Category: books & writing

On Not Writing

Posted by – October 13, 2014

I’ve been working on Book #3. Recently I’ve been calling it Giving Him Up. My anniversary post was part of that writing. So are other little pieces of what’s on this blog (“Hyenas” comes to mind, as does “Just Like That”) but blogging is like a journal, not like writing. Writing is where you really want to piece something together that makes it feel like a whole thing, not a flash, or a tweet, or even lightning. It should feel, a whole work, like a really good thunderstorm from start to finish: darkening sky to cleaning up felled branches in the sun the next day.

There is a lot of writing out there – people speaking various truths, like the one I’m about to publish by the ex wife of a trans woman who assaulted her. There is a lot that needs to be said, and in her case, by people whose experiences are otherwise covered up in other people’s commentaries and the real story of the thing gets lost. What you want is to get to the real story, the uncomfortable one – not the ideological argument, or the rush to judgment; not the gossip, but the compassion.

And living here I realized I have ingested something like shame in a way I’ve never known it.

When I wrote the first two books, I was surrounded by old friends, family, the trans community – even though it wasn’t called that then. I ran a support group online and then, of course, the boards, where I had a lot of good input and a lot of love and a lot, a LOT, of really smart critique. That is, I lived in universes where I felt supported, not judged; I hung out with people who wanted me, and my marriage, to succeed, and I didn’t imagine a world where I could feel judged for having a feeling.

But as our marriage has grown, some of the feelings I’ve had are not as generous, perhaps, as they once were. Maybe before I was the hero of my own story, even if I was judged as less than feminist or, my very favorite, as just “getting it wrong” by impatient activists. But I knew all of that – I worried some people, and pissed others off, but I have had so many people thank me for so many years for helping them in some way or another that I am finding it difficult to remember that to say what you mean in order to tell what happened is a Very Difficult Thing.

It is one thing to write an anti hero’s story, as Bechdel did with her father, and another to write yourself as that anti hero.

I don’t yet fear people thinking I’m a horrible person. That’s familiar territory. I have been criticized by activists and crossdressers, ex wives and feminists. But my secret is that I believe we are all horrible people: most just have the good sense not to mention it in public.

And that’s what I fear: not being judged for who I am and what I’ve done or how I feel. I fear being judged for not having the good sense to keep my mouth shut about things that I am supposed to feel ashamed of. There are so many people telling stories their mothers and neighbors would ask them not to tell, but they find a way. I just can’t find mine: I don’t own the kind of rebellious antagonism of “I’ve fucked all the people” kinds of memoirs or the “I’ve struggled and carried on” autobiographies, either. I don’t have that placid, New Englandy, “here are the unfortunate things I’ve found in the attic of my soul” detachment, nor the “we must do something about this” determination of the muckracker and activist. What I have is a lot of hurt, a lot of tired, and too many excuses for who and what I am.

Getting there. Or spinning in circles. I’m really not sure which yet.

Feminist Porn & Scaly Llamas

Posted by – August 25, 2014

No really, stick with me. A former student sent me this short interview with Tristan Taormino about feminist porn and was surprised to hear that 1 in 3 porn viewers are women. Surprised, because that’s an amazingly high percentage, & surprising, because as a feminist who has always been pro porn, that seems like a significant shift in the sexual/cultural landscape. But you can’t underestimate ease of access and privacy, and I suspect that being able to view porn on a home computer or mobile device makes it easy enough that women – who might otherwise not want to go to the kinds of places you have traditionally been able to see or buy porn – has made a huge change in things, much as VCRs did back in the day.

As a result: feminist porn, where labor is treated fairly (yes, labor – sex work IS work) and where maybe we need to rewrite the story.

Almost simultaneously, a friend sent me this link to female spec fic writer Kameron Hurley talking about what it’s like to write female characters, and especially why she writes female characters who are soldiers and warriors. And while I think her initial example – of those scaly llamas – confuses the subject a bit, she’s basically saying that we see writers write women as the women who have always been written and that those of us who are women even participate in this because This Is How Women Are Written. If you write them any other way, there will be objections, right? We must believe it is exceptional and rare for women to be in power, or violent, because that is not the story about women that has been told time and time again.

This interview and this blog post intersect in a cool way, no? If you always present women (and men, for that matter) as the same kind of sexual beings they have always been in porn, you get the same porn. But what happens when women are portrayed as dominant, as multiply orgasmic, as physically strong? What happens when men care for or love deeply the women they have sex with, and that is apparent in porn? What if men are shown to forego or postpone their own desire in order to make sure the woman is satisfied? What happens?

Well, you can watch feminist porn and see for yourself that llamas aren’t scaly. That’s what happens. Maybe, in fact, we’ll get around to seeing human sexuality &desire on screen that’s far more what we know sex to be.

Writing Again

Posted by – August 19, 2014

So I’ve been writing again and feel, simultaneously, like I’m disappearing. It’s a thing. It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, but the feeling is this: I go to things and talk to people and make plans and I’m not there. I’ve heard everything and enjoyed the company and the food and the jokes, all of it. But it’s as if there’s a whirring sound in my head the whole time, the way it can feel when you’re trying to listen to quiet music in a loud bar, and it’s not any one voice but the murmur of all the voices that prevents you from really hearing the band.

It’s as if the whirring gets louder and louder gradually, over time, sometimes over days, sometimes minutes, sometimes months, as the urge to write in a focused way comes over me. I don’t write every day the way they tell writers they should. That is, I write something every day, no doubt, but it’s emails or blog posts or other bullshit that doesn’t actually count.

Which is why I was taken aback by this snippet form an article about memoir and status updates by Dani Shapiro:

I haven’t unburdened myself, or softly and earnestly confessed. Quite the opposite. In order to write a memoir, I’ve sat still inside the swirling vortex of my own complicated history like a piece of old driftwood, battered by the sea. I’ve waited—sometimes patiently, sometimes in despair—for the story under pressure of concealment to reveal itself to me.

So that’s what the whirring is: the sound of the swirling vortex of my own complicated history.

Exactly. In person, or on the phone, or whenever you might see me, if I seem tuned out, I’m not exactly. I’m just listening to the whirring, trying to quiet it temporarily so I can be present, but often, I will be failing altogether.

On Our 13th Anniversary

Posted by – July 14, 2014

So today my wife & I put up photos celebrating our 13 years married. We met 16 years ago, in fact, but weddings & marriage are what “counts” right? I’ll save that diatribe for another day.

& Here is the thing that I didn’t bother to say on Facebook but that I really need to say: anyone who think it isn’t difficult to survive a transition can stick it. It is. It’s about the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and we two had a surfeit of love to start with. But the inherent narcissism of the thing caused her to disappear some, to focus more on the “me” than on the “us”, and that pretty much caused me to do the same in turn. As with other couples who wind up in situations that are full of one-sided caretaking, it can take a long time to get things righted, back into balance. And sometimes there’s a lot of anger and resentment and frustration while you’re trying to do that.

My wife is a beautiful woman. That I prefer to be around people who understand I chose to marry a man and will always carry some sadness about that loss seems obvious. For many people – heterosexual people, for the most part – they just see one queer couple as if they are like any other queer couple. We are still together and still happy so that’s that, right? Yeah, no. When a lesbian marries the woman she loves, she gets to be who she is and be with who she loves. And when a straight woman unwittingly marries a woman, she doesn’t. She get to be with who she loves – albeit in a slightly different form – but she really doesn’t get to be who she is. I feel lucky to have been queer enough to pull this off, but not a week goes by that I don’t miss the man I married. I loved him, after all. I married him. And I’m glad this 2.0 version was enough to keep the soul of that person in the world so I could share my life with her.

I assume I feel a lot like people who mourn the death of a loved one very deeply, who stay sad for years and years. I know you’re out there. For some, even the loss of a pet can be sad forever, and who knows why, or why we bond so deeply with some things and not with others, or why we have a hard time adjusting to some changes and not others. I am not good with change; I never have been. My hair, yes. My life, who I love, where I live, what I eat? About those things I am about as conservative as a person can get. I want the familiar; I want what feels like home.

As the trans community has changed, and awesome memoirs like Jake and Diane Anderson-Minshall’s memoir have been written, I feel more and more like I’m just supposed to be okay with this. And you know what? I’m still really not. I’m still trying to find my way in this post transition marriage, still trying to find the man I loved in the woman I live with, and some days it’s brutally hard. What sucks even more is that it’s obvious to me and everyone that my wife is a remarkable, talented, beautiful, sexy woman. She is funny and brilliant and loving and still one of the brightest lights I have ever been near. And she still adores me. So the guilt I feel some days that I can’t seem to love her the same way I loved him is back-breaking. But there it is. I can’t. I try. I fail. Over and over again, I fail. And she would tell you – tell anyone, really – that I have more than once told her that she deserves to be with someone who loves her as the woman she is and not for the man she once was. But she doesn’t want someone else. She wants me. And that’s amazing, and awesome, and fills me with gratitude and love that I can’t even contain, but it feels me with guilt, too: guilt because I worry I don’t, guilt because I worry that she is hanging around for that magical day when I feel about her how I felt about him.

So when I hear Janet Mock say that you can’t say trans women were ever men – that Janet Mock herself was born a girl – I wonder where partners wind up. I was recently talking to the filmmaker Ashley Altadonna who reassured me when she said Mock’s new paradigm didn’t thrill her, either, that her struggle – to realize she was a woman, to find the medical care needed, to come out to friends and family, to suffer some rejection and some awesome acceptance – is too much a part of her to think of herself as always having been a woman. She said it kind of sidestepped all of what it means to be trans, to be herself.

There are days I am still overwhelmed by how awesomely liberating it is as the partner of a trans person to hear a brutally honest trans person admit to something like that. For Ashley, transition was a BFD. For me, and for most partners, it is too. And while I don’t think Mock was trying to diminish or belittle or make invisible the struggles trans people and their partners go through – because that is so not her gig – I have lived so long with a woman people see as a woman and in a place where no one ever knew her as a man that I know what it means for people to see my marriage as if it is between two cis woman, where no one was ever male and no one was ever het and no one ever transitioned. And it denies way, way too much of who I am and how I am.

(For the record, this is part of the upcoming book.)

Reporting on Trans Issues

Posted by – May 20, 2014

HRC posted an article about the protection of LGBT youth inspired by the horrific story out of CT in which a trans teenager was jailed and housed with adults and later put in solitary confinement. She had not been charged, and certainly has not been charged with a felony – which is when teenagers are sometimes housed with adults.

But my point is not that story in itself. My point is that HRC posted an article about it in which they wrote: “The details surfaced in an op-ed in the New York Times by Harvey Fierstein this weekend.”

Which I suppose is where HRC first read about it, or maybe they felt free to report on it because it had finally hit a major news outlet. But that’s a factual inaccuracy.

Parker Molloy first reported on this case back in early April. In The Advocate, and not in some tiny anything. And while Fierstein’s writing is effective as ever and makes a powerful argument, laying the blame squarely on all of us who would let a young trans kid suffer the kinds of crimes she did while none of her assailants were ever charged with anything, sometimes it gets a little exhausting that the only person who can get the attention of HRC is someone like Fierstein. (And by that I do not mean a cis gay man. I mean a gay playwright of his status.)

It has been this way for a long time; that is, this is not anything new. I’ve been reporting on trans issues for more than a decade and I am not even a little surprised. But there are times, occasionally, where I feel the need to point out how frustrating it is that trans* is still, for the most part, an afterthought.

Anyway. We should, as a community, care about the feminine gay boys and the trans girls and the tomboys, no matter their identity and no matter which form of “gender variance” they’re expressing. There’s a child who is the person she is, and she’s been treated like shit her whole life, and sometimes, well sometimes, it gets a little frustrating that who says what about it becomes more important than the saying itself.

Prinsesa

Posted by – May 12, 2014

I just had someone point out this book Prinsesa: The Boy Who Dreamed of Being a Princess to me. I don’t know it, haven’t read it, but was wondering if anyone out there has. Here’s the blurb:

After a small earthquake, 6-year old Jojo and his 8-year old sister Malaya are enjoying listening to Daddy’s story about the Singkil princess of the Philippines. The princess was brave and unafraid as she and the prince dance together to find their way around the falling trees of a tremor. But Daddy seems uncomfortable when Jojo says he dreams of being a princess too. How should Daddy respond? In an age of hateful bullying and advances for LGBT and gender nonconforming people, there’s no easy way to understand what these struggles mean unless you put a face to them. What better face is there to look at than that of an innocent child who is full of wonder at the world?” In the end, the story shows that whatever issues children need to deal with, they’ll be okay as long as they have loving and supportive adults in their corner. A portion of the proceeds will be used to fund and distribute the companion short film.

There are so few children’s books about gender variance and diversity so it’s nice to see a new one.

If anyone out there reads it and wants to write a brief review, I’d be happy to post it here.

Gender Troubles Mother’s Day

Posted by – May 11, 2014

Here’s an astonishing little piece about death, queerness, and re-reading Butler‘s Gender Trouble:

“Tell her you forgive her,” she says, “I promise you she will die.”

I hang up and go back into the bedroom. Back to the borscht-feeding. My mother, all 89 pounds of her, is swathed in diapers and is sickly white, her eyes following each spoonful of borscht as it approaches her mouth.

“Mom, I forgive you.” Her eyes track up to my face. “I forgive you, Mom, I forgive you. ” Either I am saying this repeatedly to make sure she hears me and thus dies swiftly or because it feels good to say. I touch her skeletal leg through the pilly blanket.

She kind of whisper-struggle-intonates, “This must be very hard for you,” and I lose it, raining tears into the borscht. “You are a better person than I am,” she says, then falls back into unconsciousness for another week, and dies.

Maybe I am rereading Gender Trouble as an escape from this, from the memory of this. I could be thinking about Gender Trouble so I don’t have to think about how thin her arms were at the end, how our arms have always resembled each other’s. And about how much I want to stick a needle full of testosterone in my ass and balloon into fleshliness to escape any lingering resemblance to this wraith.

But this is not why I reread Gender Trouble.

Really, really beautiful. Do read the whole of it, if not today, then eventually.

Us @ FORGE Milwaukee

Posted by – April 25, 2014

We’re doing a presentation and heading a discussion at FORGE Milwaukee tomorrow, Saturday April 26th, at 7PM.

The Facebook event is here.

FORGE’s longer description is here and goes like this:


Join guest speaker and author Helen Boyd for a lively reading and discussion of her book “She’s Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband.” Published in 2007, this book is a foundation for partners of trans people, with timeless information and thought provoking concepts from a partner-centric focus. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to engage in dialogue with Helen and other attendees, as well as hear more from the author about the book (and possibly about what has changed for her — and the trans/SOFFA community — since 2007).

[Get your free copy of the book (paper or Kindle) by attending the March 22nd social support group or contacting michael (tgwarrior [at] forge-forward [dot] org) to make arrangements.]

Helen Boyd is the author of My Husband Betty (Thunder’s Mouth, 2004) which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and is often referred to as the “field guide to crossdressers”. Her second book, She’s Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband (Seal Press, 2007), has been called “a postmodern reflection on transness” by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Her blog (en)gender can be found online at www.myhusbandbetty.com.

She hails from Brooklyn, NY, and currently lives in Appleton, WI, where she teaches Gender Studies at Lawrence University.

Open discussion is from 6:00 – 6:45pm

Open discussion is the time to connect connection with fellow Trans+ and SOFFA individuals. This gently facilitated time is especially devoted to exploring the issues you bring in – sharing your experiences and stories, asking questions, seeking referrals, gathering resources. We’ll assure this time will stay focused on your needs, and the discussion you generate.

‘Gabo’ Flies Away on a White Sheet While Hanging Laundry

Posted by – April 17, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez died and left us with an outstanding legacy of beauty and politics.

“Making Trans Parents Visible” – co-authored by me

Posted by – March 18, 2014

So this is cool: the article I co-authored with a colleague (Beth Haines) and a former student (Alex Ajayi) has been published in Feminism & Psychology, and is now available online.

Here’s the abstract:

This article explores the self-reported parenting challenges of 50 transgender parents based on an online survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans parents in the United States. Many trans parents transitioned after forming a family, whereas others had children after or even during transition. They coordinated their transition with parenting responsibilities, and carefully managed their visibility in parenting settings to protect their children. This analysis focuses on the challenges that trans parents faced at the intersection of their parenting and trans identities. Although trans parents share many of the concerns of cisgender parents, they also face unique challenges that must often be navigated without extensive support. Revealing these challenges increases trans parents’ visibility in society, and could help therapists and school administrators become more sensitive to the intersectional identities of trans people and the stressors unique to trans parenting.

Some of the other articles from the same special issue on trans include:

  • What makes a man? Thomas Beatie, embodiment, and ‘mundane transphobia’
  • Trans men and friendships: A Foucauldian discourse analysis
  • Who watches the watchmen? A critical perspective on the theorization of trans people and clinicians

Neat.

Amiri Baraka’s Gone (But Never Forgotten)

Posted by – January 10, 2014

What an amazing man, an amazing poet, an amazing speaker: I saw him speak a long time ago at CCNY & was blown away.

Thank you, Mr. Baraka, for being fearless and for always speaking truth to power (even if and when I didn’t agree & you horrified everyone). (Or, as one person said about “Somebody Blew Up America” on youtube: “I hate this poem. I love this man.”

Blues People is a must-read.

Interview with Yours Truly

Posted by – December 21, 2013

I haven’t done one of these in forever and a day, but here’s a brief interview with me by a very lovely crossdresser named Vivienne who asked me a bunch of questions. I answered most of them.

Here are the questions I did answer:

  1. It’s been several years since She’s Not the Man I Married was published. For those of us who don’t know the latest, could you give us a brief update on where things are with Betty’s transgender journey? … Does this mean hormones and surgery, or something short of that? Legal gender change?

  2. I completely understand your desire to write My Husband Betty, but did you realise or suspect at the time the impact it would have on you? Did you foresee that it would become part of your identity, at least your public one? And is that OK?

  3. What are your plans for your next book?

  4. What else do you write about which isn’t to do with gender? From my point of view, you seem like someone with a point to make, and I suspect you would have made it in a different area if the cards had fallen a little differently. I just wonder what that area might have been.

  5. I admit to feelings of envy when I read your books and realise how open you are to the idea of Betty’s transgender status. I suspect that a question you get asked frequently by crossdressers is: “How can I get my wife to be more like you?”

  6. But my question to you is this: has your acceptance of Betty ever led to problems? Have you been the subject of hostility for your views? …Why do you consider yourself a pain in the ass?

  7. What’s the most difficult thing for you about having a trans husband?

  8. What’s the best thing for you about having a trans husband?

  9. What advice would you give to a woman (perhaps a wife) whose partner has just told her about his crossdressing for the first time?

  10. A theme of my blog has become my (qualified) acceptance of the Freund-Blanchard autogynephilia model. I wondered what your current view about this hypothesis is (you touch on it in My Husband Betty, but I wondered if your views have evolved). … Old men? You mean scientists? Or perhaps priests?

  11. Most crossdressers insist they are straight men attracted to women. Yet some gay men crossdress. What’s your take on that?

  12. What famous person would you most like to meet and why?

Do go read the whole thing. It’s a very smart blog.

Author’s Authority

Posted by – November 26, 2013

In 1963, Bruce McAllister, a 16 year old high school student, decided his teachers were full of it when it came to symbolism in novels. So he wrote a bunch of authors and asked if they intentionally planted symbolism in their work.

Here’s what they said:

Jack Kerouac: “No.”

Isaac Asimov: “Consciously? Heavens, no! Unconsciously? How can one avoid it?”

Ray Bradbury: “No, I never consciously place symbolism in my writing. That would be a self-conscious exercise and self-consciousness is defeating to any creative act. Better to let the subconscious do the work for you, and get out of the way. The best symbolism is always unsuspected and natural.”

John Updike: “Yes—I have no method; there is no method in writing fiction; you don’t seem to understand.”

Norman Mailer: “I’m not sure it’s a good idea for a working novelist to concern himself too much with the technical aspects of the matter. Generally, the best symbols in a novel are those you become aware of only after you finish the work.”

Ralph Ellison: “Symbolism arises out of action…Once a writer is conscious of the implicit symbolism which arises in the course of a narrative, he may take advantage of them and manipulate them consciously as a further resource of his art. Symbols which are imposed upon fiction from the outside tend to leave the reader dissatisfied by making him aware that something extraneous is added.”

He also asked More

RIP Doris “I’ve won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one – it’s a royal flush” Lessing

Posted by – November 17, 2013

Really, writers don’t get any funnier or more cantankerous than that, do they? Here’s another nice piece where she talks about writing and mentions that the “trick” of writing is hard work (amongst other things).

Alison Bechdel!

Posted by – October 14, 2013

Tomorrow, Alison Bechdel is speaking at Lawrence as part of our convocation series. We’re currently teaching Fun Home in Freshmen Studies, so it’s a very, very cool thing that she’s coming to speak, and I am very much looking forward to it.

I spent my young 20s reading Dykes to Watch Out For in The Voice – and that was at a time when I was regularly clocked as a dyke and friends were coming out around me, so she is very much part of my own personal queer history.

A Trans Only Workshop with Lynda Barry

Posted by – September 27, 2013

What Transpires?

A Trans and GenderQueer Writer’s Workshop with acclaimed author and artist Lynda Barry

It’s for everyone who loves to write or do spoken word or draw or any other medium of expression, and who identifies with some version of trans. The idea isn’t for writing about being trans, but rather, to see what will happen when 15 gendercreative people get together to create from various parts of of our brains, under the amazing guidance of Lynda Barry.

Tuesday, 6-8pm, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, 2013
at the ImageLab in Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Madison, WI

The two-session workshop is free of charge.

Applications due October 14th.

For applications or more information: Finn Enke, aenke(at)wisc(dot)edu. Please put “Transgender Writer’s Workshop” in subject heading.

Call for Submissions

Posted by – September 23, 2013

Call for Submissions

Transgress Press is publishing an collection of wisdom, Letters For My Sisters, written by and for trans women and co-edited by Andrea James and Deanne Thornton.

The anthology will be published as part of the press’ Letters series and is envisioned as a companion piece inspired by Letters For My Brothers (edited by Megan M. Rohrer and Zander Keig), a collection of wisdom written for/by trans men. For more description of the series (and other titles) go to,www.transgresspress.org.

The editors are interested in letters that are:
• Written to yourself or others at the start of your transition.
• Discussions of why transition was the best choice.
• Things you found out about yourself through transition.
Other relevant topics on transitional wisdom in retrospect will be considered. Just follow these guidelines:
• Letters should be 1,000 words or fewer.
• Be searching and fearless.
• Be honest about your mistakes and heartaches as well as your surprises and joys.
• Consider writing about things you did right as well as things you could have done differently.
• Do not specifically name service providers, good or bad.
• If you include people in your life make sure that they approve (in writing) or use aliases not real names.
• Humor is greatly appreciated, but we are not seeking vulgar or sexually explicit material.
• Include your name and title for your letter. If you do not wish to be identified, we may publish your work under a pen name, but we will require that you verify your identity.

The ideal letter will be about you, but it should be something to which others in the community can relate.

For more information, or to make a submission, please contact:
Deanne Thornton
Email: sister_letters(at)icloud.com
Phone: 620-332-6638

Or check out TS Road Map for more details.

Period.

Posted by – August 26, 2013

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.

Guest Post: Trish Mifflin

Posted by – August 22, 2013

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. More

Neil Gaiman on Art, Work, & Happiness

Posted by – August 20, 2013

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.