Last night Betty & I went to a GenderPAC event (more on GPAC & the meeting tomorrow), which was hosted by the lovely & talented Mariette Pathy Allen, the photographer. If you don’t know her book Transformations, you should: it’s a document of crossdressers. The photographs are their lives, on the page, interspersed with their own words. It was the first book my husband gave me about crossdressing, and I especially loved that there are wives and girlfriends in the book as well – also in their own words. I recommend it highly.
As luck would have it, Ms. Allen’s new book was delivered just in time for the gathering, & we were able to look at a copy. It is GORGEOUS. The photos are of the entire tg spectrum: mtf, ftm, and her photography is more gorgeous even than it was in Transformations.
The new book is called The Gender Frontier, and you can check out some of the photographs that appear in it here.
I thought perhaps some of you might prefer a mailing list instead of message boards, like myself, so I set up a Yahoo! group
Join the mailing list here!
My idea is that the group will be focused on issues and ideas I bring up in the book, but mostly it’ll be moderated as a serious discussion group – not for makeup tips or a dating service. Before the book is out, I’ll use it as a way of communicating updates, etc.
In honor of the families and friends of those mourning a loved one today, and especially for the wives and girlfriends and partners who lost someone, this sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay:
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the time;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter love must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughs abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, – so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
for those of you in the NYC area, there is a trans theatre festival going on in two spaces in the east village, through Saturday, September 13th:
check here for more details:
Betty & I went to a mixed trans night recently (FTM & MTF) at a lesbian bar called Meow Mix, and we saw trans- musician Lisa Jackson perform. It was my second time hearing her sing, and for the second time I was especially struck by one of her songs, called “Fabulously Done.”
^ Minerva, Betty, Zoe and Flawless Mother Sabrina are the ones in this photo, singing one of Lisa’s songs to Lisa as part of the celebration.
If trans- folks (esp MTFs) are looking for an anthem, girls – this is it!
Read these lyrics:
The make up and the clothes I wear,
The fancy do and the underwear,
It’s a mystery, you see, to anyone who’s not like me.
So please retract those words of hate
‘Cause I’m the boy you used to date.
Yes I’m your lover and I’m your son. I’m your brother; we’ve just begun.
Somehow around the age of 8
I learned that I should hate
The fairies and the queers-you know they’re just so fucking weird.
But little did my siblings know that I was putting on a little show
In the mirror of the bathroom as my mother ran the vacuum.
I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one
Who wants to be painted, and pretty, and shining and fabulously done.
It has taken some 20 years
For me to learn to ignore the fear
That there are people who will hate you, and people who will shame you.
But be the first to cast your stone, ’cause I would rather be all alone.
Yes If I am gonna be living, then I am gonna be giving all I can.
I told that girl, but that girl went away.
And I told my brother, but my brother thinks I’m gay.
I told my sister, but my sister could not hear.
And I told the world, ’cause I am tired of this fear.
Buy her CD! or at least find out more about her at www.lisajacksononline.com
Has anyone else out there seen her perform? What did you think?
(update 7/17/05: Lisa Jackson’s website is now: http://www.lisajacksonandgirlfriday.com)
I read an FAQ at the Human Rights’ Campaign’s website yesterday about Nat’l Coming Out Day, and was quite pleased to see that ‘transvestite’ made their short list of transgender categories.
What occurred to me is that it would be great if crossdressers could really rally to coming out to someone this year: a wife, if she doesn’t know yet; children or parents, or more likely, a friend. Even if you’re not ready for that, you could come out to a stranger: go buy those size 11 pumps and tell the clerk at Payless (or Kenneth Cole) they’re for you!
Of course there are a million reasons to come out (a bunch of them are in the FAQ above) but I think the best reason is it can make YOU feel better. In the long run, of course, every crossdresser who comes out makes some other crossdresser’s life a little bit easier. (Shoot, look at how liberating Eddie Izzard’s being out has been for so many of us! But more on him some other time.)
So what do you think? Will you come out to someone this October 11th?
Hey all, Betty here. We’re in the midst of updating the site. We’ve added this shiny new blog interface for Helen to use and keep y’all up to date with the book and other things.
The forums are still here. Just down for the moment.
When the word came in that Tom Daschle was worried, I knew we were in for it. I couldnâ€™t help but think: now heâ€™s worried? He didnâ€™t worry when all the Democratic Senators (himself included) voted for war in Iraq. He didnâ€™t worry when the Dems didnâ€™t bother to make a big issue of corporate thievery, nor did he listen to Ralph Nader when Ralph â€“ good citizen that he is â€“ handed the Democratic Party the real issues on a plate. No, Tom Daschle didnâ€™t worry until he realized his political ambitions might be thwarted. Now heâ€™s worrying, and now itâ€™s too late. Thereâ€™s no need to worry now.
Weâ€™ll be going to war with Iraq. The working-class sons and daughters who enlisted in order to get college tuition will die, as will thousands of Iraqi citizens who are already dying of the harsh embargos weâ€™ve had on that country. We voted for war because weâ€™re scared â€“ scared of terrorists, scared of paying too much for gas. There is no single American â€“ not one â€“ that believes weâ€™re going to Iraq in order to oust a nasty dictator. There is no-one so naÃ¯ve. Bushâ€™s approval ratings â€“ and his partyâ€™s election night coup â€“ is a reflection of Americansâ€™ state of mind. They will have gas for their SUVs. They will not take no for an answer.
Besides, war is good for the economy, and really itâ€™s the only way a Republican President has ever made the economy work. Theyâ€™re not innovators; theyâ€™re tribal leaders, paid assassins. They know how to beat the drums, how to instill fear, how to package it all with a wallop of Good Christian Values and unquestioning Patriotism. (Did someone say Jingoism? Not me.)
We do not have a culture of compassion. We do when the cruel hand of Nature comes down & splits the land in two. We do when the cruel hand of Fundamentalism flies planes into our buildings and kills innocents. We do, too, when a family member is sick, when Sharon Osborne shares her diagnosis, when Tom divorces Nicole. When the violins swell, and the tissues are passed around, Americans are good at sympathy.
For a Christian nation, itâ€™s especially ironic that we have no ability to understand that our lives â€“ how we live on a day to day basis â€“ are the real test. Thatâ€™s where we fail miserably. We choose cheap gas over Iraqi childrenâ€™s lives; we choose cheap clothes over Philippino womenâ€™s rights; we choose charity instead of any solution to share our piece of the pie. I donâ€™t think these are actual conscious choices per se. We have no ability to think abstractly, to connect the dots. We never ask if private school vouchers undercut our democracy, or whether we can do without one more disposable whatever in order to save our ground water.
Iâ€™m beginning to see itâ€™s not a lack of education (as I used to believe), or a lack of values. We believe in doing what we should for oneâ€™s neighbors, in generosity, in those basic Christian values politicians love to harp on about. Where we fail â€“ where itâ€™s easiest to fail â€“ is in actually living those values, in considering, with each & every decision we make, whether or not our choices have impact elsewhere. I do not stand a distance apart to throw these stones; I throw them from my own glass house. Sure, I donâ€™t own a car but thatâ€™s because I live in NYC where public transit gets me everywhere I need to go. To boot, Iâ€™m not a Christian and have no urge or dictum to live by Christian values. This country that just voted for war, does. They believe in Jesus, in the life he lived, in the forgiveness he showed others, in his radical acceptance and love of the cast-offs. They believe, they say, in peace.
But peace is an abstraction, and cheap gas is not.