Pride Rant

A great rant about Pride by Joe.My.God, which he wrote back in 2005 after watching a NYC Pride Parade:

Because even if Pride doesn’t change many minds in the outside world, it’s our PARTY, darlings. It’s our Christmas, our New Year’s, our Carnival. It’s the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other “Happy Pride!” Saying “Happy Pride!” is really just a shorter, easier way of saying “Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Way to go for not taking a rifle into a tower and taking out half the town! Well done, being YOURSELF!”

I’m not worried what the outside world thinks about the drag queens, the topless bulldaggers, or the nearly naked leatherfolk. It’s OUR party, bitches. If you think that straight America would finally pull its homokinder to its star-spangled bosom once we put down that glitter gun, then you are seriously deluding yourself. Next year, if one of the Christian camera crews that show up to film our “debauched” celebrations happen to train their cameras on you, stop dancing. And start PRANCING.

It seemed a great way to end Pride Month.

Drag Queens & (Trans) Women

There was quite an inflammatory thread on our boards recently about drag queens and crossdressers who dress in over-the-top ways, and it’s gotten me thinking. I’ve often heard that feminists hate drag queens because they mock women, which has always baffled me, for two reasons: (1) I don’t think all DQs are mocking women, and my guess is that most are not, and (2) I think there’s about a million feminist issues to deal with and that the relative powerlessness of your average DQ is hardly a major problem.

But the trans woman who brought this up was very upset by the way DQs mock women and in some way “misrepresent” transness – or at least her variety.

So what I’ve been thinking is that, ironically, I have found the one place where a lot of radical feminists and trans women might agree: in their dislike of DQs. So maybe MWMF should have an “anti-DQ” rally so that they can find the common ground that’s been so sorely lacking.

I’m kidding, of course. Still, the anger of the trans woman who had the courage to post her feelings about DQs surprised me, and usually things that surprise me make me pay attention. I just didn’t expect it. I just can’t see DQs as threatening of anyone. & Yet it was very clear she was threatened and angered, so I’d love to hear other input from people here. Do you other trans women resent drag queens? Why?

(Here’s an article from the Orlando Sentinel about the DQ pageant scene, which comes with some interesting terminology. Thanks to Donna T for finding it.)

Top Ten Trans Reads

Out Magazine recently put together a really asinine list of transgender books for their transgender issue. I haven’t seen the issue, but the list doesn’t really inspire me to go buy it, either, since Myra Breckinridge is on it.

For the past years I’ve always mixed my gender / feminism / trans books, but since that Top 10 of Out‘s is so lame, and the Lammies recently neglected Whipping Girl, which they shouldn’t have, I thought instead I should post my own Top Ten Recommended Trans Reads for LGBTQ readers. There are a few everyone might not need to read – like Virginia Erhardt’s Head Over Heels, which is about the partners of MTFs – or they might want to substitute Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/he instead – but mostly this list gives a good “big picture” view of the trans community, including a variety of identities.

I might suggest different books for family & friends who are trying to understand transition but who aren’t big readers, & I’ll have to think about that list, too.

Of course now that I’ve written it I have to say I’d add my own books, My Husband Betty and She’s Not the Man I Married, too.

& Maybe The Drag Queens of New York as well.

  1. Butch is a Noun – S. Bear Bergman
  2. Gender Outlaw – Kate Bornstein
  3. Crossdressing, Sex & Gender – Bullough & Bullough
  4. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism – Patrick Califia
  5. Head Over Heels: Wives Who Stay with Crossdressers and Transsexuals – Virginia Erhardt
  6. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman – Leslie Feinberg
  7. Becoming a Visible Man – Jamison Green
  8. Mom, I Need to be a Girl – Just Evelyn
  9. Whipping Girl – Julia Serano
  10. Transition & BeyondReid Vanderbergh

You’ll notice none of them is a YETA (Yet Another Transsexual Autobiography), since after you read Jenny Boylan’s She’s Not There (which I assume everyone has) you don’t need to read any others, and hers is the best-written, in my opinion. You can see the list in context on my Transgender Books page, which has reviews or links to reviews and discussions of them all.

He’s Come a Long Way, Baby

Charles Busch‘s current production of Die Mommy Die! was reviewed in The New York Times today:

Directed by Carl Andress, “Die Mommie Die!,” which runs a peppy 90 minutes, is infused with the good-natured comic brio that has made Mr. Busch a drag artist whom middle America can embrace. Even theatergoers who don’t catch the copious old-movie quotations, verbal and physical, should enjoy Mr. Busch’s hair-trigger comic timing and rubbery mugging, which brings to mind vintage Lucille Ball. (The association is underscored by Mr. Busch’s choice of red wigs, designed by Katherine Carr.)

I’ve seen a bunch of Charles Busch’s shows over the years – including Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Lady in Question, Shanghai Moon and Times Square Angel – and always find them smart and fun. I even met Joan Jett in the bathroom at one production! So do go if you get a chance, or rather: make the chance.

On ENDA, on National Coming Out Day

This is the text of the talk I gave in Denver on Tuesday. It probably won’t surprise anyone that I’ve been busting at the seams wanting to have a say in all of the dialogue going on about ENDA. At least I don’t think it should surprise anyone, not by now.


First, let me thank Ed and Jordan and all the students who asked them to bring me here. It’s a pleasure to be here in celebration of National Coming Out Day, a pleasure to see all of you gathered, celebrating who you are. Thanks to all the crossdressers, the gays, the lesbians, the genderqueers, the trans men & women, MTF and FTM, & to their partners. Thanks to all of you who are family, or friends, or allies, for being here.

Betty and I have been on tour a lot this year because I had a book published in March, and we’ve gotten a chance, once again, to meet a lot of people and to talk to a lot of trans people and partners, and this year, we’ve met more gay and lesbian people who aren’t trans than we did before. And it’s been a pleasure all around in hearing people’s stories of their own gender variance, or the stories of how they came out to loved ones, or of their first big crush or the moment when they realized they were trans or gay or lesbian or how they came to understand the first identity they understood themselves to be was not quite accurate in the long run. What I love to hear the most is about how queer people find one identity fits for a while and then not at all; like Oliver Wendell Holmes’ chambered nautilus, queer people build themselves bigger chambers, bigger categories, labels that are not so confining, over time.

That’s how it’s been for us, certainly. By the time people get used to what we’re calling ourselves our identities have shifted a little, changed usually by experiences we never expected and wouldn’t trade for anything. Continue reading “On ENDA, on National Coming Out Day”

About 20/20

So I’m still thinking about the 20/20 show that was on a few weeks ago about young kids coming out as trans.

& The thing I can’t quite get past is how many people who are gender variant grow up to be gender variant but okay with the sex they were born. A gay friend of mine called after the show was over & asked, “So what’s the difference between them & me?” because he went through most, if not all, of what one of the young MTF expressed. He did drag for most of his childhood, expressed the desire to be a girl as a child, and had a hard time dating guys who didn’t want to date a queen. I didn’t have an answer for him. I don’t know what makes some of us gender variant & some of us trans. Continue reading “About 20/20”

Urgent Action from NCTE

We are down to the wire on the federal hate crimes bill (H.R.1592).

This Thursday, May 3, the federal hate crime bill is scheduled to be voted on in the U.S. House. We really have a chance to pass this life-saving law this year.

But what we are hearing today is that the radical right has turned their lie machine on force blast and turned out their followers. Members of Congress and their staff are telling us that the people who hate us, who are lying about us, are contacting Congress in greater numbers than we are. That’s not unusual, but it is very dangerous. It is not unusual because that’s what they do: they scare their followers into calling their representatives in Congress. It is very dangerous because it could work this time.

What YOU Can Do

1. Find your member of Congress and call him or her.

2. Sign our petition supporting the hate crimes bill by clicking here.

3. Support the passage of this bill by joining us for NCTE’s annual Lobby Day on May 14-15!

Continue reading “Urgent Action from NCTE”

The Penn State Law Talk

I’m hoping that this talk was recorded as planned and so will be available on Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s website, eventually, because there were a lot of interesting questions discussed in the Q&A after I spoke. Prof. Rains also added a lot of useful legal insight.

I started with a kind of preface in order (1) to define terms like transgender, MTF and FTM, and also (2) to explain that while people like drag queens and crossdressers are considered part of the transgender community, discussions about legal marriage issues don’t always or often effect them; that is, this talk concerns people who identify nearer to the transsexual end of things. that said, drag queens are often already gay and so deal with the same marriage discrimination all gay people do, and crossdressers often suffer with the stigma of being perverts, and one of the reasons they are not out is exactly because they don’t want their wives to divorce them, or lose custody of their children, or lose their jobs, all of which can & does happen to crossdressers who come out.

I never expected that any aspect of my life would cause me to speak at a law school to future lawyers about the odd ways that my life has become complicated by laws about gender and marriage. I’m surprised two-fold: for starters, I never expected to get married, since as a younger and Very Serious Feminist I saw it as a Tool of Patriarchy, symbolic at least of the ways women have always been chattel, and so, not for me. But I also never expected to get married because I was, starting as a teenager in the late 80s, an ally of gay and lesbian people.

& Then I met Betty, who at the time we met presented as male, and as she likes to explain, we knew, both of us, nearly from the get-go that we were supposed to be together. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, and poets have tried, but it took us a few years to decide once & for all that we were in this thing together. We decided to get married because things were so easy between us; on our 2nd date we sat together and read, one of us The Nation and the other The New York Times. When you’re something like an old married couple on your 2nd date, you know that you’re doomed.

Continue reading “The Penn State Law Talk”

Trans Week @ Yale

I’ll be speaking tomorrow night at Yale, for the fourth annual Trans Issues Week. Do come, if you can. I’ll be reading and talking about female genders viz trans folk. 7PM at the Women’s Center.

Other highlights of the 2007 Trans Issues Week at Yale:

  • 2/26: Screening of Beautiful Boxer.
  • 2/27: Helen Boyd, Images of Women: Trans Femininity and Feminisms.
  • 2/28: Paisley Currah, Fixing Bodies: Tracking Transgender Identities in the Post-9/11 U.S.
  • 2/28: Screening of Boy I Am.
  • 3/1: Keynote: Imani Henry – Mounting Strategies to Fight Racial, Sexual, and Gender Oppression on Campus
  • 3/3: Drag Ball