Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pro-choice women: "Shave off your hair and become lesbians."

During the SB 5 protests at the Texas State Capitol this June, my family and I endured quite a bit of intolerance from the supporters of SB 5. 

As you may know, my daughter was at the center of a lot of hatred during this entire situation due to her sign supporting choice and women's reproductive freedom. You can read more throughout my blog.

The other day I was looking through my photos and I found some from the day that Tuesday made her sign and I wanted to share a couple with you. 

They say what they mean
She had written two signs that were really part of the same message: Please keep your religion out of our legal system; it's not bad, but really, keep it out.

We had been at the Capitol for four days, listening to scientific and rational arguments about why the proposed law was bad for women, bad for freedom, bad for the economically challenged, and had been made to endure the failure of each and every amendment being dismissed all day. It was dismal. Add on the fact that people were telling us how Jesus didn't approve of our "side," or pre-marital sex, or any number of other guilt-ridden comments and you can see where her opinion was formed. (For those of you that may think "why didn't she say Mohammed or someone else?" - it's because his followers weren't yelling at her all week).

So when Tuesday and her friend were protesting with these signs in the Capitol Rotunda, a man started shouting at them and his screaming culminated with "you should shave off your hair and become lesbians, because no man would want you."

And he means what he says
He was standing to my right and they were standing to my left. He saw their signs and he just lost it. He was hollerin' at them at the top of his lungs. There's just no other way to say it. HOLLERIN'! I was surprised a grown man would be that upset, so I asked him why he would say those things. He screamed at me for a while and said that "no man would want to marry them!" A GROWN MAN was telling her that she was worthless (at least in his eyes). 

Luckily a state trooper came to her rescue and walked up behind him, tapped him on his shoulder and informed him that he needed to "protest in that direction," pointing to the center of the rotunda. It was a moment of beauty, honestly. The man continued rambling and never did respond to my questions: "Why would you say that to a little girl?" and "What did you mean by that?"

What's going on in this man's head? I had SO many more questions! 

  • If you protest laws against women's freedom are you a lesbian?
  • If you are a young girl should you have no voice in politics?
  • If you have an opinion about abortion you must be a lesbian? 
  • All lesbians have no hair?
  • Shaving your hair makes you a lesbian?
  • Men don't want lesbians?
  • Lesbians are bad?
  • Men don't want women with opinions?
  • Men don't want women with opinions about freedom? Sex? Quantity of babies?
  • Women shouldn't be allowed to have sex for pleasure? 
  • Young women shouldn't know about having sex for pleasure?
  • Young women shouldn't know about sex or birth control?
  • Sex is about having babies only? 
  • The only reason you exist as a woman is to get married?
  • Your self-worth should be tied to making a man happy?

So many questions!! I really just don't get it. I still don't know what that means.

Young women can have an opinion about what happens to their bodies. In fact they are exactly who should have an opinion. Who else is with them and their bodies 24 hours a day? 

Honestly I was dumbfounded at the time and I'm still dumbfounded. 

Just after this incident, we went out to one of the hallways of the rotunda to discuss it together. Being yelled at by a grown man hurt my daughter's friend's feelings. I could tell that it shook her foundations. We needed to talk it out. After we had discussed it for quite some time, and after more people came by to take pictures of the sign that were in total support, she felt better. 

Afterward, I was checking the interwebs for more information about what was happening with the amendments. I was watching Twitter when I saw a picture of the sign hit the internet. The shock of being called a whore online almost immediately can't be good for a little girl's sense of self, so that's when I decided it was time to get online and defend these children against this level of ignorance. That's its own story.

The battle for this round of women's rights in Texas was lost that day, but the war goes on. Our story was a minor footnote, but we did what we wanted to do: get the attention of people around the world to show them how women's rights were being trampled in the United States, and, in particular, Texas. My daughter's words did it. I am proud of my daughter and her friend for standing up for their, and ALL women's, rights and for not backing away sheepishly into the night. Because people like this man exist everywhere, and they don't often say what they're thinking in public. They oppress their wives and daughters. They vote women's rights away. They think they're doing the right thing. 

And they are wrong.

On second thought... Maybe I should thank this guy for crystallizing it for me. What do you think? They say the Lord works in mysterious ways...

That is exactly what you think it is.