Month: April 2008

NC Robo-Calls

Posted by – April 30, 2008

I was recently in the running in a “Top Ten Female Bloggers” contest sponsored by WVWV.org, which, as it turns out, is the organization that seems to be behind some baffling robo-calls to voters in NC (amongst other places).

Now Women’s Voices is plunging North Carolina into the same confusion. State officials tell Facing South they are still receiving calls from frustrated and confused voters, wondering why “Lamont Williams” is offering to send them a “voter registration packet” after the deadline for mail-in registration for the primaries has passed.

In correspondence with North Carolina election officials, Women’s Voices founder and President Page Gardner merely said that the disruptive timing was an “unfortunate coincidence” — a strange alibi for a group with their level of resources and sophistication.

There are other questions about Women’s Voices’ outreach efforts. Although the group purports to be targeting “unmarried women,” their calls and mailings don’t fit the profile. Kevin Farmer in Durham, who first recorded the call, is a white male. Many of the recipients are African-American; Rev. Nelson Johnson, who is a married, male and African-American, reported that his house was called four times by the mysterious “Lamont Williams.”

Please let anyone you know in North Carolina that these robo-calls are probably illegal & contain misleading information. How much WVWV’s intent is to buck up Clinton’s chances in the primary remain to be seen, but in a state where something like 45% of the voters are African-American, sending voters confusing and wrong information is anti-democratic. If it’s intentional, then I’d call it racist, too.

White feminists, you’re really fucking up here.

(via Daily Kos).

Still Guilty

Posted by – April 30, 2008

The Yale harassers were found not guilty.

The charge of intimidation and harassment does not include sexual harassment, a separate charge not brought against Zeta Psi.

Well that certainly made it easier for the Committee to let them off.

(via Feministing, via Lindsay at Female Impersonator)

29 of 53

Posted by – April 30, 2008

Those poor young women of that Eldorado sect – more than half of them are pregnant or are mothers.

This case made me think of two things – the argument than trans women are the same as women raised female – which is obviously not true. That doesn’t mean that a gender variant kid wouldn’t have been treated worse by this sect – but a young MTF couldn’t have been used as a breeder, either. That doesn’t mean trans women are “less than.” Just that all kinds of women – trans & otherwise – face oppressions and discrimination specific to the type of women they are. Blurring difference doesn’t help us address these kinds of problems, imho.

The second thing it made me think of is an ongoing argument about Danica Patrick that’s been happening on the MHB Boards. The debate is about whether or not it’s messed up that a winning racecar driver – the 1st to win a significant race, from what I understand – isn’t somehow degrading herself by also posing suggestively on car hoods. (I think it is.) These young women of Eldorado remind me of that argument because it’s been thousands of years where women’s bodies have been used – to bear children, to bring pleasure (both physical & visual), to men with power. So the assertion that Danica Patrick is somehow blazing some new trail of “feminine empowerment” by taking her clothes off is like – um. yeah. no. Women have always done that to curry favor with the kind of assholes like the guys down in Eldorado, kings, senators, and drug lords, boyfriend and bubbas. And I just don’t see a woman doing that today as any different than it ever was.

(But I’m sure someone can jump up & tell me those women in Eldorado are somehow empowered by getting pregnant with the children of those fucknuts, too.)

Legal Marriage, Queer Relationship

Posted by – April 29, 2008

The NYT did an article about the legal issues when you’re a heterosexual couple and one of you legally changes gender. I’ve been talking about the ramifications of this stuff for so long that I failed to notice for others it might be quite a surprise, and revelatory, but it is.

Interesting comments have come in from Cara at Feministe and a young trans woman who calls herself Critical Thinking Girl. As CTG points out, it is pretty tawdry – the usual before & after photos, etc. – and when she notes:

The tone of this article is clear – Fran is a put-upon woman, with an eccentric husband. The picture they chose is also curious as it has the trans woman in the relationship holding back her wife.

As many of my regular readers already know, one of the things that drives me batshit about the media in general is the way they choose rubes to write about, instead of speaking to activists or advocates who are prepared to deal with media, or who have become allied with LGBTQ people on the issue. For those of you who are interested, here’s a talk I gave at the Law School of Penn State Dickinson last year.

Because honestly, same sex marriage recognition would make life easier for all trans people in relationships – including CTG.

Oh – and to The Times – and everyone else: it’s “transition” not “sex change.”

Good as Barefoot

Posted by – April 29, 2008

For those of you with foot or leg problems, get yourself a pair of MBTs. MBT stands for ‘Masai Barefoot Technology’ and they are amazing. As many of you know, I have one flat foot – which causes endless alignment problems for my entire spine, both shoulders, etc.

I borrowed my sister’s to get a feel for them after having them recommended by my favorite masseuse, and it was like I had no problems with my feet at all. They work your entire leg, straighten your posture, practically eliminate pain.

The only downside – and I know this might be a deal breaker for many of you – is that they only come in ugly, fugly, and not so ugly.

Still. You get some long flares & go about your day with no pain in your feet & give your legs a remarkable workout. & If you think I’m exaggerating, read the user comments for one model on Zappo’s. (This is the model I bought, though I found a pair on ebay.com for $100 less, but you have to know your EUR size to be able to buy them there.)

Epic Fail

Posted by – April 28, 2008

There’s an anti-McCain ad playing on TV that’s fine when you watch it. It works much like “The Word” does on Colbert, with McCain saying stuff about how jobs have been created while the text reads that 1.8 million jobs have been lost.

But since I’m often working with my back to the TV, often I just hear it, which defeats the whole plan. What you hear is John McCain talking positively of the Bush years with no commentary or criticism. So for all those people who turn their attention elsewhere during commercial breaks, all they hear is a pro-McCain ad.

How To Be an Ally

Posted by – April 28, 2008

Over at Bilerico, “Guest blogger Rev. Ann Fontaine, of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, keeps the blogs Green Lent and what the tide brings in and writes for Episcopal Cafe. She is the author of Streams of Mercy: a meditative commentary on the Bible.”

Here’s her “Code for Allies”:

  • We listen to those with whom we work without judging the perspectives, experiences, and feelings of the members of the marginalized group, even when the words feel accusatory towards us. These perspectives, experiences and feelings reveal what we do not know about those with whom we seek to become allies.
  • We seek to learn from those with whom we ally in order to educate ourselves and others about the culture and concerns of those with whom we are allied. We examine our fears of “the other. We recognize the interconnectedness of “isms” and other examples of individual and societal prejudice.
  • We understand the commonalities and the differences among the various expressions of prejudice and isolation of groups.
  • We identify and work to change our prejudicial beliefs and actions as well as to change the beliefs and actions of others, both individual and institutional.
  • We build relationships with other discredited, marginalized, oppressed, non-privileged groups.
  • We work for the equalizing and responsible use of power and authority.
  • We advocate for policies and activities that support those affected by injustice.
  • We use appropriate language.
  • We confront inappropriate language.
  • We ask questions rather than assume we know the answer.
  • We take risks.
  • We appreciate the efforts by members of our ally group to point out our mistakes.
  • We combat the harassment, discrimination, and physical assault that marginalized groups experience in our society by speaking out, by our presence and by working to change the systems that continue oppression and give one group privilege over another.
  • We appreciate the risks taken by our allies for their own freedom.
  • We recognize that groups need to work on their own and with others – even when that means we may be left out of the discussion and work.
  • We support other allies.
  • We act as allies with no conditions attached.

Now that’s a plateful, but do go read the whole post.

(via Lena, via Bilerico)

Summer Threads

Posted by – April 28, 2008

So I’ve decided my summer look this year is going to be ‘Stranger Than Paradise extra cum Buena Vista Social Club.’

WTF?!

Posted by – April 27, 2008

THURSDAY, APRIL 3 Oregon is in the national spotlight again—and it’s all thanks to our very own transgender pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. In fact, Thomas hit the big time today when she… sorry, he… made an appearance on Oprah! “It’s not a male or female desire to have a child,” Beatie sagely told the big O, “it’s a human desire.” Yeah, it’s probably not a good idea to put too fine of a point on it—especially since Beatie is only a “man” in the loosest sense of the word. While Beatie did take testosterone treatments, had her… sorry, his… breasts flattened into a more masculine shape, and took legal measures to call herself… sorry, himself… a man, she’s… sorry, he’s… still got all the female parts underneath—including the va-jay-jay and reproductive organs. So while we’re big fans of our pals in the trans community, Beatie calling herself… sorry, himself… a “man” is like a Potato Head adding a nose and mouth and asking people to call him “Mister.” Sorry! Is that “Ms. Potato Head”?

From The Portland Mercury, by Ann Romano. Emphasis theirs.

Mr. Fucking Potato Head? Is she kidding? What kind of dehumanizing bullshit is that? Okay, folks, start writing. There’s contact info on their site, but here, but here are three email addresses that might be useful. If anyone can find a direct email for Ms. Romano, do post it.

  • mercuryeditorial@portlandmercury.com
  • lovenotes@portlandmercury.com
  • anonymous@portlandmercury.com

You might want to ask her, specifically, what “So while we’re big fans of our pals in the trans community” is supposed to mean in the context of this very fucked up article.

UPDATE 4/27: Romano apologized.

There is Nothing Like a…

Posted by – April 27, 2008

… No, not a dame. (Or a Dane, for those of you who saw Betty’s performance with the Butch McCloud cast).

Rather, there is nothing like a resume for making you aware of what exactly you’ve been doing with your time. There are moments, reviewing and updating mine, that I want to put things in parentheses

  • 2008: survived Wisconsin winter
  • 2002: wrote unpublished novel
  • 2001 – 2008: played Sims for sanity’s sake
  • 1993 – 1997: traveled extensively through SE Asia
  • 1991 – still: worked on novel that I still can’t seem to get right

… stuff like that. It is interesting to see things drop off as time goes by – my job with NYPIRG in the early 90s is gone, as is my time working as an office assistant at CCNY. A long time ago my jobs at RKO Video and at my sister’s bakery disappeared.

Though sometimes, you know, I still want to mention that I was a paperboy: nothing like delivering papers to develop strong thighs and self-motivation. (I know you’re out there, fellow former paperboys! & If there are any female fellow paperboys, say hello!) I did come to suck at it because I developed a healthy fear of dogs. Amazing that I still went on to canvas door to door years later. It’s amazing what you can do to avoid the 9-5 grind.

No job yet.

L&O

Posted by – April 26, 2008

So the new guy on Law & Order, Cyrus Lupo, played by Jeremy Sisto, is a hottie, like a young Tom Berenger. & He can act.

Anyone think it’s a coincidence that Detective Green was ushered out the week of Earth Day?

Quote of the Day

Posted by – April 26, 2008

“I get worried for young girls sometimes; I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent, and not so withered and shriveled.” – Amy Poehler

Don’t Speak

Posted by – April 25, 2008

Today is the Day of Silence, a day when students don’t speak in order to address issues of harassment and bullying in schools. It is not neccessarily specific to the protection of LGBT students, except that of course LGBT and gender variant students tend to be the target of most of the harassment.

From NCTE:

At NCTE, we believe passionately in the rights of all children and young people to go to school and be free from bullying and harassment. Learning needs to take place in an environment where children are safe — physically as well as emotionally — and can express their identities as they grow and develop.  Transgender children and teens deserve these rights as much as every other student in our schools.

This year’s Day of Silence is dedicated to Lawrence King.

GLSEN is the organization who started this event, and you can find out more about it at their website.

The Lesbian Hotel

Posted by – April 24, 2008

Does anyone else ever see the Doubletree Hotels logo and think it looks like a lesbian symbol? I do. So much so that every time I pass one I think, “and there’s the lesbian hotel.”

It’s not, of course. Not as far as I know, anyway. But still, just one little cross-stroke, & it could be.

Neil Gaiman Fan Club

Posted by – April 24, 2008

Reason #428 why I love Neil Gaiman.

Despite his self-doubt, he’s given me two of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever gotten:

  1. Finish what you start.
  2. You can only get up to make more tea.

After that, it’s just a bitter fight to turn your brain off so that you can not think well enough to write.

Law & Order Gawk

Posted by – April 23, 2008

My little plan today was to take 6 bags of clothes over to the Salvation Army since the one near us was gentrified out about a year or so ago; Betty volunteered to come with me, & then said coquettishly, “I thought maybe we could stop at the Old Navy.”

We never made it to Old Navy. We went to Victoria’s Secret, where I was promptly given the dyke sign to carry around when a salesperson came up to me to ask if I needed any help, and I just pointed to Betty and said, “I’m just waiting for her.” Afterwards, Daffy’s for a quick minute, since the place gives us both headaches. I walked quickly by the Cold Stone Creamery, since it’s a weakness of mine and I’m trying to lose weight, and then Target, since I have a firm belief that the only good summer clothes are cheap – nearly disposable. At least for bras and t-shirts I like, since I tend to sweat through them over a season. (TMI, maybe, but hey, you try finding cotton bras to support D cups in 90 degree heat & 90% humidity without sweating through them, & get back to me.)

We bought nearly nothing but we were starving by the time I’d try to pick out Hanes hipsters in the right size – $8 for 6! – and decided to walk to the Wendy’s in Fulton Mall. It was a hike, but we had lunch, & then we walked home, all the way down 4th Avenue (about 1.6 miles), decided to grab the all-important accordion files I needed for us, & for a client, on the way home.

& There was Kathryn Erbe! In Staples on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn! Kind of the least likely place I would have expected to see anyone, but it was her, & I didn’t gawk. The only odd thing was feeling safer with Eames in the house, which is of course desperately goofy since she’s an actor, not an actual NYPD detective.

We did make it home. I’d say we did a little more than 3 miles of walking, which means that my flat foot gave in & now I’m gimping with pain. But unfortunately there’s going to be a bit more pain before I get some of this weight off, which I have to do.

PFLAG

Posted by – April 23, 2008

There was a very recent kerfuffle about a local PFLAG chapter voting for Safe Schools legislation that was not gender identity inclusive. A few people emailed a few people from PFLAG National and they made sure that the local would not support gender identity exclusive language in the bill, and reassured me that PFLAG will only support legislation that is trans inclusive. National will be working with the local to write inclusive language for an upcoming Op-Ed.

PFLAG rocks.

For those of you who don’t know, they also have a special transgender division, called TNET.

(Thanks to Ethan St. Pierre and Diana for bringing my attention to it.)

NYC: Trans Partners Meeting

Posted by – April 23, 2008

Today, in New York, at the Center. For more info.

Gore Galore

Posted by – April 22, 2008

Anyone else tired of the drama? We’ve been watching Pennsylvania primary returns, & they exhaust me. But I can’t stop watching, either, just like that night Gore won the Presidency.

Divergent Lives

Posted by – April 22, 2008

My lives have diverged, some days in ways I can’t even measure.

Recently, at my 20th HS reunion, people wanted to know if they should call me Helen. Worse yet, I met up with an old friend who was in town for Comic Con and he wanted to know what to introduce me as.

But the worst is when it comes to work: on the one hand I’m a published author who has lectured at quite a lot of U.S. colleges and universities, who was recently nominated as one of the Top Ten female bloggers, and who has teaching experience at the college level.

On the other hand, I’m a freelance admin and bookkeeper who has also tutored and edited for the past couple of years.

When I look at my one resume (my author CV, to be accurate), I’m convinced the the temp people are going to want to know why on earth I need a temp job. But the other looks a little thin for someone who is approaching 40, & really looks like I haven’t been doing much for the past couple of years, which I haven’t, because I’ve been busy promoting a book and teaching, of course.

It’s a funny life. But I still need a job.