• Rags_McTattershanty

    Great job, Chanel!

  • belgianchic

    This was absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for all that you do in safeguarding reproductive rights.

  • fiona64

    Beautiful interviews. Thanks to all of these gentlemen for sharing their stories.

  • Erin W

    “I am a visitor to these troubles, and if I don’t “get it,” then I could do more harm than good.” WOW that is well-stated. Good for these guys for being activists, but especially for making such efforts to see beyond their own status.

  • http://littlemisshaldol.tumblr.com/ LittleMissMellaril

    Lovely! <3

  • luvrhino

    I’m a cis male who has been escorting at Houston’s Planned Parenthood since 1998. I got started because i had too much free time, care about civil rights, wasn’t easily meeting like-minded people now that i was one year post-college, and cold e-mailed the volunteer coordinator saying as much, asking if they needed a warm body for anything. Turned out that they needed escorts, which i was happy to do.

    I didn’t have a personal story or connection to the abortion issue. For me, as an atheist who was largely left to his own devices in forming his belief system, fighting for reproductive rights seemed like the biggest civil rights issue in the United States (at least) and one that i easily take part in to make a tangible difference. That this civil right happened to more directly affect women than men was irrelevant. It’s simply the right thing to do.

    I’ve never viewed my role as bringing a “male-inclusive feminism” or to represent anyone other than myself and the Planned Parenthood clinic. About 30% of our escorts are male, which is about what we see in other PP events, both fundraising and volunteer.

    I do see a trend where, after eight years of a Bush presidency and twelve years of determined chipping away at reproductive rights, the younger generations are far less complacent w/r/t these rights than mine was. I was born in 1975. In that regard, i see an even higher percentage of males getting involved with these younger folks, which is fantastic to see. When we formed a Planned Parenthood Young Leaders group back in 2000, i was automatically invited to be on the Steering Committee because i was the only active young male volunteer. That is not remotely the case today.

    I haven’t seen clients respond to me differently because i’m male. Some protestors certainly do…especially ones who accuse me of being gay, because that’s the worst, most damaging insult they can think of. More enlightened protestors allow that i might be bi-sexual.

    I strongly feel that when making the decision to fight for civil rights, it shouldn’t matter if your part of the oppressed class. Blacks should fight for gay rights. Gays should fight for Head Start programs for poor children. And males should fight for reproductive rights. It’s the moral thing to do.

  • tt111

    What incredible human beings, each and every one of them.

  • cheesecakedeath

    I’d like to thank these men for what they do.

  • Jennifer PM

    What beautiful voices and words. So much respect for all escorts. Thank you!

  • billfalls

    Odd. In 17 years of escorting almost every week and training hundreds of escorts with WACDTF in DC/VA/MD no one ever expressed concern about an escort’s gender or sexual orientation. If I had been part of this informal survey I would have been stumped for an answer. I feel that the questions quoted in the article reflect gender stereotypes that I reject as a feminist.

    We escorts aren’t there as women or men, gay or straight. We are simply human beings helping other human beings access medical care. We have to do it because other people choose to try to harass and intimidate people approaching clinics. We all, regardless of gender etc., take care not to appear threatening (even to the antis, though I have seen Andy, who commented earlier about his size, affect antis that way). I’ve never seen a clinic visitor seem disturbed that an escort was male; WACDTF’s hundreds of escorts are male and female in roughly equal numbers.

    Why do I do it? In my mind we are the anti-bullies and we are putting our morality into action. Also, this form of direct action can be more satisfying than attending NOW meetings, as I also do, to do good work whose results are less immediately visible.

    • Arekushieru

      Anyone recognizing anyone else’ privilege is not stereotyping. Do you acknowledge that cismen will never have to face the realities of stigmatization and shaming that ciswomen, transmen, and intersex individuals may when procuring an abortion? After all, Andy, himself, said that the antis had more issues with cismen being present than ciswomen.

      • billfalls

        Of course. That privilege is a fact in our society, and it is unjust. Society categorizes us and gives some categories economic and power advantages. I’ve spent my lifetime as a feminist trying to dismantle those distinctions.

        The antis (clinic harassers) constantly try to categorize escorts (“Are you Jewish?” “He looks gay to me”). WACDTF, our DC-area organization, doesn’t categorize escorts and has never, in my experience, told male escorts to behave differently than female escorts. Applying gender and sexual orientation labels to us, as the interviewer did, feels disconcerting and deeply troubling to me.

  • Leehey

    I can not believe what these women have to go through just to make their own decisions. I am from Canada and we don’t have abortions clinics, if needed, you can just talk to your doctor and they will set it up in a medical center. If only in America they would perform abortions at regular hospitals. It would be much harder for antis to single out women and there would be no need for escorts.

    • http://www.brittanyannwick.wordpress.com/ BookishBeemer

      Hospitals won’t allow them to be done there, for several reasons: 1. protesters, 2. private, religiously affiliated hospitals won’t allow it, 3. a lack of doctors trained and/or willing to do so.

      • http://www.facebook.com/susan.lowe.921 Susan Lowe

        I think that many non-Catholic hospitals do perform therapeutic abortions. I’ve read of several failed mergers between a Catholic hospital system and public or private hospitals because the Catholic system insisted that the non-Catholic hospitals accept the Catholic rules about abortion that have nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with proving that a woman exists to provide as many little Catholics as possible.

    • Jaden Fitzherbert

      Morgentaler has several clinics around Canada, in fact I escort at the Morgentaler Clinic in New Brunswick, incidentally the only clinic in Canada where you have to pay for your abortion because it isn’t covered by the New Brunswick government.

  • Valde

    Well worth watching, typical harassment at an abortion clinic. Keep in mind, these are the same people who also harass PP clinics. And you wonder why women in Philadelphia avoided the PP there (due to anti-choice harassers) and went to Gosnell.

    http://thelastabortionclinic dot wordpress dot com/2013/07/19/the-morning-shift/

    • HeilMary1

      My crazy parents regularly protested the PP clinic in Doylestown, PA. They started doing this after I left home for good, so I never witnessed their menacing spectacle. A family friend/PP volunteer told me they looked really stupid because passersby wouldn’t connect their protest to PP. Because mom wrecked her health with childbearing, she avoided standing and therefore sat somewhere not close to the PP building. Moreover, I think she and dad protested on weekends when the clinic was closed. Clueless frumpy mom wouldn’t get it that her poor health and appearance from childbearing would drive more ambivalent women clamoring for PP help!

      • Valde

        haha

        how sad

        you might find this to be a worthwile read Mary

        http://rabble dot ca/news/2012/10/blinded-right-my-past-anti-abortion-activist

  • Ruth S.

    What is “cis”? Sorry, I don’t get the lingo here, and can’t find where it is explained. Thanks!

    • cjvg

      When an individual’s self-perception of their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth is commonly referred to as cis gender as far as I understand it!

      I.E. a heterosexual male, or a heterosexual female

      • kaasefras

        Cis refers to gender identity matching biological sex (as a counterpart to trans) – cis and trans are latin terms used in chemistry to mean on the same side and across from respectively. But cis (as far as I know) has no connection to sexual orientation. There are gay cis women and straight trans men.

        • cjvg

          Thanks for the info, it seems I was confusing cis normative with cis gender as being one and the same

  • Jaden Fitzherbert

    Beautiful. Thanks to all men who volunteer at clinics, and an big thank you to the men that I volunteer with!

  • Andrew Patton

    Priests of Baal and their assistants don’t intimidate me. They can punch me in the face- I’ll get a black eye, but that clinic gets shut down, first as a crime scene, and then when I sue the clinic and bankrupt it.

    • billfalls

      Escorts’ purpose at clinics is to help people peacefully get past those who would harass them. Intimidating or attacking the harassers would defeat that purpose. In 17 years I’ve never seen an escort punch anyone. I have been punched, spat on, and threatened (rarely, to be sure; antis are often loud but generally practice nonviolence as we do). An escort, Col. James Barrett, was murdered by an anti at a Pensacola clinic in 1994. If Mr. Patton has a factual basis for his comment he should state it.

    • Valde

      You’re an idiot.

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