Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy

Honestly, this is the way I feel about Obama being president:

and within the LGBT community especially, as if I’m surrounded by people who can’t give it a minute to get back from space.

In five months:

  • Lily Ledbetter
  • funding the UNFPA
  • children’s health insurance
  • troops to Afghanistan
  • stem cell research funded
  • lifting Cuban travel restrictions
  • Kathleen Sebelius
  • signing the UN document decriminalizing homosexuality
  • creation of White House Council on Women & Girls
  • created Post for Int’l Women’s Issues
  • same sex partner benefits for Federal employees

Plenty to do, but all of these things were pipe dreams before.

Sexism & The Trans

On the Issues magazine has been around a long while, and over its history has published some very cool writers. Today I’m pleased to have joined the list, with an essay called “How a Feminist Found Her Sexism” for their summer issue which is entirely about gender.

From an article about sex selection & abortion:

While sex selection abortion allows women to make what is, in a sense, the ultimate in supposedly informed consumerism, it also can work to create a world where being female is viewed as the primary and most terminal of birth defects.

I’m very much looking forward to reading the whole of it.

Updated RSS

My RSS feed apparently changed with the last WordPress update.

#EA Fail

I’ve been Simming for nine years – played TOS (The Original Sims), Sims 2, & now Sims 3. I was even one of those people who test-piloted TSO (The Sims Online) because they apparently had my name on a list of people who really freaking loved the game. Betty & Bob Newbie and Mortimer & Bella Goth are all familiar names in our house.

& While I have reasonably successfully ignored Will Wright’s being a BOR (Big Old Republican), recently EA has just been teh suck when it comes to women.

I’m not even that offended by the “booth babe” idea, but what DOES offend me is the lack of recognition that someone might prefer a “booth boy” or that any of the people who might want to post with a “booth babe” might be women.

& All this while GLAAD is trying to get a conversation started about homophobia in gaming.

I am, sadly, setting aside my Sims playing until EA gets its shit together.

What bothers me even more about all this is that Wright is a right-winger of the Libertarian bent who should have no patience for this kind of heterosexist & sexist crap. As a capitalist, which I’m sure he is, he shouldn’t want to estrange any market. Sims always had the same-sex “woohoo.” Civil unions were in the first release of Sims 2, which came out in 2004, & they stayed put even through the great nudity scandal of 2005. Same sex marriage is possible in Sims 3… all of which all gave me the idea that this trans amorous het dyke was, um, welcome in the Sims community. Apparently not.

Will Wright, it’s time to issue a real apology to women, and to the LGBT communities, for encouraging this kind of bullshit. (& Yes, he’ll be sent a copy of this.)

(You can follow #EAfail on Twitter, too.)

Wordle: Trans Partner Essay

This is a Wordle of a recent essay I wrote about having sex with a trans person.
You can make your own at www.wordle.net.

GRS: No State Obligation

In an article posted on Law.com today, this news: Federal Judge Says State Not Obligated to Pay for Sex-Change Surgery.

Western District of New York Judge Charles J. Siragusa in Rochester ruled that Morgana Ravenwood’s constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment were not violated by the denial of coverage.

He also refused to order state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines to rescind 18 N.Y.C.R.R. §505.2(l), the 1998 law prohibiting state Medicaid funding for “care,” “services” or “drugs” related to gender reassignment surgery.

My thought is that it’s all well & good as long as they quit requiring genital surgery for gender marker changes, then.

Two Tune Tuesday: Love & Rockets

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These songs still sounds so stunningly good to me. & They are great to play loud while driving. If you’re us they are, at least.

WI’s Blues

I received a missive from Fair Wisconsin Thursday morning about the lawsuit three board members of Wisconsin Family Action filed to challenge the constitutionality of the recently enacted domestic partnership protections.

Here’s the wording that blew my mind:

Fair Wisconsin is currently reviewing this lawsuit with our legal counsel, and we are prepared to defend domestic partnerships. We are hopeful that the State Supreme Court will recognize that domestic partnerships are not substantially similar to marriage, and will arrive at a fair and just decision that upholds these crucial protections for caring, committed couples.

Please read the boldfaced bit over. Basically, you want marriage protections for same-sex couples, but the bigots in your state are against that & have put an amendment into your state constitution saying that not only can same-sex marriage never be legal, but that no other law in the state can give those same people any benefits/legal standing that *looks anything like* marriage. As a result, same-sex people are hoping the State Supreme Court doesn’t view the partner benefits as anything like marriage — which, ironically for all the same sex couples – they are not. Not even close, actually, but it’s still like something out of Kafka.

Suddenly I don’t feel so welcome in Wisconsin, and while I know, in my heart, that it was ignorance and a lot of legwork by bigots that lead to these state constitutions, it shames me as an American that more people have not stood up & said ENOUGH. (I really do believe that most people want me & Rachel to be able to share each other’s health insurance, and mostly I do. )

Lady Painter & Hunger Striker

An old friend of mine wrote a cover article for the Times Literary Supplement about the first hunger striker, Marion Wallace-Dunlop. What interesting about his research is that it’s not about her alone, but about the way she understood media – in her case, at the time, painting – and its relationship to politics. He writes:

Wallace-Dunlop’s innovation was to create a kind of political theatre in a prison cell, its impact more dramatic than any she could have made on the image of women in art.

Very cool article about a very cool woman – whose life occupies a nice intersection of colonialism, feminism, suffrage, political strategy, art, and theatre.

Bowery Poetry Club – Tomorrow / Sunday

Tomorrow, Sunday, July 26th, at 6PM I’ll be reading my piece “Cat of Nine Tale” at the Bowery Poetry Club along with other contributors of the summer issue of Global City Review. The issue is called Nothing is Simple.

I may be the only prose reader, so have your head on for poetry if you come!

Kumar: Indian Drag Queen in Singapore

Kumar is an Indian drag queen who works & lives in Singapore. A documentary about hir was broadcast in 2006 that’s found its way to YouTube.

and you can see hir do a bit of stand-up that’s also in three parts

but may be harder to understand without subtitles – and as zie points out, zie talks fast, on top of the regional humor about the first family of Singapore, Malaysia, and the Chinese in Singapore, but I think the joke about rooster eggs translates okay.

Jim Collins Foundation (Info & Fundraiser)

A new organization called the Jim Collins Foundation has come into being; its goal is to provide financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries. From their website:

The Jim Collins Foundation recognizes that not every transgender person needs or wants surgery to achieve a healthy transition, but for those who do, gender-confirming surgeries are an important step in their transition to being their true selves. However, access to gender-confirming surgery is impossible for most. Discrimination against transgender people is so prevalent that many transgender people struggle to survive, never mind save for surgery costs. Even for those who have health insurance, coverage is systematically denied. Many insurance policies contain a “Transsexual Exclusion Clause” which excludes all medical procedures related to a person’s transgender status. For many transgender people, access to surgery is out of reach.

The Jim Collins Foundation raises money to fund gender-confirming surgeries for those transgender people who need surgery to live a healthy life, but have no ability to pay for it themselves. We recognize that for those people who require surgery for a healthy gender transition, lack of access to surgery may result in hopelessness, depression, and sometimes, suicide. The Jim Collins Foundation is a community-based initiative promoting the self-determination and empowerment of all transgender people.

So if you’re going to be in the New Haven area on 8/8, do go!

a Benefit for The Jim Collins Foundation
Saturday August 8TH 8pm
168 York Street Cafe’ New Haven, CT
$10 Donation at the door

Bring your talent and your friends ! Or just come to listen !

The Great Wind Chime Incident

Our Endymion has a thing for paper bags with those twisty paper handles. He invariably needs to know what’s in the bag and gets his big head & body wrapped up in the handles, leading to him panicking and running with the terrifying bag after him. One year, right after Christmas, the bag he’d stuck his head into had both glass bowl candle holders and wind chimes, which lead to the The Great Wind Chime Incident (about which we do not speak in front of Endymion).

That incident taught him to hate chimes forever, but he apparently learned nothing about sticking his head into paper bags with those twisty handles.

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In Defense of Autumn

Autumn Sandeen used to cull stories for the Transgender News Yahoo Group; she’s been blogging for forever, and not long ago became a key poster and moderator at Pam’s House Blend.

Recently, people have given her holy hell for shutting down the use of the words cisgender and cissexual because they were being used in the context of an argument that was only estranging members of the LGBT community from each other (& I’m not linking to all the posts about it intentionally as I have done so before and had my say otherwise).

The Trans-Ponder podcasters Jayna and Mila called  for some perspective this past Sunday night when it came to Autumn, particularly, citing the invaluable work that she has done on behalf of the trans community, and explained that even if you think someone’s wrong – in what opinion they hold, or in terms of something they’ve done – you don’t need to let the anger cause you to throw out the baby with the bathwater. (Their thoughts on the subject start around 53 minutes into Podcast #129.)

Dallas Denny said a long time ago that we tend to “eat our own” and in an interview with her a few years back, she clarified, in response to my 3rd question, the ideas she was trying to express when it came to trans community politics.

As someone who has taken heat for lots of things over the years, and someone who has seen even the champions of particularly useful ideas about trans subjectivity take heat for her own ideas, it makes me sad to see Autumn suffer so much. It is not easy work to build bridges within the LGBT, & Autumn has, in my opinion, done an extraordinarily good job of it. I’d like to see her keep doing that cool work, and even if she occasionally takes a mis-step — as we all do — the benefit of what she does far outweighs the mistakes she’s made.

I guess I’d ask, too, that people try to pay attention to the ratio of what they do to what they criticize. I’ve noticed that many people online who have the time & energy to work up a head of steam over what some other activist has said or done don’t necessarily spend as much time on positive activism as they do on the fine critiquing of others’ work. I am not saying that critics don’t do anything; I AM saying that anger & criticism sometimes are best-served by doing more instead of talking more. I say that as someone who has put my foot firmly in my mouth instead of doing something positive to fix what I saw as a problem. (As Betty and I like to joke about that one support group member who is constantly yammering on & on & on & repeating the same issues they always bring up, try not to be the person who seems to be saying, “I’d listen but I’m too busy talking.”)

In a nutshell: I’d like to thank Autumn Sandeen publicly for the work she has done, and to thank all the numerous people who keep working to build bridges within our communities.

From a Child of a Trans Parent

This is B.’s reaction to the Chloe Prince documentary that was on the other night. Since I’m a partner, & have a soapbox from which to talk about my reaction as a partner, I thought I’d open my blog to the child of a trans parent on her feelings.

She’s 15, and her father, now female, transitioned about five years ago. She was about the same age as Prince’s eldest when she as told of her father’s imminent transition.

At first all I really felt was sadness for the children and the wife. The poor woman had to watch her spouse say on TV that she thought she might not have transitioned if she had stayed with her ex-girlfriend, something that must have felt awful and been humiliating to watch. I was shocked that the children’s reaction to the fact that their father was going to become a woman had been recorded in the first place, let alone aired on TV. As the child of a transgendered person I would be horrified if my initial reaction was shown to people all over who I didn’t even know. It’s an incredibly private moment that the rest of the world doesn’t have any business in watching.

As the show progressed I started to feel increasingly angry, and not just because she seemed to me a parody of a woman, intent on acting like a stereotype of how a woman “should be” and appearing very feminine, or because despite this femininity she still did all the “masculine” chores around the house, and we got to see pictures of her working with tools and at her job (I would have expected someone who had undergone a male to female transition to not be sexist).

I wanted to punch a hole in the wall every time it was mentioned that the children had “lost” a father. I never lost my father, just because she’s a woman doesn’t make any difference to the fact that she is my father. A sex change operation doesn’t change that. Chloe had no right to be upset about being missed out on the mother’s day photo- it was for mother’s day, not father’s day. Those children are going to have a hell of a time growing up now, and will have to deal with people they don’t know recognizing them and even judging for something they didn’t even do.

Thanks very much B. for sharing your thoughts with us. I would love to read comments from other trans people with kids, if their kids watched, what they thought.

Blog Stuff

Just FYI, because of the recent spamming of the RSS feed and other technical errors, we’ll be doing a lot of tech overhaul of the blog in the next couple of days. It it acts funny, that’s why.

Alcohol Poisoning

I’ve been drinking.

Sadly, it was a lot of the same old same old: cursory interest in parent, partner, & children. The kids were adorable. The wife was determined. The father was exhausted.

  • Multiple shots and references to surgery, instead.
  • Trans woman discovers surprising, sudden interest in men.
  • Expresses longing to be mother while wife is pregnant.
  • Voiceover talking about wife meeting her husband for the first time “as a woman” post Thailand, even though the husband had been living in female gender role for a year as per SOC.

Atypical trans documentary bits?

  • Added insult to injury for wife, while trans woman wonders – fleetingly – if she’s married her ex-girlriend if she’d have needed to transition. Fleetingly, stressed by Prince, but goddamn do wives of trans women everywhere hate her for that one. Yeah, thanks, it’s our fault you needed to transition. Do you really think we don’t wish, sometimes, that you’d married your ex-girlfriend, too?!
  • Newly female husband going up telephone pole in gear
  • ”  ”  ” mowing lawn with reference to still “wearing the pants”
  • ‘out of the mouths of babes’ testimony that natal female still does all the parenting and housework
  • bee stings lead to discovering of IS condition which justifies transition. (the years of crossdressing certainly don’t count for shit, right?)

So yeah, I’m drunk.You?

They all seem like reasonably nice people. I hate documentaries about teh trans. Hate ’em. I hate the way our lives our distilled into reverse camera angles and earnest questions across kitchen tables. I hate how the beauty of a trans woman admitting that she still sees her wife the way “he” did is degraded by the “sudden interest” in men. I hate the sad, confused, tendentious quality of trans women’s wives who are obviously overwhelmed with the whole business and still in love with their spouses.

* sigh*

Having been someone who has done shite like this, my only excuse is: it was in my contract. Not that that’s much of an excuse, but you do usually have a clause saying that you will in good faith blah blah blah consent to blah blah blah that will help sell the book. I’m not sure there’s any other reason to do these things anymore, but I hope, for Rene’s sake, & the boys’ sake, & the dad’s & Chloe’s, that this one will be forgotten when it’s Sweeps Week next year or in five years. Not because it’s bad, but because it isn’t. There are things I said and wrote at the time of My Husband Betty that embarass me now, as well as plenty that I”m still happy about. But I wrote a book, so when I”m lucky, you can see its brown spine in the LGBT section of bookstores these days. But a show like this is going to be dredged up at 3am for a few years, and every once too often, Rene and Chloe and her boys and dad will be online at the supermarket / drugstore / in the waiting room / at the doctor’s office / showing up for parent teacher night when someone they’ve never met couldn’t sleep and saw them on the TeeVee. And then, well, then is when you wish you could change your name and move to Timbuktu.

My best to all of them. Can we stop making these now?

Two Tune Tuesday: Elvis Costello

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There are really way too many to touch his insanely long & cool career, but I think I’ve got at least some of his range in here.

& A Very happy 50th Bday to my sister Jeanne, who took me to see that incredible Elvis show when he was touring with Spike (with Nick Lowe opening).