Authenticity

               Follow your passion. Everyone has heard this at one point or another. Living in the Silicon Valley, this seems to be especially true. Here’s the thing: following your passion is a luxury. When you’re more worried about being an outcast because of a marginalized identity following your passion is not high on your list of priorities. Everyone wants to belong. It’s why things like meetup.com work: people want to connect with other people.

              Stoners are one of the most authentic group of people I’ve ever met. I’m not the most social of people so whenever I’m at a social gathering I tend to look for the stoners. They are the group I am most comfortable with because of the welcoming atmosphere. Once the preliminary sharing of tokes is through I get to discover the diverse interests of my fellow people. I wish I could talk to more people about my love of cannabis and be my authentic self in this regard but I can’t. I’m sure that there are other people out there who feel the same.

              One of the consequences of living in the shadows and only getting to revel in the loveliness that is cannabis when around other confirmed stoners is that you miss out on potential connection with other people. I know this is the big draw back in my find-the-stoners-plan at social gatherings. The thing is for people who use cannabis to reduce social anxiety this might be the only way they can strike up a conversation. That is perfectly alright as long as it’s not the ONLY way one can socialize.

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Intersectionality and Representation

I recently went to Gaymerx, a gaming convention focused on LGBT issues. When I mentioned I was going two separate friends of mine had the same reaction “it seems so unnecessary.”  Did they say that in those exact words? No. One person wondered why “we need all these labels. We should all just be people.” The other stated that the Bay Area would be a place where something like that would be of such importance as to merit a conference.” Now, it’s true, maybe they meant no harm by their statements but that’s just it: those statements are harmful. They erase an important part of someone’s identity. Yes, we ARE all people but only certain identities have been represented in mainstream American media.

Studies have shown a higher use of marijuana among LGBT folk than their heterosexual counterparts. Unfortunately, there has not been much research into the factors that contribute to this phenomenon. However, we do know that being marginalized increases negative feelings like depression, helplessness, anxiety and anger.We also know marijuana is often used to cope with these negative feelings. All of these are facts we know and yet no one talks about them. When no one talks about things that are supposedly “acceptable”  because “we are all people” it shows we are not truly accepting of things changing the status quo. This is unacceptable. So, I encourage you, as proud marijuana users, to go ahead and talk about it. Be safe, be respectful but be out there to say “I use marijuana and I will not hide in the shadows.”