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Straight Edge Interview Project- Olga (she/her), 30, Berlin

Tell us about you? What do you do for a living? Do you have any pets, hobbies, pet projects?

Olga Burlaka straight edge sisterhood

I have a part-time job in support in a small it-company and do volunteer work at lgbtqiap+ center. I also study sociology and gender studies. I have many hobbies, but my favorite one is – photography. Reading and drawing also make me happy and relaxed and most recently i started learning drums and love it so far.

Favorite straight edge (or non-straight edge) bands? If you have links, please provide them!

Many: Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, BOLD, SSD, Earth Crisis, Have heart….

What is your definition of straight edge?

Freedom.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

Still not cool 😀

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?

Difficult one. Sure thing, they are closely related, but i think everyone hast right to be involved as much as one wants. It’s a personal choice after all.

What are some funny/common misconceptions people have about you being straight edge?

Most recently I’ve been asked if straight edge is a part of Catholicism and if people are doing it seasonally. Also one of my ex-roommate asked me which kind of straight edge I am. He thought there were 3 different kinds of straight edge: ones who don’t smoke, ones who don’t drink and ones who don’t take drugs.

What are some challenges you have faced when interacting with other people who are also edge? If you haven’t had any challenges, tell us some challenges you’ve faced when interacting with people who are not edge?

Edge people judging non edge people for drinking and stuff and edge people apologizing for beeing drunk.

Is your diet influenced or informed by your choice to be straight edge i.e. organic, antibiotic infused meat, genetically modified foods, vegan, vegetarian?

vegan

What’s your straight edge story? Was there a key moment that made you realize straight edge is the way you want to live your life? How old were you? How did you find out about straight edge, was there someone in the community that introduced you, or were you introduced to it through people/bands, etc? What drew you to it?

I used to be a “party person”. I have never been interested in drugs, but I did smoke and drink alcohol. As a teenager, I met a lot of punks and metal fans, who were mostly older than me, so at some point, I started to copy what they did. Later I used it trying to hide my anxieties and emotional crisis. I always knew what straight edge is, because of Minor Threat, but didn’t really dig deeper. Then a few friends introduced to me few bands, one show after another, and I realized it’s what I want to be.

Define what straight edge means to you? Has this changed over the years?

It is possibility of being real me, learning and enjoying thins as they are

Do you consider yourself an activist? What is/are your cause(s), and how have you been working to advance them?

I do. I really hope things like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, specifism will be eventually defeated, so I try to do my best to contribute to this process.

What, if anything, keeps you committed to the straight edge lifestyle?

It’s basically became my life, so it’s not hard.

What is something you didn’t think you would struggle with by claiming edge?

Nothing that I can recall.

What you do for stress relief instead of drinking/drugs, tips for peer pressure?

Reading, drawing, watching movies, petting dogs.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

It’s fine, missing shows tho

Have you ever considered breaking edge? What were the circumstances, and what changed your mind?

No, never.

Have you ever stopped being edge for a period of time, and if so why? Did you regret doing so? What brought you back? If you have come back, how do you view your commitment (i.e. for life, for now)?

No, never.

If you are in a relationship is your partner straight edge, or have you had a previous relationship with someone who was not straight edge? What, if any, challenges have you faced relating to your lifestyle/choices?

Yes, straight edge.

Has your family and social life been negatively or positively impacted? Have you faced or are you facing any specific challenges because of your lifestyle choices? If your family/friends are unsupportive, how do you deal?

My family has positively impacted, as most of my friends. But i still lost some friends becoming straight edge. I think we just enjoyed partying together and in reality didn’t have that much in common.

Some straight edge women/girls I have talked to have told me that they feel isolated and that they find it difficult to relate to people outside of the straight edge scene. Is this something you can relate to?

Nope, many of my friends aren’t straight edge and it’s never been a problem.

How do you explain your lifestyle to others outside of the scene? Do you find it difficult? What’s your elevator pitch?

I don’t. Some people see it as health reasons. My colleagues think that i am just very much into sport 😀

Have you ever had a negative experience in the scene related to your gender?

Straight edge community is definitely a safer place than many others, but here is still some work to be done.

Please add anything else you think we should know or you would like to share!

Stay true, stay healthy and go vegan!

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

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