If anyone is up this late, one of my recent favorite bands, Gogol Bordello, is going to be on David Letterman. They’re something like gypsy punk. More after they’re on.
We meet tomorrow, August 1st, at 7:30PM at the LGBT Center on 13th Street. If you’re a partner of a trans person, straight gay or otherwise, do come.
Recently on our message boards, the partner of someone who was transitioning posted about her very last day with her male husband. She was sad, she was mourning, and she was feeling both loss & resentment.
Sometimes the larger trans community seems to view feelings like that as anti-trans; that a partner isn’t throwing the big coming out party for her transitioning companion is seen as less than enthusiastic, and the difficult feelings are interpreted as saying ‘trans is bad.’
But the thing is, it’s part of the gig. There’s a lot of change involved in transition, which every trans person with half a brain admits. I mean, that’s the point. Change is a difficult thing for most people – all people, really – and it is stressful even when the change is a good thing, like getting a better job or getting married or having a baby that you’ve long wanted.
But to miss the old, worse job, or thinking fondly about the time when you were single or childfree, doesn’t mean you don’t want the new change in your life. You do. But you can’t just tell your mind not to think about how it once was, either.
& Sometimes I think that’s what’s expected of partners, that we never have a time to say, “I did love him as a man.” We can’t admit that we liked the cocky or shy guy we first fell in love with, & the partners of FTMs aren’t supposed to mourn the loss of breasts and smooth cheeks that they loved to touch.
But the thing is, as any trans person should know, repressing a feeling of loss or sadness is really bad all around; repression poisons the groundwater, in effect, and everyone feels it. So while I don’t advise partners make themselves miserable longing for the past (just as I wouldn’t advise trans people to think the future will definitely be rosy simply because they’ll transition), expressing the more difficult feelings associated with transition is healthier, in my opinion, in the long run. Not easy to hear as the trans person, for sure, but from what I hear from same trans people, they too may need some time to mourn the loss of their own former self.
After Avalon was bought by Perseus and Perseus eliminated the Thunder’s Mouth Press imprint altogether, I was wondering – and worried – as to what would happen to My Husband Betty, since it was published by Thunder’s Mouth. Lo & behold, I got the news that MHB is going to be moved to Seal Press, who published She’s Not the Man I Married.
I’m very pleased, since MHB has continued selling – not in giant ways, but more like The Little Engine that Could. But more than that, I feel like I have a home as a writer (& from what they tell me, the folks at Seal feel similarly.)
& Betty is home. Whew.
In Curve magazine’s current issue (Vol. 17, #8), there’s an interview with me and Julia Serano aptly titled “A Queer Three-way.” The interviewer was Curve editor Diane Anderson-Minshall.
Aeneas a little more awake, but still on the couch. He’ll get up… eventually. Or he’ll just go back to sleep.
Cleaning in an air-conditioned apartment is very odd, indeed, as eventually the time comes when you have to bring a box of old books or a bag of garbage outside & then you’re hit by the wall of heat, you go limp and sweaty instantaneously, all your resolve dripping away like the sweat off the end of your nose.
A reviewer recently misquoted me as having written that I was called a “dyke” when I was a kid, when in fact the word I used was “butch.”
That mistake, while minor on the surface, has got me thinking.
The difference between the words is that essential difference between sexual orientation and gender presentation, which are often conflated in the first place, but which I tried to dissect in She’s Not the Man I Married. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t issues like this that cause some of the rift between the gay/lesbian community and the trans community; I’d imagine, for many masculine-leaning lesbians, “butch” and “dyke” are pretty much the same slur. But the thing is, “butch” bothered me – because it was true. I was butch. Being called a dyke never had the same effect, exactly because I knew myself to be heterosexual.
Of course reading that kind of error made me wonder about how much the critic could have actually gotten out of my book, or how much she might have been willing to get out of it. I’m fascinated by the ways gender variance is allocated to gay & lesbian people but not to heterosexuals; it’s a big theme of the book. For someone for whom the words “dyke” and “butch” are the same thing, I must seem like I’m splitting hairs. But the review, alas, did end:
(I)t’s an earnest book that might appeal to those questioning the nature of gender identity, marriage, and social attitudes about both.
& I did learn, quite a long time ago, the vital importance of being earnest.
I just wanted to congratulate genderwarrior & trans activist Joelle Ruby Ryan for having won a scholarship from the Point Foundation. She was one of four trans people to win one this year.
The Point Foundation gives scholarships to LGBT students – 38 this year, all told.
More about all four of the trans students below the break.
Damn, they’re honking to impeach Bush in Kentucky. Kentucky, folks: a red state through & through.
As Jim Pierce of The Hillbilly Report pointed out:
“Mark Twain is reported to have said that ‘when the end of the world comes I want to be in Kentucky, because there it will come 20 years later.’
If that is true George W. Bush should have been impeached several years ago . . . I suggest when Kentucky is ready to impeach George W. Bush and ‘Shotgun’ Dick Cheney, the Bush Administration is in real trouble.”
There’s an event happening in San Francisco (of course) called “Not Queer Enough” on June 27th. Among the speakers are people like Max Wolf Valerio & Julia Serano.
I wish I could be there.
My own feelings of being “not queer enough” I’ve mentioned at various times, usually when I’ve felt shunned at an event or gathering, or been made to feel otherwise square for being married or monogamous or heterosexual. Shoot, I’ve felt “not feminist enough” for being heterosexual & married, too.
& I’m very very certain that plenty of trans people feel “not trans enough.”
But not queer enough? What defines someone as queer? Their politics? Being visibly queer? Their worldview? Their haircut? Who they have sex with?
I don’t know. But I’d like to be in San Francisco that night to hear other people talk about their experiences.
Info about the event below the break.
I’m traveling back from upstate New York today, having gone to a good friend’s surprise birthday dinner and of course having visited with Betty where she’s been staying and working.
Sadly, she doesn’t get to come back with me.
But this life in the country is very, very tempting, even if it took a friend of ours three hours to track down some leg wax up here. Either that or I’m going to end up getting rid of most of our stuff when I get back to our apartment. Who knows? After three months in Wisconsin I may desperately need the city.
While I was poking around project playlist last week in order to bring you a few of my favorite inspiring tracks, I found a reference to some gender-bending of the 80s. A b-side of a Dead or Alive single I don’t care about (although of course Pete Burns is still around & doing hir thing), but the other b-side mentioned was “Greta X” by Adam Ant. The song was written in the late 70s but only produced/released in the mid 80s, and it’s about crossdressing:
I’m a joyous glad TV
Why don’t you come TV with me?
I know a girl who loves to dress me
Up like this and then caress me
To remind me of the way
I used to go both night and day
In femininity there’s pride
We’ll marry soon, I’ll be the bride
& People wonder how I wound up this way, listening to such things at the tender age of 15!
& Yes, I have wondered if Adam’s a CD. I doubt it – he wrote songs about people into rubber and BDSM, too. (Though of course he could be into those things, as well, as far as I know; Amanda Donohue knows for sure but I bet she’s not talking.)
I was like an addict trying desperately to find love, or even the perfect relationship. But I always fell short and was disappointed. Little did I know it was never the relationship; it was the image in the mirror that made no sense. I was the one that needed to change. I was lost, I felt broken, it wasnâ€™t until I was 38 years old when my life finally took a right turn. I met the most amazing female. She was different, not like the other girls I had known. She was special, something about her allowed me to be myself. She was straight and had lived with men all her life. Yet, she was curious about girls, having had a few encounters in the past, but nothing too serious. Continue reading “Trans Couples: Mark and Violet”
Aeneas, looking groggy, since I woke him up, yet again, with the flash.
A very happy birthday (tomorrow) to my sister Jeanne, too. We’ll be away for the weekend; or rather, I’ll be joining Betty upstate where she’s been working this week.
I’ll be back Monday, but do stay tuned as tomorrow is the next installment in the Trans Couples series.
I decided recently that Law & Order is satisfying in some deep, weird way: like it’s evidence that there’s order in the world even when you don’t have any sense of it in your own.
I was never ever interested in these shows until after I developed PTSD, which is why my conclusion. Some nights I can’t take watching, but I watch anyway; it feels nearly compulsive, good & bad for me at the same time. Good because there is always something satisfying about plot-driven procedurals and bad because it’s a reminder of all the ways you can die.
Our episode of In the Life airs in the NY area tonight at 10PM.
NCTE has reported today that since they sent out their alert for calls to your senators to support The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act more senators have signed on to support it!
So keep calling! Tell your friends to call!
Here are a couple of photos from the Borders reading up in Albany:
<<< the first of me with a nice display of She’s Not the Man I Married
& the second of us with a bunch >> of friends (& a Harry Potter poster): from left to right: Betty, me, Hawk Stone, Tristan, & Colten.