Straight Edge Interview Project- Lilian, 37, Berlin/DE

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

Vegan baker, love watching Star Trek and one day I’ll live in the country side and adopt 5 dogs. ☺️

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

xKingdomx, Seein Red, One day Kills, Tørsö, Point of No Return, Together, Undying, Doughnuts, Gather, xConvictusx, I object!, Iron, Eat my Fear, To See You Broken, Sect and xTrustx, This Time Tomorrow and Indecision.

What is your definition of straight edge?

I see sxe as political sober punk. All the reasons why I decided to live a drug free life are political related.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

Well, we are under a pandemic, so music/concert wise (which is also a big part of this sub culture) it shouldn’t be happening much. But a bit before the world turned down, I would say that it really depends of the region in the world you would look at. Atm there are very active scenes and sxe people doing their best. Helping to feed homeless people during this hard times, selling merch to finance BLM related causes or fighting neo Nazis and ring-wing extremists (where I am based). But in some other parts, can be just a shit show of misogynists predators fucking up the scene (well, mostly every scene had at least one or a few cases already). Things like this upsets me a lot and sometimes makes me question if I still want to be related to sxe and that perhaps I should better only claim I live drug free. But then I see the examples of fellow sxe doing good things, or bringing back an amazing platform like yours, and I am reminded why I decided to claim sxe 18 years ago. 🙅🏾‍♀️

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?

I think everybody should be free to be or claim whatever they want. I don’t condemn people that does that, but a “sxe” person that isn’t connected with the music scene (that literally originated this “philosophy”) or the political part of sxe, technically ends being just a drug free person. Because without the music, even my younger sisters or myself were sxe in our childhood, as we wouldn’t make use of drugs. 😉

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

That most of us are not sex positive or that we are “prohibited” to consume drugs. Especially the second one, it’s a choice, not an obligation.

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.

I think back to 18 years ago, being a black person in the hardcore scene was always a challenge. And wasn’t different in the sxe scene either. After I immigrated to Europe in 2013, this became even more evident. There is a big difference between what people sings and writes in their bands and zines, and in what they are really committed on a daily bases and in their lives. And I heard a bunch of bullshit that really hurt me, because of spoiled white kids that can’t see their own privileges.

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 became vegetarian a year before I claimed sxe. But as I see sxe in a political way, I don’t believe I wouldn’t became vegetarian or vegan as I am nowadays, after claiming sxe. To me, there is a huge connection.

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?

I heard about vegetarianism and sxe from local bands in my home town, but literally the reason why I am sxe it’s because of the lyrics of “Point of no return” band, that inspired me a lot. They also inspired to become vegan. I was 19 to 20 years old.

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

I am a political activist, an intersectional one. Which means there are lots of causes I believe and that I consider related to each other in some way. But sadly nowadays I mostly help by making donations or writing about my views online. As an immigrant, I can’t risk being arrested, which can lead to me being deported. And this prevents me to attend demonstrations. It hurts a lot, but there is nothing I can do about, unless immigration rules changes.

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

Well, living sober became something so natural and normal in my life, that the word “commitment” wouldn’t describe how I feel about. What I could tell you is that, living a life without self-destruction and having 100% control of my body and mind, in a racist/sexist society that tries in so many different ways to destroy me or put my life at risk because I am a black woman, feels just about right. Also, as some of the many reasons why I am a vegan, I decided a long time ago to not have in my life what wasn’t necessary for me to live, and drugs, alcohol and so on, aren’t essential to me at all. In addition to that and because of that, I have extra cash to buy vegan gelato! ❤️🍦

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

Walks. That’s the one thing I like to do. But I wouldn’t suggest that during the night time. Reading a book or watching Star Trek can do that for me too. And that’s how I ended watching every ST series made so far. 🤓🖖🏾

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

Normal, nothing changed. Except the musical gathering of concerts and festivals.

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

Not in the sense of making use of drugs, but as referring to myself as drug free, every time I hear about an asshole that abused women and LGBTI+ people in our scene. As I mentioned before, nice examples of sxe people that can make a difference it’s what changed my mind.

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.

I would love to have a relationship with a sxe person, but sadly life isn’t a fairy tail. All the relationships I had with non sxe people, ended exactly because after a while they felt uncomfortable that I would drink or smoke weed, and broke up with me. Not a lucky person here. :/

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 think I feel more romantically isolated because I am a black fat woman than because I am sxe. My body isn’t what society dictates as beauty standards, and honestly, these standards are clearly very strong in any political community I am part of. In the sxe/hardcore scene isn’t different. AT ALL.

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

Obviously. The scene it’s still a majority of white cis dudes, and lots of them can not even hide how they think we are “fragile” or incapable of doing things. It’s sad but true.

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 see the same shit over and over again for 20 years. The difference now it’s that the “me too” movement it’s also known. And the “call outs” may have helped people believe survivors more than protecting bros. But there is still a long way to go.

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

A bit, but can do way better. This year was a blast, with sxe bands or folks helping raising founds to amazing causes. But that’s not the norm. Sadly.

Please add anything else you think we should know or you would like to share!

Take care of yourselves. Wear a mask please. Wish I didn’t have to say this but “My life matter/Black lives matters”. If you have the means, help your local people. There are a lot of people in pain under this pandemic.

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Written by kellysisterhood
Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org
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