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Because of the stigma and myth of periods being dirty, I wanted to distance myself from imagined uncleanliness. I compromised my comfort, but it did not come without a valuable lesson.

By Rachael Edwards We all have stories that we tuck away into the crevices of our inner-most beings in hopes to have them never resurface again. One of my stories that I rarely, if ever, share with anyone is the time I fainted while trying to insert a tampon. Granted, it was my first time but there were reasons that led up to me fainting and the embarrassment that followed after. Recently, I have explored why I find this particular story so embarrassing. Growing up, I was taught to tuck pads deep into my purse so that no one else could see I had my period. It was women’s business and men could not discover what was  going on with my body. If they did, myself and other young women were teased. The language around periods remains problematic because this language is laced with associating our menstrual cycles to uncleanliness–people who menstruate have to hide what happens to their bodies because the cishet male gaze perpetuates the lie that periods are dirty and something to be ashamed of. When I was 17-years-old, I thought it would be a good idea to insert a tampon without any practice. I was told that tampons were cleaner and way cooler than pads. In high school, I was the one in the bathroom with the loud crunchy pad paper. I never had any real issue with pads until someone told me that I was late to the game and needed to start wearing tampons. I wanted to be as clean as possible-if tampons meant that, I had to catch up.

A quick explainer on everything up to date for the Republican ACA repeal and replace effort.

What happened?

Republicans have been threatening the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare,  before it even passed into law in 2010.  Seven years and several failed attempts later, the Senate Republicans are one step closer to making good on their threats.  Yesterday the Senate voted 51-50 to begin debate on an Obamacare repeal plan.  All 48 Democrats voted against the motion; while all but two Republicans voted in favor of the motion, including Senator John McCain who is being treated for a fatal form of brain cancer that was discovered thanks to taxpayer-provided health insurance.  Only two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in voting against the motion.

What’s next?

Now that the procedural motion has passed, Senators will begin debating.  There are and were three proposals up for Senate consideration: 1) Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) which would have taken healthcare insurance away from 22 million people, 2) Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) which would repeal and not replace, leaving 32 million without healthcare insurance, and 3) ”Skinny Repeal” which would leave most of the ACA in place but would eliminate a tax and the mandates on employers and individuals.  BRCA failed with a 43-57 vote. Each party will receive 10 hours of floortime for debate.  During this time, Senators will take turns making speeches about healthcare.  The 20 hours will likely stretch over the span of a few days.  After the 20 hours is complete, a series of amendments will be added to the original bill.  Each amendment requires 51 votes to be approved and must be relevant to healthcare. Once all approved amendments are added, majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, will offer a final bill, which will encompass the plan Senate Republicans want to pass. The final bill will go up for a vote; it will need 51 votes to pass.  In the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence can vote. Related: THE MILITARY IS AN IMPERIALIST TOOL, BUT THE BAN ON TRANS FOLKS IS DEHUMANIZING AS FUCK

To ban us from the military not only feels like an attack on my humanity, but also an insult to my intelligence.

Today, I woke up from an uncomfortable night’s sleep to the news that President Donald Trump is now banning transgender people from serving in the military. I don’t know what’s more of an insult – being denied humanity and my right to choice, or the fact that he even thought I’d want to serve as a tool in his imperialist machine in the first place. The sentiments I feel about this decision are not cut and dry because there are so many implications – good and bad. Is this fucked up? Yes, and here is why: This first thing I think about is all of the transgender Americans currently serving in the military who have been struck with this news. Of the 1,3 million active duty members of the military, 2,450 are transgender, according to a study by the RAND Corporation. What of them? How will they be protected moving forward? What access to resources will they have if they're ejected? What transitionary systems will be put into place to accommodate for this sudden strip of human rights? How will they be safe from this legalized bigotry that will instigate stigmatization from their peers in the barracks?   I am actively working towards a world without police and prisons, including ending the military industry which has been used and weaponized against Black and Brown people for centuries to dominate and exploit our communities. As a Black trans woman in America, I would in no way want to be a pawn in that game at all–but the fight for trans inclusion in the military hasn’t just been about us fighting “for our country”– it’s more about us being able to have access to resources and choices.

I’m sure Jodie Whittaker will be great as The Doctor, but this was still quite the lost opportunity for some much-needed color representation in a franchise that has only recently been diversifying its main actors.

They did it. After approximately 500 million years of Doctor Who’s time traveling, two-hearted, shapeshifting Time Lord, the 13th iteration will appear in the form of a woman. Hooray! The gender wall in one of Earth’s most beloved characters has been broken. The casting announcement of Broadchurch’s Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor broke to the sound of men’s rights activists and internet trolls shitting themselves over this most inhumane of travesties, while feminists cheered at the smashing of this one particular glass ceiling. On the one hand this is a great step forward and a huge accomplishment for women’s representation in visual media–but here’s the thing: even with the gender flip, casting a blonde, cisgender white woman isn’t really all that progressive anymore. As someone who grew up in post-colonial societies during the 80s and 90s where British television was some of the few readily available visual media, I was raised with the older iterations of The Doctor, his Tardis, and magical screwdriver. For someone who could change his face (sort of) at will and whose gender identity and sexuality was always questionable based on The Doctor’s behavior and antics, it always seemed odd that he continued to be played by an older white dude. When the series picked back up in 2005 and featured younger actors playing The Doctor, it did bring an edge to the series that it didn’t have before, but still it was curious that he’d always reincarnate into a similar-looking person.

Black men like OJ Simpson, Bill Cosby, and R. Kelly are able to navigate a society that demonizes the color of their skin and achieve some sense of the American Dream.

By Rachael Edwards Last week, it was announced that OJ Simpson will be released on parole on Oct. 1 after his hearing. He has served nine years in Nevada State Prison after he was found guilty for assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery in 2007. This is the same OJ Simpson that was acquitted of all charges for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman in 1995. I was a one year old when Simpson captured the attention of almost every media outlet in the United States. I grew up hearing conversations about him, but I could never figure out which side Black people stood on when it came down to discussing him. When OJ got off, Black people celebrated, which inevitably incited white anger. However, in conversations within the Black community, there are many who believe that OJ murdered Brown and Goldman. The same conversation translates for white people who adore OJ and the many who cannot say his name without cursing him. Simpson’s image is complex–he is all at once the All-American good guy who plays in the NFL and the violent Black man who was on trial.  The Black part of his identity seems to be in parenthesis–he navigated spaces with non-Black & white people with ease. OJ slid in and out of different social spaces, garnering love from all sides. How?

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