Prism & Pen
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Prism & Pen

This is an email from The Digest, a newsletter by Prism & Pen.

Queer Coping for the Holidays

A week of Prism & Pen — January 2, 2022

by James Finn

Happy New Year! This week, P&P writers share holidays, with a tilt toward “coping as queer.” We’ve got news and personal stories from across the rainbow, a fiction treat from Chandler Myer, and Molly Martin shares why and how she self-published her latest book.

READERS: Read for free by clicking photos or inks. Want to help support Prism & Pen? Cick to join Medium.

Editor’s Picks —

Texas School Severely Punishes Latino Boy For Ponytail

James Finn

Conservatives claim to love liberty, but when a trans kid showed up at a Texas school last August, administrators came down like a hammer, enforcing long-ignored hairstyle rules. They punished the trans kid plus 6 cis boys, forcing 3 out of school, including a Latino boy whose ponytail is part of his culture. Administrators wielded racism, sexism, and transphobia to destroy liberty.

Administrators stuck him in a small room with a few workbooks and occasional access to a teacher who was often mean to him. The only opportunity he had to socialize was on the school bus.

His grades plummeted and he was placed in a disciplinary school. Because he kept his ponytail, he lost the “privilege” of sitting at a desk.

Read the rest

My Mother Keeps Buying Me Homoerotic Novels

Roo Benjamin

Roo and his mother communicate with novels, especially by queer author Christos Tsiolkas, whose works are transcendent and explicit.

We gay people know how straight sex works — it’s all over movies and popular culture. Some of us have even tried it. But acting on the sexual passion between two men still carries an element of taboo.

I always wondered about those friends who do have the kinds of relationships with their parents where they could open up about sex.

Read the rest

Ida’s Last Dance

Chandler Myer

When Chandler encountered “Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida,” he penned a story that perfectly captures the painting’s haunting beauty and pathos.

Ida pulls herself away from the mirror’s brutal honesty to look at the plain, white envelope sitting on her bureau. Sal dropped by earlier to give her this and one last kiss on the hand. He won’t be at the show tonight. He never sees a dancer’s final performance.

Read the rest

Memoir —

After My First Hit of Meth: 42nd Street was a Struggle

John Cormier

John’s theater career started to unravel when he tried meth. Before he hit bottom, he was an Actor/Singer/Dancer belting tunes and tapping his heart out:

When we broke the pose and made our way off the platform, I was still holding up my own performance, trying to be light and pleasant while my innards churned and my brain felt like it was sloshing around in motor oil.

I stood next to the show’s director and watched the principals begin their numbers. He crinkled his nose. “Oh, honey, you smell like booze and sweat.”

Read the rest

Essays and Creative Nonfiction —

How I Got My Book Published

Molly Martin

I published a book in 1988 with a new edition in 1993. Hard Hatted Women: Life on the Job is an anthology by and about women in the construction trades and blue-collar jobs.

I had a publisher then, Seal Press, a woman-owned press that focused on women’s stories…

Read the rest

A Winter’s Tale: A Transgender Christmas Pt. 1

Fiona Evangeline Leigh

The cards I have by my pygmy Christmas tree are addressed to her, the sequined soul that has arrived in my life bearing armfuls of glitter and meaning.

These three Christmases form significant landmarks on my road to recovery and form a smooth and svelte upward curve thank the Blessed baby Jesus, charting the progression from rut to strut.

Read the rest

A Late-Transitioner’s Holiday Lament

Emma Holiday

I found the holidays this year particularly painful. Everyone was happy and we all get along so well. Everyone knows me as the man they have known for decades. I have known the 20- and 30-year-olds since they were babies. I feel like a social terrorist about to blow up this amazing family.

Read the rest

Lesbians Are Disgusting, Teaches Progressive Christian School in Florida

James Finn

We LGBTQ people hurt when conservatives hate on us. We bleed when progressive ‘friends’ do it .

Students say faculty told them they canceled the dance over concerns young children might attend. [Administrators] say same-sex couples are not “appropriate subject matter” for children, including middle school students.

Read the rest

An Innocent’s Indoctrination Into the D.C. Gay Scene

The Wordsmith™🏳️‍🌈🇺🇸

I stood entranced. Several men dancing by themselves interested me, but I hadn’t the nerve or the talent to dance, so I stayed put and only eyed the candy. To walk up to a covetable man, a man I desired, a man who was, I was certain, more longed-for than me, then to put my hand out and say “Hi, I’m Alex,” was an impossible thing.

Read the rest

Gender Immigration

Emma Holiday

I am the grandchild of European immigrants. They came to the U.S. in the late 1890’s. I don’t know why they came other than to escape the bleakness that was their world.

I used to think I couldn’t imagine what it was like to part with their families and travel on a dangerous ocean journey to a new world without any expectation other than hope.

Read the rest

New Wave Ex-Gay Christian Leader Admits Frequent Sex with Men

James Finn

A Christian ex-gay leader just admitted he’s had sex with multiple men. No surprise. Most Christian ex-gay leaders have admitted past change claims were baseless. Many have admitted they never stopped having same-gender sex. This scandal is surprising because it’s barely a scandal: This leader isn’t stepping down. What does “ex-gay” mean to him?

Read the rest

Trans and Bra Challenged

Emma Holiday

I looked her in the eye and said: “Do you offer bra fitting for transgender women?” She smiled sweetly and said: “Why of course we do.” I was ushered into a private dressing room. She asked me to take off my shirt…she was the first person to see my breasts.

Read the rest

My First Sexual Experience as a Queer Black Boy in Rural New Jersey

A. T. Steel

We lived a short fifteen-minute walk from each other and were the best of friends. It was the rural New Jersey countryside and our little town was sparsely peppered into a towering forest. When I knew he was coming over, I used to climb the roof to see if I could spot him traipsing up the road.

Read the rest

To Yeet or Keep the Teets?


If I could wave a non-TERFY wand and chant Teetus Deletus and be done with the useless overgrowths, I would, but as I’ve explored my gender and allowed myself to experience dysphoria, I’ve realized that something I want is to see what my body can do with a little boy juice.

Read the rest

Am I a Mansplainer?

G. L. Balend

After I started passing as male, I was forced to change how I interacted with others. I’ve always been opinionated, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my writing. I am also well-educated and hold two degrees, am well read, and am open-minded.

Read the rest

A Winter’s Tale: A Transgender Christmas Pt 2.

Fiona Evangeline Leigh

I’d woken delighted by this but the crows were gathering in me at the same time.

I’d two choices; either sit with the scum or go to the top table where the prudent and pragmatic were taking coffee with pinkies outstretched.

Read the rest

We Trans Women Are Tougher Than We Look

Emma Holiday

One of the sad things for transgender women is the general perception that we are wimps. It is so pervasive that we actually start believing that we actually are. Well, we are not!

Read the rest

Workplace Culture and the LGBTQIA+ Discrimination it Creates

Meagon Nolasco

Mandated webinars, training, or email memorandums are not going to stop people from discriminating and harassing LGBTQIA+ employees. It is not going to stop them from misgendering, refusing to use pronouns they do not understand or believe in, acknowledging someone’s new name, etc.

Read the rest

I’m a Trans Woman But I Function Best As a Man

Elena Wunderbar

I sort out disputes and my words get attention. And I am quite sure that it is because I know how a man of this age and position in life should speak. It’s not that it comes naturally. I’ve mastered this role so well that I’m buying it off myself again in the last few days.

Read the rest

Thirty-One Variations of Intersex!


After all these years searching for answers to why I never felt like a boy, I’m still learning new facts about human biology. It blows my mind that there are 31+ variations of intersex. There are so many people in the world feeling different, and most likely don’t know why. Or they do know and they are hiding this secret.

Read the rest

The Weight of Family

Meghan McKie

My mom is 73 and still has all her cognitive abilities. She lives in the house we all grew up in, and often takes in boarders, typically students from the local college. Sometimes international high school students. She knows up from down, left from right.

Yet she still manages to get in the little digs. The deadname. The use of “he” or “his” when referring to me with others, in my company.

Read the rest

2021 — Another Rough Year

Judah Leblang

Back at the end of that annus horribilis, the how much worse can it get year of 2020, I figured we had nowhere to go but up; things could only get better. And yet now, looking back over the past 12 months, I wonder.

I don’t remember doing much, if anything for last New Year’s Eve …

Read the rest

And those are our stories for the week, folks.Happy New Year from all of us.

Writers? Hit me up with prompt ideas? It’s time!


Esther Spurrill-Jones, BFoundAPen, Zayn Singh, Ainsley L, Kathy Lee Tolleth, Brian Pelletier, Fred Shirley, Ikedi Oghenetega, neil chapman, David Wade Chambers, Artemis Shishir, alto, Sean Stephane Martin, Gabriela Penelope Carolus, Lois Shearing, b.henriques, Carl Rebeiro 🏳️‍🌈, Rodney Frazier, Simon, Carl Rebeiro, Brian Fehler, Deneishia Jacobpito, Chris Hedges, Kathy Lee Tolleth, Brian Pelletier, Alex David Bevan, Ikedi Oghenetega, David Wade Chambers, Sean Stephane Martin, Gabriela Penelope Carolus, Lois Shearing, Valentine Wiggin, b.henriques, Carl Rebeiro, Rodney Frazier, Simon Z. Brian Fehler, Cassie Brighter, Deneishia Jacobpito, James Patrick Nelson, Brigid Maloney, Gabriela, Presley Thomas, Evan McCoy, Loren Olson, Ken Wilson, Chandler Myer, NaNa’sworld, Arabelle J., Liam Heitmann-Ryce, Prickly Pam, Dawn McGrath, Jonathan | sex & theology, Tabitha Lowndes, Emma Nwosisi, Melissa Speed, Dr. Thomas J. West, Till Kaeslin, Dave Smurthwaite, Ellie Rebecca, Zoey Milford, Edris Quinn C., Dennett, Michael Constable, Jim Martens, Stephen Foster, Kravitz M. Kristen Nadel, William Kuhn, Denisa Bogdan, MSci, Rafaela Mempin, Tre L. Loadholt, theoaknotes, Rachel Brindell, Elle Fredine, Jess Darnell, Emma Holiday, Gabe Evaristo, Joshua Mackey, Steve Alexander, Stevie Wilkinson, Andy Killoran, Nick Bundarin, ElMehdi El Azhary, Bradley Wester, Stella Luna (they/she?), Chuy G. Gonzalez, MS, Aaron W. Marrs, Zada Kent, Tima Loku, Cam, The Transgender Therapist, Sean Bennett, Ty Bo Yule, Alessia Autumn, Allen R. Marquez, Spencer James, Mary-Ellen Maynard, Gaby Spadaro, Elena Joy Thurston, Mina Krane, Jason Masters, Jeff Harvey, Laurence Best, Don Stouder, J. S. Richards, Fiona Feng, Yvonne Borgquist, Sarah McManus MSc, Annabelle Rose, Laura Silverstein, LCSW, Kyla Sawyer, Ellen Caminiti, rowen maeve, Rafaela Mempin, Punch Drunk Cola, Jeff Poole, Mrs. Capricious, Justine L, Patsy Fergusson, John Westphalen, Curtis Harding, Phoenix Huber, Val Servino, Jadon-Maurice Forbes, Molly Martin, Henry Lee Butler, Grey Alexander Crawford, Les Campbell, Casira Copes, Niki Madore, Shachee Swadia, Chevanne Scordinsky, Reis Asher, Jahleel Wasser, Jaimie Brickey, Doody Richards, Patrick Paul, James Fox Jeffries, Alexander Petrovnia, Elaine D Walsh, ƒ Michael Wells, Jack Herlocker, Lindsay Soberano-Wilson, Don Orr Martin, Jackson Banks, Martin Friend, Coby Bronze, Cate Talley, Damian Delune, Emilly Olivares, Sree Jaya, Sogen Ohata, David Arias, Kayla Vokolek, G. L. Balend, Anthony Eichy Eichberger, Shanker Mahadev, Jenna McRae, Jay Rose Ana, Kevin M. Casin, Linda Caroll, Unzip It, Judy McCord, Eric Beach, Dr Jeff Livingston, Topher Bigelow, Christopher Kelly, Joseph Coco, Jordan Michael Becker, syys, Eilís O’Keeffe, Meghan McKie, Rand Bishop, Ryan Doskocil, Jacob Green, JULIAN GRACIANO NUNEZ, Marcus Davensky, Rebecca Herz, Alexander Tan, X.S., Ken Scout, Kitty Whitemore, Ellison O., Ed Guzzo, KP_the_writer, Judah Leblang, Arthur Keith, Jess Whitehall, Takoda Leighton-Patterson, S. Armstrong, Elena, Dunollie, Rita Malone, Nicole Stewart, Amanda Laughtland, Stephanie Moga, Tyler Albertario, Na.tasha Tr.oop, Suzanna Alastair, Lorelei Weldon, Victoria Stagg Elliott, Staten Blogging, Jaimie Hileman, Roo Benjamin, I. J., Helianthos, Brynn Tannehill, Lari, Amelia Harlow, Mary DeVries, Alyssa Ferguson, Anna, Casey Lawrence, Meagon Nolasco, spoorti, Antoni(a) Ceballos, A. T. Steel




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James Finn

James Finn

James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.

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