The Trans Body

Transphobia, like homophobia, isn't generally using the suffix "-phobia" to mean "fear," but to mean "aversion." It's the same notion as hydrophobic surfaces refer to their ability to repel water. That said, I feel there [...]

By |2019-12-11T14:29:06-05:00December 11th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

We Must Not Betray Their Sacrifices

The New York Stock Exchange. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The National Institutes of Health. All three locations are icons in America not just because of their status in the broader culture but because of their seminal roles in bringing the urgency of our community in addressing the HIV crisis.

By |2019-11-27T15:41:20-05:00November 27th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

One Day After

On Nov. 20, transgender and non-binary people — and our allies — across the world come together to honor those murdered due to anti-trans violence. This year marks the 20th since a group of people [...]

By |2019-11-20T15:15:20-05:00November 20th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Revealing, But Not What You Think

In 2008, a woman named Jenna Karvunidis sliced open a cake, revealing pink frosting within the layers. With her, the "gender reveal party" entered the popular lexicon. A decade or so later, the gender reveal has gone a long way from those humble beginnings becoming something far different from that cake.

By |2019-11-06T16:05:38-05:00November 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

On Being Trans at Halloween

Halloween is a time of magic and mystery. Traditionally, it once served as the end of the year, where autumn — and the abundance of the harvest — gave way to the dark and dim days of winter. In that liminal space between the seasons, one could get a moment to pierce the veil between other states, even between life and death itself.

By |2019-10-23T16:08:58-04:00October 23rd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

A Transgender Woman’s Take on Aimee Stephens’ Supreme Court Case

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases that will determine if people can discriminate against LGBTQ people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The future of our community's rights is at stake here in the U.S. The three cases that are before the Supreme court are Bostock v. Clayton County, GA, Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home v. EEOC. The first two cases involve plaintiffs who were fired for being gay. The Harris Funeral Home case involves plaintiff Aimee Stephens, who was fired for being transgender.

By |2019-10-16T16:20:28-04:00October 16th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

The Time for Trans Pitches is Now

Every week, in my email, I receive dozens of story pitches. Some are quite good, connecting me with engaging people and interesting stories that I might otherwise have missed. Most, however, are pretty useless to me in the overall scheme of things. A lot only tangentially veer into any topic I write about, or are blatant product pitches or just an overall bad fit.

By |2019-10-02T15:13:35-04:00October 2nd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Rapid Onset

I have always been intrigued by history. I love to look at how things came together over time, and how advances in knowledge, technology and society — for both good and ill — helped to [...]

By |2019-09-18T15:03:54-04:00September 18th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Positive Thoughts: Three Cheers of Victory for Ol’ U=U!

For about the past decade, activists and advocates have been working hard to educate the world on a very important scientific fact about living with HIV: that undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U). U=U is a now globally accepted scientific consensus that simply means when a person living with HIV reaches an undetectable viral load (also sometimes called virally suppressed) for six months or longer, they are virtually unable to transmit the virus to a sexual partner — even without the use of condoms.

By |2019-09-11T14:34:19-04:00September 11th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

A Battle Won, but the War Rages On

Gavin Grimm, at long last, has won his case. When Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester County High School in Virginia, he came out as a transgender boy. As soon as he opted to use the boys' restroom, the Gloucester County School Board decided to require that all changing rooms and bathrooms, "shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders, and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative appropriate private facility."

By |2019-08-21T13:23:58-04:00August 21st, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Transmissions: Emerging victorious

At long last, North Carolina's House Bill 2 is dead. For those few who are reading who may not know the significance, I'll explain: The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, otherwise known as HB2, was a bill passed in North Carolina in 2016.

By |2019-08-07T15:35:16-04:00August 7th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Which Stonewall? Whose Stonewall?

“Ho Ho! Hey Hey! We won’t pay to be gay!” The chant, led by Vivian Thompson on a bullhorn and in unison with a couple dozen or so other protesters, announced the stance of Lansing People’s Pride as they marched on June 17th through Old Town, home to this year’s Michigan Pride celebration.

By |2019-06-26T15:46:10-04:00June 26th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Fighting for Our Rights 50 Years Post Stonewall

June 28, 1969. With no civil rights protections available for LGBTQ people and rampant harassment and brutality by law enforcement against our community and LGBTQ establishments, a group of brave men and women — including two transgender women of color, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson — stood up to the New City Police Department and determined that they were not going to take it anymore.

By |2019-06-12T15:31:42-04:00June 12th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Mombian: Transgender and Gender Creative Children Star in New Picture Books

"When Aiden Became a Brother," written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Lee & Low), is a sweet and joyous tale about a biracial (black and South Asian) transgender boy awaiting the birth of his new sibling. The book starts by explaining that everyone thought Aiden was a girl when he was born, but he later realized he was a boy.

By |2019-05-29T15:45:32-04:00May 29th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Resisting the Dangers of Michigan’s Abortion Ban

For the past week, I haven’t been able to log on to social media without seeing controversy about the abortion bans that are sweeping the country. Even the most politically apathetic people are weighing in on it.I grew up in a cultishly tight Evangelical Christian community. I went to private Christian schools. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I was raised to be pro-life.

By |2019-05-22T16:16:26-04:00May 22nd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Transmissions: The Lines Blur

Caster Semenya is a South African middle-distance runner. She took home Olympic gold in both 2012 and 2016 and has won the world championships three times. She grew up in the village of Fairlie, located [...]

By |2019-05-15T17:02:05-04:00May 15th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

HHS Rule Allows Religious Discrimination in Health Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has finalized a new rule that will allow health care workers to refuse to provide or assist in providing medical services if doing so violates their religious or moral beliefs. In other words, it will allow them to discriminate widely and putting LGBTQ people and our families, among others, at risk.

By |2019-05-08T14:23:12-04:00May 8th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

As in a Mirror

So often when people who are not transgender speak of transgender people, there is one important thing that is gotten terribly wrong, and I think it's a core part of understanding exactly what it is to be transgender.

By |2019-05-01T14:08:21-04:00May 1st, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Being Seen

I grew up in a Southern California suburb in the 1970s, a short distance from the smog-filled skies of Los Angeles. Right around the time of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album, mood rings and bell bottoms, there was a veneer of patriotism brought forth thanks to the bicentennial.

By |2019-04-10T16:58:53-04:00April 10th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Let’s Talk About Drinking and Health

I am often asked from clients and friends if I believe there is a healthy amount of alcohol that may be consumed on a regular basis. Of course, no one likes my response: actually no, there is not. However, I also like to reframe the question: How do you define healthy? More specifically, is there a use for alcohol?

By |2019-04-10T16:02:47-04:00April 10th, 2019|Health & Wellness, Opinions, Viewpoints|

Adoption Case Settlement Win for LGBTQ Michiganders

This past Friday came the announcement that the ACLU of Michigan and the state of Michigan settled a lawsuit that we, the ACLU, had filed — challenging the state’s practice of allowing state-contracted, taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to use religious criteria to exclude same-sex couples.

By |2019-03-28T02:17:05-04:00March 28th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Mombian: Of Budget and Bias

President Trump’s proposed 2020 budget, released March 11, reinforces his intention to let foster care and adoption agencies discriminate against LGBTQ people and others in the name of religion, using taxpayer money. There is legislation pending that could stop these religious exemptions to non-discrimination laws, however. Here’s what you need to know.

By |2019-03-20T14:12:44-04:00March 20th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Ducking Transgender Athletes

Centuries ago, during the witch trials of the medieval era, a unique way of determining who was or wasn't a witch was created. A woman suspected of being a witch would have her right thumb bound to the big toe on her left foot. She would then have a rope tied around her waist, and be thrown into a nearby pond or river.

By |2019-03-13T13:43:26-04:00March 13th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Positive Thoughts: I’m an HIV-Positive Gay Man Committed to Racial Justice

The day the universe decided it wanted to see sugar, spice and everything nice, it was June 10, 1991 – the day I was born. Even as a child, I was always talkative and quite the jokester. Winning "Loudest," "Class Clown," and "Most Likely to Work for The New York Times" my senior year of high school proved not only that I could make anyone laugh, but that my banter always led to greater conversation.

By |2019-03-06T14:51:57-05:00March 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Whatever Happened to? …

As I rework my dissertation into a book manuscript — cutting sections here, smoothing out passages there, tugging at paragraphs like taffy over there, finding the through line — I have been sneaking out and doing some last-minute oral history interviews. Even though many people have told me to stop, that I need to get the book done. I can’t quite help it.

By |2019-02-20T14:38:10-05:00February 20th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Valentine’s Day Visibility: To Stay in or Go Out?

As a lesbian, I often feel the urge to be vocally happy in my engagement to a woman. It’s a spiteful parry to a book I keep on my shelf as a joke: "The Unhappy Gays," a messy assortment of Christian ramblings about how queer people are actually miserable, pilfered from the collection of my deceased grandmother.

By |2019-02-06T15:56:46-05:00February 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

A Look at LGBTQ Artists in Burlesque

One would think that in the field of burlesque, sex and the discussion of it would be welcome, but this may not always be the case. In 2019 there is open discussion about all things LGBTQ as well as openly gay celebrities, but in the burlesque world, sex and sexual orientation are still considered dirty words by some. Why is this the case? Perhaps the answer to this and many other questions lies in pondering why humans readily embrace some things and people and not others. Normally, that which is deemed different is looked at with suspicion and approached with caution — as is the case with the LGBTQ or queer burlesque performers.

By |2019-02-06T15:54:35-05:00February 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

I’m Positive

Every HIV story is a sad story. And, generally, it’s always a surprise story for people, something they weren’t expecting. In January 2014, I was dating a guy in Memphis, Tennessee, named Andre. We fell [...]

By |2019-01-23T15:38:35-05:00January 23rd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|