Trans Employment

CNN ran this article on trans people and employment and economics a few days ago and it occurred to me that perhaps this is new news to some people. It’s a known problem within the trans universe, although of course I know plenty of well-employed, well paid trans people as well – at universities, of course, but also at Google and Twitter, and there are quite a few like Babs Siperstein (in the video) who decided to go their own way and so not worry about discrimination from a manager or boss.

But as with all things the intersectional issues are huge: education, previous employment, the visibility of a job; ethnicity, race, language skills; support from family, faith community, and work — all of these aspects of a trans person’s existence are highly variable. So much can be the luck of the draw; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many trans people are in tech because there is so much more of an emphasis on being excruciatingly smart and capable in very demanding and specific ways; someone, for instance, who has had a life in sales is not going to be as likely to keep a job — although of course a good salesperson shouldn’t have to rely on gender normativity to be able to sell a product.

(I do, as ever, feel the need to point out that it’s pretty cool that CNN is covering issues like this, and not in the “shocking expose” bullshit kind of way.)

Thoughts? If you’ve got a story to tell, feel free. Also, if you need a job or have a job, post those here too.


rachel crowl appleton winter
Photo  © Rachel Crowl


Wow, it’s snowing again, for like the 18th time this week, feels like.

I have decided that there will be an exclamation point next to my little weather app until April, although at that point, of course, tornado season starts.

Making it through winters here is a little like making it home on the subway during rush hour: exhausting, but you really do feel like you’re made of sterner stuff than you thought.

This is the view from our front step.

Me @ Esprit & on the West Coast

For the very first time since the publication of My Husband Betty I’m going to be doing a conference & keynote talk on the West Coast – specifically, at Esprit, up in Port Angeles, WA. I’ll be there on May 17th & 18th, with one workshop on the 17th (on Trans Relationships) and one on the 18th (on sex), in addition to the keynote on the 18th. It’s supposed to be beautiful there, so I’m looking forward to that, but also, I’ve heard a lot about how fun this conference is over the years.

I would love to do something in/around Seattle while I’m there as well as in Portland, OR, if that’s possible, so if you’re at a school or bookstore or with an organization that brings in speakers, let me know! It’s a good time to book me to do something out there as I can discount any “piggybacked” events.

I am still also thinking about trying to be in San Francisco for my birthday which is earlier that week, so if you’re in the Bay Area, get in touch.

Two Tune Tuesday: Amanda Palmer

it doesn’t matter if you want it back / you’ve given it away

he’s already on the outskirts
i’m still pulling at his sweatshirt
he is says ‘fate is not a factor’
i’m in love with a reactor

i just can’t get enough of her lately (which is probably a sign that this winter has been way too long already.)

Violence & Bisexual People

Via FORGE and Loree Cook-Daniels:

The recently-released National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation, held many surprises, not the least of which was that bisexual men and women are, overall, the most at risk. Here are some of those highlights, ordered to highlight highest rates:

Lifetime prevalence of rape (because of their definition of “rape,”
numbers were too small to report for gay and bi men, although heterosexual men reported a rate of 0.7%):
Bisexual women — 46.1%
Heterosexual women — 17.4%
Lesbian women — 13.1%

Lifetime prevalence of sexual violence other than rape:
Bisexual women — 74.9%
Bisexual men — 47.4%
Lesbians — 46.4%
Heterosexual women — 43.3%
Gay men — 40.2%
Heterosexual men — 20.8%

Lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner:
Bisexual women — 61.1%
Lesbians — 43.8%
Bisexual men — 37.3%
Heterosexual women — 35.0%
Heterosexual men — 29.0%
Gay men — 26.0%

The full report (PDF) is available at

TED x Allyson Robinson

I suppose I can say “we knew her when” as Allyson was a member of our community forums for a long while.

To me, these are the standout pieces, but do go listen to the whole thing:

” In our society, and in all the groups and subgroups and sub-subgroups that comprise it, we treat inclusion as a good, a commodity. The work we do to secure this good for ourselves is conformity. It’s true, isn’t it? We perform a labor – we wear a particular kind of clothes, we speak in a particular way, we show interest in a particular set of things, we adhere to the norms of a particular group – and we’re rewarded by that group with included status. When we do the work of conforming, it’s like we’re buying inclusion; when we require others to conform in order to be included, we sell it. Are you with me? This takes place in a particularly transparent way among children and youth in traditional educational settings — think cliques — but we all do it. Our methods just become more sophisticated and more subtle as we mature.

And so we create a market, where buyers and sellers of inclusion come together to trade and the forces of supply and demand affect costs. In the social inclusion marketplace, a person’s ability to gain entry into a group is limited by the price she’s able and willing to pay, the norms she can and will adhere to. For some, those whose natural inclinations and disposition line up with the group’s norms, it’s literally a small price to pay. They receive the good of inclusion, and their need for belongingness is met, simply by virtue of who they are, like a privilege. But what of everyone else?”

and this:

” … we teach the natural conformers that norming others into submission and sameness is an ethical practice that brings about a common good. In fact, we teach that homogeneity is a common good, contrary to our message of respect for diversity and difference. We instruct non-conformers in the internalization of oppression, and everyone else to become oppressors themselves … “

And I’m so pleased to see her doing this kind of work, and doing it so well.

I Certainly Hope So

“Do you think I’ve gone round the bend?”
“I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The Drag Show

Tonight is Lawrence’s Drag Show, put on by (mostly) LGBTQIAA students, and I think it’s the 4th (5th?) one I’ve been here for. I haven’t missed one.

I get to go whether or not I drag anyone with me, and every year I’m blown away – first, because I usually get to hear some song I have never heard before that they all know, and so I get to remind myself that I am ancient. That’s honestly a great reminder to someone who teaches.

Almost every year there is some student who does drag (in public, at least) for the very first time, and that is always remarkable. I don’t even personally know what that’s like as someone who would never step onto a stage to perform anything but a lecture, but I do know that I have held a lot of first-time-out crossdressers by the elbow to make sure they don’t just faint. For some, of course, it’s just fun, and they’re naturally extroverted, theatrical types. One former student is out in San Francisco doing drag as I type, no doubt.

But I am pleased it seems to have become an institution here, now, & I hope I’ve had at least some small part in making it that.

I Love This (Fat) Woman.

I love this marvelous fat woman who wrote this article called “How Not to Be a Dick to your Fat Friends”.

First, because of her awesome hair.
Second, because she’s written things like this:

Almost inevitably, other women chime in with things they dislike about their own bodies. Then it feels like an evening spent rolling around in self-loathing and if I wanted to do that, I’d go to a Coldplay show or something. (I kid, I kid. Mostly.)

The funny thing is that this is meant to make other people feel better about their bodies but can have the opposite effect. If our bodies are similar, for example, and you’re telling me how gross your thighs are, that’s going to make me wonder a) why I’ve been sitting there content with my thighs when they are obviously so flawed and b) what you think about my thighs that you haven’t been telling me.

Really, because it’s true. We teach each other how to hate ourselves in more detail-oriented ways every day.

& This:

If you ask me about my cholesterol, I will totally tell you, my friend! But then I need you to believe me, OK? And if I were dealing with high cholesterol and you said, “Hey, I hear that walking for half an hour a day can help with that, let’s go to the park!” then I would totally be on the trail with you because walking at the park for half an hour with a friend sounds awesome.

Since we all live in a “wellness” obsessed culture, may I also add that it’s really stupid to assume that fat people don’t exercise. My mom was on her feet her whole life; she was also overweight her whole life.

(And may I just say, while I’m on the topic, that “wellness” is a dumb-ass word. The word is “health”. There is no way to use “wellness” where “health” isn’t appropriate, and oh, health is a word, and wellness is not. Soon we’re going to start calling morals “goodnesses” as our intelligence as a species drops down to an IQ of 80.)

and also, this:

Special note to other big fat fatties: This is also not cool to say to your smaller fat friends. See above, re: identity politics. “Fat” is harder to define when it’s those liminal 12-16 sizes but come on. Let’s not be dicks either.

As someone who has seen everything from size 6 to size 14, I am very much in the liminal category. Of course I also don’t say dumb ass things like “god I’m so fat” to women who are bigger than me. Or smaller than me, really. I don’t think of myself as fat, for the record. The horror.

I’m going to add a couple of others: skinny ladies, do not imply that I only have this fantastic rack because I’m a size 12. The last time I lost 30 lbs I went *up* a cup size, not down one.

Also, do not look surprised when I mention having been a gym rat or being able to do 50 pushups. One of the reasons some of us are not skinny is because we’re muscular. (We often end up with higher BMIs as a result, though I’ve been spared that indignity, at least.)

This post brought to you by someone cranky from trying to drop a size, if you really need to know.

Mr. & Mr.

I so love that this guy wrote to the AP to let them know that he & his husband use the term “husband” with each other. Apparently the AP is supposed to not use the terms for same sex couples unless those people use it themselves.

So he went on record and wrote to the AP to let them know that in his case, and in his husband’s case, they should go ahead and use “husband”.

I understand that the AP will only refer to my lawfully wedded husband, Michael Gallagher, as my “husband” if you are aware that we have regularly used those terms.

As this determination is being made on a case-by-case basis, I wanted to let you know, for your records, that we use these terms.

You can write to them to: Tom Kent, the standards editor,, [and] David Minthorn, AP stylebook editor,

I really do want to write to them but I think trying to explain that we’ve gone from husband & wife to wives to sometimes just “legal spouse” – because the legally married part often needs to be underlined – might just throw the AP if they’re still pussyfooting around couples who are, and stay, the same legal gender.

And we in the trans community wonder why journalists get it wrong so often.

Vote Today, Wisconsin

Here are Fair Wisconsin’s Endorsements for tomorrow’s vote:

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Ed Fallone

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, District 2 Special Election: Khalif Rainey and Ravae Sinclair (dual endorsement)

Milwaukee Public Schools, Board of School Directors
District 6: Tatiana Joseph

Madison Common Council
District 2: Bryan Post and Ledell Zellers (dual endorsement)
District 13: Sue Ellingson
District 15: David Ahrens and Hawk Sullivan (dual endorsement)

Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education
Seat 5: Sarah Manski, TJ Mertz, and Ananda Mirilli (all endorsed)

& Here’s information on your polling place.

Queer Little Poem

I happened upon this little poem the other day & it struck me as so spare and so shocked with emotion.

He would not stay for me, and who can wonder

by A. E. Housman

He would not stay for me, and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder,
And went with half my life about my ways.

It is so spare and yet gets at that thing of love, no?

Happy 83rd Birthday, Mom!

mom dad 1952


They were Brooklyn kids, can you tell? Sweet and tough all at once.

(& Yes, we all still miss the big galoot in the photo, & we miss him a lot.)

They were in their early 20s when this one was taken, & they’re sitting on the stoop of a family home on Jerome Street, somewhere near Pitkin Avenue.