DO is upcoming, and so I’ve been wondering: why do I so hate being naked in front of people?

I went to a workshop at a DO summer camp about getting in touch with your body, and you’re meant to sit there naked, and talk about stuff, like what you like about your body, what you hate, problems your body brings you, & pleasures.

& I did it, at long last, only after stripping down piece by piece. A little at a time. Iit was when Ii was at my thinnest (which means it was fall 2006), and now, 20 lbs heavier, I’m thinking I should try that workshop again.

Because there are always people at DO who are fatter, hairier, older; more scarred, more beautiful, thinner, more hairless, with better or worse skin than me. Even if I were judging, which is not my style, I’d still end up somewhere in the middle – not the best, not the worst.

& Then I feel like such a shallow idiot. Because there are people with all sorts of bodies out there – scarred, people who have lost limbs, people with chronic medical conditions, etc. – and really I have a pretty healthy body, all told.

So what is it?

What annoys me most is that plenty of people are not comfortable naked & they’re perfectly okay with being uncomfortable being naked. Others are happy naked and okay with that. Me, I’m not okay with not being okay. *sigh*

5 Years

It’s the blog’s five year anniverary; amazing that I’ve been doing it this long, after Betty encouraged me to give it a try.

Thanks all, for reading.

Thank You Del

Activist and co-founder of The Daughters of Bilitis, Del Martin, has died. She co-founded the DOB – the first lesbian organization in America – with her partner, Phyllis Lyon, in 1955. Together they wrote and edited the group’s newsletter, The Ladder, and also co-wrote the 1972 book Lesbian/Woman. They were also issued the first marriage license after California’s Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. That is, they were married on June 16, 2008, nearly 60 years after they met.

Godspeed, Del Martin. And Phyllis — what can anyone say? Thank you both so much for being so brave. Phyllis, I hope your bravery sees you through missing her in the days ahead.


10:08PM – Here we go. I’m fully expecting to cry through most of his speech, and I expected that before Olbermann read some of it as a preview.

10:09PM – Though wow is this video heavy-handed.

10:13PM – As a speaker, I think I know that look on his face. He is about to blow this thing wide open.

11:02PM – By God. That is an historically important speech – the craft of it, the earnestness, the humor, the empathy. By god. “It’s how Henry won at Agincourt,” says Chris Matthews. Nation of whiners my ass. Own your failure, you ownership society types. Democrats and Republicans fight and die under the same flag. What a stunning piece of work, which simultaneously laid out his plans, criticized the bullshit that’s in DC, and taught Americans how to defeat and debunk the Republicans & John McCain. Jeez louise he just hit that OUT OF THE PARK.

ENOUGH, he said. I agree. We have had enough. Change doesn’t come from Washington; the people go to Washington and demand it. Damn straight.

Sign me up for the PA canvas. & Otherwise you can donate through the Trans for Obama campaign.

1:30AM – & on the second listen: “You’re on your own” = Obama’s summation of Trickle Down Economics.

& Pat Buchanan says it wasn’t a liberal speech. Silly, silly man. What it was is something so rare in American politics that we don’t recognize it when we see it, A Genuine Article Populist Speech.


I’m not going to share with you all what Betty’s dental surgery is going to cost us in the long run, and instead I’ll just say damn I shoulda been a dentist.

Still, she’s in good hands in CO, and goes for surgery this morning. Keep her in your thoughts, everyone.

(edited to add, 1:24 PM – got the call that she’s out of surgery & that it went well. she’s still under, & is expected to sleep most of the next 24 hours.)

Post-Blogging the DNC

I didn’t blog tonight because I was busy worrying about Betty and having dinner with my sister.

I don’t care what anyone else thinks — I think (Bill) Clinton’s speech was mediocre. For him, & for this campaign. Were I his speechwriting consultant, I would have sent him back to the drawing board. It was too safe, nearly mealy-mouthed. This is the man who defined what is is, after all.

Who did rock tonight was John Kerry. His talk left me thinking, as I did with (Hillary) Clinton’s, where the hell was that during their own campaigns? Kerry had his claws out, & that was lovely.

Biden’s rocked too (though it’s not yet up on YouTube). & Yes, I’m biased, since he’s a good Catholic boy from PA. But I just love that he’s made up for his stutter by being someone who speaks, sometimes too much, in public. In front of thousands. I haven’t liked him much since the Anita Hill fiasco, but he’s a good VP for Obama, and he gives good emotion. I especially liked what he said about America regaining the world’s trust.

What’s funniest is that I find myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan (who’s a regular commentator on MSNBC): Where’s Guatanamo? Where is the criticism of Cheney, that fucker? He’s a traitor and a shit and his approval rating is something like 18%. What about Rove? What about Valerie Plame? ATTACK, DEMOCRATS, ATTACK! These guys suck.

Here’s another thing: someone needs to get up & try to undo (Hillary) Clinton’s poison against Obama, specifically her charge about his “rhetoric.” We need rhetoric right now. Great leadership is not just about policy. It’s about Fireside Chats, and “nothing to fear but fear itself,” and “once more into the breach.” It’s about motivating people. & While no, we don’t need a motivational speaker as President, it doesn’t hurt when a guy as smart as Obama can move the masses with his words. I know I’ve needed someone to tell me to have hope, what with paying $900/month for health insurance that covers who the fuck knows what.

Stella Walsh

Paul Farhi wrote a really sensitive and smart column about Stella Walsh, IS conditions, and gender testing at the Olympics.

Walsh had no access to steroids in her day. And since her male organs were nonfunctional, Reiner says, she probably had partial or complete androgen resistance, which makes the body unable to produce or use the small amounts of testosterone that most women have. So it’s even possible that Walsh was at a disadvantage compared with her competitors.

Interesting reading, and a nice companion to Jenny Boylan’s op-ed in The NY Times a few weeks ago.

To fill out your gender Olympics reading, try Zagria’s bio of Dora Ratjen.

Clinton Redux

Is anyone else annoyed by the ongoing media silliness about Clinton’s voters? Either they’re on board, or they’re not. Clinton has said her piece about as articulately as anyone could, & it’s very apparent that if they don’t back Obama, they’re going against her wishes, which is one hell of a way to “support” a candidate.

Still, even for those who won’t vote for him, I do hope they vote. Ah, the stupidity of a woman not voting in a year where we had our first female candidate for president… don’t get me started. & All those other Dems running for the other umpteen offices will need supporting as well.

Blogging the DNC – Pt. 2

10:45pm – Wow. That was one hell of a video introduction, & one hell of a reception, Clinton just got. & She wasted no time at all expressing her support for Obama.

No way, Nohow, No McCain.

10:53PM – She’s in fine form, coming off as both confident but humble. *sigh* Wish we’d seen more of that during the campaign. & Why oh why didn’t she ever give that talk about gender she should have given? Atlantic Monthly reported that she considered it, but never made up her mind to do it. She should have. We needed that talk as much as we needed Obama’s on race.

11:03PM – Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her give this good a speech. With a shout out to Seneca Falls: “My mother was born before women were given the right to vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for President. This is the story of America.” Nice. & Then rousing Harriet Tubman’s “Keep going.”

Godspeed, Hillary Clinton. Well fucking done.

Votes for Women!

Eighty-eight years ago today women were given the right to vote in the U.S. Here’s a cool timeline of all of the events that lead up to it, which is vital to understand in the context of fighting for other rights. It took about 70 years from the first Seneca Falls convention to the ratification of the law.

& Tonight, Hillary Clinton will be speaking at the DNC convention. I’m waiting to hear what she’s got to say now that it’s all said & done (but I do hope she’s writing a book about the experience, too).

There is nothing, but nothing, that pisses me off more than women who don’t vote. So get registered, if you’re not.

Blogging the DNC – Why Not?

Normally Betty & I would be talking loudly at each other over the DNC reporting, and since she’s not here, you all get to suffer my opinions, instead.

First: cool to see Luke Russert reporting, but even more cool, the happy smiles on Brokaw’s and Olbermann’s faces after he did.

Then: Nancy Pelosi’s speech was about as boring as dirt. She’s still right, though, that John McCain is wrong.

On the idea that Clinton supporters are voting for McCain… please stay home. Um, HELLO? He’s not pro choice, he’s not for equal pay for equal work, and he has voted against legislation that would make contraception more available, including the Gag Rule.

(more as the night goes on)

Ted Kennedy, filled with optimism and laughter, was like a salve. His comment on the war – and how our soldiers should not be sent into mistakes that aren’t worthy of their courage – was a concise articulation of the how sad so many of us have been these past years while we’re fighting the wrong war entirely.

10PMish – Buchanan is such an asswipe. Just in general.

10:30PM – Michelle Obama’s video retrospective, and now her older brother introducing her.

12:32AM – & Wow was she great. I was right there with all the other women who were crying listening to her, as Matthews & Olbermann pointed out. It killed me that they had to ask a woman why the tears. It’s one of us up there: a smart woman, a woman accused of being angry. The sexism directed at Clinton had its ramifications for all of us – even for those of us who don’t particularly like her.

Now go register to vote if you aren’t.

Too Weak for Color

My niece tells me that my sister just bought a guy’s bike because all of the women’s bikes came in lavender, light yellow, or pink. Maybe mint green.

So what is it about women that we can’t handle real colors? So many times I see women’s fashion in one window, and even like some stuff, but I want the same clothes in the men’s colors in the window right next door. Why do our colors have to be watered down?

Book Review: Queer Catholicism

It’s been a year of Catholics, hasn’t it? From the sad news about Ted Kennedy’s health, to the deaths of Tim Russert & George Carlin. So the editors of Queer + Catholic might have unusually good timing, even if none of the Catholics who died this year were queer.

I’m a contributor to this book – I’ll say that upfront to say that I’m biased – but I honestly didn’t know what to expect from it. I feared I would be one of very few to have anything positive to say. But the more of this book I read – and I’ve read almost all of it already – is that I was very, very wrong. The editors have chosen some of the most tender eulogies to their childhood Catholicism, some complicated appreciations of having been both queer and catholic, and honestly, some straight-up love letters to the mysteries that are the Catholic Church.

It is hard not to especially love hearing the way gay men talk about being Catholic: about the first time they noticed the obscenity and eroticism of the way Christ was portrayed, or the many martyred saints, the homoeroticism of all boys’ schools. The love and shame and pride are served up in such equal measure, but always with that kind of gentle, sad-eyed quality that gay men do so well.

How gender-y this book is struck me as well. My own piece is very much about gender, of course: I wanted to be a priest but found I had a vagina, horror of horrors. The other lovely female perverts and poets in this collection are uncanny in the way they talk about bodies, about blood, about sex.

Because Catholics are, as a lot, obsessed with sex. I had an older, experienced crossdresser once tell me that it’s always the Catholic girls who are wild rides. & I believe him.

What is in this book isn’t just sex though; we all, as Catholics, become a bit Jesuitical in seeing always both sides of the same coin. So that sex becomes suffering, and redemption; sex becomes shame, but also pride; sex becomes beauty, and divinity, and transcendence.

So there is something about declaring myself a Catholic that seems exactly right to me in the way the Church’s mysteries always enfolded a little more than you bargained for, and to me, that’s downright vulvic. Mother Church, indeed.

If you’re Catholic, or interested in religion, or in art, or homoeroticism, or spirituality – or any or all of the above – do get the book. These are some of the best, most personal, marrow-full essays I’ve read in a long, long time.

Kate Goes Ga-Ga

Kate Bornstein has gone ga-ga over WALL-E, as have tons of people. But only Kate Bornstein can talk about a robot movie and move seamlessly into a discussion of gender fluidity and butch/femme roles:

Marlene Dietrich in a tuxedo can make all our hearts flutter. So can Justin Bond in a gown or a tux… or both! Gender ambiguity—when it’s safely positioned onstage or up on a movie screen—is and always has been sexy to damn near all of us, no matter what our gender might be. All of our desires are being tickled. So how’s that happening? What is it that’s signaling sexual attraction to an audience with such a wide range of gender identities and sexual desires? I think the answer is that WALL•E is butch, and EVE is femme, two genders defined by the expression of strong, respectful, sexual desire.

She kills me.

Dark Odyssey Summer Camp 2008

Just to clarify, since a few people have asked: we will indeed be at Dark Odyssey’s Summer Camp this year, which happens from September 10th – 15th. It’s probably our favorite event of the year. I’ll be doing two of my regular workshops at DO: Trans Sex & Identity, and Uneven Libidos.

If I haven’t made clear what we love about this event, let me say: it’s inclusive. Beyond inclusive. The mix of sexualities – queer, straight, BDSM, kinky, leather, swinger, pagan, etc. – is mind-blowing. It’s sex positive in a way that nothing else I’ve experienced is.

It is very trans friendly, but you’ll only want to bring heels that you wear when you’re on your back, not to walk in – most of the camp is grass. There’s a pool, there’s lounge chairs, & there’s plenty of trees to be tied to, if that’s your sort of thing.

(You can check out a bunch of other posts I’ve done about DO over the years we’ve been going to get more of an idea.)

Too Much Drama

Not only are a ton of queens on Project Runway, but the benefits will be donated to Broadway Cares, in true queen style.

Sweetie looks fucking fantastic. But all of the NY queens we know are fabulous: Hedda Lettuce, Miss Understood, Acid Betty, Sherry Vine. (I hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

Thanks, ladies.