About Chrissy Stroop and The Bugbear Dispatch

I’m Chrissy Stroop, and I’ve had a weird life so far. Born in 1980 in rural northern Indiana and raised right-wing evangelical in the Indianapolis metro area and Colorado Springs, I went on to earn a PhD in modern Russian history from Stanford University and spent the years 2012-2015 teaching in a Russian university in Moscow. All in all, those were some awkward years to spend in Russia, given Putin’s annexation of Crimea and all the fallout. But the most awkward thing of all is that my interest in Russia began with evangelical short-term youth mission trips!

Here at The Bugbear Dispatch, I share my thoughts about religion, secularism, culture, politics, and more in the form of genre-defying essays containing insights that could only derive from living a life as weird as mine. Posts (usually) appear weekly, (usually) on Wednesday or Thursday. The schedule is subject to some change due to the balancing act that is self-employment with multiple gigs. Every other weekly post is available in full to free subscribers, but only paid subscribers have access to every new post, the full archive, and the occasional “bonus” posts I write when the mood strikes me. If you’d like to know more about my background and how it shapes my work, read on!

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In 2015, I managed to land a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where I stayed until 2018 before leaving academia for good to see if I could make it as a writer, building on the work I’d done for popular audiences while teaching at USF. I stayed with my parents back in central Indiana for about a year, eventually started making enough via Patreon and freelance fees to get by, and then came out as a transgender woman and fulfilled my dream of moving to Portland, Oregon, where I began my medical transition. I reside in Portland today with my best friend/chosen sister and an adorable Pomeranian goofball named Darcy.

This is Darcy

I’m now a full-time writer, public speaker, and progressive advocate, and The Bugbear Dispatch is my sandbox for exploring outside the lines of what I would typically publish in another outlet. That’s not to say that I don’t address many of the same themes here that I do elsewhere: religion and secularism, the Christian Right (and its historical origins), pluralism and democracy, American politics, LGBTQ issues, press criticism, occasional forays into foreign affairs. I certainly do, but here I can discuss those things in connection with my thoughts on what I’m reading and watching; share more personal reflections; and talk about research and insights from work in progress or share things that had to be cut from my publications during editing. More than a “news and notes” newsletter but less formal than a typical magazine article, The Bugbear Dispatch is meant to be accessible, playful, and refreshingly candid.

“What’s the deal with ‘bugbear,’” you ask? Well, all my thinking is currently shaped by the fact that America is living through a period of moral panic fomented by right-wing Christians and their allies. As a transgender woman, I belong to one of the Right’s most reviled demographics. I am, therefore, a modern American bugbear, though I’m probably the cuddliest monster you’ll ever meet.

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As a transgender American woman in a time of moral panic, Chrissy Stroop is one of society's current "bugbears." Here she publishes weekly musings connecting her reading and other cultural consumption to her thoughts on American society and more.


Writer, speaker, co-editor of the essay anthology Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church. Exvangelical atheist all for pluralism and opposed to antitheism.