17 September 2008

Sarah Palin - Tranny?

I love politics enough such that I have majored in it. But I hadn't planned on blogging about Sarah Palin because so many other people are doing it so well with opinions that match mine. However, recently a column used transphobia to attack her. I just couldn't ignore that without calling it out.

Michael Seltzman wrote at the Huffington Post a column titled "Sarah Palin Naked" which starts off just as sexist and misogynistic as it sounds. In talking about wanting to have sex with Sarah Palin, because obviously that's an appropriate thing for political discourse, he offers the following:

My wife is cool with this if I promise to "first wipe off Palin's tranny makeup." I married well.

Haha. I'm laughing so hard. A real comedian there, his wife. Transphobia is so funny. Especially when it's also expressing lookism at the same time. Because I find it hard to believe that she's complimenting Palin on her gender presentation. Instead, it's fairly clear she expressing the stereotypical view that transwomen use makeup poorly. She's calling into question Palin's womanhood.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I despise the word "tranny". It has the same history as the despicable "shemale", coming to us from the porn industry to describe a fetishistic type of porn with transwomen. Just google "tranny" and you'll find that most results, other than sites of transfolk trying to reclaim the word, point to porn images of transwomen. When not using it for porn, straight cispeople use it in the same way they use "man in a dress", to discredit people. Not that I'm happy when queer cispeople use it either, but they generally don't seem to intend insult.

So, while I'm no fan of Sarah Palin, and certainly fear what would happen if she became Vice-President, I do have to protest the use of transphobia to assault her. Want to attack her? There are plenty of ways to legitimately do so, calling her out on her political policies and actions. But, knock off the transphobia and sexism. I don't want to have to defend people I don't like.

14 September 2008

Bitchin' Phasefest 2008

So I went up to DC to catch at least some of Phasefest 2008. Actually I went to catch Bitch. I've been a fan of hers ever since I heard "Drag King Bar" by Bitch & Animal "back in the day" (as Bitch put it). I only saw some of her set during the Official Capitol Pride Women's Dance Party back in June because of some drama, so I really, really wanted to go even though I didn't have the money. Fortunately, I've never been one to let common sense enter into my decisions.

Thanks to my usual poor planning and luck (plus poor directions interpretation by a friend since we were driving and not going by Metro), I managed to not get to Phase 1 until she had already started her set. She was just as awesome as I was hoping. Even the annoyingly loud women that I got the honour of standing near couldn't take much away from that. I was thrilled when she pulled out the fiddle. However, this was marred when she then referred to a "tranny boi" she'd been interested in. I'm not a fan of that word, especially coming from cispeople no matter how much I love their music.

After her set ended (all too soon for me, and unfortunately without "Pussy Manifesto" since I missed that in her Women's Party set thanks to the afore-mentioned drama), I wandered back to the table of her stuff. I signed up for her mailing list and waited behind some women who were taking up the space in front of Bitch's stuff at the table. They were chatting with someone for forever which was irritating since I couldn't see around them to what was on the table. I was looking for the "Pussy Manifesto" sticker set Bitch had mentioned during her set.

Finally they wandered off, and I found myself face-to-face with Bitch. Ooops. See, I'm pretty shy most of the time, especially with someone I'm attracted to, or admire, or is famous, or... you get the point. So I was completely unprepared to be talking to Bitch even as she was completely prepared to be talking to another fan. I impressively managed to not stutter as I told her how long I'd been a fan. And then I kinda ran out of steam. I even forgot to mention I'd seen her on the cover of and in the September issue of Curve with Daniela Sea (who has those incredible eyes and... oh, where was I?). She was kind enough to help me decide that I should get her first album, Make This/Break This, since I haven't kept up on her more recent music thanks to lack of dough. Sadly, I couldn't also get the stickers as I didn't have enough cash thanks to poor pre-planning on my part (even worse since they're not yet for sale at her online store). I snuck off once she was kind enough to stop talking to me.

So, while I enjoyed going I'm less-than-thrilled at making such a poor impression for Bitch. Alright, I'm mortified. Especially since I don't think I pass at all, thus making it more likely she'll remember me. Not to mention I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and hadn't done my makeup. Bleh. Ah, well, when next we meet I'll be prepared. Gushy fan attack!

The next night, thanks to again less-than-spectacular planning and execution (I got my hair cut and dyed, which I hadn't planned on, and then took forever getting dressed and doing my makeup), I arrived late again. Just as my friend and I were about to open the door what sounded like a screaming orgasm came from within. Unsure what to expect, we went in and found that it was Pandora Scooter who apparently has an affinity for screaming in her poems which she showed again later in epic dyke me: the least raving mess (repeatedly screaming dyke in a lesbian bar gets a good crowd reaction in case you were wondering). She was cool, and I'm sorry I didn't get to hear her whole set. After her was Shunda K of Yo! Majesty who I didn't get into. The beats were OK but just not my thing. She was also the last set of the night, so not much later my friend and I headed back to the Metro.

Sadly, my friend had a family emergency so I wasn't able to go to any of Saturday which sucked since that was when the lap-dancing and harness panels were as well as Alix Olson and Athens Boys Choir, both of whom I wanted to hear. Not to mention wanting to see the DC Kings! I have this thing for drag kings. Well, maybe next year.

Transgender Discrimination Survey from NCTE

In case anyone has missed it, the National Center for Transgender Equality, along with Pennsylvania State University, is doing a survey on discrimination experiences for transgender people. It's not a hard survey to fill out, so please go here and do so if you're transgender.

01 September 2008

Transdyke to Watch Out For

(with apologies to Alison Bechdel)

I hear you thinking "What the heck is a transdyke? And, why should I watch out for one?" Fear not, gentle reader, I will answer these questions for you only to probably replace them with many more.

Transdyke refers to a transgender lesbian. Some people find this term offensive. I, however, use it to label myself because I'm transgender and I'm a dyke. If you don't know what transgender means, go to wikipedia or something to find out since that's too long to go into here. As for dyke, I use it for its reclaimed meaning of a strong lesbian since I tend to be strongly opinionated and sometimes even self-assured.

So, basically, I'm saying you should watch out for me. Why? Because I'm sure sooner or later to offend you. At least, if I haven't then I've probably not written well or else you haven't understood what I'm actually saying. Let me start off with the offending by fully labelling myself.

I'm a woman. I'm a transgender woman. I'm a dyke. Other lesbians accept me as a lesbian. I'm queer. I'm a feminist. I am some sort of post modern (pomo)/radical feminist. I am a sex positive feminist meaning I don't find erotica/pornography, sex work/prostitution, BDSM, butch-femme, sex acts or sex toys to be anti-feminist. I like erotica/pornography. I like lesbian erotica/pornography. BDSM is fun. Butches are hot. Femmes are hot. OK, women in general are hot. I have sexual kinks. I'm pro-LGBTQ. I think LGBTQ issues are feminist issues. I think transgender issues are feminist issues. I think that political lesbianism is a theft of lesbian identity and culture. I'm an anti-capitalist socialist more or less. I'm a university student. I'm studying to be an academic. I'm an activist in both feminist and LGBTQ issues. I'm accepted as a woman and a feminist by my university feminist group. I benefited from male privelege for most of my life. I'm a transsexual woman. I only started transitioning a year ago. I'm an agnostic pagan who grew up Christian. My good Christian mother loves me, her transgender daughter. I'm mentally ill. "Gender dysphoria" does not make me mentally ill. I am neither young nor beautiful. I'm overweight/fat. Becoming a femme transdyke does not mean I'm reifying the gender binary. Transmen are men. Asexual, bisexual, genderqueer, pansexual, polysexual, and all sorts of other gender and sexual identities exist and are valid.

That's not everything, but it's a good start for offending people I'm sure. However, I'm not trying to offend just to offend. I'm trying to speak and stop the erasure of my reality, my identity, my very being. So, I hope that you'll stick around even if I've already offended you or even if I've not yet managed it.

Guitar Heroin(e)

I'd planned for my first blog post to actually give a background of who I am, what I think, and why the heck anyone should read my blog. And then a friend and I played Guitar Hero III last night and into the early morning. I'm really not a big fan of video games and yet I find it incredibly addicting. It was nice to have women as well as men guitarists shown playing, although if you're watching the pretty video you're not really playing the game well. I also embarrassed myself somewhat as I found myself rocking out while playing so I must have been having fun.

However, I was less than thrilled with the fact that you almost always have the same dude singing. Why? Because out of the 70-some songs in the game exactly three were sung by women. Uh, hello? That's just ridiculous, especially when you've included songs from 1966 or so on to now. Sure, rock may be dominated by men, but not to this extent. Geez!

So props for the women guitarists since women strum just as hard, but lack of hard-rocking women singers ticks me off since I like singing when I'm playing.