Tag Archives: queer

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?

Continue reading

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Sexual Quantification: No More Western Dichotomies, Please

by Erika Lynn Abigail Persephone Joanna Kreeger, ’15

What percentage gay/straight are you?

I was asked this question earlier today on a form I had to fill out for the iO Tillett Wright photo shoot this afternoon at Terra. I had initially wanted to get my photo taken for the same reasons as probably many of the other people who got their picture taken: it’s a national campaign, it’s making waves and iO Tillett Wright had a great TEDx talk about her project and sexual orientation.

But that question bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I ended up writing “me/me%- I don’t conform to bs dichotomies.” And I took my picture, and as much as I wanted to, I didn’t challenger her. But I kind of wish I had. Here’s why:

The most apparent concern is its treatment of bisexual/pansexual/non-gay/straight/fluid identities. As someone who is attracted to people of multiple genders, I don’t think of myself as part straight and part gay. I think of myself as someone who is attracted to multiple genders in very different ways. Furthermore, my attraction to those different genders (if you will, the degree of my attractions to these broad categories of people) has varied significantly over my life. Continue reading

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(Queer) Activism at Stanford University

by Lina Schmidt, ’15

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What is queer? and what does queer want? were two questions asked over the course of the class “Introduction to Queer Studies” (FEMST 120). Questions about what queer “means” are important to me because, as both a queer-identified individual and as a member of the campus group Stanford Students for Queer Liberation, parts of my identity are implicated in use of the word. The  meanings of queer can be a scholarly pursuit. However, the placement of queer in the title of a student group committed to “social change” makes its meanings relevant to the entire Stanford community, regardless of academic focus.

Described as a “discursive horizon” (Queer Theory 1), queer is fluid; a site of connotation rather than denotation. As a result, writings about queer — “Queer Theory” — are sometimes contradictory. The goal in reading, however, is not to produce a consistent worldview but to challenge entrenched ideas. For example, Annamarie Jagose suggests that 0ne use of queer is as an umbrella term for non-normative identities, serving as a contraction of “LGBTQIA.” Another writer, Cathy J. Cohen, suggests that queer has a more “radical potential” through its inclusivity not just of non-normative sexuality, but of differences in race, class, physical ability, and more (Punks 11-16). Continue reading

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Welcome to Transgender Awareness Week

by Elizabeth S. Q. Goodman, PhD student

Many student groups have pitched in with Stanford Students for Queer Liberation to bring the events of Transgender Awareness Week to campus.  This is the third year doing it, and every year is different.  Last year’s week was discussed here and here.

The week begins with a “trans* 101” panel, designed to introduce everyone and anyone to the experiences of the panelists, to give space for questions, and to give cis students (those who are not trans*) tools to use in supporting trans* folks.  We call that “being a trans ally”, but as many people will tell you, ally is not a thing you can be, it’s a thing you can strive to do.  The tools of allyship are a theme throughout the week and this post.

However, we believe that to focus only on the oppression that transgender people face will firstly not serve transgender students who want to attend without getting depressed or triggered, and secondly not point in the direction of the kind of respect that transgender people deserve.   Continue reading

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On Global Womanhood

by Lan Anh Le, ’15

hairIn Afghanistan, a new Internet café for women will have its opening in honor of International Women’s Day. Young Women for Change, the NGO that is hosting the event, aims to make the café a space that will help Afghan women communicate and connect. In Sierra Leone and Uganda, female soccer players gather to celebrate of this year’s International Women’s Day, at two events that aim to raise awareness of issues related to gender equality and women’s empowerment in sports. In Ireland, a public reading of short stories featuring women from James Joyce’s Dubliners, sponsored by UN Women, is held in celebration of International Women’s Day.

All around the world on March 8, International Women’s Day is being celebrated in various different forms, from large festivals with booming music and colorful flowers, to marches that involve big banners and megaphones, to dance performances, to public events and conferences. Continue reading

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Shattering Taboos: Let’s Talk about Sexual Assault

By Joanna Poppyfield, student

Trigger Warning: Contains details of sexual assault

I am a firm believer in the power of open, honest dialogue as a prerequisite to healing. Not just personal healing, but collective healing. At Stanford, we need to improve dialogue around sexual assault and rape if we want to truly beginning to address the fact that we have a real problem with sexual assault and rape on our campus and to heal the wounds that afflict far too many of us.

Just a few facts to put this all in perspective (all obtained from the Stanford Daily):

  • 4% of Stanford students reported having been raped, while 7% reported in a Health Promotion Services survey that they had been penetrated against their will
  • 15% of people reported having sex under pressure, according to the same survey
  • 9% of the general student body, 13% of straight women, 28% of gay/bi/lesbian identified students, 11% of gay men and 15% of students who did not select a gender option have experienced attempted, non-consensual penetration, again according to the HPS survey.
  • Furthermore, over 50% of students surveyed reported being forcibly fondling, unwantedly touched or kissed, again according to the survey through HPS.
  • According to Angela Exson, Assistant Dean of the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse, “the average offender will commit [sexual] crimes seven times before any action is taken against them.”
  • The worst statistic though, in my opinion, is that 28% of victims had no one to talk to about their experiences. Continue reading
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Gurl, I’m Queer as Fuck; or, Why Autostraddle Sucks

by Joanna Poppyfield, undergraduate student

Recently, I penned a post on STATIC entitled “Sex and Cis-tems of Oppression (NSFW) in which I opened up about my sex life, sexuality and gender identity to analyze veiled transphobia that affects the choices many people with regards to their sexual and romantic attractions. I got a lot of positive feedback, which surprised me somewhat, but I was thrilled to receive it.

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 10.47.33 AMA wonderful, amazing web editor of STATIC asked if she could contact other blogs on behalf of me to see if they would publish my piece. I agreed — I want this conversation, and other conversations about how ableism, racism, classism and other –isms can negatively influence how we experience sexual and romantic attraction, to occur in as many spaces as possible.

So she emailed a bunch of different blogs, some we never heard back from, others wanting to publish. And a few days ago, she got the following email from one of the editors at Autostraddle that made me want to vomit. Continue reading

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White Fetish

by Janani Balasubramanian, ’12

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A failing of the word ‘activism’ is its designation of certain activities as political engagement and the rest of our lives as some other floaty and apolitical space.  In reality, we are always enacting and interacting with the structures of power and social positions each of us inhabit.  My friend Alok and I were at a queer conference this weekend in Atlanta to facilitate the same workshop that we’re presenting tonight: ‘Because You’re Brown Honey Gurl!: A Dialogue about Race and Desire’.  Our intention was to bring to bear a conversation on spaces where desire, sex, and romance circulate as political spaces.  The project of queer liberation isn’t limited to our policy engagements or our organizing work — it is also about considering how we desire and are desired in white supremacist realities.

We use the term ‘sexual racism’ to describe the ways that racism and racist traumas inflect our romantic and sexual relations. Continue reading

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Sex and Cis-tems of Oppression

by Joanna Poppyfield, student

Note: This post contains images that are NSFW.

bodySince I began my transition from living as a male to living as a female between my sophomore and junior year of college, my mother often expresses her pity for me at my “disability,” as she calls it. She refers to my penis.

When I began my medical transition — that is to say I started taking hormones — it was assumed that I would have surgery to “fix my problem.” Sure, there was always the option to not have the surgery, but it was often presented as less valid. I felt like there was no other option but to have surgery, or else I’d never be a “true girl.”

I’ve been living the past four years as a trans*woman — someone who is assigned a male sex and gender at birth, but instead identifies as a female — but I’ve felt feminine ever since I comprehended what feminine meant. I attached the words feminine and girl later on in my life. Continue reading

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Our Challenge

by K. Blaqk, ’14

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The title of this piece is “Our Challenge.” Over fall quarter I discovered the “Nu Rainbow,” which replaces the traditional ROYGBIV spectrum with one representing the variety of colors  of human beings. This move felt especially important to me, as I was starting to see the urgency in queer politics taking on an explicitly anti-racist agenda as well. Lumped into queer issues and racism are also structural class inequality, problems of imperialism and militarism. So, “Our Challenge” is first to build a coalition of marginalized and oppressed peoples and then to channel that organization into a form of resistance and way of remaking the world around us. Continue reading

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