Celebrating Lesbian History Week

Welcome to Lesbian History Week

Date: 27-July-2015

Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonkeating/welcome-to-lesbian-history-week#.ucjpdDE0QM


Lesbian History Week

“When we think of gay history in the United States, we tend to think Larry Kramer and the AIDS crisis; we think Harvey Milk; we think the Stonewall riots; we think of the decades-long fight for marriage equality. Gay men — particularly white, cis, affluent gay men — have long since been the popular face of gay rights, and consequently, theirs are the faces most often immortalized in the amorphous archives of LGBT history.

Where did all the lesbians go? We’ve been here all along — even if our hallmark struggles and achievements have been white-washed, pink-washed, and dude-washed in the narrative of queer history. Even Stonewall, a crucial turning point in 1969 for the queer rights movement, is often misremembered — popular culture likes to forget the riots were incited by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

Let’s start remedying that.

Welcome to BuzzFeed LGBT’s Lesbian History Week. In light of the historic SCOTUS decision in favor of marriage equality, we thought it was time to spend a bit of time looking behind us as we figure out what — in terms of the things left to fight for, in terms of preserving/reimagining queer lady culture – lies ahead.

We’re kicking off with a retrospective of influential lesbian magazine Curve in celebration of its 25th anniversary – a glimpse at the past quarter century of lesbian culture as told in print. Throughout this week, check back in for daily pieces about the impact of very different kinds of lesbian icons, like Audre Lorde and Lesley Gore; throwback photo essays of vintage queers living and loving in a time very different, and yet not not so different, from ours; and the last lesbian bar in San Francisco closing its doors, indicative of a larger trend across the country of queer spaces getting priced out and shut down.

These are personal histories, and cultural histories, and hybrid personal/cultural histories. They are only a few pieces of a rich and varied past in which queer women fought, loved, fucked, failed, and triumphed. Read them here.”

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Freedom of expression under threat

Bloggers in Bangladesh are no strangers to death threats and assassination attempts by religious fanatics/Islamic millitants. There is a hitlist that exists that contains the names of at least 84 bloggers, out of which at 9 have been murdered. Anyone who expresses a critical view of religion is exposed and under watch. Their threats are so common and frequent that they have even stopped counting them.


Rashida Ahmed

Rashida Ahmed remains defiant

Bangladesh is a secular country but over 90% of it’s population is Muslim. Publicly declaring that you’re an atheist is a taboo, in this part of the world. And that’s what Avijit Roy did. He started Mukto-Mona, an online portal that “promote science, rationalism, secularism, freethinking, human rights, religious tolerance, and harmony”. Roy was murdered on his way home from a book fair in Dhaka in an attack that left his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, badly injured.

There hasn’t been a single person charged over these murders even though relatives have filed criminal cases stating that they were killed by “extremist fanatic groups”. But Rashida Ahmed has not let the attacks scare her off; she remains defiant.

Watch her interview with Deutsche Welle here:


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Discovering Brandon Stanton through Humans of New York

After graduating from University of Georgia, young Brandon Stanton joined Chicago Board of Trade where he traded stocks for 3 years. After things took a bad turn, he lost his job and moved to the city of New York to do what he does best: photography. During the summer of 2000, he decided to start Humans of New York, a social media venture and photoblog, where he could showcase all the random strangers’ portraits he took on the streets of New York.


After just a few months into his new hobby, his little project of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers evolved as he started to have conversations with his subjects and decided to include a phrase or a quote along with the portrait. With his vibrant pictures of quirky characters, and insightful and witty captions, Humans of New York became a real success real fast. He went on to become #1 New York Times best selling author after publishing Humans of New York in 2013 and later published Little Humans in 2014.

But Brandon Stanton is not the type to enrich in the popularity he was gaining all for himself. In 2012, DKNY approached him to use 300 of his photos for a fashion campaign but he declined. When DKNY went ahead and used his pictures anyway, in at least one store in Bangkok, he decided against suing them for money that he rightly deserved. Instead, Brandon publicly asked that they donate $100,000 in his name to a YMCA, so they could send a bunch of underprivileged kids to summer camp.

He appeals to all his fans to donate money for various fund-raising campaigns. From relief funds for Hurricane Sandy victims to helping a couple adopt an orphan from Ethiopia, Humans of New York’s admirers were quick to help (within 12 hours and 90 minutes, respectively, to be accurate). Another initiative he set up to raise $100,000 to send 6th graders of a public school on a trip to Harvard University was met within 45 minutes.

Brandon Stanton is an epitome of proof that social media gives every single user a voice. ChronicleMe is a social media interface that provides its users with a positive platform where they can voice their opinions and not worry about negative lash backs. Clearly, there are plenty of Internet users out there who are willing to provide help to those who need it, as we have learnt from the Humans of New York supporters. And ChronicleMe’s main aim is to provide users with an environment where they can feel safe, comfortable and secure, in order to seek help or find support from other users.

Cyberbullying at College

Most people mistakenly believe that bullying/cyberbullying is a problem faced by young adolescents. What they do not know is that studies have shown that 40% of high-schoolers, who have either been bullies or victims or bullying acts, maintain this role even through college. According to a few research studies, cyberbullying amongst college populations ranges from 10% to 27.8%.

Cyber bullying pic

Through a study by University of Washington, where 285 female students (from 4 different colleges) were questioned, researchers found that college-age females were just as likely to suffer the negative effects of cyberbullying as younger adolescents. Moreover, the study found that it could affect girls this age even worse as they are three times more likely to meet the clinical criteria for depression. If the bullying was a form of sexual abuse, the odds of depression doubled. According to Brian Van Brunt, President of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, first year college students and those in the Greek system experience more cases of bullying or “hazing” than other groups. With the advent of social media and anonymous apps, the cases of cyber bullying in the recent past, is at an all time high.

We all know that the psychological effects of cyberbullying causes more emotional damage than traditional bullying because of the wider audience and impact of the Internet. Considering the fact that Internet is a basic necessity for almost all college students, and coupled with the fact that college is generally a high-stress environment, the effects of cyber bullying are multiplied, as are the total number of victims. The University of Washington study has shown that even cyber bullying perpetrators suffer from depression and are more likely to resort to alcohol and substance abuse. In terms of alcohol abuse, bullies suffer much more than victims.

However, there is an upside: most college campuses have counseling offices and victims can easily talk to a counselor in their college clinic. Also, since college campuses provide so many diverse opportunities, Van Brunt is of the opinion that victims have a bigger chance to find a niche somewhere on campus rather than becoming isolated.

Cyber bullying at college clearly cannot be taken lightly as it poses huge problem for a lot of young adults. We, at ChronicleMe, aim to create more awareness about its effects in the hope that bullies will understand the weight of their words and victims will find courage in the fact that they are not alone.

Spotlight on our New Intern #2: Shrenya Salguti

What is your full name?

Shrenya Reddy Salguti

Describe your hometown.

Hyderabad (India) is a crowded but beautiful city. It has a wonderful, well-preserved history: from the rich heritage of the Nizams of Hyderabad to ancient ruins of forts. Despite this, Hyderabad is one of the largest IT hubs on a global level. It also has the best food you can find in the world.

Where are you attending school?

Right now, I am enrolled as a full time grad student at Syracuse University. I graduated high school from Hyderabad Public School or HPS, as we call it. HPS was the home for many notable alumni like Satya Nadella (the current CEO of Microsoft) and many political dignitaries and also sportsmen like Harsha Bhogle.

Why did you apply to work at ChronicleMe?

I have always liked the idea of anonymity on the Internet because it encourages people to post the raw truth and be completely honest. ChronicleMe offers just that and more: it lets users share their stories in a completely judgment-free, safe environment while finding comfort in and supporting each other. It’s a great opportunity to be working with the team that has accomplished this.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I am a huge fan of TV shows. I once binge watched 3 entire seasons of Breaking Bad in less than 48 hours. Best two days of my life.

What do you like most about living in Upstate NY?

To be honest, I have not seen a lot of Upstate NY (yes, I need to get out more). But Syracuse is beautiful during fall. I experienced my first winter (real winter, not the pseudo winters we have in Hyderabad where the temperature hardly goes below 70 degrees) in Syracuse and I have loved every freezing minute of it. Syracuse also has some pretty amazing food places like Alto Cinco, Recess and LoFo.

What is your least favorite thing about living in Upstate NY?

That I haven’t seen all of it? Haha, honestly though, I have no complaints. Except that it rains a little too much.

What interests you about the Tech Garden?

Working at start-ups has always been something that I wanted to do. Tech Garden houses a bunch of offices for start-ups. I have only recently started working here but the atmosphere is electric. I am excited about meeting and working with people who are passionate about what they do and also about the Germinator initiative.

What is your favorite food?

Hyderabadi Biryani, hands down (Hyderabad’s style of traditional biryani, made with rice, spices and meat). I also love New York style pizza, chicken wings (the spicier the better), and Mexican food.

What tabs do you have open on your computer?

Right now? I have Gmail, WordPress, SU’s Blackboard, Facebook, & Twitter.

What do you want to do in 10 years for a career?

10 years is a loong time and I don’t like to plan that far ahead. I am more of a spontaneous, impulsive person. But I see a lot of opportunities in the future and hope to achieve something that I am proud of.

Who is someone you look up to?

There have been a lot of people who’ve influenced me but my biggest inspiration are my parents and brother. I am always looking to them for advice and support.