“Letter to Lori:” transgender man reaches back in time to former self

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Dear Lori, I know things are rough right now. I know that every day carries such an overwhelming feeling of dread and confusion. I know you’re afraid to go to school, that you feel sick every morning and think it’s hopeless, like it’s never going to stop hurting. I know it seems like the taunts will never stop, the things other students, even teachers, say to you. Things like “Amazon,” dyke, freak, linebacker, or lezzie. Like they’ll never stop asking you things like,  “Why can’t you just stop trying to…

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Surviving and thriving: a new family within the Leather family

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I have been to quite a few away-from-home events over the last couple of years and often have seen my Leather family posting about their “event drop.” But I’ve never really experienced it. I thought maybe I was broken, or maybe didn’t have my heart in it. Maybe that was why I was completely fine upon returning home from most events, ready to go with house duties, mom duties, work, and “let’s get it done.” This time is different, so very different. This time, I was helping kick off a…

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“Starting With You:” your proactive journey to compassionate self-investment (NEW COLUMN)

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My sister used to tell me I was “weird.” She’d make fun of me, and I’d go to our mom, in search of a solution. “Stop being so sensitive,” she’d respond. This would have been a perfect opportunity for my parents to teach me conflict resolution and communication skills, but that’s not what happened. My parents didn’t have their own skills of emotional regulation, so they weren’t capable of teaching those skills to me. In my family, good communication skills and emotional literacy were hard to come by. My parents…

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“Tell me if I’m missing something:” minimum wage a hidden boon for corporate interests (COLUMN)

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Increasing minimum wage won’t help workers. But it will increase prices, especially for items that those very workers consume. For those people making minimum wage, their real costs of living will stay about the same. But when their salary doubles because of minimum wage, so will the cost of everything they consume. Consider my straightforward reasoning, using the example of a fast food worker making a cheeseburger. A cheeseburger made by someone earning $15 an hour costs more than a cheeseburger made by someone earning $7.25 an hour. The only…

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Happy headspace, with or without a handler, is the heart of human pet play

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I have a pet. A Pup. His name is Pup Who, and I adore him. I’m not talking about a normal pet, like you might have. Though I also own the kinds of pets YOU might own (cats and dogs), I’m talking here about the pets in my kink and Leather world. I’m talking about human pets. Like your pets, they are beautiful, loving creatures. They want to play, to be stroked, to cuddle, to be mischievous, to be kept safe. They are loyal and often full of service for…

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The mind behind drag king Hugh Jindapants on the I.C. Kings’ legacy of gender-bending service (GUEST COLUMN)

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It’s the end of June — but something feels, off. This Pride month is different, and many of the spaces — physical, emotional, spiritual — have been drastically altered.  We’ve felt the loss of live performances and underground glimpses of poignant art.  Instead, we’ve found a grieving for the face-to-face conversations yelled across a loud, dark room thumping with bass … and this looming sense of unarticulated loss, or of being lost.  It’s weird to even be a person right now.  I’ve forgotten how to be comfortable chatting in groups,…

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From minor league baseball, to allies, to the word ‘uprising:’ unsung heroes of Pride (TRM Blog)

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Tomorrow, you’ll read a column here from and about two icons of LGBTQ+ culture in the Midwest: the I.C. Kings of Iowa City, and one of their co-founders, the artist formerly known as Hugh Jindapants. Today 52 years ago — about right now, actually, in the wee hours of June 28 as I write this column — is the actual anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. At somewhere around 1:30 a.m. in New York City, on June 28, 1969, police launched the surprise raid on the Stonewall Inn that triggered the…

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“We belong:” the Leather community’s pivotal role in Pride

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Every Queer person has seen these statements on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. • “That doesn’t belong here.” • “Think of the children.” • “This is a family-friendly event, and you have ruined it.” And my favorite: “What you do behind closed doors is fine, but I don’t want to see it.” We’re told to keep our queerness at home. It’s one reason we have Pride month. But every Pride season, another argument happens: that Leather, kink, BDSM, pet play, and the like should not be represented at Pride. In…

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Existential condemnation of LGBTQ people continues five years after Pulse (TRM Blog)

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“Even life, it’s like funeral practice,” wrote the beloved nonbinary poet Andrea Gibson in their piece, “Orlando.” “Half of us already dead to our families before we die, half of us on our knees trying to crawl into the family photo.” These brutal words are the most pivotal part of Gibson’s amazing tribute to Pulse Nightclub victims.  Yet, they seem to be the least-quoted, I find in the five years since Pulse. When it comes to Pulse, we’re all aware of the location (Orlando, Fl.), number of victims (49 killed,…

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Strong, sexy, busting stereotypes: “From My Lips to Yours” explores kink and leather

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The lightbulb moment. We’ve all had them, and mine was when a man walked up to me 21 years ago and asked to lick my boots. I have many loves and passions. Flowers (they are so beautiful, and bring a smile to my soul). Horror movies (can we please get some scary ones? come on!).  Make-up (I own enough of it to make you laugh or cry). Oh… and I am a Leather Woman that loves to play. In fact, I’m your current Ms. Iowa Leather. I’m an educator, and…

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