Advocacy as work and coffee as compensation

In the aftermath of the SF Signal debacle I recommended several ways of supporting disabled voices, particularly disabled writers and activists. One of those was: “Pay us. When you offer to publish us, invite us to conventions, ask us to share our expertise, pay us.” Later, Katherine Locke tweeted me and suggested looking into Ko-Fi, a service that let’s you ask people to “buy you a cup of coffee”—or, in other words, donate $2 to your PayPal.

I followed her advice, tweeting out a link and asking people for coffee. The donations started coming in. $2 here, $4 there, occasionally even $10 or $20 (from some especially generous people), and I quickly had enough to cover over half my credit card bill for this month. As someone who doesn’t have a job (for a variety of reasons, not least of which are disability-related), this was huge for me.

What was even cooler was seeing so many other people in the YA community tweet their own Ko-Fi links. It was a day of support, in terms of boosting but also in terms of money. It was invigorating seeing so many people I respect and admire stating that their work is worth financial compensation.

That afternoon I said:

[Embedded tweets: It’s hard enough accepting that your writing has value, but it’s even harder recognizing your less concrete work does too. Advocacy in particular is hard for me to see as “work” worthy of being paid. Advocacy doesn’t feel optional to me. It feels like survival.]

This has been on my mind a lot, especially now that I’ve been pitching and publishing personal essays. My advocacy now has three main branches (in no particular order): 1) my work with Disability in Kidlit, 2) speaking and boosting on Twitter, and 3) my essays. (If I blogged more on here, I’d probably include that as 2a, but as it stands, I don’t view it as a major component. For now.)

So far, I’ve been paid for all my published essays, and I intend to continue that trend by only pitching to and accepting invitations from venues that are willing to pay me. (Of course, there are exceptions, because I understand that some sites, especially those that are “niche” and/or run by marginalized people like, for example, Disability in Kidlit, can’t afford to pay their writers.) It took me several months to come to a place where I was fully comfortable taking that payment, though. My essays are intensely personal and (so far) focused on my disabled identity. I was worried that accepting money would mean commodifying my disability in some way, playing into the abled gaze by the very act of speaking within spaces created by said gaze. Of course, by that logic, the only ways to subvert it would be not to speak at all or to speak only in places the disabled have built, neither of which are fulfilling solutions for me.

So I speak, for a fee. My essays are work and that work is valuable. It’s valuable in terms of advocacy—sharing a new perspective, contributing to ongoing dialogues, critiquing feminist spaces, encouraging an examination of privilege, etc.—but it’s valuable in terms of dollars too.

As hard as it was to come to that conclusion, it’s been even harder to recognize that that second branch, the social media branch, is valuable in a similar way.

[Embedded tweet: But [advocacy is] work too. It’s time. It’s intellectual and emotional labor (both of which have physical consequences). It’s risk. It’s hard.]

My tweeting doesn’t bring revenue for anyone the way that my essays do for the sites that publish them, but that’s the only substantial difference. In a lot of ways, the advocacy I do on Twitter is more draining than my essay work. Essays are written in isolation, edited (ideally) by someone trusted, and then out of your hands once published. Twitter is both a stage and a conversation. And when the spotlight swings to you (for instance, when something outrageous happens, like with SF Signal), it’s doubly exhausting to have to succinctly, thoughtfully express yourself while fielding real-time feedback and expansions and questions and pushback and everything else. It’s work.


Today, Dahlia Adler tweeted the following (which I’m pretty sure was completely unrelated to any of what I’ve been talking about, but which pinged for me because I’ve been thinking about these things):

[Embedded tweets: As an author – as a *person* – you need to believe and embrace that your work has value. Because you *are* writing words assigned a value. I get impostor syndrome. It SUCKS. But if you can’t genuinely believe that your work is worth something, how can you ask people to buy it?]

While she’s speaking more about fiction, she brings up another important, salient point: words are valuable and so is the act of stringing them together. Valuable in terms of critiquing, reflecting, celebrating, and creating the world we live in. But also valuable in terms of money.

Advocacy in all its forms may be largely about survival for many of us, but why can’t we thrive too?

Our work, our voices, our advocacy, our expertise, our vulnerability, our passion, our time, our effort are all worthy of financial recognition. I’m thrilled so many people (especially marginalized people) spent the other day asking for monetary support, and I hope we’ll continue to do so.

I hope we’ll continue to assert that our work—all of our work—has value. 


Buy me a coffee at  

2015 diverse reading audit (and a giveaway!)

A couple Decembers ago, I noticed something fairly alarming while looking through my Goodreads: I’d read exactly one book by an author of color that year. One. Out of 50. I really shouldn’t have been quite so shocked. I wasn’t making intentional reading choices, after all. But to be frank, I still believed at the time that a) I chose books based on nothing more than what I felt like reading, and that b) that was a good way to make decisions.

In reality, of course, our reading choices are never only a matter of personal preference. We pick books based on recommendations, bookstore presence, marketing, cover copy, cover image, author recognition, buzz, reviews, and more. And every one of these factors are in turn affected by systemic racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, etc. It’s no secret that books written by and featuring white, straight, abled, cis men get the majority of publisher backing, bookstore exposure, critical acclaim, and reader attention. It’s also no secret that that’s because we as a society place a higher value on those stories and those authors—on those lives. We do it instinctively, but it’s a learned instinct, and what is learned can be unlearned—to a certain extent, anyway—with conscious, continuous effort.

When we don’t make that effort, we aren’t merely complacent; we’re actively supporting a system that benefits some and harms others. The year that I read one author of color (Malinda Lo’s ADAPTATION, by the way, which was wonderful), that’s what I did. I propped up a publishing industry and a society founded on white supremacy. (If this seems like a melodramatic intro for a blog post about What I Read This Year, well, I’d suggest researching the many ways popular culture can impact and reinforce oppression.)

Since then, I’ve tried to make more intentional and more diverse reading choices, but I’ve still got a long way to go (not that there’s any end destination—you don’t read a certain number of diverse books and pack up shop). So in the interest of keeping myself accountable, here’s an overview of what and who I read this year, broken down into three categories: authors, main characters, and ownvoices.

(I realize this may not actually be interesting for anyone but me, so feel free to skip down past the charts to the “Now What?” section where I try to translate all this into action and host a giveaway! Ooooh!)



With this section, I’m looking at the number of books written by authors with marginalized identities rather than the number of authors with marginalized identities. Yes, this means some people were counted twice if I read more than one of their books (Seanan McGuire and Hannah Moskowitz, for example), thus increasing some category counts a bit. But I decided it was worth it, because a) with the exception of McGuire, all authors counted more than once were writing in multiple series/worlds, and b) I’m interested in not just whose voices I’m reading, but also where my money’s going, so looking at number of books versus number of authors seemed like a decent approach.

None of this is an exact science, of course, not least because people don’t always disclose every aspect of their identities (which is completely legitimate; readers have no right to any personal information except what the author chooses to share). And even when an aspect of their identity is public, I may still miss it. Having said that, it’s fairly easy to find most of this information for most authors.

authors of x id

The numbers work out to 82% women, 28% POC, 23% queer authors, 3% trans authors, 9% disabled authors.

I’m doing pretty okay with women (although I would’ve bet good money I’d be at 90% at least), but I could/should be doing better with pretty much every other category. Especially trans and disabled authors. Part of the reason those category counts are so awful is that there just aren’t as many trans and disabled authors being published as cis and abled authors (see: ableism and transphobia), but mostly I just wasn’t intentionally seeking those authors out. They exist, they’re writing, they’re being published, and I need to be better about supporting them.

And even when I was making intentional choices—like with POC and queer people—I’m still only averaging 1 in 4. It’s tempting to say, well, that’s much better than 1 in 50, but that’s not how this works. I don’t get to pat myself on the back for doing better than Absolutely Abysmal.


Main Characters

I’m mostly interested in the authors I’m reading and supporting, but I was also curious how those numbers lined up (or didn’t) with characters’ identities. Determining which categories each character belongs to tends to be pretty clear cut, but I did have to settle on a definition of “main character.” For my purposes, a main character is any perspective character, meaning we follow them specifically and get inside their heads (even in third person). Note that I excluded some books from the total count: essay collections, short story anthologies, basically any book without proper main characters.

diverse mcs

The percentages here work out to 73% women, 38% POC, 22% queer characters, 3% trans characters, 22% disabled characters.

What I find interesting here is: a) quite a few white people writing characters of color and abled people writing disabled characters, and b) more women than I would’ve expected writing men. I don’t have anything conclusive to say about these observations. There are all sorts of nuanced discussions surrounding who is “allowed” to write whom, but it all boils down to complexities of power, ownership, marginalization, self-determination, etc., none of which I have room to tackle here. Still, I think it’s important to pay attention to not only which authors you’re supporting, but also whose stories they’re telling.



Speaking of which, Corinne Duyvis coined the super handy term “ownvoices” earlier this year. It refers to books where the author shares some marginalized identit(ies) with their character(s). For instance, Corinne is autistic and she wrote about an autistic girl in her upcoming ON THE EDGE OF GONE, making that an ownvoices book. These books are important for many reasons, but a big one is that people with marginalized identities telling their own stories will forever and always be more important than outsiders (usually privileged outsiders) telling those stories for and instead of them. Which doesn’t mean marginalized folks should only ever write about people just like them, because super nope. This is about what you as a reader should be seeking out, not about policing what authors should be writing.

(Here again I excluded books without proper characters.)


Percentages: 25% POC, 12% queer folks, 3% trans folks, 3% disabled folks.

Once again, this shows some pretty big gaps. While I read a fair number of ownvoices characters of color (not that I shouldn’t be reading more, just that compared to the other categories and considering the total number of authors of color I read, this is the most “successful”), I’m super lacking in the other areas, especially trans and disabled ownvoices. But really, I need to do better across the board.


Now What?

Tracking your reading habits is an excellent first step, but a meaningless one unless you use the data to make better choices in the future. I’m all about measurable goals, so in 2016 I want to read at least:

  • 85% women
  • 50% authors of color
  • 35% queer authors
  • 20% trans authors
  • 20% disabled authors

(I’m particularly interested in reading more authors with intersecting identities, so that’s a sort of sub-goal.)

Hopefully I’ll soar way past those figures, but I like to start with something that seems pretty easily attainable based on past performance. If I give myself a goal (any kind of goal, not just in terms of reading) that feels immediately daunting, it’s likely that I’ll go hide from it until it goes away and forgets about me.

I considered giving myself an ownvoices goal as well—for instance: 50% of books I read should be ownvoices—but I figure if I’m already hitting all my other goals, I’ll probably be getting a lot of ownvoices books in the mix automatically. I’ll keep an eye on it, though, and if I notice my ownvoices numbers aren’t where I want them, I’ll reassess.

And now, the fun part of the post! Book giveaway time! I’m hoping others will also be in a reflective mood given the upcoming new year, and I’m hoping even more that you’ll join me in committing to your own diverse reading goals in 2016. So! If you want to win four wonderful books by women of color, follow the instructions in this tweet by December 31 (US only, sorry!!):

Even if you can’t or don’t want to enter the giveaway portion, please still join the discussion on Twitter using #DiverseReadingGoals and/or in the comments. I can’t wait to see not only what everyone else is aiming for, but also how everyone’s fared come next December.

Microaggressions and Erasure
of Disability in Diversity Discussions

I don’t know how to write this. I honestly still can’t decide if I should—even as I’m writing it—because I’m afraid I’ll be misunderstood, or because I’m afraid I’m overreacting, or because I’m afraid I’ll be perceived as overreacting. All of the above, really. But I’m more afraid of not saying anything, of letting it blister only to burst open deep and raw over and over again. I’m afraid there’ll come a day when I choose to withdraw from this community altogether rather than be scraped open one more time.

Before I start, I want to be clear that nothing I’m going to say is directed at any one person or event. This is something that’s been happening for as long as I’ve been part of the YA community, but it has admittedly been happening more frequently lately since diversity discussions in general have been happening more frequently. And maybe that’s why I’m saying something now even though I’ve been planning to write this for ages: because the little hurts are coming in quicker succession and turning into bigger ones. Bigger hurts are harder to ignore.

I also want to make it clear that I admire the hell out of every single person in this community fighting for more and better diversity, risking their careers and well being to do so, and facing unconscionable harassment and abuse for speaking at all.

Having said that, I’m finding it harder and harder to feel welcome in these diversity discussions. And no, I’m not talking about the ones that are focused on racism or transphobia or anti-Semitism or Islamophobia or any other specific marginalization. Those are all incredibly important conversations where my voice does not belong, except perhaps to boost the voices of those who do. My voice doesn’t belong in discussions about A Fine Dessert or For Such a Time, for example. Beyond boosting those affected, my voice would be derailing at best and actively harmful at worst. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the general diversity discussions. Sometimes these develop from those specific ones, sometimes not. Regardless, we have a lot of (sorely needed) conversations about diversity and marginalization in this community…and disability doesn’t always feel welcome there. I’ve started dreading these conversations because they inevitably turn into a string of microaggressions and erasures.

It’s in the way disability is so rarely listed in definitions of diversity.

It’s in the way people say, “You’d never say [X] about someone disabled! Why say it about [other marginalized identity]?”

It’s in the way books with disability tropes and painful portrayals are included again and again in recommended lists and award nominations, even after #ownvoices critics have spoken out against those titles.

It’s in the way those harmful portrayals are often the only ones recced at all, and how #ownvoices writers tend to be overlooked entirely.

It’s in the ableist language used so often and so casually to make a point: “Those people are CRAZY!” “Anyone who says/thinks/does that must be INSANE!” “You’d have to be BLIND to ignore that!”

It’s in all the times someone has said “differently abled” or “wheelchair-bound” or “handicapable” in an article promoting diversity.

It’s in the lack of captions or descriptions of photos, GIFs, and videos. Again, in articles promoting diversity.

It’s in the shorthand we use for privilege: white, and sometimes straight. As though sexuality and race are the only possible axes on which to be privileged or marginalized. As if abled privilege doesn’t exist.

It’s in the way so many people—even those committed to diversity—can’t list the last book they read with a disabled character.

It’s in the way disability is so rarely included when people list the intersectional characters they’d like to see.

It’s in the way people respond to my voice. There’s sympathy, always sympathy, but rarely solidarity. When my voice is boosted, people say, “Listen.” But most don’t say, “This is wrong.”

It’s in the way I’ve seen authors use #ownvoices to describe themselves writing disabled characters—because someone in their family has a disability.

It’s in all the ways we’re ignored, erased, or trampled on during these discussions.

I am white, so I am absolutely privileged. But I’m also disabled (not to mention queer), so I am absolutely marginalized. I have valuable things to add to discussions of diversity, but I don’t always feel comfortable speaking. I worry I’ll be derailing if I focus on disability, or that I’ll be seen as a white girl trying to play oppressed, or that no one will care anyway.

I appreciate the explicit support I get. I do, truly. This isn’t about that. This is about all the subtle ways I’m told over and over again that I don’t count, that I don’t belong in these discussions. It’s the microagressions. It’s the erasure. It’s the apathy. It’s the fact that a supposedly safe space is feeling less and less so every day.

Maybe this is a horribly misguided thing to write. Maybe I should just delete it. But really all I’m saying is:

See us. Acknowledge us. Include us.


An open letter to the editor of

This is, as the title suggests, an open letter to the editor of about their recent homophobic, all-around disgusting article mocking slash fanfiction and those who read and write it. Her email is if you’d like to write a letter as well. (Thanks to Tess Sharpe for leading the charge.)

Dear Kaitlin,

Yesterday, your site posted an article ( that is actively dangerous to teens, particularly queer and questioning teens, in a number of ways.

We should really not have to tell you that it’s homophobic and NOT OKAY to say that queer kissing is “nasty as fuck.” And yet, here we are. I want to do more than that, though. I want to explain why it’s not okay. I want you to understand the harm your article could (and very likely did) do.

Not too long ago, I was one of the teens reading fanfiction that your article mocked. With one crucial difference: I didn’t read slash. I didn’t click on it. I wouldn’t even let my eyes linger on the pairings listed in summaries as I scanned for safer, cleaner fic with straight pairings. I didn’t dislike slash, but I dreaded seeing any hint of it. Just knowing it existed scared me because it was so clearly wrong, and if I shared any space with it (even virtual space, scrolling as fast as I could past it) might make me wrong, too.

At the same time, I was fantasizing about girls. I told myself if was just because I knew what girls looked like and felt like since I was one myself. I wasn’t imagining kissing girls because I liked them. I didn’t like girls. I liked boys. I wanted to kiss boys, like in the fic I read of my favorite straight couples. (You know what doesn’t seem possible when you only read hetero stories? Wanting to kiss boys and girls.)

At the same time, I was masturbating at night. I’d cry after, every time. Silent, heaving sobs that twisted in my stomach and lower, because I knew I shouldn’t be doing it. Because I knew it was wrong and I still didn’t stop. So I was wrong, too, right? (Het fic with more explicit sexual content existed, but I never read it. Sure, it wasn’t quite as wrong as slash fic with sex, but it was wrong enough. Nasty enough, one might say.)

It wasn’t until later that I realized I was so scared of slash fic and of sex in fic because I was curious. I wasn’t just afraid—I was ashamed.

Later, in college, I let myself click on some of those shameful titles before hastily closing the window. Even later, I finally let myself read them.

You know what I found? Stories where I could explore and engage my queerness and sexuality without judgment. I found stories that showed me sexual pleasure was possible and wonderful. I found characters who wanted to kiss people of all genders. I found out there were more than two genders to want to kiss!

I found myself in slash fanfiction.

It can be so hard to figure out your identity, to accept yourself, to love yourself, to recognize that you deserve a place in this world, that you deserved to be loved.

How dare you make that harder? How dare you mock the spaces that queer people and women and trans people have carved for themselves? When you tell teens that these stories are “nasty as fuck” or “inappropriate” (which is the language used after the initial reaction), you’re telling them that their desires and their questions and their creativity and their curiosity and their very selves are nasty and inappropriate.

Words matter. They have consequences. You should have known better than to publish that article at all, but since you didn’t, you need to fix it. You need to take it down and issue an apology. (Note: “I’m sorry if anyone got their feelings hurt” is not actually an apology.)

Of course, there were other issues with this article as well. Tess Sharpe has done a wonderful job explaining them here. In short: you linked children to sexually explicit content without any warning for them, and you used peoples’ writing without their consent (many of whom are teens and have since been harassed and bullied because of this violation). Read her letter as well.

You exist for teens. Presumably you care about them. If that’s true, address this. Acknowledge you were wrong and why you were wrong.

And never ever ever invade and/or mock teens’ safe spaces or interests or creativity or identities ever again.

Kayla Whaley

But Maybe I Shouldn’t Write

If you’re at all involved in the YA community, chances are you’ve seen some conversations recently about diversity. If you’re heavily involved (and heavily invested in diversity in YA), then you’ve seen lots of these conversations over the recent months. They’ve covered a wide range of distinct but related questions:

  • What does “diverse” mean?
  • How should that word be used, if at all?
  • Who has the right to write which stories?
  • Who makes that call?
  • What should criticism look like?
  • Has criticism become so critical as to be unconstructive?
  • Does it matter if it has?
  • Who makes that call?
  • How can we support each other and also demand we all do better?
  • What does “better” look like anyway?
  • Who makes that call?
  • What is our responsibility as writers?
  • What’s our responsibility as people in power, people who are marginalized, and (like most of us) people who are both?
  • Are these conversations even useful?
  • Again, who makes that call?

There’s a lot in there to unpack and no concrete answers to find. Because these questions aren’t meant to be answered so much as meant to generate discussion, exploration, and intentional thought.

I’m thrilled these conversations are happening so often and with such passion. I think they’re important even if their effectiveness is questionable. I don’t know how much these discussions are changing the industry, if at all. I don’t know if we’re all just shouting the same things over and over at one another in some inescapable Diversity Loop. I don’t know if we’re doing any good for this community, for readers, for writers, for the wider culture. I don’t know.

But I do know what effects these conversations have had on me.


I think about power a lot.

  • In what ways do I hold power?
  • In what ways (intentionally or otherwise) do I wield it?
  • In what ways do I lack power?
  • What effect does that lack have on me?

Pretty basic questions, but the discussions in YA over the past several years have led me to start thinking about power within the specific context of writing. I eventually came up with a sort of personal philosophy on How To Write:

  • Write responsibly, respectfully, and intentionally.
  • Strive to do no harm, but accept that you will fail.
  • When you fail, listen, apologize, and try to do better next time.

Over the years, I’ve considered each of these points thoroughly and found them to be useful. I’ve even shared them and felt fairly confident that they would be helpful for others, too.

But lately I’ve been thinking about the underlying premises of this seemingly straightforward philosophy. First, it assumes I’m writing from a position of power. That assumption is true—I’m always writing as a white, cisgender person—but it isn’t the whole truth. I’m also always writing as a disabled, queer woman—aka from a marginalized position.

Second, it assumes all stories are available for me to tell. This philosophy says that as long as I write “responsibly, respectfully, and intentionally,” I’m doing my due diligence and can proceed. This ignores the possibility that due diligence may not be enough sometimes. It ignores that some stories, no matter how carefully I approach them, are not mine to tell.

Third, it assumes my greatest responsibility as a writer is to minimize harm. If you try to do no harm but also accept occasional, inevitable failure, the best you can do is to minimize harm, right? Wrong. There’s another option.


One of the most recent conversations in the YA community asked whether we’re scaring off writers (both marginalized and in power) from trying to write diversely at all. This is a messy question and it led to a messy conversation. (I’m going to attempt to summarize various points I’ve seen, but I’m sure I’ll get some of it wrong and it will certainly be incomplete.)

Some folks feel the tenor and/or content of critique in the community has become too unforgiving (for lack of a better word). There’s no room for that second step in my philosophy anymore: failure. And there’s even less room for the third: second chances. This, they say, will frighten off writers from trying, resulting in no representation at all. Typically, those in this camp feel bad representation done in good faith is better than no representation, and that we should be careful not to constrict voices.

Others feel critique is both necessary and useful regardless of how it’s presented. They’re wary of tone-policing the marginalized who have been hurt time and time again. Typically, this camp feels no representation is better than bad representation, and that if writers can be so easily scared off from trying with just the possibility of critique, then they shouldn’t be trying to “write the other”.


My philosophy as outlined above rests on one other crucial premise: that I’m writing, specifically with the goal of publication. The idea that the best I can hope for is to minimize harm is only true if you assume I’m writing at all. I could just not. I could abstain entirely. I could either never write another word, or else write just for me.

If I’m not writing, my stories can’t do harm. If “do no harm” is the goal…well, that’s about the only way to do it.

I seriously considered never writing again. I considered it for a long time. I don’t want to do harm, and I know that any story I write (even those within my own experience!) will hurt someone somewhere. I’m fallible. I can try, but no matter how much good faith I have, I will fail.

On top of that, me being published at all could do harm. I hold power in certain specific ways, and I know that if I get published I’ll benefit from that. For instance, I’m white. I know that if I write characters of color, I’ll see more marketing, more praise, more support than a person of color writing those characters would. More than that, “diversity slots” are still limited and my voice (on the axis of race) is privileged over others. I could take one of those rare slots open for people of color. That’s harm.

So, if I don’t want to do harm, and if my stories will inevitably do harm no matter my intentions, and if the very act of sharing those stories will harm the careers and opportunities of others… Should I write?

I think it’s a useful question to ask ourselves, and one we’re not usually encouraged to explore. During these diversity conversations, I often see people responding defensively, as though they’re being told they shouldn’t write X topic. That’s almost never what anyone is saying, but I think it’s worthwhile to ask yourself if you should write at all. Interrogate yourself, your goals, the costs to you and others if you pursue them and if you succeed. Should you write?


I decided yes. It took a long while and it was an agonizing journey to get to that answer, but I decided yes.

A big part of that rested on the fact that while I am in a position of power in significant ways, I am also marginalized. There are stories I can’t tell, but there are also stories only I can tell. There are nuances about my life that I’m especially well suited to share. There are so many parts of me I’m afraid I’ll never see on the page if I don’t put them there myself. I decided yes largely because I need to write myself into the world. (Although I want to stress that that isn’t the only legitimate reason to make this decision.)

Of course, like most marginalized folks, I don’t want to be limited to writing only about my marginalizations, and I don’t want to write any world that excludes people different from me. Which means I will sometimes be writing from a position of power. Which means I will inevitably do harm.

So let’s return to that philosophy of mine. I’ve modified it some, and I think it better reflects where I’m at now:

  • Acknowledge your power and your marginalizations.
  • If you choose to write, do so responsibly, respectfully, and intentionally.
  • Strive to do no harm, but accept that you will fail.
  • When you fail, listen, apologize, and try to do better next time.

I choose to write. Maybe someday I’ll choose to stop, but not today.


This post isn’t meant to be prescriptive. I’m not saying anyone can’t or shouldn’t write. I am saying it’s useful to consider why you write. I’m saying it’s important to consider the harm you could do and whether the reason you write is enough for you to risk that harm. I’m saying these conversations—these fraught, difficult, complicated, important conversations—led me to realize that just because I can and want to write isn’t a good enough reason for me to do it.

I’m saying I’ve found a good enough reason.

I don’t know what the reason is for you. I’m not here to tell you what is or isn’t enough. No one could ever tell you that but you.

I’m just here to ask some questions.