The Need for Sober LGBTQ Spaces — My Latest on Medium

This article was originally written for INTO magazine. The site shut down shortly before this article’s publication. I have permission to share it elsewhere.

Kam Burns moved to New York City four months after he quit drinking. He hoped to meet other LGBTQ people in the city, but couldn’t find a social event that didn’t involve alcohol.

“Even pickup sports in the park usually end at a bar,” Burns says. “Of course you can choose not to drink at those places, but it always ends up being a thing.”

Burns says he doesn’t like to have to explain why he’s sober to strangers.

“The reason is very complicated,” Burns says, “and it’s also not fun being the only sober person around people who are a couple drinks in, especially because I’m very anxious.”

Gay bars and clubs have traditionally been one of the only places where queer and trans people can meet, socialize, and hook up. However, for those LGBTQ people who don’t drink for a wide variety of reasons, there are very few sober LGBTQ spaces available.

Read the rest here.

Panic in Detroit — My Latest for Splice Today

Panic and healing dominated my time at the Creating Change conference in Detroit last week. The panic began before arriving in Detroit. Not only was it my first time flying, but thanks to an ice storm in Detroit the night before, my 9:50 a.m. flight was pushed back for four  hours. While waiting I listened to Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports” on repeat hoping it would ease the anxiety. Instead, it made me feel like the “This is fine” dog.

It didn’t help that prior to my trip, INTO magazine shut down, my 12-year-old corgi mix was diagnosed with bone cancer, my friend Deborah from the Beyond the Trailer Park podcast died, and I was going through another existentialist crisis of trying to find my unique writing voice. The luggage wasn’t just in my suitcase.

The checked luggage and I made it safely to Detroit. No more panic, right? That’s what I thought before having a panic attack trying to find my Lyft driver. The details get fuzzy here. I remember running around outside the airport trying to find the driver, sweating, trying to breathe while hauling around heavy luggage, and screaming in a parking garage.

Read the rest here.

Understanding the #CancelPinkWashing Controversy — My Latest For Splice Today

Maybe it’s just my anxiety, but I’m worried that I didn’t make myself clear with this one. I support #CancelPinkwashing and BDS. Maybe this excerpt will clear things up:

Despite what The New York Times’ Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens might write, saying that Palestine has a right to self-determination doesn’t mean Israel doesn’t have the same right. Being against both Israel’s political policies and Hamas is not a contradiction. Even the pro-Israel organization J Street is vocally against the West Bank Occupation, and calls on the US government to denounce the illegal settlements.

I do agree with Weiss and Stephens that some criticisms of Israel are full of anti-semitic dog whistles. For example, there was the 2017 Chicago Dyke March where a gay pride flag with a Star of David on it was considered explicitly anti-Palestinian. Then there’s the recently elected Ilhan Omar who once tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world,” which makes me think of the Happy Merchant figure plotting for world domination. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd once compared the actions of the Israeli government to those of Nazi Germany.

You can read the rest here.

Maybe Trump is Good for Something — My Latest for Splice Today

Don’t let the title fool you, friends. I have NOT taken the red pill, nor will I ever. Maybe this excerpt will clear things up:

This hypothetical situation reminds me of something I heard Slavoj Zizek once say about bosses. “If you have a boss who is up there,” he said, “the old fashioned boss shouting at you, exerting full brutal authority—in a way it’s much easier to rebel than to have a friendly boss who embraces you or [asks], ‘How was last night with your girlfriend,’ blah blah, all that buddy stuff.” In other words, friendly authority figures make one more accustomed to the status quo, therefore actual progress is nearly impossible. Perhaps Zizek is right. After all, liberals hardly said a word about Obama’s drone warfare. Why should they? At least Obama wasn’t a neoconservative like George W. Bush, who hoped blowing up the Middle East would trigger the Second Coming of Christ. Things were finally stable under Obama.

Maybe Trump’s good for something. The 2016 election inspired countless individuals on both the Left and the Right to stand up and say, “Oh hell no!” Trump inadvertently spearheaded the Women’s March movement which, despite currently being in limbo because of alleged anti-semitism, still made a positive impact on American politics. Trump’s blatant racism and xenophobia finally convinced people that America is not a post-racial society. Would any of this have happened if voters picked a friendly authoritarian in 2016?

Now that that’s out of the way, read the rest here.