ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: young people

Still Here, Still Queer

The past week has brought us great news for marriage equality in the form of the Supreme Court rejecting appeals against marriage equality from five states, a decision that in turn affects anti-marriage equality laws in six other ones. While marriage equality remains on unstable ground in Idaho and Nevada, the LGBTQ community continues to see decades of struggle for the right to marry come into fruition. In the meantime, queer young adults on campus still struggle. While marriage equality undeniably helps couples and their families, for other members of the LGBTQ community it’s often irrelevant. What’s more, the disproportional attention that marriage equality receives as an LGBTQ issue over other concerns the community has underscores much of the frustration its younger members have about their place and value in… Read more »

The Kids Will Be All Right

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approved for the first time the use of long-acting contraceptive methods (LARCs) as the first recommended choice for teens. These devices, the intrauterine device (IUD) and the implant, offer the best of protection against unwanted pregnancies for at least three and up to twelve years (ten FDA-approved). This is especially good news considering that Skyla, the newest IUD on the market, was designed explicitly for young people and/or those who haven’t given birth.  Two of the biggest reasons why it’s been difficult for those groups to find a gynecologist who would be willing to prescribe them IUDs were the slight risk of expulsion from the uterus before pregnancy has occurred, it was something that doctors used to discourage or outright deny… Read more »

Should athletes be role models?

Throughout the years, we’ve had a lot of conversations centered around whether professional athletes should be considered role models. From Charles Barkley famously saying, “I am not a role model” to many examples of athletes being involved in criminal activity, there is a clear argument for moving to separate athletes from the idea of being a role model. But, many argue that the discussion is much more complicated than that. Athletes, they say, are going to be viewed as role models whether or not they choose to act like one, simply by virtue of their celebrity status. There are plenty of examples for why professional athletes make terrible role models. Criminal behavior ranges from DUI’s and speeding tickets to murder, rape, and domestic violence. Integrity is questioned when players test… Read more »

What Fighting Sexual Assault Looks Like on My Campus

It’s no surprise to anyone even halfway paying attention to the news as of late that campus sexual assault is a buzzy topic right now. From the release of 55 universities under investigation by the federal government, to the viral picture of an alumni refusing to donate until their alma mater addresses sexual assault, to college students posting a rapist list of students who were found guilty yet never charged—sexual assault on campuses is causing a huge national discussion. Much of this media attention is credited to the White House itself assembling a task force on sexual assault. In April, the White House released a report on how campuses can combat sexual assault. These guidelines, and the task force recommendations (as well as the reason the White House even assembled… Read more »

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.

Four Things I Learned as a Campus Organizer

In less than two weeks, I will be graduating from college. I will listen to a lot of that Vitamin C song, toss my cap up in the air and cry over my student loans. In all seriousness, I have learned so much in the last four years; I can’t imagine who I would be today without being a campus organizer. From me to you, here are the top four things I learned from my experiences and my peers. 1)      It’s about being ORGANIZED! Having a plan is so essential to making change on campus. If you aren’t strategically planning for social change on your campus, then there are some obvious loopholes that will make the process unnecessarily longer. This isn’t just the big details either; this also includes the… Read more »

Creating an Unbiased Campus Health Environment

One in four college students has a sexually transmitted infection according to the Stanford University’s Sexual Health Peer Resource Center. While number is way too high, I refuse to be a statistic. Campus health centers should be furiously educating students about prevention and treatment of STI’s and creating campaigns for free condoms and wellness checks. I know that is not the case. My friend at a university in an urban area went to her campus health center after she had vaginal discomfort, a rash, and a fever. The nurse practitioner heard her symptoms and, without even doing a physical examination or asking about her sexual history, handed out antibiotics for an ingrown hair. She proceeded to get sicker and had to lie around in bed for days. After the insistence… Read more »