All posts filed under: Uncategorized

Maid in the U.S.A.: The Invisible Helpers

My mother was raised in a wealthy household in Guyana. Somewhere in my files, there is a clipping from the Guyana Chronicle, a photo of a pretty girl in a hoop skirt, performing on the piano for Princess Margaret. Her father, Mayor of Georgetown, watches proudly. That girl is my mother. She went on to earn her degrees in music performance at a London conservatory, where she met a handsome British army officer from Barbados. My parents moved around Europe and then to a newly independent Barbados where the marriage swiftly disintegrated. One day she snatched up her children and brought them to Boston, forbidding us any contact with our dear father. In Boston, my mother, who performed on television in Barbados, disappeared into the crowd of invisible Black immigrants. When she met a Jamaican lady who cleaned houses for rich people, she became part of an underground network, scrubbing floors and doing laundry for a pittance.  One Saturday, I accompanied her when she worked in a large house on a leafy street in Brookline. …

Why the United States Remains a Beacon of Hope

I have been working really hard the last couple of months. I’m an attorney in New York City and one case has really consumed me. It is a pro bono asylum case, my first. The trial was today. Let me tell you about it. My client is a gay man from Uganda, a country that criminalizes homosexuality and makes consensual same-sex sex illegal. Violence and discrimination are routinely perpetrated by both state and non-state actors against the LGBTQIA population. The political and religious leaders actively stoke homophobia and violence, and are aided in this process by a vicious tabloid press that solicits tips to out people—those outed are often arrested and imprisoned, and/or attacked and shunned by their communities.  The general belief in Uganda is that homosexuality is like a disease, but also the product of poor parenting, and is contagious and often transmitted by people setting out to induce others, especially kids, into homosexuality. It is a huge taboo.  Mob justice is a form of extrajudicial killing prevalent in Uganda—mobs will form almost spontaneously …

A Sexpert’s 5 Tips to Mind-Blowing Sex After Menopause

We think about menopause as a time when our sexuality slows down or becomes more of a struggle — while this is true for some people it also doesn’t have to be if you want to flip the script. It’s true: lowering levels of estrogen during menopause means less blood flow to the vagina causing a decrease in vaginal lubrication. This makes sex at best, less than appealing and at worst, downright painful. Bladder control, medication side effects, stress, anxiety and even sleep disturbances during menopause can seriously affect one’s sex life. On the other side, post-menopausal sex is likely to be more relaxed. Knowing pregnancy isn’t a concern anymore can greatly improve the expression of sexuality and intimacy. Just make sure you keep using condoms until your doctor confirms you are no longer ovulating! Menopause aside, our culture needs the constant reminder that sex is not just penetration. Furthermore, sex really shouldn’t be so goal oriented towards orgasm. It’s counterproductive to consider sex in such a heteronormative, big O-oriented way. It’s important to honor …

TueNight 10: Ginger McKnight-Chavers

Ginger McKnight-Chavers is a writer and attorney whose first novel, In the Heart of Texas, won the 2016 USA Best Book Award for African-American fiction. Though she has lived in New York for decades, Ginger is a native of Dallas, with deep, multigenerational Texas roots. As a result, she can’t stop talking or writing about Texas as a metaphor for everything good, bad and in between. “I want to tell stories from the perspective of different types of Texans than the characters you see in the media. Smart, nuanced stories about the amazing African-American women that surrounded and influenced me.” Ginger’s transition from a demanding corporate/arts/entertainment legal practice to full-time writing was long and often frustrating. “It’s hard for a seasoned professional to be treated like an idiot,” she says. “Luckily, I believed in my work and had others who believed in me as well, and I’m now able to do what I love full-time.” She is currently working on her second novel, Oak Cliff as well as a book about her mother’s life and activism to accompany …

You Better Work: My First Boss and Ru-Paul

On RuPaul’s book tour (Photos courtesy of the author) My first job out of college was as an assistant to a publicist at Hyperion, a “boutique” publishing house owned by a quaint corporation called The Walt Disney Company. We had ID cards with a Mickey Mouse hologram on them. Seriously. My boss, Jennifer, was a tall, brassy, 27-year-old woman who somehow seemed as old to me as one of the Golden Girls. She was fierce, whip smart, and a little bit scary. Jen liked a large iced coffee and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, which I ordered for her every morning. This was back when people ate bagels. She taught me to take a thorough phone message. To grill the “freelance book reviewers” trying to get free review copies. To massage the egos of the needier authors and only get her out of “a meeting” if it was someone specific. She taught me to pitch reporters, the most awkward and agonizing part of publicity work. While at Hyperion, Disney was bought by ABC, …