I hate it when mainstream gay rights organizations whitewash, minimize or otherwise erase the “shocking” aspects of our oftentimes radical political past.
For example, a popular internet historical timeline of notable gay individuals and events in Oregon says this about Marie Equi:
Lesbian physician Marie Equi and Harriet Speckart, who had been living together notoriously, win second-prize for their float in the first Rose Festival.
Openly Lesbian physician Marie Equi presents a paper to the Multnomah County Medical Society regarding her treatment of a male patient who had gonorrhea of the throat.
Openly Lesbian Portland physician and social activist Marie Equi adopts a girl in Oregon.
Lesbian physician and social activist Marie Equi is convicted in Portland of sedition for opposing U.S. involvement in the First World War. During her trial, the prosecutor refers to her as a “degenerate.”
From these admittedly truncated reports we get very little feel for who she was and what her life was actually like. The term “social activist” can mean just about anything, and comes off as sounding particularly tame if you ask me.
The truth of the matter is that Marie became famous early on in the The Dalles, Oregon by publicly beating a delinquent boss with a horse-whip: he had neglected to pay her “female companion” $100.
Marie would go on to become a prominent and able physician, offering abortions at a time when this procedure was hard to get and frequently dangerous.
When the predominantly immigrant women and men at the Oregon Packing Company fruit cannery went on strike in July 1913 she witnessed some particularly harsh police repression. In response to one pregnant striker being violently arrested while speaking from a soap-box, Marie made her way to the courthouse. She was determined to get in.
“Deputy Sheriff Downey tried to restrain the infuriated woman [Equi], She gave him a right arm swing in the jaw. Night Watchman Fifer, a meek little man, tried to remonstrate with Dr. Equi, but her ready fist caught him below the left eye… Gaining entrance, she persuaded the elevator man to take her up to the jail on the top floor, where she opened up her batteries of vituperation on Sheriff Word and his deputies. She raked them fore and aft… Mrs. O’Connor [the arrested woman] was not booked, but was allowed to depart from jail, escorted by Dr. Equi.” - The Oregonian 16 July 1913, p. 1, p. 3.
This event marked her break with the progressive party. “It was my experiences during that strike that made me a socialist…. Previous to that time I was a Progressive…. Any betterment of conditions must come about by direct action, in other words, militancy.” - New Bedford Evening Standard, 17 March 1914, p. 3.
Two days later, at a street meeting called in defiance of a prohibition on striking by the mayor, Equi was arrested; she stabbed the patrolman with a hatpin that the newspapers rumored was poisoned.
She would go on to become heavily associated with the anarcho-cyndicalist Industrial Workers of the World and was respected by many noted radicals. She was at various times identified as an anarchist and socialist (these terms were to some degree interchangeable at the time) and proudly wore the title given to her by her detractors: “Queen of the Bolsheviks”, perhaps with a bit of irony.
According to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (who she lived with 10 years), Equi gained her reputation “as the stormy petrel of the Northwest” and was “among the most feared and hated women in the Northwest because of her outspoken criticisms of politicians, industrialists and so-called civic leaders, and all who oppressed the poor.” Her dedication to these various causes also had the secondary effect of helping to legitimize homosexuality, and lesbianism in particular, amongst working-class radicals who in that time and place often held some pretty backwards ideas on the issues of gender and sexual orientation (not that a lot of them don’t still).
Now I by no means want to paint Marie Equi as something she was not. She was not perfect, she took plenty of positions and actions worth criticizing. For example, in order to oppose Republican pro-war president candidate Charles Evans Hughes (popular amongst rich white women for being pro-suffrage) she fell in with the pro-Wilson crowd as a “lesser evil.” Later, she got the weird idea that she should try to become a top leader in the Communist Party, USA (didn’t work out), and she probably ended up making and having a lot more money than she liked to admit.
Even so, her life was a fiery and complex one that deserves more than a bland nod to her having been in the Rose Parade, or to her having been “anti-war”. Those things are true, but need to be situated properly within the overall context of her life.
(I reposted this because I feel like she isn’t getting the respect she deserves)
[other quotes stolen from http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/nancy-krieger-queen-of-the-bolsheviks]
Warren Andrews had just finished putting up balloons for his stepdaughter’s 18th birthday party at their suburban home in Mayflower, Arkansas, when his wife came inside and said something was wrong. After stepping out of his house, and taking one glance, he immediately dialed 911.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve got a river of oil coming down the street at me,” Andrews told the operator. Five minutes later, the slick of noxious black crude spewing from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline was eight feet wide, six inches deep and growing fast.
In this photo, spilled oil from Exxon pipeline runs through a neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29, 2013. Reuters was recently given access to the photo from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Exxon is refusing to let reporters anywhere near the accident. They’re also controlling the airspace above the spill. They don’t want you to see what’s happening. TOO BAD, EXXON.
Signal boost the shit outta this, y’all.
Susan Hannon: You Get Me Closer To God, no. 6
American bible, mixed media
Mr Dewie’s is a new vegan ice cream alternative. It is almond milk based and currently includes four flavors: Mocha Chip, Salted Pecan, Mint Chip and Banana Walnut (they will be replacing the Banana Walnut flavor with Strawberry (which should be available by early June 2013).
If you’re in San Francisco, they will be dishing out samples this Friday at Justin Herman Plaza, as part of Bart’s Blue Sky Festival. Drop by and check them out, you might just find your new favorite (vegan) ice cream! A few other cool facts about Mr. Dewie’s:
- It is proudly made in Oakland, CA by brothers Ari and Andrew Cohen.
- They hand-make their almond milk from premium California almonds.
- They also hand-make their product in small batches without any additives, preservatives, emulsifiers, or stabilizers.
- They have a dedicated facility that does not process peanuts, gluten, soy or dairy (so almost everyone can enjoy it).
in this episode you’ll find discussions of dealing with relationships as a survivor, being mixed race, a breakdown of sexualities, and more! thank you for listening <33
if you can’t tell i’ve just been really depressed lately & crying in the shower & nothing good. the apartment is a mess & i have no energy to clean/do laundry. i need to meditate & do yoga & go outside more & exercise but for some reason when i’m depressed those steps i need to take to help me feel better are the hardest fucking steps to take. instead i am just sitting around picking myself apart & making myself feel worse or watching tv to numb it all. or eating comfort foods. i should be in therapy, i haven’t been in YEARS & i know as a bipolar woman in her 20’s that is not smart but again these steps are the hardest fucking steps to take.
i realized the other day that i really feel pretty good about my body generally until my clothes stop fitting and/or people start asking me how far along i am/if it is a boy or a girl. honestly i feel bad if my clothes are too baggy on me or if they are too tight — it doesn’t make a difference if i am losing or gaining weight. i just can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe every time my weight changes & my SADD & bipolar & a wealth of other external life shit make my weight swing a LOT. i need a vast wardrobe of cute, stretchy clothing. i don’t really know what to do.
anyway i felt so embarrassed & awkward & lied & told them i was 6 months along but waiting to find out the sex of the baby. it was shitty but she asked like 3 questions about my pseudo-pregnancy all at once & i would have felt even more uncomfortable explaining that i was not pregnant, my belly is just round like ganesh.
PLEASE fatshion experts — help!