December 31, 2007
Posted by biliousclouds at 16:32
December 30, 2007
Ok, so I have to admit - I'm pretty much over L-Word. It's just not my kind of show (I'm a Law and Order type of girl).
BUT ... in the interests of all the L-Word fans among our readers, I feel duty-bound to point out that the Season 5 Premiere is available online starting today (a week before its air date). Plus, it's actually sponsored by Showtime, not, y'know, YouTube pirates. ;c)
December 29, 2007
So, I was sitting around in a jet-lagged stupor (flying with large poodles to semi-rural areas is an adventure I don't recommend you try), capable of nothing but playing click-the-linky.
Which brought me to LoveAndPride.com, an advertiser on our friends The Bilerico Project. And oh, holy heck, does this site make me want to spend money I don't have. Basically, it's pretty, queerly-themed jewelry, and 10% of the proceeds are donated to Lambda Legal. (So, y'know, it's not totally socially unredeemable money-spending... right?)
Anyway, if anyone ever decides to propose marriage to me (Mirrorball Man, I'm looking at you!), this is the ring I want them to use:
December 21, 2007
December 17, 2007
It's time to take another shot at the Facebook 24-hour/$1000 Giving Challenge! If the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition can get the most individual donors in a 24-hour period, they get an extra $1000! We were very close last time. This time, we're gonna take the world by storm.
How to help MTPC win:
1. Join and invite your friends here.
2. Send this information along to friends, families, email lists and blogs.
3. Please DONATE between 3 p.m. on THURSDAY, Dec 20 and 3 p.m. on FRIDAY, Dec 21! It is the number of people who donate that matters, so if you and a friend each donate $10, it's better than one person donating $20. If you have already donated, you CAN donate again (please do!) and it will count anew.
Please leave a comment if you (or a friend) can commit to donating during that time period (it will help our calculations) and if you are able to help publicize this in any way.
Let's give MTPC a really special Christmas/Hanukkah/holiday gift. They are a tiny, all-volunteer organization working to protect trans people from violence and discrimination. Tell your friends that you'd like a donation on your behalf - or get together some co-workers and split the donations! If each of you finds else someone who can also donate, we can totally do this! So let's do it.
Ever since Jodie Foster accidentally-on-purpose dropped the queer bomb last week, people have been wondering whether or not she actually meant to do it. It seems innocent enough, after all, to thank one's "beautiful Cydney" in front of the Hollywood Reporters' Women in Entertainment (whose unwieldy initials anagram almost completely to WHORE). But while debate rages as to whether or not Foster meant to drop us all a hint, I find myself asking a different question:
WHY, Jodie Foster, did this not happen in 1995? Why did you leave me with that unresolved "special feeling" in the pit of my stomach the first time I saw Silence of the Lambs? Why were you brazen enough to weed-whack your hair à la Katherine Moennig, but not come out like she...oh, wait. She's still closeted, isn't she?
Regardless, thank you, Jodie Foster, for finally giving us something else to contemplate over our sandwiches. Just when questions about your sexual orientation seemed without resolution, you gave us the little nod we needed, making room in our busy conversational schedules for tramp stamps and Bai Ling.
Posted by mal at 16:10
December 13, 2007
Sometimes I get kind of cynical about things. I can feel hopeless sometimes, when I see the amount of inequality in the world, and start to think people don't care.
But then, they change my mind.
I volunteer at a food bank for people living with AIDS. This holiday season, we are very low on donations. We're out of basic food like rice and pasta. So, I sent an email to my co-workers. I didn't think it would do much. When I got to work the next day, my desk was covered in cans. And boxes. And bags of rice. Over the week, co-workers would bring by a few items every day - peanut butter, crackers, tuna. They remembered and they kept bringing food.
I then decided to put up a sign in the elevator in my apartment building. I explained the food shortage and told people they could leave donations with me. When I got home from work that day, I was so tired and had totally forgotten about the signs. I got off the elevator, and stopped. My door was totally blocked by bags of groceries. People had gone to Safeway and bought pasta, had donated canned beans and had tidily left them all outside my door, trusting me to deliver the food to people who badly need it.
Then, yesterday, I signed the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition up for a Facebook "cause" and asked people to give. In less than 24 hours, we had raised $450 for MTPC (and counting) and are now in the running for a $10,000 award in February (if we keep it up).
I just want to say thank you. Thank you for thoughtfully and generously responding to posts and emails, for reading a sign in the elevator, for donating some canned fruit to a person in need.
All I want for Christmukkah is all of you. :-)
I am not sure about a lot of things. (Be patient, this is kind of a rant at first.)
I'm not White, but I'm certainly not an Indian or Black. My grandfather passed his whole life in general society, although he spent half of it in the bush hunting with 'bloods, Whites and Indians, and he surely didn't have to pass there. My mother didn't think of herself as anything but White until I talked about a stupid form that was giving me 'the usual trouble' and I pointed out that even she thought her father was Native. My sister rejects any racial identification other than White "because it was too long ago". Funny, I remember spending my childhood with him, and she was there. Oh, and I am of Southeastern descent, but I only know anything about the Narragansetts I grew up around besides what my grandfather did and said. How much privilege do I get? How much do I recognise? I certainly got taken for a lot of things over the years. When I lived in China, they thought I was from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region - that I was of mixed Persian-Turkish origin, not foreign. No one else was ever addressed as a local yokel or immigrant other than me. People used to walk up to me and talk to me in Uyghur; I even had people talk to me in the local Beijing cant (without price-gouging and bad English attempts) because I passed as a Perso-Turk. When I took Korean, they thought my grandmother must have been Korean or Japanese. When I lived in San Diego, people addressed me in Spanish first nearly all the time, except when they tried Farsi (Persian) first. When I go out in Boston, people assume my name is spelled in a way that indicates they think I am Hispanic. I am inbetween, but in an unbalanced way. I'm not sure where I sit.
I'm personally poor, but I have many things - a nice TV, cable, a personal computer. My parents worked really hard and we had tight money our entire life; we lived in an unheated camper one winter when our house didn't have floors yet. We ate food my grandpa grew, and then my father put in a garden at the house they built once we moved out. I had practical chores after school, unlike my schoolmates. I was always embarrassed that I had to go home to feed the twenty bear dogs and spread dried gopher blood on the garden right away. See, I went to a private school - I got a scholarship - then traded up to another one - another scholarship - and then I got into Harvard. (Duh, scholarship + two jobs while there.) I have intellectual privilege out my ass and I certainly don't live hard despite being on disability right now. Do I dare speak about issues of low income, coming from where I am? I think many quenchistas live harder than I do, and I know many of you come from situations of more need than I did. We survived without hunger. We had clothing, no mind it was hand-me-downs and the house was furnished by things made (not purchased) over the last 50 years.
What religion am I? Don't get me started on that one. No, seriously. I could post about that one alone.
One thing I am sure as fuck about: I am a woman. There might be hyphenations or additions - transwoman, for example - but I am a fucking woman, and that's the goddamn bottom line.
The other day, I found that one fact attacked and dismembered by radical feminists. The range of emotions I felt when I read comments on a well-known feminist blog by an Iraq War veteran (hundreds of comments on each post, dozens of posts every day) included, but were not limited to, confusion, denial, depression, sadness, anger, frothing rage and finally a desire to reach through time and space and strangle people.
The post is here. I reproduce the post in its entirety so you can see what it was about:
The first annual transgender day*
I can't say I'm a font of knowledge about transgender. So here's a topic where we can discuss it politely. There will be no transbashing, and there will be no radfem bashing, either. Let's clear the air between these two groups. I will be watching these threads closely and you will assume good faith on the part of others or I will make you wish you had.
There will be discussions of gender and gender identity and privilege and things like that. Play nice or else.
People did not play nice. In fact, in the end, there was a wave of bans due to incredibly transphobic commentary by so-called feminists that pervaded the conversation. This led me to discover that these women - who call themselves radfems, or radical feminists - actually believe all that shit about the Transsexual Empire.
At one point in the conversation, I said,
Women are not wombs. Is that all you think they are? Bleed and breed? I know you can't possibly be making that argument - except you apparently are.
Short answer: yes, and men are all evil, and I'm a man.
This point of view is supported by a scary amount of people, and they have a crusade up whose first salvo was in 1979. The language of that time remains: I hit a website for radfems and hit this immediately: modern scholars like Sheila Jeffreys (professor at University of Melbourne) and the infamous Andrea Dworkin and others who use the word "woman-born" as a badge of honour and power, claim transpeople are actually homos who the patriarchy forces to self-mutilate when really we should just come out as lesbians, o wait, men are the evil. They wield the word "woman" as a club; it is the most offensive thing I've read since, well, something the Bush administration probably said last week. :-(
I knew this shit wasn't dead. I knew it. But to see it and taste it in an otherwise safe feminist arena was so goddamn disturbing, and it wasn't just me who felt that way, either.
One site (found through links on a now-banned user's page) sums up the commentary:
Men and women who go through transsexual surgery do not end up as a member of the opposite sex, they merely end up being mutilated: physically, emotionally and psychologically. Like others here have said I do not put the emphasis of blame on the transsexual but rather I blame the patriarchs: the ones who commit the crimes of this patriarchal mutilation. Namely, the doctors, the surgeons, the therapists (the/rapists).
And men who pretend to wear our bodies, men who pretend that they can cut off dick in their heads as easily as cut off the dick on their bodies, men who do these things and name themselves and are named by other men as women, I accuse these men of committing a violative act of appropriation. Appropriation has never stopped being an act of colonisation.
As feminists we know that letting men cut off bits of us has only ever served to make us less whole. Men who have submitted or have been forced to submit to transsexual surgery have been made less whole. That does not make them women.
I found that here.
I am so angry right now. But fuck them. Fuck them, I am a woman and I'm not going to stop being female because they are loons.
I festered about this for days now. I had to let it out. I had to say some shit. I couldn't fucking swallow it anymore.N.b. I particularly like how people label me as a 'rapist' - I have 'raped' all women because I am trans.
December 12, 2007
This time of year, I have found myself in several conversations about gifts.
Today, I was reading QueerCents which had an article that is a "what would you do" about "regifting."
Personally, I tend to exchange gifts with my immediate family this time of year - after all, it's the only time that we all get together. We also celebrate religious festivities this time of year, although that is only peripherally related to the gift-giving.
I found myself leaving this comment on the QueerCents which was supposed to be about "regifting" but ended up being about "gifting" more generally. I would love to hear in the comments about what you think about "gifting" or "regifting." Also, some Quench readers and writers are the friends that I am talking about here so feel free to let me know that my assessment of our social circle's values is completely off and that I'm just a social outcast. I won't be too hurt.
My friends and I tend to exchange gifts more randomly than around the holiday season. And it's nice when gift-giving can be done in a thoughtful way that doesn't stress people out about whether you are getting someone enough or the right stuff.
A lot of friends go to visit their families of origin during December anyway, so perhaps if we were to pick a time, we would do better to pick January.
Maybe this is because I hang out with a lot of activists, but we tend to think of "regifts" as particularly thoughtful. "I came across this and it made me think of you" can be way more thoughtful than "I wandered around a mall trying to find something and couldn't find anything so bought some crap out of a feeling of obligation."
Even "I went to a conference and they gave me your favorite kind of chocolate and I brought it home for you," or "I know you love neat picture frames and I was recently helping a friend clean out her apartment and look at the picture frame she was going to throw away! I saved it for you" can be the best ways to give gifts, even if no money is spent.
Basically, I think done right, regifting can be environmentally friendly, allow for more creativity, deepen friendships, avoid consumerism, save people money, and allow people to celebrate each other throughout the year instead of in some strange and awkward seasonal competitive rush.
I think it's important to be able to show someone you care about them without necessarily buying something. Maybe I make something, cook something, or just take the time to show up to be there for someone when they need you, even if it's an inconvenient time. Yes, you might have to buy the supplies to make something, the ingredients with which to cook, or the cup of coffee when you meet someone to talk, but the focus can be on caring rather than buying. I am not saying that buying is inherently bad, I am just saying that we can do things for each other without expecting that things that we care about are always available at the mall.
After making the comment, I was thinking about some of the gifts I have given and received in the past few years and realized that a ton of the gifts given and received were either food or donations to organizations like The MS Walk, MTPC, or MIRA. And of course over the years, some fabulous clothes that icarus had knack for finding for free for everyone, the world's most fabulously queer toaster (I really need to post a picture), and plenty of people being generous with their apartments, their food, and their time to plan and execute fun get togethers. What is gift giving like in your circles?
December 11, 2007
Feist's video for 1 2 3 4 is so goddamn gay I can barely stand it. <3>
And if you want to weep with sheer sex, listen to the new Rufus Wainwright. God damn, what a voice, what a voice, what a voice.
And the video for Going to Town is hot. Whew.
Uh, yeah, so I've been watching New Now Next on LOGO. That's the music video program on the homo channel, for those of you unfamiliar.
At twelve oaks I was renamed.
Blessed by 32 hands, some biting gnats and one playful Airedale.
Not kicking, struggling, gripping by the wrist;
the ankle. No Esau to usurp. i was my own Laban.
Supplanting the Bean which never grew stalk.
I yanked out the roots,
willing the end of destruction even while
On Good Friday I was rebirthed.
Surrounded by the beauty of a family beyond blood.
Claiming my eunuch-hood, awaiting the needle.
My entry way, birth pain through the hip.
Held in the silent circle willing to wait up the extra hour, overcome with anxiety and joy.
I pass because
I have to.
(Do I really pass?)
Pass, such an oddity (I am).
Pass into male out of female,
-first, at the front
-next, the face
-finally (if interested) the crotch
I thought about it again today
leaving my binders, wearing a bra.
Not as a political statement or to
genderfuck the pass-(h)er-bys.
(This thought makes me smile)
No more lyrca, spandex or velcro;
elastic lines etched into
I will have red skin soon enough.
A permanent (in)visible bra, binding skin to muscle,
encircling my areolas.
And I wonder,
does that really make me male?
Or do the scars really make the
pass-(h)er-bys more comfortable?
As they pass him by.
What it feels like to be hapa me
want this: the yellow mixed with
You'll never say
I didn't want "this" either: my mixed race. But
Your eyes staring. Orientalism.
Being told that my almondshapedeyesmustmeanthatI'mJapaneseor
Mexican. I was an
Polynesian looking. I had a round face,
small muscular waist.
Now I am "like chocolate cake" to the rice queens. When
You look for It tomorrow
the ricebowl will be cleared.
did he missher when she came
were there unrecorded scars? silent, unspoken.
Fig or Apple is there a difference?
the guilt is just the same;
clothing, breast, color, scent.
he was only sleeping(it was only a rib)
dreaming of what he could never know;
while She, fully conscious,
watched his pale blue lips.
Posted by Jake Twist at 00:23
December 09, 2007
I never thought I would hear myself saying this...but, I like what Harvard Right to Life is doing this year. I'm about as pro-choice as they come. I've worked at Planned Parenthood and countered conservative rhetoric on a sex-ed advisory committee, so this is in no way an endorsement of anti-choice politics. That being said, HRL has made some noteworthy changes this year.
Many of you may remember HRL's controversial Elena campaign from a couple years ago. They featured a fetus named Elena who wanted to be a racecar driver when she grew up. (Assuming she would get to grow up without evil, heartless liberals murdering her first.) They've taken a much different approach this year, and I find it commendable.
I don't remember the exact text from any of this year's posters (if anyone does, please comment!) but they are much less about making women feel guilty about having abortions and much more about making the Harvard campus friendlier to women who choose to not have abortions. One poster pointed out that UHS health insurance covers birth control and abortions, but not parenting classes. Another took issue with the fact that options for students with children are limited. (In terms of childcare, housing, etc.) Valid points!
I guess my point in making this post is to say that pro-choice means just that: pro-choice. I am all for a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, and that should include the decision to have a baby. Maybe this is something that we could all agree on?
A note to conservatives: Campaigns based on shock and guilt have no effect except to shock people and make them feel guilty. Abortion is a controversial enough topic that we've all pretty much made up our minds. And - whatever our opinions - they are unlikely to be swayed by a couple posters. Campaigns based on fact and concrete calls for change? Much more effective.
Posted by jana at 23:27
December 08, 2007
A day late and a dollar short, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't remember it.
For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed 14 women.Here are the names of the dead.
Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists." Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.
Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.
Requiescat in pacem.
Information on this: Resources from CBC.
December 06, 2007
I was just introduced to Tancredo's ad in which he explains that immigrants "rape children."
Please post to the comments with links to other candidates for worst ad. If a lot of people post, I will unilaterally select a few finalists and set up a vote for what you think is worst. Or we could do it short-answer style if you prefer.
Here's the offending ad.
Hat tip to Racialicious for this ad.
Via Washington Blade:
Senate leaders nix hate crimes measure
Was attached to defense spending bill
By KEVIN NAFF | Dec 6, 11:48 AM
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) Thursday morning acquiesced to demands by House Democratic leaders to drop a gay and transgender inclusive hate crimes bill from the National Defense Authorization Act, a knowledgeable Capitol Hill source said.
The decision kills the hate crimes bill for this year, but House Democrats, led by gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), are calling on the Senate to pass a freestanding hate crimes bill as early as February.
Senate Democrats had hoped to pass the DOD authorization bill with the hate crimes measure in tact, saying it was the best strategy for discouraging President Bush from vetoing the hate crimes measure, which Bush opposes.
Anyone know what's up with the House Democrats asking for the severance? (In other words, was this an anti-war strategy, or do I really seriously need to go hide under a rock in Canada now?)
Also (cue cynicism) - I wonder whether gay Rep. Barney Frank is going to use this failure as an excuse to ditch trans people in the next version of the bill?
December 05, 2007
The cost to end world hunger and most hunger-related deaths would be about $195 billion a year, according to the United Nations. In 2002, 22 of the world’s wealthiest countries agreed to make “concrete efforts” towards the goal of each giving 0.7 % of their national income as aid to the poorest countries.
Here is a chart of how the countries are doing.
As you can see, much of Scandinavia has already met that goal, and most other countries have set up a schedule towards the goal. The United States is one of only 6 countries that has not. Take a moment to print a letter to your government here.
Also, help fight world hunger and improve your vocab by playing FreeRice (it donates 20 grains of rice for every word you get right!).
Also: Food banks around the country are experiencing severe shortages during the holiday season (see this Washington Post article). This is sad. Donate if you can.
December 04, 2007
Shoplifter dude looks like a lady
By Erin Smith/Chronicle Staff
Cambridge - Police are looking for a pair of shoplifting ladies and the cross-dressing man who allegedly served as their decoy while the women stole batteries and computer software from a 24-hour Kinko’s in Harvard Square.
Officers responded to Kinko’s at 1 Mifflin Place for a report of shoplifting early Saturday morning.
The night manager told police the front door is locked at night and the manager unlocked the door to let in two women and a man dressed as a woman at about 12:50 a.m., according to police reports. The cross-dressing man began to talk to with the manager while the two women went upstairs in the store and stuffed about $150 worth of CDs, batteries and small, miscellaneous items into their backpacks, according to reports.
Anyway, this is seriously not clever. Or even original, because goodness knows The University of Georgia Law Review was all over this in 2002, with their ground-breaking "My 'Dude Looks Like a Lady': The Constitutional Void of Transsexual Marriage."
Perhaps it's worth suggesting to some at the Chronicle - like News Editor David Harris - that even in the Age of Borat, stupid and offensive isn't always the same thing as funny.
December 03, 2007
A nicer pair of hotty-mc-hot-pantses, I never have seen; I wish them all the best!
(Though I'm a little saddened by the general trend of the comments thread at MTO...)
December 02, 2007
Today, I stumbled upon a new blog that I decided to add to my daily reading. It's called Cripchick's Weblog. Ms. Crip Chick had a post this week called "Oh no! Queer and disabled... All at the same time!!?!" It's a short post and worth checking out. It follows a discussion started by another article that came out earlier this week.
Drop by and say hi to Ms. Crip Chick!
December 01, 2007
last post of the day.
today is World AIDS Day.
33.2 million people are living with AIDS.
2.5 million are children.
Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans.
In developing countries, 7.1 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs - only 28% are receiving the drugs.
2.1 million people died from AIDS across the globe this year.
the AIDS Action Committee of MA has information and resources. if you're in DC, help out at the Whitman Walker Clinic. if you're in New York, check out God's Love We Deliver or Gay Men's Health Crisis (which no longer just deals with gay men). there are tons of ways to get involved. i'll leave it to others to post more links and information about places to volunteer, donate and help.
soo, in brief - the Crimson published a three-part series of articles about a student who came from a low-income background, his experience at Harvard, his views on class at Harvard and his career goals related to investment banking.
anyway, kaya over at Afropologe has written a post about it, and you all need to get over there and express your views, because i KNOW this is an issue that everyone has something to say about. go!