Faces of feminism

As the War on Women rages, Bay Area feminism comes to the fore

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Is San Francisco still on the cutting edge of women's issues? I recently spent a sunny Saturday morning buried in the radical archives of Bolerium Books (www.bolerium.com) — which is by the way, an amazing resource for anyone researching labor, African American, First Peoples, and queer history, among other things. Me, I was looking into our city's rich history of feminist activism, inspiration for our upcoming Guardian "Bay Area Feminism Today" panel discussion. The event will unite amazing females from across the city who have but one thing in common: they're pushing the envelope when it comes to the definition of what a "women's issue" is, in a time when very few people claim feminism as their primary crusade. We'll be talking more about their exciting projects –- but also touching on more universal issues. What is San Francisco's role in fighting the nationwide attack on reproductive rights? How is our progressive community doing in terms of supporting women and maintaining a feminist perspective on issues?

Women's work: it's alive and kicking, and it deserves its moment in the spotlight. Meet our panelists here, in preparation for the real deal. 

THE GUARDIAN PRESENTS: "BAY AREA FEMINISM TODAY"

Wed/11 6-8pm, free

City College of San Francisco Mission campus

1125 Valencia, SF

www.sfbg.com/bayareafeminismtoday


STEPHANY ASHLEY

St. James Infirmary programs director, ex-president of Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

 

For me, sex worker rights are a feminist issue because they are about body autonomy. As much as reproductive choice is a feminist issue, so too is the right to determine the ways in which we use our bodies, change our bodies, and take care of our bodies. When people are criminalized for their HIV status, denied access to hormones and safe gender transitions, or are afraid to carry condoms because it might lead to police harassment or arrest — these are all feminist issues. At St. James Infirmary (www.stjamesinfirmary.org), we provide healthcare and social services from a peer-based model, so community is really the central aspect of the project. I was excited to chair the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club (www.milkclub.org) last year, because I wanted to keep raising sex workers rights issues as part of the LGBT agenda. At St. James, nearly 70 percent of our community members are LGBTQ, so it's really critical that sex workers rights are treated as a queer issue, a feminist issue, and a labor issue.

CELESTE CHAN

Artist and founder of Queer Rebels

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