Also.Also.Also: This Essay By X González About Their Life After Parkland Is All I Care About

Feature image of X González by Noam Galai/WireImage

Happy New Year! I’m wishing you so much peace and joy and reflection. Plus, chocolate!

Queer as in F*ck You

“The strangest part of being a survivor was how badly strangers wanted to touch me, like I was a living relic. They’d shake my hand, or hug me, or lean on me to cry. They also wanted to tell me about the tragedies that touched them. So many voices saying how their loved ones had been gruesomely shot and killed. I’m an empathetic person, and I had no idea how to guard myself, how to turn away and toward myself. So I listened and I hugged these strangers back. Only months earlier, none of these people knew who I was. I was just a high-school kid in Parkland.

Before the shooting — February 14, 2018, perpetrated by a 19-year-old white supremacist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — my plan was to get the fuck out of Florida, the farther the better. Now, I write this from my pink childhood bedroom.”

The Education of X González. “After the Parkland shooting, I became an activist, a celebrity, a ‘survivor’ — and the pressure almost killed me.”

When we were discussing what piece of news to highlight in today’s headline, everyone on senior staff agreed it should be X’s personal essay. But the second question became, “ok will people remember X González by name? Or should we also put Parkland in there?” That conversation ended with me saying, “well also, people will remember their face. Like their face will be with me forever, personally.”

That also feels like the entire point. X González is forever tied to Parkland, their face is forever stitched into my heart because of something tragic that happened to them when they were a child. And because of the bravery they showed when something got thrust upon their shoulders that never should have been there in the first place — something that was our failing, those of us who were adults when it happened — they have never, will never, be the same. And how could they be? How could we ever expect them to be?

It is today’s must read. (Be prepared, it’s intense)

Why a Kiss Was Worth Fighting for in the Whitney Biopic ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (Also you should read our review if you missed it, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Settled for Being Superficial, Instead of Exploring Whitney and Robyn’s Depth — the piece from the LA Times that I linked is a good complement to read alongside it)

ICYMI — Miley Cyrus & Fletcher Kick Off 2023 With Sexy ‘Midnight Sky’ Duet (Though for my money, the best performance from Miley’s New Year’s Eve concert was her duet with Dolly for “Wrecking Ball”)

The Final Anti-Trans Legislative Risk Map Of 2022. This is such a community service!

Saw This, Thought of You

For my New Yorkers and those who love them! The MetroCard’s 28 Years As a Blank Canvas. It’s the end of an era.

How a New Generation of Gamers Is Pushing for Inclusivity Beyond the Table. “The rules of Dungeons & Dragons were written by a racial essentialist. As the tabletop gaming community becomes more diverse, players and creators are trying to rewrite them.” I did not know this information!

Political Snacks

‘It’s Making Us More Ignorant.’ “Governor Ron DeSantis’s anti-critical-race-theory legislation is already changing how professors in Florida teach.” This comes recommended from Stef Rubino, noted Florida resident and teacher.

“Police killed more people in America in 2022 than any other year on record. At least 1,176 people were killed by police nationwide – 3.2 killings per day.” (please click through, there’s a lot to learn from this interactive map) Mapping Police Violence

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 715 articles for us.


  1. That police statistic is depressing & disgusting, even more so that in many places the departments saw their budgets increase, but police officers didn’t get any extra & better training. ACAB

  2. Not gonna lie: to hear X Gonzalez be so pro-death penalty towards a person who—regardless of motivation—was little more than a child himself, was depressing AF. I don’t judge, but I do get depressed.

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