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Despite the COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting every living person in the United States, the federal government and Republican-controlled state legislatures have proceeded with attacks on the freedom and safety of transgender people. …

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The mythology of science has as great an impact on public understanding as theory.

The Rational on Trial

In October 2019, Mark Zuckerberg came to Washington, D.C. to answer questions about Facebook’s recent controversies, including its decision to allow untruthful political advertisements. Beneath Zuckerberg’s refusal to change lurked a common refrain.

Zuckerberg: Well, Congresswoman, I think lying is bad, and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie in it, that would be bad. That’s different from it being … in our position, the right thing to do to prevent your constituents or people in an election from seeing that you had lied. (Vox)

This answer quietly appeals to the concept of the rational agent, the maker of informed and independent decisions. Those who identify with this theoretical construct believe themselves to stand in contrast with the emotional and ideological masses. According to Zuckerberg, maternal policies undermine themselves by restricting The Rational’s free access to information. Throughout the congressional hearing, his statements underscore his truth: the conversation ends when he reaches a verdict. He never engages the danger of the counter-hypothesis, that his faith in his own reasoning is misguided or that his evidence may be incomplete. …

Woman resting head on hand, pensive.
Woman resting head on hand, pensive.

As COVID-19 reaches my community, I watched my friends’ reactions and realized they were demonstrating some behaviors I’d learned to monitor in myself. …

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Thirty teenagers stare at me at a time in 50-minute shifts. Their eyes burn inquisitive. They throw personal questions like darts, and they toe boundaries. Seven months into hormone therapy, I begin to wear a sports bra to work.

The half-closeted life is built of such liminal moments. When I arrive for my afternoon laser appointment, I’m still buried under masculine work clothes. The staff are always too kind to say a first name because the one on the file is plainly wrong. I haven’t told them the right name. I don’t know why.

Five minutes into the session, my jaw feels like someone has slapped every inch of it. “Alright,” the technician says. “Let’s do your armpits and chest.” …

Until very recently, songs that referenced transgender lives have been horrendous and dehumanizing as a rule. “Dude Looks Like a Lady”, “Lola,” and “Sex Changes” all rank higher than “Wagon Wheel” on my list of songs I never want to hear again. Like most films about trans characters created by cis people, these songs are sources of dysphoria and shame rather than confidence and validity.

So, in the grand LGBT+ tradition, we look for ourselves in subtext. Like previous generations searching for queer-coded characters in film before same-sex relationships could be portrayed positively, trans people appropriate messages of empowerment for our own survival and self-validation. I know several popular examples for trans women. The ones that stood out in my younger days were “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain and “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World. …

Vashti Bunyon’s Just Another Diamond Day (1970) is one of the success stories, and like the best stories, it begins in failure. …


Elizabeth-Marie Helms

Occult Detective | Research interests: public use of science, the goddess movement | Twitter: @kleidouxos

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