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Straight Edge Interview Project: Erika,36, her/she, Luleå, North Sweden

Tell us about yourself!
I work as an After-school teacher, love to go to the gym, be in nature, follow my favorite hockey team Luleåhockey, listen to music, go to listen to live music, and see old movies.

Photo of Erika, a straight edge woman wearing a yellow hat and head phones

What are you listening to these days?  
Lots of Swedish heavy metal like In Flames, Meshuggah, At the Gates, Opeth, Sabaton, and Amon Amarth. I like True crime and documentary pods. In the straight edge scene is Minor Threat or Final Exit my favourite

What’s your straight edge story?
I start when I was 26, so I have been straight edge in 10 years. I start when I needed a change in my life. I heard about straight edge society maybe 10 years before. I got introduced to it when a cast member in Swedish reality show was straight edge. It made me curious and wanted to know more. And soon I end up living straight edge. My best decision ever.

A photo of a straight edge woman covering her face.

How do you define straight edge?
Straight edge is more than being sober. Is a lifestyle. When I become straight edge I had no clue That it would change my life in a social way. In Sweden, particularly in north Sweden is straight edge, not a big thing. I don’t know or hang out with any other straight edge People. I have no idea how it’s to be part of a straight edge scene or a society.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”?
In the beginning, I was more the stereotype straight edge with the type of music, clothes etc. Like the way, people outside the edge scene would describe Straight edge People. But now 10 years later I feel more like find a more personalized way of being Straight edge. I prefer heavy metal music to Straight edge hardcore music for example. Another thing is in the beginning of my Straight edge years wasn’t I vegan, but a few years ago I also become vegan. So I would say I have found a way over the years to become the straight edge I wanna be.

A photo of a straight edge woman with a septum piercing looking into the camera

Do you feel that the straight edge community has been, and should be welcoming to those in recovery? 
I become straight edge when I felt my alcohol consumption was a problem. The Straight edge society become my way to a better life. So I definitely think the straight edge socitey should be welcoming those people.

Have you ever felt that your gender has influenced your experience in the straight edge and/or hardcore scene?
I have no experience of anything bad. Maybe because the straight-edge scene is so small in Sweden. The few active persons in the scene are dedicated and inclusive.

Do you feel that the straight edge movement/scene is inclusive? 
The only change I wish for is that the scene gets bigger in Sweden. I wish to have the opportunity to be part of a big Swedish straight edge community in the future.

A black and white photo of a straight edge woman looking into the camera

Has being straight edge had an impact on your relationships (family, friends, significant others)?
In the beginning, people stop calling. I was not a priority in social groups when I become sober. I have also been on dates with guys who stop dating me when I told them that I’m straight edge.

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what are your thoughts on this?
I’m straight edge and not part of the music scene. I don’t understand why you must be part of the music scene to be straight edge.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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