ChoiceWords Blog

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Posts By: Guest Blogger

Making Space for Healing Justice

This summer, URGE activists gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for the first ever Summer Camp. Activists from AL, GA, TX, KS, & OH came together, thanks to a coordinated field and DC staff who worked their magic to create an unforgettable experience. The goal behind Summer Camp was to provide time and space for activists to broaden their analysis of reproductive justice, learn how to incorporate this analysis, and learn creative avenues to utilize back on campus and within the community. Activists were able to build on skills new and familiar such as developing leadership, facilitation, direct action, and cultural organizing. For four days, we were joined by the incredible Harriet’s Apothecary, “a collective of Black cis women, Queer, Trans Healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, and activists” who teach radical healing… Read more »

We Need to Stop Sexualizing Breastfeeding

A few weeks ago on a sweltering, Kansas afternoon, a friend and I stopped by a sub shop near my house for lunch. The store was empty because the lunch crowd hadn’t made their way in yet. I had been to this establishment several times before because my partner loved their subs and needed no excuse to go there. We ordered, sat and I nursed my just woken up daughter who was a bit cranky. Our little nursing session ended a few minutes later, just as the manager brought us our food. As he put the food on the table he looked at me and said “would you like a towel? This is a family restaurant, You can’t just be out here like that. Either I can bring you a… Read more »

How Ohio’s Government is Funneling Money into Fake Clinics

On July 1 the state of Ohio’s fiscal year 2018 budget took effect, providing $1,000,000 in funding to crisis pregnancy centers. Crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs, are notorious for counselling people against choosing abortion, despite the fact that it is a safe method of healthcare. By contrast, Ohio only contributes money to clinics and organizations that provide abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. In all other cases, these clinics and the patients that seek their services are on their own. Most CPCs are run by Christian churches or organizations with the sole goal of steering people away from abortions. They are well known for distributing distorted or completely false information about a number of reproductive health issues, from abortion to condoms to… Read more »

Kansas’s New Concealed Carry Laws Don’t Belong On Our Campuses

Come July 1st, 2017, Kansas will become the first state that allows students to bring guns on campus without a permit. As a community psychologist and a doctoral student at Wichita State University, I have always held a unique perspective on campus carry; not like the negative rhetoric that you read about from the “alt-right perspective,” where gun safety advocates are perceived as “snowflakes.” You can’t imagine the backlash I have received about my nagging for “extra rights”; they would make anyone want to roll their eyes for an infinite amount of time. But the concerns of hundreds of students on Kansas campuses should not be taken lightly. July 1st will be the start of a new college experience — one where some students will be forced to have a… Read more »

Condoms Are Great. Prop 60 Is Not.

One of the measures on California’s massive ballot this election cycle is Proposition 60, an initiative that would mandate the use of condoms by performers in adult films. At first glance, the measure sounds great; condoms are an important harm reduction intervention within and outside of sex work and have been proven to reduce STI and HIV transmission. Prop. 60, however, would allow any California resident to sue producers of films that don’t visibly use condoms, something that a variety of prevalent players within sexual and reproductive healthcare systems don’t support including (and perhaps most especially) adult film actors themselves. The controversial president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Michael Weinstein proposed Prop. 60 as a measure to reduce transmission of STIs by putting into law the Safer Sex in… Read more »

This Intersex Awareness Day, Some Notes on the ‘I’ in LGBTQI

As the acronym that we come to understand as our community expands, so must our awareness of all it means. In recent years, an I has come to dangle from the end of LGBTQI. Most of us know that L is for Lesbian, G for Gay, B for Bisexual, T is for Transgender, and––depending on the weather––Q is for Queer or Questioning. Yet the ‘I’ that dangles at the end may confuse some; what does it stand for, anyway? Innovative? Impressive? Inspirational? While all of these are applicable, in this particular game of alphabet soup, ‘I’ is for Intersex. Intersex is a term used to describe folks who are born with genetic, hormonal, genital, or other sex characteristics that do not align with the stereotypical definitions of male or female… Read more »

#RespectMyHustle: Trans Profiles in the Workplace

Name: Lourdes Ashley Hunter Pronouns: Goddess Queen Sister Career: Academic, Orator, Creator, Producer, Consultant. Executive Director,  Trans Women of Color Collective; B.A. Social Theory, Structure and Change with concentrations in Race, Class and Gender Studies, Executive Masters of Public Administration. What journey did you take to obtaining the job position you have currently? I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan.  My mom worked at Chrysler for about 20 years, and was active in the United Auto Workers Union and the the Black Church.  I grew up in a household that honored ancestors, culture, liberation work, community service, healing and restorative justice.   I can remember going to Union rallies, meetings, marches and protests with my mom as a very small child.  I have actively engaged in grassroots community organizing all of my life.  For about 10… Read more »

#RespectMyHustle: Trans Profiles in the Workplace

Across America we see LGBTQ folks tackling discrimination and expanding diversity in the workplace. Often times, that diversity only represents gays and lesbians, leaving out the trans community. It’s time to shine light on the varied careers of trans women and men who have made a way for themselves and their young counterparts. Public figures like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Tiq Milan are an inspiration to trans folks, who have rarely seen themselves in the media. But we can’t be satisfied with spotlighting only a few successful people from the trans community. There are so many more brilliant trans professionals in everyday career fields who should be visible to trans youth, as well. Trans folks are actively showing resilience and success in business, and young people deserve to see… Read more »

Tackling LGBTQ Homelessness in America

Imagine that being who you are, is the reason you are homeless. Living your truth out loud is your crime and the consequence leaves you abandoned from family and shelter. Well, that sad reality is exactly the case for 40 percent of LGBTQ youth in America. Too often, when LGBTQ youth disclose and announce their sexuality or gender identity to their family members, the next step is being kicked out and becoming homeless. Although the majority of LGBTQ homelessness is tied to family reactions and issues, not all LGBTQ youth become homeless that way; over 20 percent comes from aging out of foster care programs. Not only is this an issue of family abandonment or negligent foster care systems, but LGBTQ homelessness is an attack on human rights and justice…. Read more »

Out on the Steps: Lessons Learned While #WaitingForLyle

The Supreme Court has always been my favorite branch of government. They get to wear cool robes. They’re all really smart. Their work has always seemed quasi-secretive yet life-changingly important. When I was told that part of my URGE intern duties would include waiting for the Whole Women’s Health decision on the steps of SCOTUS, I was thrilled. I was less thrilled when I spent two days on the steps #waitingforlyle in typical Washington, DC summer weather. There were more people there than I’d thought there would be, the majority of whom were anti-choice protestors, and the part of me that hates confrontation demanded to know why I had placed myself in this situation. I stood for a few hours, feeling less anxious as the crowd grew larger. I don’t… Read more »