Welcome to the Mercury’s first-ever Gender Empowerment Issue!

Why dedicate an issue to gender? Well, to put it bluntly: We’re living through something of a gender revolution. As women continue to grapple with how to gain and use power, men are adjusting to a world in which they’re being asked to share that power more often—and realizing that toxic societal notions of masculinity have done them a disservice. The increasing visibility of transgender and nonbinary people is shattering our old misconceptions and black-and-white thinking about gender, even as trans people have to fight harder than ever for their rights. And all of these dynamics are further amplified and impacted by race, class, age, and a zillion other factors.

In this issue, you’ll learn about local school counselors who are trying to nip male toxicity in the bud, discover a project spotlighting local women and nonbinary film directors, and read a first-hand account of a Portland comedian’s journey with gender fluidity. You’ll also get recommendations for podcasts that delve deeper into all of these dynamics—because while this is a Mercury special issue, gender is an issue every day.