Two Tune (un)Tuesday: Halloween

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Ah, my gothier former self picked these. Despite how godawful the Ministry track is, I do believe it helped save my life.

well I let their teeny minds think
that they’re dealing with someone who is over the brink
and I dress this way just to keep them at bay
‘Cuz Halloween is everyday
Oh, why can’t I live a life for me?
why should I take the abuse that’s served?
why can’t they see they’re just like me?

Oy. I think we can officially blame Al Jourgensen for emo.

NPR has a great spooky music stream today, too.

Dan Savage Likes Sex

Dan Savage, as usual, finds the sex positive take on even sexist Halloween costumes.

We know what it’s like to keep your sexuality under wraps, to keep it concealed, to be on your guard and under control at all times. While you don’t suffer anywhere near the kind of repression we did (and in many times and places still do), straight people are sexually repressed, too. You move through life thinking about sex, constantly but keenly aware that social convention requires you to act as if sex were the last thing on your mind. Exhausting, isn’t it? It makes you long for moments when you can let it all hang out, when you can violate the social taboos you honor most of the rest of time, when you can be the piece of meat you are and treat other people like the pieces of meat they are.

and then:

Straight guys don’t have the same incentive to bare their flesh on Halloween. It’s a shame, of course, because there are a lot of straight guys out there who have amazing bodies, and they should be encouraged to show off on Halloween, to celebrate their erotic power and do like the gay boys do: objectify and be objectified at the same time. That would make the straight pride parades, aka Halloween, feel as egalitarian as the gay pride parades on which they were unconsciously modeled.

Oh, if only!

Obama on Passage of Hate Crimes Law

“But we sense where such cruelty begins: the moment we fail to see in another our common humanity — the very moment when we fail to recognize in a person the same fears and hopes, the same passions and imperfections, the same dreams that we all share.” – President Barack Obama, 10/28/09

(Transcript via HRC)

Hate Crimes Bill Signed Into Law

From NCTE:

President Obama has just signed into law the very first protections for transgender people in US history: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“This is a powerful day as the United States government, for the first time, stands up and declares that violence against transgender people is wrong and will not be tolerated in our country,” stated Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Every day transgender people live with the reality and the threat of personal violence, simply because of who they are. This must end and it must end now. The new law provides for some vital first steps in preventing these terrible crimes as well as addressing them when they occur. At NCTE, we are dedicating this day to all those who have been victims of hate-motivated violence as well as recommitting ourselves to ending the epidemic of hate that continues to damage our communities and our country.”

Mara will be present at the White House this afternoon when President Obama offers commemorative remarks to mark this historic moment.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which adds sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to existing law, will have a number of positive impacts for transgender people:

  • It will help educate law enforcement about the frequent hate violence against transgender people and the need to prevent and appropriately address it;
  • It will help provide federal expertise and resources when they are needed to overcome a lack of resources or the willful inaction on the part of local and/or state law enforcement;
  • It will help educate the public that violence against anyone, including transgender people, is unacceptable and illegal.

Most importantly, this law marks a turning point for the federal government, by including positive protections for transgender people and taking seriously the need to address the discrimination that we face.

The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

I’m going to get around to interviewing S. Bear Bergman about hir new book, The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, I promise.

For right now, though, I just want to say a few things about Bear’s writing.

I read a lot of books about gender, and even more about trans stuff. Some of them are smart, some of them can be funny, and many even make me think in ways I haven’t thought before.

But Bear – zie does all of that, & something else entirely. As I was reading chapter after chapter of this heady, layered, sexy memoir, I kept thinking about Marc Bolan & the lyrics of a song called “Spaceball Ricochet” which go:

Book after book
I get hooked
Everytime the writer
Talks me like a friend

That’s what it is that makes this book, and Bear’s Butch is a Noun, really stand out. Zie trusts the reader to think as hard as zie does, to laugh as hard, to fuck as hard, to work as hard to live as a decent person in the world. There is such a deep care for things – for hir love, hir family, hir tribe. It’s humbling, as a fellow writer, to feel so safe in the palm of another’s work.

So go buy it, and read it, & get back to me with your questions for Bear, and I will, by flattery or threat, get hir to answer at least a few of them.

He’s in Fashion: Men in Skirts

It’s not always the male-bodied people who crossdress or who are transgender that wear skirts; sometimes guys who identify as guys do. Sometimes even models do.

At Skirt Cafe (, skirt-minded men and people of other genders get together to talk about hemlines. As Bob explains:

At SkirtCafe, we are dedicated to the idea of “Fashion Freedom” for men. The basic idea is… if you want to wear a skirt, just do it; now you’re a man wearing a skirt. Men might want to wear skirts for many reasons. Some guys just like to be different, some want comfort, some want to look and feel beautiful, some have experienced gender dysphoria in one way or another. But whatever the reason, we are committed to the idea that we can just do it, as a man wearing a skirt.

We don’t need to go through elaborate makeup routines, or emulate a stilted notion of femininity, or consider changing our body through strong drugs and surgery, or orient our lives around our fashion choice, or call ourselves “Suzi” for the evening, or hide from everyone we know. There is no closet, and no secrets. Unlike the CD community, we really are no different from the woman who decides to wear a buttondown, described in your introduction. It’s just a fashion choice.

We have demonstrated, again and again, that a guy wearing a skirt in public is no big deal — a “non event.” We’ve experienced little or no rejection or discrimination, and we don’t bother much to hide our identity or fashion choice from the world.

Over at New Male Fashion, the blogger asks:

Wouldn’t it be likewise fair for us males in need of displaying our creativity, sense of style, and flare, who enjoy keeping in touch with our “feminine side”, to have the freedom to adopt styles, colours, and garments that were once considered too “feminine”?

Public opinion is moving tardily but steadily in that direction. Designers come up with innovations and creativity in their masculine lines, as opposed to the dullness and uniformity that has been so far the main feature of male garments. New proffers include not only more daring colours and designs, but also male skirts, high heels, dresses, and other garments that used to be kept at the other side of the aisle.

A “New Male” is under construction. Hopefully, a more balanced, understanding, sensitive, creative male.

The statement is beautifully underlined by the photo of the coy “new male” model that accompanies this post, & there’s a lot more like them there, including clothes by Westwood, Pugh, and Baratashvili.

(Ana de Gregorio styled by Ash Stymest, photographed by JM Ferrater.)

Transgender Workplace Discrimination Stats

I don’t remember hearing anything about this study, nor that the results were in, but I thought others might want to check it out.

The key findings are:

  1. Survey respondents reported twice the unemployment rate of the population at large.
  2. 97% of respondents reported harassment on the job.
  3. 47% reported an adverse job situation (firing, lack of raise/promotion, not hired).
  4. 15% of transgender people lived on $10k a year or less.

I expect my usual skeptics to be surprised by these stats, and to want to know more about how the survey worked & who responded. It was done by NCTE and The Task Force, and included participants from all 50 states.

Blue Walls

I was looking up the condition commonly known as “blue balls” (you know, because I could) and found this little gendered bit on Wiki:

Homologous condition in women

Women can also experience discomfort due to unrelieved vasocongestion as their pelvic area also becomes engorged with blood during sexual arousal. They can experience pelvic heaviness (aka blue walls, blue labia, blue box, or blue curtains) and aching if they do not reach orgasm. The general term pelvic congestion refers to such pain as it occurs in either sex.

I’d never heard any of these but have argued for years that women can, indeed, experience something akin to what guys describe as blue balls. Turns out I was right.