Thursday, May 14, 2009

So yesterday, I was in the computer lab sitting next to a certain individual pretty well known on my campus. He was putting together some sort of video on gun control, and he was pro-gun.

I just want to shove in here again the rule all people should know, because it came up in the video a lot: once you compare a person, place, or situation to Hitler, you have lost the argument.

But that's not the point of this.

I would look over his shoulder from time to time because ... I'm a nosy bitch, I'm not even gonna lie. But one clip I saw, really provoked an emotion in me.

It was a picture. The caption said, "Civil Rights Legislation did not stop Klansmen. Men like him did." The picture is of a kid a bit older than me, black, holding a big gun.

...Really? You ... think this ... really?

Let me explain something. In the fifties, early sixties, and I'm sure earlier in the history of the KKK ... it was manned by the most important of white people in the community. Policemen, teachers, businessmen, maybe politicians.

In the time of the KKK, black people were not seen as human. It was the time of segregation for God's sake! And you think that people of race get framed a lot now ... back then evidence wasn't even necessarily needed; the average person would go, "oh, a negro. He must have done it, not the white man."

So let me see if I understand you correctly. You think ... that black people, young black people, who have had no chance to establish any sort of reputation that makes them the exception to the rule; got away, with running around shooting to death policemen, teachers, businessmen, and maybe even politicians?

This ... is seriously what you believe?

Okay, fine, you believe shooting people fixes stupid. Fixes inequality of rights, moreso than legislation. So ... I'm going to bring a gun to school today and shoot you. Because you have gone out of your way to infringe on my rights as a gay student, a gay citizen of California.

Not really. Don't call campus police on me.

So what about the idea that just pulling a gun, making the threat, would make them back off? I mean, obviously this is not the point of that image by any means, but I'll humor the idea. We have to keep in mind that this society that I'm explaining: how easy it is to pin a crime on a black guy, the fact that these KKK members are usually folks of high importance, they know this too! So, "go ahead, shoot me. Kill me. Get the death penalty. Makes my job easier."

But I mean, come the fuck on! Is anybody out there as offended as I am by this notion, that this impossible occurrence did more for the civil rights movement than the legislation politicians worked their asses off to write, lobby for, get passed, and then keep working?

Is anybody out there as offended by the stupidity?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I go to a rather infamous school, as I've mentioned. American River College in Suckacramento, CA.

This is a school that I'm proud of for many reasons. It really produces great artists, designers, and chefs. Our designers come together every year, churn out the American River Review, and then beat out schools like Harvard for top national awards. It's the third largest community college in California. And, when you figure out how to immerse yourself in it, it has a culture unlike anything else and it's amazing.

But it's a school that also shames me for reasons that to many may be known. Our current Student Government.

Now, I see no need to get too deep into the conspiracy theories that get discussed on my campus regularly. The rumors that decree, "this group is trying to make the school a Christian college!" It's personal choice as to whether or not it's true; I fail to see what would make such a scheme worthwhile.

I can, however, get into what sort of things it's done as a unit. And let's start with the infamous.

Google "american river college prop 8". Look around, and you'll most likely get a pretty well-fleshed out story. Student council doesn't get much attention, student council endorses a gay marriage ban, suddenly about a thousand people care; group tries to recall student council, it fails due to bad voter turnout, group feels defeated; most people stop caring, student council goes back to not getting much attention; but never again as little as before.

Things had gotten calm again in the eyes of those of us who continued to pay attention. Still as dumb as ever, but no more controversy. Until this week.

Now, google "american river college day of silence."

This is a touch newer, so the stories aren't so fleshed out yet. So I will, to the best of my ability.

Day of Silence, nationwide, is April 17th. If you go to American River College, it will be Wednesday the 22nd. Day of Silence is a day-long moment of silence devoted to victims of hate crimes. A little more specifically, LGBT victims of hate crime. Why? Because many states still don't have LGBT society factored into their hate crime laws.

Student Association, as of today, opposes this. It, to paraphrase one of it's many poorly thought out reasons, "silences intellectual conversation on the topic of homosexuality."

It wasn't a full win for them though. See, the meeting was to be declared illegal, such a thing had been decided since Tuesday. Then, local news showed up.

So hey, we thought, let's play along. See what happens. Give the news a story. And, I think we did.

When I talk about today, even though it didn't neccesarily work in my favor, I want to summarize it as intense and beautiful. I forgot what it was like to have so many people who give a shit in one room. For the first time in a long time, I saw people and thought, "this is the correct reaction," even though I didn't see it in everybody, if I saw it in most people present.

Before and after me, people gave such great speeches. Those who came prepared, I think each of us truly caught the emotions we were looking for. And it all came back to, "this is not about the nature vs nuture of homosexuality debate; this is about whether or not its okay for people to die in the name of that debate."

I don't think I have ever experienced so much tension and emotion in one room; but maybe I was simply reflecting my own fears onto everybody else around me. For the first time in my life, I had harsh words ready and waiting. I knew, I had to look these people straight in the eye, and tell them exactly what I thought, the moment I knew this was happening again. The anger, the disappointment, the heartache, the bitterness. Praying it would be some sort of slap in the face. Praying that it would change the mind of even one person, to realize this step was the step too far for anybody, even though I knew there would be no changing their minds.

When they spoke, the more vocal ones, things came out of their mouth that broke my heart. I cannot bring you exact quotes yet, for these videos aren't yet making the youtube rounds, but let me give you some pretty close quotes.

"Gay teenagers are not four times more likely to kill themselves because of society around them teasing and assaulting them; it's because they know they lead a sinful, disgusting life." - Victor Choban

"We, as being many people from Former Soviet Russia, are against this 'Day of Silence' because attempts to silence the population existed like this in the USSR." - Yuriy 'George' Popko

"I am not texting, I just keep recieving texts." - Victor Choban (after texting ... mid speech)

"Me and fifty other students were given detention for wearing these bible quoting shirts ... therefore this is the fault of the students participating in Day of Silence and the day itself" - A student from the audience

But maybe we did get through to them. Or maybe the past experiences taught them something.

Either way, where the numbers last semester were about 2 no, 3 abstains, 9 yes in favor of the resolution to endorse proposition eight; this time, was 5 no to 11 yes. They still won, but it's closer to not being the two-third's vote needed to pass such things.

And when the vote was declared not in our favor, I pulled the card we all had held up our sleeves, and let the audience know that the meeting was in fact illegal. Within fifteen minutes, it was over and done. And overridden, or about to be.

I'm sure to those who were for the bill, it seemed like a weak move. To let it go to see if maybe we'd get what we got, and if we didn't ... demand a recount. But the way I see it, they play the rules in their favor all the time, manipulating each other to get what they want, and dammit we get a turn.

I hope I have summarized what this was like today, as somebody who was present. If you're finding this stuff through whatever sort of searches, and you would like more details, feel free to comment and ask me. I love talking about my school, even the shittier parts.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

So here's the story, to lead into my complaints.

Maria was on the subway coming home late at night. A man on the car began to touch her feet, and be generally sexual and uncomfortable. As she got off the subway, having already missed her stop because of him, he followed. She ran through the subway platform, up the stairs, yelling for help the whole way.

As she reached the top of the stairs, she made eye contact for a full five seconds with a transit worker manning an attendant's booth. She was still running, screaming for help. He touched the call for help button.

The man caught up, dragged her down the stairs, and raped her twice, as another subway came through and the driver ... also hit the call for help button.

Two people, fully aware of what was happening. Yet did nothing.

And four years later, as she's finally breaking her silence ... the judge insisted they had no responsibility to do anything. And her assailant has yet to be caught.

Do I even need to go in-depth as to why this entire thing breaks my fucking heart?

First off, where the hell was any sort of late night security to keep an eye on the only two people that were in the car at 2am; the woman minding her own business, and the random man touching her feet! We have security here in Sacramento transit, and most of it's running hours are all in daytime. Occasionally, there's a disturbance but it's surprisingly a pretty peaceful system. Sure as fuck ain't New York City!

Second off, where the hell was any sort of human conscience!? You're at your job, you see dead on a woman screaming, crying, asking for help, and all you can bring yourself to do is push a button, that you know will not bring help fast enough? You can't even call with your cell phone? You can't even use the intercom to let him know police have been notified? Obviously you're too little of a man to even consider leaving your base to fend him off. I am a small woman with very little body strength, and you better fucking believe the first thing I'd be doing is finding the nearest blunt object to use as a weapon.

Third off ... where the hell was any sort of human compassion!? Through most of her rape, she was screaming, saying no, telling him to stop, sobbing; I'd imagine it could've been heard from the top of the stairs. It didn't take those moments for you to realize they weren't coming fast enough? Did you not even care? Just some random girl, who cares how damaged she is, even if one could stop it?

And best part ... the transit company's only defense is "we're training them now."

Good for Maria and her lawyer to appeal and try again. And good for Maria to come on national television and tell her story. It's an important one to tell, and I'm glad to help pass it on, even though (or because?) it hurts me as a woman.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My goal in life has always been to change the world. My planned means of getting there have changed considerably since I was fifteen and I thought to myself, "I'll be in a band. I'll be able to reach out to people who've been where I've been." Which is good, because I'm not as good of a singer as I like to think I am.

Now when I get older, I hope to be able to dive into changing the way the world sees things. Humanitarianism? I think that's the closest word I could come up with, but I don't think it's the right one.

To delve a little deeper: there's two things in my life that have had major impacts on me, especially compared to how brief their actual occurrence and related angst were in my life. One was my sexual assault as a small child, and the other was my stint as a self harmer.

I think society approaches both these things very wrong. I think we have no clue how to deal with a male as a victim of sexual assault, yet it happens just has much to men if not more. If a male has been very close to me in my life (including members of my own family) I've eventually learned of their incident and been able to clearly see how society's fumble has negatively impacted their life.

As for self injury, I think it's an addiction. When I stopped, my body craved it. It missed the at-will rush of happy juice. It even missed the placebo at-will rush of happy juice. Yet, I think society villianizes people who do it. Obviously, to many, it's just the actions of somebody starving for attention. It's never kept in mind that people actually struggle with it alone. It's never even kept in mind that it's a struggle.

Basically, I want to see programs that teach boys how to deal with sexual assault, the same as girls. I also want to see self injurers reached out to the same as any other sort of addict, and the stigmas changed. Both of these I want to see in my lifetime.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm doing my shirtless thing at Asylum last night, in my uber cute skull bra and some shorts. For those in Sacramento or nearby, you should come out to Arden and check Asylum out on a Sunday, it's an amazing accepting place despite this story.

Chick pulls me aside forcefully as I'm attempting to find a boy and get his number, just like "can we talk woman to woman cool I'm just going to take you by your shoulders now and start walking."

Then proceeds with, "look, woman to woman, I just wanted to say, you looked cuter with the black sweater."

Okay, I agreed to an extent. She could have stopped there and all would have been fine. Except...

"I see you take your shirt off every week and I see people laugh at you every week and it makes me feel bad for you. So yeah."

My chub is sexy god dammit! People at club think my chub is sexy god dammit! If people thought I was ugly and should crawl back in my hole, my newest nickname would not be Hello Nurse! If people thought there was any truth to the statement people would not have come to my defense the way they did. And even if I do look like shit naked (and you can ask any of my exes, and they will say I am fucking hot naked) the point of Asylum is that it's a minimal rules fantasy world and I can do and wear whatever I fucking want!

But moral of the story is, don't fucking pick on me. Just because I'm unafraid to show my hurt feelings and maybe put my heart on my sleeve more easily than the average human, doesn't mean I'm going to take your shit without a fight. And maybe it seems to the untrained eye that I had others fight my battles for me, but sometimes you just gotta know whose gonna get the job done better. Which is why we love the Mary and the Kat's faces.

I hope she had fun going home early on my account (: