Month: March 2007

Adding Insult to Injury

Posted by – March 31, 2007

Detroit police have decided to stop asking questions about the death of Andrew Anthos, who died after being beaten by a homophobe. Why? They’ve ruled the man’s arthritic neck was what killed him, not the blow that may have aggravated that arthritis.

Anthos’ cousin is continuing to pursue the case because no one has answered how the man ended up in the hospital with a 2″ scar on his neck, and while she is okay with them disputing him having died of the blow, she insists that he was attacked and that the attack was a hate crime. The Triangle Foundation, an LGBT group, have offered $5000 to anyone who can step forward with more information.

But the really pathetic thing is that the American Family Association of Michigan called on the Detroit police to look into the “filing of a false police report” concerning this incident. If any of us have any doubts, these folks not only want to prevent LGBT folks from being protected from discrimination and hate crimes, but they want to prevent our families from finding justice. Hateful.

Not Tonight

Posted by – March 31, 2007

Just to repeat, once more: the launch party for She’s Not the Man I Married is NOT happening tonight. It is currently being re-scheduled.

That said, tonight is Night of 1000 Gowns, with this year’s fundraising going to PFLAG.

Italian Anarchists on Trial, Again

Posted by – March 30, 2007

A new documentary about Sacco & Vanzetti opens this weekend in New York. & No, in case you’re wondering, their case has nothing to do with gender. I’ve been a student of their case since I first read a reference to it in John Dos Passos’ The Big Money, which is the 3rd book of his U.S.A. trilogy.

Deceiving Looks

Posted by – March 30, 2007

She is just too cute, isn’t she? All fluffy & orange. & Then, if you try to touch her, she rips your hand off.

For those of you who don’t know it, this is a really defensive posture for a cat. Dogs do this when they want you to rub their bellies; cats do it so that they have all their claws & teeth ready for attack. When a cat puts her back to you, that’s a sign that she trusts you – not the other way around. In a sense, when you’ve “got a cat’s back” she’s got yours, as well.

Yet another way that people misinterpret cat behavior.

Blinding Paperwork

Posted by – March 29, 2007

A Polish woman with a worsening eye condition needed to get an abortion after being warned by her doctor that she might go blind if she didn’t abort. Unfortunately for her, Poland requires written authorization for an abortion – which it only allows in cases such as hers, where the women’s health is at risk as a result of pregnancy – and she couldn’t get the doctor’s note. She instead carried to term and delivered the baby and her vision, as predicted, got worse – so much so she was declared legally disabled.

She did win $50k from the Polish government after the European Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, but I read this as a cautionary tale: making it too difficult for a woman to get an abortion results in unnecessary tragedy.

Restored Funding

Posted by – March 29, 2007

Reversing a decision I reported here a few weeks ago, the Women’s Health Department will now be fully funded.

Cycles

Posted by – March 28, 2007

A recent Washington Post article about a book called Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body, discusses the debate going on as to whether or not teenagers should know anything about when they’re more or less likely to become pregnant. Charting your cycles is intricate work that requires diligence, & for that reason alone some people think it’s not a good idea, “since a little information is a dangerous thing,” according to one woman who ended up pregnant as a result of screwing up her own chart-keeping.

I’d argue there might be teens who are more diligent – or maybe even brighter – than her.

But the usual suspects chime in about how sex information only ever encourages girls to have sex. A spokesperson for Concerned Women for America proffers “high ideals,” instead.

Come now: doesn’t that sound like “keep your knees together” all over again?

Cancelled Launch Party

Posted by – March 28, 2007

I just wanted to let people know, if they didn’t yet, that the She’s Not the Man I Married launch party is NOT happening at Mo Pitkins this Saturday night. I don’t know when/if it will be rescheduled at this point, but I’ll let you know when I do.

Feminist Art

Posted by – March 28, 2007

Last week the largest feminist art installment opened in Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Museum.

Here’s a list of other feminist art exhibitions happening throughout the country.

Church & State

Posted by – March 27, 2007

Bad policy is sometimes based not on science, but on belief:

. . . the Pentagon’s top general, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, said that homosexual acts are immoral and should not be condoned by allowing gays to serve in the military. Then . . . Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that if homosexuality were genetic, it would still be evil and should be treated prenatally.

& It’s on geniuses like these that we base the “don’t ask / don’t tell” policy, even if there is no good evidence that homosexuals make bad soldiers, and conversely, there’s plenty of evidence that sometimes male heterosexual soldiers suck: one third of female soldiers report rape or attempted rape. So no matter what Mohler thinks, is morality really the reason we don’t let (out) gays serve? Of course not.

Unplanned Stupidity

Posted by – March 27, 2007

Say there’s a good pre-screening program for early detection of cervical and breast cancer that’s free to women & partially funded by the state.

Say there’s a governor of said state who, under pressure from anti-choice forces, decides that no matter how good the program, it must be stopped because the screenings are taking place in Planned Parenthood clinics.

Now say that said Planned Parenthood clinics didn’t even provide abortion procedures.

What do you say now? These kinds of politics are idiotic: a functioning, useful program that was saving women’s lives has now been gutted for no goddamn good reason. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt decided to grandstand instead of backing useful services for poor and uninsured women.

Two Upcoming Interviews

Posted by – March 27, 2007

One on the radio, on April 2nd, on KDVS 90.3 FM. That’s in California, & it’s a show called “The Fringe” for queers, trans, & feminists. Imagine that there is such a show! Groovoi, as Betty would say.

The second is online, with nerve.com. It should show up early to mid April, depending.

Metal Geek

Posted by – March 26, 2007

Rockers unite! You have nothing to lose but your boredom!

Change of Plans

Posted by – March 26, 2007

It looks like the launch party at Mo Pitkins IS NOT HAPPENING this Saturday. Please get the word out to anyone you know who might have been planning on coming!!

Queerish?

Posted by – March 25, 2007

On Wednesday night, I did the Nobody Passes reading at Bluestockings, the radical/feminist LES bookstore. As the room was filling up I leaned over to Betty and said, “I feel like I’m in a Williamsburg subway station” because of the multiple piercedness in the room. It’s the punk in me, maybe; I have an old punk rocker friend who likes to yell “freak!” at people with multiple piercings and green hair, because he figured – as it was when we were doing it – that was the point. I mean if you weren’t shocking someone’s suburban sense of normality with your non-conformity, then you weren’t doing it right, but in Williamsburg sometimes it’s like having facial piercings IS normality.

& I say all that with a kind of fondness, love, and a little bit of envy, because I don’t have the energy to look like that anymore. I prefer passing as more mainstream these days, because I like the little shock people express when I launch into a diatribe about the exclusion of crossdressers from trans politics 12 minutes later.

The idea we were discussing was passing – as one thing or another: passing as white, or black, when you have parents who are both; passing as female when you aren’t; passing as female when you are. It was very heady, indeed.

But what was most interesting to me was that to some people, I wasn’t passing at all. One person registered something like scorn every time I answered one of the Q&A questions. The conversation tended around issues of queer community, and LGBT politics & media, which I guess was predictable – Mattilda is the editor of the anthology & all – but still, the book does cover many types of passing – passing as middle class when you’re working class, or the other way around – & yet there were no questions – or assumptions – about class while there was an assumption that everyone in the room was LGBT. & I had a moment – I think of it now as social Tourette’s, but it’s basically just my punk rock spirit moving in mysterious ways – of wanting to say the word “heterosexual” as many times as I could. Why? Because when I did, people twitched. It’s a funny feeling to talk about community and “scenes” and queerness in a group of people who you can bet don’t all consider you part of their “us.” I’m used to that, mostly, except when I find someone copping an attitude toward me, that I’m not properly queer because I don’t fuck girls per se, or for whatever reason they’re not telling me. & That’s okay with me, actually — Betty & I exist at the intersection of most identities and often feel excluded from one community or another — except when it highlights the irony of being branded “not queer enough” in a room of people talking about inclusion.

On Thursday afternoon, as a kind of counterpoint, I did an interview with a journalist from an online magazine, and at some point, she stopped, a little flabbergasted after I was talking about sex with Betty, and said, “You are so queer – I mean, you’re talking about sex between bodies that are heterosexual and you can’t see it that way at all, can you?”

& I thought, Well no, I can’t, but if you ask a couple of people who were at Bluestockings Wednesday night, they might tell you otherwise. & That, folks, is the nature of passing: sometimes you do, with some people, & sometimes you don’t, with other people, & we’ve gotten to the point where we never know which it’s going to be.

My thanks to the journalist for her compliment, and also to Mattilda for hosting and Liz Rosenfeld for reading and especially to Rocko Bulldagger for hir essay (which is largely about feeling ‘not genderqueer enough’) and conversation, and to Kate and Barbara and all the other lovely souls in attendance.

Homophobic Coach Resigns

Posted by – March 25, 2007

Rene Portland, coach of the Lady Lions basketball team at Penn State, resigned – some say over allegations that she was anti-lesbian. A former player, Jennifer Harris, brought the charges after Portland kicked her off the team for not dressing in more feminine ways.

I have to say I find the whole situation kind of confusing: the idea of a women’s basketball coach being homophobic, I mean. In my experience, lesbians like & play sports at least as much, if not more, than heterosexual girls do. Barring half of your potential players from your team seems counterintuitive, though her record of course proves she is a good coach.

Talent, of course, is no excuse for shitty behavior, though I do find it interesting that this situation came to a head only now – after a couple of bad seasons for the team.

Further Thoughts on the Stanton Hearings

Posted by – March 24, 2007

The first thing: it’s obvious the commissioners went in with their minds made up ahead of time, & all of the people who waited hours to testify were wasting their time & their breath. & To hell with those commissioners for being so cynical, close-minded, & pig-headed about it: those are bureaucrats, pure & simple, who don’t have a conscience to examine.

Props of course to the Mayor Pat Gerard and Commissioner Rodney Woods for making the right decision. Mayor Gerard’s wish that there would be a day when LGBT employees felt safe working in Largo was heartfelt, and her point that that is not the case now was chilling.

That said: I found this round pretty damned encouraging, to be honest. In all the time I’ve been paying attention to trans politics (something like 5 years now), this has been the most unified response to an unfair, discriminatory firing. Hearing the various lesbians and gays and trans people of Florida speak at the hearings was absolutely inspiring and heart-breaking; hearing so many ministers of various religions – the Friends, of course, but also Unitarians & others – speak so plainly against discrimination against LGBT people actually made my night. A labor organizer, a minister that wasn’t one, and ordinary citizens all came & said “don’t do this.” And that was damned cool. The testimony of the objectors was far greater than the testimony of those who wanted him fired, and they were – by far – more articulate, more heartfelt, and came off as far more rational than the bitter people who spoke about wanting him fired.

Honestly, it’s good to see “my team” in such good shape, willing to wait in line for six hours to speak, and doing so in defense of trans people – even though, as more than one speaker pointed out, they don’t necessarily understand transness.

That, my friends, is progress.

Our thoughts are otherwise with Stanton, his wife, and family. & Mine, of course, are especially with his wife. You can find a bunch of video, photos, & news articles about the hearings & initial firing at The St. Petersburg Times site.

Why You Bother

Posted by – March 24, 2007

One day last week a cranky reviewer left me three stars at amazon.com, & the very same day I get an email from someone telling me I saved his life.

(& Then a few people came on to give me five stars, too.)

Stanton Hearings

Posted by – March 23, 2007

I’m watching the live feed of the Largo City Council hearings, starting at 8:30 PM, where citizens are getting a chance to speak up about the firing of Steve Stanton.

(12:05 AM) Dammit dammit dammit. Steve Stanton has lost the job.

(Read below the break for the whole night’s blogging & commentary.)

More

Steve Stanton Decision Today at 6PM – ACT NOW

Posted by – March 23, 2007

Today at 6PM Steve Stanton’s fate will be decided, so if you haven’t done any of the things listed on the savestaton.com site, DO THEM NOW.