ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: personal story

Building Community: The Power of Uplifting Local Stories

This week, the Rio Grande Valley’s URGE chapter hosted our first Abortion Speakout in collaboration with the 1 in 3 Campaign. The purpose of the Abortion Speakout is to uplift abortion stories in order to remind people that abortion is not just a matter of politics, but something that affects real people. The 1 in 3 Campaign uses storytelling as a way to shift the narrative around abortion and move past the stigma attached to it. This year, we hosted the Speakout in honor of Jane Doe, one of the young immigrants held hostage by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Our chapter in the Rio Grande Valley put together a zine to collect local stories, art, and poetry as part of our Abortion Speakout.   Stories from the 956: Abortion and Reproductive… Read more »

Shaving, Waxing, and Squeezing: The Horrors of Sex Prep

When I was in 10th grade I found myself in a particularly peculiar conversation with my grandmother. I was on my way upstairs to take a shower and I had my essentials in hand. Of those essentials one in particular stood out to her – a razor. She stared at me and said, “I’ve never shaved down there in my life and I don’t see why you need to.” Pause. Was my grandmother starting a conversation with me about her pubic hair when all I wanted to do was take a shower? Yes, yes she was. Being the angst-ridden teenager I was and still regret to this day, I scowled at her and retorted with some angry response about having hairy armpits and not caring at all about her pubic… Read more »

My Experience Calling Crisis Pregnancy Hotlines

Have you ever gone on a road trip that involved northern Florida and southern Georgia? If you haven’t, don’t worry—you’re not missing much. The only interesting thing to look at is the abundance of billboards. They either advertise massage parlors catering to truckers, Jesus and when he’s coming back, or phone numbers to call if you’re pregnant and scared and considering that dreaded word: abortion. Even if you haven’t been on this particular (excruciatingly long) stretch of road, I’m sure you’ve seen similar signs, whether just posted alongside the road or on full-size billboards. The message is usually the same: Pregnant? Scared? Call this number! Sometimes the image depicts somebody with their head in their hands. Sometimes it’s an infant. I decided to give a few ‘pregnancy crisis hotline’ numbers… Read more »

Open Letter from a “Cherokee Princess”

When I was in elementary school, I met a lot of people who claimed to be Cherokee. Every white person I knew, it seemed, had a Cherokee great-grandmother or distant ancestor they heard of who was in a tribe. It was odd, then, that when I first started Indian Education classes it was with only a handful of other students. We had some white kids, others black, but very few people who “looked Indian.” Half of the “full-blooded” natives that ran the program had straight hair and blue eyes- a testament to the interracial history of that particular nation. And though we had a Mohawk student and a Creek girl, our class seemed to focus heavily on Cherokee Immersion, since they had the most infrastructure in that region to do… Read more »

Being A Black Woman in the Reproductive Justice Movement

I recently asked one of my black female friends about her activism. “Why don’t you feel connected to reproductive justice and reproductive health work?” Her response was, “Access to abortion is important, but we are getting killed for simply existing. I want to focus on that.” I understood where she was coming from, because I definitely felt that exasperation too. Like many of us, I was not always familiar with the concept of reproductive justice or even feminism. These were terms I had loosely heard about before, and I vaguely remember in high school reading a Seventeen magazine article about it, but that was the gist of my exposure to it at that time. I grew up in the South—southern hospitality, really amazing sweet tea, and mouth-watering soul food are… Read more »

Child Free by Choice

Our society is based in many ways on children and families. Our culture devotes massive amounts of time and resources to the raising of children. Certainly this is good, as children are the future of our society, and that investment is worthwhile. But one side effect of this culture is the automatic expectation that people have children. I understand that as a man, I certainly don’t face the same type or intensity of pressures as my wife or any woman in our society does. And some of that comes from people believing that a woman’s job is to have children. So part of being seen as an adult woman in our society is having children. So as a man I don’t face the same level of stigma for not having… Read more »

Feminist Hacktivism on Wikipedia

Last Saturday morning, many Oberlin students gathered at a local art venue with their laptops, chargers, and desires to tell the world about more women artists through Wikipedia. Students of all types of gender expression woke-up early on Saturday morning to drink coffee and eat breakfast together while communally editing Wikipedia’s art pages. Oberlin’s edit-a-thon was part of an international event hosted by Art + Feminism to revamp Wikipedia’s pages to close the huge gender gap that is visible in it’s content. This was the second annual Art+Feminism edit-a-thon. The gender trouble with Wikipedia’s coverage has been well-documented. Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Saturday’s event noted that, “In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of contributors on Wikipedia identified as female.” It is difficult to… Read more »

The Importance of Being an Ally (even if you already think you are)

Self-identifying as queer sometimes makes me feel like I immediately have the title of ally as well. The definition of an ally is a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose. So of course I’d be an ally to the LGBTQ community, why wouldn’t I want to help further the cause of equality within a group that I identify within? So when my university  was offering an ally training specifically geared to learning more about the LGBTQ community I was reluctant to attend, I figured I already knew everything I needed to. Even so however, I registered and attended the 3 hour seminar. Although they did focus a lot on vocabulary and the history of the gay movement and how to… Read more »

Why I Married Young

Hello, my name is Paul. I’m a 22 year old college senior, and I’ve been married for 3 and a half years now. Yes, I married my high school sweetheart. We’ve been together since we were a sophomore and a junior, respectively, and we were engaged before I even graduated. After my first year in college (her second), we were married, and we’ve been together ever since. Quick Disclaimer: This post is not an endorsement of young marriage or marriage in general. I only seek to promote respect for everyone’s relationship decisions. Also, this is dealing with my personal story, so there is only discussion of a cisgender, heterosexual experience. This is not everyone’s experience, and that is precisely why I say we should always respect everyone’s relationship choices. In… Read more »