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A beginner’s guide

This guide is meant to be a starting point in your journey of understanding the greater queer and transgender community. Please also take a look at the sources at the end of this article for further resources.

A title slide with the words “The Basics of Gender and Sexuality” overlaid on the male, female, and intersex symbols.
A title slide with the words “The Basics of Gender and Sexuality” overlaid on the male, female, and intersex symbols.

LGBTQIA+ (LGBT, or LGBTQ)

A short hand to describe people part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual communities. There are more identities that fall under this umbrella that are represented by the plus sign. LGBT is used as a shorthand but is not as inclusive.


How and why radicalization happens

A man stands in the capital holding a confederate flag.
Image Caption: A man stands in the capital holding a confederate flag. Original Image by REUTERS/Mike Theiler, Edited by Mei Ke.

Radicalization is a difficult topic to talk about, even in politically neutral environments. However, the attack on the capital on Jan 6th, and potential future assaults, make it necessary to address radicalization in a way that is easy for a lay person to understand. Although I myself am not an expert on radicalization, I will be drawing on my graduate level courses and sources from some of the leading experts in the field to give you as a reader a basic idea of why radicalization happens, why it is hard to stop, and what we can do about it. My…


Why we need better data on the LGBTQ+ community

A picture of a typical survey with the option “female” as the last category. Written in is the option “other.”
Image Caption: A picture of a typical survey with the option “female” as the last category. Written in is the option “other,” with the text below reading ‘why we need data on the LGBTQ+ community.”

This editorial is the written format of a LGBTQ+ educational slideshow presentation that can be viewed here. All graphics, pictures, and commentary are original and created by the author of this piece, Mei Ke, unless otherwise specified.

Queer and Transgender people need recognition and representation in almost every aspect of public life. However, what is often overlooked is the need for that representation in data. It makes sense, data is not as flashy as TV shows or movie stars, but this article will argue that data on the LGBTQ+ community has the potential to influence more lives on a direct…


Common Mistakes and Ways to Fix Them

A person holding the letters “LGBTQ” made in colorful playdough.
Image Caption: A person holding the letters “LGBTQ” made in colorful playdough. The picture is focused on the hands in the center of the frame holding the letters. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels.

This guide was built from an example survey I recently took for my graduate school about the services the school provided. I’ve taken the time to break down each question and explain the problems with it and ways to make the questions more inclusive. I’ve done my best to provide you commentary, and suggest alternatives. For context, I am a nonbinary person who was assigned female at birth. The bolded selections are what I chose on the survey, but I explain why I had trouble choosing for each one.

The Original Questions and Commentary

1. How would you describe yourself?

  • Female
  • Male
  • Trans female/Trans woman
  • Trans male/Trans Man
  • Gender queer/Gender non-conforming


China and Russia are Getting Bolder

Source: BBC News. Image Caption: Russian A-50 plane in the air.

China and Russia’s joint air operation over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands was provocative towards both American allies and the United States directly. Because of this, the United States military and political leadership should have publicly denounced Chinese and Russian actions while affirming their commitment towards allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Background

China and Russia have been developing their joint military operations for over a decade, both to complement their leaders’ personal affinities as well as to signal the growing alignment of the two nations. Early in the morning on July 23rd, 2019, Russia and China carried out their first joint air…


China and Censorship in the Age of COVID-19

Art by James Ferguson. Image Caption: The bottom half of a person’s face in black and white. Their mouth is covered by a depiction of a Chinese flag in bright red and yellow.

Online activism has radically changed the way human rights violations are documented, especially in environments where records of abuse are difficult to obtain. The capacity to mass share content, multiplied by the ability to restart entire communities quickly even after being shut down, has allowed civic journalism to thrive and continue to grow despite censorship efforts. As Amnesty International explains, “combined with powerful tools such as Google Earth, investigators now have hundreds of potential crime scenes at their fingertips.” At the same time, it’s important to note that the increased level of connectivity online has also given governments more tools…


A Social Psychology Perspective

Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash. Image Caption: A child in a t-shirt, jeans, and sandals running from the camera. The child is holding a transgender pride flag and the concrete in the background has a reflection of a rainbow.

The following essay will use transgender as an umbrella identity term but recognizes that not all gender non-conforming individuals identify as transgender and may use other terms to describe their gender identity.

Although plenty of research has been done into gender stereotypes and their effect on the body image of adolescents, many studies have neglected a major factor in their analysis. For those who experience incongruence between their physical appearance and their gender identity, body image is a critical factor in both outwards acceptance and inner satisfaction (Algars, Santtila, & Sandnabba, 2010). Understanding these indicators can help alleviate the pressure…


But there is still time to fix it

Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels. Image Caption: iPhone with a white background and black text reading “ERROR.” There is a green and red light filter that reflects off the glossy table the phone sits on.

Because social media is considered a platform rather than a publishing entity, any regulation on the internet without the user and host’s consent is considered both an economic and free speech violation. However, neither the hosts nor the users have the incentives to support regulation, despite experiencing negative effects from the work of bad actors. A regulation-free internet allows the possibility of violent, pornographic, exploitative, and threatening content to exist and proliferate without moderation. All parties can agree that this type of content should be regulated, but it is difficult to draw the line between amoral expression and the assertion…


Ten Steps to Start Your Journey

Photo by Sides Imagery from Pexels. Image Caption: A black and white photo of a protest, the image is focused on a sign reading “RESIST.”
  1. Listen to minorities carefully. Let that community lead the conversation. Stop demanding your minority peers to educate you on social issues. Instead, read up on your own on how to be an activist for the cause.
  2. Stop playing devil’s advocate when discussing discrimination. You’re not funny or clever, you’re just rude and annoying.
  3. Don’t share footage of attacks, protestor’s faces, or violent action. It’s triggering to minority communities and can out their identity. Instead, share ideas of how to keep people safe, where supplies are, curfew details, and resources. …

Understanding Chinese Culture as an American

Image Caption: A person stands in the middle of a busy street with a pink t-shirt and short cropped hair. There are red lanterns hanging from strings behind them.

For Westerners, it is common to claim that divergent cultures have an otherness. When Westerners first began their interactions with East Asian cultures, they needed to devise terms to understand the new cultures they were interacting with. Westerners use separate terms for East Asian thought and culture to highlight cultural difference, but as these labels are made by outsiders, they do not always accurately model the cultures they are supposed to represent. Westerners have labeled Eastern culture as ‘collectivist,’ a term meant to describe intergroup dependence and group consciousness based on acknowledgement of collective harmony and stability. Asian researchers have…

Mei Ke

They/Them Pronouns | 中文名字: 柯梅 | Intelligence Specialist & Diversity Advocate | hellomeike.com

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