What's a Line?

A decade ago -- a time unit that's on all our minds this week -- I was a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, covering issues that ranged from the nationwide craze for anti-same-sex marriage laws to sexual harassment of female Marines. I'm pretty sure I was the first to use the word "transgender" in the Prospect's pages and pixels. Since then I've been roaming here and there, with a five-year stint as senior researcher and associate director of the award-winning Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. A few months ago, after seeing my Atlantic.com analysis of the latest DOMA hearings, the new Prospect editorial regime invited me to return -- not just occasionally but daily. Here I am, pleased to make your acquaintance, on this first day of school (for my son, at least).

I've spent the past 25 years writing about social-justice and human-rights issues -- with a particular focus on women, children, and sexual orientation. I'm probably best known for my work on LGBT issues. I was one of the first women writing in the mainstream about lesbian and gay lives back in the 1990s, the era when the U.S. political media first started taking note of us. (One of my editors told me I was the first to get to use the word "queer" in The New York Times -- a minor point of pride.) Back then, politicians could still get away with using "faggot" and "homo," and openly accused us of the most astonishing evils. Today, I'm legally married in Massachusetts -- the first of six states, plus the District of Columbia, to recognize same-sex marriage to date. I'll be bearing witness here to the astounding social revolution I've lived through -- and reporting on how much further there is to go.

I've spent an equal amount of time reporting on injustices to women and children -- from fraud and corruption in international adoptions to sexual harassment so vicious that it leaves women with PTSD. I have a passion for this beat as well -- partly because the hate mail I've gotten for writing about women is much worse than anything I got writing about lesbians and gay men, testimony to how profoundly women's lives still need serious reporting and attention.

I won't stick entirely to my self-assigned beats; too much in our world is too interesting for that. I will be counting on you all to talk with me, correct my errors, tell me your stories, point out what I've missed -- and keep me honest. More soon.

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