Two Tune Tuesday: Sweetness & Light

A friend put this Cake song up on Facebook the other day, & I wanted to find another similar kind of joyous song & came up with this one by April Smith, whose songs make me happy in a goofy sort of way.

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(That Cake bassline is so Queen, though, isn’t it? Another one eats the Cake. )

Sweetness for the last Tuesday in May because spring has finally come to our corner of Wisconsin, and frankly I think the sun has gone to my head: it’s either that or all the end-of-academic-year parties.

How To Be An Ally

I really like this short list of how to be an ally, although I would add an 11th: you will fuck up, so surround yourself with people who both expect and can accept apologies when you do. And obviously, be willing to admit when you have.

1. Don’t derail a discussion.
2. Do read links/books referenced in discussions.
3. Don’t expect your feelings to be a priority in a discussion about X issue.
4. Do shut up and listen.
5. Don’t play Oppression Olympics.
6. Do check your privilege. It’s hard and often unpleasant, but it’s really necessary.
7. Don’t expect a pass into safe spaces because you call yourself an ally.
8. Do be willing to stand up to bigots.
9. Don’t treat people like accessories or game tokens.
10. Do keep trying.

Do check out the whole list for the clarifications and explanations.

VT Birth Certificate Change

You no longer need to have surgery to change your birth certificate in VT. From The Task Force:

Although some other states allow gender changes without proof of surgery in their policies, Vermont becomes the very first to have clear language in its statute that makes clear surgery is not necessary to update one’s birth certificate.

This is great news, and good precedent. You already don’t need surgery to get a US passport, so here’s hoping more states follow VT’s example.

Homeless LGBTQ Youth

Larkin Street Stories: Serving Homeless LGBTQ Youth is a three-part video series (approximately 6–9 minutes each) offering tips on best practices for providers serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are homeless.

In the videos, staff and youth from Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco discuss and share lessons learned regarding their approach to supporting LGBTQ youth who are homeless. The video series begins by introducing Toby, Loch and the youth from Larkin Street Youth Center. It describes the importance of being “present” for youth, and helping youth see their own strengths and resources. The youth talk about being rejected by their families due to their LGBTQ identity and leaving home as a result.

The Larkin Street staff provide tips on how to create a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ youth, including how to handle hate speech. The final episode explores the importance of never making assumptions about a youth’s sexual identity or gender expression, allowing youth to self-identify, and empowering youth to reach their full potential despite the challenges they have faced.

Bad News for Marriage

I can’t say it’s precedent, as it’s happened before in Texas, but it is sad and frustrating and entirely wrong-headed.

HOUSTON — A judge was expected to void the marriage between a transgender widow and her firefighter husband who died battling a blaze and will rule in favor of the man’s mother who argued that the marriage wasn’t valid, an attorney in the case said Tuesday based on a draft of the decision.

The suit was brought by the mother of firefighter Thomas Araguz III and argued that his widow, Nikki Araguz, should not receive any death benefits. The lawsuit claimed their marriage wasn’t legal because Nikki Araguz was born a man and Texas does not recognize same-sex marriage.

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So frustrating. Our sympathies to Nikki Araguz.

Two Tune Tuesday: Poly Styrene’s Descendents

I’m a day late, but it’s the 10th week of a 10 week term, so cut me a break.

Here are two recent songs I’ve heard recently that make me think about Poly Styrene’s impact on music. Altered Images is from the 80s, and Clare Grogan’s vocals were a direct inheritor of what Styrene was up to:

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How can you not love “you make me go ooooh ooooh with the things that you do you do you do“?! Echoes of Cole Porter are never a bad thing.

No Chaser

There’s certainly plenty to object to, but I otherwise found this advice on how to pick up a trans woman kind of charming.

A couple of things you might want to keep in mind — do not assume she’s interested in dating guys. A lot of T-girls don’t. Whatever you do, don’t be stingy and suggest you split the check. Pick it up. It’s a sad fact but the transformation from male to female is not just a sexual reassignment; it’s also a socio-economic one. They often break the bank to make themselves whole.

Anyway, it’s not stupid advice. I like this especially:

“Why am I attracted to T-girls and what does that say about me?” That you’re gay? Extremely doubtful.
Most guys into T-girls are straight. That you’re twisted? No. There’s nothing twisted about being attracted to another human being.

Indeed. I mean, you may be twisted for some other reason entirely, but being attracted to a trans person has nothing to do with that.

The Revolution: Taylor Mac

Lawrence King was killed in 2008 and Taylor Mac performed this piece that same year – the very first year I taught Transgender Lives at Lawrence. Ever since then I’ve shown this video, but somehow failed to put it here.

I love this piece so much, and it’s so good to see Taylor Mac getting credit from the likes of PBS. He’s a very old friend of ours who acted with Betty in an era that seems like a lifetime or two ago now.