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Straight Edge Interview Project: Lauren Swain/28/stolen Kickapoo land/they them

Tell us about yourself! Hobbies, jobs, passion projects, interests?
Hobbies: tearing down the prison industrial complex, prison abolition work, park skating, roller derby. Causes: prisoner support work.

What are you listening to these days?   (does not have to be hardcore)   What are some of your favorite bands and/or podcasts?
Sharptooth, Have Heart, Cardi B, Petrol Girls, The Regrettes, Anna Wise, Bimbocore.

What’s your straight edge story? How old were you when you “claimed edge”?  
I was 16 when I claimed! My story is two stories that kind of diverge. When I was sixteen, I went to an away tournament with my derby team and got wasted. I hated it. I hated not being in control of my body and thus claimed edge. Serendipitously, my ex was suffering from addiction, and watching him really reinforced my choice in being straight edge. I found out about straight edge through a person on my roller derby team who no longer claims. I got drawn to straight edge because it’s something that holds you accountable in life.

How do you define straight edge?  What makes straight edge different from being sober?
I think, being sober implies you can reclaim sobriety over and over again after relapsing, which is fine. Everyone has their struggles and some of us take different roads to get where we need to be. Being edge implies you get one chance to claim. It’s not necessarily something that you can break and claim and break and claim. I’m 28 I don’t see myself breaking anytime soon.

Have you ever felt that your gender has had influenced your experience in the “straight edge and/or hardcore scene”?
Gender influences my everyday life and thus affects the way in which I navigate places like the hard-core scene. As someone who is genderqueer I typically try to find bands that are intersecting at the crossroads of hard-core and queer.

Do you feel that the straight edge movement/scene is inclusive?  What are things that can be done to make it more inclusive? 
As a person who navigates the world with white privilege, I cannot speak on inclusiveness because I don’t experience marginalization the same way Black or Indigenous people do. As well many times my gender presentation is coded as CIS so I’m often not targeted by homophobia. I would like to think this scene is inclusive to all who come to it though.

Has being straight edge had an impact on your relationships (family, friends, significant others)?
In my last relationship, there was definitely some tension around alcohol and drinking. I am lucky enough now to have a spouse who is also 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?
You can absolutely be a part of the edge community without being a part of the music scene.

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

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