baptist “Church” anyone?). And then there are the LGBT singles and couples that seek to get pregnant and delve into the world of assisted reproductive technology (which has grown thanks to the reproductive rights movement). The clinic I worked at provided abortions in the same space where (mainly) lesbians came to get assistance with pregnancy. Many of these women get on birth control to regulate their period. And then there were even a few times where women who were artificially inseminated unfortunately had to seek out an abortion due to a fetal anomaly or health risk.
And lets not forget about all the lesbian women out there who never plan on needing birth control but take hormonal contraceptives in order to manage their period or decrease acne! I include my own sister in this group and I still find it funny to talk to her about oral contraceptives.
But then you have groups like this who clearly disagree with me and it just blows my mind:
They state on their website:
Towards this end PLAGAL was formed: to challenge the notion of abortion as acceptable, to bear witness to the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered (GLBT) community that abortion rights and GLBT rights are not one and the same, and to work towards those alternatives that are life-affirming as well as pro-woman.
By the way PLAGAL=worst acronym ever
I’ve heard the argument from anti-abortion gay groups that if/when a “gay gene” is discovered then people will do selective abortion based off of sexuality. Anyone have thoughts on this?
Final thought: Clearly our movements need to work together. We both face challenges from those trying to control us, from the religious right, from the healthcare system, from politicians, and from assholes like Eric Rudolph who CHOOSES to use violence to express his hatred for abortion and homosexuality.