The Trouble with Travel

We are back in our lovely Park Slope neighborhood & apt, briefly: my brother gets married on LI on Sunday, & otherwise I will spend the week packing up a bunch of our stuff in order to move it into our new apartment.

But wow is it nice to be back: to be a minority as a white person again, to spend $12 on a pack of cigarettes. Some things I don’t miss, but some I do. I would like to bring Park Slope back to Appleton with me & show folks what diversity looks like, and goddamn, how to make decent Italian food, and if I can convince one of my salon ladies to return with me, maybe she can teach someone in Appleton how a proper waxing is done.

Still, I miss Wisconsin: the quiet, my friends, bunnies. That’s always the trouble with travel: no matter where you are, & no matter how happy you are, you always miss somewhere else you like.

National Trans Advocacy Network (TAN)

A group of state and local transgender leaders are pleased to announce the formation of the Trans Advocacy Network. The Trans Advocacy Network held their first meeting in Memphis, Tennessee on July 10, 2010 with the purpose of defining their mission and goals for the upcoming year.

Their mission statement is as follows:
“The Trans Advocacy Network is an alliance of transgender organizations that work at the state and local level, coming together to build a stronger trans movement by facilitating the sharing of resources, best practices, and organizing strategies.”

The Trans Advocacy Network will serve local and state level trans advocacy groups that are both established and newly forming as well as support groups, college-based groups, and other organizations that are doing advocacy and policy work for transgender rights and protections. The
Trans Advocacy Network will assist these groups by sharing policy, training materials, resources, tools, and best advocacy practices. It hopes to foster leadership development, sustainability, and to make the movement for trans rights stronger and more effective. The Trans Advocacy Network will operate with a steering committee made up of leaders from state and local trans organizations from across the country. There will be a limited number of spaces on the steering committee for advisers from national organizations.

Plans for the first year of the Trans Advocacy Network include expanding the steering committee to include people who are not yet well-represented, connecting more state and local trans advocacy groups across the country, creating guiding principles, starting a list serve that all trans advocacy organizations will have access to, outreaching to other groups by region, creating a more cohesive communication network, creating a organizational survey to understand the needs, resources, and get a realistic view of where trans community organizations are across the country, and holding conference calls and webinars to share best practices and strategies.

The Trans Advocacy Network Steering Committee currently includes Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, Marisa Richmond of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Lisa Scheps of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, Sadie-Ryanne Baker of the DC Trans Coalition, and Shane Morgan of TransOhio. Advisers to the Steering Committee include Lisa Mottet of the Transgender Civil Rights Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Jaan Williams of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The steering committee is interested in additional members who represent predominantly people of color trans organizations and low-income trans organizations.

Contact Gunner Scott for more information or how to become involved at

On the Rails

Just wanted people to know I’ll be taking a short break from blogging as I travel from Appleton to Brooklyn to pack up our Brooklyn apartment (okay, most of it) & arrange to move it all back to Appleton, where we’ll put it in our new & fabulous place. & Yes, I’m going by train (20 hours, pretty much), & returning in the shotgun seat of the U-Haul driven by an old friend (who grew up in Milwaukee, you betcha).

Mismatched Libidos, Redux

There’s been a lot of this going around, so maybe, in fits & starts, people are getting more used to the idea of even talking about mismatched libidos. I do workshops on the topic at Dark Odyssey and other sex-positive places, and I’ve always found Dan Savage’s “leave” a little harsh. That said, one of the things I always mentioned in my workshops is that if sex is the top of your priority list, & you want a lot of it, or certain kinds of it, don’t bother torturing anyone who has a lower libido/less adventurous style. That is, if there’s anywhere that compromise is going to be key, sex is is it, & if you’re not wiling to compromise, and even occasionally stand on top of your libido, then Savage’s advice is exactly right.

But most of us can compromise pretty significantly with sex if we’re having a lot of other itches scratched. Where the line is between self-denial and reasonable compromise is tricky no matter the issue, and while I know they might take away my High Libido Club card for this, sometimes there are things that are more important than sex. (& Sometimes, there aren’t, which is often the part the low libido types don’t understand.)

Trans Tax

In a sense, this article about how Pakistan is hiring trans people to shame people into paying their taxes gives you a better idea of how hjira are viewed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

In a bid for a solution — and some publicity — the Clifton board borrowed a creative idea that alleviated tax woes in neighboring India: It hired a team of transgender tax collectors to go door-to-door to embarrass the rich until they pay.

Transgender people, known as TGs in Pakistan, carry a social stigma in the country, and their presence rattles the rich. For many of the TGs hired by the Clifton board, tax collecting is their first salaried job, and two of them still work as sex workers.


But before you criticize the women in question for doing this work, remember that otherwise they tend to do sex work and other crap, low-paid jobs.

Gay Porn and Women

Okay, so I saw My Beautiful Launderette a dozen times in movie theaters. Really. It was the closest “gay porn” i could get my hands on at the time.

Apparently the lesbian couple in The Kids Are All Right watch gay porn, and people are confused.

The fantastic Tristan Taormino explains:

“Our feminism remains with us when we grab the remote,” said Tristan Taormino, a sex educator and producer of erotica. “So when there’s no women around, it… gives queer women the ability to get swept up in the action of the film without thinking, ‘Who is this woman? Is she having a good time? Is she coerced?’ With gay porn, for a second, we can go there and not think about politics and sexism… there’s something about removing women from the equation that’s freeing.”

She added: “You don’t have to want to have sex with a man to be attracted to masculinity in a specifically sexual context.”

& For (queer) women who like men, it’s just more of a good thing, no? (I’m beginning to think that penises and breasts are just universally interesting/attractive, no matter sexual orientation.)

The Vegas 8

Eight protestors stopped traffic on the Vegas strip in order to get Harry Reid to act on the pending ENDA legislation:

Fantastic, all of you & thank you for a creative, cool way to do it.
(via The Advocate)