As I promised Gracie a while back, the whole issue of women & music has been chafing my ass a lot lately.

I’ve been a musichead all my life. I love music, I love bands, I love seeing live shows. I’ve been to more concerts than I can count; the list I kept when I was a teenager blows even my mind, these days, as I rarely get out to see a show anymore (since Betty isn’t big on concerts, sadly).

Moreso, I love aggro rock, & always have. I’m a punk at heart, and while I have my love of New Wave and Caberet, there’s nothing like a good garage band as far as I’m concerned. Loud, out of tune, I don’t care. Just bring it on, and with major cock attitude, too.

So I watched when Betty found a “100 Best Hard Rock Bands” show in VH-1 the other day, because I was curious about how they’d mix metal and grunge and punk and glam. I’ve never been a metalhead but I’ve had friends who are, but grunge and punk and glam – well, HELL YES.

What puzzled me not at all was that Carmen Electra was the host, even though that doesn’t make any sense at all, since she’s famous, of course, for being one of Prince’s finds, and has otherwise become a professional Pretty Face. What was weirder is that all the voiceovers – you know, the smart bits about the bands – were done by a guy. I’m sure she has talent, I just don’t know what in. Anyway, she was wearing a leather minidress and reading blandly from the teleprompter – there’s nothing quite as ridiculous as someone delivering the phrase “Rock On!” with no passion whatsoever – and I got more and more aggravated by her presence.

Because they were interviewing people like Lita Ford and Penelope Spheeris (director of the Decline of Western Civilization movies, amongst other things; in other words, a woman with real rock n roll bona fides). I couldn’t understand why Carmen as host, when there’s all these cool rock women around, and then it hit me: oh, Carmen is there for the audience. You know, the guys who like rock. You know, cause it’s only guys who like rock. You know, cause women like me don’t exist. Neither does the woman I met in St. Louis who told me every cigarette she couldn’t have caused her to turn up her Black Sabbath that much louder on her headphones.

Women in music are scantily-clad Rolling Stone covers (please notice the paucity of women on the covers, & the paucity of their clothes when they are), pretty girls in leather minidresses that can’t deliver a “Rock on!” with any conviction whatsoever. They’re the ones who sleep with the bands, with the roadies. They don’t actually know anything about music; they’re only in it for the boys.

Anyway, Carmen Electra tires me. It’s not her fault. It’s a million years of rock & roll history. No matter how many Jordans, or Poly Styrenes, or Chrissie Hyndes or Wendy O. Williamses or Joan Jetts, aggro rock will always be the domain of the boys. And you know, FUCK THAT.

Pope Maledict Rides Again

Apparently our current pope – who I prefer to call Pope Maledict – has called LGBT relationships “weak love.”
Sometimes I wish I could take people and shake them, or – as Jim Johnson of Straight, Not Narrow points out: to tell them to shut up when they don’t know what they’re talking about.
I could have never explained to anyone before Betty started presenting as female what it’s like to live in the world as an LGBT couple, and I thought I knew. I really did. Faghag for years, lesbian hangabout for years – but really, I didn’t know. Weak is not the word for it.
There is some good news, though – the religious left is on the rise. (Where have you guys been?)

Something In-between: A GG Perspective on Partial Dressing

MM is the wife of a CD and a moderator of the forums. Someone directed me to this short piece she wrote – because she quoted me (thank you, M!) – and I thought it deserved reprinting.
Something In-between: A GG Perspective on Partial Dressing
“My husband is beautiful as a man or a woman, but unbelievably beautiful when he’s something in-between.” –Helen Boyd, My Husband Betty
I have heard many crossdressers say that being fully en femme is the only experience that truly satisfies them. Their desire is to appear as a woman – with a wig, makeup, breast forms, and perhaps even a corset and padding to complete the feminine image. Some feel so strongly about this that they prefer to dress completely or not all; they find no comfort in wearing a pair of panties and a bra under their male clothing, or adding a few girly details to their masculine appearance for an androgynous look, or simply being a man in a dress. When they look in the mirror, they want to see the illusion of a woman looking back at them, not a man in women’s clothes. When they dress, they want to become someone feminine, someone beautiful–in short, someone else.
Well, each to his – or her – own. There is no call for the antagonism that seems to exist within our community between partial dressers and the “all or nothing” crowd. I understand that some are disturbed by images of crossdressers who make no effort to look female, but I don’t personally share their distaste – and neither do most of the wives and girlfriends I know. In fact, the majority of SOs find it easier to relate to their partner as a guy in girls’ clothes than as a “complete” woman. Very few women genuinely perceive their crossdressed partners as female anyway, even when they are fully dressed and made up. For us, the illusion of femininity that crossdressers see when they look at themselves is invariably undermined by the familiar features and gestures of the man we know so well underneath the clothes. In other words, as far as your wife is concerned, you don’t pass and never will. Does that make you less appealing to her? Probably not. It is your male self she is attracted to, after all, and the more of “him” that shows through, the better.
I do understand that there is a special thrill in “going all the way.”  My husband Angel loves the experience of being fully en femme, and I love to help him achieve a womanly appearance. Assisting him with clothing, jewelry, accessories, and makeup is something I take great pleasure in. Spending time with Angel en femme, whether we go out or have a “girl’s night in,” is very special and rewarding for me. But both of us agree on one point: no matter what Angel is wearing, he – or she – is always the same person. True, when fully dressed, Angel’s feminine characteristics are more obvious and exaggerated. But Angel’s femininity is always present, even without the clothes. It is simply expressed in different ways and to different degrees depending on the circumstances. When Angel is en femme, she is still Angel. There is no “third person” in our marriage.
Perhaps it is because we don’t see Angel as having two distinct identities that we both enjoy seeing him dressed in a way that blurs traditional gender lines. You can call it partial crossdressing, androgyny, gender blending, or any other name you like, but it amounts to being an obvious genetic male dressed in women’s clothes. For example, it is common for Angel to wear women’s jeans, tennis shoes with pink accents, satin-trimmed t-shirts, and women’s cardigans as his normal, everyday clothes. He wears a bra and panties every day, as well as various other undergarments such as camisoles and pantyhose. He may also wear a necklace and earrings, a ladies’ watch, perfume, subtle makeup, and pale nail polish. However, there is no way he could be mistaken for a woman when wearing these outfits. He appears as what he is: a feminized male, or as I affectionately call him, a girly boy. At home he often wears a blouse and skirt without making any attempt at a complete transformation, and I don’t think it looks silly at all. It may not be what most of us are used to seeing, but if the clothes look attractive on a woman, why can’t they look attractive on a man? Granted there are limits on what a man can wear in public without creating a stir, but that has very little to do with what looks inherently good or bad. It is, rather, a reflection of Western society’s insistence on a rigidly bi-gendered world.
There are some crossdressers who wouldn’t dream of displaying their femininity without simultaneously hiding their maleness, and I respect their preference. But I see it as a wonderful thing that Angel can show on the outside what he is on the inside, even when in male mode. I have always encouraged him to integrate his femininity into his male persona, and the mixed-gender style of dressing is an obvious way to do that. Nearly all of Angel’s clothes are women’s, but some are conspicuously feminine while others–including the ones he wears to work–are more gender neutral. This gives him a lot of freedom regarding his day-to-day appearance, which spans the entire continuum from drab to drag. The only thing he never looks like is a manly man. Ask him and he will tell you that he would rather die than wear a plaid flannel shirt.
How do I feel about all of this? Honestly? Well, I’d like to think that my acceptance has helped Angel to feel more comfortable with mixing masculine and feminine signals. Besides the fact that it seems psychologically healthy to strive for the integration of both genders into one’s identity, I also happen to find it attractive. Very attractive. Okay, downright irresistible. Ever since I can remember, I have been drawn to effeminate men. In my teenage years, those 80’s New Wave icons with their arched eyebrows, ruffled blouses and lipstick used to make me weak in the knees. I have an aversion to rugged masculinity and actually feel disgusted by body hair, big muscles, and tough guy attitudes. On the other hand, I am not a lesbian and don’t feel attracted to members of my own sex. What I like is being able to see, simultaneously, the man within the woman and the woman within the man. It reminds me that I am married to a guy who is delightfully different. I hope Angel knows that I love him whether he looks male or female”¦..but I’m glad he also feels free to be something in-between.
© MM 2005

2nd Annual Trans Issues Week at Yale

I was part of the first annual TransWeek at Yale and was more than impressed with the (undergrad) organizer of the event, Loren Krywanczyk. I’m happy to be part of it once again, and thanks to all the CDs (& one wife) who are willing to speak.
February 21 – 25, 2005
Sponsored by the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies
Press Release
It is still widely believed that all individuals are simply male or female, and that there is no fluidity whatsoever between these two supposed polar opposites. Likewise, many Americans still ascribe to the common misconception that an individual’s biological sex is necessarily the same as her/his gender identity or performance. The notion of binary sex and gender categories pervades modern society and exerts pressure on all individuals, regardless of sex or sexuality, to adhere to specific standards of behavior and of masculinity and femininity based on their physiologies. Transgendered and intersexed individuals, among others who transcend stereotypical gender boundaries, demonstrate the inadequacy of these binary systems.
Trans Issues Week at Yale is an annual speaker series which explores gender and transgender identity through a variety of both formal and informal events. It will incorporate concepts of fluidity and of a spectrum of gender and sexuality. Events will shed light upon the intersections of gender, sex, class, and race and will illuminate the distinctions and overlaps between sex, gender, and sexuality. Founded and organized entirely by personal undergraduate efforts to increase campus and New Haven awareness about gender identity and the values of gender diversity, Trans Issues Week reflects and contributes to a relatively new wave of thought about gender, sex, and sexuality.
February 21 – 25, 2005
Sponsored by the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale
Shana Agid
“No Superman: Troubling Representations of Trans ‘Masculinity'”
Monday, February 21 7 pm
Harkness Hall, 100 Wall Street, room 309
Through a close look at Loren Cameron’s Body Alchemy, artist, activist, and cultural critic Shana Agid addresses the construction of “appropriate” FTM (female to male) transgender narratives, and the place, or placelessness, of race and power in popular images and stories about trans identities and in the making of “real” transmen.
“Part-time Ladies: Crossdressers Tell Their Stories”
A forum of heterosexual crossdressers moderated by author Helen Boyd
Tuesday, February 22 7 pm
Yale Women’s Center, 198 Elm Street
A forum of male, heterosexual-identified crossdressers and their partners describe the intersections of sexuality, sex and gender in their lives.
“Transitioning on Campus”
A panel of trans-identified college students
Wednesday, February 23 4:30 pm
Harkness Hall, 100 Wall Street, room 309
New Haven college students discuss the experience of transitioning and genderbending on campus. The panel will include the perspectives of trans-identified individuals, their close friends and significant others.
Julanne Tutty, “My Experience as Intersexual”
Friday, February 25 4 pm
Yale Women’s Center, 198 Elm Street

Gwen Araujo trial declared mistrial

from the San Jose Mercury News:
Posted on Tue, Jun. 22, 2004
Judge declares mistrial in Araujo case
By Yomi S. Wronge
Mercury News
An Alameda County judge this morning declared a mistrial in the Gwen Araujo case after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked on whether three men killed the transgender Newark teenager.
Superior Court Judge Harry Sheppard announced the decision in a Hayward courtroom shortly before 10 a.m. after hearing from the 8-man, 4-woman panel, and individually asking them if further deliberations would help them reach verdicts. Only two said that was a possibility, the others said it would do no good.
The had been deliberating the fate of Jose Merel, Jason Cazares and Michael Magidson, all 24, since June 3.
The three were facing first degree murder charges, with a hate crime enhancement, for allegedly killing Gwen.
Gwen, who was 17, was born Eddie Araujo Jr., but identified and lived as a girl. According to trial testimony, Gwen was beaten and strangled after her biological identity was revealed during a confrontation in the early hours of Oct. 4, 2002, at Merel’s house in Newark.
California jurors unable to reach verdict in slaying of transgender teen
By Michelle Locke, Associated Press, 6/22/2004 14:32
HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the case of three men accused of killing a transgender teen after jurors declared they were deadlocked.
The case has been closely watched by transgender advocates, who said the verdicts would send a message about how much their lives are valued. Michael Magidson, Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, all 24, were charged with killing a 17-year-old who was known as Gwen but was born Edward Araujo.
According to trial testimony, Araujo was beaten and strangled after her biological identity was revealed during a confrontation on Oct. 4, 2002, at Merel’s house in Newark, a San Francisco suburb. Merel and Magidson had had sexual encounters with Araujo and had become suspicious about Araujo’s gender after comparing notes, according to testimony. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Harry Sheppard declared the mistrial after the jury foreman announced that the eight men and four women were deadlocked after nine days of deliberations. If they had decided to convict, the jury would have had the option of returning verdicts of first-degree murder, punishable by 25 years to life in prison; second-degree murder, 15-to-life; or manslaughter, which carries a maximum term of 11 years.
The case was charged as a hate crime, which could add four years to sentences. Cazares had sought acquittal, saying he wasn’t involved in the killing and only helped bury the body. Magidson’s attorney argued the case was not murder but manslaughter, a crime of passion triggered by sexual fraud.
Continue reading “Gwen Araujo trial declared mistrial”

SF Chronicle article on Gwen Araujo & deception

No issue of sexual deception
Gwen Araujo was just who she was
Dylan Vade
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Don’t talk to me about deception.
Gwen Araujo, a beautiful young transgender woman, was brutally beaten to death the fall of 2002. In the trial of three men accused of murder in her slaying, defense attorneys Tony Serra and Michael Thorman are using the “transgender/gay panic” defense. Their argument essentially is that Gwen deserved to be killed because she deceived, and thus stole the heterosexuality of the men she had sex with.
No one deserves to be killed for deception.
But in Gwen’s case, there was no deception. Gwen was just being herself. In a world in which we are all told we have to be more feminine or more masculine — Gwen was wise enough to know herself and brave enough to be herself. That is beautiful. She should be our role model.
Instead, transgender people are seen as deceivers. The word “deception” comes up often in our lives.
I will share one of my experiences with deception. I am a female-to-male transgender person. One day, I flirted with someone I assumed to be a gay man, got his number and later went over to his place. He opened the door, and we kissed. A couple of minutes later, I came out to him as transgender. I did it casually. I do not make a big deal out of it, because to me it is not a big deal.
It was a big deal to him. He immediately stopped being interested and told me that I had deceived him. He said: “I thought you were just a cute gay guy.” He said that I should have told him that I am transgender and what my genitalia look like before he invited me to his place.
I was not hurt, aside from my feelings. I was lucky.
What I did not say to him then, but wished I had:
“You deceived me. All this time I thought you were just a cute transgender guy. You really should have told me you are a nontransgender person. I cannot believe that you did not tell what your genitalia look like. I cannot go through with this. I would have never come over to your place had I known.
“Yes, you are right. I did not wear a T-shirt with a picture of my genitalia emblazoned on it. But, honey, neither did you. If we, as humans, decide that proper dating etiquette requires us all to disclose the exact shape and size of our genitalia before we get someone’s number, then, sure, maybe I will go along with that.
“You deceived me. You should have told me that you are transphobic. You should have told me that your head is chock full of stereotypes of what it means to be a ‘real man’ and a ‘real woman.’ You should have told me that when you look at someone, you immediately make an assumption about the size and shape of that person’s genitalia, and that you get really upset if your assumption is off.”
Why do some folks feel that transgender people need to disclose their history and their genitalia, and nontransgender people do not? When you first meet someone and they are clothed, you never know exactly what that person looks like. And when you first meet someone, you never know that person’s full history.
Why do only some people have to describe themselves in detail — and others do not? Why are some nondisclosures seen as actions and others utterly invisible? Actions. Gwen Araujo was being herself, openly and honestly. No, she did not wear a sign on her forehead that said “I am transgender, this is what my genitalia look like.” But her killers didn’t wear a sign on their foreheads saying, “We might look like nice high school boys, but really, we are transphobic and are planning to kill you.” That would have been a helpful disclosure.
Transgender people do not deceive. We are who we are.
Dylan Vade, co-director of the Transgender Law Center, is a lawyer and holds a Ph.D. in philosophy. Sondra Solovay, director of Beyond Bias, contributed to the article.
Continue reading “SF Chronicle article on Gwen Araujo & deception”


I received the sad news today that one of the women I interviewed for the book – one half of one of the couples profiled in Chapter 4 – died recently. I’ve been sad and stunned since getting the news. I only ever knew her as Gidget, and her emails were always a joy to receive – full of enthusiasm & capriciousness, common sense & humor. She taught Special Ed. She was a lovely, magnanimous, generous person. It’s killing me that she never got to hold a final copy of the book in her hands.
Her words appear in various parts of the book, but I did profile her & her husband, so I wanted to put her “In Her Own Words” section up here, in her memory:
I think the bottom line is that you must both be in love to come across and meet the other person half way—as you give up part of what you wanted, for part of him, and he does the same for you—I wasn’t the one hundred percent accepting person that he wanted, but he loves me and accepted less from me—also, I did the same for him, as I got myself to take a risk and see and view him as a female—it freaked me out when I first saw it about 20 years ago, but now—it took him being very slow about showing things to me—he first wore a black cotton dress to bed with me, and I imagined this as a black cotton t-shirt and thought “this isn’t too bad!!”—then he wore panty hose, which felt funny to me and I kept getting these lesbian dreams from those things—LOL!!—anyways, it took time—
Pretty soon, he progressed with one more item—I call this “taking baby steps” and that is how I learned to accept everything even now—it had to be done very slowly and at my comfort zone—after all, as I explained to him, he had many years of getting up to this level, and I had no years seeing this kind of thing—he had to go slowly for me to go there with him—
Also, I told him to imagine me without makeup (HORRORS!!!) and with my hair cut in a crew cut style—(I would look awful for sure!!)—and then smoking a cigar and wearing a western cowboy look—and then I asked him if he could picture me like that and I told him I needed him to have sex with me like that, what would he think?? He was honest and replied he wouldn’t like me that way—so I asked him, �Why not? I’m still the same girl underneath,� as he used to say to me the same thing—he would always wear his femme outfits and tell me, �Why don’t you just love me? I’m still the same guy underneath.� Hee-hee—that took care of that!!! He finally saw how I was viewing things—you have to spell it out for them—they think just because they accept themselves dressed as females, that we shouldn’t have problems with it, as they see it as no big deal—
However, they do know that MOST women would have problems looking at a man dressed that way—and that is why they hide it from us—they know what the reaction would be–
Another thing, you asked what quality I have that helped me? I have to say, I think having a sense of humor—I laugh at this at times, and he does too—and we both can feel at ease that way—-if you take it too seriously, you get depressed—
Also, he helped me accept him as he was as I could see that he came to bed the first few times looking forlorn and depressed and ashamed very badly—and I felt sorry for him—and knew that he had told me he wanted someone his whole life to accept him as he was, but didn’t get it—and I knew he meant it, so I wanted to please him as he was trying to please me by doing things I wanted him to do—such as the dishes, wash the floors, etc.—and that made me want to give up something for him as well—-
I know that if he had told me the truth back then, I would have hightailed it out of dodge for sure—I certainly wasn’t raised to have sex with a kink in it—and I associated this as something very forbidden, weird, and bad—
Anyways, my husband and I are very much in love now, we don’t fight anymore, and we reconnected to each other in just two months with the marriage counselor—we always were best of friends, but got a little sidetracked, I believe, due to the crossdressing issues—first of all, I did not understand when I was younger how important this issue was to my husband—and he did not understand that he needed to negotiate and teach me how to tolerate him this way—now he understands my side, and I understand his—and we respect each other on this issue—.)
Gidget, the world will miss you – I have no doubt. Wherever you are, thank you for your kindess & help, your thoughtfulness and humor.
To Gidget’s husband: she ROCKED. My condolences to you on your loss of such a fantastic woman, wife, and mother.
Anyone who knew her who visits here is welcome to leave a comment.