Mariette Pathy Allen Retrospective

I found out this morning that a retrospective of 40 years of the awesome Mariette Pathy Allen’s work is hanging at the Museum of Sex in NYC. It turns out a photo of us is in it as well as in the article on Dazed about it.

It’s called simply “Partners” and listed as 1995 but we didn’t meet until 1998.

So let me explain further, as I used to have these photos on the site and this is what I said about them:

The beautiful black and white photo of Helen Boyd & Rachel Crowl was taken by Mariette Pathy Allen during Fantasia Fair ’04. We were both honored and pleased to pose for Mariette – who is, after all, the official photographer of the transgender community.

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What Hormones Do

A recent meme was making the rounds about how you shouldn’t shame trans women who still have deep voices because estrogen/progresterone can’t undo what testosterone did, and that is entirely true. My friend Luna Rudd – the same person who designed that complicated layer cake of attraction I posted yesterday – then wrote this comprehensive guide.

The following things are irresverisble/unchangeable:

For People who are AMAB:

– Bone Structure (Including Height)

– Facial Hair Growth (Without Electrolysis or Laser Hair Removal)

– Deepness/Tone of Voice (Without training. Basically once vocal chords lossen, you need to train them to retighten.)

– Genital Configuration (Without Surgery) For People who are AFAB:

– Bone Structure (Including Height)

– Breast Size (Without Surgery)

– Genital Configuration (Without Surgery)

Things Hormones do change:

– Muscle Tone (Testosterone causes increased tone, Estrogen causes descreased tone)

– Body Fat Distribution (Testosterone results in a boxier figure, Estrogen results in a curvier figure.)

– Breast Growth (Estrogen Increases, Testosterone does not cause atrophy) – Facial Hair Growth (Testosterone will spark facial hair growth, Estrogen will not reverse it)

– Vocal Tone (Testosterone will deepen the voice, Estrogen will not cause it to become higher.) – Pheromones (Testosterone creates a muskier scent. Estrogen creates a sweeter scent.)

– Pore Size and Sweat Production (Testosterone makes people more prone to sweating and increases likelihood of acne. Estrogen tends to make skin clearer.)

– Body Hair Growth / Distribution (Testosterone causes thicker, coarser body hair; Estrogen causes thinner, more sparse body hair)

– Hair on your head (Estrogen can thicken hair slightly, testosterone can thin hair slightly.)

– Skin Thickenss and Texture (Estrogen makes skin soft, thin, and smooth. Testosterone makes skin thicker and rougher.)

– Sensory perception ( Sometimes in small ways, hormone levels can effect things like the curvature of your eye, olfactory senses, taste, etc.)

– Tear Duct Production (Estrogen causes you to produce more tears.)

– Emotional response (This one is harder to describe, but Estrogen makes emotions a bit more complex and deep. It’s easier to feel like sad, mad, angry, and horny all at the same time.Testosterone makes emotions more straight forward.)

-Sex Drive (Testosterone makes people horny, end of story there.)

Additional Fun Facts:

Although pills, patches, and injections exist for both Testosterone and Estrogen. The most common administration of Testosterone is a weekly shot, and often estrogen is given in pill form. As, a trans woman I’m totally biased, but I always say Estrogen is a flower and Testosterone is a weed. To create an Estrogen rich environment in a Testosterone dominant body, a secondary hormone called an Anti-Androgen needs to be used to block Testosterone’s effect on the body. (A.K.A. Weed killer) To create a Testosterone rich environment in an Estrogen dominant body, you usually just need to add Testosterone and let it go wild.

This has been my TED Talk. I hope you enjoyed yourselves. If you have any other further questions, I will take them now.

WSJ TERF BS: One Frustrated Response

I’m not going to glorify the article by linking to it, but there was a miserable piece of TERF bs in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. I attempted to start a point by point rebuttal but I got too frustrated, so here’s what I wound up with instead.

  1. So “safe spaces” aren’t okay for anyone except who this woman decides they’re needed for. Do we ask her permission? Is there a form to fill out? Will only people who deride safe spaces for others by putting the term in scare quotes be allowed to have their own?
  2. Shockingly enough, women and girls also have gender identities. Also, gender identity does not require scare quotes because it’s a thing, has been a thing, & will continue to be a thing. Get over it.
  3. “Biological males” does require scare quotes because this is definitely not a thing. From here on in this term will only apply to men who study biology.
  4. No woman or girl faces risk from a trans person (of any kind) in restrooms, locker rooms, etc.
  5. Trans women and trans girls are women and girls.
  6. Fuck you.
  7. Apparently, biology IS destiny.
  8. Also, fuck you.
  9. Behavior, and not identity, is the issue. Anyone who has been charged with / convicted of violence against women should not have access to women, whether that’s in prisons or homeless shelters or anywhere else. Maybe if this awful woman could get her shit together to, say, demand testing of rape kits and limitations on gun ownership for violent people, instead of demonizing an already well-demonized tiny population of vulnerable people, she might actually manage to reduce the harm women and girls experience.
  10. Writing crap like this – or publishing it – only further distracts people from paying attention to the issues that genuinely expose women and girls to violence: generous gun laws, the difficulty of acquiring a restraining order, good access to mental health care, and understanding of trauma, victim blaming, and the rest.
  11. I am a trans inclusive feminist precisely because I am worried about the violence women and girls experience, which is why it’s so insulting to have someone who knows nothing about either the violence women ACTUALLY face or about trans people write crap like this and publish it.
  12. Seriously, fuck you.

New Eve Trailer, Release Dates

This is the new trailer for the movie, And Then There Was Eve, that my wife co-stars in. It will do a week of screenings in LA from March 1-7th, and will be available March 12th on all VOD platforms and March 26th on DVD. So there you go. At long last, you’ll all finally be able to see it.

RIP Alison Laing

It doesn’t matter if you know it’s coming or not – the news of the death of someone you loved and respected is always hard to hear.

From Dallas Denny:

Alison played a huge role in the forming transgender community. She was a co-founder of Renaissance Education Association, author of a book on voice, and served as Executive Director of the International Foundation for Gender Education. Alison and spouse Dottie we long-time supporters of Fantasia Fair, and both served as Director for multiple years, and both earned the Fair’s highest awards.

There will be a memorial for Alison and Dottie in Provincetown, Massachusetts during Fantasia Fair week, October 20-27, conducted by their daughter Betsy.

I met Alison and her wife Dottie when I was first doing the research for My Husband Betty and in later days when I was doing readings and workshops at various trans conferences mostly in the NE. They were good, weird days, but those two were always a delight. Dottie passed a few years ago.

Here’s are some pieces of an interview Alison gave after Dottie’s death, about why she came out, how she thought about sexuality. (warning: that site is a hot mess of ads)

Here’s a cool photo essay The Advocate did of her early photos, from the 1960s and beyond.

What a beautiful, kind couple they were – such an inspiration to this young ballbuster. Alison was always one of the people who said: keep on saying what’s true.

I’ll miss you, friend. Thank you so much for your support during those early days.

On Passports

A note from the woman who has been hassled about her passport has a few things to say:

I want to clarify some things for people. Please share this post to trans groups.

One: What’s happening with my passport is unique to the facts in my case (adoption as a minor and being trans) and I have been crystal clear about that. As a trans person with a relatively high profile I do have lingering questions about the extent of hoops I am being asked to jump through as well as the cruel indifference with which the current policy is being applied in my case.

Two: journalist who are personal friends publishing whole hog “friends only” Facebook posts without waiting to get permission, quotes, or contexts is not only unethical journalism, but could place a source (me) in danger. It violates journalistic ethics and standards. I could be deported from Sweden as I am here on a tourist visa and saying otherwise can cause me to loose status here. I could also possibly be arrested upon reentry as I am currently unable to prove citizenship to the satisfaction of State Dept. I’m really angry at Sarah Toce from LGBTQ Nation / Seattle Lesbian for publishing an update intended for a limited audience of friends and family that has been following an ongoing story and are concerned about me.

It has been unnecessarily alarming the community by not placing it in the context of my individual case facts while also placing me in jeopardy by antagonizing a very delicate situation. Backing the Trump administration into a corner is never a good idea, they could easily choose to make an example of me. I asked Sarah to retract the story, she didn’t, instead she deleted my request. People should apply pressure to get the story taken down.

NCTE has issued a great statement that the policy has not changed at the State Department with clear instructions on how to get a passport. They are absolutely in the best possible position to know! People should continue to be able to get their passports.

The facts in my case (sealed court records as a minor) make producing certain documents they are demanding extremely difficult without traveling to Maine to appear in court.

That combined with a rigid and cruelly indifferent application of the current policy, a few pissed off and rude bureaucrats who have made threats – is what has produced a shit show around both my legal status, my fear of possibly being accused of fraud, and questions on the validity of my temporary passport.

We should continue to monitor if people are unable to get passports or encounter problems – as some other cases have now started popping up.

BUT people should not draw conclusions from simply a small sample size of 2 that the sky is falling. I am playing it safe. I am in Sweden for safety reasons and will return when I feel that doing so is safe. That is my #1 priority.

Lots of people are working hard on my case from allied organizations, lawyers, Congress people, attorney general’s, UN Human Right Council, etc. I am sharing my process because it is isolating and terrifying in the current context of our government.

I have faith that it will eventually get to some resolution, until then it is complex problem with a unique set of facts and other people should not fear their own ability to get a passport. So go get your passport.

Johansson Says No (& Sorry)

Scarlett Johansson apologized and turned down the role.

This is how you do it: listen, learn, change, apologize, affirm.

Wow, it is so rare I get to say that:

“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release. While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”

Rain Valdez: In Support of Trace and Van

The first time I met Jeffrey Tambor in 2015, it was at the table read for the 1st episode of season 2 of Transparent. He shook my hand, asked what I did and welcomed me to the family.

My 2nd encounter with Jeffrey was at the LGBT center for Trans Pride. I was manning the Transparent casting booth along side Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst. I had been there the whole day. The cast members including Jeffrey Tambor, Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette, Amy Landecker and Melora Hardin had come to visit the booth later that afternoon after an actors workshop that was scheduled earlier that day. They came for support and to greet and take photos with the heart of the show. The trans community.

Upon seeing me at his arrival Jeffrey walked straight up to me, hugged me tight around my waist and planted a kiss right on my lips. I was a little thrown but thought nothing of it because I was just happy to be working on this show that celebrated my identity and made a point to uplift me so many ways. 

During season 2, Trace and I bonded very quickly. I knew that we would be lifelong friends after we had coffee and shared stories of our paths into our womanhood and navigating the movie and TV industry as actors and then having the a similar turning point of being out and proud trans actresses. Shortly after the infamous “Yasss Queen” kitchen scene was shot, I was dropping Trace home from work and a night out with girlfriends. It was just the two of us in my car and I had asked her if she had any more scenes to shoot this season. So we got to talking about the show. This is when she confided in me about what Jeffrey had done to her at work and what Alexandra Billings had over heard him say to her, “Trace, I want to attack you. Sexually.” She also revealed to me that when no one else was looking, he got closer to her, planted his feet on top of hers and started humping her leg to a point where she could feel his genitals on her skin. I was mortified and asked if she was ok. She even warned me to stay clear of him, which I made a point to do moving forward. But at the time I didn’t know what I could do. At the time I was just an assistant and I was taught to be grateful to have a job. I was also afraid to lose my job. I now regret reducing myself to a powerless assistant. Sometimes my transness allows people to take away my qualifications, offering me the lowest paying job, even though I had been a Producer at post facilities for many years before I joined Transparent. But I was grateful because I was being seen. I was grateful because I knew what this show meant for my community and our future jobs. And I’ll continue to stand behind it but I’m not gonna pretend that I was safe. I’m not gonna pretend that I didn’t protect myself by keeping my distance because I knew something was wrong.

I’m not at all too surprised that I woke up Tuesday morning to a Hollywood Reporter article empathizing with the perpetrator Jeffrey Tambor and vilifying the accusers, Trace and Van. Hollywood has historically made a culture out of vilifying and shaming trans women. Reducing us to butt of the jokes and fetishes. Only this time it’s not just happening in the storytelling. It’s happening for reals. But not today, Satan. And not ever. You want to get together with your bro Seth Abramovitch at the Hollywood Reporter and play victim and slut shame the women who accused you of your abhorrent behaviors? Well, go head. Have your pity party. We know who the real slut is. It is you, Jeffrey Tambor, the predator, and always have been since my earliest encounters with you. I want to declare again that I believe my sisters Trace and Van I continue to stand with them 100% and I will do anything I can to help stop the vilifying because we’re done with that. We’re done with the lies and no pity party article is going to change that.

How It Feels

Another new piece up on Patreon, and this one came about in an interesting way: what I wanted was to make a list of things I want to write about, things I want to describe so that anyone else experiencing them might feel less shame about them.

Instead I wound up with the list itself becoming the piece.

It’s called How It Feels (My Brain is Against Me)

Here’s 4-7:

4. To be post traumatic

5. To be a depressive living in a blindly optimistic world

6. To be deep hearted and loyal in a shallow place

7. To fail

There are 20. It’s up on Patreon.