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How to scare off people: “Wait! I have flowcharts!”

How to scare off people: “Wait! I have flowcharts!” published on No Comments on How to scare off people: “Wait! I have flowcharts!”

I just adore Assigned Male [comic strip] by Sophie LaBelle, and this one where the protagonist is waving gender flowcharts at a passerby illustrates why — geeky humor, cute art, and a a constant counter to my hardened, bitter, cynical heart.

LEGS! O_O

LEGS! O_O published on No Comments on LEGS! O_O

According to Afropunk, “Mychel Beckhtold and Lucas Souza absolutely kill it, showing off their flexibility and athleticism all while wearing stilettos and crop tops.” Yes, yes, they are absolutely killin’ it. Excuse me while I feast my eyes….

This popped up in my FaceBook feed with a title about “gender non-conforming models,” but that grabs my attention less than picture 4, in which one of them is doing that “my leg is straight-up parallel to my torso” pose. That’s some contortionist/gymnast/performer level of stupendousness right there.

Hey look — people wearing outside of my head what a certain someone regularly wears inside!

A perfect example of gender discussion in the Style section…

A perfect example of gender discussion in the Style section… published on No Comments on A perfect example of gender discussion in the Style section…

Monica Hesse writes in the Washington Post about Kelsey Beckham and their non-binary or agender gender, as well as their relationship with their mom. And of course this story is covered by a staff writer for the Style section because that’s where all the discussion of people who aren’t straight white cis rich dudes should go. Hisssssssssssss.

My favorite prefix is trans-.

My favorite prefix is trans-. published on No Comments on My favorite prefix is trans-.

I cannot tell where my interest in the prefix began. Perhaps in Transylvania, arguably translatable as “Through-the-Woods-Land,” which is the most fairy-talish and coolest and vampiric place name ever. Or maybe it started with transformation and the magical protean changes it connoted. In any event, the beauty of translucency and its glass-like clarity certainly made me love it further.

It certainly continued in translation, a literal bringing across of words and communication from one language to the other that I’ve always pictured as a ferry across a river. When I learned about transcendence, which I envision as an airplane rising in a perfect steady angle across the sky, closer and closer to cruising altitude, I liked it even more.

Despite my dislike for transgression, which I associate with stuffy, verbose academic analyses of behavior outside of the societal norms, my interest in trans- only increased, especially because it contributes to really cool words like transducer. As for transducer, I learned this word from The Rocky Horror Picture Show [line from Planet Schmanet Janet: “The transducer will seduce ya!”] and never bothered looking it up until now. My loss, as it’s an amazing word that means “an electronic device that converts energy from one form to another.” Microphones and speakers are transducers, as are thermometers and antennae, even LEDs and incandescent light bulbs — so, in other words, all the sorts of items from which people would build prop supercomputers for sci-fi movies. [“What the hell is that mess of blinking lights and screens and speakers and dials and gauges?” “Oh, that’s just the Transductomatron.”] Transducers: they’re everywhere! [Not to be confused with traducers, who I really hope are not everywhere!]

And, of course, I think it’s stupendous that the prefix became a word all by itself: trans.

I kind of want to go to a forested area of Transylvania just so I can write in Latin, Eo trans sylvaniam Transylvania!, which is, of course, I am going through the woods in Transylvania!, or possibly, I am transylvanianing in Transylvania!, although that sounds kinda transgressive.

I like Steven Universe!

I like Steven Universe! published on No Comments on I like Steven Universe!

Now that I’ve watched every single episode except for that April Fool’s one, I have to state that I love Steven Universe!

 

I love the fact that it’s about a boy with three [living] moms, including two women of color, whose closeness, queerness, and strength is celebrated.

I love the fact that Steven’s awesome superpower is basically love and open-minded acceptance, modeled not only by Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, but by his dad. I love the fact that his dad could so easily be a dull schlub, but instead he’s a wonderful, practical, down-to-earth guy who nurtures Steven’s big heart.

I love the fact that his best friend, Connie, is a super-serious, nerdy, analytical girl, respected as a character in her own right, never relegated to the role of love interest or stick-in-the-mud.

It thrills me beyond belief that the two of them fuse into a genderqueer “experience” named Stevonnie whose immediate reaction to creation is not to have some heteronormatively determined panic with sexual subtexts, but to revel in the sheer joy of dancing.

Of all the characters I watch this show for, my favorite is Pearl. As an intellectual who believes in the power of rational thought, she constantly struggles with the supposed purity of knightly virtues and the supposed messiness of emotional attachments. I identify all too much with her tendency to lead from her head [or to at least convince herself that her head is right] rather than to appropriately respect her intuition. I find her equation of devotion and abasement poignant and psychologically profound. I like how, even though she feels worthless, even though she can be rigid and snappy, she’s also capable of great love and tenderness. I think that Steven’s open-minded acceptance benefits all the Crystal Gems, as they all have reasons for hating themselves, and I hope that, in future, his love can help her see that love, equality, and self-respect can coexist.

Steven Universe has so many wonderful aspects that I can scarcely believe that it will continue such a magnificent run. I dread its inevitable devolution into heteronormative crappiness, overrun with male-coded Gems and supposedly romantic plots for Steven and Connie. It’s the only piece of mainstream media that I’ve encountered recently where I feel like myself and my imagination are represented — i.e., it’s a world where queerness is a fact of life, where women are fuckin’ awesome in multifarious ways, where kindness, honesty, emotional expressiveness, and open-mindedness are strengths, and where the white, straight, cis, male, bourgeois narrative is shown for the unimaginative, boring, toxic, dull, and ultimately irrelevant delusion that it is. It’s not perfect, but it’s surprisingly awesome…although I wonder how long it can stay that way.

Lana Wachowski has hair like Anneka’s!

Lana Wachowski has hair like Anneka’s! published on No Comments on Lana Wachowski has hair like Anneka’s!

Her vibrant pink, knotty hair looks like the 1:1 equivalent of my 1:6 scale action figure Anneka’s. As cool as I find the color of Wachowski’s hair, I seriously query her white woman’s appropriation of dreadlocks. >_>

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1670820.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

Drag queen interviewing fellows on purposes and meanings of drag

Drag queen interviewing fellows on purposes and meanings of drag published on No Comments on Drag queen interviewing fellows on purposes and meanings of drag

Wow, Slate actually has an interesting article for once! On Outward ["expanding the LGBTQ conversation," whatever the hell that means], Miz Cracker writes a post on "Getting into Drag: The Many Meanings of Being a Queen." To answer the question of what drag is, the author interviews other drag performers. In bullet form, her findings are as follows:

  • Drag ain’t necessarily about looking glamorous and fashionable. Nor is it necessarily about appearing unclockably feminine.
  • Drag may be thought of as an acting job, performance art in which one creates and embodies a character.
  • Drag usually has subversive elements in which the performers comment on and criticize society.
  • Drag has an ambiguous relationship to trans identities. For some people, drag is a means to seriously explore alternative gender presentations. For others, it is not particularly reflective of their own gender identities.

In my estimation, Miz Cracker neglects some important aspects of drag. For one thing, she doesn’t really interrogate drag queening’s history as an art practiced by men, frequently in comic contexts. Thus it has an ambiguous relationship to the concepts of femininity and womanhood. In its exaggerated style, does drag reflect a loving tribute to women and femininity? Is it rather an over-the-top misogynist mockery? Drag is not inherently fabulous and therefore unproblematic, and I think a truly substantive inquiry into its nature should address its messy history.

For another thing, how does race play into dragging? Toward the end of her article, Miz Cracker refers to Kizha Carr’s treatment of racism in one of her routines. She also adds that drag "is the only forum where [she] can speak candidly…about the issues shaping [her] life," one of which includes racism. Right, so drag queens of color may take race as a subject for commentary, but how does race more generally inflect queens’ initial decisions to go into drag queening and then the development of their art in general? Drag queens from different racial and ethnic backgrounds probably have different reasons and philosophies, depending on their cultures of origin, that help them interpret their work, and we can’t have a full discussion about the meanings and goals of drag without that information.

Finally, how does socioeconomic class contribute to the discourse on drag? All the queens in Miz Cracker’s article, including the author herself, talk about performing in bars, dealing with sexual harassment from audience members, etc. In other words, the queens spend much of their time playing small venues and not earning tons of money. They work hard and depend on an uncertain income. Even though Bob TheDragQueen appears in the article with bling that says RICH clamped between her teeth, she and her sisters probably really aren’t. 
What’s going on here? Aspirations to upward mobility? A proclamation of self-worth through looking richly caparisoned? I dunno, but I’d sure like to find out.
 

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1663229.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

Happy people identifying themselves

Happy people identifying themselves published on No Comments on Happy people identifying themselves

Check out this photo series by Sarah Deragon, “The Identity Project.” She takes pictures of people and tags them according to how they identify. They all face the camera squarely, some hamming it up, dressing and posturing in ways that they feel reveals who they are. As a bonus, their proud, challenging expressions [for example, the person in portrait 1, who appears to be thinking, “It’s too early in the morning for this heteronormative bullshit!”] also serve as a critique of narrow, rigid identity categories at use in broader society. I would like 1:6 scale populations with all of those skin colors, body shapes, hairstyles and expressions, please…

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1631233.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

Before I did 1:6 scale action figures and BJDs…

Before I did 1:6 scale action figures and BJDs… published on No Comments on Before I did 1:6 scale action figures and BJDs…

…I did 1:6 scale paper dolls. In the fall of 1997, I drew several of Jareth [much to my frustration, he never came out right], myself and various fictional characters. I’ve selected my two favorites for exhibition today.

Continue reading Before I did 1:6 scale action figures and BJDs…

Parents sue hospital over their son’s mutilation

Parents sue hospital over their son’s mutilation published on No Comments on Parents sue hospital over their son’s mutilation

A South Carolina couple is suing the state for performing unnecessary mutilative surgery on their son, who was born with ambiguous genitalia, operated on at the Medical University of South Carolina and assigned female. The Crawfords adopted him after this surgery and raised their son as a girl until last year, when he said he was actually a boy. 

NBC says:

The state lawsuit accuses the Medical University of South Carolina — where the surgery was performed — and Greenville Hospital — where the child was born — of negligence medical malpractice for not getting the patient’s informed consent before surgery and failing to warn of potential problems resulting from it. At 16 months old, the suit alleges, the child was too young to make such a decision, one that could have waited until years later.

That complaint accuses state Social Services officials of failing to protect the child from the consequences of the surgery. A federal lawsuit also accuses doctors and state officials of violating the child’s civil rights by performing the surgery without consent.

I applaud the Crawfords for resisting the medical industrial complex’s obsession with forcibly shoving everyone into M or F categories before the people being shoved into the categories can express any preference. It is indeed a violation of civil rights to alter people’s bodies like that without their consent. All parties being sued should indeed be held accountable for their assumptions that they can steamroll individual liberties for the sake of some stinkin’, rigid gender binary bullshit.

I’m also happy that the parents seem pretty cool with their son selecting a different gender presentation than the one assigned him at mutilation. They come across in the article as parents who really love their son and who want him to be happy. They want to protect him, but they know sadly that the world doesn’t see their son the way that he does and they do. i.e., the way he actually is.

Tagged "trans yay" for resistance to forcible gender reassignment, acceptance of personally chosen gender reassignment and generally cool kid and parents. Tagged "stupid cis people" for the medical establishment against which they are fighting.

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1512570.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

THAT’S NOT WHAT HE SAID.

THAT’S NOT WHAT HE SAID. published on No Comments on THAT’S NOT WHAT HE SAID.

Gaystarnews is running an article based on an interview that Richard O’Brien recently did with the BBC in which he’s talking about gender identity. GSN’s title for the article is "Rocky Horror writer Richard O’Brien believes he is ‘30% female’ after taking hormones," which is NOT WHAT HE SAID.

This is what he said:

"It’s my belief that we are on a continuum between male and female. There are people who are hardwired male and there are people who are hardwired female, but most of us are on that continuum and I believe myself probably to be about 70% male, 30% female."

He was also talking about having been on estrogen for a decade, but he never made the causal connection between his hormones and his 70/30 split. Given what he says about his history, it’s possible that he experienced this 70/30 split well before taking estrogen and therefore started estrogen because of it. That makes for a much more complex, much less lurid headline, however, and GOD FORBID that news outlets reflect the complexities of reality.

O’Brien’s experiences with gender provide instructive background against which to interpret RHPS.


This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1484862.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

ONOEZ, it’s the Dolly Gender Police!

ONOEZ, it’s the Dolly Gender Police! published on No Comments on ONOEZ, it’s the Dolly Gender Police!

BJD Text Confessions anonymous bigot sez:

I hate MD Jinas like Kyoyaxl has. Fucking learn the difference between a girl and a boy.

For those of you who do not speak BJD code, the submitter is saying that they dislike the Jina headsculpt by Migidoll when styled by doll owners like DOA member Kyoyaxl.

Migidoll bills Jina as a "girl," but that doesn’t mean much in the BJD world. Just because a company bills a head as "male" or "female" doesn’t mean that doll fiends will abide by those distinctions. The majority of BJD heads demonstrate a distinctly androgynous aesthetic that doesn’t swing in a stereotypically masculine or feminine direction. Ergo, there’s a lot of putting "female" heads on "male" bodies [and significantly less putting "male" heads on "female" bodies, the way that I did with my Frank BJD].

There’s also a lot of dressing "male" dolls in "women’s" clothes [and significantly less dressing "female" dolls in "men’s" clothes].

Incidentally, there are also a notable minority of breast removals ["girl to boy mods"] on "female dolls," as well as penis additions ["hermaphrodite mods"] on "female dolls" too.

All of this is to say that sex and gender presentation can be very fluid in the BJD world. And some BJD fiends, like our anonymous gender-policing bigot, are going to resist that fluidity kicking and screaming. Meanwhile, the rest of us are going to continue genderfucking while innocently asking, "And which differences, pray tell, are you speaking of?" :p

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1462586.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

How not to write, part seven zillion and one in an infinitely extensible series

How not to write, part seven zillion and one in an infinitely extensible series published on No Comments on How not to write, part seven zillion and one in an infinitely extensible series

I picked up Eon by Alison Goodman after reading some laudatory reviews on Amazon and also being marginally intrigued by the concept, in which a young woman adopts a boy’s identity to compete for the chance to communicate with dragons and wield great magic, which is, of course, reserved for men. Of course, Eon wins the chance to communicate not just with any dragon, but with the super special awesome Mirror Dragon, the most powerful of all. Then she becomes involved in imperial politics, and eventually the fate of the emperor’s succession and the kingdom depends on her. Of course it does. :p

I did not expect this book to be quite so shitty. It really reminded me of The Diviners in that it was a textbook example of how not to tell a story.

Do you need to learn how not to write, kids? Okay, then pay attention to the following precepts, in no particular order.Continue reading How not to write, part seven zillion and one in an infinitely extensible series

Someone’s jealous…

Someone’s jealous… published on 2 Comments on Someone’s jealous…

On the off-topic section of the MWD board, a repainter of 1:6 figs asked why some people “hated” repaints. Most of the respondents replied that they loved repaints, naysayers be damned. The only truly negative comment came from one “Daniel Wickson” who wrote:

Lack of artistic talent translates into any medium even lil’ dollies At least yours aren’t yarn haired tr*****s.

I starred out the slur that he used for trans people. >:(

Given that my subtitle on that forum is “Transgender[izer]” and that LHF featured several characters with yarn hair, as well as trans characters [but no trans characters with yarn hair], I strongly suspect that the poster was referring to me and my dollies. ^_^

He’s just jealous ’cause he lacks my imagination.

Let’s play a game.

Let’s play a game. published on No Comments on Let’s play a game.

I’ll say a phrase, and you tell me the first words that come to your mind.

Okay? Ready? Here we go:

“Lesbian vampire erotica.”

Continue reading Let’s play a game.

Modern love walks beside me; modern love walks on by; modern love gets me to the church on time.

Modern love walks beside me; modern love walks on by; modern love gets me to the church on time. published on 1 Comment on Modern love walks beside me; modern love walks on by; modern love gets me to the church on time.

Jennifer Boylan writes in the New York Times [in the Style section, of course, because that’s where all the sex- and gender-related concerns of women get relegated >:{ ] about her transition when her kids were very young and her decision to continue her marriage to her wife. She alludes to Frank as a memorable figure [singing Sweet Transvestite, no less!] in her historical search for self, and, as she worries how her boys will adjust to having a “maddy” [mommy + daddy], she sees them try to carve out their own identities in ways that echo her own. Wait for her son Zach’s big confessions.

Hooray for happy families, flexible marriages, accepting kids and RHPS as a catalyst for developing one’s own, non-heteronormative gender identity.

“Sans contrefacon, / Je suis un garcon…”

“Sans contrefacon, / Je suis un garcon…” published on No Comments on “Sans contrefacon, / Je suis un garcon…”

I liked Mylene Farmer’s music before I saw her music videos, but now, having seen a few vids, I like her more. In this music vid, Live a Bercy, she sings Sans Contrefacon to hordes of rythmically waving, singing-along groupies. Well, I think she’s singing. Given her sinuous dancing, she could be lip-synching. She radiates a great amount of energy, charisma and simple joy to be performing. At the end, when she is singing out to the audience, who answers her, I think she’s laughing; she appears to be elated.

Also I like the back-up dancers.

Click below for lyrics to a defiant genderfucking song!

Continue reading “Sans contrefacon, / Je suis un garcon…”

Hot draggy Campari commercial

Hot draggy Campari commercial published on 1 Comment on Hot draggy Campari commercial

Excuse me while I sit here drooling over the way the man dramatically wipes his lipstick, making it trail across his face like an exposure of his secret skin and the way the woman discloses her bound breasts with a fluid movement, shucking her shirt as if it’s petals of a flower. Found at Sociological Images.

Transman in Heinz baked beans ad.

Transman in Heinz baked beans ad. published on No Comments on Transman in Heinz baked beans ad.

Yeah, I’m probably really behind the curve here, but here’s a British ad for Heinz Beans. I like that the transman seems confident, relaxed and happy, while the bio man’s head looks like it’s going to explode. His confusion and trans-related anxiety seems to be the butt of the joke more than anything. Your sex may change, but never your love for baked beans.

The transman’s self-ID as Christine rings false, though.¬†Even though he says, “It’s Christine!”, it’s NOT Christine. It USED TO BE Christine. Now it’s whatever his current name is. If I were in that situation, I would say something like, “Hi, [FormerClassmate]! I’m [MyName]! We went to school together.” Then I would talk generally from that commonality and explain a bit later that I used to be [MyFormerName] if [FormerClassmate] was still confused about how he knew me.

Watch me suffer [gasp, sniff], yes, SUFFER!!

Watch me suffer [gasp, sniff], yes, SUFFER!! published on No Comments on Watch me suffer [gasp, sniff], yes, SUFFER!!

Because I’m reading My Husband Betty again, I went to Helen Boyd’s blog, thence to her personal site, where she linked to media appearances. From there I hit upon a clip from All My Children in which the transgender character goes to a transgender support group. Betty is in the clip, which is why the clip was linked from Boyd’s site.

I have mixed feelings about the clip. On one hand, I appreciated the presence of all the other support group members, who were transgender activists and authors, appearing under their own names. I think that it’s important to show all types of people in media so that all types of people can identify with the media figures. Furthermore, I also think it’s important that all types of people be shown not as sicko freaks, but as happy, well-adjusted individuals, which all of the activists appearing under their own names appeared to be.

That being said, the clip really blew my mind because there was such a difference in presentation between the AMC trans woman and the trans activists. The trans activists, if anything, underplayed their roles, with a very matter-of-fact, level tone and no histrionic affectation, which gave the support group scene a very naturalistic air, as if the viewers were eavesdropping. By contrast, the AMC trans woman was a barely coherent pile of melodramatic jelly [behaving like the subject line], in the manner of all soap operatic characters when they are on the edge of something momentous [which they always are]. The acting style of the person who played the AMC trans woman did not fit with the rest of the players in the support group scene, which distracted me to no end.

Perhaps I shouldn’t say that the AMC trans woman’s character did not fit into the support group scene. After all, the AMC trans woman’s character is a soap operatic type, and this is a soap opera. Therefore, with the insertion of an underplayed, naturalistic scene with well-adjusted individuals, the support group scene and the well-adjusted trans activists are the things that do not fit in the soap opera. Soap operas thrive on ostentatious suffering and angst, sad endings, bad turns of events.  I think the goal of trans inclusion is laudable, but it’s hard to make trans people look happy, healthy and productive when the TV universe into which they are being introduced makes EVERYONE look miserable, perverted and stunted. So is it really much of a step toward trans understanding, inclusivity and tolerance to turn them into hammily degraded victims, just like almost everyone else in soap operas?

She’s Not The Man I Married (sequel to My Husband Betty)

She’s Not The Man I Married (sequel to My Husband Betty) published on No Comments on She’s Not The Man I Married (sequel to My Husband Betty)

I didn’t know, but Helen Boyd wrote a follow-up to My Husband Betty. The follow-up, She’s Not the Man I Married, chronicles her husband’s transgender transition. [I think…I haven’t read it.] I may have to look at it.

Her mother called her Mary, but she changed her name to Tommy…

Her mother called her Mary, but she changed her name to Tommy… published on No Comments on Her mother called her Mary, but she changed her name to Tommy…

She’s the one!
She went and joined the army, passed the medical…don’t ask me how it’s done!
She’s got medals…
–David Bowie, She’s Got Medals

That’s one of my most favorite songs ever, especially the bouncy tone in which it’s sung. It’s from his early years, when many of his songs sounded like nursery rhymes or children’s play songs, even as they addressed child rape and murder (Please Mr. Gravedigger), sexual masochism (Little Toy Soldier), depressed veterans (Little Bombardier) and stupid people using drugs (Join the Gang). He was just around 20 when composing and singing most of these songs, and he just sounds so gleeful about the whole business.

Oh right…I was going to write about a blog I found. First off, let me recommend Helen Boyd’s book, My Husband Betty. It’s about her relationship with her cross-dressing husband. I think this is one of the strongest books on sexuality that I have ever read because the author describes her ambivalence very well, as well as her confusion about the sex and gender significance of cross-dressing. Also, she writes strongly, with psychological and critical insight, not to mention emotional balance, even as she describes emotional tumult. Anyway, she has a blog, (en)Gender, about trans news and debates and media and topics, and I’m poking in it now.

So there are your three recommendations for today: She’s Got Medals by David Bowie, My Husband Betty by Helen Boyd and (en)Gender, also by Helen Boyd.

Your Web comic assignment: Venus Envy

Your Web comic assignment: Venus Envy published on 1 Comment on Your Web comic assignment: Venus Envy

Erin Lindsey writes Venus Envy, which is about Zoe, a teenaged [at least when the series starts] transgirl and her awkward, hilarious life. The strip moves quickly in snapshot vignettes, mostly lighthearted and downright silly, but occasionally very heartfelt. I’m not so keen on the art [well, I’m just at the beginning of the archive], but I do enjoy the sympathetic characters and continuous slapstick. It’s a very playful comic. Read it ’cause it’s funny!

EDIT: The art improves vastly.

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