If “the peace” is violence, then what is chaos?

“Railroaded” by Michael Paramo (@mxparamo.art)

In a society built on genocide, slavery, and the exploitation of life, what is “the peace”? Who are its keepers? And what disturbs it?

In the legal framework of the United States, disturbing the peace is used to denote conduct which is deemed disorderly. It evolved from the common law offense known as breach of the peace, otherwise defined as “a misdemeanor that constituted a disturbance of the peace and tranquility of society.”¹ …


‘Ribbons’ (Art by Michael Paramo) — @mxparamo.art

In a 2014 article titled “Why We Can’t Stop the Depression Epidemic” for Psychology Today, Jonathan Rottenberg sets out to address the difficulties with combating the rise of depression in the United States. Rottenberg argues that a national “reckoning” with depression never happened in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide — an event which, he claims, should have sparked wider conversation on both mental health and the reasons for the pervasiveness of depression in society. Rather, Rottenberg explains that the discourse surrounding Williams’ suicide was intensely personalized, quelling any ‘hope for change’ in the aftermath of his death.

Rottenberg lists…


‘Unwound’ (Art by Michael Paramo) — @mxparamo.art

Unwinding the ribbon that conceals my own attractions and intimate desires is a daunting task. Expressing my identity as an aro ace, a human with low or absent sexual and romantic attraction, seems to always come with the silent assumption that I am unable to be attracted to others and am simply devoid of a desire for intimacy with others. The misconceptions of asexuality, which is often misunderstood as being literally “without sex,” and aromanticism, often misunderstood as being literally “without romance,” uphold and reinforce the commonly held idea that people like myself lack the ability to engage in any…


‘Bloom’ (Art by Michael Paramo) — @m.azeart

I still remember the first time I dressed in clothing not socially marked as acceptable for a “boy” to wear. In the body of a seven-year-old, although my appearance in “feminine” attire strayed from social acceptability for a “male-bodied” individual, the threat my gender expression posed was merely excused. I was a child, not a “deviant.” As I aged beyond a perceived state of “childhood innocence” however, attitudes shifted dramatically into the negative, resulting in confrontations marked by physical, verbal, and psychological violence that repeatedly forced me to question my validity as a human being who existed outside the gender…


‘Mirror Mirror’ (Art by Michael Paramo) — @m.azeart

Coming of age, I knew I was gay. But, something always felt… different.

At the age of sixteen, you could probably find me adoringly gazing at a male classmate in my Physical Education class. It was every weekday at third period. I knew that I couldn’t be seen looking fondly at the guy across the gym. There were cultural scripts to follow and threats of violence to evade. A gay boy like me wouldn’t dare to cross them in such a toxic environment. I remember most vividly how his body allured me, and I wanted to be close to him…


How entwined must sex be with masculinity that if a man never has sex he is shamed?

There is a social expectation that everyone, but especially men, should not only desire to have sex, but have copious amounts of sex. And it is nothing new. Sexual desire was established as a natural human quality, especially for men, via nineteenth century Victorian medical discourses of sexology. …


‘Conductor’ (Art by Michael Paramo) — @mxparamo.art

Asexuality is frequently conflated with being attracted to no one. Yet, what does it actually mean to be attracted to someone? What are the, often ignored, complexities of attraction? And how does asexuality open these conversations up for exploration? While expressing my own identity as an asexual person in social spaces, I have often encountered many non-ace people who have responded to me with statements akin to “So you’re asexual, that means you’re attracted to no one, right?” or “Doesn’t that mean you don’t want to be with anyone?” Both of these questions are misinformed and can be invalidating for…


“But if you haven’t had sex, how do you know you’re asexual?”

As an asexual, this is a common response I have received after revealing my status openly. It is a loaded statement that possesses implicit assumptions about asexuality and a multitude of flaws, so let’s deconstruct why you should never ask an asexual person this for a moment, shall we?

Firstly, there is an inherent assumption that being asexual is anathema to being sexual or engaging in sexual activity. The reality is that self-identified asexual people may or may not engage in sex. While I happen to be an…


I have been engaged in a continual ongoing exploration of appropriate identity labels to categorize my existence. At one moment I used to define myself as “gay,” then as a “gay asexual,” then as a “homoromantic asexual,” then as a “androromantic asexual,” followed by an “asexual attracted to men,” and finally as a “queer asexual,” where I remain now. From this exploration through identity markers, I have recognized the efficiency and power of queerness as a non-specific category. …


Homoromantic Asexual flag.

I am very aware of the fact that I am perceived as male in society, regardless of my existence as an demiguy. I guess you could say that I’m “read” as a man. Therefore, when I say that I’m attracted to men, I’m instantly perceived to be gay, no questions asked. But, despite the gender identity conflicts, what does it really mean to be perceived as gay? Is gayness only based in sex, or can gayness be understood via a more expansive form of attraction, that may or may not be sexual? How does this intersect with gay men specifically?

Michael Paramo

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