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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.


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Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

The other day during a therapy session, I said suddenly, “Healing is hard.”

“It is,” my therapist, J, replied. “It can be scary to leave what we know.”

J asked me if I could elaborate on the parts of the healing journey I was finding more difficult. I wanted to say, “Everything,” but in that moment I was feeling a particular strain, the one that comes from the loss of relationships that no longer fit you.

I’m lucky to have many friends located all over the country. I’ve spent years feeling confident in the web of my supporters. They have…


In a binary world, everyone who looks at me sorts me into “man” or “woman.” Everyone is wrong.

Pictured: Fluid, probably some genders. Photo by Giuseppe Famiani on Unsplash

“You look very much like yourself,” my husband told me. We were in a pool in Virginia, late at night, taking turns dragging each other through water as warm as blood.

I had no idea what he meant. My husband went to grad school to study Wittgenstein, at one point, and he has an academic’s habit of choosing a word located two doors down from the one you’d use in casual conversation. You can sit with his little poems forever without decoding them.

“You’re all sharp and spiny,” he said. “I can always tell exactly what you’re thinking when I…


The lessons she taught me play a part in all the fiction I’ve ever written

Photo: Elia Pellegrini/Unsplash

As a child, my grandmother mailed me monthly letters. I wrote her back but not nearly as often. My preference was for fiction, and I filled notebooks with charcoal pencil scribblings about living in a city, fighting crime, and becoming a local hero.

I was alone often, but life was fairly easy. Then, in the seventh grade, a teacher I worshipped was fired for molesting a boy in our school. She denied the allegations and asked me to help her get her job back. …


The father who never accepted me is dying, and I’ve already moved on

Illustration: Hoi Chan

“You go on in there and talk to yo Daddy.”

My mother is whispering but emphasizes the word “talk” with a squeeze of my hand as if she thinks some sort of deep revelation between my father and I will break a levee between us, setting free a long-ago dammed-up river of love. I’ve come back to Ohio and am standing in the nursing home where my father lies dying in bed just down the hall. I don’t even want to be here to tell you the truth. I feel little to no connection with the man lying in that…

This Is Us

Coming to terms with my sexual anorexia

Double exposure photo of woman with light trails.
Double exposure photo of woman with light trails.
Photo: Mireia Moreno Mateos/EyeEm/Getty Images

In her 2000 novel Aliens and Anorexia, Chris Kraus writes that it’s “impossible to conceive a female life that might extend outside itself.” That is, we expect women to be insular, private, shrinking. Kraus is writing about philosopher Simone Weil, who starved herself to death at 34, the age I am now.

I was first diagnosed with anorexia at age 11.

Weil refused to eat more than the rations allotted to French soldiers and citizens remaining on her native land. …

Little boy on an empty subway platform.
Little boy on an empty subway platform.
Photo: Orbon Alija/Getty Images

I am 25 and it is 9:42 pm on a Tuesday. I am sitting in a Los Angeles subway station, which exists. I missed the train and the next is in 20 minutes, and I walk to a zig-zag shaped bench that was designed to be artistically interesting, but is mostly just a terrible bench. I sit down in a zig and open a book on my iPad.

A mother and son sit on the bench behind me, in a zag. They have just come from Costco and she is irritated that the basketball they bought doesn’t fit in the…

This Is Us

To be queer is to have a chosen family — and decide for ourselves what that means

QAR #jjweddingadventures

It is a hot summer night in August. The kind of night where you think you might be able to catch the air with your hands it hangs so heavy and thick. The sound of pans and dishes clanging in the background is our soundtrack. There is a big, rectangular dining room table surrounded by benches, cushions, and pillows. There are platters of food fresh from the grill.

One of us is pouring and making drinks. One of us is telling a story. One of us is finalizing the dinner prep. You get the idea. On first glance, this might…

This Is Us

Peony mosaic image.
Peony mosaic image.
Photo: oxygen/Moment/Getty Images

The first woman I loved,
Was a slumber party dare.
Giggling, we faced each other,
Bare-faced and clean
In bright floral checked pajamas.
Her lips parted soft enough
To touch mine,
And my skull went glittery.
I hardly slept that night,
Wrapped awake in my sleeping bag
Like a glowing chrysalis,
Waiting to hear a sigh, a turn,
A hand reaching out.

The second was a cellist,
Hair curling like tulip petals,
Above a white halter-neck dress,
Clasping my breath.
In her room, we played a game,
Touching each other’s legs
Higher, higher, higher,
Until we laughed, then didn’t.
Our kiss was so deep,
My inhale was her exhale.

How to be gay, sort of


“When did you come out?” is a question I’ve been asked on numerous dates. (I’ve also asked it, usually when there’s not much else to say.) It’s a question that stands in for other questions: How well do you know yourself? How risk-averse are you? How liberal were your parents, your peers, your places of worship? Where would you situate your family, socioeconomically? Mostly, it’s a stand-in for: How new are you at this? And: Can I trust you?

Gays like me are conditioned to divide our lives in two: Before and After. Year Zero is the day we decide…

This Is Us

It’s society that needs to transform, not my nonbinary body

Photo of blooming cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky.
Photo of blooming cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky.
Photo: Anders Jildén/Unsplash

I stopped taking testosterone recently. I think it was a little over a month ago, but I’m not sure. I don’t keep track of that kind of thing. Unlike many trans people, I don’t recognize a “T date” that marks when I began using hormones. I’ve never posted videos tracking how my voice has changed or photos cataloging how wide my shoulders have gotten. For many trans people, such record-keeping is celebratory and affirming. That’s great! It just hasn’t ever suited me.

I’m nonbinary, and I have always used hormones very inconsistently. I put Androgel on my body sometimes, other…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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