Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

The 2020s been bending us over for a couple years now – time to switch positions.

What’s our motto for the new year? No-effing-more. Starting now. Here’s what we’re not gon’ do in 2022.

Allow straight guys to gay-bait us for profit

Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash

I get it: Straight men are hot. And they’re arguably even hotter when they’re dipping their hairy toes in the musky man waters. But you know what’s not hot? Pretending to be queer on social media for likes and clicks that translate to real-life profit. Because the likely truth of the matter is that this growing army of online gay-baiters are using that extra cash to take their opposite-sex girlfriends out on dates, supporting anti-LGBTQ+ causes (wittingly or not), and referring to us as cocksuckers and faggots whenever the cameras aren’t rolling. Are we gluttons for punishment? Of course we are. Why do you think we text our exes “You up?” every time we’re fucked up? Regardless, it’s time to break up with these no-homo narcissists once and for all. They’re taking us for a ride – and not the kind we douched for.

Live in fear of COVID-19

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Guess whose business it is whether or not strangers are vaccinated? Nobody’s – and especially not yours. If you’ve received the vaccine, congratulations! You did your part. That’s it. You’re done. You can’t do anything else to prevent the spread COVID-19 from anyone else but you. Accept that, and get on with your life. This virus is here to stay, and all of us ought to start learning how to live with it. Starting now.

Allow toxic people to destroy our self-esteem

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I struggle with depression and anxiety as a result of trauma – trauma that stems from my childhood, past relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, and various other contributors. While I’m in control of some of those contributors, I can’t control other people and what they say or do to me. What I can control, though, is their access to me. I’m cutting ’em off this year. Kickin’ ’em to the curb. Doesn’t matter who they are – parents, siblings, boyfriend, boss. I’m fed up. Had enough. Fuck with me in 2022 and you’re gonna get the boot right out my life. Take a similar stand (and stop drinking so much while you’re at it) and you’ll surprise yourself in myriad ways.

Pretend like everything’s OK when it’s not

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Mental and emotional wellbeing is a collective topic of conversation much more now than in the past. Open discussions with friends, family and professional therapists help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety but it doesn’t remove them altogether. And that’s OK. It’s also OK for everything to not be OK, and for you to admit that. If you’re feeling down, let yourself feel down. But if it lasts too long, it’s your responsibility to identify why you feel that way and work toward a resolution or at least seek treatment. In 2022, we all deserve happy days to be here again.

Pay more while doing more

Photo by Liam Martens on Unsplash

Prices are out of control all over the place, including the supermarket, and it burns my biscuit that not only is my wallet taking a beating but now I’m also expected to do the jobs of employees. Like cleaning up carts from the parking lot or bagging my own groceries.

What else is the cashier doing, besides scanning my items, if I have to bag them? That’s their whole job – just beepin’ shit across the laser? Meanwhile, I’m tasked with paying the bill and dodging the next customer’s purchases coming down the line before I’ve removed mine from the collection end of the belt. That’s not to mention that in California we pay 10 cents per bag, a fee that’s promoted as helping reduce the amount of plastic in the environment, but which is really just another way for corporations to dig into our pockets. And that’s even if there are bags to offer. I was at a Walmart recently that had no bags to provide customers – the second separate store where I’ve encountered this issue – forcing me to throw dozens of loose pantry staples and produce all over my trunk.

This year, join me in my crusade to not do anything that somebody else is getting paid to do – unless we’re getting a check, too.

Rest on our laurels

silhouette of person standing on rock surrounded by body of water

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

If you’ve been coasting through the past couple years by living off unemployment money and taking full advantage of on-again/off-again lockdowns, 2022 is the year to get your ass back in gear. Rest period is over. Grab these first few months by the balls and return to normalcy. Create changes, too. Big ones. Make a physical move, take a few risks, apply for a new job or enact a whole new career change. Just do something besides hang around the house in your jammies and field Zoom calls day in and out. There’s still a wide world out there, and it wants you to be part of it.

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels

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LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.