ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: activism

Ways to Stay Involved in Reproductive Justice Activism Now that You’ve Graduated College

If you’re like me, you became involved with reproductive justice activism in college. College was where you first realized that underneath your sarcasm, snark and occasional misanthropic tendencies, you really wanted to be an activist. You channelled all your angst, frustration and passion into reproductive activism. It’s awesome that  you spent four years or five years or two years learning about and engaging with reproductive justice activism. Or maybe you were late to the party and have only been involved during your last semester of college. Now you’re about to graduate and you’re panicking, not because you don’t have a job — well, that too — but you’re panicking because you don’t know how to continue your activism now that college is over. Fret not dear friend, I’m here to… Read more »

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.

Looking Back: (Almost) A Year of Blogging

Last July, I hopped on a plane to attend the Choice USA National Conference, where I met an engaged community of young people working and organizing for reproductive justice all over the country.  These amazing young people organized in their schools and communities for things like increasing access to sex education and resources for trans* individuals, they marched against sexual assault, they organized LGBTQ-positive events on their campus.  They were doing the important work necessary to expand and protect reproductive justice for all people in this country and I got to spend several days with them in the nation’s capital, learning and sharing. Since that conference, I have been continually inspired by the ChoiceUSA community in my year blogging for ChoiceWords.  Through this blog, I got to share my opinions… Read more »

The Story of Gender Inclusive Housing at Ohio State

Starting fall of 2014, students attending Ohio State University’s main campus will have the option of living in gender inclusive housing – a living situation that welcomes all genders. After over a year of research, meetings and emails, gender inclusive housing will be a reality on OSU’s main campus in Columbus. The effort to bring gender inclusive housing (GIH) to Ohio State was spearheaded by student activists Katie Matuska, Chase Ledin and Ben Weekes. There were others (students and a faculty member) involved too whom I did not speak with. M. Gulick (a past graduate student), Chantel Lowe and Matthew Duncan and faculty member Dr. Moddelmog and her research assistant Madison all contributed to making gender inclusive housing a reality.

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 »

Why Providers Want to Hear from Young Activists

Being a second semester college senior, I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a morning person.  My earliest class starts at 9:30am and Tuesday/Thursday mornings are struggle city.  So when I saw that the panel I’d be speaking on started at 7:45in the morning (!!) I was a bit nervous. Would I be ready to have important conversations at that hour?  Would others? Luckily for me (and for those who attended my session) the answer was yes. “Uniting Leaders of Tomorrow’s Reproductive Justice Movement with Providers of Today” was a short panel discussion centering around issues that are important to the reproductive justice as a whole movement from a variety of angles (including activism, organizing, policy, and education) and the MDs in the room were completely engaged.  We presented the panel at the… Read more »

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 »

3 Things You Can Do for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is sexual assault awareness month. If you are a college student, you might be aware of this because April is when campuses host Take Back the Night. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “the month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.” This year’s SAAM campaign is about “healthy sexualities and young people.” Studies have shown that young people are not immune to sexual violence. The 2013 NO MORE Study, which “explored attitudes toward, and experience with, dating abuse/violence and sexual assault among teens aged 15 to 17, and among young adults aged 18 to 22”… Read more »

On Being a Fed Up Kansan and Not Giving Up On Kansas

I want to start off by saying three things. I have lived in Kansas for 19 of my 21 years. There is a deep-seated affection in my heart for the state I call my home. I am bone-weary and ready to run as far as I can. What can I say? Being in the midst of what is quickly becoming a red state that bleeds oppressive legislation, you get worn down. Being a Kansan these days feels like an attack on all fronts. Hell, the rest of the country knows it too, if the current trend of national news outlets pumping out articles lambasting the current state of Kansas politics is any indicator to go by. So, yeah. Sometimes, the silent chant of I can’t wait until I get out… Read more »

Hello Pronoun Stickers Make Introductions A Little Less Awkward

I am a huge fan of “Hello Pronoun Stickers” ever since I saw them featured on the blog “” All I could think of was “finally!” and “I can’t believe these weren’t a thing already.” What are “Hello Pronoun Stickers”?  Creator Al describes them as: “A handy sticker that tells the world your name and pronouns. Comes in five varieties: he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, xe/xem/xyrs, and ze/hir/hirs! Whether being used when meeting new people or as a gentle reminder to old friends, this sticker uses a familiar format to communicate the information quickly and easily.” Amazing. I know.