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Straight Edge Interview Project: Danielle, 32, Twin Cities, she/her

Tell us about yourself! Hobbies, jobs, passion projects, interests?
I work on the ramp for a major airline, which is perfect because my biggest passion is travel. I’m slowly making my way around the world but some highlights have been Machu Picchu in Peru, The Colosseum in Rome, and The Matterhorn in Switzerland.

I also like to run to relieve stress and am currently training for my seventh marathon. I’m a big fan of reading, watching movies (especially horror!), and going to theme parks!

What are you listening to these days?   (does not have to be hardcore)   What are some of your favorite bands and/or podcasts?
My favorite band is The Wonder Years and I’ve been listening to their new album, The Hum Goes on Forever, pretty much nonstop since it came out in September. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Turnstile, clipping., and Telethon. My favorite podcasts are Doughboys, Podcast: The Ride, Armchair Expert, and Blank Check.

What’s your straight edge story?
I guess I’ve technically been straight edge my whole life as I’ve never drank or done drugs. I think I first heard the term “straight edge” in my early teens when I was first discovering punk/hardcore. Every once in a while I would see a member of a band I was seeing wear a straight edge shirt on stage or mention being straight edge in interviews and once I started looking into what that was it instantly clicked with me.

There’s a history of alcoholism in my dad’s side of the family and from an early age I saw how it could completely destroy a person’s life and their relationships with their friends and family. I swore from a young age that that would never happen to me. I’ve been lucky that my family and friends never tried to pressure me to break edge and instead respected and admired my decision to live a sober life.

How do you define straight edge?
Straight edge to me means abstaining from drinking, smoking, and drugs. I think it is similar to sobriety but can also be thought of as more of a subculture of likeminded people that are passionate and vocal about this way of living.
I’ve been straight edge my whole life, so no I don’t think I’ll ever stop being straight edge.

Like I mentioned above, so much of my commitment to this lifestyle comes from seeing how alcoholism (and drugs) can completely destroy an otherwise healthy person’s life.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”?
I try to be pretty open minded so I don’t judge if someone falls out of being straight edge but finds their way back. I think we should be welcoming of anyone trying to better their lives instead of pushing them away. When I was younger I probably wasn’t as lenient with my opinion on that, but I’m glad I’ve grown.

Do you feel that the straight edge community has been, and should be welcoming to those in recovery?    
I definitely think we should be welcoming to those in recovery. It could be exactly what someone needs to remain clean and sober. Besides family members I’ve also watched (formerly) close friends struggle to stay clean after completing rehab and maybe if they had more people in their lives encouraging their continued sobriety it would have resulted in a different outcome. Ultimately you can’t force someone to remain sober if their heart isn’t in it, but finding the straight edge community and feeling accepted could be life changing

Have you ever felt that your gender has had influenced your experience in the straight edge and/or hardcore scene?
I’ve had the typical experience of it being assumed that I didn’t actually know the music of a hardcore band because I was a girl. Or that I was only at a show or wearing straight edge merch to look “cool”. A lot of my friends in my teens that shared similar tastes in music were male and would go to shows with me/share music with me so I always felt included at least in my inner circle of friends. I think that helped to not let the general misogyny get to me too much.

Do you feel that the straight edge movement/scene is inclusive?
I think there have been great strides in the last decade or so to make the straight edge movement more inclusive. When I was first learning about straight edge, it was almost exclusively men I heard talking about it. Now I see much more women (and POC) being vocal about it on social media, wearing straight edge merch at shows, starting hardcore bands, etc and it feels really good! Hopefully it helps to get a whole new generation into the movement.

Has being straight edge had an impact on your relationships?
My family and friends have always supported my decision to be straight edge and have never pressured me to break edge. I’m also lucky to have found a partner that’s also straight edge, although that’s definitely not a requirement for me. Just an added benefit!

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?
I think a lot of people discover straight edge through the punk/hardcore scene but I don’t think that it’s absolutely necessary to be a part of it in order to claim edge. Someone might discover straight edge through a friend that’s involved in the scene and maybe they aren’t into the music but want to live the lifestyle. Who am I to tell them that they can’t?

Final Thoughts? Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think this is a really cool project that I’m happy to be included in! I’ve really enjoyed reading through the previous interviews and seeing how our opinions are similar or different.

Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org

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