George, Meet James

Wow, this is depressing to read. It’s also not even a little surprising.

In light of all that, then, I shouldn’t have been surprised that using a male pseudonym had such a dramatic effect on Chartrand’s career. Death threats and sexually degrading commentary directed at women writers seem very 21st century — so modern! so fresh! — but being paid half as much for the same work? Landing fewer jobs? Receiving more criticism and less respect? That just sounds so old-fashioned. I learned about women posing as men to get work in elementary school history lessons, not when I went to grad school for writing. The thought that if I’d tried writing as, say, Kevin Harding, I might have earned far more money, opportunity and authority than I have, is almost as inconceivable as it is chilling. Since the Brontë days, says Chartrand, “we’ve had feminism. We have the right to vote, to own property, to be members of Parliament and Congress, to get a job, and to be the main breadwinner of the family. And yet apparently we haven’t gotten past those 19th century stigmas.”

Here’s the original.

Maybe I should have been George and not Helen after all.

Crossdressed Protest

It’s kind of amazing, the idea of Iranian men wearing traditional head scarves to show their allegiance to the insurgence, but that’s what they’re doing.

Thus the new protest also speaks to the societal aspect of Iranian women being forced to accept a dress code, according to Dabashi.

“Proud to wear my late mother’s rusari, the very rusari that was forced on my wife in Iran, the very rusari for which my sisters are humiliated if they choose to wear it in Europe, and the very rusari that the backward banality that now rules Iran thinks will humiliate Majid Tavakoli if it is put on him — He is dearer and nobler to us today than he ever was.”

In a speech before his arrest, Tavakoli played on the theme of the day’s historical significance in light of current anti-government protests.

“We Iranian men are late doing this,” Dabashi said. “If we did this when rusari was forced on those among our sisters who did not wish to wear it 30 years ago, we would have perhaps not been here today.”

(thanks to Jade Catherine for the tip)

Gov Paterson Announces New Trans Rights Policy

This Wednesday, December 16 at the LGBT Center in New York City, Governor David Paterson will announce a major policy affecting transgender civil rights in New York. The Pride Agenda has been working on this issue since Governor Spitzer was elected and has continued to work on it with Governor Paterson. Please join us for this important event if you are able.

What: Governor Paterson to announce major policy on transgender rights
Where: LGBT Community Center , 208 West 13th St. ( Manhattan )
When: This Wednesday, December 16 at 10:30 AM (doors open at 10:00 AM)

Having our community and our allies show up in large numbers for this significant moment is the best way we can thank Governor Paterson for his work moving LGBT equality forward. We hope to see you there! If you can join the Pride Agenda at this event, please RSVP to Matt Brunner at or (212) 627-0305.

Breaking News: DC Makes Same Sex Marriage Legal

Ah, good news!

The Washington, D.C., City Council voted Tuesday to legalize gay marriage in the nation’s capital, handing supporters a victory after a string of recent defeats in Maine, New York and New Jersey.

Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to sign the bill, which passed 11-2, and gay couples could begin marrying as early as March. Congress, which has final say over Washington’s laws, could reject it, but Democratic leaders have suggested they are reluctant to do so.

More at NPR.

New MVA Policy Detrimental to Trans Marylanders

Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. They recently sent out this information about the proposed changes to the rules for changing gender on MD driver’s licenses.

The Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) is currently considering an update to their policy regarding changing the gender marker on a driver’s license. The new policy would go into effect on January 1, 2010.

The current policy allows for a change to the gender marker, so long as an applicant is able to provide a physician’s or psychologist’s report to confirm that the applicant is in active treatment. The MVA requires annual re-evaluations until the applicant meets requirements for permanent gender change. The primary criterion for a permanent change is for the person to have undergone SRS or sex reassignment surgery.

If you’re a resident of Maryland, you can bug the governor of Maryland to keep this proposal from happening.

Continue reading “New MVA Policy Detrimental to Trans Marylanders”

Cold Case: Time to Hate

One of my all-time favorite Cold Case episodes, A Time to Hate, is on TNT right now.

If this show didn’t win a GLAAD award, it should have.

Two Tune Tuesday: Kinky

I discovered “The Headphonist” while watching one of my death shows, and it was an instant ‘need to know what that is’ feeling, having spent most of my life walking around cities and towns and well, everywhere, with headphones on & usually blasting.

I have a weakness for great rhythm, or a great weakness for any rhythm, so I went & poked around for other songs of theirs, and liked a lot of them. But it was when I was discovered they were a Mexican band that had covered Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio” that they made me laugh out loud: Gen X grows up & buys a clue, as it were.


I was chatting with a new friend the other day & we were talking about coupledom; specifically about how often it is that you don’t like both halves of a couple you meet. He suggested that if you meet the couple as a couple, it’s more likely, but I wasn’t sure. At least in my experience, I tend to warm to one person more than the other, or just have more of a simpatico with one. The likeliness of liking both people in a couple goes significantly down when you’ve known one of the people for a while & then your friend introduces you to their new special friend.

That said, I can think of exceptions, of course, to everything I’ve just stated. In one case, we were so pleasantly surprised by liking a friend’s new partner & so enthusiastic about saying so that my friend of many years felt neglected as a result. (We reassured her, of course, that we loved her just as much.) In another case, I had a much easier friendship with a friend’s partner, & continued to be friends with him long after they broke up.

I assume there are always going to be people who like Betty more than they like me, and people who like me more than they like Betty. We appeal to different people because we do — I assume that’s also why we appeal to each other. (What those differences are I won’t bother to go into.)

Egon Schiele

Courtesy Bilerico & Gloria Brame, a lovely YouTube slideshow of the erotic works of Egon Schiele. I’ve long been a fan.

Check It Out: Trans Allies

While I’m sure it can be difficult for some trans people to comprehend, there are a ton of us out there who were incredibly offended by Gold’s piece for Bilerico. One of those people is Peter Toscano, who asked for other allies to post on his blog in support of all the trans people we know & love.

Damn is that cool.

Name Changes

A graduate student in journalism at CUNY recently wrote a cool article / multimedia presentation on the recent changes to the name change laws in New York State. Our own Caprice Bellefleur, the veteran mod of the mHB forums, who works with the Name Change Project, was interviewed.

A New York County appeals court ruled on October 21 that a transgender person does not need a doctor’s note to change his or her name. This decision reversed a Civil Court denial of a name-change petition. (See here for more information.)

The decision could impact all of New York state, Caprice Bellefleur said by email. Bellefleur is a volunteer lawyer for the West Village Trans-Legal Clinic, which provides pro bono legal assistance to transgender people seeking to legally change their names. “Any decision that eases the [name-change] process can be used to argue for the same result across the state,” said Bellefleur.

So do go check it out.

Bilerico Doesn’t Fail

The editors of Bilerico fired Ronald Gold & took his post down.

I firmly disagree with the opinion that posting his screed had anything to do with website hits or publicity, and I disagree emphatically.

The only remaining dilemma, in my opinion, is that Ronald Gold is not the only one, & is in fact representative of some people with queer genders who don’t understand that trans people are categorically different, in their experience of gender, than those who are not trans.

It took me a long fucking time to understand that. It was only when I met stone butches who transitioned to femmey gay men and former straight men who transitioned to geeky tomboys that I realized it had nothing whatsoever to do with gender conformity.

Trans people do not, as a whole, reject gender non-conformity. They are not trans because they are invested in the binary. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Photos by Betty

I forgot to mention the other day that those stunning photos were by Betty; she’s been taking some amazing photographs of the campus since fall. She’s also taken a few really great ones of our kittoi; this is Aurora on her double-harness deciding that she does not like snow.

And no, it doesn’t amaze me to find out my lovely wife has yet another fantastic skill.

Ronald Gold Just Hasn’t Met the Right Woman

I mean, really, this isn’t a joke?

I’m going to say again: those of us with queer genders who aren’t trans seem to have a beam in our own eye on this one. We just don’t get it, over & over & over again. No, female & male personalities don’t exist. But male & female people DO — wither social construction & all.

It’d be laughable for a man who actively resisted being pathologized to turn around & pathologize others if it weren’t awful. Shame on you, Ronald Gold. You should know better than to distrust the narratives of people who are a minority & misunderstood, but perhaps you’ve forgotten you are one, too.

So Mr. Gold, try to dust off your brain & remember when people told you that you just hadn’t met the right woman, because the argument you make concerning trans people is about as uninformed, inexperienced & myopic. & I say that with utmost respect for what you’ve achieved.

Madison, WI: SOFFA Support Group Starting

It’s always so good to hear when another partner support group starts! Go Madison!

Just to let you know there is a SOFFA support group starting in Madison.
It will meet every other Tuesday evening, 7p-9p, beginning January 19.
It will meet at Outreach, 600 Williamson Street.
We will be focusing on the SOFFA experience and narrative.
It is a drop-in, peer support group.

Feminist Holiday!

What a cool thing: a list of feminist books for five year olds.

Irish Transsexualism

It’s good news: Ireland has a possible law going before Parliament that will recognize the chosen gender marker/identity of trans individuals. The Green Party is pushing for it.

The First Big Snow

We’re expecting a foot to 18 inches. If you want to see it live, you can. The storm’s name – I had no idea we named winter storms – is Winter Storm Allison.

(Thanks to Lynne & Megan for the info & webcam.)