We're a community service, not just a business," say Kaia Wilson and Tammy Rae Carland, cofounders of Mr. Lady, a music label and video distributor founded by and for lesbian feminists. Yes, they do everything, from getting CDs pressed to designing album covers to promoting releases; their covers boast a radical twist, and they share a whopping 50 percent of profits with their artists. But at its core, Mr. Lady is a gay and lesbian activist group. "We use art to organize our activism," says Wilson. The duo and their artists hold speakouts across the U.S. to talk about sexual identity and have a following in the thousands. At any given event, expect to see a cross-section of the feminist community, including police-brutality protesters, pro-choicers, and activists from health centers, rape-crisis clinics, and queer youth groups. When they're not on the road, Wilson and Carland spend a large part of their time fielding calls for help from gay teens seeking advice and support. "What keeps us going," says Carland, who is also a professor of film and photography at the University of North Carolina, "is the opportunity to mobilize our community and heighten gay/lesbian consciousness in the entertainment industry."
The Durham, North Carolina- based Mr. Lady was founded in Greencastle, Indiana, in 1996, when Wilson, a musician, began searching for a label that was sensitive to lesbian issues. When she discovered few options, she and Carland invented one. Added inspiration came from their experiences in hetero-happy middle America. "They thought we were such weirdos!" Carland laughs. "We wanted a community we could connect with." Their latest project? A shout-out to the transgender crowd on a CD compilation entitled Calling All Kings and Queens. For more info, visit www.mrlady.com.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .