Ella Dawson has genital herpes, and she wants to tell you about it. 

She’s not speaking up for the shock value — she’s telling you because she wants all of us to be able to talk about STIs without shame or stigma. When we make it okay to talk about, she says, people are more likely to get tested and less likely to be afraid to share their status. 

In her badass talk at TEDxConnecticut College, Ella tells the story of her diagnosis, how she overcame feeling like “human trash,” and why we need to end the stigma — now. It’s packed with information (and a shot of humor), and if you didn’t already agree with her, you will by the time she’s done.

Watch the full talk or read the transcript here.

(Full disclosure: Ella is TED’s social media manager. This post was written by her boss who is so incredibly proud of how fearlessly she speaks out.)

OK What the fuck is wrong with this bitch. Getting herpes is most definitely a reflection on a bad decision!!! There is something in this world called condoms!! Oh yeah and they are free at Planned Parenthood so you can’t even use the fucking excuse that they are expensive or your broke so you couldn’t buy any.. Seriously what the fuck
I am not saying you have to make it a big deal that you have herpes and have to tell the fucking world but you need/should tell your sexual partner..

Hi! That’s me. I’m that bitch. Nothing wrong with me except for an anxiety disorder and a runny nose today.

Here’s a fun fact you should probably know: condoms do not prevent the transmission of herpes. That’s because herpes is transmitted through skin contact, not fluids, and a condom does not cover all of the areas where genital herpes can express itself. Herpes is also often transmitted through oral sex, which most people do not use protection for. Using condoms and dental dams can greatly reduce your risk of getting herpes, but telling people to just use condoms is quite useless advice. I should know—I was a Planned Parenthood volunteer who used condoms religiously when I contracted genital herpes.

Many people do not tell their partners that they have herpes because they do not know they have herpes in the first place. That’s because many people can carry the virus without showing symptoms, and herpes is not tested for in most standard STI tests. But most people have herpes—in fact, according to the World Health Organization, 2 in 3 people in the world have HSV-1, which is the strain of herpes that I have. In all likelihood, you have herpes too. You may have even contracted it from a family member who kissed you on the mouth when you were little. 

I tell all of my partners that I have genital herpes before we have sex because I think they have the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies. I consider it part of obtaining informed consent. My partner who transmitted herpes to me did not give me the option to decide whether or not I wanted to take the risk of contracting the virus, and I think that was probably because he did not know he had the virus. I harbor no ill will towards him for transmitting to me. If he’d disclosed his status to me, I would have fucked him anyway.

Considering the fact that you know that condoms are available for free at Planned Parenthood—and that your tumblr is full of porn GIFs, no judgment!—I hope that you have been tested recently for herpes as well. It requires a blood draw, so if you’ve been peeing in a cup for your STI testing, you don’t know your herpes status. If you test positive for herpes, which you probably will, statistically speaking, I’ve written this guide on what to do after you’ve been diagnosed. I hope you will find it helpful!

Thank you for watching my TEDx talk, which you absolutely made sure to do before calling me a bitch, and have a wonderful evening!


She said I’m that bitch….. I’m already gagged I haven’t even finished reading this

WHOS 👏🏾 THAT 👏🏾 BITCH 👏🏾 I’M 👏🏾 THAT 👏🏾 BITCH 👏🏾






not to be a bitter asshole but the overwhelming “my gf is perfect and relationships between women are are all pure and perfect” culture on here is annoying. there are a lot of us out here being used, cheated on, dumped, abused, having communication issues and shitty breakups, and lesbian culture is not a binary of “im alone and pining after an imaginary perfect gf” or “i have a perfect gf”. it does baby lesbians and bi women a disservice. don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you if you have bad dates or weird dates or women treat you like shit or trespass your boundaries and in general don’t act like perfect magical moon princesses and your relationship isn’t a magical dream of cat ownership and cuddling. women are people too, and that means women are flawed too. there are wonderful women out there and you will find one someday to build your life with but there are a lot of assholes out there too, you’re not failing at anything if you date one of them. and you have the capability of being a shitty asshole too!

Boy there’s a lot of defensive creeps on this post!

“I’m a lesbian in a perfect relationship and I would never downplay that so that other lesbians aren’t jealous that’s ridiculous“

jesus, yeah this is definitely about jealousy not lesbians and bi women in toxic or straight up abusive relationships feeling isolated and wanting to change that!

A key reason why some believe LGBTQ IPV to be rare may be due to an assumption that LGBTQ people are inherently nonviolent. This may be particularly the case for sexual minority women. In contrast to the aggression often associated with culturally prominent masculinity norms, many lesbian women are socialized to perceive relationships involving two women as a peaceful and ideal “lesbian utopia.” Unfortunately, this powerful stereotype can impede lesbian female victims’ ability to recognize that a partner’s behavior is in fact abusive rather than normal.26 For example, in reflecting on her same-gender IPV victimization back in the 1990s, Julie describes the ubiquity of the lesbian utopia ideal in the United Kingdom that prevented her from discussing the abuse with anyone: “Well it was during a period where everyone was just raving about erm how brilliant woman-to-woman relationships were and also I don’t think anyone believed that one woman could do that to another woman—there was just no, no sense of reality around that at all. There was sort of a political euphoria about lesbianism at the time; well not even lesbianism, just woman-to-woman relationships.”27 Echoing these sentiments, a victim of female same-gender IPV in the United States explains the powerful influence the lesbian utopia ideal had on her ability to recognize the abuse: “No—I thought, well, I just thought that it was fine because we were girls, like, and girls don’t hurt each other like that. So I just thought that it was the way it was supposed to be.”28

LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence: Lessons for Policy, Practice, and Research by Adam M. Messinger

An example of what can happen when a group of people are glorified

This is exactly how I got into an emotionally abusive relationship. My other bi friends had told me “relationships with women are better because there aren’t power dynamics like there are between women and men.”

I doublethought (doublethunk?) my way back to “this isn’t a power dynamic” every time I felt demeaned and afraid, because “there are no power dynamics between women,” so I couldn’t have been living one.

Lesbianism-as-purity stuff terrifies me now, y’all.

oh, are you nb? (sorry if this is weird, im agender and its weird to meet other nb ppl that don’t share the radical mindset of the other ppl on this site)




I… don’t know what I think of gender. So I pretty much don’t contradict anyone who decides anything about me (which is fascinating, because I either have cis privilege or not depending on who is looking at me. I am quantum gender physics!)

Basically, I have body dysphoria but unlike a lot of people who do, I don’t have a male gender identity. I have no idea what feeling like a man feels like, or what wanting to be called something other than female because it’s soothing feels like (I don’t like this body but that doesn’t make it male, imo), but I have every idea what “why is my body so lumpy” and “I can only modify my body so much through exercise and I don’t have much time even for that” feels like.

I’m not sure what being a woman feels like either. If it’s “not being startled by she,” holy shit, I guess I feel like a woman.

I do not know what I would think of gender if I ever took T and found it useful for easing my discomfort. I do not know if I would know what being a man feels like, even then.

The only term I know that seems to encompass this is nonbinary, but I have a lot of issues with that term as well.

I … this, oh my god.

I get called “sir” every so often instead of “ma’am,” which always feels sort of like an accomplishment – as if getting called “sir” enough times will unlock some sort of Guess My Gender achievement – but I’m not trans enough to be trans and not cis enough to be cis and mostly I’m just confused, which is REALLY FRUSTRATING WHEN YOU’RE OVER 40.

+1 to everything here. at least, not the bit about occasionally being guessed m, more’s the pity, but I reblogged this from that comment anyway due to the bit about how wrangling this over 40 is extra hyper ultra special bullshit.

the thing about “nonbinary” as a proposed solution to this riddle is there isn’t a there there: there’s not a well defined normative nonbinary position to transition to.

and that’s difficult for anyone at any age.

but it is beginning to be less true for people in their teens and 20s. there are clearly others like you, more and more are articulating it to themselves and speaking up about it, they’re not even hard to find any more, so, like, there is an emerging way of being This?I mean the map is a sketch on a paper napkin and the path isn’t paved and well lit yet, but there is a map and a path and a nascent destination. it’s not easy, it’s a bit like being gay in 1987 maybe in that you have to proactively make the effort to carve out a space for yourself, like, probably you’ll want to move to the Bay Area or equivalent to optimize for authenticity and happiness, but at least that exists as an obvious and theoretically feasible course of action.

at my age? um. I realize it’s not technically true I’d be the only one, here is this nice commenter for instance, but it feels like it. there’s no go-to subculture, community, cohort, with visible people like me in it. it’s hard to envision finding a hearth, refuge, support, role models. it’s not that the path is an unpaved trail but that there isn’t any path, it’d be me and my machete and my willingness to go out on a limb all alone and make myself ridiculous and difficult and vulnerable. it’d be leaving point A and striking out into dangerous terra incognita without even having much reason to believe that there’s a point B out there to get to. one might have to make one’s own point B from scratch. and I’m so tired as it is. and is there any actual benefit? if so, Is it enough to outweigh all the risk and trouble? it’s very unclear.

(don’t get me started on the difference in sunk costs and investment in existing life, career, etc at 45 vs 25. there’s more to lose by upending the applecart, and not just affecting oneself.)

so when I think about identifying as nonbinary, it feels more accurate than most anything else, yeah, but also sort of pointless. and arduous. and less like the solution to anything than like a new pile of hard problems.

When The Apocalypse Actually Comes



















All the preppers who go ‘I have a year’s worth of food in my basement!!!’ “WE ARE PREPARED”

(1 year 3 months later)


Me, munching on some roasted maple seeds and crickets fried in duck fat, stirring a wild and cultivated vegetable and rabbit soup “Goddamnit how did you find my cave this is friends only go away.”

Everyone not living in an industrialized nation/city; “Yeah so basically this changes nothing except that now we have desperate city people trying to raid our fields. Fewer annoying tourists though so we’ll call it a wash.” 

I know we’ve never spoken, but my husband can make his own ammo and weapons can he come? I’ve got no skills so death is my only option, but he needs a cave.

You’re in find me at Maqoketa caves state park inJackson county, IA.
Native people lived in those caves for about 7k years until white people showed up. They have springs that come right out of the limestone bedrock and are pure enough to bottle and sell. Good farming land and lots of wild plants and game.
All my Tumblr family and buds are invited. Room in those caves for several hundred people to set up a village.

Everyone asking is in, BTW, PARTICULARLY those of you who know how to spin and weave. I can crochet but I’m iffy on spinning and weaving. Please bring any horses/sheep/goats/cows/poultry/dogs/cats. 

We have sheep around here and also flax and hemp. We’re set for cloth. 

This is a link to where we’ll be staying, btw

Pros of the caves; they stay a constant 56-58F, so we’ll be nice and cool in summer, warm in winter (particularly with fires) and streams run through parts of many of them so we don’t have to go trudging through snow to get fresh water. Lots of space for us all, lots of space for stores, and there’ll be remains of civilization nearby (the city of Maquoketa, pop. 6,000, with several good lootable stores, particularly lumber stores, pharmacies, and farm supply stores) to scavenge from. Also a hospital and a doctor’s office, which’ll be the source of many good things. 

Lots of clay deposits so we can set up a pottery works. The Maquoketa river is nearby for our fishing pleasure. 

I can spin and weave, but you’re a little far from me to be a viable in-case-of-apocalypse plan. We can definitely have friendly trade relations between our post-apocalyptic communities, though! I’m sure my community would be happy to trade textiles for medicines, for example. Or raw fibers for finished textiles, perhaps.

Yes good, we would love to have good trade relationships with other enclaves of survivors.

TThis is where we’ll be setting up, BTW. The main chamber of Dance Hall Cave, which was used for several thousand years as a cozy home and meeting area. 

The spring deeper in the cave. We’ll have fresh water on demand always. 

The natural arch outside the entrance, from which we will fling those who break the laws of our society (rapists, abusers, etc.)

I don’t have many true practical skills but I’m good at helping and picking up basic skills on the fly, although I do need a bit of supervision at first because I get anxious and fuck things up otherwise (trauma from having a father that enjoys tinkering but has zero patience for failure). 

Also, I’m fun to be around and often sing upbeat tunes to cheer peeps up  and give all the hugs and am generally great at moral support.

Also also I can carry pretty big loads and generally hit stuff hard.

Also also also I like you and I think you’d be a great cave buddy.

I… em… tell stories I guess ?

Also I’m quite good with kids so I can keep an eye on them while you are working and maybe teach them a few things, like mathematics, maybe writing and reading (though I never tried those) and basic human decency that will prevent any further species suicide.

Oh yeah dude you’re great with kids

Also don’t sell yourself short, you’re a pretty good shot too

Like not the best around but with training you’d be a pretty good hunter if not a great one

Teachers and storytellers will be honored members of our society, as they were for thousands of years. And general labor will always be in demand. 

But seriously there are sixteen large caves in that park, plus forest and prairies. Lots of white oaks, that provide hundreds and thousands of pounds of acorns (a vitally important carbohydrate food source.) 

Also, considering the caves are in limestone, there is TONS of limestone around for making mortar and lime. And if we need to kiln a large amount limestone for lime to make cement or whitewash or whatever, this is five miles away from the caves.

The Hurstville Lime Kilns, where they used to produce lime on an industrial scale right up until technological advances made wood-fired lime kilns obsolete in the 1930′s. Could be up and operating again with just a bit of wood to stoke the fires and limestone loaded into the chutes. 

@kasaron, @gabriel-wolfe-wordsmith, I know the two of you could figure out some other things to use an industrial scale lime kiln facility for. 

I would probably end up living in one of them. Dig some tunnels under it and renovate a little and it’d make a lovely house. Extend a covering to the next one over and turn it into a nice forge/workshop. Plant a nice little garden in between the two. Plant some bamboo in the nearest safe location for it (small plot of soil surrounded by solid rock) and harvest weekly for bamboo rods, treat to protect from rot, then use to build further structures and to reinforce tunnels. Set up a small hydroelectric generator at the nearest river and solar throughout and we’re good on everyday power. If we need a ton for a specific occasion generators can be set up.

The building/rebuilding of a small society is easy by comparison to the modern day. Survival is easy if one has support; It is affording insurance and housing that is difficult.

I really must learn to spin. I knit, croquet, and sew but I’m hopeless with spinning and slower than molasses weaving.

Okay Gabriel is taking the lime kilns as his home. Raccoon creek runs right through the park, so we’re set for hydroelectric and grain milling. In fact, there’s an old millhouse about six miles away we could loot for millstones. (It’s a museum now, but they have all the old equipment there yet. Heck. Someone might just take that and get it back into working order.)

And basically the whole area is surrounded by rock so you’re probably safe planting bamboo. 

Okay that arch is my favorite thing can I bring my dad so we can fling him off of it?

I know this is a remote skill but I train dogs? I can help with domestication of animals for pulling loads and such. Dogs can protect and help with foraging. 

If you think we don’t need help training dogs to help herd, and training horses and cows to pull loads, you have another think coming you’re on the animal husbandry team. 

And @queerenbian sure bring your dad we can make him the first flung off of the Arch of Punishment. 

I just had it pointed out to me that I am literally crowdsourcing the apocalypse. And that doing so is possibly a stroke of genius. 

This is it. This is Peak Internet. 

100% serious if shit really hits the fan I’ll be at the caves, and I expect to see y’all there. 

One of the things that aggravates me even more about some more recent attempts at language policing, is just how obvious it becomes that there is literally no way for some of us to win. No matter how much goalpost shifting and just plain making shit up it requires.

I mean, as got touched on earlier, for at least 25 years I’ve been just having to avoid engaging with what are pretty consistently the same people with the same terrible attitudes. No matter what the details of the ostensible reasoning might be at any given moment for why we’re really the ones causing any problems that might exist.

(And yeah, funny how it keeps working out that a lot of the ones supposedly causing all the trouble and not using the Proper Words are not middle class people from the dominant culture…)

But, that last bit of commentary on a recent reblog also got me thinking again about some earlier discussion, and brought back some not so pleasant memories of the mainstream political situation when I was in high school and college. And some of the ways things have developed from there.

Part of my commentary there:

As some indication of usage and the politics around that over time in the US, it took some heavy campaigning to finally get the B officially included in the name of the 1993 March on Washington. The T was thankfully mentioned in the platform (also references to “the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender movement”)–but still didn’t make it into the official title of the event.

From Lani Ka’ahumanu’s speech:

I am a token, and a symbol. Today there is no difference. I am the token out bisexual asked to speak, and I am a symbol of how powerful the bisexual pride movement is and how far we have come.

I came here in 1979 for the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

I returned in 1987 for the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

I stand here today on the stage of the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation…

Bisexuals are here, and we’re queer…

Our visibility is a sign of revolt.

Recognition of bisexual orientation and transgender issues presents a challenge to assumptions not previously explored within the politics of gay liberation.

What will it take for the gayristocracy to realize that bisexual, lesbian, transgender, and gay people are in this together, and together we can and will move the agenda forward.

The rest of the speech is worth a look (along with more of the archives there), and a lot of it covers what is still some depressingly familiar exclusionist ground.

It’s a pain to carry over the links, pasting into the mobile editor. Already a lot of fiddly manual formatting required here. So, there are some source links included there if anyone wants them.

But yeah, as another commenter mentioned earlier? At that point in time, she felt the need to point out in that speech that bi people belong there as much as anyone else because we are queer too.

(Not even commenting on the situation regarding the T right now. This is turning long and ranty enough already. Lot of common themes, though.)

Now the same levels of overt surface biphobia are not as socially acceptable in the same communities. Using the word “bisexual” isn’t like the proverbial red flag in front of a whole herd of bulls to anywhere near the same extent. And I get the impression that we’re not supposed to remember when it was safer to call yourself basically anything but that around a sizable chunk of the “The Community”.

(Also, remember when we were the ones inappropriately sexualizing everyone else by using a term we didn’t even invent, ending in “-sexual”? Because I couldn’t forget that if I wanted to; there are a number of things like that. Interesting how essentially the same argument popped right back up more recently, applied to another unpopular group. Hmm.)

Now the “but it’s inherently transphobic!” thing really gets on my nerves, especially given some of the actual history there. But, just using the b-word usually won’t get you the same open hostility now in mixed groups.

So yeah, come back 25 years later and nobody is supposed to say queer. And that reclamation just never happened. Nobody could possibly have ever had any valid reasons for using it. We’re just intent on throwing around “violent slurs” and dividing “The Community”.

And, as I put it a while back:

A lot of the ones trying to pull that stuff now do not seem to fully appreciate that a lot of us have been IDing that way for a long time now precisely because we are those “pissed-off cockroach motherfuckers”.

If we’d been willing to shut up and go away, we probably already would have decades ago. Not planning on it anytime soon, personally.

Once again, it is really none of my business what anybody else wants to call themselves. I don’t have to like all the words anyone else is using. It would be really arrogant to insist otherwise.

That applies to everyone, though.

I also don’t really expect anyone without the same exact history and experiences to fully understand why I make the choices and form the opinions that I do, about pretty much anything. We’re different people, with so many things to decide for ourselves. Again, that applies to all of us.

I’m also really tired of people pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining. Again, pretty consistently the same people, and you’re not supposed to remember the last dozen times it happened.

how about you dont use the word queer to describe lgbt!!! its a fucking slur!




I’m a qpoc, This is what I’m talking about when white people straight wash POC.

@hijabby may I hop on this post to make a point? You’re quite a bit younger than me, which isn’t a problem or a bad thing, it just means you will have still been in kindergarten or not even born yet when the events I am about to discuss took place and given the nature of queer history, it’s totally possible I learned stuff that’s faded into ephemera for your generation.


I took classes in Queer Literature. We discussed Queer History. Some of my professors–who were themselves gay, lesbian, and bisexual, mind you–referred to historical figures as queer on the basis that those figures did not exist in societies that had a modern-day understanding of sexuality, and so trying to box them into modern labels is an exercise in futility. I went to marches where we screamed “we’re here, we’re queer, we want our civil rights.”

All of this, by the way, spawns out of the Genderqueer and ACT UP movements of the 1990s; they’re the ones who invented the chant on which the above chant was based, the one you may have heard elsewhere: “we’re here, we’re queer, get over it.” I’m proud of my own part in queer history, but those people, the ones who created the AIDS quilt and the die-ins and the fierce demands for same-sex marriage so they could visit partners dying in the hospital, they’re the real heroes. And they called themselves queer.


Most of them were not white.

I am. The radical activism of my generation looks very different from generations past because, I’m sorry to say, white queer folks sat back and let queer folks of color do the hard part, and then we grabbed the baton and charged over the first big finish line while the sportscasters talked about the stunning race we’d run. I’m not sorry to be an activist or to be working in my own generation, but I’m very deeply sorry that queer activism en masse has widely ignored the nonwhite, noncis people who got us where we are.

“Queer” has more uses than just being a slur that was reclaimed 30+ years ago. Queer is a useful term if, say, you’re 15 and you’re not sure if you’re asexual or a late bloomer, but you don’t want to just say “oh yeah, I’m gay/straight.” Queer is a useful term if, like me, you escaped a fundamentalist church and your whole life has been defined by strict labels, and you just want out. Queer is a useful term if you’re from a country where gender doesn’t fit a Western binary but you want a quick term to describe yourself to Western people.

And do you know what else queer is?

Queer is hated by TERFs because it encompasses trans people.

Because it embraces aroace people.

Because it says “you are here, you are welcome, you belong” to people who say “I know I’m not straight, but I don’t know what I AM.” What you are is queer, and queer is enough. Queer is the place you can sit, rest, and figure it out at your own pace.

TERFs started the narrative of “queer is only a slur, has never been anything else, and was never reclaimed and you should never ever say it ever” in order to gatekeep our community. When you try to deny this term, YOU ARE DOING THE WORK OF TERFS.

Queer is not a slur. Queer is a reclaimed word that is of huge help to people across the community, but most especially to our fellows who aren’t “just” LGB, and to the nonwhite members of our community who do not fit into the gender binary.

Stop. STOP. Stop listening to TERFs who pretend nothing of queer rights existed between 1880 and 2015. Stop being ahistorical and disenfranchising.

We’re here, we’re queer, get the fuck over it.

In addition to all of this, The Bi community in the 80s and 90s used Queer a lot as well because the word Bisexual was less tolerable so to still feel a part of the community they rightfully were a part of, they used Queer. Granted, this was when they were rallying and making sure people saw “Bisexual” on posters and pins but it made gay people uncomfortable and not every Bisexual could handle that.

So when I see things like “Q Slur” what it looks like is the active invalidation of lgbt+ people who find safe haven in a word that is all-encompassing without specification. When I was confused and having panic attacks over the fact no label fit me – Queer saved me.

I think people have a right to choose not to use a reclaimed word for themselves, marginalized people get that choice. But to demand NO one use it often comes with the implication of an unawareness to the history behind it and how our community fought tooth and nail for that word to be reclaimed for us to use – decades ago.