Me, Trans Ally

Our Lives magazine came to the awards ceremony when I received my Activist award from Fair Wisconsin, and asked me to write a little something based on my remarks that night. So I did, and it’s in this month’s issue.

This is the fourth year and the fourth time I’ve taught a Transgender Lives course at Lawrence University in Appleton. We always spend a week of the course specifically on violence against trans people—the kind of transphobia and gender panic that cause people to be so brutal. And every year, the week before we start that section, I tell my students that we only have to wait a little while before a new case of trans violence is reported. I can say that on Thursday, and by the time we’re beginning the section the following Tuesday, I’ve been proven right. There is always one. Last year Chanel Larkin was murdered right here in Milwaukee. I want to see a year where it’s not true, and another and another, and hopefully, eventually, I will only teach that section of Trans Lives as history.

Go read the whole thing. It’s a cool magazine.

Pride and Memory

One of the things I find interesting about teaching (and being aunt to) people who are around 20 years old is that most of them did not grow up in a world where no one they knew was gay. For folks of my generation and older, it was assumed that no one was gay, and when someone came out, it was a surprise, and very difficult. It is hard to explain exactly how “deviant” homosexuality was considered, especially when it was criminal and considered a mental disorder. You can get some idea from a documentary like Stonewall Uprising, but still, it’s difficult to get across.

But in 1973 – the same year homosexuality was taken out of the DSM – 32 LGBTQ people burned to death in an intentional fire caused by arson. A molotov cocktail was thrown into a building that housed a gay bar and the local meeting place of the MCC church. There were 60 or so people in the room, and half of them found a way out, but the other half died in the fire.

What’s more horrifying are the stories and jokes – yes, jokes – told about the fire after the fact. I won’t repeat them here but if you have stomach enough, you can read them here.

And that’s the part of the story that sobered me up. I remember fruit jokes. The ones I heard weren’t about this fire, and maybe weren’t about anyone in particular. But I remember the kinds of jokes that were told, how dehumanizing they were. It’s almost hard to remember, but a story like this one makes it a little clearer what this has all been about.

It’s been an amazing pride month for me as a New Yorker, that’s for damn sure. 42 years after Stonewall, New York has made marriage equality happen. But still, there were some bodies in that fire that weren’t claimed, and it’s not that long ago that families of men dying of AIDS pretended they had no sons.

So yes, there’s been huge amounts of progress. HUGE. But I don’t want us to forget, either, how it used to be: that’s why the riots at Compton’s and Stonewall happened, after all.

Two Tune Tuesday: Tears for Fears

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“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is permanently a summer song for me, maybe because that’s when it came out or when it got a lot of airtime or because of the video, I don’t know. Some songs just go with seasons, too.

The lyrics of “Head Over Heels” always struck me as bittersweet and maybe a little (emotionally) masochistic.

I wanted to be with you alone and talk about the weather
But traditions I can trace against the child in your face
Won’t escape my attention
You keep your distance with a system of touch and gentle persuasion
I’m lost in admiration, could I need you this much
Oh, you’re wasting my time, you’re just, just, just wasting time

Something happens and I’m head over heels
I never find out till I’m head over heels
Ah, don’t take my heart, don’t break my heart
Don’t, don’t, don’t throw it away

Apparently summer’s finally here if these are the songs I find myself humming.

Am I Really Writing a Post about Bras? Well Yes I Am.

Bras are actually the kind of thing I get asked about quite a lot because I work with women who weren’t dragged to Macy’s by mom the first time she noticed they had visible nipples, like I was. (Believe me, some things trans women should be thankful for.) I really like this queer guide to bras: great for butches, ladies with smaller breasts, and there are some useful lists, like this one on the kinds of bras it’s good to have in your possession:

1) A racerback (or convertible, which is good ’cause it also goes strapless in case tube tops come back)
2) For under white shirts, a bra that matches your skin tone
3) Regular black bra for everyday use
4) Sports bra for sports and/or gender panic

A blog post about bras that actually uses the term “gender panic”: excellent.

Similarly, she explains the differences between types of bra cups: Demi-Cup, Balconette, Contour Cup, Soft Cup, Padded, Push-Up, Minimizer, Molded Cups, Plunge. I’m partial to demis and Balconettes, myself. She mentions that they’re good for skinny girls, which is not exactly accurate: my feeling is that they’re better for certain kinds of breasts, but you’ll only know once you wear them. I find they’re sexy and create enough cleavage but not too much: I don’t wear pushups unless I need somewhere to rest my chin.

Continue reading “Am I Really Writing a Post about Bras? Well Yes I Am.”

Apologies for Autoplay

For whatever reason, my embedded players are shooting straight to autoplay and I have no idea why. From what I can tell from their forums, they’d removed autoplay and there was a lot of pushback from users, so now they seem to have “over fixed” the problem, and it’s ONLY able to auto play.

I won’t be posting new playlists until they fix this option, & will disable the ones on my page for now (& only provide links, so you can still go listen to the music).

Apologies for anyone who was unpleasantly surprised (as I was).

New York Tips the Balance

There are now more people living in states that support marriage equality than not. Someone’s on the wrong side of history, and it’s not me.