s.e. smith

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s.e. smith is a National Magazine Award-winning Northern California-based writer who has appeared in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Bitch Magazine, and numerous other fine publications. 


Cover Photo: A close-up of three or four people's hands in the darkness, each holding sparklers that light up the center of the photo.
Disability Sucks Sometimes. Why is it Taboo to Say So?

Disability ruins everything, these stories tell us: disability itself is tragedy. These people’s lives are over, apparently, even though they are palpably still here.

Aug 25, 2020
Cover Photo: A wooden chair with a blue seat stands alone in a blue room.
What If Accessibility Was Also Inclusive?

It’s hard to articulate what it feels like to spend a lifetime being told that you are not allowed. Not always in so many words, but in gestures, in spaces, in thoughtlessness.

Jul 28, 2020
Cover Photo: A black and white photo of two statues: angels caught in what seems like an intimate embrace.
The Small Beauty of Funeral Sex

There is something about sex that feels like an unequivocal “fuck you” to death, taking something back from that which has taken something from you.

Jul 15, 2020
Cover Photo: A collage of four images—Two of AIDS protests and "die-in" protests in the 1990s, and two of Black Lives Matter protests and "die-in" protests in 2020.
Tired of Dying: Ashes Action, Covid-19, and Protesting Under a Pandemic

When your back is against the wall, dumping your loved ones in the president’s front yard can seem like the only rational response.

Jun 15, 2020
Cover Photo: A photo of a man's hand pressing into the musculature of another man's back.
The Hands That Haunt Us: When Did Disability Become Consent?

You will remember, in fact, the first doctor who does ask, who says ‘is it okay if I put my hands here,’ gesturing, waiting for you to say ‘yes.’

Mar 17, 2020
Cover Photo: An animated gif of a birthday cake covered in rainbow sprinkles and a number 2 candle that flickers into and out of sight as a question mark.
Why the Label of ‘Gifted Kid’ Isn’t Always a Gift

Here’s a thing about being labeled “smart” as a kid: When there’s a thing you’re not good at, people assume it is because you are lazy.

Feb 05, 2020
Cover Photo: A close-up photo of red, yellow, and grey pills that seems to have some motion blur, indicating a tremor.
What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Mental Health and Medication

Experiencing a severe reaction to medication taught me many interesting things about the limits of my own body, but also the limits of the world around me.

Nov 26, 2019
Cover Photo: A photo of Selma Blair in front of the Vanity Fair building, dressed in a flowing black, pink, blue, and mint green gown, posing with her cane.
The Ugly Beautiful and Other Failings of Disability Representation

Those who spend their lives in bodies others deem unworthy grow accustomed to building our own self-worth.

Oct 24, 2019
Cover Photo: Photograph by Thomas Chun/Unsplash
Are We Ever Disabled ‘Enough’ When You Don’t See Our Disabilities?

It is not so much that these things are invisible as it is that people are trained to hide them, and society is conditioned to look away from them.

Jul 17, 2019
Cover Photo: Illustration by Sarah Robbins for Catapult
What It Means to Be Trans in My Tiny Town

My trans friends rarely come home, and when they do, it is for brief bursts of time. They question why I’ve chosen to keep living here.

Jun 10, 2019