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Lavender Graduation

Have you heard about this big party that the Q Center, Student Life, and OMAD are throwing for all of our supremely quirky, talented, brilliant, awkward, out-of-this-world-talented, creative, graceful, bright & shiny, critically thinking, self-doubting, wondering-what-to-do-next, FIERCE queer and allied graduates?

Really? Haven’t heard about it? Not in in the 10 weekly countdown emails? Or in the evite? Or in the Facebook event? Or in the sky writing? What about the bathroom graffiti? My tweets? Well, the Q Center is hosting a huge party for YOU and you closest communities on June 5th in the UW Panopticon Tower on the Mezzanine Level Cafeteria. 6-8 p.m. People absolutely love this event.

Here are some of the things people have to say about Lavender Graduation: Vice President of Student Life Eric Godfrey: “It is just a great event. I mean, where else are you going to get a micro brew and a cupcake. It is just awesome.”

“I didn’t go to my high school or college graduation because I was gay, so I want to graduate here tonight because I really feel accepted by this audience.” Anonymous

Well…honestly, I wanted to tell you all how important this graduation ceremony is to me and to the mission of the Q Center. One of the primary ways that humans learn to understand ourselves as loved, loving, and loveable, as connected and as human is through mirroring. And part of mirroring is the celebration of who we are from the people who raise us, the friends around us, the stories we hear and see, and the way in which we then understand ourselves to be human, loved, worthy, whole, you know, fierce.

When mirroring is disrupted or warped through the multiple systems of marginalization and oppression at interpersonal, cultural, and systemic levels…then…well…we often fail to see ourselves without great struggle and reinvention. Lavender Graduation to me…is a celebration of all those ways we have reinvented, claimed, reclaimed, brought into being, whatever we have done to make ourselves legible to us, to you, to each other; to become human, loved, worthy, whole, you know, fierce. Oh yeah, and it is about a lot of really hard academic work too! See you on Tuesday!


10 Ways to Take a Soul Shower

10 Ways to Take a Soul Shower

Midterms got you down? Micro-aggressions eating away at your soul? Do you just want to take an extensive nap? Or eat cereal while not wearing pants? Do you need a refreshing practice to shake up your day?

Or do you ever feel so dirty and sweaty and tired and stressed that all you want is to take a long, steamy and calm shower? When you finally take that amazing shower, do you feel (perhaps temporarily) cleansed of your worries and INVINCIBLE and ready to boogie through life as a social justice super human?

As you might have guessed, all of these incredibly specific leading questions are getting at the idea that I believe showers can have a transformative effect on one’s day and mindset. Of course, everyone experiences showers differently so, if this isn’t your takeaway, that’s understandable.

But, it is this belief in showers that brings me to ask this question: What if you could take this experience and apply it to your… soul?

So, through a collaborative effort with Q Center staff, we brainstormed 10 ways to take a SOUL SHOWER!

  1. Dance really hard. Or move your body in whatever way feels good. It is recommended to get really sweaty. And possibly wear glitter. And try not to give a damn about how ‘silly’ you might look. Whether you are alone or in a crowded dancey setting, this can be an amazing soul shower. Then, pair it with a real shower to wash the sweat off.
  2. Laugh so hard that you:
    1. Pee your pants. Just a little.
    2. Squirt some liquid out of your nostrils.
    3. Your eyes water.
    4. My smiling muscles hurt.
  3. Spoon or snuggle or cuddle another being. This can take many forms. You can spoon a friend, a lover, a kitten, a pillow…and your cuddling can take many shapes!
  4. Write a poem, letter or a sketch. Then, if you feel like it:
    1. Throw it away
    2. Tear it up and keep the pieces in a envelope.
    3. Burn it (safely).
  5. Play or a throw in a coin (don’t forget to make a wish!) into a fountain.
  6. Try something new. Or do something alone. Sometimes being a little uncomfortable in a new space or activity can help you gain perspective.
  7. Cry and blow your nose in your favorite (preferably soft and cozy) shirt.
  8. Screaming super loud. Some ideal settings for this yell might be:
    1. In an elevator.
    2. In the middle of nowhere.
    3. On a bridge over the highway.
  9. Singing or listening to a song really loud. Some recommended songs:
    1. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard.
    2. “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations.
    3. “American Girl” by Tom Petty.
    4. “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn.
    5. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell.
    6. “Don’t Stop Believing’” by Journey
  10. Go forth into nature:
    1. Relaxing & people watching in a park.
    2. Hiking.
    3. Jumping in a lake.
    4. Climbing a tree.
    5. Sunbathing.

We hope these suggestions are generative for your own processes of healing and rest!

If you have any more suggestions for soul shower or self-care activities, email smhand@uw.edu.


Resurrecting Bayard Rustin

Happy 100th birthday to a man whose expansive justice work across multiple sites of oppression, earned him a marginal place in history, Bayard Rustin, our “Lost Prophet.”

While we are on the topic of birthdays of awesome queer folk who have facilitated the arc of the moral universe in bending toward justice…Audre Lorde would have turned 78 on February 18th! Ellen had a birthday in January, so did Michael Stipe (R.E.M. anyone? anyone?)…eh hem.

Hey, I’ve got a birthday coming up in April and my partner’s was in March! We are all part of this bending the arc of the moral universe thing. So, shout out some names of people who you know are ok with having their names shouted out and celebrate them and their presence on this planet!

Happy birthday to us Two-Spirit people and trans* folks and queers and questioners and same-gender lovers and bois and queens and kings and everybody else who has other words that I do not know because I just do not know everything. Our very existence is resistance!

“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” Bayard Rustin


Shit Adults Say to Young People

shit adults say to young people

Shit adults say to young people

 

“Cause I Said So!”
How are the lives of young people controlled?
With the viral videos, “Shit… says,” many people have brought to light underlining issues of violence that many people are victims of, and examining those that they we may actually create. Such videos have been broad but enlightening such as, “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls, and Shit Straight Girls Say to Gay Guys.” “Things like “lets go dancing, but not a gay bar,” or “not to sound racist but…” are micro-aggressions that impact the lives of minorities to cause real pain and suffering.
Many of the current examinations of the viral ads are critical to social movements movements and the general population. While we think about how straight people act to queer folks, we must also think about how ageism and
adult-ism pervade in our society and how it marginalizes the tail ends of our community. People experience marginalization by the abuse of power that takes advantage of, and makes decisions of both the young and the elderly. It is one of the only oppressions that everyone experiences, both as victims and as potential perpetrators. Decisions that impact the very livelihoods of these groups have been decided by those who “know better” and who can “take ownership” in the direction of the controlled human beings. This power dynamic dichotomy is evident in common vernacular with things like, “you don’t know better,” or “you are just a kid.” Policy is then crafted to restrict voting, medical decisions, personal autonomy, and employment opportunities based solely on age. Even the educational system creates rules that particularly impact homeless youth or young folks experiencing familial strain. It is all a form of social control by those who “know better.” Your parents financial information is usually required into the consideration in the cost of attendance, even if they do not support you. Why is it that you can be drafted into the military at 18 but you can not enter an establishment that serves alcohol? In particularly with the queer community, many public gathering spaces are very commonly crafted around 21+ establishments ie. queer bars, but with this restriction, where do queer youth go when they want to get to know each other? Not everything can be accomplished on the Internet.

Young people, and increasingly the elderly, have no public spaces to find solidarity, support, and personal connection. Many elderly folks voice that they have to go back into the “closet” as they grow older. Ageism affects the tail ends of society, and adultsm is how adults control, judge, and manipulate the autonomous rights of young people. Such isolation, must end because the everyone should have control of their own body.
We made a list of some of the things we have heard adults say to young people. These are all best read with a little bit of sass and some attitude.
Signed by,
Students at the University of Washington | Q Center

——————————————————-
I am more mature than you. How old are you? Oh my god, when I was your age… You know what would be so fun for you? Cause’ I said so! Oh that probably wouldn’t be fun for you. This is boring adult stuff. We have a youth advisory board, you should totally volunteer for us! You know you should really outreach for us – we really want to get more youth involved with… You just do not appreciate how easy you have it now, thanks to the struggles I had to go through You’re so articulate! You know, I had to wait until I was old enough to go to the bars too. Just get a fake ID… ‘All-Ages?’ why would I want to be somewhere with a bunch of kids! You’re really lucky that I’m your mentor! You are so smart and mature for your age! Oh my, she’s only 13 and she’s already talks about feminism. Oh, they are only 11 and they can sing and dance so well! You don’t understand… You don’t know what your doing.
Cause’ I said so! Why can’t you understand? What do you want to be when you grow up? You still have time to figure it out. I hope this is just a phase. You’re just going through a ‘_______’ phase. You’ll grow out of being a lesbian… What could you possibly be stressed out about at your age? Just wait until you have to pay your own bills! It get’s better! If you work hard enough, you can be ANYTHING you want to be. I wish I had ______________ when I was your age, you should totally ____________ You have it WAY better than when I was your age… It’s so easy being (gay, mixed, etc) these days, not like when I was… Just wait until you have to get a real job. I wish you’d stop growing up so fast! You should appreciate being so young. Cause’ I said so! Why can’t you act your age? You gain maturity with age. If I feed you and clothe you, then no, you don’t get to make your own decisions. You don’t get to make decisions about your own body at this age. That’s cute that you’re already so interested in ___! It’ll be great when you’re older and you can actually make a difference in the world. You kids are so spoiled with your technology these days, you don’t know what it’s like to have to work for anything. High school is the best time of your life! Can you help me (insert tech-related task here)? You shouldn’t be so easily influenced by others people’s opinions. You don’t need to follow what all your friends do. Your friends are a bad influence. Are you in a gang? I know better than you. Cause’ I said so! Your not gay its just a phase. Just don’t have sex. What do you need the pill for? Abstinence is sexy! Grow up! All adults are more mature than you. Do you know what to do with that. If you have sex you’ll get STIs. I pay the bills, you just live here. Ohh not in my house. If you live under my roof you have to follow my rules.
Feel inspired? Email us, and let’s keep the dialogue going!


10 Ways to Procrastinate Post Snowpocalypse

1. Think about vaginas
2. Check out Trans* Conferences!
3. Go stickering.
4. Get your friends together and plan to hit up some awesome local events coming up this month:
“Broken Bodies, PBP” & “Under 1 Nation: Zulu & Krip-Hop”
Sex Fair at UW 2012
ASUW’s 11th Annual “Vagina Monologues”
Annual ASUW Drag Show
5. Listen to a Gendercast podcast.
6. Do a photoshoot and send your pics to marilyn@fatso.com to stand, roll, and tumble against weight bullying.
7. Say the darndest things.
8. Sign up for a Bent class!
9. Deconstruct gender at gender discussion at the Q Center Tuesdays from 3pm-4pm!
10. Listen to Coyote Grace!