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Safe injection sites save money but also they saves lives.

Philadelphia has, for decades, had a reputation of being a major heroin haven on the East Coast, with its heroin being of such high quality that people purposely moved there for that purpose alone. In recent years with the opiate epidemic steadily getting worse, this reputation only grew more steadily — and then dropped off with the introduction of fentanyl analogues such as acetylfentanyl, butyrfentanyl, and carfentanil (drugs whose names correspond to their chemical formula that are dozens to hundreds of times more potent than morphine) into the heroin supply. Nevertheless, people still swarm to Philadelphia in droves. Puerto Rico drops its heroin addicts off into Philadelphia and people from the surrounding counties and states still come to the city seeking its once-legendary (and now extinct) pure fix. With all of these people going to the city seeking an almost mythical fix that’s been tainted with chemicals humans can’t even consume, it’s not a surprise that the number of fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the city has risen to astonishing and record-breaking numbers. From sidewalks and convenience store bathrooms to buses and trains and even the basements and bedrooms of their parents and partners, overdoses are happening and killing addicts and leaving wounds in the hearts of their loved ones. Those who are lucky to survive a serious overdose are left changed by the experience. My most serious overdose convinced me that I needed recovery again, after relapsing with three years clean. Yet, overdoses may not be enough to convince some addicts that they need to seek recovery. And, honestly, that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with not getting it the first time. Addiction isn’t a rational or reasonable thing, it’s a mental illness that often accompanies other mental illnesses. People who have experience with addiction or with addicts know this about us — they know that many of us simply don’t understand that we have a problem and that we often don't know that we need help until we’ve reached our bottom. For those who don’t know, a “bottom” is a point where people with substance abuse issues realize that we have a problem and hit an emotional, physical, financial, or social wall in our lives. It’s the point where we realize that we’ve, in some way, destroyed our lives in one way or another. Reaching a bottom can take months or it can take years. My first bottom came after years of using and drinking, but my second came only after a few months of using after my relapse. Each person is different.
Related: STOP STIGMATIZING HOW WE RECOVER FROM DRUG ADDICTION

By giving super powers to those who are usually considered powerless, "Superb" manages to tell a story of a generation that is able to battle evil that is literally right in their own neighborhood.

With offerings such as the television shows "Black Lightning" and "Luke Cage" and "Black Panther", it is clear that Black superheroes are having a bit of a renaissance right now. Not only are there popular Black superheroes in the mainstream, but there are also independent creators like Lion Forge Comics creating their own Black superheroes. In Volume 1 of their comic book series Superb, we have a rising Black female superhero and a superhero with Down's Syndrome teaming up.  Set in a fictionalized version of Youngstown, Ohio, the book takes place one year after the event in which five astronauts tried to save the world from an asteroid. The result of the event is a meteor shower that caused a generation to develop enhanced abilities. Since then, the global advanced tech corporation Foresight has been monitoring the town and quarantining enhanced teens for the town's safety. In the midst of all this, two teens named Jonah Watkins and Kayla Tate are trying to live some semblance of a regular life. However, the two soon find themselves caught up in the covert affairs of Jonah's superhero alter ego Cosmosis. In the process, they discover that in Foresight's intentions might not be as good as they appear and must face some hard truths about Foresight, their lives, and each other. One of the most thought-provoking aspects of "Superb" is how writers David F. Walker and Sheena Howard displayed the fictional world by drawing from the real world. The aftermath that the people of Youngstown are dealing with is similar to the aftermath of 9/11. Foresight has installed detectors for enhanced individuals in schools just like how metal detectors were installed in schools. Besides the world-building, the characters were also well-developed. Kayla Tate is a Black girl who wants a regular life despite her parents working for Foresight and her hiding the fact that she is enhanced and hasn't been detected. Her awareness is demonstrated through an online podcast that she uses to discuss the happenings of Foresight, the enhanced teens, and the town's local superhero Cosmosis. 
Related: 6 BIWOC COMICS WRITERS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Women and femmes are not the same, but they are intertwined, and its exactly that mutual oppression and shared experience under patriarchy that has led activists today to identify “women and femmes” in their organizing spaces.

[Editor's Note: This analysis is being re-published with permission from B.B. Buchanan's Medium page.] By B.B. Buchanan

I need to start this article with a clear declaration:

I am a Black non-binary femme, and I’m proud of that.

Lately there has been some confusion around what the phrase “women and femmes” does — what it clarifies analytically and what work it does to build solidarity in our activist/organizing spaces. In particular, this article responds directly to critiques leveled by Kesiena Boom in a recently popular Slate article making its way through the queer community. I’d like to break down the term femme, it’s contested meanings, and it’s use in activist spaces today.

As a fellow Black scholar and sociologist of gender and sexuality I’d like to invite a deeper and more nuanced discussion of linguistics and gender than simply calling my gender presentation (and solidarity across femininity) “incoherent nonsense.”

As a historical sociologist, the first place to start in any analysis is with the origins and transformations of the category we’re talking about. Often times “femme” is reduced to a term used by working class lesbians to connote a feminine gender expression, often seen in contrast to the masculine lesbian construction of “butch.” It was a performance of femininity which subverted and rejected standards of heteronormativity and patriarchy — with an explicit focus on the ways femininity (often understood as excessive, artificial, and criminal) could be understood outside of a masculine/feminine dichotomy in which femininity is only defined as it’s opposite.

Interestingly, the claim that working class lesbians “owned” the word femme fails to take into account concurrent trans histories. During this time period — in the same book suggested by Boom (Stone Butch Blues) — we can see that trans identities are named through expressions of gender rather than identity. The book itself troubles the categories so necessary to Boom’s analysis, as the main character Jessie moves back and forth between the categories of trans and butch. This is also certainly true of the feminine presenting people throughout the book — including and especially the “drag queens.” We can see this blurred nature historically as well — particularly within queer of color spaces like the balls which proliferated throughout American cities since the 1930s. When one walks in the ball category of “femme queen realness” it’s not about sexed bodies, nor identity, but the ability to demonstrate and perform femininity. Without the creation and dispersal of words like “transgender” people often identified as drag queens, femmes, and other labels which upset cis-normative standards and expectations. In fact, the difference between gender expression and identity is a product of the historical construction of the categories of sexuality and gender.

Related: FAT, BLACK FEMMES: DO OUR BLACK MASCULINE QUEENS LOVE US?

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