ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: regional identity

Why don’t you just leave?

I was born in Kansas. I have always lived in Kansas. All of my family and friends also live in Kansas. I love living here. I don’t plan on leaving my home any time soon. However, there is just one problem: Kansas doesn’t always love me back. You see, in Kansas, people that think like me have very little political power. As advocates for reproductive justice, our concerns and campaigns often come up short. We live in an extremely anti-choice political culture. Kansas has some of the strictest abortion-related laws in the country. It can be a very challenging and frustrating environment to do this work. The solution we are always offered to remedy this situation is to leave. Many people might ask us why we don’t leave if we… Read more »

Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Memoir by Charles M. Blow

The past two weeks  have been rough to say the least. It was one of these weeks when your world is turned upside down by unsettling news. I had to readjust my life and face new “normals.” I sought help from close friends and family. I deem the past two weeks and exercise in mental health. I often find that we speak of a physical health often unconnected from mental health. While going through my struggles in the last few weeks,  I came across an op-ed article entitled “Up from Pain” from one my favorite columnists, Charles M. Blow. Charles M. Blow is an opinion columnist for the New York Times. His article “Up from Pain” in the The New York Times reads like an excerpt from his recently released… 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 »

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.

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 »

Making Communities Healthier

Cross-posted with permission from Provide.  “Places get healthier when the people who live in them make informed choices about what they put in their bodies, and when the communities themselves are committed to better health. Those steps improve the workforce and change how families use their resources.” Dee Davis,Speak Your Piece: Living in a fixer upper I was struck by this quote from Dee Davis, president and founder of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, KY because it reminded me of what we believe at Provide and why we are working in rural communities to increase access to abortion. Abortion access may only be one of the health-related issues a rural woman might face in her lifetime, but it is the one she may be most reluctant to discuss with a social service… Read more »

The South And Marriage Equality, Part I: Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Days after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court hearings for Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, Sue Everhart, a chief figure in Georgia’s Republican Party, voiced disdain over the proceedings. “Lord, I’m going to get in trouble over this, but it is not natural for two women or two men to be married,” Everhart told The Marietta Daily Journal. “If it was natural, they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship.” Juxtaposed with the masses of celebratory, often high-profile, marriage equality ralliers on the marble steps of America’s highest court, Everhart’s sentiments are a sobering reminder that the posterchildren of the anti-gay opposition are changing. The National Organization for Marriage–the leading anti-marriage equality organization in the States–has suffered critical drops in funding in the past year. The… Read more »

Where’re We’re At, Where’re We’re Going: Reproductive Rights in Georgia

With anti-abortion laws forcing clinics to shut down in Tennessee and Mississippi this summer, I felt compelled to examine the forces at work in other Southern states, including my home state of Georgia. Were there even any good things to be said about the state of reproductive rights south of the Mason-Dixon? I peeked at the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) 2011’s survey through gaped fingers. Entitled Who Decides? The Status of Reproductive Rights in the United States, the report is a great tool to examine the accessibility of reproductive health services in your own state. Each one receives a letter grade based upon its reproductive healthcare accessibility. Despite my worst fears, the Peach State received a ‘D’ from NARAL. I felt relieved; almost as if it were Finals… Read more »

Who I am, and How and Why I Write

I have embarked on a journey unlike any I’ve been faced with before. A journey begins with a single step… right? Well, here I go. Hello and Good Vibes. My name is Lauren M. Hannigan. I was born under the sun sign Aries and my yin sign is Leo (if you’re unfamiliar with astrology, this means my personality is fire-y, very proud, and I love to be the center of attention). I study Literature and Women’s Studies (I like to call it Chick Lit) at California State University, Long Beach. Louisville, home to the Kentucky Derby and Hunter S. Thompson, was where I was born and raised. I attended Assumption High School — a girl’s school like no other. I always dreamed about being able to escape and go to… Read more »