Our collective numbness is starting to thaw. Here’s how we can better cope.

A short-haired person with light brown skin wearing a pink baseball cap, a light teal shirt, and a sherbet-orange face mask, holds a lotus flower in front of their lower face.
A short-haired person with light brown skin wearing a pink baseball cap, a light teal shirt, and a sherbet-orange face mask, holds a lotus flower in front of their lower face.
Illustration by Randi Pace for The Bold Italic

We’ve spent nearly a year waiting for the pandemic to end. Waiting waiting for transmission rates to go down, to be less anxious, to see family, to travel, to eat in a restaurant, to stop sanitizing every five minutes, to get back to our normal lives. Waiting and waiting and waiting — with no end in sight.

Now, despite the best estimates of experts, we still simply don’t know how much longer we will have to wait. But something has happened in the last couple of months: the return of hope.

The promise of change. Have you felt it? I…


He had my back when few others did

A Polaroid-looking portrait of a Black man with short hair hugging a child with shoulder-length hair and wearing a tiara.
A Polaroid-looking portrait of a Black man with short hair hugging a child with shoulder-length hair and wearing a tiara.
Photos courtesy of Daniel Lyons

I grew up in a small suburb outside of Seattle, Washington. A painfully white place. My neighbors had the metaphorical white picket fence. The dad next door always wore his penny loafers when he mowed the lawn. There wasn’t a lot of Blackness where I come from.

I was born to two white parents, but from a young age, my family constellation was different. I grew up with two unrelated godparents who, having respectively decided not to have their own children, loved me like their own. Bobbie, my godfather, was my one Black parent.

As part of my gender transition…


Pandemic Dating Diaries

Of course there was a risk, but for me it was worth it

Orange and pink rectangular blocks arranged in the shape of a heart with one piece missing (an orange one next to the heart)
Orange and pink rectangular blocks arranged in the shape of a heart with one piece missing (an orange one next to the heart)
Image: jayk7/Moment/Getty Images

The Pandemic Dating Diaries is a series from The Bold Italic featuring moments in love, dating, and sex during the Covid-19 pandemic. Have a story you’d like to submit? Email us or DM us on Twitter or Instagram.

I remember the first night I held Anthony in my arms, the first night we had sex. The sex was hot, but more than that, it just felt good to be touched by a human nearly five months into the pandemic. If the consequences are disastrous for a baby who isn’t held and touched, is it really any better for us adults?


The unsung heroes of 2020 need a major raise

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Photo: Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

I’m met with a series of incredulous looks every time I tell someone, “I teach wilderness and outdoor education… on Zoom.” It can be done, dear readers, but it’s hard to pull off. Just yesterday I sent my students away from their screens on a 45-minute bird-watching expedition — just sit and observe the birds in their neighborhoods. Some told me it was “hella boring,” while others told me it was good for their mental health.

I’m a teacher by day (and a journalist by night), and I’ve experienced firsthand how hard this year has been for educators. They are…


You probably don’t want to find out firsthand

Lake Merritt with Oakland skyline.
Lake Merritt with Oakland skyline.
Lake Merritt. Photo: Davel5957/Getty Images

On the sunny side of the bay, flocking to Lake Merritt to bask on its grassy shores is a weekend ritual that Oaklanders live for. Even on the hottest days we’ve recently endured, though, you won’t see anyone dare to dip into the water itself. There’s an unspoken understanding that the actual water in Lake Merritt is, well, pretty gross.

I recently conducted a poll on my Instagram stories with this simple question: “Would you swim in Lake Merritt?” About 10 of my friends answered, resoundingly, with “No!” Several simply responded with laughing emojis. Others cited trash, pollution, and sewage…


This is what’s at stake for my communities this Election Day.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Dear voters,

I’m sitting in my bed, propped up by an angular wedge-shaped pillow. My eyes are tired and my left pectoral muscle is sore and bruised to a light green shade that’s turning somewhat black. I had a double mastectomy last week. “Did I have cancer?” you may wonder. No, not of the literal kind.

I am transgender. I did get a mastectomy to save my life, but not because anything was wrong physically with my breasts. It’s just weird (and distressing) to be a man and to still have boobs so I opted to have mine surgically removed…


Coming out is constant, fluid, beautiful, and tiresome

A masculine-appearing person emerging from a pink room into a blue room through a vertical rectangular opening in the wall.
A masculine-appearing person emerging from a pink room into a blue room through a vertical rectangular opening in the wall.
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Stone/Getty Images Plus

Coming up on one year ago, I came out of the closet publicly here on Medium as bisexual. I thought, in that moment, the hardest part was over. I came out publicly — my friends, family, colleagues, and Medium readers all knew my long-hidden secret: I am attracted to both men and women.

Naively, I thought that the hardest part was over. Little did I know, coming out is a process that is almost never done for LGBTQ+ folx. We come out over and over, day after day, sometimes countless times a day… for the rest of our lives?!

Yes…


These are the seven things I wish someone had prepared me for.

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Photo by Kyle on Unsplash

Being transgender is hard. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve accepted yourself or how much those around you have accepted you or how far along in your transition you are. There are, inevitably, stressors and, challenges to being trans.

No one prepared me for what these were, but I’m hoping today to shed some light on some truths that have unfolded for me with the hope that for some baby trans person your journey may be smoother as a result of knowing this information ahead of time.

1. You’ll lose friends and family

I’m starting with this one because it’s the hardest truth but it is…


The Californian’s Dilemma

While the world fell apart, I needed a safe haven: Oakland

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Illustration: Randi Pace

This week in The Bold Italic, we are publishing The Californian’s Dilemma, a series that goes beyond the headlines about the “California Exodus,” featuring essays from San Franciscans about why they’re choosing to stay or leave. Check back daily for new essays.

My Dearest Los Angeles,

As you now know, I’m gone. I left at the end of April, when I finally said, “It’s over. I’m done. I quit. I can’t take it anymore, L.A.”

That pandemic night, I packed everything I could from my Angeleno bungalow into my navy blue Subaru and left for greener pastures in Oakland, a…


I’m transgender and this is what saves my mental health.

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Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Allow me to set the stage for you for a minute. It’s May 2020, COVID19 is running rampant through the world and I’ve just moved from Los Angeles back to the San Francisco Bay Area —my dearest Oakland, to be precise.

I’m transgender and newer in my gender transition (that’s what this whole column is about: my gender transition and grappling with healthy masculinity). I was feeling pretty good about life and moving back to the Bay Area when an unwelcomed visitor came to greet me. Yes, every transgender man’s worst nightmare: his period.

Half the time I can’t even…

Daniel Lyons

Author, Storyteller, Poet, and Queer Mental Health Advocate. Transgender Badass ~ he/him/él 🌈

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