The Umbrella

There’s been a recent thread on the message boards about the relative usefulness & accuracy of the “transgender umbrella” & quite frankly, I’m stumped by people who have a problem with the idea. I don’t see that it’s a complicated idea: that people who “trans” gender in some way – change, permanently or temporarily, their gender, or question the binary, etc. – have something in common. It doesn’t mean you’re all alike. It doesn’t mean you share all causes or issues or complaints. It doesn’t mean anything except that at some point, you question(ed) the assignment of an F or an M on your birth certificate as an accurate description of your gender at all times.

What I expect underlays the complications is an expectation of harmony, or unity, under that umbrella. That’s not going to happen, simply because different types of people under the umbrella have different experiences, identities, and definitely different complications with expressing that identity in the world. The post-op young transitioner who is happily married to a man may pass seamlessly as a woman, but only stealth keeps it that way. The crossdresser needs places to change, & community that isn’t heterocentric or homophobic. The genderqueer person wants to be acknowledge that they do not have a single gender, or any gender, or a consistent gender, or a binary-driven gender, depending on how they express being genderqueer.

There’s a lovely amount of variety.

What I think happens is that some forms of transness are considered “less than.” I can understand why a trans woman might feel her femininity mocked, or made questionable, by a crossdresser’s evocations of feminity. I’ve felt the same way when faced with some crossdressers’ interpretation of feminine. But I can’t imagine disliking crossdressers as a group because of that. After all, as many partners & feminists have experienced, transness in general tends to blow up a cissexual’s notions of gender in the first place, with its emphasis on nature & not nurture. We don’t dislike trans people as a result (well, some people do, of course, but I’m assuming most people reading this think that’s kind of dumb, if not outright prejudice.)

It’s not as if I’m not horrified by the behavior of some white folks, or other women, or writers, or Brooklynites, but I can’t deny I have something in common with them, either.

A Bit of Good News

A German court has decided that a pre-existing marriage does not have to be dissolved if one of the spouses in said marriage changes their legal sex.

In the UK, that’s exactly what has to happen, & if the couple wants to remain married, they can then have a civil union (just as Jan Morris & her wife have just done).

In the US, of course, it’s more a loophole because marriage is a contract, & contract law is such that as long as the contract is legal at the time it’s written, it continues to be unless otherwise contested.

But as far as I know, this is the first ruling to acknowledge that some transsexuals are already married when they transition, that they choose to remain married after transition, and that their marriage is legally a same-sex marriage after the fact.

It’s good news.

To Erma Bombeck, With Love

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with my weight & fitness for the past couple of years. I was in pretty great shape when I met Betty, & got lazy, for starters, which was then exacerbated by (1) pretty extreme depression after 9/11; (2) quitting a job that was very active for writing, which is not; and (3) getting older and having my metabolism slow. Effectively it’s been a decade since I worked out at a gym regularly, which is embarassing to admit, though I have almost always walked regularly, and some distances, do some yoga, work out with free weights & calisthenics, & of course try to watch what I eat.

Recently, I joined a gym again because watching what I eat and walking a lot and doing at-home workouts wasn’t helping.

But – I know this is going to be a shocking revelation – I am totally out of shape. I go to the gym in my baggy sweats and t-shirt, and get on the Precor elliptical machine, which is kind to my flat foot and bad knees, and start pedaling. In minutes, I notice how much slower I am going than anyone near me, and yet – and yet – my heart rate shoots straight out of any health zone, weight loss or cardiovascular. I slow down a little more, take breaks, watch my heart rate respond, and then notice I have become the literal tortoise to the hares pedaling around me. Continue reading “To Erma Bombeck, With Love”

Dallas: Another LGBt Rift

A gay bar, and its gay bar owner, have decided to ban drag queens and trans women from their “Trashy Tuesday” night – exactly because the bar night is so crowded that they don’t have time to babysit the bad apples of their crowd.

“How do I separate one draq queen that is being bad from others?” Moore said. “We don’t have the time on Tuesday nights with all the people in here to sit there and tell them apart from one another. If a drag queen misbehaves one week and then the next comes back in a different outfit I wouldn’t be able to recognize them. That’s why I don’t want any of them in here on Tuesdays.”

Wow, now that IS tricky! How about you just ban the person who does the bad stuff?

(from The Dallas Voice. More at their blog. Thanks to Ben for the tip.)

Dishdrawer Boor

Has everyone seen the ad for the Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawer? A woman is putting dishes away, from the dishwasher into the cupboard drawers. As she bends over the dishwasher, and then the drawer, again and again, her husband, sitting nearby on a comfy chair, is saying “Dish” and then “Drawer” which becomes “Dishdrawer” & voila, he’s invented this genius new thing.

& All I can think watching it is, He should get off his genius ass & help her.

But on a more serious note, I wonder sometimes if the reason women aren’t known to have invented as many things is precisely because they’re usually busy doing stuff while the guy is sitting there watch them.

For my sister, who has put away more than her fair share of dishes in her life, a very very happy birthday.


A very happy 30th birthday to CT who is one of our favorite people ever.