Crossdressing Husband & Father on NPR

Some things you just never expect. NPR recently did a show about a crossdressing husband & father that was about as off the mark as Dr. Phil usually is. Pathologizing, full of the embarassed & shamed comments by the wife and commentary of the narrator, it was rife with ignorance and misunderstanding, and seemed to equate this person’s other mental health issues with his need to crossdress.

Wow. I wish I were more often pleasantly suprrised by the media, but I really never expected this kind of crappy story-telling from NPR. Just one opinion that offset all the negativity would have been nice.

That the story is about someone who is deceased makes it all the more sickening. There is no one to represent Doug/Donna to explain what crossdressing is all about.

You can listen to it here – all of 12 minutes & nothing redeemable! – & narrated by a family “friend.” Feh.

Buying Stuff

& So it begins: the holiday season.

Did any of you go shopping yesterday? I didn’t, but then, I never do. My holiday shopping is (at best) erratic, and usually kind of last minute. Many Xmases ago, Betty & i went shopping together, & since then that’s closer to what we do: decide on whatever amount of money we can spare & then we just go out shopping together, & buy each other stuff we like.

But mostly I’m not big on stuff anymore; we have too much already, & our 1BR apt is packed to the gills. What I’d like is for someone to come clean our place, instead. Maybe it’s a sign of age, but stuff just means I need to clean out some stuff I already own to make room for the new stuff. & Somehow I feel a George Carlin routine coming on.


I’m honestly a little surprised the US news media is reporting these terrorist bombings in India, because usually, they don’t. Most Americans have no idea how many bombings have gone on there in past years; all these years we’ve been worrying, since 2001, they’ve had regular bombings with regular fatalities.

Our condolences to all the people whose lives were lost or injured by these hateful acts.

Back to CO

I’m a little sad because Betty returns today to Colorado to finish the dental stuff she started a few months back. She was already away working a few days this past week, & will be gone working once she gets back from CO. This making money thing is necessary, I know, but I really hate that we end up apart because of it.

Likewise, she may not be coming with me for the whole time while I’m in Lawrence, again, because of the making money thing. But then I think about all the people even on our message boards who have already lost their jobs and feel thankful that both of us can get work, even if it comes with temporary separations.

Though I do have a lot of stuff to get done, and I may have a better chance of that while she’s not here. Hopefully, anyway. Lemonade, lemons: you know the drill.

Giving Thanks

A guy who couldn’t read & write, and whose teachers made him “feel small,” carves tiny sculptures that can fit in the eye of a needle.

There is something so lovely about that.

I’m giving thanks this year for people like him, whose creativity and persistent humanity remind me that there are so many interesting ways to respond to bad shit, & they can be life-affirming acts of beauty.

& I’m giving thanks for Barack Obama, like so many others, because I am continually reminded of his decency, his pragmatism, & his big big brain every time he speaks or grants an interview.

Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans.

Movie Review: Milk

Here’s a review of Milk, about the life of Harvey Milk, by my friend Doug McKeown. (I haven’t seen it yet but will because of his review.)

Let’s get two questions out of the way. Is Milk entertaining? Without qualification. Is it important? Resoundingly. Also funny, tragic, endearing, and rousing. There is not one false note from any of the actors, nor from director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (I will be seeing this one again just for the screenplay), or photographer Harris Savides. A very complicated story unfolds with absolute clarity, a story as much about the city of San Francisco as about Harvey Milk. I’d say more than that — it’s about the actualization of democracy, about community organizing as the great force for social justice. Take that, Sarah Palin!

I was especially pleased that no attempt is made to be “delicate” about Milk’s personality, either his sex life or his out-sized ego, a forthrightness that makes him all the more heroic, I think. After a stunning opening sequence tossing us in medias res, and a conventional framing device (and foreshadowing), we quickly get to know Harvey Milk through the persona of Sean Penn, a smooth and easy task if there ever was one. He hooks up with a younger guy, Scott Smith, who has the movie star good looks of a — well, a James Franco. It is completely credible that Franco’s Scott goes for the self-deprecating charm of this man with a face so open it hides nothing, who is so comfortably flamboyant, and finally, irresistible. The camera captures not so much sex between them as lovemaking — which is to say, as much warmth as heat. There is even what I would call nuzzling, in close-up. What’s not to like? But there are inevitable strains. While we are ostensibly caught up in the difficulties of their relationship, the larger drama emerges as Scott withdraws into the background. An extraordinary moment in time elevates the Mayor of Castro Street to local hero.

Continue reading “Movie Review: Milk”

Last OC Column, or That Was Quick

Easy come, easy go: I got word last week that is no longer, or will soon be no longer, or will no longer be updated, or something like that. So no, I wasn’t fired; everyone was.

So here’s the last column I wrote for them. It went up today, as planned, but there will be no more to follow.

(If anyone knows of a magazine that needs a queer relationships columnist, you know where to find me!)

Continue reading “Last OC Column, or That Was Quick”

Review: She’s a Boy I Knew

A friend of a friend in Lincoln, Nebraska got to see the documentary She’s a Boy I Knew which I’d heard good things about, so I asked her to write a review.

by Dr. Pat. Tetreault

She’s A Boy I Knew is a remarkably well-made film. It is honest, funny, poignant and real. Canadian Gwen Haworth narrates and directs the documentary about her life, her coming out process regarding her gender and sexuality, and how her transition to become the woman she is meant to be impacts her life as well as the lives of those she loves and who love her. Through the use of home videos and interviews with family members and friends, including her ex-wife, Gwen reveals the depth and range of emotion and the process involved in coming out and in transitioning. Brief animated segments are also included to lighten the film while providing background information. Continue reading “Review: She’s a Boy I Knew”

Letter To a Wife

My friend Shirene, who I met while I was researching My Husband Betty, and at a SPICE conference to boot, has contined to work with wives who have just found out their husbands are crossdressers. She wrote this letter recently to one such wife, and I thought it was worth sharing here, for any husband who might want to use it to help come out to his wife, or for any wife who has just found out.

I don’t necessarily agree with how she simplifies certain issues – like the “crossdressers are heterosexual” meme – but a lot of the rest of it is a good “talking down” for a new wife who might be completely panicking.

Dear Jill,

Hi.  I hope you don’t mind receiving a letter like this from a stranger, but my husband is  transgender also and I know that if I could have received a letter such as this when I found out, it would have made it easier on both me and my husband. My name is Shirene, I’m 43, we live in S******, IL and I’ve known about Shayla since ‘98.  We’re at 555 555 5555.

I will admit it’s somewhat of an adapted form letter so please ignore the things that don’t apply to your situation and please excuse the things I’m telling you that you already know. Continue reading “Letter To a Wife”