Weekly Feminist Happenings October 6th-12th


Tuesday, October 6th

Queer Research Across the Disciplines: Queer research spans academic disciplines, and many faculty at the University of Utah are producing high-quality scholarship in disciplines such as history, medicine, English, psychology, education, and law, for example. In spring 2016, a graduate seminar on Interdisciplinary Issues in Gender and Sexuality will be taught by faculty from disciplines across campus. This PRIDE Week panel will feature three faculty who will share their scholarship and engage attendees in a discussion about queer research. Details: Starts at noon in the Union Collegiate Room in the Univeristy of Utah Union.

The New Masculinity: B. Cole has such a sophisticated analysis and vision for healthy, transformative masculinity. She is the Executive Director of the Brown Boi Project. The Brown Boi Project is a community of people working across race and gender to eradicate sexism, homophobia and transphobia and create healthy frameworks of masculinity and change. They work for Gender Justice, which means they are not satisfied with the traditional expectations of masculinity and femininity; which tend to box us in and make embodying femininity negative in our culture. Details: Starts at 6 p.m. in the University of Utah College of Social Work (395 S. 1500 East #111, Salt Lake City).

Screening of The New Black: The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community. Details: Screening from 3-4:20 with a discussion from 4:20-4:50  to follow in the Union Theatre at the University of Utah.

Screening of Out in the Night: Out in the Night is a documentary that tells the story of a group of young friends, African American lesbians who are out, one hot August night in 2006, in the gay friendly neighborhood of New York City. They are all in their late teens and early twenties and come from a low-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. Two of the women are the focus – gender non-conforming Renata Hill, a single mother with a soft heart and keen sense of humor, and petite femme Patreese Johnson, a shy and tender poet. As they and their friends walk under the hot neon lights of tattoo parlors in the West Village, an older man sexually and violently confronts them. He says to Patreese “let me get some of that” as he points below her waist. When she says that they are gay, the man becomes violent and threatens to “fuck them straight”. He spits and throws a lit cigarette. Renata and Venice defend the group and a fight begins, captured by security cameras nearby. The man yanks out hair from Venice’s head and chokes Renata. Then, Patreese pulls a knife from her purse and swings at him. Strangers jump in to defend the women and the fight escalates. As the fight comes to an end, all get up and walk away. But 911 has been called and the man involved has a puncture wound from the knife. Police swarm to the scene as their radios blast out warning of a gang attack. The women are rounded up and charged with gang assault, assault and attempted murder. Details: Screening from 5-6:30 with a discussion from 6:30-7:00  to follow in the Union Theatre at the University of Utah.

Wednesday, October 7th

Know Your Employment Rights: Do you know your rights in the workplace? Many people don’t know that LGBTQ people still don’t have federal workplace protections against discrimination. Join Career Services and U of U law professor Cliff Rosky, who helped to write Utah’s LGBTQ employment nondiscrimination protections, to learn about recent changes in nondiscrimination policies, and be empowered to enter your career as an LGBTQ professional. Details: Starts at noon in the Student Services Building Room 350.

Angel Haze Concert: Angel Haze is a critically acclaimed singer and rapper. The Detroit native uses their music to describe the struggles of physical and sexual abuse, suicide and depression. Describing themselves as pansexual, Angel Haze challenges the heterosexual-male dominated rap world, and their raw honesty and musical creativity has earned them notoriety among their peers. Details: Tickets are available at the Union front desk. Two free tickets for U students with a student ID and $10 per ticket for all others. Doors open at 8, concert starts at 9:30 in the Union Ballroom at the University of Utah.

Thursday, October 8th

Race & Policing with Mychal Denzel Smith: Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer for The Nation. His work on race, politics, social justice, pop culture, hip hop, mental health, feminism, and black male identity has appeared in various publications, including The Guardian, Ebony, The Grio, The Root, Huffington Post, Feministing, and GOOD. Follow him on Twitter @mychalsmith. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library. Reserve your seat here.

U Swap: Spring cleaning? Have clothes to donate or swap? Or just looking for a new outfit and a chance to meet new folks? For people of all sizes, shapes, and gender expressions, this is an all-ages event for trans* folks and allies. Details: From 5-7 p.m. at the LGBT Resource Center, 409 in the Union Building.

Headwater Streams and the Hidden Histories of Environmental Law: Professor Dave Owen teaches courses in environmental, natural resources, water, and administrative law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  His research focuses primarily on water resource management, and some recent projects have addressed policies to expedite dam removals and hydropower upgrades, the intersection of groundwater use regulation and the takings clause, implementation of the Endangered Species Act, and the real-world impact of California’s public trust doctrine.  He also contributes frequently to the Environmental Law Prof Blog. Details: From 12:15-1:15 at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Friday, October 9th

Pizza and Politics w/CeCe McDonald: CeCe McDonald African American trans woman and LGBTQ activist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. McDonald was released in January 2014 after serving 19 months. She was profiled in Rolling Stone among other publications and included as part of Advocate’s annual “40 Under 40” list. FREE CeCe, a documentary about McDonald’s experiences told through interviews by Laverne Cox, is in production since December 2013. The film centers on the attack on McDonald and her friends including the stabbing, her imprisonment, and violence experienced by trans women of color. In August 2014 she was awarded the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Award by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. Details: Starts at 12-1 in the Hinckley Institute of Politics (260 S Central Campus Drive).

Policy at the Podium: Family Violence Across the Life Course: Family violence is a threat to public health and can include multiple forms of maltreatment across the life course for children, teens, and young adults as well as those in mid and later life.  Basic societal conditions exist to encourage or discourage this behavior, such as cultural norms of family privacy, isolation, public policy and enforcement. Details: From 12-1:20 in the Nora Eccles and Richard A. Harrison Building (CVRTI) Room 216.

Drag Show featuring the Alter Egos: PRIDE Week Drag Show will feature the Alter Egos and Chloe Summers. U of U students and community members will also be performing. Details: Starts at 8 p.m. at the Post Theatre.

Saturday, October 10th

QSA Summit featuring Mia Mingus: The QSA Summit will be serving four main groups of people: High School Student Track(transitioning to college, growing a QSA, laws and rights); College Student Track(activism on campus/community, sustaining and growing organizations); Advisor Track(supporting QSA, laws and rights); Parent/Community Member Track(supporting a QSA, laws and rights)

Mia Mingus is a writer, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She is a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee, born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the U.S. South, and now living in Northern California. She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love. As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence. Details: From 9:30 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. at Rowland Hall (843 Lincoln St. SLC, UT 84102.

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You’re Gonna Want to Know Our New Intern

Katie Christensen

I’m so excited to announce that Kaitlyn (Katie) Christensen has joined SLC Feminist for the fall as an intern from the University of Utah. Katie is a senior at the U of U where she’s pursuing a degree in Gender Studies with minors in Sociology and Psychology. She has been a Research Assistant for local legend, Dr. Lisa Diamond the last few years. When she isn’t researching the role of religious affiliation in identity formation, she’s hanging out in South Jordan with her cat Ziggy.

Katie is writing an upcoming series on Gender Studies 101, you know, for the people who don’t want to spend $25,000 on a degree.  Her posts will include breakdowns of canonical texts, introductions to theoretical concepts, and bios of influential feminists. Here’s a little bit about Katie to prepare you for her upcoming knowledge bombs:

Chelsea: When did you first identify as a feminist?

Katie: I first identified as a feminist when I was in high school but it didn’t become a huge part of my identity until college. The issues addressed by feminism have always been important to me but I didn’t have the terminology to identify it as such until I was in a more liberal educational environment.

C: Who are your feminist role models?

K: I love Mia McKenzie (founder of Black Girl Dangerous). Her ability to write something that is important and informative, yet simultaneously personal and passionate amazes me. I hope to be able to write with her passion and honesty someday. Lately I’ve been really impressed by Anita Sarkeesian’s work on representation within gaming. She is a great example of someone working to change a sexist institution from within despite threats to her safety. I also have a big soft spot for Angela Davis, whose work on the prison industrial complex changed the way I think about the United States in general and the US prison system in particular.

C: Tell me three fun feminist facts about yourself.

K: I recently realized I own at least four overtly feminist shirts; I am the co-author of a study about the perception of gender that is currently being run; A feminist tweet I wrote was included in a CNN online article about the “#notbuyingit” campaign. I count that as being published on CNN.

C: What’s your least favorite question you get asked about feminism?

K: I absolutely hate being asked some form of the question, “Are you one of the cool feminists who doesn’t hate men?” I’ve been trying online dating and because my profile includes the word “feminism” I get that question several times a day.

C: Describe what your feminist utopia look like?

K: My feminist utopia is an amazing fantasy. I imagine a place where people have complete control over themselves and their bodies. A place where everyone’s contributions to society are recognized and valued. In my utopia, the world is not constructed to favor certain bodies over others and identities are only self-imposed. I picture a world without false-binaries or labels, in which the same opportunities are given to everyone regardless of age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, class or race.

I think Katie is going to do a great job, and I look forward to sharing her work with all of you.

Her Gender Studies 101 series will start trickling out in October! Subscribe via email so you don’t miss any of her posts!


Weekly Feminist Happenings September 29th-October 5th


Tuesday, September 29th

Pink Out Day: It’s a nationwide day of action to stand up and fight back on the attacks on Planned Parenthood. It’s going to be really cool – we’re encouraging folks to wear pink, and if they’re able, to take a photo/selfie and post it on social media with the hashtag #PinkOut. We’ll also be delivering the thousands of cards that we’ve collected to send to Gov. Herbert; we’re asking folks to RSVP here if they’re interested in joining us in-person, so we can send them more information later this week once we get the details worked out. Most of all, we’re asking folks all over the state to wear pink (if folks want a PP t-shirt, they can order one here), recruit their friends and family to wear pink, and to tell others why they are. This kind of visibility is super important to show elected officials the reality: that thousands of Utahns support Planned Parenthood, and that they won’t stand for attacks on reproductive health care.

Womyn’s Health Panel: Westminster College Sociology club is hosting a womyn’s health panel that will be discussing the latest controversy surrounding the defunding of Planned Parenthood and other related womyn’s health issues as well as providing resources. Panelists for the event are: Dr. Han Kim – Public health professor, program director; Heather Stringfellow – VP of Public Policy at PPAC; Rene Malecki – Director of the Family Justice Center for the YWCA; Alejandra Palomino – Preventative Health Program Manager for Comunidades Unidas; Kyl Myers – University of Utah Sociology Department. Details: Fromt 7-9 p.m. in the Gore Auditorium, Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business Building.

Festival of India: The Krishna Temple will host the annual Festival of India. There will be Indian food, dance, music, theatre and fireworks. Visit utahkrishnas.com for information. Details: From 5-8 p.m. at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple (8628 S. State Road, Spanish Fork).

James Balog Lecture: The photographer for the movie “Chasing Ice.” For more than 30 years, James Balog has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of our planet’s natural systems. To reveal the impact of climate change, he founded the Extreme Ice Survey, the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. The movie depicts Balog trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Utah State University Performance Hall (1090 E. 675 North, Logan).

Wednesday, September 30th

Kristen Ries & Maggie Snyder HIV/AIDS Archive Celebration: Please join us for the launch celebration of the HIV/ AIDS Archive, named for Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder. Located in the Special Collections Department at the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library, the archive aims to develop oral histories and to archive documents and other memorabilia related to the struggle against HIV/AIDS in the State of Utah. Named for the medical pioneers who first cared for HIV/AIDS patients in our State, the archive will develop an extraordinary collection concerning the multiple aspects of the struggle against the disease. Details: From 5-6:30 p.m. at the J. Willard Marriott Library (295 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City).

Devery Anderson Reading: Devery Anderson, author of Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, will discuss and sign his book. Details: Visit the King’s English for information. Starts at 7 p.m. at the The King’s English Bookshop (1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City).

Thursday, October 1st

Zoë Carpenter: The Salt Lake City Public Library invites fans of investigative journalism and progressive politics to its eight-week celebration of the 150th anniversary of “The Nation” featuring top journalists and contributors at work today. Zoë Carpenter is The Nation’s Assistant Washington Editor. She has written for Rolling Stone, Guernica, and the Poughkeepsie Journal, and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and other media outlets. She is one half of the band Tillamook Burn and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in writing and environmental politics. Follow her on Twitter @ZoeSCarpenter. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library – Main (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City).

Saturday, October 3rd

SlutWalk SLC: SlutWalk SLC is part of a global, grassroots movement to confront rape culture and end victim blaming. Details: We’ll be meeting on the West side of Washington Square at 1PM then marching to the State Capitol for a rally at 2, demanding more action toward a Community for Consent. Visit the SlutWalk SLC Facebook page for more information.

Maddy’s Race Day: Maddy’s Run is a 5k run/walk/roll benefiting the Disability Law Center and the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) Foundation honoring the life of Madelyn Jackson. Runners, walkers, wheelchairs, strollers, and dogs are welcome. Guaranteed t-shirts for all participants registered by September 14, 2015; limited supplies for race-day registrants. Great prizes, fun kids activities and refreshments available after the race. egistration and more information available here.

Monday, October 5th

The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources: Margaret Pabst Battin, M.F.A., PhD., is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Medical Ethics at the University of Utah. She has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited some 20 books, including “Drugs and Justice” and “The Patient as Victim and Vector: Ethics and Infectious Disease.” She has published two collections of essays on end-of-life issues, “The Least Worst Death and Ending Life;” a comprehensive digital archive and print volume, “The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources,” is being presented at this event. Her new projects include a book on large-scale reproductive problems of the globe and work on challenging assumptions in urban design. Details: Starts at 2 p.m. at the J. Willard Marriott Library (295 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City)

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Some Helpful Reminders About Enthusiastic Consent

 Protesters demand justice for rape victims. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters demand justice for rape victims. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Sexual violence prevention on college campuses is all over the news, which is wonderful for the millions of people on college campuses who deserve safety from violation and support should they experience it. But what about the millions of people too young to go to college? Or the people shut out of the ivory towers of academia? They deserve inclusion in the conversation too. So let’s take discussions of enthusiastic consent off of college campuses and into our homes, churches, and PTA meetings. To start your conversations you need to know what enthusiastic consent is, and unfortunately, you’re going to have to follow-up any definition with some hard and fast rules like, you don’t owe anyone sex, and consent to one sex act isn’t consent to the another. Here’s a brief guide for you during your next sex talk:

Enthusiastic consent is the only acceptable standard. 

Most of us have heard about, “No means no” as a standard for consent, but let’s start thinking in terms of, “Yes means yes.” Yes means yes approaches sex from the assumption that everyone, regardless of sex or gender, has a right to enthusiastically voice their sexual desires. It means that you should only engage in sex with someone who eagerly engages. Enthusiastic consent means having conversations before, during, and after sex about what feels good and what doesn’t. Enthusiasm isn’t just verbal, it’s non-verbal cues confirming your partner’s enjoyment (think vaginal moisture, erections, fluttering eyelids, heavy breathing). If your partner(s) not enjoying sex just as much, or more than you, it isn’t worth having.

And yes, if sex isn’t explicitly agreed upon, it’s rape.

You don’t own sex to your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or intimate partner(s). 

If someone takes you out to dinner, do you owe them sex? Unequivocally, the answer to that question is, “no!” Sex, unless you’re a commercial sex worker, is not a commodity. It is not something you owe anyone for any reason, ever. And just so we’re clear: sex workers have every right to sexual boundaries, and can disengage from a commercial transaction at any time, “I’m done, here’s your money back.” The end. A marital contract doesn’t entail ownership of bodies. A lease agreement, a cup of coffee, a brand new car–none of that means you owe someone sex.

Sex today doesn’t mean sex tomorrow. 

The video Tea Consent does a great job illustrating the absurdity of rape culture with an analogy using tea for sex (I highly recommend you watch the whole video):

“If you say, ‘Hey, would you like a cup of tea?,’ and they hem and haw and say, ‘I’m not really sure,’ then you can make them a cup of tea or not. But be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it then – this is the important bit –  don’t make them drink it.”

Tea Consent will make you laugh, but it might also make your cry because of the ridiculousness. One of the most salient points in the video is that someone who agrees to tea today doesn’t agree to tea on Tuesday. And just because someone wants sex today, doesn’t mean they’ll want it tomorrow. You always have to ask for sex before you do it–even if you’ve done it a thousand times before.

Prior consent doesn’t apply to bodies, so if you have sex without asking, it’s rape.

Consent to one sexual act does not mean consent to another.

Most sexually active adults understand this, it’s what prevents us from going straight from something like vaginal penetration to anal penetration without asking. I use that example a lot in presentations and conversations, and everyone nods enthusiastically. Well, what’s so different about going from kissing to hands down the pants without asking? Answer: there is no difference. This is about the time that rigid white policymakers start talking about, “Well, so you have to stop, look them in the eye, and ask robotically.” That’s a tactic used to derail the conversation, and it also tells us that they’re having ridiculously awful sex. There is a sexy way to ask for consent. Imagine whispering, “I’d like to {insert sex act here} to your sexy body. Is that okay with you, baby?” Asking gives your partner a chance to say no (remember to watch their body language and listen to their response) and it gives you a chance to do exactly what they want during sexy time. How hot is that?

If you start a sexual act when you don’t have permission, it’s rape.

Enthusiastic consent isn’t a difficult concept, but it challenges some closely held cultural beliefs. So prepare yourself for an onslaught of frightening challenges, and a scary glimpse into the sex lives of people around you. But don’t back down (unless you feel unsafe), because these conversations are critical in college campuses, homes, and any other venue you can access. Talking about consent in a cut and dried way is one of the best steps anyone can take to end sexual violence. It also happens to be the key to unlocking some raucous, satisfying sex.

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I Don’t Regret My Vasectomy–One Man’s Story

doctor saying no

{Ed. Note: This is a guest post by Scott Morley, freelance Software Engineer, avid trail runner and caretaker of unwanted pugs.}

I’ve never wanted children.

I’ve never wanted children, and as far back as I can remember, this has always been the case. You could attribute this to growing up with an abusive father. Or to me knowing that I’m too selfish to make room for something that is completely and utterly dependent upon me to survive (other than my medically needy pug, Sausage). Or to something else entirely, but the bottom line is: I don’t want children.

Armed with this knowledge, I wanted to take steps to ensure that children didn’t accidentally enter the picture. The easiest and most sensical action for me was to get a vasectomy. A vasectomy is an outpatient surgery that only requires local anesthetic. Additionally, insurance companies are usually quite keen to foot the bill since a quick outpatient procedure is far cheaper than a child. Armed with that knowledge, I scheduled a consultation with my primary care physician and assumed I was only weeks away from blissful sterility. However, as soon as I entered the doctor’s office I realized that it wasn’t going to be easy. Although I knew what I wanted and was completely committed to my decision, my physician did not support my choice. 

Too young for healthcare, but not a child.

My doctor said that twenty-three was too young to know what I really wanted. He assured me that everyone changes their mind as they get older. I asked if it was common to deny this procedure and my doctor said it was standard to ask people to wait until they were older. He also insisted that another doctor was likely to give me the same answer. “Older” is a very vague term, and I wasn’t able to get a definitive answer about just when I would be “old enough.” I left feeling powerless, overwhelmed by the inability to make my own life decisions.

It wasn’t until twenty-eight that I received the “blessing” from my physician. Why twenty-eight was old enough to make such a decision wasn’t ever clear to me, but I wasn’t going to argue the point (it is worth noting that an entirely different set of clandestine rules apply if you have a uterus and want to make a similar decision). I scheduled an appointment with the specialist described to me as, “The Ikea of Vasectomies.”

The long-awaited procedure.

After five years of waiting, I was pretty much bouncing on my toes when the appointment arrived. Doctor Ikea was very knowledgable and we discussed various types of vasectomies that could be performed. The first and most easily reversible was to simply tie a knot in the vas deferens. This is also the least foolproof and reliable procedure. The second option was to cut and cauterize the vas deferens which could potentially be reversed and was very reliable. The final option, and the one that I chose, was to cut a large section of the vas deferens out and to cauterize both ends. The doctor had never successfully reversed this last type and only had one instance where it wasn’t effective. In that case the patient had a third vas deferens which wasn’t discovered during the initial procedure (poor guy!). Feeling confident with my selection, I scheduled the operation.

On the morning of the procedure, I arrived feeling relaxed and completely ready to go under the knife. It took place in a chair similar to what you would sit in at the dentist. The doctor asked if I would like to watch, and of course, I did. He quickly made a small incision for each vas deferens tube, removed a section and then cauterized the ends. It was that simple. I don’t remember how many dissolvable stitches I received but it couldn’t have been more than a handful. I didn’t feel any pain other than the initial shots and couldn’t believe how quickly it was over. I left with a numbness that quickly faded to a dull ache. The ache persisted for the next two days but it was nothing that a couple of ibuprofen couldn’t handle.

After my vasectomy.

Sex after the vasectomy was painless. I noticed a slight feeling of pressure during orgasm for the next month but nothing after that. That sensation has only briefly returned twice after periods of being single without a sexual partner. I have never regretted my vasectomy and have nothing but gratitude for the ability to control my own reproductive destiny. Although I can now understand wanting to see the person that a child would grow into (particularly when you have someone in your life that you believe would raise an amazing human being), I wouldn’t make a different choice today. It was the best $15 dollars, my insurance co-pay at the time, that I ever spent.

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