Required Reading: Links of the Week

Here’s what we at BinderCon have been reading this week. But first, a reminder to act fast and grab one of the last few slots for our speed pitching event, happening on Sunday morning of the conference, which starts in eight days!

Ali Liebegott, writer for the TV show Transparent (available to you through your own or somebody else’s Amazon Prime account password), penned an essay about their experience as a butch dyke freelancer writer, being invited to write for Transparent, and how their experience informs the show:

I wanted to get it right, and recognized the dangers of a bad representation. I’ve lived a good part of my life in a gender non-conforming body. As a butch who is constantly misgendered and regendered throughout the day by strangers, I have some crossover with a trans experience especially when it comes to using public restrooms, navigating airports, getting wanded by security detail on entering a sporting event, so I felt like I could use my experience to add to the conversation.


Daisy Hernández‘s account of a summer editorial internship at the New York Times is funny, enraging, and useful to other young women writers of color entering journalism (alas, things haven’t been getting better). Hernández’s anecdotes are cutting, like this one:

Because it’s the beginning of summer, NPR has an obligatory story about the high number of girls who are going to tanning salons. I listen to this while lying in bed next to my girlfriend, who frequents these salons, and with my idea for getting Colombians political asylum stalled, I suggest writing on the evils of the fake tan.

Mr. Flaco loves it. White men can always be counted on to agree that girls do crazy things in the name of beauty and that they need to be chastised. Who better than to scold teenage girls than a young woman herself?

BinderCon speaker Jill Filipovic wrote about how “parental consent” laws in Alabama are putting minors who want abortions on trial (not just morally; literally in a court room):

It allows the court to appoint the embryo or fetus a “guardian ad litem,” which is a person, usually a lawyer, tasked with advocating for the embryo’s interests in court. It also requires that the district attorney appear to represent the interests of the state — which the law explicitly says are “to protect unborn life.” And the DA can call the young woman’s friends, family members, teachers, or employers as witnesses if he deems it necessary.


Zoë Heller and BinderCon speaker Leslie Jamison ask: Should Writers Avoid Sentimentality? Jamison gets to the heart (ahem) of it, saying:

The fear of being too sentimental — writing or even liking sentimental work — shadowed the next decade of my life. The fear was so ingrained in me it became difficult to tell where outside voices ended and internal ones began. But the whole time I wasn’t entirely sure what I was afraid of: What was the difference between a sentimental story and a courageously emotive one?

Finally, ICYMI, as if: a conversation between Roxane Gay and Lena Dunham, including this dialogue about Internet criticism:

[Gay] Absolutely. I run into it because so much of what I get is noise and people being evil, and there is nothing I can do to fix that. But then something comes through, whether it is in a comment or on Twitter or via email, that is lucid and that challenges me in a truthful way, and that is when I respond. I respond when I am going to be able to become better and do better.
[Dunham] That is so well-put. It is hard to be criticized and it is hard to change, but it also feels good. The thing that allows you to keep being vital in your work is to open up to stuff and to be a permeable membrane. When I first started, the [charges of] racism around the first season of the show — I did not know what was going on and I had evil people telling me not to speak, but I also had people [saying], “You have to shut everything out, or you are going to go insane.” And it took me a little while to realize that it was going to be better for me to engage and learn and hear than it was for me to go into my house and wrap a blanket around my head. That was the beginning of a really, really, really important lesson for me.

Happy Weekend Before BinderCon! Rest up!