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.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .