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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking Back the Night

We shielded our candles from the wind as we walked, protecting our shining beacons, our
symbols of solidarity, that guided us through the streets of downtown Chico. When they cat-called, we
carried on, refusing to yield. When they questioned, we wordlessly replied with a plea to respect our cause, reaching out with a solemn glance to hand them a small flier. This was the culmination of the evening. It was the moment the name became real. Some of us carried our own pain. It tightened our throats and clung to us with an unrelenting grip, but we would not allow it to blind us. Not on this night. Some of us carried the pain of others. As we marched on, we held their hands, or we grasped the cold air as if they were near. We were driven on by the stories we heard in the dimly lit rooms of the BMU earlier that evening, stories from our own peers that tore at our hearts and pulled salty tears from our eyes until we wished we could stretch our arms around every single person and hold them tight. We were driven by the stories that we had known for what seemed like forever, those passed down to us with a cry or a warning or whispered to us in a vulnerable moment, those that made us look to the sky and with a hot-burning anger demand to know, “Why would they do this to her?” Finally, we were driven by the stories we knew would never be told. Yes, we were reclaiming a right we had never had and a space we had never been allowed. But we didn't want it just for tonight. We wanted it tonight and every night. We wanted to clear away that invisible fog, that intangible something in our world that sheltered our attackers and left us fending off blame. Even tonight it surrounded us, hissing “your fault, your fault, your fault.” But as we returned to the concrete expanse of the plaza, feeling an odd emotion we couldn't describe, we watched the bobbing lights roll in. 20 people, 30 more, 15 there, and another 10. Are we all really here for the same reason? They began to form a circle so large it seemed unbreakable. Yes, it must be true. Over 300 people are fed up. Over 300 people want this to end. Over 300 people understand what this night means. It was just then, as we met the eyes of each link in this giant chain of human beings, we realized we have never been alone in this. Tonight we took a piece of a star and held it in our pocket, feeling its warmth on our hands. Maybe, we think, one day we will take that whole blanket of night sky and wrap it around ourselves, knowing we are safe, we are safe, we are safe. For this, we speak out. For this, we listen. For this, we educate. For this, we fight. And for this... we march.

--Brooke Silveria

Friday, December 6, 2013


717 people. 717 people with families. 717 people with dreams and hopes.
717 people with good days, bad days, days of utter confidence and bliss. According
to since 1970, 717 transgender people have been murdered
out of hate and in the last 12 months alone, 73 murders have occurred in the
transgendered community. In 1998 a woman named Rita Hester was murdered
following her “Remembering Our Dead” event. Because of this, Gwendolyn Ann
Smith created the Transgender Day of Remembrance for November 20th
of every year.
Organizations such as The Trevor Project and Glaad and more than 200
hundred locations hosted Transgender Day of Remembrance events from vigils to
marches, to discussions. Chico hosted a screening on campus of the film Two Spirit
following the brutal murder of a young adult who had received acceptance from
those around him. There was also a very moving memorial in the commons of a
group of flags representing a portion of those who passed due to hate crimes. It was
incredibly powerful, despite being such a simple portrayal.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to have a day to remember such terrible
events instead we could celebrate the people who were comfortable in their own
skin and were beginning to find or had found themselves.

-Whitney Urmann

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Sex Positivity Workshop

AS Gender and Sexuality Center presents The Sex Positivity Workshop

CHICO, CA- the AS Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) would like to invite you to attend the Sex Positivity Workshop, which will be held on December 3rd at 6:00 PM. The workshop is aimed at removing the stigma associated with female-bodied masturbation, orgasm and arousal, and the use of sex toys. This event will be held in the Bell Memorial Union, room 210. The GSEC would like to welcome both students and members of the community to attend.

Focusing on female bodied masturbation, the Sex Positivity Workshop will include information presented by Dr. Carol Queen and Laurie Bennett-Cook on the topics of female-bodied orgasm and arousal, sex education, and sex toy use. The event will be educating and empowering and aims to make these topics more comfortable for discussion. All attendees will have a chance to purchase raffle tickets to win a pleasure basket filled with sex toys and more.

Dr. Carol Queen is a writer, speaker, activist, and educator with a doctorate in sexology. She is known for her non-profit sexuality education center, The Center for Sex and Culture, her explicit writings which have been published in a variety of periodicals and magazines, and as a part owner of Good Vibrations, the women-owned and worked sex toy and book emporium.

Laurie Bennett-Cook is a local Chico sexologist who works within our community to empower and inform young adults and youth on sex education.

The GSEC is a student run activist organization that strives to empower students through its programs, the Women’s Program and the LGBTQ Program. They offer opportunities for leadership, personal development and referral services, and are a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can effectively support the academic mission of the university.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sorry ma'am, I don't agree with your lifestyle

            The extent that people go out of their way to put down another person never ceases to amaze me.  I can’t even find the words to reflect how offended I am from a picture I saw today of a restaurant receipt.  Before I continue, here’s the picture:

            It reads, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle & how you live your life.”

            At Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, NJ, an androgynous lesbian waitress named Dayna was left with this note on the bill after she had served a $94 meal to a mother with her two children.  Upon sitting this family, the server introduced herself as Dayna. The mother quickly interjected to say, “Oh I thought you were going to say your name was Dan. You sure surprised us!”  If that isn’t bad enough, how about a highly judgmental, blindly critical, offensive, slap in the face note opting to leave no tip because of a “lifestyle choice”?  To the children of this monster mom, I am sorry that your minds are being manipulated to judge people based on their appearances without ever knowing them.  You have quite the role model to look up to.

            The fact that this woman referred to Dayna’s sexual identity as a “lifestyle”, as if Dayna had the choice, solidifies my hypothesis that people like this indeed HAVE been living under a rock their entire lives because obviously they haven’t received the “breaking news”: gay people are EVERYWHERE, and guess what else? We’re people, too! I hope the children who witnessed their mother make a public ass of herself will eventually free themselves from her offensive, sheltered grasp. 

Maddison LeRoy

Monday, November 11, 2013

Take Back the Night Poem

I had the chance to perform recently at this semester's Take Back the Night event, which I was incredibly grateful for. Below is the poem I composed and read.

I don’t want to be afraid of the dark
I don’t want to be told I can’t walk by myself
can’t drink
can’t smoke
can’t flirt
can’t wear that shirt
can’t wear that skirt
as if my clothes are the ones at fault
I don’t want to be afraid of making friends who happen to be
because I don’t know if they might hurt me some day
I don’t need to hear my 81 year old grandmother telling me to not go out at night
and I don’t want to think how she probably heard that same talk at 18, too
don’t talk to men
don’t put down your drink
don’t dress that way
don’t trust a single person you meet
I really don’t need to hear about another
god damn
town of apologists
that victimize the attacker and
attack the victim
and for the love of all that is good
do not let me become
a number
a percentage
a statistic
meant to terrify and is all for naught

but what I want, oh what I do want
I want every person who decides that perpetuating the idea that being assaulted is something to joke about
to be smacked every hour of every day until they say I’m sorry
and they
damn well
mean it
I want my beautiful trans* brothers and sisters to know that they are loved
and that they are strong in the face of danger
and despair
I want my sisters to link arms
love one another
become a fortress of excellence and security
and let no one into that fortress if they are not wanted
I want my brothers to know
that being a man doesn’t mean
I don’t take no for an answer
but to acknowledge that they’ve fucked up
and to take some god damn responsibility
for their actions
instead of passing the blame to the innocent
I want the night to return to what it righteously belongs to
to warm blankets
tossed aside blankets
blistered heels from walking too far
good drinks
bad jokes
terrible movies
to held hands
crazy hair
loud music
soft music
music that fills the soul in an electrifying way that you can never feel from something else
and to a soft embrace
a good book
and finding triangles up in the stars on a clear night
but perhaps most of all
I want to tell my children that there are no monsters in their closets
or under their beds
and there are no monsters who roam the streets.

Adrianna McCain

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

AS Gender and Sexuality Center presents The 6th Annual LGBTQ+ Conference: True Colors

CHICO, California- the AS Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) is hosting their 6th Annual LGBTQ+ Conference on Sunday, November 17th from 1:00pm to 5:00pm in the Bell Memorial Union room 210. The conference is an opportunity for all people to educate and empower themselves while building community and support within the LGBTQ+ and allied communities. The conference will have free food, a raffle, interactive activities and a variety of speakers. This event is free to all campus and community members.

Below is a schedule of the event and workshops:
·            1:00 p.m. Introductions, food is served
·            1:20 p.m. Kay Gordon from the SF LGBTQ Speakers Bureau
·            2:20 p.m. Interactive Guided Imagery held by Krystal Tonga from the Cross Cultural Leadership Center
·            2:35 p.m. Attorney Elizabeth Kristen from the Legal Aid Society about LGBTQ+ legal info and resources
·            3:35 p.m. Interactive “privilege walk” held by molly heck from the Multi-Cultural and Gender Studies department
·            4:00 p.m. A panel held by the Queer People of Color Society “QPOCS!”, a student run organization on campus. 

To register for the conference, please register online at or at the GSEC in BMU 005. The first 25 people to register will receive a free button and a raffle ticket to win a GSEC t-shirt. Attendees will also have the opportunity to register at the door.

The GSEC is a student run activist organization that strives to empower students through its programs, the Women’s Program and the LGBTQ Program. They offer opportunities for leadership, personal development and referral services, and are a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can effectively support the academic mission of the university.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

            It’s that time of year again; that time that Chico is (sadly) best known for.  It’s when students drink more beer in a weekend than most people do in a month, when couches are subject to being burned in the streets like sacrificial lambs, and when you see more culturally offensive costumes than you were prepared for.


Chico State, for years, has been trying to emphasize caution when picking out Halloween costumes, being careful not to exploit someone’s culture as a “humorous” outfit. Yes, Halloween is about dressing up as something you’re not, but someone’s culture is not for you to be experimenting with. Wearing a poncho and sombrero, or painting your face black, is anything but humorous; it’s extremely offensive not only to the cultures you are mocking, but embarrassing to everyone who has any common decency.  If you’re considering dressing as a Native American again this Halloween, just don’t.

As I’ve been thinking about what costumes I’ll see this year, I came across an AMAZING video on Facebook the other day about women and Halloween.  Now, I’m sure we all know that Halloween is that one time of year where girls can dress up like sluts and get away with it, right? WRONG. WRONG. WRONG on so many levels.  I’m sick of hearing this statement from men and women alike.  It’s the time of year when women can dress up and get away with it? First of all, get away with what? Get away with dressing how she wants to, whether that be a skimpy nurse, a lumberjack, a fully clothed ghost, a monster?  Women can wear whatever they want, not just on Halloween, and should not have to worry about being called a slut or masculine.  Secondly, I’m tired of the notion that women are expected to over sexualize themselves by wearing minimal clothing/hyper feminized costumes.  If a woman chooses to wear a sexy fairy costume, let it be HER CHOICE, not because she feels pressured into pleasing the male eye.  Watch this video and let these beautiful women clear up any confusion you may be feeling this Halloween.

Ladies, whatever you decide to be this Halloween, let it be your choice and OWN it.
Men (and women), keep your mouths shut about all the “hoes” this Halloween; it’s not only judgmental, but it makes you sound extremely ignorant. No one tells you what to wear, so please, keep your 2 cents to yourself.  And of course, please be conscious that your costumes are not exploiting any culture or race. Have a safe Halloween.

Maddison LeRoy

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

AS Gender and Sexuality Center presents Take Back the Night

The AS Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) is hosting their biannual event Take Back the Night on Thursday, November 7th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm in the Bell Memorial Union. Take Back the Night is a way for Chico State students and community members to get involved in the protest against rape and other forms of sexual violence against women. The night will culminate in a silent march through downtown Chico that allows women to reclaim their right to feel safe and secure after dusk.

Last semester this event drew a record-breaking 363 supporters for the candle-lit walk. In a time when sexual assault is a pressing issue on our campus and in our community, it’s important for students to stand together to show they are not willing to allow this to go on.

Below is a schedule of the event and workshops:

·            6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Keynote speaker: Jacke Humphrey-Straub (BMU Auditorium)
·            6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Women Only Survivor Speak Out (Old Common Grounds)
A place for women to share their personal experiences in a safe and supporting setting.
·            6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Gender Inclusive Survivor Speak Out (BMU 210)
A place for all genders to share their personal experiences in a safe and supportive setting.
·            6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Gender Inclusive Workshop (BMU Auditorium)
An interactive workshop focused on combating rape culture in our community.
·            8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Words of Inspiration (BMU Auditorium)
Students and community members come together in solidarity to perform words of inspiration.
·            9:00 p.m.  Candle Lighting and Silent Candlelit March (SSC plaza and march downtown)
The candlelit march is a silent march for survivors and their supporters who are standing up against sexual assault and violence against women. We will march through downtown Chico to shed light on the issue and to make our presence known.

The GSEC is a student run activist organization that strives to empower students through its programs, the Women’s Program and the LGBTQ Program. They offer opportunities for leadership, personal development and referral services, and are a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can effectively support the academic mission of the university.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Take Back the Night Fall 2013

As Halloween approaches and will soon bypass us, one GSEC event in particular is coming up much sooner than we think.

Take Back the Night is a biannual event here at Chico State, facilitated by GSEC and it will take place this semester on November 7, 2013. The event is composed of a keynote speaker, a Survivor Speak Out, a gender-inclusive workshop, a Slam Poetry Call-out, and silent candlelit vigil and march, all to promote awareness of sexual assault and to empower survivors and victims of it. Chico State is not unique in putting on this event. In fact, Take Back the Night is a movement that started in 1975 after the murder of Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death while walking home alone in Philidelphia, PA.

As a freshman student, I'm very excited to see what will happen at Take Back the Night. I haven't been directly involved in its planning, so this will be all the more new for me. From what I have heard, though, it's truly an empowering and moving experience like no other. I can only imagine hearing the stories of the ordeals that everyday people have been through while sitting quietly in a dimly lit and warm room; learning and teaching people about the ideas that are perpetuated through society that are meant to oppress and demean innocent people every day for something out of their control; hearing some great poetry performed powerfully that also calls out the bullshit of society and those who go along with it; and perhaps most of all, I am looking forward to when no one is speaking, where the only sounds heard are the quiet chatter of passerbys, cars going by, and footsteps as we march, illuminated by candles and our need to take back the night for all who it had wronged.

Adrianna McCain

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Animal Style" came before "Same Love" just sayin'.

I know we’ve all seen, if not heard, Macklemore’s Same Love once in our lives.  It’s an empowering song that has become an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community among others such as: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful. More recently, I found an artist that I wouldn’t have expected to come out with an LGBTQ+ issues song.  His name is MURS aka Nick Carter aka Making the Universe Recognize and Submit aka Making Underground Raw Shit.  Before I continue, go ahead and watch the music video for Animal Style…

I want to announce that my views on this song, MURS, rap music and the LGBTQ+ community are solely my own personal opinions and by no means represent anyone other than myself.

What speaks to me about this song, other than its message, is that MURS is an African American rapper promoting and supporting the LGBTQ+ community through rap music.  Rap has long been a genre, more so a culture, where homosexuality is disgraced and shamed.  Identifying as queer and identifying as part of rap or hiphop culture hardly ever goes without some form of bullying, slander, or discrimination.  It seems to be a clash of stereotypes; the feminine, weak, emotional view on gay men goes against the hard, thuggish, tough view of rappers.  We live in a world that bases each other off of stereotypes when we really just aren’t educated enough on differing cultures. Sad, but true.

With that said, this music video really breaks some boundaries.  You may argue, “well Macklemore’s Same Love could be considered rap.” I suppose, but what makes Animal Style stand out is the fact that the rapper is African American; his race takes the stereotype of the “rap, black” culture mixed with LGBTQ+ culture a step further.  MURS is opening up the door and mind of rap culture for a more inclusive audience.  It’s a culture that no one would have expected to take a supportive stand on LGBTQ+ rights.  At the same time, the fact that MURS isn’t white and he’s using his fame and talent to speak up for the LGBTQ+ community, his intersectionality can extend support to someone who identifies as both queer and as a person of color.  Macklemore, Lady Gaga, and Christina Aguilera are all great examples and leaders for social change, and they’re also all white.  I just want to celebrate the accomplishments of MURS and the impact he’s making through songs like Animal Style, breaking the pattern that only white artists are striving to create change for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Thanks, MURS.

Maddison LeRoy

Sunday, October 13, 2013


And now for something completely different.
WTFeminism! is a YouTube channel where one of the interns, Adrianna, hopes to educate folks and dispel rumors about feminism. Here's the first video, bustin' myths about feminism:

Adrianna McCain

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The AS Gender and Sexuality Center will be screening the film “Pink Ribbons, Inc”

CHICO, Calif.- In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center and Chico Women’s Health Specialists will be screening the film “Pink Ribbons, Inc”. In an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer on the CSU, Chico campus the film will be screened on October 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM in BMU 210. All genders are welcome!
The documentary discusses the intersection between business and philanthropy by examining the ways in which the breast cancer movement has been commercialized. The film explores issues surrounding the movement and raises the question: who is truly benefiting from the movement – the cause or the company? Based off the book, Pink Ribbons Inc. by Doctor Samantha King, the film features interviews with women living with breast cancer, activists, medical experts, and the people behind breast cancer awareness fundraising.
Following the film there will be a brief discussion facilitated by the interns of the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center.  The film showing is open to anyone in the community interested in receiving better education on pink ribbon product consumption and breast cancer awareness. The screening will run from 7:00-9:00 pm on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 on the Chico State Campus in the Bell Memorial Union, room 210.
The Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center [GSEC] is a student run activist organization which strives to empower all students through its two programs: the Women’s Program and the LGBTQ+ Program. The GSEC challenges societal norms that have been used to oppress and marginalize by providing opportunities for leadership, personal development, and referral services. We offer a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can effectively support the academic mission of the university.

For more information or questions, feel free to visit our office in BMU 005, call us at (530)898-5724, or email us at