Milo Yiannopoulos, Bill Maher, and The Voices We’ve Lost Since The Election

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Over the summer, I wrote an essay on Medium about Donald Trump, the rise of the Alt-Right, and my experiences enduring vicious harassment campaigns on social media. It was a risky essay for me to publish. I wrote it knowing it would lead to a new onslaught of abuse and vitriol, because addressing the behavior of figures like Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Cernovich and Paul Joseph Watson is like waving red meat in front of Ramsay Bolton’s hounds. But the stakes were too high to remain silent in the midst of the most vicious election in my lifetime, and I knew it was worth sharing my personal experience with a phenomenon most were still dismissing as Internet fringe hatred. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton Should Host A Reality Show: “Are You America’s First Female President?”

Hillary Clinton

I know what Hillary Clinton should do next. She should host a reality TV show.

Hear me out. “Are You America’s First Female President?” would be a weekly, hour-long program hosted by our girl Hill and a crew of her favorite lady politicians and operatives. Think Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elizabeth Warren offering advice and feedback to the next generation of activists and organizers. Imagine Robby Mook talking how to build a campaign staff, and Sarah McBride on being an effective surrogate.

Each episode would have a different challenge to boost the cast’s presidential skills: drafting legislation, wrangling congressional support, writing their State of the Union address, practicing interviews and debates. The contestants would be women, non-binary and trans folks from diverse backgrounds. No one gets eliminated and no one goes home: the winners of each challenge get a vote, and whoever has the most votes at the end of the show wins a donation put toward their future campaign. But everyone leaves with a mentor matched to their specific goals and needs, and a fierce crew of fellow cast members to strategize with and support for the rest of their careers. Continue reading

What Herpes Activism Looks Like In Trump’s America

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I still remember the day I wrote my first blog post about having genital herpes. It was January and it was cold and I was sitting in my childhood bed with my laptop, wondering if I was seriously going to do this. The essay poured out of me in a rush, the words ready to be written after months of holding on, collecting, coming together into something worth the risk. I expected to be afraid when I hit publish, but I was overwhelmed by relief. I cried a little bit. I was out.

That was nearly two years ago. Writing about herpes ceased to feel scary, or even risky, at some point in 2015. That first initial confession about my STI led to the discussion of other topics, buried deeper, even more shameful: my history of abuse, my mental illness, my sexuality. There are a few topics left that I haven’t gotten to yet. I know that my boredom when it comes to talking about herpes—and let’s call a spade a spade, it is boredom—is a rare accomplishment underlined by success and privilege. I’m over it, y’all. I’m not ashamed of it, I’m not surprised by it, and while I still get angry about stigma, I don’t have much left to say about stigma either. Stigma is bad. People and publications and pop culture that perpetuate it is bad. Herpes itself has become pretty whatever. Continue reading