Category: comings & goings

Me @ Penn State Behrend, Erie PA 10/23

Posted by – October 20, 2014

I’ll be speaking at Penn State Behrend this coming Thursday, 7PM, in a talk that is open to the public.

After that I’m driving to Pittsburgh with a friend and staying there Friday & Saturday, but don’t have any gigs booked yet for those days, so if you’re in Pittsburgh or know of a group that would want me to come speak, let me know!

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.

So This Is Where I Work

Posted by – October 8, 2014

(My awesome wife made this, & she even wrote the music. Shea Love is a former student.)

Me, Blogging, Not Really

Posted by – September 23, 2014

I seem to be taking a break from blogging – an unintentional one. And I expect that the minute I announce this, and apologize, I will be overrun with the need to blog.

Or not.

Stay tuned.

New Headshot

Posted by – August 31, 2014

ghbk headshot 2014 smallerMy wife took it, of course.

45.

Posted by – May 13, 2014

I’m turning 45 today, as is my wife, and I have a lot to say about the ordeal, but mostly I’m amazed at how much you still don’t know even four decades in. As I said elsewhere: you know enough to know what kind of jerk you are, but not enough to stop being it.

If you’d like to help us celebrate, do feel free to donate $45 to one of our favorite causes:

So have at it. And do listen to some Stevie Wonder, because it’s his birthday too.

 

Subscribe to This Blog

Posted by – May 1, 2014

My last database of email subscriptions is corrupt, so I’m starting again. If you want to subcribe, you should be able to input your email up here on the right side.

The good thing is that this subscription widget is attached to WordPress’ works, not an independent widget, so it should be more reliable.

 

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.

Casa Valentina Opening

Posted by – April 24, 2014

Casa Valentina opening night 4/23/14

It was so much fun. I’ll be writing more about the play itself in the upcoming days, but for now, look at the pretty pictures.

There are more at Playbill’s site.

Casa Valentina

Posted by – April 1, 2014

So we were just in New York, and one of the awesome things we did was meet the cast and crew of Harvey Fierstein’s new play Casa Valentina.

We didn’t get to see the whole thing – just a few key scenes – but I am so looking forward to seeing the whole of it.

And it opens to audiences tonight. I have no doubt the reception will be great.

But here’s the thing: we were invited to come see a rehearsal to advise. One of the actors contacted me a few weeks back – when I was already scheduled to be in NYC – and asked that we come because a bunch of the cast were reading or had read my books.

& Mare Winningham – who plays the wife of one of the crossdressers – said really nice things about them. She was so welcoming and cool to us.

Anyway, it was an awesome experience all around, & I only wish I could have stayed in town a day longer to catch the first night of previews tonight, but alas, the class I’m teaching started today, too.

I’m hoping to get a group together to go see it when we’re next in town, because from what I can tell, this is a gorgeous play – honest (maybe in ways some people won’t like) but compassionate, by which I mean: the wife is a real person.

Me, 4/26, FORGE in Milwaukee

Posted by – March 31, 2014

I’m going to be speaking at FORGE in Milwaukee in late April and if you sign up to come you can get a free copy of my book in whatever format you choose. Here’s the info:

We would call it March Madness but it’s carefully thought out:  Come to FORGE’s March 22nd meeting and you can receive Helen Boyd’s book She’s Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband.  Read it, share it, talk about it with your friends, and then join us at the April 26, 2014 meeting to discuss it with the author herself!

Anyone planning to attend April’s meeting with Helen Boyd is encouraged to pick up their book on March 22, 2014.  We encourage people who have never attended a FORGE meeting before to join us for this exciting community-based book discussion.  [If you cannot pick up your copy on March 22, contact michael (tgwarrior [at] forge-forward [dot] org) to make arrangements.]

Share this opportunity with your friends, partner(s), colleagues, and family as one way of expanding knowledge about relationship dynamics and partner issues.

Note: Both bound, paper copies and electronic versions will be available.

I’m so excited about doing this and looking forward to meeting you all.

“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.

Trans*Literate Conference – NYC, 3/29 & 30

Posted by – February 24, 2014

I’m going to be speaking and running a panel on family and partners of trans people at the Trans*Literate Conference that will take place in NY on March 29th & 30th. It’s a trans symposium out of Hunter College, and this year’s keynote will be Dylan Scholinski, which to me means: yay, I get to hang out with Dylan! He’s awesome.

But otherwise it sounds like there will be a lot of great workshops for social workers, therapists, and other people who work with trans people and their families. According to the website,

the Trans*Literate symposium will educate, inform, and expand dialogue on the topic of working clinically with the transgender communities and understanding transgender experienced through psychoanalytic theory. Mental health clinicians are invited to submit proposals for workshops, papers, and presentations on the topic of how issues related to trans* experience has informed complicated, and illuminated their work in individual, group, and family clinical practice.

Seems like it’s going to be very, very useful to mental health practitioners. You DO have to register to attend (although some small # of walk-ins will be welcome).

Today: Trans* 101 @ SNC

Posted by – February 21, 2014

Fair Wisconsin T*LI Conference, Leadership Conference, & Gala

Posted by – February 11, 2014

fair wisconsin conference 2014This past weekend, Fair Wisconsin hosted its first ever Trans Leadership Institute – a full day of workshops based around trans issues. In addition, we hosted the 3rd annual LGBTQ+ Leadership Conference & Gala. Many of you donated so that I could bring people who couldn’t otherwise afford to go, and I wanted to thank all of you who supported this effort.

Kate Bornstein, as many of you already know, couldn’t be there. Kylar Broadus spoke instead, & Mara Keisling was in attendance. It was a pleasure to get to do a workshop with her, where we talked about the nature of identity and advocacy. It was good stuff, and people seemed to like it, and we’re thinking of doing it again elsewhere.

Mostly I wanted to thank all of you who contributed. The photo is me, of course, making some emphatic point about the nominative case in the use of gender neutral pronouns.  Or I was saying something about binaries, microaggressions, or cis privilege. Something like that, anyway.

Help Me Bring the Trans to WI!

Posted by – January 15, 2014

Well hello lovely readers!

It’s rare for me to do this sort of thing, but there are a couple of cool events afoot that I’ve been part of that need your support. One of them is called the Trans Leadership Institute, and it’s a day of training for trans people + allies who want to know how to do education, outreach, & advocacy on trans/gender issues. It’s part of the work I do with Fair Wisconsin and the trans division of FW called T-Fair, and it’s part of the Trans Leadership Conference taking place in Milwaukee from February 7th – 9th.

In addition, there’s a gala on Saturday, February 8th, at which none other than Kate Bornstein is speaking! (You can even come if you want to!)

So here’s why I need your help:

1) Because we desperately need more attention on trans/gender issues in WI (as we do most everywhere).

2) I would like to see a few trans people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to go to be able to do so. That is, some folks would have to take a day off work, drive, etc., and I want to help offset their costs directly.

3) There is a gala dinner on the evening of the 8th, at which none other than Kate Bornstein will be speaking, and I’d like for some of the lower income trans people I know to be able to attend. Tickets for that are $125/pop, and at the very least, I’d like to fill a table of 8-10.

So, if you would, you can either (1) donate directly to Fair Wisconsin, because it’s tax deductible!, or, (2) you can donate directly to me. (With me, of course, your name will be known only to me.) If you do donate directly to FW, do make sure you tell them what the money is for and that I sent you!

& Of course, feel free to let me know where you’d prefer the money to go – to Fair Wisconsin generally, to offset the costs for trans people to afford T*LI, or to pay for gala tickets, or all three.

Me, by Her

Posted by – January 1, 2014

ghk dec 2013

I don’t do this often, but I really like this photo my wife took of me, so here it is.

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.

1st Day Back

Posted by – September 13, 2013

Because Lawrence is on the term system, we are just starting our fall term next week, but we’ve got a special first section of our Freshmen Studies class, which I teach. Tomorrow a small group of unsuspecting first year students will meet me as their 1st college professor.

Otherwise, everyone else is back on campus now too, & classes start in earnest on Monday for all.

So welcome back, Lawrence! & So it begins again, this time for the class of 2017.

Kittens

Posted by – September 11, 2013

We happen to be fostering three kittens at the moment, all of them goofy, clumsy little ninjas, hungry and recently weaned. One orange, one grey, one tortico. And they have been amusing the hell out of me, like kittens always do.

But today? They are running all over the place & so I’m reminded of that day 12 years ago when I looked down at our hardwood living room floor in Brooklyn and noticed that our kitty boys – who were then about a year & a half – had left footprints while they played.

& That was when we noticed the light coating of ash on the floor.

& Then it all comes back: the smell, god the smell. But the phone calls, & my family gathering on Long Island that following weekend, to look at our wedding photos – we’d just gotten married in July. Walking down the street in Park Slope & a woman stopping to take a call on her cellphone & watching her go ashen & cry & fall to her knees right there on the sidewalk. Finding a day a few months later to shop up on 7th Avenue and running into a funeral for a Rescue One firefighter.

It was a lot of that. It wasn’t a day.

It was months, now years, more than a decade, & yet the shock of it, and the sadness, never goes away.

So today, tears, and kittens who leave no footprints.