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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Congratulations Elise for being an amazing intern you absolutely deserve to be the intern of the week! You have been an outstanding addition to the A.S. Gender and Sexuality Equity Center team and we are honored to be working along side you to promote awareness about LGBTQ+ and Women’s issues. Elise is very passionate about human rights; through hard work and perseverance you have identified yourself as a dedicated ally for all marginalized groups. Since joining the GSEC Elise has realized the importance of being an activist and is willing to stand up for the rights of others. She helped plan Queer week, is involved with Spark, has diligently organized the GSEC’s extensive library, and is currently working on a new event, Gender Bending Ball. Elise, we encourage all of your commitment to the GSEC and we are excited to see what else you can contribute to this program.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Intern(s) of the Week!

Kory Masen is a sophomore at Chico State and an intern in the LGBTQ program. He was our intern of the week for October 15 but was also the blog intern who was doing the intern of the week post so somehow he didn't receive the credit she deserves! Kory is an activist who has already served on a panel during the GSEC's Queer Week, is helping to plan the Gender Bending Ball and was a vocal part of our Pride March. He has no problem being himself and standing up for what he believes in, and is a valuable part of the GSEC staff.
Michelle Anderson is a junior at Chico State and an intern in the Women's program and our intern of the week for October 22. She's always available to help out around the office and took photos during our Pride March during Queer Week. She has most recently been working on a PowerPoint for Take Back the Night, which will be on November 8. Her dedication and motivation allows her to lend a hand with any office task at hand, which includes her helping clean and organize the closet, going over legacies and always showing up on time!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blood Sourced

I'm a proud member of the Greek system as well as an intern at the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center. To me, both organizations define who I am and what I believe in and I've never had a hard time balancing the two (except for a bit of time management within the last week, since Queer Week and Greek Week coincided).

They don't often directly overlap, but they did this week when I went to give blood during the blood drive as a part of Greek Week. One of the questions on the paper says something along the lines of: if you're a man, have you had sex with another man (even once) since 1977? 

I was surprised, not only because this is incredibly discriminatory but because this summer the Red Cross experienced the biggest blood shortage in 15 years. Shortages translate to the cancellation of elective procedures but also postponing serious procedures like liver transplants because they require so much blood, according to

There are usually shortages in the summer because people are on vacation, and this summer especially with power lines down and the extreme heat blood drives had to be canceled and people stayed inside. But it has spread to fall and even in September abcnews reported shortages among the Red Cross and America's Blood Centers, which make up almost all U.S. blood banks.

Blood Source is the biggest blood bank in California and follows the laws of the FDA as well as the European Union because U.S. plasma is processed overseas. FDA laws ban any gay men who have had sex with another man while EU defers those who engage in "high risk" sexual behavior. EU has also recently stated that a gay man can donate blood if he hasn't had sex in the past 12 months. 

I can understand where the ban comes from, since during the 70s and 80s there was the first big spread of AIDS and people didn't know what it was or how it was transmitted. It was assumed that only gay males had the disease because it was wiping out their population.

What I don't get is why it's still carried over, 30-ish years later.

Students who have gotten tattoos or studied abroad in certain places are turned down for one year. Heterosexual people who have had protected sex with multiple partners are okay to give blood (but then, what student who hasn't been practicing safe sex will admit it to a stranger in a blood donation line). And here's the kicker: those who have recently had heterosexual sex with an HIV-positive partner will be deferred for one year.

So, if someone goes to donate blood and says that they recently had sex with an HIV-positive partner they will be turned down. BUT if they come back 12 months later and have not since had sex with an HIV-positive partner they can donate.

The idea behind this rule is that the testing for HIV has become so efficient they are able to test the blood quickly and accurately. The new test is a sensitive nucleic acid test which was introduced in 1999 which will detect HIV infections that occurred as recently as 12 days before the test, according to a Washington Post article. So then why can't these tests be done to blood from gay men?

Laws from EU that have requirements for blood collected say they don't want blood from anyone who partakes in "sexually risky" behavior. That's very open to interpretation. To me that means having unprotected sex even once and not getting tested, but to another person that might mean new partners weekly.

Blood banks trust people to use their best judgment, but when they're allowing sex workers over gay men to donate blood that isn't being safe, it's being discriminatory.

What would it take for a gay man to be able to donate blood, bringing a recent negative resulted HIV test?

These laws need to be defined and changed, and even one step in the right direction (though it may still be in need of work and disciminatory) is a good one.  

Written by Stephanie Geske

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Intern of the Week!

Congratulations Adriana for being a fantastic intern. Your hard work as an outstanding activist is why you are the intern of the week. Everyone is impressed by your dedication to the GSEC and your silent protest reminded us all why we belong to this organization. Adriana’s favorite thing about activism is taking action; she likes getting involved by being a presence on campus and in the community. You are an incredible addition to the GSEC team and we are honored to be working with you. Congrats again on being intern of the week! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Queer Week 2012

As most of you know, Monday(Oct. 8th) is the first day of queer week. (yaaaay!) The GSEC, along with other organizations on campus, have put together a fun week with workshops, events, and a pride march for which every student and community member is invited. The main objective of queer week is to come together as a community and demonstrate that we are here, that we are not afraid to be ourselves, and to show support for those fighting for our civil rights!

Why do YOU celebrate Queer Week?

"I celebrate to reclaim the pride that many Americans did not get the chance to experience, for my ancestors that were socially stigmatized during their lifetime and were never safe to express their sexuality. I celebrate for those who still deal with oppression, I celebrate your right to be who you decide to be, and I celebrate my individuality." - Marlen Acosta

"I celebrate queer week because I feel like every minority, no matter what separates them, should be able to express themselves in any way fit; for the LGBTQ community, it provides a week of celebration, where we too have the right to be ourselves and express our love, and to show those still in fear of coming out that there is a community here for them!" - Joseph Gilmore

" I celebrate because I am an ally and it is important to me that members of the LGBTQ+ community feel safe and accepted." -Nicole Munoz

If you want to help others feel empowered to be themselves, celebrate and promote equality, and have fun while learning about the community, then COME ON DOWN to our events this week! Educate yourself about issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community and hear personal testimonies that will surely cause an impact on how you perceive gender and sexuality.

For a list of events visit us on FB as AS GSEC. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

Written by Marlen Acosta

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Intern of the Week!

Our intern of the week is Deanna Jarquin, who is one of the interns for our intern coordinator, Lauren. Deanna has been dedicated to the PR and planning for our upcoming event, Queer Week. She's been passing out fliers, papering local businesses, posing constantly on her Facebook page and inviting all her friends to the GSEC events. She's organized, good at delegating and managing office tasks and her positive attitude makes her a pleasure to work with. Deanna will definitely be an asset to the GSEC for the rest of her time here!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Anti-Hate Speech

My first stint in activism led me to tears.

Well not tears, but I choked up, my eyes got watery and like I always do I pulled myself together.

Crying is a huge deal to me, because somewhere along the lines of growing up I decided that being strong enough not to cry was a superpower, an asset.

So having this kind of reaction made me, understandable, surprised.

I was out putting up fliers for Queer Week with a fellow intern when we got the call that the man who preaches and yells at students (there's really no way to dress up the word "bigot") was back on campus. So we left the fliers and went back to the office where the staff were making posters that said "this is hate speech." And then a staff member (or two) asked me, "are you sure you're okay with this?"

Now, I'm someone who believes in action, and I'd like to think I stand up for what I believe in. But to be perfectly honest, this guy scares me. He screams, he's hateful, he's completely unlike the religion I grew up with and what I believe in (that God loves you, each and every one of you), and he makes me afraid to walk past him on campus, in case he yells that I'm a prostitute or a whore because my skirt is too short.

But then that pissed me off, because I shouldn't be scared to walk through my campus, or that someone exercising "free speech" will attack me.

So I went out there with a sign and stood with fellow GSEC interns, facing the crowd and not him, and stayed silent.

The first few minutes I felt a rush of emotions, just like I was told I would. I was scared, because I don't like loud noises and he was very, very loud; I was anxious, because this was a new experience; I was excited, because finally my desire to be an "in action" activist was coming into play.

And by the time the adrenaline wore off and I was standing there in the middle of a crowd of people, I was almost in tears. (Too many emotions at once does that to me, have you seen the Kristen Bell sloth video?)

A lot of people reacted to our silent protest. A few guys remarked that that was what everyone should be doing; a few people came up to me and asked what I was doing and where I was from; and almost everyone who read my sign smiled in support or solidarity.

Some things are going to be scary or make you nervous, especially when doing them for the first time. But keeping yourself sheltered because of fear will only hold you back.