Gender Testing at the Olympics

& CNN covers the gender-testing at the Olympics in an interesting way. I’m curious the way other news media are reporting this, so if you find stories, do send them.


The Umbrella

There’s been a recent thread on the message boards about the relative usefulness & accuracy of the “transgender umbrella” & quite frankly, I’m stumped by people who have a problem with the idea. I don’t see that it’s a complicated idea: that people who “trans” gender in some way – change, permanently or temporarily, their gender, or question the binary, etc. – have something in common. It doesn’t mean you’re all alike. It doesn’t mean you share all causes or issues or complaints. It doesn’t mean anything except that at some point, you question(ed) the assignment of an F or an M on your birth certificate as an accurate description of your gender at all times.

What I expect underlays the complications is an expectation of harmony, or unity, under that umbrella. That’s not going to happen, simply because different types of people under the umbrella have different experiences, identities, and definitely different complications with expressing that identity in the world. The post-op young transitioner who is happily married to a man may pass seamlessly as a woman, but only stealth keeps it that way. The crossdresser needs places to change, & community that isn’t heterocentric or homophobic. The genderqueer person wants to be acknowledge that they do not have a single gender, or any gender, or a consistent gender, or a binary-driven gender, depending on how they express being genderqueer.

There’s a lovely amount of variety.

What I think happens is that some forms of transness are considered “less than.” I can understand why a trans woman might feel her femininity mocked, or made questionable, by a crossdresser’s evocations of feminity. I’ve felt the same way when faced with some crossdressers’ interpretation of feminine. But I can’t imagine disliking crossdressers as a group because of that. After all, as many partners & feminists have experienced, transness in general tends to blow up a cissexual’s notions of gender in the first place, with its emphasis on nature & not nurture. We don’t dislike trans people as a result (well, some people do, of course, but I’m assuming most people reading this think that’s kind of dumb, if not outright prejudice.)

It’s not as if I’m not horrified by the behavior of some white folks, or other women, or writers, or Brooklynites, but I can’t deny I have something in common with them, either.

A Bit of Good News

A German court has decided that a pre-existing marriage does not have to be dissolved if one of the spouses in said marriage changes their legal sex.

In the UK, that’s exactly what has to happen, & if the couple wants to remain married, they can then have a civil union (just as Jan Morris & her wife have just done).

In the US, of course, it’s more a loophole because marriage is a contract, & contract law is such that as long as the contract is legal at the time it’s written, it continues to be unless otherwise contested.

But as far as I know, this is the first ruling to acknowledge that some transsexuals are already married when they transition, that they choose to remain married after transition, and that their marriage is legally a same-sex marriage after the fact.

It’s good news.

Fail Blog

When I’m having a crap day, I like to check out Fail Blog so I can feel a little bit better about myself.

Here’s a recent favorite:
fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

SF: HRC Protest

On July 26th, while HRC throws yet another swanky affair, transgender folks & their allies will party outside the HRC venue to protest gender exclusion from the national ENDA.

Details here.

More opinions here (Edge SF), here (NLGSF), here (Left in SF), and here (Bay Area Reporter).

I wish I could be there.

To Erma Bombeck, With Love

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with my weight & fitness for the past couple of years. I was in pretty great shape when I met Betty, & got lazy, for starters, which was then exacerbated by (1) pretty extreme depression after 9/11; (2) quitting a job that was very active for writing, which is not; and (3) getting older and having my metabolism slow. Effectively it’s been a decade since I worked out at a gym regularly, which is embarassing to admit, though I have almost always walked regularly, and some distances, do some yoga, work out with free weights & calisthenics, & of course try to watch what I eat.

Recently, I joined a gym again because watching what I eat and walking a lot and doing at-home workouts wasn’t helping.

But – I know this is going to be a shocking revelation – I am totally out of shape. I go to the gym in my baggy sweats and t-shirt, and get on the Precor elliptical machine, which is kind to my flat foot and bad knees, and start pedaling. In minutes, I notice how much slower I am going than anyone near me, and yet – and yet – my heart rate shoots straight out of any health zone, weight loss or cardiovascular. I slow down a little more, take breaks, watch my heart rate respond, and then notice I have become the literal tortoise to the hares pedaling around me. Continue reading “To Erma Bombeck, With Love”

Dallas: Another LGBt Rift

A gay bar, and its gay bar owner, have decided to ban drag queens and trans women from their “Trashy Tuesday” night – exactly because the bar night is so crowded that they don’t have time to babysit the bad apples of their crowd.

“How do I separate one draq queen that is being bad from others?” Moore said. “We don’t have the time on Tuesday nights with all the people in here to sit there and tell them apart from one another. If a drag queen misbehaves one week and then the next comes back in a different outfit I wouldn’t be able to recognize them. That’s why I don’t want any of them in here on Tuesdays.”

Wow, now that IS tricky! How about you just ban the person who does the bad stuff?

(from The Dallas Voice. More at their blog. Thanks to Ben for the tip.)

Dishdrawer Boor

Has everyone seen the ad for the Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawer? A woman is putting dishes away, from the dishwasher into the cupboard drawers. As she bends over the dishwasher, and then the drawer, again and again, her husband, sitting nearby on a comfy chair, is saying “Dish” and then “Drawer” which becomes “Dishdrawer” & voila, he’s invented this genius new thing.

& All I can think watching it is, He should get off his genius ass & help her.

But on a more serious note, I wonder sometimes if the reason women aren’t known to have invented as many things is precisely because they’re usually busy doing stuff while the guy is sitting there watch them.

For my sister, who has put away more than her fair share of dishes in her life, a very very happy birthday.


A very happy 30th birthday to CT who is one of our favorite people ever.

Just a Guy

Our downstairs housemate of the past 5 years or so left today, to move to his hometown, where he got offered a job he couldn’t turn down. I’ve been friends with him nearly two decades; he’s the one who made my wedding gown, and who watches our cats and feeds our fish while we’re away, and saying I will miss him is the understatement of a century.

I’m also a little envious that he got that job, the one that you’d leave NYC for, and that he’s going home to have his close friend and family nearby. There is a certain disjointedness in my life these days, and I know that mine will not come together in the ways his is – my parents are retired in FL and there’s no way on God’s green earth I would ever move down there, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be home. Maybe that’s a good thing. Instead I stay here in Brooklyn, with my sister 20 blocks away and more friends than I can count.

Except, of course, the one I’ll be missing starting today.

Partners, Talking

On BBC, an interview with the (female) partner of an MTF and the (male) partner of an FTM is worth listening to. Though I will say the FTM in question turned into a jackass, not a man.

Most interesting to me are their thoughts about their sexual relationships.

Footloose: NYC Style

I know this may be hard to believe for people who don’t live here, but it is illegal to dance in bars in NYC. Really. Places have to have a cabaret license in order to allow dancing. The law’s 82 years old, which means it was created in 1926, which means it was probably created in the midst of Prohibition to combat speakeasies, and we never removed it.

Well go figure, but Mayor Bloomberg is talking about looking into it.

(I’ve dated myself with the Footloose reference, no? Amazing what a huge deal that movie was at the time.)

Abortifacient Irafaciens

The Bush administration distributed a memo that would make birth control pills abortion:

According to the HHS draft, “abortion” takes on a very broad meaning: “The Department proposes to define abortion as ‘any of the various procedures — including the prescription and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.’”

RH Reality check has a link to the leaked document. The whole thing is ridiculous – the last legs of the Bush administration, trying to redefine “abortion” as any kind of birth control or family planning. Coming soon: woman saying no to sex defined as abortion. As much as that’s Onion-y, I fear it’s what the anti-choicers are really all about – women barefoot & pregnant.

(via Carpetbagger).

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NY Is Not America

I just love that the rest of America is all of a sudden paying attention to New Yorker magazine covers. Hysterical.

7 Year Itch?

Our 7th wedding anniversary is today, but of course we’ve been together for 10+ years, so to my mind, the 7 year itch (if there ever is one) has come & gone.

But a couple of friends of ours recently got engaged, which thrills us, so a very happy engagement to them on our anniversary!

This Time Around

On hearing about the closing of Indymac Bank, my thoughts went like this:

  • What the hell kind of name is that for a bank?
  • Who has more than $100k in savings?
  • I will probably never have to worry about having more money than the FDIC insures.

Which is, in these proto-depression days, something like reassuring. In case you don’t know, the FDIC guarantees accounts up to $100K. So if you have more than that, you need to spread it around if you want it guaranteed. The FDIC was invented after the last runs on banks, after the Great Depression. It’s nice to know, so far, that it’s working, but apparently there’s another 90 banks that are at risk of closing due to this whole mortgage disaster.

Of course, if you just have too much money in the bank, you should feel free to donate any extra you’ve got to the hundreds of organizations that need it.

This financial post brought to you courtesy of my sister Kathy’s birthday, who bugged me & bugged me to take economics courses in colleges & who I thoroughly ignored. (Sorry, Kath. Modernism seemed so much more pressing at the time. Happy Birthday!)


from The Jaded Hippy: Sums up my feelings pretty well

More Death Shows: Cold Case

I watch a lot of death shows, as I call them – the forensics, the procedurals, the investiigation shows. I’m a big fan of Cold Case, especially: the premise is that they have to take on a cold case – a case where the leads died, mostly – and solve it. So there’s a kind of historical quality to it, and some of the early shows I saw involved a woman who got an abortion when it was still illegal, and another about a gay bashing. Every episode I’ve seen involving LGBT folks is sympathetic, like the one my mom saw about an FTM, and “Best Friends,” which I saw recently, about an inter-racial lesbian relationship in 1932; Tessa Thompson played the African American half of the couple, and wore some natty suits.

But I find this show’s real appeal is the cultural history & the music: because it’s historical, they play a lot of good shit when they’re recreating a scene in the 1950s, or 60s, or 1978, or 2004. Lo & behold, someone has compiled all of the music from all the different episodes. Like Episode 21, “Torn,” which has music by Bessie Smith and Jelly Roll Morton, or Episode 6, “Static” with Gene Vincent and Little Richard.

Musicheads, do check it out. They show hours & hours of it late at night on TNT.