A trans guy in IL is in an unsafe living situation and wants to move to Madison. He’s only seeking $500 for moving costs. Donate if you can.
In honor of the publication of Transgress Press’ Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge, & Resistance, I’ve done a few interviews with partners whose words appear in this book.
The first of these is with Dan, whose wife transitioned to male.
1.What didn’t you write about in your narrative but wish you had?
I didn’t write about sex. Make that S-E-X sex. It is a hard subject for me and for most people, I suppose. I have learned that, despite the widely held view that transgender people are, by and large, some sort of sex pervert, it seems that transitioning and post-transition folks are often asexual. It is understandable in that for many trans people, their sex organs–and in the case of trans men, their breasts–are hated reminders of their lifelong “wrong body” predicament. Still, I was not at all prepared for my partner to tell me, shortly after beginning transition, that he had lost interest in sex.
I am 69 years old as of this writing and Rob is 13 years behind me. We’ve been together, sexually, for about 35 years. We had always had a very satisfying love life, and the loss-of-interest announcement came so closely on the heels of transition that I naturally think of the two incidents as being related. Rob had been peri-menopausal for a few years before starting on “T,” and that immediately cut off the supply of estrogen and brought on full-scale menopause. It is not unusual for women to find their sex drive diminishing with menopause, but this was an abrupt and dramatic change.
For the first few years I struggled hard with this. We didn’t talk much about it, partly because I didn’t want him to feel guilty or pressured or any such thing, but I am a sexual guy. I thought about raising the possibility of opening our relationship, but discarded that idea quickly. Early in our marriage we had some experiences with sharing a third-party lover, but we gave that up as something that was simply not our style. Of course, I considered the possibility of an affair, but we have a trust-based, monogamous relationship and I would never jeopardize that, nor do I think for a moment that Rob would ever tolerate that. Neither could I, for that matter.
A couple years ago, Rob indicated that he was interested in re-establishing our sex life, but by that time we also found that he had developed one of those other post-menopausal bugbears: dryness and some pretty serious pain with intercourse. At the same time, whatever prowess I might once of had was mostly in my memories. I had hip replacement surgery when I was 60 and again three years later. The pain and mobility problems leading up to and recovering from those certainly reduced my skills and stamina for being a very energetic lover. These days I think Robin is more ready and willing to get it on than I am, not because I don’t want to or don’t find him attractive, but largely because we’re just way out of practice and, truth be told, we’re just not as young as we were when this all started.
I’ll be speaking about trans lives, and specifically about supporting trans youth, this Wednesday at Lawrence. 6:30, Steitz 102, open to the public.
“If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”
The always elegant Janet Mock talks to Bill Maher. They cover a few things – Tambour & Transparent, Jenner’s possible transness, etc. – but the very last bit is his question about why Facebook now has 56 genders. She points out that Tumblr has 1000. He is, as are many people, baffled by the possibilities.
“Those options don’t effect your options. How I identify, whatever box I check, doesn’t effect your boxes. You still have your boxes.”
I’ve read in a few pieces about poly that people often think of love the way they think of money, as a limited resource, when love is nothing like that – you have as much as you want or need. Same as with gender, no?
Such a relief. No statement yet (that I’ve seen) from the family, so there’s no point in guessing until or unless we hear from them what happened.
Either way, the rarest of rare things: a missing trans person is found safe & sound.
MISSING TRANS YOUTH — LAST SEEN IN COLUMBUS — GOES BY ASHLEY
15 YRS OLD
Magenta colored hair
Ashley was in Columbus with Mom for Ohayocon at the Columbus Convention Center. Ashley also goes by the name Ray and is gender fluid.
If you have any information on Ashley’s whereabouts, please contact the Columbus Police Department at 614-645-4545 or TransOhio at 614-441-8167.
Please share widely.
The NYT reviwed Nellie McKay’s show about Billy Tipton. The title of the review is “Exploring a Jazzman and Gender Identity” which is all well & good, but the subtitle, “Nellie McKay Plays the Drag King Billy Tipton at 54 Below,” is what made me roll my eyes.
I mean, really? Tipton lived his entire life as a man, so much so that all three of his wives had no idea he was assigned female at birth. He died at home to avoid going to the hospital so that his secret might not be uncovered.
That is NOT the behavior or life experience or someone who was doing drag.
That doesn’t mean that passing women – that is, masculine women who lived in the world as men – were all trans. I’m sure plenty weren’t – that despite being taken for male by others and appreciating some of the advantages of passing as a straight man and not as a lesbian provided – that they were comfortable being women. Their wives and lovers often knew even if no one else did.
But Tipton? Nothing I’ve ever read about him convinces me he knew himself to be a woman – even as a woman who passed as a man.
I don’t know what the show is like but I know the image of McKay in an oversized suit struck me as comic and playful – clownish, you might say – in a way that upset me. The name of the show is “A Girl Named Bill.” And that makes me sad and tired and angry.
I don’t really know what her take is as I haven’t seen it, but the historical record – including Middlebrook’s bio – keep regendering Tipton using female pronouns. It doesn’t seem right.
Tipton lived his whole life as male and used male pronouns for himself when he was alive. Without getting into a taxonomical bullshit argument about the differences between passing women and drag kinds and trans men, can we all, maybe, just maybe, respect the pronouns he did use and the life he lived and not re-gender him based on what gender he was assigned at birth, to stop making his life some kind of curiosity, some stupid gender experiment or performance?
His gender probably allowed him a career in jazz that he wouldn’t have had otherwise. And that’s all. His life wasn’t lived so someone could come along and make some kind of feminist point with it. It just was. And if we come to know that jazz was too sexist for a woman to make it in as a result, we can thank him for that without disrespecting his life choices.
The good folks at University of Colorado @ Boulder are gearing up for their next TRANSforming Gender conference – to be held in March 2015 – and are accepting workshop proposals until the end of this month.
Jill Soloway just gave an acceptance speech that was awesome in recognizing Leelah Alcorn, all the trans people who die too young, her parent/moppa, and the larger trans community.
Go cis allies!
8:40PM, Edited to add- Jeffrey Tambour thanks the trans community for courage, inspiration, patience, and for letting the cast and crew of Transparent be part of the change while thanking, by name, Jenny Boylan, Rhys Ernst, and Zachary Drucker.
So, partners, I’m finishing up an Afterword for a book of writings by us, and what I want to know is this:
- What is it essential that I mention?
- What are the things that no one ever says about us?
- What don’t we get credit for?
- What do we need from the larger trans community?
Be quick about your answers; I’m nearly done already.
Here’s a smart piece about consent and revenge porn, in which a woman who was a victim of it decided to get new photos taken & publish them herself in order to establish her own agency & autonomy.
She doesn’t advise it for everyone, but she does say some smart things about the nature of sexualization and objectification. Such as:
Then, suddenly, I noticed that this dynamic – sexualisation against her will – was everywhere. Take ‘creepshots’, a global phenomenon which entails photographing women without their knowledge or consent, in order to share them in a sexual context online. On similar sites, people link to Facebook pages asking if anyone can hack or find more pictures of the girl. Here, again, women are used as objects whose lack of consent, of participation, provides the reason and allure of their sexualisation.
This dynamic is a commonplace online and is a concrete manifestation of a larger discourse around the female body, the notion that it is erotic to sexualise someone who is unaware. We all know the tropes: the sexy teacher/student/nurse/waiter/bartender/doctor. All jobs, if staffed by women, can be sexualised. What is sexy is not the job, not even the woman, but the fact that while the woman is just doing her job you are secretly sexualising her. She has become public property by simply being?
Do go read the whole thing. She is straightforward, pro sex, and thoughtful. It won’t solve the problem, but it feels empowered — dignity in the face of a shitty, sexist world.
There’s a new PDF up at FORGE’s site for self care in the aftermath of a tragedy. It’s got some great stuff, including the immediate list of self care (am I eating? sleeping? have i relaxed?) as well as ways to contend with grief in positive, life affirming ways – by calling someone, or taking someone out for coffee, or just holding someone’s hand. There are also tips on longer-range things to do, such as kinds of activism you might engage in.
We are an awesome community. Take care of each other out there.
Go, sign it.
California was the first state to make it illegal. Let’s get the rest to do as well.
My wife is a #RealLiveTransAdult who is 45, works at at university, and would love to take your photo.
#RealLiveTransAdult, which was started by none other than the amazing Red Durkin, is making the rounds on FB and on Twitter and I’m borrowing it because there are so many people out there who would have helped Leelah and who still want to help others like her.
It’s a great response to what is heartbreaking news: this young girl who knew she was trans and whose parents dismissed her and cut her off from all possible support by pulling her out of school, taking away her phone and any/all access to the internet.
Leelah, we love you.
Sadly, her parents have now been doxxed and no doubt are already receiving hate mail. I can’t say they don’t deserve it – they do – but they were, we have to remember, acting in what they thought were the best interests of their child. They were terribly, tragically, wrong, but they were acting, too, no doubt, on the advice of Christian therapists and other people who Still Don’t Get It, people who think that if you are stern enough, or determined enough, you can force your child to be some other way, to be not trans.
This beautiful young person is dead and her parents, who are, no doubt, grieving the loss of this beautiful child, are getting hate spewed at them by people who know better.
The only way through this and the only way to get through to people is love.
I’m on my way to spend most of the holiday season there because I can. My mom is 84 and not in awesome good health (that said, she hasn’t been for nearly a decade now) so it’s nice to be home and feel like I’m home and go visit her when I can.
Otherwise, just friends and bagels and decent slices and a lot a lot of walking.
I’ll still, of course, be making calls for The December Project and otherwise trying to get some work done, but I may not blog much.
Oh, #alllivesmatter people, please, just listen for a minute.
For those of us in communities that are targeted for violence – from both people who hate us and often the police who are supposed to serve and protect us – we’re aware that our lives are supposed to matter. We know our own lives matter.
But for LGBTQ people, that is not often the case.
For trans people, it is rarely the case.
For Hispanic people, it is rarely the case.
For black people, it is almost never the case.
The reason #alllivesmatter is an insulting response to a racial problem is because it whitewashes the problem. Being more humane doesn’t work; racial prejudices and homophobia go so deep historically, personally, unconsciously, that unless we pay special attention to the kinds of hatred that fuels the killings of trans women and black men, trans women of color in particular, young black men in particular, our systems don’t get any better.
Look, the hippies tried loving everyone and that was a long time ago, and if the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner teach us anything, it’s that people refusing to call our national race problem a race problem is part of it.
Please. Of course #alllivesmatter. But as Orwell once wrote, the problem is that some lives matter a hell of a lot more than others, which is why we need to highlight that #blacklivesmatter and #translivesmatter and #queerlivesmatter.
Step away from your white privilege. We are part of a system that kills black men and imprisons them and throws them away. “Universalizing” is exactly what disappears black lives in the first place.
NYC has lost one of its greats – Arthur Leipzig, photographer. So many of the classic shots of NYC are his – kids playing stickball, the opening night at the opera, sunbathers at Coney Island. He was 96.
Mr. Leipzig’s 1943 photograph “King of the Hill” — in which two Brooklyn boys square off atop a mound of dirt — was chosen by Edward Steichen, director of the Museum of Modern Art’s photography department, for his celebrated “Family of Man” exhibition of 1955. The show’s theme was the universality of human experience.
To look at these pictures today is to catch intimations of the evanescence of both youth and a city. In his 1995 book, “Growing Up in New York,” Mr. Leipzig called himself “witness to a time that no longer exists, a more innocent time.”
“We believed in hope,” he wrote.