Is anyone else watching this remarkable Planet Earth series on the Discovery Channel? It’s astonishing, though not for the faint of heart; I alternate between wondering why life (& death) have to be full of so much suffering, but then crying at how beautiful some of the scenes and animals are.

Watching a whole herd of elephants play in the water is really a thing of joy.

Unhappy Boob

Jane magazine discovered in a recent survey of their readers that 75% of women are unhappy with their breasts, so they decided to dedicate their May issue to breasts & breast health (both physical & psychological). There’s photos of breasts & comments by the women who love them, & why. You can submit your own, with your own reason you love them, if you’re so inclined.

Geralyn Lucas, who lost one of hers to breast cancer, is blogging for them all month, too, keeping readers abreast of relevant issues. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

There’s also a neat Before & After section – with more photos – about getting bras that fit correctly.

Party’s Over

A big thank you to everyone who came to the launch party tonight – we had a fantastic time, & it was great meeting new people and talking to friends, old & new.

Both Eyes Open

He pretends to be sleeping, sometimes, when really he’s just laying around thinking about when the next meal is.


Every once in a while I wonder, when I see photos of MTFs that have been doctored, or taken in just the right light, etc., whether other people worry the way that I do that people will love the photo but then meet you in person & think you look like crap?

The Graduate

Recently in our forums, Nettie jokingly made a reference to the “Class of 2007” – meaning those who would be transitioning in 2007 – and in the context of our experience talking to people at IFGE, & in the light of a review of She’s Not the Man I Married someone sent me which criticized the book for not having an “ending,” I’ve been thinking recently that perhaps one of the most slippery aspects of the slippery slope is that transition provides an ending, and maybe even closure. The thing is: from what post-transition trans women tell me, that’s not necessarily true, but for anyone who’s been suffering all their lives with their trans feelings, it sure does seem like one hell of an attractive idea.

So while I very much tried to communicate in the new book that I may be waiting for the sound of a shoe that may never drop, folks don’t seem to understand that sometimes there isn’t so much of an “ending” as instead a “being finished.” But I also wonder if there’s anything that crossdressers or middle path types might do to accomplish more of a feeling of closure that transition brings trans women. I know CDI throws “debutante parties” – which seems like a great way to come out – which might work for plenty of CDs, especially since deb parties come with pretty party clothes. But what about middle path types? Do they send out a press release? Because no matter how many times we tell people that Betty is where she is, people persist in believing Betty will want to transition medically or legally or both. & You know, she might. She might in a year from now, & she might 10 years from now, or 20. But the whole idea of having other people tell you you’re not “done” until transition is a huge aggravation for us both.

No Kissing in Public

One of our mHB board regulars recently mentioned kissing her wife while at a conference, and I was reminded that I wanted to post something about kissing Betty at trans conferences.

The thing is, I’m not comfortable kissing her in trans spaces, often.

I noticed that I wasn’t while we were at IFGE, most likely because we were at DO the weekend before. But the thing is, DO has some queer folks, and some trans, but mostly hetero BDSM people and swingers and pagans and polyamorous people. That is, there’s no reason *except* a sex-positive atmosphere that should make DO as welcoming to a dykey + trans couple like ourselves, but we are.

& The thing is: there is *every* reason in the world a trans space should feel welcoming & safe to a dykey + trans couple, but it isn’t. & That, I think, is exactly what can be so wrong about trans spaces.

Born in the Wrong Body

I’m up in the middle of the night for no reason whatsoever, so I wanted to let people know they should keep an eye out for an MSNBC program called Born in the Wrong Body. We caught it tonight & were pleased to see the focus on a younger trans generation, since their situation is sometimes very different than ours.

I especially loved a male partner’s description of being with a transwoman, which he explained by saying: say you like hamburgers but you don’t like fries, & someone offers you a happy meal – you’re not going to turn down the whole thing just because there’s one part of it you don’t like.

Clever. I wanted to wish all the young adults and the author Cris Beam – whose book Transparent is (I think) the impetus behind both this show & Barbara Walters’ upcoming 4/27 show on trans youth – the best of luck.

(& We are, of course, discussing it over on the mHB message boards, though feel free to post a comment here if you’d prefer.)

Green Man

My friend Lara (now infamous since she’s in the new book) sent me this story involving gender roles & green politics, written by No Impact Man – who is trying to live in such a way as to create no impact on the environment as a result of his living / breathing / consuming. Interestingly, in listing all the manual labor involved in doing such a thing, a woman wrote to him to make sure that if greens would embrace a ‘no impact’ life that the chores do not once again fall onto the women & not the men.

His response and musings on the question of gender roles & on manual labor in general are interesting, radical & green, but also smacking of male privilege: it’s one thing to do some manual labor as an experiment – & one for which he’s gaining a great deal of attention – & another to do it, day in & day out, for an entire lifetime, with little thanks or recognition. His situation is such that he already has the understanding & education to put his manual labor in context; it has a theoretical framework that instills value that your average housewife would not have to give her “perspective” while washing another 40 lbs. of family laundry. But still: he seems like a decent guy, & his blog is an ongoing interesting read for the kinds of values he’s examining.

It IS Earth Day today, so I moved this post to suit. What are you doing to lessen your impact?

The Penn State Law Talk

I’m hoping that this talk was recorded as planned and so will be available on Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s website, eventually, because there were a lot of interesting questions discussed in the Q&A after I spoke. Prof. Rains also added a lot of useful legal insight.

I started with a kind of preface in order (1) to define terms like transgender, MTF and FTM, and also (2) to explain that while people like drag queens and crossdressers are considered part of the transgender community, discussions about legal marriage issues don’t always or often effect them; that is, this talk concerns people who identify nearer to the transsexual end of things. that said, drag queens are often already gay and so deal with the same marriage discrimination all gay people do, and crossdressers often suffer with the stigma of being perverts, and one of the reasons they are not out is exactly because they don’t want their wives to divorce them, or lose custody of their children, or lose their jobs, all of which can & does happen to crossdressers who come out.

I never expected that any aspect of my life would cause me to speak at a law school to future lawyers about the odd ways that my life has become complicated by laws about gender and marriage. I’m surprised two-fold: for starters, I never expected to get married, since as a younger and Very Serious Feminist I saw it as a Tool of Patriarchy, symbolic at least of the ways women have always been chattel, and so, not for me. But I also never expected to get married because I was, starting as a teenager in the late 80s, an ally of gay and lesbian people.

& Then I met Betty, who at the time we met presented as male, and as she likes to explain, we knew, both of us, nearly from the get-go that we were supposed to be together. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, and poets have tried, but it took us a few years to decide once & for all that we were in this thing together. We decided to get married because things were so easy between us; on our 2nd date we sat together and read, one of us The Nation and the other The New York Times. When you’re something like an old married couple on your 2nd date, you know that you’re doomed.

Continue reading “The Penn State Law Talk”

To Ponder, Ponderously

Endymion pondering the meaning of phrases like “arbitrary interference” and “margin of appreciation,” which is exactly why we left him at home while I’m speaking at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law today.

Beyond the Law

A trans woman is leaving her job as a librarian despite discrimination protections. Jillian Todd-Weiss comments on her blog:

“Philadelphia has an ordinance prohibiting gender identity discrimination, as do a number of cities in Pennsylvania, some major corporations have gender identity EEO policies, and the state is considering legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. There is obviously a lot of good-will in Pennsylvania for employment non-discrimination. But it doesn’t necessarily penetrate to the ordinary transgender person. “

Which leads me to conclude that the legislation or even inclusion in EEO policies will not fix it all: education is still absolutely necessary and required. The laws are no good if no one bothers to enforce them, after all, & authorities will not enforce them if they are prejudiced against trans people themselves.

Nikki G.

Did you see the stunning & empowering Nikki Giovanni delivering a poem at the Virginia Tech service today? Was she remarkable or what? & A snappy dresser, to boot.

When I grow up I wanna be just like her.

It was as if her presence was to prove the point of why we need poets, as a culture. The spontaneous school cheer that went up was heartbreaking and healing, at once.