Monday, March 28, 2011

Ugh Ugh Ugh. Transphobic university journalism for the lose.

This is a letter I just sent to the editors of my school newspaper, re: their coverage of the Drag Show Finals which I competed in last Friday.

Dear DO:

Jack Dailey, here, writing in to say how utterly appalled I am by Monday's coverage of the Totally Fabulous Drag Show.  Attaching my good drag-name to the editorial opinions of the author is really inappropriate.  DO, did you learn nothing from the Kanye West VMA debacle?  Unflattering.  Very unflattering.  Gentle Gentleman is a great dancer, a new friend of mine, and a fabulous King.  This is a friendly competition to raise money for queer-positive community programs, and I had nothing but fun during the entire event.  The attempt to undermine their title and create drama to amp up your story angle is uncalled for, and fails entirely to capture the purpose of the event: raising funds for The Q Center, Sage Upstate and the Queering Educational Research Institute (QuERI)--none of which were mentioned in your article.

Moreover, and most importantly, your uncritical use of gender terminology is unacceptable.  In addition to uncertain and inconsistent pronoun issues, and the phrase "hot tranny mess," which is just completely offensive, you 'neutrally' describe the performers as "transsexual"--which is not only an outdated, medicalized label, but it is also the incorrect term to describe drag and drag identity.  If your staff would like to learn more about being less of a heteropatriarchal jerk, I recommend Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw, Leslie Feinberg's TransLiberation, the section from Judith/Jack Halberstam's Female Masculinity on Drag Kings, conversations with staff of the WGS and QSX departments, conversations with staff at the LGBT Resource Center, and perhaps conversations with the actual performers of the drag show who never speak for themselves in your article.

Many of the performers, audience and your readers identify as transgender or genderqueer; your misrepresentation is damaging to our community.  Please make it your priority as a publication to educate yourselves and others, not to harm them.

Totally Disgusted,

The article I'm responding to can be found here::

I'm so, so frustrated.  It's like a how-to of transphobic journalistic fuckup.

On the bright side, here's some great coverage by another university publication, run out of Newhouse:


Friday, December 17, 2010

things you tried to kill, i found a way to grow.

I'm home, and I'm ready to fuck shit up. I was ready to fuck shit up before I even got here, but then I was reading an old journal, but not old enough, in which I recounted everything I remembered about my last date with... let's call him Fuckface, for old time's sake.

I was triggered for the first time a couple of months ago, which was surprising and scary. I think it comes down to that night.
So I'm putting that entry here, because I can't keep being "home" where most people don't know, when I've been living where it's such a huge part of my open identity. I get nothing from keeping quiet, so I'm going to tell everyone, when it comes up. Because I forgot that even four years ago, I knew that what happened was wrong. I left myself clues so I could work it out later.

You should know that this is just the last incident after 4 months of the same shit. This was one of the 2 that I reacted to the most, in the moment, but I was checked out for most of the stuff I didn't react to until later.
You should know that Sady Doyle holding her ground on #MooreandMe has a lot to do with feeling like it's okay to do this.

Trigger warning and story after the jump.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maybe this is of interest, or maybe not--

I made a guest blog for Medusa Magazine, an up-and-coming feminist magazine at SU.

I was covering what is sort of a local event, but if you are interested in reading about it, check it out!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shit has got to change. It has got. to. get. better.

It has got to get better because I am starting to lose my verve, my chutzpah, my resolve.

It's scary, you guys.  It's really scary right now.

I went to a Planned Parenthood conference last weekend and I was gonna blog about that because it was a really good experience, and I was impressed with the global application, intersectionality initiatives, and applicable activism--but now, right now, all I can think about all the goddamn time are these boys, these queer kids killing themselves.

And all I can think about is that a few weeks ago, some dudes screamed at me from a car, as I was waiting to cross the street.  They shouted "WHAT IS THAT!  IS THAT A BOY?  IS THAT A GIRL?  WHAT IS THAT?"

And all I can think about is that last week somebody threw a bottle off their balcony and it shattered about a foot away from me.

And all I can think is that last weekend, my co-worker said that a certain redundant protocol we follow was "so gay."

And all I can think is that today a customer at my work (a bubble-tea shop) ordered "Taro Milk Tea, with the big balls--no homo!"

And all I can think is that again and again our government upholds laws that make our rights not quite the same as everyone else's.

And all I can think is that we shouldn't be fucking surprised that gay kids get bullied, or beat up, or ostracized.  We shouldn't be fucking surprised they're killing themselves when we live in a culture that rewards homophobia, heteronormativity.

I'm really upset.  I'm really upset all the time now, and it is making my heart hurt.
I am tired, and I am sad, and I am angry.

It's Coming Out Month.
I am coming out as Fucking Pissed.
Let's fucking do something.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I thought you were a life-sized paper doll.

[UberTrigger and Sad Warning! For my current thoughts on advocacy and sex in the rape culture, and Sexual Violence in the news]

The thing about my job as advocate and consent-extraordinaire is that it usually feels like we're playing a life-sized version of those elementary school PE games, where you have to run from one end of the gym to the other without getting tagged by the ghost, the rapist, what have you. I've made it to the far wall, so I'm showing people still in the middle how to get here too, helping them see paths as they open up. Encouraging them to run fast as hell.

But I'm not on that far wall. No one is; the threat's never gone. I have so much more life in me, and so many more risks to take, and it is likely enough that someone will rape me in my future. And I am pretty sure that, even given all the things I know, and all the myths I don't believe, it would be devastating and give me so much shit to work through (think of all the things I won't be able to do because of the effort just functioning would take).

So I practice. Just in case. When I go running when it's dark at 8pm, in the park that has lamps and is open until 11, I go through the assault in my head, yelling, "You can't keep me home! I deserve to move freely in the world! I will keep loving sex! I won't be scared of people! You can't fucking stop me!" And when I'm at the 24 hour grocery store alone in a dress at 10:30 pm, I imagine the trial, responding the the defense attorney, "The grocery store is open 24 hours to everyone. This is the most convenient time for me to go shopping. I was 'asking' to get food for dinner, not rape, actually. It doesn't matter that I enjoy sex. It doesn't matter that I talk about it all the time. My fantasies? Not relevant. You're full of shit. No one deserves this, and you can't convince anyone otherwise. I will keep loving. I will keep fucking. I will keep fighting."
I am gone, I am gone, I am gone, I am.

That's one kind of fantasy.
(one kind of disassociation.)

Lately I've been exploring my ideas about kink more, most recently as facilitated by The Pervocracy, who I heartily recommend. Yesterday was the first time I came up with my own fantasy to self-jam about, because it took that long, that much work for me to not me afraid of what I might think when left to my own devices. I'm taking Afro-Brazilian dance this quarter, and it is thrilling to move in ways that I find sexy without it being scandalous, or for someone else. It is my body, being awesome. (This is a pretty big deal. Usually when I dance in front of other people, I am very careful to make sure it is not Too Sexy, lest anyone think I am an Incorrigible Slut, or sending an invitation. Such policing! Such shite.) I am so excited and happy about this, and other related expansions of my sexual expression about which I will not be blogging.

But there's still a disconnect. There's a really shitty feeling that I shouldn't be having all this fun.

I was reading Pervocracy last night, and one post consisted of souvenirs, in the form of pictures, from a recent night of Risk Aware Consensual Kink. (I won't link to this post without context, but again, I recommend her blog.) One picture shows "whore" lightly etched into her back. I don't think this is up my alley, but there it is for her. I observed it with a "hmm," no analysis or nothin.

This morning, I check my email, and yahoo local news gives me the headline "Attacker carves 'Hoe' into woman's chest."


Why do you put so much work into making sex bad?
This pejorative-carving is something at least one person likes, without harming anyone. Maybe liking it is tied up in it being something that is supposed to be pretty fucking harmful, but that is not an invitation to do it.

It's the same thing outside the realm of kink, of course. On my bus ride home tonight, I was reading an article on sexual assault at the US-Mexico border in Color of Violence, the INCITE! Anthology (which I would like everyone in the whole world to read? Get yr hands on it if you can. Email or call and I'll tell you more.). The article told the stories of women who have been raped by Border Patrol agents, and the ensuing legal process. Luis Santiago Esteves is such a relentless offender, who kept getting reassigned to do more damage, not to mention the damage he was doing to his first and second wives and daughter at home. When he assaulted one woman, after two had already brought charges against him, he said "I know what I'm doing. And I am capable of everything." I think that's what checked me back into this fucking reality.

Why do you make sex bad?
It is not a weapon. It is how I express joy, how I find all the different sounds I can make and ways I can move. And I do love moving.

I will not let you use my body as a battleground. You cannot use it against me anymore.
(I refuse your hate. I am untouchable.)
My cunt is not a vulnerability, and my vulnerability is not an invitation.
I will not stop loving.
I will not stop fucking.
I will not stop fighting.

I am.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Points for Frankness

I bought myself breakfast cereal yesterday, for the first time in ages. I wanted something sweet, but all the ridiculous Cookie CrunchBerry Puffs I was denied as a child were close to $5. Fuck that. So I went for the Multi Grain Cheerios, which doesn't sound like sugary indulgence, but there's some delicious sweetener on 'em, and this was closer to $2. Much more reasonable.

This morning, when I was making myself breakfast, I read the box of the cereal I was pouring, as Regina and I love to do. The back panel listed ways to maximize the benefits of eating multiple grains, in between two smiling, skinny women, and I was feeling all healthy and active, like I was supposed to, until I got to their summary of why including multigrains in my diet is important.

"More Grains, Less You!" (click to see for yourself)

Oh right.

That's obviously the point of every weight loss product, whether it's dressing up as "health" or not, but I was surprised at how direct they were, and how they tried to make it look glamorous, with the italics and exclamation point.

Don't worry, though! I got the message! "You're fucking feeding yourself? Who the fuck do you think you are? This 'women eating' thing is dangerous, we gotta take em down a notch. Apatogen forbid they think it's okay to quit the self-effacing."

Next time I'm getting some fucking Apple Jacks. They won't dare to tell me to take up less space when they think I'm a teenage boy. They'll just give me sweet games.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Excuse me, sir, your misogyny is showing

Don't call me bitch.

Oh, I can call myself a free bitch, baby, or Bitch Queen of the Universe, or a babe in total control of herself, but these are different than 99.9% of conversational use -- they evoke power, turning the classical definition of 'bitch' on its head.  Reclaiming the word, turning it into a compliment rather than a tool used to remind women of their 'place.'

So what is a bitch?