When I Was 16 I Won a Drag Show in Florence

I spent my adolescence trying to be a boy. I wasn’t very good at it, but I tried really, really hard. I didn’t wear bright colors, I didn’t listen to pop music, I didn’t even style my hair until I was 17. I certainly wasn’t the kind of person to dress in drag. And yet I was. And yet I did. Because when I was 16 I won a drag show in Florence.

Tourist in the Homeland

I traveled to West and North Africa to find myself, my family, my people. Gender dysphoria met the diaspora and my idea of Blackness, home, and identity were not as tidy as I thought.

An Invisible Stranger in My Home

You’ve probably seen billboards advertising an exotic trip to the country where I was born. In those pictures, the sea is always a clear turquoise – like glass – and the sand is always blinding white, and the sky is always a clear stretch of blue that takes your breath away.

The Worst Weekend

One time my ex took us on a weekend getaway to a notorious suicide hotspot so that I could take a video of them breaking rocks on the beach with a very small hammer.

When Your Face Reflects the Mirror

Traveling to see family in Taiwan, the sudden change in beauty standards forced me to contemplate my own. The same features that made me so ordinary at home made me extraordinary in Taiwan. The things that pushed me away from the American feminine ideal brought me closer to the “perfect” Taiwanese woman.

Bites

“I ate lemon-filled doughnuts with a woman who made my head spin. I decided that it was her commitment to eating good food, like me, that drew me to her. Every bite was sour-sweet.”

Austin City Limits

When my wife walked out on me, we’d had a trip to Austin booked for months. We decided to take it anyway, and this is how I remember it — and us.