December 28, 2006

16 is an awesome number because it's 4^2

Buying bras always makes me hate the world, so I try to make the experience as painless as possible by getting things that are on sale and that involve bright colors (I like bright colors). Today I went to the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale in search of wacky cartoon-patterned remainders for cheap... but no luck in my size.

At one point one of the three very petite women who helped me (all self-identifying 32A's - Vickie's is a weird place) told me half-apologeticaly and half-condescendingly "oh, well, sometimes when people are... really big, it's hard to find bras that fit."

Yeah, and it's hard to find pants, and shirts, and everything else. Thanks, I got that already.

I'm always pissed off when I can't find my size because the store doesn't carry it or doesn't even make it. At a 14 or 16, I doubt I'm even a standard deviation from the national mean of 12 [my estimate, based on CDC statistics for 1999-2002]. I hate walking into a store and seeing that the sizes in the women's department are XS, S, and M. I hate it when the pants only go to 10. I feel like walking up to the register and screaming HELLO I AM TRYING REALLY HARD TO GIVE YOU MY MONEY BUT YOU'RE MAKING IT DIFFICULT WTF YOU ARE DUMB AT LIFE KTHXBI.

Oh while I'm at it, I'd like to bitch about the Seventeen Magazine article I read when I was 12 that was all about how you can be a happy, useful person even if you're a gargantuan size 6. Thanks for the empowerment, but I was an 8 at the time so it was kinda lost on me.

And don't get me started on what it's like to shop with friends who are smaller than me. "Oh, this would look so cute on you!" "Too small." "This?" "Too small." and on and on... it's awkward and it's not their fault - it's the store's fault. It's the media's fault. It's Paris-fucking-Hilton's fault (or is it?)

I think that not being able to fit into all the girly things I was supposed to be wearing affected my gender expression a *lot*. I mean, why try to squeeze into girl's clothes when the boy's clothes have so much less drama attached? Of course, boy's clothes don't have room for butts or boobs... ARGH. Like I said in the beginning of this post, shopping for bras makes me hate the world. But can you blame me?

December 16, 2006

Happy _________!

I got this over an open list. Enjoy:


*To My Democrat Friends:** *

**Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes
for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress,
non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday,
practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion
of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the
religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice
not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a
fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated
recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but
not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose
contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that
America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America
in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the
race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual
preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms
as stated. This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It
is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It
implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for
herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable
at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as
expected within the usual and customary application of good tidings for a
period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting,
whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish
or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

*To My Republican Friends:**
*Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 13, 2006

LGBT is *not* a sandwich.

At long last, issue 7 of Quench is printed and ready for consumption by you, our loving, loyal, and totally hott readers. If you're at or near Harvard, you can pick up a copy at the BGLTSA resource center in Thayer basement starting tomorrow. If that won't work out for you, drop a line to any of the Quenchistas or to quench.zine@gmail.com, and we'll work things out. If you just can't wait (or you want to see Quench in all its high-res, full-color glory,) check out the Flickr set.

It's been over 2 weeks since anyone posted.

So you must be busy.

Where are you? What are you up to?

And for those of you who haven't heard, rumor is that the next issue of quench is almost ready to go to press.

November 28, 2006

Seizurific Caruso One-Liners Lineup...

... with the Sunglasses of Justice.

November 21, 2006

What is wrong with these people?

BU College Republicans Offer White Scholarship

Looking to draw attention to what they call the "worst form of bigotry confronting America today," Boston University's College Republicans are circulating an application for a "Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship" that requires applicants be at least 25 percent Caucasian.
Yes, Read that again. They said "worst form of bigotry confronting America today."These guys want attention so bad that I barely decided to write this but I thought y'all should know. Whoever contributed to that $250 should be ashamed of themselves. Anyone know if they got any grant money for this?

November 19, 2006

Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Tomorrow is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In Boston, the event and town-hall style gathering will be held at the Arlington Street Church (corner of Boylston and Arlington), tonight, from 7-9pm, with a candlelight vigil afterwards. If you are able, please come and show your solidarity.
The MTPC website has more details and the locations of other similar TDOR ceremonies in Massachusetts.
[Also, wtto tells us that the Boston TDOR will premier a video interview with Rita Hester's mother, Kathleen Hester, after her daughter's death.]

Over one person a month is murdered because of their gender identity/expression.

Here are the biographies of some of those we have lost in the past year.

The list of past deaths is available at http://www.rememberingourdead.org, which contains those deaths known to the transgender community or that have been reported to the media.
If you are able, attend a TDOR event in your area (or help to put one on). Let us all work to show our solidarity with trans communities, and stand against violence and hatred.

This is a song written by trans activist and host of GenderTalk radio, Nancy Nangeroni, in memory of Rita Hester, whose 1998 murder led to the first Trans Day of Remembrance events:

In Memory of Rita Hester

Skating late last night
I retraced the vigil path
Found two candles burning on Rita's step
So I added one more
and wondered how it felt
to feel the knife strike so close to home.

They called her a man
Called her a transvestite
They said she lived a double life
But we know better
We know the truth
We know why Rita died.

I still hear your mama's cries
Haunting the canyons of my mind
You were just too much girl
For somebody else's world

I gazed into the windows
of the bar where you were last seen
I searched each patron's eyes for signs of guilt
I heard again your mama cry
"Who took away my child?"
echoing off canyon walls of brick and steel

I still hear your mama's cries
Haunting the canyons of my mind
You were just too much girl
For somebody else's world

I still hear your mama's cries
Haunting the canyons of my mind
You were just too much girl
For somebody else's world

November 15, 2006

For the Christians among us. With love, from Craigslist.

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/den/229714193.html

November 14, 2006

"I don't want your pee-stained hands..."

So, I work in a library archive. In the archives, there's a lot of dust, and occasionally nastier stuff, like mold, red rot, and lizards. We also have conservation people that fuss with chemicals all day. All of which means that we have our own sink, with nice soap and hot-water taps that actually run hot and don't decide when you should stop washing by shutting the water off on you.

It is, all in all, a much nicer place to wash one's hands than, say, the bathroom sink.

This is why, as I was walking out of the library bathroom this afternoon, I bypassed the grubby, flooded, harsh-soaped sinks and headed straight for the door. A voice from behind me spoke up: "You're not going to wash your hands?!?"

Ok ... not used to being called out on my washing habits by perfect strangers, but what the hell, I have a reason, so I'll answer.

"Well," says I, "I work in the archives, and -"

"You work here? Ugh, that's even worse! I don't want your pee=stained hands all over my books!"

Right. Sensing that reason was wasted on anyone batty enough to argue over hand-washing in a public restroom, I felt no further obligation to this woman.

"Actually," I responded calmly and professionally, "the archives are a really interesting situation. You see, the documents we handle are all old and many of them are in poor shape, so a lot of chemistry concerns go into preserving them. Skin oils are especially bad for the old paper -" this is all true, so far, by the way "- but urea, one of the components of urine, actually neutralizes the oils and makes it safe to handle the documents. If you work in the archives, you're actually not allowed to wash your hands after you use the restroom, for the sake of the materials."

The lady was aghast - revolted and fascinated in equal measures. I was still a gross, icky pariah, but I was a gross, icky pariah with science on my side!

Too bad I have a conscience. I had to tell her that I was totally making shit up, and that, for her information, I was going downstairs to wash in the privacy of my own office-space.

But geez! I have never understood the motivation behind initiating an Unpleasant Bathroom Encounter, and frankly, I still don't. I see people not washing all the time, and while I think "ewww!" behind their backs, I don't at all understand why someone would actually say something out loud.

Anyway. Weird Unpleasantness in Bathrooms - it's not just for transfolk anymore...

November 07, 2006

N.Y. Plans To Make Gender Personal Choice

N.Y. Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice

Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.

November 01, 2006

What's wrong with Affirmative Consent Rules?

We have been discussing rape in my law school class and I've been surprised how resistant many people (particularly many men) are to the idea of affirmative consent laws. We have talked about a lot of different groups of actions that could be criminalized and categorized as rape or other crimes and it seemed to make sense to me logically that we should just say that you can't make someone have sex if they don't want to.

Then, I read an amazing analogy in my text book (Criminal Law and its Processes by Dadish and Schulhoffer 7 ed. p. 345, quoting Stephen J. Schulhofer, Taking Sexual Autonomy Seriously: Rape Law and Beyond, 11 Law & Phil. 35, 74-75 (1992).).

Consider this parable. A hospitalized athlete, suffering from chronic knee problems, consults a surgeon, who recommends an operation. The athlete is not sure. If the operation is successful, he will enjoy a long, fulfilling career with his team. But there are imponderables. The operation carries a risk of burdensome infection that can be hard to cure. The procedure may not produce the expected benefits. In any event, it is sure to be stressful in the short run. The athlete hesitates. There are clear advantages, clear disadvantages, and lots of uncertainties. What to do? Maybe he should postpone this big step for a while, see how things go without it. The surgeon is encouraging: “Try it. You’ll like it.” Still the athlete is unsure.

Now our surgeon becomes impatient. He has spent a lot of time with the case. The athlete’s hesitation is becoming tiresome and annoying. So the surgeon signals an anesthesiologist to ready the drugs that will flow through an intravenous tube already in place. One last time the surgeon (a sensitive, modern male) reminds the athlete, “You don’t have to go ahead with this. If you really want me to stop, just say so.” But the athlete, his brain still clouded with doubts, fears, hopes, and uncertainties, says nothing. So the surgeon starts the anesthesia and just does it.

Consent? Of course not. But why not? The athlete was not compelled to submit. Nobody forced him… Surely his silence proves that he was not unwilling. If he really objected, all he had to do was say so!

The author goes on to point out that we see the question about surgery as one about a patient’s autonomy. We require crystallized willingness in order to respect his autonomy. So why do you think people have so much trouble with the idea of affirmative consent for sex? (Note: Quite a few states have laws that say, basically, “no means no,” but only New Jersey to my knowledge requires affirmative consent by either words or action. Most states, my professor says, require either force or threat of force, and the traditional requirement is physical resistance in order for sex to be considered non-consensual. I’m not a lawyer so don’t take that as if I necessarily know what I’m talking about.)

October 31, 2006

abstinence-only education for 20-29 year olds!

Don't want this to fly under the radar. Did anyone else see that the federal government is providing funds for abstinence-only education for adults up to 29 years old who are unmarried.

Paternalism, perhaps?

What do you think? How do you feel about your tax dollars being used on sex "education" that ignores the reality of safer sex. (Or perhaps, I should say contraception - they only talk about pregnancy rates in unmarried women here. Maybe they should just turn everyone gay? Or at least teach them about a wider variety of sex.)

October 29, 2006

Is this news?

Transgender MP in toilet fracas

An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament's ladies' toilets.

A transwoman was harrassed in the bathroom! Holy shit, that never happens!

Seriously, though. I'm really glad that the BBC covered this story. It's good to see basic trans issues being brought to light by the international press. It's good to see that the article shows much more sympathy for Ms Luxuria than for Ms. Gardini. And it's good to see how stupid Gardini looks using male pronouns for Luxuria while the article uses female ones.

"It never entered my mind that I'd find him in there", she said. "It felt like sexual violence - I really felt ill."
...Ruling coalition deputies accused Ms Gardini of discrimination tantamount to racism.

Well, yes.

October 27, 2006

Judge's Federal Appointment Stalled Because of Commitment Ceremony Attendance

-A Michigan judge whose nomination to the federal bench is stalled over her appearance at a lesbian commitment ceremony in Massachusetts says she attended as a friend, not to give legal sanction. The nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff to be a U.S. District Court judge is on hold because Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is not satisfied with her response to questions about her views on same-sex marriage, a spokesman for the senator said Thursday.


WTF?! So just HAVING GAY FRIENDS who live 1000 fucking miles away in MASSACHUSETTS is enough to get you barred from public office by Republican hacks?

October 22, 2006

Rekindling my love affair with the interwebs

Grad school, I'm discovering, does one of two things: either it isolates you from the internet in an effort to do work and be productive and not flunk out, or it drives you toward the internet in a frantic search for ways to procrastinate. (If, like some friends of mine, your research focuses on the internet, you are driven toward the internet for productivity and you fuck up yet another binary. I knew there was a reason I liked my friends.)

Anyway, I've been operating largely in mode number one for most of this quarter, since I'm not really in the mood for the flunking out. But it's midterm season, and oh looky! I'm back.

That said, in an effort to maximize my non-studying time, I've gone back to reading my favorite sassypants-female-academic blog, Bitch Ph.D. And Dr. B delivers once again, with an analysis of voter intimidation in California, a scathing post about the CA Democratic Party's (screwy) priorities, and - the least serious, but my favorite - an attempt to determine the sexual orientation of her new neighbors:

Me: middle-aged southern californian men in pressed slacks and golf shirts: how can you tell the difference between "wealthy southern cali suburbanite" and "old queen"?
PC: politic answer: you can't! everyone poops...
Me: right, right.
PC: my answer: normally shoes, if socks match the shirt
PC: often car. often through jewelry.
Me: jewelry, check.
Me: i'll have to start checking out my neighbors' cars more closely
PC: old queens have a certain type of jewelry that tries to look young, but middle aged men often have a gold chain or an old high school ring or something
PC: I think though that this population you have stumbled across is very hard to tell: old queens have caught the peterpan syndrome as much as any gay man (unless they are in a committed relationship, and then the tend to "act their age") while middle-aged straight men are often going through a midlife thing.
Me: see? exactly. it's confusing.
Me: alas for the days of the earring code.
PC: as a result, they both act sort of desperate, immature, and solipsistic
Me: well, see, this is why i need to know. because if they're old queens, great: we'll get along like peas in a pod. but if they're middle-aged suburbanite straight guys, i don't want them to hit on me.
PC: you just can't tell by the bling and penis cars, you have to look for certain types of bling and penis cars. And, I'm not up on stuff enough to tell if a Land Rover is straight and Range Rover is gay gay gay.
It just keeps getting funnier. (PC, by the way, is blogger Phutatorius' Chestnut.) Anyway, it reminds me of the old game: "European or gay?" (Gay Europeans, as we all know, don't exist. Neither do gay middle-aged California suburbanites.)

My other fantastic interweb crush is the Queer Zine Archive Project, spiffily known as QZAP. We're not in there yet (we'll work on it, ok?), but in the meantime, you can download back issues of (among other damn cool zines):

  • Short and Queer (any guesses why yours truly - at just under 5' tall - loves this one?)
  • Mutate Zine (which I'm enjoying so much online that I've sent away for a paper issue)
  • Souhaq (a brand-new zine from Helem Girls, "Lebanese women with unconventional sexualities")
So, yeah. I could be studying for midterms, but ... why? (aside from the flunking-out-is-bad thing)

(ETA: the whole Blogspot-server-being-down thing is also a good incentive to get offline and start studying ... before I take out my frustration on my innocent computer)

October 16, 2006

"What about same-sex conception?"

This morning I passed a man in Harvard Square carrying a sign that said "What about same-sex conception?" and handing out flyers. Of course I stopped to get one, and because we love to be fully informed I've included the link, but I just wanted to post a couple of excerpts:

[Same-sex conception] is much riskier than IVF, which is still natural egg and sperm conception, and even cloning, because same-sex conception requires changing the DNA of at least one of the partners and seeing if it works. Trying this in humans would be completely unethical and unnecessary and waste our resources at a time when people still cannot get basic health care. Research should be stopped.

Incredibly, however, it is currently legal, and there are people who feel same-sex couples not only have the right to attempt to conceive children together, but that we have an obligation to continue to fund research to make it "safe and affordable" for them. One researcher quoted in GayCity News said he expects to see children come from stem cell derived gametes in "three to five years" if the research continues at the present pace! They are proceeding recklessly, spending freely, putting children at risk, and opening the door to a Brave New World [emphasis mine] of genetic engineering and manufactured children.

To protect children, as well as protect everyone's natural conception rights and preserve human dignity, we need a law that says children can only be conceived by the union of a woman's egg and a man's sperm. Conceiving children together should not be a right of same-sex couples.


Now the flyer goes on to explain that this is not anti-gay propaganda, and that it fully supports gay couples having children by adoption, IVF, surrogacy, and all other means currently employed. It does, however, say:

If we prohibit labs from attempting to create children that are not the union of a woman's egg and a man's sperm, then same-sex marriages will not have a right to conceive children together, which would fundamentally change marriage and put all of our conception rights in jeopardy. To protect our right to have children, we need to preserve marriage's right to conceive children together. Civil unions could be created to have all of the other [emphasis theirs] rights of marriage, but not the right to conceive children together.


Ok, politics of marriage aside, I'm really interested in hearing what you guys think about this issue. To foster discussion, some topics I think you should consider include:
-Imagining what it would be like to be able to have a biological baby with your partner
-The ethics of genetic engineering in humans
-Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, hopefully you've read it and can respond to the comparison as it was used
-Do you think that people have an inherent right to be conceived rather than 'manufactured'?
-The data they present (that I haven't included) also makes a big deal about the low survival rate of most offspring produced by this method--eg. of 450 mouse embryos made, only 10 were born alive and only 1 survived into adulthood. I don't know you all well enough to know how you stand on the pro-life/pro-choice debate, but I think it would be interesting to hear opinions from both sides about the costs/benefits of same-sex conception in humans. Important philosophical question: When does it become a person/life?
-Anything else you'd like to input or discuss

www.eggandsperm.org

Thinking of You

I missed the news over the weekend - I was spending some time getting trained by the GLAD legal InfoLine (more on that later). What I missed while I was gone was that the student protestors at Gallaudet were arrested.

I hope that no one was hurt and that those of you at Gallaudet are able to make changes that allow for long-term peace and dignity.

October 11, 2006

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

In case anybody in queerland has been allowed to forget, Quench reminds you that it's National Coming Out Day. In the interest of celebrating with you, allow us to come out:

Some Quench contributors are lesbians.
Some Quench contributors are gay men.
Some Quench contributors are bisexuals.
Some Quench contributors are other types of sexuality-queer.
Some Quench contributors are MTF.
Some Quench contributors are FTM.
Some Quench contributors are other types of genderqueer.
Some Quench contributors are fabulous allies to LGBTQQI people.*
Many Quench contributors are combinations of the above.


I think that covers it, not that any of these comings-out are at all surprising if you've read Quench for more than 30 seconds.

*Yes, by the way, allies do often have to come out as allies, and in many cases it can be risky and traumatic to do so. Being an out ally is gutsy and brave, especially when you have nothing personal to lose by staying silent. Today is a day for allies, too.

Today we celebrate our own comings-out, whether they were painful, liberating, ambiguous, or completely uneventful. Today we thank those that helped us come out to ourselves and to those in our lives whose opinions matter to us. Today we celebrate the strength that comes from being openly who we are, and the strength it took (and takes) to get there.

Today we consider that, for many of us, coming out is an ongoing process. Unless we're visibly, unambiguously, in-your-face queer-looking (and you'd be surprised how high the standard of "unambiguous" actually is for most people), people we meet will generally assume that we aren't queer at all, and the time may come in any given interaction where we have to correct that assumption. Even if we think we've come out to everyone possible and thus have nothing left to do today, some stranger on the bus may make pleasant small talk about our presumed non-queer lives, and we will once again face the choice whether or not to come out.

Today we think about those who have yet to make that choice, or who have chosen not to come out. We remember that although staying in the closet may seem like "the easy way out" to those of us who have fought hard for our identities to be recognized and accepted, the choice not to come out (or not to come out yet) is difficult, too, and is usually the result of careful deliberation. We stand behind those who haven't come out, and hope that one day they will feel safe enough to join us. Today we remember that, even if we are comfortable being open in our identities, our work is not done until others have the freedom to feel equally comfortable.

Today we stand behind those who are using National Coming-Out Day for its original purpose: to admit to themselves or to reveal to someone else that they're some form of queer, or some type of ally. We lend them some of our strength to help them approach the task, we celebrate with them if it goes well, we commiserate with them if it goes poorly, and we support them in their choice to be counted among our ranks. Each of us who is currently out was once in exactly the same place.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and today we stop and acknowledge all the complexities of outness. We give thanks that the state of the world for outlaws like us is as good as it is, we mourn or protest its failings, and we turn our faces forward and work to make it better.

Happy Coming Out Day, everyone.
----------------------------------------

Resources:

October 03, 2006

I'm pretty sure they're kidding.

This site is a big fuck you (er, so to speak) to abstinence-only education. Props to aurora.


Dear AbstinenceOnly,

My boss and I have been carrying on a kind of abstinent non-affair for several years now (He's married.) To sublimate the sexual tension between us we like to launch billions of dollars worth of high explosives from aircraft and submarines into heavily populated urban areas in the Middle East. Afterwards we watch films of the attacks with Donnie and Dick, our officemates, who like to wear leather masks and
ball-gags while masturbating and making soft gurgling noises.

I know it doesn't sound ladylike, but looking at those explosions and imagining all those people dying in a horrific spray of blood, fire, bone, gristle, tissue and sinew... it just gets me slicker than scum off a Louisiana swamp. Then my boss, bless his soul, reaches over and gently holds my hand.

-Condoleezza R. (address withheld by request)


AbstinenceOnly.com

October 01, 2006

Hybrid Lexus SUV Civil Unions Without Possibility of Adoption

B (12:27:14 AM): women are hotter than economics

A (12:27:16 AM): ARGH

B (12:27:18 AM): because economics are boring

B (12:27:21 AM): and women are not boring

B (12:27:24 AM): unless theyre republican

B (12:27:29 AM): then theyre repressed AND boring

B (12:27:34 AM): ta daaa

A (12:30:18 AM): you are going to marry a gay republican

A (12:30:39 AM): that will make me smile

A (12:30:45 AM): we will all come to your wedding

A (12:30:49 AM): it will be white and lacy

A (12:30:52 AM): with many lilies of the valley

B (12:30:53 AM): hahaha

A (12:31:03 AM): the pickup trucks in the lot will all have "W. The President." stickers on them

B (12:31:09 AM): HAHA

B (12:31:10 AM): NO

A (12:31:11 AM): because George's daughter Barbara W. Bush will be president

B (12:31:15 AM): i will marry a homo

A (12:31:17 AM): we'll call her barbie

B (12:31:19 AM): who is NOT republican

A (12:31:22 AM): i told you gay republican

A (12:31:25 AM): that's what's up

B (12:31:28 AM): that way my life wont be a big contradiction

A (12:31:32 AM): it will be

A (12:31:39 AM): and you will be unable to adopt children

A (12:31:42 AM): because she'll think gays shouldn't be able to

A (12:31:50 AM): and youll only have a civil union

B (12:31:51 AM): hahahaha

B (12:31:55 AM): this is so depressing

A (12:31:56 AM): because she'll think gays sholdnt be able to wed

A (12:31:58 AM): and it'll be in a city hall

A (12:32:08 AM): because gays shouldn't go into churches (they'd burst into flames or something)

A (12:32:16 AM): gay republican union for you

A (12:32:23 AM): then you'll become conservative, and you'll drive an SUV

B (12:32:26 AM): THIS IS SO DEPRESSING

B (12:32:27 AM): GO AWAY

A (12:32:30 AM): your last act of rebellion will be to make it a hybrid SUV

B (12:32:32 AM): IM GOING TO JUMP OFF A ROOF NOW

B (12:32:34 AM): ahahahahaha

A (12:32:35 AM): but it will be a lexus

B (12:32:37 AM): omg

B (12:32:41 AM): can you please put this on quench?


September 26, 2006

Let's Talk about Cell Phones.

I just read this article on wired about cell phones (they call them hell phones). I've been thinking a lot about my cell phone lately. I have been trying to turn it off for more and more hours per day. I know that just turning it off doesn't negate all of the problems but I am worried that mine is having a negative impact on my life and the world around me.

Here are just two of the many arguments presented on Wired:

Flexitime

Have you noticed that no one makes firm appointments anymore? Everything is sketchy, provisional, pencilled in. "I'll call you when I get there." "Something's come up; can we reschedule?"

The hell phone may be a boon to the spontaneous, but it's also a license for the slippery, the evasive and the passive aggressive to mess with your head.

Detached

Just as hell phones allow you to avoid committing yourself to a specific time and place, so they allow you to remain detached from other commitments. We switch our phones off in the cinema because without bracketing all other concerns and giving our undivided attention to the drama unfolding on the screen we'd be wasting our time and money.

But what about the drama of our lives? Why is it OK to interrupt that? Is there such a thing as "emotional multitasking"? Maybe that's what you were doing when you struggled to suppress rising irritation as you waited for my hell phone call to end ... I'm sorry about that. And I'll be sorry next time, too.

Specifically, with regards to the "flexitime" issue, this, in combination with email, makes it really hard for groups that are mixed-class to meet. Over-technology dependant people like myself are happy comfortable with meetings being scheduled or cancelled just hours in advance but then this sometimes leaves people without the technology out of the loop.

Let's talk. What do you think of cell phones? Do you have one? Do you not? Why do/don't you? What do you think about cell phones in general? What do you think about yours?

September 18, 2006

we just got plugged

Not that I'm that masochistic or anything but I read massresistance, a bucket of hate each day. Anyhow, we just got plug. Well, I'll call it a plug because most of the things they write about being terrible are actually awesome.

TTB and TTF also have recent mentions.

September 13, 2006

In town this weekend? Help the gays!

Come volunteer for MassEquality this weekend!

MassEquality is the organization leading the fight to protect same-sex marriage rights in Massachusetts. Over the past few months we've identified tons of nice folks who support same-sex marriage. This weekend, we'll be calling all of these people and asking them to vote for pro-equality candidates in Tuesday's Democratic primary. We urgently need help to make these calls, so come help us make this happen!

Our office is open from 11am through 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Please come by whenever you can and stay for as long as you can. Bring your friends!

MassEquality's office is located on the 11th floor (Suite 1125) at 11 Beacon Street in downtown Boston. We're right next to the State House. Google Map: [http://tinyurl.com/hr5ly]

If you have any questions, call or email Deirdra Dostou, MassEquality's volunteer coordinator. Her number is (617) 878-2356, and her email address is [DeirdraDostou@MassEquality.org]. For more information on MassEquality, check us out online at [MassEquality.org].

(For those who don't know, I work as a canvasser and field organizer for MassEquality. This message is going out over a couple of mailing lists, too, so if you're reading this for the fifth time I apologize...though if you are reading this for the fifth time, you're obviously way involved with the boston/cambridge gblt community, which means you're awesome, which means you should come volunteer.)

Thanks everyone!

September 07, 2006

a compelling piece

I read this today and it seemed like a well-articulated piece.

The first paragraph:

Progressive Christians tend to be non-judgemental and to feel that challenging the intolerance of others is itself intolerant. For that reason we often sit by silently when Fundamentalist Christians criticize homosexual persons. We tend to think of this as being open minded.
I reccomend a quick read.

September 04, 2006

Disneyland!

Just thought I would do some rearranging and make Disneyland more gay friendly

:-D

September 02, 2006

First Trans Politician?

Dana Beyer is running for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, and it looks like she has a fair shot at winning. Today the Washington Post ran an article about her campaign. My favorite quote:

She imagines that most voters who greet her at their doors know about her transition. "Word gets around about something like that," she said. But it almost never comes up. She has knocked on 5,500 doors, at least 100 a day, and recalls only one man, a former town official, who mentioned it overtly. "He just threw it in," she recalled, while ticking off the reasons he was impressed with her.
Her campaign site can be found at danabeyer.com.

I want YOU to be an international financier.

Seriously.
Kiva - loans that change lives

Kiva is a really cool microfinancing site that lets you loan small amounts of money (ie, $25) to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world.

You can read about the businesses that need sponsors, loan some money to them, and get updates on what they're doing with your loan.

Just think - the $25 that would otherwise just chill in your checking account could help someone build a future.

They've gotten a lot of good press. Check it out.

August 31, 2006

A Letter To My Assailant

(Crossposted to my website, Sex and the Ivy)

Dear Fellow Passenger on the Metro Rapid 720,

Today was supposed to be remembered as my last day of work at my summer internship. But after our encounter this morning, I’ll fondly look back on this Thursday as the day I got my ass grabbed on the bus down Wilshire.

At first, I wasn’t certain that anything inappropriate was going on. It was a crowded bus, I had a headache and a cough, and I was thirty minutes late on my last day. Being assaulted was the last thing I worried about. But after you brushed up against my hip one too many times, I began to take notice. I realized that despite close quarters, you were much closer than you needed to be. You positioned yourself so that my back was flat against your chest. I didn’t intend to vertically spoon with anyone on public transportation this morning. I looked down and you were wearing running shorts, which led me to deduce that it was your erection causing the uncomfortable sensation.

You don’t fit the typical profile of a pervert. You’re not middle aged, balding, wearing a trench coat. You’re an attractive black male about 6 feet tall with an athletic build. And most surprising of all, you’re young, no older than 25. If you had asked for my number, I would’ve probably given it to you.

I was willing to ignore the constant brush-ups that occurred every time the bus jolted. I was willing to walk away irritated, but optimistic about human nature. Besides, I could just scoot forward a little bit. If I wasn’t positive that you had inappropriate intentions, why cause a fuss? But then I felt your fingers graze my rear and you confirmed every suspicion, so I whipped my head around and asked loudly, “What are you doing?” Immediately, you apologized and looked sheepish more than anything. You didn’t even try to play it off like you were innocent. I have to give you credit for that.

Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a slightly instable, fed-up-with-men feminista who was having a bad day as it was, “I’m sorry” just didn’t cut it. Because this is the first time I’ve spoken up against behavior I’ve been subjected to countless times before, your apology just wasn’t enough. So forgive me for not letting you slide with your “I’m sorry.” Forgive me for insisting on making a scene in front of the 30 other people on that bus. When you tried to leave at the next stop – coincidentally, my stop – I had every intention of leaving this incident behind. But forgive me for turning back around, grabbing you by the collar, demanding, “Why are you touching me on the bus?” in front of all those onlookers. Forgive me for screaming repeatedly, “What makes you think it’s okay to touch women like that?” while pedestrians stopped and looked on. Forgive me for refusing to let you go, for kneeing you in the crotch repeatedly – I was trying to go for where it hurt the most. Forgive me, because you have to understand – you got me where I hurt most.

Do I feel empowered? Hardly. I’ve been recounting this tale to friends and coworkers (“I kicked the pervert’s ass!”) But the truth is, I don’t feel any more empowered for fighting back. My reaction today was the exception not the rule. This once, I didn’t stand for it. This once, I spoke up. But for this single instance, for every time I yell “fuck off” at an unwanted come-on, there are countless other occasions when I remain silent. For every woman willing to fight back, there are many others too scared to say anything. If it was just the two of us on the bus, would I have summoned up the same courage? If this happened at night, would I have dared to grab you by the shirt on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire? I don’t fool myself into thinking that I’m any safer because I fought back this one time.

So no, I don’t feel empowered, and no, calling you out on your behavior doesn’t make me feel like I’ve reclaimed the dignity I lost when you invaded my space. You walked away embarassed, but I walked away a little less whole than I was when I left my house this morning. I hope you realize that every time you and other men touch me, honk at me, leer at me, call to me, or otherwise mistreat me, you add ever so slightly to the collective fear of women in the world.

I am just a young woman trying to get to work in time. I am 5’ 2”, small-framed, and not very intimidating outside the boardroom. Everyday, I have to brace myself when I pass a man on the street because invariably, two or three will make a comment or give me a lookover that leaves me feeling victimized. So I’ve taken to mentally preparing for these instances. No one should have to look away hoping to escape notice on the street. No one should have to prefer invisibility to acknowledgement. You are just another concern on my already long list of worries. Last week, I had to laugh off a honk when walking my little sister to school. Last month, I had to maneuver away from a man who cornered me for my number on the Metro Rail. And because of you, tomorrow, I will have to worry about being groped on the bus.

August 28, 2006

Blast from the Past

So I've been reading a lot about colonial America lately, for reasons that are too improbable to outline here. Anyway, it turns out that ideas about gender were really getting scrambled on either side of the Atlantic during the first half of the 17th century. In 1628, this English theologian and fussbudget named William Prynne lamented that in these "Degenerous, Unnaturall, and Unmanly times," women were being "Hermaphrodited" by "Odious if not Whorish Cutting, and Crisping of their Haire." Men were also up to no good, what with all of that "Womanish, Sinful, and Unmanly, Crisping, Curling, Frouncing, Powdring, and nourishing of their Lockes and Hairie excrements." Um, no comment on that last part.

Anyway, check out what happened in Virginia during the following year. I'm quoting from Karen Ordahl Kupperman's Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America, pp. 54-55:

This preoccupation with clothes as symbols and with the need to get them right is most graphically demonstrated in the case of Thomas or Thomasine Hall, whose self-presentation was both male and female. The case came before the Virginia authorities in 1629 because several colonists, hearing that Hall sometimes dressed as a woman and sometimes as a man, had tried to find out the truth by forcibly examining Hall's body. Hall testified to having been christened Thomasine and being brought up as a girl. At age twelve, with adolescence approaching, Hall was sent to live with an aunt in London, and continued to live as a woman up to the age of twenty-two. When Hall's brother was pressed for service in the English expedition to the Isle of Rhe in France, Hall designed a new short-haired identity and signed up to go with him as a soldier. Upon returning to England, Hall once again put on women's clothes and lived in Plymouth doing needlework, until, deciding to go to Virginia, Thomasine resumed men's clothes and shipped out as Thomas Hall.

Because the specter of a person alternately assuming male and female dress comfortably was so disturbing, the General Court of Virginia set out to determine Hall's true gender, in order to dictate proper dress. After hearing sworn statements from men and women who had carried out the examinations, the court accepted Hall's claim to be both male and female, and decreed mixed clothing expressive of this double gender. Hall was ordered to dress as a man, but to wear a woman's cap and apron; the court also decreed that Hall's dual nature was to be "published" in the "plantacion where the said Hall lyveth...that all the Inhabitants there may take notice thereof."

Whoa.

August 27, 2006

Here we go again: gender, t3h gay, and why science and the media don't seem to know the difference


This is probably old news to the rest of the blogsphere, but old news is what you get when you watch reruns of "60 Minutes." Which is what I was doing this evening, when I caught this gem, apparently originally aired on March 12, 2006.

The Science of Sexual Orientation: Researchers Focus on Twins

[To psychologist Michael] Bailey, the stereotypes suggest there's a feminizing of the brain in gay men, and masculinizing in lesbians. ... But how and when does this feminizing occur? If the differences were already apparent in childhood, that would point to an early, perhaps even genetic origin — and that's what Bailey and Rieger are testing in a new study using childhood home movies.

In the study, volunteers were asked to rate each child's femininity or masculinity. Stahl took the test and rated two girls highly feminine.

When shown video of a toddler girl running a truck off of a table, Stahl observed, "She's really not girly. Isn't that interesting? She’s not girly." [A voice-over later reports that this girl grew up to be a lesbian. - M.E.]

She also observed differences in two boys, one of whom would grow up to be straight, while the other is now gay.


quiz: spot the queers by their "masculinized/feminized brains"
(images from meetup.com and wikipedia.org, respectively)

Intrepid reporter Lesley Stahl then got a "crash course in rat sex," and discovered that female rats exposed to testosterone immediately at birth were "profoundly indifferent" to the sexual advances of male rats - behaving, in effect, like just another red-blooded American boy rat. Castrated male rats, on the other hand, threw their plump little rat behinds into the air the moment they were mounted, just like a wanton temptress girl rat.

Stahl's conclusion? "So you created a gay rat?"

The rat sex scientist, the aptly-named Dr. Marc Breedlove, carefully corrected her: "I wouldn't say that these are gay rats. But I will say that these are genetic male rats who are showing much more feminine behavior."

The online version of the story, in the very next sentence, sums up the results with "profound indifference" to Dr. Breedlove's explanation. "So the answer may be," says 60 Minutes, "that it's not genes but hormones" which cause the gay.


now you, too, can be an expert in rat sex: the bottom rat's position is called "lordosis" and is only displayed when the bottom rat (usually female) wants to have sex with the top rat (male)

Interspersed between these helpful forays into toddler gaydar and rodentian copulation is the story of young Adam and Jared, fraternal twins and photogenic research darlings.
The bedrooms of 9-year-old twins Adam and Jared couldn't be more different. Jared's room is decked out with camouflage, airplanes, and military toys, while Adam's room sports a pastel canopy, stuffed animals, and white horses.

When Stahl came for a visit, Jared was eager to show her his G.I. Joe collection. "I have ones that say like Marine and SWAT. And then that's where I keep all the guns for 'em," he explained.

Adam was also proud to show off his toys. "This is one of my dolls. Bratz baby," he said.

Adam wears pinkish-purple nail polish, adorned with stars and diamonds.
...
Asked how he would describe himself to a stranger, Jared says, "I'm a kid who likes G.I. Joes and games and TV."

"I would say like a girl," Adam replied to the same question. When asked why he thinks that is, Adam shrugged.
I can't answer Stahl's question for Adam, but I'm skeptical of the insinuation all through the piece that Adam's self-described "like a girl" nature means he's going to grow up and perform lordosis with other Barbie-loving boys in the back alleys of the Castro. I wouldn't be at all surprised, my own self, to see Adam grow up into a loving, pearl-and-heels-wearing suburban wife and mother. I wouldn't even be surprised to see Adam grow up into the first hot femme transdyke to get into MWMF fair and square. (Ok, maybe I'd be a bit surprised to finally see them letting in a hot femme transdyke.)

Quick primer, once again, for you reporters in the back who were dozing:
  • not everyone who is feminine likes to have sex with boys. (See: lesbian femmes, metrosexuals.)
  • not everyone who likes to have sex with boys is feminine. (See: bears, em0's sister.)
  • not everyone born a boy grows up to be a man. (See: transwomen.)
  • not everyone born a girl who grow up to be men are ever ball-scratching manlimen at any point in their lives. (See: my darling femme transguys, you know who you are.)
  • sex, gender, and sexual orientation are not the same thing. (See: intersex people who aren't bisexual, bisexuals who aren't androgynous, etc.)
  • "gay" and "straight" aren't the only options out there; neither are "boy" and "girl." An ability to mix, match, blend, and start over as necessary may make your results a little more informative and a lot more credible.
Not that I really care why I'm a big old queer; but I'm just a little sick of hearing "gay manhood means acting like a woman" and "lesbians just want to be men" repeated as if it were science.

August 25, 2006

Mad at MWMF?

w00t

Okay, La Gringa understands that y'all are tired of the ranting that has been going on below re the idiocy of the Michigan Whatever We're Spelling Women Like This Week Music Festival's blatant promotion of bigotry toward members of the transgendered (and by default, also the intersexed) community...
Read more!

Comeback of the week

Overheard yesterday on L Street near 17th (Farragut North, Washington DC):


Cute hipster-dyke-type: Hey, that's a cool tie!
Well-dressed guy: Um, thanks, but - I'm not into girls.
Cute hipster-dyke-type (deadpan): Oh, don't worry, I'm only into guys on alternate Tuesdays. Since today's Thursday, I was just going to ask where you bought it.


Her: 1
Him: negative a lot

It was a cool tie, though.

August 24, 2006

Come now, don't be Shai!

Snagged from the bgltsa-open list:

Shaiwear, a French clothing company, has released an interactive x-rated catalog (NSFW). Basically, you choose your flavor - "men men", "women men", or "women women" - and then watch a pretty decent little porn vid. At any time, you can mouse over the action to freeze the frame and shop for the clothing that the models are wearing and the clothing that they've shed and thrown on the floor.

Oh, capitalism, what will you think of next?

Why Forbes Sucks: In Bullets, for Forbes Writers' Ease and Understanding

  • The title of a piece published 8/22 reads "Don't Marry Career Women"
"How do women, careers and marriage mix? Not well, say social scientists."
  • Attempting to use scientific justification for sexism and misogyny.
"If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble."
  • Accompanying pictorial, "Nine Reasons Not to Marry a Career Woman,"
Featured photos: dirty houses, depression, and a career wife cheating on her husband while wearing lipstick in Harlot Red.
  • Scant acknowledgment of physiological ability of men to clean, care for children
One or fewer mentions of opposable thumb possessed by not only women but men, making domestic tasks and childcare feasible for husbands as well as wives.
  • Writers scrape knuckles on floor, roast animals at desk.
"Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career."
  • Forbes didn't even stand by its piece, instead muting it and turning it into one half of a "point/counterpoint" within 48 hours.
  • Original piece ends with false surgeon general’s warning that career women are more likely to have children with severe medical deformities, contract certain diseases, become homicidal, and “pull a Lorena Bobbit”

Hell Freezes Over: Women Given (Slight) Control over Uterus

Although yesterday's "Smart Women Will Bite Your Dick Off" piece in Forbes was disheartening, today brings joyous news:

Plan B is to be OTC.

Okay, so it's only for women over 18. And WalMart is probably going to try to find a way around it. But don't let that spoil how amazing this development is. (Nor should we let this partial victory make us complacent, of course.) It's a sign of things to come. After all, this is a wildly contentious issue and one that has instigated serious turn-over as the Bush administration worked to implement its own views rather than, say, science.

From the NYT:

“I cannot recall any other issue in my 45 years of watching F.D.A. that has garnered this much attention at all levels of government,” said Peter Barton Hutt, a former general counsel for the agency who now teaches drug law at Harvard.

Michigan Women's Music Festival

MWMF smacks down with transphobia rampant:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lisa Vogel
August 22, 2006

MICHIGAN WOMYN’S MUSIC FESTIVAL SETS THE RECORD “STRAIGHT”

Hart, Michigan – Seeking to correct misinformation widely distributed by “Camp Trans” organizers, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival founder and producer Lisa Vogel released the following clarification:

“Since 1976, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival has been created by and for womyn-born womyn, that is, womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn. Despite claims to the contrary by Camp Trans organizers, the Festival remains a rare and precious space intended for womyn-born womyn.”

The facts surrounding the interactions between WWTMC and Camp Trans organizers are as follows:

In the months preceding this year’s Festival, held August 8 – 13, there was communication between a Camp Trans organizer named Lorraine and Lisa Vogel. Letters from Lorraine continued during the Festival, when they were hand-delivered to the Festival’s front gate from Camp Trans, which takes place on Forest Service Land across from Festival property. On Tuesday, August 8th, Camp Trans organizers inquired at the Box Office about Festival admission. They were told that the Festival is intended for womyn-born womyn, and that those who seek to purchase tickets are asked to respect that intention. Camp Trans organizers left without purchasing tickets. They returned the next day and were given the same information.

On Wednesday, August 9th, Vogel sent a reply letter to Lorraine which stated in part:

“I deeply desire healing in our communities, and I can see and feel that you want that too. I would love for you and the other organizers of Camp Trans to find the place in your hearts and politics to support and honor space for womyn who have had the experience of being born and living their life as womyn. I ask that you respect that womon born womon is a valid and honorable gender identity. I also ask that you respect that womyn born womyn deeply need our space -- as do all communities who create space to gather, whether that be womyn of color, trans womyn or trans men . . . I wish you well, I want healing, and I believe this is possible between our communities, but not at the expense of deeply needed space for womyn born womyn.”

Lorraine at that point chose to purchase a ticket. Vogel’s written request that Camp Trans organizers respect the Festival as womyn-born-woymn space was consistent with information provided to Camp Trans organizers who approached the Festival Box Office. “Does this represent a change in the Festival’s commitment to womyn-born womyn space? No.” says Vogel. “If a transwoman purchased a ticket, it represents nothing more than that womon choosing to disrespect the stated intention of this Festival.”

“As feminists, we call upon the transwomen’s community to help us maintain womyn only space, including spaces created by and for womyn-born womyn. As sisters in struggle, we call upon the transwomen’s community to meditate upon, recognize and respect the differences in our shared experiences and our group identities even as we stand shoulder to shoulder as women, and as members of the greater queer community. We once again ask the transwomen’s community to recognize that the need for a separate womyn-born womyn space does not stand at odds with recognizing the larger and beautiful diversity of our shared community.”

* * *

In an effort to build further understanding of the Festival’s perspective, answers are provided to questions raised by the recent Camp Trans press release (which contains misinformation):

Why would the Festival sell a ticket to an individual who is not a womon-born womon if the Festival is intended as a space created by and for womyn-born womyn? From its inception the Festival has been home to womyn who could be considered gender outlaws, either because of their sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, etc.) or their gender presentation (butch, bearded, androgynous, femme – and everything in between). Many womyn producing and attending the Michigan Festival are gender variant womyn. Many of the younger womyn consider themselves differently gendered, many of the older womyn consider themselves butch womyn, and the dialogue is alive and well on the Land as our generational mix continues to inform our ongoing understanding about gender identity and the range of what it means to be female. Michigan provides one of the safest places on the planet for womyn who live and present themselves to the world in the broadest range of gender expression. As Festival organizers, we refuse to question anyone’s gender. We instead ask that womon-born womon be respected as a valid gender identity, and that the broad queer and gender-diverse communities respect our commitment to one week each year for womyn-born womyn to gather.

Did the Festival previously refuse to sell tickets to transwomen? The Festival has consistently communicated our intention about who the Festival is created by and for. In 1999, Camp Trans protesters caused extensive disruption of the Festival, in which a male from Camp Trans publicly displayed male genitals in a common shower area and widespread disrespect of women’s space was voiced. The following year, our 25th anniversary, we issued a statement that we would not sell tickets to those entering for the purpose of disrupting the Festival. While this is widely pointed to by Camp Trans supporters as a "policy," it was a situational response to the heated circumstances of 1999, intended to reassure the womyn who have attended for years that the Festival remained – as it does today – intended for womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn, despite the disrespect and intentional disruption Camp Trans initiated.

Is the Festival transphobic? We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female. Within the rich diversity now represented by the broader queer community, we believe there is room for all affinity groups to enjoy separate, self-determined, supportive space if they choose. Supporting womyn-born womyn space is no more inherently transphobic than supporting womyn of color space is racist. We believe that womyn-born womyn have a right to gather separately from the greater womyn’s community. We refuse to be forced into false dichotomies that equate being pro-womyn-born womyn space with being anti-trans; indeed, many of the womyn essential to the Michigan Festival are leaders and supporters of trans-solidarity work. The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival respects the transsexual community as integral members of the greater queer community. We call upon the transsexual community in turn to respect and support womyn-born womyn space and to recognize that a need for a separate womyn-born womyn space does not stand at odds with recognizing transwomen as part of the larger diversity of the womyn’s community.

What is Camp Trans? Camp Trans was first created in 1994 as a protest to the Festival as womyn-born womyn space. Camp Trans re-emerged in 1999 and has been held across the road from the Festival every year since. A small gathering of people who camp and hold workshops and a few performances on Forest Service land across the road, Camp Trans attempts to educate womyn who are attending the Festival about their point of view regarding trans inclusion at the Festival. At times they have advocated for the Festival to welcome anyone who, for whatever period of time, defines themselves as female, regardless of the sex they were born into. At other times, Camp Trans activists have advocated opening the Festival to all sexes and genders.

What is the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival? It is the largest and longest running womyn’s festival in the United States. Since the first Festival in 1976, tens of thousands of womyn from all corners of the world have made the pilgrimage to this square mile of land in Northern Michigan. The essence of the Festival is that it is one week a year that is by, for and about the glorious diversity of womyn-born womyn and we continue to stand by our labor of love to create this space. Our focus has not changed in the 31 years of our celebration and it remains fixed on the goal of providing a celebratory space for a shared womyn-born-womyn experience.

Lisa Vogel, bite me.

Man, I frikken' hate the words "womon" and "womyn".

August 22, 2006

Oh, puberty...

If I'd seen this video, entitled "Molly Grows Up," when I was a kid, I'm fairly certain I would never have wanted to get past the age of nine.

Watch Molly as she discovers lipstick, boys, and most importantly - That Time of the Month.






(this might take a while to load, so you might want to pause it, let it all load, and then watch it, otherwise it may get all skippy)

Ok, so hopefully, those of y'all who get periods didn't have to watch this horrific explanation of the phenomenon; but how did you find out about your period? Who explained it to you, and what did they say?

For my own part, I don't recall anyone sitting down and explaining it to me - I didn't really get a Sex Talk, either. I think I learned most of what I knew by reading the boxes of my mom's sanitary products. When I was 8 or so, I thought maybe I'd started, but my grandmother said, "No, when you do start, there won't be any doubt. There'll be a lot of blood." And sure enough, when it happened, I woke up, looked down, and shrugged. Got myself a pad - I knew how from reading the box - and that was that.

But in any event, everyone I knew in school got their periods way before sex ed, so our school figured we knew about it anyway and didn't bother to discuss it. And because nobody told me anything, I was spared the myths that apparently some other people heard: you can't swim because sharks will eat you, your immune system is weakened from losing so much blood so you're more susceptible to colds, etc.

What about you? What were you told? How were you told?

August 21, 2006

Sometimes politics is just so local.

I love it when I see politics happenning at its most local grassroots level. Check out this story.

PS. For more information about the DC Mayoral race, visit here. In my opinion, this is always an interesting race because it's so personality-oriented and tends to be less based on political parties than other races I hear about. I haven't yet picked someone who I support. Any other DC folks who read this blog have an opinion?

Official release from Camp Trans.

Camp Trans sent out a press release with information about the changes in the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.

It is titled "Michigan Women's Music Festival ends policy of discrimination against Trans women."

The release quotes some festival-goers positive reactions:

"Seeing trans women inside the festival for the first time brought me to tears," said Sue Ashman, who attends the festival every year. "It's restored my faith in women's communities."

Ashman said "I have friends who have already committed to bringing themselves and others for the first time next year."

And a narrative of what happenned:
Organizers of Camp Trans, the annual protest across the road from the festival, say that every year at least one trans woman at Camp Trans walks to the festival gate with a group of supporters, explains that she is trans, and tries to buy a ticket. In past years, the festival box office has produced a printed copy of the policy and refused.

"This time, the response was, 'cash or credit?'" said Jessica Snodgrass, a Camp Trans organizer and festival attendee who spent the week reaching out to supporters inside the fest. "They said the festival has no policy barring any woman from attending."

But Camp Trans will not end.
With their original mission accomplished, organizers say Camp Trans will continue to be a place for trans people and allies to build community, share ideas, and develop strategies for change. And they will keep working together with festival workers and attendees to make sure trans women who attend the fest next year have support and resources.

Camp Trans will partner with a group of supporters inside the fest next year to establish an anti-transphobia area within the festival. Representatives from Camp Trans and A group of festival workers and attendees, organizing under the name "The Yellow Armbands," plan to educate people on trans issues and provide support to trans and differently gendered women. Festival attendees have worn yellow armbands for the past three years as a symbol of pro-trans inclusion solidarity.

And it has a really cute quote towards the end:
"This is not about winning," said Snodgrass. "It's about making our communities whole again. The policy divided people against each other who could be fighting on the same side. We want to be part of the healing process."

August 20, 2006

Why I love my job.

Completely by chance, I canvassed Kit Yan today. (I thought Kit looked vaguely familiar, snuck a peek at the postcard, and promptly made a complete fool of myself.) This occurred in the parking lot in front of an asian supermarket in Quincy. While a brawl involving two asian families, a parked car, somebody's stiletto, and several uniformed police officers occurred fifteen feet away. During a festival to celebrate, of all things, the August moon.

I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

P.S. Kit Yan supports gay marriage. Just fyi.

August 19, 2006

Update on MWMF (Michigan Womyn's Music Festival)

Rumor has it that their policies that exclude transwomen may be relaxing. No official press release from Camp Trans yet but we all wait for more official word of what's going on.

NYT Article on Transmen

There's an article on transmen in today's New York Times. It features predictably thoughtful and intelligent commentary on how transmen are choosing to come out to queer women by such august thinkers as the Michigan Womyn's Festival ("for womyn-born-womyn living as womyn") and Judith Halberstam:

“It’s as if the category of lesbian is just emptying out,” said Judith Halberstam, a gender theorist and professor of literature at the University of Southern California, San Diego, whose books include Female Masculinity.
(It's more hysterical (as in OMG!1! T3H TR4NZPEEPUL SUXX0R! in context.)

But the overall story seems pretty decent and the overall tone is summed up as "transitioning is very, very hard and people who suggest stupid theories about transmen just desiring male privilege or betraying da sistaz are misguided." (I thought about writing "stupid" rather than "misguided", then realised the article is educational and hence "misguided" is actually the appropriate word.")

And they mention Max from The L-Word (for good or worse) and how rabid fans are clamouring for him to be kicked off the show. Plus lots of interesting gossip about reasonably famous persons in the queer community who are/have genderqueer partners.

James Dobson wants to buy you shit

Seriously, he really does. Check this shit out. Focus on the Family is giving out free shit. Sure, most of it is hardcore fundamentalist books and the like, but they also have the complete radio dramatization of the Chronicles of Narnia (value: $80).

I just ordered $95 worth of swag. That's $95 FotF won't be spending making people I like miserable. w00t.

Slapping the Monnkey at the Bench

TChris at Talk Left reported the following story and I figured I couldn't say it any better so I just quoted it here.

Last year, TalkLeft noted the strange behavior of Oklahoma Judge Donald D. Thompson, who was pleasuring himself with a "male enhancement pump" during trials. Thompson was convicted last month of four counts of indecent exposure. He was sentenced today to four years in prison.

August 18, 2006

Condoms - the latest, safest fashion accessory!

Ok, I'll make this quick, since free internet and boring p-sets have made me way too voluble already today:

Reuters: Making Condoms Stylish for Everyone

DeRose said that creating wearable art out of condoms attracts people who normally wouldn't wear the prophylactics, let alone touch them or even utter the word.

"It opens the door," said DeRose. "We find that we're very, very successful."

Almost 400,000 condoms have been decorated and turned into brooches or pins around the world including India, Thailand, Senegal and Burkina Faso, he said.

Just this week alone, about 30,000 of the pins have been decorated at the conference, DeRose said.

People from different cultures and backgrounds wear them, trade them and even argue over safe-sex related topics while making them, including when to broach the subject with kids, DeRose said.

"We're not pushing it on people. They come to us and the information is there," said DeRose, adding his group teams up with the local information groups in the communities where his team visits.



Read the full article here.

(I want one.)

One more for our team.

I'm sitting in a café, theoretically doing phonetics problem sets. The problem is, this place not only has free internet access, but a slew of insanely cute children.

One in particular, a two-year-old sitting on the couch across from me with her nanny, is dressed in baby cargo khakis with pink flowers, a pink shirt, and a pink bow as big as her head. Actually, I don't do the outfit justice - the small solemnly informed me that her shirt was "light pink" and the bow was "hot pink."

The nanny - in very sensible khaki shorts, sneakers, and blue hoodie - earlier confessed utter bewilderment. "I was never this girly," she said, shaking her head. "I don't know what this is all about. I'd never have let my mother put a bow on my head."

But the girl was definitely a different species altogether. When the nanny said, "How about I take this silly bow off your head?" the girl firmly shot back, "No! Pretty!" and guarded it with her hands.

"What's pretty?" the nanny prompted.

"I pretty! Bow pretty!" She paused a little, as if looking for a stronger argument. "Hot pink!"

The nanny sighed. "She's gonna grow up to be a little princess."

I looked over my laptop, over the rims of my own hot-pink chrome eyeglasses - "Grow up to be? I'm pretty sure she already is a little princess."

I can't hide a smile of recognition as I watch them and continue typing this post. Wait till she hits the stage where she refuses to wear pants - I confused the daylights out of my second-wave feminist mother when I was about that age. Wait till she uses her chemistry set to blend perfume - I spent about a year of my childhood smelling like an entire French whorehouse. Wait till she tries on the heels in mommy's closet and you discover she can walk in them better than mommy can - I got a lot of my best shoes out of the "torture rack" in my mom's closet.

Oh, welcome to the world, baby femme. They won't know what hit 'em.

Christian Sex Toys

This is kind of amazing. Check out this Christian sex shop. As far as products go, their selection is somewhat tame, but hey, I'm all for promoting intimacy.

Thanks Wired!

August 15, 2006

Girl Comic

NS4W comic explain how queer women have sex with each other.

August 14, 2006

As long as we're channelling MasterCard commercials.

I wanted to share this with Quench.

Long day at work: potentially bad.

Said work being MassEquality: good.

Talking with my grandmother on the phone while driving back from work: good.

Being inadvertently outed by a car full of my (straight, interestingly enough) co-workers while on the phone with said grandmother: potentially really bad.

My heretofore homophobic grandmother, who has often uttered hateful and hurtful comments about "the gays" in my presence, being unexpectedly accepting and loving and open-minded: PRICELESS.

(Oh, and having a really frank conversation with said grandmother about how the idea of gay sex makes her uncomfortable, a conversation in which she used the terms ORAL SEX and RECTAL SEX repeatedly? PRICELESS.)

*bat dor happily dances around her apartment*

OMG

OH MY GOD YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME.

AIM IM with jungmusiclover.

jungmusiclover: hi

me: salaam calaykun

jungmusiclover: what's that

me: who's Jung Music Lover, the fan of the Mets or somefing?

jungmusiclover: i love music
and JUng is my name

me: salaam calaykun is Arabic. It means "peace be with you (f)"

jungmusiclover: cool

me: you are a girl?

jungmusiclover: no
are you

me: salaam calaykum, then
yes

me: where did you come from, exactly?
with the IMing me?

jungmusiclover: korean
livejournal
do you go to harvard

me: i graduated
1997

jungmusiclover: cool
did you like it there

me: you read my livegerbil innit? but there's not much there. yeah, i loved it
where do you live?

jungmusiclover: washington dc
you
where do you live

me: at Harvard

jungmusiclover: i dont go to harvard i am thinking about going there for grad school

me: what about my livegerbil made you interested in contacting me, if i may ask? (I don't get many random IMs)

jungmusiclover: ah

me: which school

jungmusiclover: NYU
are you arabian

me: no, i mean, which graduate school

jungmusiclover: math

me: FAS, then

jungmusiclover: yes
what was your major

me: East Asian studies - Chinese and Korean

jungmusiclover: wow that's cool
i am korean

me:

jungmusiclover: so i know a little bit about korean history

me: i'm afraid i've forgotten all my korean except for the food

jungmusiclover: are you korean

me: aniyeo, Scots-Irish, Cherokee, German-Turkish and some unclear amount of African American (slave) blood

jungmusiclover: oh
did you take korean at harvard

me: yes

jungmusiclover: cool
do you like korean food

me: it was hard. Everyone else in the class was Korean-American and could already speak or understand, but needed to "learn proppa"
of course I do
bibimbeob!

jungmusiclover: i had that today

me: i used to pig out all the time when I was at school in China

jungmusiclover: how did you like China

me: it was dirty, overcrowded, hostile, polluted - and totally fabulous

jungmusiclover: have you been to Seoul

me: no

jungmusiclover: it's really overcrowded there also
random question: does size matter?

me: size?

jungmusiclover: penis i am a bit worried about my size

me: are you fucking kidding me?

jungmusiclover: no i am not

me: bu-bye

jungmusiclover has been blocked

being a transsexual = people asking you about the status of your genitals
being female = people talking about their genitals
being a lesbian = people talking about their genitals, your genitals and the genitals of an unnamed third female party
being a lesbian transwoman: PRICELESS

August 13, 2006

Baby Natalie strikes again

Click to enlarge (unless Bat Dor or Spork or someone can make it legible and make it fit):


Darrin Bell = my new personal hero. That is all.

August 09, 2006

Generally, my generation wouldn't be caught dead working for The Man

(with gratitude and credit-where-it's-due to Ani)

If queer non-profits were literature, the Human Rights Campaign would be Mark Twain. They're the old dead white guy who's indisputably important and influential, and sure, he's politically incorrect by modern standards, but there's no denying he was a good writer and pretty darn radical for his times. So, yeah, HRC's pretty retrograde on a lot of issues, but if you want to protect marriage and build bridges between Fortune 500 companies and their gay financial analysts, there's absolutely no one better for the job. And yes, their trans politics have sucked giant monkey balls for quite some time (though they're better than they used to be) - but if you want a quick, relatively well-paid summer job in the queer nonprofit world, you take a job canvassing on their behalf.

Which is exactly what I did for a couple weeks, before heatstroke forced me to quit. In that space of time, I had some well-nigh-unbelievable encounters, which I thought I'd share with the Quench-reading world for your amusement.

*knock knock*
Person At Door: Hello?
Me: Hi, my name is M.E., and I'm with the Human Rights Campaign. We're the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group, and we're -
PAD: Oh, I'm already a member of Human Rights Watch. You should keep better records and stop bothering people!
*slam*

(And you should pay better attention and not slam the door in people's faces before they're done talking ... I'm pretty sure HRC would agree torture and civilian-killing are bad things, but that doesn't make them the same as HRW.)

Me: ... so it's important that you give as generously as possible so we can keep getting out there and having an impact!
Nice Donor Lady: Sure, absolutely! *takes out checkbook* Who am I making this out to?
Me: Human Rights Campaign.
NDL: Human ... Rights ...
Child of NDL: Mommy?
NDL: Mommy's busy, sweetie.
Child: Mommy, I don't feel so - *begins to projectile vomit*
NDL: Ummm, can I mail this in?

*knock knock*
Medical Condition Person: Hello?
Me: Hi, my name is M.E., and I'm with the Human Rights Campaign. We're the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group and -
MCP: Look, I'm passing a kidney stone/I just got my wisdom teeth out/I'm just house-sitting for a friend who's napping from chemotherapy/I'm just cleaning out my late mother's possessions. Now's really not a good time.
*M.E. slinks away - what do you say?*

*knock knock*
Liar Shouting Through Door: Hello?
Me: Hi, my name is M.E., and I'm with the Human Rights Campaign. Is Joe Renewal home?
LSTD: Are you a solicitor?
Me: Well, as I said, I'm with the HRC, and I'm here to -
LSTD: So you're a solicitor.
Me: Er, I'm sorry, is Mr. Renewal home? Because I'm just here to thank him for his generous support of us in the past -
LSTD: You're a solicitor. Well, *long pause* Mr. Renewal doesn't live here anymore. And if he did, he wouldn't appreciate solicitors coming to his door.

(Oh, for pity's sake ...)

*knock knock*
Cranky Old Bigot: Hello?
Me: Hi, I'm M.E., and I'm with the Human Rights Campaign. We're the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil right's group, and -
COB: *spits at me, misses* I don't approve of lesbianism!
*door slams*

(That was ... disheartening.)

Then there was the couple of former HRC staffers, who were disgruntled and didn't donate. I talked to one of them and left, but shortly thereafter, her partner came outside and flagged me down. We chatted for a little, and I said:

Me: Yeah, well, we're both working at queer non-profits, too, although not the same one. I'm dating an intern at [Queer Non-Profit With Much More Street Cred.]
Disgruntled: Wow! And your partner lets you work for HRC?

(Yeah! And your partner lets you say stupid things like that?)

*knock knock*
Confused Lady: Hello?
Me: Hi, my name is M.E., and I'm with the Human Rights Campaign. We're the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group, and we're out here today continuing our work against discrimination. You may have heard that Congress is trying to push through an amendment to the Constitution that would ban marriage for same-sex couples -
CL: Wait, wait, does this mean you're a lesbian?
Me: (wanting to simplify matters a little) Er, well, ma'am, actually, I'm a bisexual, but you're in the right ballpark, yes.
CL: Well, child, what would you go and be a lesbian for? Don't you want to get married, and raise a family?
Me: *look down futilely at anti-FMA petition* Er, yes, ma'am, I do.
CL: Well then!
Me: Er, well, I guess I'm off to go spread the good word elsewhere, then?
CL: Child, I've read the Word, and that is not what it says.
*door closes none-too-gently*

It wasn't all bad, though, I have to admit. For every creepy old man that lured me into his house in order to call me a pedophile and give me Bible tracts, there was a ten-year-old who ran out to give me her allowance because "those people you were telling my dad about are stupid, and I wanna help!" For every totally infuriating house of complacent lesbians who had given to ACT-UP in the nineties and thought their job was done, there was a house of ultraconservative Republicans who invited me inside during a thunderstorm, toweled me off, and gave me a refill on my water bottle. For every door where the mere mention of "gay and lesbian civil rights" provoked an airing of all the wrongs of affirmative action, there was a single mother who said, "sure, I think it's a sin, but I had a baby out of wedlock, so I'm a sinner too" and proceeded to raid her kid's piggy bank for five bucks. Even the spitter turned out positively: one of her neighbors saw me on the curb crying, and in a fit of civic pride assembled an honor guard to take me around the block to show me that this was not what her town was about!

My secret favorite house, though? This one:

*knock knock*
Person At Door: Hello?
Me: Hi, my name's M.E., and I'm with the Human Rights Campaign. We're the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group, and -
PAD: I know who you are.
Me: Oh, great! Well, we're out here today continuing -
PAD: Listen, if you're asking for money, you should know that I just gave $2,000 to the Task Force last month, and I don't plan to give a penny to the HRC until their trans politics improve significantly.
Me: Well! I can certainly respect that! Have an awesome day!
*door closes*

I wonder, can I tell someone who's not giving me money that not only do I respect them, I kinda agree with them, too?