ChoiceWords Blog

Tristan

Age: 21
School: Oberlin College
Major: Comparative Literature
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite writer: Harper Lee, Gloria Anzaldúa, Arundhati Roy, and Justin Torres are all up there, but I can't pick. They are all great for different reasons. Carson McCullers. Zora Neale Hurston.
Favorite sex scene from a movie/TV/book: Car scene and ending kiss scene in Y Tu Mamá Tambien!
Hidden talent: I am a guitarist. I only play for my grandmas and my lovers.

Posts By: Tristan

Queer & Feminist Musicians That You Should Be Listening To

We need more female-identifying musicians, and as activists we need to seek them out and listen to them! In high school, I played music quiet a lot and was in a few bands. This is probably because I went to a performing arts high school, but I did notice a disparity in female artists being the only girl in the guitar department. The music scene continued to be male dominated in college, but recently I posted a status on my Facebook to request anyone who was not a white straight man to reach out to me if they were interested in starting a band. The status got a lot of attention compared to most of my posts (almost 40 likes!), but unfortunately I only received three serious inquiries to play…. Read more »

Sending Love to our Abortion Providers

This week we commemorate the ruling of Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal in our country. In doing so, the doctors who provide abortion services need to be appreciated for their tremendously important work to keep equal healthcare rights alive in the United States. Since Roe was enacted, there have been many attempts to undermine accessibility to abortion and overturn the ruling to keep it legal. Over the past forty-two years, there have been many federal attacks to dismantle equal rights for women. From the Hyde Amendment to Planned Parenthood v. Casey to the rise of state restrictions on reproductive health providers, the doctors who choose to continue to provide abortion services are extremely valuable to anyone who supports equal rights. With all of this documented federal pushback it… Read more »

Defeating Ohio’s “Heartbeat” Bill

HB 248, also known as the “Heartbeat” bill, which threatened to ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat (as early as six weeks) was thankfully defeated in the House of Representatives last week! The bill had the potential to make Ohio the most restrictive state in the nation for pregnancy termination. HB 248 was introduced in 2013, and is the second Heartbeat bill to pass through Ohio. The majority approval the Heartbeat bill in Ohio’s state Committee on Health and Aging shows the dangerous threats towards comprehensive reproductive care in Ohio at this time. This bill got defeated for many reasons, most importantly because it was unconstitutional. By regulating that the detection of a fetal heartbeat would end the right to an abortion, HB 248 violated the constitutional right of… Read more »

Police Violence Against Women, Girls, Queer People of Color

During this outpouring of demonstration and activism against the racist American system that does not indict killer cops, and media release of accounts of police brutality, let’s not forget that black girls and women are also murdered by the police. In the recent weeks we have seen many stories that highlight injustices of police brutality, and many of these have prominently featured the killing of black men. It is important to think about how the deaths of unarmed, innocent people at the hands of the police are not isolated incidents. Black men are uniquely impacted by this violence, but the brutality is also not just against men. Children, women, and queer folk of color are also facing death and abuse by the system. Perhaps, it is simpler for the media to… Read more »

RJ Tech Talk: Male Contraceptive Pill

Hooray! Male birth control will be available by 2017. What is male birth control? The Parsemus Foundation, a company that works on making healthcare affordable, is working on developing Valgasel: a pill made for men that will prevent contraception from happening. Luckily for you, guys, this is not a hormonal method! It targets a physical mechanism that targets the sperms little tiny tails and stops them from swimming. Also, the process if reversible and sperm will completely viable once again. As with any form of contraceptive pill, a barrier method will also be required to prevent transferring STIs between partners. What happens inside of bodies that take Valgasel? When sperm are created and stored in the testis (aka balls), and when they make there way from their storage center to exit… Read more »

RJ Tech Talk: Artificial Wombs

What are artificial wombs? Artificial wombs are devices that are able to allow embryos to grow outside of a person’s body. They do not exist yet, but many predict they will be a reality within the next two decades. As a form of ectogenesis, they allow for the growth of an organism externally from a bodily womb in an artificial environment.  The artificial uterus will be able to provide oxygen, nutrients, and dispose of wastes to ensure fetal growth. This highly controlled and self-sustaining environment would be able to safeguard the baby from disease and external pollutants (eg. alcohol, drugs or other environmental pollutants). The possibilities and applications of these things are endless! Benefits: Artificial wombs have the potential to assist couples that don’t have the capabilities of producing children,… Read more »

RJ Tech Talk: Egg Freezing

As new technology is being developed for reproductive health, many questions come up as to how each product can fit into the framework justice. Technology’s impact on gender, sexuality, and reproductive choices has vastly expanded over the past fifty years. I’ve chosen to explain oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, one tech product I’ve been seeing in the media a lot and provide links to other sources that talk about its use within reproductive justice, controversial or not. Oocyte cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing, is a procedure where a woman’s oocytes (eggs) are extracted, frozen, and the preserved. The eggs can be thawed later on when the person wants to become pregnant, transferred after fertilization to the uterus as embryos. Recently, egg freezing has been in the news because Facebook… Read more »

Reading Black Feminism

Historically, the feminist movement has been centralized around white women. From the perspective of a privileged white person, I have been fed a very mainstream version of feminism. I have a lot of anxiety about talking about and publishing words about people of color as a white person, but I feel like it is important for other white feminists to self-educate on this topic because it is so important to try to understand that the intersections of oppression can alter peoples experiences of it. I tried to compile a reading list that includes an overview of black feminist texts from courses I’ve taken at Oberlin, as well as including recommendations from friends who identify as black feminists: Ain’t I A Woman? Black Women & Feminism – bell hooks Arrested Justice: Black… Read more »

Treat Yo’ Self: Activist Self-Care

Working to create heal communities and comfortable spaces for everyone can be draining and we need to make sure we are making time for ourselves so that we don’t burn out. You’re doing amazing work, just don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. This past weekend my friends hosted a feminist brunch where we were able to talk about all of the stresses of activism and living in patriarchal society. We talked about everything from how Emma Watson’s feminism speech for the UN didn’t quite do us justice, how all the white boy organizers love Chris Crass and why some of us are not on board with his allyship, and about how we can keep spaces feminist within organizing while still being inclusive. As activists who are constantly devoting ourselves to… Read more »

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Philanthropy

This summer my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a tiring three month battle, she has luckily made it into remission. Her birthday is next Friday, which coincidentally falls during my fall break. For her birthday party, my mom has encouraged her friends to donate to our local branch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation instead of buying her a gift. My mom thoroughly researched her decision beforehand. She informed me that the organization has been doing some great work providing breast cancer prevention services for low income people and people without healthcare. However,  I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about her choice of organization. In case you didn’t remember, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This year the internet and the world in real life is looking much… Read more »