Dec 31, 2022 • 5M

My Five Favorite Essays of 2022

Are we done yet? Not quite.

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Charlotte Clymer is a writer and LGBTQ advocate. You've probably seen her on Twitter (@cmclymer). This is the podcast version of her blog "Charlotte's Web Thoughts", which you can subscribe to here:
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This is my first full year of earning a living as a writer, thanks to you fine folks. It’s been a damn good year on that front, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something I love that pays the bills.

I have written more this year than any previous year of my life, and fortunately, some of these pieces make me quite happy. Here are five essays of which I’m particularly proud.

For the Love of Henry Greenbaum (January 28, 2022)

Following a string of antisemitic incidents at the beginning of the year, including a school board in Tennessee banning the Holocaust education graphic novel “Maus”, I was furious and wanted to say something but what? I was in my office one evening in late January, struggling to find the words, and suddenly, I remembered my friend Henry and the words came tumbling out.

Yes, It’s True, I Cannot Get Pregnant (July 14, 2022)

The debate over trans rights reached a fever pitch this year, notably regarding the language that is used to describe pregnant people. Much to my frustration, it seemed there were even well-educated cis journalists who don’t understand this issue. So, I wrote a brief explainer about why all of us, regardless of gender identity, should care about how we discuss pregnancy in the public square.

Hopelessly Devoted to You (August 8, 2022)

When Olivia Newton-John passed away in August, I had the most visceral wave of grief and nostalgia. Growing up as a poor kid in Central Texas trailer parks in the ‘90s, we didn’t have access to cable and internet. We had VHS tapes, one of them being “Grease”. In this essay, I talked about how Olivia Newton-John’s performance had such a welcome influence on a closeted trans girl.

Yes, Life Isn’t Fair (August 24, 2022)

President Biden’s announcement of relief for federal student loan debt led to, shall we say, some feelings for millions in this country who felt his new policy was unfair. I did recognize that, but I also felt this was a great opportunity to talk about the general unfairness in the journey that leads to a college education. This was, by far, my most read essay of the year.

I Hate the Senate Bill, and We Need It to Pass (November 15, 2022)

Lord knows I had a lot to say about the final version of the Respect for Marriage Act when it was first announced after the midterm election, but above all, what was abundantly clear is that it needed to pass. Politics, despite what you may have heard, is not about getting what we want; it’s about the art of making things possible through compromise. Despite my brutal honesty, Senator Tammy Baldwin, the bill’s lead sponsor, called me a few days after this was published to offer thanks for supporting the bill. I was humbled and felt that was quite lovely of her given that it’s all of us who should be thanking HER for getting the first federal LGBTQ legislation across the finish line in more than ten years.

You folks might have other essays in mind for this, and I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Meanwhile, I can’t thank you all enough for supporting my work with paid subscriptions and reading and sharing my essays with the folks in your life.

It really does mean the world. Happy New Year, y’all. <3

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