Five Women You Ought To Know In 2015

Five Women You Ought To Know In 2015

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There are many women that are considered influential in this day and age. Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, and more are noted for their accomplishments and impact. However, there are many other women doing (dare I say it) more important and groundbreaking things for feminism and women around the world. Here are five women you should know in 2015!


1. Bree Newsome

Bree Newsome created waves and made headlines when she scaled the South Carolina capital flagpole and took down the confederate flag. After a confederate-flag-flying white man took the lives of nine black men and women in Charleston this summer, the conversation around the flag gained more momentum than ever before. Heritage or hate? Newsome, believing it was the latter, told the police, "You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!"


2. Malala Yousafzai




Eighteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai made headlines in 2012 when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman and survived the attack. Yousafzai caused controversy in Pakistan when she began advocating for education for girls and women. She began blogging about the Taliban and their threats to deny her and other girls an education. Even after the shooting, Yousafzai continued (and continues) to speak out and was the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.


3. Danielle Tansino

Danielle Tansino started the non-profit organization and campaign Red My Lips in 2012 after she was sexually assaulted after she had been out drinking. The moment and hashtag has gained serious momentum this year that it has lacked in the past. When Tansino wanted to press chargers against her attacker, the female district attorney told her that they would not prosecute because the jurors "do not like girls who drink." Red My Lips has become an outlet for survivors of sexual assault and rape who did not receive justice and/or who have been blamed for their attack. Victim blaming is not uncommon in rape cases, especially if the woman had been drinking. Their mission statement reads, "Our mission is to transform our culture of sexual violence by educating, inspiring, and mobilizing a global community to red their lips, raise their voices, and create real change."


4. Emma Sulkowicz

After Columbia University did not offer Sulkowicz any assistance after her sexual assault, she decided to carry her mattress everywhere she went until her rapist was expelled. "Carry That Weight," the name of her senior performance art project and movement, received much support and publicity nationwide. Both Sulkowicz and her attacker graduated in May 2015, and she walked across the stage with the mattress, with the help of other female students. This project raised significant awareness about rape and sexual assault on the college campus and how, sadly, many attackers do not receive any repercussions for their actions.http://gazettereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mas_Malala1.jpg

5. Laverne Cox

Best known for her role on the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, Cox has become a major player in the advocacy for transgender women. She was the first transgender women to be nominated for an Emmy award, and used this publicity to bring light to and help open doors for transgender individuals. Cox uses her fame to break down stereotypes surrounding her and other LGBT men and women. Along with this, she has also (knowingly or unknowingly) began to change the idea of what is considered beautiful in modern day media and society. “It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist."


Though the accomplishments of women, specifically women of color or LGBT women, do not receive the same publicity or recognition as the accomplishments of men, women like these five listed (and many more!) help pave the way for both male and female by creating a more feminist, and therefore more equal world.

Cover Image Credit: http://gazettereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mas_Malala1.jpg

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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