Tag: books

Love.

Posted by – February 14, 2012

This is one of the most beautiful short films I have ever seen.

it’s like a love letter to every writer, reader, and librarian that’s ever lived. & To all the Damfinos of course, too.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Alcohol Poisoning

Posted by – July 22, 2009

I’ve been drinking.

Sadly, it was a lot of the same old same old: cursory interest in parent, partner, & children. The kids were adorable. The wife was determined. The father was exhausted.

  • Multiple shots and references to surgery, instead.
  • Trans woman discovers surprising, sudden interest in men.
  • Expresses longing to be mother while wife is pregnant.
  • Voiceover talking about wife meeting her husband for the first time “as a woman” post Thailand, even though the husband had been living in female gender role for a year as per SOC.

Atypical trans documentary bits?

  • Added insult to injury for wife, while trans woman wonders – fleetingly – if she’s married her ex-girlriend if she’d have needed to transition. Fleetingly, stressed by Prince, but goddamn do wives of trans women everywhere hate her for that one. Yeah, thanks, it’s our fault you needed to transition. Do you really think we don’t wish, sometimes, that you’d married your ex-girlfriend, too?!
  • Newly female husband going up telephone pole in gear
  • ”  ”  ” mowing lawn with reference to still “wearing the pants”
  • ‘out of the mouths of babes’ testimony that natal female still does all the parenting and housework
  • bee stings lead to discovering of IS condition which justifies transition. (the years of crossdressing certainly don’t count for shit, right?)

So yeah, I’m drunk.You?

They all seem like reasonably nice people. I hate documentaries about teh trans. Hate ‘em. I hate the way our lives our distilled into reverse camera angles and earnest questions across kitchen tables. I hate how the beauty of a trans woman admitting that she still sees her wife the way “he” did is degraded by the “sudden interest” in men. I hate the sad, confused, tendentious quality of trans women’s wives who are obviously overwhelmed with the whole business and still in love with their spouses.

* sigh*

Having been someone who has done shite like this, my only excuse is: it was in my contract. Not that that’s much of an excuse, but you do usually have a clause saying that you will in good faith blah blah blah consent to blah blah blah that will help sell the book. I’m not sure there’s any other reason to do these things anymore, but I hope, for Rene’s sake, & the boys’ sake, & the dad’s & Chloe’s, that this one will be forgotten when it’s Sweeps Week next year or in five years. Not because it’s bad, but because it isn’t. There are things I said and wrote at the time of My Husband Betty that embarass me now, as well as plenty that I”m still happy about. But I wrote a book, so when I”m lucky, you can see its brown spine in the LGBT section of bookstores these days. But a show like this is going to be dredged up at 3am for a few years, and every once too often, Rene and Chloe and her boys and dad will be online at the supermarket / drugstore / in the waiting room / at the doctor’s office / showing up for parent teacher night when someone they’ve never met couldn’t sleep and saw them on the TeeVee. And then, well, then is when you wish you could change your name and move to Timbuktu.

My best to all of them. Can we stop making these now?

Singapore Skips a Beat

Posted by – July 18, 2009

I saw this clip about Singaporean import Dr. Thio Li-ann on Queerty, and it reminded me that a PM who recently stood up to get the homosexuality laws off the books in Singapore was not reappointed. Some in Singapore feel his not being reappointed had everything to do with his support for LGBT rights, although his support for women’s rights – AWARE is a feminist group – certainly contributed.

Interestingly, he’s also currently involved in a petition to get the residual marriage rape laws taken off the books in Singapore.

High Tech Nerds R Us

Posted by – July 15, 2009

In this cool article about Massachusetts’ push for transgender civil rights, the great geek/trans intersection is once again revealed:

In her office down the hall, Zircher, who holds many software patents, has three computer screens and two keyboards. On the bookshelf are titles such as “Advanced Windows Debugging’’ and “Hunting Security Bugs.’’ There’s also: “She’s Not The Man I Married’’ and “My Husband Betty.’’

Our thanks to Bella English and to Dana Zircher for the mention.

Inconvenient

Posted by – July 8, 2009

In response to this last post, I received this short email:

“My Husband Betty: Love, Sex, and Life with a Crossdresser”

This is where you loose me Helen. You say you don’t use words like “Husband or Wife”….but then you write books using that exact terminology.

Very confusing.

I responded:

I wrote that book 6 years ago. My thinking is surely allowed to change, no?

He responded:

Convenient. No?

& I responded:

Is that how you’d talk to Betty about her decision to transition? That it was “convenient”?

My partner was a self-identified straight drag queen when we met, with a male identity.

She is living as a woman & doing what paperwork she can to reflect that.

One of the reasons I can’t & don’t use “husband” anymore is because people then start using “he” pronouns about my partner. She is not a he. To avoid that, I avoid the gendered terminology that leads to it.

When she had a genderqueer/androgynous presentation, she didn’t mind mixing up the pronouns – as I did in the 2nd book. Now, “he” chafes her, doesn’t fit.

So sue me for having had to make adjustments – especially ones that are entirely out of consideration of my partner’s gender.

Please don’t write back. Your response was rude beyond belief. I shouldn’t be justifying it with a response at all, but I like to give people a fair shake.

If I stop using “husband” then it’s somehow just “convenient” that I’m doing so. Surely it couldn’t have anything to do with my partner’s change in gender! *sigh* I’m having one of those days.

Two Tune Tuesday: MJ

Posted by – July 7, 2009

Goodbye, Michael. For me he wrote some of hte best dance music ever, & for that, alone, I’ll remember him.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

I do know, for certain, that his music is hella better than this memorial crap on TV. My only hope is that a ton of people read Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince now that Brooke Shields mentioend it, as that is one little gem of a book.

Lambda Lit Awards

Posted by – June 1, 2009

Congrats to all the winners!

21st LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNERS for BOOKS PUBLISHED IN 2008

TRANSGENDER
Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word), Thea Hillman, Manic D Press

More

New Study on Poverty & Education

Posted by – May 7, 2009

Taylor said frequently textbooks in primary and secondary schools and in higher education do not address issues like poverty fully and often are reduced and oversimplified. “Far too many schools continue to endorse a curriculum of the absurd that encompasses ‘heroification’ of primarily white males, while the contributions of women and people of color appear in pop-out format in textbooks,” she said.

I wish I were even a little surprised by the results and her conclusions.

For Milwaukee

Posted by – April 22, 2009

We had a great time in Milwaukee this past weekend: a gathering of LGBT people on Saturday night, a sex workshop at The Tool Shed on Sunday, and then a workshop on gender variance Monday afternoon followed by a 7PM lecture about queer heterosexuals.

I did meet a bunch of people who asked me about various resources I mentioned in passing, so here goes:

& I think that’s it. If I’ve failed to mention anything I said I would post to here, feel free to email me about it or remind me in the comments section.

#AmazonFail

Posted by – April 13, 2009

Honestly, I’m pretty cheered by the response to #AmazonFail: so many people upset about censorship, and censorship of LGBT, sex-positive, and related topics.

Not a bad thing at all. There’s a reasonably good summation at CNET and at WiredPen (which has the PW report about it being caused by a glitch) (& there’s my post from yesterday about it, with links to a lot of the original sources).

Amazon Filters Out Queer/Sex Books

Posted by – April 12, 2009

Not books about queer sex per se, although I’m sure those are included, but books about sexuality and/or queer topics, have lost their rankings at amazon.com. Mine included.

As Mark Probst reported, they are removing the rankings of these books exactly so they do not appear in “some searches and best seller lists.”

My Husband Betty was often categorized either in sexuality sections or in LGBT sections, but She’s Not the Man I Married is classified as a Gender Studies book.

This is bullshit. Amazon.com already gets crap ratings on the T with HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. When you see a book you like is missing its sales rank, that’s probably why: they’re filtering LGBT books out of their lists. Aside from being a bad business decision, it’s discriminatory and – well, just stupid for booksellers to be censoring their lists.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: When you find a book  that doesn’t have a sales rank, please send Amazon a message using the feedback page provided – scroll down toward the end of the page, & look for a Feedback box shaded light blue.

& GOOGLEBOMB: link to this page that redefines “amazon rank” more accurately.

Word A Day

Posted by – April 11, 2009

I love my Word A Day calendar. You rip off a page every day & get a new word — they’re not often new to me, but my vocabulary has definitely improved since I got into this habit. What I do is recycle pages of words I already use regularly AND words that I don’t think I’ll ever use or are too silly or specialized.

The others I leave in a stack on my desk and whenever I’m waiting – for a download, an upload, or for a game to load – I read them over & write sentences using them in my head.

Here’s some recent favorites:

  1. blandish – to coax with flattery
  2. abusage – improper use of words
  3. tyro – novice
  4. henotheism – worship of one god without disbelief in others
  5. deliquesce – to become fluid or soft with aging, as in mushrooms

An undgrad and gender studies tyro’s abusage was an attempt to blandish me into giving him a perfect grade on his paper, but instead I corrected him by explaining it’s nauseated, not nauseous.

(10 points to anyone who can use henotheism and deliquesce in one sentence that actually makes sense!)

I know you can get them emailed to you, but I kind of love the flash cards feeling of the word-per-page design.

Clerics Encourage Gay Deaths in Baghdad

Posted by – April 4, 2009

Apparently we left “thou shalt not kill homosexuals” out of the civics textbooks we gave the Iraqis when we “taught” them democracy.

Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein six years ago.

Fuck this. The word “cleric” used to be such a cool word, and more & more it just seems to be mean “self-righteous, mob-creating fuckhead.” I really don’t think that whole “Thou Shalt Not Kill” directive is that hard to understand. There’s no asterisk, no caveat.

Buy Books!

Posted by – March 27, 2009

Some reports on book sales in this economy are none too cheery: GalleyCat reports on Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, and Random House.

Know who publishes the books you love the most and make sure you check out their catalogs and buy their books. Publishers need brand loyalty as much as the next retailer.

Of course I’m published by Seal Press, who rock. Their current Yes Means Yes, edited by Jessica Valenti and featuring a piece by Julia Serano, looks particularly ground-breaking.

Agile Gene Splitting

Posted by – February 23, 2009

“Similarity is the shadow of difference. Two things are similar by virtue of their difference from another, or different by virtue of one’s similarity to a third. So it is with individuals. A short man is different from a tall man, but two men seem similar if contrasted with a woman. So it is with species. A man and a woman may be very different, but by comparison with a chimpanzee, it is their similarities that strike the eye – the hairless skin, the upright stance, the prominent nose. A chimpanzee, in turn, is similar to a human being when contrasted with a dog: the face, the hands, the 32 teeth, and so on. And a dog is like a person to the extend that both are unlike a fish. Difference is the shadow of similarity.”

Gorgeous, eh? It’s the first paragraph of Matt Ridley’s The Agile Gene, a book I’m currently teaching in Lawrence University’s Freshman Studies program.

It articulates in a new way the old adage about lumpers & splitters, or hedgehogs & foxes, but then it adds what I’d call a postmodern spin: lumpers can’t be lumpers unless there are eras when splitters hold sway.

Best of Cramps / Happy Valentine

Posted by – February 14, 2009

Since people have asked, here’s a few of the best Cramps songs… okay, my favorites. & The last one is just – well, why not?

Get a playlist!

I have to dedicate the 4th song to my dad. He was driving me somewhere – probably to a shop called Slipped Disc where I bought a ton of music when I was a teenager – and he was humming along with this track until he stopped and said, “is that really what they’re saying?” and promptly changed the station. (For the record, Slipped Disc sold all the great 80s punk & new wave I loved, including all the other crap that went with being a fan: calendars, buttons, patches, picture discs, t-shirts, books… all of that stuff. For anyone who’s been to Record Runner in the West Village, Slipped Disc was kinda like that. With a lot of metalheads.)

So Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Make yourself a cocktail, put on those big fuzzy slippers & dance to these tracks. Round out the evening by watching some godawful B-movie. Eat some cheese out of a can. Really, it’s good for you, once in a while.

Out Damn Spot

Posted by – January 20, 2009

I almost feel like it’s Christmas Eve I’m so excited. Watching the coverage on MSNBC is like a reunion after this long electoral season, but wow is it exciting! Those cheerleaders yesterday were adorable. Kind of mind-blowing.

There’s a story about a guy who gets a toothache while Jesus is dying on the cross; he’s not directly involved at all, just a guy going about his day who’s aggravated by the pain in his mouth. I read it in a remarkable compilation, edited by Borges, in The Book of Fantasy. It’s what I thought of when I saw the news about Cheney in the wheelchair; I know it’s a minor injury, but the symbolism is a little rich. Now we just need Rove on crutches.

I’m so excited but I’m also a little overwhelmed with relief that Rove’s Boys are finally out.

Coraline

Posted by – January 17, 2009

CoralineNeil Gaiman’s horrifying children’s story – is coming out on February 6th. It better be coming to a theatre near me.

Packing

Posted by – December 27, 2008

Okay, then.

I am packed for six months for me & the boys: six pieces of luggage, three boxes, two crates, two backpacks, and one laundry thingy. Plus Betty’s stuff, the cats in one carrier, & some other odds & ends (litterbox, cat food). Good thing we rented an SUV, no?

We also cleaned the apt for the catsitter.

The worst thing about being Helen Boyd just now is knowing I have to bring a ton of my books because no one else will have copies – like Esther Newton’s Camp & Rottnek’s Tomboys & Sissies. The books are one crate, and one of the boxes is photocopies of handouts of other chapters & essays on gender.

But other than that, I’m ready. Just have to pack the computer & the cats tomorrow. We leave at 10am.

Tomboys

Posted by – December 17, 2008

How exciting is this? A book called Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History.

Random page quotes:

“The link between childhood tomboyism and adult homosexuality might seem to have eradicated this code of conduct from American literature and culture, but the late 1950s and the decade of the 1960s actually witness the release of a considerable number of tomboy-themed novels and films.”

I suppose this is what makes me a freak, but I’m going to devour this one. Yay! Tomboys!