Anti AB 173

Congratulations to Outagamie County, reportedly the first county in Wisconsin to adopt a resolution to opposing AB 173, the anti-immigration copy cat law.

Milwaukee County Adds Domestic Partner Benefits

Good news from Fair Wisconsin:

FAIR WISCONSIN APPLAUDS MILWAUKEE COUNTY BOARD PASSAGE OF DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS Board grants important protections to employees, moves County forward

Today members of the Milwaukee County Board approved a measure granting health care coverage to the same- and opposite-sex domestic partners of county employees. The final vote was 13-5.

“This decision marks an important victory for fairness. Providing equal employment benefits for all county employees is the right decision,” stated Katie Belanger, Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin.

“On behalf of Fair Wisconsin, other members of the Board of Directors and more than 20,000 members and activists statewide, I thank the members of the County Board and County Executive Chris Abele,” noted Fair Wisconsin Education Board President Robert Starshak. “The collective leadership of key board members, County Exec. Abele and other activists have been impressive. We look forward to continuing our work together to advance equality and move our state’s largest county forward.”

As the statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, Fair Wisconsin is proud to have worked closely with members of the County Board and the County Executive to support the passage of this resolution. Providing domestic partner benefits and creating a more inclusive workplace is a critical step towards building a stronger, more diverse workforce that will lead Milwaukee County in the years ahead.

With the passage of this resolution, Milwaukee County has joined a growing number of employers who already grant their employees these critical protections, including the State of Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee and Marquette University, and top private sector employers like Aurora Health Care and MillerCoors.

Too Small. Too Different. Too Green.

Kermit says It Gets Better:

(Make sure you watch to the very end.)

Best LGBTQ Books?

What struck me most about these lists of Top 5 LGBTW books by prominent LGBTQ authors is the very regular appearance of James Baldwin. I prefer Another Country but it and Giovanni’s Room are both fine, fine novels.

I do have a list of trans books. It does need updating, but a lot of the ones I’ve reviewed are still excellent choices. I’ve recently read Nick Krieger’s Nina Here Nor There
and Justin Bond’s Tango, and my reviews of those will appear in an upcoming issue of make/shift. If there are any books you’d like to see me review, let me know.

Two Tune Tuesday: RIP Amy Winehouse

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JMG Covers Marriage

One of my favorite bloggers, Joe.My.God, is doing only NY marriage coverage today. Great stories, videos, and photos.

Yay New York!

It’s the first day of marriage equality in NY. These first weddings are going to be so full of joy:

How gorgeous.

The Problem with Voter ID

A Madison resident recently took her son to the DMV to get him a Voter ID card; they’re required by law here now, despite arguments that they will cause way too much voter suppression. The people who wanted it – Republicans – tend to do better at the poll when the voters who are easiest to suppress – youth, the elderly, the homeless, etc. – so despite there being no evidence of voter fraud, WI now requires a Voter ID.

It’s not as if I have to tell any of you why the DMV is a problem, but when it comes to Voter ID cards, there will be new problems – like clerks told to make sure a bank statement has “enough” financial activity to count as proof of residency.

If you’ve got a video camera & can record any and all experiences getting your Voter ID, do. Undoing this law is going to take a lot of evidence that it is suppressing votes.

DC Trans Woman Murdered: Lashay McLean

DC Trans Coalition has just reported the death of another young trans woman.

Washington, DC – In the early hours of Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, Lashay Mclean, a 23 year old transgender woman, was murdered in Northeast DC. The murder took place near the Wanda Alston House, a housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth operated by Transgender Health Empowerment (T.H.E.). Another trans woman was present during the attack and, thankfully, escaped. The Metropolitan Police Department has no leads or possible motives, and has not classified Lashay’s murder as a hate crime.

Lashay was a friend to many people in the community – including several DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) organizers who offer our sincerest condolences to those grieving this loss. We must stress once again the absolute necessity for the police and media to respect Lashay’s gender identity. The least we can do to honor her memory is to respect her chosen, lived identity.

While nothing can bring back those we have lost or undo the suffering, we can and should confront the daily terror and anxiety that trans and gender non-conforming people face. We can do this by building networks of mutual support and solidarity that sustain our efforts to feel safe and make change. Together, we must challenge the institutional racism, poverty, transphobic attitudes, lack of social services, criminalization of sex work, and other policies that jeopardize our security.

We demand that MPD make finding Lashay’s killer a top priority, lest she become a repeat of the unsolved 2009 lethal stabbing of Tyli’a “NaNa Boo” Mack in broad daylight, or the 2010 assault of Chloe Moore by an off-duty MPD officer who has not been charged in the case. “Lashay’s murder is yet another visceral reminder that transgender women are consistently placed in dangerous situations. These acts of violence are not isolated incidents. The recent findings of the DC Trans Needs Assessment show trans communities in DC have overwhelming concern for our physical safety,” said Sadie Ryanne Vashti, a DCTC organizer who knew Lashay. “Regardless of the individual motive in this case, our lives are institutionally marginalized and regarded as expendable. This makes trans women – especially women of color and those involved, or presumed to be involved, in the sex industry – far more susceptible to violence.”

We continue to hope for a future where there are no more senseless and violent deaths in our communities. Lashay’s memory will strengthen our resolve to continue surviving, supporting one another, and struggling for a better world. There will be a vigil July 23rd at 7pm on the 6100 block of Dix Street NE, the site where Lashay was killed.

Some days, working in and for the trans community is the saddest work. Love to all who knew Lashay.

Using the N Word

Lots of arguments given here, and points made, that are equally relevant to people using the T Word.

Two Tune Tuesday: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

I miss Roddy Frame, but now I don’t have to.

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(Of course it’s not Roddy Frame, but still.)

Vertical Smile? Really?


That said, this little “ID the V” parts quiz is a good thing.

(via Jessica Valenti on Google+)

Apology from OUT!Wear

The letter and apology from Maria Nasca of OUT!Wear:

14 July 2011

To our LGBT Community;

Please let me begin by saying it was never my intent to alienate our community or promote hate in any manner. Believe it or not, I had no idea of the gravity of this very political issue and the hurt it would cause. As a businessperson working in this community for the last 17 years, I have received many amazing inquiries, ideas and suggestions via my website to design and produce many products that I now currently sell.

As of late, I have received many inquiries to design and develop the WBW line of products for my customers. However, I was not as informed about this issue as I am today. It was an emotional reaction/business decision and NOT an informed action to develop this line further, and for that I truly apologize. No articles of the product line have been produced, and I have made the decision to discontinue it in the spirit of repairing and healing any damages that may have occurred as a result of this uninformed decision.

Please do not interpret my silence up till now as anything other than needing time to take this in, educate myself and create a thoughtful and respectful response. Continue reading “Apology from OUT!Wear”


I’ve undone spam filters for a bit, so I’d love it if people who have had trouble in the past would try commenting here to see if they can post.


I’ll add back one of two eventually to see if it was one over-zealous filter or the other.

OUT!wear Letter

I don’t (yet) have permission to reprint it, but Maria Nasca of OUT!wear has written a letter of apology to the larger LGBTQ communities, and it’s on Facebook.

Bastille Day, 10 Years Later

It’s Bastille Day, the day of revenge against the worst excesses of bullies.

It’s also the day which started a long scourge of violence by the bullied; it’s a day that started a bloodletting of revenge, paranoia, & cruelty.

Still, it’s the day that the Marquis de Sade was freed – as one of only 7 prisoners – from the Bastille. (He was in prison for his debts, not his perversity.)

It also happens to be our 10th wedding anniversary. We’ll celebrate properly later this year, instead — for many reasons, none of them bad. This was our wedding cake the way it looked at the end of the night:

& Yes, in fact that is a guillotine on top of it, & yes there is a Barbie head, & a Ken head, both done up in perruques, & yes, there is blood, too. We’re goth like that. We have incredibly amazing memories of that day and that night of dancing and drinking and singing and performing and poetry reciting. There are so many of you whom we wish we had known at the time who would have loved it. We want to thank all of you who were there, especially, for your love & support that day as well over the years for our union, our love, & our marriage.

I am so glad that 10 years later, we would be able to marry in our current genders in our own home state and city of New York. That is about the coolest anniversary present this trans queer couple could have hoped for, to be honest.

Now go have some cake.

WBW Update

One of my readers wrote to OUT!wear about the “women born women” issue. Ze wrote them a note that included this smart paragraph:

How many times must a trans people be told to “accept what God gave them” or “just be the way you’re supposed to” before we acknowledge that any connection made between birth and gender is a harmful one? It wasn’t long ago that society would have almost unanimously told LGB individuals similar sentiments. “No, you were made to be with a man/woman.” “God made man for woman, and woman for man.” “Why can’t you do what nature intended?” Why would a company, one ran by people who have no doubt been hurt by these sorts of attitudes, endorse such similar rhetoric?

Ze received this email from Maria Nasca of OUT!Wear:

thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. your message was very well written and took some time – thank you for that! YOU definitely made an impact on me. it was never my intent to hurt or alienate our community and believe it or not i had no idea as to what this REALLY meant to everyone. you are the 1 and only message i have responded to so far, because of your kind tone. trust this will get sorted and lets pray for a good outcome. i have taken these items down off both pages and will issue a statement TONIGHT!

So now we await the statement, but the items are down.

Thank you, Maria!

Just Stop, OUT!Wear

Ugh. An LGBT clothing retailer is selling WBW t-shirts, which stands for “women born women” which is a policy used by spaces that exclude trans women, such as Michigan Women’s Festival.

Ugh. How awful. How insensitive, and shitty, and irresponsible, and yes, I’m going to say it, how TRANSPHOBIC.

Just cut it out.

Bug them on their FB page, or via their website.

What complete bullshit.

‘Realness’ as Reality

‘Realness’ may be a ball contest category, but when it turns into a litmus test, it’s a bullying stick.

Tobi Hill Meyer has pulled together a list of what it means to be a “real” transsexual woman. Here are a few:

You’re not a real transsexual woman if you transitioned after 45 (or 35, or 25, or 18 depending on who you ask)
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you ascribe to feminist gender deconstruction theory
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you buy clothes in the men’s department
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you don’t have a GI/GID diagnosis or can’t afford the process to get one
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you are caught without makeup on
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have facial or body hair that you don’t shave
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have facial or body hair that you have to shave
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you don’t wear dresses and skirts all the time
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you never crossdressed before transitioning
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have ever identified as a crossdresser
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you become sexually aroused while wearing women’s clothing
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have sex with men
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have sex with women
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you are not sexually available to men
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have sex using a strap on
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have sex
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you allow yourself to be seen naked before vaginoplasty or with anything others might consider a penis
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have ever done sex work
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you haven’t considered suicide
You’re not a real transsexual woman unless your only alternative to transition is suicide
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you’re still attending Southern Comfort
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you didn’t keep up with your dilation
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you are not stealth
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you are stealth
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you’ve been to camp trans
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you perform as a drag king
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you have ever performed as a drag queen
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you ever pee standing up
You’re not a real transsexual woman if you play sports (no exceptions for being on the women’s rugby team, but maybe for softball)

She points out that most cis women wouldn’t pass these tests, even the ones that aren’t trans specific. One of the things I feel like I say over & over again is that all women, trans and non-trans, can fail the test called “woman”. Plenty of us do on a regular basis.  Obviously her comments come out of this whole transgender/transsexual argument, which tires me.