Register to Vote


& Really, how can you not listen to Dustin Hoffman when he’s got that cutey grin on his face?

Go here for all the information you need by state.

Below the break, all the voter registration deadlines by state:

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Stay Safe, NOLA

Hurricane Gustav is about to bear down on the lovely city of New Orleans, nearly three years to the day Katrina did.

Stay safe.

(& the Republicans, in keeping with their shite response to Katrina, are going ahead with their conference despite it. You’d think they’d show some fucking respect.)

Guest Author : Mercedes Allen

(crossposted in several places, and people are welcome to forward this on freely to others in the transgender and GLBT communities, as I see this as being very serious — Mercedes)

A short time ago, I’d discussed the movement to have “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID, a.k.a. “Gender Dysphoria”) removed from the DSM-IV or reclassified, and how we needed to work to ensure that any such change was an improvement on the existing model, rather than a scrapping or savaging of it.

Lynn Conway reports that on May 1st, 2008, the American Psychiatric Association named its work group members appointed to revise the Manual for Diagnosis of Mental Disorders in preparation for the DSM-V. Such a revision would include the entry for GID.

On the Task Force, named as Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Chair, we find Dr. Kenneth Zucker, from Toronto’s infamous Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH, formerly the Clarke Institute). Dr. Zucker is infamous for utilizing reparative (i.e. “ex-gay”) therapy to “cure” gender-variant children. Named to his work group, we find Zucker’s mentor, Dr. Ray Blanchard, Head of Clinical Sexology Services at CAMH and creator of the theory of autogynephilia, categorized as a paraphilia and defined as “a man’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman.”

Continue reading “Guest Author : Mercedes Allen”

One A Month

It’s starting to seem like once a month, a new state tells the Federal Government to stuff it’s abstinence-only sex ed funding. This month it’s New Mexico’s turn.

Eventually maybe the Feds will get the idea, so write to your reps & tell them to “just say no” to “just say no” sex ed.

El Dia De Los Muertos

A very happy Day of the Dead (or All Saints’ Day, or All Souls’ Day, depending on your Catholicism).

I’m pleased that one of the student groups has assembled a Muertes altar here at Merrimack, with explanations of the Calaveras (the skeleton/skull figures), the water bowls, the salt, the candy and candles. I love the idea altogether, of throwing a party that your dead loved ones come to as well. It just seems so – civilized.

Now go eat your candy. (The photo is of candy skulls that I found at this UK site about Aztec culture.)

Five Questions With… Eli Clare

Eli Clare is the author of Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press, 1999) and has been widely published. He has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program and co-organized the first-ever Queerness and Disability Conference. He works for the University of Vermont ‘s LGBTQA Services. We were lucky enough to meet him at a Translating Identity Conference at UVM, and I was happy to get the chance to talk to him about his new book, The Marrow’s Telling, which was recently published by HomoFactus Press.

(1) Why poetry?

As a writer, my first love is poetry. I think of it as a thug who grabbed me by the collar many years ago and whispered in my ear, “You’re coming with me.” I went willingly, not having any idea where poetry would take me or what it would demand. Twenty-five years later I find myself writing a mix of poetry and creative nonfiction; my first book, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, is a collection of essays, and my second book, The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion, which ought to be rolling off the press at any moment now, is a mix of poems and short prose pieces, not quite essays but more than prose poems.

Audre Lorde in her essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury” writes of poetry as a “revelatory distillation of experience.” Poems demand both wildness/revelation–moments where language, sound, and rhythm, rather than thought or idea or analysis, take the lead–and discipline/distillation–the paring down to heart and bone. As a writer, a reader, an activist trying to make sense of the world, I need revelatory distillation.

I also know that in the United States too many of us have been taught to fear or avoid poetry, to feel bored or stupid in its presence. As an activist-poet, I always hope that my poems will be doors held wide open, roller coasters, parachutes opening above you, slow meandering rivers.

Continue reading “Five Questions With… Eli Clare”

Five Questions With… Max Wolf Valerio

max wolf valerio

It’s been a while since a Five Questions With… Interview, but I can’t imagine a better re-entry interview than one with Max Wolf Valerio, the author of The Testosterone Files. Max and I “met” as a result of us both being published by Seal Press, and because we were both friends with the late, great Gianna Israel. His Testosterone Files are a fascinating account of his move from his life as a radical dyke and poet to being a ‘straight guy.’

1) I often joke that I only ever “passed” as a straight woman, and there were parts of The Testosterone Files that made me feel like you “passed” as as lesbian. Is that even close to right? How do you feel about your former identity now?

Yes, I definitely did “pass” for a lesbian, a dyke, whatever you wish to call it. I was dyke-identified for at 14 years, and more, if you count my adolescence. Early on, I realized I was attracted to women, and so, a lesbian identity made the most sense to me. It was all I knew to name myself. The idea of transitioning in 1975 and before, when I was a teen, was completely off the map.

I am proud of the person I was as a dyke, and I learned a lot in my years as a lesbian. I understand many of the finer points of feminism, in all its permutations. Through lesbian feminism, I also came to an understanding and empathy for other types of radical politics. It was quite an education, and an amazing immersion in female life. Ultimately, dyke life is about immersion in female life I think, and it provided an axis for me as well as a point of departure.

However, as I show dramatically in The Testosterone Files, I was much more than simply a lesbian feminist or dyke. I was, actually, just as involved in the punk rock scene, as well as in being a poet who crossed all lines of identity and just “wrote” and read for an audience that appreciated poetry as an art form period. So, this involvement gave me an “out” from dyke life and provided a portal to the fact that there is so much more out there in the world than simply lesbians or feminism. This portal would prove to be invaluable as I came into male life.

On the other hand, I think my perspective was a bit constrained anyway from being a lesbian all those years. I have had to re-examine many of my feminist beliefs and attitudes anyway, even if I was not entirely cloistered within the dyke perspective. Some of these attitudes no longer fit my male life, and I find them to be restricting. More importantly, I also have come to see that certain of these ideas were just wrong-headed, even if they served a purpose for me then. I mean, some of the anti-male attitudes, and anti-het attitudes that I absorbed. These attitudes and ideas not only do not serve my present life, they are not rooted in truth. I think I was often coming from a place of defensiveness, and I have learned, and am learning, to drop that.

Even so, I have many fond feelings about my past dyke life, and about lesbians in general, and will always feel related.

Continue reading “Five Questions With… Max Wolf Valerio”

NCTE’s Responding to Hate Crimes manual

Just in time for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on November 20th, NCTE has published a small manual called Responding to Hate Crimes: A Community Resource Manual, which, according to NCTE’s Simon Aronoff, “represents a holistic, community-based approach to responding to hate violence in a wya that aims to curb the number of attacks faced by transgender people.”

Read the full press release from NCTE below the break, and read or download a copy of the manual at NCTE’s website:

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Mexico City, Instead

The good news to gay couples in Wisconsin: your fellow voters may be bigots, but now you can get married in Mexico City, instead.

Vern Bullough

Vern Bullough, author of umpteen books, advocate for crossdressers and trans people, died this past Wednesday, June 21st.

I can’t even begin to express how sad I am: Vern became more than an author whose books I read, but a kind of mentor for me, always willing to answer a question or point me toward research that might help me out.

From the Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism
The Center for Inquiry Laments the Death of Vern Bullough: Leonardo Man and Stalwart Secular Humanist

The Center for Inquiry is sorry to announce that Vern Bullough died Wednesday evening, June 21st, after a brief illness. He was a stalwart humanist, a dedicated member of the Council for Secular Humanism, the Center for Inquiry, and CSICOP. He had devoted himself to humane causes all during his life; he was considered to be one of the leading authorities in the world on the history of sex and the nature of gender. He was a tireless advocate of civil liberties, the rights of minorities, including gays, lesbians and transgendered persons.

The author or editor of over 50 books including Sexual Attitudes: Myths and Realities, with Bonnie Bullough, and hundreds of articles, he was renowned in several areas of human interest, including history, sexology, nursing and liberal religion. Indeed, a true Leonardo Man, Vern was a distinguished professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo, an Outstanding Professor in the California State University, a past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, past Dean of natural and social sciences at SUNY in Buffalo, New York, and one of the founders of the American Association for the History of Nursing. In addition, he was a recipient of the Distinguished Humanist Award and a past Vice President of the IHEU.

Vern served on the Center’s Board of Directors since its inception and was personally involved in its outreach. He accompanied the Center for Inquiry’s Explorers Club on a Cruise to Alaska in early June. He read a paper on board ship, and managed to write up his remarks in the form of an article, which will be published in Free Inquiry magazine.

He will be sorely missed as one of he leading secular humanists in North America and the world and a liberal voice for the right of self-determination, tolerance and dignity.

He leaves his wife, Gwen Brewer (Prof. Emeritus, University of California) and four children.

Paul Kurtz
Chairman and Founder, Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism


I’m really disgusted by the fact that once again, Canada is hunting those adorable baby seals. What is the fucking point? Does anyone really need seal fur that much? I doubt it.

Do your bit to stop it here.

Five Questions With… Josey Vogels

Josey Vogels is the author of the nationally syndicated relationships column My Messy Bedroom and the dating advice column Dating Girl. She has published five books on sex and relationships – the most recent is entitled Bedside Manners: Sex Etiquette Made Easy. Her fourth book, The Secret Language of Girls, has been published in several languages and was made into a documentary. Her website – — is visited by thousands monthly and she is a popular speaking guest at universities and colleges across Canada.

josey vogels

1) I was a little amazed at the ‘revelation’ of She Comes First – considering women have been basically saying the same thing as Ian Kerner (the author of She Comes First) did, for years. Why do you think it took a guy to say it before anyone seemed to listen?

It’s funny, I felt exactly the same way. In fact, this is what I wrote in a column I did about the book: “That Kerner comes off as the Neil Armstrong of oral sex is a little insulting when you consider how many women (several of whom he refers to throughout the book) have been saying for years that intercourse alone doesn’t cut it for the ladies when it comes to orgasm. But the fact that Kerner is on a mission to turn men into enthusiastic cunning linguists like himself is a welcome one. Because, clearly, they aren’t listening to us.”

I think sadly, the fact that it was a man made the mainstream media take notice. It was truly a bizarre thing. I thought it was interesting how though also how Kerner’s language in the book was very “male” which again, might have made it more palatable for a media that likes that kind of male authoritative approach to things.

As I wrote at the time:

She Comes First may have indeed changed the focus from intercourse to oral sex but it’s still all about male performance. Kerner’s just shifted the pressure from the penis to the tongue. He even describes the tongue as the best “tool” for the job.

In fact, at times, with all the references to hoods and shafts and some rather creepy technical illustrations, She Comes First, reads more like a car manual than a guide to becoming a good lover. So while Kerner now describes himself as “happily married and able to make love successfully” (wonder what a good cunnilinguist pulls in these days?), being a “successful” lover isn’t just about having a skillful tongue — though that is, of course, welcome. It’s about knowing how to stimulate a woman’s mind, to make her feel amazing and sexy in bed and out. I’m all for improving your technique. But like a good mechanic, a good lover doesn’t just know how to operate the machinery, he knows how to make it purr.”

Continue reading “Five Questions With… Josey Vogels”

Worried Like This Forever

I’m generally having a problem with the way things are going these days, what with the South Dakota bill and the news that the US Government didn’t only fuck up New Orleans and the other areas that got hit by Katrina at the time but are continuing to fuck it up now, & that Paul McCartney is trying to keep people from beating baby seals to death. It’s the last one that got to me the worst – I mean, didn’t we highlight how barbaric that crap was like 20 years ago? I was almost surprised to find out it’s still happening; I thought Canada was cooler than that. Then Megan delivered the news that increased air travel – accelerated by cheap fares – will eventually guarantee that we can’t see the stars.

I keep hoping we human beings take ourselves out before we wipe out every other species that calls this planet home.

But something Sandy posted made me feel a little better:

I sometimes feel so weighed down by everything that is so wrong, and so bad, about how we humans treat each other and the world.

I worry.

I worry about an all-out, probably nuclear, war between the Muslim world and everyone else. I worry about bird flu. I worry about resistant strains of bacteria (and would everyone PLEASE quit using “anti-bacterial” soap, you’re making the problem worse, and gaining no benefit in the meantime). I worry about overpopulation and food and water supplies. I worry about the crazy rise in the incidence of all types of cancers in our country. I worry about plastics and pesticides and volatile organic compounds. I worry about all the no-money-down mortgages and credit card debt that people are getting into and not out of. I worry about the incredible, collossal amounts of waste in every aspect of our fat American lives. I worry about how stupid and sinister our government is, and how just plain stupid we citizens appear to be. I worry about the dubious role of huge corporations in society. I worry about children whose parents are mean to them. Now too, I worry about the demise of astronomy as we know it. I’m not being facetious. I care about all of this stuff.

My husband even worries about living on the East coast, downwind of all the air pollution in the rest of the country. I don’t go quite that far. But if we moved to the west coast, I’d probably worry about missiles from North Korea.

There’s no automatic healthy dose of “fuckit” attitude in my life anymore, that feeling that used to kick in when the world looked too cruel. All I can do these days is limit the amount of news I take in. (Ah, parenthood. It takes away some humor, for sure; thank God it installs some new kinds as well.)

One thought that eases my mind a bit is that people have worried like this forever… and life continues, and it’s mostly really, really good.

Thanks, Sandy.

Trans for $200, Alex

Tonight “Trans” was a category on Jeopardy, and there wasn’t anything about transvestites or transgender or transsexuals. Trans-Canada things, and Trans-Continentals, but no trans as in gender.

Sometimes I wonder how out of touch I am these days.

Blog for Choice

Big shocker here, but this blog is most definitely pro-choice.

blog choice

So what happens when a woman who is anti-choice gets pregnant and didn’t intend to? Sometimes, she goes an abortion at the very same clinic she was out protesting the day before.

It’s the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Trans Rockers

On Saturday night, after seeing our very own Penny play a gig at Galapagos in Williamsburg, a bunch of us from the MHB Boards went to the Trans Rock Music Explosion at the Bowery Poetry Club.

And there, with a lovely gathering of trans and non-trans alike, a few bands that had trans members (from one to all, depending on the band) they rocked their hearts out. I didn’t get to see all of them, since we weren’t there from the start, but I did get to see Temptress, Vibralux, and Lisa Jackson + Girl Friday.

Temptress were fun, a bar band with three women on guitar, bass, and drums, and an MTF lead singer. (One of my friends commented after they were on that there should be a law about trans bands doing more than one song from Rocky Horror, which – there should be.)

Vibralux came in all the way from Kansas City. They reminded me of the New York Dolls in some ways – at least in terms of makeup application and slutty clothes. But they rocked – I have to give them that much. They had the energy of a midwest band in NYC, amped up with “we’re in New York!” attitude. They were a blast, and their song “Play with Balls” amused me. (The lyrics went something along the lines of “girls aren’t supposed to play with dolls/ no, girls, play with balls!” which was slutty and funny at once.)

But, Lisa Jackson. She is getting a little angrier in her lyrics and stageshow – a turn I like very much – but her older songs, like “Beautiful Freak” and “Fabulously Done” are still close to my heart. (The lyrics to “Fabulously Done” are reprinted as the very last page of My Husband Betty, because I like them so much.) She’s what the trans-movement needs, and it’s almost pathetic that the trans conferences haven’t lined up to book her for every single trans conference in North America. She is a one-woman anthem, a powerful singer, and a great musician. To be honest, – and I don’t say this lightly – Lisa Jackson is the first tranny I’ve ever seen that made me think, “it’s good to be a chick.” Which is no small compliment, coming from me.

Any of these bands are worth checking out, and all of them are worth supporting.

(These events get announced – and people plan to go – via the MHB Boards as well. Folks are free to join us, or at least can come knowing there’ll be a contingent on hand.)

Independence Daze

Yesterday I got an email from a CD up north who had this to say:

I wondered today if you are aware that yesterday (June 28/05) the Canadian federal parliament passed an amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allowing for same sex marriage rights across the country? The vote was 158 yes to 133 no with several members from each side of the house voting against their party position.

Marriage is a provincial jurisdiction in Canada and 6 out of the 10 provinces had already legalized same sex marriage in the past 2 years anyway as a result of losing supreme court challenges based on constitutional rights arguments. This newly passed bill amends the Canadian Charter to reflect that and redefines the definition of marriage to include more than just the union of one man and one woman. This makes Canada the 3rd country in the world to have legalized same sex marriage laws. The issue is still out on protecting religious rights as certain churches are against same sex marriage and of course will refuse to preform them regardless. I never saw that as an issue myself since churches could always refuse to marry anyone they wanted based on their religious views. The new law doesn’t attempt to change that from what I can see. You never did have to be married in a church for it to be considered legal so this law is not forcing any church to marry anyone it chooses not to because of its religious beliefs. I just gives people the right to legally marry and enjoy the rights that entails. This argument was still a major one many anti-gay people used to try and oppose the passing of this new law.

A (married) CD in Vancouver, BC, Canada

and before I had time to put this up, and thank Canada for having the wisdom those of us below them don’t have, Spain went and legalized same-sex marriage as well.

It saddens me, that this weekend when we break out the flags and the hot dogs and the cold beer, that America hasn’t worked this one out yet – and not only hasn’t worked it out, but is steadily building a backlash against same-sex marriage, like in Ohio, where they’re now working on preventing GLBT folks from adopting children.

But it strikes me that this weekend, Canadians do really have an independence day to celebrate (today, July 1st) while GLBT Americans look longingly to the north.

Rape Crisis Center fights judge’s order to talk about woman it counseled

Rape Crisis Center fights judge’s order to talk about woman it counseled
Last Update: 05/08/2005 2:46:35 PM
By: Associated Press

SANTA FE (AP) – A New Mexico judge has ordered two rape crisis center workers to reveal information about a woman they counseled. But rape crisis center operators say the order is alarming.

Operators say if they can’t guarantee confidentiality, victims won’t turn to them for help.

The Albuquerque Rape Crisis Center is asking the state’s Supreme Court to overturn the order issued by state District Judge James Blackmer.

The woman says she was raped in January 2003 by a former boyfriend.

The man’s public defender, Sophie Cooper, says she wants conversations between the center workers and the woman disclosed.

She says the center workers played an important role in convincing the woman she had been raped.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Tuesday.

Reported by KOB-TV, and thanks to Lynne for bringing it to my attention.

Helen & Betty on Canadian Bravo

Hey Canadians! Our “lust lit” episode of Richler Ink is going to be on Bravo in Canada on March 17th, at 10pm:

For the actual listing, check out Helen & Betty on Richler Ink

Upcoming Events

Betty and I will be doing a few interesting events this coming February and March that I’d love for people to join us at, and to say hi if they’re attending.

February 18th – 20th we’ll be in Phoenix, AZ, at the Glitz Ball. I’m doing one workshop, participating in another, and will also be the Banquet Speaker.

On Tuesday, February 22nd, I’ll be moderating a forum of crossdressers for Yale’s Trans-Week. It’ll be called “Part-Time Ladies.” The Yale Daily News did a nice piece about my presentation last year.

On the weekend following Trans-Week, February 25th – 27th, I’ll be presenting a workshop on trans-sexuality at the all-kink inclusive Dark Odyssey. Betty & I had a great time at this event last fall, and are excited about going again. This year, with the privacy afforded by hotel rooms, I’m hoping to see a lot more trans-couples attending. The remarkable Kate Bornstein will also be attending, and it will be wonderful to see her again.

The very next weekend, we’ll be going up to Burlington and the University of Vermont. David Houston, an anthropology professor, has asked me to speak to his class; they’re reading My Husband Betty as part of their “kinship and identity” coursework.

While I’m in Burlington, I’ll also be participating in the Translating Identity Conference on March 5th. I’ll be doing a workshop on trans sexuality, as well as teaming up with FTM partner Jill Barkley for a caucus on partners’ rights. I’m very much looking forward to meeting Leslie Feinberg, whose Stone Butch Blues is a seminal work (and which I recently recommended as part of my reading suggestions for Book Television in Canada).