Perishables

My mind feels frail. Void of forget-me-nots and full of forget-me-sos, it’s not what I remember about you that haunts my memory. It’s the deep sense of an abundance of moments and good tidings which forgo remembrance which incites an unavoidable fear that who we were no longer exists, save for in few cornerstones long looked over. Except they aren’t even cornerstones anymore, they’re just corner dust which remain invisible unless under magnification. The scent of vanilla or grapefruit lingers upon our most sacred of surfaces; the last living remnant of you, here. If taking care to live in the present means letting the past slip from my sorrowful grasp, then that leaves us as nothing more than passing thoughts and parted glances. I wish I could tell you that I’m far from composed, but I guess this will pass, too, into the beyond and becoming, maybe to be found again.
Painting Credit to Pat Meier-Johnson’s “Left-handed Still Life with Fruit”: http://patmeierjohnson.com/tag/painting-of-fruit/


Ruth

 

Ruth May is a senior undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University, studying Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film Studies. Ruth is a white, gender nonconforming trans woman from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes.  Monitor blog analyst.

 

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It’s Her, It’s Him.

It’s Her.
It’s only her based on the secular conspiracy
That our body connotes who we are.
What we are.
I will get married to a man.
I will be pregnant.
I will have a family.
But that’s all wrong.

I hate this body.
I hate this mindset.
It’s cancerous.
It’s malignant.
It spreads further and further each day.
But it hasn’t killed me yet.

It’s Him.
It’s his heart that speaks true words.
It’s his body that speaks falsehood.
I am male.
I am female.
What….what am I?
Female? Me? What do you mean?
Does the fact that I own a vagina
And that I have breasts
Connotate my womanhood?

I don’t want to be a girl.
I want to be a boy.
I want to be a boy that’s soft.
Soft like pastel purple.
Soft like a rabbit.

My softness does not make me feminine.
My masculinity spans across every fiber of my being.
My face, my body, my heart.
They each tell a different story.

The eyes tell me, they tell me I’m lying.
Those eyes that strangers hold.
They tell me I’m “not a real man.”

They are wrong.


Snapchat-933554423
Hello! My name’s Archie Andersen, and I use he/him and they/them pronouns. I identify as a neurodivergent, AFAB, Fat, Queer, Nonbinary Transgender man activist. My main studies are in Queer Theory and Issues and the Prison Industrial Complex, but I also work to end all forms of oppression. I am in my 4th year at St. Cloud State University majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and minoring in Ethnic Studies. My favorite color is pastel blue, and I really enjoy watching YouTube videos in my spare time. Editor.  Tag and comment supervisor.

 

🌳Here & There🌳

Here lies the place of paper plates and broken bones.

Saturated with the grievances of a father,
stuck in hegemonic headlock,
praying for another’s salvation,
at the price of extermination.

Threatening combustion at the wisp of a child,
with downturned mouth and star-filled eyes,
hungry for disunion from the good n’ plenty;
those of regiment and standing still.

God fearing and child rearing.

Thick muck so smug and possessive,
urging the child to halt their wandering,
hence,
to exorcise their otherness,
to reprogram self.

They call it treason,
I call it liberation.

With each passing step,
and with each swell of breath,
the muck loosens its glum grip,
as the child grows stronger,
and the voices hush.

The place of yesterday recedes,
for a willow awaits at the border,
between here and there.

Bewitching to dreamers of passerby,
the child ascends,
in high hopes,
and newfound outlook;
limp wristed and iron fisted.

*Under the Willow Tree by pdeck on DeviantArt*


Ruth

Ruth May is a senior undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University, studying Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film Studies. Ruth is a white, gender nonconforming trans woman from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes.  Monitor blog analyst.

 

Entertainment Over People

“Go kill yourself!”

“Rape jokes are none of my business.”

Let’s talk about the use of suicide and rape jokes-  or people’s tolerance for them.

There seems to be a phrase that has been going around for a while now. It’s typically seen either in memes, when someone doesn’t agree with you, or does something deemed annoying. It’s the phrase, “kill yourself”. Not long ago, when I confronted someone about this problematic phrase, I was met with their excuse that they themselves are a suicide survivor, and that it’s alright to make suicide jokes if it helps them cope.  I wasn’t sure whether I should have started laughing or crying. First off, that is an unhealthy way to cope. A question that came to mind was, how in the hell is telling someone else to go and end their life, a “joke” that helps you cope with what could be a complete tragedy?

Frankly, it doesn’t matter who is “joking” about suicide, it’s just as harmful no matter whose mouth it’s coming out of.

There is one suicide death every 40 seconds and the 2nd leading cause of death globally for people in the 15-24-year-old range is suicide. Not to mention that up to 70% of victims of suicide also have major depressive disorder or are bipolar. When you interact with someone, there is a life you don’t know fully about. So, to say “go kill yourself” to someone, no matter what they did to annoy you, is anything but okay. Your “joke” might just be the one that pushes them off the edge. And if that ever happens because you chose entertainment over people, will you still be laughing?

Let’s move on to rape jokes.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). If you’re not sure what that is please read up about it! It’s important to understand just how common it is and how we ourselves have the power to speak up about it, prevent it, and be allies to those affected by it.

I’m hopeful that we are in a place where it’s understood that rape culture is, well, bad. Rape culture is seen in a variety of ways that includes, but not limited to, victim blaming, sexual objectification, slut-shaming, catcalling, the concept of  ‘friendzoning”, the phrase ‘That person is going to rape me!’, and rape jokes. Believe it or not, there are people who defend them. It’s frustrating because right after my conversation about suicide jokes, it transitioned into rape jokes. According to one person, they feel that it is alright to make rape jokes because they are a rape survivor and it’s their way of coping.

Stop right there.

If you don’t know what rape culture is, then click on this link here.

On top of that, another person chimed in and said that they don’t want to stand up and say something against rape jokes if they heard someone make one in public. Their reasoning? Because they didn’t want to assume that the person making the rape joke in public could be a rape survivor themselves and is doing it as a way of coping. So, in other words, they’d rather not say something in case of mistaking the other person as someone who is making rape jokes to cope instead of someone making it because they are ill informed about its consequences. Makes perfect sense!

But let’s be real, it was just a sad excuse to not stand up against something that doesn’t personally affect them. This particular person may not make rape jokes themselves, but they choose to tolerate them. It’s one thing to be in the moment and decide not to say something because in that moment you were scared or you couldn’t really think on your feet, but it’s another to actually plan out and have a reason to never speak up against them. That’s choosing silence ahead of time. Sexual assault is a prevalent issue in today’s society, and if you took the time to read what rape culture is about, then you would know that rape jokes contribute to rape culture. You would know that staying silent about the issue also upholds rape culture.

So, to make rape jokes or suicide jokes, or anything you call “jokes” about violence or things that could lead to violence, is harmful and not funny at all. Choosing to be silent about these issues is just as bad. If this continues, then rape culture will continue to persist. Someone you love, or maybe even yourself, can be affected by this. And if that happens because you value entertainment over people, will you still be laughing?

If you or someone you know is facing suicidal thoughts, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You matter and I see you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255

TXT4LIFE: https://txt4life.org/

St Cloud State University Counseling & Psychological Services: 320-308-3171

24 Hour Mental Health Crisis Services: 320-253-5555

If you have experienced sexual assault, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It’s not your fault and your experience is not a joke. Your experience is valid and I believe you.

RAINN hotline: 800-656-4673

Central MN Sexual Assault Center: 320-251-4357

St. Cloud State Women’s Center:   320-308-4257    

St Cloud State University Counseling & Psychological Services: 320-308-3171


Mardon Ellen So

Ellen is a 4th year undergrad majoring in Sociology and plans to attend physical therapy school after graduating. She is half Hispanic and half Asian. She was born and raised in Houston, TX and moved to Minnesota with her mom and sister in 2010. Ellen is a hardcore feminist and is passionate about social justice. She enjoys talking about topics such as race, gender and gender violence, LGBTQ+, class, ability, and mental health. When Ellen is not at school or work, she loves to spend her time running ultra-marathons, doing yoga, meditating, gardening, playing the oboe and piano, playing video games, listening to people’s life stories over coffee/tea, spending time with family, volunteering, annoying her sister, and playing with her birds.  Email consultant.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I’m back again with a few fundraiser links that I hope you all will take a moment of your time to look at and consider donating money to.

If you cannot assist financially, I ask that you at least share this blog post or the links to the funds with your friends and family and urge them to give what they can.

A few of these fundraisers have been set up in support of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, many of whom are queer women of color. It is imperative that we give money directly to survivors of violence and trauma, because dealing with the aftermath of violence and trauma is incredibly expensive.

  1. Una Yellow Bull Nelson is a Native woman and a domestic abuse survivor who lost her home to a fire

  2. Support Sol, a queer Black femme recovering from abuse

  3. Cyrus Phillips’ Transition Fund, help a 17 year old Native trans boy raise money for his transition

  4. Emma is a Black Asian queer woman and a Title IX survivor, help support her second chance at education

  5. N’Jaila is a voice for many Black Asians and sex workers, donate to help her get back on her feet but also so that she can support her brother’s medical expenses

  6. Perla Morales-Luna was brutally snatched by border patrol in March, support the Morales Children Help fund

Again, even if you cannot donate at this time please make sure to share the link to this blog post on social media. One boost might help raise even the slightest amount of money. Thank you.


me

Pliab Vang is a Hmong American, and a senior undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She spends an unhealthy amount of her time binging (but never actually finishing) TV shows, scrolling through Twitter, and hanging out with friends. Social media consultant.

“So, what did you do on Spring Break?”

“Er.” The question sends a hot flush up her neck. It’s a well-meant query, one that she’d undoubtedly hear ten more times before the day ended. But what could she possibly say?

The truth: Playing FIFA until the wrist pains usually reserved for papers and McDonald’s until the thought of chicken nuggets made her want to apologize to every chicken she saw. Making a permanent indent in the couch and being wholly unproductive for nine days had a reasonable amount of guilt attached to it. There were classes to get ahead in, books to finish, everything else to do, really.

She’d seen the flash of sympathy, quickly covered with faux excitement when her response to the pre-break question of “What are you plans?” was answered with a noncommittal shrug and a variation of “relaxing”.

It was self-care. Probably in its most greasy form, but self-care nonetheless. There was something comforting about the curves of a controller in her hand and sipping from a straw flattened with her teeth. Something invigorating about waking up only to curl further into the blanket and watch YouTube videos that she’d seen before.

It felt like laziness, and it made her feel guilty, ashamed of anything that she could possibly say to answer the question. It’s the same shame that crawls across her skin from reprimand from her mother for ‘not doing anything’.

Rest. It’s something she rarely received and never got to savor.

So is it laziness to finally take advantage of free time in the way that you find comforting? Is it sad? Pathetic? Or necessary?

“I relaxed,” she finally says. “I finally relaxed.”


thumbnail_147

Mariam Bagadion is a Filipino-American third year SCSU student. She is double-majoring in English and Women’s Studies and has loved writing from a young age. She is excited to use this passion to bring attention to and start conversations about feminist issues surrounding the world of politics and pop culture today. Mariam is an editor for The Upper Mississippi Harvest, SCSU’s literary journal and a writing tutor at The Write Place. In her free time, she writes for her personal blog, scribbles in journals and is the Game Master for her friends’ Dungeons and Dragons games.  Consulting editor.

Sorry.

I know I apologize too much
With a giggle and aversion of my eyes,
I believe that if I smile with a meek
Sorry on my tongue, it guarantees
My femininity.

Sorry jumps out of my mouth when
You wrong me and it wrenches out of my |
Grasp when I hold tightly to it. I dilute
It’s meaning so that it’s heavy groundedness
No longer grounds me but it grounds you.

You hold onto my apology and grin with mirth
For you know, it is your way into what I hold dear
And I can’t help but be angry at myself for I’ve become who
I once loathed.  The idiot with the loose tongue and insipid smile
And I doubt it’s too late to change it.

I bite my tongue, surely the indentions will be there for a minute |
Before the plump flesh retains its elasticity. I wonder if that
Is how you view me.  Elastic commodity and you use that excuse
To never deflect what shouldn’t be apologized for and I know now,
I change my ways and evolve.

To say,
I’m not sorry.


Lake

Kholood Abuhadid is a fourth year Biomedical and Medical Lab Science student with minors in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies.  She is Palestinian-American and is passionate about Palestinian rights as well as encompassing feminist intersectional ideology.  Kholood is an avid reader and loves to dabble in creative writing.  She hopes one day to establish herself in the world of medical research as well as have an active voice in the Public Health world.  She also thinks she’s good at knitting but in reality is actually quite horrible! Managing editor.

White Privilege, Identification, and Safety

As a white, middle class, able bodied woman, I carry out my days with an enormous amount of unearned privilege. While I cannot control the privilege that I am given, it is still my responsibility to critically reflect on how I am able to benefit from these unearned privileges and the way in which the system is structured to keep “others” out.

Often I am confronted with a new privilege that I had been previously unaware of, or simply had forgotten about. While this process is necessary, I still feel twinges of guilt in my side when these relate to my whiteness. This is what most people would call “white guilt”. Michael Kaufman describes guilt like this, “Guilt is a profoundly conservative emotion and as such, is not particularly useful for bringing about change.  From a position of insecurity and guilt, people do not change or inspire others to change.” I don’t believe anyone should ever feel guilty for their whiteness, but it is how we react to this “white guilt” that is critical within our process of reflection if we ever want to begin to dismantle a system that was literally built upon the backs of people of color.

A week ago I was slapped in the face with not only my whiteness, but my class privilege as well. Working in a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, I have had the opportunity to hear so many stories that have changed the way I view the world, and that have allowed me to see the raw humanness that people crave to feel.

I was in the shelter office and was talking to a gentleman that had been at the shelter for about a month. During this time he had several of his possessions stolen from him, including his wallet containing his ID, any credit/debit cards, and all of his cash. To me, I assumed the most important thing in that wallet for him would be his money, since that was all he had left. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When that wallet was stolen, he lost his safety, and the last means of protection he felt he had when encountering police officers. I could feel my side tighten as he described the fear he felt having to leave the shelter with no proof of his identification. He was black, and he was in St. Cloud. Being stopped by police officers was common for him, but all those times he was approached, he had that one little piece of safety in his back pocket. He said that he knew an ID wouldn’t stop a cop from shooting him, but it made him a little more human, it gave him a name, he wasn’t just some black man on the streets.

This is where that feeling of “white guilt” flooded my entire body. Not once have I ever I had to think about needing my ID as a form of protection. Never did I have to worry about leaving the house without it and risk arrest or violence for not having proof of who I am. It is these moments that we are confronted with that we need to hold onto. These moments are our proof that the system has to change. When you are aware that change needs to happen, action to create this change is possible. This action does not have to include large scale change, but can begin with having conversations with people on how privilege and oppression are connected.

Here are a few small scale thing you can do:

  1. Find other white folks that aligns with what you believe. Find someone you can call on when you need to work through some things. IT IS NEVER THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A PERSON OF COLOR TO COMFORT YOU WHEN YOU STRUGGLE WITH YOUR WHITENESS. NEVER.
  2. Find events or organizations that work towards building community
  3. When someone calls you in, listen and learn. When we become defensive, we go nowhere.
  4. Lastly, also be able to call others in when they need to recognize their privilege. Don’t come from a position of guilt, but from an opportunity for growth. Not everyone will react to this in the way you want, and that is ok.

Read more from Michael Kaufman here

Please throw in a comment and tell us what you think!


Whitney

Whitney is a senior at St. Cloud State University with a double major in Social Work and Women’s Studies with a minor in Human Relations. She highly believes in the power of self-care and full body mindfulness. She is passionate about understanding the relationship between trauma and the lasting effects it can have on the body and mind. Whitney has a love for community work and hopes to work within this field after graduation. Her hobbies include painting and other multi-media art forms and finds healing within creating new pieces.  Outreach and email consultant.

An Open Letter to Lesbians/WLW That Try to Date Trans Men

Don’t. Stop.

Lesbians cannot date transgender men. We are NOT confused butches.

We don’t “look butch” today; butch is for masculine females.

Transgender men ARE NOT WOMEN.

Transgender men are MEN.

We might not all have penises or testicles, but we are men nonetheless.

Sexualiity is fluid, I get it, but if you’re dating one of us and still consider yourself a lesbian or WLW (woman loving women), you need to really reconsider your sexuality/romanticism.

You still being a lesbian/WLW is not only invalidating of our identities, but it is pure transphobia and not to mention extremely sexist.

So we tend to have uteruses and vaginas like some of you do, big deal. Making our identity purely based off of our genitals makes y’all just as bad as cisgender men who reduce cisgender women to their genitals.

Don’t date transgender men if you’ll still consider yourself a lesbian. Don’t be in a committed relationship with a trans man if you will still consider yourself a lesbian/WLW.

We are men. We are not confused butch women. Stop trying to convince us otherwise.

Signed,

A tired trans man


Snapchat-933554423
Hello! My name’s Archie Andersen, and I use he/him and they/them pronouns. I identify as a neurodivergent, AFAB, Fat, Queer, Nonbinary Transgender man activist. My main studies are in Queer Theory and Issues and the Prison Industrial Complex, but I also work to end all forms of oppression. I am in my 4th year at St. Cloud State University majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and minoring in Ethnic Studies. My favorite color is pastel blue, and I really enjoy watching YouTube videos in my spare time. Editor.  Tag and comment supervisor.

 

 

Sharon Needles’ White Tears

Sharon Needles (aka Aaron Coady), a world famous drag queen whom I looked up to as an adolescent, is problematic. Like the rest of yours and my favs. This punkadelic favorite who whose name was once on everyone’s lips in the drag community is no stranger to political controversy, and one example of this was her consistent usage of the n-word in her performances. Though claiming to make an anti-racist political statement, she failed to see how her white privilege blinded her from accepting criticism of such a move when people of color confronted her about it and threatened to protest one of her shows (which they did). The particular confrontation was born out of an interview with Sharon Needles by Maura and Enakai Ciseaux of the The Georgia Voice, which you can find and watch here.

As my most prolific role model as an adolescent, it goes without saying that Sharon will always reserve a special place in my heart, but I have to acknowledge that she did not handle the response to her racism appropriately, and yes, there were many a white tears shed. Yes, the journalists/interviewers were visibly angry and confrontational, but that’s because Sharon’s misuse and abuse of racial slurs has hurt a lot of people, including them. They were speaking from a place of hurt and disappointment, so it’s only natural that they were emotional because of it. Sharon’s reaction to their anger was inappropriate because she quickly resorted to tone policing them instead of taking accountability for her actions and critically self-reflecting. Sharon’s intentions were in the right place, but impact matters, and the way she’s impacted QTPOC exemplifies how a white person really has no right to use racial slurs because it’s impossible to reclaim/use a word that has never been directed towards you in an oppressive manner in the first place. They were simply trying to extract a public apology, of which Sharon should have obliged to, but she kept spinning the conversation to personal matters that were irrelevant to the topic at hand (the part about context is important, yes, but talking about her fans who she inspires didn’t relate to the matter at hand).

Sharon’s drag persona is highly creative and inspiring, but just because you’re a punk doesn’t mean you’re absolved and exempt from being oppressive and damaging, so having an attitude that you don’t need to make a simple apology for something like this is just not cool. Instead, she could have just listened, learned, apologized, and grown from the situation instead of bringing on the white tears, which is just a distraction from the issue at hand and also inadvertently villainizes the POC and allies who are calling her out in this instance. All of that being said, Sharon will always mean a lot to me because she and her art did wonders for my self confidence and unabashed queer femininity as a high school kid. I held her up on a pedestal, thinking of her as the coolest person in the world who could do no wrong. Except she has done wrong, and that’s deserving of attention and critique, which I can now clearly see. I appreciate her as an artist, but that doesn’t mean I iconize or exonerate her from her problematic behavior and actions. It’s about time that she does better.


Ruth

 

Ruth May is a senior undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University, studying Women’s Studies, Human Relations, and Film Studies. Ruth is a white, gender nonconforming trans woman from a poor, working class background with a passion for feminism, fashion, film, and rad tunes.  Monitor blog analyst.