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To ban us from the military not only feels like an attack on my humanity, but also an insult to my intelligence.

Today, I woke up from an uncomfortable night’s sleep to the news that President Donald Trump is now banning transgender people from serving in the military. I don’t know what’s more of an insult – being denied humanity and my right to choice, or the fact that he even thought I’d want to serve as a tool in his imperialist machine in the first place. The sentiments I feel about this decision are not cut and dry because there are so many implications – good and bad. Is this fucked up? Yes, and here is why: This first thing I think about is all of the transgender Americans currently serving in the military who have been struck with this news. Of the 1,3 million active duty members of the military, 2,450 are transgender, according to a study by the RAND Corporation. What of them? How will they be protected moving forward? What access to resources will they have if they're ejected? What transitionary systems will be put into place to accommodate for this sudden strip of human rights? How will they be safe from this legalized bigotry that will instigate stigmatization from their peers in the barracks?   I am actively working towards a world without police and prisons, including ending the military industry which has been used and weaponized against Black and Brown people for centuries to dominate and exploit our communities. As a Black trans woman in America, I would in no way want to be a pawn in that game at all–but the fight for trans inclusion in the military hasn’t just been about us fighting “for our country”– it’s more about us being able to have access to resources and choices.
Related: #JUSTICEFOREYRICKA HIGHLIGHTS A TRANS WOMAN’S ABUSE IN PRISON

With Channel ORANGE, Ocean revived my love for R&B. He set a new standard for other rising artists, he inspired others to be fearless, break boundaries and give the finger to the old cishet formula within songwriting.

By Ruby Mora Those who listen religiously to the current iterations of R&B, funk, and neo soul probably think of Channel ORANGE (CO) when someone mentions singer/songwriter Frank Ocean. Mr. Ocean, the lyrically and sonically transcendent artist behind the masterpiece of an album, solidified his place in the music industry with the release of this album, and after five years it stands strong as one of most groundbreaking albums of modern R&B. When CO dropped, critics went batshit over it, and for good reason. Reviewers from all ends of the music industry were praising the album’s unique tracks, vivid sounds and raw lyrics. Melissa Locker from Time Magazine summed up the effect of the album pretty well, stating that it is “a mature album, especially from one so young. The fact that no two songs sound alike show a virtuoso on the rise. The lyrics reveal a self-awareness that comes with maturity, but also show a young man in flux.” Prior to CO, Ocean had two EPs under his belt, along with songwriting credits with artists including Brandy, John Legend, and Alicia Keys. CO has grown to become a classic and important part of modern R&B music which granted Ocean a well-deserved position within the music industry. Channel ORANGE told such vivid and honest stories in a way that most artists at the time wouldn’t have thought of doing–that, or they were too afraid to.
Related: WITH “LEMONADE,” BEYONCÉ MIXED AN ELIXIR THAT BROUGHT ME BACK TO MYSELF

However much the directors of "Check It" claim to love the participants, a crime has still been committed in this trauma-porn production.

In late Spring 2016, I posed for a photo shoot with my friend and activist Charlie Craggs. The publicity was for a self-defense class for trans women and our photographer was the incredibly talented late Khadija Saye who died in the Grenfell Tower fire last month. The healing nature of this moment came at the right time as I had escaped an abusive relationship and had the space in therapy to cry about the sexual, verbal and physical assaults that give me flashback shivers on a hot day and make me cry myself awake from nightmares. The intensity of the violence I faced throughout my teenage years erupted in panic attacks and insomnia and self-destructive behaviors. Manifestations of rage arrived later when I became aware of the political nature of my oppression. I met other queer people of color at university, Black Pride events, a Black gay arts organization and a hilariously tense nightclub called Bootylicious. Shell-shocked and internally wounded we nodded in unison, danced, loved and hurt each other repeatedly not knowing how to make ourselves feel better after so much had been done to make us feel worthless.
Related: “ANYTHING” STARRING MATT BOMER, SENDS ANOTHER TOXIC MESSAGE TO THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY

We have to work twice as hard in order for us to exist in a space of our own. Yes, we may have a triple threat but if anyone can handle it, it’s us.

You may have already heard of her, but Gizelle Messina is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist for M·A·C Cosmetics who is making waves within the trans community. Messina recently was featured in the SHOWTIME documentary More than T and like many trans women, she has overcome challenges and built a powerful platform. (This interview has been edited for clarity.) Wear Your Voice: How did this documentary first come about for you and what were your thoughts going into it? Gizelle Messina: The documentary was a project created by M·A·C to continue its passion for people who don’t have a voice. M·A·C already had a campaign that started in 1994 to help support men, women and children with HIV. $1.8 million out of that fund was used for the documentary. I saw a flyer posted in the break room and I had to meditate on it because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with it. I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a lot of heavy editing because I wanted to make sure it was my voice.   WYV: Being a visible trans woman can be hard for many. How did you find the courage to step into your own truth and live authentically? GM: It’s something that I still battle every day. For me it was almost like boot camp being that I had to transition while managing a store in Century City. It was tough but it definitely helped me thicken my skin more than it already was just from growing up and not being able to identify [as] who I was. Having to go to work every day and claiming my authentic self and demanding that people respect me for who I was, helped [me] curate strength. Even today, when I leave my home I get anxiety. We never know what’s going to happen when we’re out there. But I would rather go out in the street and take that chance; just going out and demanding your respect. You may not agree with it but I’m walking. Being a black trans woman, it’s imbedded in us because of the type of community we are in.  
Related: A TRANSWOMAN OF COLOR’S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL

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