For LGBTQ People Christian Schools Can Be Traumatizing — My Latest for Rewire

When Morgan Stringer first started attending French Camp Academy, a Christian boarding school in French Camp, Mississippi, during her sophomore year of high school, she instantly found a group of friends. That summer, however, two of her friends were expelled for “homosexual activity.”

“A bunch of girls were kicked out for ‘lesbian activity’ my junior year as well,” she tells Religion Dispatches. “May have been senior year.”

It didn’t help that Stringer started realizing she was bisexual around the same time, although she told herself at the time she merely “admired” women’s appearances. “I think it was a coping mechanism for me to view myself as that,” she tells RD, “because if I was out or ‘acted’ on it, then I could be sent to a place much worse, [like] conversion therapy or an even stricter school.”

Read the rest here.

I’m Sick Of Debating My Humanity As A Trans Person — My latest on Medium

I wrote this a couple of months ago so some things are a little out-of-date. The overall message, however, remains the same.

When I came out as a non-binary trans person in 2014, I knew I had a lot of explaining to do. I didn’t mind, though; in fact, I immediately started speaking out about the subject as soon as I finally embraced my gender identity. Since then I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to explain what it means to be non-binary and trans in such outlets as Everyday FeminismSplice TodayRewire.News, and the 2017 American Humanist Association conference. Other than the occasional troll sliding into my Twitter mentions just to say, “You’re a dude in a dress,” I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from both cis people who have since come to understand more about trans and non-binary issues, and fellow trans and non-binary people who appreciate me saying the things they’re too afraid to say.

Lately, however, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all worth it. No matter how many articles I write or talks that I do or podcasts I’ve been on, transphobia is still the best seller in the marketplace of ideas. On the right are traditional conservatives like Ben Shapiro who argue that trans women are still men because of chromosomes. On the left are radical feminists (or radfems for short) like Meghan Murphy who not only echo Shapiro’s talking point, but also think trans women are men trying to infiltrate women-only spaces in order to assault women. In the center are members of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web — the Popular Kids’ Lunch Table of public intellectuals — who are more concerned about Murphy’s recent Twitter ban than her hateful rhetoric, who think trans activism is inherently homophobic (which doesn’t make any sense), and who spread lies and misinformation about gender-affirming therapy. If there’s one thing that unites people from all four corners of the political compass, it’s hatred of trans people.

Read the rest here.

We Can’t Separate Identity From Politics — My Latest on Medium

Countless moderate liberals have called upon the Democratic party to ditch “identity politics” in the wake of Trump. “We need a post-identity liberalism,” Columbia University professor Mark Lilla wrote back in 2016. “Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them.” According to Lilla, Audre Lorde’s message of recognizing and celebrating our differences is detrimental to American politics, so instead of focusing on issues that uniquely affect different groups of people, liberals need to unite on issues that affect all Americans.

Unfortunately, to quote Lorde again, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” In other words, there is no way to separate identity from politics. Every political issue affects different groups in different ways, so in a way all politics are identity politics.

Read the rest here.

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.

I’m Not Ready to Reach Across the Aisle — My Latest for Splice Today

Former Twitter rivals Eve Peyser of Vice and center-right New York Times columnist Bari Weiss have officially ended their feud, and they recently wrote an op-ed to tell the story. The two writers met at a conference, Peyser asked Weiss if she wanted to hang out, and the two quickly bonded over the things they had in common. They report that they’re open to befriending people with different political views (with the exception of neo-Nazis, of course), and hope others can do the same to escape toxic social media culture.

I’m still hesitant about reaching across the aisle. I know I’m supposed to step out of my echo chamber of fellow SJWs and break bread with the classical liberal/center-right pundits of the Intellectual Dark Web in order to make American civil again, but all my past attempts have failed miserably.

Read the rest here.

Will Non-Binary Gender Markers Go Nationwide? — My Latest for INTO

Jessica Porten of Rewire recently wrote: “The future is not female; it’s non-binary.” Perhaps she’s right, given the recent news about non-binary gender markers in Colorado and DC schools adding non-binary gender options on enrollment forms. Non-binary people — people who do not identify as either men or women — are getting more recognition and acknowledgment, both within and outside of the LGBTQ community.

Legal recognition of non-binary and intersex people has surprisingly come a long way since Jamie Shupe became the first legally recognized non-binary person in the U.S. in June 2016. Now there are five states — Arkansas, Oregon, California, Maine, and Minnesota — that offer non-binary gender markers on driver’s licenses and state IDs, along with the District of Columbia.

But there are questions about the future. Will non-binary gender markers go nationwide? What are the legal barriers preventing that from happening? What about people who think there shouldn’t be any gender markers at all?

Read the rest here.

What Fuels Suicidality Among Trans Men? — My First Article for INTO

CW: Suicide, Sexual Assault, Racism, Transphobia

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 40 percent of trans people have attempted suicide at some point during their lives, and 48 percent have seriously considered it. A more recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics confirms this high risk even among transgender adolescents. Nearly half of adolescent trans guys reported having at least one suicide attempt in their lives, with more than 40 percent of non-binary adolescents and about 30 percent of trans girls reporting the same thing.

What’s interesting to note is how much trans boys are at a great risk of suicide — higher than trans girls and non-binary adolescents — but the study doesn’t explain why. Are there unique obstacles young trans men face that other trans-identified people don’t?

Perhaps surprisingly the answer is yes. “I think one of the obvious risk factors that trans men experience is sexual assault and violence,” says trans blogger Sam Dylan Finch of Let’s Queer Things Up. “Not that we don’t see this happening to folks of other genders, but people perceived as girls and women have a categorical risk for sexual violence that makes them vulnerable early on in life.”

Read the rest here.

Recent articles I forgot to share here

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t been sharing any new articles on here, with the exception of my latest for HuffPost. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my FtB space since I basically just post links to my stuff and that’s it. While I still try to figure that out, here are some of my most recent articles:

  • A Hot Take on Hot Take Culture (Medium.com). The title says it all. It’s basically about how thanks to the blogosphere and social media, everyone thinks their opinion matters, and that the press is currently filled with professional edgelords who only want to own the libs and trigger the snowflakes.
  • Stop Using Sketchy Science Against LGBTQ People (Medium.com). At long last, I finally wrote about how the concept of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) is based on sketchy science, and that this is just another example of people using sketchy science to discredit LGBTQ people.
  • The Love of My Life was a Rebound Relationship (Splice Today). Oh boy, this is a doozy! It’s a story about my first boyfriend, how he made me feel alive again after leaving a shitty six-year relationship, and how I’m afraid to get into a relationship again because I’m afraid I’ll get my heart broken again.
  • I’m Lucky I’m Going to Die (Splice Today). This is a secular response to Bari Weiss’s recent article about Yom Kippur and facing mortality. It’s pretty raw because I talk about my own fears about death, and how I have to remind myself to stay in the moment and enjoy life right now.

Bi Any Means Podcast #165: The Truth about Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria with Julia Serano

My guest for today is Julia Serano. She’s a trans-bi activist, the author of the books “Whipping Girl” and “Excluded,” a musician, a spoken-word artist, and a biologist. Today I got her on the show to talk about the controversy surrounding Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria, and why the science behind it is pretty sketchy.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #165: The Truth about Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria with Julia Serano” on Spreaker.