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(They) Queer educator, mental health advocate, city kid. Writer of words, questioner of social norms, collector of degrees, lovechild of Captain Janeway and Q

Not all COVID-era innovations were helpful. Some were completely necessary and served an essential function during the worst moments of the pandemic. We thank them for their service before tossing them in the trash, Marie Kondo-style.

)I’ve already written about my own experience in quarantine, and the COVID innovations I hope will stick around post-pandemic.)

1. Masks when not ill

For the past year, I’ve watched television shows and movies with a sense of forlorn jealousy because all the characters have been able to frolick about their regular lives, totally maskless. As an extrovert, there is little I miss more…


They say the most successful coping strategy for a time of unrest or distress is to find the positives in the trauma. With COVID-19, that’s been difficult to do. People have been trapped in their homes for over a year, almost three million people have died worldwide (with over 500,000 deaths in the US alone), countless others have been impacted by grief and economic suffering. Mental health has deteriorated across the board, and a general sense of listlessness descended upon us all during the cold, snowy months of this past winter.

Businesses of all sizes have had to fight to…


The last time I locked my classroom door and departed from my normal life, it was March 13, 2020. It is now the first day of Spring 2021. While the first few weeks of 2020 were a manic time filled with the optimism and fervor of a new decade, to call the months that followed “an upheaval” is an understatement without parallel. The entire world has proven it is more resilient and adaptable than any of us ever thought possible.

While some parts of the world have been itching to return to the world that existed before COVID-19 was declared…


Losing the Fear to Learn about Trans Experiences

In my role as a public school teacher, the idea that there’s no such thing as a stupid question is something akin to a golden rule. It’s one of those golden rules that I have internalized totally and applies to pretty much every facet of my life. There is nothing that makes me more uncomfortable as when people make assumptions or believe untrue things instead of just asking questions.

Extroverts (like me) love talking about themselves, it’s human nature to want to foster connection with your fellow human beings. Ask me anything — like reddit come to life. I am…


Come on, there are tater tots in that nebula!

The author and SUE the dinosaur, enby heroes (sometime in 2020)

How does one boil down a human life into a bite-size chunk for the consumption of strangers on the internet? Blah, blah, blah, I am vast and contain multitudes.

I like to say that, at the ripe age of twenty-seven, I’ve been at least five entirely different people. We all have, I’m just less tied to the myth and great lie of the stable identity and linear narrative autobiography.

Hi, I’m Topher, and I am a queer transmasculine enby (enby is slang for the umbrella term nonbinary). I use the word queer to denote that I am not straight or…


I was one of the “lucky” teachers with a provable pre-existing condition that was able to secure a remote accommodation before school started this year. I’ve been teaching remotely, using Zoom and Google Classroom as virtual classroom spaces since mid-September. Things couldn’t look more different as I’ve transitioned from a physical classroom to a virtual one. Here are my takes after only a couple of months.

First, setting the scene. I teach in a small high school in the New York City public school system, in the borough of Queens. Mirroring the citywide average, about three quarters of our students…


Never in my fifteen years of participating in NaNoWriMo has the month of November slipped by quite so quickly. In years past, I have been comforted and lulled to a false sense of security by the slow drip-drip-drip of November slogging away. In my mind, there is always time to catch up, right up until the point that there is not. I was glad that I didn’t allow myself to slip into this mindset this month.

I actually won NaNo! I didn’t finish early like many others in my region. I didn’t overwrite — there was an individual in my…


I have identified as both a writer and reader for as long as I can remember. My parents love to joke about the fact that I was able to read picture books before I was able to successfully use the toilet. I was writing stories of my own in only a few short years after that. I had mountains of one-subject notebooks abandoned with half-developed stories and character sketches. I was twelve when my cousin introduced me to a website that would change my life.

NaNoWriMo, the eponymous acronym for the much longer-winded National Novel Writing Month, is the brainchild…


As I begin writing this post, it is Election Day in America. As a public school teacher, I am off today to doom scroll and wallow in my existential dread. Of course, I’m supposed to be writing my novel for National Novel Writing Month, but who can focus on a day like this? It’s all I can do to masturbate to the imaginings of living in an America headed by Josiah Bartlet or something.

No, I can’t even do that. Things are too scary. …


Just one week before this year’s National Coming Out Day (October 11), I turned twenty-seven. It’s a year that’s held significant intrigue for me my whole life, not least because it was the final year for so many artists formative to my identity. In an effort not to join them in that massive jam in Heaven, the following is an exercise identity affirmation.

Being queer has always been a huge part of who I am, regardless of how comfortable I have been advertising the extent. Most of you who have met me probably know that I am bisexual, a perfect…

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