Tag Archives: health

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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Facing the Shadows: Mental Health and the API Community

by Sunli Kim, ’15

Mental_HealthDuring May, API (Asian Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, the Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC) will be hosting a month-long issues series on mental health in the API community context, titled Facing the Shadows: Mental Health and the API Community. The workshops are open to all interested students, regardless of ethnic background. Not only will we be covering specific issues within the realm of mental health, but also we hope to raise overall campus awareness of Stanford’s available resources and evaluate the effectiveness of those resources to accommodate minorities’ narratives and cultural differences.

Mental health has been and continues to be an understated, unaddressed issue. We seek not only to raise awareness and critically analyze the root causes of mental health issues, but also to encourage our communities to directly confront these issues by exploring how an individual’s cultural context and larger institutional systems, such as education and law, influence mental health and promote a culture of stigma and silence. Continue reading

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The Sexual Health Peer Resource Center: A “Good First Stop” For Stanford Students

by Lina Schmidt, ’15

Screen Shot 2013-01-06 at 9.06.18 PMThe Sexual Health Peer Resource Center (SHPRC) is located on the second floor of Vaden Health Center. A great resource for students regardless of their sexual activity, the SHPRC offers a wide variety of services for little or no cost. The counselors at the SHPRC want all students to be aware of changes in the center’s budget: recent changes in funding allow students to access many products for reduced prices. Additionally, each student may access $3 credit at the SHPRC!

The Sexual Health Peer Resource Center is important to campus life for its promotion of safe, responsible sex and its inclusive attitude toward sexual identity. While many people are aware that they have access to condoms, students should also know that they may access many other products related to sexual health, including female condoms, personal lubricant, and pregnancy tests. Additionally, counselors at the SHPRC have been trained in both sexual health and peer counseling: they are available to speak with students in person, over the phone, or via livechat on the SHPRC website, which can be done anonymously.

It cannot be stressed enough that a college campus must have a supportive, inclusive dialogue around sexuality. Continue reading

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Freedom, Rational Choice, and Pop

by Lewis Marshall, PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering

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I am a progressive libertarian. I value a meaningful right to self-determination.

Thank you for the question, but no, I would not be more comfortable writing for the Review. I do not think that meaningful self-determination is a product to be bought or sold on the free market. Poverty is not freedom. No one is free who is afraid to walk the streets alone for risk of violence. No one is free who cannot change jobs without losing access to healthcare.

But, I am still a libertarian. If you want to consume copious amounts of drugs in the privacy of your home, it’s fine by me. If you want to spend your life with a partner of whatever gender, or with multiple partners, or alone, I don’t think that’s the government’s business. If you want to end your life on your own terms, rather than live with a chronic, painful illness, I think that’s a decision for you and your loved ones.

The force of government should not compel you unless there is a public interest at stake.

So I looked with interest at Mayor Bloomberg’s regulation of soda sizes in New York City. Continue reading

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Equality is not Justice

by members of Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL)

We are the group of students responsible for the “equality is not justice” flyers last week. Because we are interested in both raising awareness and increasing understanding, we collaborated on a brief summary of each topic listed on the posters.

This article is meant to be shared! However, it is not meant to be the last word on any of the topics below: our foremost goal is to encourage discussion within the Stanford community.

Interested in continuing the conversation? Please consider submitting your ideas to STATIC!

Fear is not governance
Here, we are referring to the illusion that control is gained through fear or fear tactics and, furthermore, that legitimate government rule can be claimed when the majority of the population lives in a state of fear. Moreover, we are addressing the fact that fear is a tactic utilized by the United States, whether conscious or unconscious. Consider, for example, the reaction you have when you see a police officer. Are you afraid or comforted? Why? Also consider jails, which – though they seem to promise safety – are also an implicit threat by the state.

Apathy is not neutral
When we say that apathy is not neutral, we mean that – in many cases – apathy is a privilege. When we choose not to educate ourselves or to do nothing, it is with the knowledge that our lives will not be adversely affected – and not everybody is in such a position.
Another implication of apathy is the fact that, when there is apathy on the part of the state, entire groups of people may suffer. When legislators pay less attention to the well-being of groups such as trans* people of color, for example, this does not represent a simple oversight: it reflects a lack of commitment to the survival of a group that is consistently persecuted in this country.

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YES on Prop 37

by Maria Deloso, ’15

Proposition 37, which would mandate the labeling of genetically modified (GMO) food, is a topic that I had been avoiding for a while now. Most of the soy, corn, and other foods we eat are genetically modified anyway, so wouldn’t labeling be a waste? I kept on ignoring the topic until I met some YES on 37 volunteers and decided to actually educate myself on the proposition. I found it slightly disturbing  that big agri-businesses including Monsanto, Dow Chemicals, Bayer and Coca-Cola have donated over $40 million to shut the proposition down. Those in favor of Proposition 37 include the Environmental Working Group, United Farm Workers, and Sierra Club. If you check out the list of those in favor of Proposition 37, you can find most major environmentally and consumer-focused organizations giving public support to the cause. In contrast, the funding for the TV advertising we’re seeing comes from huge multinational corporations. That $40 million seems to have made a dent in public opinion. At the beginning of the Proposition 37 campaign (which needed 1, 000,000 signatures to get on the ballot), support was 2-1 in favor of passing the law. After these huge corporations used their money to “inform” the public with misleading statistics, polls show that Yes on Prop 37 is now losing. The Yes on 37 campaign barely has money to put on a single advertisement on tv, whereas No on 37 adverts hound me at the TV screens at Arrillaga and the internet. The truth is, labeling matters.

Many students seem to be on the fence about where to vote on this issue, so here’s a summary of the main points. Continue reading

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Dismantling the Myths Behind Planned Parenthood

by Kelsey Dayton, ’15

On October 10th, the Stanford Democrats hosted a discussion with Lupe Rodriguez, Director of Public Affairs Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

Planned Parenthood is a non-profit health services provider that should be an obvious beneficiary of public gratitude and federal funding. Instead, for the past three decades it has symbolized the partisan debate over abortion. As such, the very phrase “Planned Parenthood” has come to connote every possible stereotype, prejudice, and caricature that pro-choice advocates in the fierce abortion debate can think of. This treatment is unqualified and unjust for an organization that helps the young people that society neglects and never talks about. While the brand name gets assaulted in the political arena, those it seeks to help remain silent or, if they choose to speak out, unheeded.

Planned Parenthood addresses a critical problem in America, a problem inflated by a modern ideological culture war. Some people believe that by not addressing anything related to sex— protection options, possible diseases, pregnancy risk— all sex-related issues in the country will magically disappear. This is, not surprisingly, untrue. Continue reading

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Is Cow’s Milk Healthy?

by Maria Deloso, ’15

So, according to the USDA, we’re supposed to be drinking three cups of milk a day. Yes, milk with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Such a rate of dairy consumption is unprecedented in human history. But should we really be surprised? This information is coming from the department that counts pizza as a vegetable and allows 70% of the ground beef we buy in grocery stores to be contaminated with ammonium hydroxide (found in your typical household cleaner).

But back to the milk issue. Interestingly enough, this topic was controversial enough for Harvard to come out with their own “healthy plate,” in which the USDA’s milk is replaced with good ole’ water. In fact– and I quoting directly from Harvard — “ Milk and dairy are not must-have foods—limit them to 1-2 servings/day.” If the top ranked university in our own nation is directly contradicting our own government’s recommendations, then who are we to believe?

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Why You Should Care About Obamacare (Part II of a Series)

by Rachel Kelley, ’12


“Obamacare” is a term that’s used with both affection and derision. It’s actually a nickname for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. More important than how you call the policy, however, is what’s in it. Here’s a rundown of some of the consumer protections that are being added between now and 2014.

Now: Insurance companies do not have to cover “pre-existing conditions.” That means if you apply for an insurance plan – but you’re a diabetic, or have cancer, or even acne – your insurance company can tell you that it will cover all your health costs except those having to do with your diabetes/cancer/acne, etc. The result is that many Americans are paying into an insurance plan that refuses to pay for the health care they need.

2014: Insurance companies will have to cover any paying customer, regardless of pre-existing health conditions. Many health insurance plans will also be required to offer a “standard benefits package” that covers a basic set of health care (annual physicals, diabetes care, hospital visits, etc.) to all customers. Continue reading

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Closing the disconnect between the food you eat and where it comes from

by Christina Ospina, ’12

When you see “natural flavoring” on the “Ingredients” listing on food packaging, beavers might not be the first thing you think of, but this animal and the additives in your processed food might be more related than you think.  Many items you consume every day are flavor-enhanced by ingenious molecular combinations, often derived from sources completely unrelated to the foods you eat.  It’s important to think about where food flavoring and food additives come from, and it is your right and responsibility to know what you are eating and drinking every day.

So what do beavers have to do with natural flavoring?  Vanilla, raspberry, and strawberry flavorings can come from castoreum, an excretion from a beaver’s castor sacs, found in their backside (to get a little graphic, these sacs are located in their genital region by their anal glands.  Since this food flavoring is derived from a source found in nature, it qualifies as the “natural flavoring” you can see listed in certain candies, ice creams, yoghurts and more. Continue reading

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