mythbusting: a love story

New zine! All about mythbusting your locker talk cosmo horror story sexual health nightmares! real talk about STI transmission and risk, navigating safer sex, and of course personal stories and anecdotes from a non-expert! enjoy!

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download links here, print double sided!

http://jmp.sh/vbuPcwc

I’m walking a fine line of fact and personal narrative–let me just remind folks that I AM NOT A SEXPERT! I do my best to give accurate information and science/fact-based resources to dispell common misconceptions or myths about STIs and pregnancy. That being said, I would really encourage folks to do their own personal due dilegence and find the info they need.

Some great resources for teens are:

scarleteen.com

https://www.sexualhealthinnovations.org/

http://www.youthresource.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/lacigreen

^She’s great! Check out one of her videos here:

 

FEAR: A Love Story

I decided to keep exploring emotion words–

download the PDF here: http://jmp.sh/0QaqCs2

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My inspiration for this zine came from this photo series (thank you rookie) and also from the feedback I got about Angry .This is another double-sided zine, but I wanted to play around a little more with the space I have on the inner page. I’ve noticed that it’s kind of fumbley and weird to unfold and refold the zine, so I’m going to keep experimenting with what’s on the insides. For this zine, I chose to do a collage because there was way too much floating around in my head that I felt like I wasn’t conveying visually or otherwise in the 8 panels.

Warning: It’s pretty real

self care: a love story

 

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Download links here (double sided, print front to back if possible):

 

http://jmp.sh/5AVhyvb

This is one of my newer zines on self-care/community care. In some ways, this is a relatively straight forward concept. Again, the struggle of taking a lot of thoughts and ideas and long-winded ramblings, the perspectives of my badass heroes, and art/collage into two pages…Did I succeed? You be the judge!

In this issue you will find:

-Various examples of self care

-Some of my personal story on why i think self care is rad and important

-Thoughts from some really smart and thoughtful people about the importance of self care and healing in community

 

For a long time, thinking about self-care just made me feel super guilty– I got hung up on what I should be doing/wasn’t doing well enough. As time goes on, I’ve been able to recognize a lot of things I do that are self-care that aren’t necessarily the best, healthiest, safest things to do (i.e. overloading on internet TV, self-mutilation, totally isolating myself from other people, etc. Many of us who are using drugs and alcohol, struggling with eating disorders, filling every second of our time with social activities or totally hermitting away from others are dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, and ultimately oppression in the best/only ways we know how. I want to stop limiting myself to “good” self-care, and being gentle and non-judgmental of myself when I can’t treat myself with love and respect. It’s ultimately my goal to re-work these habits,which is why I don’t use drugs or drink or smoke cigarettes anymore. I want to encourage other people to do the same, to observe what works and doesn’t work and move towards change when they can.

I think there is some really rad social justice activism happening that really centers healing and health as a key part of social change, especially disability justice activists, communities of color, queer folks, etc. Another self-care myth is that caring for ourselves is something we do alone–hence the “self” part of “self-care”. While it may be a key part of our healing to take time for personal mindfulness, alone time, solo dates, etc. what is keeping us from sharing our healing with others? Why do we need to take “time out” from our movements, to dissapear into our cocoons to heal and grow, when the process of witnessing and encouraging each other’s personal work can lend so much motivation and inspiration? When there’s healing work that can’t be done alone? When there’s trauma that is affecting our whole communities, our relationships, our families? For more thoughts on this, and to check out the writers who I reference in this zine, hit these links:

[some context: these blog posts all came up in response to a different writer’s post that was criticizing self-care in radical communities, so a lot of these writers were directly responding to that]

from pg 8: http://adriennemareebrown.net/blog/2012/10/15/how-about-a-beginning-of-self-determined-care/ adrienne maree

pgs 13-14 http://nayamaya.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/communities-of-care-organizations-for-liberation/ yashna padamsee

and just all of this: http://www.brownstargirl.org/blog/for-badass-disability-justice-working-class-and-poor-lead-models-of-sustainable-hustling-for-liberation leah lakshmi

Some closing thoughts….

How do you do you? Who helps you do your best self-care? Who do you share your self-care practice with? How do we start opening our vulnerable processes to others? What healing traditions do our communities/families/identity groups historically practice? What parts of our self-care practice are borrowed from other cultures and identity groups? What are some new things you want to add to your self-care practice?

WE NEED TO TALK: a love story

download links here:

http://jmp.sh/CkgFQc8

This is another double-sided zine, (prints front to back) about COMMUNICATION, RELATIONSHIPS, and CONSENT.

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If I haven’t been clear about this in my other posts, my intention with this project was to make  zines that are more ACCESSIBLE- to young people, folks outside of the DIY/zine scene, and although I’m taking a personal narrative approach I want to have representations of all kinds of gender expressions, races, bodies, relationship statuses, learning/communication styles. It’s a lot to keep in mind, and I really want to know when I’m not hitting the mark with this. It’s felt really awesome to have my creative process be focused in an anti-oppression framework, that I can sit down and think of inclusion in a way that is creative and artistic as well as personal and political.

I was really feeling the limitation of my form for this zine, because it’s such a huge topic area and I could go a million different directions with this. But really, this is why I chose to make one page zines, because it forces me to reduce things into sound bites and get to the point. I can’t say that I really understand tumblr and twitter, but I want to stay relevant so I try to imagine what I’m saying as like a hashtag or something….Oh dear. Part of me is really resistant to this, like oh my god what is the world coming to if I’m trying to imagine my work as hashtags. But forreal, as huge and massive as these concepts are, it’s not going to help anyone but trying to complicate and problematize everything…things should start kind of simple, right? I want to talk about these topics in a way that is brief and catchy, aesthetically pleasing, and memorable without oversimplifying.

You can get at me through my email, jamesrosedewitt@gmail.com if you have feedback, have ideas for future topics, want to collaborate, or want to share the zines!

trans* history

to follow up from all my hypothetical musings about trans* history, here is the link to the zine:

http://jmp.sh/YGW8698

(it’s double-sided again, so you want to print them front to back)

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INSIDE YOU WILL FIND:

-stories of gender non- conformance throughout history!

-positive images of trans* people in the media today

-some thoughts on transmisogyny

-an homage to some folks who inspired me when i was just first coming out as trans*….this is painfully too short but in the future i would like to give more focus and attention to some amazing trans elders in my life and in the world.

I posted a couple months ago about my process in developing this zine…I’m gonna re-post some of this here:

My inspiration came from Leslie Feinberg’s book Transgender Warriors– I wanted to use a similar style, sharing trans history through my own process of researching and discovery. When I first started learning about transgender history, the only common stories I knew of trans* people were from pop culture and the media. The ways we see trans people portrayed is so limited. Pop culture is full of “hilarious” men in dresses (Mrs Doubtfire, Some Like It Hot) or criminal sexual deviants (the crying game, silence of the lambs).

But there is so much legacy of transgender people throughout history who were powerful, respected members of their communities, leaders, shamans, honored, revered.

And what about all the living, breathing, everyday people in the world who are loving, kind, creative, intelligent, beautiful people, who happen to be trans?

So in making this zine and looking for images, I tried to brainstorm some important historical moments (I was heavily influenced by Feinberg’s text, and so I mention a variety of mythical figures/gods/goddesses from Greece, Rome, Egypt, etc who are known for their androgyny, balancing the masculine and feminine, etc). Finding all of these images was not so big of a deal. It was SO MUCH HARDER to find images of incidentally transgender people, just looking happy and healthy and in their own contexts, not a pride parade or march. I ended up using really hilarious keywords in my google image search, like: happy transgender, trans people having fun, trans love, gender variant, transgender, androgyny, sacred androgyny, transgender anarchy…. i found some good images that I probably won’t use in the zine, and some other really ridiculous ones…

i also came across a few good articles, this one on understanding transmisogyny:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/03/06/a-beginners-guide-to-trans-misogyny/

this awesome zine, out of the closets and into the libraries:

http://zinelibrary.info/files/outoftheclostets.pdf

trans oral history project! didn’t even know about this:

http://transoralhistory.com/story-bank

really beautiful art/autoethnography project about queer Native American community:

http://ahdm4u.com/2013/06/26/queer-traditionally-speaking-sass-uncovers-gender-variant-native-legacy/

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I thought of so many people I wanted to include in this zine… I still could down the line. I want to sort of bookmark them here: Justin Vivian Bond, Isis from ANTM, Zackary Drucker, Carmen Carrera, Lauren Cameron, Amos Mac, Kate Bornstein, DavEnd, Sasha Fleischman…more on this soon! Maybe I’ll do some little highlights on those folks here on the blog! Do you have some trans* heroes?? Tell me all about it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angry: A Love Story

download ANGRY: A LOVE STORY at:

http://jmp.sh/Bpv7P3l

Did you know I have a blog? Me neither, apparently, because I haven’t updated it since the SPRING! In the meanwhile, I graduated from college, made a zillion more zines, and ran all around the country giving them to folks. I’m very grateful for the conversations I’ve been having and especially the feedback I’ve been getting on this project, so I thought I would upload a few of them here for you all.

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I’m trying something new here, you can also view the zine in my photo gallery (fingers crossed that this works).

My hope with this zine was to begin a conversation about emotion as part of a developing sexuality and self-concept. Future zines might take on other focuses, I’m open to suggestions and submissions!!

Thoughts and feels about the White Privilege Conference

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So this past weekend I was incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to attend the White Privilege Conference in Madison, WI. I’ve spent the last couple weeks trying to explain what this conference is, especially since people seem to be confused and think I’m going to some f*cked up white supremacist gathering.

 

 

 

 

(from the conference website, http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com/wpc.html)

What is the White Privilege Conference?

WPC is a conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world. It is not a conference designed to attack, degrade or beat up on white folks.It is not a conference designed to rally white supremacist groups. WPC is a conference designed to examine issues of privilege beyond skin color. WPC is open to everyone and invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege including: race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc. — the ways we all experience some form of privilege, and how we’re all affected by that privilege.

————–I came to help table with Goddard College, where I just finished my undergraduate degree. I had some complicated feelings about tabling with Goddard at this conference–my experience of the college has not been incredibly diverse, and there’s been a lot of instability within the school and most small liberal arts colleges like Goddard. However, I think it was really important for us to be there as a college, to educate ourselves and to be engaging in thoughtful conversation with people about the school’s program and mission.

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I was able to attend most of the conference, even with tabling. I would like to use this post to break down some of the larger themes I noticed in workshops/caucus time, and also to promote the workshops I attended.

-Social Justice Part 1: Healing from HIstorical Harm through Stories and Analysis with Shakti Butler (check her out! http://youtu.be/w7FeomuMQDo) and Michael Benitez

-Understanding white privilege through dialogue with Hsiao-wen Lo (I will refer back to this one A LOT)

-The roots of racism and christian hegemony: Decolonizing our Thinking, Behavior, and Public Policy with Paul Kivel (he has a new book out, sounds really interesting: http://www.paulkivel.com/bookstore/religion/living-in-the-shadow-of-the-cross-detail)

-Class, Community, and the Shock of Higher Education with James Bonilla (professor here at Hamline!)

-From Our Ancestors, For Our Future: Lessons from Legendary Organizers Ella Baker and Anne Braden on Building Justice Movements Today with Chris Crass (http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php?story=ChrisCrass)

-White Privilege and the Color of Wealth with Bob Williams

-Exploring Intersectional Identity in Early Childhood with Kate Engle and Camille Fobbs

Other major highlights were Rosa Clemente’s keynote speech: http://rosaclemente.net/white-privilege-conference/  and Daniel Beatty’s poetry/theatrical performance:  http://youtu.be/1INMYz0AMSI

This was a jam-packed conference! There is such a wealth of information that I want to share from these workshops, and I plan on doing so in a community report-back with another conference participant here in Minneapolis soon–for example, on the racial wealth divide, anti-racist organizing history, immigration laws and their connection to the prison industrial complex. But there was also these overarching concepts that seemed to connect across workshops, caucuses, and the discussions I was having at the conference–about love, guilt, fear, and accountability.

One of the first workshops I attended about dialogue focused on the need for white anti-racists to educate other white people from a place of love, instead of  the competitive drive to prove how much smarter/enlightened they are. I’ve seen this happen over and over again, white people aggressively calling out other white people they are in community with, usually resulting in a lot of anger, confusion, misunderstanding, and isolation. How is this really being accountable to a larger community?

The guiding principles of dialogue that Hsiao-wen shared with us are something that I want to continue engaging with–understanding the cycles we create for ourselves of behaviors, feelings, and thoughts, and how easy it is to reinforce distorted thinking and assume our own correctness without being open to any other truth. I want to incorporate this into my daily conversations, the ways I address white supremacy in the bureaucracy of the agencies I’m involved with, and the organizing work I care about–all of these areas feel very tense with the desire to be on our shit, to be a good activist and good white person. I could feel how different it was to approach these conversations with love and willingness, although it is unbelievably hard sometimes. I’ve been trying to do a better job at listening while suspending judgment, asking questions, repeating back what I’ve heard to make sure I was listening. I want to be aware of when my voice is even necessary, if I’m taking up too much space.

The workshops I attended gave me a fuller sense of the ways that white supremacy has shaped my understanding of what makes history, not just in the ways that legalized theft, violence, and unequal opportunities have reinforced a legacy of racism but also in the ways that anti-racist organizing (including white anti-racist activism)also gets written out of history. I want to educate myself more around this history, the works of people like Ella Baker, Ann Braden, Stanley Levingston, Bayard Rusden, Septima Clark, and E.D. Nixon.

I want to think about what it means to develop leadership, who has helped develop me as a leader and how my work can allow for the development of others; all the variety of strategies that can bring in more people, more perspectives, and strengthen the interconnectedness between movements. In Minneapolis I often feel so split between communities; I want to work to bridge those gaps and use my social capital to bring these conversations about white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, classism, etc. to the table.

Lately I feel like there have been a lot of adults in my life who have been mentors to me, encouraging me to expand my education and experiences and consider career paths I had never considered. I’ve found myself conflicted, knowing that I have access to these opportunities that are directly tied to systems of power. My mind was really blown thinking about this: “the courts, the politicians, the professionals cannot free the people–the positions they are in simply would not allow it to be so”. I hear people all the time talk about their masters degrees or careers as an activist tool, but I’m realizing now that entering into a career job would distance me even further from the struggles I care most about. Certainly, those roles are essential to supporting social justice work, but is that the position I’m best suited for? Especially when I know I have the imagination, strength, and experience to work to dismantle those systems of power? No answers yet, just more questions.

Post-conference, these are my action steps:

-Research on Goddard, Antioch, and the University of Minnesota (all the academic institutions I’ve ever been affiliated with) and the connection each insitution has to segregation; did they open their doors to students of color entering under the GI Bill after WW2?, and other ways these institutions’s history  plays into racism

-Bring an anti-racist framework to the hormone access program being developed at Family Tree Clinic, and other trans* organizing work that I’ve been involved with that has struggled to create access for a multi-racial community.

-Consider new concepts for my sex education zine series that directly relates to anti-racism: about embracing the place of not yet knowing, about white supremacy and allyship, a reader’s digest version of  important radical texts, sharing the history of anti-racist leaders in community.

-Putting on a report-back session at the Minnehaha Free space this Spring.

my true self: a love story

This is a double sided zine! Most printers should allow you to print double-sided.

 

 http://jmp.sh/ngni6yO

Read one side, turn it inside out, and reassemble it! I really like using both pages, because you get to interact more with the physical zine itself as the story changes, turns itself inside out, gets more personal, etc.

(for refreshers on how to assemble the zines, see the tutorial below)

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MY TRUE SELF: A LOVE STORY

So this is one of the more wooey zines I’ve made for this project. “My True Self” is slightly more abstract than other topics I’ve taken on, but I used this zine to talk about developing a healthy self-concept, and the importance of self-representation and individual expression through style. I had a friend take a series of photos of me in styles and clothes that made me feel the most true to my identity, using an iPhone app that manipulates a series of photos into one picture. I used these pictures to collage with and am pretty happy with how it all turned out!

Also, I know I’m pretty early on this one but something to look forward to in Spring? My friend Gus is bringing this to Minneapolis, stay tuned for more info on the rest of the tour!

BARF ZINE Tour: focuses on body image issues in the radical scene. Also Gus’s one woman play entitled “I Thought Fat Girls Were Supposed to Be Funny?” is coming along for the ride. April 20th, location tbd (most likely mxdxmx of the arts).

why i care a lot about personal stories

So a big deal part of this project for me is the importance of first person narrative in political movements. I wanna tell you alll about it. Please don’t snore too loud—this is an excerpt from my senior thesis for school. Just ignore anything jargon-y, I have to use a way different vocabulary for school and I’m not always sure how much I’m even getting my point across.

 

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I’ve always found myself drawn to memoir, autobiography, and personal storytelling. I especially appreciate the use of personal storytelling to share learning experiences, pieces of history, and moments of everyday life that, in sharing, become extraordinary. What’s motivating in these stories is the capacity in our lives for growth and change, both personally and socially. The writers who I love and admire have given voice to experiences that people can connect to and empathize with and know that they are not alone.

This kind of connection can often be overlooked or trivialized, but has so much cathartic potential and political charge. The act of telling has the potential to create powerful connections between movements and communities. As a young person developing a political analysis in radical activist circles, the totality of devastation and trauma in the world can feel like an impossible barrier to impacting any kind of positive change. These narratives take colonization, capitalism, and systemic oppression out of the macro and into an engaged personal context, demonstrating change-making in individual lives and relationships. It is so vital to balance big picture political work with small-scale personal activism, or we risk losing the meaning behind our work.

My experience of writing these personal sex education zines has been empowering because I can be the subject and not the object of these stories. I have been able to write in a way that is cathartic and motivating, directly challenging the misinformation and societal pressures that made my coming of age so challenging. My own writing has always focused on issues of identity, and this project has given me the opportunity to channel my personal writing, creating meaningful work to share with others as well as processing through my own experiences.

Writing and publishing this allowed me to make my own connections to identity, self-expression, and relationships, without having to follow the expected scripts of what happens to those who deviate from the norm. Many use the act of writing for this kind of catharsis, to recover and release strong emotions. When I started to write about my experience of sex education, I was overwhelmed by how painful, scary, and hard my recollections were. In Acts of Narrative Resistance, Laura Beard quotes author/playwright Maria Campbell who has a beautiful explanation of this kind of catharsis in her book Halfbreed (1973): “When you are oppressed, and when you are trying to be born again, when you are trying to reclaim, you have to go through all of the pain. That’s the first thing that comes out, and we have to deal with that. That’s our first song” (p. 133 in Acts, 2009). My writing has made space to honor what I’ve overcome, the valuable things I have learned through growing, healing, and finding community, and the real effects of ongoing struggle.

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There are some really cool storytelling projects happening online these days! Check out:

http://storycorps.org/

http://cowbird.com/ (love this one especially much!)

http://transoralhistory.com/story-bank