Tori Truscheit

Writer in Sacramento, CA

How to Raise a Child at the End of the World

My two-year-old is funny and joyful and extremely cute, but she requires a lot of patience, and I am often desperate to disengage from her. I am not alone in this feeling: At any playground, as soon as parents are behind their kids, pushing them on the swings, we’re on our phones, distracting ourselves with a little Instagram-induced adrenaline rush. Anything will do the trick: friends’ selfies, Twitter jokes, even silly videos of other people’s kids.

Young, Trans, And Living At Home

“Do you want me to close this door so you have privacy?” asks Jenni Tomaszewski as she chops vegetables in the kitchen. It’s April, and I’m sitting with Tomaszewski’s 22-year-year old daughter, Pia Cruz, in the family’s spotless suburban San Jose, California, living room, their boxer, Koa, at our feet. “You’re good, Mom,” Cruz says. She’d been telling me about her transition, and her mother has heard it all before: when Cruz realized she was trans (on her 18th birthday, on a family trip to Maine

Generation Q

Kids these days are constantly on their phones... and more educated about sex, consent and gender fluidity than ever before When Justin Pomariga turned 18 last year, he dragged his mother to San Francisco to shop with him at Mr. S, the legendary leather and fetish store. He'd been anticipating his birthday for months, awaiting the day he could legally jump into the BDSM scene after years of Internet research. "My mom is a very liberal person," he says. But she hadn't quite understood what her kid was into before they entered the store.

How Silicon Valley’s Lila Rose Became the Face of Millennial Anti-Abortion Activism

Lila Rose has had a very good year. In October, she starred in a just-released mini-documentary from The Atlantic about the anti-abortion organization she founded in her parents’ San Jose living room at age 15. Then she got married and went on a honeymoon, posting to Instagram from the beach with her new, extremely clean-cut husband in matching blue and white outfits. And in the same month, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed a justice who will likely do more to end abortion than anyone in recent history.

The Rage of All Women

In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, a dyke friend in her twenties posted that, real talk, she doesn’t like men. I hit the like button super fast, feeling secretive and sort of guilty about it. She’d come through the same radical queer and trans circles I came up in, and in that click, I felt relieved to acknowledge an obvious truth: Most men treat women like something less than human, whether accidentally or on purpose, and that means it’s hard to like them.

California Dreamin’ Is a Nightmare for Some LGBTQ+ People

Like other migrants to California, Scott Gregory* came with a golden dream. “You can use the bathroom there,” Gregory thought, then 20. “They’ll give you your testosterone, they’ll give you your top surgery, you’ll be safe there.” He had friends back in Michigan, a community of queer and trans people on a Native American reservation near the Canadian border. But when his dad tried to kill him — “There will be no Two-Spirits in our family,” Gregory remembers him saying — he took a redeye to San Jose.

His Gay Daughter Killed Herself At 23. His Message: "Don't Mess Up Like I Did."

To get past security, Mathis had folded up his sign so no one could see what it said: “Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay. A 32-year-old Roy Moore dated teenage girls age 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind. Please don’t vote for Roy Moore.” To get to the barn, he had to walk a quarter mile away from the main road, down an unlit path through the pine trees.

Drag Queen Glams Up Story Time at San Jose Library, But Not Without Some Controversy

It takes more than a few minutes to transform into drag without a proper dressing room, which is why Talon Marks arrives a bit late to story time at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown San Jose. By the time she emerges in the children’s wing, the roomful of kids are chanting her name in anticipation. In a red and black polka-dot dress, shiny black pumps and a wig teased into a three-inch pompadour that matches her beard, she towers over the tiniest tots in the front row.

The Maternal Instinct Myth

Nobody knows what to do with a newborn these days. When a friend handed me her infant last year, I gave her back after two minutes, terrified of dropping her. If you'd put a disposable diaper and a baby in front of me, I would have probably put it on backwards. (The tabs! So confusing!) Most of us don’t grow up passing babies around in big extended families anymore, so we’re starting from zero when we have our own kids — because we haven't had any practice.

Out + Smart in Silicon Valley: The New Faces of Gay Politics as the Breakthrough Generation Retires

Yolanda Franco-Clausen avoids public restrooms. A local police officer with a slim build and a short haircut, she’d rather hold it until she gets home, or wait until her wife, Shay, can accompany her. Otherwise, because she reads masculine, strangers harass her in the women’s room, sometimes aggressively. “It’s not a pleasant experience,” she says. Yolanda can fend for herself, but Shay’s presence—and her conscious, loud references to Yolanda as “girl”—prevent any trouble. Still, Yolanda says,

Shay Franco-Clausen Wants to Represent the People

Shay Franco-Clausen’s house is always full. She’s got a no-shoes-on-the-carpet rule, and there’s usually a big pile of shoes in the front hallway. Four of her five kids have moved out, but her 12-year-old is usually out front shooting hoops, and the garage has been converted into a campaign office, where volunteers cluster around folding tables next to the washing machine. Franco-Clausen, 43, wants to be the first Afro-Latina and the first lesbian on the San Jose City Council.

Sex in the Valley

It's the stuff of nerdy programmers' dreams: make enough money in Silicon Valley, and the invites to secret sex parties will roll in. The soirées are the 21st-century version of dotcom-era trips to Vegas, where you might see a polyamorous venture capitalist dressed like a bunny before he splits off to have druggy sex with a few women at once. The ratio of women to men is 2-to-1, the opposite of a typical tech sausagefest, and the molly ta

Oak Grove Unified School District Poised to Close Four Campuses

Jermain Montiel grew up in south San Jose, so he was thrilled to send his kids to Baldwin Elementary in the Oak Grove School District. “You feel safe, it’s quiet and you don’t have to worry about hearing gunshots,” he says. Houses sell for over a million dollars in Baldwin’s zoned area and a new Costco just opened near Great Oaks Boulevard. “It’s a place where you want to raise your family.” But because of the district’s financial struggles, Baldwin is on the shortlist for closure in the coming

I'm Not Ready To Leave Queer Never-Never Land

It was high summer and I was at the riverbank, which in Oregon passes for a beach. Four dogs, off leash, chased and tackled each other at the shoreline. I was topless and so was most everyone else. It was my first time in the state, and my friends had promised me an excellent queer time. To my right, a group of women passed around cold fried chicken and a joint, and a lanky man glided across the sand in a sarong with a matching scarf around his ankle. I had met my person on a trip to Riis Beach

Public Defenders’ Podcast Prods New Dialogue on Criminal Justice

Henry Sires parked his green Oldsmobile in the East Foothills to smoke weed with friends on the morning of March 25, 2015. Little did he know, tensions were running high for local law enforcement. A day earlier, in San Jose, a suicidal man had ambushed and killed police officer Michael Johnson. But when a cop approached Sires’ car, he panicked, bumping a police cruiser as he tried to flee the scene. The officer shot at the car six times, injuring Sires’ left hand. When the charges came down, Sir

Can San Jose Revitalize Local Food and Farms in Silicon Valley?

San Jose, California is a sprawling city of contradictions. Once a bedroom suburb for San Francisco commuters, in recent years it has exploded to a city of more than a million people. Now San Jose serves as a home to both wealthy tech workers and working-class families sardined into whatever apartments they can find and afford. Its climate was perfect for apricot, cherry, and plum orchards and the canning factories that employed thousands of residents in the first half of the 20th Century, but those have long since been replaced with tech campuses.

How Can The Queerest Generation (Ever) Still Believe In Gender Roles?

Nearly two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal, bringing once-unimaginable rights to all 50 states. Yet this seeming human rights victory has failed to fundamentally change the primacy of the gendered, heterosexual nuclear family in our society. Rather than help dismantle gender essentialism—something we know to be dangerous—the largely white male activists behind the marriage equality movement sacrificed trans rights on the altar of their own desired outcome.

Brotopia: How the Valley’s Tech Elite Plan to Outlive the Rest of Us

At 11am on a Sunday morning, I slip into a row of seats in front of a podium with flower bouquets on each side. I’m here to listen to an aging white man talk about the afterlife. A woman in a fancy hat arranges a potluck lunch on a back table. Other attendees, mostly gray-haired, pass around a wicker basket and toss in $20 bills and personal checks. We aren’t in church. This is godless Silicon Valley.
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