More Slut Shaming

A judge said a 14 year old girl who consented to sex with a 49 year old man who was also her teacher was “older than her chronological years” and “as much in control” as the man was.

The man has to serve 30 days.

The girl took her own life. According to her mother, she committed suicide largely because of this relationship. has a petition that calls for the judge to resign for his poor judgement, victim blaming, and slut shaming.

Which reminds me to define slut shaming: slut shaming is a cultural practice whereby people think a woman “deserves” whatever negative thing happens to her because she has a sexuality or even just a body that she dresses in a way that seems – to someone – as “asking for it”. Slut shaming is when a girl is raped at a party by four boys and the photo of her being raped is passed around and no one reports the boys. Slut shaming is when a journalist reports the slut shaming being done by others of a 12 year told girl who was raped by multiple men. Slut shaming is when a woman who agrees to sex with a guy at a party is mocked and made fun of and nothing happens to the guy. Slut shaming is when a girl who gives a guy a blowjob at a concert and is called a slut while the guy is applauded. Slut shaming is when a woman is considered dangerous or suspect purely because she has an apparent sexuality and is/has been known to have sex with men (or women) she is not married or committed to. Slut shaming is what bisexuals get a lot because they’re assumed to sleep with anyone, anywhere, any time.

Slut shaming is what makes that judge’s ruling possible; it plays into the myths that women are always temptresses, femme fatales, or lolitas, that their expression of their sexuality is always a conscious choice and that any disregard for traditional social morays and expectations will and should be punished.

The word “slut” doesn’t have to be used for slut shaming to occur, and a woman does not have to have had sex with a lot of men in order to be accused of being a slut. That is, slut shaming is a cultural phenomenon that attempts to define and control women’s sexualities and punish anyone whose appearance or practices are not in line with that culture’s standards.

Subscription Problem

Hello all! I’ve been having a problem with the subscription widget for this blog lately and haven’t yet come up with a fix. Once I do, I’ll announce it here – and/or hopefully be able to send an email to all of you who have subscribed in the past.

Wish me luck.

Seattle Times, Too

As I previously mentioned, an article in The Seattle Times has also called for Chelsea Manning to receive medical care for her transition if she desires it, but emphasizes the issues of violence and assault faced by trans women in prison:

Chelsea is entitled to constitutional protection from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Otherwise, the horrifying reality is that Chelsea may face torture, abuse and rape while incarcerated. The unconscionable prison conditions for many transgender people were captured in the 1994 U.S. Supreme Court case Farmer v. Brennan. The court ruled in favor of a transgender woman named Dee Farmer, who sued the federal government for failing to protect her from assaults and repeated rape, resulting in her contracting HIV while incarcerated in an all-male federal prison.

Since that case, the Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed at the federal level, but it has only just begun to address this ongoing nightmare. A recent California study found that transgender women are 13 times more likely to be raped while incarcerated and more than 200,000 people are sexually assaulted while incarcerated each year. We must demand an end to these dehumanizing conditions.

But do go read the whole thing. It was written by Danielle Askini of Gender Justice League.

Trans Archiving: March 21-23, 2014

Don’t miss the first-ever conference on Trans* archiving!
Moving Trans* History Forward
University of Victoria Transgender Archives Symposium
March 21—23, 2014
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
A 3-day symposium on Trans* archival collections focusing on acquisition, preservation, and access.

The University of Victoria Libraries is proudly committed to the preservation of the history of transgender people. We are inviting scholars, activists, archivists, and all interested people to share and participate in discussions about moving Trans* history forward through the creation and preservation of Trans* archival collections.

Hosted by:

  • Dr. Aaron Devor ( ), Founder and Academic Director, University of Victoria Transgender Archives
  • Lara Wilson, Director, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Victoria Libraries

Keynote speakers:

  • * Susan Stryker ( ), Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, University of Arizona. “Trans* Activism and Archiving in the US: History, Objects, Methods.”
  • * Viviane Namaste ( ), Associate Professor and Concordia University Research Chair, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Montréal. “Oral history, archives, and invisible labour of trans* women in Montréal.”
  • * Dallas Denny (, writer, researcher, and veteran Trans* community activist, Atlanta, Georgia. “Preserving Trans* History: A Short History and Suggestions for the Future.”

Request for Proposals coming soon
Web: www.transgenderarchives.uvic.caEmail: Transarc@uvic.caSupport the Transgender Archives (

NYC Editorial Board Calls for Manning’s Humane Treatment

This is what I call a Big Fucking Deal: The NYT Editorial Board wrote a piece calling for medical transition care for Private Manning and for other trans prisoners like her, making the important point too that her housing should be safe but not isolated due to the heightened risk of sexual assault in prison for trans people.It begins:

When Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, declared that she wanted to live as a woman, the Army’s response was callous and out of step with medical protocol, stated policies for transgender people in civilian federal prisons and existing court rulings.

and then ends:

Private Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said last week that he hoped military prison officials would voluntarily provide hormone treatment, without a lawsuit. It should not take a court order to get officials — including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — to do the right thing. They should give Private Manning appropriate medical care and safe but not unduly isolated housing, which should be available for all transgender prisoners.

What is most remarkable to me is that I read and edited a draft by trans activist Danielle Askini of Seattle’s Gender Justice League which will run in tomorrow’s Seattle Times – and its ask and major points are essentially the same as the Times’ letter.

Very, very exciting stuff.


Outagamie County Considers Benefits for Domestic Partners

On Tuesday afternoon, the Outagamie County Legislative Committee will consider adding Domestic Partner Health Coverage for gay and lesbian county employees in a domestic partnership.

You can contact the Committee by emailing them and telling them it’s the right thing to do.

If you’re in Appleton, you can come to the meeting at 2PM, which will be held in the Administration Building, Second Floor, County Board Room
410 S. Walnut St., Appleton.

Thanks to Fair Wisconsin for all this information and for educating government officials as to why this is so necessary.


Madelaine Ashby, the scifi writer, has a great blog post about how to write about periods. Why? Because they take up a fuckton of a woman’s life is why.

In 20 or so bullet points, she sums up some of the things male writers may not know about periods, and which my wife, who doesn’t get a period, said she didn’t know, either. So for my male readers, or my trans female readers, or for my readers who just want to have that “oh, so I’m not a weirdo” moment when it comes to their own periods, read on. These are some of my favorites, but the whole list is worth reading.

  • PMS is a real thing. But really, the fact that a woman snaps at you (or your character snaps at someone else) just before or during her period has nothing to do with her period, and everything to do with the simmering pot of rage she keeps a lid on for the rest of the month. She’s angry at you because you fucked up during a time when she’s bleeding and in pain. Your timing was bad, but so was your fuckup. If you want people to not be angry with you, consider not fucking up.

  •  It’s often easier to just sit over a toilet for a while.

  • … Not least because you’ll be doing some epic shitting, because all the muscles in your lower body got the “let go” message at the same time.

  • Some people really love having period sex. Sometimes period sex will only work (i.e. lead to orgasms) if you’re in one position and not another. Experiment. Take notes. Put down some towels.

  • Sometimes you’ll crave sex right before your period arrives. Usually this happens when your skin looks like pizza and your breasts are really sore. And you’re like, “What the fuck, body?” and your body’s like, “I don’t know. It was worth a shot.”

  • Getting your first period does not make you a woman. It makes you reproductively available. Your womanhood is not measured by your ability to reproduce sexually. (bold mine)

  • If you miscarry, or you have trouble conceiving, it’s not because God hates you or your body is wrong or the universe is telling you that you’re an unfit mother. It’s because conception is actually really difficult. It’s about as difficult as sending a small missile down a tiny opening at the end of a narrow trench. A direct hit, and only a direct hit, can initiate the chain reaction. May the Force be with you.

Please note the one I’ve put in bold, trans ladies.

Islan, & Harlem, & Me

I went to college in Harlem, slept with men in Harlem, lived a little north of Harlem and a little south of Harlem for most of my 20s. I cut my teeth on womanism, which was the first form of feminism that ever felt like it invited me in.

& I used to ride the subway to and through Harlem and I saw young women like Islan on their way downtown to the Piers or from a date and it was one of the only times in my life I used to pray, the way an agnostic might, to my grandma, to keep that young woman safe. I was a white woman from the suburbs who moved through black and brown communities safely because of my skin privilege & straight privilege & cis privilege. That is not to say I always was safe, & ultimately, I wasn’t, but that’s another story for another day.

& I wasn’t going to say too much about Islan because I am still recovering from the shock and horror and sadness of the deaths of Cemia and Evon, but then I read this short, raw piece by Grace Annam at Alas & thought better of my silence.

& The non-trans people of this planet need to step the fuck up. We can’t keep letting this happen.

There’s a lot more to say. There’s a lot more anger & heartache & sorrow & fury where this post came from, & sometimes I want an emotional callous to keep from feeling all of it every time I see a beautiful face like Islan’s & hear it was blotted out of existence by someone’s fists, except I don’t want that callous either, because what kind of asshole would I be then?

Hello, #NPR?

National Public Radio will continue for now to refer to Private Manning as “he,” according to a spokeswoman, Anna Bross. “Until Bradley Manning’s desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him,” she said.

What complete & utter bullshit.

Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for GLAAD, a gay-rights group, said he had been reaching out to news organizations to change their usage. He noted that nearly every major style guide says the media should use the pronoun preferred by the subject. “All of the media coverage today shows how far behind the media is covering transgender people,” said Mr. Ferraro.

Uh, no kidding. GLAAD has a specific resource for reporting on Chelsea Manning, as well as special tips for journalists reporting on crime/violence against trans victims.

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists (NLGJA) have a stylebook on LGBT terminology, too.

But really, NPR?

Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning: Being Trans and in Prison

As many of you know, a photo of the person we know as Bradley Manning presenting as female was released by the Army before she was sentenced. As you also probably know, Manning is to serve 35 years for leaking information. She has now stated that she would like to be known as Chelsea Manning.

What you may not know is how unlikely it is that she will get anything but psychiatric treatment around the trans issues, despite her now stated desire to start receiving hormone treatments:

Ft. Leavenworth spokeswoman Kimberly Lewis told Courthouse News that treatment for transgender inmates does not extend beyond psychiatric care.

“All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement,” Lewis said in an email. “The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.”

A growing number of federal judges have ruled that rejecting such treatment for transgender prisoners constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Indeed, the jurisdiction of the Maryland courtroom where the WikiLeaks source has been tried is subject to a 4th Circuit decision from Jan. 28 this year guaranteeing the possibility of sex-reassignment surgery for all federal inmates in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit ruled similarly in 2011, striking down a Wisconsin law banning such medical care. A Boston federal judge granted surgery to a convicted wife-killer last year, and the 1st Circuit is currently mulling that decision on appeal.

Manning, however, is being held in a military prison in Ft. Leavenworth, out of reach for all of these jurisdictions.

It’s too bad she didn’t come out as trans while in the US military long before any of this ever happens, as she would have been dishonorably discharged for it. The repeal of DADT didn’t cover trans people, only gays and lesbians. Still, I’m thankful for what she did & stand with many others in asking President Obama to pardon her.


Guest Post: Trish Mifflin

Trish Mifflin recently wrote a short review of the book True Selves that she posted on our community forums, and I thought it was worth posting here for others to read. Do you agree? Disagree? I know this has been a very important book for many people, but I’d love to hear more about what people think of how it has, or hasn’t, held up. – hb.

True Selves Revisited – by Trish Mifflin

When people are trying to learn about transgender issues, they’re often referred — by IFGE  and others — to a 1996 book called True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism for Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals, by Mildred Brown and Chloe Rounsley. It’s gained something of a reputation as a “Rosetta stone” for explaining transgender issues to people.

I’ve owned True Selves for years, but for one reason or another, I never got around to reading it, until last week, when — on a whim — I pulled it from the shelf and started going through it.

Well. To put it nicely, I don’t think it holds up. I guess, being generous, I would call it “quaint.”

To put it not-so-nicely, I think it’s a terrible book to give to anyone who has a loved one who is transgender, or to someone who may be transgender, transsexual, gender-queer or otherwise non-binary conforming.

True Selves — and I know I’m oversimplifying here — pretty much says that unless we’re seeking genital surgery, we crossdressers (I’m one) and gender-queers are disordered people with sexual fetishes.

And if we are seeking permanent gender re-assignment, True Selves tells us we will have strife-filled, heart-breaking, miserable lives.

These are not exactly the messages I would want to give my family and friends if I wanted them to understand my feelings. Continue reading “Guest Post: Trish Mifflin”

Neil Gaiman on Art, Work, & Happiness

This is for my wife, who loves Mr. Gaiman at least as much as I do.

This is my favorite bit:

People keep working in a freelance world because their work is good, they’re easy to get along with, & because they deliver the work on time. & You don’t even need all three. 2 out of 3 is fine:

People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good & you deliver it on time.

People will forgive the lateness of your work if it’s is good & they like you.

& you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

Because it’s true.

Walker Watch

I’m not sure people are aware of this, but Scott Walker has been having people arrested for singing, or watching people sing, in the state capitol’s rotunda. This is the same place where all the protests happened a few years ago.

Here’s a guy who got arrested today, & yes, he is a firefighter.

The Solidarity Singalong started in March 2011 with the rallies that were staged protests against Walker’s union busting. It’s continued every day since them – at noon, usually with a couple of copies of lyrics for whomever wanted to sing along. Their supposed to get a permit as a group but they are not a group so much as they are people who show up to sing; who comes is pretty irregular, and no one is “in charge”. That is, there is no organization, no group in the legal sense, and so no one who can report how many people will show up on a day to day basis.

But of course that’s not the point. The point is that they’re singing in the rotunda of the capitol of Wisconsin because they should be allowed to.

On Vaccinations

I have a lot of friends with children, and I’m increasingly chagrined that my own peers are taking their political views on Big Pharma to a place that puts all of us at greater risk of dying of things we don’t have to die of.

So to explain how it all works, what “peer reviewed” means, and to comment on various “But — ” arguments, here’s this very good, clear article about what it all means, including links out about how places with low percentages of vaccination are getting the most diseases, and to this one about how herd immunity works.

That is all.

Gay Men Stay Gay….

… when they date trans men, that is.

Artist Bill Roundy wrote a comic about what it’s like to be a gay man who dates trans guys is actually pretty damned amusing.

<—– Here’s one snippet.

What we have learned: penis in vagina sex is not always straight/het sex. Genitals aren’t gender. Sometimes men have vaginas. Sometimes women don’t.

Anyway, read the whole thing — his frustration is in every frame but it should help clarify for a lot of people out there who don’t get it.


8/20 UPDATE: “The storm of emotions going through us was incredible. And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything.”

— Russian sprinter Kseniya Ryzhova, adamantly denying that the headline-grabbing kiss she shared with another female runner on the medal stand at the world championships in Moscow was a protest against Russia’s draconian anti-gay law.

(via Bilerico)

(Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova were two of the Russian team who won the 4x400m relay in Moscow. When on the podium receiving

their medals they kissed, on the lips. It is assumed this is a protest against the recently passed anti gay laws.)