This website is officially 10 years old today – it may be older than that, but that’s the earliest screen capture on file with the wayback machine. The online forums were there right from the start, too, when the site had a whopping 3355 hits. (I’m at 1.6 million or so now.)

There is no evidence of the blog until November 2003, except of course for my own posts on it, which start in August 2003, but either way, there is no denying that 2013 is my 10th anniversary year. I was writing My Husband Betty for the first three months of 2003, so finally, I will admit it: it took me three months to write, only.

Either way: it’s been a long time. Love to all of you who’ve followed me through the years – and some of you really have been reading the whole time, which blows my mind. An author could not be more thankful for such loyal readers.

But of course, as with the books, a very special thanks to my wife, who was then my husband, but who was always the one who made the blog machine work. She created the first website, convinced me to have the forums, and the blog, and then, later, challenged me to blog daily. She keeps challenging me, too, to write, to talk, to keep on; I would not trade this decade with her for anything in the world.

And if you’d like to make a donation in honor of my 10th anniversary, you can do so: to me, of course, or to NCTE (which also turns 10 this year), or to Fair Wisconsin’s Education Fund (which is also tax deductible).

Why Trans People Need Marriage Equality, Too

So it turns out that Thomas Beatie is not being granted his divorce, for the worst possible reason: his marriage has been declared invalid, and a marriage that never existed can’t end in divorce.

This is one of the many reasons trans people need marriage equality: so that we do not have to exist in a this legally unclear environment where a judge can decide whether or not we were ever married, even if we were for 20 years, like Christie Lee Littleton was.

That said, Beatie’s case is a little different – not that it does him much good – in that what Beatie had or had not done to establish his identity as male at the time of the marriage was unclear:

“The decision here is not based on the conclusion that this case involves a same-sex marriage merely because one of the parties is a transsexual male, but instead, the decision is compelled by the fact that the parties failed to prove that (Thomas Beatie) was a transsexual male when they were issued their marriage license,” he wrote in Friday’s ruling.

What’s more interesting to me as a gender studies person is this detail:

Beatie is eager to end his marriage, but the couple’s divorce plans stalled last summer when Gerlach said he was unable to find legal authority defining a man as someone who can give birth.

precisely because it involves the definition of a “man” – which, as any good gender studies student knows, is a cultural construct in the first place. (So is male, but far fewer people seem to understand that sex, or biological gender, is also culturally constructed.) As a feminist, I’m particularly concerned when the ability or inability to bear children starts getting involved in definitions of who is or isn’t a woman or a man.

But same sex marriage would, at least in some way, prevent this kind of bullshit at least in part, as it wouldn’t matter if Beatie was or was not a man at the time of his marriage. The issue of whether he could be a man and also give birth to his own children is, effectively, a different issue altogether.

(Interestingly, Beatie lives in AZ, where he could also, very shortly, be facing the fact that he may be legally required to use the ladies’ room, depending on what it does or doesn’t say on his birth certificate.)

Time to Boycott AZ (Again)

and here’s a quick bit with Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center explaining on MSNBC:

They’ve tied it to birth certificate gender, which is the hardest one to change (and, for that matter, is not likely to be carried around, either).


In all seriousness, this is why I went to the GLAAD Media Awards this year: their president announced that they will no longer use the actual words of the acronym because it doesn’t represent all the groups they are working for. They are just GLAAD now – the LGBT media advocacy organization.

Cool beans.

And can I just repeat for the 8 millionth time that I love Janet Mock? Mel Wymore was on the Melissa Harris Perry show, too, when they made this announcement, and I was happy to get to meet him that night as well – he’s the guy who is running for City Council on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a hotly contested race.

Mostly, though, I have watched as GLAAD became more hip to trans issues over the past few years, and I’ve been happy to see it. So congrats to them and their name change, of course. And a word of advice? Trans community politics change fast, so keep up.

Five Questions With… Zach Wahls

I was lucky enough to meet Zach Wahls at a recent fundraiser and awards gala for Fair Wisconsin. He gave such an amazing talk and was such a cool guy that I couldn’t help but ask him a few things.

Zach Wahls: My Two Moms(And how can you not love the adorable cover of his book? It’s good, too. )

1)      You are sometimes referred to as an “ally” of the larger LGBTQ communities but I don’t think you see yourself that way. Can you talk a little about what it means for you to be called an ally as opposed to being a community member?

I’m most often referred to as a “straight ally” by both the public and members of the LGBTQ community. And that’s usually fine, I don’t correct people or feel that it’s necessary for me to do so. But personally, I don’t feel as though I’m truly an “ally” because, in my mind, I’m a member of the LGBTQ community even though I’m not, personally, LGBTQ-identified. I know that the last thing any of us want to do is add another letter to the acronym, but the reality is that I do feel as though I’m a member of the community. Like LGBTQ people, I was born into this community. Like LGBTQ people, I have felt the shame and humiliation of being in the closet. Like LGBTQ people, I am regularly stigmatized by those who oppose LGBTQ rights as inferior, defective and sinful. The parallels are not perfect, of course, but as a community, we need to figure out a way to create spaces and community for those of us who have grown up with queer parents. So, to be clear, it’s not that I’m LGBTQ-identified, but that I feel the LGBTQ community includes its children, and that, to the extent that that’s true, kids like me are a part of the community. Continue reading “Five Questions With… Zach Wahls”

Which State?

So you can take a quiz about LGBT issues to find out what state you should live in. I took it, and said Yes to all of them, and rated them all a 5, or “Very Important”.

And here’s what’s interesting. When it came to where I should live based on my beliefs, the Top 5 goes like this:

  1. D.C.
  2. Washington (state)
  3. Iowa
  4. New York
  5. California

So first off, I love that Iowa’s on there, because no other midwestern state shows up until #9 (Illinois) but then not again until #20, which is … Wisconsin.

And believe me, this state’s laws are nothing near what I believe should be the case – we’ve got a super DOMA in place, after all – so there must be a huge drop-off somewhere.

Please let the SCUS come through. Pretty please.

Local Elections: Sarah Garb

My friend Sarah Gab is running for City Council here in Appleton, and she’s amazing – a new cool voice for the city, a lawyer, a mom, a Wisconsin native. Since most of you reading can’t vote for her – although I’m sure you would if you could – she could use some donations to keep her campaign afloat, as she’s up against an umpteen-year incumbent.

If you’re out of town and want to make a donation, you can donate to me via PayPal as she’s only accepting checks at this time.

Really: we need another council member here who’s looking to the future & not the past. Really, really, really.

Stomach Ease Tea

This is not something I do often, or lightly, but having just been through a round of some stomach bug or flu, I’ve been drinking a lot of stomach ease tea, by Yogi Teas, and I swear by the stuff. It’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned.

Really, just try it if you’re one of those people with a fluttery stomach – from stress, indigestion, hangover, whatever.

It makes you feel like a person again. If you can’t find it near you, you can buy it on Amazon.

And no, this is not a paid blog post, but a genuine article product endorsement. It tastes good, too.

“Goes Without Saying”

It’s been a while since I’ve griped about the petty bullshit involved in being the partner of a trans person, hasn’t it? I recently posted a photo of me and my wife at the GLAAD awards, and many, many people have said lovely things about how we both look, which we’ve both appreciated. But I did notice – how could I not? – a pretty common refrain that goes something like this: “Your wife looks amazing and of course you do too” or, alternately, “your wife looks great and it goes without saying that you do too.”

And you know what? Actually, it doesn’t. I understand the need for people to validate a trans woman’s attractiveness. I really do. But when (1) you married a man who is no longer a man, and/or (2) you’re in your 40s, and/or (3) you’re not a size 4, and/or (4) people consistently think that trans bodies are somehow publicly owned and so can and should be regularly commented on, it gets a little tiring to hear how remarkably gorgeous my wife is. I mean, I know that. I live with her and see her every day. I’m the one she shares makeup with, and hair products, and pajamas, so yes, I’m aware she’s a hottie, and a gender normative hottie at that.

So what I want to ask you married people: is it common for people to come up and tell you that your husband or wife is attractive? That they’d do them? That their first sighting of your spouse made them wonder if your spouse was single? I mean, is this a normal thing, or is this somehow part of the trans validation thing, or do I just have the bad luck of running into a lot of people who are wildly inappropriate?

My guess is that it’s a trans validation thing. Because I can’t imagine walking up to a woman whose husband was attractive and saying any of these things. I can’t imagine saying it to a woman whose wife is hot. I really can’t. And maybe that’s me, my usual unflirtatious self, but I find it disturbing that people constantly feel the need to tell me that my wife is a hot prospect.

Continue reading ““Goes Without Saying””

RIP Lucy Meadows

What a terrifically sad story:  Lucy Meadows transitions and is supported by her school and community but then excoriated and hounded by the press because of her transition.

She has since committed suicide, it’s reported.

This has to stop. There’s a petition to get the journalist fired who said all this crap about her – regendering her with male pronouns like the class act he is – and I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not but something’s got to give. I won’t like his hateful, transphobic screed.

She didn’t deserve this.

It’s especially sad to read this after just having attended the GLAAD Media Awards – which covers only the US but which has renewed its mission for trans people and coverage. But in the UK, do check out Trans Media Watch.

Really, Smith?

Hey, Smith alumnae – call out your alma mater, would you? They’ve returned a young trans woman’s application because she is not yet legally recognized as female by the state of CT (where it is possible to get your gender marker changed without genital surgery). The issue may be her birth certificate, as those often require proof of genital surgery before gender markers will be changed.

Feh, Smith. You could do better. If you want to be inclusive of trans people, and not just trans men, then you need to understand the situation most young trans women are in.

And Back in the States…

Arizona legislators want to make it illegal for people to use the “wrong” bathroom, and to make the offense punishable with fines and jail time. They’ve raised the usual bugaboo of pedophilia – which, if anyone has noticed, we don’t seem to care one whit about when it’s done by straight men – and which Mara Keisling clarifies:

“These (anti-discrimination) laws are in effect in more than 160 cities and 16 states,” said Keisling, and that the problem of sexual predation on minors that the discriminatory policy alleges to address, “isn’t happening anywhere. It just doesn’t occur. It’s one of the terrible things that opponents of equality always raise in hopes of scaring people.”

Oh, and by the way? “Birth gender” is an oxymoron. Pass it on.

Kate Bornstein Needs You

Kate Bornstein is fighting cancer. Help her kick its ass by donating something to help her pay her bills and for her treatment.

I can say for one thing: I don’t know that I’d be around without her. Please let’s keep her alive. She blew the roof off this trans thing for so many of us; she continues to do amazing work year in and year out, and her heart is about as big as they come. I know that every time I see her, or talk with her, I have a renewed sense of my own dedication to this movement.

So give until it hurts. Masochist that she is, she’ll love that.

RIP Erica Andrews

What a sad thing to hear: Erica Andrews, who was still in her early 40s, died of a lung infection a week ago now. She was not, as the articles make her out to be, a “drag queen” or “female illusionist” – or at least not those things only – she lived as a woman 24/7 and talked specifically about being a transsexual woman. They did get the “one of the best” part right, at least.

There’s a nice video tribute here, and here’s a clip of her on Tyra. She did one hell of a Joan Crawford, too.