This website is officially 10 years old today – it may be older than that, but that’s the earliest screen capture on file with the wayback machine. The online forums were there right from the start, too, when the site had a whopping 3355 hits. (I’m at 1.6 million or so now.)

There is no evidence of the blog until November 2003, except of course for my own posts on it, which start in August 2003, but either way, there is no denying that 2013 is my 10th anniversary year. I was writing My Husband Betty for the first three months of 2003, so finally, I will admit it: it took me three months to write, only.

Either way: it’s been a long time. Love to all of you who’ve followed me through the years – and some of you really have been reading the whole time, which blows my mind. An author could not be more thankful for such loyal readers.

But of course, as with the books, a very special thanks to my wife, who was then my husband, but who was always the one who made the blog machine work. She created the first website, convinced me to have the forums, and the blog, and then, later, challenged me to blog daily. She keeps challenging me, too, to write, to talk, to keep on; I would not trade this decade with her for anything in the world.

And if you’d like to make a donation in honor of my 10th anniversary, you can do so: to me, of course, or to NCTE (which also turns 10 this year), or to Fair Wisconsin’s Education Fund (which is also tax deductible).

Why Trans People Need Marriage Equality, Too

So it turns out that Thomas Beatie is not being granted his divorce, for the worst possible reason: his marriage has been declared invalid, and a marriage that never existed can’t end in divorce.

This is one of the many reasons trans people need marriage equality: so that we do not have to exist in a this legally unclear environment where a judge can decide whether or not we were ever married, even if we were for 20 years, like Christie Lee Littleton was.

That said, Beatie’s case is a little different – not that it does him much good – in that what Beatie had or had not done to establish his identity as male at the time of the marriage was unclear:

“The decision here is not based on the conclusion that this case involves a same-sex marriage merely because one of the parties is a transsexual male, but instead, the decision is compelled by the fact that the parties failed to prove that (Thomas Beatie) was a transsexual male when they were issued their marriage license,” he wrote in Friday’s ruling.

What’s more interesting to me as a gender studies person is this detail:

Beatie is eager to end his marriage, but the couple’s divorce plans stalled last summer when Gerlach said he was unable to find legal authority defining a man as someone who can give birth.

precisely because it involves the definition of a “man” – which, as any good gender studies student knows, is a cultural construct in the first place. (So is male, but far fewer people seem to understand that sex, or biological gender, is also culturally constructed.) As a feminist, I’m particularly concerned when the ability or inability to bear children starts getting involved in definitions of who is or isn’t a woman or a man.

But same sex marriage would, at least in some way, prevent this kind of bullshit at least in part, as it wouldn’t matter if Beatie was or was not a man at the time of his marriage. The issue of whether he could be a man and also give birth to his own children is, effectively, a different issue altogether.

(Interestingly, Beatie lives in AZ, where he could also, very shortly, be facing the fact that he may be legally required to use the ladies’ room, depending on what it does or doesn’t say on his birth certificate.)

Time to Boycott AZ (Again)

and here’s a quick bit with Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center explaining on MSNBC:

They’ve tied it to birth certificate gender, which is the hardest one to change (and, for that matter, is not likely to be carried around, either).


In all seriousness, this is why I went to the GLAAD Media Awards this year: their president announced that they will no longer use the actual words of the acronym because it doesn’t represent all the groups they are working for. They are just GLAAD now – the LGBT media advocacy organization.

Cool beans.

And can I just repeat for the 8 millionth time that I love Janet Mock? Mel Wymore was on the Melissa Harris Perry show, too, when they made this announcement, and I was happy to get to meet him that night as well – he’s the guy who is running for City Council on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a hotly contested race.

Mostly, though, I have watched as GLAAD became more hip to trans issues over the past few years, and I’ve been happy to see it. So congrats to them and their name change, of course. And a word of advice? Trans community politics change fast, so keep up.

Five Questions With… Zach Wahls

I was lucky enough to meet Zach Wahls at a recent fundraiser and awards gala for Fair Wisconsin. He gave such an amazing talk and was such a cool guy that I couldn’t help but ask him a few things.

Zach Wahls: My Two Moms(And how can you not love the adorable cover of his book? It’s good, too. )

1)      You are sometimes referred to as an “ally” of the larger LGBTQ communities but I don’t think you see yourself that way. Can you talk a little about what it means for you to be called an ally as opposed to being a community member?

I’m most often referred to as a “straight ally” by both the public and members of the LGBTQ community. And that’s usually fine, I don’t correct people or feel that it’s necessary for me to do so. But personally, I don’t feel as though I’m truly an “ally” because, in my mind, I’m a member of the LGBTQ community even though I’m not, personally, LGBTQ-identified. I know that the last thing any of us want to do is add another letter to the acronym, but the reality is that I do feel as though I’m a member of the community. Like LGBTQ people, I was born into this community. Like LGBTQ people, I have felt the shame and humiliation of being in the closet. Like LGBTQ people, I am regularly stigmatized by those who oppose LGBTQ rights as inferior, defective and sinful. The parallels are not perfect, of course, but as a community, we need to figure out a way to create spaces and community for those of us who have grown up with queer parents. So, to be clear, it’s not that I’m LGBTQ-identified, but that I feel the LGBTQ community includes its children, and that, to the extent that that’s true, kids like me are a part of the community. Continue reading “Five Questions With… Zach Wahls”

Which State?

So you can take a quiz about LGBT issues to find out what state you should live in. I took it, and said Yes to all of them, and rated them all a 5, or “Very Important”.

And here’s what’s interesting. When it came to where I should live based on my beliefs, the Top 5 goes like this:

  1. D.C.
  2. Washington (state)
  3. Iowa
  4. New York
  5. California

So first off, I love that Iowa’s on there, because no other midwestern state shows up until #9 (Illinois) but then not again until #20, which is … Wisconsin.

And believe me, this state’s laws are nothing near what I believe should be the case – we’ve got a super DOMA in place, after all – so there must be a huge drop-off somewhere.

Please let the SCUS come through. Pretty please.