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1 year ago
Meet the Young Woman Who's Using Dildos to Get Guns Off College Campuses

Jessica Jin likes to refer to herself as an “accidental activist.” Back in October, the 25-year-old—a recent University of Texas at Austin grad—created a mock Facebook event as a way to protest Texas’s “campus carry law,” which will allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on college campuses beginning August 1. (The law was signed by Governor Greg Abbott in June 2015.)

“Starting on the first day of Long Session classes on August 24, 2016, we are strapping gigantic swinging dildos to our backpacks in protest of campus carry,” she wrote, using the hashtag #CocksNotGlocks.

“I’ve always been a bit of an Internet prankster,” says Jessica. Little did she know back in October that she’d now find herself at the center of the gun debate at UT Austin. The #CocksNotGlocks movement continues to garner media attention—last week, Jessica took part in a panel for Everytown for Gun Safety’s new Singled Out campaign, aimed at educating people about loopholes in gun laws that put women at risk. Plus, more than 10,000 people have RSVPed for the protest on Facebook, which Jessica is now currently in the process of actually organizing.

So why dildos? The Texas Obscenity Law prohibits someone from promoting or possessing with “intent to promote any obscene material or obscene device.” (And until 2008, it was illegal to own more than six dildos in the state. For real.)
 

 

A photo posted by matzohball77 (@matzohball77) on

“That there are even laws like that suppressing harmless sexual displays in place, while there are laws encouraging gun culture, is so backwards to me,” says Jessica, who grew up in San Antonio and majored in violin performance. “I thought that was funny, and I figured I’d point it out—so I created an event, and all hell broke loose.”

Jessica stresses that she doesn’t want to take credit for reviving the anti-campus carry movement at UT Austin—students and professors have been fighting tirelessly for more than a year, she says. “I'm more like the late arrival to the party who just happened to bring a disco ball,” she says.

She adds that many faculty members are unhappy that the president of the university, Gregory L. Fenves, isn’t fighting harder against the law.

“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” said Fenves in an open letter to the school on February 17. “I empathize with the many faculty members, staffers, students, and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms. As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law.”
 

 

A photo posted by Shane Wagoner (@shanewagoner97) on

Some professors have even quit over the controversy. Daniel Hamermesh, a well-known economist who had taught at UT Austin since the ‘90s is one of them. According to the Houston Chronicle, Hamermesh, who now teaches in Australia, had this to say in a letter he wrote that announced he was leaving the university: "With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law.”

Jessica says she’s received tons of support from professors for #CocksNotGlocks, and there’s a renewed hope that somehow they can prevent the law from being enacted. “They were starting to feel like it was a losing battle,” she says. “So they were really excited for so much attention to descend on the university. They felt like they had another chance at gaining some momentum. It was really exciting to have professors say, ‘It’s okay that you turned this university into a bit of a circus because now people are putting pressure on it again, and that’s good.’”

Jessica hasn’t gone unscathed, though. “People are telling me stuff like, ‘If you don’t like our laws and our country and our culture, go back where you came from,’” she says. “Well, I was born in the U.S., I’m an American, what are you talking about?”

As far as logistics for the protest this summer go, Jessica’s not sure how it’ll all go down. “I’m actually kind of stressed about it,” she says. “If you think about it, I don’t have to hold a protest anymore—I’ve made my point. People have already talked about it and thought about it and re-examined what Texas’s values might be.”

Still, the protest will go on. After all, Jessica has already received hundreds of dildos from Shane’s World Toys, with about 3,000 more to come in the next couple of months from a company in Singapore. “I put them in a professor’s house because I didn’t know where to store them,” she says.

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