Cover Photo: Photograph courtesy of the author
Photograph courtesy of the author

Don’t Hug 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?

New York Times


Do you need me to spell it out?

New York Times



New York Times


Well, I use a cuddle


Maybe transness, in its popular conception, is what treats us like children. Subtly and not, the associations pervade any discussion of trans people, like a condescending Greek chorus: Isn’t gender play the province of toddlers? Who but a preschooler fixates on bathrooms? New names are for babies, new driver’s licenses for teenagers. A medical transition—that’s just really expensive puberty.” 

In her essay “On Liking Women,” Andrea Long Chu compares gender dysphoria to unrequited love—the desire for a body, a self that perpetually evades. Perhaps this “romance of disappointment” freights transness with adolescent angst, fixing us, in the public imagination, in a kind of existential #throwbackthursday, an awkward phase without exit. Relegated to the realm of becoming, trans people can never simply be.

Dear Leigh,

It is true that the world is a dark place right now and that that news is one more ugly layer. I imagine you sent this email because you read it and felt afraid. It is frightening that those in power seek to divide and categorize human beings between good and bad, legitimate and fake. It is frightening that a president and his staff look out from their fortress and see difference and want to hurt it, and see this hurting as a means to unite their followers. It is frightening that scapegoating has worked before and continues to work. It is frightening, it is sad, it is not easy to live in such a world, not if one is awake.

And yet: here we are.

New York Times


Originally from Michigan, Luke Dani Blue holds an MFA from San Francisco State University, where they were honored with a Distinguished Achievement award. Luke's short fiction has won prizes from Colorado Review and Crab Orchard Review, and a note of distinction from Best American Short Stories 2016. Luke has taught creative writing at universities, public libraries, rural high schools, and major urban writing centers and was recently a Tin House Scholar and member of the Tin House Summer Workshop scholarship committee. Their debut short story collection, Pretend It's My Body, is coming in September 2022 from Feminist Press.