Month: September 2005

Marlene

Posted by – September 30, 2005

Penny posted a great photo of Marlene Dietrich in suit-and-tie on the boards, & I just decided she was too fantastic not to put one up here.

marlene d.

Did she rock or what?!

We’re Back

Posted by – September 26, 2005

Betty and I are back from our various travels – all of which were wonderful – and now figuring out life with three cats.

And catching up on email.

I’ll post more about our recent travels as soon as I’m not falling asleep on my keyboard.

Not a Record

Posted by – September 23, 2005

(Oh, some of you are old enough to know what a record is, right?)

Happy Friday. We’re in Denver, and will be back lickety-split.

endymion vinyl

Dark Odyssey #3

Posted by – September 21, 2005

We’re back from our 3rd Dark Odyssey and this one topped the previous two. We arrived Tuesday around 2pm, and left Monday around 2pm, which means we had six full days of nudity, sex, workshops, sex, pagan rituals, sex, naked volleyball, swimming, and yes, more sex. Driving down with Daddy David and his girl Kate was a great way to get ready for the six days, and to process them on the way back.

I am pretty sure I now know every conceivable way a person can be tied to a tree and flogged.

We met a bunch of new and interesting people: Maggie, a liberated ex-pat who was both beautiful and multi-lingual; Neil and linda, who gave us the low-down on Master/slave relationships; Captain Beatrice and B, who each came to one of my workshops; S. Bear Bergman, who reviewed my book not long ago; Lyndon, who was wearing that cool “question gender” shirt from TIC; Sir Andrew and Fyre, who we hit it off with immediately when we picked them up at the airport, and Maria, with whom I had some interesting conversations about being raised Catholic.

We saw a ton of old friends and familiar faces, like Opn and Toni (who once again provided us with excellent “fat girl taxi” service, Joe Samson (and his girlfriend), Citizen Rahne (and her girlfriend), Susan (who is scheming to get me invited to the Trans Health Conference that takes place in Philly every year), Julie, Becky, Barbara Carrellas (with whom Betty may be starting a “partners of writers” support group, as Barbara is the inestimable Kate Bornstein’s partner), and Raven Kaldera and his boy joshua, who put on an amazing re-enactment of the Sumerian myth of Innana. Michelle Zee taught me a new shoulder stretch, too. (It just occurred to me that nearly all these people are trans themselves or a partner of a transperson, which leads me to believe I’m slightly self-ghettoizing, but that’s not a huge shock, either.)

There were folks from the MHB Boards there, too, like Dawn, the cervix-bearing fantastic partner of Nicole (who regrettably had just broken her foot and couldn’t come), uber-lusty JessicaNYC and her MonkeyGirl, and of course the lovely Penny and Jayme, who were literally hiding in the corner when I first found them, right before the workshop on monogamy that I did Friday night. Then again, they told me later that night they’d already gone skinny dipping, so it obviously didn’t take them long to come out of the corner!

We also brought home a new member of the Boyd family: little Aurora, a tiny 5 lb. tabby cat who charmed everyone — and who was fending for herself on the campgrounds without claws. She’s sleeping in our bathtub for now, being forced to eat and drink, and getting crankier about it (which I consider a good sign, because she’s got enough energy to complain, and she didn’t before.)

If I could find the people who would leave a clawless cat to fend for herself, I might come up with a new way to tie a person to a tree and flog them.

We had a great time overall, and opened a few doors ourselves. I did finally manage — in a very safe workshop given by our friend SwitchMe — to get naked in front of other people. I’m not going to make a habit of it, but it was good to do, if only even for the ability to do so if and when I choose to.

Betty and I also, erm, opened a few doors together, in public and privately, but that’s all I’m saying. You’ll have to come yourself if you ever want to see us do anything sexual in a public space, and even then you’ll have to get lucky to be in the right place at the right time. (Several people were disappointed they hadn’t been, when they heard what we’d done!)

Betty was of course a lovely co-MC with Miss Tristan for the Wheel of Destiny, and a few people are starting to mumble about them co-hosting a cable access television talk show. I’m already imagining the guest list, but we’ll see.

The biggest surprise was enjoying watching Sir C beat the crap out of someone tied to a tree while reclining under a pine tree in the dappled sunlight. (Though we did have to pick ourselves free of pine tar afterwards.)

The workshops I conducted (on Monogamy, Uneven Libidos, and of course Trans sexuality) were a pleasure to run, especially since the people who came posed thoughtful questions and had insightful comments, though of course my workshops are certainly less arousing than the ones given by Nina and Felice! Betty said at one point that I provide all the “thinking” workshops, though the one I attended given by Citizen Rahne was really thoughtful and smart, too. I was especially pleased that the workshops I gave on non-trans subjects were a success, which got me thinking about what I want to be when I grow up.

What amazes me the most is that I could write another 10 pages and still never touch the sense of what DO is actually like. We definitely encourage other couples, genderqueers, trannies, and BDSM folks to come on down! Yes, the food is mediocre at best, but the meals are full of interesting folks and engaging conversations. I’m not sure anyone gets enough sleep, either. But the sense of camaraderie, the comfort with nudity, sex, and kink are inestimable — like nothing I’ve ever experienced anywhere else. Our thanks to Greg and Tristan for the effort to put on such a remarkable event, and to Colten and the staff for working their butts off.

Five Questions With… Brianna Austin

Posted by – September 21, 2005

brianna austinBrianna Austin is a freelance writer for magazines such as Tgforum.com, Lady Like, Girl Talk, Girls Club Reporter, TG Crossroads, Jazz Review, and Music Press. She is about to co-launch a new website with Gina Lance called www.tglife.com. We first met her at the notorious Silver Swan, where she asked if we’d be in a documentary she was filming – but we declined, due to privacy. A couple of years later when I ran into her, I had to admit we were ready to do her documentary, but she’d abandoned the project, and was very amused at how fast we’d gone from terrified newbies to out out out. It was a pleasure to get to chat with her.

1. So what’s Brianna Austin been up to?

That’s a mouth full. I moved to Buenos Aires in the spring of 2004 and it has been an amazing experience. In addition to running my website, Girls Club Reporter, I did some writing for Lady Like, Jazz Review and other mags, and spent the end of last year finishing a book I co-wrote (it is not trans-related) entitled An Unscripted Life, … I’d Do It Again, which will be available in October. Most of 2005 I have been developing a new transgender web portal (www.TGLIFE.com) which will launch shortly. And lastly, I’ve been working on two new books that are both trans related, Candidly Transgender and A Changing Season. I’ll spend August-Oct in NYC and then return home to finish the books in the fall.
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Lazy Friday

Posted by – September 16, 2005

While we’re at Dark Odyssey, we left the boys to keep you company. I think there’s enough room in the bath for three.

sleeping bath twins

Five Questions With… Mona Rae Mason

Posted by – September 14, 2005

mona rae masonMona Rae Mason is the Transgender Project‘s Field Coordinator and has been out and active in the TG community in NYC and Northeastern PA. for several years. As a former barmaid in a mid-town Manhattan cocktail lounge, she promoted and hosted several successful ‘trans’ fundraisers – one for The NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, another for City Meals on Wheels. She has been active in arranging, promoting and hosting transgender specific parties and events, and also speaks at various Transgender support groups and organizations.

1) What is the Transgender Project and what is its goal?

The Transgender Project is a longitudinal study of the male to female Transgender community of the greater NY metro area. The goal of The Transgender Project is, quite simply, to learn! ” The more we learn of ourselves, the better we can teach others”–and that’s pretty much what all this is about. When all is said and done, we will be able to present to MD’s, therapists, and clinicians some powerful and important information about our communtiy. After all, we can’t really expect them to be able to help us if we don’t give them proper information. We need to help them to help us.

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Interesting Survey

Posted by – September 13, 2005

Here are the results of a survey that rates a state by its “pro choice” and “pro life” percentages (and which presidential candidate they voted for in the last election.)

Check out the weighted and unweighted averages at the end, especially.

Off to Dark Odyssey

Posted by – September 12, 2005

Betty and I are going on two brief vacations in upcoming weeks:

  • to Dark Odyssey, starting tomorrow (9/13) until next Monday (9/19).
  • then, to a family reunion on Betty’s side, the long weekend (Thursday – Monday) after that.

If I don’t respond to an email, it’s precisely for that reason. Be well, and we’ll see you in a while.

(Via the magic of computers, new blog entries will be posted, however.)

Wish

Posted by – September 11, 2005

renee french drawing

I started to write something this morning about the reading of names that took five hours today, and about trauma, and the Towers, and what that day was like in this small apartment that day. But words weren’t working, and I didn’t want to think myself out of simpler feelings.

So instead, I’m posting this drawing, which brought me some peace in the months after. It brought me release more than peace; I remember just weeping when I first turned the page of the volume it appears in.

It was drawn by Renee French. It doesn’t have a name, but I’ve always referred to it as Wish.

GE

Posted by – September 10, 2005

GE is using the protest song “Sixteen Tons” for an ad about coal energy.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so disrespectful in my life.

“Sixteen Tons” was made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford, but it was written by Merle Travis, who was the son of a Kentucky coal miner. It’s not really difficult to work out that it’s about how much it sucked to be a coal miner, specifically in the time before the UMW (United Mine Workers).

CHORUS:
You load sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go,
l owe my soul to the company store.

Now, some people say a man’s made out of mud,
But a poor man’s made out of muscle and blood,
Muscle and blood, skin and bones,
A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong.

Well, I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine.
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mines.
I loaded sixteen tons of Number Nine coal,
And the straw-boss hollered, “Well, bless my soul.”

Well, I was born one mornin’, it was drizzlin’ rain.
Fightin’ and trouble is my middle name.
I was raised in the bottoms by a mama hound.
I’m mean as a dog, but I’m as gentle as a lamb.

WeIl, if you see me a-comin’ you better step aside.
A lotta men didn’t and a lotta men died.
I got a fist of iron, and a fist of steel.
If the right one don’t get you, then the left one will.

I’ve always thought of the last two lines as pretty direct metaphors for the two industries coal mining hugely influenced in the US: the railroads and the steel industry.

You can read a little more about why miners and their families hated the company store if you can’t work it out, and check out other songs about life in the coal mines at this ‘History in Song’ site.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I just wonder if there’s anything that can be respected. I wonder if GE has any idea that miners are still killed and injured in coal mines around the world on a regular basis. On Tuesday, a mine flooded in China and 13 of the miners are still missing as I’m writing this.

Here’s an article about the same ad, in Slate.

(And if you’re wondering why on earth I’m blogging about coal mining at all, that’s simple: my grandmother’s family were Anthracite miners in PA at the turn of the century, and the history of the mines, the miners’ unions, and all things coal have been interests of mine for a long time. I was one of the few kids who did actually get coal in my Christmas stocking to remind me I wasn’t always an angel.)

Fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina Victims at CDI

Posted by – September 9, 2005

The local CD group CDI is having a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The organization will match all contributions up to $500, so if attendees donate $500, the hurricane victims will get $1000.

I think this is a brilliant idea, and I’ve donated a signed copy of my book for them to use as a fundraiser. I’d welcome requests from any other TG groups who’d be interested in doing the same thing. My contact information is right here.

Below are more details about the event, and even more can be found on the MHB Boards.

BBQ Fundraiser for Victims of Hurricane Katrina
Wednesday, September 14 at the Open House Dinner at 8:00pm

Cat, with Mess

Posted by – September 9, 2005

We’ve been doing some re-organizing of our apt, which might explain the mess in the background. Endymion, in the foreground, never explains himself.

hall endymion

Anti-Gay Governator

Posted by – September 9, 2005

The Governator has promised to veto a Gay Marriage bill in CA.

What?

Posted by – September 8, 2005

These eleven congressmen, Republican conservatives all, just voted against the $51 billion package (H. R. 3673) for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you live in any of these states, you might want to write and ask them why.

Rep. Joe Barton – TX
Jeff Flake – AZ
Virginia Foxx – NC
Scott Garrett – NJ
John Hostettler – IN
Steve King – IA
Butch Otter – ID
Ron Paul – TX
James Sensenbrenner – WI
Tom Tancredo – CO
Lynn Westmoreland – GA

(taken directly from Kos)

Five Questions With… Mariette Pathy Allen

Posted by – September 7, 2005

Mariette Pathy Allen is the award-winning photographer and author of the books Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them and The Gender Frontier. She has been photographing the trans community for 25 years now, and is unofficially referred to as the “official photographer of the transgendered.”mariette pathy allen Transformations was personally an important book for me (the only one about CDs that included wives’ words) and The Gender Frontier won this year’s Lambda Lit Award in the Transgender category, and she also took the cover photo of Jamison Green’s Becoming a Visible Man (which was a Lammy finalist as well). We had the great pleasure of being photographed by her last year at Fantasia Fair, and it was lovely to get to “catch up” with her. Her most recent news, which came down the pike after this interview took place, is that she will soon be the proud grandmother of twins!

< I took this photo of Mariette Pathy Allen with her camera at the 2004 IFGE Conference. And yes, that is Virginia Prince in the background.

1. You won the Lambda Literary Award for best TG book this year – how does that feel?

I wasn’t expecting to win-in fact, I thought I had it all figured out: the odds were so unlikely that I didn’t even have a speech ready. When I heard “The Gender Frontier” announced as the winner, I thought I would faint! Getting to the stage seemed to take forever: I was in the middle of the row, near the back of the auditorium. When I finally got to the stage, I realized that I was thrilled, and that this was as close to getting an Academy Award as I am likely to get!

Last year, Bailey’s book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen” was a finalist. It caused a furor among tg activists, and controversy at Lambda, finally leading to its removal from the list. This year, the selection of books in the transgender/genderqueer category was excellent-any one of the five deserved to win, and there was no drama.

I had the feeling that most of the audience had no idea what “The Gender Frontier” was about and that this was the time to tell them. I mentioned that it was a long time in the making because it chronicled events and people over the past decade, that my intention was to represent the range and variety of people who need to live fulltime as the gender in which they identify. and that the book divides into sections on youth, political activism, portraits, and stories. I can’t remember what else I said, but I know my last word was “gender variant”, and I hope the audience understood.

Out of all the LGBT prizes offered, it is odd that there’s only one for the “transgender/genderqueer” category. We have illustrated books, memoires, essay collections, science, and science fiction, enough books to be included in the range of GLB awards, or to add to our own category. I think we need at least three categories next year: “transgender/genderqueer fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated books”.


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Albany

Posted by – September 7, 2005

I just got the good news that I’ll be speaking at the New York State Museum in Albany on Saturday, November 12th, at 7PM.

More details to follow, and thanks to Rhea for all her hard work.

It’s Not from the Onion

Posted by – September 6, 2005

Here’s the title of a Press Release up on FEMA’s website:

First Responders Urged Not To Respond To Hurricane Impact Areas Unless Dispatched By State, Local Authorities

I wish I was kidding.

Nero’s Rome

Posted by – September 4, 2005

Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Bush thrummed while New Orleans drowned.

What’s important to note is that Nero – after he was finished singing – blamed the Christians and started the first persecution of Christians. Who’s Bush going to blame – God? Mother Nature? The National Weather Service? It’s certainly not going to be FEMA in-charge Brown, who Bush has already commended.

Not Working

Posted by – September 4, 2005

As someone who already had PTSD when 9/11 happened, I’ve been very attuned to the fear-mongering that’s been going on in his country for the past four years. I’ve been aware of it because it works on me – works in that I start to fear getting on a subway or a plane. And let me say, there’s been a lot of it, all of it focused on what the terrorists might do. There’s been so much that I understand why Americans are fearful, and even why they voted for Bush: they wanted to be safe. So do we all.

But it strikes me that on this Sunday morning, what we have all feared terrorists doing has now happened, and it wasn’t terrorists who did it. We have lost a great American city to a combination of natural disaster and incompetence. We gave up our civil liberties, we gave the President new, sweeping powers, we funded the Department of Homeland Security. And for what? Because we thought, we hoped, that doing so would keep us safe; that a small sacrifice, like letting the government in on what I’ve been reading, would give the government enough power to handle something disastrous quickly and well.

They didn’t. There’s a lot of blame-laying going around: ironically, Republicans (who are usually for giving more power to state and local governments) are blaming the state and local governments for not being prepared, and Democrats (who tend to like big, nation-wide planning) are blaming the Feds. The irony that the current Republican Party says it’s for smaller government when it has increased the powers of said government is not lost on me.

Gov. Blanco (D-LA) called a state of emergency on August 26th. She asked the President to do the same on August 27th, which he did.

So what happened? FEMA has said that all the emphasis has been placed on terrorism, not natural disasters, which is why this went as wrong as it did. But surely the response to a natural disaster or a terrorist attack requires the same mobilization, supplies, and swiftness, yes? Why, if on August 27th, FEMA were alerted that they might have to help Louisiana with the aftermath of Katrina, are people’s moms still dying as of Friday night? I’m sure there isn’t a simple answer, although it’s pretty clear to me that the White House – along with Chertoff, Brown of FEMA, and the President himself – have shown themselves to be incompetent, or, as a recent editorial by Greg Mitchell pointed out, they are guilty of dereliction of duty. One that’s proved fatal, not just to thousands of American citizens, but to a great American city.

My question, then, is when do we get our civil liberties back? If we traded them in for safety and security as promised by the Bush Administration, and we are not getting those things, shouldn’t we get them back now, due to breach of contract? Because if a hurricane – which is one of the most predictable types of natural disasters – caught these guys unprepared, then how on earth can anyone still believe that they will be prepared for a terrorist attack, which is not predictable at all?


(Much thanks to the blogosphere for doing the legwork: Josh Marshall, Atrios, Kos, and Kevin Drum.)