Two new articles for the price of one!

Today was another twofer day for me where two of my articles got published at the same time.

The first is an op-ed for HuffPost called “Self-Care Is An Act Of Political Warfare.” Here’s an excerpt:

Famed writer and activist Audre Lorde once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” And in a time like this, when one of the most powerful leaders in the world is trying to erase the humanity of so many of our diverse citizens, self-care may be one of the most powerful tools we can use to defeat the problematic powers that be.

“Self-care” is one of those buzzwords that everyone loves to talk about, but it’s been divorced from its original radical roots thanks to capitalism. When we think of self-care, we automatically think of bath bombs, manicures, pedicures and gorging on pizza. While these things are not bad in and of themselves (I definitely ordered an emergency pizza after Kavanaugh was confirmed), consuming makeup and high calories isn’t self-care; it’s self-indulgence.

Real self-care involves taking care of our bodies, our minds and our spirits … especially for those of us who face intersecting forms of oppression.

The second is something Rewire.News asked me to write for them. It’s called “Why ‘Genetic Testing’ for Gender Is Dangerous Pseudoscience.” Excerpt:

On Sunday, the New York Times reported on a leaked memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that outlines a plan to define gender with regard to the Title IX civil rights law as, the Times summarized, “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”

“The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate,” the memo reportedly read, “as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

The New York Times didn’t explain what exactly the memo meant by “genetic evidence,” but it likely refers to a common argument from anti-trans conservatives: that chromosomes negate trans people’s identities. For example, in a debate on the talk show Dr. Drew on Call in 2015, Ben Shapiro of the conservative news site Daily Wire said, “It turns out that every chromosome, every cell in Caitlyn Jenner’s body, is male, with the exception of some of [her] sperm cells …. How [she] feels on the inside is irrelevant to the question of [her] biological self.” But this theory—and that is what’s suggested by the HHS memo—is wrong about the science behind gender on two counts: Gender identity likely has some kind of neurological basis, and biological sex is not a strict binary.

I should have a new for Arc Digital coming out soon.



Bisexual People Aren’t Confused Or Closeted. We’re Tired Of Being Invisible. — My Latest for HuffPost

Through Pride Month celebrations, inclusive books, movies and TV shows, and out and proud politicians and public figures, LGBTQ life is slowly but surely becoming more welcome and mainstream, even despite attempts from the powers that be to silence us. However, the “B” in the middle of our LGBTQ rainbow is often forgotten, ignored or unfairly discriminated against.

Which is why we celebrate Bisexual Visibility Day.

In 1999, three bisexual activists ― Gigi Raven Wilbur, Michael Page, and Wendy Curry ― decided that Sept. 23 would be a day for bisexuals around the world to remind people that we exist, we’ve always been a part of the fight for queer liberation, and our sexuality is real and valid. Despite the fact that the woman known as the “mother of Pride,” Brenda Howard. was bisexual, or the fact that bisexuals make up the largest share of LGBTQ people in America, invisibility still plagues many bisexuals.

Many people, straight and gay alike, believe you can either be one or the other, and that anything in the middle is selfish, confused or fake ― in short, that bisexuality isn’t even real. That biphobia is causing real problems.

Read the rest here.

Until Our Workplaces Are Safe, LGBTQ People Will Be Trapped In The Closet — My Latest for HuffPost

When I told my gay Uncle Frank I was bisexual, he said I was lucky to be coming out in the 2010s instead of the 1970s when he did.

He’s right in many ways. Since the Stonewall riots in 1969, the LGBTQ community has made tremendous progress in gaining visibility and equity thanks to the countless queer and trans activists who fought for their lives and freedom. Queer and trans visibility is everywhere now, from elected officials like Andrea Jenkins to musicians like Janelle Monáe to television shows like “Pose.” Things certainly have improved since the ’70s, when my uncle worried about not being able to get a job.

Yet even with the strides that have been made, many queer folks keep their pride private. According to a recent study from the Human Rights Campaign, nearly half of LGBTQ people are still in the closet, specifically in the workplace. Another recent HRC study reports that only 27 percent of LGBTQ youth felt comfortable to be out and open at school, and only 26 percent of them felt safe.

Unfortunately, even in 2018, our society still isn’t completely safe for LGBTQ people to live their lives in peace. Yes, we’ve gained more visibility, but visibility is a double-edged sword. As we gain more support for LGBTQ rights, we also become more vulnerable.

Read the rest here.

Marginalized People Are Not Responsible For Ending Our Own Oppression — My Latest for HuffPost

In the months since Donald Trump was elected president, pundits have been endlessly trying to figure out how we got into this mess (and how we can get out). Many suggest that ideological echo chambers — from all across the political spectrum — helped create our current political divide. With the recent incidents of Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant and Kirstjen Nielsen being heckled while dining out, many have called for civility in our political discourse and for people to talk to those who disagree with them. Only then, pundits say, can we escape the pitfalls of motivated reasoning and tribalism.

In a 2016 study, three social scientists found that Facebook users shared articles that reaffirmed their personal narratives even when the articles were fake, and they doubled down when shown evidence that contradicted their worldviews. Brian Resnick of Vox refers to this psychological phenomenon as “motivated reasoning” and explains how two people with different points of view can look at the same piece of empirical data and come up with two completely different interpretations.

While there is no guaranteed magic formula to make a person completely unbiased, most experts agree that being skeptical about one’s beliefs and deliberately reading different points of view can help people see things from another’s perspective. I agree to an extent. I am a hard-left-leaning progressive bisexual nonbinary transgender person, but I read articles by Bari Weiss and Conor Friedersdorf — both of whom are to the right of me on many issues — just in case they might be right about something.

However, there are those who say reading articles isn’t enough. Some, like YouTube talk show host Dave Rubin, say that the only way to break out from an echo chamber is to have a civil conversation with someone who disagrees with you on everything. It sounds good on paper, but for many people, there’s a risk of exposing ourselves to vicious personal attacks on our humanity. What is meant to be an honest discussion about social justice can quickly turn into another example of the onus being put on marginalized people to end our own oppression.

Read the rest here.

And this should be the last update for the day. Some days everything gets published at once.

I Wish I Had Learned LGBTQ History In School — My Latest for HuffPost

Growing up, I was fortunate to learn about the rich history of men and women who made a difference in the world throughout the centuries. My school made sure to teach us about extraordinary women like Sally Ride, Florence Nightingale and Eleanor Roosevelt. I lived in Prince George’s County, a predominantly black area of Maryland, so I was lucky to learn about inspiring figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth and more in my formative years.

Unfortunately in the 1990s, when I grew up, American society was just starting to get the message that being gay was OK, so none of my teachers acknowledged LGBTQ history. It wasn’t until I was 16 years old, working part time at a public library and doing my own research that I found out writers like Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman and James Baldwin were gay. I had learned much about them in my English classes, but I guess my teachers decided to skip that detail.

LGBTQ people have existed throughout history and made tremendous contributions to American culture, yet no one talked about them in school, and there were hardly any books available highlighting the brave queer and trans people who paved the way for the rest of us. If I had known about them, I might not have suffered through years of alienation, confusion and self-hatred. I would have learned to love and embrace my true self sooner.

Read the rest here.

The #MeToo Conversation Erases Trans People — My First Article for HuffPost Opinion

CN: Sexual Assault, Transphobia

The Me Too movement has given many women the courage to speak up about their experiences with sexual assault and has opened up a nationwide dialogue about consent and sexual misconduct in our culture. As with many mainstream feminist movements, however, the movement has been silent at best — and hostile at worst — when it comes to the experiences of transgender people.

Take, for example, actress Rose McGowan’s encounter with a trans woman at a Jan. 31 speaking engagement. During an appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, Andi Dier stood up and challenged comments McGowan had made on RuPaul’s podcast “What’s the Tee?” last year. “They [trans women] assume,” the actress said on the podcast, “because they felt like a woman on the inside . . . That’s not developing as a woman. That’s not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman.”

“Trans women are dying,” Dier said during her confrontation with McGowan, “and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women. We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks [away].” The confrontation erupted into a shouting match between the two, ending with Dier being escorted out of the venue and McGowan having a public breakdown.

To be fair, McGowan did say trans women are women during her talk, and she acknowledged the alarming rates of sexual violence against trans women.

Shortly after the encounter, allegations of sexual misconduct against Dier came to light, some of them dating back to 2010. However, instead of focusing on transmisogyny and sexual assault against trans and gender-nonconforming people, most of the media focus was on McGowan. This, unfortunately, is just one example how trans and gender-nonconforming people’s stories are far too often ignored.

Read the rest here.

(BTW, I already had to mute a TERF on Twitter who accused me of saying cis lesbians have to fuck trans women, even though I said nothing of the sort.)