A Positive Way to Set Start-of-Year Goals

Thank god we’ve made it through another January. It’s my least favorite month, with December and February following closely behind. The snow. The long, dark months of cold. The post-holiday trauma from curt conversations with family. The influx of patrons overcrowding my local gym. And New Year’s resolutions. This time of year (and even into February), advertisements and social media bombard us with messages that we have to do better than we did last year. Most resolution messaging also focuses on weight loss and health — which leaves a bitter…

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Roller Derby Lags on Trans, Nonbinary Inclusiveness

The first-ever gender policy for the organization that helps roller derby grow worldwide came out in 2011. It was clinical, and harsh. If you were not assigned female at birth, the policy said, a healthcare provider had to verify that your “sex hormones are within the medically acceptable range for a female.” Ouch. My most recent article about my love for roller derby described the significance of the sport in terms of feminist empowerment and gender inclusivity. This time, I am writing to share that as much as roller derby…

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Roller derby carves spaces for inclusive strength

Why did women and gender-fluid people start up to 2,000 roller derby leagues worldwide? We needed it.  I’m writing today about roller derby as a cultural phenomenon, a feminist and “inclusive” place to find like-minded people, showcase our strength, and be aggressive. I have had personal struggles and triumphs over body image, a lack of self-confidence, and an angry fire inside of me due to years of oppression. I have been roller skating since I was 8, but never realized that roller derby existed until I saw the movie “Whip…

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One Human Family offers brochures on tracking, reporting hate

QUAD CITIES – A Quad-Cities collaboration between a Christian Church and a synagogue is encouraging Quad-Cities residents to make use of new brochures that guide people on how to respond to hate incidents. One Human Family QCA has introduced a tri-fold that: • Defines hate crimes • Defines hate incidents • Guides people on how and where to report both hate crimes and hate incidents • Connects readers with other resources to understand hate speech and replace it with unity “It is ‘hard times’ for a lot of people in…

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Hopes dashed: the downside of AmeriCorps’ VISTA program

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.22″ _i=”0″ _address=”0″][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” hover_enabled=”0″ _i=”0″ _address=”0.0″ custom_padding=”34px|||||”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0″ custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.3″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” hover_enabled=”0″ _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0.0″] For many recent college graduates like me, the endless cycle of job applications and lack of experience can engulf you in an overwhelming state of depression. You can feel desperate to crawl out of an underpaid black hole. At a certain point, any opportunity sounds promising. An option you’re likely to encounter is AmeriCorps. This program touts itself as an opportunity…

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Communication, honesty are key to healthy polyamory

Polyamory, open relationships, and non-monogamy are popular fads — and terrifying concepts. Not many people want their partner to interact romantically, intimately, or sexually with another person. In fact, the thought of that might generate in you a feeling of palpable dread. Your stomach might tighten; you might throw up. It’s not a bad thing. These physical reactions and the affiliated emotions are certainly not comfortable. But if you’re ready and interested, these moments can be beneficial and invigorating for your relationship. Not sold yet? I know. But keep reading.…

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Bullying victims need adults to speak up

Whenever I reflect on the many moments that I felt less than my peers in school, the sinking feeling returns. The blush begins at the base of my neck. I know the embarrassment all too well. I’d often wear the baggiest clothes, like a sweatshirt and loose athletic pants, to hide the shape of my body. My mindset was, if anyone were to notice how the sides of my stomach hung over the waistband of my jeans, I’d certainly offend them. Other aspects of my physical appearance and personality also…

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To cis white women: “Who, exactly, is ‘us?’ “

 “We know that our movement is empowered when all of us lift each other up,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said to the group gathered for the Des Moines Women’s March, inside the Iowa State Capitol.     In light of the burst of anti-trans activism among some leading lesbians, and the controversial racist rhetoric coming from some organizers of the Women’s March, my question for Gillibrand and other white, cisgender women is, “Who, exactly, is ‘us?’ “     Those damn pink “pussy” hats stimulated my internal conversation, along with other…

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Journey to nonbinary

Hide and mask.  I was in fifth grade and had to catch the bus in 20 minutes. My choices for attire that day were laid out on my bed: either black gym shorts, or slightly shinier black basketball shorts. My shirt choices were all at least one size too big.  Sometimes, the other kids would ask, “Why do you wear boys’ clothes?”  I didn’t have an answer. They whispered, and sometimes spat at me, that I was the “fat tomboy.”  These sounded like dirty words.  I adapted. High school was…

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