|Coming Out in Millions
Linc Magazine, Ireland, November 2003
About International Wages Due Lesbians (WDL)
An international multi-racial network started in 1975, WDL campaigns for the economic, legal and human rights of lesbian/bi women and for wages for caring work so that women everywhere have the money and other resources to make sexual and other choices. Based in London, Barcelona (Spain), San Francisco and Philadelphia (USA), we are from different backgrounds, ages, single mums, sex workers, with disabilities, housewives, students . . . We are from villages and cities, some forced – or chose – to move country so we could live independently as lesbians. Like most women, lesbians are overworked and unvalued carers, much of our contribution to the community hidden, especially when we are not able to be “out”. We are an autonomous organisation in the Wages for Housework Campaign, which co-ordinates the Global Women’s Strike (GWS) (see below). Our campaigning includes working for mothers’ rights to child custody and welfare benefits, opposing all forms of anti-lesbian discrimination and violence including police arrests and harassment. For years we campaigned against the notorious Section 28 (recently abolished), making visible its particular impact on lesbian mothers and our children, and we highlighted how our sexual choices are deeply connected to our economic possibilities. We constantly challenge sexism and racism in the lesbian and gay movement, and homophobia in the anti-racist and other movements. And we’ve opposed the de-politicisation and commercialization of major gay events like Pride.
No Pride in the Slaughter of Others
In London, we help organize the GWS’s Community Picket and Open Mic on Parliament Sq against the occupation of Iraq. [SF, we are part of a GWS protest outside the Bechtel Corporation which profits off “rebuilding” Iraq and water privatization. In Barcelona, as part of the massive anti-war movement we denounced the Spanish government’s support for the Iraq war, publicizing the military budget and comparing it to lack of spending on benefits which are the lowest in the European Union.] We oppose those who defend the US/UK military as “integrated” and demand instead that lesbian and gay people come out of the military, choosing caring, not killing. We support “refuseniks” including the gay US Filipino/Native American marine, Stephen Funk, now in military prison for refusing to kill.
Asylum is a gay issue
Two women in our network, one a lesbian mum of five from Uganda, the other a young woman from the Comoros Islands, have just won refugee status after fleeing homophobic persecution and other torture! Another woman from Eritrea is still waiting for a decision and we are mobilizing support for her and others. We are demanding that prominent lesbian and gay organisations and individuals to come out in defence of the civil, human and legal rights of those of us seeking asylum. Those now visible in government, business and media only got there after years of activism by grassroots lesbian/gay people. Let’s see if they will go beyond lifestyle politics.
Dykes on Strike
Recently, women from WDL London and San Francisco joined the Strike in Galway, Ireland, and talked about lessons from Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp of the eighties to help defend anti-war activists up against the law now. Greenham’s backbone, like much of the women’s movement of the last (and every) century, was lesbian women against war. We claim and build on that proud heritage. Every year since the first GWS in 2000, dykes have gone on strike on 8 March, together with thousands in over 70 countries. We're demanding that the $900+ billion spent yearly on military budgets be Invested in Caring Not Killing.
Wages Due Lesbians
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 44207-482 2496
Global Women’s Strike, Galway, Ireland, Maggie Ronayne:
Maggie.email@example.com, tel: 00 353 91 520269