Paris Review?!

Oh, the sobbing and wailing and gnashing of teeth! Literary hoaxsters awash on The Strand… except that that’s not the way it goes, is it? Instead, James Frey gets more time on Oprah and wait, is that Laura Albert on the cover of Paris Review? Oh, it is! It is!

You want queer memoirists, real ones? Here’s a short list, literary world. I can pretty much guarandamntee that none of these books got the publicity they should have while you were frothing about JT LeRoy (the person Laura Albert pretended to be).

There’s Max Wolf Valerio’s memoir of transition, The Testosterone Files, and Jamison Green’s Becoming a Visible Man, and Matt Kailey’s Just Add Hormones. S. Bear Bergman’s Butch is a Noun is a great memoir of life in the butch lane.

There’s life as a queer girl from Michelle Tea in Rent Girl, Alison Smith’s Name All the Animals, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Then there’s just about anything by Patrick Califia.

Shoot, you want MTF memoirs? Take She’s Not There, or, for the more sexual side of things, Richard Novic’s tale of his part-time life as a woman, Alice in Genderland.

(Oh, right. There’s me, too.)

Jennifer Finney Boylan’s Southern Comfort Speech

Thanks to Ms. Boylan for allowing me to reproduce it here; this is the complete & unedited version.

Hi everybody. Gosh, look at you all. You all look fantastic from up here. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room before with so many large women.

(improvised joke #1)

(improvised joke #2)

I notice that some of you look a little tired today. Which is not to say, you don’t look fabulous, I’m just saying that some of you seem like you were up kind of late last night. Did you check out the parties last night? You know the one I mean, the theme party—Come as Your Favorite Nude Author?

First time in my life I’ve ever been in a room full of a hundred and fifty nude Kate Bornsteins.

(improvise joke #3)

I have to be honest and say I feel a little bit like a fraud up here today, because I know that there are so many of you who are so much more articulate about these issues than I am. I am an English teacher from Maine, a storyteller— what I’m not is a therapist, or scholar of gender studies, or for that matter, much of an activist. I’ve tried doing some of those things sometimes, because I want to do my part, but I have to say I just so lame at them. I’m grateful that there are people doing all the work around the country that’s being done on behalf of people like us, including the organizers of this conference—our fabulous chairwoman, Kristen, as well as heather O’malley and Cat Turner, and Lola Fleck. I’m just as grateful for all the people who came before me, who blazed the trail that has made my life easier.. I know I would not be here without them, quite literally.

There is an old saying that I find true for me this afternoon—one reason I am able to see so far is because I stand on the shoulders of giants.

Continue reading “Jennifer Finney Boylan’s Southern Comfort Speech”

Especially Stripey


She has a tendency to sleep on Betty’s chair whenever Betty isn’t around, and sometimes when she is. I think she prefers it because she looks especially stripey on a plain black background.


I’m currently going over the copyedits of my next book, where the astute copyeditor tells me in her notes that “blonde” is only used for female people, but that the “regular” form is “blond.” Likewise with brunette/brunet.

I had no idea.

I asked Betty if she found the spelling blond and brunet odd, too, and she did as well, which leaves me with only one conclusion: we just don’t refer to men as their hair color. Double standard, anyone?

More About DO ’06

What I wrote the other day doesn’t even touch all the other stuff that happened to us, or the people we got to see again, & those we met for the first time, & other experiences we had.

It’s so hard to explain how Dark Odyssey just pulls your skin off and lets you experience things in such a raw, honest way. At one point, during the Cirkus Erotikus, Betty saw that one of the genderqueer types who’d been at the mixer was doing the flogging, and being Betty, stepped right up to be flogged. And she did, and B. and I watched and laughed at the expressions on her face (at least until B. got in line to be next). Internally I felt something in me was about to blow. Not long before I’d run into one of the swingers we’d gotten to know some the previous year, and he told me that he always sees me, in his head, sitting on a golf cart last year watching some kind of sex, and that the expression on my face was “I could use some of that.” It made me sad, and scared, at first. I’m the first one to admit I’m kind of repressed, so when Betty just “stepped right up” to be flogged – I didn’t know she’d met the person at our little genderqueer mixer – something in me just broke.

Continue reading “More About DO ’06”


Betty and I passed a huge billboard for a “gentlemen’s cabaret” called Privilege on the way home from DO this year, and I thought – well that’s certainly obvious, isn’t it? To me, that’s more like the name of the strip club in Grand Theft Auto, not the real name of an actual place.

Week 7: Buster Film Fest

Today at Film Fest, Buster Keaton in The Cameraman and Spite Marriage. The Cameraman is one of the few Buster films shot in NYC, and is great for anyone interested in vintage footage of 1920s New York – it’s also one of the last best Buster Keaton performances of this era. Spite Marriage has one singularly brilliant scene, of newlywed Buster putting a very, very drunk wife to bed.

Macabre Notes on Beauty

This piece isn’t light reading, but I thought it said something about beauty that was truly stunning.

It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick.

Queer Carnival

Last month I discovered something called The Carnival of Bent Attractions, which was hosted this past month at A Delicate Boy’s blog, and I’m a part of it.

Do check out some of the other posts that were highlighted as part of this month’s Carnival, because there’s a lot of interesting stuff there, like Jay Sennett’s stuff on MWMF, the woman who reports on why her gay friends thinks it would suck to be straight, Nina Smith on the economics of lesbian motherhood, and those lovely feminists in Wales on the intersection of queer & feminist politics.

Dark Odyssey #5

We almost didn’t go to Dark Odyssey this year for a variety of reasons, but as it turns out, femme tops top everyone: Tristan told me we had to, so we did. When we were leaving, and I was getting really choked up and was sad to be going, I knew I wouldn’t ever think of not going again. What Tristan and Greg and all the many perverted presenters, staff, and attendees create on a campgrounds – nearly out of nothing – is really singular, in my experience.

There were plenty of familiar faces missing this year – some in the middle of new book publicity, others dealing with personal stuff or health concerns, and many, many people were missed. But people stepped in to fill the gaps, and it was as if Betty and I had an omen of what a good DO it would be when we found ourselves, the first night that we got in, talking to one of the staffers we’d just met about Neil Gaiman.

Betty read Stephen King’s IT the whole time we were there, and I’ll let her blog about how meaningful she found that book this time around.

Continue reading “Dark Odyssey #5”

Trans Partners’ Drop-In

I will be co-moderating the GIP’s Trans Partner’s Drop-In group this fall, and I’m really pleased to be getting to do this kind of work, since I’ve been talking about doing a partners’ group anyway.

Here are the details:

When: Wednesdays – Beginning October 4

Time: 7:30-9:00 pm

Where: The Center, 208 West 13th Street, New York, New York 10011
(212) 620-7310,

What: Trans-Partners/Trans-Amorous Drop-in is a 10-week group for people of all genders to discuss and explore their attractions to and relationships with trans-identified or gender non-conforming individuals. The group is open to people currently in partnerships with trans-people, people formerly in partnerships with trans-people, and people who are exploring their attraction to trans-people.

How: Registration is not required. There is a $5 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay.

Ms. Science and the Autumnal Equinox

Because she rocks, Megan wrote this piece for me (and you) to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, which is today.

This year, the Autumnal Equinox occurs at 12:03 am EDT, September 23rd. Most of us know that Autumnal Equinox marks the official (read: astronomical) end of the Summer and beginning of Autumn, and that on that day we are supposed to have the same amount of daytime and nighttime (hence the whole equi-nox bit). But what else does it mean? What is an equinox, anyway? And why did you say it happens at three minutes after midnight, Ms. Science? Well, Timmy and Janey, I’m glad you asked.

During the course of a single day, the Earth’s rotation causes celestial objects–the Sun, Moon, planets, stars–to rise in the East and set in the West. So far so good. However, if you watch celestial objects over longer periods of time–days to weeks–you’d see something very different. The Sun, for example, appears to move eastward one degree per day with respect to the background stars, due to the Earth’s orbit about it. That is, if you could see the Sun in front of the much more distant stars, the Sun would appear, over the course of a year, to trace out a path eastward. Astronomers call this imaginary line across the sky the ecliptic.