Americans Are Americans Are Americans, Why Is This Complicated?
This post is dedicated to Cary, because he is the first person to have asked me what sexual citizenship was, and I gave him some vague, mumbled answer then, but I’m going to give you all the real answer now:
Sexual citizenship is the idea that in order for a person to access his or her full citizenship within a society, he or she must be able to access all of his/her rights, including his/her sexual rights.
When we deny certain portions of the population the ability to access their sexual rights, we are denying them access to their citizenship. This is unacceptable in a country that espouses freedom and equality as the cornerstones of its philosophy. There are a number of ways in which sexual citizenship is restricted in the United States, and I blog about them a lot: they include things like slut-shaming but they also include the restrictions and stigmas imposed upon the LGBTQ community. In any instance in which a portion of American society is being denied the ability to access their rights, they are being denied access to their citizenship.
So when I say that the current proposed changes to the Violence Against Women Act actively alter the ability of certain demographics to access their full American citizenship, this is what I am referring to. I am not being hyperbolic or overly dramatic here. When the GOP proposes that we should remove the clauses protecting Native Americans and members of the LGBTQ community from the Violence Against Women Act, they are actively attacking and restricting the ability of Americans to access their citizenship.
This is completely unacceptable. I will not accept it. YOU should not accept it.
If the GOP can decide who has a right to access their citizenship and who does not, I’m sorry to just insert a possible slippery slope fallacy here, but there is nothing to say that other rights will not be threatened. In fact, as we are all doubtless aware, they already are. We live with a justice system that is virtually incapable of dealing with most forms of gender-based violence. We live with a government that is trying to actively restrict the ability of women to access their own health. We live in a society that still refuses to grant same sex couples the right to marry on the basis that they aren’t the same as the rest of us-~-again, an issue of sexual citizenship.
These are all good fights that as activists we will keep on fighting. But for ANYONE to say that under ANY circumstance violence against-~-I won’t even say a woman here-~-anyone in American society today would not be treated as entirely unacceptable is absurd.
There are other serious problems with the Republican version of VAWA. It interferes with the ability of undocumented witnesses to cooperate with the authorities. Moreover, it reduces protection for victims of domestic violence, which is hugely problematic. It especially reduces protection for immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence.
America is a country built by immigrants. EVERYONE here came from immigrants, with the exception of the Native Americans, who are ALSO protected less by the Republican version of VAWA. It continues to baffle me that the GOP no longer wishes to welcome immigrants, to allow America to be the Land of Opportunity it was supposed to be. What, we’re done with that whole “opportunity” thing now? Ridiculous.
For a country that pretends to espouse their Americanism and their “traditional American values”, the GOP seems to understand very little about what it means to be an American in the first place.