False Idols

Written by SK Ashby

(Cartoonist - Chris Britt)

In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has signed off on distribution of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine. Doses of the vaccine have already shipped and will be available in one to two days.

Meanwhile, the UN's top human rights experts say Putin is responsible for the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny

The attempt to kill Navalny was part of a pattern of attacks on critics at home and abroad, and intended send a “sinister warning” to quash dissent, Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on summary killings, and Irene Khan, U.N. expert on freedom of opinion and expression, said in a statement.

“It is our conclusion that Russia is responsible for the attempted poisoning of Mr Navalny,” Callamard told a news conference, announcing the preliminary findings.

Finally, refugee camps that were built just across the border in Mexico are emptying out and asylum seekers are crossing into the U.S. now that Biden has ended Trump's "remain in Mexico" policy.

There were about 700 people in the Matamoros camp before the U.S. started admitting them. At the current rate of crossings, the camp could be cleared out in days. Any decision to close it will be made by Mexican authorities.

Emptying the camp in Matamoros would eliminate a symbol of Trump’s immigration crackdown and count as an early success for Biden, who aims to undo his predecessor’s most draconian anti-immigrant policies. The move comes as the new administration prepares for a battle to pass a sweeping immigration reform bill and as it draws criticism for reopening a Trump-era shelter for migrant children in Texas.

It's March 2021 which for most of us marks one year of the coronavirus pandemic as we've known it. For me, it also marks one year since I first stepped out in public as a transgender woman.

The truth is I may not have been able to do that when I did if not for the pandemic. The fact that everyone was suddenly wearing masks afforded me the opportunity to do that. And honestly, I'm still not entirely sure how to feel about that a year later. I am by no means thankful for a pandemic that has killed over 500,000 people, sickened millions more, and cost all of us a year of our normal lives. The best thing I can say is wearing masks was a silver lining in my own life. This isn't something many people have ever had to emotionally navigate so there's no instruction manual for processing it.

My observation is that I'm far from alone. A not-insignificant number of people transitioned during the pandemic and I expect we'll have lessons to learn from this. The most obvious lesson, I suppose, is that society needs to adjust if so many people feel the need to hide their faces to feel their appearance is acceptable in public.

For some people, the pandemic literally ended their lives. For many others, the pandemic figuratively ended one life and started another. I expect that's true for almost everyone to some extent because all of us will have a pre and post-pandemic life, but for some people like me the change has been more literal. I've been out for over a year but in some ways I will still be starting over this year. I've never even been to a restaurant or bar as a woman. And at some point I will not be wearing a mask when I step out the door.