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Tobacco and Queer People

by Blake Montgomery, ’14

Gay MarlboroAIDS kills 17,000 queer people in America per year. Tobacco-related diseases kill 30,000. I’d call both epidemics.

In 2009, the American Cancer Society found that 59% of queer youth smoke, as compared with 35% of heterosexual youth. Gurl, what?

As young people, we are at the forefront of anti-tobacco efforts. The peak ages of smoking, as measured by the CDC, is 23 to 25. Our choices matter more than any others to the tobacco industry because most of us are first-time smokers, “learners” as we are referred to in industry documents. We’re also known as “replacers” in industry-speak because we take the place of older smokers who are dying of lung diseases.

Tobacco marketers have cast the hazards of cigarettes as old news for our demographic. They’re not. They’re the biggest cause of preventable death in queer populations and in America at large. Why are we at such high risk?

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Flickers: A Poetic Cycle

by Daniel Dominguez, ’16

Pro Patria

Image 1

I
(City/Begin)

Streetlight metronome.
Cars come in rhythm.
Red lights, blue lights
white lights, bright lights:
blind sights.
Copper,
silver,
platinum.
Rust.

Moonlight metronome.
Stars in their patterns.
Phoenix fire.

Lust.

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Why It’s OK to be Emotional

by Heather Charles, B.A. ’10 + M.A. ’12

I’ve been following the Stubenville Rape Case very closely. You see I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor, so this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. In addition, I had a close friend who was brutally raped in high school, and my little sister was raped while I was in my junior year of Stanford. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, obviously, but that doesn’t really matter here. I just follow these cases because it’s one of my personal causes as an activist. All of the causes I take up are deeply personal, and this is because they are the ones that I both have the authority to speak on and the drive to fight. Besides this, the most important mentor of my life, Professor Tom Mullaney (Seriously take his class) told me that we should chase the questions that haunt us most. So rape, sexual assault, and the rights of women are all near and dear to my heart (among other issues).

Like all Stanford students, I have the ability to talk reasonably and with authority about many things. But there are things that I get emotional about, and if you’ve ever encountered me and said something that I find to be ignorant you’ve likely faced a wrath you weren’t used to and didn’t expect. Where I come from, people were never surprised when I was angry, they were grateful that an articulate person had so much passion and was willing to speak for others.  People are completely ok with expressing anger, so I had to learn that this was shocking when I got to Stanford (also, I am a white girl and I think that plays a big role in how people expect me to talk). I get emotional about this issue. I don’t get irrational, my arguments, even in anger, stem from a highly logical, well-educated place because I am both highly logical and well-educated. I do however get angry and aggressive when I am making my point, I won’t sit by idly when something stupid is said, and now that I am older I don’t care what response I get.

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Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 4: A Discussion with Jason Cieply about Russian Perceptions of the West and Sexual Politics

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the fourth and final part in a series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.” The first part is entitled “Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide,” the second “Boycotting Boycotts of Russia” and the third “Challenging the Liberal Fascination with Gay, International Violence.”

The morning of August 8th, the day Part 1 of this series was uploaded onto STATIC, I Skype chatted with Stanford Instructor of Slavic Languages and Literature Jason Cieply and discussed, among many other things, Russian perceptions of the West, American and Western imperialism, homosexuality, sexual politics and the growing limitation of personal freedoms in Russia.

Pretty quickly, it stopped feeling like an interview and more of a discussion among colleagues. Instructor Cieply has a wide knowledge of Russian geopolitics, and he helped shed light on a number of issues I had been curious to know more about. Hopefully, this discussion will help provide more context to the last three pieces I’ve written, especially in how Russians view America and American interventions.

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Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 3: Challenging the Liberal Fascination with Gay, International Violence

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the third part of a four part in a series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.” The first part is entitled “Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide,” and the second part is entitled “Boycotting Boycotts of Russia.”

The call to boycott the Sochi Games is not the first time there has been a call to boycott the Olympics due to civil rights or social justice abuses. The US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in the SSSR, while the SSSR boycotted the 1984 Olympics in the US, largely due to animosity and suspicion of each other.

Before that, though, there was talk amongst black academics and black athletes in America to boycott participating on the US Olympic team in the 1968 Mexico City Games to protest social conditions of blacks at home. While the boycott was never realized, black and allied athletes found other ways to protest, the most famous being the Black Power Salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both African American, after coming in 1st and 3rd, respectively, in the 200 meter sprint.

And over the past few years, there have been calls in parts of Brazil, namely among the favela residents and the younger generation to not attend the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio, where  nearly 170,000 people have been forcibly relocated out of the favelas, among other unjust actions. (Note: the word ‘boycott’ generally isn’t used; rather, there are calls to not attend or watch either event on television.)

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Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 2: Boycotting Boycotts of Russia

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the second part of a four part series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.” The first part is entitled “Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide.

“You stupid idiots kill people all over the world, Iraq, libya, afganistan, syria etc. You interfere internal politics of many countries. And now you stupid idiots try to teach us how to live? Go fuck yourself and your president and leave us to decide OURSELVES on how to live and rule OUR country. Just understand that you opinion mean nothing here.”

The following is an exact quote from a Buzzfeed post mentioned earlier in Part 1, which reveals an important hypocrisy to understand about modern American and historical Western politics.

America and the West currently and historically tend to view themselves as the world’s watchdog, the big brother, if you will, the more socially advanced sibling who can help their more primitive brothers and sisters advance. In earlier centuries, this phenomenon was mainly exacted through Christian conversion.

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Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression Part 1: Russian Sexual Politics and the East/West Divide

by Erika Lynn Abigail Kreeger, ’16

This is the first of a four part series entitled “Gay Imperialism and Olympic Oppression.

This is a long post. If you are short on time, read the introduction to the series, and the last two paragraphs (italicized) of the following section entitled “A History of Russian Homosocial and Sexual  Regulations.”

8-8 Gay ImperialismLast December, I wrote a two part series about the oppressive nature of the Olympics and World Cup, how they both have been used as excuses for social cleanups that ultimately displace race and class underprivileged peoples and waste millions, if not billions, of state dollars that could otherwise be spent on social programs aimed at public health and education, among other things. Now, another injustice is becoming known across the US and the world, the horrific oppression of LGBT peoples across Russia, that might also have the potential to influence the upcoming 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

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Trayvon’s Eulogy

By Eli Arbor, ’15
mlk-hoodie

This song didn’t come out of a place of musical clarity, of elation, of any sort of epiphany. It came from a single moment, a single shot in the dark on a rainy night, a single juror reading findings, and a single judge acquitting a man of a crime he committed. It came from an someone who was caught about to start a riot, from someone who doesn’t have the means to express his anger and frustrations in any other way. It comes from two men about the same age as Trayvon, who’s lives were deemed meaningless under the law, who could have been Trayvon Martin themselves.

In short, I didn’t write this song because I wanted to. I wrote it because I had to. And I wrote it because no one else would.
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Unblurring the Lines

by April Gregory, ’13

A recent onslaught of tits-in-your-face (TIYF) music videos has catalyzed much hullabaloo in the blogosphere. If you haven’t seen Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Justin Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision,” or The-Dream’s “Pussy” (yes, just “Pussy”), you may wish to view them now. On Vevo or Vimeo, though, because they were pulled from YouTube. And not in a place where your supervisor might drop in to give you some Chobani coupons, because they are very, very TIYF.

To start, I should make one thing exceedingly clear: for years I was a more or less passive acceptor of the contradictions inherent in my favorite music genres. I love hip hop and R&B. LOVE. I love booming bass and releasing my inner Bey on the d-floor whenever possible. Consequently, I had — and still have — a tendency to ignore the often unsavory lyrics that float atop said booming bass. “She eyein’ me like her n***a don’t exist / Girl, I know you want this dick,” to name a recent favorite.

At Stanford I had the opportunity to learn from and connect with some of the world’s foremost hip hop scholars, who dropped more knowledge on me than I knew what to do with. They encouraged me to engage more critically with the voices in my earbuds, which in turn inspired some original musings about hip hop and feminism. The more I thought about the dissonance between my personal ideologies and the hot misogynist mess that is mainstream hip hop and R&B, the less passive I became.

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