What a Woman Is

I’m starting to think I could teach a whole Gender Studies coiurse on the Caster Semenya hullabaloo, since this ad, by a South African strip club, pretty much constructs woman to mean bimbo.


There is something about this one piece of information – that Americans throw away 40% of the food we buy – that nails exactly what is wrong with American culture.

RIP Mike Penner (Christine Daniels)

Mike Penner transitioned a couple of years ago and started using the name Christine Daniels only to start going by Mike Penner last year again.
He was found dead in his apartment, apparently of suicide.

How much does this break a person’s heart? Plenty.
Our love to his family and friends.

Don’t Forget Your Feminist Pr0n*

Black Friday is nearly over – hopefully you survived if you went out shopping & gots lots of lovely presents for your loved ones. That said, Tristan Taormino’s latest movie Rough Sex just came out, & along with lots of her other titles, might be the holiday present that you get for you.

*intentionally spelled wrong to evade censoring.

Accurate if Not Happy Thanksgiving

LGBT Athletes & Soldiers

I missed it, & maybe you did too, but here’s Jeff Sheng’s Fearless photography series, which is a collection of photos of out LGBT athletes.
I discovered it via The LA Times’ blog and Sheng’s new series called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
= Amazing work.

What amazes me particularly about the first set is how images of LGBT people tends to focus on white people in particular, & then too on men. Gathering their photos based on this other part of their identity – their atheleticism – gives a much larger range of racial & ethnic identity, & a much larger range of genders, too.

Two Tune Tuesday: the The

Despite “This is the Day” being used in an M&M commercial – really? it had to be M&Ms? – Matt Johnson & theThe were a band I spent a lot of time with from at least 1985 forward.

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His songs got at that yearning for – something. more. sex. love. escape. all of it & none of it. (It didn’t hurt that his voice was incredibly hot, either.)

You can go here to see some of the live performance from when Johnny Marr was playing with the The. Apparently he was as proud of Dusk as he was of Strangeways, Here We Come. (So there.)

The best gig I’ve ever found out about was the The at CBGB. I was walking down 7th Avenue, near St. Vincent’s (Hospital), and I was wearing am Infected t-shirt, and a guy stopped me & said, “You like the The? They’re playing a secret gig at CBs tomorrow night. They won’t be on the list. Just buy a ticket. Promise.” So my friend Brian & I bought tickets, mostly thinking we were going to see some band we’d never heard of. I was sitting on the bar knocking the heels of my boots against it anxiously, waiting & hoping, & then – out came Matt Johnson & the band: sometimes wishes come true. I can’t even count how many other times I saw them – in London, at the Beacon, at Symphony Space even. I skipped high school to meet Matt Johnson as he was leaving WLIR after an interview. Misspent youth, indeed.

Here are a few other favorites: Sodium Light BabyThe Mercy Beat (song starts at 00:45)PerfectJealous of Youth (which is one of my favorite bass lines) – & there’s even some early & cool Matt Johnson from Burning Blue SoulBugle Boy.

(Writing this post took a few hours of my life, poking around YouTube, playlist.com, trouserpress.com and various other spots. Damn. It’s a good thing I don’t have my vinyl collection with me, or the whole night would be gone. Now if someone could send me an .mp3 of “Jealous of Youth” I’d be most appreciative.)

Really Equal

A straight couple has applied for civil partner benefits, not marriage, in the UK.
They are the first to do so & in so doing are hoping to point out the inequality of the situation.

Well done, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle.

(thanks to Julie on our boards)

Trans Partner Support Column

I was interviewed not long ago by Amanda Waldroupe as she was writing a column for just|out of Portland (OR) about the way in which partners of trans people need support and get or don’t get it.

While numerous resources exist for transgendered people during their transition, there is a dearth, both in Portland and nationally, for their partners—who go through their own emotional and sexual travails during the experience.

Reid Vanderburgh, a local transgender therapist, says partners can have a tough time throughout the transition process, even if they support their partner.

As far as I know, it’s the first column I’ve ever read about support groups for us partners – but maybe I missed one. Thanks to Ms. Waldroupe not just for writing the column, but for quoting me accurately.

Remember We’re Living 2009

As many people probably already know, I’ve never been thrilled with the idea of Transgender Day of Remembrance as the public face of the trans community. It’s just a little too “bring out your dead” for me. That doesn’t mean the too violent deaths of trans people every year doesn’t sicken and anger me – it does, maybe too much. I hate that we – trans people & those who love them – live so often in fear, and fear for just our bodily safety.

(& Before anyone gets up my ass about my use of the word “we” please look at the deaths of Taysia Elzy and Michael Green – Taysia was trans, & Michael was her boyfriend, & they were both murdered. About 1:12 on the video I posted yesterday.)

I suggested many moons ago that we also have a “Remember We’re Living” Day of Trans Pride / Celebration, where we recount the successes and victories and loves and kindnesses we’ve experienced. I’ve been really happy to see the week before TDOR has become Transgender Awareness Week in a lot of places, even if it still ends with our deaths. Maybe we could start the week with our deaths instead, so that we can end on an optimistic note? Anyway: this year, I’d like to recognize a close friend’s accomplishments because she recently got tenure for the 2nd time, and is well-respected within her field and by her students. I’d also like to recognize a close friend who, despite numerous health risks and problems, survived and is thriving after her surgery. My own lovely partner got a job she’s quite happy doing. A lovely woman on our boards was recently asked by her parents for a new photo of her for their mantle. Another person on our boards came out to her kids not long ago and did so with grace and aplomb. There are so many of these cool things that happen to trans people, and because of trans people, every single day & every single year.

It is the conviction to live your life as you need to – and the remarkable grace under fire – demonstrated by trans people that inspires those of us who are not trans. Every single day passes where someone, somewhere, notices that they are living their own life of quiet desperation, or are otherwise living quietly and without rocking anyone’s boat in ways that feel wrong. But when that person – or any person – meets a trans person who lives truthfully and with love and humor and loss, it is hard for them to ignore the unbelievable beauty & fortitude you all emanate.

So for that, thank you.

Going Rouge

On Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue:

“In short, the book provides ample proof that Sarah Palin’s version of her own life is like the Turkish government’s version of the Armenian Genocide — and approximately as trustworthy.”

The full review is here.

(h/t to Sarah)

I recommend the upcoming Going Rouge, instead.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

French Air Force Foul Play

The French Air Force won’t recognize a transgender woman’s new gender because she hasn’t had surgery. Feh.

Call for ENDA

Tomorrow, Congress needs to hear from us very clearly about why LGBT people need protection from the widespread discrimination that we continue to face in the workplace. In the Transgender Discrimination Survey we conducted with The Task Force, we found that 97% of the respondents had been harassed or mistreated on the job and 26% had been fired. This cannot continue. Taking action to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a critical step in making it the law of the land that this kind of discrimination must never be tolerated. We need you to work with us to pass ENDA now and ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

NCTE is participating with a wide range of civil rights groups in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights call in days in support of ENDA. Our day to call is Wednesday, November 18. We hope you’ll be a part of this important effort and you’ll encourage your friends to call. We need your voice to be heard on Capitol Hill as you tell your lawmakers to pass ENDA now!

Two Tune Tuesday: Spoon

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I discovered Spoon a few years ago while dinging in a cool little eatery in Park Slope called Jack’s that’s gone now. I still miss the pot roast & waiters who turned me onto cool music.

Cold Case Trans

Right now, on TNT:

Season 5, Episode 9
Episode Synopsis: The 1963 death of a teen girl who dressed and acted like a boy is investigated to determine if she committed suicide or was murdered. Meanwhile, the consequences of Internal Affairs’ probe of Valens are revealed. Original Air Date: Nov 18, 2007

From NCTE: Act on ENDA

From NCTE:

“Now is the time that we must take action for ENDA! Whether you have never contacted your members of Congress or if you are a frequent visitor in their offices, we need you to call this week if this bill is to pass.”
-Mara Keisling

NCTE is participating with a wide range of other LGBT groups in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights call in days in support of ENDA.

Our day to call is Wednesday, November 18. We hope you’ll be a part of this important effort and you’ll encourage your friends to call.


Next Wednesday, Nov. 18, or whenever is convenient for you, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak to your Representative (have your zip code handy and they’ll help identify your member of Congress).

When you are connected with your Representative’s office, give your name and your city and then let them know:
I am calling in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H. R. 3017/S. 1584), which will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination. No one deserves to be fired from their job because of who they are. Please vote yes for ENDA.

Today, Chairman George Miller (D-CA) of the House Committee on Education and Labor announced that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will take its next steps when the committee marks up the bill next Wednesday, November 18; this is one of the final steps that precedes a vote by the full House. House leadership is optimistic about the bill that would ban from the workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, although they stress the importance that advocacy efforts for ENDA remain strong. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) is the principle sponsor of the bill, joined by 189 co-sponsors, and along with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has been a strong champion of this legislation.

The Senate is also considering the bill and held a hearing in committee last week on the matter. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-WA) is the lead sponsor and strong advocate for the measure. When asked at a press conference last week whether there was any chance that gender identity would be stripped out of the bill, he answered simply, “No.”

Continue reading “From NCTE: Act on ENDA”

Waiting Game

This is a chart that shows the support for same-sex marriage by age group — which, in a nutshell, means we’ve got a waiting game on our hands if nothing else. There’s a nice analysis of the chart where I found it, too.

Other charts about same sex marriage issues can be found here.

Transgender Narrative

Every once in a great while, someone sends me some writing they want me to read. Most of the time I can’t feel the person behind the voice, or, in writer’s parlance, I can’t hear the author’s voice.

But this piece was different, & so I gave the author what feedback I could, & he contacted me again recently because the essay was selected as a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s first-person writing contest and recently published by Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, a literary journal specializing in creative nonfiction published by Michigan State University. You can read it online here (.pdf).

My congratulations to David Torrey Peters: keep writing.

Coming Out to Kids as Trans

I was asked recently for resources for trans people with children. Honestly, there’s never very much, but here’s the list I sent her:

If anyone has any newer resources I haven’t yet seen, please do add them!