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Straight Edge Interview Project: Jessica Díaz, 32, Montevideo, Uruguay

In our latest interview, we feature Jessy, a 32-year-old straight-edge vegan from Uruguay. Jessy views straight edge as more than just a lifestyle; she sees it as a political statement that not only challenges norms but also opens new dialogues with friends and strangers about substance use.

Keep up with Jessy by following her on Instagram: @xseconvierteenfuriax

Could you share a brief introduction about yourself?

Hi everyone! I’m Jessy, a 32-year-old vegan SxE girl from Montevideo, Uruguay 🇺🇾, a small county in South America.

Tell us about your interests and passions.

I love music, the outdoors, and spending time with my dog Lupita. We usually go on adventures in our tiny van, and spend days on the beach or camping. I love hardcore and punk music, I’m currently working as the ‘freightage girl’ or ‘fletera del punk’ of my local scene, I transport the bands’ instruments to the different venues.

I love what I do, keeps me an active piece of the scene, I get involved in the organization of the gigs and make a lot of friends along the way. I also dedicate a lot of my time to develop my spirituality, chant japa, cook prasadam, worship Krishna and finding him in everything I do in my life.

What’s currently on your playlist? 

I listen to a lot of bands in my local scene: Flor Sakeo, Obelisco, Naoko, Lynces, they are good friends of mine and on the top of my list. But then, I usually listen to a lot of classic hardcore bands, such as Youth of Today, Shelter, Minor Threat, etc. I also have a strong connection with My Chemical Romance, it’s my first music love. I’m always on the search for new emerging bands.

How do you define straight edge, and in what ways do you feel it differs from being sober?

For me, SxE is actually a political stand, as it creates an impact in my close circle or the people I meet for the first time. When people know that I’m edge, usually a conversation starts and makes them question their own habits, which I think we don’t always get to do and it’s a great opportunity to share our experiences.

It’s something more than being sober, goes beyond not consuming substances, it’s part of a subculture, and it connects with values, music, and people all around the world. It’s like being in a club, where you don’t pay a fee, you don’t have a membership, and you just follow 3 basic principles: don’t drink, do drugs or smoke.

How important is music to your relationship with straight edge? 

I think they go hand in hand. SxE was born because of punk, it’s impossible for me to conceive SxE without music. As it is a response to what was and it is established. You can add anything you want to the equation: spirituality, animal rights, activism (which are also important and usually implicit in the movement) but never leave music out of it.

What’s your straight edge story?

I’ve been edge for 10 years now. I never liked alcohol, the taste of it. Never did drugs, so I felt like an outcast most of the time. Being in the punk scene in my town, this is was kids did, go to gigs, and get high or drunk. I discovered SxE because of a fanzine that a former SxE guy handed to me, I found it really interesting and started listening to the bands and reading more about it.

The thing was that as a young girl, I didn’t identify with the movement, the way I saw it was a bunch of tough, bold guys, screaming and showing off. So I didn’t claim edge until I started traveling to Bs As where I met other SxE girls who were in bands and active in that scene.

How has straight edge influenced your relationships?

It definitely helps keeping my relationships as healthy as I can. It has created a safe space, where people respect my decision and value my company for what I actually am. I feel so lucky to have the people I have in my life

Looking back, is there anything that you would do differently?

I don’t think so. I think everything went very smoothly and at my own pace.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”? 

False! We are humans. We change our minds, we grow, and change and that’s totally fine. I’d never judge people for that. I have some people in my life that been edge when they were young, and now they are not anymore. That doesn’t define them as people. They are great human beings. And I always tell this to my friends: ‘being SxE doesn’t guarantee that you are not an awful person’ so I always try to be as honest, gentle, and caring as I can with people despite my SxE. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it’s just what I choose right now, but doesn’t make me better or good to my core.

Have you encountered any challenges or misconceptions about being straight edge?

What I said before, it took me a long time to realize that I could make my own version of SxE, where it is more than tough, bold, shirtless men screaming and moshing.

It’s me, sharing and making music with my friends, talking about substance consumption with other people, being active in my local scene, being that friend that would make you share a nonalcoholic drink for a night, just because you want to be present with me. SxE can be anything you want it to be.

Do you feel that your gender or age has influenced your experience within the straight edge and hardcore scenes?

Totally, I’m basically the only SxE girl my scene and I can see why, It can be quite intimidating as what I said before. Maybe you think it is not for you because there is a stereotype, that girls don’t feel identified or represented. But we exist! And again, SxE can be anything you want it to be!

In your view, how inclusive is the straight edge movement?

Nowadays with these platforms, I think it is much more inclusive than it was before. You get to be involved in many groups, and get to know people and bands all around the world more easily. Just keep on with these types of projects, inviting people to participate and raise their voices

Have you observed any evolution in the straight edge scene regarding acceptance and diversity?

It’s still a challenge, as it is outside of SxE. But spaces like this one, make as girls and diversities feel heard and represented so I think it has evolved. But still, the changes must be done in our local scenes, make safe spaces for all of us!

Do you have any final thoughts?

Thank you for the space. It is very relevant to share women’s’ experiences in the punk scene. We are a lot and we deserve to share our views and stories which enrich immensely the punk history.

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

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