Why did you tell us if we were never supposed to believe it?

It’s been hard watching so many disparate parts of my past that I’d hoped would remain in the past intersect over the last few weeks as the Roy Moore story unfolded. Harder than I thought it would be. Aside from dredging up everything about courtship culture and then watching as sites like The Federalist proved my point and started arguing that child marriage was fine, I’ve also gotten to watch as the Operation Rescue/Operation Save America crowd is running around Alabama defending Roy Moore. My time with Operation Rescue is still one of the parts of my past that I have a hard time writing about, and while I’ve been talking about it more since the presidential election, it hasn’t gotten easier. I’ve spoken up about what I lived through in the ‘90s because it’s important to understand the past if people are going to figure out how to resist the religious right and the Trump administration, but rehashing the past when you’re still feeling your way forward is exhausting. That all of this is going down in Alabama, a state where I was arrested with Operation Rescue when I was 13, just adds to the emotions.

Read more

Guilt By Association: Kathryn gets meta

Chapter 5 part deux | Main | Chapter Six part one Sorry, no animated GIFs for this one. I want to take a moment to step back from reading the book to discuss a few things. This review series isn’t going as I expected, which I suppose is what happens when you set out to review a book before you’ve read anything but the book jacket. The initial plan was to write this series mainly as an experiment to get practice writing this style of book review with something that I knew I could get at least some mileage out of. Even though the book is about clinic protesters, I really didn’t even want to go into discussing the abortion issue because it’s a political wedge issue designed to get people to vote for politicians who are acting against their best interests, and it’s a fight I don’t want to have. What I’ve gotten from this experiment though, is a book that’s time warped me back to a formative period in my own history that I still don’t quite know how to process. I was twelve when David Gunn was murdered. This was early 1993 and news traveled a lot slower in those days. I didn’t know when I stepped in front of a bank of news cameras and microphones that day in Tallahassee to argue that the pro-life movement was peaceful that it had turned deadly earlier that morning. Wendy Wright had gotten word but she sent me out in front of the cameras anyway, even though she knew everything I had planned to say was now a lie. I wasn’t quite fourteen the day I was standing in front of an abortion clinic handing out literature when two clinic escorts came over and started screaming at me about two people[…]

Read more

Dear Flip: An open letter to Flip Benham on the occasion of his disrupting wedding ceremonies

Dear Flip, I don’t know if you remember me or not, but there was a time back in the 1990s when you were on a first name basis with my parents. If you don’t know me you should, my photo is on the cover of one of your Operation Save America brochures and the cover of Rusty Thomas’ book. I danced on stage to the song “Children Things We Throw Away” at Operation Rescue National events in Melbourne and Birmingham, and when you spoke in Bradenton, each time performing to standing ovation. I’ve spoken at ORN events and had people praise me afterward. When I say that I was a child of Rescue and that I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, I mean it literally. The t-shirts are shoved in the back of a dresser drawer, artifacts that I’d never wear again but can’t bring myself to throw out. I’m writing to say thank you. Thank you for creating an activist. When you’re shoved on to the front lines of the culture wars as a child, activism becomes second nature. I know how to fight because ORN/OSA taught me. I wouldn’t be the activist I am today without you. Just as importantly, thank you for so mishandling the situation with the conflict my parents were in–you know the details–that you started our break from the movement. I may have never gotten away from the oppression of the religious right and become the fabulous queer I am today without what happened that Sunday afternoon in Melbourne. For that I truly thank you. God uses all kinds of people in unexpected ways to get a person where they need to be, and God used you screwing over my parents to put me on the path to freedom. Flip, I see[…]

Read more