Month: November 2008

Crossdressing Husband & Father on NPR

Posted by – November 30, 2008

Some things you just never expect. NPR recently did a show about a crossdressing husband & father that was about as off the mark as Dr. Phil usually is. Pathologizing, full of the embarassed & shamed comments by the wife and commentary of the narrator, it was rife with ignorance and misunderstanding, and seemed to equate this person’s other mental health issues with his need to crossdress.

Wow. I wish I were more often pleasantly suprrised by the media, but I really never expected this kind of crappy story-telling from NPR. Just one opinion that offset all the negativity would have been nice.

That the story is about someone who is deceased makes it all the more sickening. There is no one to represent Doug/Donna to explain what crossdressing is all about.

You can listen to it here – all of 12 minutes & nothing redeemable! – & narrated by a family “friend.” Feh.

Buying Stuff

Posted by – November 29, 2008

& So it begins: the holiday season.

Did any of you go shopping yesterday? I didn’t, but then, I never do. My holiday shopping is (at best) erratic, and usually kind of last minute. Many Xmases ago, Betty & i went shopping together, & since then that’s closer to what we do: decide on whatever amount of money we can spare & then we just go out shopping together, & buy each other stuff we like.

But mostly I’m not big on stuff anymore; we have too much already, & our 1BR apt is packed to the gills. What I’d like is for someone to come clean our place, instead. Maybe it’s a sign of age, but stuff just means I need to clean out some stuff I already own to make room for the new stuff. & Somehow I feel a George Carlin routine coming on.

Mumbai

Posted by – November 28, 2008

I’m honestly a little surprised the US news media is reporting these terrorist bombings in India, because usually, they don’t. Most Americans have no idea how many bombings have gone on there in past years; all these years we’ve been worrying, since 2001, they’ve had regular bombings with regular fatalities.

Our condolences to all the people whose lives were lost or injured by these hateful acts.

Back to CO

Posted by – November 28, 2008

I’m a little sad because Betty returns today to Colorado to finish the dental stuff she started a few months back. She was already away working a few days this past week, & will be gone working once she gets back from CO. This making money thing is necessary, I know, but I really hate that we end up apart because of it.

Likewise, she may not be coming with me for the whole time while I’m in Lawrence, again, because of the making money thing. But then I think about all the people even on our message boards who have already lost their jobs and feel thankful that both of us can get work, even if it comes with temporary separations.

Though I do have a lot of stuff to get done, and I may have a better chance of that while she’s not here. Hopefully, anyway. Lemonade, lemons: you know the drill.

Giving Thanks

Posted by – November 27, 2008

A guy who couldn’t read & write, and whose teachers made him “feel small,” carves tiny sculptures that can fit in the eye of a needle.

There is something so lovely about that.

I’m giving thanks this year for people like him, whose creativity and persistent humanity remind me that there are so many interesting ways to respond to bad shit, & they can be life-affirming acts of beauty.

& I’m giving thanks for Barack Obama, like so many others, because I am continually reminded of his decency, his pragmatism, & his big big brain every time he speaks or grants an interview.

Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans.

Dr. Phil Phucks Up, Again

Posted by – November 26, 2008

Allison Steinberg, writing for the Gay Rights blog at change.org, wrote about the heinous treatment Dr. Phil gave transgender issues, and people, on a recent show.

Asswipe. He had someone on from Focus on the Family as an expert on trans & gender variant kids. As if they’re the arbiters of tolerance.

He tires me.

Movie Review: Milk

Posted by – November 25, 2008

Here’s a review of Milk, about the life of Harvey Milk, by my friend Doug McKeown. (I haven’t seen it yet but will because of his review.)

Let’s get two questions out of the way. Is Milk entertaining? Without qualification. Is it important? Resoundingly. Also funny, tragic, endearing, and rousing. There is not one false note from any of the actors, nor from director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (I will be seeing this one again just for the screenplay), or photographer Harris Savides. A very complicated story unfolds with absolute clarity, a story as much about the city of San Francisco as about Harvey Milk. I’d say more than that — it’s about the actualization of democracy, about community organizing as the great force for social justice. Take that, Sarah Palin!

I was especially pleased that no attempt is made to be “delicate” about Milk’s personality, either his sex life or his out-sized ego, a forthrightness that makes him all the more heroic, I think. After a stunning opening sequence tossing us in medias res, and a conventional framing device (and foreshadowing), we quickly get to know Harvey Milk through the persona of Sean Penn, a smooth and easy task if there ever was one. He hooks up with a younger guy, Scott Smith, who has the movie star good looks of a — well, a James Franco. It is completely credible that Franco’s Scott goes for the self-deprecating charm of this man with a face so open it hides nothing, who is so comfortably flamboyant, and finally, irresistible. The camera captures not so much sex between them as lovemaking — which is to say, as much warmth as heat. There is even what I would call nuzzling, in close-up. What’s not to like? But there are inevitable strains. While we are ostensibly caught up in the difficulties of their relationship, the larger drama emerges as Scott withdraws into the background. An extraordinary moment in time elevates the Mayor of Castro Street to local hero.

More

Last OC Column, or That Was Quick

Posted by – November 24, 2008

Easy come, easy go: I got word last week that OurChart.com is no longer, or will soon be no longer, or will no longer be updated, or something like that. So no, I wasn’t fired; everyone was.

So here’s the last column I wrote for them. It went up today, as planned, but there will be no more to follow.

(If anyone knows of a magazine that needs a queer relationships columnist, you know where to find me!)

More

Review: She’s a Boy I Knew

Posted by – November 22, 2008

A friend of a friend in Lincoln, Nebraska got to see the documentary She’s a Boy I Knew which I’d heard good things about, so I asked her to write a review.

by Dr. Pat. Tetreault

She’s A Boy I Knew is a remarkably well-made film. It is honest, funny, poignant and real. Canadian Gwen Haworth narrates and directs the documentary about her life, her coming out process regarding her gender and sexuality, and how her transition to become the woman she is meant to be impacts her life as well as the lives of those she loves and who love her. Through the use of home videos and interviews with family members and friends, including her ex-wife, Gwen reveals the depth and range of emotion and the process involved in coming out and in transitioning. Brief animated segments are also included to lighten the film while providing background information. More

Letter To a Wife

Posted by – November 21, 2008

My friend Shirene, who I met while I was researching My Husband Betty, and at a SPICE conference to boot, has contined to work with wives who have just found out their husbands are crossdressers. She wrote this letter recently to one such wife, and I thought it was worth sharing here, for any husband who might want to use it to help come out to his wife, or for any wife who has just found out.

I don’t necessarily agree with how she simplifies certain issues – like the “crossdressers are heterosexual” meme – but a lot of the rest of it is a good “talking down” for a new wife who might be completely panicking.

Dear Jill,

Hi.  I hope you don’t mind receiving a letter like this from a stranger, but my husband is  transgender also and I know that if I could have received a letter such as this when I found out, it would have made it easier on both me and my husband. My name is Shirene, I’m 43, we live in S******, IL and I’ve known about Shayla since ‘98.  We’re at 555 555 5555.

I will admit it’s somewhat of an adapted form letter so please ignore the things that don’t apply to your situation and please excuse the things I’m telling you that you already know. More

Écriture Masculin?

Posted by – November 21, 2008

The webstie the GenderAnalyzer proposes to know the gender of your blog. Or its author, I assume.

(en)gender is apparently 67% male, and apparently it’s wrong about 47% of the time, which is probably not a whole lot better than just guessing.

I wonder if it would get Hélène Cixous‘ blog right.

Threnody

Posted by – November 20, 2008

Okay, maybe it’s me, or my goth past, or I’m just odd that way, but I happened to find this blog, The Blog of Death, while I was looking for – believe it or not – info about David Reimer, and considering this is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I thought it was appropriate to bring up.

I once went to a cremation in Indonesia, which is a loud, lovely affair; people wear white and they make a lot of noise and walk in circles and doubleback on the path to where the cremation will occur. They do all this in order to confuse the evil spirits, who are apparently only capable of traveling a straight path, and so keep them from bothering the soul of the recently dead.

The fire itself is so hot, and hot in Indonesia is not nothing, because it’s already so hot, and all the running back and forth and making noise gets everyone even hotter, and sweatier, and then there is hunger and thirst, and people eat and drink.

When I saw Susan Stryker speak recently, she talked about Ghost Dance, and like her, I don’t want to bother anyone else’s culture to make my point, except to say: transing, as she posits, is about moving, about assembly, self-assembly and assemblies of people, which is why, in some ways, it makes perfect sense that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day about death. Death is transing a boundary we don’t understand, a barrier we approach, each of us, alone. But as a community we gather, we lament, we tell stories of each other and we make loud noises; sometimes we double-back and we certainly don’t walk in straight lines, do we?

Keep our recently deceased free of evil spirits. Wear white and make noise. Celebrate their lives, and your own.

NYT Duanna Johnson

Posted by – November 19, 2008

The New York Times reported on Duanna Johnson’s murder. I’m actually surprised – pleased, but surprised.

Raped Soldiers

Posted by – November 18, 2008

Here’s another update – and more chilling news – about the astronomical levels of rape and sexual harassment inflicted on female soldiers serving in the US military. To really add insult to injury, the military’s health insurance plan doesn’t pay for rape kits in many circumstances.

This is embarassing and pathetic for us as a country.

In the meantime, Ann Dunwoody has become the first female four-star general. Maybe she can do something about it.

Why Marriage?

Posted by – November 17, 2008

My next Our Chart post is up, this one about same sex marriage, and trans loopholes, and why.

Some Cool Stuff

Posted by – November 17, 2008

Here are some cool things I’ve unearthed in recent weeks that I’ve been meaning to blog about at length but find myself to busy to do!

I am writing and reading a lot this fall, and most of the writing is not for publication, sadly – like my personal statement for my Ph.D. application, amongst other things. So keep sending me cool stuff, or I may start posting descriptions of classes I want to teach, and other odd things.

Please Donate

Posted by – November 16, 2008

If you like what we’re doing here & can help us keep doing it, please donate. Thank you so much.

Today in a Town Near You

Posted by – November 15, 2008

Maddow Style

Posted by – November 14, 2008

Did anyone else notice that Rachel Maddow seemed “poofier” tonight? Maybe it was just her hair. Maybe it was an accident. It’s not so different than how she usually looks, but different enough that I noticed. And was distracted by it.

Please, MSNBC, don’t make her over into a fembot, not when she can look like this. Which jeez louise, even I find hot hot hot. Personally, I love that she makes all the women on TV look kind of overdone with the big hair and big jewelry and pounds of makeup. It’s like she’s introduced a new gender to television, and it’s about time someone did!

& Here’s an article from New York magazine about her, if you can’t get enough!

Protest Prop 8

Posted by – November 14, 2008

Tomorrow there are rallies against Prop 8 happening all over the country! Go to www.jointheimpact.com for more information about the rally near you.

There’s a Wiki so you can easily find your local contacts and events.

In NYC, the rally will happen at 1:30 at City Hall.

Get out there, people! Bring your friends, family, ministers, allies, teachers – whoever is willing.

(Although I have to say I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering why all this wasn’t happening before Election Day.)