Some (late) October readings

I know, I know, it’s not October anymore. I’ve been hit with a whole slew of overwhelming things, so this blog has been sitting dormant for a little while. I did compile this list a little while ago, so keep in mind these are things I read and looked into in October, from intersex awareness day (woo!) to gender in Zouk dancing. We’ll hopefully get back on track in November.

 

Maybe, no promises. But, in the meantime, lots to read!

 

Lost this year

 

London Moore (North Port, FL)

Read more

 

Nikki Enriquez (Laredo, TX)

One of four victims murdered by a Border Patrol agent targeting sex workers

Read more

Statement from the Transgender Law Center

 

Ms. Colombia (New York, NY)

An integral, cheerful part of her Jackson Heights community

Read more

 

Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier (Chicago, IL)

Part of Chicago’s ballroom scene

Read more

 

 

Reading

 

How to Support Intersex People on Intersex Awareness Day — And Every Day

 

“Since the 1950s, intersex people have been the targets of nonconsensual medical interventions in attempts to fit our bodies into a false sex binary. The first time intersex people took a stance and demonstrated publicly against our medicalization was on October 26, 1996 in Boston. We celebrate that act of courage annually on Intersex Awareness Day, and on every other day of the year.”

 

Searching for a Place to Call Home While Queer and Trans in America

 

“The queer and trans organizers and artists I most admire are those who stay and build; those who do the difficult, unsexy work of holding space in their communities, creating and maintaining resources for those who do not or cannot leave. I survived that night in Birmingham because of those folks, because of a thriving, loving community that exists as the result of their tireless organizing.”

 

The Superstition that LGBTQ+ People Are “Contagious”

 

“Within a few short years, suburban folks went from wanting to believe that nobody they knew was queer, to wanting to know who was queer or who was not. This may have been for the worst possible reason. But for the first time in my isolated, suburban life, people began acknowledging the reality that queer folks lived amongst them. And being queer suddenly seemed like an actual possibility to me — not merely a slur, but something that somebody could actually be.”

 

Gendered Roles in Brazilian Zouk: An Interview with Bruno Galhardo

 

“Yet even dance is not something so common for the society. Myself, I started dancing because I wanted to feel part of something. When I was a teenager, I didn’t feel like I was part of anything. I wasn’t good at playing sport, so I found something that could make me feel that I am good at something.”

 

Hamish Henderson

 

“His work in folklore revival helped change the cultural landscape of Scotland, and his poetry and songs are well known. It would be easy to dismiss his social activism and fight for gay rights in Scotland and focus on his writings, but that would do him a great disservice. His politics were intrinsically tied to his identity as a queer Scottish man from an impoverished Gaelic background and he drew from his experiences to raise the voices of those who were often silenced and devalued.”

 

The Importance of Not Drowning

 

“You don’t know the term “asexual” yet. And when you learn about it, thanks to social media and fanfictions and other asexual friends, you push this idea away. This is not you. You are gay, right? And you have spent too much energy being ashamed of it, so it is too late to change your label now. You are just not ready for sex, not interested yet. You may be ace for now, but things will change. They always do.”

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some September readings

[cw: discussions of racist, transmisogynistic anti-trans violence]

So, September was a month to look back into history (it was on accident! I know October is LGBTQ history month in the US). It also was a chance to look at the trans lives we also lost in late August that I missed at the time. These days, I feel like every year we’re saying “this is the deadliest year for trans women” and  we’re constantly saying “there is a crisis for trans women of color” and, instead of getting better, it gets worse and worse and worse. This has been a terribly deadly year for trans people in the US and internationally. Vontashia Bell, on this list, was eighteen fucking years old.

 

So, as we head into US LGBTQ History Month (and the UK’s Black History Month), let’s remember the history we’re making right now. This a dark moment in history, particularly for trans women of color. Let’s do better.

 

I went back and forth on whether or not to include folks from outside the US. In the end, I decided that there is no reason not to include a name on this list, because these are names we must honor. That said, I do usually focus on murders in the US because there are so many murders worldwide that no single person could keep track of and honor them. I’m in the US, so these are the murders most relevant to me. The fact that I cannot truly honor every member of my extended trans family who is murdered is disgusting.

 

Lost this Year

 

Esra Ateş (Istanbul, Turkey)

Read More

Begüm (Bursa, Turkey)

Read More

 

Vanessa Campos (Paris, France)

Peruvian sex-worker

Read More

Statement from Acceptess-T (in French)

 

Dejanay Stanton (Chicago, Il)

Loved to travel

Read More

 

Vontashia Bell (Shreveport, LA)

Eighteen years old

Read More

 

Shantee Tucker (Philadelphia, PA)

Straight-talker, worked in an area beauty store

Read More

 

 

Reading

 

Almost Forgotten Voices: The Transvestite Magazine of Weimar Berlin

 

“From 1919 until February 1933, somewhere between twenty-five and thirty separate homosexual German-language journal titles appeared in Berlin, some weekly or monthly and others less frequently. These supplemented, of course, Berlin’s first homosexual periodicals: Adolf Brand’s Der Eigene and Hirschfeld’s Jahrbuch. By contrast, there were practically no such journals published anywhere else in the world until after 1942.” (Robert Beachy, Gay Berlin)

 

Whitewashing HIV History

 

“At that time, no one knew what HIV was. It would be another 12 years before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a mysterious pneumonia and immune deficiency that had afflicted “five young men, all active homosexuals.” Deaths started mounting in 1981, and HIV would not be identified by scientists until 1984. In 1987, HIV was found in Rayford’s tissue samples. Very few noticed.”

 

Kimberlé Crenshaw and Lady Phyll Talk Intersectionality, Solidarity, and Self-Care

 

“We spoke with Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and Lady Phyll to talk about the gifts they’ve given to a generation of Black LGBTQ+ people: the tools to dismantle the master’s house, and a blueprint for the promised land to be built on its grave thereafter.”

 

The Real-Life LGBT Outlaws of the American West and Writing Queerness Back to Historical Fiction

 

“Here’s the setup of my soon-to-be-published novel, The Best Bad Things, in a nutshell: The year is 1887, and in the wild west of the Washington Territory, a hard-boiled, rule-bending Pinkerton’s detective goes undercover to infiltrate a smuggling ring. The detective’s name is Alma Rosales. She’s Latinx, she’s gender-fluid, and she’s queer. One of my writing friends and I fondly call her the “manic pixie butch stud.” I’m kind of in love with her — and I hope you’ll love her, too.”

Some August Reading

August is HOT (so were June and July). I’m not one for the heat, but I did get some good reading done. We’ve got some conversations around trans representation (and how to do it right), asexuality, and queer history. And a small tribute to the incredible dancer, Angela Bowen.

 

Lost this Month

 

Silva, Galway, Ireland

A friendly person who enjoyed cooking

Read more

 

Casey Hoke, Los Angeles, CA

Trans activist, artist, and speaker

Learn more about his work

Donate to the Pride Center at Cal Poly Pomona in his memory


Dancer, Professor, Queer Activist Angela Bowen Dead at 82

 

“Most recently a professor at California State University, Long Beach, Bowen taught in the English and the women’s, gender and sexuality studies departments. Bowen was a beloved fixture on campus who passed on her organizing and activism to her students. Bowen’s career in higher education was just one of many acts in her 82 well-lived years.”


 

Reading

 

‘Interstate’ Proves that Trans Inclusion Makes Better Musical Theater

 

“So I think it proves that, when people say, “Oh, there’s nobody who can fit this role” or “Oh, you’ll never be able to cast this,” you just have to try a little bit harder. You just have to be committed to doing that, because they’re out there, and it’s important to cast somebody who is a trans person in a trans role.”

 

This Guide to Trans Inclusion in the Media May Change Hollywood As We Know It

 

“According to TRANSform Hollywood, 80 percent of Americans say they don’t personally know a transgender person — not at work, not at school, and not in their families. “That’s where Hollywood comes in,” says the guide. While many Americans might simply be unaware of trans people in their lives who aren’t publicly out, or whom people assume to be cisgender, those who say they don’t know a trans person will likely learn everything they know about trans people from film and television. That’s why it’s so important that the people they see in these roles are trans and represent the reality of what that means — and ideally, what being trans could mean in a world free of transphobia and rampant discrimination.”

 

Ace Jam created a space for games with asexual characters

 

“Ace Jam, then, was an important step in bringing attention to a-spec people, and creating more respectful media that reflects them. The jam page curated helpful resources for developers wanting to create well-rounded characters without resorting to tired tropes. It also encouraged developers of all skill levels to take part without pressure or judgement, empowering many developers who are themselves asexual or otherwise a-spec to take part.”

 

“Bi Ace… is that a thing?” 

 

“For a while, I thought I was exclusively into men. Then, for two years, I thought I was only into women. Fast forward a bit, I discover that I’m into no one physically, but I do like the way certain faces look, both male and female. And that was confusing at first. We’re conditioned to associate the acknowledgment of a nice face to sexual attraction. It’s a part of heteronormativity that is taught to us and projected onto us from the time we are born until we die. I’m still working on convincing my friends and family that you can like someone’s face and never want them to be anywhere near you. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

 

Hugh Ryan Recounts Our Forgotten Queer History—And Makes Us Remember Our Past

 

“I think the importance of queer history is both seeing actual queer people, like we are today, functioning in the world and understanding how their lives and their actions and their identities changed all of history, but also seeing queer people who are not like us and that show that what we think of as the way sexuality and gender functions has not always been the case.”

 

Some July readings

Another busy month of lots of reading, including something that quotes me (not that I’m surprised and vaguely pleased with myself or anything)! I’m pretty pleased with this collection – it’s eclectic and a bit random, but all worthwhile reads that I do highly recommend.

 

 

Lost this Year

 

Roxana Hernandez

Honduran immigrant, died in ICE custody in New Mexico

Read more

 

Cathalina Christina James, Jacksonville, FL

Loved to travel and dance

Read more

 

Keisha Wells (Pokey), Cleveland, OH

“Loved the most expensive high heels and stilettos”

Read more

 

Reading

 

The Tumblr bloggers building a canon of asexual history

 

“Combing through archives, bloggers have claimed historical figures like the 17th-century French poet Catherine Bernard as one of their own. Queer historian and dancer Jo Troll depicted Bernard as “an outsider looking in on relationships and find[ing] it easiest to see the negative messiness of a relationship.””

 

How White People Handle Diversity Training in the Workplace

 

“Despite its ubiquity, white superiority is also unnamed and denied by most whites. If we become adults who explicitly oppose racism, as do many, we often organize our identity around a denial of our racially based privileges that reinforce racist disadvantage for others. What is particularly problematic about this contradiction is that white people’s moral objection to racism increases their resistance to acknowledging complicity with it. In a white supremacist context, white identity largely rests on a foundation of (superficial) racial tolerance and acceptance. We whites who position ourselves as liberal often opt to protect what we perceive as our moral reputations, rather than recognize or change our participation in systems of inequity and domination.”

 

Disability Tales: PRIDE

 

“Pride season is here, and is love really saving us? Or is it saving the lives of the cis, white, and able bodied world that Pride caters to? Convincing others why we don’t care, want to, or feel comfortable celebrating “Pride Month,” Is a laborious process. More than likely these heavy conversations will lead to burn out, and feeling isolated. Our friends and family who are able bodied and neurotypical can’t seem to recognize why we don’t feel like going out to our local “Pride” themed events.”

 

The joys of being overdressed

 

“What happens when we stop worrying about what other people think and start dressing for ourselves, or for the person we want to be? It might not be the answer to all our problems, but I’m not going to pretend that the idea of being a bit unsettling because I’m not dressed the way I’m “supposed” to isn’t appealing. I refuse to become invisible to pander to someone else’s idea of “normal”.”

 

As de Corazones: Does Sex Really Matter in a Relationship?

 

“Uplifting perspectives and representations that challenge normative sexual expectations in society is important in altering how the public perceives the role of sex in relationships. It’s also crucial to acknowledge the origins of the films production company Meraki Films. Being based in Peru, Meraki is providing an often unheard perspective on the field of representation and (a)sexuality in As de Corazones through addressing the issue of sexual expectations in relationships and society overall.”

 

The Political Provocations of Asexuality

 

“One pernicious outcome of this kind of thinking is that it implicitly derides the notion that asexual expressions of intimacy might be just as good as sexual ones. While “critics of asexuality warn self-identified asexuals not to pigeon-hole themselves as sexual too soon,” writes Chasin, “nobody seems concerned if non-asexual people pigeonhole themselves as sexual or non-asexual too soon.” For Chasin, sexual freedom can never be truly achieved until every person is free to be sexual… or not.”

 

Why the British Media Is So Transphobic

 

“And we’re actually being expected to be really highly specialized in a lot of things, like gay history and feminism and endocrinology and the history of the LGBT movement and politics — and sports science, I’ve never cared about sports and then I had to look up the rules about trans women in women’s sports because every time I would do a panel someone would ask about that. You’re forced into being more and more of a really specialist expert just to defend the fact that you’re existing in the world.”

 

some April readings.

April is a month I spent without a second job, so I had a little more time for reading than usual. We’ve got the regular eclectic mix of everything, starting with Autistic communication and ending with a discovered-late series of letters from trans people to other trans people in their lives left over from TDoV. And, sadly, there are still lost lives to mourn (my least favorite part of these posts, but the most necessary one).

 

Lost this year

 

Naomi Hersi, London, UK

Tennis enthusiast, music lover, and chocolate addict

Read a letter to Naomi

 

Sasha Wall, Pageland, SC

Always ready for the camera

Read more

 

Take Action

 

If you live in Massachusetts, sign the pledge to protect trans anti-discrimination laws.

 

In 2011, gender identity was included in employment and housing anti-discrimination laws.

In 2016, gender identity was included in public accommodations anti-discrimination laws.

This November, Massachusetts will be voting on repealing the 2016 decision, which would allow for discrimination against trans and gender non-conforming people in pretty anywhere that isn’t home, work, or school.

 

You can pledge to vote to protect trans people.

There are also a number of volunteer opportunities.

And, most importantly, talk to folks you know in Massachusetts and make sure they’re voting and on the same page!

 

Reading

 

I Like That, I Want That, Can I Have That?: When NonAutistic People Don’t Understand Autistic Communication and Punish Us For It.

 

“Even though I could explain what I meant, I was miscommunicating and was rude. There was only ever need for me to change. Not the person who consistently and often willfully misunderstood me. They knew what I meant. I’d explained it clearly but I had to shift into an imprecise way of speech that was completely unnatural to me. It’s not something that I mastered until after I was diagnosed and could understand why I behaved differently than society expected me too.”

 

The “Threat” of Sex

 

“Sex can be a weapon – a dagger that can leave wounds that will never fully heal. I’ve heard it said that while murder kills a body, rape kills a soul. Its destructive capabilities are well-known, which I’m sure is why women are the primary targets of rape threats. Corrective rape is used as a brutal cudgel against those who are viewed as wrong. The idea that someone can be “raped straight” is yet another sickening and evil facet of rape culture. But I want to submit that there is a more shadowy threat of sex that affects asexuals in a different way than it does straight people or even allosexuals. This threat of sex – the implication that a lack of sexual attraction will eventually produce negative consequences – is why I no longer find safety in my asexuality.”

 

Don’t neglect the UK’s indigenous languages

 

“Would you be surprised if I told you that, far from being a land of monoglots, there are ten indigenous languages spoken today in the British Isles? Yet we are very quick to tell ourselves that we’re rubbish at languages. We are linguistically isolated monoglots, marooned on a cluster of islands on the edge of the Atlantic. If we were in the mix of mainland Europe, we tell ourselves, we’d be blethering away in at least two languages.”

 

Questions from the Search Terms: “Femme Woman using they them”

 

“I’ve written before about how ‘they’ as a pronoun is simply a way of referring to someone without gendering them at all, and there’s nothing wrong with someone preferring not to have their gender brought up every time they’re being referred to. Using ‘they’ pronouns is one way to reduce that frequency, and if it works for some women (femme or not! Femme-ness or lack thereof is completely irrelevant here, to be clear!) then that’s just fine.”

 

It’s a Gaslight Life for Us!

 

“We live in a society that holds up lies as the ideal. People lie to be polite. To be accepted. The thing is, to be nice, you must be a liar and the first person you need to become good at lying to is yourself. So, we lie about how we feel about things until those lies become truths and those truths become the norm, and the norm is self-deception of such scale that even the tiniest threat of revelation is met with extreme prejudice – personal attacks meant to undermine and discredit you and whatever you said that triggered them. And then they’ll blame you for it.”

 

Another Invisible Bisexual: E. Nesbit

 

“I’ve written about this denial of bisexuality before, but it’s still frustrating. It’s a denial that forces a biographer into several possibly unwarranted conclusions, and robs the text of nuances. And in this case, it also heightens the image of woman as reactor instead of actor, by assuming that Edith Nesbit had affairs in reaction to Hubert Bland’s affairs, instead of welcoming the prospect of an open marriage with a husband that tolerated and encouraged her own sexual needs; this may have been one reason why she married him. If you accept that Edith Nesbit might have been a bisexual, sexually healthy and adventurous woman, you can accept that an open marriage might well have been her choice as well. Certainly she seems to have enjoyed many aspects of it.”

 

Trans Day of Visibility Roundtable: Letters to the Trans People Who Shaped Us

 

“To celebrate, we asked trans writers to write to a fellow trans person who has been important to them — someone they look up to, someone who has helped them,​ ​someone who has changed their life or otherwise made a major impact. Below you’ll find their notes of love and admiration for their trans friends.”

 

Some March Readings

So, February was Black Panther month and I finally got around to reading some reflections and reviews of the movie. In case you weren’t aware, I might be very into Marvel, so watching a Good Film (rare for the MCU) that celebrated blackness and African culture in such a thoughtful, meaningful way was the most exciting thing that happened. I’ve seen it twice now, I’ll be seeing it again as soon as I come up for breath from the current mess of overwhelming work. In the meantime, here is a taste of what I’ve been reading.

 

In addition to the two readings on Black Panther, there’s some preparation to be done for the incredibly challenging but potentially incredible Autism Acceptance Month, an article that I hadn’t quite finished by the end of Black History Month, and some good conversations around disability and paying artists. And, of course, I am continuously frustrated by the lack of thoughtful trans-centered reporting on trans murders.

 

Lost this year

 

Tonya Harvey, Buffalo, NY

Nicknamed “Kita”

Learn more

 

Celine Walker, Jacksonville, FL

“Low key” and “amazingly talented”

Learn more

 

Zakaria Fry, Albuquerque, NM

“You told me fuck anyone who disagrees, and fuck all of those who can’t accept my happiness.”

Learn more

 

Phylicia Mitchell, Cleveland, OH

Hairstylist, a good and kind person who had already suffered homelessness and addiction

Learn more

 

 

Take Action

Get ready to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month instead of Autism Awareness Month:

 

You can:

 

 

Reading

 

black panther
[image is a promotional image for the movie Black Panther:  serious black black stares out over the movie title and is surrounded by the other characters from the film, mostly black women]
Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther

 

“It is uncomfortable for many institutions to even broach the subject of the museum’s complicated relationship with audiences of color, but Black Panther has created an impeccable opportunity for institutions to begin a dialogue with their community. So many people will see this film; the scene may only reinforce their conception of museums, or it may open their eyes to the realities of the complicated relationship between the universal museum and colonialism, and museums need to be prepared to actively engage with this topic rather than avoiding the uncomfortable truths that are now out in the open on cinema screens.”

 

An American Monster in Wakanda

 

“After the movie, I left the theater to the chants of “Wakanda Forever,” feeling unsettled and displaced. If Wakanda were a real place, I’d be Erik; I’d be the American monster in Wakanda because I couldn’t love a country with the means to end the transatlantic slave trade that instead chose to hide and pretend it wasn’t their problem. A nation that only fights when absolutely necessary and did not think the kidnapping, torture, murder, rape, abuse, dehumanization, and destruction of millions of people made war absolutely necessary. A nation with superior education, technology, creativity, and the financial ability to help that instead turned its collective back on those who lived outside its borders. Black people, like them. Because they were not Wakandan.”

Why Everyone Thinks that They Care About Disability Rights When They Really Don’t

 

“Disabled people have long found themselves firmly in the category of people deemed worthy of assistance but they often don’t get it. Consider the “ugly laws”, a set of policies and bylaws often incorrectly assumed to ban disabled people from public spaces outright. They were, in fact, more accurately anti-vagrancy laws. They were often premised on the idea that disabled people were justified in begging. The problem was they were convinced that people were faking disabilities to unfairly gain sympathy.”

 

100+ LGBTQ Black Women You Should Know: The Epic Black History Month Megapost

 

“So, in honor of Black History Month, below you’ll find over 100 lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer and transgender women you should know about. If she was still alive, the oldest person in this list would be 189 years old. The youngest person on this list is a mere 21 years of age.”

 

 

When are you coming to my town?

 

“What really fucks me off about the touring part of the sector is this myth that the arts is poor, that there is no money. I refuse to believe that organisations with over 30 members of staff who facilitate artists cannot pay just 10 artists properly.”

 

 

Some February readings

This month, I read about a whole lot of things I want to share with you. Once again, the trans community continues to face loss (and I know I am behind in recording it), so I have decided to also add an action point to these posts. Even as we face loss and frustration, there is always something we can do. Also, lots of good reading from depressed exercise to Star Trek!

 

Lost this year

 

Viccky Gutierrez, Lost Angeles, CA

Originally from Honduras, she is described as the “nicest girl in the world”

Learn more

 

 

Take Action!

by Neta Bomani (2018)                                                          [image is a person behind prison gates with swirly circles in the back. Underneath are the words “NO LADY, Anonymous, B 32018] 
Prison Culture and Neta Bomani have made a zine for folks in women’s prisons.

You can

  • Spread the word
  • Help send it into prisons
  • Donate to help cover printing and mailing costs

 

Reading:

 

Dress to kill, Fight to win

 

“I think sometimes being anti-fashion leads to a false notion that we can be in bodies that aren’t modified, and that any intentional modification or decoration of your body is politically undesirable because it somehow buys into the pitfalls of reliance on appearances.”

 

The Philosophy of Selfishness is Destroying America

 

“The very idea of selfishness is one that by virtue of its existence implies something deeply poisonous and wrong: that in order to get what we want, someone else must pay a cost.  And vice versa: if anyone else gets what they want, it comes at a cost to us.”

 

Why is Fixing Sexism Women’s Work?

 

“Sexism is a male invention. White supremacy is a white invention. Transphobia is a cisgender invention. So far, men have treated #MeToo like a bumbling dad in a detergent commercial: well-intentioned but floundering, as though they are not the experts. They have a chance to do better by Time’s Up.”

 

Star Trek’s Economic Model – Fantasy or Future?

 

“The universe of Star Trek allows us to peer into a possible alternative of our lifestyle. Not just about exploring the universe, but about exploring the human condition that we have all chosen to accept as “normal.” If any of us transported into the world of Star Trek, we would stick out like sore thumbs.”

 

Depressing Busting Exercise Tips For People Too Depressed to Exercise

 

“But where the well-meaning mentally healthy person sees a straightforward progression toward improvement, we see the paradox: yes, if we could do those things, it might help our depression, but not being able to do those things is a major part of being depressed.”