ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Categorized: Allie

Seeking Justice for Victims while Dealing with an Unjust Prison System

Trigger warning: sexual and domestic violence I will be honest: I hate focusing on perpetrators of sexual assault. I like to focus my energy to make sure that the victim is working towards restoring themselves and that their needs are not ignored. At the same time, we have to think about perpetrators of sexual violence because without them, this issue wouldn’t exist. As a person who works in domestic violence, I often see the brutal effects of sexual violence on victims. I know personally, I struggle with the desire to dehumanize perpetrators of violence. When I hear about horrible violence, I want to send that perpetrator straight to prison.

Five Things I Want to See More At Social Justice Conferences

I adore social justice conferences. I love the spaces, the atmosphere, the fact that I know I have something in common with every person in the elevator. I almost always feel safe to be who I am at conferences. I will acknowledge that attending them and feeling safe at them is often a privilege, no matter how accessible they tend to be. I have been very fortunate that I have attended so many throughout college, but I have noticed that some of them fall short when it comes to really implementing inclusive spaces. These are some of the observations I’ve made about how to make them more inclusive. 1. Child care/child-friendly This is something I rarely see at conferences! Having kids in social justice spaces is so essential to keeping… Read more »

The Politics of Being a Tall Woman

My height is political. It has taken me too long to write that sentence. I am 5’11”, cisgender woman.  The “average” female in the US over 20 years old is 5’4”, while for males it’s 5’9 ½”. Therefore, I am a solid 7 inches taller than your average female. I also have big hands. Like, really big hands. I get comments literally all the time about them. They’re bigger than every boy I dated in high school’s hands. They’re almost as big as my dad’s, and he’s 6’4”.  I don’t know how to hide them. I remember when I was 14, I was a fan of those hoodies with holes in the sleeves, because I wanted to hide my hands so badly. Man hands is a phrase that was all… Read more »

Challenging Ableism: Autism and the Conversation about Vaccines

Recently there has been a debacle in the public health field about the connection between vaccines and autism. The Center for Disease Control will tell you there is no connection, while plenty of Americans and Jenny McCarthy believe that there is a definite link between the two. First off, there is such a range of autism. I will be using the term autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to cover the range of them, including Asperger syndrome, since there is rarely the distinction around this conversation. If you are not familiar with ASD, check out what information the Center for Disease Control has. But I am not here to debate with you about whether vaccines “cause” ASD. But here’s the thing: Why are we so afraid of autism and children with disabilities?

Negotiating The Vagina Monologues with Intersectional Feminism

It’s that time of year – when college campuses and communities host The Vagina Monologues. This is the third year I have been involved with my Choice USA chapter’s production of The Vagina Monologues.  The Vagina Monologues is the play written by Eve Ensler, inspired by interviews with over 200 women about anatomy, sexual violence and intimate partner abuse, sex work, birth, and other issues among women*. Unlike other years, I am feeling more and more conflicted about my chapter’s involvement with the play and V-Day. This scathing and incredibly poignant critique of the play has still stuck with me the last few weeks. Basically, Eve Ensler’s cissexist, white feminist point of view has been inadequate for feminists everywhere. This is something my chapter members and I have discussed extensively… Read more »

Why Ohio Needs to Keep Golden Week

Ah, yes, as an Ohioan, I’ll never forget the first Election season and Golden Week where I could legally vote. What a magical time, literally full of giant buses and go-karts on my campus shipping us off to the polls and college students clutching their voter registration forms on clipboards. We were all fresh-faced from a candidate visit and ready to engage our fellow students about voting. You see, voting in Ohio is really funny. That’s if you find constant 24/7 political advertisements hysterical, or you somehow find it amusing that candidates from both sides of the fence practically live here from all of the visits (with both the Obama and Romney family visiting each 30 times in four months). Ohio is also famous for Golden Week. So what exactly… Read more »

TED Talks and Eliminating Abortion Stigma

Recently the folks who do TED Talks announced that they did not do talks on abortion, claiming that it is more of a “topical issue” similar to a “state tax bill” rather than the issues covered by TED, which include “justice, inequality and human rights.” This falls under this silly guise that abortion is far too political, even amongst other issues that apparently aren’t as “topical,” such as contraception access and feminist theory. This “abortion is too political” attitude reminds me about an incident I had last semester in a class about human sexuality. This particular lecture had over 250 students, and it provided an opportunity for me to announce events on campus. While I had made announcements about the kick-off meeting and Take Back the Night rally from the… Read more »

Why You Need to Know About Telemedicine Abortions

Imagine that you are a college student who has just taken their first unexpected positive pregnancy test. You decide that an abortion is your best choice, but the closest clinic is across your state, 3 hours away. You’re practically eating ramen for two out of three meals a day, and the cost of an abortion, plus possible gas money and a night at a hotel, adds up quickly. What do you do? That’s where a telemedicine abortion would come in. Telemedicine abortion: Sounds like a thing of the future, right? 

How a Pool Party Could Spark a Revolution

This weekend, I had one of those moments that fueled me to continue to break down barriers and stigmas around bodies. This experience happened at the Trans* Pool Party at Creating Change: National Conference for LGBT Equality. Not exactly the place I planned to experience a transforming moment after hours of workshops, caucuses and networking. When I walked into the party, I was amazed. The small pool was crowded full of all types of people. I will never forget the range of bodies – from fat to muscular, with everything exposed, from bruises to moles to scars to tattoos and stretch marks. People who had transitional surgery, women with unshaven legs and adorable queer couples were swimming free of harassment. When I looked around, I realized that it was more… Read more »

Creating Change: Accessibility and Diversity

This weekend I attended Creating Change: The National Conference of LGBT Rights.  Basically, the conference covers a wide intersection of issues impacting the LGBTQ community, including homelessness, HIV/AIDS, marriage equality, immigration, and a whole host of other issues. One of the big themes appeared to be queering reproductive justice. This issue addresses a persistent dismissal of the LBGTQ community’s involvement in abortion rights and birth control access and other reproductive health-related issues based on the idea that LGBTQ-identified folks do not need access to these services. Several of the panels were based on how to address this concern and continue to organize for reproductive justice inclusively for folks of all identities.