March 30, 2006

I am Alive

I am alive. I am on the Intarwubs here in the Montréal airport awaiting my wheelchair (standing is painful, there's no way I'm standing through Customs) and I'll be home in Boston about 1515h (that's three-fifteen pee emm, folks) and back to my actual house about an hour or so later.

I expect I'll be pretty busy shoving nine-irons up my houhou and wooing the spankster, but if you are in town, gimme a ring tonite. Or tomorrow or whatever.

Ok, gotta run...

March 28, 2006

More Porn in the Classroom

Click here for the TIME story

I remember a few years ago there was an uproar at Berkeley because a professor that taught a class on pornography required all students to take pictures of only their genitals, and the first class assignment was to match the genitals to the correct person.  For their final project, the class went to San Francisco and watching a live orgy in a gay club.  Taxpayers had a field day with that one.  Craziness

But it looks like more schools have since decided to add porn studies into the classroom and managed to give it credibility.  

March 26, 2006

Mad Skillz

My mom sent me an email this morning with a subject line starting with "Fw: Fw: Fw:". Since most things that are passed around the internet are...less than true, I opened the email with skepticism. But then there was amazing art. And I googled, and it's for real.


3D pavement art. Wicked cool. You can check out more of his stuff here

Anyway, that made my morning.

The Commercial Closet.

The website catalogs LGBT-themed advertisements in both print and television. For each ad, the site provides a synopsis, screen stills, video, and a rating - does the ad convey a positive or negative message regarding queerness?

The group's mission statement:

[The] Commercial Closet Association educates and influences the world of advertising to understand, respect and include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) references in advertising to achieve a more accepting society while achieving successful business results.
Three ads I like:


"Mess" (Guinness)


"Marriage" (Johnny Walker Red)


"Undress an Orange" (I think some Israeli industry group that lobbies for fruit?) (Addendum: pun unintended.)

Look what you can make out of Legos!





March 25, 2006

Sovereignty and South Dakota.

"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty." President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, says "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."
Not sure whether there's fire beneath this smoke, but a girl can hope.

March 24, 2006

Transgender at Harvard?

I thought I would share this statement from the Harvard Transgender Task Force. Please get involved, and I hope to see everyone at the rally!

Are you transgender at Harvard? Are you the partner or family member of a trans person?
The Transgender Task Force at Harvard has declared Wednesday, April 19 Transgender Awareness Day. That day we will be hosting a rally at 1 pm on the Science Center lawn to raise the visibility of trans people on campus and to call for policy changes necessary to improve the lives of trans and gender-variant people at Harvard.

At the rally we will be giving Harvard-affiliated trans people, their partners, and the family members of trans people the opportunity to make brief statements (from a few sentences up to 2 minutes). The statements will be read anonymously by someone from the Trans Task Force.

At our Trans 101 trainings, the number one question we receive is: "How many trans people are there at Harvard?" Even though most people know a trans person at Harvard, they are likely not aware that that person is trans. This project is designed to let people know that there are many trans people at Harvard and to highlight some of the difficulties they face.

We are hoping to collect as many statements as possible. Please help us by submitting a statement in the following format:
  1. I am a (staff member, alum, junior at the College, professor, etc. Optional: more identifying info such as major, department, etc.)
  2. I am (genderqueer, the daughter/mother/partner of a trans person, a transwoman, an FTM, etc. Optional: your race, class status, religion, or anything else that is important to your identity.
  3. I am not comfortable speaking out publicly because...
    (The more specific the better. If you have had a specific negative experience as a result of disclosing, please feel free to include it.)
  4. But I would like to say...(A comment on why a specific policy change is important to you, an experience you would like to share, or whatever you would like to convey. Again, please be specific.)
Please email your statement to harvardttf@gmail.com by April 12 (or post them as a comment on this post), and indicate whether or not we may also post your anonymous statement on our website, which is being developed. If you would prefer to deliver the statement yourself and/or not be anonymous, just let us know. (If you would like to write a longer piece for the website, let us know that as well.)
Thank you for your help, and see you at the rally!
- The Transgender Task Force

Trial about gaybashing goes on

The trial of the guys who are accused of beating up Galo had a hearing yesterday. Next court date in May. It was covered in the crimson in this article.

Interesting details although it clearly wasn't a very important hearing.

Also, the crimson occasionally says stuff that is just plain stupid.

Read the article for choice bits like this:

Garcia said yesterday that he was disappointed with the progress of the trial and the number of postponements that have taken place.

"“It'’s disappointing,"” he said.

Like in that paragraph above. I'm certainly glad that they explained what he meant by "It's disappointing."

I hope that the Crimson continues to cover this case, and that the trial goes well. Hopefully, they will keep the spotlight on this case, which is important to many people concerned with campus safety.

March 23, 2006

Criteria you use to choose a bathroom

Hi everyone!

I have a sort of straw poll kind of question for quench. What criteria do you use to choose a bathroom?

The other day, I spent the day studying away in the library. Because I didn't leave the building much, I used the bathrooms here twice. Here is what happened.

  • The first time, I went into the women's bathroom. While I was washing my hands, a woman came in, looked at me, walked out, checked the sign, came back in, scanned me again, looking like she was checking if I was dangerous, and I said "don't worry, I'm on my way out" and she seemed to chillax a little. But, I mean, I didn't mean to make her feel uncomfortable. In fact, I personally feel pretty comfortable in both bathrooms on a personal level. I tend to feel safe - I see myself as pretty big and pretty strong and not in more physical danger in one than in the other. But I believe in women's safety, so I decided that because of what I was wearing today, I wouldn't go into the women's bathroom again.
  • Then, a couple of hours later, I went to the men's bathroom. That was the other option. Someone there informed me that the bathroom was the men's bathroom and asked me what I would think if he used the women's bathroom and could I just give him some privacy bc he felt uncomfortable with me there (he was at the urinal - I've never had someone at the urinal talk to me before).
So, here's the thing. I am fine using either bathroom, but would rather not create awkward situations or make other people uncomfortable. If I'm binding tightly, or if I'm at home out of queer-filled MA, I always use the men's bathroom because I pass pretty well, but I don't always bind because it hurts and I'm lazy, and I don't pass in MA without binding the way I do where I'm from.

So, given that I'm comfortable with either, what criteria should I use to decide which one to use in order to not make others feel awkward? I especially don't like to make anyone feel unsafe. What criteria do you use?

Things I have thought of (examples of criteria I use):

  • current haircut
  • time of day
  • clothing
  • binding/not binding
  • whether I'm with a friend
  • location of urinals relative to stalls, etc.

What other factors do people use or recommend?

Even if you're someone who doesn't usually get questioned in the bathroom, what kinds of things make you more or less comfortable in terms of other people in "your" bathroom?

The Crimson Covers Trans Task Force

The Crimson had an article about the Trans Task Force today. The subtitle of the article was "Harvard's non-discrimination clause doesn't cover its transgendered students, faculty, and staff. Advocates are working to change that."

It is actually relatively fabulous (although it does say that TTF wrote Trannys Talk Back, which, if you look at quench archives, is proven untrue.)

Here are a couple of great quotes from the article:

“I can say the way this issue is being treated is as though its not a priority for the administration, and it’s a priority for us,” Feldstein says. “There are students right now who want to see that they’re not going to be discriminated against. They’re not gonna wait 20 years for caselaw for the univeristy to decide whether it’s O.K. to discriminate or not.”
Some other great quotes about trans harvard affiliates speaking anonymously (cough! cough! quench)
Some advocates say that the best spokespersons are those who are transgendered. The catch: until the environment is safer, those students do not feel comfortable coming forward. Of the students and faculty The Crimson identified as transgendered for this story, all preferred to speak anonymously to avoid repercussions.

“It’s a challenge that every movement like this has faced—in any sort of push for non discrimination, you start with a group that by definition isn’t protected. It makes it very difficult for that group to openly or vocally demand certain things,” says Thoreson.

Here is some more:
According to activists, the issue is bigger than it seems. The nondiscrimination code doesn’t only affect students. Although Harvard boasts about extending employee benefits to same-sex couples “long before the practice became commonplace in the region,” it continues to deny written protection against discrimination towards employees who identify as transgendered. As one of the largest employers in Massachusetts, Harvard’s non-discrimination policy potentially affects a large number of people.

“The current absence of such a statement carries its own strong–and very unfortunate–message and we want to see this remedied very soon,” says Robyn T. Ochs, a member of the executive Committee of the LGBT Faculty and Staff Group and a staff member in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department.

So, I hope people are getting geared up for the upcoming campaign.

March 21, 2006

Check out this game.

I wonder where the proceeds go.

March 20, 2006

Catching up on last week's news after thesis obsession

This article proposes specific ways that elite colleges could stop admitting almost entirely rich people.

It reads kind of like a paper icarus wrote a long time ago, except that it was published in the Boston Globe, unlike icarus' paper.

Suggestions include:

  • make universities disclose admit rates for legacy vs non-legacy students
  • eliminate early admissions (really, the article says admissions in general but makes a better case for elminating early decision than early action, I think)
  • less spaces reserved for athletes (i'm not sure if it matters which sports we're talking about)
  • work toward class diversity in admissions. Article says that low-income candidates do not "receive the kind of preference still accorded to legacies and recruited athletes"

I quote below the last two paragraphs of the articles with some questions that I hope thoughtful readers will respond to:
But remedying the massive underrepresentation of poor and working-class students will not be easy. It will require, at the very least, a forthright acknowledgment of the problem as well as the adoption of specific measures to address it. Class-based affirmative action programs of the type developed at the University of California in the wake of Proposition 209 (which banned race-based affirmative action) would be a useful first step. But only a redefinition of merit that acknowledges the profound differences in educational opportunity holds a real possibility of bringing more than token class diversity to the Big Three.
What would a redefinition of merit look like if you were making the decision? How would schools define merit? i know the decisions are all fairly arbitrary but there are obviously some critera. what should they be?
Taken together, reforms in these four areas would bring the Big Three a bit more into conformity with their professed ideals but would not dramatically transform them. Yet the tendency of universities to place institutional interests over the interests of students and the broader society suggests that even such modest measures are unlikely to be implemented unless powerful pressure - whether internal, external, or both - is applied. Real change does not come without cost; it is possible, for example, that the elimination of early admission programs might place the Big Three at a competitive disadvantage in the "positional arms race" in higher education and that this disadvantage might even be reflected in a drop in the despised but feared national rankings. But is it too much to ask the leaders of our most prestigious institutions of higher education - institutions that constantly proclaim their commitment to the ideals of meritocracy and inclusion - that they exhibit the same integrity and firmness of character they demand of their applicants?
Is change in these institutions really hopeless? I know we are asking for people who have benefitted from institutions like these ones to radically change them. Is this impossible?

Picture from the article and caption


caption: Harvard's commencement shows plenty of racial diversity among the graduates, but the author says it lacks class diversity. (Reuters Photo)
Clearly, the implied idea that Harvard has plenty of racial diversity isn't true, but it also seems like it's not a necessary presupposition for the class argument so I hope we can talk about class here.

If it asks you to log in, just go to bugmenot.com to get a login.

what do people think?

At risk of being that kid who always has his nose in a book, I've been thinking about something for a long time.

Leslie Feinberg, in Trans Liberation, writes this:

Please feel free to refer to me as "he" in this transgender setting, since in doing so, you are honoring my gender expression. Outside the trans communities, many people refer to me as "she," which is also correct. Using that pronoun to describe me challenges generalizations about how "all women" act and express themselves. In a non-trans setting, calling me "he" renders my transgender invisible.
Does this resonate with anyone? What do people think?

March 19, 2006

Binaries are so simple

I was doing the reading for my government class, and I learned some very interesting facts about binaries. The article was an excerpt from Herbert Asher's book "Polling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know". In a discussion of how subcategories can be useful for polls done to gauge public opinion, I read:

"In many instances the categories used for creating subgroups are already established or self-evident. For example, if one is interested in gender or racial differences, the categories of male and female or white and black are straightforward candidates for investigation. Other breakdowns require more thought. For example, what divisions might one use to examine the effects of age? ..."
So apparently male/female is simple and straightforward. It is the perfect way to understand statistical information. I guess if you don't fit in that binary, you're a statistical outlier? And similarly, what about race? Apparently white and black is very clear. I hope I don't need to explain why this is so obviously horrendous...

In the meantime, sending my love to Canada...

Canadia Woman, 4

AHHH I'M SO NERVOUS! AHHHH!

Canadia Woman, 3

This B&B rocks my world. I just had a lovely evening sleeping and using the intarwubs, got up for the most amazing breakfast by our hosts, a visit from her & her partner's neighbours, morning dog-wrestling with their hungryhungry 12yo yellow lab, stalking the cats next door (cats can't resist my charm, no matter how feral) and drinking caffeine.

I'll lay about the B&B today (to the horror of my mother, who will go into Montréal doing mom things, but she's going to be living here ten days, isn't agoraphobic and doesn't have major surgery first thing in the morning). I plan to read, explore the incredible art covering this very French home, sit in the solarium and do intarwubby things, listen to my iPod, practice Qur'ânic Arabic and French, yadda yadda. I also want to plow through Angels & Demons, which is the 'precursor' to The daVinci Code.

Yes, I know it's terrible, but I love mysteries and the movie is coming out and Audrey Tautou, who is my hero, will play Sophie Neveu. Also, A&D is about the Alamūt Nizārī Sevener Ismā'īlī Shīˤa of Dāˤī Hassan as-Sabbāħ - the "Assassins" of legendary fame.

Now, if I could only figure out which direction is South, I'd be in better shape.

March 18, 2006

Saying the F-Word

The woman on the panel tonight called herself a "princess stud" (a label I love and secretly wish I could use to describe myself). But as she twiddled her dangly earrings between perfectly-manicured fingers, she quickly identified herself (I thought) as one of us: "I insisted they let me on this panel," she proclaimed, "because they never have a femme viewpoint on these things." (The panel was gathered to discuss the movie The Aggressives.)

Great, I thought. I like hearing proud, articulate femmes talk about gender in the queer community. And she's right, there aren't usually femmes at this type of thing.

But it seems that, whatever viewpoint she was there to represent, she was not a femme. Y'see, she said so herself: "I could never be a femme," she said - "I stand up for myself, know what I mean? I'm not always gonna be in there cooking for you and doing what some stud says; that femme thing just isn't what I'm about, you know?" [I'll note that the evening was primarily a discussion among African-American lesbians, although there were people of various races, genders, sexual orientations and ages there, and the comments I'm about to gripe about came from a variety of people.]

As the evening wore on, more and more women talked about the importance of being themselves, about those poor deluded women who let themselves get pigeonholed into "boxes," and about how they just couldn't stand it when lesbians insisted on "playing heterosexual roles."

Maybe I don't understand because I'm not a lesbian ... but I, for one, am not playing a role.

Yes, I understand that for many people, "butch" and "femme" (and "stud," for that matter) are about relationship dynamics rather than identities. I understand that, even in a relationship between two people of similar genders, the one who is more dominant may end up being called "butch" and the one who is more nurturing or seductive may be called "femme." And I understand that the extent to which we fulfill various functions in a relationship may vary based on who we're partnered with, so that someone who is usually more passive and quiet may turn tougher in a relationship with someone even less dominant than she.

But the horror with which people reacted when one of the femmier women mentioned that butches and studs aren't the only ones who like to strap it on points, I think, to a problem with the way we're using the terms "butch" and "femme." Because if "butch" and "top" and "masculine" and "the man of the house" are all synonymous, then we have reduced butch and femme to the slots we fill in a relationship - to, dare I say it, roles. And yes - maybe there is a problem with a rigid system that says that you have to be a femme if the person you're dating is more masculine than you, or that you have to be a top if your partner wears a skirt, or that femmes can't strap it on.

But that's not what those terms are about for a lot of people. For example - I can't say I've ever been the more masculine one in a relationship, (because, heck, I don't think there's anyone I'm more masculine than). But I've certainly been the pursuer, I buy my partners flowers more often than I ever receive them, and no matter what my partner IDs as, I feel no obligation to do as they say. And I have no objection, in principle, to wearing a strap-on, if you can find me one purple and glittery enough.

Regardless of who I'm with, I wear my sexuality with a flamboyant femininity. Regardless of who I'm with, I love to fuck - excuse me, make love - but I'd usually rather snuggle. Regardless of who I'm with, I draw people out and try to comfort them when they reveal their problems. Regardless of who I'm with, I choose skirts over pants, heels over flats, lipstick over bare skin. Regardless of who I'm with, I love to hold and be held, to give and receive kisses, to have my lover notice and revel in my breasts, my hips, my curves. I'm basically your dyed-in-the-wool femme - whether I'm with a butch, a boy, another femme, or no one at all.

That's my gender - not my sexuality, and not my relationship role. It doesn't make me a bottom, a doormat, or a straight girl - not that any of those are synonymous. And it certainly doesn't mean that I need a man-figure in my relationships to "fulfill a butch role." If I'm in love with a butch, or a man, or anyone more masculine than I am, it's for who they are, not because they fill the available slot. (Though, um, filling my available slots can't hurt...)

And this is my problem with women who say they can't be femmes because they're not submissive, not attracted to butches, or not interested in aping the patriarchy. Sure, those are all things "femme" can mean; but they're by no means necessary.

Canadia Woman - Update.

Bonjour, mes ami/es!

I'm staying in Montréal at the Gîte du Marigot in the la Mignonnette room. I'm doing that creepy thing where I slide into speaking the local language even though I don't know it - I'm an idiote-savante that way - and I'm reveling in hardwood floors, homemade meals and rooms full of flowering orchids. Man, this place roxx.

Tomorrow I'll be around till dinner - eat, and after the other patient and I will off to the hospital for the night and then surgery first thing Monday morning.

I'll try to keep y'all up to date, but I can't promise nuthin'.

Canadia Woman

Me in email to quench: hi everyone! i just woke up from a 17 hour + post thesis sleep. Anyone want to watch a movie or do something else low-key today?

Em0: CONGRATULATIONS!

I'd come hang, but I'm being mailed to Canadia about four PM to get my nuts chopped off.

love, Em0

Everyone wish Emilyzilch a happy/safe trip to Canadia and a great surgery. We love you!

March 17, 2006

Keywords.

Ever wonder what the top keywords are that bring people to quench?

Now you don't have to guess.

  1. quench
  2. zine
  3. being
  4. dork
  5. quenchzine
  6. strap
  7. rachel
  8. luttrell
  9. how
  10. clothing
  11. jew
  12. sex
  13. men
  14. stickfight
  15. gay
  16. heels
  17. facebook
  18. transgeneration
  19. harvard
  20. virgins
  21. and
  22. use
  23. gasp
  24. fuck
  25. ferrise
  26. corset
  27. bad
  28. holly
  29. chibi
  30. porn
  31. diva
  32. history
  33. women
  34. mansfield
  35. the
  36. harvey
  37. club
  38. badass
  39. with
  40. you
  41. have
  42. hair
  43. dirty
  44. awesome
  45. fucking
  46. naked
  47. sworn
  48. blogspot
  49. buttfucking
  50. blog

March 16, 2006

I promise not to become an FTM

But that's really not saying much. Because I'm about as femme as you can be before you start to spill off into more than one person, or at least start to spill out of your corset. I also promised, to assuage my mom's fears when I very first came out to her, not to "go all butch" - this was around the same time I bought my hot-pink stiletto sandals. Again, not a huge promise to make.

And that's just one of the things that pisses me off about the following manifesto. Apparently, it started out on Craig's List somewhere, and has made the rounds ever since. The Estimat ran across it on LiveJournal the other day and rightly guessed that I was likely to be unimpressed by it. (I'm not going to link to the original post, since it's a couple months back now. And besides, I want you to comment here, not there!) Anyway, my darling knows me well - I was pretty darn unimpressed. Et vous?

i promise not to become an ftm

you have my word.

i will continue to be courageous and strong and deal every day with society's fear, hatred and abuse of masculine women.

i will continue to resist becoming more feminine or becoming a man in order to fit in, be accepted, or make things easier.

i will continue to have faith in and be encouraged by all the butch women that have come before me and will come after me, with all that they have felt and will feel in their loneliness, isolation, stanima, strength, joy and success.

i will continue to be aware of the fact that the masculine female is considered the lowest and most threatening on the patriarchal totem pole and is one of the most unwelcomed humans in society. as evidenced by our media, which portrays
feminine females, tomboys, femme lesbians, gay men, drag queens, and drag kings but not truly butch women.

i will continue to inspire myself and other butch women as we know and realize that we butches have very few images of ourselves reflected back to us encouraging us and supporting us, so we need each other.

i will continue to withstand the insinuations and pressure from some ftms and femmes around the dyke community that butches/transgender butches that remain in their natural bodies are not as hardcore or are in some way "less than" ftms who take prescription drugs and get surgery.

i will continue to honor my own and other butch's natural bodies and know that in them we can be what is considered "masculine", strong, etc. and that having a breasts-chest or a cunt doesn't make us less so.

i promise to continue to create and expand what a female/woman is and what a butch can be.

(I also promise not to stop using capital letters. You have my word.)

Thoughts on this:

  • it's all very well for someone who isn't trans to promise not to be trans. I promise on a stack of Witches' Almanacs not to be an FTM, a butch, a bioguy, an MTF, a 7'-tall Chinese basketball player, or a neurobiologist. I don't expect praise for any of these things. Although I occasionally feel like being femme gets me undeserved flak, ragging on people who aren't femme and proclaiming that I won't be one of them doesn't strike me as a constructive response to this flak.

  • Billy Joel's "Always A Woman" just started playing on my iTunes, proving that Hermia (my laptop, festooned with a big rainbow FEMME sticker) has a sense of humor.

  • yes, it's hard to be a masculine woman in this world. This does not mean it's cowardly - or even easy - to be trans.

  • the point about media representation is an interesting one. I had mixed feelings when I found out that Daniella Sea's character on L-Word was going to transition. On the one hand, it's awesome to see a trans man on television, stupid "'roid range" subplots aside. On the other hand, it would've been nice to have an actual butch character on television, instead of having to make do with a cute, vaguely-andro-hipster who's shunted into the role of "the butch one" simply because there's no other remotely plausible option. This doesn't mean I think Max shouldn't be an FTM; it means I'd like to also see a butch or two. But Max's identity - or the identity of any FTM - isn't a reflection on (and shouldn't be a threat to) the identity of a non-FTM butch.

  • your "natural body" doesn'tmake you less masculine, it's true. Some of the best men in my life have bodies that are shaped the exact same way as the bodies of my favorite non-guy-identified butches. They're men, and they will be men regardless of what they do to their bodies. Just as my butch friends will continue to be women, or butches (however they ID), regardless of what their bodies look like.

  • this does not mean that medical transition is a cop-out. Because if you wake up every morning in a body that doesn't feel like your own, it may not be enough comfort to know that your friends and lovers support and affirm your gender identity. It may, heaven forbid, actually be desirable to look at your body and feel like it's arranged the way you want it to be. It may even - perish the thought - be a fun little lark to go through the world and have people who don't know you affirm your gender identity, rather than call you by the wrong name/title/pronoun every day of your life. This doesn't make you less of a man, either. Nor does it make you a Traitor To The Cause, or a gender coward. It makes you someone who's doing what you need to live as comfortably as you can. I fail to see how that's a bad thing.

  • I'm glad there are people out there who are ready and willing to challenge preconceived societal notions of what men and women "should be." That's a valuable project, and ultimately it makes life a little easier for all of us to live. And the fact is, trans people have their own part to play in this project, too - it's not a trans man's responsibility to change people's minds about what women can be, but you can be damn sure that they're redefining what a man can be. And not only is that the only plausible form of gender activism that respects their identity - it's also just as valuable.

Ultimately, if you're secure enough in your gender identity that you can proclaim, without a doubt, that it won't evolve in a particular direction and that you won't ever find it necessary to change the way you are peceived in the world, that's good for you. I am completely, unironically, happy for you. But that security, and that particular gender identity, whatever it is, don't give you greater moral worth than other people - and with all due respect, I'm not throwing your definitely-not-another-gender self a party.

You have my word on that.

March 14, 2006

monkey balls

wtto: can you help me with a sentence that sucks at the comma rule?
if I IM it to you?
spork: ok
wtto: Erasure is a process that hides images and silences words systemically, sometimes through convincing some people not to look or listen, other times through the enforcement of rules that require censorship or self-censorship, and sometimes through a lack of intelligibility.
it only has 3 commas but is just so long
and confusing
spork: whoa
ok just a sec
wtto: i knew that sentence sucked monkey-balls
spork: this is not perfect, but it's better
wtto: i just wasn't sure how to fix it
spork: Erasure is a process that hides images and silences words systemically, whether by convincing some people not to look or listen, enforcing rules that require censorship or selfcensorship, or through a lack of intelligibility.
wtto: you are my hero
never again will that sentence suck monkey balls
spork: or if it does, they will be but small monkey balls
wtto: are smaller ones better?
i mean, i'm not convinced
they sound gross to me, too
spork: oh. i wasn't thinking that literally.
wtto: i mean, what if you choked on them
you could choke on small things, you know
that's why little kids can't have mcdonalds toys
spork: i just thought monkey balls = bad, less monkey balls = less bad but apparently that's a fallacy.
wtto: well, i mean, what if they were smaller monkey balls but there were a lot of them
so the total mass was higher?
spork: that would be worst of all
wtto: although i guess most monkeys have but two balls
or rather, about half of monkeys
spork: because you might lose a few and find them later. and that would probably be nasty
wtto: that would be very gross.
you should quench this conversation
spork: why don't you. i'm working.
wtto: i'm working
stop oppressing me
you are trying to oppress minorities
notice how you distract from teh end goal of producing trans activist work
which i am trying to write

March 13, 2006

Take Back the Night - looking for poets!

Fwded message:
I am an event coordinator for Take Back the Night 2006, a week of promoting action against and awareness of sexual assault and violence against women* on Wednesday April 12th, and I am working on the annual "In Our Voices" spoken word/poetry performance. I know it is some time away but please let me know if you are at all interested in performing anything from poetry to a monologue. It is always a great event and certainly not limited to women, in fact we would LOVE to have men* perform. So please consider being involved- your piece doesnt have to be personal/autobiographical at all. I look forward to hearing from you!
--
There will be having a quick read through to get final selections of performers next Monday March 20th (one week from today) between 6 and 7pm. You just need to be prepared to perform your piece once or twice so it shouldnt take more than half an hour of your time.

For any new people who are interested but havent contacted me, you can email me if you would like to participate. It's a great event and we want a nice representation of Harvard talent.
--
cwells@fas.harvard.edu
--
Calypso notes:
Please do not contact her unless you are interested.
*Women/men includes queer/trans/and all possible variations.

March 12, 2006

Food-Eating Battle Monkeys!
emilyzilch v. teacozy

Food-Eating Battle Monkeys!
emilyzilch v. teacozy

Monkey

emilyzilch
the
Cheese-Eating Woollen Monkey

Battle Rating : 2.6 

vsMonkey


teacozy
the
Sausage-Eating Peace Monkey


Battle Rating : 3.2 

teacozy wins!

Another Battle?

vs

I know it's a bit early...

...and that this is, in some ways, a bit of senseless plugging, but I don't very often post to quench unless I feel that there's something important for me to say.

And I just wanted to let everyone in the local community--and everywhere, really--know that Harvard's Take Back the Night will be from April 10-14 this year. It's a matter quite near to my heart, and I hope that everyone who can make it attends at least one event.

On the Wednesday of that week, I'm putting together a special program that deals with sexual violence and rape in the LGBT [particularly T] community hosted by Gunner Scott and some reps from the Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project. And then on Thursday evening, we'll be holding our annual vigil and speakout on the steps of Memorial Church. Please come and give me confidence so that I can raise my voice.

Thanks to all of you for being such a supportive and genuinely wonderful community. Even if you can't come to Take Back the Night, do try your best to set an example of love and consent in your life and your everyday relationships; I and thousands of others will thank you.

March 11, 2006

This was just too good not to post.

teacozy
is a
Sausage-Eating Peace Monkey


...with a Battle Rating of 3.2



To see if your Food-Eating Battle Monkey can
defeat teacozy, enter your name:

March 10, 2006

Fred Phelps is Right!

Homosexuality is wrong. God gave me a sign.

Bear with me, quench. I know this concept is hard for you, but I didn't understand his original logic, so I have developed a new one based on the sign that I saw.

  1. Sometimes, if one is a homosexual, one dates, hooks up with, is attracted to, has relations with, etc. someone of a similar gender to one's own.
  2. Sometimes, people of similar genders wear similar styles of underwear. (This obviously never happens with two people of different genders.)
  3. Sometimes, two people who date, hook up, are attracted to each other, have relations, etc. are of very different sizes.
  4. Sometimes, fags wear tight pants.
  5. When one accidentally picks up a pair of undergarments that are way too big and wears tight pants over them, this is extremely uncomfortable. If this ever happens to you, you will know that God hates you.

It is a SIGN! Tight pants over baggy undergarments is a sign that God hates homosexuals!

Something I stumbled Upon

So, today, I was surfing the net, doing what might be called "procrastinating" when I stumbled upon this. What it is is a Manual that is designed to help women's organizations to implement trans inclusion.

Okay, so it is very long, so I know people don't have time to read it all, but I was especially interested in pages 73-78 and in general, some of the parts after that.

I just thought this was a good resource to have around.

March 09, 2006

shameless self promotion

on a note that's only tangentially related to class, I am beginning my career as a petty capitalist tonight --- I have just knitted the first round of my first-ever vibrator cozy, commissioned by biliousclouds!

design concept and similarly shaped vibrator pictured below:

pocket rocket


rocket


thoughts? enchanted? click the linky, y'alls. teaandcozies.blogspot.com.

self-love for all!

March 08, 2006

Let's Talk About Class

Hi everyone,

I've been debating about how to make this post for a while, and it's a hard thing for me to do, but I feel that the people who read Quench are pretty awesome and I'd like to bring up these issues here. Also, it's a long post, but hang in there.

Soo. I was having a conversation with my tutorial professor this week, and we were talking about: talking about money. We'd both noticed a strange phenomenon: here at Harvard, a place built on money, people rarely seem to discuss their own class status, class privilege (or lack thereof) or classism in this country. Why?

In Where We Stand: Class Matters, bell hooks writes:

Nowadays it is fashionable to talk about race or gender; the uncool subject is class. It's the subject that makes us all tense, nervous, uncertain about where we stand. In less than twenty years our nation has become a place where the rich truly rule. (vii)

she continues:
The closest most folks can come to talking about class in this nation is to talk about money. For so long everyone has wanted to hold on to the belief that the United States is a class-free society – that anyone who works hard enough can make it to the top. Few people stop to think that in a class-free society there would be no top. (5)

and adds:
The censoring of public discussions of money was not simply a matter of polite social decorum, it deflected attention from underlying competition about money. It allows those who have more to conceal their fortunes from others. It sets up the condition where individuals can feel no economic accountability to others. Most importantly, it enables those who have class privilege and know how to use money in a manner that is beneficial to hoard this knowledge. (61)

What do y'all think about this?

I really want us (Quench, Harvard, random people who read this blog, our leaders and families) to take these ideas seriously.

Why don't we talk about class? In my everyday life, I hear constant discussions about everything - gender, sexuality, politics, gossip, religion, race, homework, orgies in Widener Library, etc, etc, etc, e t c. But I almost never hear anyone talk about class. People [might] say "Oh, that is expensive," or "So-and-So is rich," but they never say "I'm rich" - even if their parents are millionaires, or they have access to an incredible amount of class privilege (10 percent of students at the most selective colleges come from the bottom half of the socio-economic scale, while 75 percent come from the top quarter, according to a recent Crimson article).

And conversely, a lot of low-income students don't know how to articulate or navigate the differences and divisions of class privilege, and thus don't articulate their class background or experience.

I'm just wondering, in a place where we're encouraged to share our experiences and identities, why is it that class seems to be brushed under the rug?

To be clear, I'm not advocating guilt, or shame, or self-pity.

I'm advocating an open dialogue about classism, class privilege and poverty in this country.

I'm advocating that people who have class privilege and access to cultural capital (which includes every student at Harvard) recognize, analyze and honestly discuss it.

I say this not because I think this dialogue would be an interesting discussion or community- building experience.

I'm saying this because it's a way to fight classism, by breaking a silence around issues that lie at the heart of inequality in this country.

It's a way to show solidarity (not sympathy, or necessarily empathy, but solidarity, both political and personal) with those who are living and working in poverty every day.

In Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (a book that I find problematic in a lot of ways but interesting nonetheless), Barbara Ehrenreich points to the "money taboo" in our society as a major factor preventing minimum-wage workers from organizing for higher wages:

We confess everything in our society - sex, crime, illness. But no one wants to reveal what they earn or how they got it. The money taboo is the one thing that employers can count on...in a society that endlessly celebrates its dot-com billionaires and centimillionaire athletes. (206)

So, here are some Fun Questions About Class (like a Cosmo quiz, but hotter!) to throw out there:

Please post comments (anonymously, if you like) or just think about them, or talk about them with other people.

  • How would you describe your class status?
  • How would you describe the class status of most of your friends/classmates/colleagues?
  • Do you know how much money your parents/guardians make per year? Per hour?
  • What was a time when you felt the most anxiety about your class status?
  • Has your family ever received government aid in the form of food stamps, TAFDC or similar programs?
  • Have you or your family ever been in danger of imminent homelessness?
  • Have you or your family ever suffered from hunger or malnutrition as a result of being unable to afford food?
  • What kind of career do you expect to pursue in the near future?
  • When was your last medical checkup? Was it covered by health insurance?
  • How much money do you consider to be "a lot"?
  • Do you know the names of the custodial staff who work in your building?
  • Do you think that your class status has affected your current employment or educational situation? How?
So, y'all, let's start talking. Because the stakes are high. bell hooks says it very well:

Women of all races and black men are rapidly becoming the poorest of the poor. Breaking the silence – talking about class and coming to terms with where we stand – is a necessary step if we are to live in a world where prosperity and plenty can be shared, where justice can be realized in our public and private lives. The time to talk about class, to know where we stand, is now - before it is too late, before we are all trapped in place and unable to change our class or our nation’s fate. (viii)

Thoughts? Comments? Feelings?

Post away.

Thinking about words, part II: have you heard this word?

It's amazing how much my lady mother's e-mails sometimes make me think, if only to try and come up with responses that are informative but not preachy whenever she manages to ask a sincere, non-malicious question about something queerish. Anyway, her most recent one sent me down a long road of explaining why some people don't pursue various procedures involved in medical transition. (Yep, I think she's been watching the Discovery Channel again.)

But it made me wonder if any of y'all had heard a term she had stumbled across. I'm not going to use the term itself here, 'cause she has Mad Google Skillz and I don't want my pseudonymy punctured, but ... you know the Disney character who started life as a puppet and hung out with a sanctimonious cricket and a blue fairy?
Y'know - this one?

Right.

Has anyone here heard his name invoked to describe an FTM who is deemed "insufficiently trans," possibly because he hasn't taken T or undergone the "right" surgeries? Sort of the trans version of an "oreo"?

If so, what do you think the origin of this term is?

If not (and, ok, even if so), are there other catty snarky queer in-group terms that you know of to denote insufficient membership in the group? (I can think of a ton of ethnic/Deaf-related ones, but no queer ones so far, except maybe calling queer parents "breeders"...)

March 05, 2006

The Intarwubs Hurts My Brain

AZN NAZI PRYDE!

March 02, 2006

They Rally 'Round "The Family" with a Pocket Fulla Shells

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Culture: Gamers' Good News (Newsweek)

March 6, 2006 issue - Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition: Christians are finally getting a high-caliber shoot-'em-up videogame of their own. Due out on PCs in the second half of 2006, Left Behind: Eternal Forces is the first game adapted from the blockbuster books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

Gamers familiar with the largely uninspiring and unprofitable history of Christian videogames will quickly notice two differences in Forces: the top-shelf design, which offers an eerily authentic reproduction of the game's Manhattan setting and a level of violence reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto.

The game revolves around New Yorkers who are "left behind" after the rapture. Players scour the streets for converts, training them into a work force to feed, shelter and join a paramilitary resistance against the growing forces of the Antichrist.

Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon, whose company went public in February, says the game's Christian themes will grab the audience that didn't mind gore in The Passion of the Christ.

"We've thought through how the Christian right and the liberal left will slam us," says Lyndon. "But megachurches are very likely to embrace this game." Though it will be marketed directly to congregations, Forces will also have a secular ad campaign in gaming magazines.

—John Ness

O gods, that is fucking scary.

Also, the Left Behind books suck. I tried to read them, I swear I tried, but o Sweet Mother Artemis they suck. They are incredibly incoherent, utterly incoherent.

Pizza Magnate Seeks Catholic-Governed Town

NAPLES, Fla. - If Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has his way, a new town being built in Florida will be governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control. The pizza magnate is bankrolling the project with at least $250 million and calls it "God's will."

"I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines," Monaghan, who sold Domino's Pizza in 1998 to devote himself to doing good works, said in a recent Newsweek interview.

Um ... if you don't get saved in 30 minutes, do you get your money back?

March 01, 2006

Nazi Gay Parade.

I can't figure out if this is a joke or not.
Either way, I am confused as hell. Thought I'd share.