ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: personal story

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 »

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 »

Dear People on 88th and Broadway

On Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 I worked with Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., a non-profit organization working on behalf of other non-profit organizations like Doctors without Borders and Lambda Legal. On this particular day, I canvassed and fundraised on behalf of Planned Parenthood in New York City.  I stood in the middle of a semi- busy sidewalk on 88th and Broadway donning an oversized tee-shirt. My goal was to enlist monthly and one-time contributors to Planned Parenthood. Due to the pleasant and not so pleasant interactions I had with people on the street, I have decided to write an open letter to the people I encountered.   Dear People on 88th and Broadway, I get it. It feels like it is 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit today. You have places to go, people to… Read more »

Celebrating Resistance and Diversity

I kicked off my pride celebration early in Washington, DC during Memorial Day Weekend. It was DC’s annual Black Pride weekend and I had a great time being in the company of so many other people who identified as black, queer, and female. But even in the relative isolation of those parties and events, our existence was not homogeneous. With the Defense of Marriage Act defeated last year, and states across the country challenging their same-sex marriage bans in a domino effect it’s safe to say that there is definitely a culture shift happening in the United States when it comes to same-sex couples. But many of us know that marriage is not the sole issue facing our community. While movements are carrying on across the country for racial justice,… Read more »

My Journey To Reproductive Rights, Freedom and Justice

I am a bit of a unicorn. Let me explain what I mean by that. I am a 22-year-old multi-racial, Army National Guard veteran, college student, social justice policy nerd and advocate who is a moderate Democrat from a working class background in a fairly red state in the south: North Carolina. A state becoming more and more infamous by the minute for a legislator continuing to try to roll back the clock and time on reproductive rights and freedoms. I am also queer, someone who identifies as Tranmasculine and whose gender can best be summed up with the term “boi” (although I don’t think there is one word that can truly sum up my gender). Additionally I am Catholic, and my faith is something that is important to me… Read more »

Masculinity and Queerness

The thing about “ideal masculinity” is that we will always fall short. I didn’t even stand a chance growing up, playing with my sisters’ Barbie dolls and gossiping with the girls during recess. I was also sexually attracted to other men, and although I wouldn’t claim the word gay until the age of 18, I knew that my attraction didn’t fit what a man should be. This tension between my masculinity and sexuality became the centerfold of a very arbitrary process concerning what I could and couldn’t do. I could think about men, I reasoned, as long as I didn’t date one or admit it out loud. Just as I could watch Disney movies, but not wear the color pink. Internalizing this impossible standard of masculinity, I didn’t have the… 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 »

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 »

Recovering Catholic: Reconciling Faith with Reproductive Justice

This past weekend I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend the fourth annual Take Root, a reproductive justice conference focused on red states. It was a whirlwind time in Norman, Oklahoma, meeting fellow Midwest and Southern folks who understand the particular difficulties in organizing for RJ in a red state. I especially loved how Take Root –walking the walk and not just talking the talk of reproductive justice (as unfortunately often happens) — put women of color, lower-income folks, and queer people at the forefront of the conversations. But beyond all the feminist warm and fuzzies that make my heart go all-aflutter, I was particularly struck by one panel “Reproductive Justice Off the Coasts” which featured a bevy of badass activists. And, I was most especially struck… Read more »