Mental Health: Social and Systemic, Not Just Individual

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. What better week to write my first blog post on the topic. I created Affirm By Design as a lifestyle space through which I can share my personal journey with topics like mental health. Simultaneously, as someone who works in public health and who has long been committed to health, wellness, and wholeness within the LGBTQIA+ community, I also want to speak about mental health as a larger public health topic.

As I begin exploring the topic of mental health, I will intentionally look at the issue through social and systemic frameworks. Not doing so would be an enormous disservice toward and erasure of marginalized communities. Here’s why.

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5 Things My Partner Has Taught Me About My Mental and Physical Health

Today, October 6th, is my partner Carolyn’s birthday. As we celebrate her birthday this week, as well as Mental Health Awareness Week , I want to highlight what a supportive partner looks like and thank her for her example.

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A Post for Celebrate Bisexuality Day

September 23, 2020 is Celebrate Bisexuality Day. I wrote the piece below for National Coming Out Day in 2018. A lot has changed in my life in the past two years, but I am proud of this piece of writing and think it still encapsulates how I feel about my bisexuality.

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Navigating The Workplace as an LGBTQIA+ Professional

The Supreme Court recently ruled that that “the existing federal ban on workplace discrimination “because of sex” includes discrimination because of a person’s sexual orientation or transgender status.” (a) You can read more about the decision at Although this is a huge win, LGBTQIA+ folks still face challenges when it comes to navigating their careers. Recent college graduates also face a job market that has changed drastically due to COVID-19.

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5 Queer Photographers You Should Be Following

As LGBTQIA+ people, we deserve to be represented and affirmed in the media. When the media won’t represent us as we know we deserve, we must represent and affirm ourselves. As South African activist and artist Zanele Muholi said, “If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.”

Following queer media was a crucial step for me as I grew into my queerness and began to feel seen and affirmed. Especially as a photographer myself, seeing queer photographers excel at their craft has pushed me to work on my own. Here are 5 queer photographers you should be following.

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Frida Kahlo and La Casa Azul

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all had to find ways to get creative about how we pass time and interact with the world. I am naturally an introvert, so at first being home all the time felt natural and enjoyable. I work a full-time job in public health and go into the office every day, so I didn’t initially feel that my daily life was too different than before. However, I miss the option to go out for brunch, work in a cafe, go shopping, or wander an art museum. I was thrilled to learn about Google Arts & Culture, which provides virtual tours of numerous museums, including Museo Frida Kahlo.

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