What names mean to transgender and nonbinary people, and the impact of chosen names.

Story By Jax Kiel

Early in her transition, Sarah Mayes went to a Starbucks kiosk at the mall and ordered an iced coffee, looking for something routine and thoughtless to do.

“[The barista] asked what my name was and I said ‘Sarah,’” Mayes said. “And that was the first time I said my name out loud to a stranger. To someone who wasn’t very intimately connected to me.”

The woman smiled, wrote the name, and a few minutes later the iced coffee cup labeled “Sarah” came…

The lasting impacts of being raised by an alcoholic parent

Story by Anonymous

Illustration by Amanda Kelley

I remember my first drink, a Heineken my roommate bought me on my 21st birthday. I have always been afraid of alcohol, but that night I did not want fear to rule anymore. Yet, as I took my first sip, I wondered if I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

I am what people refer to as an “adult child of an alcoholic”, a fancy term meaning that my dad drank — a ton. I am talking bottles of Jameson Whiskey in less than a…

Illustration by Julia Vreeman

Diving deeper into fatphobia: what it is, its history and how we can counter it.

Story by Kyra Planetz

Teddie Santos walks into Walmart and sits down on a motorized cart, dodging stares from able-bodied patrons. The other shoppers see Santos’ tall, fat body and are quick to judge. As Santos moves through the store, most people say nothing, but their faces of disgust pierce through Santos’ dark skin like daggers.

“Being fat is not a disability,” one customer actually says to them.

What the shoppers don’t see, however, is the pain caused by Santos’ disability, an illness entirely unrelated…

Illustration by Julia Vreeman

Two Veterans’ stories reveal how the military’s structure can lead to addiction and recovery.

Story by Michelle McDaniel

It’s 2011. I’m 20 years old, unqualified and on my first deployment in the Navy. My crew and I are on a detachment in Pattaya Beach, Thailand, where the legal drinking age is 20. I think it’s cool that I get to celebrate my 21st birthday a year early in a tropical paradise.

One night, we’re all drinking at the beachside hotel’s bar. Our captain raises his glass, cheers us and we shotgun our drinks, seconds before our cut-off time. …

Residents Charla Karrer and Laura Markovitch paint a Swift Haven home, located at the parking lot of Frank Geri Softball Fields in Bellingham, Wash. on Feb. 27, 2021. HomesNOW! helped 22 people staying at Camp 210 move into these tiny homes before police dismantled the encampment in late January. Photo by Benjamin Herr

A look into the current state of the Bellingham, Wash. affordable housing crisis and how local groups are helping those in need.

Story by Shannon Steffens

Iris Dunaway and her family lived in a small two-story house that was falling apart — at over 100 years old, it was lacking both a foundation and insulation. Bellingham, Washington’s cold winters seeped through their walls, and a leak in the bathroom roof created a pool of icy water on the floor.

This wasn’t their dream home by any means; it was simply a house that had been in the family. …

A grandmother’s journey to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Photo Essay by Oliver Hamlin

Linda Allen is a social butterfly.

“My husband taught me to be a very outgoing person, because I wasn’t when we got married,” Linda said.

At 75, she still keeps up with high school friends, church friends and neighbors. She lives in a quiet cul-de-sac in Mount Vernon, Washington, the town where she grew up and spent most of her life.

Despite her three daughters being a couple hours away and living alone with her 8-year-old dog Phoebe, Linda has found ways to keep an active social life during the pandemic.

This podcast is a supplement to a story examining the impacts of the pandemic on the greater service sector in Bellingham, Wash. Click here to read it!

Elvis Pilgrim operates the Fred Meyer fuel kiosk on March 1, 2021 in Bellingham, Wash. Safely behind a thick sheet of bulletproof glass, he is never in direct contact with customers. “I don’t really have to worry about COVID too much,” Pilgrim said. “As long as I wear gloves or wash my hands after I touch the cash, it’s fine.” Photo by Garrett Rahn

How service workers have noticed a change in empathy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Story by Garrett Rahn

Downtown Bellingham, Washington takes on a new look these days.

Large portions of the street are now home to an assortment of outdoor seating areas, extensions of the businesses across the sidewalk. Each is unique in its own way, with colorful hangings, brightly painted pallet fences, tea lights galore and heating fixtures to fight the chilly weather.

There are even more changes inside the buildings — scuffed neon tape stripes the floors, a constant reminder to keep a distance from other patrons. …

Cast of “Sunny on a Cloudy Day” strike a pose during the first in-person cast bonding event at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash. on Feb. 20, 2021. From left to right: Jesse Garvais, Leah Shannon, Katie Dreessen, Mary Ginther, Darius Carriger, Aidan Espinosa and Sophie Kashman. Photo by Tori Corkum

How student actors pursued their passion for live entertainment through the pandemic.

Story by Victoria Corkum

A t first, everything is dark. Then, all at once, lights radiate onto the stage. Streams of golden warmth shine down, chasing away any shadows that once consumed the space. The roar of applause amplifies the tingly, glowing sensation inside. It seems almost dreamlike as the realization sets in — the show is over.

“I remember my first bow,” Izzy Laws said. “When the lights are bright and you see the spotty lights like on film, I saw that. It was insane, like fresh…

Suki relaxes in her new home. She loves to find the prime warm location to lay, Anderst said, most often sandwiched between two people. Photo Courtesy of Brenna Anderst

Animal welfare workers give tips about how dog-lovers can avoid unintentionally supporting puppy mills.

Story by Melody Kazel

Suki the West Highland terrier is an investigator.

Her owner, Brenna Anderst, lit up when describing how Suki monitors every squirrel and bird that passes by on their walks. Terriers are often known for being “spunky,” Anderst said, and Suki definitely has a fun-loving nature, always wanting to make new friends.

While Suki is now a friendly, excitable dog, she wasn’t always. Anderst works as the education and advocacy coordinator for Pasado’s Safe Haven, the organization that rescued Suki. When team members…

Klipsun Magazine

Klipsun is an award-winning student magazine of Western Washington University

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