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7 Essays You Need To Read This Week: Gay Conversion Therapy, Addiction, And #BlackLivesMatter

This week, BuzzFeed exposed therapists who attempt to "cure" gay people. Read that and other stories from The Toast, The New Yorker, Salon, and more.

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1. "How I Found Myself When My Skin Changed Its Identity" — BuzzFeed

Sian Butcher / BuzzFeed

Rushaa Louise Hamid shared her experience of living with vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that leaves colorless patches of skin on the body. Although she was comfortable in her own skin, the constant looks, the patronizing remarks, and society's beauty ideals were exhausting. Read her piece at BuzzFeed.

2. "What Part of 'No, Totally' Don't You Understand?"The New Yorker

Illustration by Ellen Surrey

Kathryn Schulz, staff writer for The New Yorker, explored the linguistic phenomenon in which we use "no" to mean "yes." In her piece, she ponders the ever ambiguous "no" — is it a noun? an adjective? a adverb? — and how it actually "[expresses] the pleasure of emotional, aesthetic, and intellectual connection—or, for that matter, too many ways to simply say yes." Read her fascinating investigation at The New Yorker.


3. "My Relationship Was a Different Kind of Addiction" — BuzzFeed LGBT

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Kenny Porpora, author of The Autumn Balloon, wrote a powerful piece on being addicted to an abusive partner and his realization that a relationship could be self-destructive. "Wanting to hold Brad one more time was no different than my uncle needing that one more fix, or my mother needing that one more drink," he writes. Read his story at BuzzFeed LGBT.

4. "The Terrible Things I Learned About My Dad: On Abuse and the People We Love" — The Toast

The Toast

Liz Prato, author of Baby's on Fire, wrote a horrifying yet poignant essay on finding out her now deceased father raped two women and previously abused her brother. How do you make peace with the death of the loved one after finding out he was a monster? Read her gripping story at The Toast.

5. "I Benefited From the So-Called “Ethnic Casting Craze” — BuzzFeed Ideas

Melissa Moseley / Netflix

Baron Vaughn plays an African man who has been adopted into a Jewish-American family on Netflix's upcoming original series Grace and Frankie. It's a role that probably wouldn’t have existed as an option for him in the past. For BuzzFeed Ideas, Vaughn wrote about the frustrations of working in an industry with a limited range of role portrayals for actors of color and how that is changing today. Read his essay at BuzzFeed Ideas.

In the aftermath of Walter Scott's death, poet and writer Jacqui Germain remarked on the tragic yet constant images of lifeless black bodies shown in the media. Yes, those images and the #BlackLivesMatter movement spark awareness — but at a price. "What visuals are we normalizing in exchange for media coverage from news outlets that don’t view our survival as a priority?" she asks. Read her piece at Salon.

7. "This Is What Happens When You Undergo Gay Conversion Therapy" — BuzzFeed News

Nicolas Chinardet

BuzzFeed LGBT editor Patrick Strudwick went undercover in the U.K. to expose therapists who attempt to "cure" gay people. His shocking experiences reveal why President Obama is right to call for a ban against this practice. "The reality of what conversion therapy is, and what it could do to people, hit. The ideology, that homosexuality must be caused by early psychological damage, means those who adhere to it will find such damage – whether or not it is there," he writes. Read his story at BuzzFeed News.

Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Susan Cheng at

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