A very, very Happy New Year to all! All best in 2005!
Please be responsible: don’t drink and drive.
A very, very Happy New Year to all! All best in 2005!
Please be responsible: don’t drink and drive.
As it turns out, the U.S. government has pledged less money to aid those desperate folks in South Asia than we’re planning on spending on the inauguration.
What I wish:
* that we had a president I’d be happy about inaugurating.
* that I could go to South Asia and work to help make things better.
* that we’d all call off all the freaking wars and killing going on to help clean up the whole area, clean the water tables, and set up a system to warn people of disasters like this, so they can at least survive with their families & a set of clothes, if nothing else.
Some days it feels like the planet herself is trying to let us know that we’re jackasses, and we keep not listening.
But you can urge Pres. Bush to up the U.S.’ contribution.
A tired and sad,
I’m not the type to ask for prayers, ever, for anything, but Southeast Asia is a place near and dear to my heart. It’s going to take years for them to recover.
Please donate to your charity of choice (Betty & I favor Doctors Without Borders).
I know I’m not the only one excited by a Christmas gift of gender theory – not only, but not common, either. A slim volume, bound in oily paper.
But how is it – despite my excitement – that once I start to read I start to yawn? Radical performativity and challenges to authorship make me want to stretch like my cat on our bed, him in the sun through our back bedroom window, me on the D train, rays streaming in off the white chips of ice in the East River and on the sludge piles on the Brooklyn side. White light/no heat.
Despite theory, on the train I name genders. Shy momma’s boy, effete hipster, resilient Malay matriarch. Aren’t we all different gendered, even while we pass for one or the other? Does the crisis only happen when everyone sees “man” when one feels “woman,” or vice versa? Or do we just assume that everyone only sees two, like some kind of post-apocalyptic god, cleaving some to the left, some to the right? What do most people see? I try to remember back, from when I didn’t think of gender, and what comes to me is a time when I was on a different train, the Long Island Railroad, and I was about 17. An aging conductor was the first to take my monthly ticket, and he punched it M. I know I changed it later, but I also know I’d wondered if I should, or not. Would all the conductors think me male, or had the lights blinked off for a moment for one semi-blind conductor? If I had it changed, and they still read me as M, – what then? (I had it changed, thinking somehow that my combat boots and shaved head and flannel shirts would still, somehow, by some miracle, be read as F.)
No one reads me now as M, but I still know I’m only passing.
I could use your help.
I’ve posted a questionnaire for partners/SOs/SOFFAs of transpeople in order to help aid and direct my research for two upcoming essays and possibly/probably for the next book.
I’ve posted it in the MHB Message Boards and would love for people to post it on other message boards, Yahoo! groups, and listservs.
Thanks to all!
A very, very Merry Christmas to all!
For the month of January, Book Television in Canada will be “sexing up” their shows, which includes an interview with a male proponent of cunnilingus, Tom Wolfe, and us!
Find out more about the show at the Book Televsion website: www.booktelevision.com/richlerink/index.cfm
Transgender advocates and activists are celebrating the release of Guidelines Regarding Gender Identity Discrimination from the New York City Commission on Human Rights this week. These guidelines interpret the Human Rights Law and are designed to educate the public about the prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity and expression that became part of New York City human rights law with the passage of Int. No. 24, the transgender rights bill signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Local Law 3 of 2002 in April of that year.
an excerpt from The New York Times review of the show Betty is currently acting in:
This is perhaps Ms. Adamson’s greatest insight. Kafka’s writing is tinged with sadomasochism and voyeurism like the best pulp fiction, and this production is saturated in sex. In desire as well as law, everything is provisional, declarations are nothing but proposals, and the apparent is just as good as, if not better than, the real. This noir reading is at its most effective in a comically creepy scene when Joseph K. visits the garret of the court portraitist, Titorelli, played by a throaty, androgynous Jason C****.
My Husband Betty has just been nominated for the 17th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, in two categories: Memoir/Autobiography, and Transgender/GenderQueer.
You can see all the nominated books and categories at Lambda’s website.
I’m thrilled and honored and really, really excited – what a Christmas present! As it turns out, it was just the needed push for the book to hit its 4th printing, too!
Hello friends and readers,
This is the least comfortable request I’ve ever made, but we’ve spent way more money doing the book thing than we expected. Since we’d like to keep doing what we’re doing – education, outreach, and advocacy – we could use some help: keeping up this website, running the MHB Message Boards, getting to conferences. Contrary to popular opinion, there isn’t any money in writing books! There is, however, a lot of money spent promoting books, and attending conferences, and no-one’s paying me to hold anyone’s hand or to answer innumerable emails from people needing help, resources, a shoulder. If only! I don’t mind doing any of it – in fact, it’s one of the single most rewarding aspects of having written the book. But I’m not independently wealthy, or retired, and there’s no trust fund to be found.
Look, it’s been really expensive doing all this. It’s a LOT of time. I don’t really know any way to ask except to ask. So if you like what we’re doing, and want us to keep doing it, you can show your support by making a donation (of your choice).
This donation is NOT tax-deductible. We’re looking into how to do that, but for now, this would just be considered a gift.
Thank you so much to those who have already donated. Wow, do I hate asking people for money. I used to work as a fundraiser, and Betty has to do a lot of schmoozing for theatre fundraising, but it never, ever gets easier.
Helen Boyd & Betty Crow
As most of you might know, my husband Betty is, in addition to being a cover girl, an actor. “He” worked in an off-Broadway theatre for five years, and before that upstate for about eight years. Currently he’s helping found a new theatre, called Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, which will be having its first production this month.
Phoenix Theatre Ensemble proudly presents Franz Kafka’s The Trial.
There will be sixteen performances, staring on December 17th, playing through January 9th. There is a complete list of dates at the Phoenix’s website (designed by Betty as well), and tickets are only $15. You can buy them through TheaterMania’s website.
So we’d like to invite any of you who are in the NYC area to come see Betty in her nearly-male presentation, playing Titorelli, the artist.
As it turns out, PBS is going to be showing our episode of “In the Life” for the month of December. So for those of you who missed it the first time, here’s your chance!
You can still find out when “In the Life” is showing in your area at www.itl.tv. Our episode is called “Mergers and Acquisitions.”
To all, a very happy Thanksgiving!
Remember to make a list of all the things you’re thankful for, yes? It helps you get through the cold winter ahead.
For me, it’s simple: my family, my friends, and all the lovely letters and emails people have sent me after reading My Husband Betty. I am more than thankful for the opportunity to have done some good, for some people.
But I’m also thankful for and to New York, for being a home; for my cats, who provide that unconditional love we all need, and for Betty – who through good times and bad, is the person who walks through the world with me.
Happy Thanksgiving! Eat your fill and donate for those who don’t get to.
On the eve of TG Day of Remembrance, it’s bothering me that the only international recognition of transness is in the all-too-brutal murders of transpeople. What Gwen Smith has created in the Remembering Our Dead project is vital work: vital because these transpeople are murdered out of hate, often brutally, and way too frequently, their killers are not found, or not prosecuted. Historically and politically, Remembering Our Dead is a project that is both emotionally powerful and sympathetic; it reminds me, most often, of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
That said, I meet with all sorts of living, struggling transpeople every day. And while you could say that the other 364 days are theirs, we all know that’s not quite true. What we all need – other than to mourn our dead and keep vigils for justice – is a way of simultaneously recognizing the great progress in the trans community among the living, so I propose a supplement to Gwen Smith’s brilliant work: The Remember We’re Living Celebration.
What I foresee is that transgroups stand up and honor their own members by having a kind of New Year’s: by asking each of us to stand up and cite one piece of progress, or a victory, we experienced in the past year. The closeted CD could cite his recent decision to come out to his wife. The out CD might celebrate her involvement with a GLBT charity group. The transitioning sister could tell us how close to the end of her Real Life test she is. And the transitioned woman might share in what ways she’s helped her sisters coming up. Transmen might point to their months on T, coming out (usually for the 2nd time) to their friends and families, or rallying with their transwoman sisters at Camp Trans.
We all struggle within this community; some of us within relationships, some of us with loneliness. But my feeling is that I would put my last dollar on a bet that says we have all accomplished something, whether private or public or both, which could use a round of applause.
I would love to see the vigils for Remembering Our Dead morph into living transpeople testifying to their own successes, their own beauty, their own victories. I would like to see the GLBT papers cover these events and have something other than gruesome deaths to report.
If you think this is a good idea, pass this message on.
For now, we’re asking every transperson who receives this message to send us a note, via the MHB message boards, or leave a comment here, noting one victory, success, or piece of happiness they’ve achieved in the last year concerning their transness.
Today, on the MHB message boards, a conversation started about why I don’t like or wear high heels. After a few soul-searching and memory-reliving posts, I intended to drop the subject and quit responding, especially after Betty reminded me of how deeply felt my memories are on this subject. But I didn’t drop it, & the reason I didn’t is because I felt like I needed to explain there are real reasons why some women drop “pretty.” I had to stop caring about pretty, because it sucked for me – I stopped caring about “pretty” for pretty much the same reasons the average tranny stopped caring about “macho.” What went on in my head was something like: Who gives a fuck? I’m never gonna jump your stupid bar, & – oh, wow, it just occurred to me: & I don’t WANT to, either.
I find it troublesome to think that some might read my posts & think of my reasoning as sour grapes. The irony, I suppose, is that I am pretty. I’ve always liked my face, despite my crap skin. Sometimes, however, it’s as if it’s inconceivable to people for “pretty” not to be important to women. I find that outright sexist to be honest – that you can’t give a woman the benefit of the doubt, that she might have good reasons, and that the main issue is not about her thinking she isn’t pretty, and is basically saying ‘to hell with it.’
To me, “pretty” intersects with attitude & behavior, too. Pretty Is as Pretty Does, as they say. “Pretty” intersects with gender, behavior, and class in ways that are too complicated to sort out here.
In the same way that trannies grow to love & celebrate their transness, I celebrate my departure from those girly games. I wouldn’t be half so smart, half so direct, or half as well-read as I would be had I had a *chance* at being considered pretty. Would my life have been easier? In some ways, & not in others. Watching my pretty friends try to desperately hold onto their looks as they age is pretty depressing, and not something I’d want to deal with.
But the real issue – you know that old question about “would you take a pill if it would make you not trans?” – is whether I value who I have become because of this stuff. As with most trannies, I wouldn’t take the pill. It was totally a positive thing in my life to have taken that “left turn at Albuquerque.”
My memories of my teenage years are painful, but my decision to side-step the issue is not. As Betty likes to recall, it’s like that Seinfeld episode where they compete about who can not masturbate… & in about 5 minutes, Kramer barges in and announces “I’m out!” For me, it was liberating to say “I’m out!” of those competitions, or even of thinking about this stuff.
That others will continue to value women who value being pretty isn’t my issue. I just want the space & respect NOT to value it. I hate the idea that anyone would see my rejection/dislike of heels as being some kind of problem, on my part, some “riddle” to tease out.
Psychiatrist: So, Ms. Boyd, when did you develop this dislike for heels?
Psychiatrist: So when did you reject being female?
Me: But I didn’t.
Psychiatrist: Well certainly your rejection of heels indicates some unrest with your female-ness.
Me: Um, no, I don’t think so.
Psychiatrist: But don’t you want to be pretty?
Me: Not especially.
Psychiatrist: Why not?
Me: Dunno. I like being other stuff better.
What I’m saying is that I understand perfectly well why most trannies don’t love hockey jerseys & Coors hats. I’m not the psychiatrist that’s going to ask why you have such sour grapes over not being “real men.” And all I’d like, in return, is the same respect: I don’t like heels and I don’t care about being pretty because I just don’t. It’s not some indication that I perceive myself as a failure as a woman, and it’s not some kind of recompense for not feeling like I don’t measure up. I’ve never really cared if most men find me attractive or not. And how I look doesn’t much enter into how I feel about myself.
All of us who are genderqueer (or who didn’t fit in) in one way or another had teenage years that were trial by fire. Having made the decisions we needed to at whatever age we were is half of what makes us such cool grownups, who have the room to appreciate, understand, and befriend people who made similar but different decisions. Not seeing each other as the freaks and weirdos everyone else thinks we are would give us all a much safer space to be ourselves.
Which I think, in the end, is what it’s all about.
Here are a few other online support groups you might be interested in:
For Couples, or Couples-Friendly:
For the Gen X generation, there’s Ronnie Rho’s group:
Lacey Leigh’s group for Successful CDs
A group for the Trans Family, which focuses on couples:
There’s my new group for couples:
& for only SOs:
*For SOs of MTF CDs only (Kathy in Canada’s group), CrossDressers’ Wives and SO Support (CD-WSOS):
Support for Wives and Significant Others of CrossDressers (SFWaSOCDs)
*For SOs of MTFs or FTMs, TG Partners:
The sister group of TransFamily Couples, for partners only
This has nothing to do with transgender anything, but everything to do with my loves in this world, the chief musical one among them for the past 4 years or so being one Rufus Wainwright. His new CD (that’s Compact Disc) is coming out in a couple of weeks, but VH1 has a preview up.