My gender story as a non-binary queer woman

I was different because the body that was developing wasn’t the body I identified with. But, as a teenager in the late 90s and early 2000s, I didn’t have the words to articulate my feelings. I didn’t even have the skills to acknowledge my feelings. I just knew that I felt uncomfortable, that something was “wrong,” but I didn’t know what or why. It wasn’t until my first year of college when I began to find more words for my strong discomfort.

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Trusting Your Own Authority & Intuition

Not only do we need to change the structures outside of ourselves and outward oppression, but also inward oppression, the unhealthy and unsupportive thoughts and beliefs we have latched onto about ourselves that aren’t actually a part of who we truly are. The more we hold onto internalized oppressive beliefs, the less we truly are ourselves, and therefore the less connected we are to our intuition.

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How Internalized Oppression Plays A Big Role In Our "Core" & "Limiting" Beliefs

The personal growth world tells us that we have “core” beliefs or “limiting” beliefs that hold us back from being ourselves and doing what we want in life, and that these beliefs come from ourselves. They might tell us that we have learned some of these beliefs from our parents or families growing up, but, they fail to recognize another root cause of our negative “core/limiting” beliefs, which is societal oppression. This is called internalized oppression.

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Make Her Whole: 3 Tips on Crafting Women in Romance Writing

I’ll just put it out there: I love creating women characters.  If there’s one thing I like more than writing strong & bold women, it’s reading about them. From Janie Crawford to Isadora Wing, I marvel at them.  I’ve walked away from books by my favorite authors - Erica Jong, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Judy Blume among them – feeling fuller for having followed the pages of their journey.

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Masculinity, Divorce and Loving Yourself

Men are expected to be stoic and thick skinned, that's not me. I cry watching a rom com or an anime. Hell, I cry because it's Tuesday. All my life I have been told that a fundamental part of my character and personality was a flaw. It's always been strange to me that the problem was me caring too much, not that they didn't care at all. A lot of my thoughts on being an emotional man go back to one undeniable truth

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My Year of Living Nomadically: Following My Intuition & Trusting The Unknown

I’ve been on a big adventure since I packed up my car to the rim with my stuff and left my home in the Bay Area and my fitness career behind at the beginning of 2016. It’s something I’ve been quiet about online (only friends and family have known), but I want to open up about how I’ve been living in order to tell my story, and in case it will be of help to you in any way. 

While I chose to live nomadically, I did it randomly without any kind of plan or savings or income to support me. At first sight, it seemed as though I had stumbled upon it, but upon further reflection, it was something that I had been creating for years.

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The Complexity Women Have With Their Body Hair

Women’s relationship to their body hair is complex. 

Women have been taught that it’s more acceptable to shave, and at the very least trim, their body hair whether it’s armpit hair, leg hair, pussy hair, nipple hair, or facial hair. These gender expectations run deep, and it’s no simple matter. From a young age, girls are taught to shave their pits and legs, and if they don’t, then they're usually subject to being made fun and feeling like they don’t fit in. Boys are told that their body hair is acceptable the way it is, and that it’s unacceptable for them to shave their pits and legs. Girls and boys are taught to expect girls and women to be practically free of body hair making it a norm that’s difficult to undo. But, is undoing this expectation in every woman’s interest?

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Saying No Without Apology and Explanation

I’ll admit, I hate hearing the word “No,” but I respect it because it’s a big part of taking care of ourselves and owning our life. Our society teaches us to not say no, especially women. Women are taught to please and give to others, and to ask for things in the nicest way possible. We aren’t taught to get clear on what we want and need and ask for it without hesitation, apology, or explanation. Saying “No” is unfavorable, even taboo. But what if we just said “No” without any apology and expectation? It would probably bring most of us out of our comfort zone, but it would be refreshing and change the negative connotation around the word “No.”

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Unapologetically Childfree & The Taboo Of Women Who Don't Like Children

You know when you’re a little kid and the sight of a baby gets you excited and the whole world stops? Yeah, me neither. I never had that experience growing up and I don’t have it as an adult. While my childhood friends would melt all over babies, raving about their cuteness and excited to babysit these little aliens, I was running far far away from anything goo goo ga ga. I wanted nothing to do with babies. Yes, I did play with baby dolls as a little kid, but the real babies freaked me out. They were All. Too. Real. And that reality never peaked my interest.

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The Best Feminist Moments of the Rio Olympics

The Rio Olympics was an exciting one for women full of feminist moments. Unfortunately, there were plenty of anti-feminist moments where sexism was perpetuated and women's gender were being policed. But, women kicked ass, made history, and were just plain awesome! In case you missed any of the Olympic coverage, here's a recap of my favorite feminist moments.

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Questioning The Gender Binary In Sports

The summer Olympics is back and we need to talk about something we like to shy away from as a society: the gender binary in sports, the complications it causes, and whether we need it at all.

More and more, we are seeing the gender gap narrow in sports...

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Pansexual Visibility & Undoing Heteronormativity

Pride was bittersweet this year. We are still devastated and grieving over the Orlando shooting of 50 people at Pulse, a LGBTQ night club, AND we continue to proudly celebrate who we are. The celebration of LGBTQ feels even more important with the violence that recently happened. Though greater strides have been made towards the acceptance of gay and queer people, we still have a long way towards changing perceptions, beliefs, and the safety of LGBTQ people. I want to acknowledge the intersections like race, gender, and disability that many gay or queer people experience. Thus, the fight towards more acceptance and safety of being queer or gay is also a fight to end all social oppressions.

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Suzanne Singer: STEM Engineer on opportunities for Native Americans in STEM & Feminism Including Native Voices

"I think the most successful way to incorporate STEM into Native communities is to embed it in the culture and history. For example, Native Americans built remarkable engineering structures and homes that allowed them to live a certain lifestyle and to survive in sometimes harsh environments."

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Angela Anderson on Gender-Neutral Parenting, Misconceptions of Polyamory, The Stigma of Invisible Disabilities, the Intersections of Feminism and Capitalism

"Every person, of whatever abilities, has an important and amazing life, and deserves access to whatever they need simply by virtue of existing - these are facts I grew up knowing, and therefore I never had to "learn" them."

I met Angela at the California Institute of Integral Studies where we both studied in the Anthropology and Social Change program. She's a long time activist and teacher whose focus centers on intersectional feminism, disability rights, and gender, relationship and family equality. In this interview, Angela shares about gender-neutral parenting, the misconceptions of polyamory, the barriers people with invisibility disabilities face, social oppressions and health, and how all of these topics relate to feminism and capitalism.

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Why The Bikini Body Ideal Is Bullsh*t

Summer is approaching, which means the fitness world is obsessing over helping you achieve that bikini body, and it might have you obsessed with it too. But, the bikini body phenomenon is problematic in many ways that espouses anti-feminist messages. As someone who worked as a fitness trainer for eight years, I’ve seen countless trainers sell the bikini body ideal to their clients, instructors use the bikini body ideal to motivate their exercisers, and a number of clients hire me to help them attain the bikini body ideal. This is a huge problem in society and the fitness world, and I’m here to help change it. I left my fitness career for a variety of reasons, but some of those reasons had to do with the anti-feminist and unhealthy messages that the fitness world sends.

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Vilissa Thompson on Intersectionality, Dating Advice for Disabled Women, and being a Womanist

"I love what I do - I know that I am impacting the world in ways that are unique, empowering, and dynamic."

Vilissa is an amazing advocate for social change, especially around disability and Black women's rights, representation, and visibility. I'm honored to share her unique voice! In this interview, she shares about her experience as a disabled, Black woman, her advice for disabled women wanting to date, why she identifies as a Womanist instead of a Feminist, and being invited to the White House.

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Andréa Ranae: Leadership Coach on the Interconnectedness of Social Change and Personal Growth, Being Vulnerable as a Leader, & What Selfcare Really Means
"There is no personal growth without social change. There is no social change without personal growth."

[NOTE:  I highly recommend listening to this one, if you have that option, for its full effects. Otherwise, you can read the transcription below.]

I met Andréa at the beginning of this year on Twitter, and we created a mastermind group together. I loved the amazing things she's up to and want to share it with the world. It's radical to find someone talking about and practicing the connection between social change and personal growth. Most of my interview with Andréa discusses that connection, but we, also, dive deeper into what self-care really is and how growing up in Chicago has helped shape who Andréa is today.

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Mother's Day Special! My Mom: Feminist Role Model, My Best Friend, and Life Long Bookworm

"Reading was my escape growing up in a dysfunctional world. It was my window into the world."

I've rarely heard my mom use the f-word in my life. And, by the f-word, I mean feminism/feminist. But, even though I’ve rarely heard her use it, she's always had feminist beliefs, and I consider her one of my feminist role models. 

In addition to being one of my feminist role models, my mom’s been an amazing parent, something she never thought she’d be good at. My mom has been everything nurturing, loving, and caring. She’s given me space and acceptance to be myself, been completely supportive, and has made continuous sacrifices, as many mothers do, to put her family first.

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Anita Cameron: Black Womyn Disability Rights Activist, One Million Gimp March

"I was called the "angry Black woman" in an effort to silence me and put me down. I turned it around on my detractors and started Angry Black Womyn to highlight Blackness and disability, how we intersect and how sometimes, there is conflict."

Anita Cameron is a passionate Black womyn, disability rights activist who writes about various, intersectional issues on her site, Musings of an Angry Black Womyn, and is organizing the One Million Gimp March. In this interview, Anita shares more about her intersectionality, some important issues facing disabled folks, and her life long activism. This woman has done A LOT of amazing, vital work in the world, and I feel honored to share her voice!

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