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Discovering Myself Beyond the Binary

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Names have been changed. I was born male. But starting from age 5, I felt perplexed by the gender binary (the belief that everyone is one of two traditional gender identities). I stared up at bathroom signs in confusion. The monotonous blue walls and the faint smell of urine in the boys’ room felt oddly […]

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Acting Brave Made Me Brave 

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When I was 7 years old, an earthquake hit my village of Gujarat, Pakistan. I was sitting in my classroom, looking out the window feeling hot, tired, and bored. Then I felt the ground shake. Seconds later, the whole school shook. The teachers immediately began rushing the students out. The screaming and the grownups’ panic […]

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I’m My Own Woman, Not His 

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Names have been changed.  I was 17 and a virgin. Part of me wanted to lose my virginity to someone I loved, but another part of me just wanted to get rid of it. The idea of “losing it to Prince Charming” was starting to feel like a burden.  I was insecure. Growing up, my […]

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The Long Journey Home

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Names have been changed. When I was a 5-year-old boy in Mexico, I had a red sweater with a hood. I loved to put it on my head and pretend that it was my long, beautiful hair. I looked like a girl even with short hair. In kindergarten, during recess, boys chased me in the […]

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