Saturday, April 16, 2011

Always Wear a Belt to The Punk Rock Show, Always Remember to Dance

Emma Goldman said "If there's no dancing at the revolution, I'm not coming"

Revolution is so punk rock, right? And who has ever gone to a punk rock show where no one danced. I haven't.

I love dancing. I've been dancing since I could walk, at one point I thought I wanted to pursue dancing as a career. I place high value on going out on the weekends to dance, because it helps me get out of my head. And that's really important.

The best thing about dancing at a punk rock show is that it's not about being sexy or talented or looking good at all. It's about having a blast and not giving a fuck. Make a fool out of yourself, flail around like an idiot, move, dance, be in the moment. Don't give a fuck.

I feel like in activism, we sometimes get so wrapped up in all of the shit that's making us angry; the things that the other side is doing, the rights we still don't have, the politics and politicians getting in the way of those rights and the general societal bullshit that stops anyone from making any changes because we're stuck. Or we're tired, or too frustrated to think straight.

Sometimes it's all too much. How do you deal?

Dance! Or something. Whatever, just get yourself out of your head and away from the stress of being an activist. Because it's a lot to deal with sometimes. It's overwhelming, and sometimes you just need to reset in order to come back and deal with it.

And don't forget your belt, no one wants to be pulling their pants up all night.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We Can't be Silent Anymore: Bringing attention to Bullying

Tomorrow, on the Auraria Campus, we will be having an event called "The Day of Noise." We will be making a lot of noise against LGBTQ bullying. Why?

Because we can't be silent anymore.

The idea for the event came when we were talking about GLSEN's National Day of Silence ( and what event could we hold for it. The National Day of Silence is an event that many high school and college GSAs will take part in. The point is to be silent for a whole day in order to bring attention to the fact that many people on our campuses cannot be open about who they are, for whatever reason. At the end of the day, everyone meets and breaks the silence by making as much noise as possible and being in community with each other. Every time I have participated in this event, it has been an incredibly powerful event, and I would encourage everyone to participate on friday by being silent at all times possible.

However, I am tired of being silent. I'm tired of being silenced. Things are happening to my community and I'm angry.

I want to make some noise!

See, bullying isn't just something that happened in elementary school. It happens in middle and high school too. It even happens in college. And, if it goes unchecked, bullying can turn into harassment and violence.

Last semester the news reported that at least 6 LGBT college and high school students committed suicide because they were bullied about their sexual orientation. This number does not include the hundreds of LGBT suicides that have not been reported in the news.

LGBT youth are 6 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. This is not because they are LGBT, but because of the social pressures and bullying that they can experience due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. And it's not just other students who do it. Teachers, faculty and staff can add to the pressure and bully students just as much. Last year at least two gay students made the news because they were not allowed to bring a same sex date with them to the Prom. Try and tell me that's not a form of bullying.

This shit is not okay with me. It's time to shout about it, make it loud. It's time to really be proud of who we are as a community. It's time to come together as a community and support each other.

And, we need to stand up and make some noise. Call people out, make them stop and think, make them as angry about this as we are. Make them change.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pro-Life or Anti-Freedom?

Today on my campus, there was a huge anti-choice display. We're talking a 20ft tall, 30ft long, big disgusting display of what they would like to tell you abortion looks like, and how it is not humane. This thing was right in the middle of campus, in a place where you could not avoid it, at all. There was a sign that said "warning: graphic pictures ahead" which most people saw AFTER seeing the actual display. The thing took up the entire grassy area where people normally relax during their day, especially on such a beautiful sunny day such as today. I am disgusted.

Beyond my opinions about their opinion, I find this display highly inappropriate. I get free speech, but people have the right to not listen to the bullshit you have the right to spout. No one could avoid this display, it was as big as a ride at an amusement park.

And the thing that really pisses me off is that they say that they're doing this for the women. They're saving the women from the emotional trauma of having an abortion, because women can't be trusted to appropriately deal with the consequences of their choices. Especially the emotional consequences. They need to be protected from the consequences of freedom, so let's take their rights away. (I call bullshit)

What about the women who have had an abortion? How is this disgusting display protecting them from further emotional trauma. Or how about the emotional trauma of having to go through a pregnancy you do not want, and having a child you do not want? What about the emotional trauma the child will go through when they grow up knowing they were not wanted, either because the mother makes it clear or they are adopted. What about that?

It's not like abortion is an easy decision or process. I've been there, I know.

When I was fifteen, I found out I was pregnant with the potential child of the man who was abusing me. Of course I had an abortion, it was my only choice. If I were to tell him, he would have beaten me, blamed me for getting pregnant, for not being on birth control, whatever. I would have probably lost the baby anyways.

And then there was the whole issue of telling my parents. "hey mom and dad, you know how I'm not allowed to date and I'm supposed to wait until I'm married to have sex... well, I'm pregnant." This was not going to happen, I would have been kicked out.

Add the fact that I was totally fucked up on drugs to the whole equation and abortion was the right choice for me to make. It was the hardest decision I've ever made. It was also the best decision I've ever made. For me and the potential life that then inhabited my uterus.

Regardless of that, it was not a fun process, and I would do almost anything to never have to go through it again. It was physically painful, really dangerous (because I couldn't go to a decent clinic without telling my parents), really expensive, and emotionally traumatic. And seeing those signs on campus today was a lot more than I could handle.

What I think they should do, if they really care about women, is to put all that money and energy into education. Fund some comprehensive sex-education programs that teach about protection (barrier and hormonal), sexuality, peer pressure, interpersonal violence, and how to say no until you're ready. Keeping in mind that kids will have sex, it's fun, we were built for it, and abstinence is not the only option. To think otherwise is unrealistic.

Of course, these organizations do not really care about women, or fetuses. They care about keeping women from having rights. They always have, always will. That's why we need to continue fighting for reproductive freedom. It's not just about the right to an abortion, it's about the right to do what you will with your body. From sexual activity to sexual reassignment surgery, it all comes down to freedom of choice. If they take one right away, what else will they take?