Month: June 2007

About 20/20

Posted by – June 30, 2007

So I’m still thinking about the 20/20 show that was on a few weeks ago about young kids coming out as trans.

& The thing I can’t quite get past is how many people who are gender variant grow up to be gender variant but okay with the sex they were born. A gay friend of mine called after the show was over & asked, “So what’s the difference between them & me?” because he went through most, if not all, of what one of the young MTF expressed. He did drag for most of his childhood, expressed the desire to be a girl as a child, and had a hard time dating guys who didn’t want to date a queen. I didn’t have an answer for him. I don’t know what makes some of us gender variant & some of us trans. More

Non-Monogamous CDs (& Their Partners)

Posted by – June 29, 2007

Just a reminder: Tristan Taormino is specifically looking for CDs & their partners who are in non-monogamous relationships. You can read her description of the book she’d be interviewing you for and more about what she’s looking for below the break.

More

Sliding Backwards

Posted by – June 29, 2007

(from The Feminist Majority Foundation)

The Supreme Court handed down this morning a 5-4 ruling that requires the elimination of integration plans at elementary and secondary public schools.

The decision was made in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, et al. and Meredith, Custodial Parent and Next Friend of McDonald v. Jefferson County Bd. Of Ed et al, two cases brought by parents with schoolchildren in Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky. Federal appeals courts previously upheld integration plans in both school systems after parents sued. The Bush administration threw its political weight behind the parents.

In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “There is a cruel irony in The Chief Justice’s reliance on our decision in Brown v. Board of Education… The Chief Justice rewrites the history of one of this Court’s most important decisions.” Justice Stevens, who has served on the Supreme Court longer than any other current justice, concluded his dissent, writing, “It is my firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today’s decision.”

Guest Author: Madame George

Posted by – June 29, 2007

I haven’t put up a ‘guest author’ post in a while, but a partner wrote an interesting piece about disability and shame and the opinions of others that I thought was both interesting and useful:

I become so disheartened to hear family members and others acting like this is some kind of disabling burden to their partners. They make assumptions about the trans person making selfish choices or being mentally disabled. They make assumptions about the partners having some kind of dependency issues or whatever. They make asses of themselves.

When J and I met he had a habit of hiding his left arm in his sleeve or pocket. When we started dating he would hide it up the back of my jacket or even my shirt. (I guess I should explain that J’s left hand is no longer there.) Here was this wonderful person who was kind, intelligent, honorable, and my friend, and yet felt the need to hide part of himself. When I first admonished him for doing it he seemed surprised. “Aren’t you embarrassed, even a little, about being seen with me?”, he asked. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. Over the next couple of years I was a tyrant. I would not allow him to hide it, no matter where we were. I guess it was his mother’s reaction that surprised me the most. We were out having dinner with her and J’s dad. We were having a great time and J asked me to dance. Instead of putting his left arm at my waist he slid it just under the back of my blouse. I stopped mid step and put it gently at my waist and winked. When we got back to the table his mother lit into me. Supposedly, I embarrassed him and myself. “If John didn’t want people to stare at him, pity him, then he had every right to hide his arm!” She didn’t get it.

I guess that’s the part of it that I didn’t and still don’t understand. People to this day say things to us and it usually doesn’t make sense to me until they clarify it. One of my fellow PTO moms and friend made a comment at the last fundraiser John and I both volunteered for. She looked at me and said “I didn’t know your husband was disabled?” I thought she’d become confused or had been in the heat too long. I asked her what the heck she was talking about and she whispered something about his hand. I laughed and told her I had always considered his poor math and spelling skills a bigger problem. She looked appalled. She didn’t get it either.

A disablility is something that stops you from doing something. J can tie his shoes, type almost as fast as I can (I do around 65 wpm), cut his own food up, do dishes, and unbutton my blouse faster than I can. If there is something out there he can’t do we haven’t come across it yet. When we do I know we’ll find a way for him to do it.

If you hide it. If you let others dictate how you present yourself. If you let it stop you from doing anything then, and only then, is it a disability.

I have a feeling that the transness is going to work the same way for us. Others will see it as a disabling factor. They will try to pity one or both of us. They will pity our children. They will make assumptions based on their preconceptions and not bother to ask us about our reality. They will never get it.

As partners we unfortunately get the backlash of this dual thinking process. If this is not a disability then we are doormats, have dependency issues, or low self esteem. If it is a disability we are saints, loving partners, or nightinggales.

Perish the thought that standing tall next to the person you love shows your inner strength. Perish the thought that staying and helping your love through a tough time in their lives shows your true character. Perish the thought that this is not a disability unless you allow it to be.

Boxed Aeneas, Bellyup

Posted by – June 29, 2007

Really, he’s terrifically happy & comfortable, though I wonder how he does that with his neck. Obviously, cats have different bones than humans; I call them my furry yogis.

Nothing But Red: Du’a Khalil Anthology

Posted by – June 28, 2007

A 17 year old woman named Du’a Khalil was stoned to death in an honor killing and her death recorded on the cellphones of people who were watching & participating.

Police did nothing.

Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wrote an exhausted, frustrated essay about her death, about the culture of misogyny & violence against women we all live with, & that essay has sparked an anthology in honor of Du’a Khalil.

I feel sick & leaden every time I see anything about this news, because there are so many other women who are hurt, beaten, & tortured who we don’t get to see. There are too many women I know who have been beaten or hurt or otherwise abused.

There is too much violence against women.

Justice for JT?

Posted by – June 27, 2007

Laura Albert has to pay back $110,000 – + $6500 in damages – that she was paid for the film rights to her book Sarah, because it was supposed to have been written by her alter-ego JT LeRoy, trans prostitute, who of course, does not, & never did, exist.

SNTMIM Review

Posted by – June 26, 2007

A lovely review of She’s Not the Man I Married just appeared in a Brooklyn paper called The Indypendent – here’s an excerpt from it:

In the end, Boyd writes that despite the obvious discordance, the central issue is whether society can allow — or can be pushed to at least acknowledge — that men and women exist on a continuum that includes butches, superfemmes and everyone in between.

Pretending otherwise, Boyd writes, is damaging and limits our exploration of who we might become. It also limits with whom we associate, a point driven home by Helen and Betty’s dramatic love story. Make no mistake, even in its manifold difficult moments, theirs is the kind of love that people fantasize about.

She’s Not the Man I Married is by turns funny, heart-breaking, illuminating, expansive and humane. While it asks more questions than it answers, this is ultimately its strength. Provocative and smart, it leaves readers rooting for the winsome, witty and stylish pair.

“I have a husband and a girlfriend on the side,” Boyd quips, “but they both happen to be the same person.” Her smile is evident beneath the words.

Only a fool would call Helen and Betty’s relationship easy, but the two seem content to take it one day at a time. Their commitment is to a life based on shared interests, passion and respect. Who could ask for more?

Reading this was an exceptionally good way to feel welcomed home.

Last Stop: Poughkeepsie

Posted by – June 25, 2007

Ironic perhaps that Betty & I should be doing what looks like the last of our “in person” gigs via rental car instead of by train – since there have been times in the past few months that I felt like I lived on the latter. Not that I mind: I really do love trains in nearly an irrational way. It’s something about the sound of a train whistle – all at once so melancholy, so romantic, & so hopeful.

It’s fitting that we should wind down in Poughkeepsie, since the group I’ll be visiting, MHVTA, is one that let me interview them when I was researching My Husband Betty. What I remember best was asking, “What would you want the world to know about crossdressing that they don’t?” and I got a variety of answers that informed my intent when I wrote it.

So thanks to everyone who has let me ask them questions, emailed me with input, and told me their stories.

#4

Posted by – June 24, 2007

While we’re in Albany, the 4th Raiders movie is being filmed. (Rumor has it Karen Allen will be in it, too.)

Albany Borders

Posted by – June 23, 2007

Tonight I’m speaking with LGBT community leaders at the New York State Museum Performance Theatre in Albany, NY.

Tomorrow (Sunday 6/24) at 2PM I’m doing a reading at the Borders in Albany.

Monday night I’ll be in Poughkeepsie speaking to MHVTA.

Come to what you can if you’re in that neck of the woods.

Boxed Aeneas

Posted by – June 22, 2007

Both Aeneas & Endymion are nearly addicted to their boxes. Some days I’m not sure they actually leave them, except to eat and visit the litterbox.

Betty sent me a link to a book-in-the-making called Alley Cats, which have some gorgeous, but heart-breaking, photos of street kittoi.

New Rufus Video

Posted by – June 22, 2007

E. M. Forster would be so proud. Or horrified. But mostly pleased. Rufus Wainwright is pushing the envelope about as hard as he can, & I love that.

Penguin Cam

Posted by – June 21, 2007

The Monterey Aquarium has a live penguin cam you can watch on your lunch hour, or theirs – tune in at 10:30am or 3PM to watch them eat.

Happy solstice, & happy birthday to my friend Lara.

Trans Couples: Mike & Tasha

Posted by – June 20, 2007

My name is Michael, I am a FtM Transsexual. My partner is Natasha, an MtF Transsexual. This is our story….

Depending on where we pick up our story, it all traces back to our high school years. Yes, Natasha and I actually attended the same high school around the same time as each other. Of course back then I was living as female and she was living as male. Natasha is a few years older than me, but our paths did indeed cross during our high school years. As Natasha explains, our lives were meant to cross. She calls our journey of getting together, fate. More

Creative Fundraising

Posted by – June 20, 2007

An interesting article from The Village Voice about fundraiser party for top surgery for masculine spectrum types. Interestingly, this is about someone who’s removing hir breasts in order to have a more androgynous body, not a male one, per se.

I read at one of these years ago when My Husband Betty was just published, and it was very cleverly called Take My Breasts Away.

We did.

Trans Couples Series

Posted by – June 20, 2007

A while back, while writing She’s Not the Man I Married, I realized that there are very, very few love stories out there for us – trans people & their partners. Having been one such couple who were public for some time, Betty & I have been told we’ve brought some kind of hope to so many. Since we travel enough to meet tons of other couples, I thought it was about time that someone started showcasing all of the love & romance & commitment that comes out of the trans community.

So tomorrow – I thought Pride month would be a good time to inaugurate this idea – I’ll start a small series called Trans Couples that will tell the story of one such couple.

If you want to tell your own story, and see it up on my blog, do email me about it *before* you send your story and photos. I’d love to see a ton more, so that as time goes by, there will be an anthology of our relationships somewhere, archived. Of course I’m open to all kinds of transness, all kinds of relationships, & all kinds of partners. My only request is that the couple in question have been together for a few years by the time you write the story.

Two Things To Do Now

Posted by – June 19, 2007

First, email Sheldon Silver and tell him to advance GENDA. His email is speaker@assembly.state.ny.us.

Then go tell CBS & FOX to take their heads out of their asses & show the condom ad; their shows are packed full of sexual situations and they’re being prudish about condoms? How lame is that?

Building Community in Albany

Posted by – June 19, 2007

I’ll be speaking on Saturday, June 23rd, at 7:30PM, along with other LGBT leaders, about building community at the New York State Museum’s Performance Theater. It seems like a good thing to do during pride month, especially. The event starts at 7:30PM, I’ll have books to sell & sign, and you can find directions on the NYS Museum’s website.

Here are some of the other (confirmed) speakers:

Other speakers may join us, and your company is more than welcome.

On Sunday, I’m doing a reading at the Borders in Albany, so if you’re in that part of the world and can’t come out Saturday night, do come & say hello at the bookstore instead.

Lisa Birnbach Asks Me Some Questions

Posted by – June 18, 2007

I’ll be on The Lisa Birnbach Show tomorrow from 9:20-9:45AM.

Yep, you read that right: in the morning.