Month: June 2008

Pride Rant

Posted by – June 30, 2008

A great rant about Pride by Joe.My.God, which he wrote back in 2005 after watching a NYC Pride Parade:

Because even if Pride doesn’t change many minds in the outside world, it’s our PARTY, darlings. It’s our Christmas, our New Year’s, our Carnival. It’s the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other “Happy Pride!” Saying “Happy Pride!” is really just a shorter, easier way of saying “Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Way to go for not taking a rifle into a tower and taking out half the town! Well done, being YOURSELF!”

I’m not worried what the outside world thinks about the drag queens, the topless bulldaggers, or the nearly naked leatherfolk. It’s OUR party, bitches. If you think that straight America would finally pull its homokinder to its star-spangled bosom once we put down that glitter gun, then you are seriously deluding yourself. Next year, if one of the Christian camera crews that show up to film our “debauched” celebrations happen to train their cameras on you, stop dancing. And start PRANCING.

It seemed a great way to end Pride Month.

Protect Us From You

Posted by – June 29, 2008

Two of the big hypocrites of politics (of the last year) have come together to make clear that they value marriage enough to protect it from teh gay. Jeez louise. Maybe they should just start a Whitewash Party, & run on sheer hypocrisy.

As ridiculous and honestly funny as this is, it has repurcussions. Hate always does.

Healthcare Proxy Forms

Posted by – June 29, 2008

A couple who’ve been together for 18 years went on vacation, on a cruise, with three of their four children. One of them had a massive stroke as their ship was about to leave port, which meant she received medical care at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, where her partner was told the couple made the mistake of being in “an anti-gay city and state” and refused to let her partner in to see her, but for five minutes, as she was dying.

She died about 18 hours later. Both women were only 39 years old.

This is what DOMA & all this other anti-gay bullshit leads to, but please queer folks, fill out your healthcare proxies. You can find NYS’s here, and here in .pdf format. If people have or find links for these forms in their state, please post them below, or send them to me via email & I can post them.

More instructions and state-specific forms below the break. More

Pro-Choice and Voting

Posted by – June 28, 2008

RH Reality Check has put together a nice website of pro-choice information for the 2008 Election.

(via Feministe)

Felicity’s Last Flight

Posted by – June 28, 2008

Felicity Chandelle, pilot and crossdresser, died Monday at the age of 102. She was, as far as I know, the world’s oldest living crossdresser. I interviewed her a few years ago, when she turned 100, and not long after that she donated all of her papers – many of them magazines about crossdressing – to the LGBT Center Library here in New York. Some of them would not be able to be used until after her death, whereupon her male, legal name could be revealed, as if her part of her collection, too, were crossdressed.

Thanks for the gift Felicity. Fly right.

here! Video

Posted by – June 27, 2008

A while back I did an interview with Josh & Sara of here!, and I just discovered the videos are now up. I really enjoyed doing this interview, & really enjoyed both of them, which shows.

Part One

Part Two

Quickbiter

Posted by – June 27, 2008

Betty & I have been working on Aurora for years now. What we found out is that cats who are de-clawed are often meaner, and more prone to biting. If the cruelty of declawing your cats isn’t enough, those are two more good reasons not to do so.

But of course we got Aurora long after whoever owned her before had declawed her, & so we got a bitey cat who is something like post-traumatic. She doesn’t like her nether parts touched ever. Nor her belly, or her paws. She is mostly okay with being scratched between the eyes, and sometimes on her cheeks or under her chin. But mostly all touch is very conditional – depending on how full she is, how sleepy, how recently she’s had a standoff with one of the boys, or how long ago she saw some other cat in her front yard, how recently it’s thundered… you get the picture.

We’ve worked to make her a little less sensitive to touch, or more used to being touched in good ways. That is, we just try to communicate that a human hand does not need to be attacked immediately; she tends to be “shoot now, ask questions later” about hands. Things have gone very well, to the point that I will actually take a catnip toy away from her while she’s playing to toss it back to her, without fear of losing a finger.

Except that sometimes it’s hard to judge how she is. Sometimes the flick of the tail doesn’t predict her mood quickly enough to take your hand out of harm’s way. & So it was with me late Sunday night, early Monday, when she really got her teeth into me. It would be bad enough except, of course, I’m allergic too. So it started to swell, from about mid-forearm to wrist, and I had to go to the doctor, who put me on antibiotics and gave me a new tetanus shot.

So for this week at least, she is no longer Princess Aurora Thunderfist Quickbiter (which is her full name, after all), but just Quickbiter, and occasionally, that orange rescue fucker who bit me. (But of course I still love her, and I’m extra glad we didn’t rescue a pit bull, instead.)

Congress to Hold First Ever Hearing on Trans Issues

Posted by – June 26, 2008

Today is America’s first Congressional Hearing on transgender issues. The hearing, “An Examination of Discrimination Against Transgender Americans in the Workplace,” is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 10:30 am in room 2175 of Rayburn House Office Building. Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) called the hearing as Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee of the Committee on Education and Labor. Witnesses have not yet been announced.

“I am really proud of the role that NCTE played in getting us to this historical day. This is not only an opportunity to be truly heard by our fellow Americans, it will help to build the foundation for significant changes in federal laws protecting transgender people from discrimination,” notes Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE.

Committee hearings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend in person if you are in the area, but please be aware that space is limited. Some hearings are broadcast on CSPAN and streamed live through their internet site. You can stay up-to-date by checking NCTE’s blog.

WATCH:  If you would like to watch the first Congressional Hearing on transgender issues, you may be able to watch it through the committee’s live webcast at http://edwork.edgeboss.net/wmedia-li…eam_070124.asx

Gender Biased Science

Posted by – June 25, 2008

The other day a woman on our message boards wrote to me to say that as a scientist, she didn’t always feel comfortable or welcome on our message boards exactly because she is a scientist, and (I assume) happy & proud to be one. She was aware of my strongly-held opinions about scientists, especially when it came to gender.

What’s always interesting about having someone confront you about your prejudices is having to recognize them for what they are. On the one hand, I really love science, and scientists; the fearless work many have done in terms of environmental science, or medical research, and into all sorts of other cool things that I may or may not care about. But I’m suspicious of science when it comes to gender, and I had to figure out why.

First, I’ve probably read way too much Fausto-Sterling than a lay person should.

Second, I read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions at a time in my life when I was – well, a humanities major, & a political one.

But all half-kidding aside, this is why I take issue with science, and with scientists who study gender: the field of science is pretty notorious for gender discrimination. That fact has been pointed out by scientists, many of whom wrote in response to Lawrence Summers’ vague theorizing about why women aren’t in as esteemed positions in research and higher mathematics. So you’ve got an industry – & especially the feminists within that industry – clearly pointing out that the FIELD of science is pretty damn discriminatory.

However, I’m told that scientists’ goals are objective, which I believe. I believe many aim to be objective (as do many journalists, judges, etc.). First, that doesn’t mean they ARE objective. It just means that’s their goal. It’s a good goal. But when you’ve got actual scientists pointing out discrimination against women in hiring, on the one hand, and scientific studies about the differences between male and female brains, on the other, you kind of have a problem. Unless you’re going to argue that the people doing the research on the male and female brains have nothing whatsoever to do with the people who are doing the hiring and firing and grant-giving, and I have a hard time believing that.

Aside from that, of course, are all the other reasons: how we once saw race as a legitimate way to compare brains. How we used to think smarter people had larger brains. How it’s pretty obvious that people want to use the findings of science to justify ass-backwards gender roles.

But mostly what I want to know, now, is how we can trust an entire field of study which regularly discriminates against women not to bring those kinds of prejudices into the evaluation of male and female brains.

I’d really like an answer, if anyone has one.

(A slightly different take, over at Feministing, but I think both were inspired by the recent reports that straight men & lesbians have similar symmetries of brain, as do gay men & straight women, which is, as usual, being totally blown out of proportion by the media coverage of it.)

The Disappearing Virgin

Posted by – June 25, 2008

The New York Times just did a great article on the tradition of sworn virgins in Albanian culture – that’s the tradition that says a woman can foreswear marriage (& presumably, sex) in order to live as a man & so be head of household, inherit land, etc.

Betty & I had an Albanian cab driver in Boston not so long ago who had no idea what I was talking about when I asked him about it, & no Albanian I’ve ever met – I ask them all – has ever heard of it, either. But the article makes clear exactly why your average Albanian wouldn’t have.

What’s most interesting to me is that in every case they cite – and I don’t know if this is true for every case – it was the woman’s choice to “become the man.”

Psych!

Posted by – June 24, 2008

I try to watch a new show, this time Psych, because the trailers always seem funny, and what do you know? A man is being haunted by someone who keeps redecorating and leaving long red hair everywhere.

It turns out he has multiple personality disorder and one of his personalities is a woman trapped in a man’s body. She’s been going to a shrink to find out about SRS.

The third personality is homicidal and doesn’t want his genitals changes. So first he kills one shrink for helping the trans female identity, and is about to kill another, when the two guys of Psych figure it out. The name of the show was “Who Ya Gonna Call?

I can’t escape trans. I can’t. I want to watch a stupid show & it’s still about gender expression. Though I do appreciate that the homocidal personality and the transgender personality weren’t the same. Is that progress? Maybe.

Another Reason I Love Crossdressers

Posted by – June 23, 2008

Erica Foley, a blogger on TGB, recently decided to do a photo shoot that was inspired by the first few pages of My Husband Betty. If you remember it, it’s about why a woman wearing her husband’s shirt is considered sexy, while a man who’d put on his wife’s slip, isn’t.

So here he is being the girl enjoying her guy’s clothes- though of course the girl & the guy are one & the same:

Just love genderfuck like this. Love it.

RIP “Foole”

Posted by – June 23, 2008

George Carlin died tonight, in LA, at the age of 71. I don’t even know what to say: he is probably Betty’s all time favorite comedian & one of mine as well. There are so many of us who grew up influenced by his worldview, but more than that, by his observations on the ridiculousness of human behavior. In a good way.

My favorite bit of his, which I refer to more often than I would have ever expected, is from a routine he did not too long ago, where he’s talking about the whole “save the planet” activism, & then points out, “The planet will be fine. We’re the ones who are going somewhere. The planet’s going to shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”

Indeed. Thanks for a lifetime of laughing so hard my sides hurt, Mr. Carlin. Maybe they’ll give you that ass, at long last, in the heaven you never believed in.

Crap Skin, Good Products

Posted by – June 22, 2008

I’m not much of a product review type, but I’ve happened upon a couple of products that make me happy, so I thought I’d share.

First, there’s now generic Zyrtec available, and it’s called Cetirizine. Half the price. Works just as well.

Second is all about skin, especially for the summer, especially since I’ve always had crap skin, there’s Aveeno’s Clear Complexion products, namely the Foaming Cleanser and Daily Moisturizer. Believe me, I’ve had crap skin for forever and *nothing* works. I’ve been using these for a while and continue to be impressed with how well they work (when I remember to use them.) It IS expensive, but being one of the cheapest people alive, I still find they’re worth it.

In addition, Almay makes a pressed powder compact for oily skin that has 5% Salicylic Acid, too. I love it. I know all the pressed powders say they don’t clog pores, but I don’t believe them. Whenever I wear foundation, or powder, or some combination, I always break out a day or so after. I haven’t tried the liquid yet, because I just don’t wear foundation in the summer, but I’ll give it a go this fall.

Caveat Emptor

Posted by – June 22, 2008

Having worked for NYPIRG long long ago, I’m pleased to see internet consumer advocacy, like www.mouseprint.org, covering standard consumer issues.

They update every Monday on issues like how big that jug of OJ really is, to the fine print for car rentals. Lots of useful stuff.

Here Comes the Summer

Posted by – June 21, 2008

Today’s the Summer Solstice, the day where there’s the most hours of light. In celebration, I thought I’d remind everyone that it’s legal for women to go topless in New York, and that a clever photographer did a nice photo essay celebrating the fact.

I particularly like the one of the tattooed girl asking the NYC cop for directions.

And Happy Birthday, Lara!

The Other Hand

Posted by – June 20, 2008

The AMA passed a resolution attempting to make home births illegal, and yet in the same session, they also passed Resolution 114 (MS Word .doc):

Whereas, Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a serious medical condition recognized as such in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases; and

Whereas, GID, if left untreated, can result in clinically significant psychological distress, dysfunction, debilitating depression, and, for some patients without access to appropriate medical care and treatment, suicidality and death; and

Whereas, The medical literature has established the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery in the treatment of patients diagnosed with GID; and

Whereas, Many health insurance plans categorically exclude coverage of mental health, medical, and surgical treatments for GID, even though many of these same treatments, such as psychotherapy, hormone therapy, breast augmentation and removal, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, and salpingectomy, are covered for other medical conditions; and

Whereas, The denial of otherwise covered benefits for patients diagnosed with GID represents discrimination based solely on a patient’s gender identity; and

Whereas, Our AMA opposes discrimination (AMA Policies H-65.983, H-65.992) and the denial of health insurance (H-180.980) on the basis of gender identity; and

Whereas, Our AMA opposes limitations placed on patient care by third-party payers when such care is based upon sound scientific evidence and sound medical opinion (H-120.988); therefore be it

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder in adolescents and adults (New HOD Policy); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our AMA oppose categorical exclusions of coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder in adolescents and adults when prescribed by a physician. (New HOD Policy)

Which doesn’t do the job entirely, but it’s certainly a good weapon in a trans person’s arsenal when arguing for why their transition related costs should be funded.

(thanks to Veronica for the news)

No Habla Felina

Posted by – June 20, 2008

Do you see that belly? Our downstairs neighbor – soon to depart for IN – calls her Butterball, now. And whenever I take her out on her leash, someone invariably asks me if I take her out so she can get some exercise, or they ask if she’s pregnant. I’m glad she can’t speak English.

On the One Hand

Posted by – June 19, 2008

The AMA just passed a resolution to outlaw home births. Astounding. As if women haven’t been giving birth for eons at home, with the help of midwives. My own mother was born in her family’s home in PA with the help of a midwife (and she had to fight for the right to have natural childbirth when she was giving birth to her own children in the 1950s & 1960s).

This is baffling, and unfair. For a lot of poor women, the increased costs of health insurance, the debilitating recovery needed from the over-prescribed C sections, and just the sheer cost of a hospital delivery, make it nearly impossible for these women to do anything BUT give birth at home.

& Here I was cheered by the news that the AMA resolved to support the treatment of GID by health insurance coverage (more on that tomorrow). I feel like I’ve just been spun in a revolving door.

(via Feministing)

The Mississippi

Posted by – June 19, 2008

My thoughts, and condolences, and best wishes for all of you in the midwest who are worried about the Mississippi’s levies breaching (or who are dealing with the ones that already have, in IA).

Recently it’s been as if Mother Nature has decided to show us exactly who’s boss.