A couple of days ago, I was on a marathon phone chat with my mom, who somewhere toward the end of the call thanked me for sending her a copy of the new book and said, “You look great on the cover.”

Yeah. My mom can’t even tell me from Betty.

Five Questions With… S. Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman is the author of Butch is a Noun, a writer, theatre artist, and educator who tours regularly. Zie’s book, Butch is a Noun, is one of my favorites of the past year because it’s funny, self-ironic, but full of a kind of combination of sadness and love that I found meditative and energizing.

1) I have to say that it was the title of your book, Butch is a Noun, that first caught my attention. Tell me how you came up with it, and why you chose it.

It’s both one of my talents and one of my, er, little problems that I’m a huge language geek. I love words, I love language, and I am always deeply satisfied when I can talk about something well, with good words. But I had a hard time, talking about butch. I would say I’m a butch, and people would hear I’m a butch woman or I’m a butch lesbian. Neither of which is comfortable, or accurate. I kept saying No, listen, I mean that I am a butch, as a noun, all by itself – not a modifier but a thing to them be further described.

For a while, I referred to it as The Butch Book, but I never really liked that as a title, it was just sort of a characterization – an internal shorthand. Then one day, I was applying for some time at a writers’ residency to finish it and when it asked for the project title I somehow just knew: Butch Is a Noun. Continue reading “Five Questions With… S. Bear Bergman”

Nawal al Saadawi

Nawal al Saadawi’s latest book, God Resigns in the Summit Meeting, was destroyed by her publisher. You might know her as a woman who spoke out about female genital mutilation, as both a doctor and victim. She was a political prisoner for many years. Complaints were made that the book was irreligious and offended religious sensibilities.

Simultaneously, she is talking to the general prosecutor in Egypt on behalf of her daughter, Dr. Mona Helmi, who suggested that children be named after their mothers & not their fathers, which resulted in her being accused of renouncing religion.

Not since Mary Wollstonecraft and Frankenstein author Mary Shelley have their been a mother-daughter pair like these two.

Betty on All My Children

Betty and six other trans people will be the support group that the MTF character Zarf/Zoe goes to visit on two upcoming episodes of All My Children: March 9th & 12th. The other six were Tommy, Brigit, June, Andy Marra of NCTE, David Harrison, & as the group’s moderator, Jennifer Finney Boylan.

But the interesting thing about the episode is that each of these people are only playing themselves; each of them gets to speak about their own lives & their experience being trans. As far as I know, this is not just trans history in the making, but soap opera history as well.

Do tune in.

Mentions of SNTMIM

Trans Week @ Yale

I’ll be speaking tomorrow night at Yale, for the fourth annual Trans Issues Week. Do come, if you can. I’ll be reading and talking about female genders viz trans folk. 7PM at the Women’s Center.

Other highlights of the 2007 Trans Issues Week at Yale:

  • 2/26: Screening of Beautiful Boxer.
  • 2/27: Helen Boyd, Images of Women: Trans Femininity and Feminisms.
  • 2/28: Paisley Currah, Fixing Bodies: Tracking Transgender Identities in the Post-9/11 U.S.
  • 2/28: Screening of Boy I Am.
  • 3/1: Keynote: Imani Henry – Mounting Strategies to Fight Racial, Sexual, and Gender Oppression on Campus
  • 3/3: Drag Ball

I Hope It’s the Name

I don’t know about anyone else who’s watching, but I’m kind of stunned and pleased that 62-year-old Helen Mirren is, hands down, the sexiest woman at the Oscars.

Penultimate Family Values

Amazing, this:

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Innocenti Research Center released a report yesterday ranking the well-being of children in the world’s most economically advanced countries. Out of 21 countries, the United States came in second-to-last, at number 20.

The study focused on six areas: material well-being, health, education, relationships with peers and family members, risky behavior, and their own sense of happiness.

And damned embarrassing, too.

Sorority Sobriety

Another fine example of the nurturing, loving, solidarity of sisterhood MTF folks so often pine over.

Save the Date: March 16th

For those in & around the NYC area, please put aside Friday, March 16th: I’ll be having the launch party for She’s Not the Man I Married at KGB Bar, from 7-9PM.

(It’s not absolutely confirmed yet, but looking definite.)

Revolution at Harvard

Congrats to Drew Gilpin Faust, the first female president of Harvard University – first in a 371 year history.

National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy said of the announcement, “NOW is so pleased that Harvard will finally have a female president — and it has only taken them 371 years. Larry Summers, we couldn’t have done it without you.”

No Love Lost

I’m really astonished at the remarks Tim Hardaway made, in public, as a public figure. I’m glad to hear he got canned from the All Star game as a result, but I’m just really surprised. I probably shouldn’t be: after all, it was the jocks who often made me nervous in high school because I was different. But I also knew a lot of jocks who were really cool guys & who used their status to stand up for people who were different.

But wow. Tim Hardaway is a bigot. For some reason, that’s always so much more disappointing when it comes from a woman or a person of color or whatever other form of minority. & Yet years ago, when I was working at City College, bell hooks told me she’d never teach a class about James Baldwin again because she was so horrified by the homophobia expressed by her (largely African-American) students. I hope she has, & does, anyway.

I hope someone sat him down to watch Brother Outsider by now, at least, and that John Amaechi sells a truckload of books and educates as many basketball fans as Hardaway represents.

Us On Dr. Keith on YouTube

Here’s the first half of our Dr. Keith appearance, and here’s the second half. Much thanks to Kiss of Athena, who has also put up the whole thing, in one piece, on Google Video.

Uncle George

This is the cat who started it all, the boys’ Uncle George. No, they’re not actually related, but Betty’s parents had him, & we went to visit after me not having cats for a decade, & us having talked about it, & having recently been engaged, & since he was a Blue like the cat I grew up with, well, when I ran into the crazy cat lady who was giving away the boys on 7th Avenue South, the deed was done. So, thanks to George, we have Aeneas & Endymion, & George has been repaid for his feline fortuitousness with a wild North Carolina countryside.

Dr. Keith?

Well, what’d you think?

Dr. Keith

Well, tomorrow is finally the big day: our episode of the Dr. Keith show airs tomorrow, 2/22. You can find out when it’s on near you by checking the website.

(Thanks to Andee for the screenshot!)

Much Longer Quiz

Here’s a much longer quiz, on your personality DNA.

I’m a reserved idealist.

(We’ll be back late tonight.)

Next Quiz

& Today, Which Action Hero Are You?

(I’m Batman, the Dark Knight.)

Fait Accompli

For those of you who know why we’re in North Carolina, the deed is done, & all went well. Thanks for your good thoughts & well wishes.


For your amusement, while we’re away, a quiz: What Personality Disorder Are You?