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Home: The Toast

The holidays are over. We made it through, friends. What did you all get? What did you do for New Year’s Eve? How many e-mails were waiting in your inbox at work this morning? How many made you want to cry?

In case you missed them, here are last week’s columns from Mensah Demary  (Liner Notes) and Aimee Nezkhukumatathil (World of Wonder).

Here is what Ina (Garten, of course) was up to over the holidays.

Ina Garten, creator of the Barefoot Contessa brand of TV shows, books and foods, is a world-renowned host of parties. So you’d think that for New Year’s Eve, the biggest party night of the year, she’d pull out all the stops and invite hundreds of guests to her house in the Hamptons for champagne and the finest hors d’oeuvres imaginable.

If you need help saying “shit” with flair, there’s an acting academy for that.

I was saddened to hear that Stuart Scott has died after a long fight with cancer.

That man is Stuart Scott, and his contributions to the sports lexicon are writ large. But they are only one aspect of his legacy. When he passed away, he left behind so much more. He inspired his colleagues with his sheer talent, his work ethic and his devotion to his daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15. He defied convention and criticism to help bring this network into a new century. He spoke to the very athletes he was talking about with a flair and a style that ESPN president John Skipper says, “changed everything.”

Here’s a man who runs obscenely long distances. Does not compute.

In the summer of 2013, a then-36-year-old night pharmacist from Hamilton, Ontario, entered the Western States Endurance Run, one of the world’s most competitive 100-mile races. It would be the farthest he’d ever run—by 50 miles.

Over at GQ there is a profile of The Bachelor host Chris Harrison.

Nighttime on The Bachelor is lit golden by candles: hundreds of them on any given evening, thousands over the course of a season—lit, relit, stoked, oxygenated, basked in, had white wine sipped by the light of—all born of the dry-ice lovemaking fantasy that the show’s producers imagine women dream of.

Kima Jones is a writer whose name should always be on your lips. She shared an excerpt from her essay “The Aqiqah” at a reading last year and the rest of the piece is just as gorgeous and evocative.

Connie married the African one afternoon in a not-white dress, her nails polished, probably gold, her modest diamond and our father’s teary face. His youngest daughter and the hard-working man beside her. The prayer rugs and prayers said. For mercy. For fertility. For ease. Her wide face and the mascara lining each lash. Our father and the several goats killed. A lamb. Our father and his to-be son-in-law trampling into the woods together to choose from the grazing beasts. To rub their animal backs and pat at the place where rump turns to tail. To watch the sun shift and make the afternoon prayer, Dhur, in the wood with the beasts. Where the older man has always led the prayer in his home, he cedes to this younger son in the woods.

Leelah Alcorn’s final words should be remembered.

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in … because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight Christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.


(Leelah) Josh Alcorn



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