A sudden loss of tension in our lives would be like a loss of gravity: disorienting, frightening, and cause for panic.

Why do we so often want to want? You know, like what you see some delicious food and think ‘if only I was hungry, I’d enjoy eating that’. Why wish to have hunger? Why would we crave a feeling of, well, craving — isn’t it better to have the thing than to suffer from going without it? It seems we should rather want to just be satisfied — without tension, without concern for the future, without anxiety.

There’s a…


I used to have clarity: do as I am expected. Now that I’m resigned from that game, I have to sort out who I am and what I want.

One benefit of doing what you’re told is you never have to figure out what you want. There are plenty of scripts we can follow, from our family’s expectations to norms enforced by our patriarchal society, and each promises to release us from the responsibility of shaping our own life. That responsibility is a heavy burden — for many it is too much, and they never act out of line.

I…


It’s the small things in life that often bring the most happiness moment-to-moment.

I might never wear a fancy hat, but it’s nice to know I have the option. [Image: “The Millinery Shop” — Edgar Degas (1879/86) : Public Domain.]

In some ways I feel like one of those research monkeys that spent a lifetime in a sterile cage doing nothing but whatever experiment was demanded of me. My life pretending to be a man was sparse and focused on work without much else. Now that I’m stepping into myself and my trans-ness I have a whole collection of new worlds open to me, and it is delightful even as it is challenging. What is most joyous is little day-to-day things that I never got to enjoy…


There is work to be done for a better future.

We can all take a moment to feel relief at the end of the most wretched presidency in modern history. Just a moment, though, since nothing is over and all the work remains to be done. For the left and for everyone who cares about a better future there are still ongoing crises to address. Biden will not do much of anything — he has promised this. The most urgent issues facing us will not be addressed by him. We cannot grow complacent.

The US is still sinking. The pandemic…


We can either benefit from the system or attack it, but not both.

“Prisionero encadenado” — Francisco Goya (1806–1812) — Public Domain

If we speak against power — or worse, act against power — we will be punished according to the caprice of the powerful. In our time this can mean loss of job, homelessness, social isolation, hunger, violence, and death. It’s not something to take lightly or think you can dabble a bit in on the weekends and then return to your normal life. …


To keep living we’ll need to change this thing we’ve been taught to serve called ‘the economy’.

Image: Public Domain

The economy is destroying the planet and threatening all of humanity. That is a matter of fact. The ecological and human disasters of the economy are too many to list in full but among them are lost of topsoil, climate change, and ocean acidification. …


Or maybe I was. Or maybe I changed along the way, or maybe I decided to live like this. It doesn’t actually matter, though.

Spectacular rainbow outside the settlement of Humbolt-Dewey, near Prescott in Central Arizona. Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection.

I know I’m supposed to say I was born this way. That is the party line for LGBTQ people, and I understand why, but I can’t in good faith stick to that line. For more, I don’t actually know if I was born this way. More importantly, however, it doesn’t matter whether I — or anyone — was born this way or not. …


Answering a question I’ve received from a surprising number of people.

Image: Public Domain

Since coming out a lot of people I know have asked how I knew I was trans, so it must be a common curiosity. The complete answer is, of course, both beyond my own understanding and also kinda messy, but here is a sort of metaphor to illustrate the symbolic process I went through.

Imagine two empty fish bowls. Fill one with everything masculine, the other with everything feminine — everything, from clothes to roles to attributes, all possible gendered things are separated out. …


The ability to help ourselves doesn’t mean we’re to blame if we try and fail to do so.

There’s a common sentiment — usually uttered with good intent — that goes something like this: it isn’t their fault because they couldn’t help it. That by itself is true enough;. if you are powerless then you have no culpability — you’re blameless.

What if you do have power, though? It’s easy, common, and false to think that having power implies blame. Having agency — and the power to act on it — does not mean that we are necessarily to blame…


We’re killing ourselves trying to win at games that aren’t real and have no stakes.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My five-year-old nephew, Connor, once fled in tiny adorable anger from our little pile of LEGOs into his room and slammed the door. His mom went to check on him. Why was he angry? He believed he’d lost at LEGOs. …

Victoria Strake

Essayist, former scientist, trans woman. Striving for actionable methods of peaceful revolution — relationships, community, mutual aid, subsistence, science.

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