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Nick Norton
Nick Norton is a student at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan majoring in Asian Studies and Mandarin Chinese with a minor in Urban Studies. Nick is an editorial writer as well as an avid prose writer and reader. He writes on a variety of topics including health, wellness, the LGBT community, politics, and religion. His work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Advocate and he is also a LGBT faith columnist for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. He's also the Prose Editor for the Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Follow him on twitter @N2Namaste, and see his full portfolio at

Entries by Nick Norton

Blogging Through the Sleep Revolution: Introduction

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2016 | 11:30 AM

As a recent graduate of college, I can empathize with the countless overworked Americans out there who get too little sleep. I won't miss the college all-nighters -- trying to write a ten-page paper, or study for an exam all in one night. Yet, for as ubiquitous as the all...

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The Pariahs of America: Reforming Sex Offender Laws

(7) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 1:44 PM

This summer, 19-year-old Zachary Anderson was featured on the front page of the New York Times. Unfortunately, Anderson became a national figure after he was placed onto the sex offender registry -- for making a simple mistake. Zachary had consensual sex with a 14-year-old girl, but she had...

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The Worst Conversation Starters When Talking to a Detroiter

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 10:46 PM

This post originally appeared on N2Writes.Wordpress.Com

This summer I've been lucky enough to spend the summer traveling, and it's been wonderful meeting so many people from all over the country. In the first moments of a conversation when you meet someone new, the chatter will inevitably turn to...

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The Basic Protections LGBT Citizens in MI Still Don't Have

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 4:24 PM

This post originally appeared on N2Writes.Wordpress.Com.

The LGBT civil rights movement made significant progress when in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the legal right to get married. When I was growing up as a gay man in metro Detroit, marriage...

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Reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird' With Fresh Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 5:08 PM

My first exposure to Harper Lee's classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, was when I read it for fun by myself in the fifth grade. What I didn't realize during my first reading of it, was that I would have to read it again and again. Like for pretty much everyone...

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3 Fun Ways to Learn Chinese This Summer

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2015 | 11:51 PM

In my junior year of college I decided to do something drastic - change majors. I originally was an urban studies major, but was having some issues in a tough economic course. I'm a prelaw student, so I took a risk and changed my area of study to Asian studies...

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5 Ways to Build Awareness This Summer

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2015 | 5:45 PM

Recently I accomplished a goal that I've been trying to achieve for a long while - I finally got certified to be a yoga teacher. I went to a studio and went through a 12 week long yoga immersion. I was so happy with the wide variety of knowledge and...

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HoliGay Shopping List

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2014 | 7:07 PM

Well, it's that time of the year again, when you need to find just the right gifts for all your loved ones. And of course some of your family members are inevitably part of the LGBT community. One important factor to be aware of is that companies are increasingly becoming conscious of their corporate responsibility when it comes to being inclusive.

What I mean by that is that companies are clued in to the fact that we as consumers want to buy from businesses that support equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A great resource that I would like to direct you to is the Human Rights Campaign's Holiday Buyer's Guide, which provides a comprehensive review of a great number of businesses concerning how LGBT-friendly they are.


According to the HRC's website, here's how they calculate their ratings:

Businesses are rated on a scale from 0 to 100, based on whether or not they have policies that support LGBT employees. These include anti-discrimination protections, domestic partner benefits, diversity training and transgender-inclusive benefits. We provide an estimated score to businesses that have not, after repeated attempts, responded to the survey. An estimated score is reflective of the information that HRC has been able to collect without help or input from a business.

Here are some of the scores that I want you to be aware of when you're shopping around:

If you're buying clothes (always a great go-to gift for a fashionable gay person), you probably go to some trendy retailers. Unfortunately, Express has a score of 0. Burberry only has a 15, and J. Crew only has a 30. It's horrible that these brands we trust really don't have our best interests at heart.

Some good alternatives would be Nordstrom, Macy's, and Gap, all of which have scores of 100.

Other stores that have really poor ratings include Radio Shack, which has a 45, but that's not that big of a deal, because who still shops at Radio Shack anyway? Kohl's and Michaels both have only a 15. A good alternative for those two would have to be Target, because you can pretty much get anything there.

I encourage you to look at the full HRC Holiday Buyer's Guide here. We as consumers definitely have the power to support businesses that promote inclusion and equality in the workplace. The more we engage in shopping with a conscience, the better our world will be. With that I'd like to wish you all happy...

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Maybe We Shouldn't Waste Money on Drug Testing Michigan Welfare Recipients

(3) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 1:30 PM

In case you haven't heard, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday, December 3rd, that would allow for the suspicion-based drug testing of welfare recipients. There has long existed a narrative in this country that those on welfare exploit the system, are lazy, and do drugs. This is just the latest chapter in war on the poor.

Now the bill was already passed by the Michigan State Senate last march. So that means if Governor Rick Snyder decides to sign this bill, that would allocate half a million tax payer dollars to pay for this drug testing.

One of the sponsors of this legislation, Representative Jeff Farrington of Utica, is quoted by MLive as saying the following: "I think people want to make sure that we give a hand up to those in need, but they're tired of giving their tax dollars to people who waste it on drugs."

He goes on to say "that's no blanket statement, as far as people on welfare being on drugs, but people at least want to see what the numbers are."

Well I agree with Mr. Farrington, let's look at some numbers. Ignoring the fact that Michigan already had a welfare drug testing law in 1999 that was struck down as unconstitutional for a minute - 11 states have enacted similar laws since 2011.

Taking Tennessee as an example, there they enacted a drug testing law where out of 812 applicants they only found one individual who tested positive. Those results were only from a single month, but in Utah only 12 people tested positive after a full year of drug testing. The price tag in Utah was $30,000 to weed out just those 12 people.

Instead of going on a witch hunt to find welfare queens, that by in large do not exist -- Representative Farrington might want to consider spending our money on strengthening our social safety net. According to the Michigan League For public policy, nearly one in seven Michigan families struggle with food insecurity. Maybe we can spend half a million dollars helping them instead of stigmatizing the poor. Just food for...

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The Cutting Edge of Accessories: The Wooden Bow Tie

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 5:32 PM

When deciding how to put together a good wardrobe, many men forget about the accessories. An interesting satchel, a colorful pocket square, or a unique bow tie can make all the difference in pushing menswear to the next level. If you're looking to add that extra edge to your ensemble...

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Diary of a Depressed Night Owl: The Search for Happiness Late Into the Evening

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 6:24 PM

Regulating one's body clock is a challenge. Researchers long have examined the differences between early risers and their night owl counterparts. Some studies suggest morning people are more likely to be successful, and others emphasize how night owls are more creative and intelligent. As a night...

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There's Nothing Quite Like A Detroit Summer

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 4:21 PM

As this summer continues to fly by, it's great to take a step back and think about all things only we Detroiters get to do this time of year. Whether it's a beautiful Sunday morning at Eastern Market or a great lunch at Bucharest Grill's new Corktown location...

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Bringing Made In Michigan to Your Bathroom - City Girls Soap

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 12:26 PM

A couple of Saturdays ago I was at Recycle Here, a massive recycling center in...

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Why The Olympics Matter To Detroit

(4) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 4:48 PM

With the 2014 winter Olympics finally underway in Sochi, Russia, people all over the globe are turning their eyes to watch history in the making.

Every Olympics have their share of problems, but international concern about these games have been especially high. From safety issues to that...

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Ask An Economist: Will Raising Fast Workers' Wages Strengthen the Economy?

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2014 | 10:14 AM

Political arguments over the holidays are the best aren't they? Well actually -- they're awful. We've all been there when we've felt woefully unprepared for the latest holiday battle of the brains. I thought I was just going to a party to have a good time -- I didn't know...

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10 Things Caregiving Taught Me in 2013

(1) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 2:40 PM

As 2013 comes to a close, it's normal to reflect on the impact of the year. It might be terribly cliché to say it, but this year was life changing for my family. Back in August I wrote about how helping care for my grandfather with Alzheimer's has...

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A New Generation of Leadership in the Great Lakes State: Ryan Fishman Runs For Mich. State Senate

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 2:44 PM

Ryan Fishman, a Birmingham-based attorney, wants to be the next state senator from Michigan's 13th district. Mr. Fishman, only 25 years old, isn't letting his age stand in the way of seeking elected office.


Fishman received attention earlier this...

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I Am My Car: The Mythology of Car Ownership in the Motor City

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 1:10 PM

After officially filing for chapter nine bankruptcy protections, Detroit is now looking at an uncertain future. What will Detroit look like on the other side of this fiscal crisis?

In order for the Detroit of the future to be a success, the city will need...

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Shakespeare in Detroit: To Be or Not to Be?

(2) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 4:47 PM


Shakespeare in Detroit, a theater company seeking to perform the world's most renown plays throughout Detroit, is asking the public an important question:

2014 season -- to be or not to be?

With all of...

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Vote Mike Duggan for Mayor of Detroit on November 5th

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 4:02 PM


Ten months ago I sent an email that forever changed how I view Detroit. I used to see Detroit as a work in progress -- years away from robust change. Then I sent an email to Bryan Barnhill,...

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