Month: August 2007

End of Month

Posted by – August 31, 2007

To close out the month, a Buster Keaton montage set to Radiohead’s music:

Do watch till the end for a classic Buster moment.

Tucker Carlson: Not Condoning Gay Bashing

Posted by – August 31, 2007

The Larry Craig story just keeps going. Tucker Carlson, after saying that he & a friend roughed up a man who hit on him in a DC public bathroom, now says he & his friend only held the man until security arrived. He explains:

“Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men’s room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men’s room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.”

“Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That’s absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn’t angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.”

Not condoning the use of violence against anyone, much less gay men in public bathrooms (or the ‘not gay men looking for gay sex’ types like Larry Craig, even), but I do think it’s different when you’re not being hit on but assaulted, or when you’re not a peer to the person hitting on you but a minor.

Not that any of that makes Tucker Carlson any less of a bonehead.

Friday Thoughts

Posted by – August 31, 2007

Aeneas, in a moment of contemplation. This moment had to come before he & Aurora got into a kerfuffle, which left him with a torn ear, & her with an abscess in her paw. He went to the vet yesterday, where we found out he also has an irregular heartbeat, which sucks, & she goes tomorrow (when we find out she hates the vet more than having an abscess.)

Multiple cat homes come with occasional cat fights. & Of course cats are smart enough to have them when you’re not around.

At Long Last, They Have No Decency

Posted by – August 30, 2007

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has determined that the families of the now presumed dead miners in Utah cannot have the UMWA represent them in the ongoing investigation of the case.

The real kicker is that MSHA has made this ruling despite the fact that miners & their families can choose their own representation in a case like this, but because – THE MINERS HAVE TO SIGN THE REQUEST.

This is not a punchline. This is the actual federal ruling when it comes to the families of these miners, since at the time of the cave-in, the mine was not union, so these men were not union members. Had they lived & were able to sign the request, then the UMW could represent them.

As a result, area miners are considering going union again.

Fourword

Posted by – August 30, 2007

Today is this blog’s fourth birthday. Imagine. & You haven’t gotten rid of me yet!

Goodbye Hilly

Posted by – August 29, 2007

In some small way, this explains why Hilly Krystal gave up fighting to keep CBGB open, despite his wish that the club survive him. On your way, Hilly, to that garage band bar in the sky.

R.I.P. Hilly Krystal, 1932 – 2007 (with his daughter Lisa in front of CBGB. Photo by Bob Gruen.)

Five Questions With… Marilyn Frank

Posted by – August 29, 2007

Marilyn Frank has been sharing her story with wives at Fantasia Fair, IFGE and Tri-Ess seminars since 1982. She married her husband Len in 1954 and didn’t learn about the cross dressing until 1964, 10 years and 3 children later. At that time the only information available to her was Virginia Prince’s book The Transvestite and His Wife (now titled The Cross-dresser and His Wife) which she still finds to be one of the best books written.

1) First, Marilyn, I want to thank you on behalf of all the partners out there, for stepping up at a time when most of us weren’t even in high school yet. Without women like you & Peggy Rudd, the struggle to have partners’ issues recognized would be a lot more difficult. So what caused you to do the educating you did?

In the 1970’s I was a volunteer on a crisis intervention hot line in Morris County, NJ. When I became Director, I questioned some of the professionals in the group, who did not know much about cross dressing, but were able to assist me in finding people who did know. During this time we came upon Tri-Ess, and then in 1980 Len read the article in Playboy about Fantasia Fair and in 1981 we spent a few days at the Fair. I had many discussions with Ariadne Kane about the wives’ needs, and this brought Niela Miller to the Fair and that’s where my true education began. Since it had been a very lonely road not only for Len, but for me, I decided I would reach out to help others, so that’s when I started facilitating a wives group at our local Tri-Ess Chapter, which I did for for over 10 years. I also was instrumental in starting the wives’ program at the first IFGE Convention. My philosophy is that every time I help someone, I help myself. It’s true the marriage had its ups and downs where the cross dressing was concerned, but for us it was a small part of our overall marriage. We have always had good communication, enjoy many of the same things and do have a sense of humor (that helps).

More

What Men Do

Posted by – August 28, 2007

In the ‘astonishing, but not surprising’ category: CNN does a report on Iraqi women who have ended up prostituting themselves due to the war, asking sometimes as little as $8 a day. The point of course was to do a human interest story, or a feminist story, or a reality of war story, but some guy, dick in hand, instead wants to know if it’s true & how he can get in on the action. Another comments:

You are a fortunate man to find ass here in the IZ so quickly. I live here and it took me 4 months to get my connections. We have a PSD team contact who brings us these Iraqi cuties but dangerous it is.

Now that’s class. Don’t keep reading that message board if you’re an actual person with actual compassion, please.

There are days guys wonder why women hate them en masse. This is why, sensitive New Age guys. Please do something about these fuckwads & then get back to me about your problems.

(via The Cunning Realist.)

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

Posted by – August 28, 2007

More occasionally than I’d prefer, I hear MTFs bemoaning the style faux-pas of their fellow trans women. Sometimes it’s the transitioning women commenting on a crossdresser’s appearance, & sometimes it’s the other way around. But you know, style is a very personal form of self-expression, and should be respected as such. A person may intend to look exactly like how they appear, & do not feel any need for anyone’s “help.” That, & you may not know what their reasons are for looking the way they do.

Some of you may know Trankila, who is a regular at events like FanFair & IFGE & who keeps her full beard when she crossdresses. People who don’t know her/her story just think she’s insane or has no sense of style. But the reality is that her wife loves her beard, & happens also to be specifically attracted to cross-gender presentation, Trankila keeps it even when she crossdresses. (Trankila & her wife talk about their experience with Trankila’s gender on an old GenderTalk show.) For the record, there are also women raised female who can grow their own beards, & who do.

Likewise with something like pantyhose: (1) plenty of people wear hose because they’ve say, made a deal with their wives not to shave during the summer or other times (or through the year, depending on the deal they’ve made, and (2) other people use hose to help tuck.

Having a mohawk makes me more suspicious of “style policing,” in general, but also, as a partner advocate, I’ve heard from too many wives who were comfortable with whatever deal they made with their partner, who then comes home from a conference where people told her not to wear necklines that covered her collarbone (which she was doing so as not to shave chest hair her wife loves) or not to wear hose in the spring/early fall (which she was wearing to keep her leg hair because there’s a family BBQ the next week), etc.

& Frankly, I’ve had my own feelings hurt so many times by people insulting what I’m wearing at these MTF conferences/events that I’m thinking of having t-shirts made up that say Being a Catty Bitch Does Not Make One a Woman. Grow yourself some manners, & if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone’s appearance, then STFU. (Okay, that’s not the way our mothers taught us that Golden Rule, but consider it updated for the internet generation.)

Ruining India’s Women

Posted by – August 27, 2007

A recent working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) of India has posited that rural women in India, who tend not to be literate, learn a lot if they watch cable:

Women who were exposed to cable television over a 6- to 7-month period in India were less likely to report a preference for sons or complacency with domestic violence, and more likely to report autonomy in household decision-making, according to the working paper. In addition, more girls enrolled in school and fertility rates dropped.

But of course they’re talking about Indian television, not American, so let’s not send them Baywatch.

Teaching

Posted by – August 27, 2007

By a somewhat unusual series of events, I’m going to be teaching a Women’s & Gender Studies class this fall at Merrimack College in N. Andover… Massachusetts. I wasn’t expecting to, which is why I won’t be moving there, which means instead about a six hour commute – that’s one way! – in order to do so. But I couldn’t turn it down, since it would give me the chance to work with the very cool Gordene Mackenzie, of Nancy & Gordene from GenderTalk, as she runs the program there. Since I’m writing again, I’m always pleased to have good writing time – both on the train & during the time I’ll be on campus. I’m very much looking forward to it, and hopefully I’ll get to see some of my friends who live in the Boston area while I’m there.

Abstinence Fails Again

Posted by – August 26, 2007

Yet another report has come out that abstinence-only education fails our kids; in this case, abstinence-only education has been shown not to prevent HIV infection.

So what I want to know is when we go on the offensive, and start accusing people & agencies who back this bullshit why they want to kill children. Granted, people don’t die of HIV the way they used to, but goddamn, if we can avoid having a kid get a serious, life-long compromised immune system, surely that should be enough reason to get some real sex ed taught, no?

Non-Trans Woman in Men’s Prison

Posted by – August 26, 2007

Okay, I’ll admit it: I was entirely astonished to read the story of Virginia Grace Soto over on Autumn Sandeen’s blog. Ms. Sota was born and raised female, but due to her androgynous appearance, was housed with men, in the men’s jail, in DC. Again, Ms. Sota is NOT TRANS. From the DC-area MetroWeekly (where you can see a photo of Ms. Soto as well):

Despite being strip searched and having female genitalia, Soto’s androgynous appearance led to assumptions that placed the 47-year-old in a male facility where she had to shower with four other men. Her pleas to be moved to a female facility were repeatedly ignored.

There is no mention as to whether Soto is straight or gay, though I’m going to guess that the guards acted out of homophobia (on the assumption that all gender variant people are homosexual, which of course isn’t true at all). The good thing is that three of them will be fired over their misconduct, at least.

But the underlying issue of course is that we have no standards in place for people who are not obviously gendered male or female, or whose male appearance doesn’t correspond to their female genitalia, or vice versa. Sandeen quotes local trans activist Ruby Corado:

“It’s the perfect example of how not having a plan on how to deal with individuals that do not fit in the binary gender of this society, of being male or female, creates [problems],” she says.

Exactly. Solutions? If anyone has any resources links of people who are working on prison issues concerning gender, please post them in the comments section.

Not So Little Disturbance

Posted by – August 25, 2007

Grace Paley, author, activist, and feminist, died Wednesday night, August 22nd, 2207, in her home, after a long struggle with breast cancer. Her writing credits are astounding; the most famous of her books is the short story collection The Little Disturbances of Man which are spare and stunning glimpses into love and relationships, a gem of a collection. She was the first official writer of New York State.

But beyond that, Paley was an activist & a feminist:

However, Paley was known as much for her political activism on behalf of peace and women’s rights as her literary accomplishments. Paley was jailed several times for her opposition to the Vietnam War, and traveled to Hanoi on a peace mission to negotiate for the release of American prisoners in 1969. She helped found the Women’s Pentagon Action and the Greenwich Village Peace Center. She was one of the “White House Eleven” arrested in 1978 for placing an anti-nuclear banner on the White House lawn. Most recently, she actively opposed the war in Iraq.

(via the Feminist Daily News)

Julia Serano Guest Blogging on Feministing

Posted by – August 24, 2007

Julia Serano, about Bailey, on Feministing today:

The fact is that when a self-appointed “expert” like Bailey claims that transsexual women transition for purely sexual reasons, and that they are lying if they state otherwise, people will believe him because of his academic/scientist status. The NY Times may try to frame the controversy surrounding Bailey’s book as an example of political correctness run amok, but the truth of the matter is that Bailey himself did exponentially more damage to the field of academic research when he misrepresented anecdotes and innuendos as though they were science.

Dieting Cat

Posted by – August 24, 2007

A little late, but not too late as it’s still Friday, here’s Aeneas, looking pissed off because I seem serious about getting them to lose some weight. He hasn’t quite a adjusted to us cutting out the 5PM feeding, so tends to start waiting for the 8PM feeding at about 5:05PM.

Up Close & Personal

Posted by – August 24, 2007

Today we’ll be interviewed by host Bonnie Graham on WGBB AM (Long Island), on the show Up Close & Personal, at 6PM, for about a half hour.

You can listen online, too, by clicking the ‘Listen Live’ button in the upper right hand corner of the WGBB website.

Pfc. LaVena Johnson

Posted by – August 23, 2007

In light of the recent case brought against Cassandra Hernandez, I wish I didn’t think that the family of LaVena Johnson has a right to be concerned that the Army is sweeping something under the rug, but in this case, it’s not just rape, but murder.

The mother of Pat Tillman once put the matter in stark and honest terms: “This is how they treat a family of a high-profile individual,” she said. “How are they treating others?”

Now we know. Sign the petition to get Johnson’s case re-opened.

(via feministing)

Partner’s Take

Posted by – August 23, 2007

I got this today from Ana in Brazil (the girl from Ipanema, you could say):

One last thing: regarding your mixed feelings about Betty’s transformation, one of the best metaphors for it was depicted in the “Beauty and the Beast” episode of Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre, directed by Roger Vadin. You know the plot: the beautiful Susan Sarandon is forced to live with the Beast, until the spell is broken, by the power or her sincere love, and — plim! — the beast becomes a Prince Charming (Klaus Kinski) so proud of his just-found looks. But she is unimpressed. “Why?” he aks “don’t you prefer me handsome?”

She replies: “I was in love with the Beast, I don’t know who you are.”

“Stuff I Supposed After Meeting Some People in a Gay Bar”*

Posted by – August 22, 2007

* quote by Mara Keisling, when providing an alternative description of what Bailey’s book could be described as instead of as “science.”

This NPR show out of the Bay Area about the whole Bailey controversy is good listening. Joan Roughgarden (author of Evolution’s Rainbow), Mara Keisling (executive director of NCTE), Alice Dreger (author of Hermaphrodites & The Medical Invention of Sex) & Bailey himself.

& A challenging phone call from Ben Barres, who I love & who does not let Bailey not answer a direct question (with textual backup from Roughgarden), specifically, whether or not Bailey feels trans people are suited to prostitution.

The only thing that no-one said that someone should have said is that Bailey now has a history & a record of turning (at best) weak science into “controversy,” such as with the bisexuality studies that came out a couple of years ago.

I’m upset by the idea of how or if Dreger’s status as a woman – not just as an academic or intersex educator – is coming into play here. That is, is a man not sexist because a woman says he isn’t? (I don’t think so, but I think that’s coloring her defense of Bailey.)