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

First They Came for Abortion ...

Do not miss Katha Pollitt's latest column , which begins: First they came for abortion, but I didn't care because abortion was for sluts. Then they came for sex ed, but I didn't care because the kids can learn all they need to know at home. Then they came for birth control, but... Wait a minute! Birth control? They're coming for birth control? In brief: Yes. Read the column for details.

Thanks, Frank, for Everything

So it appears to be the week for visionaries and pioneers to die. Last night, at age 86, Frank Kameny died at home. Kameny was the genuine article: a trailblazer in gay rights, suing the federal government -- in the 1950s -- for firing him for being a homosexual, back before we all graduated to being called "gay." From the Washington Blade 's obituary: Kameny, born and raised in New York City, served in combat as an Army soldier in World War II in Europe. After the war, Kameny obtained a doctorate degree in astronomy from Harvard University. He went on to work as an astronomer for the U.S. Army map service in the 1950s and was fired after authorities discovered he was gay. He contested the firing and appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first known gay person to file a gay-related case before the high court. In the 1950s, they were still raiding bars and jailing people for dancing with someone of the same sex. It was the height of McCarthyism, the terror obsession...

The Masculinity Patrol

Over at The Huffington Post , Soraya Chemaly absolutely nails one of the great injustices of childhood (and adulthood, although it's less visible by then): the masculinity patrol. She makes a fabulous proposal: National Let Your Boy Be a Girl Day : Because every other day of the year they have to make sure they are NOT girls. Because if a boy acts like a girl the national press gets involved ... I love this piece of writing; if I could, I'd quote it here whole. Chemaly points out that, because of the feminist movement, girls now have a range of acceptable gendered behavior: They can wear pants, choose pink or blue, play sports and take ballet, go crazy with both Barbies and trucks, "grow their hair as long or as short as they want and decorate it." A girl can wear long basketball shorts and oversized jerseys and decide to be an engineer. But a boy can't wear a skirt and decide to be a nurse without being bullied. Girls are allowed a full spectrum of behaviors and interests (with,...

What's Up With Brewster County, Continued ...

Earlier this week I wondered what was up with Brewster County, Texas -- waaay down on the Mexican border, which according to the census has 8.2 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households. While that doesn't approach the numbers you find in some of the more famously gay-friendly regions, that's almost as high a density as Dallas County (8.7), although not quite as many as Austin (11). Why? Texas expat @AmandaMarcotte was kind enough to tweet me her answer (in six parts): I'm from Brewster County, TX. I can probably fill you in on why it's become a gay couple mecca. It's a combo of Western MYOB attitudes and that the biggest employer in the one town there, Alpine, is a university. Also, nearby Marfa, TX (Presidio County) has an art colony, and it's had a liberalizing effect on the whole area. It was a conservative place when I lived there, but they went for Obama in 2008. It's a good place for non-city liberals to live.

Paula Ettelbrick Dies

Another reason to grieve (and to read Hopkins): Paula Ettelbrick is dead. She was a fierce and important LGBT advocate, working in the movement for her entire adulthood, in just about every capacity, including Lambda Legal, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the Stonewall Community Foundation. I didn't know her personally, although I debated her in print -- we disagreed -- but I deeply admired her dedication and feel the loss keenly. More here .