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Trigger Warning

The writing, imagery, and other forms of expression below may contain explicit descriptions of rape, sexual assault, relationship abuse and other forms of personal violation.

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Issue 7!

My name is Grace Carroll, and I am one of MVMENT’s managing editors. When I became part of this magazine, almost a year ago, the entire team consisted of four people. I cannot possibly tell you what a privilege it has been to watch our community grow in the nine months since we published our first issue. This magazine, and the community it has created, has become everything we envisioned starting out, and so much more.

As a managing editor, my primary role is to manage writers, work with literary editors and run the editorial process for each literary submission. But over the course of the past year, my job has meant a lot more: I have worked to design our editing system, hired new team members and have been able to seriously shape the platform that MVMENT has become.

I have been able to watch MVMENT grow from an idea into a full-fledged, entirely student-run publication. We’ve had moments of genuine uncertainty and doubt: editors and writers miss deadlines, pieces get dropped, systems get restructured and so many other challenges have made us question whether or not this will work. But, thanks entirely to the dedication of our team, it has. Issues come out and are read, people submit their stories, we always find new writers, artists and creators.

I am continuously amazed by the breadth and talent of the writers, artists, designers, musicians and advocates who have joined our team. I can still vividly remember reading and editing the first few survivor stories MVMENT received; the voices we’ve been able to share over last year have fundamentally changed my understanding of our world, and I hope, reader, they’ve had a similar effect on you. Although Issue 7 will be my last issue with MVMENT, I can sincerely say I am so excited to see everything that this magazine has yet to become.

Expanding our team of writers and artists has given us the ability to focus our recent issues on a different facet of gender and sexual equality. In response to the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the potential threat to abortion rights in America, we dedicated Issue 6 to the embattled history and current state of reproductive rights. This time, we’re focusing on the experience of being transgender or gender non-conforming in 2018.

Our writers and artists turned their attention to the state of transgender rights in the world today, or drew from their own intimate experiences to create pieces that we believe are informative and deeply impactful. What I have valued most about working for MVMENT is that, in the face of immense and often alarming developments in our society, this magazine serves as a platform for action. Sharing these pieces with you, with the intention to open your mind a little, shift your worldview, or even just make you think more deeply about these topics allows us to generate real cultural change.

A particularly significant catalyst for this issue was the breaking news this October that the Department of Health and Human Services, under the Trump administration, is preparing to codify a binary and discriminatory definition of gender into national law. Creating an unchangeable legal definition of gender as external sex at birth would strip all transgender or gender non-conforming people of critical anti-discriminatory protections. Policy makers claim to ground this decision in scientific certainty, apparently choosing to ignore the significant surge of scientific studies that prove the broad and non-binary nature of gender.

This change would effectively erase the identity of the 1.4 million Americans whose gender identity happens to be more complex than their assigned sex at birth. As our staff writer Janalie Cobb explores in her piece, “As A Cisgender Woman,” this policy move is one we should all be watching. This change may not affect you personally—it may not even affect anyone you know—but the precedents it sets should outrage all of us. Stripping the trans community of their legal legitimacy makes it easier to strip away the protections that took decades of trans advocacy efforts to obtain.

In the past two months, we have been working diligently to restructure our internal board, a long-needed step for us to enter our next phase of growth. In addition, we are streamlining our application process, for those who are interested in getting involved with us in a board position, which can be expected underneath the “join” section of our Getting Involved page within the next few weeks. In the meantime, those interested in Getting Involved with us or who have questions about our board, should email our Editor-in-Chief at vkurup@mvmentmag.com. Our videography group has also been hard at work, and we are excited to bring video onto our platform. While we are planning on featuring our first video in Issue 8, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for a sneak peek within the next week.

I am so grateful for everything this community has taught me, every story that has been shared with me and everyone who joined our team because they felt the same need to try and change things, even in the slightest ways. I am also deeply grateful for you, reader, and I believe that by being here and reading this issue, you are making an active choice to try and improve our world.

And so, as my final message as managing editor to everyone who allows this magazine to exist, I want to say: do not slow down. Don’t stop trying or fighting or working to make your world better. Don’t stop advocating for the people you love and respect, and do not falter in your efforts to make people listen to what you have to say.

Read. Engage. Discuss. The culture we live in can only survive in silence.

Sincerely (and thank you!),

Grace Carroll
MVMENT Magazine
Managing Editor

by Sarah Libby



by Sarah Hardcastle


Name (first, middle, last): (REDACTED.)(REDACTED.)(REDACTED.)

    (examiner's note: buried under layers of permanent marker: "the transgender community.")

Race: Any and all

    (examiner's note: the subject bleeds in many places, but the severity varies. the danger lies in a spider's web of societal threads, winding around the wrists and the windpipe.)

Sex: Male or female

    (examiner's note: distinction based off "immutable biological traits." no venn diagram, no middle sliver of space. blue will not bleed into red and make purple.)

Age: Any and all

    (examiner's note: my friends rage in the GSA room, scratching at the carpet with their fingertips. our ancestors quiver in their graves, shifting dirt and roots and tiny beetles with their tremors. we are anything but silent, but we are afraid.)


    (examiner's note: because how does a blasphemer find solace in a church? when the holy water burns at your skin like acid? there is no home in a country that does not believe you even exist.)

OCCUPATION: Any and all



    (examiner's note: examiner would prefer not to be named. the closet is safer for the time being. hugging the shadows will protect them.)




DESCRIPTION OF BODY: Partially clothed 

    (examiner's note: as if torn off by fingers, or the probing eyes of a stranger, or the sliding hands of an airport pat down, or a body scanner, or an inappropriate question.)

Eyes: Cloudy, bloodshot 

    (examiner's note: subject has had too many nights staring at an empty ceiling, too much staring into middle space as your cisgender friend hugs you in silence, too much pale light and small black text hail storming tragedy as you scroll and scroll and scroll through.)

Hair: Mussed 

    (examiner's note: subject seems to have pulled on their hair to the point of clumps coming out into waiting fingers. it is unclear if the subject has showered in the past two or three days.)

Weight: Fluctuating

    (examiner's note: subject is either too broad, or too curvy, or too small, or too dainty. their body is dissatisfaction made manifest. something not unlike a funhouse mirror.)

Body Temp: 103 degrees Fahrenheit 

    (examiner's note: subject is unusually warm, as if a fire smolders in every cell. a corpse cannot stim their rage into a lunch room table with their palm, a corpse cannot move their lips to scream their rage.)

DATE: 10/22/18


(Autopsy diagram marked at time of postmortem.) 

    Body covered with a multitude of third-degree burns, specifically on the feet, lower legs, and thighs. 

    (examiner's note: as if burned on a pyre.)  

    Brutal damage to the genital area. Soft tissue of inner thighs has been bruised. New stitches to be noted on the lower abdominal area. 

    (examiner's note: stitches seem hastily done, as if to close a gaping wound in a panic.)

    Fine, thin lacerations (examiner's note: a surgeon's scalpel?) around the genital area. 

Throat exhibits burns as well, trailing deep into the esophagus. Lining of the stomach is charred 

    (examiner's note: the swallowing of fire? or the holding of fire in the belly for so long, tongues of flame scraping up into the mouth to taunt the tongue? or, rather, a flaming tongue kept in check when teachers, friends, and family show pity, their eyes leaking saltwater tears. this is probable: deep, blackened bite marks observed on the tongue and inner cheek. self-inflicted.)

Old half-moon scars observed in palms 

    (examiner's note: the balling of a fist until you bleed. by allowing one part of you to scream and bleed and burn, maybe you'll keep the rest from crumbling into ash.)

Stab wounds in the lower back. Scar tissue surrounding entry point suggests previous injury 

    (examiner's note: over decades, the same stab in the back. "I'm hurt, but not surprised. I'm never surprised anymore. Just sad." how can a fifteen-year-old have so many scars heal over again and again and again? how many times will this wound rend open and flood red?)


Undeterminable at this time. 

    (examiner's note: cause of death is unclear. subject has evidently been dying for a long time. a prolonged death, rolling in with inauguration violins and promises to the crowds of people who hate you. however, most probable are the final stab wounds. a second autopsy must be requested.)


    (examiner's note: brutal, century long murder most probable. the perpetrator stands on a national stage. the perpetrator spits "faggot" and "tranny" from a black truck as they drive past you on the sidewalk. the perpetrator sits next you in biology class. the perpetrator holds you in bed as you shiver.)

DISPOSITION OF CASE: Not a medical examiner case. 

    (examiner's note: personal feelings towards the subject make the work difficult and taxing. repetitive nature of cases has become monotone. rage has faded to bitter coals. death is unsurprising. death is expected. death is greeted again and again at the door.)

“REPORT OF INVESTIGATION AND AUTOPSY BY COUNTRY MEDICAL EXAMINER” is a personal essay written in the wake of the Trump administration’s memo about transgender individuals. It addresses the repealing of the federal civil rights law, Title IX, should the Trump administration redefine gender as biological, therefore stripping trans individuals of federal protections. Title IX protects persons in the United States from discrimination based on sex by any education program or activity that receives federal funding. If repealed, transgender people across the country would have no access to basic protections from transphobic administrations. This essay takes the stylistic form of a medical examiner’s report to examine these consequences.



by Kimberlee Distler

"Euphoria" by Kimberlee Distler

Being Me

opinion other

by Margot Becker

I don’t call myself trans. Yes, medically I was born with a body that doesn’t match my gender identity. Yes, that makes me Transgender (trans) by definition. No, that doesn’t mean I have to choose that as an identifier for myself. We, the LGBT community, have reached a point where, though there is so much left to do and so much acceptance still undelivered, we are no longer ostracized or hated in the same way as in the past; something has shifted. As a community, we have not accepted that shift. We continue to shape the fight for equality as if it were a fight for our lives, but that is no longer its purpose. It’s time to fight for ourselves, for our comfort in our own skin rather than our place on the planet. One of the most important parts of this falls on simple, linguistic identification: labels.

Labels have always been a way to put our identities into boxes, to help other people understand what it means to be different, but whether those labels pertain to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. they can never tell the whole story. Unfortunately, our generous act of labeling ourselves for an unthinking world is thrown back as insults. I’m talking about the words snowflake, queer, dyke and faggot. And apart from snowflake, there has been a precipitous decline in the usage of many of these terms because they go too far even for bigots. But anything can be a jeer. George P. Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, described the weaponization of the term “homosexual” to portray gay and lesbian people as deviants. In an interview with the New York Times, he stated, “Gay doesn’t use the word sex, Lesbian doesn’t use the word sex. Homosexual does.” He added, “It also contains ‘homo,’ which is an old derogatory. They want to have that idea there. They want to say this is not normal sex, this is not normal family, it’s going against God.” The word “homosexual” used to be nothing more than an accurate label for gay and lesbian people, but that label, which we gave to society as a courtesy, as a way for them to identify us, has been taken and warped to the sinister intentions of those who hate.

It’s time to stop giving the world ammunition to use against us. We have come so far since the Stonewall Riots, since Marsha P. Johnson founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), since “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, and it’s time to reclaim our identities outside of our labels. And that’s why I don’t like to tell people about my unfortunate bodily mix-up. Because who I am is me. I shouldn’t have to wear my identity on my sleeve for someone else to understand it because that is their burden to bear. If they are curious about my life story, then it is their prerogative to ask, not mine to tell them through a convoluted label that could never describe all of who I am. The world is changing for everyone. We, the LGBT community, can take advantage of that and better fit ourselves into society, or we can ignore it and be left behind. It’s time that we take a stand and grow beyond our labels to be unapologetically us.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: All opinions expressed in this piece are wholly my own and do not reflect the position of MVMENT Magazine or its staff members.

User’s Guide to Top Surgery

other opinion

by Oliver Young

Several weeks or months before your surgery, you will need to have a consultation with the surgeon. The surgeon will review their processes, and then ask you to remove your shirt. They will measure from the base of your neck to the center of each nipple. They will measure the diameter of the breast and of the nipple. This will help them decide which procedure to use. If you have a small chest, you may have key-hole or peri-areolar surgery.1 If you have a medium or larger chest you’ll likely have double-incision.2 You may be able to schedule your surgery at this point. You will be unable to return to school or your job for at least one week, and will have severely limited activity for four-six weeks, so schedule with this in mind.

The day before surgery, the surgeon’s office will call you and tell you what time you need to be on site, and go over any final questions. Little kids, elderly people, and sick people are typically scheduled for the morning, so a healthy young adult will likely be in the afternoon. They will ask you if you have had any fever, cough or cold in the last few days. If you answer yes, they will postpone your surgery until you are healthy. This is to ensure you have the best reaction possible to the anesthesia and to make sure there is no risk of infection or impaired breathing during the operation.

The night before surgery, you have to wash your chest with Hibiclens to disinfect, and in the morning you have to do it again.3 It temporarily stains your skin pink and smells of laundry detergent. After patting yourself dry, you cannot put on any deodorant, lotions, jewelry, or piercings. You must wear clean clothes to sleep in, and make sure your sheets are clean.

The night before your surgery, you cannot eat or drink after midnight. This is to reduce your chances of pulmonary aspiration due to the anesthesia.4 You should not take any vitamins or supplements in the morning, but you can have clear liquids (ginger ale, water, tea without milk) up until four hours before surgery. If you break this rule, they will cancel your surgery.

The night before your surgery, you should pack a bag. It should include shirts and pants you can easily put on, your glasses case, and any medication you might need. You should make sure your shirts are button downs with plenty of room. After surgery, you will not be able to reach your arms above your head, and will have significant padding to protect your incisions.

The morning of surgery, remember to shower and wash with the Hibiclens again. You need to arrive in the surgery center 1-2 hours before the surgery. You must have a responsible caretaker on-site at all times during your surgery, and they must be able to drive you home after your surgery. If you are over 18, then you may ask to have your responsible caretaker go into the prep area with you for the preparation, or you may go alone.

Roughly an hour before your surgery, you will have to change into a johnny, but you will have warmed blankets to keep you comfortable. You will have an IV inserted into a viable vein, but it may take a few tries. The nurse may use Lidocaine prior to trying the insert the IV needle.5 The surgeon will come in and use a medical marker to mark lines on your chest; a vertical line from the base of your neck, a line across your chest where the nipples will be placed, a line from the fold of your arm to the intersection of the newly marked horizontal line to ensure the nipples are symmetrical.

Moments before your surgery, the nurse will inject Versed.6 As you get wheeled off on your rolly-bed, you will have no worries, and also no memory of the next several hours. You’ll be helped onto the table (though you won’t know how you got there), and sedated through gas and IV.

About twenty minutes after your surgery is over, you will wake up from your sedation and have a team of nurses help you dress and get ready to go. Your responsible party will be there once they have deemed you “sober enough” to have them around. You will have your chest tightly wrapped with ace bandages and foam, and will have JP drains in as well.7 Not that you will care. The nurses will go over immediate and longer term post-op care, but you will definitely not remember that, so make sure someone is paying attention.

Some general tips: Make sure you have straws for your water, you might not be able to lift it immediately following surgery. Bring pillows for the car ride home so the seatbelt isn’t tight on your chest. Low beds and couches are your friend, and so are your abs; you can’t use your arms to move yourself around–there will likely be a lot of butt-scooching. If you have a low pain tolerance, keep to your schedule of Tylenol and Advil. If you have a high pain tolerance, don’t push it too far too fast or you will end up needing a nap after being awake for only two hours. DON’T take off the wrappings until the doctor says to; it’s hard to resist, but you probably want your nipples to stay attached. Follow your doctor’s orders as best you can, you’ll appreciate it when you have no blood clots and minimal scarring. And finally, don’t forget to relish it.


1 Key-hole is a procedure that cuts around the nipple and removes tissue. This procedure maintains sensation in the nipple and has minimal scarring. Peri-areolar is a procedure in which two concentric circles are made around the nipple to remove breast tissue and are then sutured together. This procedure also maintains sensation with minimal scarring.

2 Double incision is the most common procedure. An incision is made along the base of the breast, and tissue is removed. The nipple is then severed from the stalk and nerve and grafted onto the chest.

3 A bright-red antibiotic soap used before surgery to reduce the risk of infection. The active ingredient is antimicrobial chlorhexidine gluconate. It kills all germs: fungi, viruses, and bacteria.

4 Pulmonary aspiration is when material enters your lungs, and can lead to pneumonia or death via suffocation.

5 Lidocaine is a local anesthetic used to numb a specific area. For some people, an injection of Lidocaine causes the vein to constrict too much to be viable; when injected intravascularly, it blanches the surrounding tissue.

6 Versed is a sedative and amnesiac. It is often used during colonoscopies. The patient will feel relaxed to the point of not caring about the world. While on Versed, the patient will likely have no memory of their actions or words. It may result in singing the entire Moana soundtrack (very off-key) on the drive home and having no memory of it.

7 JP drains look like squishy rubber grenades attached to tubes. They use suction to help drain the fluids from your chest. The removal of said drains was quite unpleasant.

Illustration by Pepper Pieroni



by Josephine Hong

As A Cisgender Woman


by Janalie Cobb

I, as a cisgender woman, am not qualified to write a response to the Trump Administration’s attempts to define gender as a binary, you-get-what-you-get label. I, as a cisgender woman, will not be personally affected by this policy. It will not change whether my school allows me to use the right bathroom, or whether or not I can sue an employer for gender discrimination. When members of the Trump administration, as cisgender men and women, decide to codify a definition of gender as your sex assigned at birth according to your genitals, I, as a cisgender woman, am perfectly safe. Any changes to Title IX—the protections placed against gender discrimination—to write transgender people out of protection will change little about my life.

But that should not be an excuse for not expressing my dissent. I, as a cisgender woman, have a responsibility to recognize the privilege inherent in the word “cisgender” and call out the bigotry and hatred this government holds. They, as cisgender people, are not qualified to write a definition of gender that excludes identities they—and I—will never fully understand. I, as a cisgender woman, am not qualified to explain how or why this definition will severely damage the lives of millions of people, defining them not only out of legal existence but out of their individual identities. I, as a cisgender woman, however, am qualified to point out the enormous falsity of the Trump administration’s reasoning.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a definition of gender must have “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” But it has become increasingly clear that being transgender is not simply a choice, confined entirely within one’s own head. In fact, scientific evidence has begun to suggest that being transgender is dependent on an individual’s genetic makeup. A number of studies on identical and fraternal twins have shown that identical twins, who share all of their DNA, are more likely to both be transgender than fraternal twins, who share half their DNA.

Furthermore, the Trump administration cannot dispute the fact that brain structures of transgender women share more similarities with me, a cisgender woman, than they do with cisgender men. In fact, two independent studies done in 1995 and 2000 examined sections of the brain that differ in size between men and women, comparing the brains of transgender and cisgender men and women. Both studies found that, for transgender people, the individual’s brain more similarly resembles that of the gender they identify with than the gender they were assigned to at birth. With those taking or not taking hormones to transition, these findings held true across multiple studies, and I, as a cisgender woman, have no grounds to refute or not believe them.

The Trump administration, however, as a large group of cisgender men, feels the need to codify their refutations. They, nor I, will ever be able to understand the trauma and emotional distress that accompanies being transgender in an unaccommodating society and neither they, nor I, should ever have the power to disagree with an entire identity.

Yet, somehow, they do. Somehow, we have people in federal government who work tirelessly to deprive the very constituents they represent of their lives, their choice, their identities. Somehow, we’ve been thrust into a new nation, a nation with the government of the 1950s but the people of today. The Department of Health and Human Services will soon be presenting their new definition of gender, the definition that will explain anyone who does not adhere to the binary out of governmental existence, to the Department of Justice. Should they rule it constitutional, the Trump administration will have successfully codified their distaste for people different from them, and I, as a cisgender woman, will continue to live my life as I always have. I, as a cisgender woman, will go about my day to day activities, rarely thinking about it, rarely changing my daily pattern to adjust to being written out of reality.

I, as a cisgender woman, will continue to thrive in a society that praises adhering to societal norms set for the many by the few. But I, as someone who eats breakfast every morning with a number of transgender, gender non-binary, proudly LGBTQ+ people I love to call my friends, must remember to be angry. I, as someone with the privilege to ignore these despicable actions, have to make a concerted effort to write responses I am qualified to write, while serving mainly as a platform for those truly affected by this definition to raise their voices higher, and I, as a cisgender woman, will remain a staunch ally for those transgender individuals fearing for their lives and will remain in complete belief of the clear, objective science that negates everything the Trump administration attempts to claim as fact.



by Avery Lavine

My History of Falling In and Out of Love


by Anonymous


The first person I ever loved was my father. When I was a child, all I wanted to do was know him. I would study his morning routines, the way he yawned or the kind of clothing he wore. I would stay up past my bedtime laying on the couch with him and trying to keep my eyes open so I could watch his favorite movies. I wanted him to know I cared about the kind of person he was.

I would fall asleep on the couch and wake up in his arms while he carried me to my bed, safe and secure. I loved those moments so much; I began to fake fall asleep just so he would carry me to my room. I always felt like as long as he was holding me, nothing could ever go wrong.

It’s been a while since I felt that sense of safety from him, as I’ve grown older and inevitably more complicated. He waits for me to fuck up. He waits for me to make a mistake that proves I’m going to end up a jobless loser. That proves I am the failure he always tells me I am. My twin brother and I have always been kind of off. We speak through a mutual silence of our suffering.

In 3rd grade, I would make comments about wanting to kill myself. I didn’t truly understand the gravity of a statement like that, but nonetheless, it felt right to say. Now, a junior in high school, I beg my father to let me meet with a psychiatrist. After I spilled my entire history with self-harm and an attempted suicide to a psychiatrist at school, he called my father to tell him that I was fine and showed no signs of need for medical attention.

I have known since the 3rd grade that something in me isn’t fine. Every time I have cried for help, someone has found a way to grab my throat and mute my sound. At dinner with my father the following weekend, he told me that the real reason I met with the psychiatrist was to take money from him. At moments, he shows an incredible amount of support, then he immediately shifts to a selfish invalidation of anything I say or feel. He builds these dark corners for me and he keeps me there, stuck in the shadows.


In middle school, I went from a school of 300 people to a school of 2,000 people and surprisingly found comfort in its chaos. I didn’t feel like anyone was watching me or cared about who I was or what I did. I decided this would be a perfect time to come out.

And so, I did. I told a friend, who told a friend, who told a friend, and soon I became the poster gay kid at our school. Honestly, I was ok with this. Despite my desire to be unnoticed, I liked the positive attention I got from being this open and honest version of myself. It didn’t last very long.

Have you ever been blackmailed? It leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed, and desperate.

For the purposes of this story, we’ll call him John. John was smart. He got what he wanted and knew exactly how he was going to get it. John used my sexuality against me. He pushed me into a single stall school bathroom whenever he wanted to. If I said no, or if I told someone, he threatened to tell my dad everything. He would tell him all about my first girlfriend, about how I was out, about the scars on my arms that he loved to graze with his left hand while his right hand was down my fucking pants.

So I blamed my dad for the mess I was in. Anger infested every thought I had and every single feeling I would ever have. Men controlled me. I trusted them over and over even though I knew that I was going to get hurt. I let it happen anyways. Somehow, I thought I deserved it. These men were in my life for a reason: for me to suffer.


I haven’t even spoken his name since. I haven’t even spoken about him until now. I never told my dad about John and he still doesn’t know. It would just add to all the other complications in our relationship. Although, if I told him I was raped, then maybe he would let me see another psychiatrist. Then again, to acknowledge that something is going wrong with me—with us—is the worst kind of insult I could give to him. He functions on the fuel of love and selfishness. The less I love him, the more selfish he becomes. It’s a balancing act. If he loses one, he must compensate.

Recently, he has shown a part of himself I never remembered seeing when I was a kid wrapped up in his arms in front of the TV. Apparently the overwhelming support in this country for Trump gave my dad permission to be his truest self. It is hard to sit and watch him “defend his country” by yelling, “Go back to your country!” at people of color on the streets.

I can’t go anywhere with him. My dad stopped at a Subway in my town to get lunch. My dad said to the Muslim woman working there, “Why don’t you give me a smile?” She frowned in return, and my dad tilted his head to me and shouted, “I guess Muslim women don’t smile.” I stood there, shocked and appalled that he had the confidence to say that.


I would like to think I’m not the odd child out. That I’m not the only one who sees something wrong with our family situation. Unfortunately, no matter how close I think my brother and I are, I notice him changing his morals to replicate those of our father. I want to believe that they are good people, so I tell myself that it’s a phase. They can’t actually believe that women and transgender people are distractions in the military, or that women shouldn’t be allowed to get abortions. He supports my dad not only by agreeing with him, but by telling those who try and defend themselves from my dad’s harassment to shut up. All I want to do is tell those people that I don’t agree with my family. That I am so sorry that these assholes have said these things to them in front of their own children.


Despite all the incorrect, offensive, heartbreaking words my father says, I still love him. I can’t go more than a week without calling or texting him. I genuinely hope he is doing okay. I hope he is taking showers and eating well. I hope his medications aren’t making him feel too lousy. I make sure to put out a mug in the morning with a spoonful of sugar next to it so when he wakes up at four in the afternoon, he doesn’t have to dig too much to make his coffee. I fold his socks the way he likes it, and I make sure to say good night to him every single night.

I love my father. And I know he loves me. We just have different versions of the meaning of love. I am so tired of feeling ashamed or not good enough for not loving the way he does. But I don’t believe that you can expect love the way he does. You must earn it. I need to earn my own love so that I don’t have to live every moment by his fragile, desperate love. I don’t need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. I need to feel peace. Peace that I can expect, because I have earned it. I have earned my peace.

If I Didn’t Care


by Audrey Yin

Press play and scroll down to read.

Illustration by Pepper Pieroni

“If They Didn’t Care” is a song written for those who have been sexually assaulted by people they love. The lyrics express how caring about someone can become an excuse that covers up truth.


The water’s deeper now my dear
So dig up the pieces of the sleepless before they disappear
And you’ll listen to their words like it’s the truth
That they wouldn’t do the things they do
For you
If they didn’t care

And when the world is half asleep
You’ll wonder if the things that happened were only dreams
And you’ll listen to their words like it’s the truth
That they wouldn’t do the things they do
For you
If they didn’t care

And you’ll realize that their love was not so true
That they’d only do the things they’d do
To you
Because they didn’t care

But Baby It’s Bad Out There…

opinion current

by Janalie Cobb

In the dictionary of my life, organized from most to least important, censorship would be very close to the beginning. From stopping myself in the middle of my latest “Oh my God” for fear of violating the Fourth Commandment to reserving comments about my emotions because I’m “unfairly blaming someone else for my irrational feelings,” I cannot count the number of times I have been told to think before I speak, with the intention of stopping me from speaking at all. While I don’t agree with a vast majority of the times someone or something has forced me to bite my tongue and hold my breath, there are certain times when censorship is necessary. After all, most parents would have a heart attack should their teachers show their toddlers pornographic content, a federal judge recently ruled that the first amendment did not protect a Neo-Nazi from using anti-semitic language to terrorize a Jewish woman in Montana, and the seasonal debate over Baby It’s Cold Outside has sparked some radio stations to ban the song entirely from their airways.

There’s much talk in my family about what we call the “rape song.” Most of it centers around my father. It took him 54 years to see Baby It’s Cold Outside as more than a cozy holiday season song, and there is no doubt that my family utilizes every chance at our disposal to make fun of him for it. To my millennial brothers and I, there’s only one possible interpretation; lyrics such as “Say, what’s in this drink?” and “The answer is no,” are highly indicative of an extremely problematic song. To my father, born only a decade after the song’s initial release in 1953, there was little reason to look past the song’s light-hearted melody. Once he really listened to the lyrics, he was horrified at the song’s blatant exercise of toxic masculinity (“What’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?”) and the man’s refusal to allow the woman to exit his apartment even after she explicitly says that she wants to leave (“I ought to say no, no, no, sir,” and “The answer is no.”) Yet, the fact that my family easily sees a controversial narrative beneath the upbeat voices of the singers clearly doesn’t mean that there’s an obvious answer to the question of whether or not Baby it’s Cold Outside deserves to be banned.

Recently, a handful of radio stations have opted to ban Baby It’s Cold Outside from their airways, with the explanation that the song promotes unwanted sexual advances akin to date rape. The glorification of such a widespread and horrific issue both domestically and internationally has propelled some stations to refuse to play the song, with the hope that it will contribute in any way, large or small, to stopping the normalization of the toxic behaviors displayed in the music. Others, however, strongly disagree with this stance. Many combat banning Baby It’s Cold Outside, arguing that it’s censorship and thus illegal under the First Amendment. Although the argument of censorship does hold some truth—the song is, in fact, being censored—the idea that banning Baby It’s Cold Outside is against the First Amendment runs contrary to the amendment itself. While the law does protect against violations of freedom of speech, it only protects against violations coming from a governmental body. If the United States Federal Government should choose to ban all playings of Baby It’s Cold Outside throughout the country, then the First Amendment would apply. When a radio station chooses to ban it, however, the law does not apply. The government cannot punish you, in most cases, for what you say. However, your boss still can.

The argument considering censorship is far more convoluted. Generally, the assumption in the United States is that censorship is wrong; it’s a slippery slope, the second you censor one song, book or newspaper you can suddenly justify censoring twenty more. Then, almost immediately, the body deciding what to play, read or show can explain away censoring anything that disagrees with them or its values, no matter what those values are. Yet, there’s still a strong difference between banning songs that advertise against your organization and banning songs that glorify sexual assault. The song uses the excuse that it’s “bad out there” to justify the woman staying in the man’s house. After she says she ought to say no. After she says no. After she tries to leave. The impressions of date rape from Baby It’s Cold Outside vary wildly from the differing opinions and values that could possibly be banned in this “slippery slope” argument.

1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetimes. 1 in 3 women will experience some form of sexual contact violence. Over half of female rape victims report being raped by an intimate partner. Just under half of female rape victims report being raped by an acquaintance. These numbers become even worse for women of color: 49.5 percent of multiracial women and 45 percent of Native American women will experience sexual contact violence.

It should never be justifiable for a man to make unwanted advances on a woman. Baby, It’s Cold Outside showcases conversations that real women experience day after day. When she says no and he says wait, when she says goodbye and he says stay. There is no need to exemplify this behavior, no need to promote toxic masculinity and sexual assault.

It’s already bad out there, please don’t make it worse.


by Chrissy Cohen


by Chrissy Cohen


by Claire Noland


by Chrissy Cohen


by Claire Noland

Transgender Immigrants in the Caravan


by Mary Provencal-Fogarty

The infamous caravan that traveled through Mexico to the southern border is preceded by another group of migrants who haven’t received the same sensationalized media attention. In mid-November, a caravan of LGBT+ immigrants separated itself from the larger caravan and was the first to arrive in Tijuana, Mexico.

While the majority of immigrants from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) are fleeing violence of some kind, members of the LGBT+ community in these countries experience an extreme and persistent threat on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many fear sexual abuse, physical violence and murder on a daily basis. In fact, “88 percent of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees from the Northern Triangle […] reported having suffered sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin,” according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Unfortunately, there are very few domestic resources for victims to seek justice or safety, as often times members of the police force are the perpetrators of such crimes, or in some cases gangs collude with the authorities.

Loly Mendez, a transgender woman from El Salvador, shared her experience with NBC. She had received several anonymous threats saying that “if [her] breasts were going to grow, they would cut them off.” She grew scared for her life and fled the country. For many immigrants like her, to stay home would be a death sentence. So despite the erratic and complicated nature of the U.S. immigration system under President Trump, they chose to endure the difficult trip to the border and the maze of legal obstacles to try and seek asylum.

The journey proved no safer than their home countries for LGBT+ men and women. In addition to harassment and abuse from their fellow travelers, LGBT+ migrants reported being denied access to basic needs like food, medicine, and other necessary hygienic products at stops along the way. The only safety they had was in each other, and when they realized they were large enough in numbers, about 100 LGBT+ immigrants decided to break off on their own and travel ahead of the rest. They found reasonable progress initially, with the advantage of arriving first at support stops. When RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit, provided them with legal and financial assistance, they were able to finish the trip with great efficiency.

In 1990, the Board of Immigration Appeals deemed LGBT+ people eligible for asylum if they feared persecution on account of their identity. However, it also stated that to qualify, they must prove their belonging to the LGBT+ community. This standard for qualification often leaves applicants for asylum vulnerable to considerably subjective judgment. Additionally, though those traveling in the caravan seek to enter the country legally, the many obstacles in their path make the chances of being granted asylum very slim. The very notion of having to prove one’s sexuality or gender seems ambiguous at best, and susceptive to harsh prejudice at worst. And with the multitude of claimants seeking asylum in court, many are left waiting for the already slim resources available.

While they await legal counsel, immigrants who arrive at the border are often sent to immigration detention facilities. For LGBT+ immigrants, particularly trans men and women who are rarely housed according to their gender identities, this environment leaves them particularly exposed to violence. According to Business Insider, “transgender detainees account for 1 of every 5 unconfirmed sexual assaults in ICE custody, even though only 1 out of 500 detainees is trans.” Another study, done by Immigration Equality, reports that LGBT people in detention facilities were “97 times as likely to experience sexual violence than non-trans, straight people.”

One case in particular regarding the mistreatment of trans immigrants has caught the media’s attention: that of Roxsana Rodriguez Hernandez, a transgender woman from Honduras who died in ICE custody in May of 2018. She entered custody HIV positive, so it is likely that the infection at least partially caused her death, but reports also showed that she had been beaten―likely while handcuffed―and had suffered the injuries until she died. While the autopsy has not been released, given the nature of the discriminatory language and violence against trans people within these centers, many do not find it hard to believe that physical abuse was a considerable cause of Hernandez’ death.

For a transgender man or woman immigrating to the U.S., a truly safe place is hard to find. The same discrimination and danger that they flee in their home communities follows them to the border. Then, despite complying with federal law and awaiting legal entry, they still are vulnerable to horrifying rates of sexual abuse and other physical violence. If granted asylum, they immediately face the hardships of being a transgender immigrant in the United States.

Agression and Me


by Brooke Ripley


lit. art other

by Margot Becker

When the New York Times leaked the HHS memo stating that I wouldn’t be considered a person anymore I was sad.

I know that sounds like a sentence written by a third grader but for me, it speaks volumes. Since I came out, I can only think of one time that I have been truly sad. That was when I was staring at my phone reading updates in the back of a beaten up Chevy pickup truck, bumping down the backroads on the north shore. In that moment, in the back of the car with my tears obscuring the letters on my screen, the last time I could remember crying was on the night I came out to my parents. I couldn’t think of a single other moment that so thoroughly destroyed my sense of what it was to be myself.

The idea that your existence on the planet is defined by someone else is a haunting one. The idea that public perception of my identity will be based on the views of someone who has not only never met me, but probably never had an honest interaction with someone even like me, is a crushing one. But this is the reality of being different in America.

And we all suffer except for so very few. But they are the powerful. And we are the weak. So what is there to do?

To Do

other opinion

by Oliver Young

I. Reimagine

“Accepted social gender roles and expectations are so entrenched in our culture that most people cannot imagine any other way. As a result, individuals fitting neatly into these expectations rarely if ever question what gender really means. They have never had to, because the system has worked for them.” - Nicki Petrikowski

The to-do list that comes with being trans is daunting: each item an emotional mountain to climb, only to face another one once you’ve reached the top. Or maybe it’s a cliff, and all you can do it take the leap and hope.

The first item you must face is Understanding. You must learn what “trans” means, and how you can summit the imposing idea of change. It isn’t as simple as learning the vocabulary; you must dig through your emotional past to find the gear you need to begin; you must then learn the routes, the history, the stories, and the nature of the beast. There is no right way to climb this first mountain; it is unique to each person, but you must get to the top and you must be emotionally prepared for what you might find.

II. Rebrand

“There’s power in naming yourself, in proclaiming to the world that this is who you are.” - Janet Mock

The second task begins as an upward climb. Eventually, however, it’s a steep rock face. All you can do is jump off of and hope you land in the right place. If you land wrong, at least you’ll know how to get to the top of the cliff again. This one is called Naming. This can seem like the most important mountain, as you feel it will be the one to define you, the one that helps you meet the world again. The process is long and slow, with many possible routes, but none that seem quite right. Eventually, you must pick one and leap. If it fits, wonderful. If it doesn’t, you stand up and start climbing again—at least this time you know one path you won’t take again. Hearing your preferred name will make you smile for months or years to come; you will still struggle with hearing your dead name, but slowly it will fade away. Eventually, you will not jump at the sound of the name; you will not feel the rush of panic; you will eventually be able to say the name aloud and put enough distance between the new you and the old you to feel safe again.

III. Reintroduce

“People talk about coming out as though it’s this big one-time event. But really, most people have to come out over and over to basically every new person they meet. I’m only eighteen and it already exhausts me.” – Nina Lacour

Where this mountain appears is different for each person. Maybe this one is so big you have to move past it for now; but you must come back to it before long. This one is called Outing. It comes in many sizes and difficulties, but the first step is typically family. You have the opportunity to climb it several times before you do, but you never feel quite ready for it. It will take a lot of courage to face this seemingly impossible task. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you will then begin your next trek with a group behind you. After family, you need to tell the world. Maybe just one group at a time, but the world will know, and it’ll be easier if you’re the one to tell them. Slowly, you will work your way through your past until you can return home and people will know the real you. Unfortunately, you will never be done outing yourself; it will continue for as long as you keep that part of your identity.

IV. Reestablish

“Paperwork wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for all the paper. And the work.” - Darynda Jones

Then comes the mountain of Paperwork. You will file a court order, maybe you will need to face a judge, or maybe you’ll just get your documents in the mail. Maybe your dad will cry when you get the letter, maybe you’ll cry too. You must hunt down all the organizations that have known your old name. Some corrections may be quick, while others long and winding. The best will just be a photocopy of the document and an updated account. The worst will be email after phone call after email explaining why, when, where, and to whom this all occurred. You must remind yourself to keep moving forward, and if something wants to push you backwards, you must stop, breathe and ask again. This is the first task that feels official, and you will likely be incredibly proud of the letter that says you are who you say you are. Once the court signs off on your sex change, you’ll need to do it all again.

V. Reconstruct

“Scars are simply modern battle wounds. Sometimes the enemy happens to be inside us.” - Andrew Grey

The next mountain is one that has been looming in your mind since you learned about it. It’s the mountain of Surgery. You’ll probably want to sprint this one. But be realistic; take it one step at a time and know that this mountain is a marathon. There are many difficulties, but it will probably feel like your greatest triumph. You will no longer have to bind every day; you will no longer have to slouch and hope that no one notices the remaining echoes of a chest; you will no longer feel sick every time you shower or change; you will likely feel free from an enormous emotional burden.

VI. Reflect

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” - Winston S. Churchill

You should be incredibly proud of the challenges you have overcome and the leaps of faith you have made. You have broken out of the prison of “normalcy”; you have taken your life into your own hands and made immense progress towards a better you. You may still have more mountains to climb, but you cannot forget to look back at the distance you have covered since you began this journey. You have created an entirely new person to show to the world; be confident in who you have become and all you have learned.

Illustration by Brooke Ripley