Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted by – February 14, 2015

queer valentine's day

(finally tracked down the source – one Stefanie F Gray on Twitter, and here’s her website.)

Orwell on Writing

Posted by – February 10, 2015

“If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”

“You still have your boxes.”

Posted by – February 7, 2015

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.

She clarifies:

“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?

Missing OH Teen Found Safe

Posted by – February 4, 2015

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.

OH: Missing Trans Youth

Posted by – February 1, 2015

ashley

MISSING TRANS YOUTH — LAST SEEN IN COLUMBUS — GOES BY ASHLEY

15 YRS OLD

Magenta colored hair

Brown Eyes

Slender built
6ft tall

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.

(via TransOhio)

NYT Gets Tipton Wrong

Posted by – January 25, 2015

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.

 

UCBoulder Call for Workshops

Posted by – January 12, 2015

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.

 

SOFFA Jill Soloway

Posted by – January 11, 2015

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.

Kick ASS.

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.

 

Afterword: Partners

Posted by – January 10, 2015

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.

Emma Holten’s Consent

Posted by – January 6, 2015

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.

Great New Resource for Grief

Posted by – January 2, 2015

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.

#LeelahsLaw Against Reparative Therapy

Posted by – January 2, 2015

Go, sign it.

California was the first state to make it illegal. Let’s get the rest to do as well.

#RealLiveTransAdult

Posted by – December 31, 2014

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.

If you are alone and suicidal, you can call The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or the newly-minted Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.

Merry Happy

Posted by – December 25, 2014

bumble xmas

NYC

Posted by – December 13, 2014

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.

#blacklivesmatter

Posted by – December 9, 2014

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.

Arthur Leipzig, Photographer

Posted by – December 6, 2014

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.

These are two of my favorites, but there’s more and more and more.

The December Project 2014

Posted by – December 5, 2014

Hello there!  For the fourth year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT.  The plan is simple.  If you are trans– or if you love someone who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone.

Jennifer Finney Boylan began this project in 2011 because she had been thinking about how hard the holidays can be for people– but they can be especially hard for trans people and their families.  Charles Dickens had it right when, in the CHRISTMAS CAROL, he suggested that it’s Christmas, not Halloween, that’s the most haunted of holidays.  Our memories are heightened at this time of year– we think back to our childhood, to our many struggles.  For some of us it’s a time when we’re acutely aware of how cut off we are from those we love.  The world is full of transgender people who are unable to see their children, their parents, their loved ones, all because of the simple fact of who they are.

We cannot undo all the hurt in the world.  But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You don’t have to be in crisis to take advantage of this project.  All you have to do is want a friendly voice.

The project this year will be run by five people – four to make calls, and one to organize the emails. Dylan Scholinski, director of Sent(a)mental Studios; Helen Boyd, Professor at Lawrence University; Allyson Robinson, pastor-teacher, and Brynn Tannehill, journalist and educator. We are two trans women, a trans man, and a spouse of a trans woman.  Between the four of us, we have heard many different kinds of trans narratives.  If we can help you, we would be glad to do so. Our fifth person, who will receive your emails and get the right ones to us callers, is Donna Levinsohn, a lawyer and old, trusted friend of Helen’s who has been involved in trans activism for years.

How do you get us to call you? By emailing decemberproj@gmail.com. If (1) you have a particular preference to talk to one or the other of us, let us know– although I can’t guarantee that you’ll always hear from the person you request.  Also (2) please tell us the time of day and the date you’d be free for a call; you might want to give us a couple of options.  And of course, (3) tell us your phone number.  WE WILL KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL.

We will start with calls as soon as possible after December 1, and keep this going until New Years.

Sound good?  I hope so.  We hope we can help, even if just a little.

Three other caveats I should mention at the end here:

1) First, no one in the December Project gets a dime out of it.  This is a shoestring operation, largely consisting of four people trading phone numbers.  If you want to support our causes, you can let us know, and we’ll tell you how to give.  But this is not about that.

2) If you are in serious crisis, please bypass us and go directly to the national suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. WE ARE NOT TRAINED AS THERAPISTS or as counsellors for individuals in crisis.  If you need something more serious than a “friendly voice,’ please call the lifeline.

3) For the moment we are content with this project consisting of only a few of us;  in past years, we have been a little overwhelmed (and yes, deeply touched) by the many, many of you who have wanted to join us.  While we thank you for your grace and your love, it’s also overwhelming for us to sort through the requests; we hope you’ll understand if we ask that folks writing us be primarily those who want a call. There are many ways you can get involved in your own community, and we heartily encourage everyone who wants to spread some love around to do so in their own way, starting right at home.

Thanks so much!  Wishing you all the best for a positive, hopeful, loving holiday season!

Sincerely,

Helen Boyd, on behalf of the December Project

Tidy Your Room, Kai

Posted by – December 2, 2014

Yes, it’s real.

The December Project is Coming

Posted by – November 27, 2014

As with previous year, I’ll be participating in The December Project, the brainchild of Jennifer Finney Boylan, who, because of all the email she gets and all the sadness she sees on FB, decided that we, as a community, need to find ways to make the holiday season a little easier on us all. She enlisted four of us — JFB herself, me, Dylan Scholinski, and NCTE’s Mara Keisling — to call anyone who wanted to hear a friendly voice.

This year there will be a few changes – for starters, Jenny Boylan won’t be able to organize things this year (due to moving and a super booked December), but the rest of us will, and we’ll have a few happy additions to help us do our work: Brynne Tannehill & Allyson Robinson, for starters.

So stay tuned. We’re getting the thing organized so that we can get it up and running for December, but know that we’re here, and we care about each and every one of you, even if we don’t even know your names yet.

In the meantime, if you’re in a bad way and need to talk, there is this amazing new Trans Lifeline service as well as other call lines:

  • Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860.
  • For LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) contemplating suicide, the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached at 1-866-7386.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

Love and thanks for the honor and privilege of working for and in this amazing trans community.