Your Identity Doubles as Community Service

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Are you ready to do community service? Many times people associate that word with punishment. But is it really? Don’t we all seek a job that would fulfill us? What best fulfills us? Giving and serving with a cause we believe in.

When you claim your Gothness, you have a moral and ethical obligation to be a representative of all Goths and to serve all Goths. The way to best serve other Goths is to be your absolute best, authentic self. When you are yourself, you give license and permission for other to be themselves. In that way you make them “licensed” Goths; you are paying it forward, making it easier for another Goth to feel safe, loved, and appreciated in this world. Since ours is an underserved community, we must take particular care to keep the community healthy (and alive!) Think of your unique talents and abilities and consider ways that you can give to the community. (I don’t like to say “give back” since you didn’t take anything). When you have come up with your list, narrow it down. What will best serve the Goth economy? What will best serve all dimensions of a Goth or similar person person in a similar culture?  I don’t like saying “subculture” because we do not subordinate ourselves nor should we.

One way that I serve the Goth economy is through Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a safe environment for socializing and  professional growth. Adding Goths to Toastmasters is a twist on the tried and true.

If you live in the Denver area, consider joining next week. For more information, see Freaks Who Speak Toastmasters Club.

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Freaks Who Speak Toastmasters Club

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What: Freaks Who Speak Toastmasters Club
When: September 18th from 7-8:30PM
Where: Scum of the Earth Church @ 935 W 11th Ave, Denver, CO 80204
Who: This will be an open club. There is an 18+ age requirement to be an official member, but all ages are allowed to participate in meetings to some extent. Normie allies of the Goth community are also welcome.
Why: There are many introverts with stories to share in the Goth community, but also few job skill trainings and resume-enhancing trainings targeted specifically to the Goth community
How: District 25 will provide a demonstration meeting to see if there is interest in the Goth community. Something like this has never been done before now!

Toastmasters Flyer

Features Benefits and Value Chart

What Lavoce Does and How You Can Support It

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What Lavoce Does

Lavoce aims to improve Goths’ financial futures and banish shame. Lavoce says that you are more than a novelty and more than a niche vendor, or whatever it is you do to make a living. You are who you believe yourself to be, and you are whatever you were born to be. Being Goth is like breathing. One does not just stop breathing because someone is told to. Eventually one has to choose whether to live or die.As Thomas Paine said, “Give me freedom or give me death.” Unfortunately, some chose to die, and that is a reality that Lavoce will change.

Lavoce says that you don’t need to develop a drinking habit to be among like-minded dark romantics. I do not see why Goths need to put themselves into a potentially triggering situation just to be themselves. It’s almost as if the powers that be want to condition us like Pavlovian dogs to feel bad about our nature and to make us want to be something other than ourselves. It is almost like having to pay for food in order to perform a bodily function, or paying a toll to drive from point A to B, or purchasing air rights. Goths have the right to be with like-minded people without spending money on potentially debilitating habits.

I have recently met someone with whom I hope to collaborate in terms of providing the Goth scene with options that do not involve drinking and would be of special interest to oldbies. Stay tuned.

How You Can Support Lavoce’s Cause

You remember “Drain the Swamp”? How could you not? That is a result of how DC was insulated from what was going on with the rest of the country, and the entire world, during The Great Recession and beyond. Denver is the same way with their Goth scene. Even though I love its thriving community, which stands in sharp contrast to DC’s, one just cannot ignore the ignorance regarding the rest of America, and again, the world. Some Goths there, especially those native to Colorado make taking the Goth scene for granted an art. They believe that every state has a Goth scene. Smh (shaking my head).

Goth nights at bars and clubs are great for fostering a sense of not being alone, and there is certainly a place for that, but they are not so great with changing the mindset people have toward Goths. Some Denver Goths complain about normies accidentally walking into a Goth night at a bar out of curiosity, but just as the GLBT community needs allies (which could be why Denver has the largest pride fest), so do Goths. (And plus, some perceived normies are really just corporate Goths, just as some allies are curious or questioning.)

So, I took action and introduced my normie friend to the Goth scene and a few people in the scene to reduce ignorance and increase awareness. (I tend to dislike the word “tolerance” as it breeds a continued level of close-mindedness.) You remember “Bring Your Child to Work Day”? We should really consider “Bring a Friend to Goth Scene Day”. The way to change the world is not to shelter oneself with people and news that only reaffirms our own confirmation bias (sorry, got back into politics), but to reach out to the world around us to increase awareness. It is only through increased awareness that we can also increase safety (or perceived safety, which can sometimes be just as important for preventing suicide). Even though Denver has more numbers to effect change, everyone has the ability to do what they can to make the world a better place for Goths. Remember that people’s lives are at stake.

The Headdress and the Slut Walk

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I was reading about Muslim fashion from the Economist and how it has been springing up on the fashion walks in the fashion capitals around the world. The article said that you could not call it “sexy.” Of course not! I even wondered why it was okay to call non-Muslim fashion sexy. Why is there such a prevalent attitude that women’s fashion is only for sex? Nudity is for sex. Being clothed is the opposite of being naked.

What do the headdress and the slut walk have in common? They both affirm women’s rights to be treated as human beings, not meat, and subsequently affirm men’s rights to be treated as human beings, not as annoying parasitic leeches made stupid by desires. Of course, they have very different methods for accomplishing the same thing.

Why do I blog about this under a Goth blog? Because being Goth is an affirmation that all humans have the right to pursue fashion with passion without fear of rape, leering, or (unwanted) stares. This applies even to women who as girls saw only the glamorous side of Madonna, women deemed “trailer trash,” and other women who use sex to sell and aspired to be like them.

“I make jokes about it, but it’s the truth that I kind of patterned my look after the town tramp. I didn’t know what she was, just this woman who was blond and piled her hair up, wore high heels and tight skirts, and, boy, she was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. Momma used to say, “Aw, she’s just trash,” and I thought, That’s what I want to be when I grow up. Trash.”― Dolly Parton

In Saudi Arabia, where women wear headdresses, women value fashion so much that they spend as much on fashion as they do on rent and stores do not import more than one item of the same style lest two women be caught wearing the same thing. Beyond the headdress being an affirmation of religion, it is also a practical feature so that women can feel free to walk the streets alone without having to call for a cab, Uber, or Lyft.

“The moment that I step outside
So many reasons
For me to run and hide
I can’t do the little things
I hold so dear
‘Cause it’s all those little things
That I fear” – No Doubt – Just A Girl Lyrics | MetroLyrics

God (or Allah or Source) did not make us women to curse us; He (or She) made us women to bless us. He (or She) did not bless us with beauty, but curse us with an eye for fashion; nor did He (or She) bless us with an eye for fashion, but curse us with beauty.

Female Goths have a hard enough time feeling safe from normies; the last thing they need to worry about is feeling unsafe from their own male peers. Idealistically, female Goths should be free to choose a life of purity, monogamy, or asexuality if they so wish, and other female Goths’ desires for polyamory, nonmonogamy, or even addictive behaviors should not impede on other female Goths. Another tenet of feminism is that women should also have the right to change their preference.

All women should have the right to wear whatever they so choose without fear of rape or annoyance be they Goths, Muslims, or even aspiring “trailer trash.”

The Dream After Halloween

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This Halloween I dressed up as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. The title of this post is a deliberate play on The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was about people from a world about Halloween invading a world about Christmas (and alludes to the fact that I was too busy enjoying Halloween to post). Perhaps it is not appropriate to add a bit of Halloween to Christmas. However, I think we should all add a bit of Christmas to Halloween.

People say that we should treat every day as if it were Christmas, giving freely (of not just candy) and with a joyful heart. Everyone seems to get in on the fun, even non-Christians.

To a Goth, every day is Halloween, and we are free to be ourselves without worrying about what other people think, even if sometimes that means our employers. However, not everyone gets in on the fun with Halloween. There is that attitude that there is a certain age at which one should quit celebrating Halloween. I agree that it might be inappropriate for a 40-year-old to ask for candy, but that certainly does not prevent his or her ability to dress up (or down).

As for the word “dream” in the title, “dream” has multiple meanings. First, there is the real dream one has at night. I sometimes remember multiple dreams per night every night. They are always figurative and metaphorical, hard to decipher without some help. So in applying that idea here, I think Halloween represents our collective ability to feel safe being ourselves among coworkers and other judgmental adults. Goths should never work in a place that does not celebrate Halloween. If we do not feel safe, then we live in a nightmare.

“Dream” can also imply something wonderful, marvelous, spectacular, like paradise on earth. I feel that if we were able to make the world a safer place for fellow Goths, that we would indeed be living a paradise on earth. I am fortunate that for the first time in my life I started a new job around Halloween. The first impression I made was that this is the real me (what you see is what you get), and the specialness of that one day in the year made it possible for my true Goth self to continue flourishing and blooming even within a white-collar environment.

I did not have to sacrifice a good paycheck for the ability to be myself. Now that is a dream come true!

Where Did All the Goths Go?

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There is no time in which a closeted Goth’s life stands in starker contrast than during a job search. It’s hard enough to compete with a suit and tie, who doesn’t have a guarantee either. We may try, but we know that we may never fit the mold. As I was contemplating these things, I caught a glimpse of an iPad poker game filled with  a trio of Goth players. Poker by itself does not necessitate that players be Goth, so the option for them to be got me to thinking. Apparently, the culture still exists, but in a space so underground that it’s practically alternative reality. It exists in a safe space away from the rest of the world–in the world of World of Warcraft, The Sims, Second Life, IMVU, online poker games, video games, iPhone games, and computer games. They exist in the land of the digital. They live in a gray space–real enough to identify with but too false to feel satisfying. Goths have been so suppressed that the culture has been relegated to the confines of (even standard) avatars, where we can project our desires without fear of losing our livelihood. A job search profile pic may never live up to one’s true identity, but an avatar can always express your true self without fear. It is certainly not the best way by a long shot, but when there is a will there will always be some sort of way to express ourselves.

Violence is Not the Answer

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Today I am again reminded of how frequently people choose violence as a way of expressing anger. Two times there have been an active shooter (or the possibility of an active shooter) in a place close to me near dates that were important to me. I didn’t think I’d ever have to write a post about it here, but I feel that it is about time.

We all know about the current events with police brutality against blacks and the continuation of active shooters ever since the time I was in high school. In an American culture that glorifies violence, even over sex, it is not just surprising that there is violence, but it is surprising that there isn’t more.

The most relevant shooting to our group of people is the Columbine massacre, which many have confirmed were not the cause of Goths or the Goth culture. I will never forget that when a teacher told my friend to “take it off,” referring to his trenchcoat, he took off his shirt and put his trenchcoat back on. Now I’m not saying that I support defiance, especially when it comes to retaining a job, but I am saying that there are many ways to express ourselves that are nonviolent but just as effective.

The great thing about our fashion revolution is that it works best without violence. Actually, violence defeats the purpose of changing people’s opinions and stereotypes about us. People are not going to hire you under threat of force. Our revolution (to put Goths in jobs) will require us to do the work, and we will only get as far as the effort we put in. Our revolution is a revolution that will require our own self-improvement.