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Big Stories

Weekend Reads - Jan. 29

Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed News LGBT staff writer Meredith Talusan talking about some of her favorite stories she’s read recently:

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The new Medium publication The Development Set featured stories from sex workers this week. Rebeka Refuse’s “I Do Sex Work So I Can Look At Myself in the Mirror” provides a rare combination of raw storytelling and clear-eyed analysis in accounting for why so many transgender women turn to sex work. Refuse describes the paradox of selling sex for the pleasure of others so she can pay for medical procedures that would allow her to be happier in her gender.

Two recent BuzzFeed stories about the treatment of women on college campuses are both compelling and eye-opening. Azeen Ghorayshi’s “He Fell In Love With His Grad Student – Then Fired Her For It” reveals endemic problems in academic advising for women in science. Anita Badejo's “Our Hands Are Tied Because Of This Damn Brother-Sisterhood Thing” delves into sexual assault in the historically black Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, exploring the bind black women end up in when they're asked to protect black men who've assaulted them.

Finally, one of the most anticipated novels of the year is coming out next week, and the first chapter has been published on Longreads. Told from the voice of an opera singer in the late 1800s, Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night highlights Chee’s astounding ability to channel a character’s inner voice, and a resplendent writing style reminiscent of Proust.