Accessibility to higher education

Going to college in my family was always a given – many of my family members on my mom’s side have at least a Bachelor’s degree and some have Master’s. From a young age, I was socialized into the idea that I would get no where without a college degree and it wasn’t a matter of if I would go but instead, a matter of what school and what field of study. And as a white, middle class, Honor Roll student with lots of volunteer experience, getting in was yet another given. I had a lot of privilege that helped with my acceptances to several schools so even though I only applied to five schools my senior year of high school, I got into all but one (and the one I didn’t get into, I was wait listed). I had (and still do have) all the odds stacked in my favor for university admissions, despite my mother’s unnecessary anxiety.

I spent the first year and a half at my alma mater with my head down and focused on acclimating to a new school and city and meeting new people. I went to my classes, participated in a select few school clubs, and hung out with the people on my dorm floor. I wasn’t out as queer during this time and I spent so much energy trying to stay in the closet, especially since I went to a Catholic university. The more I tried to be like most of my campus, the more I hated it there.

Finally the second semester of my sophomore year rolls around and as well as publicly coming out as a queer person, I started privately meeting with other students about the issues we were all facing at our school. Through these meetings I realized that I wasn’t alone in how I felt about the school and that there were so many issues of racism, heteronormativity, ableism, classism, and other things that made being on campus incredibly difficult for many minority students.

It was through this smallish group of people that I learned the biggest lessons of my college career and was pushed the most academically. This was the point where I learned about how people with disabilities had issues navigating the system, what microaggressions were, and how my friends who were people of color faced an incredibly different experience than I did. I learned with this group that higher education is not built for diversity, for people who challenge the status quo. But even with meeting with this group of incredible game changing individuals, I still felt alone on campus. We were just a few on campus and the more I pushed back on the rest of the campus (faculty and students alike), the more was pushed back on me. And I thought this was just a problem that my school faced, making the journey even more difficult.

But then I realized it was a systemic issue that was faced by so many other colleges and students. I started getting in touch with several other students from religious universities around the country who also shared experiences of heteronormativity and rejection for being LGBTQ+. Being queer on a religious campus can be incredibly difficult – some schools (like the Catholic University of America) have repeatedly rejected students’ efforts to form LGBTQ+ student clubs. It took several years for Holy Cross affiliated schools like University of Notre Dame and University of Portland to grant official status to LGBTQ+ clubs but even then, microaggressions still exist on the campuses and help reinforce heteronormativity. George Fox University in Newberg, OR has a terrible reputation for how it handles LGBTQ+ students, like how they denied a trans student housing.

Hashtags like #BecauseIAm, #ITooAmHarvard (and other similar ones), and #CanYouHearUsNow have highlighted the issues of racism, misogyny, heteronormativity, etc that exist on many campuses.

The above video is a spoken word poem that highlights the disparities of race at UCLA and the statistics of black men on the campus.

Being on a college campus is hard when you are a minority, especially since the microaggressions from students, faculty, and administration often make it clear that they do not want you there. Not only does higher education need to be more accessible financially but the atmospheres need to be more accepting.

Emma Watson, Feminism, and the UN

So much of my social media has been splattered for days with Emma Watson’s recent #HeForShe speech at the UN and it’s getting incredibly annoying to see all the white women in my life praise Watson for what sounded like a rather bland speech that seemed to have spent too much time focusing on men. But not everyone is happy with the speech and many criticisms have surfaced, with incredibly fantastic points that call out the bullshit that is involved with the speech.

mainstream feminism, of which celebrity feminism is a derivation, has an intersectionality problem: it advocates for women but consistently fails to recognise that women are not just white, middle-class, cisgender, western, and/or able-bodied. it fails to include narratives of sex workers and migrants and women who may be living at the margins as a result of their stigmatised identities. let me stop mincing words here: white mainstream feminism is largely egotistical, erasing, self-serving and self-centring, plagiarising drivel that dresses itself up as progressive gender politics. it is unimpressive, and frankly, emma watson’s speech is no different from any of the soft liberal gender advocacy i could go read in the guardian.

From – emma watson, the “game-changer,” and the pitiful standards of celebrity feminism

That has to be one of my favorite quotes criticizing the white mainstream feminism that currently exists and often dominates. As a white person who identifies as a feminist, I’m still trying to unlearn the things I was socialized and conditioned with, including many things that white mainstream feminism preaches.

Another critique comes from Amy McCarthy, whose piece also focuses on how Watson’s speech wasn’t a game changing aspect for anything, especially feminism – Sorry, Privileged White Ladies, but Emma Watson Isn’t a ‘Game Changer’ for Feminism. Mia Mckenzie, from Black Girl Dangerous, also wrote about Watson’s speech, critiquing the idea that because cis men benefit from gender inequality, they have no stake in dismantling the system that allows gender inequality.  The last piece I’ll include for now is from Black Feminist Killjoy on tumblr, who similarly highlighted the fact that Watson’s speech lacked intersectionality, focused too much on and centered men, and was highly westernized.

All of the pieces I’ve highlighted have done a significantly better job highlighting the problematic nature of Emma Watson’s speech than I could ever do and in a sea of blinded praise, it was nice to see others being bothered by what had been said.

Ferguson and Race in the US (Updated)

Similar to Palestine and Gaza, I’m literally going to have nothing new to the discussions and movement surrounding what has been happening in Ferguson. As a white person living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m incredibly removed from the situation and anything I say has already been said in a much better way by other people (particularly by black activists). So instead of writing my own thing on what’s happening, I’ll just collect resources and stories that I have found particularly useful over the past week and a half.

11 things white people need to stop saying to black people immediately

Incite! Women of Color Against Violence

@Prisonculture’s suggested reading list on police violence 


Ferguson Crisis Manual (an important thing to read if you’re in or around Freguson)

Donations for #MikeBrown (Including the Michael Brown Memorial Fund)

Feed the Students of Ferguson

Stark Racial Divisions over Reactions to Ferguson Police Shooting

7 documentaries you can watch to better understand what’s happening in Ferguson (Most seem to be on YouTube)

People you should check out on Twitter:

@feministajones (started and organized #NMOS14)





There is so much social media information about what’s happening, with the media’s presence apparently been pushed away from areas. Most of my information and knowledge of what’s happening has been through Twitter and Tumblr.

These resources are just the beginning to what has been happening and I’ll probably continue to add sources as I go.

September 18th update:

Shaun King exposes corruption 

Justice for Mike Brown tumblr (which updates quite frequently)

Sept. 18th morning update from above tumblr



Changing my ways

A couple weeks ago, I started thinking about the way in which I compartmentalize my life. I started contagiousqueer around a year ago, directly after lashing out at a peer for his problematic views but also because I was starting to realize that if I didn’t compartmentalize my life, there would be no way I could survive.

Over the past two years, many of my political views have drastically changed but the people around me didn’t. The people close to me stayed the same and in some cases, continued to believe problematic things. I tried for a while to correct the things I still see as problematic but a year ago, I was still holding onto a lot of pain and suffering and that showed in the way in which I responded to people. My activism and my pain and my suffering was all starting to negatively impact my relationships with other people and ended up causing more pain for myself. I felt like I was spiraling into a negative space, one that I wasn’t sure if I could get out of.

So I decided to dramatically cut back on my activism in my relationships with important people in my life and instead, funnel all my activism into a place where I felt safe. Thus, contagiousqueer was born. This is a place that I know to be safe, a place where I could grow without having to constantly argue with people over their problematic views and behavior. I did this mostly out of survival – knowing that if I were to continue to go down the road I was before, it would be disastrous.

At the same time, I started to realize that I was constantly hitting a brick wall when talking to many people in my life. More often than not, the people in my life were and continue to be completely unwilling to listen and change. They come to me and talk about social issues, knowing my passion and background in sociology; but instead of wanting to form a connection with me, it only appears that these people in my life want to show how political savvy they are and how great they are.

Slowly, I’m starting to cut more toxic people out of my life, which has been incredible for my mental health. At least for now, I’ll never be able to cut my family out but over the last few weeks, they’ve made some small steps that have made me a little hopeful. Getting rid of Facebook was also an incredible step because unsurprisingly, most of the people I know are pretty racist in their own ways.