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.
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.
As articles praising the return of “The L Word” saturate my Twitter timeline, I question how the show will frame the intersectional issues women of color face in the LGBTQ community. By Leslie Whitmire “The L Word” first aired during my sophomore
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.