portfolio

  • Rolling Stone: Caitlyn Jenner, and Moving Past the Transition Narrative Published at Rolling Stone, June 2015 Last year, TIME Magazine told us we had reached the “transgender tipping point,” featuring on its cover the stunning actress and activist Laverne Cox, one of the most high-profile transgender women in America. It was a huge moment for trans visibility. Read More at Rolling Stone
  • Reproductive Health Reality Check: Low-Income Communities Are Disproportionately Put at Risk for Health Problems Published at Reproductive Health Reality Check, April 2015 Chicago’s Southeast Side is a working-class area in a period of transition, moving from an industrial past with strong roots in steel to a revitalized present. Along the way, the community is facing a considerable problem: what to do with the remnants of industry, including polluted and closed ...
  • The Guardian: For mentally ill too often prison means solitary, neglect, and even death Published at The Guardian, March 2015.  “Since Tony’s death I have not stopped,” she says, “and I want to ensure that this never happens again. This is a way of life in the ADC.” Her nephew’s death radicalized this prison reformer, turning her into a force of nature who nearly explodes over the course of our ...
  • The Guardian: Why we hate selfies so much Published at The Guardian, February 2015. If you peruse my Instagram feed, you’ll find an assortment of images. Food, cats, random things I see on my travels. And pictures of myself, mostly taken by myself. (I am a greedy and jealous person who rarely hands my phone over to people.) People have been taking pictures of ...
  • Time: Why Tech Can’t Help Us Find Missing Airplanes Published at Time, December 2014.  In an era where it’s possible to track a stolen Macbook Pro at the click of a button, it seems ludicrous to imagine an entire airplane disappearing. Yet, that’s exactly what happened this year, twice, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously vanished in March, followed by a similar disappearing act on ...
  • Nerve: How Amy Schumer Fought for the Right to Talk about Sex on TV — and Won Published at Nerve, November 2014. If you’ve watched Jon Stewart pretty much ever, you’ve probably heard him throwing around the Comedy Central-approved “dick” (as the FCC doesn’t regulate language on cable). But until very recently, “pussy” was still verboten on everyone’s favorite comedy network—until, that is, Amy Schumer’s production crew went on an all-out offensive for ...
  • Time: Why Are We Upset About a Dog When Thousands Are Dying of Ebola? Published at Time, October 2014.  It’s hard to break into theNew York Times obituaries section, but apparently being the first U.S. Ebola patient to die will do the trick. Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola by helping an infected pregnant woman into a taxi, is dead. For perspective, though: According to the CDC’s most recent count, ...
  • Bitch Magazine: Examining Blindness in “The Fault in Our Stars” Published at Bitch Magazine, July 2014.  It was a strange choice for a summer blockbuster. A weepy film about a girl dying of thyroid cancer who meets her boyfriend in a support group and then travels to Amsterdam so she can meet the author she idolizes before experiencing the ultimate heartbreak. The film’s distributor handed out ...
  • The Daily Dot: Inside the real world of Teach for America Published at The Daily Dot, July 2014.  Is Teach for America (TFA) a neo-liberal disaster contributing to the utter destruction of U.S. public schools, or is it an innovative program providing new opportunities to children growing up in underprivileged communities? Can the students of the Internet age help fix education? It’s one of the most controversial education reform initiatives ...
  • xoJane: What Happened In Oklahoma Last Night Was Disgusting and Shameful Published at xoJane, April 2014.  What happened in Oklahoma on Tuesday night was disgusting. Watching it unfold was horrifying and shameful, and it reminded me of why I am so ferociously against the death penalty. It’s cruel and unusual punishment, it’s wrong, and it’s a fundamental human rights violation. Worldwide, 51 percent of countries have already ...
  • Truthout: GOP Refuses to Extend Jobless Benefits Published at Truthout, December 2013. Research on the effects of long-term unemployment benefits on the economy shows that for every dollar the government pays out, the economy benefits to the tune of $1.60. As people on benefits spend them on food and other supplies, they stimulate their local economies, engage local businesses and keep their communities economically ...
  • The Guardian: Comment is free: Wendy Davis’ filibustering for abortion rights is a brave and great thing Published at The Guardian, June 2013.  It’s raining here, softly but firmly, and Wendy Davis is filibustering in Texas. She’s speaking in a low, quiet voice in the other tab, talking about admitting privileges, standing quietly as Senators raise points of order, resuming her flood of speech flawlessly when the floor is returned to her. Her voice ...
  • ThinkProgress: Why Aren’t Mentally Ill Americans Invited To This Week’s Hearing On Their Own Privacy Rights? Published at ThinkProgress, April 2013.  This Friday, House Republican Tim Murphy is holding a hearing on whether the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) “helps or hinders patient care and public safety” in the context of mentally ill patients. The hearing, a followup to his hearing last month in which he reiterated false claims about mental illness and ...
  • California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom: Reproductive Freedom Week 2013: Disability and Reproductive Justice Published at CCRF, March 2013.  As we think about reproductive freedoms this week, we must consider all their permutations, and the importance of a world in which the right to parent is protected just as fiercely as the right not to parent, or to choose to wait to become a parent. Disabled people need the full ...
  • The Guardian: Comment is free: Pinkification: how breast cancer awareness got commodified for profit Published at The Guardian, October 2012.  The gradual commodification of breast cancer reflected a failure of the movement, in that it wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough to fight the commercialisation of breast cancer awareness. Now, groups like Breast Cancer Action are having to fight cancer on two fronts: battling for patients, as well as fighting the rise ...
  • Alternet: Are Police in Schools Making Students Safer, or Putting Them at Greater Risk for Abuse? Published at AlterNet, August 2012. Increasingly, young people in America are getting caught in the collision of “zero tolerance” laws and growing concerns about school safety – and paying an irrationally high price for it. A series of school shootings and threats in the 1990s, including the Columbine massacre in 1999, radically changed the concept of ...
  • Salon: Disabled — and handcuffed at school Published at Salon, May 2012 Cases like these, of students trapped by school policies rarely designed to deal with the nuances of their diagnoses, are growing – and the situation is further clouded by race, class and social factors. These factors can determine what kinds of evaluations, interventions and treatments are provided to students with disabilities ...
  • The Guardian: Comment is free America: California’s mentally ill people need early diagnosis, not forced treatment Published at The Guardian, April 2012.  Rather than enacting Laura’s Law and extending state authority over mentally ill people, the state should strongly consider improving funding for early diagnosis, intervention and treatment. If mentally ill people are provided with evaluation and treatment before the onset of severe mental illness, they have a much higher likelihood of ...
  • Bitch Magazine: Disability at the Digital Frontier Cowritten with Anna Hamilton, published in Bitch Magazine, Spring 2012. Buy the Frontier Issue (#54) here.
  • AlterNet: Hyatt Hotel Housekeepers, Fired After Protesting Sexual Harassment, Rally for Better Treatment Published at AlterNet, March 2012.  Hyatt Hotels has a funny way of showing appreciation for its housekeepers; first it tapes their faces onto pictures of bikini-clad babes, and then it fires them. Read more at AlterNet.
  • Truthout: Rising Controversy Over Marijuana Cultivation in California’s Emerald Triangle Published at Truthout, January 2012 Socially, this means that in counties where many people are living below the poverty line, local governments are ill-equipped to provide meaningful public assistance to low-income residents. Mendocino County, for example, has slashed its mental health services, particularly in Coastal Mendocino, and has gutted its library program. All three counties have ...
  • PopMatters: ‘Six Feet Under’ and the Funeral Industry Published on PopMatters, November 2011 Analysis of Six Feet Under often focuses on the human complexities of the show, but it is important to remember that it was also about the business of death, which happens to be extremely large. Service Corporation International, a global company with a reach that rivals the fictional Kroehner from the ...
  • AlterNet: Is Cutting Benefits For Public Workers Actually Wage Theft? Reframing the Right’s Attacks On Unions Published at AlterNet, July 2011 One option for public sector unions, says Tharp, may be turning to lawyers prepared to drill down through regulations and union contracts to determine whether it’s possible to take the matter to court, an option that such unions are no doubt considering. That would be much easier to do with public ...
  • Global Comment: Silence is the problem: the darkness of young adult fiction and why #YAsaves Published on Global Comment, June 2011 The persistent belief that childhood is a rosy, happy time where nothing bad ever happens is directly damaging to children who are, in fact, not having a rosy and happy time. The rise in dark YA isn’t about feeding the depraved tastes of children who enjoy violent videogames. It is about addressing ...
  • Tiger Beatdown: Gun Registries Don’t Stop Suicide, Mental Health Services Do Published on Tiger Beatdown, March 2011. The claim is often made that society needs to be protected from people with mental illness when in fact, the situation is just the opposite; we need to be protected from society. In no small part thanks to attitudes about mental illness, again, particularly surrounding women. The pathologisation of women’s ...
  • Global Comment: Secret Millionaire: The Fairy Godmother Fantasies of the Ruling Class Published in Global Comment, 10 March 2011 In an era when the Horatio Alger myth has never seemed more ludicrous, as the gap between rich and poor widens at an exponential rate and class mobility moves firmly in only one direction – down – Secret Millionaire seems, at best, a fairy godmother tale to keep ...
  • The Guardian: ‘Psycho killer’? The Jared Lee Loughner case brings out the usual abuse Published in Comment is free, January 2011 While speculating about the mental health status of the shooter, people also reinforced social attitudes about violence and mental illness, asserting that violence is an expression of mental illness and that mental illness makes people violent. The belief that mentally ill people are a danger to others persists – ...
  • The Sydney Morning Herald: Body blows to self-esteem Published in Sunday Life, October 2010 The discussion about body image is dominated by two ideas; first, that all people should love their bodies, and second, that lovable bodies are healthy ones. I can’t tell you how many positive affirmations I regularly encounter that say things like, “Love your body, because it is beautiful, healthy and ...
  • FWD/Forward: Crude Violations: BP Is Dumping Toxic Waste In Low Income Communities of Colour Published at FWD/Forward, August 2010. From the start, the oil spill has disproportionately impacted people of colour. Many of the cleanup workers were people of colour, and BP also used primarily nonwhite prison labour in oil spill cleanup and tried to hide it. Now, with the spill cleanup winding down, waste from the spill is being dumped ...
  • Bitch Magazine: Push(back) at the Intersections: Transgressive or Fauxgressive? Published at Bitch Magazine, August 2010. The attitude that anyone can make transgressive work about anything suggests that the actual lived experience of oppression isn’t very valuable. And it ignores, again, the problems with appropriating experiences and the long history of doing just that in the name of all kinds of things from art to political ...
  • FWD/Forward: Deportation by Default: 15% of Immigration Detainees in the US Have Disabilities That Impair Their Understanding of Deportation Proceedings Published at FWD/Forward, July 2010. The report documents cases of people who did not understand what deportation meant and lacked the ability to comprehend deportation proceedings; one subject asked to be deported to New York, for example. Some interview subjects had intellectual disabilities or untreated mental illnesses that made it functionally impossible to understand what ...