Sandy Ernest Allen
Essays, Reported Features & Audio Stories
Selected, by topic.
Visit this site to learn about my book and this one for my podcast.
It's Not Just Britney – The Cut
In the wake of Britney Spears speaking out against her conservatorship, an essay on the reduced civil rights faced by some deemed 'mentally ill' — and the broader implications of our coercive psychiatric paradigm
The Kirkbride Plan – 99% Invisible
A deep dive audio feature on the forgotten history of America's robust 19th century mental health care infrastructure
Out of the Maze – Guernica
An essay that touches on my own efforts to understand the broader situation regarding the truth of "madness". Also tells the story of the amazing painting featured on the cover of the paperback of AKOMP.
'That's So Crazy'– Gay Magazine
An essay discussing the prejudices revealed by our use of words like "insane" and "crazy"
Media Errors in Covering 'Mental Health' – Mad in America
A lengthy essay reflecting upon my own coverage of 'mental health' to date, for better and for worse. Intended as advice and warning to fellow media professionals seeking to comment in this space
This toxic lie about gun violence hurts society's most vulnerable - CNN Opinion
An Op-Ed about the GOP and NRA's long and reprehensible effort to scapegoat gun violence on those with psychiatric disabilities
Hearing Voices - Pop-Up Magazine
A live reported piece about one person's life before and after finding a Hearing Voices Network support group. Performed on stages all over the country during the spring 2017 tour
The Trials of Teresa Sheehan - BuzzFeed News
In 2008, San Francisco police were called to transport a woman diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder to a hospital. Instead, they shot her seven times. This is a long investigation into how police became our nation's mental health care workers. See also: My Mad In America follow-up to this story about its errors.
Courtesy Pop-Up Magazine
Voice Over – This American Life
A story about losing my voice in order to find it. Produced by Bim Adewunmi
Where Do We Go From Here? – 99% Invisible
Why do we have sex-segregated bathrooms? How can we do better? I produced this episode investigating how we can revolutionize bathrooms.
Dear Brands: Consider Selling Me Stuff – Them
Why are all the things we buy so needlessly gendered?
A Farewell to Boobs – Them
Navigating uncertainty and doubt in the lead-up to getting top surgery
My Gmail Won't Stop Deadnaming Me – Them
The first of my "Between the Binary" column, in which I ranted about the annoying small stuff of being trans online
How Marie Kondo Helped Me Sort Out My Gender – Them
Her book, ostensibly about cleaning, ended up sparking a much deeper kind of joy
The Challenge of Book-Tour Travel as a Non-Binary Author – Lit Hub
An essay about coming out as my first book also did.
See also: My newsletter, What's Helping Today
Applied Bob Studies – This American Life
How studying Bob's life closely affected my own. Produced by Bim Adewunmi
How Yoga Helped Me Learn to Love My Body — and Myself – Them
Reflections on transforming self-loathing into self-love
My Friendsgiving Isn't a Trend. It's a Lifeline. – Bon Appétit's Healthyish
On the power of creating a new tradition
I Run to Silence My Demons – Bon Appétit's Healthyish
Contemplating the relationship between exercise and mental health
How Pie Keeps Me Steady - BuzzFeed Books
An essay about baking and about my own approach to self-care
How Simple Is That?: At Home with Ina Garten - BuzzFeed News
An unprecedentedly intimate profile of"The Barefoot Contessa" star and cookbook mogul.
"My Giantess: The Sad, Strange, True Story of Sandy Allen, the Tallest Woman in the World" - BuzzFeed News
After realizing I shared a name with the former tallest woman alive, I sought to tell her remarkable story.
"Tig Notaro And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Yet Somehow Completely Amazing Year" – BuzzFeed News
A profile of the comedian one year after her career-changing set
"I Was the Best Fake Attorney in America" - BuzzFeed News
In 2005, I won the High School Mock Trial National Championships, a victory that was both huge and, to most people, meaningless. Ten years later, I returned to nationals to try to make sense of what that victory meant — and what this competitive celebration of our legal system even is.
"Why I Still Love RENT" - BuzzFeed News
The 1996 musical about AIDS-afflicted artists scandalized and inspired my romantic teenage self. Figuring out what Rent got totally wrong about adult life — and right.
"Apocalypse Noir: How Climate Change Will End Wine as We Know It" - BuzzFeed News
Hotter and less predictable temperatures mean that much of the world’s premium wine regions are now under threat and new ones are emerging. How the wine industry is — and isn't — reacting says a lot about the future of agriculture.