Issues

I Still Don’t Look Like Myself

“I can’t be a woman without the right clothes. I’ve been on HRT a year by now, but I still haven’t been gendered correctly by a stranger. It’s a lot of things. I try not to think about bone structure, about shoulders and necks and foreheads.”

First Person Issues

How I Learned to Tie a Tie Without My Dad

Perhaps he would have loved me enough. I’ll never know, and my eschatology doesn’t include a heaven from which re-embodied souls watch over our earthly lives. All I have is speculation about how he might have reacted to his daughter’s bisexuality, and to his daughter not being precisely a daughter at all.

Issues

The Loneliness of Being Fat at Camp

“I shower. Get dressed. Read or listen to music until my hair is mostly dry and I can brush it. I don’t wear makeup and I don’t know how to do anything with my hair. No one wears the same size as me. I don’t know how to be a part of this ritual.”

Issues

When You Wear An Agbada

“To understand my relationship with this symbol of masculinity, we’ll have to start with my journey of queerness I had no idea I had embarked upon until I was turning 28, the sleeves of my buba — the tailored Agbada shirt — all rolled up to my elbows and my fingers rubbing down on the clit of a girl I had only met a couple of times prior to that moment.”

Issues

Femme Fashion Is Queer Fashion

“I sat there staring at my laptop screen soaking in the news that my love of flirty summer dresses, brightly hued tights, wine-colored lipstick and smiling radiantly in photos made me invisible to those I wanted most to be seen by. I thought I had to make a choice between authenticity and visibility.”

First Person

Love That Looks Like Me: Finding My Queer, Non-Binary Place in the Wedding Industry

“And there was Susan and Rachel at the heart of it all, dancing to the band Susan had sworn would play her wedding if she ever got married. As they laughed and moved to the music and worked up such a sweat that their jackets had to come off, I saw a glimpse of the future wedding I hope for, marrying someone I love, the two of us not fitting so strictly into the feminine.”

First Person

Compassion Training

I surrounded myself with pieces of paper organized by titles. “Things I want.” “Things I need.” “Things to buy.” “Things to throw- away.” “Things to do.” “Things to fix.” The first thing on my list was “Me” and the second thing was “The United States of America.”

First Person

Mommy’s Little Hellraiser

I looked less and less like my mother— the image of womanhood I grew up with — and I was scared. Was she disappointed that I wasn’t like her? Did my femininity disappoint her? At the same time, I worried about being too masculine: people would know I wasn’t straight. I was angry: my mother taught me to be proud of who I was, but what if who I was becoming wasn’t good enough?

First Person Food and Drink

Having Too Many: How Queer Family Helps Heal My Relationship to Food

She has boxes of recipe cards; mostly I know their stories and not their flavors. She needs to know what I cook for dinner regularly; she eats a dinner of nibbles and stolen bites. She tells me that sugar is toxic and will cause irreparable harm to my body; she sends me a box of Christmas cookies. Scrumptious little crystals that can tear at my blood vessels from the inside.

First Person

Desert Heartbreaker

“I always went the extra mile for you and did so gladly because I loved being around you. You never returned these more concrete gestures, which should’ve been the first sign that things were not reciprocal between us, but I was oblivious and idealistic. I genuinely believed I had found love.”

First Person

Finding Roots Without Hiding My Rainbow

“We don’t talk about our roots as they relate to the heaviness of humid air recycled through our generations on swampy plantations. My family has never talked about it with me, at least. It feels like a small betrayal, choosing to go south when we were given a new chance in the West.”

First Person

Brown, Queer, Sad, Strange, and a Skilled Practitioner of Each

I found a different self slowly, learned to exist as if with many different goggles on at once. Always speaking from my mother’s kitchen in the Silicon Valley and, at the same time, my grandmother’s crowded living room in Punjab. In these years, I would feel the sharpness of many kinds of difference, marginalization. But when I looked down at myself for signs of why I felt so other, all I would find was the color of my hands.