Katie Dianne Spurlock’s reputation preceded her.

While in high school, my son Kyle occasionally spoke of a young lady that all the boys liked. He smiled dreamily whenever he talked about her. They had the commonality of both African American and Italian heritage. As he described her, I thought of The Little Red-Haired Girl in the “Peanuts” comic strip. The Little Red-Haired Girl was the focus of Charlie Brown’s affection and unreciprocated love. She was the one who got away. Kyle also dejectedly mentioned that everyone knew Katie preferred “bad boys.”

My son was no bad boy. He was a…


This year marked the best celebration of Gay Pride I’ve experienced in 40 years of being an out lesbian. The month of June kicks off Gay Pride celebrations and parades across the country. But in 2020, most of the country is just re-opening after a mandated “stay-at-home” order to decrease the spread of a global pandemic, Covid-19.

Gay Pride has been overshadowed by a range of events: anti-racism protests, the killing of black men and women by police officers, the killing of Black Transgender women, a rising death toll and millions of people unemployed amidst a global pandemic. Given my…


I. AM. TERRIFIED.

The novel Coronavirus has forever impacted our lives as we know them. For many of us, the impact will linger long after a cure is found. Yet, for those of us with an existing autoimmune condition, the need to take every precaution to guard against this disease is much higher than it is for the general population. Because we are more vulnerable, the difference between life and death is much narrower.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In the face of this reality, I refuse to deny the gloominess that sets in. I don’t want to die.There is so much more I want…


My Dearest Son,

My womb ached for you. In a world that diminished my existence, you were a seed that was never expected to grow. But you grew… like the thick trees our ancestors were hung from.

I made a promise to God. If I could have just this one thing…If I could have you, I would give you all of me.I could never teach you how to become a man. But I could prepare you to possess all the things our ancestors died for…freedom, equality, and education.

PHOTO CREDIT: MONIKA M. PICKETT

I cradled you in my arms…molded you until you could hold your…


Every December 1st, I experience a sadness that makes me realize just how precious life is. As World AIDS Day approaches, I struggle as I recall the number of friends whose lives have been robbed by AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency). It is easier to remember their smiling faces than the courageous battles they fought to the very end. I am comforted as I reminisce about the beautiful gay men who taught me about courage and resilience when I came out at the age of thirteen. Their bodies were strong and their spirits were radiant and full of life, even as…


I took my time applying my makeup that night. I settled on an accordion dress that swirled around my thighs with each step. My calves glistened with Vaseline as I buckled my strappy sandals. I looked at my watch and set out for the address Sean gave me. Sean was a new client who I had professionally stalked for months. I was determined to secure his advertising budget. I found a parking space near the club, a nondescript, seedy looking building on K street in Washington, D.C. with 1515 above the door. I called Sean on my cellphone.

“I’m outside,”…


I often find myself daydreaming about the smallest things. Like … the tenderness in her voice when she calls to ask if I’ve eaten … the excitement and curiosity that warm my heart when she says she has a surprise for me.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

But then … reality sets in. I realize she is a figment of my imagination. I reluctantly admit to myself that I am guarding my heart with a deadbolt lock. I am not ready. I am not ready to emerge from my safe haven of emotional isolation. Not because I have not healed from the disillusionment of divorce…


As the Benadryl dripped into my veins, euphoria set in. My pupils widened as warmth flowed through my body. I felt as though I was suspended in air … in time … as my neurologist’s words played over and over in my head: “I spoke with a retired specialist at Georgetown University regarding your case. I am concerned that you may not recover if you relapse. We must resume the Remicade infusions indefinitely.”

A relapse? I cannot relapse!

After losing my way, I have recreated myself, personally and professionally. Relapse? I have to be in New York next week for…


One of the fondest memories I have of my mother was when I was about five years-old. I watched her juggle her books in her arms as she hurried across the asphalt courtyard of the Asbury Park Village. She was striking in her camel colored pea coat with dark-brown barrel shaped buttons. My Nana soothed my cries as I pressed my face against the screen.

“She’s coming back. She’s going to school to become a nurse so she can take care of you.” Over the years, I heard stories about how my mother was one of the most sought after…


I’m overwhelmed with sadness when I think about my unmarried friends who are grieving over the end of long-term relationships. They’re not just grieving the loss of love. For many who merged their lives by living together, a breakup is the loss of identity and — let’s face it — security. They have spent years in relationships without the protection or legal rights that come with civil unions, domestic partnerships, and marriage.

Some remain in toxic relationships because they are financially dependent upon their partners. Some even seem as though they’ve become addicted to the lavish lifestyle that being with…

Monika M. Pickett

Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate and activist for the LGBTQ community.

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