Month: November 2008

Trans Activism in the Heartland

Posted by – November 13, 2008

Ann at Feministing posted about this really good article from The American Prospect about trans activism in the heartland and a companion article about gay activism’s slow adoption of trans issues.

Many would view the politically red heart of the country as a harsh, unwelcoming, and vaguely dangerous place for the transgender community. When we think of states like Nebraska and Wyoming, we don’t think of M.J. — we think of people like Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard, both killed in vicious, nationally publicized hate crimes. But the truth of the matter is far more interesting, inspiring, and instructive. Away from the coasts and the urban havens, a vibrant transgender-rights movement is slowly emerging across the mountain and plains states. Through increased visibility, community building, legislative outreach, and face-to-face public education in churches, schools, and neighborhoods, trans people are building a foundation for equality in some of the nation’s most conservative regions.

(A big thank you to the women at Feministing for their coverage of transgender issues. They do a great job of it, and it’s such a relief to see my fellow feminists speak up about trans stuff.)

People who here we’re from New York often assume things are better here, but if you take a look at the Transgender Day of Remembrance lists, you’ll see how many trans people were murdered in big cities, including San Francisco (Ruby Rodriquez, 2007) and New York (Sanesha Stewart, 2008). The assumption that big liberal cities are “safer” is fine until you run into that one asshole.

Stay safe, people.

Dan Savage, Parent

Posted by – November 12, 2008

Dan Savage in the NYT on the Arkansas ruling prohibiting unmarried couples – not just gay and lesbian ones – from adopting or fostering children:

That state’s Proposed Initiative Act No. 1, approved by nearly 57 percent of voters last week, bans people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage” from serving as foster parents or adopting children. While the measure bans both gay and straight members of cohabitating couples as foster or adoptive parents, the Arkansas Family Council wrote it expressly to thwart “the gay agenda.” Right now, there are 3,700 other children across Arkansas in state custody; 1,000 of them are available for adoption. The overwhelming majority of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their heterosexual parents.

Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

I really do wonder how even people who hate gay folks think this is justified.

(thanks to Tina for the link!)

Danish Girl’s Wife

Posted by – November 12, 2008

It turns out that Nicole Kidman will be playing Lili Elbe in the upcoming movie The Danish Girl. Her wife will be played by Charlize Theron.


  • The movie is based on the book The Danish Girl.
  • With Theron & Kidman playing them, this just seems like another excuse for “hot lesbian innuendo.”
  • I’m also a little perturbed by the “play a transsexual / get an oscar” trend.
  • Still, i’ve always expected the wife of a trans woman to be played by someone like Kathy Bates, & at her worst, too, so Charlize Theron isn’t so bad. Except that the book seems to imply her husband’s transsexuality was her own fault, and in the reviews of the book, it seems she comes off as a cheerleadery sort.

Veterans Day

Posted by – November 11, 2008

First, thank you to all the Veterans out there who have served this country with honor and courage.

Second, the results of the survey TAVA (Transgender American Veterans’ Association) conducted are available on their website. From their press release:

The Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara has released the findings of a survey, conducted by Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA), that shows that transgender veterans are being turned away and being mistreated in high numbers by Veterans Administration medical facilities.  The survey of 827 U.S. military veterans and active-duty personnel mark the first major empirical findings on transgender people in the military. This represents a strong sampling from what is estimated to be approximately 300,000 veterans in the US who identify as being transgender.

Or, to paraphrase the way Monica Helms put it on a recent call, ‘Trans veterans want at least the same bad benefits other veterans get.’ Do check it out.

Duanna Johnson

Posted by – November 11, 2008

Duanna Johnson was murdered Sunday night.

You may remember her as the woman who pressed charges after dealing with harassment by Memphis police.

She was shot execution style while on her “usual corner.”

I’m tired of this.

I want there to be no reason for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I want there to be no new names on that goddamn list.

I hope her mother, and her family, and her friends, find peace, and that she has too.

Keith Olbermann on Marriage

Posted by – November 11, 2008


OC Column

Posted by – November 10, 2008

I’ve already lost track of how many columns I’ve written for Our Chart, but the third of my triptych about monogamy is up at Our Chart. Do check it out.

Miriam Makeba

Posted by – November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba died on Sunday right after she finished a concert in Italy. She was a South African singer who I first discovered on a collection of music from the tv show Northern Exposure (of which I was, & am, a huge fan).

The Best of Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks – recorded in the 1950s – is one of my all-time spirit lifters; I have no idea what I’m singing but I sing along whenever these tracks come on. (I’d highly recommend this one, especially, to anyone who loves rocksteady.)

She had such a sparkling, clear voice – the kind that makes you think of beautiful sunny days.

Protest Prop 8: Nov 15th

Posted by – November 10, 2008

Protests against Prop 8 are being planned for just about everywhere on Saturday, November 15th. You can find out where a protest local to you is by checking


Posted by – November 9, 2008

I can just imagine prospective UVM students & families walkin... on TwitPicTIC (Translating Identities Conference) happened yesterday at UVM (University of Vermont @ Burlington) and Kate Bornstein – who spoke there – posted this lovely sign.

Employment Non-Discrimination

Posted by – November 8, 2008

On Twitter, Gunner Scott of GenderCrash directed me to the new Obama-Biden administration’s employment policy, which says:

The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law.

Note the bold print.

Feministing points out that the CT Employment Law Blog has stated that this “signals a dramatic shift in the hiring practices of the executive branch because current law does not prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity.”

So not only is this a proposed change or ideological shift, but an actual policy change has already happened with the Obama-Biden administration.

I told y’all they were hip to gender!

Purple America

Posted by – November 7, 2008

(thanks to Lena & Princeton for the image)

1st Trans Mayor

Posted by – November 7, 2008

Stu Rasmussen is my new favorite person. Here’s his mayor’s page, with his photo prominently displayed.

Kittoi Comforts

Posted by – November 7, 2008

the boys

I haven’t cat blogged for a while, but I took this photo of the boys recently & couldn’t resist. Aren’t they just too adorable? This was right after Aeneas came home, after his surgery, and he seems very happy to have his big brother next to him again.

Marriage Equality Corridor

Posted by – November 6, 2008

For those who have been feeling frustrated and sad about Prop 8, Charles Kaiser at OpenSalon says:

Therefore, this week’s victories for the religious right in California, Arizona and Florida are really the last gasp of a fringe movement trying  to forestall the inevitable, rather than proof of a new “cultural brick wall.”

& He provides some very compelling evidence, so go read it, & be heartened.

Boulder: TRANSforming Gender 2008

Posted by – November 6, 2008

TRANSforming Gender 2008, the third annual trans themed conference here at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is happening tomorrow, November 7th. (This is the conference me & Julia Serano & Matt Kailey & Dylan Scholinksi spoke at last year.)

This year’s lineup includes Monica Roberts (keynote speaker), Krista Scott-Dixon, Michelle Dumaresq, Ryka Aoki de la Cruz, Andrea Gibson, and Katastrophe. You can find the schedule below the break.


Musical Salve

Posted by – November 6, 2008

A group of musicians from all over the world got to play together for a documentary about the unifying beauty of music. Bill Moyers interviews the director and shows a clip from the film. Gorgeous stuff. Like a salve after the bitterness of this election cycle.

Safe House

Posted by – November 5, 2008

Barbara Carrellas told me that tonight, this night that Obama won, her next door neighbor put a candle on their doorstep & a white handkerchief on the doorknob: the sign of a safe house during the time of the Underground Railroad.

For years I have had my key in our front door and made a point of not turning my head over my right shoulder so that I would not see the big gaping lack in the sky where the towers stood.

I’ve felt for the past 8 years like that crazy chracter Whoopi Goldberg played on Star Trek, in that one episode where she knew the ship wasn’t supposed to be at war, and that children were supposed to be on board, but weren’t. She kept telling everyone they were in the wrong reality.

We’ve been in the wrong reality for 8 years at least. There is a part of me that wants to go back to that time of outpouring of sympathy from the world we received and just apologize already for having shit on their sympathy with aggression & “the Bush doctrine” of Orwellian, preventative war. I want still for the US to say to the rest of the world that we’re sorry for our bad manners; we were traumatized and stupid and scared and that we’re very, very sorry for not having taken their shows of empathy with grace and thanks.

& Then I think of that candle on Barbara’s stoop and that white handkerchief on her doorknob and I think of how far we have gone back, what deep wounds we might heal now, and I am awed at the idea of it.

To the rest of the world: the difficult but lovable child full of promise that the US used to be is back. We’re still a big precocious brat in some ways, but full of love and honor and bravery in others: a 19 year old to your more mature years, still a little impetuous and wet behind the ears but hopeful and not entirely stupid. I feel like we’ve finally gotten to that moment full of tears and anger where we admit how much we were hurt and how much hurting we did and try, still a little clumsily, to try a little harder.

(this post is dedicated to Anne Wendy, whose British liberalism has been a bright, bright beacon.)


Posted by – November 5, 2008

Good News:

Barack Obama is going to be the next president of these United States.

Bad News:

  • AZ will ban same sex marriage
  • AR will ban same sex couples from adopting children
  • FL will ban gay marriage
  • (& Prop 8 in CA is still undecided, & probably will be for a day or so at least)

Keeping Me Sane

Posted by – November 4, 2008

Okay, here’s some cool stuff that we’ve been finding online:

BBC photos of the election

Is Obama president yet? website

The comments on DailyKos from when Obama won the Senate seat in 04

The US electoral system as described by The Times of India