How It Feels

Another new piece up on Patreon, and this one came about in an interesting way: what I wanted was to make a list of things I want to write about, things I want to describe so that anyone else experiencing them might feel less shame about them.

Instead I wound up with the list itself becoming the piece.

It’s called How It Feels (My Brain is Against Me)

Here’s 4-7:

4. To be post traumatic

5. To be a depressive living in a blindly optimistic world

6. To be deep hearted and loyal in a shallow place

7. To fail

There are 20. It’s up on Patreon.?

Fuck Gender.

I read this piece at Cornell this past Thursday (along with a few other things):

 

I’ve recently been reading Lou Sullivan’s biography and I’m having trouble with it because some of it cuts too close to the bone for me.

I’m not sure how he came to understand he was a gay man when there was little or no awareness of either gay men or trans men, but he did, and I’m astonished by that. I’ve been hanging out on the edges of gender dysphoria my whole life but never really named it that. Genderqueer, gender neutral, genderfuck: these were the words I started using to talk about myself back in 1985.

There’s a photo of me in masculine drag from when I was 16 and found out I would have been named Doug had I been assigned male at birth. My nickname in high school was The Gentleman – not because of my class, but because I opened doors and took care of women in ways that more closely resembled gentle masculinity than anything else.

I feel sexiest when I feel like Adam Ant or Rufus Wainwright. Feminine forms of sexy have never, ever appealed to me – not when I was skinny, not when I was fat, not when I was an hourglass. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to make curves straight lines with little success. Only now that I’m older and lose muscle mass at an alarming rate have my jeans started to fit my hips in ways I don’t hate.

I have always resisted identifying as trans, maybe because I grew up raised my 2nd wave feminists who wanted to get rid of gender for good and feminist reasons. Maybe because I grew up in an era of trans activism where people who needed medical and legal intervention really, really, really needed the healthcare industry and the legal precedents to be recognized as people at all. Priorities, you know?

Read the rest on Patreon.

Men.

“What I’ve come to notice is that all these kids are rehearsing and projecting.? trying it on. Rehearsing their masculinity. Projecting their experimental versions of it. And wordlessly looking for cues the whole time. Not just from each other, but from older people around them, especially the men. Which can be heartbreaking to witness, to tell you the truth. Because the feedback they get is so damn unhelpful. If it’s well-meant it’s often feeble and half-hearted. Because good men don’t always stick their necks out and make an effort.” Tim Winton

Pretty regularly I post something about a shooter or other violent offender being a cis het white guy, as no doubt many of us do, and almost invariably, I get a PM from some young man or other who decides to confront me about how much I hate men.

It always strikes me as funny because I love men, for the most part. I’m charmed by them, I’ve almost exclusively dated them, and in general, I’ve chosen men as some of my best and closest friends. Many of my heroes and mentors have been white men. As an angry, somewhat masculine woman, that has also been terrifically complicated, but it’s still true. My oldest friend used to joke, when we were still teenagers, that I could never, ever raise a boy because I’d be too indulgent of his bullshit.

But they can’t be excused and we can’t fail to see, when we look at the political landscape, a lot of cishet white guys running shit. They’re the ones leading the march against women and trying to derail or curtain women’s health care – and yes, that includes abortion, and that always includes abortion – they’re the ones running cop shops that take out young black men on the regular; they’re the ones foamin at the mouth about gay rights, too. They are definitely ones getting away with rape and domestic violence and yes, they are the ones shooting up schools.

It’s the kind of thing it’s impossible not to unsee once you see it.

I don’t think it has much to do with any individual man. I think it has everything to do with how we raise men and what we expect of them, but moreso, it has everything to do with what they expect.

Read the rest on Patreon.

 

Interview

I promised my Patreon readers that I’d make a video or two if I met my patronage goals. This short video was made during a meeting of my Working Artists Collective of Appleton, a small group I put together to accomplish my goals – or admit to others that I hadn’t. A few of us are using it to replace deadlines and to otherwise motivate ourselves.

This short interview was filmed by friend Lynne, with minor editing by my wife. The person interviewing me is Vered, Appleton City Council member and the first out trans official elected in the state of WI.

Enjoy.

Here’s my friend Jon Hakes’ page, and here’s Julia Serano’s.

Compersion

Another new piece on Patreon today. Hope you dig it. Here’s an excerpt:

Who wants to be the person who tells the person you love most in the world not to leap?

Who wants to live with a person who hasn’t leapt when they wanted to?

I refuse to accept emotions that make me smaller, make my experience in the world more petty, to buy hook line and sinker the idea that any desire my spouse has for another person is by default an insult to me or disrespectful to our relationship.

I want the world to be bigger, to be more generous, to realize desire and love are not goddamned pie and we will not run out. People are not less special because you share them with others. People are more beautiful the more they are loved.

And my wife, you know? She was put in this world to be adored. I have no interest in hating anyone who wants to love and admire her too.

Read the whole thing here.

Trans Artists & the Oscars

Daniela Vega, you may have heard, is the first out trans person to present at the Oscars.

Yance Ford was nominated for his movie Strong Island, which is a shattering, incredible documentary.

In past years, other trans artists to receive Oscar nominations include:

  • In 1974 (1974!) songwriter Angela Morley for scoring?The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella?and?The Little Prince
  • In 2016, singer?Anohni (formerly of Antony & the Johnson) for “Manta Ray” from the documentary?Racing Extinction,?and
  • In 2017, visual effects artist Paige Warner for helping to develop ILM’s facial performance-capture solving system.

Let’s get those numbers up, shall we?