With the arrival of Paris Hilton’s documentary This Is Paris, the multi-billion dollar industry that we in the survivor community call “the troubled teen industry” has gained momentous attention that I truly never thought that I would live to see. These programs operate under strict secrecy, in real cult-like fashion and rely on kids who go through their doors to keep quiet once they’re out, which is usually what happens since it is instilled in you to never speak ill of the program while you’re there.

I was 13 when my parents sent me away to various programs until I…

Infographic about transgender realities.

There were 26 transgender and gender-non conforming lives stolen due to brutal violence in 2019 alone. Most of the people who died were black transwomen, which doesn’t surprise me in the least, given the social status that this population has as both people of color and transgender women. Some of these deaths were the cause of partners and acquaintances, while some were caused by total strangers. So far in 2020, we have already seen 12 transgender people that we know of killed by gun violence and other ways, which is alarming given that we are so new to this year…

When we look back at our childhoods, most of us can see things that in hindsight seem glaringly obvious now that we’re adults, but as kids we couldn’t conceptualize. Some of my first memories are of being deeply uncomfortable with wearing clothing made for girls, so I always wore boy’s uniforms to school and insisted on being called by a boy’s name as early as second grade. I was drawn to activities that boys did, that unfortunately many little girls are left out of, such as fishing, skateboarding, baseball, and street hockey. I was bullied by other girls in school…

Many kids have imaginary friends, imaginary pets, and create entire fantastical and intricate worlds that exist only in their minds, but which feel completely real and rich. According to a developmental psychologist, Marjorie Taylor, from the University Of Oregon, around 37% of children create imaginary friends. Invisible friends can take on many forms; they can be animals, people, fantasy creatures, and can manifest as being alone or in groups. Interestingly, some research has shown that boys tend to have only male imaginary friends, while girls have imaginary friends of both sexes.

Imaginary friends are extremely viceral to children. They can…

When I finally admitted to myself that I was transgender I felt both liberated and relieved, but also terrified and alone. I felt as if I was in a lighthouse surrounded by storms that would engulf me at any moment, but I also knew that I needed to self-actualize and begin medically transitioning. Coming out to family and friends was undoubtedly one of the most difficult things I’ve decided to do in life so far, even though the response I got was mostly positive, and many friends embraced me enthusiastically. My identity came as little surprise to those who knew…

A Willem Bastiaan Tholen depiction of a slaughterhouse.

Workers in slaughterhouses and meat processing centers in the U.S have always had thankless and often hazardous jobs, jobs which have recently become much more so due to the global pandemic. These industries employ over 500,000 workers, most of whom are black and brown people living at or below the poverty line. Throughout U.S history, the meat industry has largely employed African Americans, but for the past few decades many Latin Americans have been a growing part of the workforce. The industry’s workers now consist of approximately 38% of people born outside of the U.S. …

I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was about 9 years old. I remember crying before going to school in elementary and middle school due to being bullied and would need to hide in the bathroom during class, where I would escape into reading Harry Potter books. As I got older, I learned to mask my anxiety so that people couldn’t see how freaked out I actually was. I developed phobias around germs, certain animals like moles, flying, driving on highways, and most of all, disappointing people.

The first time I had a real panic attack, I was 23 years old…

Throughout the recent global pandemic, we talk about human suffering constantly. About how we have to stay in our homes, deprived of physical contact with much of the outside world, and unable to dine in restaurants or get regrettable haircuts. What is forgotten, however, is the billions of animals around the world being raised for human consumption who live unimaginably tragic lives at the hands of their captors. …

KC

Writer. BA in anthropology. Psychology grad student.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store