Over the past week or so I, like many people, have been reading about and getting to know Leelah Alcorn, the 17-year-old transgender girl from Ohio who killed herself by stepping into oncoming traffic on December 28, 2014. I have gone through her Tumblr, lazerprincess (now taken down but a back-up is available here), and seen her personal posts demanding to know when things will get better. I have reviewed news articles that persist on misgendering her and calling her by her legal name, Joshua. I have read her mother’s Facebook post announcing her death. I have done my amateur sleuthing and my amateur psychology work, and I have tried to understand her and what other transpeople face in America. Continue reading
Roxane Gay’s writing makes me deeply, deeply uncomfortable – and for that I thank her.
In the past month, I’ve read both of Ms. Gay’s works, first her novel An Untamed State about a Haitian-American woman who is kidnapped and must endure incredible suffering before being able to return to her happily ever after life, and then most recently her collection of nonfiction essays, Bad Feminist, which discusses pop culture and her life experiences in tandem with thoughts about politics, racism, feminism, and gender. They were both deeply disturbing, though for different, yet complementary, reasons.