Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Three Poems

In “A Study In Plants”, “The Image Surprises”, and “When I Was A Boy”, yearning takes center-stage as Sarah Sala comes to terms with loving and/or losing the women in her life: this includes deceased great-grandmothers, estranged sisters, the woman she loves and marries, and herself. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Unlade

“Unlade,” a braided essay, unpacks the legal ruling allowing same-sex marriages to be recognized throughout the United States in the midst of Cie moving into a new apartment. There, unknown and without a center, Cie uses music and Pixy Liao’s Experimental Relationship photography collection to reflect on and explore sexuality. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

I, The Universe

The narrator struggles with coming to terms with his identity as he grows up in a sheltered village in rural France. The story takes the format of a mock-scientific theory presenting evidences before reaching a conclusion, through the metaphor of the universe and space. […]

Being Mixed-Race

Five Cent Secret

After a beloved grandfather dies, long held secrets come into sharp focus. “Five Cent Secret,” by Court Castaños, explores the complexities of having both white privilege and Mexican roots. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

A Monologue About Coming Out to my Iranian Dad

As a teenager, Sarah Lotfi didn’t yet have the words to explain her sexuality, nor did she conceive that she could ever live as an out-and-proud queer person, so she relied on queer media. She underlines the dissonance between Iran’s harsh persecution of homosexuals and a young Iranian-Canadian’s innocuous coming out story. […]

Being Mixed-Race

California

“California” captures the experiences of a young multiracial girl as she watches the white world of her mother and the Japanese-American of her father collide. On a summer evening, she begins to understand why her parents chose to make a life for their family in a small town. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Into Eros

Drawing on her experience of intimate partner abuse at 15, Zoë Brigley considers the possibility of sex after rape. Anne Carson’s assertion that Eros is “the biggest risk of your life” takes on a new meaning within legacies of trauma, and on a quest to rediscover desire and healing. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Four Poems on Latinidad by Anthony Orozco

“Encantado” — An ode to Boricuas, who showed up en masse to the first Puerto Rican festival in Reading, Pa, in over a decade. The city’s first Latino mayor was freshly elected, the aftermath of Maria is behind them, and they continue to grapple with the perception of being not “real Americans. // ”mano a mano” — A call for unity, advocacy, and pride among Latinos. It honors the massive contributions and hidden hardships of our people. The poem momentarily erases our cultural, national, and class barriers to connect us as one. // “Conquest” — Written and performed with the oral tradition in mind, it is a vulnerable and visceral defense of mixed-race, mixed-culture people. When people try to control what Latinidad means or looks like, though they do not know the multi-cultural and sordid past of Latin America, this poem is used to refute claims of “not being Latino” enough. // “Land of the Cinder Block” — Also written and performed with the oral tradition in mind, this piece is an ode to my father’s homeland of Chihuahua, Mexico. It examines the state’s dual nature of being equally beautiful and perilous, of being sacred and frightening. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

The Audacity to Live

“The Audacity to Live” is a personal essay that centers around Alondra Adame’s experience as a daughter of immigrants and as a queer woman of color wrestling with her parents’ expectations while learning to become independent and navigating higher education. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 23: Traces of Home

Filmmaker Colette Ghunim on her first feature-length documentary: “Traces of Home tells the story of what happens when we as first-generation Americans go back to our roots to find out how where we come from shapes our identity. Through Traces of Home, I am telling my own personal story. I’m half Mexican and half Palestinian and both my parents were forced to leave their homes as children, and they both never returned since then. So through my film, we’re going back to Mexico and Palestine to try to find the original houses and to talk about why people are leaving and immigrating and why refugees are leaving as well, during a time when we need to hear it the most.” […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Breathing Lessons

After a racialized exchange with a doctor at a walk-in clinic, the narrator of “Breathing Lessons” examines the way she has been perceived as a mixed-race person; one constantly barraged with the question of, “What are you?” False binaries are explored in this deeply personal meditation. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Shulamite Woman

“The Shulamite Woman” places the author’s personal experience growing up as a woman in a fundamentalist evangelical non-denominal Protestant church that enforced purity culture, and the lasting psychological and emotional trauma it caused, in juxtaposition with an alternative reading of the biblical book Song of Solomon. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Barbs on a Wire

The first time we three are together and Dad says, “Hey, Hon”, both our heads turn to him expectantly. Of course, he means her. I blush, embarrassed by the demotion. Confronting and exposing childhood sexual abuse—like walking a barbed wire. […]

Creative Nonfiction

800,000 Clenched Cervixes

Childbirth is often heralded as one of the most amazing and profound experiences a woman can have. But what happens when the birthing mother has been sexually abused? Lan Tran shares her experiences, shadowed by trauma, of birthing naturally and via C-section. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Tree is a Body

Disassociation. Panic. Looking back and freezing. Moving between nude art modeling, trauma, and becoming a tree. How do we ignore the way our body hurts when we don’t move it? How do we let other people look at our bodies? […]

Creative Nonfiction

On Suffering

The girl sweeping cedar chip insulation in the bitter cold of winter becomes a teenage girl drowning in the heavy metal that seeps through the wall between her room and her brother’s. While drunk at a house party, this malcontent teen confronts the man who stole her innocence. We leave the girl pondering her fate spelled out in a fortune-teller’s tarot cards. Will she alter her doomed journey? […]

Creative Nonfiction

in which a woman closes, then opens, a door

The piece considers the aftermath of trauma in the context of a woman revisiting her childhood. It weaves together personal narrative with a meditation on temporal displacement in La Jetée (1962), to consider how trauma creates temporal vertigo – and ties us to the past whilst simultaneously alienating us from it. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

When Jesus Meant More Than Me

A story of a young dyke in the early 1970s, in Tampa, FL, whose mother’s religious beliefs have led to her being disowned. Making a life and new family for herself, the protagonist desperately tries to live with the monumental loss and the events endured over her sexuality. Her efforts to find peace are overshadowed with her own debilitating issues with alcoholism, drugs and mental health. Issues, resulting from a childhood lost to her mother’s madness and religiosity. The story focuses on a particular night at the local gay bar when said mother arrives unannounced and demands an audience with her child, in a last-ditch effort to save her soul. A furious, yet heartbreaking. exchange, grown from all that’s been done, occurs in the bar’s parking lot. […]