Here, queer, getting used to it

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Me and Lily in Provincetown, MA (2013)

I am queer.

I am a thirty-five-year-old cisgender queer man.

I’m sharing this part of me publicly for the first time.

It took thirty-five years for me to come out.

It took almost that long for me to accept my own queerness. Ironically, being in a stable, loving relationship with a woman — the first real relationship of my life — allowed me to confront my queerness.

Until the moment I post this, the only person who knows that I’m queer is my partner, Jame.

The reasons it took me so long to come out are complex. They reflect in…

After thirty-five years, it’s finally time

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A seventeen-year-old kid with an undiscovered golfball-sized tumor in his brain

[CW: This piece contains descriptions of abuse, especially by a medical doctor. It also discusses self-harm, suicidal ideation, and a brief mention of childhood sexual abuse. Please take care while reading.]

In the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, a demonic creature keeps increasing the stakes of his parasitic, abusive relationship with a woman, the daughter of a miller. The imp gains greater control over her, commanding her to give up her firstborn child.

In the final twist, the demon is defeated when the protagonist reveals and speaks his name.

“Might your name perhaps be Rumpelstiltskin?”

“The devil told you, the devil told you,”…

The question of trauma and the central role it’s played in my life

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Awaiting my third neurosurgery — October 11th, 2018

[TW: this piece discusses generalized trauma, physical and mental illness, suicidal ideation, and sexual violence. If any of these subjects are triggering for you, please take care.]

I didn’t know the full meaning of the word “trauma” until two years ago. I thought it meant, “A condition of serious physical harm.”

I heard about my brother’s “trauma rotations” in the Emergency Room as a surgical resident. I knew phrases like “head trauma” and “traumatic brain injury” that referred to physical conditions. …

What’s your status?

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Welcome Page on the first day of

Note: this is Part IV of a series. Part I can be found here. Part II is here. Part III is here.

I am a failure.

By every measure that’s important at Harvard, I was and remain a failure.

I am not wealthy.

I hold no titles of import.

I am single with no children.

I am thirty-four and currently live at home, the one I grew up in.

I end sentences with prepositions.

Sure, I’ve faced challenges most Harvard students and alumni haven’t, including three neurosurgeries, the most recent in October of 2018.

But that’s no excuse, not at…

This is bigger than Joe. It’s about autonomy, touch, and consent.

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I don’t want to talk about Joe Biden.

I want to talk about the discussions happening right now about him and his behavior. They’re really important.

This is a complex area of #MeToo, and it was inevitable that we’d get here.

The discussion around Aziz Ansari was the gray area of, “Is it assault? Or is it bad sex?”

We’ve gone past that into an area where the legality is fairly certain. The behaviors we’re talking about — a hand on the shoulder, a kiss on the head, a sniff of the hair — aren’t illegal.

These touches aren’t always…

On appearances, liability, and inadequate mental healthcare

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My family’s dog, Molly, on the steps of Widener Library — Spring 2007

[TW: this piece includes a discussion of mental health issues, including suicide]

Also, this is Part III of a series. Part I can be found here. Part II is here.

Harvard is a place where feeling seen can be impossible, where the more marginalized and less privileged students can get churned through the unstoppable gears of a machine that seems destined to serve those that don’t need it in the first place.

If you suffer from mental health issues, you have two options: seek help at University Health Services, which has a reputation for being woefully inadequate, or shut up…

On the Notorious Final Clubs that Wouldn’t Have Me as a Member

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Dunster House, my sophomore dormitory at Harvard

[TW: this piece discusses sexual violence at Harvard, and I link to two first-person accounts of it. If you find this topic triggering, please take care while reading.]

Also, this is Part II of a series. Part I can be found here.

During my time at Harvard, I was denied access to two privileged spaces.

The rejection from one of these spaces, the infamous comedy magazine The Harvard Lampoon, came on four separate occasions, each one an increasingly painful blow to my sense of self-worth.

Looking back, they were some of the most formative moments of my life.

First, let…

A multi-piece exploration of the rot at the top.

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The John Harvard statue

Note: This is Part I in a series. Part II can be found here.

“You’ll never get accepted here,” my dad told my brother in a Cambridge hotel room. “This is where brilliant kids go, kids who get 1600s on their SATs.”

My dad isn’t a person who says things to cut others down. He’s one of the kindest humans I know, so I remember thinking this statement to my brother was wholly out of character.

Looking back on that day, my dad says he was trying to manage my brother’s expectations.

My older brother Eric was and is brilliant…

The gear you’ll need to get going.

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After the first half-hour of baking, you uncover the Dutch oven for the final 15–25 minutes.

Note: most materials will have a link directing you to where you can purchase the items.

Welcome to a brief guide of the materials needed to make naturally leavened bread from scratch. I’ve listed them in order of importance, from most to least. The ones lower on the list can typically be replaced by something else you might already have in your kitchen.

FLOUR: the most essential ingredient. To start, you want to buy All-Purpose Flour (APF) and whole wheat flour. It can be any kind of APF as long as it’s unbleached. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill for both…

The unfortunately common experience told by a contestant on The Bachelor, and the driven citizen on a mission to change it

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Caelynn Miller-Keyes tells her story to The Bachelor, Colton Underwood on the January 28th, 2019 broadcast

[Trigger warning: this piece discusses sexual assault and rape]

“The most subversive thing a woman can do is talk about her life as if it really matters. It does.” — Mona Eltahawy, Headscarves & Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

On January 28th, 2019, nearly 6.4 million people tuned into ABC’s hit reality series, The Bachelor, now in its twenty-third season.

In the previous week’s episode, we watched tensions boil over between former friends and Miss America pageant contestants, Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Hannah Brown.

Hannah tells The Bachelor Colton Underwood, a handsome former NFL player who now runs a Cystic Fibrosis foundation, that Caelynn is deceiving…

Stephen Black

Writer. Reader. Wonderer.

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