E.J. Graff

E.J. Graff writes on social-justice and human-rights issues, particularly discrimination and violence against women and children; marriage and family policy; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives. She is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and the author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution (Beacon Press, 1999, 2004).

Recent Articles

Friday Poetry Break

Yes, I know, there was a big speech by a political figure last night. But you know what else? It's the last Friday of summer. Not in the solar calendar, but in our social calendar.  Next week we all go back to school and buckle down again. So here's one of the most most admired poems of the late 20th century, a poem that I've said aloud I don't know how many times. It's by Robert Hass, who later became Poet Laureate.

Meditation at Lagunitas

By Robert Hass

All the new thinking is about loss.

In this it resembles all the old thinking.

The idea, for example, that each particular erases

the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-

Thrown Away for Being Gay

(Letter image courtesy of thinkprogress.org)

Over at ThinkProgress, Zack Ford quotes and verifies a letter from a father disowning his son for being gay. Here’s an excerpt:

Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.

You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.

If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.

Read it in full. It’s heartbreaking.

The Boy Scouts' Learning Curve

(Flickr/David Blumenkrantz)

Since the Sandusky horror story first broke, we’ve seen a lot of articles exposing horrific behavior from the 1970s and 1980s. Serial abuse at the Horace Mann School. Philadelphia sprtswriter Bill Conlin's long history of molesting children. Surely, there are more to come.

Who Said Women Can Have It All?

Remember that Anne-Marie Slaughter article in The Atlantic about a month and a half ago, whose title—"Why Women Still Can't Have It All"—drove feminists bonkers, while the substance nevertheless rang true for roughly 70 gazillion working parents in this country who are doing the impossible every single day? Rebecca Traister proposed forever retiring the phrase "having it all" here, and I chastised the magazine for the framing. But the article's core idea was right, as I wrote at the time: 

The Opposite of American

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

The Sikh temple shooting, which left seven dead including the shooter, has left me feeling more shaky than the shooting in Colorado, which seemed more random. 

I write that even though the skeleton of these stories is roughly the same. One man with a grudge takes semi-automatic weapons and opens fire at a public or semi-public event where people are gathered for some socially acknowledged purpose—education, work, politics, entertainment, worship. Some people die. Others are wounded. The gunman may or may not have the presence of mind to execute himself. Or he may choose to be martyred, putting himself in line for police to kill him. 

Pages