If anyone else has noticed, this now marks two whole months that I’ve blogged at least once a day. No, they’re not all long, meaningful essays, but I am currently writing a book, too.
Month: February 2006
#9 Change the Policy of an Organization You Belong To.
First: If anyone who was at TIC (who we met or didn’t meet) has any requests for resources, you can 1) use the search box at the upper right, or 2) email me.
I don’t know if I’m getting old or what, but every time I get back from a conference I feel a little more tired than I did the previous time. This TIC was a great conference – a good collection of people, interesting workshops, familiar faces.
As it was last year, working with Jill Barkley was a real pleasure; this year, we ran a pretty intense trans relationships workshop, which was not just transgender but trans-generational. We both ran trans partners workshops the previous day, right before which I did my trans sex and identity workshop – which is always a pleasure to do, and always slightly different than the way I did it before. I’ve been asked more than once now if I have a copy of that workshop on DVD, so I’m going to figure out how to do that so I can make it available. (Once I shake off this sleepy, sleepy feeling, that is.)
It probably didn’t help that we went right from the 6 hour drive home with DJ and Lizzy to Tristan’s House of Ass party, but we did get *great* goody bags (supplied by Babeland.com, if that gives you a hint)!
For anyone who can get to West Creek, NJ, this Monday night at 7PM, please do. A substitute teacher who happens to be trans is being challenged on her right to a job.
It turns out that Toga’s parents – Toga was the penguin who was stolen from his parents at an Isle of Wight zoo around Christmas – have hatched a new egg. Poor Toga was never found, and is presumed dead, since he was too young to survive without his parents at that young age, but hopefully Toga’s parents will be happy with their new offspring.
Security has been beefed up around their nest, of course.
If we can make it back from Burlington on time, Betty & I are going to the release party for Tristan Taormino’s House of Ass. We love Tristan, and not just for naming a porn flick House of Ass, either.
You can even watch the trailer for House of Ass on your iPod! (Or on your computer, though this is definitely not work-friendly).
It’s an odd life, some days, but we enjoy it.
We’re up in Burlington, VT, for our 2nd time at Translating Identity Conference (TIC); we drove up with DJ & Lizzy – who kindly offered us a ride – and are staying at a motel called the Ho-Hum Motel. No kidding.
But TIC is anything but ho-hum itself; last year Betty & I found it infused with energy, maybe because the organizers are trans students and allies.
If you know anyone in/around the Burlington area, tell them to come check it out (if the event isn’t already sold out, which it might be). In addition to doing my Trans Sex & Identity workshop (Saturday, 1:30-3pm) I’ll be doing a closed caucus for the partners of MTFs (Saturday, 3:15-4:45 pm) while the ever-talented Jill Barkley will conduct one for partners of FTMs. Then, we all get together on Sunday (1:45-3:15 pm) to hash it all out with the trans folks listening! I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I think it’s great to be at a conference that is willing to devote so much time not just to partners, but specializing workshops for all of us.
Really, he does. It’s exhausting sleeping all day.
I am not big on the Olympics, by any stretch, but Beauty & the Geek isn’t on this week, so Betty & I are catching some of the Women’s Figure Skating, and I have to say that I’m very impressed with these pantsuit/bodystocking outfits. Not because they’re sexy (or not only because they’re sexy) but because I didn’t know that had happened – I thought it was all about the short skirts and booty hang.
I’m pleased to see it. I find them sexier than the dorky skirts – just my opinion – because they really do show off what fantastic, strong, graceful bodies these women have.
Tonight “Trans” was a category on Jeopardy, and there wasn’t anything about transvestites or transgender or transsexuals. Trans-Canada things, and Trans-Continentals, but no trans as in gender.
Sometimes I wonder how out of touch I am these days.
Donna mentioned recently that she won’t join some organization (I think it was an alumnae association) until they add the T for Transgender as right now the group’s title is the Gay and Lesbian ________.
And it got me thinking that one of the ironies of being someone who writes about trans issues but isn’t trans myself is that I can’t join the LGBT Writers’ Group, or Authors Group, or Alumni Association, or really anything. I’m not, per se, LGBT. And yet obviously I am by association – actually by marriage, which is even more ironic – and maybe even embarassing – in LGBT groups. It occurred to me that there is something odd, & mayhaps political, about this issue, because in some ways it’s not just about social groups, but about interest, and that because membership in groups that discuss LGBT issues are generally only joined by people who are LGBT themselves, there is an assumption that no one who isn’t LGBT would be interested in LGBT issues.
I’m not quite sure what to think of that.
I’ve been asked if men can join feminist organizations, and for the most part, they can (unless the org in question is a radical lesbian or separatist or both type of feminist organization). Because there’s no requirement that you have to be a woman to be a feminist: you simply have to believe that women are equal to men and should be treated so economically, educationally, legally, etc.
Having been to a very multi-culti college, it never occurred to me, at the time, that many people I knew belonged to student associations that had to do with their identity, as the ones I belonged to were based on interest – things like NYPIRG, or the fiction magazine editorial team, and later, PBK. I can’t say I sought hard for a Suburban-but-Working-Class Women Writers of Polish extraction group, or a Youngest Daughters of Large Catholic Families group, or some other group of which I could have been a member because of my identity, and I certainly didn’t start any.
But it is odd, isn’t it? Maybe I should just start a group for Allies of Causes Not Directly Influenced by Said Ally’s Identity, or The Underdog Society, or even a group for Partners of People with Important Minority Identities.
But maybe not. Maybe I should just get one of those I’m not a lesbian but my girlfriend is t-shirts and call it a day.
Despite knowing this news was coming, it’s still sad to get it.
Gianna Israel passed away last night after going into a coma last week. She had been very ill for months, and at the very least, she has found relief from her suffering.
I’d like to dedicate last night’s panel to Gianna.
If you don’t know much about her, she is the co-author of Transgender Care. She wrote numerous essays about various aspects of transgender life. She conducted interviews and wrote a column for www.tgforum.com.
She was a giving, generous, insightful spirit, and a group of us who were meant to contribute to her next book are working to see that book happen despite her death.
She overcame so much adversity to be who she was, and then turned around and helped others the minute she could – and even sometimes when she couldn’t.
Rest in peace, Gianna. You did good.
Tonight’s panel at Trans Issues Week at Yale was really great. It’s hard to explain, but for me – 90% of what makes a good panel is articulate, interesting people. Granted, I get the difficult job of picking those people – which is not always easy – but tonight it really all came together. I don’t think there was an aspect of body modification vis a vis trans identity that we didn’t get into, or talk about in an interesting, personal way.
My thanks to you all: Tom, Evan, Maggie, Betty, Donna, Alexandra – and my last-minute saving grace, Rachel.
And thanks too to Loren, who has done such a great job with creating & building the conference over the past few years (and who graduates this spring).
Tonight, I guess, was one of those times I was really struck by how remarkable trans folks can be. Rachel got my email *today* and said yes, and showed up, and was charming and funny. (My favorite comment of the night was her shorthand for a labiaplasty being, “and then they make it pretty.”)
Really, thank you all for making my job so much easier than it might have been, but more than that, for being willing to put yourselves on the line to make the world a little easier for other trans folks down the line. My only regret is that the event wasn’t taped.
It is truly an honor to be a part of this community.
Not to give the whole “surprise” of tonight’s House episode away… but since the show has already aired: the teenage heroin addict who is being sexually abused by her own father is – drumroll, please! – AIS. He doesn’t use that term to describe her – and in fact refers to her as him, but more on that in a minute – but instead says she has a kind of hermaphroditism. Once I get the transcript I’ll be sure of exactly what he said.
House did refer to her as him for a reason – and that’s because her sexually abusive father is in the same room when he figures it out. Figuring the guy is going to be a homophobic asshole as well as a sexually abusive father, it’s a sure way to get the sexual abuse to stop.
The NCTE has started a list of “52 Things You Can Do For Transgender Equality” campaign, and they’ve made creating a blog/online community Thing #8 – and used me as an example. There’s a quote from me about the boards & the blog, so thanks all for making this site something to keep doing.
It’s a cool campaign, and you can see 8 of the 52 Things on their site. They’re adding one a week.
Today is the start of the 3rd Annual Trans Issues Week at Yale – kicking off with a performance by Kate Bornstein.
Tomorrow is the panel I’m moderating on Trans Identity & Body Mods.
Do come if you can!
I’ve discovered my true identity, at last.
With their endless appetite for talk and attention, extroverts also dominate social life, so they tend to set expectations. In our extrovertist society, being outgoing is considered normal and therefore desirable, a mark of happiness, confidence, leadership. Extroverts are seen as bighearted, vibrant, warm, empathic. “People person” is a compliment. Introverts are described with words like “guarded,” “loner,” “reserved,” “taciturn,” “self-contained,” “private”â€”narrow, ungenerous words, words that suggest emotional parsimony and smallness of personality. Female introverts, I suspect, must suffer especially. In certain circles, particularly in the Midwest, a man can still sometimes get away with being what they used to call a strong and silent type; introverted women, lacking that alternative, are even more likely than men to be perceived as timid, withdrawn, haughty.
If you can, please donate to help us keep doing what we do. (I’d love to see I made such a fortune off of MHB and the new book that we don’t need it, but I can’t!)
Aurora, asking earnestly.
& A Very Happy Birthday to my mom, who turns 76 today. & To my nephew, who turns 31.