University of Utah Statement for Employees on Preferred Pronouns

Preferred names and pronounsThe University of Utah is my alma mater, and I’m a proud graduate for many reasons, but today this is why I’m proud to be a Ute! Ruth Watkins, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Vivian Lee, Senior Vice President of Health Sciences recently sent out a letter regarding preferred pronouns and names to faculty/staff on campus. The University of Utah’s LGBT Resource Center has provided students, staff, and faculty with services and perspective since 2002. As evidenced by this letter, they are making the campus a more inclusive place by collaborating with other campus and community organizations. The letter about preferred pronouns (pictured above) reads:

“In order to continue our efforts to create an open and inclusive university community, we ask all faculty and staff to call students by their preferred name, as found in the Campus Information System (CIS). In addition, if a student has requested to be referred to by a particular preferred gender pronoun, we ask that you honor that request.
Should you need more information or resources on preferred names and gender pronouns or on LGBTQIA issues generally, please see

We thank you for your continued efforts to make our campus a welcoming place for all and appreciate all that you do to make this a great institution.”

A small, but important step in the right direction for trans*, non-binary, and genderqueer students and staff. Go Utah!

A Guide for Going Cruelty-Free (Minus the Shame & Privilege)

natalie and thelma

Thelma loves being scratched behind her ears–just like your dog.

“Feminism goes hand in hand with veganism–the liberation of all beings. Feminism isn’t just about women–it is about everyone being equals” -Jessica Davies, owner of Passion Flour Patisserie

Most folks with a feminist ideology look back at their early days of activism and see glaring holes in their theory and practice, but fortunately for us, feminism isn’t concrete, and it usually evolves for the better. I think my feminist ideology is on the move, and I’ve reached out to my dear friend, feminist, and brilliant animal rights activist, Natalie Blanton to share with you some of her perspectives on living life as an ecofeminist. Check it out!


Animal rights is a feminist issue.

And I need you to know this. This is my truth. And, as we all know, there are many different feminist camps–but this is one I am particularly passionate about. I’m from Heber, UT  (damn near Vernal) where hyper-masculinity, wrestling, hunting, and rodeo are the only “sports” people get excited about. I spent much of my youth on horse-back, in rodeo culture, and yes, eating the occasional deer jerky. I discovered feminism as I was leaving the Mormon church in my early teenage years, this faith-based conservative cocktail was also inextricably tied in with my rural upbringing, and the normalized exploitation of animals [and women] that I was raised within.

It was from this unexpected space that I began to realize the vital connections between humans and animals, and the complex systems and institutions that continually try to wedge and sever those ties. We live in a world where everything that we buy, cook, ingest, clean our homes with, put on our faces, in our hair, and on our children, is filled with animal by-products. This might not shock or disturb you at this point, but I ask you to look deeper at what is on your plate, or in your makeup — and where it came from — because it is a feminist issue.

What is veganism?

Veganism is the deliberate aversion and opposition to a system built upon animal exploitation. Vegan feminists or Feminists for Animal Rights take the personal is political ideology beyond an “abstract respect for animals” and embody that respect in their daily lives and choices. I am not here to preach about veganism, and how you must “convert” or else — but I do write to educate and enlighten — because I believe in the words of Paul McCartney that, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Ignorance isn’t ever bliss, and especially not in this case. Not only do animal lives depend on it, but our health, and the sustainability of this planet we call home depends on us making a change.

On Animal “Production”

I strive to foster this human/animal connection, and remind humans that animals are not ours to use, eat, exploit, or experiment on. We are all earthlings. And that matters. I believe animal rights is a feminist issue because living, sentient bodies are not on this earth for the capitalist patriarchy to perpetually profit from. We all know slaughterhouses are horrific. But, in this industrialized nation of ours, dairy, eggs, and pork industries are very much tied to the productive capabilities of a female cow, chicken, or pig, and the systemic control over that body, her life chances, and the offspring she is forced to bear, repeatedly, but will never be able to raise naturally.

[Read more…]

Planned Parenthood Supporters Rally At Utah Capitol

Rally at capitolPlanned Parenthood supporters flooded the Utah State Capitol last night, many wearing pink, some holding signs, and all of them pissed off about Governor Gary R. Herbert’s decision to put politics over good policy by cutting funding for abstinence education, STI screenings, and reparations for victims of sexual assault. Over a thousand people (or more by my estimate) showed up to #StandWithPP at Tuesday’s press conference where Planned Parenthood CEO, Karrie Galloway kicked the night off with a stern reminder that “The governor has chosen politics over health care.”

Herbert’s decision is clearly political–funding cuts came the night before the Utah Republican State Convention. Speakers throughout the night reiterated that this decision isn’t about abortion services, because none of the diverted money funded abortion–only medical procedures and education services. Candidate for House District 9, Steve Olson, a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aptly pointed out that Herbert’s decision will likely cause an increase in abortions because of service cuts.

One of the night’s most powerful stories came from Leah Weisgal, President of Westminster’s Students for Choice, and a former recipient of Planned Parenthood’s services. Leah’s overcame heroin addiction, and went on to thrive in higher education, which she credits to the life-saving abortion she received from Planned Parenthood at age fourteen (Weisgal was a victim of abuse). Several other student activists shared their stories about the transformative power of Planned Parenthood’s after-school education programs, which are the most impacted by Herbert’s funding cuts.

But it wasn’t all students and service recipients at the rally, several politicians came out to show their support, including: Representative Angela Romero (D), Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D), and Senator Jim Dabakis (D) to name a few. Representative Romero recalled moving to Salt Lake City from Tooele as a young adult without healthcare, and Planned Parenthood was the only place she could go for her annual gynecological exam. Romero made it clear that she stood in front of the crowd as a practicing Catholic, but that her religious views and her support of the organization go hand-in-hand.

Everyone present did a great job, but the speaker who stole the show was the passionate and irreverent, Reverend Topher Mehlhoff. Mehlhoff, is a Christian Minister in Salt Lake City who is a vocal supporter of a woman’s right to choose. He came to remind the throngs of people that:

Opponents of PP do not have a monopoly on the God who cares for everyone. So next time you hear someone shooting their mouth off about what God hates, please, tell them from me: Do NOT use my Lord’s name is vain.

Topher explained to  everyone, including the handful of anti-choice protestors in the crowd, that the God he believes in supports free agency:

This God is for pregnancy testing for poor women and families. This God is for diagnosing and treating diseases in victims of rape and sexual assault. This god is for educating women about their bodies. This God is for women. 

The night ended with stories from the crowd about how Planned Parenthood has positively impacted their lives–a perfect way to round out the evening in front of what Representative Romero repeatedly called, “the people’s house.” As of this article Governor Herbert has not changed his position. I urge you to continue writing his office, it only takes a minute, and you can use these tips on how to write public officials. Keep an eye out for more updates on how you can support your local Planned Parenthood clinic, and thank you to everyone who showed up Tuesday night!

Women’s Freedom Conference: Call for Submissions by 8/31


If you’re a woman of color with fire in your heart for the liberation of women, we seek to hear from you.

The Women’s Freedom Conference is an all digital conference centering the experiences of women of color, and they’re looking for submissions! The submission deadline is August 31st–submit your proposal here. The Women’s Freedom Conference goals include:

“Providing practical, real-world information from a diverse group of women, many of whom are actively working to improve the lives of women of color around the world, and making this information available to as many people as possible. Participants will engage in conversations and actions focused on the liberation of women of color, as this conference is created to promote solidarity, sisterhood, and empowerment.”

Again, I repeat, this is an all digital conference. No travel is required, and applicants from around the world are encouraged to apply. Scheduled presenters at this time include:Kathryn Finney, Majora Carter, Bassey Ikpi, Mikki Kendall, and Mona Eltahawy.

Remember to use #WFC2015 on social media, follow @WmnFreedomConf on Twitter, and visit the conference website for more information on submission guidelines.

Share this post with the women of color in your life and encourage them to apply.

Weekly Feminist Happenings August 25th-31st

Honey Launch Event

Tuesday, August 25th

Stand with Planned Parenthood Demonstration: It’s time to stand with Planned Parenthood. On Friday, Aug. 14, Gov. Gary Herbert announced that he intended to issue an executive order barring Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding via state agencies. This specifically targets programs that test for and treat STIs and critical education programs. Planned Parenthood’s doors will remain open — but it’s time to stand with Planned Parenthood. We need to tell Gov. Herbert: don’t play politics with our lives!

Join us for an official press conference from Planned Parenthood and a community-led rally to follow. If you can, please wear pink. We’ll be providing some signs and encourage you to make your own (though we are encouraging folks to avoid explicit language and profanity). We’ll also be providing cards that you can fill out to send to Gov. Herbert. Details: From 6-7 p.m. at the Utah State Capitol.

What Goes Around Comes Around: Bonnie Monteleone, an artist and plastic marine debris researcher from the University of North Carolina, is debuting her exhibition from the Plastic Ocean Project. Exhibits include her recreation of “The Great Wave of Kanagawa” a print and recreation of Katsushika Hokusai’s work from 1829…made completely from ocean plastics collected in a 10,000 mile radius! Details: The exhibit runs through October 8th at the Marriott Library on the University of Utah Campus (level 3).

Wednesday, August 26th

What Do You Think, Utah? Sexual Assault on Campus: This months “What Do You Think Utah?” will be called “Sexual Assault On Campus”. Guests will include: Holly Mullen, the Executive Director of the Rape Recovery Center.Krista Pickens, Director of The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the University of Utah. Tiffany Thorne, a survivor of Sexual Assault and a community activist. Bruce Baird, an attorney and political advisor. And, as always, the discussion will be moderated by Bill Allred from The Radio From Hell Show on X96. Details: Doors open at 6 p.m. and the  discussion starts promptly at 7 at The 50 West Club and Cafe, located at 50 West Broadway in Salt Lake City. Admission is free.

Lit Knit, Literary Knitting!: Join Catherine the Knit Chick for crafts and conversation! Lit Knit is held the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month. Details: From 6-8 p.m. at Weller Book Works (607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City).

Thursday, August 27th

Mark Hertsgaard, “The Environment:” Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation’s environment correspondent, is an independent journalist and the author of six books that have been translated into 16 languages, including HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. For twenty years, Hertsgaard has written about global warming for outlets including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, NPR, the BBC, and The Nation. Follow him on Twitter @markhertsgaard. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library – Main (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City).

Friday, August 28th

Honey Launch Party: Honey, an organization that focuses on victim advocacy and education on the topic of sexual assault, will launch a crowd-funding campaign, hold a silent auction, and allow you to learn more about its future endeavors and missions. This event is free and open to the public. It will be a part of Salt Lake City’s gallery stroll. Details: From 6-10 p.m. at Studio Elevn (435 W. 400 South, # 304 , Salt Lake City)

Peruvian Festival in Utah: Enjoy the Peruvian music, rock concert, Zumba, Salsa and folklore show with more of 100 performers, art painting, crafts, dancing, fun for kids and its exquisite and award food. This 2015 the festival includes the “Peruvian Food Fair.” Come with your family to enjoy delicious Peruvian Food: Lomo Saltado, Inca Kola, Tamales, Anticuchos, Grilled Steak, Ceviche, Huancaina, Picarones, Chicha morada, Fried rice and more. Details: From 2-9:30 p.m. at the Bountiful City Park (400 N. 200 West, Bountiful) This is a family event and free admission.

Saturday, August 29th

Women of the Mountains Fundraiser: Fundraiser for the Women of the Mountains Conference to bring awareness of both sustainable mountain development and gender issues in mountain communities. Free film screening of To Climb a Gold Mountain produced by Alex Azmi, Silent Auction, food and music. Details: From 6-9 p.m. at the Pacific Heritage Academy (1755 W 1100 N). Free admission, donations welcomed.

Japanese Fall Festival “Aki Matsuri:” Home of the Kenshin Taiko drummers — hear the beat, watch the artful moves, and experience the energy!

  • Japanese food menu: futomaki sushi, inari sushi, manju (Japanese bean pastries), gyoza (pot stickers), agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu), spam musubis (teriyaki spam wrapped in seaweed), somen noodle salad, chicken teriyaki obento box, and Japanese noodles. Cool off with a shaved ice delight (shaved ice, red bean, and morsels of fruit).
  • Japanese arts, crafts, entertainment, exhibits, kids face painting and opportunity drawing.
  • Silent auction/Japanese painting by local artist Ron Nishijima

Details: Admission free; free parking; located one block south of Energy TRAX station. Hosted at the Japanese Church of Christ (268 W 100 S) from noon to 6 p.m.

Ride to Zero: The Combat Veteran’s Motorcycle Association, the U’s National Center for Veteran Studies, the American Hitmen, and the Royal Bar present the first annual Ride to Zero. All proceeds will go to further research and treatment for veterans through the NCVS. Details: Registration and family events from 9:30-12; Kick stands up at 1; Concert at 5–all held at The Royal (4760 S. 900 E.).

Monday, August 31st

Volunteer with the Utah Rivers Council: Help out Utah Rivers Council this summer at fun events across the Wasatch Front! We need volunteers to help staff with community outreach at farmers’ markets and other unique events throughout the summer. Volunteers will help promote our new RainHarvest program, which provides discounted rain barrels to residents to help reduce Utah’s nation leading water use (per-person). This is a great chance to get out in the community and to help Utah’s amazing rivers. Details: If you’d like to get involved contact Amanda at or Nick at

Have an event you want included in the Weekly Feminist Happenings? Tell us here!