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LEVEL
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Gender

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After silence and outright disrespect, it’s time to excommunicate Meg’s alleged shooter for good

Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Journalistically, I’m supposed to use the word “allegedly” when talking about Tory Lanez shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot in a fit of rage in July. The word “allegedly” is supposed to be used because, despite the fact Megan Thee Stallion confirmed — er, accused — Lanez of shooting her in the foot multiple times, it hasn’t been proven in a court of law. Those are the rules, I guess.

Also, journalistically, I’m not supposed to advocate for Lanez getting tossed down a flight of stairs onto a stack of bear traps.

And, journalistically, I am supposed to have…


Gender and sex cannot be reduced to reproductive organs

Photo: Grace Cary/Getty Images

Here we go again. Amid a global pandemic and worldwide protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, a straight White cisgender billionaire can still grab headlines with trans-antagonistic tweets, taking issue with the fact that people other than women menstruate.

I am one of those people. I was assigned female at birth, but I am agender. In 2014, I transitioned to male for legal and medical purposes and began testosterone therapy. After enduring decades of unwelcome menstruation from unwanted reproductive organs, I was glad to put an end to their function.

Unfortunately, I recently began menstruating again. As has happened…


Writer Brian Mack shares the consistent anxiety he feels when stepping into church, a place where some Christians are welcoming with caveats.

In his story, “As A Black Trans Man…


Gender dysphoria is robbing me of my birthright

The author running in a sports bra and shorts toward the finish line of the U.S. Half Marathon, San Francisco, November 2012. Photo: Ziggy Tomcich

Content note: Medical issues and (by some interpretations) partial nudity.

Yesterday, I was walking home from the bus stop after a lab appointment for my biweekly testosterone injection. It was the first sunny day in what seemed like weeks, and I was uncomfortably warm: In addition to the short-sleeve shirt I was wearing, I had my usual tank top underneath to make my breasts less noticeable without resorting to a sports bra or binder.

My breasts aren’t particularly large, but as I’ve gained some weight, they’ve become more difficult to conceal, even with added layers. I haven’t worn any kind…


Are we raising boys who are free to be themselves?

A still from “#blackAF.” Photo courtesy of Netflix

A young Black boy comes into the house crying. When his parents ask what’s wrong, he explains: His classmates forgot his birthday. He cries harder, beginning to hyperventilate. The mother comforts the boy, tells him to breathe. It’s the picture of loving parenthood. The father, though, stands back with a look of disgust, shaking his head. On the screen, a mock scouting report appears distilling the 10-year-old’s disposition: He is the “sweet, sensitive, moist towelette of the family.”

This is a scene from Netflix’s #BlackAF, the latest comedy from Blackish creator Kenya Barris. Though the show portrays an entire family…


I’m strong enough to say that my wife protects me from all enemies, foreign and domestic — and those with more than four legs

Photo: Cheikh Mballo/EyeEm/Getty Images

Let’s start with the (flattering) facts. I am just over six feet tall, I can sprint a mile in under six minutes, and I can bench 225 pounds for six reps before an ambulance needs to be present. I cook, and I cook damn well. I make my wife laugh — real laughter, not humoring-me laughter. I cry during Pixar films. I possess just the right amount of masculine aloofness that makes my wife wonder if I’m getting dumber or if I just pretended to be smart while we were dating.

But when I see a bug? It all disappears…


Chanel Hudson outside Morehouse College, Atlanta, in April 2020. Photos: Nydia Blas

Ten years ago, I wrote a story that changed lives forever—including my own. I went back to examine the wreckage

In 2009, I was sifting through press releases and news items, looking for a story. In my office — really an illegal bedroom in a Newark, New Jersey, rooming house — my assistant sat nearby, reading headlines aloud to me.

“Morehouse College has a new dress code,” he said.

I shrugged. Nothing new there. For years, HBCUs had been struggling to keep the Black Ivy League moving into the modern era while trying to stay true to certain standards. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee, Samuel L. …


Wearing colorful costumes at Caribbean carnivals isn’t just for women — but the gender politics are more complicated than ever

Photos courtesy of the author

With the sweet sound of soca as their backdrop, Caribbean carnivals roll through the region’s various islands each year, each one a multiday blur of revelry, libations… and feathers. So many feathers. Feathers in every shape, color, and size imaginable — feathers that form the very foundation of “playing mas,” a centuries-old tradition of costumed celebration. And while it’s most often women wearing vibrant and flamboyant regalia, if you look closer you’ll see decked-out men throughout the crowd, pelting waist and wining to their heart’s content.

“For me and many others, there was a feeling of discovering a whole new…


Prizing masculinity — and punishing everything else — has persisted in Latin America, turning a colonial past into an oppressive present

Photo: jurien huggins/Unsplash

Growing up, Eddie Bravo was taught to feel ashamed of his identity. Not the Guatemalan Filipino part — the queer part. “My father was very much in line with the machismo mentality,” he says. Bravo wasn’t interested in cars or repairing the roof — he’d much rather be playing with dolls or hanging with the girls around the way — but he learned to do those things, out of fear that he’d get punished.

He wasn’t alone. Bravo, now 30, says that for many boys of color, feminine traits are often met with the threat of punishment, particularly corporal punishment…

LEVEL

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