All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Trump America - 2 Years Later

Hello from Canada!

I'm back! And since it's been roughly 2 years since my last post I thought it was time to bring this blog back to life.

No, I'm not actually in Canada - I'm here in New Jersey still trudging along. Like everyone else, my life is consumed by work, relationships, and well... life. Donald J. Trump is President of the United States and here I am still living my life as normal - or at least what has now become normal.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I Can't Handle a Trump Presidency

So the US primaries have been going on for quite some time now, but I've been avoiding them pretty much at all costs. With many debates having already happened, we're getting down to the final stretch and soon enough we shall have our nominees from each respective party. For myself and many others that means its time to start coming to terms with who 'the people' have chosen to represent themselves and start thinking further into the future about what it means should they be elected. Thats why there's recently been a surge in articles about Americans fleeing to Canada should Trump actually become president.

I have an admission to make. I am one of those people. And its not something I say lightly. To many it may seem like a joke - as if many of us wouldn't actually leave or aren't serious about following through but its true. I, and many other people, don't want to live in an America where Trump or anyone like him is able to come into power.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Madeleine Albright, Gloria Steinem, and The Problem with White Feminism

Photograph: Agrees Latif/Reuters
It shouldn't depress me as much as it does, but I'm somehow always more disappointed when people who share my name do stupid things. Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem stepped up this week to talk about feminism and how it relates to Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. Which is something that needs to be said, for all that Senator Bernie Sanders the sort of guy who practices what he preaches, he also has the benefit of being able to do so. Because he is a
white man, he has privileges others don't.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

7 Lessons We Need to Learn from Amber Amour

I think it's fairly non-controversial to say that rape victims deserve justice and respect. I've previously written about how we need to start changing the conversation surrounding rape victims and how they need to be recognized for their strength rather than seen as weak. Rape victims are not weak. They are amazingly strong and nobody I know proves that more than my friend Amber AmourAmber, a rape victim herself, started a non-profit to help raise awareness and support for girls who have been raped. She started the  #StopRapeEducate campaign where she has run workshops around the world educating people about the realities of rape and how to support victims, all the while raising awareness through her street chalk projects.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

How to Be An Ally

Fear of being wrong is one of the main factors that prevents people from being even halfway decent allies, they're just so overwhelmed with the fact that they may be called out for not being perfect that they don't even bother to help their fellow humans. I will freely admit that being an ally - to any group - is tough because it forces you to examine your own privilege. You are an Ally because you are a member of the privileged class who has decided to stand up for the marginalized. That means that you benefit from privilege. Even if you are a member of one marginalized group, no person exists in a vacuum. I'm an asexual, disabled woman and yeah the last part is hard for me to admit, but I'm also white and from an affluent family which makes me pretty damn privileged despite the non-hetero, disabled portion of my existence. I benefit from "benevolent sexism" all the damn time because of my whiteness and cisgendered-ness. Just because benevolent sexism is also sexist behavior, that doesn't mean I don't benefit from it.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Is The Purple-Red Scale A Better Way To Come Out?

In honor of National Coming Out Day I thought I'd write about a new method thats been surging around the internet for identifying your sexual orientation. For anyone who is even remotely familiar with the study of sexuality, the name "Kinsey" should ring a bell. For anyone unfamiliar with it, Alfred Kinsey is credited with being one of the first people to study human sexuality and create a scale to measure it. After conducting countless interviews, he came up with what is now called the Kinsey scale. Although, originally the scale only applied to sexual experiences and not desires, it was easily adapted to allow people to plot their orientation on a number scale going from 0 to 6 with 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 being exclusively homosexual.
An example of the Kinsey scale for human sexuality (Asexual was not originally included)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Day

Today is mental health awareness day. Having struggled all day to find what to say I'd like to share some thoughts as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, activist, and student representative.

Mental health is often something that is ignored most of the time. We only really talk about mental health when tragedy happens - like mass shootings or the recent shootings in the US (though this is disproportionately applied to white attackers). Even then this is only done to stigmatize mental health, leaving the impression that those with mental health problems are shameful and dangerous.

This is extremely harmful for us all. It makes people not want to talk about their mental problems. Oftentimes it stops many from seeking help and acknowledging that there is a problem at all. I know from experience how harmful this culture is. Having gone through a period of extreme depression, and having lasting social anxiety I know what it is like to think that you are broken, that your mind is working against you and feeling like you have nobody to talk to. I have watched others who feel like they can't talk to anybody suffer in silence.

Mental health is a huge issue for marginalized groups. In general 1 in 6 people in the UK experience mental health issues, but LGBT+ people are 3x more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders and 6x more likely to suffer from depression than heterosexuals? This is especially true for LGBT+ youth (including those in University) and even more so for trans people in particular.

This is a problem that effects everybody though. Everyone has their ups and downs. Especially when dealing with our complex societies stress and anxieties come and go. Some may experience more than others but what is wrong with having support dealing with these changes in mental states? We already have it for physical health.

Physical health is central to how we view the world. From a young age physical health is drilled into us. We are taught about brushing our teeth, washing our hands, watching our step, what we can and can't eat or touch. Really the list goes on and on.  We require physical checks to go to school, university, do sports, all sorts of things. This centrality and exposure lends itself to thinking that talking about and dealing with physical health is 'normal' and acceptable. We need to extend this thinking to mental health for all our sakes.

This mental health awareness day I encourage everyone to try to be just a little bit more open about mental health issues. Remind friends that you are there to talk to, make sure you all know about the support options that are available (at most universities there are counselors of all sorts to help). Stop yourself and others when using ableist language (like "crazy", and "retard(ed)").

Let's work toward building a society where taking care of our minds is viewed just as normal as taking care of our bodies. If we can do that we will all benefit and be better for it.