I know you got your start at Autostraddle, but I’m wondering what other queer resources you wish you had when you were younger?
I wish that I had a media landscape that acknowledged that lesbians exist, which I think has only recently started to happen. Like, wasn’t it you who wrote the article about Shane [from The L Word]?
Yes, that was me!
I feel like that was when I knew Vogue had a lesbian writer on staff. Unfortunately, people who are not from marginalized communities often make the mistake of thinking that being a member of a community makes you an expert on all parts of that community, so, like the one lesbian at every company is often tasked with speaking for LGBTQ+ people as a whole. And it’s like, “That’s not how this works.”
As a queer person, what makes you feel like you’re taking up the kind of space that makes you genuinely proud?
Passing the mic, honestly. I know that’s an ironic thing to say while I’m in the middle of promoting my own book, but like, there came a point where I just felt like, “I should not be the face that people associate with Nylon.” Like, that time is over, it should be over like, and so I started using my position to elevate other people—whether it was people on staff, or artists, whoever—and that felt really good to me, because it was like, “Okay, I am a queer person who got in the door, I have a seat at the table; now what I need to do with that seat is make more room.”
You write so openly and fearlessly about your experience with disordered eating. How did you get yourself in a mental place to do that?
It was really hard. I had been in a lot of treatment, including work with a therapist, a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, and a physician. I started out just writing about recovery, because I didn’t really want to talk to anybody about it. So I already had all of the honest, raw writing about it when I began the book; that was already done, so it actually became a matter of paring it back and thinking about, “What is helpful for other people? What could accidentally be harmful? What do I feel comfortable with strangers and knowing? What will it feel like to have people read this?”
Did you want your memoir to be in conversation with anything else that’s on there?
When you’re writing, I feel like you either have to read everything or nothing on the topic, but there were a couple things that really inspired me. One was Hunger by Roxane Gay—the frankness with which she writes about food was really inspiring. And then Michelle Tea came out with a book of essays right when I started mine, and I was really inspired by the way she talked about pop culture as a way to talk about what her life was like when that piece of pop culture came out. That’s when I decided to do like, a section about my love for Bright Eyes when I was 14. It was like, “Oh, you can just talk about a band you love? And use it as a way to talk about what’s happening?”