#MeToo is about to have its own section in the news portion of my website. The occurencesare far too often, and the relevance this has on myself and readers is far too great to more or less relegate it to a US & Global category. Stay tuned to see how that turns out, also there may be personal stories or graphic content: Trigger Warning.


300: The Raw List of Literature for Us to Read in 2018

This is it. The uncut, unabridged, uncensored, list of 300 books that I’d LOVE to read in 2018, but likely will only read two of. With any luck, maybe six.

Ordered by highest average Goodreads rating first:

  1. The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama
  2. Dictatorship of Capital: Politics and Culture in the 21st Century
  3. The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change
  4. The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables
  5. The Transgender Issue
  6. trans/formation: A life on both sides of the gender divide
  7. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
  8. Democratizing Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon
  9. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community
  10. Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures
  11. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom
  12. Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement
  13. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  14. Digital Sociologies
  15. Structures of Judicial Decision Making from Legal Formalism to Critical Theory
  16. Covering Government: A Civics Handbook for Journalists
  17. Emotive Language in Argumentation
  18. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  19. The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics
  20. Fame and Obscurity
  21. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race
  22. Musashi
  23. The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song from Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed
  24. If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance
  25. Pantheism
  26. Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law
  27. Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing
  28. The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World
  29. Sociolinguistic Typology: Social Determinants of Linguistic Complexity
  30. Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It
  31. Harry Potter: A History of Magic
  32. Revolutionary Suicide
  33. Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
  34. Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times
  35. Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
  36. Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living
  37. No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
  38. Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs
  39. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
  40. Stick It Up Your Punter!: The Uncut Story of the Sun Newspaper
  41. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom
  42. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
  43. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  44. Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black
  45. We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama
  46. Food Movements Unite!: Strategies to Transform Our Food System
  47. Postposttransexual: Key Concepts for a 21st Century Transgender Studies
  48. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character
  49. An Indigenous People’s History of the United States
  50. Matilda
  51. Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy
  52. The Transgender Studies Reader
  53. Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?
  54. Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces
  55. With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
  56. Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say
  57. What Do You Care What Other People Think?
  58. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
  59. Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism
  60. Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam
  61. And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice
  62. Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries
  63. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me
  64. Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement
  65. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
  66. Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals
  67. Transgender Rights
  68. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life
  69. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
  70. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
  71. Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe
  72. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
  73. Sex and Social Justice
  74. Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution
  75. The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind
  76. Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity
  77. The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class
  78. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
  79. Cat’s Cradle
  80. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
  81. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  82. Crow After Roe: How “Separate But Equal” Has Become the New Standard in Women’s Health and How We Can Change That
  83. Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945-1990
  84. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose
  85. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
  86. Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape
  87. Associated Press Guide to News Writing: The Resource for Professional Journalists
  88. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise and Other Bribes
  89. No Exit
  90. The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard
  91. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society
  92. Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar
  93. The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
  94. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
  95. A Primer of Libertarian Education
  96. Sappho Is Burning
  97. The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier
  98. The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane
  99. Confronting Authority:Reflections of an Ardent Protestor
  100. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
  101. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  102. Nevada
  103. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
  104. The Language of News Media
  105. The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week
  106. The New Journalism
  107. The Fall
  108. In Cold Blood
  109. Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction
  110. The New New Journalism: Conversations with the Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft
  111. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
  112. Transgender History
  113. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language
  114. Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs
  115. Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary
  116. America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction
  117. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others
  118. The Lives of Transgender People
  119. Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come
  120. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice
  121. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
  122. Fear and Trembling
  123. Gender Diversity, Recognition and Citizenship: Towards a Politics of Difference
  124. The Universal Journalist
  125. Working as a Journalist
  126. The Reuters Handbook for Journalists
  127. Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion
  128. Writing for Broadcast Journalists
  129. The Heart of Meditation: Discovering Innermost Awareness
  130. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
  131. Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire
  132. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
  133. Influencer: The Power to Change Anything
  134. Boys Like Her: Transfictions
  135. How to Think about Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age
  136. Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline
  137. One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
  138. Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies that Will Improve and/or Ruin Everything
  139. Mcnae’s Essential Law for Journalists
  140. The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
  141. The Jargon of Authenticity
  142. Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System
  143. The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism
  144. The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule
  145. The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies – and What They Have Done to Us
  146. Social Mindscapes: An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology
  147. Chicken Soup for the Soul
  148. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
  149. The Politics of Aesthetics
  150. Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System
  151. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
  152. The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts
  153. Media and Cultural Studies: Key Works
  154. Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
  155. A Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations
  156. Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive
  157. Men Explain Things to Me
  158. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
  159. She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders
  160. Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work
  161. Nausea
  162. What Every Person Should Know About War
  163. The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait
  164. Transgender Explained for Those Who Are Not
  165. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies and Subcultural Lives
  166. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism
  167. Look at You Now: My Journey from Shame to Strength
  168. Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language
  169. The History of the Book in 100 Books: The Complete Story from Egypt to EBook
  170. Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times
  171. Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity
  172. Why not Me?
  173. Practical Strategies for Technical Communication
  174. The Grid: Electrical Infrastructure for the New Era
  175. Wall and Piece
  176. Global Climate Change and U.S. Law
  177. The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin
  178. Managing the Mental Game: How to Think More Effectively, Navigate Uncertainty, and Build Mental Fortitude
  179. No War
  180. One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy
  181. In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement against Sexual Violence
  182. The Story of English in 100 Words
  183. The Fine Line
  184. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
  185. Girl with a Pearl Earring
  186. Scoop
  187. Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of  a Category
  188. Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality
  189. Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
  190. What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
  191. The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit
  192. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
  193. Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation
  194. Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember
  195. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
  196. With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India
  197. The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story
  198. Picasso: Creator and Destroyer
  199. Feminism and Linguistic Theory
  200. Power and Politeness in the Workplace: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Talk at Work
  201. Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved
  202. The Gang That Wouldn’t Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution
  203. Here Comes Everybody; The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
  204. Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United
  205. Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army
  206. Adultolescence
  207. The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again
  208. Everything I Never Told You
  209. The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities
  210. Journalists Under Fire: The Psychological Hazards of Covering War
  211. Post-Democracy: A Sociological Introduction
  212. The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America
  213. Writing About Art
  214. Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy
  215. Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter
  216. Transgender Nation
  217. Food Rebellions!: Forging Food Sovereignty to Solve the Global Food Crisis
  218. How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter
  219. MAsters of the Universe: NATO’s Balkan Crusade
  220. 24 Hours in Journalism
  221. The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations & Books
  222. The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights
  223. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
  224. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive
  225. Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation
  226. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
  227. Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders
  228. State of War:  The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
  229. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
  230. Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations
  231. Mindwatching: Why We Behave the Way We Do
  232. 100 Deadly Skills: The Seal Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation
  233. Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World
  234. Wishful Drinking
  235. Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult, and Imitation in American Popular Culture
  236. Trans-Sister Radio
  237. How to Be a Woman
  238. When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World  and the Birth of a New Global Order
  239. The Jungle
  240. The Man Who Quit Money
  241. As I Lay Dying
  242. Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism
  243. I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted
  244. It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree
  245. The Alchemy of Finance
  246. The Satanic Verses
  247. I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
  248. Neither Man Nor Woman: The Hijras of India
  249. Holding Still for as Long as Possible
  250. Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath
  251. Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was
  252. Audition: A Memoir
  253. Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
  254. Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload
  255. Finnegans Wake
  256. The Activists’ Handbook: A step-by-step guide to participatory democracy
  257. Texts from Jane Eyre: and Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
  258. War Reporting for Cowards
  259. But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present as if It Were the Past
  260. Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary
  261. The Worrier’s Guide to Life
  262. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
  263. Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream
  264. Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion
  265. Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism
  266. Law Made Fun through Harry Potter’s Adventures: 99 Lessons in Law from the Wizarding World for Fans of All Ages
  267. Conglomerates and the Media
  268. Creative Community Organizing: A Guide for Rabble-Rousers, Activists, and Quiet Lovers of Justice
  269. Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America
  270. What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death
  271. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
  272. The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism
  273. Democratic Legitimacy: Impartiality, Reflexivity, Proximity
  274. Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy Seal’s Journey to Coming Out Transgender
  275. The Art of Always Being Right
  276. The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom
  277. Fifty Key Contemporary Thinkers: From Structuralism to Postmodernity
  278. Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities
  279. Supermedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save the World
  280. Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times
  281. Myra Breckinridge
  282. The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream
  283. The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered
  284. The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
  285. Wonders Beyond Numbers: A Brief History of All Things Mathematical
  286. Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life
  287. An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture
  288. Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America
  289. Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language
  290. Covering the Courts: A Handbook for Journalists
  291. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
  292. Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
  293. How to Win at Feminism: The Definitive Guide to Having It All – And Then Some!
  294. Journalism and Memorialization in the Age of Social Media
  295. The You in Journalism: A Handbook for Journalists
  296. The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male
  297. The Transformation of the American Pension System: Was It Beneficial for Workers?
  298. Working with Numbers and Statistics: A Handbook for Journalists
  299. A Reference Guide to Journalism: Areas, Genres, Social Impact, News Media, Roles, and more
  300. Covering Politics: A Handbook for Journalists

My History with Dr. King and 7 Other Facts

I remember, in the sixth grade, and it was a tradition of many teachers at the time, being shown the film “Our Friend, Martin,” a cartoonized telling of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. I preferred books actually. The first time I saw it, I — barely — managed to stay awake throughout the whole film, but even now, I ask myself: was this the education of Dr. King that he deserved, or just another kick-in for those interested in cartoons?

You decide for yourself how you feel about it.

By now, even if you’re not an American, you must’ve heard Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” at least once. If you haven’t heard the historic speech, it’s always on YouTube, courtesy of History channel:

In college, Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail was one of the first reads in my Intro to Philosophy class. It was selected for the power of his message and the form of his argument. The questions he raised in his lifetime, are — sadly — still contested today.

He died too soon, at the age of 39, when he was murdered for his beliefs.

While reparations is still something to be discussed, as Ta-Nehisi Coates does here,

Dr. King, is recorded as only touching upon the subject of reparations,

but more deeply advocating for justice, in total, for economic inequality.

An article like this, I would rarely do, unless more directly important to me, for anyone else. Growing up and hearing his words, reading his words, and reflecting on life as it was, even for a white-passing trans girl, meant more to me than almost anyone else. Dr. King deserves this article from me and this piece of my heart like no one else, because he gave me hope and gave me guidance, and inspiration too, he gave me inspiration.

When I won that award, I had wanted so badly to speak with the power that he had. To be able to speak for others, in place of others, in defense of others, and be on the frontlines of necessary change, with words as my only weapon. With ideas as my only shield. With nonviolence as the goal.

Dr. King really changed my life with his words. Yet, without a figure like him in my life to guide me, with only words to follow, without a hand to hold, not even a God to hold faith in, I was lost. Finding myself through this writing, not poetry as much, but in the longer form of an essay, I began searching where I wanted to go and what I wanted to make, and what the world needed of me, and humorously, I was just a young girl.

When he was running against Clinton in 2012, I had voted for Barack Obama, my first Presidential vote ever. Not for the shallow reason of a black President, but because when he spoke, his form of speech was beautiful. Spoken word poetry would make me feel the same. Dr. King had first made me feel that way.


Conclusion: my favorite little-known King facts, courtesy of History

  1. Martin’s birth-name was Michael. So, like me, he also preferred a chosen name.
  2. “King entered college at the age of 15.” Wow!
  3. There was another speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Before “I Have a Dream,” King had given the speech: “Give Us the Ballot!”
  4. According to the King Center, he went to jail 29 times. Nearly 30 times!
  5. In 1958, Dr. King survived an assassination attempt. The weapon just barely missed his aorta, and he narrowly survived.
  6. “King’s mother was also slain by a bullet.” It was 1974 and feet from where her son had previously preached nonviolence in Ebenezer Baptist Church.
  7. “George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor King. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday.”

Happy Birthday Dr. King.

About Me, #3: Transgender, 4 Pros, Cons

“For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others — and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” — Matthew 19:12, New International Version

A young girl watches America’s Next Top Model Season Eleven (the one with Isis King no less!) on TV after school. A forlorn expression watches, enviously, bodies on a screen, as hers mimicks them on the runway. Putting one foot directly in front of the other and moving her barely teenage hips, she catches a slight snag, a pinch, and a pain — she adjusts her scrotum.

Growing up trans is the most confusing thing in the world. Don’t argue with me about this, because there’s no way that there could be anything more confusing than feeling like someone else, trying to be a second someone else, and ending up being a completely third someone else, while in the end, not at all being oneself. Just trying to explain this leaves me feeling dizzy.

It’s amazing having grown up and gone through all of that confusion, all of that subsequent anger, and holding so much resentment for so much, for so many people, and for so many years, and then finally, to turn on the TV one day and behold! There’s not only a famous Olympian on television openly transgender, but apparently kids too. Some of these children had the access to speak about how they felt and were supported in beginning their transitions at a young age — how absolutely marvelous!

I’m sure not many people experience having relationships with their family like these lucky kiddos. Personally, there’s a lot of people that I’ve lost contact with immediately following coming out to them as transgender. I often wonder what my life would have been like if my family had asked me about my gender at a young age and helped me in this way. Would I still be a journalist? Would I still have the same interests? Would I still be as strong as I think that I am?

The Elephant asks a lot of questions like this. Are you sure? What if? What if? What if?


It’s so strange. It’s so shamed. It’s incredibly scary.

Coming out, being authentic and being brave, in this unique way is a winsome, losesome (link has before-after pics!). Here, I would like to get out everything that I can on the topic of being transgender, the good and the bad. Once this introduction series is complete, I want to dive into trans topics and issues, and preferably be done with the intro portion of this blog.

The following section is a pro and con, reversed. It’s based solely on my own experience as a white-passing trans woman. Don’t worry though there’s plenty of outspoken trans and nonbinary people out in the blogosphere, so find them (Laverne Cox is my fave!), and read their stories because their narratives will be much different than mine, believe me.


Saving the Best for Last: the Cons

  • Pronouns being disrespected.

    • There’s always those a******* that don’t care how pretty you look, or how you prefer to be referred to. You’ll step out of the house, the voice on fleek, and the look right off the runway (heels and all), and they’ll still say: “Sir.” or “He/Him.
  • Medically transitioning is tricky

    • It’s completely up to each individual what their transition requires, but a lot of places require some sort of medical transition in order to legally transition. So whether you’re going on hormones to make up for what your body needs or you’re doing top or bottom surgery is completely up to you. There’s a lot of information out there, but not a whole lot of help in making sense of it all, nor is there an easy way to know if any of it is right for you, and even then the cost-versus-insurance-coverage-reality isn’t too pretty either.
  • Legally transitioning is trickier

    • I guess I can understand why changing one’s birth certificate, social security card, and identifications have to be made ridiculously difficult. I mean, all these shady people stealing money or hiding from debt collectors, and Austin Powers, James Bond, and Archer are running around causing mischief as international spies… Honey, I only want to be called Brienna by the police when they pull me over because they think I don’t have a seatbelt on, and not get a side-eye from the more-than-occasional bartender or librarian.
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  • Dating seems impossible

    • At least dating like any “normal” (aka cisgender) girl seems impossible. Not only does it feel incredibly unsafe to broadcast being trans to strangers (oh hello!) on a dating app, but even coming clean about being trans on the first date or within the first ten messages, doesn’t always bear the most beautiful fruit. I know that I for one am ruling out straight men.
      trans dating

The Best: the Pros

  • Sometimes you’ll feel like a goddess

    • It happened after I had read Leslie Feinberg’s  work, diving into third genders in other cultures. In the past trans women have been the guardians of culture, of gods, of kings, and of secrets and teachings. That history in addition to my own and the knowledge of all that I’ve overcome makes for a lot to be proud of. Sometimes, just knowing that you’re strong enough to carry on against all odds, makes you feel superhumanly powerful.
  • It’s a huge weight off of your shoulders

    • What was once an insuperable secret is now your personal achievement. You once gasped and groaned at the thought of telling anyone at all. Now, you might be a little proud, or at least, accustomed to coming out now, so it’s no biggie!
  • All the a******* make themselves known

    • They’ll be easier to avoid! Even before you’re out of the closet young trans-awan, you’ve surely come across these bigots. They don’t even need to open their mouths sometimes! Sometimes their face says it all.
  • Nothing feels better than the truth

    • Unless you’re on the receiving end of some bad news truth, the truth is always good. Hearing it and sharing it feels amazing! Being authentic, being true to yourself, living and standing in your truth, feels amazing, and you have to remember that in the end; that’s all that matters. You were honest. They were jerks. You were real. All those friends that stopped talking to you were fake.

As of this moment, no one has stopped and harassed me in a bathroom or locker room yet. However, once that happens, because I feel, statistically speaking, it will, I will post that into the “Cons” section in a follow-up piece. Until then:


There may be more to this in the future as topics arise and memories are spurred to the forefront of my mind. For the time being though, this is it. So thanks for reading; comments are off, message me!

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About Me, #2, On Depression

Please read my cover page, About Me #1.

This is a follow-up piece to Winsome, Losesome, as well as a response to this week’s  Weekly Photo Challenge, Growth.

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Edge Lettering

Depression and I have a sordid history together. In my view, it’s the other side of the coin, whose counter-face is grandiosity. This post, I hope is the nail in the coffin for my posts about depression, because all coins have a third side, and here that side is: mindfulness.

Be mindful please that while my struggle with depression over the years has defined my like a chisel defined David, it doesn’t define my life, and I certainly would hate for it to define my blog. I created this to further express and realize the world as I see it. These eyes have been mindful of much, pain, pleasure, and a part of everything, and now I wish to make these eyes useful, putting input to words and words to fingers to keyboard to screen, for mindfulness’s sake.

When It Started, Can’t Say How

No different than my first inklings regarding my gender — another topic I would like to cover; elsewhere, more broadly — depression has been a learning experience. Mindfulness early on in life, I’m sure most children under ten would agree, is not something, even in description, that is recognizable. Or perhaps there is something to say about that in terms of how one is raised, either way, I was not one of those prodigal trans children, nor was I able to identify my depression as a child.

This is very much a story of Growth in regards to my depression. Mitigating its sway over me, to what seems, now, to be its complete disempowerment over me. I was not always able to simply sleep it off, walk it off, and relievingly, seemingly shrug it off.

The Outsiders

Perhaps now it may be the Runaways — another show that I’d love to discuss in another article — that gets at the doubtful struggle, but when I was in elementary school we read and watched the film version of The Outsiders. The 50s greaser gang of kids, in which gang violence, drugs, and staying strong, were all themes. Perhaps, not my first choice for kids, seeing as one of the Outsiders is killed, suicide-by-cop.

There were books like these, and others that I started reading, that helped me start to understand that part of me. That monster that hid beneath my bed, waiting for me to attempt to sleep before making my eyes water, heart pound, and mind race. We would go on like this in bed for many more years to come, and currently, I can say, it’s down to merely a dance between the two of us, more than only a fling such as seasonal depression.

In order to get an idea of what I’ve come out of, grown passed, consider this: walking didn’t help when I was younger, while now it does a great deal. There were numerous sleepless nights, I would stay up all night, write, watch Adult Swim, and inevitably go for a walk, all to keep this monster at bay. This Babadook.

babashook_Kayla Wasil

Mindfulness, in fledgling stages, only made it agony to consider my depression, like there was something wrong with me. Later, I would find that I certainly wasn’t alone, as I had felt, but in fact in great company. To that latter point, RIP Robin Williams.

Enter Gem

It was either early middle school, junior high or immediately preceding, I can’t remember… I hadn’t met anyone like me yet — I still felt terribly alone. There was one person that I was almost ready to talk to about it, to bounce my feelings off of. We were more than close, at the time we would have considered the term “lovers.” We talked every night, we’ll call this person Gem, and Gem and I were very intimate in a way that was new, exciting, and in its complex way, strange.

We had a mildly sexual relationship for tweens, and we took —or at least I took — a great seriousness in our relationship, speaking every night on the phone, going on dates, and talking about every aspect of our lives. Almost every aspect of our lives. It was as if the Babadook also rode an Elephant and both could maintain invisibility while they took up all of the standing room and followed every car ride.

That Babadook was the only character here that Gem and I were able to take shots at. They, Gem, had also been familiar with the Babadook. It would appear that he wasn’t invisible at all, but had scared silence into the both of us. Gem too was visited by the Babadook most nights, even at their Catholic school, he would show up, riding a very different mount for their personal struggle. It was something we had finally begun to discuss, both in person and at length in our nightly phone calls. A length that grew upon my mother, who had a growing phone bill and a tenant that she couldn’t charge.

This length became the wedge that distance couldn’t be. We could manage the distance, but my mother couldn’t manage the length. The Babadook had me all to himself. In a fit of rage, despair, and a bit of confusion tween me stormed out, worried and wondering woman following close behind.

There’s a bridge that connects New York and Pennsylvania over the Delaware River. I marched myself right up to the edge, standing on the railings in the summertime, I had thought of myself in finality. Tightly around my elbow, my mother’s claws sunk in, clinging to me by her nails, gripping tightly to a life that she wouldn’t understand for nearly a decade, and perhaps still not. Tears and fierce discussion about the Babadook ensued while canoe-goers floating down river shouted: “JUMP!” 

I take a photo of the same spot, constantly. A reminder of the life I have, and a time when I was most fragile, and chose life. Every time I cross that bridge, I still hear the voices yelling: “Jump!”



That was only the beginning of suicidal ideation. Later there would be moments of self-harm too, but never more than a small slice. I didn’t like the attention of “crying for help,” I had only wanted to end it and make it snappy.

Second Bout

The following time was in my freshman year of high school. At this point, I had already met someone more like me, and now I had a name for that Elephant: Tranny. Why the name? We’ll discuss that somewhere else in time and space, but Babadook rode that Elephant, and that’s why it’s important to note here.

Here’s where the photo of the week comes in. Since I came to realize for myself where my feelings were guiding me, ever lonely, I felt more out-of-place than ever. Perhaps like a tropical fruit in a snowy tundra.


There was a girl, who looked very similar to me, and being an intelligent and creative girl, inspired me. Being a nasty thing, intrigued me. As a friend, a sister, maybe even more, fulfilled in me for that first sisterhood.

Until I transgressed her, S (we’ll call her here) was more than a confidant and good friend that I’ve known since the third grade. She was my mirror in more ways than how she kept me in check. After I knew who the Elephant was, there was no one else that I wanted to be.

Jay was the person I was seeing at the time. A friend of S, we were all close in a way that may have been uncomfortable. We truly enjoy each other’s company though, Jay and I, and we liked to push boundaries together. That’s when we made a mistake that cost our relationship, our dignities, and possibly both of our friendships with S as they once were.

S called me that evening. We were no longer going to be friends because what I had done. It had hurt her more than I would have ever anticipated. So with compunction and shame, I lost myself. Hours later I would be in my room, blasting everything from Coheed & Cambria, Hawthorne Heights, Evanescence, and System of a Down, I take a Cookies & Cream Hershey’s bar and with every piece I broke off, with every tear that fell, I took a handful of medication. When the bar had finished and the bottle had not I killed what remained. I remember laying down and making a last request, final words that I expected only God and myself to hear, in addition to the Babadook and Elephant, both looking on in surprising horror, and I went to sleep.

To my dismay, I awoke in terrific pain. My insides were wrenching. I could feel what must have been my liver failing. It wasn’t the death I expected and certainly wasn’t the one that my mother would accept. When she saw me writhing in pain, on the floor near a toilet where I was upheaving blood, water, and what little was in addition to the chocolate bar, she took me to the hospital.

Screaming in pain and placed on a gurney, most of the initial memories are blocked by my own agonized cries. The hospital brought the truth out in the end, while not all of it. I had attempted suicide and was almost successful by murdering my liver, causing many other issues in my body. The Babadook and I, with a mysterious and concerning family history, had to be placed in a facility where I would stay for at least a week for diagnosis and the start of treatment which within the year would be terminated.

Rye  Treatment Center was the institution where I found that my pain could really turn into something real. Pushing it out in studies. In art. In writing. In chess and beating people in games. Being an introspective depressed and hormonal teen, I found that there were insights there that could be rendered outwards, and appreciated by others once in a while. Also, support from the most surprising of places — I still have that letter from my English teacher, Ms. May, somewhere. Self-harm ended and suicidal ideation while ever-present was controlled, and the Babadook was weakened only slightly, I carried on strong for a few years, losing control over my emotions in self-defense and lashing out at friends, family, and loved ones every so often, tormented by this fear, but living and subsisting.

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”  — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Over the years, many nights went the same: Write it out. Draw it out. Escape into a show. A film. Go for a walk. A bike ride. A swim.

I was funneling all of the Babadook into other things, for the most part, successfully. As the sun falls behind me this will also have to be my daily post for today’s “Funnel.” However, maybe at the time, it was less like a funnel, and more like a pipe dream.

Letting someone in is always the hardest. Even though asking for help induces its own seemingly insurmountable anxiety, love too has this quality and is far more insidious. Once someone’s in, inside your heart, they have a lot of pull, right at your heartstrings.

When my greatest relationship began to fall apart, from the inside, due to my own doing, it hurt almost as much as liver failure. I became outwardly suicidal again, and self-harm came back with a vengeance. The Babadook in his own way was looking out for me, for my fear of being alone again, but in the end, the actions that took place only pushed our partnership’s culmination closer.

I found myself spending another week in an institution. This time I was in Poughkeepsie. There I made no real headway in overcoming the Babadook, but instead, I found a resolution to never be placed in such a place again, and to never put myself there.

Through all of my struggles, I’ve grown. I’ve learned more about myself, my triggers, my unhealthy responses, my desires, and other fun facts. Now the Babadook is a friend, in my basement, whom I feed, and hear when I need to take care of myself most or when something else is arousing him. He’s still riding that Elephant, but now I’m more mindful of his arrival. It only took three battles… 

So you know, if you’re a high school student barely surviving right now, keep moving forward. I don’t want to say that “It Gets Better,” but it does, you just have to try to see how. Never stop looking. 

The next part of this short series will cover more about depression’s opposite: grandiose ideation. There I will discuss my dreams because they are quite grand. I believe any grand plan worth carrying to conclusion cannot be accomplished alone, so there I hope to make it possible to get involved in the grandiosity.

Winsome, Losesome

This is super candid, so per the content’s candor, for myself, the comments on this post will be turned off. If there are any questions that arise from this, readers can always send me a message and even link this post to the text if they feel they must. This was in part inspired by the Daily Post’s prompt of the day for Jan. 6: Winsome.

This Is Me:

I’m pretty winsome, right? Wait, if you didn’t look it up earlier, but want to now, this is the definition of winsome: “attractive or appealing in appearance or character.” So, I ask you again — obvi for my ego — am I winsome?

I hope so! I didn’t always look this darn cute. In fact, although it’s not #ThrowbackThursday or #TransformationTuesday, I’m going to share with my readers a photo that I certainly wouldn’t put up as my profile pic now. Well, here’s the damned thing:


Also, so you know, because it’s Saturday, every time I curse in this post I also do that Catholic cross-thingy, just because. One Saturday afternoon I started doing it, just to keep track of how often I cuss, and it kind of stuck. I do weird things like that because they’re fun, but I feel like there could be some seriousness about it too.

I’m not religious, although I probably should be, seeing as I’ve been told I’m “going to hell” more often than “what pronouns do you prefer?” For different reasons, I’m not interested in caring how people feel about my gender identity. Yet for some reason, I care about how trans people are treated in general; like it’s one thing if you’re attacking me, but if you’re coming for a slew of people, whether it’s because their darker complexion, their sexuality, or their gender, that’s what really sets me off.

That’s why I love M.I.A, as much as I do — fun fact, one of the few artists I have actually felt speaking to me. She grew up as a refugee in Britain and struggled to become the artist she is today, but instead of really just sitting high on her laurels, she’s pushed boundaries and made enemies of powerful people to make a point: we’re all refugees in a way. She, of course, speaks mostly about those in real, forced diaspora, and not really about those that only feel as if outside of their homelands.

The digression was necessary because there’s always that song, or that artist, or that person or group, or activity, that keeps us going.

To many, it may be a mystery what could keep even one such as myself going. There have been times when even a funny, decently intelligent, and normatively attractive person, as I believe I am, have had trouble keeping optimistic about sharing this beautiful life with anyone. There have been times when I have been metaphorically ousted from my home. Such as those early moments when I came to realize what my feelings meant, at least to me. When those same feelings, of being someone different than who I was raised to be, made me doubt reality, made me fear my surroundings, made me question things much more deeply. And when I finally came out and became whom I saw myself to be, losing those that made life feel like home. Losing partners, friends, and even not getting calls returned by family members, can probably feel like seeing one’s home pushed away from them in warfare.

As another aside, I want to point out that people aren’t inherently good. Nor are they inherently bad. Life is a bitch but I hear that having refugees as neighbors is great.

I’m not always a great neighbor. I don’t really care about anyone. Not because I don’t want to, I really do, but I’ve been hurt a lot. I can’t help it. I can’t help but put myself out there. Like that saying: don’t let anyone dim your light” or whatever. My light shines pretty brightly, for some reason. That’s okay with me, and I like the way that I am. Others do too, and I like that even more! Yet, that appreciation, if turned upside down, hurts more than anyone that could simply say: “you suck!” I’d prefer that. Enemies. No problem. Frenemies. Crap. 

I hope that my readers become my friends. I’m also not afraid of frenemies. Only, be warned: I’ve definitely gone Super Saiyan.



About Me #1


Freelance Writer, Journalist, and Social Media Manager, Brienna Parsons, creates content for patrons across the country, including past work for such patronage as, 2016 New York State Senatorial Green Party candidate, Robin Laverne Wilson, New York Students Rising, and YourPortJervisIsShowing.com.

She is a proud Voice of Democracy, with experience as an advocate in Albany with the New York Public Interest Research Group, transgender and student rights groups, as well as having served as a Student Senator at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Brienna once wanted to continue her representative path in her hometown of Port Jervis, N.Y., but has instead found a liking for the work of an independent monitor of power.

She enjoys long walks while reading, analyzing shows like American Horror Story and films such as anything Marvel or DC, and strumming her bass guitar with a cat on her feet.

She accepts commissions for writing assignments and can be found on Fiverr and Upwork.

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