I struggled for years about coming out. I struggled so hard I married men twice and had two beautiful daughters. I was trying to fit the status quo. I don’t fit in that box and, no matter how hard I tried, I never did. I learned self-loathing from being raised Catholic and self-hate because deep down I turned my head when girls walked by, not boys. The day I put on my rainbows, as I say, is the day I learned to love myself again.
I did what ANYONE can do. I got up and spoke out. I have been fighting my catholic demons for years about who I truly am. The peace and self-love that I experienced when I finally came to terms with who I am was immeasurable. When Mike Pence signed RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it threatened my self-worth and sense of value, as it did for so many LGBTQ Hoosiers. I couldn’t be quiet. So I began this journey that I am on which led me to where I am now. I volunteered, attended rallies, and spoke out for LGBTQ rights loudly and very, very, proudly. I finally knew love in many ways I never thought I would. I volunteered for Democratic campaigns, phone banks, canvassing. I became involved. I put on my rainbow flag, wearing it as a cape, and I was ignited with life. I am the Rainbow Queen and I am proud to be the lesbian I am. I love myself now.
In March of 2016 Our Governor, the same one that signed RFRA, trying to take away the rights of my newly found rainbow family, decided he would attack women as well with HEA1337. This was a full attack on women and abortion rights. It stated “… that a miscarried or aborted fetus must be interred or cremated by a facility or person having possession of the remains.” What would that mean for women who miscarried? Or worse, didn’t even realize they were pregnant? I was astounded. I was mad. What right did ANY man have to tell ANY woman what to do with our body, let alone legislate it? I got up and helped with the Women’s rights rally that a fellow activist, Annette Gross, had begun planning. I was angry.
In a dark place for the state of Indiana something happened that made us all laugh: Someone created the social movement, Periods for Pence. We kept trying to figure out WHO this genius was that created what we had come to love and know. So, the Woman’s Right’s Rally began. Around at least 1,000 people showed up. Betty Cockrum from Planned Parenthood spoke and me, proudly in my rainbow flag, being bold like I am, yelled in to the crowd, “Whoever created #PeriodsForPence I promise if you introduce yourself The Rainbow Queen will bow down!” I never expected what happened next. I simply overheard a piece of a conversation between a woman and another organizer and quickly figured out that this was the creator. We immediately connected and began a journey that day.
After a couple of weeks of discussion, I began working with the page moderating and troll hunting. The creator was still anonymous, so occasionally I would speak on her behalf in the media. When I started the page had around 60,000 followers who had been encouraged to call Governor Mike Pence’s office and report their periods; according to the law, any period could medically be considered a miscarriage, and we needed to make sure we were in compliance. As the site has now grown to over 77,000 followers (with an additional 5600 on Twitter), my role has expanded. P4P currently consists of two women who could not be more different, and yet, the same. We were mad and worried about this horrible legislation over OUR bodies. Never, did we expect it to become what it has. Just snarky ladies, voicing our concerns, in a very tongue in cheek way.
Thankfully, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood stood up for Hoosier women and sued. An injunction is currently in place against the law, so whether or not more Hoosier tax dollars are wasted on fighting for this clearly unconstitutional law hangs in the balance of this election. P4P hosted an event called “ColorYourJunk”, where we printed anatomically correct pictures of genitalia to color and send to our Governor. (Did I mention we were snarky?)
Then the unthinkable happened. Mike Pence went to Washington to become Donald Trump’s VP. We were receiving stories after stories of women that were scared, furious, and sad in our inbox. So I came up with an idea. We worked as a team. A rally was born. “P4P Presents: The Revolution Will be Uterized (A Rally in 3 Acts)” was created. Since its creation, the true depth of Trump’s misogyny has been exposed.
Because of the national attention, the rally has morphed in to something bigger than we ever imagined and we plan on focusing on VERY important issues with national speakers such as author and VP of Development for the Brennan Center for Justice, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, and a special appearance by feminist activist and general badass. This is not your mother’s rally– drag queens painting faces, songs written for the event by wonderful artists that were inspired by #PeriodsForPence and a special performance by Khaos Company Theatre, the wonderful creators of “Pence Wars”. Kevin Warren, “Mikey” from #PenceMustGo, and Jason Nolan-Deer from Indy Pride will speak. And there is more to come!
I am not the only one speaking up. We will be heard. Won’t you join us Wednesday November 2, 2016 at the Indiana Statehouse, south lawn? You can be heard too! Just stand up, we need you! We won’t stop until misogyny does. We can’t. Women’s voices need raised up and need to be HEARD.
Join here to be uterized!