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Trans Family Love, Tennessee Child Brides, and Queer Youth Power

Prism & Pen Weekly — April 10, 2022

by James Finn

This week in P&P, practical tips for supporting besieged trans families, a shocking Tennessee bill that could end same-sex marriage and bring back child marriage, and a queer youth podcast lighting the way to a better world. Plus all your favorite fiction, memoir and poetry!

READERS: Read for free by clicking photos or links. Want to help support P&P? Click to join Medium.

— Editor’s Picks —

How to Be Kind to Trans Families Right Now

Mary DeVries

The climate for transgender families in parts of the U.S. is growing so toxic that Mary, the parent of a trans child, felt compelled to write.

The good news is, the situation is so serious and the sense of isolation is so strong that you don’t have to do much to make a huge difference to a trans person or their loving family member. I’ve got some ideas for you.

Read in P&P

TN GOP: Let’s Bring Back Child Brides, Axe Gay Marriage

James Finn

This might be the month’s least reported really-big-deal story. Why no hue and cry over lawmakers’ tricks to get rid of same-sex-marriage and age requirements? Do people think the story isn’t true (it is, says Snopes), or do we just write off folks in the South as not worth fighting for?

The Tennessee GOP isn’t about to let a measly court precedent stand in their way. Think they can’t find a way around Obergefell? Observe that most women in Texas can’t get an abortion TODAY, and Roe is still in effect.

Read in P&P

Power and Poetry of LGBTQ+ Youth

Ryan J. Mills

Ryan is privileged to mentor queer youth, helping to coordinate a youth-group podcast where they speak their truths. Today, he introduces the group and shares a powerful poem by 19-year-old Jordan Murphy entitled Don’t Say Gay.

This poem serves as a declaration of humanity and rebellion, of pain and perseverance, of anger and triumph. Above all, it continues the rich tradition of calling out the contradictions and hypocrisy of …

Read in P&P

— Memoir —

Slammed: a Memoir

John Cormier

John took a week off, but I encourage you to take this chance to start at the beginning of his immersive dive into a world of sex and meth addiction, growth, and redemption. You won’t regret one moment.

Read on P&P

A Tale of Two Souls

The Wordsmith™🏳️‍🌈🇺🇸

This week, Steve Alexander starts a shorter but no-less-gripping memoir. Not enough has yet been written about love and loss in the time of AIDS. Many have felt time needed to pass before sharing our most painful stories. Steve is joining his voice to those of women and men who say the time is now.

“They will multiply unchecked; they will destroy neurons and synapses by the billions. In three months, maybe four, his brain will look like Swiss cheese. Literally.”

I remained stone-faced while tears rolled over my lower eyelids like storm waters topping a dam. I still didn’t trust myself to speak.

Read part 1, Gay Man Struggles With News of Partner’s Impending AIDS Death

— Essays and Creative Nonfiction —

Interview with Alice Curitz, Creating Queer Mental Health Spaces

Meagon Nolasco

Alice Curitz is many things: a practitioner, a member of the queer community, and the most flexible human being I have ever virtually met… I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear from someone living in Canada regarding the recent ban and criminalization of conversion therapy.

Read on P&P

A Transgender Tale: Slandered As ‘He’ and Affirmed As ‘She’

Joanna Miles

Being addressed with the appropriate pronouns is uplifting beyond words. It is similar to the old saying that the word people love to hear most is the sound of their name.

Read on P&P

Christians: The One Thing You Must NEVER Say to LGBTQ People

James Finn

A personal story that illustrates a sad but powerful truth about LGBTQ people, Christianity, and mental health. I wish I didn’t have to tell the story, but I do, because people who should know better seem unable to walk in the shoes of vulnerable, perfectly moral, traditionally persecuted people.

Read on P&P

Gay Republican Dave Rubin Cancelled by Homophobic Right. Yawn.

Collin McGuinness

I can understand why Rubin doesn’t like the left. Yet, I can’t bring myself to defend him and his family against his homophobic detractors… I should be on Rubin’s side at least on the surrogacy issue, but I can’t in good conscience defend him.

Read on P&P

When Two Trans Kids Find Each Other

theoaknotes

I found this trans kid who looks up to me. They seem to actually semi-listen when I give them advice on how to not get burnt out. It’s odd. I don’t know what I’m doing any more than most of the other young trans adults they interact with, but they really seem to care about what I have to say.

…Let me start from the beginning.

Read on P&P

The Battle Between Tangible Sex and Intangible Gender

Emma Holiday

I have my male binary rhythm down pat. I say, do and act all male. Except that I am not male, I just hide well. I have had to do it to survive. I didn’t want to be hated by loved ones, rejected by friends and family or spurned by society.

Read on P&P

Kitty Whitemore: Self-Appointed Transgender Ambassador

Kitty Whitemore

About a year ago, I decided hiding in plain sight was not working for me. I got impatient and decided to dress how I felt: very feminine and slightly younger than my age. Initially, I was a shadow; there, but not there.

Read on P&P

Love is the Drug : Pills or Patches, A Transgender Impasse

Fiona Evangeline Leigh

You don’t know how fine and well-bred your piggy is until you’re knocked off it. Like a sharp squall from the harbor coming out of nowhere, it bitchslaps you out of your reverie. Down you go like a sack of shit, stunned by the nail bomb that has gone off inside you.

Read on P&P

Catholic School Defies Racist, Homophobic Bishop

James Finn

Racism and homophobia often walk hand in hand, as a prominent Catholic bishop near Boston just demonstrated. In trying to strong-arm a Catholic school he has no authority over, he is teaching racist, homophobic values to children …

Read on P&P

Time to Retire the Term Homophobia

Collin McGuinness

As a writer, I hate the word “problematic.” It’s overused by millennials, but in this case, it’s appropriate. The term homophobia is itself problematic. The fact that homo is part of the word tends to lay the blame …

Read on P&P

You (Queer People) Are Not Going to Hell!

Nick Bundarin

It’s easy to get caught up in others’ bullshit. Many of us were born into a world that decided what our existence was. We were told we were pedophiles and degenerates, and we let people treat us like dirt. However …

Read on P&P

Trans People Are Not Safe in the UK

Sean Bennett

Protections and rights for transgender people in the UK are… being actively and maliciously eroded by a series of anti-trans organisations and, horrifyingly, the sitting government itself.

Read on P&P

Ties That Bind: Gay Man Living Between Two Places

Judah Leblang

Sometimes I’m frozen too, a living time capsule of a boy who grew up in a narrow Jewish world/an insular suburb outside of that formerly great city, one that decayed as I watched from my perch east of town.

Read on P&P

Christian Post Warns of “Gay Agenda”

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Christian Post contributor Samantha Kamman writes about GLAAD… calling for more LGBTQ+ representation in children’s media. The way Kamman tells it, this is the end of society as we know it. I’m a Christian, and I just want to talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ right now: all this pearl-clutching is so exhausting and helps no one.

Read on P&P

Is Supporting Transgender Rights a Sign of Weakness?

Emma Holiday

It is a sad commentary on the world when I hear Americans, particularly the clergy, side with Putin and his invasion of Ukraine. They agree with Putin that supporting of LGBTQ rights, and in particular transgender rights, is a sign of weakness in Western democracies.

Read on P&P

— Fiction Finds —

Gay Teens and a Bullet Hole in the Window

Logan Silkwood

We spent a half hour guessing at why there was a bullet hole in the window, before we took turns fighting the rusted door open, grunting, piling together into the darkness.

Read on P&P

My Queer Aunt Zeinab Always Knew How to Laugh About Death

Logan Silkwood

“When I’m dead, if you really want to know I’m haunting you, just make a coffee cake. You’ll know I’m still here because I’ll dump those crumbs on your lap when you least expect it.”

Mom’s lips would always purse at her nonsense.

Read on P&P

— Poetry Picks —

The Gift Of Family

Jenny Starr✨

Would you accept my love if it came,
In a box or without my name?
A token of affection all the same,

Read on P&P

That’s it that’s all, folks! Writers, what should we focus on for the next two weeks? Hit me up in comments and I’ll try to use your feedback in tomorrow’s prompt. Happy Sunday!

Jim

Esther Spurrill-Jones, Ainsley L, Fred Shirley, neil chapman, David Wade Chambers, Artemis Shishir, alto, Gabriela Penelope, Lois, b.henriques, Carl Rebeiro 🏳️‍🌈, Rodney, Simon, Carl, Brian, Deneishia Jacobpito, Chris Hedges, Kathy Lee Tolleth, Alex David Bevan, David Wade, Lois Shearing, Valentine, b.henriques, Simon Z., Cassie Brighter, James, Brigid Maloney, Gabriela, Presley Thomas, Evan McCoy, Loren Olson, Ken Wilson, Chandler, Arabelle J., Liam Heitmann-Ryce, Prickly Pam, Dawn McGrath, Jonathan | sex & theology, Tabitha Lowndes, Emma Nwosisi, Melissa Speed, Till, Dave Smurthwaite, Ellie Rebecca, Zoey, Edris Quinn C., Dennett, Michael Constable, Jim Martens, Stephen Foster, Kravitz M. Kristen Nadel, William Kuhn, Denisa, Rafaela Mempin, Tre L. Loadholt, theoaknotes, Rachel Brindell, Elle Fredine, Jess Darnell, Emma, Gabe Evaristo, Joshua Mackey, Steve Alexander, Stevie Wilkinson, Andy Killoran, Nick, ElMehdi El, 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, Logan Silkwood, E. Katherine Kottaras, Eugene Pierson, David Moreton, Joanna Miles, Fay Wylde, Mila Bea, Elliott Jacob, Gerald Sturgill, Kim Barrett, Jenny Starr✨, Alex Mell-Taylor, Jonny Masters, Collin McGuinness, Ryan J. Mills,

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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.