No Carb Left Behind: The Finale

After a month of complications, it’s official: I’m currently at the airport, heading out of town tonight, bound for the land of humidity and alligator jerky.

What has the past month entailed, beyond the unconscionable shirking of my D.A. Days duties? Well …

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There were yet more heartfelt goodbyes to my favourite place on campus.

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I saw this sign and toyed with the idea of buying this coffee shop and renaming it either Schrödinger’s or Heisenberg’s. I’m still uncertain.

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I saw this delightful sign at the Seattle Pride Parade, which tickled me to no end. (If you can’t read it, it says “Mawage is what bwings us togeva today.”)

Speaking of which, if you’ll grant me a soapbox for a moment … I wrote about one benefit of pride parades last year, but I thought of another this year when I saw several local teen shelters and resource centers in the parade, many of which had a delegation of their teen patrons and volunteers. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an LGBTQQIA teen, facing intense harassment and discrimination on a regular basis. Pride parades are one way we get to say to those kids, “We love you, and we’ve got your backs.” Because as the ever-inspiring Hannah Schaefer pointed out, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what our opinions on sexuality are — these people are still coming out, and they’re still facing higher risks of violence and suicide and homelessness. If we prioritize our opinions over their lives, that paints us in a pretty ugly light.

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Yesterday’s news was that I moved out of my apartment and had to say goodbye to this guy. It was heartfelt. There were tears.

Granted, he was sacked out on a chair at the time, taking his 18th nap of the day. But I just know he’ll miss having someone to tickle his feet and call him The Dude.

The tabby in the picture, a.k.a. Bandersnatch Cutiebutt, couldn’t have cared less. As far as he’s concerned, my exodus means one less biped hogging the couch.

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After relocating to my friends’ house for the night, I spent today with these two entities. Meet Delia and Delbert, our contestants on this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser. They had eight hours to lose 9 pounds each … and what do you know, they did it, folks! Let’s hear it for Delta Airlines’ accurate scales!

And finally …

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… I saved the best for last in our No Carb Left Behind series: Kaffeeklatsch, in Lake City. I cannot recommend this place more highly. I lived within walking distance of it for two years, and I credit it with maintaining my wellbeing throughout grad school. It’s right under my friends, my family, and my counselor, and right above naps. They have amazingly moist cinnamon rolls, and super flavorful bread (try the Rustic White), and a modest yet sufficient tea selection.

And on Wednesdays they have chili. You guys. The chili. OMG. I never thought I was a beef person, but this chili has won me over, heart and soul. I’ll share my wannabe vegetarian recipe sometime. In the meantime, get yourself over to Kaffeeklatsch and try it yourself. Hitchhike if you have to. Hang-glide. Parasail. Steal Borrow your neighbour’s daughter’s horse. Camp out for 36 hours like you’re waiting to get into Hall H. Do what you have to do. Just be there on a Wednesday.

I’m now having trouble remembering why I’m moving away from this place. What’s that? Full-time employment, you say? Very well, I’ll board this plane. But don’t stop being awesome, Seattle — you can bet your buttons I’ll be back.

Southward ho!

~ S.

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The New Statesman: “If you believe trans lives matter, don’t share Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note on social media.”

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By now we’ve all heard about Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen whose suicide note on Tumblr went viral. Tragically, the story of an LGBTQQIAA teen’s suicide is not an uncommon sight in the media … but are those stories being handled in the best possible way? Sarah Ditum tackles this issue with sensitivity and grace at The New Statesman. If you have a couple of minutes, I highly recommend it — and if you have a few minutes beyond that, check out Samaritans’ suggestions and WHO’s guidelines for covering and sharing these stories.

In a perfect world, of course, we wouldn’t have any suicides to report. But since we do, shouldn’t we try to do it responsibly?

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Photo credit: By torbakhopper [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Golden Toga Flap: Pride parade advocates

[Note to audience: According to Wikipedia, citizens of ancient Rome used to wave their toga flaps to express approval for public performances. In the style of the Golden Globes, the Golden Raspberries, the Golden Goggles, and other alchemical plaudits, the Golden Toga Flap will be a regular feature on IWtSLtY that affirms people working to improve the world. Anyone is eligible: A-list actors, small children, teachers in rural Illinois, frat guys behind me in line at Grocery Outlet. I’m not writing these blurbs for any sort of commission; I just want to spread the word about great people doing lovely things. If you have nominations for the Golden Toga Flap, please feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a private message.]

Today I went to my first pride parade.

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As a fairly new ally, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t have any rainbow-themed clothing, but I did have a purple shirt, which my hazy memory told me would be a good choice. A quick Google search confirmed this, and off I went.

The first part of the parade went about as I had surmised. There was a group of Boy Scouts, and a motorcycle squad, and a delegation from PFLAG that included one woman holding a sign proclaiming, “Proud Mormon mom.” There were groups from major corporations, several local support groups, and quite a few churches. Everyone was in colorful tights and shirts and tutus, handing out beads and stickers — standard parade behavior, by all accounts.

Then there were some groups that took me aback: a large delegation of Goths, and a dozen nude bicyclists, and a couple of floats representing the local community of BDSM enthusiasts. As these groups hadn’t really been present in my experience of this city so far, I had some fairly strong reactions to their sudden appearance. Reactions like “There are small children here” and “How is this related to gay pride?”

But then I started thinking about those reactions. What did a bank or a restaurant or an airline have to do with gay pride? Couldn’t sexuality affect every part of a person’s life, from employment to clothing choice to entertainment? If I had faced a legacy of prejudice and persecution for something as important to me as my sexuality, wouldn’t it be fantastic to see such a diverse group of entities publicly standing up for me and my community? And if I was concerned about preserving children’s best interests, why hadn’t I been concerned about them seeing the float from Controversial Corporation X and possibly associating the company with fun music and free candy?

The free condoms,

The free condoms, on the other hand, might have been slightly harder for parents to explain. Embrace the teachable moments, my friends.

By the time the last group rolled through, I had a very different picture of the pride parade movement. Sure, it started as pushback against the majority idea that a couple meant one man and one woman. Sure, communicating and normalizing broader definitions of relationships is still a super-important initiative, as is protecting the safety and legal rights of the people in those relationships.

But beyond these enormous objectives, I think there’s a bigger principle at work in pride parades. The people on those floats, painting their faces and putting on corsets and donning wigs, are human beings. The logical next step here would be to say something like, “They worry about bills and calories and global warming too — they’re just like us!” But is it really fair to justify someone’s existence by assuming that they conform to my ideas about social norms? I don’t think so. Maybe that drag queen in the sequined bustier works as a high-powered executive in a big-name firm; maybe not. Maybe the male stripper gyrating to “Wrecking Ball” in the back of that pickup truck has two kids he loves dearly; maybe not. Either way, it shouldn’t affect my respect for the human being in question.

So way to go, pride parade advocates, for giving human beings the chance to appear publicly in roles that are supremely important to them, whatever those roles may be. We know that these people are more than those roles, but we appreciate the chance to learn more about the wide rainbow of people with whom we share this beautiful planet.

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Photo credits: “Love” sign from PublicDomainPictures and candy from LoboStudioHamburg on Pixabay.