June 16, 2022
In college, I studied gender & sexuality through Queer Theory—it was a lot. While it helped me develop a new language that allowed me to engage in academic conversations, it did not teach me how to be Queer. I could relate qualitative & quantitative data to theories that felt like long Facebook, or even Twitter, arguments. The newest, hottest takes were entertaining, but they did not teach me how to be Queer nor to be better rooted in community.
Many academic discourses started with sharing definitions & selecting the theories that were most relevant to understanding adjacent theoretical & abstract concepts. For a short delusional moment, I believed that I could understand my liberation into existence—or that somehow, if I learned all the words & theories, it would better equip me to evade future harm. I remember being so hungry to learn more to make sense of my experiences. Because many of us were Queer & Trans ourselves, our class discussions weren’t just an exercise. It was personal. We hid our stories behind theories because we found a place to discuss our experience—it was artificial: objective & sterilized, but at least we could talk about our experiences tangentially.
When you go your entire life without the language to describe your existence & experience, the academic institution can provide comfort. I found intellectual spaces comforting because I thought I could make sense of a lifetime of negative experiences.
(Later, I learned in therapy that this is a form of hypervigilance.)
Then the real conversation would begin: how our lived experiences could fit into theories. It took me a while, but I learned that the stories shared by my peers were just as important as some dead theorists’ contributions. Theorists work to make accurate, evidence-based generalizations, but they did not encourage me to work towards a world without violence like my peers did. Theorists didn’t serve me in being able to provide better advocacy for my siblings experiencing gender violence; the community members in my class did.
Ultimately, it was my peers’ experiences that gave context to the theories we studied. It was their experiences that made sense. Stories that encompassed Queerness’ joy & strife felt most human. Academic language like “trauma-informed” & “intersectionality” was helpful in ivory towers (it’s also beneficial in securing funding), but it didn’t teach me to listen to survivors’ individual needs. Using academic language to someone who is experiencing a crisis is not helpful, but listening to their stories helped me provide better, relevant services & care.
In the next 5 years, what I learned in school will likely become obsolete. There will be new buzzwords that I’ll probably get excited about because I am a nerd. In the next 5 years, if we accompany the academic language with deep listening & being rooted in community, we can do more for survivors’ healing as well as fostering justice in our communities. To deepen our accountability & solidarity, it is imperative for us to do both.
In the following June newsletter, join me as I reflect more on our understandings & relationships with Queer/Trans/Intersex/2-Spirit siblings.
D, like after C
Written by D, a visionary changemaker & caretaker who works with the Idaho Coalition as a Bilingual Social Change Associate. If you’d like to read Part 1 of this series, please check out our “Past eNewsletters” section to the right on this page. If you’d like to get in contact with D, their email is email@example.com & their specialities include: Community Organizing, Internal Development, and Youth Engagement.
In the heart of social justice movements, there are often chants like “Youth right now are the truth right now!” & statements about how youth advocacy shines truth upon the issues that older generations haven’t yet addressed or remedied. To the Idaho Coalition & advocates around the world, youth-led initiatives are a transformative tool in generating inner power, wisdom, and skills so the futures we all live into are free from harm, conflict, and violence. We uplift youth activists & continue to guide each other through intergenerational, symbiotic relationships.
Because of our deeply-rooted belief in youth & their held truths, we want to amplify an upcoming opportunity for local youth to participate in: the ACLU of Idaho’s Summer Freedom School Program. For 5 weeks on Tuesday & Thursday evenings, from July 12th to August 11th, youth in high school & college can participate in the Freedom School to
“affirmatively push back on the assaults to our academic freedom, teaching, and learning.”
This program is virtual / online, and all youth who complete the program can receive $125. We are eager to witness what comes from this opportunity for youth to dig up the truth(s) & action needed to advance freedom, wholeness, and collective thriving. Do you also think youth = the truth? Help us in connecting Idaho youth to this 5-week webinar series!
To learn more information & apply, click here. The deadline to apply is Sunday, June 19th, so we encourage all youth who are interested to sign up quickly.
The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence is seeking a Public Policy Director to join their team. This position will lead public policy strategy, conduct legislative & funding advocacy, and engage statewide membership, allies, survivors, and constituents across the state, including those in rural, BIPOC, Tribal, and economically struggling communities.
If you (or people you know) are in a Public Policy position & want to join friendly, collaborative team environment and/or an organization with an exciting vision for race equity, economic resilience, and gender & reproductive liberation, please consider applying!
This role will be paid $80,000 to $90,000 DOE plus generous benefits including: student loan repayment assistance, 100% paid health insurance premiums, 35 hour work week, and more. This role also has a flexible work location; folks can live anywhere in Washington if they’d like to join this team.
To be considered for the first screening of job applicants, apply by June 21st. Click here for more information & to learn how to apply.
Queer & Now: Pride Month Toolkit | advocacy resource
Advocates for Youth created a true rainbow of resources for Pride Month, including:
Actions to take this month to support Queer & Trans youth, movies & documentaries to watch (with a particular focus on positive portrayals), LGBTQ-themed podcasts, suggested social media to share, resources/stats/etc. Check out the Queer & Now toolkit for this month, and every month, here.
Idaho’s Juneteenth Commemorations | June 17-19
Juneteenth Idaho strives to provide opportunities to learn about the cultural & historical significance of Juneteenth while also 1) fostering some restorative joy, and 2) leveraging our collective power to uplift Blackness in Idaho.
In Boise and Lapwai and Twin Falls—from outdoor vendor pop-ups to dance parties to online spaces and beyond—there’s a series of spaces that are co-created for our beloved community during 2022’s Juneteenth Weekend. To learn more about this year’s events, visit the Juneteenth Idaho Facebook and/or Instagram page.
Idaho Coalition – Office Closure | July 11-15
Our team will not be working this week. We invite you to help us honor this time away so we’re best able to show up for ourselves, our shared work, and our beloved communities.
2022 Idaho Indian Education Summit | August 15-16
This conference is taking place on the Boise State University campus. Strands of this summit include: policy, educator preparation programs, land acknowledgements, memorandums of understanding, tribal sovereignty, government to government relationships, educational engagement, and more.
Save the date to advance the future! For more information about this summit, email Johanna J. Jones or Patty Sanchez.
17th Annual #DVCounts Survey Day | September 17
We’re excited to gear up for the next DV Counts season because this survey reports the number of people who sought services in a single 24-hour period, as well as the types of services requested, the number of service requests that went unmet due to a lack of resources, and the issues & barriers that domestic violence programs face as they strive to provide services to victims of domestic violence.
Please save the date for the 17th Annual DV Counts Survey Day & don’t hesitate to reach out to the NNEDV DV Counts team with any questions in the meantime.
Reminder: Shipping for all materials on our website store is FREE for Programs. Please use the coupon below for all orders.
Visit the online store for the Idaho Coalition to check out what materials are available for order.
For store questions, please contact Amy York.