Such Whiteness

Be as miserable as the cavities that lurk behind your pristine white washed teeth and the ancestral secrets that they keep

It’s not enough to just brush but the blood that tarnishes your sink when you floss is too harsh under the fluorescent bulbs in your rent-stabilized home that before you has never known such whiteness

You wave to the right strangers on the street the ones that seem innocent enough

The brown babies who often blush when you wiggle your fingers in their direction

You eat and you eat ignoring the small pain that is ever present

Silence the misery beholden to you and to me

You’ve woken up again and again in the middle of the night to the loud neighborhood kids either in the middle of a celebration or a fight

So unlike the sidewalks in your suburban hometown that as your dad would say got rolled up at night

Strange to be a stranger when your bank account says this is exactly where you belong

Flick your tongue out of habit to the back of your mouth

Fall back asleep and awake to the streets

that never went to sleep

the lingering taste of iron in your mouth

You shower and wash it out

Let the misery overflow and overfill the cup you’ve been told must only hold the happiness and innocence of childhood summers when school felt years away and the sun didn’t set until you were already tucked into bed

Be as miserable as the sky is on days when there is no universe

Just hell on Earth

A QPOC’s Farewell To FTM Magazine

The oppressed will always be the ones doing the most work.

It came to my attention yesterday that FTM magazine was shutting down. And after reading the editor in chief’s reasoning as to why I can’t say that it comes as a shock. White publications often fail to understand that minority contributions should not be one-offs. To show dedication to diversity, entire staff’s must be just that: diverse. The transmasculine community has oft dedicated itself to praising and looking up to the bodies of cis men, or I should say, the members of the trans community who garner the most media attention are the white skin men who adhere to society’s thoughts of what a “real man” looks like. They do so,while erasing the existence of not only POC trans men, but trans women. When you do that and do it continuously, people take notice.

I took notice of FTM Magazine’s exclusion of trans men of color and trans women and swiftly called them out. When this: came across my timeline last night, I took a deep breath and decided to dive in. Midway through I found myself in a position that I feel many POC do when reading the laments of white folks. It was somewhere between laughter, anger, and a massive shrugging of the shoulders mixed with a rolling of the eyes. I am mentioned in the article and therefore feel that I am entitled to give you and Jason a response. Or as Lil John once said: “Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit.”

White men, it seems whether they be trans or cisgender can not seem to wrap their heads around the absolute importance of upholding POC. They do not wrap their heads around it, because it forces them to challenge their own feelings, their own racism. In this head spinning article Jason, again and again uses analytics to site that when POC were gracing FTM Magazine Instagram likes went down, Facebook shares became nonexistent, and essentially no one seemed to give enough enough of a care about POC content to double click a photo or hit the like button. What Jason fails to understand is, he built a magazine for white people, who wished to see other white people. If you build a base and build a brand people have expectations of what you produce. That is how media works. I would know, I work in it.

Jason repeats AGAIN AND AGAIN that FTM Magazine continually featured white men. In his own words, he says this: “I started hosting community stories on our website and sharing them on social media. What I immediately noticed was that if it wasn’t a shirtless white man, no one cared.” Are you laughing? Are you feeling this? Are you reading a white man say what all POC people in existence know to be reality and are you understanding that this white man is saying this as means for you to feel bad for him? Are you getting all of that? He goes on: <em>”The next issue was a three cover issue because there were a bunch of web series in production. BROTHERS, run by Emmett Jack had open casting calls, used the people who showed up, did a fantastic job and ended up on Amazon Prime they’re so good. The majority of there hatred was because of their lack of representation of the POC community. Fair. Then Seven King came out with a web series based entirely on a group of TMOC and their lives and I watched as less people supported it. Every time we posted about BROTHERS, someone spoke out about it. Every time we posted about Eden’s Garden, no one shared or liked it. So what are we seeing here? That people are unwilling to support TMOC but they have no problem calling the publications out for it. Because you don’t really want more diversity, you want to be the clever guy who called a magazine out for their content. Jake Graf was the other cover and because of his shirtless selfies on Instagram, his issue sold out. (Obviously also because of his amazing film making). – You could literally pick which of the three covers you wanted, and Jake’s sold out. And I have almost 900 more to sell which cost almost $3,900″ </em>

First of all, I would like to call to attention that this piece was written by an Editor in Chief who is issuing his last statement and saying goodbye to his faithful readers. As someone who has been an editor myself, I know what that entails, it’s hard, you have to put your work and the work of others under a microscope. You have to pay attention to grammar and word choice and often are forced to make decisions that may go against what you at first felt was correct. But you do it because you are trying to create a piece that people will not only read once but again, a piece that they will share with their colleagues and friends, a piece that if you’re lucky may be picked up by another publication, expanding your readership. I would like you to re-read the segment of writing above and understand that this is a final copy. This was published. This was published in a piece where someone is questioning why his magazine is failing. If a POC writer wrote this way, which such laissez faire attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling they sure as hell would not have over 47K followers on Instagram. But I digress.

I am a bit confused to the point Jason is making above. BROTHERS faced a ton of scrutiny because it failed to showcase POC, but it was extremely popular because guess what? We live in a racist society that loves to see white folks being white folks. Eden’s Garden did not garner nearly enough attention because it featured QPOC. People are unwilling to support, pay for, promote, and take in the works of POC people because white people value their own work much more than that of POC. FTM Magazine was called out again and again because it failed to actively commit to the inclusion of POC people. Jason’s words speak a very real truth, when he says: “…people are unwilling to support TMOC but they have no problem calling the publications out for it.” What he is not understanding is that these are two very different parties. The folks calling out publications for not including QPOC are the folks who ARE supporting projects like Eden’s Garden, and those people are the folks who do not read FTM magazine nor go out of their way to support projects like BROTHERS. The people “unwilling to support TMOC” are the people who make up FTM Magazines active readership. And thus when a cover randomly had a POC on it, they didn’t hit the like button, because guess what? They don’t “like” black bodies.

Who knew that someone could so succinctly complain about their projects demise, note that they failed to be inclusive to all, and somehow place the blame on POC humans. Ah but here we are. We are at that place where a white person has built a space for other white people and wonders why POC are angry about it, thinks about it for a second, offers some crumbs to the Black community, assumes they’ve done enough, and continues on their way. The problem is, this isn’t 1964. The problem is this isn’t 1700. Black people are no longer here for your crumbs. They certainly aren’t here for crumbs that come off a piece of bread that isn’t even fresh. FTM Magazine was never cutting edge. It was never the hottest loaf of bread out of the oven. White shirtless white dudes that love the gym and love being bro’s. Did you feel my yawn? GQ and Men’s Health have been able to thrive because those who consume them – men – thrive in this patriarchal society. What FTM Magazine failed to realize, is that queer people do not operate in that world. While yes, there are queer folks who love the gym, and yes there are both trans men and trans women who choose to live their lives stealthily (as is their right) but for many of us our queerness, our gayness, and our transness is special. We form comradery over both our love and our hate of our bodies, our very different bodies. We show up for each other. We are active activists because we were born a bit differently than the cis straight folks we walk the streets next to. FTM Magazine never celebrated that. They never celebrated diversity at any level. They never stood up for trans women or femmes. They were a celebration of the white bro. And in 2016 it seems, that finally for the first time in our country’s history the white bro just isn’t who we all wish to worship anymore. Whether they be a cis man, a gay man, or a trans man.

Sorry bro.

The Desire

The Desire

If you lay down your head and feel The Desire

It may be a for a few seconds or fall into a while

Know that even though it has lived inside so many of us

We are still strangers

Trying to fight each other’s desires


I have always felt like the freshman, like everyone around me already had their place and were just being polite; making room for me in a space that was already full. That with my addition would be cramped.


I haven’t felt much like pushing words out recently. Because that is exactly how they feel, pushed. My brain this year has been more than ever affected by my body. This brown boy walking. This brown boy living. This brown boy existing. This boy pushing. Trying to be a voice, but one that doesn’t push away or disrupt those in the positions of power of the places where I want to be to excavate my thoughts to the audiences that…who I hope that, need to hear me. I am that, I am that ellipses. Omitting words to ensure that I am not upsetting. Leaving them somewhere in the crevices of my own brain, so that I don’t have to shove them into the forefront of yours.


I am getting used to it.


Did you know that blankets can feel like concrete anchors; binding your body to a bed, already consumed with – covered by your tears, your anxious sweat, some crumbs from late night binging, and above all else your desire. No not sexual – The Desire. The Desire to get up and go off into the world. The Desire to answer a text, to return that call. To engage. It isn’t for lack of want, nor the lack of need, but it can get tricky. Tricky when the brain tells us it wants nothing more than to be alone; tricks us into thinking we are alone. Tricks us into saying our friends don’t really want us, that we are not needed. That we, “us” were just a fleeting moment in time. Add to that the fear of existing in this world as an other. Even worse, as a target.


You are alone with your concrete anchor and The Desire is taunting you.


How do we demolish the shadow that for many of us is ever present? It goes by many names,for some of us is it our actual self. We can treat some parts of the shadow with pills and substance. But there is no fulfillment. How can there be when the world itself is changing with you? For you?


You are filling a cup with tiny holes at the bottom. The stronger the substance the more rapid the water flows from the faucet , overwhelming the holes – and in that moment your glass is suddenly full. But you have never known fullness before. And it proves to be just as overwhelming as being entirely empty. You exist knowing that having far too little is exhausting; and having it all is something you are not worthy of. You walk a tightrope of understanding that it is your place, to always feel out of place. You are a freshman. We allow the faucet to get out of hand from time to time, and allow ourselves to feel excess but we know no limitations for the things we have never had, and won’t be able to hold on to, and so either  we or society decides to reduce the flow, and just like that our cup begins to drain. And just like that we are back to living with the shadow of The Desire.


I feel pain that you are gone. That he is gone. That she will be too. I feel, no, I am sorrow – a state that feels constant, familiar, and somehow like a friend harboring in an enemy.  Lingering in everyday life are the reminders of those who used to walk with us. A laugh that sounds too familiar. A hairstyle that you knew well. A story you’ve just read, a movie you want to see, a moment that would have instantly turned into an inside joke; but you take it in alone.


So, on those days, when the concrete anchor is on top of our chests. When the cup is all but fully drained. When we are lost in the memories that have brought us to this place. How do we, how do I get the words out to tell you? How do I dig into the crevices I possess, and give you a flashlight? How do I share with you that The Desire lives inside of me? That while I seem like a freshman, I have been here for so long. Purgatory that is fueling The Desire.


This brown boy is trying. While I watch so many of my brown skin folk dying.


Though we have been here for centuries. America treats us as freshman. So many firsts. Because we have never been given the chance before.


This trans boy is trying While so many of my brothers and sisters are being silenced by violence. The Desire of others and theirs as well.


Though we have been here forever. We were not always in view. And now our pride, our celebration of self, it is killing us.


My black life matters.

Her trans life – which is charged with the same heartbeat as yours.

It matters.

Maybe even more.


So we push out these words even though we are tired. Even though we fight The Desire. Even though we. are. so. tired.

We have made ourselves the brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and even the mothers and the fathers

that many of us have lost along the way.


If I breathe a day longer, I am fighting.


The Desire may take you, as it has taken so many. And if it does please know that we’ll miss you. But that we understand.

While the world never let you move past being a freshman; know that you were in fact a professor.


ca 1960 --- Segregated drinking fountain in use in the American South. Undated photograph. Sign reads "For colored only." --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The Subtle Ways White People Say #AllLIVESMATTER Without Saying It At All

I talk a lot about how I wish that the white people in my life would do more. I call out white people daily. I speak of whiteness often, and I realize that I speak of it in the same way that some speak of an illness. Apparently, that makes some of the white people in my life uncomfortable; apparently I don’t care. Silence is violence. We say this as a constant reminder to our ally friends, that when they don’t speak out they are showing us that their fight doesn’t extend to action. It doesn’t leave comfortable conversations that happen behind closed doors.


I have spent years of my life listening to the “pain” of white people. I have lived a life amongst very loud white people. My family are white Jews from the Bronx and Long Island. My grandfather can grandstand for as long as you can tolerate his tone; about what being a Jew means. For years of my existence, I saw a Black person in the mirror, but I did not compute what my Black skin meant. My family history lessons were about my grandparents parents, about Bubbies and family recipes. About being called a kyke, wanting to change our last name so that it didn’t give way that we were Jews. Suffering was spoken of; but it wasn’t mine, it was theirs.


In listening to my family speak of their history for my formative years, I was numb to the violence of my own history. I adopted their pain. I adopted their past. I did so while feeling like an outcast to the other Jews I grew up with. I did not look like them, but our families looked the same; how could they know that on the playground? And to the Black kids? God I could not relate, and lord knows I didn’t know how to. I spoke like “a white girl”; and so by the default of elementary school law it was with them I hung-out with. I allowed years of letting comments like “you’re the whitest Black person I know” trickle off of me. In our youth those words were fairly harmless. We were not educated yet of how our system worked. We had not yet been filled with the words of Lorde, Als, and Baldwin.


On my grandfather’s patio last summer I sat and listened to him critique Between the World And Me. If only Black people could do as Jews had done. If only we could get it together enough to realize our worth. I sat there and realized how someone I loved, looked up to, and went to for advice was part of the problem. No, he wasn’t KKK racist, but he was #AllLivesMatter racist. The white person who reads Black works, is liberal in the voting booth, applauds that we finally have a Black president, but thinks that our system is just for all, that we all have access as long as we seek it. He is bound to the anchor of being a white man in America.
Is it dangerous for white people to raise black youth? In our classrooms, is it problematic for  white teachers to enter Black spaces and “educate” Black youth? Yes and no. And that is where I find myself. Constantly in the crosswinds of a world where those I love more than anything are the same people who I think are inherently fucked up. I can’t go home and cry about my fears of being Black without hearing about how similar that is to be scared as a Jew. My pain can not exist on its own. It has to be linked to the pain of white folks. And that is the plight of every POC in this country. Our pain can not exist on its own. And because of that #AllLives – will always matter in the U.S. Your pain can exist while mine does. 

Separately but equally.

Missing MySpace


I was on Facebook the other day, and a feeling of frustration hit me. I was bored. Bored of the site, bored from the sameness of every one of my friend’s walls, bored of the algorithms in place pushing posts I didn’t care about to the top of my feed. Bored of the “trending news” topics that when compared to Twitter, seemed to be trending on Facebook and Facebook alone. I sighed remembering the pure excitement another site used to generate. That website of course, being MySpace. If you were a teenager in the 2000’s a massive chunk of your life was spent switching back and forth from AIM to MySpace.

I remember using third party search engines on the school computers, trying to beat firewalls so that I could check my MySpace inbox. We didn’t have smartphones then, making the hours at school feel truly feel endless. At home, online, there was an entire world waiting. A world our parents lived in fear of. “Don’t meet people off the Internet” seemed to be the sentiment heard out of the mouths of anyone of our parent’s generation. My dad would have probably died, had he known how strongly I ignored his warning. I had, met, and continued many relationships with tons of kids I’d met on MySpace.

Facebook feels like checking my Gmail. It feels like something necessary. It doesn’t feel like something special. MySpace was special. There were so many portals on MySpace, endless amounts of groups, endless amounts of profiles, numerous bands, and the freedom to do whatever you wanted to your profile. You could simply never outgrow MySpace, because it grew with you; you were the driving force of your experience.

As a young lesbian, MySpace provided an LGBTQ universe that was unfathomable in my suburban world. I had gay friends all over the world, I could flirt with girls openly, and talk to older queer folks about their experiences. The 2000’s was of course the time of The L Word, and there was no greater place to talk about the show then in the numerous groups devoted to the show on MySpace. I to this day still have friends that I met in The L Word forum.

All the creativity it seems, has gone to Tumblr. Ello tried, and failed to recreate the magic that MySpace had. Facebook feels like Craigslist. It exists. It works. But it lacks any form of creativity. No matter how much you put into either, they will still exist as the very 2D structures that they are.

I used to spend hours perfecting my profile on AIM, my away messages, and my MySpace. These I felt, were all extensions of myself. Similar to the clothes I wore, my online presence was a clear indicator of self. And at a time when my style could not reflect who I truly was, MySpace saved me. Hours were spent gossiping on AIM, subtle shade was thrown on your top 8, shout outs were made to those “worthy” on away messages. You got to choose where you sat in this online cafeteria. The person I was at school, was nothing like the proud, sometimes cocky, flirtatious lesbian I was on MySpace.

I came out on MySpace years before I did in person.

Lenovo just released their teaser commercial for their upcoming June launch of their newest phones. In it, a relic of every 20 somethings past is on full display; the Internet went crazy. And of course we did, The Razr was the phone of a generation. If Lenovo is indeed releasing a 2016 worthy version of The Razr, well I must say well played. We are a generation that lives for nostalgia. We were born at the odd time where the technology of yesterday was still holding on strong, yet rapid advancements were occurring it seemed every moment. We grew up using floppy discs, CD’s, and flash drives. I had a cassette player, a Walkman, an MP3 player, and finally an iPod. We were a generation of constant and fast adaption. And maybe because of that, we were it seemed almost nostalgic from the beginning. Our online profiles, playing homage to the things we loved, the celebrities we admired, the soundtracks of the moment, the people in our lives; they were one of the only things we were in control of.

The Way That We Live

This has been a long time coming. The L Word ended in 2009, so it has in fact taken me about 1,000 rewatches to get here, I wish I was exaggerating. The L Word fucked us all up. Whether it was creating grossly inaccurate expectations for living, to grossly inaccurate portrayals of how to relationship. We all walked away from the L Word thinking that we could cheat, lie, do all the drugs, and somehow live in gorgeous duds in LA with girlfriends and best friends who would love us anyway. Which ok, everything in moderation; but The L Word was everything in extreme excess. And yes, that is what t.v is for, except so much of The L Word felt real. It wasn’t so much like watching fantasy, for a young lesbian it was watching what could be. Which is why, it fucked us all so hard. Let’s explore how, character by character, The L Word totally screwed us all.

Bette – Let us start with the matriarch. Bette was The power dyke. Educated, strong willed, cultured, independent, fiercely loyal, and wealthy. In many ways she was a total inspiration, and someone not only to look up to, but aspire to be. But lord was she a tyrannical mess.

Masculinity and Double Standards – As we see often in life and on The L Word, “masculinity” is often used as a free pass to be, for lack of a better word: a jackass. As the main breadwinner in the house for years, and the one who did not carry Angelica, Bette was written as the “man”. Take for example when Tina was caught cheating, the world ended, she was ostracized from her friend group and seen as a confused bisexual who just couldn’t seem to make up her mind about her sexuality. Bette least we all forget was a serial cheater, and was allowed to be just that. She was allowed to throw tantrums when Tina challenged her power or questioned their relationship, but allowed Tina no such space. Granted Tina was far from perfect (we’ll get to that), but if we were to assess the one who had the most strikes in their relationship, in my opinion it would be Bette. Bette’s unwillingness to meet Tina on equal levels is on par with many heteronormative relationship structures. Tina should of course not be pardoned for her cheating, but it should be noted that when Tina strayed, it was for love, while when Bette did, it was for power; she fucked her TA for gods sake. Bette was always allowed the space to excel at work, even when she was fired she ended up on top. With the series ending with the viewer knowing she had a job waiting for her in New York. Bette was always wanted, where as Tina was constantly punished for being a strong femme.

Mixed race – So I really have never understood this aspect of Bette’s character. Mainly because the only time Bette ever felt the need to state that she was mixed, was when she was up against a wall. Being POC was never a full part of Bette’s life. It was a tool she used when all other tools were too weak to help her win an argument. It also linked her to the extremely problematic mess of a character that was Kit. That these two possibly grew up knowing each other seems like the most ridiculous stretch in the history of character plot lines. Kit’s world is one of Black stereotypes; while Bette’s is of higher education and elitism.

Responsibility and Accountability –  Lol. Much like a white male of privilege, Bette never seemed to be held accountable for her actions. I am a firm believer that she killed Jenny. She saw someone who was going to challenge the perfect life she had finally been able to create. A job, a wife, and a child. There was no way she was going to allow anyone, never mind a powerful femme to destroy that. She did what she had to do, and felt no remorse for it, because this is Bette’s world, and the sooner you understand that the easier it will be for all of us.

Jenny – Is apparently the shows main character, which is funny because usually the main character of a show is the most likeable. This is a good place to say that if you are a Jenny apologizer, you will not like one word I have to say about her, and should probably bypass this character assessment cuz like I hate her. Where to begin.

Self Centered – GOD HAVE YOU EVER ENCOUNTERED SOMEONE AS SELF ABSORBED AS JENNY SCHECTER? If you have I am terribly sorry for both you and your therapist. It is safe to say that everyone in Jenny’s life was there for her entertainment. And solely for her entertainment. In essentially every relationship Jenny is in, it is for her benefit or amusement. Funny how she admits her love for Shane, when every other person in her life has finally had enough of her. Jenny needs to be needed. Max was a fun project when they first met. Maura was new, she was different, and she needed guidance, much like all of Jenny’s lovers. Jenny wanted to date those she could sculpt and mold, because honestly if your life was together why the holy fuck would you date her? Nicki was a young and naive actress, trying to figure out her sexuality and where her power in this world lay. Shane, well Shane never grew past being a puppy. And the poor vet she dated. Jesus where to even begin with that storyline – Jenny killed a dog in order to get back at the author of a bad review. She killed. A dog. And then proceeded to string someone along who was feeling vulnerable and unloved in her relationship. Which leads right into her other biggest flaw:

Narcissist – There was literally nothing Jenny would not do to come out on top. From dog murder, to stealing the film of her movie, to screwing over every single one of her “best friends” in the last season. And the thing is, the reason it is so easy for me to outright and fully hate Schecter, is that she shows absolutely no remorse for her actions. None. Her last thought before death was probably: No great artist saw success during their lives. In death, I will become infamous.

Sexual Assault – The L Word handled Jenny’s childhood and sexual abuse, in the most confusing and matter of fact way. While it never specifically victim blamed, it did allude that because of her past Jenny was now this insanely fucked up human. There was no space for conversation, because we were shown her abuse in an almost fairytale like way. Other than flashback scenes, Jenny never addresses what happened to her, and how or why it has shaped the human she is. Much like with so many other important topics, the writers dropped the ball on what could have been an eye opening discussion on what sexual abuse during childhood continues to do to adults. By presenting her abuse in such a fantastical way the viewer never got the seriousness of how powerful and life changing sexual assault is. You instead saw a manic pixie dream girl with no concrete understanding of how much her assault shaped her life.

Shane – Where to even begin. Where oh where to even begin. I personally blame Shane’s character for creating a generation of non dateable humans. The L Word, was all many of us had. No other t.v. show or movie depicted LGBTQ life the way that The L Word did. These people seemed like they could be our friends, they seemed like who we wanted to grow up to be. Shane made a generation of lesbians and trans men into walking fuckable yet detached douche bags.

Past – Shane had a rough childhood. She went through foster care, and the system, and therefore did was she had to do to survive. Shane’s teenage years are probably the most relatable to many LGBTQ youth growing up today. Kicked out of their houses for who they are, and forced to grow up much too fast. Unfortunately Shane came out of all of that a sociopath. An often funny and loveable sociopath, but a sociopath all the same. The writers also never showed how Shane was able to escape the streets. All of a sudden you see a human who is admired by all, with a job, money, and women literally dropping their panties for her.

Relationships – Da worst. God, Shane you are the worst. The actual absolute worst. Shane was always dependant on her looks to get essentially everywhere and anywhere. While fucked up, Molly is the only person who points out that Shane basically has nothing to offer. Now it is of course insanely fucked up not to note that of course Shane lacked a strong educational background due to the fact Shane grew up devoid of the privilege. This is yet another area where the writers could have done so much more. What an amazing space to start the conversation about the lack of resources and education those in foster care have to deal with. So what the viewer is left with, is that someone who grew up tough is given the allowance to be a vacant partner, who is rightfully allowed to leave when things get too tough, because poor Shane.

Style – I blame you for my teenage bangs Shane. I. Blame. You.

Alice – A character that started extremely rough around the edges, led to being one of my favorite characters on the show. While she had her flaws, she was one of the only characters that actually felt human.

Bisexuality – The writers killed sexuality on many different occasions. With many characters, on the show that strayed from being lesbians their other “tastes” where either made fun of, villainized, or treated as phases. Alice was probably the most experimental of all cast members and stuck by her choices, even mistakes, strongly. Her because flaw came from the transphobia she directed towards Max. She speaks out against him being a part of Our Chart, only to then shoot a podcast with him apologizing. The problem is, the way this scene is shot makes the entire thing seem more like comedy than a genuine apology. For those who don’t remember, Alice invites Max to a sit down at The Planet, which she has Shane videotape. While a very serious dialogue is going on between her and Max, a very horny Shane uses the time behind camera to zoom in on various women at The Planet. What the viewer than see’s is a butch lesbian obsessing over female bodies, while a bisexual and a trans man discuss how they fit or don’t fit into lesbian spaces. Their voices are in the distance, why Shane’s antics are front and center, ruining what could have been a groundbreaking conversation.

Carmen – It’s funny, while Carmen will always stand out in my mind, she really wasn’t around for that long, and her character really was not super developed. Yes she was Shane’s partner, and yes for a hot second she was fucking Jenny. But we never really got a taste of who Carmen was. She was a piece of many pieces Shane would devour and dispose of.

Latina – The two (and maybe only) Latin American women on The L Word were stereotypes. Carmen was a beautiful, sassy, and domestic woman. Papi was a working class player. Neither was given much substance, while both were highly sexual, and essentially nothing more than bodies. Interestingly enough, while Papis stay on the show was shorter, I feel like we were given a bigger window into her character. She was introduced as a player, but after meeting Kit saw the possibility of partnership. Carmen always just felt like Shane’s hot girlfriend.

Femme – What the writers lacked in giving Carmen a true personality, they made up for by making her bat shit crazy. Shane is a monumental asshole of a cheating douche bag. Dating her would make you crazy. We got to see Carmen freak out at the thought that the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, was actually just loving her until she found someone better. Shane’s actions and Shane’s cheating were never really shown in the correct light. That light being, when you constantly fuck someone over, they usually get sick of you. Instead Carmen chose to go down the path of marriage. Everyone woman that entered Shane’s life set out to “change” her, and after Shane fucked up time and time again, the writers wrote these women to be CRAZY FEMMES. Shane always was presented in a fairly calm manner. Artistic even. While these women suffered at the hands of heteronormative limiting stereotypes.

Tina – Tina kind of makes me think of watching paint dry. She was second fiddle to Bette, and therefore had to be written as the whiny wife. She seemed to always just be waiting around for Bette to get her shit together. She was less patient than the women who entered Shane’s life. Bette was given ultimatums, and made to suffer numerous times.

Kit – Ugh. Why write a Black character if you aren’t willing to WRITE a Black character. Very similar to Max, Kit’s character failed miserably. She remained likeable throughout the entire series, and funny enough was one of the only characters to take Max’s transition seriously and with compassion.

Race – Dynamite! Oh Kit must be entering a scene. If there was 1970’s slang being heard, there most be a Black woman entering the pristinely white world of The L Word, I am not sure on what planet we were supposed to imagine Bette and Kit being sisters, but ok sure. Bette somehow got all of the benefits of being a white passing woman, while Kit struggled with: alcoholism, sexuality, cheating, abortion, menopause, a homophobic son, people constantly trying to ruin her business, falling in love with a drag queen, god what am I missing? While kudos I guess, to the writers for making her a successful businesswoman, all of the snarls for making her seem like an extra from What’s Happening. What’s interesting is Illene Chaiken The L Word’s creator, wrote The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and now writes Empire. She constantly writes Black roles, and for anyone that has watched Empire, writes them really fucking well. How unfortunate that Kit was not given the same treatment.

Max – Max was the FIRST trans person I had ever seen on television. And for years, the only. Too bad The L Word completely and utterly destroyed him. I could probably write an entire novel on how badly Max’s character was written, because honestly there were just so many cringe worthy moments.

Gender and Sexuality – There was never any time taken to talk about the differences between gender and sexuality, which becomes extremely dangerous when you have a trans character who first appears as a lesbian and then starts taking T and becomes attracted to men. And then becomes pregnant?!? It is 100% true that some trans men chose to carry babies, but without any form of background Max’s character becomes a circus act. For most of Max’s early screen time we have to hear Jenny bitch about how hard it is for her to be with someone who is transitioning. Which yes, of course, any huge life change that your partner goes through is going to affect you, but this is Jenny, so all attention and compassion is lost for Max. The viewer is forced to feel bad for her. Which honestly is harder than chewing on a bottle of broken glass under the boat slip in P-Town. While pregnant Max is presented as what I can literally only describe as an angry caveman. The viewer is not drawn to feeling sympathy for him, but instead is looking at a disheveled, angry, and whiny gay man. His relationship with Tom is violent and abusive. Again, as it did many times beforehand The L Word presents men in an unsatisfactory light. Please for a second sit back and tell me if you can name one man in the shows history who is shown in a celebratory manner. I’ll wait.

Work – The writers did address how at risk trans people are, to being fired at their bosses free will. This is probably the only good thing we are shown when it comes to Max. He deals with his boss and douchebag coworkers to his best ability, and leaves admirably. Unfortunately his life then begins to spin out of control.

*You will note that I left out a few characters:

Helena – While I loved Helena, her character is pretty much filler. She’s great and sexy, and has a completely un-relatable life. She is perfect for entertainment value. I like to think that she got rid of Dylan real quick and is back on an island with Dusty.

Ivan – Ivan clearly was on his way to transitioning, but the writers clearly were not ready to write for him. I like to think that he showed up at The Planet one day and whisked Kit away.

Jody – Probably the only person who gave Bette a run for her money. She also showed that someone with a disability was just as capable, fucked up, and brilliant as anyone else.

Dana and Tasha – Are both perfect humans and should only be referred to as such.

The L Word, shaped an entire generation of LGBTQ humans. For better or for worse it has become an intrinsic part of many of us. While flawed in many ways, it does live on as a groundbreaking show that can still be watched with the same esteem and emotion as when it first aired. That emotion mainly being:

Fuck Jenny.


What We’re Made Of

Scrolling through my Facebook feed this Sunday I saw that many friends had posted the same article, the discussions occurring on each persons post could not have been more different. Responses were either overwhelmingly in support of the article or vehemently against it. “What Makes a Woman” I read, hm I thought. Sounds like this could be an interesting read. Seeing as the New York Times has been spotlighting transgender stories in a tremendously good light recently, I was excited to sink my teeth into what I thought would be a piece written in the same vein and supportive spirit.


I was wrong.

From the consistent use of Caitlyn Jenner’s dead name to the use of TERF rhetoric, I was shocked that the Times felt this piece of gender policing and transphobia, was enlightened enough to take up the front page of the Sunday Style’s section. I’ve highlighted the parts of this disastrous piece that personally struck me the hardest. But in all honestly I could have just copy and pasted the entire article.

“Their truth is not my truth. Their female identities are not my female identity. They haven’t traveled through the world as women and been shaped by all that this entails. They haven’t suffered through business meetings with men talking to their breasts or woken up after sex terrified they’d forgotten to take their birth control pills the day before. They haven’t had to cope with the onset of their periods in the middle of a crowded subway, the humiliation of discovering that their male work partners’ checks were far larger than theirs, or the fear of being too weak to ward off rapists.”

Transgender women are women. They are not almost and they are not half. If a trans woman is asking you to use female pronouns that is who she is: A female. Cis women do not have it easy in this world. There I said it, and as a staunch feminist I believe it to the core of my bones. But do you know who has it worse? Transgender individuals. I am sorry for every woman who has ever experienced work place harassment, there is no place for it and it is unacceptable. Many trans women won’t experience work place harassment, because many transwomen will never be employed. Transgender folks suffer from unemployment rates that are double that of the rest of society. The National Transgender Discrimination survey found that on top of that, “Ninety-seven percent (97%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job.” And: “Forty-seven percent (47%) had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion.” As far as the job market goes trans people are met with absolutely overwhelming discrimination.

Periods suck. We can all agree there. You know who they really suck for? Trans men. Getting your period unexpected leg is the absolute worse. Getting it unexpectedly while in men’s clothing is dangerous, for you’ve just been outed.

Rape. Rape is horrible, horrifying, life altering, and scarring. Rape is not something that only happens to cis women, and making a statement that alludes to that is erasure to those survivors who are not cis women. The National Center for Lesbian Rights states that 64% of transgender people have experienced sexual assault, where as 1 in 8 cis gendered women have.

“Let me get this right: The word “vagina” is exclusionary and offers an extremely narrow perspective on womanhood, so the 3.5 billion of us who have vaginas, along with the trans people who want them, should describe ours with the politically correct terminology trans activists are pushing on us: “front hole” or “internal genitalia”?”

For trans men and those whose gender doesn’t fit into a nice compact box, genitalia is an extremely sensitive issue. While I was born with a vagina as I grew up and started to realize that my gender was different than that of the gender I had been assigned, I began to feel a distance from what I now simply call my bits. If you are personally proud to call your pee hole a vagina, by all means go for it. No trans or non binary person is demanding that cis individuals change their personal vocabulary. We are instead asking for changes to be made in spaces where we are directly affected.

“Women’s colleges are contorting themselves into knots to accommodate female students who consider themselves men, but usually not men who are living as women. Now these institutions, whose core mission is to cultivate female leaders, have student government and dormitory presidents who identify as males.”


Because of how our society treats both gender and sexuality, many of us don’t have any space to discuss or explore those parts of our makeup until we are far away from our parents. College provides a space in which for the first time young adults are not only on their own but also being taught classes on subjects they never even knew existed. Many young women enter college straight and emerge LGBQ, with the same thought process should they be forced to stay the same? You enter college under the pretense and hope, to stay the same? When has that ever been the mindset attached to higher education?

Women’s colleges are ripe with budding feminists, feminists who (if they are the right kind) will be trans allies for life. In this welcoming environment, trans men feel safe in coming out. There experience in life until this point has been one lived in a female body. The safety and understanding that trans men are met with at women’s colleges is quite unique. If more schools offered the feminist mindset along with a trans friendly campus that had safety codes in place to protect trans students maybe trans individuals would feel comfortable applying elsewhere. Until that becomes a reality trans folks, much like everyone else, will go where we will be accepted.

“Women like me are not lost in false paradoxes; we were smashing binary views of male and female well before most Americans had ever heard the word “transgender” or used the word “binary” as an adjective. Because we did, and continue to do so, thousands of women once confined to jobs as secretaries, beauticians or flight attendants now work as welders, mechanics and pilots. It’s why our daughters play with trains and trucks as well as dolls, and why most of us feel free to wear skirts and heels on Tuesday and bluejeans on Friday.”

First of all, just because Americans hadn’t heard of transgender people, it by no means that trans folks didn’t exist. The media just didn’t deem us worthy to talk about. What I don’t think cis people grasp is that a trans man, even one who is presenting as a female is STILL a trans man. Catlyin Jenner was always a trans woman. Even in a tuxedo at one of her weddings the person underneath those clothes, they were transgender.

Secondly, trans women are not here to invalidate the progress the trailblazers of women’s rights have made. They are simply asking to not be left out. Transgender women do not pose a threat to, nor does their existence diminish, cis women or the feminist movement.

“If that’s the ultimate message of the mainstream of the trans community, we’ll happily, lovingly welcome them to the fight to create space for everyone to express him-, her- or, in gender neutral parlance, hir-self without being coerced by gendered expectations. But undermining women’s identities, and silencing, erasing or renaming our experiences, aren’t necessary to that struggle.”

I had no idea that there was a keeper to the keys of feminism, and in order to gain admission you had to be cleared. Feminists should “lovingly welcome” all transgender humans because of the simple fact that WE ARE HUMANS. Humans that are more likely than our cis peers to declare that we are feminists and speak out against misogyny and the patriarchy. Why? Because we have to continually explain ourselves. Because we have live a life in fear. Because we can still be fired for being out at work. Because we have a hire chance of committing suicide. Because we have spent our entire lives focusing on gender to a point that it at times it was all overwhelming, to a point where it was daunting and terrifying. Imagine coming to the realization that you were not he you were she. That you were not she but he. Imagine the fear of looking in the mirror and seeing an image that was entirely wrong. Women can uphold and cling to their identifies as much as they’d like, as should trans people.

“Bruce Jenner told Ms. Sawyer that what he looked forward to most in his transition was the chance to wear nail polish, not for a furtive, fugitive instant, but until it chips off. I want that for Bruce, now Caitlyn, too. But I also want her to remember: Nail polish does not a woman make.”

Makeup is marketed at women. Little girls sit and watch their mothers get ready, the sit and watch their favorite celebrities dolled up in music videos and on red carpets. At some point their curiosity reaches the point where they want to imitate what they’ve grown up seeing. And because they are little girls, and because society tells us that women are to wear makeup, that child is given the opportunity to play dress up. A transgender little girl, dressed in boys clothes, expected to have male heroes, and exude some form of masculinity does not have that same chance. She is he to the world, and unless that child has forward thinking liberally minded parents she will stay confined to being a he. Caitlyn never got to wear nail polish as a child. She never got to wear her mothers heels, or try different styles with her hair. She was confined to the body she was born into. And confined to the gender roles that go alongside it. Anyone who knows what it feels like to go without, can understand what it feels like to be her. To be Caitlyn and every other trans person.

You don’t get to decide who calls themselves a man or a woman. You don’t get to decide how that person presents or how that person lives their life. You wouldn’t want anyone doing that for you, why should transgender people be any different?