February 28, 2008

Why Trans People Need Legal Rights

Want more proof that hate crimes laws for trangender people are sorely needed?

The woman on the right is Chanelle Pickett, a young transwoman from Massachusetts who was brutally strangled to death in 1995, when she was only 23. Her sister, Gabrielle, according to this blog, was also murdered, in 2003.



Chanelle's murderer received only 2 years in jail.
(via.)

February 26, 2008

Things That Are Awkward

Hahahahahahahaha

A person I know ordered a nice, discreet sex toy. Instead, what came in the mail was this.

For clarification, it is as long as my forearm.

I'm going to smack this person in the head with it and remind them to order from reliable stores and not from creepy online services.

BAD person I know! Bad!

Transgender Rights Bill Hearing on March 4th: How You Can Help Today.

As some of you may know, Massachusetts House Bill 1722, "An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes," will have a hearing on Tuesday, March 4th at 1 p.m. at the Mass State House. This bill would make the protection of transgender and gender-non-conforming people explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public, by adding "gender identity and expression" in the state's non-discrimination statute and existing hate crime laws. We need your voice.

How to help:

If you're located near Boston, come to the Harvard Women's Center tonight from 8-10 p.m. to help write testimony in support of the bill. If you will be available to testify at the hearing on Tuesday, please email gscott@masstpc.org. If you live or vote in Massachusetts, call your legislator today! You can also donate to MTPC.

If, like me, you are somewhere else, you can still help!

Use these "How To" tips and this handy "Testimony Worksheet" to put together a brief letter or statement in support of the bill. It doesn't have to be long, or fancy. It can just be as simple as stating that you are a constituent and that you support this bill.

Once you've typed up your letter, you can email it to gscott@masstpc.org (no stamps!) or send by mail to the addresses in the Worksheet.

I thought I would share a sample testimony to get you started. Feel free to post excerpts from yours - I'd love to read them!

Hello. My name is [ ], and I am from [ ], Massachusetts. I am asking you to support HB 1722.

I have a best friend. I have known her since my first year of college. She is the person who most influenced my experience at college and beyond. Her dedication to public service and helping others has inspired and motivated me – and many of my peers. She is someone who spends her spring break chopping vegetables and running up and down apartment stairs to deliver meals to people living with cancer and other serious illnesses. She is a person that professors and staff turn to for leadership. She wakes up at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings to staff a homeless shelter. She can coax even the quietest person to participate in a class discussion and debate the most intimidating speaker with ease. She has taught me about kindness, about determination and about challenging stereotypes.

My best friend is also transgender. I want her to be able to live here in Massachusetts in safety, to have concrete legal protections against discrimination and violence. She is constantly helping other people, whether it is volunteering at a homeless shelter or helping at her church. I think that it is time we did something to help protect her, to protect basic rights, as a resident of Massachusetts, a fellow citizen and as a fellow human being.

Please support HB 1722 to protect my friend, who is a guiding light in my life, and the lives of so many others. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[Name, Address, Contact Info]

This is the time to stand together, and make sure this bill gets to a vote.
Let's make it happen, wherever you are.

February 25, 2008

Anyone else watch the Oscars?

I missed the first third, and am not much of a movie buff or famous-person-stalker to care too much about it normally...


But did anybody else hear the last thing said before Jon Stewart closed the program?

The final award was for Best Picture. "No Country for Old Men" won. Producer Scott Rudin gave the acceptance speech. And the last person he thanked was his partner, John Barlow. Awww! You could hear his voice stutter as he said it, but it was just so amazing to hear that as the way to close the show.

After that, Jon Stewart basically said "Thank you, good night, get home safe." And that was it.

I thought it was great. More about Scott Rudin here.

February 21, 2008

It is not okay to suggest you might go on a "lynching party."

I have heard some extreme conservatives say that they like Bill O'Reilly because he doesn't feel bound by "being PC."

It's my opinion that it's more like he doesn't mind openly sharing with his audience that he is a complete biggot. Then again, I don't really get the whole anti-PC backlash. Who exactly is "forcing" these people to be PC and what's the problem with someone once in a while suggesting that you maybe don't hurt people with your words.

Anyhow, for anyone who has ever thought that O'Reilly is just brave and not willing to conform with "PC norms," he has once again crossed an indefensible line.

There is no way to start a sentence about Michelle Obama with, "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless..." and not be a total bigot. I can believe he said it - he's always been a crazy racist. What I can't believe is that one of the biggest media outlets in the world continues to host him and PAY him to say this shit. Shame on the American public for allowing him to make money for this shit.

More info here.

February 20, 2008

Fake Poor: A Rich White Dude Goes Slumming

WTTO sent me this article: "Building a Life on $25 and a Gym Bag: College Graduate Leaves Comfortable Life for Poverty Experiment."

The story goes something like this: Adam Shepard, a young white guy who had just graduated from Merrimack College, decides to "test the vivacity of the American Dream," by leaving his parents' house with only $25 and a gym bag and the goal of "making it" on his own in Charleston, South Carolina. He lived in a homeless shelter and worked as a day laborer (keeping a credit card in his back pocket in case of emergency). After 70 days, he had saved enough money to buy a truck and an apartment. This proves, he said, "that anyone can do that." Then he wrote a book called Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.

Some choice quotes:

I had this great back story on how I was escaping my druggy mom and going to live with my alcoholic dad. Things just fell apart, and there I was at the homeless shelter. I really embellished this fabricated story and told it to anyone who would listen.

The question isn't whether I would have been able to succeed. I think it's the attitude that I take in: "I've got child care. I've got a probation officer. I've got all these bills. Now what am I going to do? Am I going to continue to go out to eat and put rims on my Cadillac? Or am I going to make some things happen in my life...?"

Obviously, this is fucked up. Here are some reasons I'm mad about it:
  • I am sick and tired of rich people making poverty into a "game" or "experiment" that they can use to write a book and start a speaking career. These voyeuristic portrayals of the lives of the poor do no service to anyone. I think it says something about our society that we seem to prefer accounts of poverty narrated by upper-class white people who go "slumming" before returning to their comfortable lives to detail their "experiment" with poverty for other upper-class white people who can feel like they "know" what poor people experience. In her book, Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, Michelle Tea writes:
Poor people are always left out of the intellectual conversation, despite being the subjects of entire books. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich, a successful middle-class woman, speaks directly to other middle-class people. This happens frequently in books and articles about working-class people – it is assumed that none of us will be reading the text. It’s a decidedly creepy experience to read about your life like this, passed from one middle-class perception to another. It’s like being talked about in a room where you sit, invisible. It’s a game of intellectual keep-away, the words lobbed over your head, but worse – no one even knows you’re trying to get in on the game. It doesn’t even occur to them that you could play.
  • I'm offended that Mr. Shepard would knowingly take up space in a homeless shelter when he was choosing to be homeless. Homeless shelters are underfunded, often overcrowded and certainly not meant to accommodate some privileged guy who doesn't truly need their services. I've worked with homeless women, and I've seen how difficult and painful it can be to find them a safe shelter that has space available. Shame on him for wasting that space and those resources. Ditto for food stamps.
  • Here are some of the advantages Mr. Shepard possessed: His race, his gender, his English-speaking abilities, cultural capital and class privilege, a sense of security, literacy, U.S. citizenship, physical and mental health, a clean credit history, no criminal record, no children or partner to support, no domestic violence situation and no threat of violence for his sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
  • In the article, he never acknowledges the extent to which any of these advantages may have affected his situation, and brushes off suggestions that his situation might not be representative of most homeless individuals. Instead, he generalizes his experience to an entire group without considering the vastly different obstacles that members of this group might face, and uses that experience to promote a conservative "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ideology (apparently, he never read The Meritocracy Myth or took a look at this graph). It's easier to say "poor people are lazy and can't spend their money right" than to address the real, painful, concrete reality of poverty in this country.
When will we have an article about class or poverty written by a woman living in poverty? What about a transgender woman of color? I feel like those narratives might differ slightly from Mr. Shepard's account. Would ABC label them "News" and stick them in the Business section of their publication? I think not.

February 19, 2008

My new crush.

OK guys, I have a crush. And her name is Marga Gomez.

Here's what she has to say about the L Word:



And then I just started watching her other videos. And she's just...really funny. And hot.

So, spread the love.

Pretty great.

Charles Barkley stands up to "fake Christians" on CNN:

Well, I think they -- they want to be judge and jury. Like, I'm for gay marriage. It's none of my business if gay people want to get married. I'm pro-choice. And I think these Christians -- first of all, they're supposed to be -- they're not supposed to judge other people. But they're the most hypocritical judge of people we have in this country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they're Christians. And they're not forgiving at all.

February 17, 2008

Sex Workers Art Show

So I was looking at an ad for the Sex Workers Art Show and found this gem of a song. I thought at first "ugh, another kitschy song that's cutesy but really about non-vanilla sex and beyond the humor gets to some truths with a really predictable tune" and yeah it seems to be that maybe? But I gave it a full shot and then about five more. Check it out for yourself here. What R U Into?

February 14, 2008

True Life: I Live Another Life on the Web

We're passing on this notice from a reader:

True Life: I Live Another Life on the Web
We are currently producing a documentary for MTV about people who live "other lives" online.

Do you sometimes feel as if you're living a double life? Are you pretending to be someone you're not? Do you have one identity in your everyday life, but a different one when you're alone and on-line? Does your virtual avatar make you feel confident behind your computer screen? Are you famous online but feel like you're invisible in real life?

Do you have trouble approaching someone for a date in person, but when you're behind the comfort of your computer, do the words just flow? Would you be afraid to be yourself if you were ever to come face-to-face with your online friends or companions? Do you get so caught up in the person you pretend to be on the web that you maintain that persona in person?

If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and live another life on the web, email your story to: brosen@leftright.tv

Please be sure to include your name, location, phone number and a photo, if possible.

Thanks!

February 13, 2008

LOLOLOLOL

How much do I love Boing-Boing?

Or: How the Intarwubs Destroy Our Lives.

Li'l J.

She seems very unhappy.

But damn, it's funny.

February 12, 2008

GOLDMAN SACHS TO COVER SEX-REASSIGNMENT SURGERY!

I KNOW you've already seen this, icarus!

Link.

February 11, 2008

TransLaw @ Harvard Law School

Check this out! I have it on good authority that at least one quench blogger will be speaking on a panel there. :)

Harvard Law School Lambda invites you to:
The Spring 2008 HaLLA Conference: TransLaw
February 29 - March 1, 2008 - Harvard Law School

The third annual Harvard Lambda Legal Advocacy (HaLLA) Conference will examine the interaction of transgender communities and the law. The panelists, leading activists, advocates and academics from around the country, will speak on topics including state and private violence, state regulation of gender including sex-segregated public facilities, discrimination in the realms of health care and employment, and trans youth and families.

Please visit our website for more information.
Registration is free and all are welcome.

How Asexy!

Ily over at asexy beast is heading up the second ever printing of asexual informational pamphlets! Check them out. Exciting!

February 08, 2008

The McDonald's Girl.

I read this New York Times article about "Voice of McDonald's," an American Idol-like contest for employees of the corporation from around the globe. You can see the finalists' videos here.

And something about it, I don't know, it gets to me.

I'm like sort of in tears here at work and I'm not totally sure why.

I think some of it is Aziah Bolling. She's 20 years old. You can see more of her singing in the NYTimes video under the article. There's just something about the combination of the fast-food corporation, and how badly this young woman wants to win, and the obligatory, "What makes you proud about working for McDonald's?" question. And her parents. I don't know.

I wish her - I wish all of them - luck, and hope.

No. Just ... no.

From the magical alternate universe that is Craig's List:

Could it be you?

Reply to: ANONYMIZED
Date: 2008-02-02, 3:19PM

I like girls of all styles: femme (low-maintenance, please), boi, androgenous, FTM (pre/no-op), genderqueer. Caucasian, Latina, Multi-racial are my favorites. I also have some deep-seated love for Drag Kings! ;)

Can we have a talk about how much I hate: a) the phrase "high/low-maintenance," b) the rush to imply that femmes, in particular, are "high-maintenance," and c) referring to FTMs as a "style" of "girl"? (Ohhh, but only if they're pre- or no-op! Because, I mean, what's the point of dating an FTM "girl" without boobs, right?)

Sadly, this crap is super-common, although I think this is the first time I've seen both femme-targeted snideness and total lack of understanding of what "FTM"means in the same ad.

Sorry, honey, but I'm not going to respond to that kind of emotional blackmailing - I'll ask for what I need from my partner, and do whatever it takes to make myself comfortable in my own skin, and I won't be shamed out of it by snotty claims that I require too much maintenance. If your ego or your free-wheelin' schedule can't take that, I don't have the time or the energy to maintain you.

And if you think that someone's going to go through all the self-discovery, social hassle, and every medical intervention that doesn't involve a scalpel, all to be acknowledged as a female-to-male transperson by the world . . . and, after all that, decide to date someone who refers to him as a "girl" -- well, all I'm sayin' is, don't hold your breath.


Looking forward to hearing from you!

Yeah. That's not going to happen. Unless you're reading this.

February 07, 2008

dreams

It's been a while since I posted, so here's something fun for y'all.

I was just reading through an old journal and I found this gem:

I believe in dreams. Not in the weird, mystical way...but in the sense that a lot of times they have a lot of truth contained therein. I've woken up knowing how to tackle a computer science problem or knowing that a conversation must occur, etc. Earlier today, I awoke from a nap and I was very sure of something. And then I listened to see what was resonating. And it was "bisexuality is being the green octopus." Go figure.

February 05, 2008

We who are about to vote...

Good morning, all you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Quenchfolk! It's Super Tuesday, and you know what that means ...

Anyone reading this who's registered to vote in a state that's holding an election today (for those of you keeping score at home, that's Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho- Dems only, Illinois, Kansas- Dems only, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana- GOP only, New Jersey, New Mexico- Dems only, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia- GOP only) - it's Civic Duty Time!

Polls in my state have been open for 43 minutes, and as soon as I finish my protein-powder-infused oatmeal (what? it's filling...), I'm off to the polls, as should you be.

I'm not going to insult you with yet another flag-waving puppies-and-apple-pie message about how you Really Need To Vote, for the Sake of America. Folks, you know this already. So, you know, go do it, and post here when you're done - interesting election stories are of course solicited, but also welcome is a simple head count.


(for the record, because I am a bit of a femme, I very nearly made this whole post about what I'm wearing to the polls. yes, I dress up for election day. hush now.)

February 03, 2008

I don't even know where to start...

Quenchista: wow, angstilicious away message.
snazzy.
(btw, this is what I want for Valentine's Day)
Anonymous Nerd: wtf
creepy
Quenchista: Yeah, I'm not sure I want to stick an investment item in my cunt.
Anonymous Nerd: i dunno... maybe it'd appreciate
Quenchista: ::giggle:: how would you describe that to the insurance appraiser?
Anonymous Nerd: or your accountant? "you know, we didn't want to be skittish and pull our investment out, just 'cause it seemed like the market was going down... i mean, pulling out is never the solution when times get hard."
Quenchista: "Oh, baby! Hold! Hold! Hold! SEEEELLLLLLLLL!!!!!!"
Anonymous Nerd: god yeah, baby, roll over into /my/ 401 k...
Quenchista: Mmmmm, now that I've got the real thing, who needs internet banking anymore?
Anonymous Nerd: this is the nerdiest. conversation. ever.
Quenchista: yeah, probably. ;c)
love yooou. ::innocent eyes::
Anonymous Nerd: do you have any snail mail envelopes suitable for mailing a cd?
Quenchista: the smaller bubble ones should do it; you're welcome to check.
Anonymous Nerd: k, thanks
Quenchista: wow - my summer roommate has a blog.
and it's a real lady-pleaser.
http://insingulo.blogspot.com/
Anonymous Nerd: mmm, baby. you make every one of /my/ molecules fluoresce...
Quenchista: When I'm around you, I want to do biophysics with two molecules...
Anonymous Nerd: oh god, you hot thing, you. i have my eye on your ions...
Anonymous Nerd: do you think, if i asked really nicely... that you'd make my bunsen burn? 'cause mm, i want you in my elements 29-7-52...
Quenchista: You do realize I'm Quenching this, right? ;c)
Anonymous Nerd: is there anyway to make a quench post anonymously?
so people won't guess it's you in the conversation?
Quenchista: I could ask someone else to post it for me.
Anonymous Nerd: that might make sense
Quenchista: will do, then. ::tries to come up with pervy thing to say about biophysics and internet privacy::

::fails::

February 01, 2008

Random aerobics

This is...amazing.



LOGO should employ this man.