Got on train. Wrapped my hand around the pole. A girl wrapped her hand around the pole, right below my hand. She must have had a hang nail or something, because she leaned in and, probably mistaking my hand for hers, nibbled my finger. Nibbled it.
In my typical smooth fashion, I replied without thinking, “Thank you.”
Topside Press is at the National Women’s Studies Conference this week, and we’ve made a zine to share with the professors and scholars. It is called “Is there a transgender text in this class?” and it’s about why and how transgender fiction and poetry should be included in courses.
A professor picked up our zine about an hour ago, and just now she came back up to the table. “I read your zine. I’m back because I am teaching Stone Butch Blues for the 10th time. I need your help.”
“The piping wasn’t cool, it was stupid.”—This scene in Nevada by Imogen Binnie is mostly about trans identity, but a tiny bit of it is about how piping on vintage dresses can really go either way (cool/stupid). (via another-order)
In the final weeks of the submission period for the Lambda Literary Awards, it looks like again this year, there will be just one transgender category (“Transgender Literature”) instead of 2 (fiction and non-fiction). This is because if one of the 2 categories receives fewer than 10 entries, the Lambda folks will collapse them into a single category and a single prize.
This turn of events is disappointing because for the last three years there were two categories and it looked like this category was expanding in exciting ways. My hope is that in the near future they will see fit to add a “trans poetry” category as well.
If you’re an author who has published a book in 2013 that might fit into the transgender fiction category, you have until December 1 to submit! In the past, entries in this field have been novels, books of short stories, poetry, graphic novels/comic books, young adult books and children’s books—it’s a very flexible category, and it is up to the submitter to “opt-in” to it.
I suspect that there are lots more trans books out there that should be submitted to the Lambdas, but perhaps folks don’t know about the award, or don’t think they qualify. Help us get the word out so we can maintain this category and continue the conversation about transgender literature!
If the category exists, five titles will be chosen as finalists. Even being a Lambda Literary Award finalist is a huge opportunity for your book. You’ll be invited to participate in the finalist readings all over the US this spring, and your book will get exposure to audiences that might never have heard about it otherwise. As of last year, each finalist is also given one free ticket to the Lambda Literary Awards in June in NYC, which by itself is a $100 value. Authors submitting to this category this year will have a very good chance at being a finalist.
Some are born this way, some achieve it, and some have it thrust upon them
From the new Jennifer Finney Boylan op-ed in the NYT yesterday, which was all about halloween costumes: "I still remember the first time that I ever saw a boy dressed as a girl on Halloween, in a skirt and a wig. As a transgender child, I remember being shocked."
Were you a transgender child? This seems like such an odd term to describe a child who will, 30 years or so in the future, eventually identify as a transgender person. It’s like if I told you a story about me as a kid and identified the kid as a New Yorker because later that kid would grow up and would move to New York.
I wonder what the implications are of historicizing our lives like this in a broad way— are we making an argument that all transgender adults were transgender as kids and, THUSLY, is the next logical step to orient our services and resources to helping/discovering (proto)transgender people when they are kids?
The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference has so much programming for trans kids and teens and parents thereof, and while I’m really happy that that space exists, it’s also really weird to be a trans adult in close proximity. Folks are constantly looking over their shoulder to make sure they aren’t saying something that might be inappropriate for kids or their straight, easily-shocked parents.
And it’s not just PTHC—NPR and the New York Times, and various other mainstream liberal media organizations, have a palpable fascination with trans kids. I don’t know how many of those news stories they publish aren’t just voyeurism and intense exploitation. Do I believe they are helpful to a lot of trans people? Not really. Do I believe they get a lot of clicks, comments, shares and attention on their websites? Yep.
I think that some trans adults, perhaps Ms. Boylan, are comforted by the notion of trans kids as a way to legitimize our experiences as adults. Trans kids become proof: a way to say, “Hey, we’re not crazy, look, even KIDS can be trans, it’s natural,” as if nature had ever done anything for us.
The trouble begins when you admit that not all trans people experience gender or sexuality in nearly the same way. Some people were oddly-gendered kids and others were kids who fit in better. The result of this kind of re-historicizing is a dichotomy where people are more or less legitimate based on their gender expression as a child. Equivalent barriers are already set up around lesbians —“gold star” lesbians vs. women who come out when they are 40 (vs. trans women, right Lisa Vogel?).
But the really dangerous part about this focus on trans kids—or gay kids—is the immediate implications for the direction of activist movements. When the gay activist “movement” becomes wholly focused on about bullying and homecoming kings, adults are summarily infantilized. You can be out as gay, but can’t talk about sex, you can’t talk about AIDS, you can’t talk about systemic homophobia and transphobia because the trans kids (on This American Life) aren’t homeless, they aren’t sex workers, they aren’t worried about finding jobs or apartments, they aren’t in abusive relationships that they can’t leave, they aren’t losing custody of their children because they decide to transition. And in the end, I worry that the net effect of this “trans kid” tack is that there’s no room for conversations for adults because our leaders have hidden us behind defenseless queer children.
We all know that the first pride parade was a riot. But let’s not forget that before Stonewall was a riot, it was a bar you guys. Queer people hang out with each other because we like to have fun, get naked, drink alcohol, do drugs, have sex, play punk rock, smoke cigarettes and have lots more sex. Yeah, yeah, you can still be queer if you’re a kid or a sober person or a celibate person, OF COURSE, but why build a movement utterly void of sexuality? HIV infection rates for transgender women in the US are higher than HIV rates in West Africa, so hey, maybe sexuality is kind of an important part of the discussion we should be having.
Why are we still so ashamed of the sex we’re having? The drugs we’re doing? Is the portrait of liberation letting a little boy wear a dress or is it letting a trans woman wear whatever the fuck clothes she wants to wear?
I also worry that any gains it might seem like we’re making on the backs of these kids—“acceptance” of trans people by cis/straight people— rollback pretty quickly once adult trans people get involved. Will the same cis lady who feels sorry for the little boy who wants to wear a dress when he’s 8 be ready to give the 18-year-old trans woman a job, or rent her an apartment, or let her access the DV shelter? (Or publish her novel with graphic depictions of sexuality.)
And maybe the best argument for not using the needs of trans kids to try to change hearts & minds is that using kids for anything sounds like a pretty bad idea. We cringe at objectifying trans women on Sons of Anarchy but then we turn around and tear up and sniffle at the objectification of the trans kid in the New York Times? That smells fishy to me.
This charade may look harmless until Cathy Brennan gets involved with Fox News and a trans kid has born the brunt of the viscous attacks of cruel people—all because, as a political organizing strategy, we decided we were born this way and we put kids in front of the cameras. (Who can forget the creepy scene in Chaz Bono’s documentary when he gets into the jacuzzi with the trans kid? Jesus.) I think kids deserve better from us. I know we deserve better than one our most visible community leaders squandering her op-ed in the New York Times on a discussion of popular Halloween costumes.
Personally speaking, I don’t know if I was a transgender child, or if there’s something in my genes or if something was wrong with my intrauterine environment that made me a transgender fetus. I was a weird, tortured kid for sure, but my problems didn’t come from secretly being a little boy who wanted to wear ties instead of dresses, my problems mostly came from the fact that my parents hated each other so much that I could have been wearing a tuxedo that was on fire and no one would have noticed. I had bigger things to deal with than which bathroom I used at school.
For a few reasons, including the fact that children are consistently America’s poorest citizens, I think it’s going to be a very long time before more trans people come out as kids than as adults. What I hope we do for trans kids today in 2013 is work as hard as we can so that when these kids turn 18 (and age out of the interest of the SundayStyles section editor) they have the best world we can possibly make for them. I hope their experience of being an adult trans person is one with positive experiences at the doctor; is living in a safe home; is having a job; is being treated with dignity by their partner and the police, and everyone in between; is believing they deserve to be alive and have a future. I hope they have music to listen to, and books to read, and bars to drink in, and art openings to be bored at. I don’t think we owe the next generation anything less, whether they come out at 8 or 18 or 28 or 80.
On July 19th, 2009, Scott Loren Moore, one of the lead editors of Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, smacked me around pretty bad. At the time he was my boyfriend, and what occurred on this night was part of a larger pattern of intimate partner abuse. He has consistently sought to avoid any accountability for this behavior.
Scott is currently raising $50k via some kind of crowdsourcing scheme which will *allow* Trans Bodies/Trans Selves to be published by Oxford University Press. Why? It is unclear.
The original Our Bodies/Ourselves was published for $0.38 per copy. The point is, it might be worth it to give some thought about where your money is going, and whose ideals it is supporting. Read more about this ongoing conversation here.
There are a lot of really smart people involved in this project, and I’m not trying to shade them. I’m just sharing my part of the story. Decide what you want to do for yourself.
I’m (FTM) “survivor” of intimate partner violence myself, also at the hands of a trans (male) partner. Super curious to find out how many chapters of Trans Bodies/Trans Selves are going to cover IPV. Here’s the table of contents…I guess there is a “relationships” chapter? I guess in 720 pages there was no room for a “violence” chapter. :(
ppl say, Hussy, you have an un/impressive roster of power masc ex bfz, what are yr secrets for a good txt game? to which she has only one:
1. ACTUALLY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. txt back whenever you feel like it. if you find yrself sitting around like looking at the clock like omg do i wait 15 mins or do i need to wait longer how do i perform unavailability then i’m sorry son, you are dead in the water. you should go home and drop your phone in the toilet and hide under your bed and fast & pray until whatever it is you think you feel dies because nothing good can possibly come of it.
i mean direct from the Huss 2 you
Great advice, keeping in mind the key word being EX boyfriend.
How to Get a $30/month iPhone (or other smartphone)
Most regular iPhone/smartphone users pay $50-100 per month for their phone. I couldn’t get my T-Mobile bill under $80 per month even though I barely made any calls (one month I had used 2 minutes of my allotted 500) and I had been a loyal customer for 8 years. I really just kept it for the data service and the texting. Every time the bill came due it made me angry.
This April, I switched my smartphone and my partner’s iPhone over to another plan and each phone costs about $30/month, which includes unlimited texting, unlimited data (first 5 GB at high speed) and just 100 minutes of talk time, which is usually more than enough for me.
So far I’ve done this to a iPhone 4, a Samsung Galaxy III and another Android smartphone (for a friend) that was a couple years old. They all work great and I wouldn’t go back to my regular post-paid plan. Since this is kind of a steal, they don’t make it super obvious on their site how to sign up for it, but here’s how you can do it.
NOTE: This plan is only available on tmobile.com and walmart.com not via a regular store, so you need to order your SIM and activate it online. If you go into a T-Mobile store or to Wal-Mart, they won’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve activated phones on this plan using both Wal-Mart’s site and T-Mobile’s site and they both work, but T-Mobile is a little less complicated.
2) Unlock your phone, if it was brought from another carrier (like AT&T). We used Chronic Unlocks (http://chronicunlocks.com/) to unlock the iPhone 4 for $25, which had been on AT&T. NOTE: If your iPhone 4 is from Verizon or Sprint, there’s no SIM card and you can’t use it on T-Mobile or other carriers, so you’re out of luck. However, if it is a iPhone 4S or newer, you’re ok. Here’s how to remove your SIM card from the iPhone: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5163
3) This $30 plan is for new activations only, so you need a new prepaid SIM card. Purchase a T-Mobile SIM card for your phone for $10. Most newer phones use a “micro sim” but you can check by looking up your phone online or just opening the cover and looking at it. Order your new SIM here: http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/phone-sim-card it should arrive at your home in 4-5 days.
It will be on the third screen of your activation process.
“$30 per month Unlimited Web and Text with 100 minutes talk 100 minutes talk | Unlimited text | First 5GB at up to 4G speeds”
6) Fund your account with your credit or debit card. With tax it should come to $32.66 or so, depending on taxes in your state. Prepaid phone are not taxed with the same weird sneaky fees that post-paid phone plans are, so there aren’t any surprises.
7) If you do happen to run out of your 100 minutes, additional minutes are $0.10 each. I usually overfill my account by a few dollars just in case that happens.
8) If you change your plan, you won’t be able to switch back to this plan. It is promotional pricing only.
And that’s it. I’ve had zero problems with this plan so far, and noticed no performance degradation since I switch from the old plan. Even though it comes with 5 GB of data at high speed, I’ve never even used half of that in a single month.
There is a way to keep your old number (by transferring it to the prepaid T-Mobile SIM) but I didn’t do that because I barely used my number anyway. If you want to do that, just call T-Mobile before you activate it for info. You could also just port your number, for free, to Google Voice, and save yourself a lot of trouble.
It’s been about 10 years since Riley and I started making art and art spaces together. Today I put together an extended essay about what I have learned, and some of the principles are guiding us going forward.
It’s long enough that I broke it up into pages. Perhaps it will be of interest to you if you are trying to make an art community of your own?