Now that coronavirus has gained pandemic status, wearing masks outside of a medical setting has become more popular. Regardless of your reason for wearing a mask, it is important to understand what they will protect you from, and what they won’t. Most fabric masks worn without a filter won’t offer protection from viruses, bacteria, other disease causing particles, allergens, or even scents and smells. They might reduce the exposure, but they won’t necessarily stop you from getting sick. There are a few exceptions, but as a general rule, you can still contract a virus despite wearing a mask. Furthermore, you can pick up viruses and bacteria on your clothes, and they can then enter your body once the mask has been removed.
It started with, “I’m Sorry”
While applying to university, I wasn’t considered disabled, but looking back on it with the knowledge I have now, I should have been. Regardless of this, in my applications, I disclosed my health conditions, as well as the undiagnosed chronic pain issues that we now know to have been caused my fibromyalgia. At the time, I had diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and cold urticaria, and undiagnosed chronic pain, which had some possible diagnoses but nothing concrete. Without a formal diagnosis, it was difficult to do anything with that and have an acknowledgement of the struggles I was facing, and the support I would need.
It’s that time of year where everyone's talking about “new year, new me!” and “out with the old, in with the new.” For some people, decluttering and downsizing is a huge part of that process. There are plenty of articles out there that give you tips and tricks on how to do this properly, but very few articles take into consideration the effect that being transgender has on the decluttering process. When I first did the minimalism challenge in January of this year, I found that my decluttering process was guided by my experience as a trans person. For example, when downsizing my jewelry collection, the items personalised with my dead name were among the first things to go. So if you’re trans, and thinking of decluttering for the new year, this article is here to offer some unique tips and tricks. Please keep in mind that these are all only suggestions, and they may not all work for everyone.
When I was younger, say 15 or so, I went to a car show with my dad and my friend Rosie. It was the 4th of July—her birthday—and summer. It wasn't the nicest weather, but it wasn't particularly bad. A little windy at most. I was wearing shorts. We were walking around looking at the cars and some of the stalls that were selling shiny things. We sat on the grass and chatted to a stall owner about what she was selling and how she made some of her stuff. The grass was a little damp with morning dew, and there was a bit of a brisk morning wind. We were sat there for about 15-20 minutes. When we stood up, both of my legs were covered in an angry red rash. I had no idea what it was. We went and sat in the car for a bit, and the rash faded. I decided I felt a bit better, so we went outside again, only for the rash to return. We just carried on, perplexed, but otherwise fine.
I started to write this on the train home from the National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT+ Conference, a conference where access needs were repeatedly ignored, the catering was sub-par at best, and a motion was submitted that listed disabilities as flaws, and disabled LGBT+ people as “followers” of the cause. I am exhausted, but it’s fresh in my head.