Em-URGE-ing Voices


Age: 19

School: University of Texas at Austin

Major: International Relations and Global Studies

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Favorite writer: Various bloggers on Tumblr

Favorite sex scene from a movie/TV/book: Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis scene from Black Swan

Hidden talent: I have never lost in a game of Taboo

Posts By: Nick

Bureaucracy Busting: LGBTQ Efforts at UT-Austin

Earlier this week, the Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights extended the Title IX clause to protect transgender students from discrimination in schools. The OCR explained, “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity…” This is a monumental step for trans* folks as transgender students face sweeping forms of discrimination, bullying, and violence in the classroom. Though this is a huge step for the LGBTQ movement, when it comes grassroots approaches, how effective is youth advocacy and organizing? At Texas universities, it has become clear that top-down approaches will be the only way to create effective change.

Sexual Violence: Men Breaking the Silence

Jackson Katz in his TED talk about violence against women explains that the problem of discussing sexual violence is that it’s often framed as a “women’s issue that some good men help out with.” Granted, everyone is probably a little hesitant to have a man talk about sexual violence fearing that men often derail the discussion to focus on themselves. Well, I think discussing men’s role in sexual violence is a crucial conversation that needs to be had. More often than not, dominant groups with privilege fail to examine their power and privilege. Though a harsh reality, white adult males often have their voices heard over women talking about the same issue. Using their positions of power to create an open dialogue is important when men are the main perpetrators… Read more »

Lost in Translation: API Sex and Sexuality

The United States suffers from an unfortunate epidemic known as abstinence only programs. These sex after marriage talks are a common procedure in awkward health and sex-education classrooms around the country. For LGBT folks, abstinence only programs do us no good because, you know, we can’t really get married, and if we have to wait until after married, we’re going to be on a dry-spell for quite a while. Some advocates of abstinence only programs believe it is the right of the parents to have that conversation with their children, but for the API community, that is never a conversation we ever have. The API community is very private and though I’ve never been a parent myself, I honestly believe our parents don’t want to encourage the ideas of “promiscuity.”… Read more »

NQAPIA: The Foreign Concept of Home

The biggest parts of my identity consist of being API, queer, and a sweet southern gentleman. Never in my life did I think these three communities could possibly come together. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA Southern Summit launched its first of five regional leadership conferences this weekend! Being from red states and located in the Bible belt, it was important to hear about the political momentum necessary to overcome being such a small community. For the first and only time in my life, I felt at home. Everyone says y’all and complains about the weather just the same and southern hospitality has never been more comforting than warm fried rice and catered Indian cuisine.

Shanesha Taylor: The Case of Punishing the Poor

With the reproductive justice movement, the discussion often gets bogged down in life or death rhetoric. Pro-choice advocates also assume the fight is over as long as Roe V. Wade is in place. We have abortion clinics, Obamacare allows for insurance to cover contraceptives, and women have the right to vote. However, there’s a huge difference between what the laws allow and the access that is given. Abortion restriction laws have sweeping effects for low-income, women of color who struggle to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. The case of Shanesha Taylor is more important than ever. News broke out earlier this week of Shanesha Taylor, a mother of two being arrested for child abuse charges. Her two children have been taken into the custody… Read more »

Sex-Selection Abortion Bans: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In 2012, Congress failed to pass the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex, and race based abortions. Shrouded in faux feminism and blatant Asian Pacific Island (API) discrimination, officially 8 states now allow for these laws. Doctors are now investigators and patients are now suspects, especially API women. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum calls South Dakota’s recent passage of HD 1162, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Supporters of South Dakota’s bill called opponents hypocritical for not supporting a bill that incites “gender violence.” Let’s be clear here. This is the first time some of these lawmakers have given two shits about women. It clearly reflects in their Congressional demographic. It’s upsetting that politicians want to use feminism and women’s rights to drive a wedge between abortion supporters when they’re normally the same lawmakers denying women… Read more »

4 Reasons Why the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case is a Big Deal

Recently, there has been a huge uproar over Arizona’s discriminatory bill contrasting religious freedoms and LGBT discrimination. Fortunately, Arizona’s governor vetoed the bill. However, not many of those who opposes the Arizona bill are talking about the Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby, a for-profit arts and crafts store. The company is facing legal matters in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby where the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) is used as a standard the company to deny its employees health care coverage for contraceptives. We heard the same debate used during the Obamacare debate, but using the First Amendment’s religious freedom argument to drive a wedge is taking it to another level. Here are 4 reasons why this case should be a no brainer: 1). Insurance, not medical care

An Open Letter to Judge Orlando Garcia

Thank you. I don’t even think a thank you can express a fraction of how I’m feeling. It’s a kind of I want to run up to you and give you a long embracing hug as I cry in your shoulder kind of thank you. I’ve been a Texas southern boy my entire life. No, a gay Texas boy and I never thought in my young life that I would live to see today. As I see other states pass sweeping legislation granting a right to love, I never thought Texas would be nearing equality. I remember last summer when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. I was in my accounting lecture and was browsing through my Facebook feed on one of our breaks. Status upon status of the news… Read more »

TRAPped in Texas

It was just last summer when we experienced Wendy Davis’ monumental filibuster against an anti-choice bill in the Texas Senate. Though the stand for abortion rights made national headlines, HB2 was later passed in a special session. The law has been in effect for several months and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is beginning to crack down on abortion providers. This past week in Houston, Theodore Herring’s license was revoked and the Affordable Women’s Health Medical Center was shut down for not following the ridiculous TRAP laws in HB2. TRAP laws, also known as targeted regulation of abortion provider laws, limit the ability for abortion providers to do their jobs. In HB2, abortion clinics must have admitting privileges to a hospital 30 miles away. This is apparently to… Read more »

Unwrapped: The Best Valentine’s Day Gift!

Chocolate, stuffed animals, and flowers might be nice, but nothing shows your affection like a big lubricated pack of condoms! In honor of February being National Condom Month, and with it being Valentine’s Day, what better way share the special day than with a pack of condoms. We’re always told to use protection because with no glove, there’s no love. However, not all of us were taught the important lessons of wrapping it up.  Almost a decade ago, 87% of high schools taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy and HIV. Yeah, it makes sense that if you never have sex, you won’t be at risk of anything. Unfortunately, hormones don’t work that way and we eventually all grow up. There are still many states and schools promoting… Read more »