Coming Out Twice for Pride

This piece was co-created by Michelle Janikian and Catherine Goldberg.

Happy Pride month, everyone! This Pride I’ve been thinking a lot about how the queer and cannabis communities intersect and all the things they have in common.

For one, both queerness and cannabis use have been criminalized and still continue to be marginalized. Yet, despite the struggle of both groups, nothing brings people together better than a huge cone of fabulous weed.

Read more at High Times

REPRESENTATION MATTERS “I AM HER AND SHE IS ME AND THAT IS OKAY”: Reflection and Recognition this Pride Month

For many of us trying to define ourselves in a primarily binary world is uncomfortable, and in the end, impossible. Seeing ourselves in these polarized “male” or “female” versions of the societal “norms” is like attempting to fit a puzzle piece from one puzzle into another. It just won’t fit, no matter how badly someone else might hope that it will, no matter how angry someone gets because of it, it simply does not fit. I understood this at a young age but was unsure of how to articulate it, and in all honesty afraid of vocalizing it at all for fear of what my homophobic father and people at school would say or do. I clearly remember the first time I saw the movie that changed my perception of myself forever though, Set It Off.

I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. A city that is most widely known for The Strip and its tourist attractions. The Vegas I knew was a bit more volatile. It’s flashing lights consisted of the red white and blues of the local police harassing the people in my neighborhoods, so when I came across a movie with four leading woman of color, from neighborhoods similar to my own, with a character that I could relate to on so many levels, I was struck. Queen Latifah plays Cleo, a strong, proud, take no shit, lesbian. Finally, there was someone on screen who I felt mirrored my anger and shared my preferences. I was her and she was me and that was okay. 

Representation matters and although comfort with myself and understanding the spectrum of gender and sexuality didn’t come for a long time after, this was a turning point in the acceptance of my strength and my power. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me.

Read more at Dope Magazine

I’M A FRIEND OF DENNIS

Dennis Peron is a hero in the cannabis community. He opened the Cannabis Buyers Club (the first dispensary in the US), coauthored Prop 215 and has dedicated forty years of his life to helping others. Here in California, his impact can be seen in person. He still advocates and helps those in need, every single day. Having recently received a lifetime achievement award from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, DOPE Magazine decided to similarly honor the amazing things Peron has done, not just for the pro-cannabis movement, but for the LGBTQ+ community as well. His dedication to healing and helping, becoming family for thousands of AIDS patients who no longer had support, as well as his personal sacrifices have all led to a better world for those in need of medicine. And, according to Peron, anyone who smokes cannabis is using it to medicate mind, body or soul.

, BrDuring the Vietnam War, Peron saw unfathomable pain and suffering. When he returned to the states, he decided to bring back a desire for peace and compassion for those going through hard times…and about two pounds of cannabis. During the 1970s and ‘80s, Peron sold cannabis out of his living room, with the phrase “I’m a friend of Dennis” becoming a sort of password for entrance. Peron could more effectively challenge authority, feeling he had nothing to lose—a gay man with no spouse, no children, no house. They couldn’t bully or blackmail him. He was arrested over a dozen times, and was even shot in the thigh by an officer during a raid. The officer was later quoted as saying that he wished he had killed Peron, so that there would be “one less f*ggot” in San Francisco. Yet even throughout the terror and persecution, Peron continued to supply cannabis to those in need.

Peron didn’t just challenge the laws by breaking them—he made his own. He drafted and collected the needed signatures for Prop W, which made the possession of an ounce or less of cannabis in San Francisco legal. He worked alongside Harvey Milk in both his 1973 and ‘74 campaigns, and eventually tipped the vote for Milk in his historic 1977 victory by encouraging all those hippies in the Haight to register to vote. Peron’s greatest achievements would come years later, however, during and after the wake of terrible tragedy.

Read more at Dope Magazine

THE FUTURE IS CANNABIS AND SEX: Transgender Cannabis Activist Buck Angel Speaks Out

I consider myself a human rights activist—with a twist. The twist is that I talk about sex as it relates to my body. Upon first read that might seem like a bizarre statement, so let me take a moment to explain.

I am a transgender man—born female and transitioned to male over 20 years ago. Over the years I’ve found the thing that often sets me apart from others in the transgender community is that I am very outspoken about my genitals. I like to talk about my vagina—A LOT! I know what you’re thinking. Vagina? Yes, I still have a vagina. I proudly display it, and talk about it in my activism. My openness about my body has allowed me to live a very successful life.

Advocacy for the transgender community has and will remain one of my greatest passions. It has been my life for many years. More recently, I have found a second passion—cannabis. I have been sober from drugs and alcohol for over 24 years—cannabis made my sobriety tolerable, and most importantly, possible. It was a game changer for me in regards to my anxiety and insomnia. I have a very busy life filled with traveling, speaking and advocacy engagements. I also film sex educational films, also known to certain circles as pornography. Throughout the years, my demanding schedule kept my mind running late into the night and I often had trouble shutting it off. Over time I became addicted to sleeping pills, and often found myself waking up in the morning feeling like crap. Then came my introduction to cannabis.

Read more at Dope Magazine