About 20/20

So I’m still thinking about the 20/20 show that was on a few weeks ago about young kids coming out as trans.

& The thing I can’t quite get past is how many people who are gender variant grow up to be gender variant but okay with the sex they were born. A gay friend of mine called after the show was over & asked, “So what’s the difference between them & me?” because he went through most, if not all, of what one of the young MTF expressed. He did drag for most of his childhood, expressed the desire to be a girl as a child, and had a hard time dating guys who didn’t want to date a queen. I didn’t have an answer for him. I don’t know what makes some of us gender variant & some of us trans. Continue reading “About 20/20”

Sliding Backwards

(from The Feminist Majority Foundation)

The Supreme Court handed down this morning a 5-4 ruling that requires the elimination of integration plans at elementary and secondary public schools.

The decision was made in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, et al. and Meredith, Custodial Parent and Next Friend of McDonald v. Jefferson County Bd. Of Ed et al, two cases brought by parents with schoolchildren in Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky. Federal appeals courts previously upheld integration plans in both school systems after parents sued. The Bush administration threw its political weight behind the parents.

In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “There is a cruel irony in The Chief Justice’s reliance on our decision in Brown v. Board of Education… The Chief Justice rewrites the history of one of this Court’s most important decisions.” Justice Stevens, who has served on the Supreme Court longer than any other current justice, concluded his dissent, writing, “It is my firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today’s decision.”

Guest Author: Madame George

I haven’t put up a ‘guest author’ post in a while, but a partner wrote an interesting piece about disability and shame and the opinions of others that I thought was both interesting and useful:

I become so disheartened to hear family members and others acting like this is some kind of disabling burden to their partners. They make assumptions about the trans person making selfish choices or being mentally disabled. They make assumptions about the partners having some kind of dependency issues or whatever. They make asses of themselves.

When J and I met he had a habit of hiding his left arm in his sleeve or pocket. When we started dating he would hide it up the back of my jacket or even my shirt. (I guess I should explain that J’s left hand is no longer there.) Here was this wonderful person who was kind, intelligent, honorable, and my friend, and yet felt the need to hide part of himself. When I first admonished him for doing it he seemed surprised. “Aren’t you embarrassed, even a little, about being seen with me?”, he asked. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. Over the next couple of years I was a tyrant. I would not allow him to hide it, no matter where we were. I guess it was his mother’s reaction that surprised me the most. We were out having dinner with her and J’s dad. We were having a great time and J asked me to dance. Instead of putting his left arm at my waist he slid it just under the back of my blouse. I stopped mid step and put it gently at my waist and winked. When we got back to the table his mother lit into me. Supposedly, I embarrassed him and myself. “If John didn’t want people to stare at him, pity him, then he had every right to hide his arm!” She didn’t get it.

I guess that’s the part of it that I didn’t and still don’t understand. People to this day say things to us and it usually doesn’t make sense to me until they clarify it. One of my fellow PTO moms and friend made a comment at the last fundraiser John and I both volunteered for. She looked at me and said “I didn’t know your husband was disabled?” I thought she’d become confused or had been in the heat too long. I asked her what the heck she was talking about and she whispered something about his hand. I laughed and told her I had always considered his poor math and spelling skills a bigger problem. She looked appalled. She didn’t get it either.

A disablility is something that stops you from doing something. J can tie his shoes, type almost as fast as I can (I do around 65 wpm), cut his own food up, do dishes, and unbutton my blouse faster than I can. If there is something out there he can’t do we haven’t come across it yet. When we do I know we’ll find a way for him to do it.

If you hide it. If you let others dictate how you present yourself. If you let it stop you from doing anything then, and only then, is it a disability.

I have a feeling that the transness is going to work the same way for us. Others will see it as a disabling factor. They will try to pity one or both of us. They will pity our children. They will make assumptions based on their preconceptions and not bother to ask us about our reality. They will never get it.

As partners we unfortunately get the backlash of this dual thinking process. If this is not a disability then we are doormats, have dependency issues, or low self esteem. If it is a disability we are saints, loving partners, or nightinggales.

Perish the thought that standing tall next to the person you love shows your inner strength. Perish the thought that staying and helping your love through a tough time in their lives shows your true character. Perish the thought that this is not a disability unless you allow it to be.

Boxed Aeneas, Bellyup

Really, he’s terrifically happy & comfortable, though I wonder how he does that with his neck. Obviously, cats have different bones than humans; I call them my furry yogis.

Nothing But Red: Du’a Khalil Anthology

A 17 year old woman named Du’a Khalil was stoned to death in an honor killing and her death recorded on the cellphones of people who were watching & participating.

Police did nothing.

Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wrote an exhausted, frustrated essay about her death, about the culture of misogyny & violence against women we all live with, & that essay has sparked an anthology in honor of Du’a Khalil.

I feel sick & leaden every time I see anything about this news, because there are so many other women who are hurt, beaten, & tortured who we don’t get to see. There are too many women I know who have been beaten or hurt or otherwise abused.

There is too much violence against women.


A lovely review of She’s Not the Man I Married just appeared in a Brooklyn paper called The Indypendent – here’s an excerpt from it:

In the end, Boyd writes that despite the obvious discordance, the central issue is whether society can allow — or can be pushed to at least acknowledge — that men and women exist on a continuum that includes butches, superfemmes and everyone in between.

Pretending otherwise, Boyd writes, is damaging and limits our exploration of who we might become. It also limits with whom we associate, a point driven home by Helen and Betty’s dramatic love story. Make no mistake, even in its manifold difficult moments, theirs is the kind of love that people fantasize about.

She’s Not the Man I Married is by turns funny, heart-breaking, illuminating, expansive and humane. While it asks more questions than it answers, this is ultimately its strength. Provocative and smart, it leaves readers rooting for the winsome, witty and stylish pair.

“I have a husband and a girlfriend on the side,” Boyd quips, “but they both happen to be the same person.” Her smile is evident beneath the words.

Only a fool would call Helen and Betty’s relationship easy, but the two seem content to take it one day at a time. Their commitment is to a life based on shared interests, passion and respect. Who could ask for more?

Reading this was an exceptionally good way to feel welcomed home.

Last Stop: Poughkeepsie

Ironic perhaps that Betty & I should be doing what looks like the last of our “in person” gigs via rental car instead of by train – since there have been times in the past few months that I felt like I lived on the latter. Not that I mind: I really do love trains in nearly an irrational way. It’s something about the sound of a train whistle – all at once so melancholy, so romantic, & so hopeful.

It’s fitting that we should wind down in Poughkeepsie, since the group I’ll be visiting, MHVTA, is one that let me interview them when I was researching My Husband Betty. What I remember best was asking, “What would you want the world to know about crossdressing that they don’t?” and I got a variety of answers that informed my intent when I wrote it.

So thanks to everyone who has let me ask them questions, emailed me with input, and told me their stories.