Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's the Deal With IUDs, Anyway?

According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are over 99% effective. Worldwide, IUDs are the second most popular form of birth control, right after sterilization. While American IUD use is on the rise, (2% in 2002 compared to 8.5% in 2009), the numbers are still low. In fact, almost a third of American women are on the pill, a method that with typical use (not taking your pill at the same time every day or missing pills) is only 92% effective. That means that 8 in 100 women who are on the pill will get pregnant each year, compared to less than 1 in 100 women with an IUD. So why aren't more women using long-acting reversible contraceptive methods like IUDs?

Because of the Dalkon Shield. In 1971, an IUD called the Dalkon Shield was marketed nationally. At this time, no government regulation of medical devices existed, and no laws were in place to prove medical efficacy. Because of this lack of regulation, Dalkon Shield IUDs were poorly and inconsistently designed, and never tested before implanted into over 2 million women. Many complications occurred, ultimately leading to 17 deaths and thousands of women left infertile or chronically ill. And even though IUDs like the Lippes Loop and Copper T-200 were available, the media heavily publicized studies that showed the dangers of the Dalkon Shield. According to this CDC report, women using the Dalkon Shield were found to have a five-fold increase in risk for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease compared to women using other IUDs.

Dalkon Shield

Here's the thing- that was the 1970s. According to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, IUDs are the most effective reversible contraceptives available, are available and safe (many improvements from earlier versions [Dalkon Shield]) for women of all reproductive ages, and complications are rare. IUDs are inserted by a physician one time, they last for five to ten years depending on which IUD you choose, and are removed by a physician. (IUDs can also be taken out by a physician before these time frames in the event that you want to become pregnant.) Compare this to methods like birth control pills which must be taken once per day by the user at the same time to keep their high efficacy rate; that's burdensome! The fact is, birth control methods that take less human effort are the most effective. Here are your choices for IUDs today:                 

Paragard is a non-hormonal IUD that prevents pregnancy by preventing sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. This method last for 10 years. People who choose Paragard may experience heavier and longer periods. IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, and it is important to use condoms until you and your partner have been tested.


Mirena is a hormonal IUD that prevents pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm from reaching an egg, and by thinning the lining of your uterus. This method lasts for 5 years. People who choose Mirena may experience irregular periods, shorter periods, or not having a period at all. IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, and it is important to use condoms until you and your partner have been tested.


An IUD may not be the right option for you, and I encourage you to explore all of your options by visiting Bedsider.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Queer People of Color & Allies Host Kim Katrin Crosby at The University of Texas at Austin

I'm overwhelmed at my experience at Kim Crosby's Intersectionality and Community Organizing Workshop. So overwhelmed, that all I can do is share this video, share the Prezi In Fierceness & Vulnerability: Deconstructing and Resisting Femmephobia, share my main take away, and share my notes. Some of my notes are directly from the presentation, and some include my own interpretations.

Kim Katrin Crosby at Slutwalk in Toronoto, 2012

Community organizing should not be about production, it should be about creating relationships. Take the time to make space for multiple truths. Create space to be present with your community. Self care should be done within the context of community, not alone. Just "loving yourself" is not enough- it is irrational because we need each other. Adorn yourself- it is okay to feel insecure in a world that tells you you're not valuable. When someone tells you they enjoy your work, ask them if they want to hug about it.

  • Acknowledge your privilege and your oppression because they occur simultaneously
  • View identities as a kaleidoscope, not a spectrum. Spectrums create binaries
  • Discuss meanings, not definitions. Definitions are limiting and binary. Feminine
  • Another's experience does not invalidate your own, but it should and necessarily does complicate your own
  • Interrupt acts of oppression- that's solidarity
  • Don't treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way they want to be treated. ASK. And keep asking, because people are constantly evolving. You don't "just know someone."
  • It is no one's responsibility to educate you but your own. Allow yourself to be humbled. Listen and actively seek knowledge.
  • When someone checks you, don't discredit their experience. Being checked is an opportunity to be a better person and to treat each other more kindly. Listen.
  • Guilt is the least productive emotion around oppression work. You have an opportunity to make it better. Do something about it. Listen.
  • Take up less space- fall back. Allies should be peripherial. 
  • Collect your folks- correct people who share your privileges.
  • Inquiry- ask to learn more, not to invalidate someone else's experience. Be empathetic.
  • Resolution can be tangible. If you spend 45 minutes being transphobic, give that person 45 minutes of your time- do their laundry, make them dinner. Oppression makes lives difficult- make it easier
  • If anti-oppression work feels good, then you're doing it wrong
  • Systemic Power & Systemic Advantages vs. Relational Power and Relational Advantage
  • Increased visibility does not mean things are getting better 
  • It's okay to be insecure in a world that tells you you're not valuable
  • Be conscious of the media you consume
  • "Just love yourself" is irrational because we need each other to love ourselves
  • Create space to just be present in your community
  • Decolonize
    • make a boundary, and use your community to enforce it
    • respect a boundary
    • engage in an economy without money- create direct access to resources
    • trust your struggle; your oppressors will not validate you
    • take up space
    • rest
    • don't apologize for your emotions
    • make space for multiple truths- reject the idea of one sole truth
The Insight Project: Kim's Story
February 8, 2013: QPOCA's 2nd Annual Gloria AnzaldĂșa Luncheon