Tannaz Mehraban faced unimaginable hardships as a transgender woman in Iran — and she still struggles for acceptance in her new home in Canada.

Tannaz woke in the middle of the night to find her brother standing next to her. He told her they had to leave the house — immediately. Her family was going to kill her the next day. 

Mehraban, who was only 13 at the time, had recently been kicked out of school for being someone who looked like a boy but dressed as a girl.

Despite all she’s been through Mehraban remains hopeful about her future in Canada.

“One of my biggest hopes and dreams in Vancouver, in Canada, is to continue to learn English, to have a good career so I can contribute to society, to get married, to get a dog.”

She added that she also wants to be an advocate and help give a voice to other transgender people.

Mehraban is by no means worn down by life — and she wants to see how society will continue to transform in the future.

“I’m so curious to know, how are we going to evolve? How are we going to change?” she said.

"I would love to live for thousands and thousands of years, because that’s how much I love life.”

Read the whole story!

See also this story on a survey of LGBT students in Iran.

Inna illahi wa inna ila rajioon. From the Divine we come to the Divine we must return.

my friend passed away earlier today. he was only 26 years old. when he was in his teens he decided to get his driver’s license and went to the DMV. a man pulled him aside and told him his social security number was fake and not to come again. confused, my friend confronted his family who told him he was undocumented and was brought to the us when he was a baby. his life crumbed in front of his eyes and he realized that he would have to live his life in fear and secrecy—never being able to do what his friends could do, or truly explain to them why.
when he was in his mid-teens his family found out he was gay and was kicked out of his house. he ended up living and falling in love with an older man that abused and threatened him with revealing his undocumented status.
later, he managed to escape his controller and set on realizing his dream: to complete college. in dc he found a gay imam who acted like a father to him and mentored him. he worked in restaurants and went to college on and off when he could strap the money together.
i met him at a radical progressive queer muslim retreat where he was drowsy with hope and happiness in finding a family where he could be myself completely. we immediately became friends.
despite the harsh hand that he had been given in life, you would have never known. he laughed easily, blush fiercely and would talk to me about his new-found muslim crush and his hopes. despite the conflicts he had with himself—battling depression, hopelessness, battling to love Allah and himself openly at the same time—he lived life with a burning and fierce hope. remarkably, his harsh past only made him kinder and softer. i am thankful to Allah, that She allowed me to witness the strength and beauty of his soul in this life.
in the end this brother died of a disease that was treatable because he couldn’t get health care he needed due to his undocumented status. my boy died was dying and didn’t even tell anyone. he was a remarkable human being who was disregarded in this life.

too often our siblings in this life are treated like shit, because we dehumanize them and hurt them with the narrowness of our hearts. we forget our communities are there to support and help human beings, not act like cults—shunning and kicking people out of their ‘utopias’, because people don’t conform to their liking.
stories, lives—like my friend’s—are all too real and common. if we don’t talk about immigration, abuse, health care, homophobia … we are allowing our friends and families to die.
InshAllah may Allah bless him with ease and comfort in the next life.

If you would like to donate to his funeral costs please donate below.

We are raising funds to help his family transport him for a proper Islamic burial at their mosque. The amount needed exceeds $5,000 and is needed very quickly, as Muslim burial must take place before the sun sets twice on the body. Please give what you can and keep Sami’s family and friends in your prayers.

Link to donate:

or email if it doesn’t work.

This has been a big week for celebrity chef and author Eddie Huang. ABC picked up his show Fresh off the Boat, based on his memoir of the same name. This means that, for the first time in 20 or so years, an Asian-American family will be the focus of a show on network television. Considering the lack of Asian American representation on television, that’s a big deal.

But in the wake of ABC’s announcement, Huang’s show has caused controversy with critics who aren’t a fan of the show’s title. They say it’s racist, but the Asian-Americans we talked to beg to differ. Here is a brief guide to the controversy:

What is the show about?

Fresh off the Boat is title of the show that will premiere on ABC this fall. It’s based on celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, and revolves around his family’s adjustment to living in the United States after moving from Taiwan. Here’s the trailer:

What does the term “Fresh off the Boat”/”FOB/”Fob” mean?

The term is usually used to describe an immigrant who hasn’t yet grasped the customs, the language, or culture of the country they’re immigrating to. It’s a way to point out that someone is acting strangely because they were brought up with and are operating under a different set of cultural norms and rules.

That sounds offensive. Is it offensive?

You’ll find people who think so, or are seemingly alarmed by the term. The AV Club’s Carrie Raisler raised the question on Twitter, leading to a pretty good and civil debate about the term:

Raisler wasn’t the only one who voiced her concern for the show. Suey Park, the woman who started the#CancelColbert hashtag and campaign, called out the title of the show and the show’s creator:

It’s also worth noting that Huang has received a lot of criticism for sexism on his restaurant menus and on his TV show for Vice, though this wave of criticism hasn’t centered around that.

So are they right? Is the term racist?

"It depends who’s saying it," Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American journalist and director of Documented told me. Vargas immigrated to the U.S. as a child is an undocumented immigrant. “If it was a non-Asian person trying to develop the series, I would be like ‘Wait a second. Who’s telling whose story? And who’s framing whose narrative?” Vargas added.

"FOB" can definitely be used as a slur by some people, but, like any slur or derogatory term or any word, you have to look at how it’s being used, who’s using it and whom they’re referring to. And you might be hard-pressed to argue that Huang is using the term to denigrate himself, or that he (or Iranian-American showrunner Nahnatchka Khan) is being racist toward himself and his family. And therein is the rub—”Fresh off the Boat” or “FOB” are terms that are primarily used by Asian-Americans to refer to each other.

"The term FOB —which I should note is almost entirely an internal phrase; non-Asians rarely use it toward Asians, it’s really something Asians say about other, less acculturated Asians — picks up on that notion of permanent foreigner status," Jeff Yang, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and father of Hudson Yang, who will play 11-year-old Eddie Huang on the show, explained to me.

"I was totally called a FOB," Vargas, told me, explaining that he pronounced the word "the" more like "tha." His choir teacher had to correct him. "My first instinct was, ‘I gotta talk white…I gotta rid of this FOB accent,’" he added.

But Vargas and Yang both point out that the term has lost its bite over the years, that America’s shifting demographic has changed the way Asian-Americans view themselves, and that the term has undergone a reclamation of sorts, with people starting sites like My Mom is a FOB/My Dad is a FOB. And there’s been a growing sense that this “FOBiness” was part of a unique, at times funny, Asian-American experience. Yang explains:

When my generation used FOB, it used to be to distance ourselves (we who were born here) from those who weren’t. When more recent nerds use the term “fob,” it seems to be more to create or reinforce a connection with the person marked with the term, e.g., to actively embrace the fact that our community is not “just” American. At least, that’s what the Wus [the creators of and] and Eddie seem to be doing.

Is the show just another step in reclaiming the word?

There’s a ton of time between now and and the show’s premiere, and we can’t know what kind of tweaking will be done to Huang’s source material. But starting off with the title like Fresh off the Boat is a bold move, especially to people that aren’t as familiar with what it means.

"The show is setting itself up to educate about the term," Jenn Fang of Reappropriate, an Asian-American pop culture blog, told to me. Fang voiced a mild concern with the title, explaining that the term lives somewhere between an insult and self-deprecating humor. “Only time will tell to what degree it is successful in this regard, or if it falls into the ongoing perpetuation of Asian American stereotypes and/or normalizes for the mainstream a term that still has a history as an anti-Asian and anti-immigrant slur,” she added.

To some degree, seeing Asian Americans on television will be a win in and of itself. Asian-Americans have practically been invisible on American television, mainly appearing as sidekicks or secondary characters if that.

"ABC ought to be commended. It’s one of the places in network television that values diversity," Vargas, who read the book and is looking forward to the show, told me.  "The immigrant experience from an Asian-American perspective — which is rarely seen — is going to be on American television … Judging it on the name itself is premature."

One other thing to consider is that Huang’s deep appreciation for hip-hop. “The term fresh has a radically different meaning in hip-hop, and Eddie was obviously conscious of the double meaning,” Yang said. “The very first line that Eddie [played by Yang’s son] says on screen is this: ‘What do you think, mom? Fresh as hell, right?’”

How do I watch 


ABC will be premiering the show mid-season next year. It’s not on the fall schedule yet. And we’ll do our best to keep you updated.

Vox tried to get in contact with Huang and the show’s producers and will update when we hear back. This piece is dealing solely with the term “Fresh off the Boat.”

The immigrant: Inequivalent exchange

I “stole your job”
just to stand a chance
against your standards

You stole my culture
for your own enjoyment

Made me it exotic,
cashed out on
a claim for diversity
and multiculturalism

Made the colour of my skin
and the sounds of my celebrations
and the spices of my food
a local attraction


I thought we were even

— Nav K 

shout out to all the kidz with big families and a low income who had to share rooms with siblings or parents

like  upper middle class peeps grow up with their “own” room. I had to share room and bed with my mama until i graduated high school. So did my close friend. 

thats why white people be like “i need space”

que the fuck is space? having boys over was not even a thing, like how was a boy going to be over on my bed with me and my ma’

Watch on

"Broken Tail Light" Starring Jamie Lynn Sigler & Heaven King if you have been watching the Welcome Us videos I guarantee this one will move your soul. I feel like a child’s most valued treasure is their Mommy. Don’t let people break families apart. Help us spread the message.  

To Naya Rivera fans,

I know you were all so supportive of her Welcome Us project. Help this one get spread and shared all over the world. You guys were so amazing when hers premiered that it got over 20,000 views in a day. She truly has the best fans. You guys are like magic! Thank you.

Everyone deserves a chance to be a survivor and to better their families. Immigrants give up so much for them even if they risk everything all at the same time. Believe I know that all the sacrifices they make are for our futures. 

Thank you for reading & I hope that you please share.

when the real estate value of whiteness stagnates and your community becomes trendy

there are few things sadder to me than gentrification. people of color and immigrants who have been disenfranchised and priced out of the mainstream, based on fucked up histories of exclusion and systematic segregation, work hard to create vibrant, unique communities of survival for themselves. these communities have been considered alien and untouchable, and chronically underserved and marginalized on every level throughout american history.

but as it turns out, the real estate value of whiteness has stagnated, and the cutting edge of whiteness has always been the appropriation and blatant robbery of communities of color. using the convenient capitalist system set up to serve their needs, white gentrifiers can leave their lifeless, suburban 99.999% white communities, which they created to horde their privileges, and rush into communities of color to harvest all that these communities have painfully, patiently bore to eke out a chance at life for themselves. when the going gets good for marginalized people, the goods get stolen.

an example close to my heart: koreatown, left to burn to the ground in 1992, while police protected affluent, white neighborhoods. now that we’ve rebuilt our community and made it into something pretty incredible, it has been deemed fit for white hipster/yuppie consumption. the streets, restaurants, and even the saunas are filled with white explorers, pretending that they wouldn’t have found this neighborhood too foreign and dangerous a few years ago, before it was “uncovered” by anthony bourdain.

everyone wants a piece of the profits of immigrant suffering.