I have been a human rights activist since I was 13, when I regularly stood up for my Jewish friend who was harassed on a daily basis at our evil Catholic school. As an adult, I have been active in raising social awareness on a number of issues, including women’s rights, genital autonomy for girls and boys, American Indian rights, protection of the First Amendment, support for local fire departments, protection of non-Christians from discrimination in public schools and on public property, to name a few.
In 2001, I traveled to South Dakota for the first meeting of the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota Human Rights Advocacy Coalition, after two years of correspondence with American Indian activists via online groups. Artistically, the result of this research that began in 1998 was my script VOICES ON THE WIND, a screenplay-turned-novel-turned-stage-play set on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
In 2002, I began work on my magnus opus, WITCHCRAZE, set during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, which explores the themes of women’s rights: our right to equal representation in society, our right to self-determination of our lives and careers, and most especially, our right to be sexual without shame.
I have some samples from Act I on my YouTube channel. I have workshopped the show many times over the years, but the size of the cast and the required orchestra has, thus far, proven too expensive for a stage production. (I should have written a jukebox musical instead.)
In 2004, I started Gathering Grove Productions with the mission of “Working for Human Rights Through the Arts”. I had just begun rehearsals of a 2005 workshop production of my musical WITCHCRAZE, when the Mississippi Gulf Coast was struck head-on by Hurricane Katrina. The next several years entailed a painful and arduous recovery for South Mississippi. And as an artist, it was a grueling process of trying to survive.
In 2005, I was hired by the ACLU of Mississippi on a six-month grant to observe the political climate after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast and to ensure that all people had access to government during the initial phase of recovery.
In 2006, I directed and produced a production of VAGINA MONOLOGUES, raising $5,000 for the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, whose residency dorms and legal buildings were destroyed due to Hurricane Katrina.
In 2009, I openly confronted local mayors and city councils in regard to the treatment of the firefighters and the administration of the fire departments. What is good for firefighters is good for the citizens. What is bad for firefighters is most definitely bad for citizens. Because of my activism, the firefighters were put on a gag-order by the mayor with the threat of being fired if they continued to talk to me.
In 2012, I took my activism for women’s issues and my own personal journey of healing from sexual assault and created ArousedWoman. “Arouse” means to stir to action, to awaken. This led to a very popular blog that covered sexual topics for women and, much to Trish’s surprise, for men, as well.
After five years of ArousedWoman being separate from my site, I brought all the AW posts here to TrishCausey.com, so that all of my work could be under one roof, as it were. But yes, I sincerely miss writing as ArousedWoman. It is who I am: ArousedWoman, vagina warrior, women’s sexuality herald. Because this is a big part of my life and who I am, I felt it was only appropriate to consolidate my writings on my blog here.
In 2014, I ran for Congress as a progressive, liberal, Democratic, socialist, feminist, bisexual, pagan, single mom in Mississippi. In the primary, I earned 44.6% of the votes but lost the Democratic nomination. Mississippi needs change desperately, but apparently, Mississippi wasn’t ready for as much change as I was bringing.
In 2015 and 2016, I spoke out on a variety of issues close to home, particularly the squandering of $1.9 billion from the Mississippi state education fund to be given to private corporations as well as the unconstitutional HB1523 that criminalized pre-marital sex and homosexual sex while also legalizing discrimination of LGBT, women, unmarried persons, and single moms.
In late 2016, I created a new stage show based on the conversations I had with women and their experiences of discrimination in the workplace, sexual assault, domestic violence, “Black Lives Matter”, lesbian and trans discrimination, and the inequality within feminism. This workshop, “The Woman’s Card Cabaret”, became “The Nasty Woman Cabaret” and will be available for licensing soon.
In 2017, with the intense misogyny of the 2016 presidential campaign having shocked much of the nation, we saw the imperative need for women and and our male allies to speak up for women’s rights as an extension of human rights. I was invited to be a guest artist at the Gulfport, MS, sister event to the national Women’s March in January 2017. Here is my speech from that event:
In February 2017, I began work on a project that is near-and-dear to my heart, and that was a social media campaign on intactivism, the field of activism dedicated to ending genital mutilation of children. I have spoken out about intactivism — FGM and MGM — many times on my blog as well as on my YouTube Channel. I have addressed the sexual function of foreskin and how lack of foreskin can adversely affect women in detail in my AskTRISH videos. In fact, the Intact Blog Collage has been a perennial favorite.
As I talked with men who had escaped genital cutting as babies, it became clear that tweets and posts on various platforms would not be enough. The response to the project was so overwhelming — both from the supporters of intactivism as well as from the pro-cutting factions — that I decided to turn the project into a book. I posted a survey on my blog and collated the data into a book to be released in May 2018. INTACT: Men As They Were Born to Be shares the stories and insights from intact men on what it is like to still have their foreskin and dispels every single myth the pro-cutters use to continue the barbaric practice of genital mutilation, often because of financial profit.
Already, 2018 has seen many of the strides we have made as activists systematically being ripped up. We cannot allow money to count as “free speech”, otherwise most Americans will suffer in one way or another. The 1960’s was a powerful decade of change. I foresee the 2020’s being just as dynamic, if not more so, as we work to mend the catastrophic divide our country has developed due to extremism on both sides of mainstream political ideology.
As I often say, “Activism never takes a day off.” We must remain vigilant even as we are being pulled in all directions on nearly every issue. Human rights are non-negotiable. We must continue to be the change we wish to see in the world — for ourselves, our neighbors, and our children’s sakes.