RIP Cemia Dove or “CiCi” Alcoff

As I said on my FB page yesterday: I’m sorry, Ms. Alcoff, that we have not yet made the world a place that is safe enough for your beauty.

Rest in Peace.

(And journalists, and police, get your shit together already.  For those who are wondering, she felt forced to admit she was a man, which, if she hadn’t had her ID changed legally, she might have done in order to prevent more complications and charges. Trans women do not “admit” to being men because they “know” they are, but because they know that people are stupid and hateful and shitty to trans people.)

First Out in Major Sports

It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is, because the machismo of professional sports keeps so many of these guys in the closet. Not anymore: Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards just came out, and I expect a lot more will follow.

Glad someone took the first leap.

Collins says he didn’t set out to be the first out gay athlete playing in a major team sport, “but since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

Interestingly, he was motivated to come out due to the Boston bombing: life is short.


boyd avIt’s finally spring up here and I’ve been out 2 out of 2 days and it is absolutely amazingly fantastic.

Here’s a road sign I found on my second trip out.

Phosphorescent: Song for Zula

A few weeks ago I was up at dawn up in northern Wisconsin and you know, if you know me at all, that if I am up at dawn it’s only because I haven’t slept. Right before I’d gone up there I’d loaded a bunch of new music onto my MP3 player and while I was standing there shivering, this song, which I had never heard before, came on.

I highly recommend listening to it when you’re on the edge of something – a lake, a cliff, a decision.

My heart is wild / my bones are steam / and I could kill you with my bare hands / if I was free

It was a very cold, very bright sunrise that morning, and all the gray of this long Wisconsin winter only turned to silver, not to color, as the sun came up, but it was still astonishing.

Equality Wins This Week

Also, I love this tidy summation from Fair Wisconsin‘s Katie Belanger:

Just this week alone,
(1) France became the 17th nation in the world to recognize marriage equality,
(2) the Delaware House voted in support of the freedom to marry, sending the bill to the Senate,
(3) Nevada kicked off the process to repeal its constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, and
(4) Rhode Island is poised on the brink of becoming the tenth state in the US to extend the freedom to marry to committed gay and lesbian couples – only one more procedural vote and on to the Governor!

And yesterday,
(5) a fully inclusive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in the House and the Senate. If passed into law, ENDA simply would make it illegal to discriminate in employment based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.

Philly’s “Transiest Bill Ever”

Just to reiterate: this is great goddamn news: it will end discriminatory exclusion of health benefits for transgender City employees by Jan. 1, 2014 and allow employers offering health care to transgender employees to qualify for the “Equality Tax Credit”.

But I just have to point out the very last bit of this article:

There’s a whole bunch more, but you get the gist of it . . . State Rep. Brian Sims called it “a remarkable day in our city’s rich history,” and you know what? It is.

So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.

Philly Wins

Really, the Philadelphia City Council just passed an amazing equality bill. According to Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club the LGBT Equality Bill will:

• Make Philadelphia the largest city in the nation to end discrimination against transgender people in its employee health-care plan.
• Make Philadelphia the first city in the nation to offer a Transgender Health Tax Credit to companies that offer transgender-specific health coverage.
• Make Philadelphia the first city in the nation to offer a Life Partner Health Care Tax Credit to companies whose employee health plans treat life partners and their children equal to heterosexual families.
• Clarify that life partners of city employees have authority equal to heterosexual spouses for hospital visitation and medical decision making, and access equal to heterosexual spouses for pension, retirement and survivor benefits.
• Protect the rights of workers to dress and groom consistent with their gender identity.
• Require that individuals be permitted use of restrooms in accordance with their gender identity.
• Require city buildings to provide gender-neutral restrooms.
• Make it easier for transgender Philadelphians to update their name and gender on city documents.

This is very exciting stuff, a whole new plateau the rest of us have to catch up to.

MWMF etc.

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much as posting music, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed lately. Still, here are a few links to some stuff concerning transphobia being classified as hate speech, the London Irish Centre’s decision not to let RadFem 2013 happen in their space, the new news about MWMF’s re-instated “no trans need apply” policy, and some more commentary on said policy.

Slowly, people are starting to realize that trans people’s basic humanity is not negotiable.


This is just because I woke today so full, so peaceful, so – resolved. I have been through a little too much these past few weeks and have been feeling exhausted, and winter seemed like it would never, ever end.

So take some of it, those of you who need it; and thank you to those who have given me some.

2013 National Trans Health Summit

Register today for the 2013 National Transgender Health Summit May 17th – 18th in Oakland, California!

The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health invite health care providers, health and human service professionals, mental health professionals, health administrators, researchers, students and advocates to attend the 2013 National Transgender Health Summit. Programming includes plenary sessions by world-renowned experts in the field of transgender health care, training tracks for medical and mental health care providers interested in building their skills for working with transgender patients and clients, a research track for the dissemination of cutting edge developments in the field of transgender health, and a transgender health policy institute.

Early bird registration ends April 25, 2013. Register today!

Full program information is available online at

CME and CEU course credit available.

The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health combines the unique strengths and resources of a nationally renowned training and capacity-building institution, the Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center (PAETC), and an internationally recognized leader in HIV prevention research, the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), both of which are housed at the University of California, San Francisco. The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health strives to increase access to comprehensive, effective, and affirming health care services for trans and gender-variant communities.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), formerly known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA), is a professional organization devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender identity disorders. As an international multidisciplinary professional Association the mission of WPATH is to promote evidence based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy and respect in transgender health.


Today’s Vitriol

“You taught me language, and my profit on ’t
Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!”
-Caliban, The Tempest

Mara Keisling’s Lessons for Activists

Mara Keisling of NCTE spoke here at Lawrence a little over a week ago and she talked not just about trans issues and policy and legislation, but also about the importance of white people talking about racism and about what kinds of things are required of an activist.

She presented this list:

1. Have a worldview. Know what is right and wrong for you.

2. Be intentional. Don’t just do things the easy way.

3. Remember that you are in service with your activism.

4. You have to love the people you serve. If you don’t love them, you can’t serve them.

5. Respect other people’s work.

6. Know your superpower.

7. You can’t be amazing unless you are amazed.

And I found the list pretty astonishing. I’m certainly not perfect at it, but it does summarize so much of what I’ve been thinking these past few years about my own work.

I’ve got #s 1 & 4 down, at least. I’m pretty good at #s 3, 5, & 6. #s 2 & 7 are my weakest. I wonder, if you’re an activist, how these measure up for you.

Fox Cities Book Festival: April 17 – 24

The Fox Cities Book Festival started in earnest yesterday and I saw one author right out of the gate: James Loewen, otherwise famous for Lies My Teacher Told Me, but who spoke yesterday about sundown towns. And he was amazing. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, please do.

Otherwise, there are a ton of other readings and authors and contests and events and all sorts of things. The very last event is with my colleague David McGlynn who will be talking about his memoir A Door in the Ocean – which didn’t start out a memoir – and how it got that way.

There are YA authors, mystery authors, science writers, journalists, poets, comic book collectors; historians, teachers, moms, and survivors.

It’s pretty cool. Go see stuff.

#13?: NZ

New Zealand has made same sex marriage legal. They’re the 13th country in the world to do so. & Guess what? The US isn’t one of them.

(I can’t quite sort if they are the 13th or 14th. Seeing conflicting #s from good sources, so here’s a list.)

  1. Argentina
  2. Belgium
  3. Canada
  4. Denmark
  5. Iceland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Norway
  8. Portugal
  9. Spain
  10. South Africa
  11. Sweden
  12. Uruguay
  13. New Zealand