The L Word’s idea of helping Midwestern youth feels like a seven-season-long “It Gets Better” project. Don’t get me wrong; the show was ground-breaking. Folks living in oppressive environments need to know that another way to experience the world is possible. But Bomb Girls reminds us that even in oppressive environments, queer folks can survive and even thrive. As Betty must do, living in Oklahoma means I’ve got to be calculated in when and to whom I share aspects of my personal life though not to the same extent. It means never knowing when microaggressions will turn into physical aggression. It means toughening up, and it means insulating integral parts of yourself from the world. People here don’t or can’t always acknowledge the pain of living in a society that overwhelmingly rejects a fundamental aspect of their existence. Regardless of this reality, the love (and anger) queer Oklahomans radiate is real and precious. I feel lucky I get to experience it
These predatory measures directly affect folks’ abilities to take care of themselves and their families and communities. ALEC hasn’t technically targeted reproductive rights, but around here we know that the more hurdles a person has to leap in order to be allowed some measure of self-determination, the less control they have over their reproductive autonomy. ALEC is, however, targeting Oklahoma – remember, top 5 in poverty and poor health, and the front line for the battle against the Keystone XL – for environmental deregulation, union-busting, and healthcare denial. This is a totally parasitic relationship. Go home, ALEC, you’re drunk on coal and guns.
OK4RJ | ALEC Holds Annual Meeting in OKC, Looms Menacingly Over Flyover Country
Residents of Mayflower, Arkansas have already seen what ExxonMobil’s pipelines carry through their town – diluted bitumen sourced in Canada’s tar sands spilled into neighborhoods last month, displacing 22 households and killing 205 wildlife animals from exposure. First Nations people in Fort Chipewyan along the Athabasca River in Alberta (where much of the tar sands extraction takes place) are already reporting elevated cancer rates and contaminated food supply. It’s clear that people are already suffering on an international, immediate level and we shouldn’t have to wait to act in solidarity with the folks dealing with the damage of that injustice. This same bitumen flows through pipelines in Oklahoma and puts larger social issues in our state into perspective. Refusing to invest in public transportation and infrastructure means many Oklahomans will remain reliant on personal vehicles and the fuel required to run them, thus making demand for “non-foreign oil” make sense to those who depend on it. Treaty rights to land in Ponca Territory are ignored and refineries in Ponca City pose unique environmental risks to the people on Ponca land. Corporate interests abusing eminent domain and providing insufficient cash payments for land means Oklahomans have little legal recourse from being pushed off their homes. We are already at the behest of policies and agreements that will result in ambiguous benefit and enormous risk to the people in our state.
This is really only noticeable when contrasted with the highly specialized work of activists in the coastal hubs – we have to do EVERYTHING, and we have to do it from scratch. Anyone advocating for social justice in Nowhere has also attended meetings, rallies, and protests for every other progressive organization and cause within 200 miles. We are all active in resistance of almost every kind, because we have to be. Because there just aren’t very many of us here. And that’s why we stay.
In what the Founders must have been going for when establishing this whole representative democracy thing, Al Gerhardt, the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party, tried via a threatening email to coerce Oklahoma Sen. Cliff Branan into pushing legislation that would prevent Agenda 21 from being implemented. Oh you’ve never heard of Agenda 21? Congrats, that probably means you’re not a right wing conspiracy theorist or listener of Glenn Beck’s radio show.
The quarantine bill reads exactly like a piece of reactionary legislation would have about ten minutes after the American AIDS epidemic was labeled as such back in the 1980s, before even basic facts could be ascertained about the disease. Facts like: HIV cannot be spread by casual contact! There is absolutely no explanation for attempting to medically isolate people carrying certain viruses against their will, unless you are so scared of the type of folks who happen to carry that particular virus that you involuntarily and sporadically pen legislation about it. But this is America, where black people are certainly not deemed oversexed criminal menaces AT BIRTH, and queer people definitely don’t have a history of being constantly declared a threat to public health. Right?
Issues of reproductive justice for American Indian women are particularly relevant here in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has the second highest population of American Indian people in the US and has 38 federally recognized tribes. Over half of the 63 IHS pharmacies surveyed by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC) in the Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Aberdeen, S.D., and Bemidiji, Minn. service areas carried Plan B, but many of these pharmacies did not have the pill available over-the-counter. The NAWHERC study found that only 11 percent of the pharmacies surveyed carried emergency contraception over the counter. About half carried emergency contraception but required a prescription and a doctor’s visit, and about 43 percent of the pharmacies contacted did not carry Plan B at all.