Fragrance Free Beginners Guide

 

Going fragrance free can be tricky, even for people who really need it, so I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to make it easier for people who want to avoid fragrances, create accessible spaces, or support people around them who can’t tolerate fragrances. I want to make it as easy as possible, because it’s really important for our well-being!  Also, a lot of people find they benefit from going fragrance free even without MCS.

Why should I go fragrance free, anyways?

Many people are irritated by strong smells, perfumes, or chemical smells.  Close to a third of the population of the US in fact.  About 11%are very allergic to fragrances and become very ill when exposed to fragrances.  You might hear people use terms like allergic to fragrances, or multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), and some people are allergic to a wider or narrower range of products.

While the effects vary between people, even small amounts of fragrance make me really sick: I get intense muscle cramps, migraines, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating.  Also, there is some reason to believe that exposure can make this worse, since some people develop these allergies after prolonged exposure to chemicals such as pesticides and working in hair or nail salons. Continue reading

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Thinking about Privilege

content: reflection on own privilege, childhood, and the problems with hierarchies of oppression and homogenizing marginalized groups.

So much of privilege is really hard to conceptualize because it’s intrinsic to our lived experience. It occurred to me today how privileged I am as I brushed my teeth and remembered being 5 years old and learning how to brush my own teeth.

I challenge you to think about it too.  What do you remember learning before you were 5 years old? Continue reading

An attempt at nuance: gender and privilege

TL;DR: experiences of gendered privilege do not determine gender, and homogenizing trans narratives is part of the double standard trans people are subject to that cis people are not and that’s not cool.

It seems so obvious to me, as a disabled person who is often actively discriminated against while passing as ablebodied, how easy it is to experience violence and a form of privilege at the same time.  Passing means that I will not face overt discrimination, but the socially imposed boundaries limiting me still exist and affect me.  I might not be deliberately left out, as I might when I use a cane, but I still can’t keep up. I often feel the same way about gender.

Divides in the trans community often fall along what it takes to be really trans, who has more privilege, and who uses the “right” language.  Often I see statements that say things like transwomen are real women and have always been real women but never how that category is inherently oppressive.  I see animosity and harassment towards people whose gender may have changed, against nonbinary people and those who do not medically transition.  All of these things boil down to a movement that refuses to acknowledge a plurality of experiences and enforces strict hierarchies of oppression. Continue reading

Mental Health and Coping with Suicidal Ideation

This is a list of coping strategies.

The first focus is preventative strategies for people who experience chronic ideation regarding self harm, but can be used for any sort of negative experience.

Below is a list of resources for mental health self care that covers a variety of topics that may negatively affect one’s well being, as well as resources and information about seeking emergency care.  Each set of resources is labeled with an asterisk for improved navigation between sections.

Contents:
Coping Strategies List
Planning Strategies List

List of resources

-Emergencies
-Resources for friends and family
-Issue specific
-General resources

Please note I do not have any expertise and this is simply to help individuals who want to find resources on their own.  Thank you, to the collective wisdom of the online groups of Sick and Disabled Queers and Sick and Disabled Queers of Color, and continue to be an inclusive and supportive community. Continue reading

Who’s trigger is it anyway?

content: Descriptions of triggers, gaslighting, and suggestions for how to label information.

Many spaces struggle with how to provide adequate information about the nature of their content in a way that is useful to people who wish to be able to enter into difficult conversations with the means to prepare.  There seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding the nature of certain words commonly used to pinpoint hurtful subjects especially within social justice spaces.
Continue reading

Your labels matter: working for inclusive and accountable language

TL;DR: If you are trying to support marginalized genders, don’t use narratives suggesting gender isn’t real to seek legitimacy.

We may not chose our gender or sexual or romantic orientation, but we do chose how we talk about it.  No decision happens in a vacuum and your choices affect others.

Finding our own gender can be very complicated.  For some agender people, that means coming to terms with the fact that gender is really important!  To a lot of people!  For a lot of cisgender people it means understanding that there are more than two categories out there and that they aren’t set in stone. Continue reading

Who gets the authority?

Everyone’s a little bit racist. Unfortunately, this includes people who are subject to the effects of racism. Everyone exists in a social context that immerses them in cultural knowledge, which often contains prejudices against others and one’s own group. This isn’t limited to racism either, but applies to all marginalized people.

Yet an important concept in social justice circles is that marginalized people are the best authority on their own experiences. How do we reconcile this with the idea that many marginalized people don’t have access to social justice analysis, and can only speak to their own experience, and that sometimes prejudices become defense mechanisms. Continue reading