Ally Profile: Gloria Steinem

We Are Straight Allies is extremely proud and deeply honored that Gloria has joined us as a Straight Ally.   In her book, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Gloria expresses her beliefs, with every fiber of her being, that it’s the things we all do that keep “the movement” going—for women, gays, lesbians, transgendered individuals, and everyone still fighting for equality.

“It has always been clear to me that the stories of each other’s lives are our best textbooks. Every social justice movement that I know of has come out of people sitting in small groups, telling their life stories, and discovering other people have shared similar experiences.”–Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem travels widely as a feminist activist, organizer, writer and lecturer. Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, and Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe. She was an editor of The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History. Steinem co-founded New York Magazine and Ms. Magazine where continues to serve as a consulting editor. She has been published in many magazines and newspapers here and in other countries, and is also a frequent guest commentator on radio and television.

She helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and Choice USA. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women and helped create Take Our Daughters to Work Day. She has served on the board of trustees of Smith College, and was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a comparative study of racial patterns in the U.S., South Africa, and Brazil. She has also co-produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, and a feature film for Lifetime.

Ms. Steinem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956, and then spent two years in India on a Chester Bowles Fellowship. She wrote for Indian publications, and was influenced by Gandhian activism. Gloria has received the Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, the Front Page and Clarion awards, National Magazine awards, an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, the Women’s Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations, and most recently, the University of Missouri School of Journalism Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

Other recognitions include the first Doctorate of Human Justice awarded by Simmons College, the Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Gay Rights Advocates Award, the Liberty award of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Ceres Medal from the United Nations, and a number of honorary degrees. Parenting magazine selected her for its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 for her work in promoting girls’ self-esteem, and Biography magazine listed her as one of the 25 most influential women in America. In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She has been the subject of Lifetime and ABC biographical television documentaries, and The Education of a Woman, a biography by Carolyn Heilbrun.

In a 2012 interview with Queerty, the #1 gay news and entertainment site in the world, Gloria spoke openly about the unity between women’s rights and LGBT rights.  “It’s completely the same thing,” said Steinem. “On campuses, people will say, ‘why are the same right-wing people against lesbianism and birth control?’ They find that bizarre. It’s not bizarre. It’s because the right wing is against any form of sexual expression that can’t end in conception. So we have the same adversaries and the same allies.”

Steinem continued, saying those on the right “want to control reproduction… they want to direct all sex to reproduction, and they punish women for controlling that decision and using contraception or having an abortion. The same people punish two men or two women because that stands for non-reproductive sexual activity. And it’s all a lie. And it’s a lie about human sexuality, which has always been a way we communicate, not just a way we procreate.”

Gloria will receive the Medal of Freedom this Wednesday – the highest civilian honor awarded by the President of the United States.  She is among an esteemed list of 16 recipients, this being the 50th Anniversary of the award being given.  In its announcement, the White House noted that Steinem is “a leader in the women’s liberation movement, co-founded Ms. magazine, and helped launch a wide variety of groups and publications dedicated to advancing civil rights.  Ms. Steinem has received dozens of awards over the course of her career, and remains an active voice for women’s rights.”

“I’m honored and touched to receive the Medal of Freedom, especially in the company of Bayard Rustin, Oprah Winfrey, Sally Ride, and other of my heroes,” Steinem said. “I know this is a recognition of the countless women and men who have worked for a society in which we are linked, not ranked, and have always understood that the caste systems based on sex and race, class and sexuality, can only be uprooted together. There is no president from whose hand I would be more honored to receive this than President Obama.”

We Are Straight Allies congratulates Gloria on receiving this highest award.

Gloria Steinem (pink_2)

Citations for this article include:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI6dQaUhKMY

http://jwa.org/blog/gloria-steinem-unheralded-glbt-advocate

http://thehumanist.org/september-october-2012/the-humanist-interview-with-gloria-steinem/

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,605468,00.html

http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=16630&MediaType=1&Category=22

http://www.womensconference.org/gloria-steinem-2/

http://www.autostraddle.com/much-ado-about-gloria-steinem-107012/

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