RIP Richard Matheson

I’m not a real science fiction junkie, but I am a Twilight Zone nerd; those shows were some of the first ways I started thinking about things in a more complicated, maybe even existential, way. & Matheson wrote some of the best of them: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (which was in both the TV series and in the movie), The Invaders (one of the very few TV shows with no dialogue at all), Little Girl Lost (which is basis for Poltergeist), Death Ship (super creepy, and starting Jack Klugman), and to me, the very special Once Upon a Time, which starred none other than Buster Keaton.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites, A World of Difference. It brought what Pirandello was after to the American TV audience, imho.

You can watch all of the episodes he wrote or which were based on his stories for free on hulu.

RIP JoAnn Roberts – & Thank You

JoAnn RobertsJoAnn Roberts, aged 65, died on June 7th, 2013. She was an early advocate for trans rights, trans community, and built a few institutions that provided people with hope, community, and resources. She started her work in the mid 1980s – more than 25 years ago.

JoAnn Roberts founded TG Forum, which is one of the very first resources my partner introduced me to more than a decade ago when we met. She’s written a great deal for TG Forum over the years. Roberts was a crossdresser with a drag queen’s flair, and she also created Renaissance, which was a huge organization with chapters that was welcoming both to crossdressers and transitioning trans people. They held week-long getaways in Pennsylvania and generally focused their work in the northeast.

She also wrote Coping with Crossdressing, which was written expressly for couples who were negotiating a husband’s crossdressing — and both her first and second wives accepted her as a crossdresser. She also published LadyLike magazine, whose importance is likely to be undervalued now that we have computers: for many CDs, this magazine was the only thing that had useful information about events, dressing tips, and which helped people feel a little less alone.

Dallas Denny has written a piece remembering her on TG Forum; they worked together for years on AEGIS; Roberts also went on to be part of the now-defunct GenderPAC and wrote The Gender Bill of Rights in 1990. It was short, but it was powerful, especially in 1990, when no one was even using the word “transgender” (it was, more frequently, “transgendered”, and even that was rarely used).

It states:

The Gender bill of Rights by JoAnn Roberts
It is time for the transgendered community to take a stand, a strong stand, against all gender-based discrimination simply because some people are different and simply because some people do not fit into current social norms of gender roles. It is time the gender-based community articulate this stand in words that clearly define exactly what our gender rights are. It is time to stand alongside other minority rights movements to declare these gender rights as follows:

The Right To Assume A Gender Role

Every human being has within themselves an idea of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. That identity and capability shall not be limited by a person’s physical or genetic sex, nor by what any society may deem as “masculine” or “feminine” behavior. It is fundamental, then, that each individual has the right to assume gender roles congruent with one’s self-perceived identity and capabilities, regardless of physical sex, genetic sex, or sex role.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights on the basis that their gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their genetic sex, physical sex, or sex role.

She stopped working visibly on trans issues about a years back – having accomplished more than most for members of the trans community.

She will be missed, but she shouldn’t be forgotten.

At Least in Death: Help Give Cemia Acoff a Respectful Funeral

Cemia Acoff

Cemia Acoff was murdered in a barbarous way, and now, multiple activists and organizations are working with her family, the funeral home and, yes, the morgue, to bring her home.

They need your help.

They have set up The Cemia Acoff Fund which will, literally, bring Ce Ce home and ensure that she receives a proper send off, full of love and support from the community – and that includes the love and support of her family.

You can donate to The Cemia Acoff Fund here.

The groups involved include:

Shane Morgan, Founder & Chair

Cleveland Trans Community Outreach
Jacob Nash, Chair

Equality Ohio
Elyzabeth Holford, Executive Director

LGBT Center of Cleveland
Phyllis Harris, Executive Director

AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland / Beyond Identities Community Center (BICC)
Tracy Jones, Chief Executive Officer
Miquel Brazil, BICC

RIP Lucy Meadows

What a terrifically sad story:  Lucy Meadows transitions and is supported by her school and community but then excoriated and hounded by the press because of her transition.

She has since committed suicide, it’s reported.

This has to stop. There’s a petition to get the journalist fired who said all this crap about her – regendering her with male pronouns like the class act he is – and I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not but something’s got to give. I won’t like his hateful, transphobic screed.

She didn’t deserve this.

It’s especially sad to read this after just having attended the GLAAD Media Awards – which covers only the US but which has renewed its mission for trans people and coverage. But in the UK, do check out Trans Media Watch.

RIP Erica Andrews

What a sad thing to hear: Erica Andrews, who was still in her early 40s, died of a lung infection a week ago now. She was not, as the articles make her out to be, a “drag queen” or “female illusionist” – or at least not those things only – she lived as a woman 24/7 and talked specifically about being a transsexual woman. They did get the “one of the best” part right, at least.

There’s a nice video tribute here, and here’s a clip of her on Tyra. She did one hell of a Joan Crawford, too.


RIP: Sonia Burgess

After the UK press made an absolute mockery of a transgender person’s death, The Guardian publishes a eulogy to the person who was known first as David Burgess and who had previously been known as Sonia for some of the time, and who had only recently become Sonia Burgess all of the time.

“Sonia’s defining characteristic was her kindness,” says Tara. “It shone out of her. She had time for everybody and an absolute absence of snobbery and condescension. Sonia would interact equally comfortably and fluently with everyone without changing gear. I was devastated when Sonia died. I didn’t sleep for days. The sheer suddenness and finality of it was what was so awful. I miss her terribly.”

On 17 November, a funeral service for Sonia Burgess was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields, an impressive, grey-stone, porticoed church that overlooks Trafalgar Square. The church was filled with around 600 people from diverse backgrounds – lawyers, university contemporaries, former asylum seekers, members of the transgender community and countless others who, in some way, had had their lives touched by the person they knew as either David or Sonia. His three children stood up to deliver a eulogy about the father they had known, slipping easily between female and male pronouns as they talked. It was, everyone agreed, a moving tribute to an exceptional person.

I am, as others will be, uncomfortable with referring to Sonia as David and with “he” pronouns, but since Sonia did have a significant public life as David – as a well-known and accomplished immigration lawyer – I can understand The Guardian’s decision so that those who didn’t know her could read about the remarkable person she was.

Sonia, thank you for the beauty and grace you brought to being publicly transgender. Love and condolences to the communities that are mourning her personally. Feel free to leave comments or memories.

Double Whammy: Zinn & Salinger

The world has gotten significantly less smart in the past two days: first we lost the people’s historian, Howard Zinn, whose books educated so many of us as to the real legacy of American Populism.

& Today: Salinger.

I can’t come up with anything better to do than dig the heels of my hands into my eyes and sit, fully dressed, in a bathroom stall, with my own grief. You remember the scene: it’s from Franny & Zoey.

Let me say right here & now that I don’t care if he wrote or what he wrote since he’s been in exile. It’s not like there have been any American authors that even touch his four books’ worth of genius.

RIP Dr. Maxwell Anderson

You might remember Maxwell Anderson as Robert Eads’ close friend in Southern Comfort, or maybe you’ve never heard of him, but he’s been a trans activist for a couple of decades, and was well-loved.

He died today after being diagnosed with brain cancer not very long ago.

His last words to his friends are here.

His last public talk – given at an Atlanta Rally this past June – is here.

From activist Monica Helms:

Please pass on your prayers for Max to Pastor Paul Turner, at:, Stormie Marshall at: or leave them as a comment on the video.

RIP Maxwell Anderson. You did good in this world, which is the best any of us can do. & Thank Robert for us, when you see him.