5th Annual Hug A Trans* Person Day

I mentioned a while back that there’s a queer themed holiday almost every month of the year. Well, today is one of those days, thus I’m doing my blog post a day early this week. Today is the 5th annual Hug A Trans* Person Day. I still love that we have holidays like this, as they add a bit of cheer and mirth to what is an otherwise difficult life for many of us. And this one is very well timed, as those of us who are college students here in the states are in the midst of our finals or preparing for them, so a bit of levity is much needed.

I’m tired from a long run earlier, working at the youth center tonight, and needing to job hunt as the semester draws to a close, so I’ll just leave you all with this short post today. I’ll be back on Tuesday with more good stuff for you all. Have a good weekend, and remember to only hug people you personally know!

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Physical Differences in Sexual Identity

Sexuality and identity symbols (not a complete list)

Sexuality and identity symbols (not a complete list)

Last time I began addressing the issue of why trans* people are not all intersex, even if some intersex people are trans* identified. I left off mentioning that I would discuss more in depth the physical differences, because they are pretty drastic.

As Natalie Reed pointed out a while back, transexual bodies and genitals do not react, function, etc. in the same manner as cissexual bodies of the same configuration. As she points out, the penis of a cis man, a trans man, and a trans woman all react differently from one another, more drastically different than within members of the same group. In other words, a trans woman’s penis is more different from a cis man’s penis than that same cis man’s penis is from another cis man’s penis, in regards to functioning. This is something I discussed briefly a couple weeks back while discussing how our sexuality shifts. Continue reading

Differing Sexual Identities

Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex Flag

An acquaintance and reader asks, “why don’t we consider trans* bodies that have medically transitioned in some way as intersex? Why isn’t there a separate sex category for altered bodies?”

This is a long and complicated answer, so settle in for a long one today readers.

There can be arguments made for transitioning/transitioned bodies to be seen as a sort of “artificial intersex”, and I’ve discussed this with others in the trans* community in the past. Once we begin medical transition, we will never again be 100% male or female in body, blending bits of both. So why don’t we consider them to be intersex? Continue reading

Queer Movies

A discussion yesterday with my friend Dori got into the topic of queer movies. We both work at an LGBT youth center (her paid, me as a volunteer), and tonight is a movie night at the center. The thing we noticed is that queer movies are generally only of one or two real genres, generally a romantic comedy with varying levels of romance and comedy. There are a few dramas, but we really don’t see much in the way of other genres. Where are the gay action movies, or lesbian super hero movies? What about queer horror or sci-fi? Let’s see a Star Trek with the USS Stonewall!

Now, there are gay characters in other movies, such as Mitch in Paranorman, but they’re not usually the focus of the movie, side characters who happen to be caught up in the plot with the protagonists. How much better would Armageddon have been if Bruce Willis was replaced replaced by an ultra-butch lesbian? What about a Batwoman movie, since she’s openly lesbian and the Bat Family movies are proven to work? Continue reading

Marriage Equality is For All

I’ve said it before, marriage equality is a trans issue. Matt Kailey has said it’s a trans issue. Monica Roberts has discussed how it becomes an issue for trans people. Whatever your views on it (and the three of us have different views on the same issue), we can all agree that it does affect trans people.

Unfortunately, as Monica points out, it doesn’t always affect us in a positive way. Sometimes, it affects us negatively. Sometimes, the conflicts between organizations and groups become even more pronounced over this issue. Take for example the Human Rights Campaign’s recent push to have people change their Facebook profile pictures to a red version of the HRC equality symbol. I’ve known a number of trans folk who got up in arms over it (myself included, once awake enough to remember their history) and refused to do so, choosing instead other symbols to share our support of marriage equality without supporting HRC.

Why all the infighting? Well, Monica summed it up pretty well a few years back, but unfortunately, this conflict continues still today. In fact, it’s been blowing up social media feeds since yesterday over an incident that supposedly occurred wherein HRC members told some of the activists to take down the trans pride flag. This is agreed upon by everyone, though there is some disagreements about whether or not the HRC reps told them that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.”

I don’t know what really happened, I wasn’t there, but I wonder where this rumor came from if it did not in fact happen. People on the scene did say that the trans activists were asked numerous times to remove their flag, and the HRC doesn’t deny this part, only that the phrase was uttered. Did HRC reps say it? I don’t know, only the people there really know. But what I do know is that such incidents continue to throw fuel on the fire of hatred between the two groups. If it happened, then the HRC reps are doing so. If it didn’t happen, then the people responsible for starting this rumor are the ones continuing the hatred.

Is there an easy answer? Unfortunately, yes and no. It’s easy to say but not so easy to do. We need to learn to set aside all the pettiness, from both sides, and work together. That’s hard to do. I can forgive, but I will never forget, and many others hold such a mindset. Unfortunately, that means that we’re always on guard against getting back-stabbed or thrown under the bus again. And that prevents us from working effectively together.

Is marriage equality the be-all-end-all that so many gay-rights activists make it out to be? No, far from it. And I hope that once this is all resolved in a few months, that we can begin working on real issues, like jobs, healthcare, and an end to laws that prevent us doing such things as voting or using the restrooms. Because having a family doesn’t mean anything if you can’t support them or take them out in public as equals.

Heteronormativity – Affecting Queer and Feminist Spaces Too?

So about a week ago, as I was getting ready for school in the morning, I got to thinking about the Bechdel Test. More specifically, I got to wondering if it actually works for lesbian films, books, and other media.

For those unfamiliar with the Bechdel Test, it’s a brief measure applied to fiction to see how women are represented within. It was created by Alison Bechdel, author of Dykes to Watch Out For, and it goes without saying that she is herself a lesbian. In order to pass the Bechdel Test, a work of fiction must have three parts:
1.) There are two women
2.) Who talk to each other
3.) About something other than men. Continue reading

Busy Busy Busy

Butterfly WomanAs I mentioned last post, I have been extremely busy the past few months. Things have picked up with the queer youth center I volunteer at, with me being there more nights a week, and beginning to start teaching self-defense there as well. In addition to that, we’ve had a number of special events, such as going to the state capital last week with several other queer organizations in the state to lobby to our representatives (the Texas state legislature is only in session for 140 days in every odd numbered year).

Beyond the youth center, I’ve also stepped up a lot in a couple of trans organizations here of late, one for people in the college student age range whose former president stepped down (I was in a relationship for a time with the current president), the other is for all trans folk and I do outreach to them for the other groups in the area. I’ve also been trying to start a group in the town I live in so that college students don’t have to drive 45 minutes down to Dallas for the localish groups. I’ve also taken part in a transgender panel locally just a week ago, educating members of the leather community about transgender issues.

Above and beyond the trans issues, I’ve been an active member in a new GSA at my school that actually takes part in activism rather than just being a social group. I’ve also been part of a research team gathering information and resources for the school’s sexual assault and domestic violence prevention program. Finally, I’ve begun volunteering with the local crisis center, and I moved.

To say that I got caught up in the whirlwind of things is an understatement, but I’m back, and starting Friday can begin commenting on all things queer and feminist, and maybe just some interesting points here or there.