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Straight Edge Interview Project: Rose, 19, Texas, She/Her

Straight Edge Interview Project: Rose, 19, Texas,

She/Her

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

I work part-time as a barista and greatly enjoy coffee. I have one dog, an overweight chihuahua mix named Ruby. I’m also really into Star Wars and spend a lot of time learning the lore and consuming the media surrounding it.

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

Straight Edge: Minor Threat, Have Heart, Inclination Non Straight Edge: Deftones, Loathe, Boy Harsher

What is your definition of straight edge?

I personally see straight edge as a lifelong commitment to abstain from drugs and alcohol while at least somewhat interacting with the scene. I fully believe that it is, as stated, a LIFELONG oath; not just an “edge til’ 21” thing that some people try and pull.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

I think the scene goes through periods of growth and decline, but right now it’s somewhat in the middle. World events have stopped shows for now, but the online community is still doing pretty well. My local area has a good amount of edge people as well, but I wouldn’t say its thriving or anything.

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 don’t fully believe that others from outside the scene could be straight edge in the traditional way, as they don’t understand the cultural significance surrounding the movement. Of course, they can follow the same guidelines, but it isn’t necessarily “straight edge” in that sense. However, I also don’t think our community should fully shun them. If they’re outside of the scene, but are able gain a powerful support system that helps them stay sober by interacting with straight edge peeps then that’s pretty cool. So, the short answer is: they aren’t really straight edge but they aren’t NOT straight edge… sometimes. Case by case basis, really.

Straight Edge Interview Project: Rose, 19, Texas, She/Her

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

People think that I’m going to lecture them on the evils of alcohol or drug consumption, or even try and stop them from doing it. I would never impede on the personal autonomy of another just because of my life choices.

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?

Different people have different opinions on what counts as fully edge. Some people think coffee is an edge break, and some don’t. It can certainly lead to some interesting discussion. As for non edge people, they tend to try and get me to drink or feel the need to tell me how they feel about my personal choice to abstain from all of it. That can get annoying to say the least.

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

I try and eat vegan when I can; mainly due to the influence that some of my other edge friends have on m

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?

There was never a lightbulb moment when it came to my choice. I grew up with an alcoholic father and an absent mother who chose drugs over raising me. I’ve seen addiction tear apart my family and watched once strong people be reduced to nothing after years of substance and alcohol abuse. I turned to music as a way to control my frustration, and eventually found that there was a scene within the music that harbored the same beliefs about substances that I did. I was probably around 14-15 when I started to fully understand what straight edge was, mostly with the help of Reddit and Minor Threat. We’re all a little Out of Step, but the edge community has made me feel a bit less ostracized from the rest of society.

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

Straight edge is my personal oath to never end up like my father. I wouldn’t say that oath has changed much over time, but it has certainly strengthened as I’ve seen him fall further and further.

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

Yes, I would consider myself an activist. I wholeheartedly support causes like BLM and the advancement of civil rights and liberties in all ways. I helped start a youth activist organization in my area named U.N.I.T, and have gone to a few different protests across Dallas and Fort Worth. I also helped canvass for signatures to establish a civilian police review board in my city.

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

The knowledge that I’ll always have a clear head and heart free of any addictions or alterations.

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

It’s hard seeing how many people in our society rely on things like alcohol. It’s so normalized to open a bottle of wine or whatever after a hard day, and nobody even blinks an eye at the implications of it.

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

I like to play video games. Gives me something to do and can be a lot of fun depending on the game. When it comes to peer pressure, I’ve found the best thing is to just ignore it. Why should I care about what they think?

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

It’s no problem for me.

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

Nah, I stay away from any circumstances where I’d even think about it.

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?

My partner is not straight edge, but she’s very understanding of my choice and reasoning behind it. I’m very lucky to be with such an empathetic and incredible person. While I would never stop someone, especially a lover, from doing whatever they want with their body, I’m very thankful to not even have to think about her doing anything around me.

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?

I choose not to go to many parties or hang around people who consume drugs/alcohol in heavy doses, so in that way I would say my social life has been impacted a bit. Pretty much all of my close friends have been supportive of me, thankfully.

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?

I don’t think so, but I can see how it can be an issue for some.

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

I just say that I don’t drink or do any drugs, that’s it. If they ask me more I’ll expand on it, but for the most part I prefer to handle it with a very straightforward approach

Over the past decade or so individuals in recovery have stumbled upon the straight edge lifestyle and it has really spoken to them. Do you feel that the straight edge community has been welcoming to those in recovery? Do you have mixed feelings? Strong Feelings?

I think that for the most part a lot of people are pretty supportive of them, however I have seen some nastiness. I definitely think they can be apart of the edge community if they’d like, ESPECIALLY if it gives them strength to stay sober.

How do you feel your straight edge commitment plays into the bigger social justice movement for gender equity?

Well, I wouldn’t say that it has a HUGE impact or anything, but I definitely do like fighting for equality with a clear head.

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

Some men are very… interesting in their approach to women. It’s probably more of an overall hardcore thing vs. just a straight edge thing, but I do think it’s overall noticeable. I had a fellow sober punk be act pretty creepy toward me, even when I made my disinterest clear.

Straight edge and the associated music scene have long been male-dominated. What do you see as a woman/girls role in the scene? How has this role changed since you have been involved and what changes would you like to see?

I don’t think women have any specific role in the scene. Everyone should be free to do whatever they want regardless of how they identify.

What if any challenges have you faced that are specifically related to being a female in a male-dominated scene?

Sexism is very real in most places, unfortunately. Not even straight edge can escape the occasional sexist comment or action. Usually it’s just played off as a “joke” in the “boys club”, but those jokes add up, ya feel?

Do you feel the straight edge community has done enough to advance gender/race/social issues?

Kind of, but I would say that’s more a result of it being a denomination of punk more than anything. I like that it specifically destigmatized sobriety.

Is the scene as inclusive as it likes to think it is? Do you think there’s work to be done? If so, what would you like to see change?

I think there’s always work that can be done to advance social issues. Personally, I’d love to see more female, POC, and LGBTQ+ representation in the scene.

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

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