Culture

When I Started HRT, I Discovered a Sweeter Side to My Masculinity

I was leaving femininity behind, grateful to have an example like my grandpa to grow toward.

How Ingmar Bergman Films Helped Me Grow Up in America

The self-regard that came with watching Bergman films helped me feel rich in something, for the first time since arriving in America.

The Radio Repairman Who Started a Movement in Cuban Music

He begged his mother to let him buy the guitar. When she refused, reminding him that it was half of the month’s rent, he wept.

There Is No Purer or More Joyful Reality TV Show Than ‘Antiques Roadshow’

The Roadshow is so kind, so simple, and so pure that you begin to wonder, “Could this even be faked?” When I visited the set in San Diego, I discovered—no, it can’t be faked.

Apr 08, 2019
We Barrio Boys and Our Papi Chulo Philosophics

Who are we if not kin through our deviations? Street hustler and femme queen, macho and maricóncito, variations on a chulo aesthetic.

’90s Sitcoms Don’t Hold Up Well—But They Once Held My Family Together

I knew on a level the humor was cringeworthy, especially as a recently out gay boy facing heterosexist gender roles, but I didn’t care. I needed “Friends” to make our house feel less lonely and empty.

Mar 13, 2019
What Mani Ratnam’s Films Meant to Me and the Women of the Sri Lankan Civil War

Underneath the shiny veneer of Bollywood, there’s something affirming about seeing people caught in the maelstrom of politics and war making choices—to flee or stay or fight.

Feb 21, 2019
How Queer Korean Representation Helped Me Understand Who I Am—and What I Could Lose

I know that I’m living in a ticking clock, and all of this—dinners with my parents, peaceful conversations—will likely be gone one day.

Feb 07, 2019
A Search for the Secret Sauce I Hoped Would Connect Me to My Heritage

I sought a cherished symbol from my own childhood, not a standardized emblem of all Indonesian culture, which I can’t and shouldn’t pretend is all mine to take.

Feb 07, 2019
Twinkdom Has an Expiration Date, But Spinsterhood is Forever

For me, homosexuality is an invitation to opt out, to abstain from the trappings of heteronormativity, a gift of eternal boyhood.

Jan 24, 2019
As a Woman of Color, I’m Told I Can’t Show Anger—So I Let Courtney Love Do it for Me

Because it’s still more acceptable for white women than it is for women of color to show anger, I scream-sing along to Courtney Love’s rage.

Jan 22, 2019
My Family’s Secret Recipe for Immortality

Though my mother’s no longer here to meet my son, he’ll taste his grandmother’s cooking though our family’s Sunday gravy, the one I make every week to keep her spirit alive.

“I should hate forever to be a burden to you”: Lessons in Love from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

I don’t want to take time away from your book, she said, but the book could wait. My writing was always there. She might not be.

Jan 09, 2019
How Watching Asian American Dads Onscreen Helps Me Face My Own

Our fathers may never know us the way we wish they would. And if we learned that ignorance is bliss, it’s because we learned it from them.

Dec 18, 2018
How This Woman Celebrates Black History and Food in Salvador, Brazil

Miraci is being the one thing blackness has always been forced to be even when unwilling—political.

Dec 11, 2018
As a Trans Person, I Don’t Need You to Hug Me. I Need You to Fight for Me.

Trans people have rights because we’re human—not because we’re special. So why does having those rights recognized require a flood of trans tears?

Dec 06, 2018
What I Would See if I Looked in the Mirror of Erised

My heart’s deepest desire was to see my mother again, yes, but also to glimpse a portrait of normalcy that I had never known in the years of her illness.

Nov 28, 2018
Finding My Voice as a Filipino Through the Kundiman and Karaoke

It’s hard to negotiate how much of me is Filipino or American, but I realize this is only a question asked of me by people who seek clarity in their own definition of “American” identity.

Special Request: Why I Fought with My Family on Holiday

“I wanted to be present in Paris. I forgot to be present with my family.”

Nov 20, 2018
How I Learned the Craft of Going on Dates with Girls

I have dated long enough to see a change, and I am still young enough to work at the craft.

Nov 15, 2018