Imagine walking through the day waiting to be mistaken for the gender you aren’t. Being called a boy when you’re a girl or the other way around. Your hair too long or too short, mistakes being made, “Sir- oh my goodness, sorry, ma’am.” For many transgender students, this is an everyday occurrence. According to Dictionary.com, transgender people are individuals “...whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.” One transgender student I spoke with said, “[being trans] means my physical form doesn’t necessarily match my inner form, but other than that, it’s a word I use to help describe myself.” A trans male said of this experience, “[It’s] not fitting in your body. It’s like this constant disconnected feeling; looking in the mirror and not associating this body with yourself.” Basically, their gender (a boy, girl, or other) doesn’t match with their sex (a male, female, or intersex). On the other hand, cisgender (or cis) individuals are people who are not trans*. To help relate the experience of trans* teens, I took the opportunity to discuss some trans* issues with a few students who are trans* themselves. These individuals discussed how their lives differ from cis peoples’, and what being trans* means to them. “It’s just a way of saying that (a person) is the opposite of (their sex). It means being your true self as you feel you are.” A trans female said. The truth is, sexual identity is complicated and gender identity doesn’t always match up with perceived gender presentation, and really, does it matter? As of June of 2016, the Williams Institute estimated (through a survey,) that 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender. That’s about 1,938,600 people, only including U.S. adults last year. There’s a good chance that someone you know and appreciate is trans*. However, trans* people are still discriminated against and harassed, in the workplace, in public, even just buying clothes. One boy, for example, related the following encounter in a store: “There was one person; when my sister first started calling me brother and (his name)... and she like, shouted across a store like, ‘brother come here!’ and I wasn’t wearing my binder,... so obviously very feminine, and for some reason, he thought it okay to make his day and my day awful by walking up to me and saying, ‘you’re going to hell you trans piece of s#*@!’ I was like, dude I’m just trying to buy clothes! It was weird. I wasn’t really offended, more just confused.” Another very real concern is how they’re going to get a steady income. As a genderfluid student explains, “I’m not sure I’ll be able to get a job or keep one, which makes self-sustaining difficult.” One survey by the Human Rights Campaign says, “At least one in five transgender people surveyed report experiencing employment discrimination. In six studies conducted between 1996 and 2006, 20 to 57 percent of transgender respondents said they experienced employment discrimination, including being fired, denied a promotion or harassed. Though even more difficult to measure, transgender people also face incredible barriers as job applicants.” Many students, and even adults, are afraid to ask people to call them by the gender and name they feel fits them, due to the possibility of negative reactions. This is also known as “coming out.” The fear of backlash is very real, but inclusivity and acceptance are becoming more and more common. In fact, all the students I interviewed had good experiences! For example, a trans girl told me, “I was kind of nervous (to come out) but I was relieved when I found how accepting my friends were.” There are potential negative consequences related to coming out for these students, but this experience isn’t always negative. For example, a genderfluid student who I spoke with said, “For me, [coming out] was easy. I have a very supportive family and most of my friends are on the spectrum [LGBT+].” These days, one of the main trans* issues that the media focuses on is the Bathroom Bills, and which bathrooms trans* people should use. Cis people seem to consider it a big deal, voicing the concerns that it’s possible that a predator could lie and say that they are trans* in order to get into the bathroom opposite their gender. The truth is, it’s not very likely. “It would take a lot of… commitment,” a trans boy says. “It wouldn’t surprise me if there was someone [who tried], but even if they did, being a creeper is being a creeper, regardless of what they claim.” says a genderfluid friend. In fact, in an article by National Public Radio, Jody Herman, a public policy scholar at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute says, “As far as we know there hasn’t been some sort of, you know, devolving into chaos in restrooms,” The article continues, “Based on (Herman’s) survey of 93 transgender and gender nonconforming people in Washington, D.C., in 2008 and 2009, they themselves are at risk in restrooms.” One might think that trans* people lead very different lives than cis people. But this just isn’t the case. According to a trans girl, “...Due to me surrounding myself with accepting people, there aren’t any major differences,” The only differences come into play when their gender or gender presentation is concerned: “Our lives are different because often times we have to deal with judgement from people, strangers and family alike. There’s also often the weight of (dysphoria) on our shoulders. It can lead to depressive episodes really easily, which can make life harder. There are also many workplaces that force you to use your legal name, regardless of how little it fits us,” said a genderfluid person. One thing that isn’t often considered about these individuals was explained by a trans boy: “People don’t compliment me normally… It’s not like a, ‘you look handsome today,’ it’s a ‘you’re passing today.’” It seems sometimes people forget that transgender people have more to them than just being trans*. They have separate interests and are just as much full and interesting people as anyone else. If you want to be a better friend to them, some things you can do include trying to be conscious about proper pronoun usage, (calling them by the gender labels they ask you to,) treating them as regular people as the gender they prefer to be, and supporting businesses and people that support LGBT rights. All in all, just try to be kind. Acceptance can mean the world to trans* people. They are just as deserving as love and respect as anyone else. Their gender isn’t all they are, but it’s part of who they are, and people should respect that.
Alternative Ways to Earn Credit at Valley
By Gabriel Britton
The first quarter this year has ended, and students are already worried about their grades. Some students are even worried about the fact they might not graduate since they don’t have enough credits. Students need to look at options for ways to make up credits at Valley. Counselors have already talked to students about what it would take to do to graduate. Many students who have been to Valley before actually dismiss some of the options given, and new students don’t know what options there are to make up credits. Students can make up many different credits at Valley using different resources. Some of those include: Elective, CTE, English, History, Math, and Science credits. But this probably brings up the question of how exactly students can make up those credits. The same thing can happen at any boundary school they go to right? So what is so unique about the way Valley does it?
Some different ways Valley helps students to graduate include the following:
1. Packets are common when trying to make up credits. Any school students go to will offer packets. The difference between boundary schools and Valley is that the packets are not as expensive, and students have greater access to teachers and resources that will help them complete the packets.
2. Friday activities are an option. Now they are almost the same thing. Friday activities are packets, but you actually visit somewhere or watch educational videos to help you learn about what you’re studying. Before the activity occurs there is some pre-work that has to be done.
3. Work experience is yet another option. If you’re working and have little time to do packets, simply just fill out a work experience form. If you keep track of the pay stubs you get, the school will give you a certain amount of elective or CTE credit for certain amounts of hours you work per week. The big difference is you aren't excused from school to go work. You get to work your scheduled time outside of school.
4. Power Time cards also help a lot. You just go to a class or a guest speaker during power time at the school, and you get your card stamped. For twelve stamps, you can enter a ticket drawing and win prizes. However, at twenty-four stamps, you can turn in the card and get elective credit, or you can write an essay after getting twenty-four stamps, turn that in along with the card, and you can earn an English credit that way.
5. There is also the book club. The book club meets up and the beginning of the quarter and hands out the book they selected to read for that quarter. They meet up a few times. Once you read the whole book you have to write an essay about the novel, turn in the essay along with a reading log showing when you read and you can get an Language Arts credit.
6. There is also Service Learning, which is a bit like Friday activities. You end up coming to the school to help make things for charity, and the school even involves you in dropping things off at shelters or food banks. You help provide service, and it helps you get elective or CTE credit. It also looks good on a resume.
all of these options are for making up credits. You can’t use them for future credits. The packets and Friday Activities cost $35, but the Service Learning is free, and the other ways to get credit are also free. They just cost you some time. Power Time is really only 30 minutes of your time. Reading can take anywhere between five minutes to a few hours, depending on how much time you set aside for it. With work release you are required to have a job, but you don’t have to do anything other than work and provide proof of you doing so.
First Date Advice From a Non-Expert
By Kaitlyn Lynch
Have you been on a date? Have you felt the looming stress of going out in public with another person and interacting with them? If you haven’t, that’s fine... Admirable, even. But you’ve seen the romances, right? Of course you have. Either they end beautifully and perfectly, or romantically disastrous. Let me tell you something right now: no matter what you do, a first date is going to be an awkward experience. There’s absolutely no way around it. Not to mention dates could be potentially dangerous. Leaving the house is always dangerous. Wouldn’t you rather curl up on the couch with your cat, eating ice cream and watching Netflix with your cat? If you haven’t been frightened out of going on that date yet, congratulations! You’re in for a graceless surprise. It’s going to get real awkward. Megan Clark, a student here at Valley, shared her own awkward dating experience: I really liked this girl. She was really sweet, and into the same things I was. We were planning to visit an art museum, get some ice cream, and then go back to her place to have dinner and just hang out. Sounds like a pretty decent first date right? Well, I wandered around the museum for an hour, waiting for her, and she finally arrived. WIth a friend! The museum closed in fifteen minutes, and we were asked to leave. The friend was supposed to have a date, but they bailed on her, so I thought this was fine. Let’s just not make her feel like a third wheel. Right? We go get ice cream. I offered to pay for the ice cream that I was planning on sharing with my date, but then the friend asks if SHE can share with us too. It starts to feel less like a date and more like three friends just hanging out. Then, as we sit and start on the ice cream, the other two start talking and joking around. Without me. I start to feel excluded... Afterwards, we call our ride. I hoped the friend would leave us alone, since it was OUR date, but when we got to her house the two girls started playing video games and I felt more excluded than ever. The date ended with some really awkward goodbyes and hugs...there wasn’t a second date. Obviously I’m no expert, since I haven’t been on a real date, but maybe now you know to some degree what to expect. Let’s explore some methods that may reduce the awkwardness of the situation (according to several other students). First of all, don’t ever ask someone out through a text message. What is wrong with you? Why would you do that? If you can’t work up the courage to ask them in person, do you really deserve to take them out in person? Might as well just have a virtual date. Send some romantic memes, and fancy sushi emojis. I can’t guarantee your date will appreciate this. Just ask them face-to-face. Just do it. Also, rejection is inevitable. You reject people, people reject you. Duh. It’s a part of life. The key is to be honest. Not aggressively blunt! Just honest! Why would you lie? Don’t lie. Don’t be rude. Should you actually manage to score a date, we ought to address what you’ll actually be doing. Another Valley student, Sarah Lemmon, told us that “This guy would not let me leave his house until he made me watch all of his football highlights on tape.” This is why you don’t stay at home on a date! So, first things first: NO NETFLIX AND CHILL. You know what that is, right? Don’t do it. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, don’t go to a movie on a first date either. You want to communicate with the person you’re with. Discover who they are. If they are interested in Batman, Dungeons and Dragons, sports, hiding bodies, cooking. A theatre is not an ideal place for talking. Take a walk with ice cream, go for a train ride, have a good old-fashioned picnic. If you’re one of the responsible, job-having weirdos, go for the classic restaurant date, an aquarium outing, or a drive around town with some takeout. Heck, exploring a thrift store for strange things (such as a wardrobe to a magical land) could be considered a date. Aerik Yarrington, a Valley senior, suggests “going to watch a meteor shower, maybe take some snacks and enjoy each other’s company.” If you’re going to be spending money on this date, you should definitely go Dutch. What is going Dutch? I’m glad you asked. It is defined as the act of sharing the cost of a date between the parties involved. According to Elizabeth Miles, however, the person who asks ought to be the person who pays. Do you agree? This information should help your date go a bit more smoothly. Although, let’s be honest. A date will always be a rocky road. The key here is setting boundaries and embracing the awkward moments. We invite you to share your own stories with the Liberator staff! “A boy took me on a date to a steakhouse...after I specifically mentioned that I don’t eat meat. It turns out his ex was there at the same time, which was awkward enough; but the entire time, he kept complimenting my feet. Afterwards, he took me back to his house and told me that we could play some video games. All he really wanted to do was massage my feet and praise them. The date ended when he tried to kiss me.” -Anonymous
Owl Over the Place
By Brianna Snow
Are you bored? Sick of staring at the “Are you still watching?” message, wondering if there’s something better out there? Luckily, the Salt Lake Valley is full of cool places that are not as needy as Netflix.. Whether you want to catch a quick bite or adventure for a rad sight check out some of your fellow Valley Owls favorite places to perch.
Coffee & Food
The Philadelphian: 9860 South 700 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Just north of the Sandy Skatepark, a grease cave with cheap prices will become your new go-to sandwich shop. Their massive Philly Cheesesteaks piled high with peppers are a top comfort food, and you cannot miss their fried mushrooms.
Greenhouse Effect Coffee & Crepes: 3231 South 900 East, Millcreek, UT 84106
Refreshingly good vibes, great coffee and Utah’s best crepes are a great way to start your day. A family owned place that's ideal for meeting intriguing new people, spend a sunday sharing something insightful at Open mic night or hear some funky music.
Cafe Solstice: 673 South Simpson Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Some of Utah’s top vegan food at the best prices. Located just inside Dancing Crane Imports, a store full of Eastern treasures. They offer a wide selection of delicious drinks and garden variety salads and sandwiches. Grab a cappuccino and align your chakras in one stop.
Kilby Court: 748 West Kilby Ct, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Utah’s longest running all ages venue. Like a backyard concert, you can sit around a fire and socialize or head into the garage and see some amazing local artists.
Dancing Crane Imports: 673 East Simpson Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Labeled as “The Emporium of World Culture” it lives up to it’s nickname and is full of amazing treasures. Including crystals, tie dye and much more boho goodies you will want to check out. They also have healing spaces/services, a yoga room, art gallery and plenty of other holistic necessities.
Lotus: 12896 South Pony Express Road #200, Draper, UT 84020
Less than a mile from Valley is a cute little crystal shop. They have a huge selection of many different stones and locally handmade jewelry. Stock up on incense and sage to try to stay sane until graduation.
IconoCLAD: 414 East 300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Stay trendy and make some cash. IconoCLAD has the dopest clothing and festival gear at great prices. Or if you need to make a quick buck, they give 50% of the sale price of your cool, gently-used clothes and accessories. My favorite thing is that they are always stocked on the freshest bralettes and bomber jackets.
Diamond Fork Hot Springs: Diamond Fork Road, Springville,
Gorgeous blue pools of naturally heated spring water sitting below a waterfall look like a dreamscape. 2.5 mile hike in the summer and nearly 10 miles in the winter due to road closures, the beautiful scenery and ridiculously relaxing water is definitely worth the trek.
Tintac Reduction Mill: State St Exd, Genola, UT 84655
An abandoned silver mine covered in graffiti makes for a cool adventure and some rad pictures. It is located just down the road from an open swimming hole, and is facing the west making for a perfect place to watch the sunset.
Mona Rope Swings: Burraston Rd, Nephi, UT 84648
30 minutes south of Provo, Burraston Ponds are summer favorite with 30 foot high platforms. Burraston Ponds are just below Mona Reservoir and are most known for their rope swings. Bright blue water accompanied by the mountain side scene make an excellent getaway.
Riot police link arms, and raise their shields. Hundreds of protesters charge and parade around the monument that started it all. Above all the anger, and strong opinions, one man sits on top of an oval shaped, granite pedestal. Astride a horse that looks to the ground, the General holds his hat at his hip, his face pointed forward carrying an expression of defeat. This statue of Robert E. Lee was the center of debate in Charlottesville. The words “Black lives matter” spray painted on his Granite stage. Storm clouds of anger surrounds this statue, but why? What about this important member of U.S history caused the marching and protesting?
For those who don’t know, Robert E. Lee was a great leader and general for the Confederate Army during the civil war. In April of 1861 Lee resigned from the U.S military, but just 3 days later he was appointed by Governor John Letcher to be the commander and chief of the military for the state of Virginia. At the start of the war he was torn between a decision to join the rebellion, or stay with the union, he ended up joining the rebellion, and after leading the Confederate Army for a long, and painstaking fight they were defeated by the North. He was an important general for the south and for this reason he has statues and parks named after him predominantly located in southern states. Many feel these statues are offensive and represent slavery, racism, and rebellion. For that reason, and many more, people want them taken down.
Several confederate statues are being protested, and removed. Parks, and schools named after Lee have had their names changed to other public figures. This is important to move towards a more tolerant society. Someone who fought to tear this country apart for the ownership over other people shouldn’t be highlighted or have parks, or schools named after him. Many people opposed to the idea of removing Confederate statues think that by tearing them down one of these statues is “erasing history” but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have books and museums, and most students from 5th grade on learn about the civil war, and how the U.S overcame slavery and racism. That’s why these statutes should be taken down and relocated to museums. In my opinion, the removal of these statues is not an attempt to “erase history.” It’s not “picking what history we want” it’s about who deserves to be put on a pedestal (metaphorically and literally). President Trump, in response to the heated debate about the Confederate statues, took to twitter he tweeted: “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” He doesn’t seem to understand why these people shouldn’t be highlighted. Yes, Washington did own slaves, and so did Jefferson. Still, Trump is missing the point. When someone says George Washington or Thomas Jefferson what comes to mind? Racist, Slave owner? It shouldn’t. These two, are great men who played an important role in the making of this country. Washington was the first president of the U.S not to mention the General of the Continental Army, and he is known as the father of our country. Jefferson wrote the document that helped free us from British rule, The Declaration of Independence. He was the third president of the United States, and he doubled the size of the U.S during his presidency. Not to mention the fact that he called slavery a “hideous blot.” So no, President Trump we will not tear down their statues. Those two noble, honorary, and true pioneers of the U.S fought for this country, not against it. They fought to bring the US together not tear it apart.
Mass vs. Niche
The struggle of finding good coffee in Utah
By Paige May
Because of Utah’s peculiar culture, there aren’t a lot of local coffee options. Although there are many restaurant and coffee chains that offer coffee, most of those places don’t put the time and effort into the beverages. They also don’t offer the same homey environment that you receive when lounging in a local coffee house. Places like Starbucks, Beans and Brews, and Dunkin Donuts rush to get your orders out, and the coffee is only sometimes good quality. Some of the drinks, like a frappuccino, have so much sugar and flavoring that the only taste is sugar. When they do roast their own beans, they have a tendency to over-roast, which then ruins the flavor and caffeine in coffee. These drinks taste sweet and burnt… like charred candy and burned marshmallows. When you’re buying coffee, you should be buying coffee, not a Girl Scout cookie or a Snickers Bar. Luckily, there are better alternatives. Supporting a local business is very important. When buying from big companies, you’re helping some rich CEO pay off their yacht. When you support a local business, you could be helping a single mom buy her kids school supplies, or a striving entrepreneur earn a living from her passion. That’s why choosing Sunset Coffee, Millcreek Coffee Co., and Publik are all good substitutes to the chain coffee houses.
Publik Coffee Roasters
As we all know, the best places to eat and get drinks are in the middle of nowhere or at least in the worst of places, and that is exactly where Publik Coffee Roasters is. Publik is located in the midst of abandoned buildings, broken windows surround the alley; the exterior could be intimidating, but once you walk in, every single negative thought about it disappears as patrons relax in the well-maintained and decorated environment. Publik is a very modern and industrial looking place with many artistic features like the grass covered walls or the artisan light bulbs. At the front counter, patrons are greeted by friendly and funny baristas. Their menu is written on a large window to the room where they roast coffee beans. They take enough time with your coffee that each one comes adorned with images. The coffee is freshly roasted. The flavors are complex and unique, and they taste like coffee.
Millcreek Coffee Roasters
Millcreek Coffee Roasters is located near Publik but is more likely to be noticed because it is located right on main street surrounded by tall buildings and other local businesses. Walking into Millcreek, the smell of their fresh roasted beans and chocolate draws coffee connoisseurs in. The coffee house has an open concept that allows customers to see almost everything that is happening behind the counter as well as the machines where the roasters are roasting the coffee. Their lattes are the perfect ratio of steamed milk and espresso, and their mochas have a brilliant balance of espresso and rich chocolate.
Sunset Coffee, located in Sandy Utah, is a lively coffee house, constantly full of coffee enthusiasts, packed wall to wall with a diversity of people from all walks of life, all joined in unison over one commonality: well-brewed coffee. The first thing noticed when walking into Sunset is the large amount of entertainment they have varying from barista’s flipping cups just like a bartender would, or the wide variety of magazines, books, and board games that go along with the homey feeling. Their baristas are talented in making different kinds of drinks. They can make something frozen, iced, or warm, and Sunset has a wide range of flavoring to spice up your drink. They can make anything that their customers can think of. Sunset’s baristas are very social. Depending on the amount of times that you go, they try to get to know you, as well as the drink you order.
This is Halloween A History of Halloween
Envisioning when Halloween first began, sitting in front of a slow fire, watching painted bodies dance around shouting other-worldly chants. Sitting with people who walked this earth, chatting about their traditions and listening to their stories unfold, I can feel the magic in the crisp Autumn air. The sun has set, and the real festivities are about to begin. The warm weather is slipping, and the world will soon turn cold and barren. the people gathered around explain their heritage, tying modern day Halloween to the Halloween celebrations of long ago. My imagination sparked curiosity, igniting a hunt for the truth to find the origin of Halloween. I began searching The History Channel’s website which brought the Celts to my attention, an ancient group who lived over 2,000 years ago, and their many different Halloween customs. The holiday marked the first day of November, but for the Celts, more specifically, the end of summer and beginning of the dark days. Because of this, it was referred to as the new year. On the day before the new year, the Celts celebrated a different sort of holiday, this event was called Samhain (sow-in). This holiday fit closer into what we now know as Halloween The ancient tribes would dress themselves in animal hides and burn crops all night long. Despite the damage caused to crops, there was a lot of spiritual growth, the Celts felt, during this time due to the “otherworldly” presences. It was believed that during this time the boundary between spirit world and physical world became intertwined, in turn the Celtic belief system held that the spirits of the dead somehow visited their human world on October 31st. This led to the Celts belief of reading the future on Halloween. Because of this, people would read each other’s futures for long hours during the night. Eventually, Halloween traditions sailed the seas and made their way to the United States, just in time for the 19th century. The newly found holiday stayed mostly in southern colonies and Maryland, but that didn’t last long... The History Channel again tells us, “As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.” New travelers spread across the country and drug their culture along with them. Halloween began to pop up everywhere in the U.S and Samhain was quickly lost to history. By the the year 1846, we not only had Halloween but also started to morph it into our own cultural event. We adopted new traditions like costumes, parties, and the earliest form of “trick-or-treating.” Children would go door to door asking for treats or money. In return the adults wouldn’t get any tricks played on them. The newly found tradition seemed harmless and continued to grow. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the holiday was more of a national phenomenon and was community centered. There was a move to make Halloween less about percieved witchcraft and more about family. Now, when I picture Halloween, I see kids “Trunk-or-Treating” and then going home, teens dressed as sexy cats and rabbits galore, careless actions are taken on this scary dark night. I would like to see loved ones passing time together, sharing spooky stories while the little ones run and scary movies play in the background. The goal to get Halloween to be a more family oriented holiday was met with great pride but was it the direction we needed to head? No longer do we tell each other’s fortunes or dress ourselves in animal hides to chant around a fire. The roots of Samhain have definitely changed. Instead of animal hide, we pick our favorite fictional creatures or plastic masked men and hide ourselves for the night. The fortunes of future are now part of past, along with the spirits of Celts who may roam our streets, joining in on our new festive fun.