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Those who are harmed the most by Grindr's decision to shut down INTO magazine are queer and trans Black writers.

On Tuesday morning Grindr closed down its LGBTQ+ publication, INTO after laying off the magazine’s entire editorial and social media staff, leaving full-time employees without jobs while dozens of freelancers and columnists lost their primary source of income. The layoffs come months after the magazine broke the story that Grindr’s CEO and President Scott Chen had posted that “marriage is between a man and a woman” on his personal Facebook page. According to Out magazine, the decision to close down the publication wasn’t made in retaliation to those reports but rather because the “company will be focusing its efforts on video.” Late last year, ahead of a sale to Bustle Digital Group, millennial news site Mic laid off most of their staff and according to a report by The New York Times, sources said that the venture capitalist-backed publication had relied too heavily on their relationship with Facebook and its algorithm. The efforts of their talented newsroom didn’t pay off for the writers and editors who were only given a month’s severance and health insurance benefits, but it did pay off for the founders, former Goldman Sachs banker, Chris Altchek and co-founder Jake Horowitz, who raised $59.5 million in funds and sold to Bustle for $5 million. While we expect magazines which represent the voices of the marginalized to be spaces where we can thrive, develop our voices and skills, and carve out a platform to not only be represented, heard and celebrated, the companies that own them view their staffs as entirely disposable which means those who are harmed the most by these closures are queer and trans people of color.

Thomas Markle exhibited what can only be described as manipulation and emotional abuse under the guise of concern and love.

This op-ed includes mentions of emotional abuse I haven’t spoken to my father in over two years. I sent him one last email detailing why I no longer wanted to be in contact with him, I explained how his decisions and emotional abuse harmed me and told him that I wanted to prioritize my mental health so that I could move forward with my life. It was the best decision I have ever made, and not a single day goes by that I regret what I did. That’s why I was infuriated when I saw Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, being interviewed by none other than Piers Morgan, a notorious anti-feminist (or men’s rights activist, whatever the fuck that means) and media figure who has obsessively and publicly harassed Meghan since her introduction to the British public. In his interview with Morgan, Thomas Markle exhibited what can only be described as manipulation and emotional abuse under the guise of concern and love. Following his multiple publicity stunts leading up to Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry, he claims that his daughter cut off all contact with him despite his numerous apologies. His continuous need to center himself and his emotional needs over Meghan’s autonomy and the boundaries she most likely created for her own mental health shows a clear disregard for his daughter’s wellbeing. While it would be easy to disregard this latest display of abuse as an impassioned cry for family unity and love, that superficial and non-contextual conclusion deliberately ignores the fact that Mr. Markle chose to be interviewed by Morgan, a man who has been using every ounce of his whiteness and maleness to act like an abusive ex-boyfriend. A documented transphobic, sexist and racist overpaid bag of termites, Morgan has repeatedly used Meghan Markle to draw attention to himself in the worst ways possible. From questioning her agency and ability to make her own decisions, accusing her of being “fake” and a “social climber”, to alleging that she “ghosted him”, Morgan has shown how toxic whiteness and masculinity is performed without repercussions. It comes as no surprise that Morgan would interview Thomas Markle and amplify his abuse on national British television. It also comes as no surprise that the British press would continue to publicly uplift the opinions of people who have directed their racist and sexist criticisms towards Meghan Markle. https://twitter.com/girlsreallyrule/status/1074666171310460929 After months of racial abuse, including claims that she is breaking musty-ass royal protocols, the optics of two white men on TV badgering Meghan is a stark reminder that women of color in particular will have their agency and boundaries challenged, even by their own fathers. Mr. Markle, who can only be well aware of his daughter’s feminist politics, chose to speak to the man who is the polar opposite of what Meghan stands for and I do not think that his choice was accidental. Both are using their positions in society as white men to earn public sympathy while demonizing a biracial Black woman. And since society grants humanity primarily to white, cisgender men and women, it comes as no surprise that this display of manipulation and publicity garnered sympathy from the public. Thomas Markle’s decision to appear on Morgan’s morning show also amplifies Morgan’s obsession with Markle and the allegations that she ghosted him. These allegations are now being reinforced by her father’s own claims of “ghosting” as a pattern she has engaged in rather than her right to not bestow attention on an abusive parent. While it’s impressive that two old, white men learned about the term ghosting, they have both chosen to ignore that Meghan’s decisions for her mental health and happiness have a right to stand unchallenged. Family unity, unconditional love and family-first rhetoric consistently pushes away the experiences of those who were emotionally or physically abused by their parents or other family members. While Meghan Markle’s relationship to her father is her own, it’s worth parsing through the idea that being a blood relative or a parent does not mean that you are owed a relationship to someone. Family dynamics vary, but they also have similar threads running throughout them. So many of our relationships, familial ones included, emphasize the need for unconditional love and forgiveness which mostly reinforces patriarchal, cisheteronormative oppressions. Unconditional love often acts as an integral part of maintaining harmful social structures within family relationships. No love should be unconditional when it covers up the abuse of vulnerable people who suffer for decades without ever being able to cut off abusive family members. Love shouldn’t be unconditional because it perpetuates the idea that all behaviors and actions are worthy of forgiveness no matter how much harm they inflict upon us. Cutting off toxic family members isn’t a decision that is easy, nor is it made lightly. It’s often a decision that is made after years of undergoing consistent manipulation and harm. It is an informed, healthy and brave decision which requires a lot of strength.

Nappily Ever After would have significantly benefited from hiring Black people, especially women or femmes, and allowing them creative power.

By Jazmine Joyner The natural hair movement celebrates Black hair in its natural form and encourages people of Black descent to embrace their afro-textured hair. I went natural in the fall of 2012, after years of relaxers which gave me burns on my scalp that looked like someone had put out a cigar on my head. By consistently having my hair chemically relaxed, it became so damaged that I went from having shoulder-length hair to a pixie cut. In the Southern California suburb I grew up in, having natural hair was an added difficulty on top of being one of the only Black girls in my school. I wore my natural hair in middle school, with my giant afro puffs proudly displayed à la Jazmine in “The Boondocks. My dad would tell me that I was “Rough and tough with my Afro Puffs.” At home, around my family, my natural hair was considered cute and stylish, but the moment I stepped onto school grounds I just had “nappy hair” which all the white kids around me stuck their hands in and pulled at. During my freshman year of high school, I wanted to blend in and look like my favorite band at the time, My Chemical Romance, and I begged my mom to let me get a relaxer. She was against it, having worn her hair natural for as long as I could remember. Her loose curls frame her face perfectly, she and my sister have 3C hair, a more manageable texture, while I have 4C hair, a kinkier texture to which I applied protective styles including braids and cornrows. Our different hair textures meant that my mother couldn’t quite figure out a way for me to wear my hair in a pre-YouTube tutorial world, so it was often easier to just braid it up. Eventually, she gave in to letting me get a relaxer which led to my senior year’s pixie cut. I was over trying to manage the dead and fried hair that eventually sat on my head due to the relaxer chemicals, so I took some clippers and shaved it off, thus beginning my journey of returning to natural. Black women spend nine times more than our non-Black counterparts on hair and beauty, spending about 1.1 billion dollars annually. There are documentaries, books, and television shows about Black women and our hair—a whole industry has been built up around us and our hair, including Netflix’s newly released film, Nappily Ever After, a movie based on Trisha R. Thomas’ book by the same title and starring Sanaa Lathan as Violet, a woman who cuts her long tresses and begins her natural journey following a traumatic event. Our hair is politicized and policed in many spaces. From a young age, we’re told by schools that locs, braids, and our natural hair texture is unacceptable—and this mentality is carried over into our professional lives where natural hair is often considered “unprofessional”. Brightly colored hair on non-Black people is fun and edgy, while on Black women and femmes it is often considered ghetto. Our hair and our experiences surrounding it is something so intensely personal that if there is a film about the experience of returning to natural, I would want and expect a Black woman or femme would be the one to tell the story because experience and perspective in a heavily racialized and anti-Black world matters.

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