Adherents of the Straight Edge (often referred to in print as "sXe")
movement, an offshoot of the punk subculture, focus on gaining as much personal
control over their lives as possible. The Straight Edge movement discourages
drug and alcohol use and casual sex; it also advocates vegetarianism.
According to a Straight Edge Web site, the movement "wishes to attract
people away from dependancy [sic] lifestyles centered around drug habits (legal
or illegal) and unhealthy and exploitative eating and general living habits
common in modern cultures."
The symbol of Straight Edgers, an "X," originated from the practice
at punk shows of marking underage attendees with an "Xí on their hands so
that they couldnít buy alcohol. Later on, people in the Straight Edge movement
who were able to drink, but didnít for ideological reasons, marked themselves
with an "X" to show solidarity. Many followers of the Straight Edge
movement sport "Triple X" tattoos.
Even though Straight Edge adherents share a basic lifestyle of abstention
from drugs, alcohol, and casual sex, as well as other cultural commonalities
ranging from music to dress, their political ideology can range from the far
right to the far left. The movement draws a variety of young people from
anarchists to neo-Nazis to radical animal rights activists. Some come to the
movement because of their religious philosophy while others may have been drawn
to it through the rejection of drug and alcohol abuse in their families.
Many Straight Edgers display intolerance for those who do not agree with
their philosophy; some Straight Edgers have been involved in violent crimes from
assaults to alleged attacks on fast food restaurants and businesses that sell
leather or fur. However, many in the movement deplore violence as counter to the
values of the movement.