NYC: Trans Theatre Festival

for those of you in the NYC area, there is a trans theatre festival going on in two spaces in the east village, through Saturday, September 13th:

check here for more details:
Stages 2003

Lisa Jackson rocks!

lisa jackson's bday songBetty & I went to a mixed trans night recently (FTM & MTF) at a lesbian bar called Meow Mix, and we saw trans- musician Lisa Jackson perform. It was my second time hearing her sing, and for the second time I was especially struck by one of her songs, called “Fabulously Done.”

^ Minerva, Betty, Zoe and Flawless Mother Sabrina are the ones in this photo, singing one of Lisa’s songs to Lisa as part of the celebration.

If trans- folks (esp MTFs) are looking for an anthem, girls – this is it!

Read these lyrics:
The make up and the clothes I wear,
The fancy do and the underwear,
It’s a mystery, you see, to anyone who’s not like me.

So please retract those words of hate
‘Cause I’m the boy you used to date.
Yes I’m your lover and I’m your son. I’m your brother; we’ve just begun.

Somehow around the age of 8
I learned that I should hate
The fairies and the queers-you know they’re just so fucking weird.
But little did my siblings know that I was putting on a little show
I
n the mirror of the bathroom as my mother ran the vacuum.

I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one
Who wants to be painted, and pretty, and shining and fabulously done.

It has taken some 20 years
For me to learn to ignore the fear
That there are people who will hate you, and people who will shame you.
But be the first to cast your stone, ’cause I would rather be all alone.
Yes If I am gonna be living, then I am gonna be giving all I can.

I told that girl, but that girl went away.
And I told my brother, but my brother thinks I’m gay.
I told my sister, but my sister could not hear.
And I told the world, ’cause I am tired of this fear.

Buy her CD! or at least find out more about her at www.lisajacksononline.com

Has anyone else out there seen her perform? What did you think?

(update 7/17/05: Lisa Jackson’s website is now: http://www.lisajacksonandgirlfriday.com)

National Coming Out Day – Oct 11th

I read an FAQ at the Human Rights’ Campaign’s website yesterday about Nat’l Coming Out Day, and was quite pleased to see that ‘transvestite’ made their short list of transgender categories.

http://www.hrc.org/ncop/faqs.asp

What occurred to me is that it would be great if crossdressers could really rally to coming out to someone this year: a wife, if she doesn’t know yet; children or parents, or more likely, a friend. Even if you’re not ready for that, you could come out to a stranger: go buy those size 11 pumps and tell the clerk at Payless (or Kenneth Cole) they’re for you!

Of course there are a million reasons to come out (a bunch of them are in the FAQ above) but I think the best reason is it can make YOU feel better. In the long run, of course, every crossdresser who comes out makes some other crossdresser’s life a little bit easier. (Shoot, look at how liberating Eddie Izzard’s being out has been for so many of us! But more on him some other time.)

So what do you think? Will you come out to someone this October 11th?

Changes

Hey all, Betty here. We’re in the midst of updating the site. We’ve added this shiny new blog interface for Helen to use and keep y’all up to date with the book and other things.

The forums are still here. Just down for the moment.

Betty

On This, Black Wednesday

When the word came in that Tom Daschle was worried, I knew we were in for it. I couldn’t help but think: now he’s worried? He didn’t worry when all the Democratic Senators (himself included) voted for war in Iraq. He didn’t worry when the Dems didn’t bother to make a big issue of corporate thievery, nor did he listen to Ralph Nader when Ralph – good citizen that he is – handed the Democratic Party the real issues on a plate. No, Tom Daschle didn’t worry until he realized his political ambitions might be thwarted. Now he’s worrying, and now it’s too late. There’s no need to worry now.

We’ll be going to war with Iraq. The working-class sons and daughters who enlisted in order to get college tuition will die, as will thousands of Iraqi citizens who are already dying of the harsh embargos we’ve had on that country. We voted for war because we’re scared – scared of terrorists, scared of paying too much for gas. There is no single American – not one – that believes we’re going to Iraq in order to oust a nasty dictator. There is no-one so naïve. Bush’s approval ratings – and his party’s election night coup – is a reflection of Americans’ state of mind. They will have gas for their SUVs. They will not take no for an answer.

Besides, war is good for the economy, and really it’s the only way a Republican President has ever made the economy work. They’re not innovators; they’re tribal leaders, paid assassins. They know how to beat the drums, how to instill fear, how to package it all with a wallop of Good Christian Values and unquestioning Patriotism. (Did someone say Jingoism? Not me.)

We do not have a culture of compassion. We do when the cruel hand of Nature comes down & splits the land in two. We do when the cruel hand of Fundamentalism flies planes into our buildings and kills innocents. We do, too, when a family member is sick, when Sharon Osborne shares her diagnosis, when Tom divorces Nicole. When the violins swell, and the tissues are passed around, Americans are good at sympathy.

For a Christian nation, it’s especially ironic that we have no ability to understand that our lives – how we live on a day to day basis – are the real test. That’s where we fail miserably. We choose cheap gas over Iraqi children’s lives; we choose cheap clothes over Philippino women’s rights; we choose charity instead of any solution to share our piece of the pie. I don’t think these are actual conscious choices per se. We have no ability to think abstractly, to connect the dots. We never ask if private school vouchers undercut our democracy, or whether we can do without one more disposable whatever in order to save our ground water.

I’m beginning to see it’s not a lack of education (as I used to believe), or a lack of values. We believe in doing what we should for one’s neighbors, in generosity, in those basic Christian values politicians love to harp on about. Where we fail – where it’s easiest to fail – is in actually living those values, in considering, with each & every decision we make, whether or not our choices have impact elsewhere. I do not stand a distance apart to throw these stones; I throw them from my own glass house. Sure, I don’t own a car but that’s because I live in NYC where public transit gets me everywhere I need to go. To boot, I’m not a Christian and have no urge or dictum to live by Christian values. This country that just voted for war, does. They believe in Jesus, in the life he lived, in the forgiveness he showed others, in his radical acceptance and love of the cast-offs. They believe, they say, in peace.

But peace is an abstraction, and cheap gas is not.