IS "THE COTTON CEILING" RAPEY?


It's a little more complicated than that. Consider the sentence "I'd never date a ____________"

Then rotate through a list of marginalized groups. Looks, body type, disability. Then extend from that to "our community is about sexuality. And anyone here who I wouldn't fuck is't really one of us."


Example consequences: A friend of mine is at a diner on the drive. She can hear two women checking her out - perceiving her as a hot androgynous dyke. Then one says, with a note of disugst "oh, check the tattoo" (it reads "Trans Grrl") and they back off.

A gay or lesbian "community' play party where the dominant social groups don't want to see anyone who is trans, old and/or fat.

Or someone saying "oh, she's dating a trans woman - she's not really a lesbian then"

Consider someone also saying "I'd never date a bisexual." Is a bisexual rolling her eyes at this entitled to what's in her pants, or expressing healthy exasperation.


I've also had someone set me up with her queer/lesbian-spectrum acquaintance who thought I was genderqueer-hot. But then she found out I was a trans *woman* and since, in her opinion, trans women can't be hot genderqueers (???) she dropped the idea like a hot potato. This has also happened, where someone who hit on me at a dyke march had a personal profile where she didn't want to date anyone CAMAB. Now I don't want to date either of these people. But that they'd find me attractive and then rule me out because I'm transitioning *towards* what they have explicity said they find attractive is a little fucked up, and it speaks to wider issues in terms of access to community.


Cis bisexuals, heavy people, people of colour and PWD all object to this treatment and each gets dismissed - usually in a very particular way to that group. When trans women do it, we see blogs that this objection is rapey - as that feeds into the frame that when trans women object to exclusion from women's space, we're "being intrusive," which flashes over to explaining away of any assertiveness from a trans woman in women's spaces as being an example of male instrusion, approriativeness etc...

It's a hard thing to sound bite without playing into that.

How to discuss it?
 Ah yes. I'm in a weird space where, although I'm MtF, I'm cis-passable, have never done sex-work, am economically secure (well, secure-ish after I financed a TV show on spec), have all the surgery I want and am often masculine-of-centre, and so most of the major stressors/misogyny that trans women experience, I do not. And yet I'm an advocate. When I'm around trans women I tend to STFU, and yet I'm also part of the demographic. Weird.

I don't know what to do about that. It's really important to have open discussion that deals with all possible objections, as that allows social progress to be backed by critical thought. On the other hand, so many people who don't take a certain level of societal shit don't *have a fucking clue* as to how to have those discussions with people who do - and those who do often have their hackles up 24/7... I don't know what to do. It's not just trans. Indigenous rights, disability access, etcetera, could also benefit both in the short and long term from actually hashing through common concerns and objections, and not expecting that everyone should follow the party line as that only persuades people who are already onside. I don't know what the solution is.

And without that dialogue, communities try to convince the world using really shitty arguments and half-assed sound-bites because no one has challenged them *in dialogue*

e.g.
"This war/occupation/country is illegal!" Isn't 'legal' a social construction? If this atrocity was legal (and to the people doing it, it is), would that make our bombing campaign okay? If not, then what does legal have to do with it? Isn't the problem that it's morally abhorrent and causes gross human suffering? Then go with that!



ON SEX VS. GENDER AS A GROUNDS FOR DISCRIMINATION

 Ooh. That's an interesting conversation. 

 
Looong message ahead!
 
Usually what you're describing is parsed as a matter of 'sex rather than gender.' As in "genitals and therefore sex have such a huge impact on our lives that we need to examine this separately from gender roles and identity."
 
We really do need to have a cultural dialogue around it but it's hard to get any nuance in it because of the political situation.
 
Trans people started in by using sex vs gender to appeal to a 1970s feminist rubric that introduced "gender" into the english language outside of grammar to mean what it does today, with an emphasis on gender being socially constructed and therefore fluid and consciously redirectable. However, terfs picked this up about three years ago and, since it sounds like something that excludes are trans women categorically without negotiation or ambiguity, used it to turn any existing women's organizing they could into AFAB-only (and de-facto cis-only by also riding on women's 'gender' organizing without examining the logic behind creating this intersection of cis + woman). And thus it became a terf dog whistle.
 
If they were were organizing around, say, menstruation or abortion then it might make sense - although if it were genuine it would also raise the question of whether cis women who could not menstruate or get pregnant (i.e. like trans women) should be included, and uterus-bearing trans guys would have to be included as well, one would think. It also gets used to reframe everything in terms of girlhood vs boyhood, thus making whatever trans exclusion was unacceptable last week into something that is now ideologically justifiable, even if it has nothing to do with the actual organizing. For example: the former Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - it was all about women on all of their publicity, until someone asked about trans people, and then suddenly camping, vegetarian food and folk music was reframed as all a part of healing from the trauma of girlhood... for the duration of the conversation - as soon as the conversation was over, the festival was "about women" again. And, on an ethical level, it's dodgy to shut out a highly marginalized group because a political theory says it's okay.
 
Without this damned culture war, we could examine this distinction and find nuance and I really wish we could because gender and privilege is really fucking complicated in ways the sound-bite (and thus, usually non-intersectional) liberal feminism can never grasp. And the inside scoop from trans women is that this form of privilege is, well, complicated. And "complicated" doesn't make for good dialogue when some very aggressive people are looking for any out-of-context quote to slam you with.
 
For example, when I'm dealing with particular middle-aged cis lesbians, I have to watch my tongue about playing male roles because they perceive it as using male privilege - which, admittedly, it is (although I'd rather not be in the situation where I could just audition for more female roles) - but this in their eyes undercuts my gender identity. However, for no logical reason, cissexed butch women, and cis women with masculine frames and voices, are never subject to this judgment and are even celebrated for dealing with basically the same problem (being blocked from most female roles) by doing exactly the same thing. This double standard happens in a lot of circumstances, which is one reason why I limit involvement with anything lesbian - that and the cold shoulder that my usually-bi girlfriends receive.
 
The actual experience of trans women in childhood and its relative measure of shittyness to what cis women experience varies from context to context much as it does with adult experiences. In adult life, I know some corporate trans women who transitioned in middle age who were like "Wow. I used to be on top and now I'm at the bottom," much as one would expect. I also know trans women who will talk how the amount of sexual harassment has gone *down* since they transitioned, since they were perceived as feminine gay men who were 24/7 fair game for masculine dudes before, but now, although they pass as cis, men don't bother them as much because there are clearer social codes around what's not acceptable. In my case, as an adult, I switched from being perceived as a somewhat gender-variant man to being perceived as a highly gender-variant woman, and I actually find that latter is a lot easier day to day. Some trans guys are very surprised to find that transitioning to passing as cis-male makes their gendered life a lot harder this could be a matter of gender expression (the opposite of my experience) or race (e.g. *some* black, indigenous and latino dudes who experience a sharp uptick in police harassment during transition).
 
And so, likewise for childhood. It was, counter to what I would expect from theory, kind of the opposite of my adult experience: since I was not very  feminine, my childhood was usually very easy up until puberty at least. And I keep this in mind and give space to people, cis or trans, who did run headlong into sexism. For me, there was some gender stuff in the way, but my mom was a liberal feminist and she helped *a lot* and so it wasn't awful, just the usual run of shit that a lot of people, trans and cis, put up with. So I try to be mindful of this privilege. Outside of myself though, I don't have as many anecdotes because I don't talk about it much with my friends - very much on purpose. Some flat out refuse to discuss it because of whatever happened to them. That's often when a lot of people's PTSD suicide attempts started, so something must have been bad. Some people over 40 got institutionalized. A weirdly high number of people were perceived as transgressively feminine and therefore 'defective' and fair game for intensive bullying or rape, and for them, the social permission to walk around outside meant nothing when they were subject to all the things one would fear would happen to a cis girl if she was allowed out (but none of the social repercussions for the people causing the harm), and being allowed to take shop instead of home ec doesn't really make up for that - especially because shop had more intensive bullying. So when someone uses this to exclude them from women's organizing? To hold the wrong gender over them now as it was them and use it again to leave them to fend for their selves strikes me as lacking compassion, but probably because the people doing it are acting on a shortsighted understanding.
 
What's the logical error in this? Consider the following: most of the powerful and wealthy people in the world are assigned male. Being assigned male is correlated with privilege. Therefore trans women share this privilege.
 
The flaw in this argument becomes clear when you substitute "attracted to women" for "assigned male:"
 
"Most of the powerful and wealthy people in the world are predominately attracted to women. Being predominantly attracted to women is correlated with privilege. Therefore lesbians share this privilege."
 
It's a matter of intersections and complications. If someone has no sandwich and you have a peanut butter sandwich, is that a privilege? Yes, unless you're allergic to peanuts. Likewise, assigned male? Like girls? Great, if you're a dude. Not so great if you're not - probably. But there are always variances and exceptions, from individual to individual.
 
Does that make anything clearer?

I remember being harassed a a CFS women's caucus, which was part of a larger "progressive organization's" strategy to misgender me as a means of... actually I don't know what they thought that would accomplish. Deeply antagonizing people is not a good way of getting them to say "let's keep paying these people large amounts of money." This was 2007-2008, and I'm now 33.

I've had people say that what we did to push Lu's Pharmacy to admit trans women was "letting the patriarchy win."

The next time someone makes some kind of arument that ends in "believing women are equal is the definition of being a feminist," I may fold my post-bac in women's studies into a paper airplane and chuck it at them.


Back in the early 2000s, prior to transition, I was unable to access the books on gender in the library at the SFU Women's Centre (this was before Nadine Chambers' trans-friendly term), which delayed my coming out... as a woman. This delay had some psychological and medical consequences for me, and also prevented me from being able to fully be of use to my community.

Fortunately, I was able to find hep elsewhere - eventually.

For me, that's still a raw point with conventional women's organizing - even "trans-inclusive" organizations (I use scare quotes as "not kicking us out" is, in my opinion, not the same as "including us") there's still the assumption that it's on trans women to sort out our gender issues Somewhere Else while cis women and CAFAB trans folks can use the informational resources and community for help. Once trans women have done the most gut-wrenching and often dangerous part, *then* we're welcome to come in... for support. But that's kinda late, y'know?

To question whether one needs a clear gender identity before accessing a gendered space (or at least for CAMAB folks) is a political frontier in women's organizing. Disputing it is almost sacriligeous, at least judging from the reaction one gets. But it's actually really weird when you think about it. Consider: we have youth programs that will admit trans girls, but they rarely have a mechanism in place so that trans girls can come out in the first place (and then survive), which means that even in trans-inclusive girls' orgs, most trans girls are effectively barred from entry - not by the overt actions of the organization, but by its conscious inaction in the face of a hostile society.

When I bring this up, the response I get is often that there are resources available Somewhere Else and that trans people (or rather trans women) can use those until they come out to the standards of the women's organization. (Unless they're genderqueer, in which case they experience sexism, trans-misogyny, transphobia and... no direct support) The people saying this usually overlook that the T* resources are almost always smaller, poorer, open less, and more geographically dispersed.

Imagine if LGBT organizing took this approach - only providing people with access once they've already clearly and publicly come out. We wouldn't get a lot done. The beauty of more flexible spaces is that you can get/give support now and make up your mind later.

One might ask: "How are we supposed to have clearly deliniated women's spaces when people aren't out as women?"

Another might answer: "If your 'woman' can't be clearly deliniated, how can you have clearly-deliniated women's space?"
I think a lot of people share David's impression, and as producers, we have a lot to learn from it.

Lack of diversity is one of the reasons that I don't go to most theatre very often (or have any qualms about torrenting mainstream movies) - most shows don't reflect the diversity of my community, not just in race but on many other axes. I am not only disinterested in seeing these performances, I would rather put money towards something that provides acting opportunities for the range of people in my community. I have ethical concerns as well - I can't tell if the lack of diversity is due to a lack of applications (as in your case) or due to outright prejudice from the casting chain (writer-producer-CD) - something I have fought against as a producer on many occasions.

Here it sounds like the problem is a lack of applicants. What to do?

As a nonprofit admin turned business owner turned producer, I have learned that when there's an odd demographic skew in applications, something has gone funny with outreach. And if it's not corrected, we'll wind up with a sub-par applicant pool. Fortunately, it's easy to fix.

I recently shot a music video about transgender people and I found eight transgender actors to be in it - plus a couple trans extras. It's attached to a TV show that has three transgender leads, three trans principles, and two trans actors ("actors" is the TV term for "bit parts"). A lot of people - okay, almost every seasoned film professional I spoke to - thought this was an impossible casting attempt for even a high-budget show with an international reach. And yet we found 6 people in Vancouver, 1 on the Island and 1 came in from Montreal. If I can find transgender actors without breaking the travel budget, I think there may be some nifty ways to get some more racial variety in theatre applicants going forward.

As near as I can tell, the biggest obstacle is as follows: People who are less-castable or who are cast poorly are *often* likely not to apply where they assume (or rather, have learned due to experience) that they will be wasting at least a day prepping and auditioning - even if the breakdown doesn't specifically exclude them. The more experienced actors have agents, and agents are *even more* reluctant to do this. For example, a breakdown may not mention the physical size of a character, but fat actors have learned not to bother applying to anything that isn't explicitly written with a large person in mind as they will only be wasting their time. In my case - I'm not *that* badly off in terms of castibility, but I have learned not to apply for most romantic (heterosexual) roles on account of my gender-variant appearance - there are tomboys who like guys (I am sometimes one of them), but I'm still not considered. Unforunately, hetero romantic roles are about 80% of female leads - so I don't apply for those. But anyways, something similar goes for for non-local/non-american accents, trans status, plain-looking people, and race, among other factors.

So. How to find those motivated actors?

To get around this as a producer, we:

1 - Make it crystal clear in our breakdown that we want a variety of human beings. In the case of race, we don't just write "all ethnicities" as for some reason, agents don't get that this means exactly what it says. We have learned to either write "ethnicity preferrred" (the TV term for "POCs welcome. No. Seriously. We mean it."). Or we write four identical breakdowns for different racial groups - "25-40 female" becomes "25-40, female South/East Asian; 25-40 female, Aboriginal or Black; 25-40 female, Arab or Latina.

2 - Make sure that the breakdown gets in front of people who have given up on reading mainstream breakdowns. Facebook groups. Tumblr. Community bulletin boards. Asking people for help spreading the word. If the role is not token but respectful, producers can usually expect enthusiastic support.


Do this, and you'll get a wider variety of applicants and a better and more motivated cast. (The funny thing about less castable actors is that when we get a decent role, we will generally bust ass on it because this is probably our only shot this year.)

Plus, you'll get a fresh new audience who will love your show all the more for speaking a little more to their friends and family.

- I'm also available for consultation ;) -

 From an FB thread:

  • It does help to have some strong talking points. Here are some alternate arguments that I've field-tested:

    - "When spending thousands or millions of dollars to make a movie about the dignity of a marginalized group, you'd think the decent thing to do would be to solicit, or at least accept, applications from members of that group"

    - "Networks will hire for a trans role and deliberately recast trans actors."

    - "Roles are written for the majority as a default. Roles that could be played by anyone (i.e. "woman in park" "doctor #3") are still assumed to be the majority. And when a minority role comes up, people in the minority are told that they 'don't have enough experience.' (Although experience doesn't make you better - practice does). And then they get the minority role too. This is another example of an experience trap that uses someone else's predjudice as an excuse for more of the same."

    - "The government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to an industry that refuses to live up to even basic human resources equity - and refuses to hire 95% of the population for key publicity positions. this discrimination crosses many axes - trans is just one of them."

    - "Cis actors have a track record of doing sloppy research, confirming a caricature, and then shooting their mouth off in transphobic ways until they thankfully get tired of the transgender content and forget about us entirely . This is just one more example."

    - "I'd be happy for hollywood to hire cis people for trans roles, if they did the reverse - heck, i'd prefer it. But they don't hire trans folks at all. So hiring trans people for trans roles is a first step."

    - "Wouldn't it be nice to see a world on TV that actually looks like the world around us?"

  •  
     Another problem with the blackface analogy (beyond the large contextual gulf between mocking parody and something contemporarily prevalent and more subtle) is that it tends to lead people to conclude "and therefore drag is also bad" - and I'd rather not oppose drag as it is one of the few performing arts fields where trans people can get a leg up.

    If an analogy is necessary, I find it's best to let the person one is trying to convince find a reason why *they* (or failing that, someone they know) would be recast in a hollywood lead role. If you rattle off one of the above arguments, and, if it doesn't seem to be connecting, mention how this is part of a larger TV/film HR trend that also applies to looks/age/ability/race/accent/weight/height/class/women/LGB. With this floating past them, *most people* will be able to draw from their own experience to find a reason to suddenly agree with you - as very few people have privilege on all these axes, and are therefore potentially subject to discrimination themselves.

    I find that this invocation of self-interest will abruptly sway people who, minutes before, were indifferent to - if not actively speaking against - employment equity for trans actors. It leads them to the (logical, contextually more accurate, and less anti-drag) conclusion that they are not allies in the fight against shitty casting, but are victims of it themselves. Personal rage is way more of a motivator than analogous sympathy.

I went to larp last night. I NPC'd, which means that I played a supporting character in other people's stories. Her name was Emily Watkins, and her goal was to Save the World through Science!

It's an understandable goal for her. She had a lot of faith in science. She probably used to be some gifted type who wound up doing research for DARPA before realizing that (1) she needed to transition and (2) building drones was actually not as good a contribution to humanity as she'd been led to believe. In any case, she stole access to the ground ingredients for a kind of spatial-informaional singularity, more as a "fuck you" to her superiors. She saw what happened to people who leaked info and she was indifferent to whether she lived to be one of them.

This system didn't expose the military industrial complex, but it also didn't irradiate her (much). Instead, it knocked her stepped out of time into a higher reality. In this extra-ordinary non-space, she'd technomagically edited her own memories to give herself a self-consistent physical/mental life history on the Clavius Colonies, on Luna's Southern hemisphere, where she grew up in a peaceful posthuman multifaith/multiculture microecologically-aided water mining, where she ultimately took on the ("summer") job of operating the fusion reactor. I'm sure this sounded like a good idea at the time, but when her fantasy world ended in a nightmare invasion of hostile weaponized von neuman systems - the descendants of what she used to build - she got bounced back to Earth with no idea how to operate without the usual comforts of airtight rock shelters, postscarcity cultural-economics, somatic freedom, mindcasting or socialist-libertarian-Sharia. And there was that matter of re-learning English instead of proto-Marainic Interlingua.


She's pretty cracking smart, so a few months after her rough return, she entered the imaginary charity ball, elegant in a plum and silver gown, loudly lamenting "this attire is impractical." (Which it is compared to a multipocketed low-G coverall suit with the usual assortment of sensors, tailored microbes and emergency vacuum survival gear) Then she roughly threw her backpack into the corner and asked for instructions on socializing.

Conversation starters included:

"It rains a lot right now."

"The... Canucks are playing hockey."


The entire event took place at an imaginary charity ball where, to elude the Faerie Lords, everyone's identity was magically concealed. No-one could recognize anyone else. This could be a problem as she was there to track down and apprehend a spy. But for Emily, who has both aspergers and prosopagnosia to go with it, not being able to recognize people was nothing unusual. When she figured out that everyone else was having trouble, she gave a chuckle at how "So... neurotypicals are operating on my level. Dope."



Quotes:

"If the cord is giving you so much trouble, why not just quantum-tunnel it?"

"It's still not haram here? I've never consumed ethyl alcohol at these concentrations before.  I mean, you said that I've done it twice, but all that I remember is waking up with a headache. Ooh! More champagne? And it's free? Please!"

(forty minutes later, with her head on a table) "Why do people consume this!? Why don't you just gland your drugs!?"


"The don't like to be called 'robots.' It's rude, due to the implications of slavery. Thank you for the offer of employment nonetheless, but I'm not an abiotic person. Tomasz is building one though."

"Sure. Sure. Wõ shì hen xão xìexìe. Ní. Oh right. English. And then I say. I am also well. I thank... you."




Anyhow. This character is an exercise in being completely unfiltered. In terms of speech (see above examples), in reacting to people (hitting a 1654 pirate in the back of the head after a relatively-mild in-character  rape joke) and in terms of gender. I din't not have that creeping feeling of operating in a pre-tranisitional state at all. AT ALL. Which is very rare, especially of late. I also felt pretty. And that was pretty darn nice. I also felt more confident and calm afterwards.


I'm not sure what this means, but I'll have to find it again.


Up for a stroll 05:30 in the old industrial patch near Hastings where I used to live. Just near the big warehouses that double as music studios. I walk towards the sun rising over Grandview.

Lucid? Almost lucid?

A crowd of people run South, up the bicycle path. It's like a cross-section of Vancouver is out jogging this morning.

I turn North. Wow. There's a lot of people here.

I pull one woman aside. 

"What are you doing?" I ask.

She turns - close-cropped graying hair and a retroreflective blue-striped tracksuit - a smirk.

"Helping you dream" she says.

And she runs off.

 

Hermes has been trying to get my acknowledgement, my attention, my respect for some time.
__________________
 

Imagine  a jagged mountain shaped like a kolrabi, top and bottom.

It floats, slowly rotating two or more kilometers above the rural valley.

Like a Laputa. But this is no refuge for idle intellectuals. The minds here are honed and their edge tested.

Well, maybe not that honed. I am in slow orbit of its mass, π/12 off the equitorial. Its Higgs Bosons, tilted and skewed off of spacetime by psychic whim, keep it heavy and high off the earth and me, attuned to it with the help of my suit, in freefloat around it. I lost my grip some time ago, likely having blown a test to scale in properly. I can only hope not to make an ass of myself on the way in.

The main equitorial dock rotates into view. And oblong rectangle and much more 

Okay. Adjust my descent. I twist my mass a few degrees, but I'm not skilled, not powerful enough to make it. I'm going scrape hard, then slip out of orbit. It's a long way down to the Earth - or more likely, and worse, it's a public rescue. Not a fall, but a fail.

Rotate the mass of the pod and slip the aft into the Earth's well 10% and invert the spacetimeplane on the reverse. θ -> π/12? I think. My teacher thinks. She thinks in my head. I think in her head.


We think.

And the sixty or so students within do that. Their/our applied subjectivity gently nudges our mass-existence onto the slope of the Earth's gravity well on one side and away from the other. The structure, tugged by the Earth, tilts. Mass shifts. I float/coast/freefall...

...through the dock. And inside. Uninjured.

It's like Giger took up interior decoration. It's like termites ran Ikea. It's alive, sort of. Not like us. Obediant yet terrifyingly dominant. Smooth. Peanut coloured, pea, and muted saffron. Rounded, arched, rippled. Translucent lights added with orthodox electrics powered by repurposed digestive acids. Beautiful.

I float across and into the main classroom, rotating on my back and looking "ahead" through my shaggy brown hair and over my nose-ring. I coast down, and gently pitch until I land on the foot-high radial ripples that are our chairs, our benches. I catch my breath.

My instructor, our psychic queen in her heavy diving suit, smiles.

Well done. She thinks, and turns to the class.

What? Oh. Was that the test? Is she pleased. I slipped off. I fucked up the climb. Was that a set-up? Or just an obvious consequence of my behaviour that she foresaw and... used?

My mark is solid. I am in the top tier. There is another like me. I catch a glimpse of her. Like the rest of our class our uniforms are beetle-like; leathery, chitenously armoured and symbiotic. Tendons for strength-amplification and gas-cycling lumps that keep us alive and tethered to the psychic mass. We are perfection in utero.

"You are going to be going into the deep unconscious" she speak not with her cortex but with her larynx, as she does when she means business.

Oh. This is the final exam. Right.

"You will be walking around the world. In the dark. For about three weeks. You will be facing the deep subconscious fears projected from one of your classmates."

I've heard of this. This is what separates the children from the women.

"This is a 3 out of 13 on difficulty. Pack food. Team up."

And a tent. Something to bound your space and shield your subjectivity from that monstrously infinite holy blackness.

Also - the scale actually goes from 1 to 13 and then over from 1 to 3 again in the "lethal to all" super-range.

We're babies at this.

And yeah. I'm scared.

I catch her eye quickly. Not the teacher-queen; the other one like me. Except she is pale and black-haired, with black-framed rectangle glasses. Fifteen years old. Picture Homura. But I know her in waking life. This is Brook, just under different circumstances. Eyes brush past. We know. We are among the best of grades but we are not social alphas. We learn because we love it. And we do not want to stand in the alphas' way. We let the social acknowledgment of peership fall slack and turn away.

But her and I on a team? Unstoppable. Or at least optimal. Not really fair to everyone else though. We should take along someone who is struggling. Not someone who fails because she makes trouble. Just someone who is a bit behind. I mean, how else would this be fair? Or a proper challenge?

And, another question seemingly unrelated - whose fears will be actualized in that dark place?

Ah. Of course. To keep it fair.

No.

Our Queen doesn't believe in fair. To keep it a challenge.

It will be one of us. Her or me.

Is it "Challenge Accepted?"

 


Damn the alarm clock. That was just getting good.

 

 

Consider. The offer of dream-help.

Consider: Watching "Hearts of Darkness." About the making of Apocalypse Now.

Watching Coppola talk about growing by facing your fears by becoming them, then moving past. Watching how messed up US/Vietnam-war films are, and how incredibly colonialist just-short-of-hate-speech the source text is. My fear of being a bad person. Of being thought a bad person. Facing that. A recent incident that prompted two earlier posts is the penultimate exam. Facing that. Coming out better, one hopes. Still facing th
at. To be thought is to become? No, too weak. I'll need to do something more direct. This is going to take awhile.


Consider:

What lacked in my life that I struggle to make up for?

Body/identity integrity. Ostracized. Bored.

This by contrast: Gender integration. Included by those who matter. Engaged, eager and challenged.


Consider:

Night-terror-like spatial distortions in closing my eyes under the effects of Wellbutrin



Consider:

Eleanor Lamb. Emma Frost. Homura Akemi and Sakaya Miki. Psychonauts

I really missed having a media-archetype-saturated science-fiction dream


Consider:

Dreams of acrobatics in lunar G

Dreams of trying to find gender euphoria in adolescence that were interrupted by waking, much like this one, because I was on the wrong track. Am I know in this residual pining? If so, how? Detect and fix. The solution is in fear. In becoming it.

 

 


I know we're not supposed to say this in film or in social justice circles, but here it goes anyway.

--- Ahem ---

--- Usually there are really good reasons for the decisions we made.---


There. I said it. And it's true. We write politics in our show with an eye to detail that rivals how Tom Clancy writes airplanes. Every fucking line. And when something problematic comes up in editing, we go over it and fix it, even if it means cutting 'A' material.

I know this is a messed up industry but we really do put a lot of time, energy and knowledge into being better. It's not perfect. It means that everything takes longer and we operate on a tinier budget, but I think we get some good results. So please give us the benefit of the doubt.


But, in case you're curious, here are the questions we frequently receive, and here are my responses. Some questions are well-meant, well-thought-out and kind. Some are... not.



Q: Why is there so much bad stuff about being trans? Shouldn't this be more uplifting?
AND
Q: Why is it so upbeat, don't you know that being trans is hard?

A: These are really, really good questions. To be responsible to both the good and bad aspects, the hope and the realism, we have to be somewhere in the middle.I wish that all of the questions we get could be this heartfelt.



Q: Why not cast a normal (i.e "cis") person in a trans role role?

A: This is a show about a marginalized group. It sends a pretty wretched message if we make a show about the a marginalized group in which we don't hire members of that group and instead put members of the majority in makeup.


Q: Why are you trying to cast people of colour?

A: Because this show is set in Vancouver which is a racially diverse city. And because the status quo methods of hiring actors are deeply, deeply racist. We need a change.

 

Q: Why are you open to all body types and accents?

A: Because this show is set in Vancouver.  And because the status quo methods of hiring actors are deeply, deeply sizist and xenophobic. We need a change.



Q: Why does [this character] look like this?

A: We didn't have a lot of people to draw from, and we wanted to actually cast trans people. So if someone could pull off the role, they got it. For cis people, we went for those who could handle the Trans content well and who were available and willing to work on a independent shoot. (See below regarding The Union)


Q: You lead is very pretty. Why is she the central trans person?

A: See above. She was cast in a different role, but we had to re-cast the lead with less than a week to go before shooting and our options were to break the law by bringing in an American without papers (which didn't work last time and cause the shoot to be postponed), cast a cis person of colour in a trans role, cast a white trans person in a role for a person of colour, or cast her. We cast her. As a consequence, we're re-writing the series to reflect the change in power dynamics surrounding passability.



Q: Why are you erasing the experiences of non-hetero trans people?

A: Who said that anyone on this show was straight? There are heterogendered relationships involving trans people - subject to their own social pressures and risks of violence. There are gay relationships. There are non-binary genders that fall outisde of gay and straight, and the romantic life of one such person drives the plot of the first episode. And some characters' sexuality will change over time. It's all in there. 


Q: But why did you cast that person from that particular demographic?

A: The characters are broken down by age. Other than that, some are trans-only and some need to look cis whether they are or not. The lead must be a trans woman of colour. Two non-central roles needed to look  to look "like typical actors," but this refers to our deconstruction of looks-privilege in the show, not ethnicity or age. Other than the above, we're pretty open. If someone got a part, it usually means that they rocked the audition.


Q: But, for [this other role] do you think it's a stereotype if [this actor] plays it?

A: Might be. Not sure what to do about it other than make sure all the characters are fully fleshed out human(-ish) beings. It's a romantic comedy layered over an action-fantasy with the corresponding dangerous, unpleasant and/or magical character types. Can you think of what underrepresented ethnicity or body type should play a violent criminal? A witch? A controlling boyfriend? A helpful magical creature? A creep? A catty bastard? A corrupt cop? Or will it be slender photogenic white people all around?



Q: You didn't send me a breakdown. Why?

A1: Only people on the Hollywood 'A' list get sent breakdowns. We posted it on the company webpage, the series Facebook page, about 40 other groups, and internet forums. We paid people just to circulate it around the world. And of course we put the breakdown on the usual places where one posts acting breakdowns. Look there.

OR

A2: Because you said you couldn't work here.


Q: Are you serious about casting trans people and actors of colour? Or are you just out to say that so that we can't sue you. I bet it's the latter. All you media types are the same.

A: Yes, we're serious - see our shows to date. No, we're doing it because it's smart and its just. Yes they're jerks. You have good reasons to be angry - this industry is horrible. Please send in an application because you actually seem to grasp what this show is about. And if you have any tips on how to do outreach to marginalized actors, we'd love to implement them. And if you tell us to fuck off and don't submit an application, then I guess there's not much more to do is there?


Q: Why are you asking for money? Shouldn't this be free and open source? Plenty of people make software for free. You're a bunch of greedy capitalists.

A: We need to feed and pay our crew, rent space, hire a lawyer just to put it on TV, pay an accountant to make this a legal film corporation, pay the city for permits, rent gear and buy things like tape and stationary. As for the analogy - people who write software for free fall into two categories: those who don't need the money, and those who really should be getting paid for their work. This whole "do intellectual work for free" thing only works for people who have enough economic privilege to work for free. Otherwise it impoverishes artists. It's apparently still illegal to print our own money, so we're trying to get people to send us some in exchange or a good or service. If it's any consolation, we're sure not making a profit.


Q: What the fuck is wrong with you? You're awful human beings. I can't believe how much you've sold out.

A: Please don't talk to our underpaid staff like that.


Q: How dare you criticize my tone? Don't you know that's a form of derailing social criticism?

A: Comrade, you're being such a giant jerk that we can't engage in dialogue with you. Actually, we're not even sure what you're angry about. No - that's not true. We're not sure what the thing that angers you has to do with us. We're actually sitting around, trying to figure out what exactly we did that led to this, but we can't make heads or tails of it.

 


Q: I can't believe that [this person] didn't wind up cast in [that role]. Why did that happen?

A1: Because ze had a contradictory commitment.

OR

A2: Ze got sick.

OR

A3: Because the role is for a trans person of colour and ze is not a trans or a person of colour or both.

OR

A4: Because the conservative government and the union don't believe that low-budget films should be able to hire foreigners or non-landed immigrants. High-budget films can hire anyone they want.

OR

A5: Because zer application got lost. I'm sorry. We've made changes to prevent this from happening again.

OR

A6: Because ze wouldn't answer our attempts at communication.

OR

A7: Because ze applied after we shot the show.

OR

A8: Because ze kept spamming the office and wouldn't stop when we asked so we instructed our email program to filter out anything from zer address.

OR

A9: Although zer breasts did look nice covered in racing stickers, we really need more to go on before we could cast.

OR

A10: Because ze's in the union and won't suspend zer membership or leave. Three of the ten reoccuring cast including myself have left, declined or suspended union membership so this was not an obstacle for them. (See below on why this is not a union show.)

OR

A11: Well, the breakdown says "trans-spectrum people only" and ze fits the definition of the word "trans" and they definitely fit the definition of the word "trans spectrum," and ze really is an excellent actor, and so if ze applied, ze probably would have landed the part. But ze didn't apply.

OR

A12: Because ze didn't prepare. Ze had six months to get ready and didn't. Ze didn't read about acting. Ze didn't practice acting. Ze didn't watch movies and take notes. Ze didn't even come to free lessons. 

OR

A13: Because ze sent in a fine audition tape, except ze read it as a downer-drama when the show is a comedy. When we asked zer to spend five minutes to read it as a comedy, ze insisted that we pay zer to do that, and insisted that we contract with zer particular provincial actor association whether or not we hired zer. And we would be willing to do that paperwork if we cast her, but we won't spend a week of labour and a chunk of money so that we can see one person for five minutes.

OR

A14: Because ze harassed other actors in a transphobic manner. At least we're pretty sure that ze did. One crew member said ze'd look into it and resolve it later changed his mind without telling anyone, and asked us if we'd hire the problem person anyway. We hired someone else.

OR

A15: Because ze can't act. At all. When ze sends in a tape, ze really needs to watch it first. Or get a friend to watch it. All ze has to do is pretend they're an imaginary person and say the lines. Most kids can do this. I don't know why so many adults can't. 

OR

A16: Because ze showed up for a major part without having even read the lines.

OR

A17: Because ze repeatedly engaged in some of the most egregiously unprofessional behaviour that I have ever heard of on a set. And I have heard of a lot. We let zer go quietly because we didn't want to ruin zer career. Someday ze might pull zer act together later and start treating other people and zer job with respect, and we don't want this one extended incident to prevent that.

 

 

Q: Why isn't this show union?

A: Actually, it has a lot of union crew. It's just not with the performers' or writers' unions.

There is exactly one out trans person in the provincial acting union. She put her membership on hold so she could work with us because despite having 20 years of experience, she has had no work since she came out. The union diversity body won't return my calls. The union's attempts to keep out Americans would also forbid us from working with anyone without Canadian Landed Immigrant Status, which would exclude a lot of the people I train with - people I'd like to hire. Further, as I found out recently, even when it approves scripts, the union seems fine with having cis people go out for trans roles. I don't feel that the union gives a damn about working with trans people or immigrants. Even were this not the case, while they have low-budget contracts for shorts, and some case-by-case exceptions for film, we were led to believe that getting a contract for a low-budget TV show would be impossible. So we're not on contract with them.

 

___

On a side note.
 

I had the opportunity to go out and produce an action movie, one that is now on the road to make *a lot* of money. And while I helped them revise the script to reduce imperialist and sexist overtones, I I turned it down because I didn't think it was sufficiently socially just. But had I taken them up on it, I'd have more cash than I know what to do with and I would never have to defend my political decisions even if we used the original script.

But is making a socially responsble show different? Isn't being responsible key to the support we receive?

We do have community support. Our crew has worked for wages that are barely enough to live on, and sometimes not even for that. There would be no show without this. And I am deeply grateful to them.

During Kicktstarter, some people gave us money, but most people looked at our resquest and didn't contribute the bargain price of eight dollars for their own DRM free copy of a full TV season. Some were broke - but they worked to give us us amazing social media reach. For them, I am grateful.

But many people's support seems to entail clicking "like" on an article and, I suppose, thinking good thoughts. It doesn't translate into anything tangible, anything we can use. It doesn't make a show. It's fandom, and fans can carry shows - but only when the fans can help the show get made. Usually this is because fans tune in to watch on ad-supported TV, but we are not on TV, so it doesn't translate over to new media.

The action movie, by contrast, gets support of millions of dollars, cheap gear, locations, and top-notch everything.

 I don't regret this decision. But I'd like to put this work in perspective. As it explains why so many people elect to take the easier route.

For the curious and queer: from a recent email to someone who had asked for input on casting trans people

_____

Cool. What's the timeline from here?

Twelve is actually pretty small. We got about a hundred trans people auditioning for The Switch. I think there are a lot more people to reach. With the general call for The Switch, we found that about 50% of people couldn't really act, and only about 15% were sufficiently directable. But of the six people we cast, only one had a demo reel. So I'd suggest increasing the volume of actors.

You could get a *lot* more applicants if you could write a post as [TITLE OF MOVIE] that can be shared. It could go out over social media very fast that way as people will re-share it. The deadline is January 5th, so I'd recommend writing it today. Make sure *not* to include a demo-reel requirement (of everyone who applied to The Switch, only one had a demo reel). Be clear and simple in wording - apparantly most people don't know a "CV" is.

I'm not sure where you're sitting on this, but I wanted to be clear on the following. I would like to see this project succeed. The reason I am checking in so much is that I really do hope you find a rockin' trans person for the role. A pro-trans rom-com would be a great addition to the media roster - good for you, good for everybody.

Dan said that you might go with a cis actor but I would very strongly recommend casting a trans person, not just for political reasons, but for practical business ones. 

But to touch on politics before moving on to business: my concern is what the dialogue will be if you cannot find a trans actor that you like and decide to cast a cis person. If this happens, people will ask "why not cast a trans person?" I've seen other directors field this question by saying "we looked but couldn't find anyone" - when they didn't actually conduct much of a search (or in one case, shortlisted a local trans actor, then cut her for a US cis actor). The message that the public takes away is "there are no good trans actors out there." This is not only incorrect (we found 5 capable trans actors in Vancouver alone), but it makes it even harder for trans actors to find work.

Onto business reasons: when we looked for community support for The Switch, one of the first questions we got from almost everyone tied to Queer things was a very cautious "so... are you casting trans people?" When we said "Absolutely yes!" the person asking the question immediately relaxed, and usually offered to help us promote the film. Since then, people have given us free accounting services, free space, free access to RED cams, discounted labour in every department, and a lot of social media exposure. We have had to politely decline many offers from eager volunteers.

By contrast, Queer Film Festivals have, in the past, got pushback from communities when they showed films about trans people that don't have trans people in them - as well as when they showed films about trans people that only have trans people as walk-ons. And since there are more queer movies to pick from, and the transgender media dialogue is picking up, this resistance is only getting more intense. Three years ago, I saw successful efforts to keep film festivals free of Queer movies that Trans people found objectionable. And now, arts film festivals are starting to feel the pressure, as are cable networks.

Things are changing fast. "Transamerica" (trans lead and principle played by cis people, one trans walk-on) was something of a darling when it came out eight years ago - I remember watching it in a room full of trans people, who adored it in 2005 and about one in five trans people had purchased a copy. But now it's viewed as 'problematic' and would not get programmed or receive much VOD traffic. Even two-year old movies are suddenly left out in the cold. No-one I know has bought a DVD of Romeos, and most of what I heard upon leaving the theatre was "It was a good film I guess, but why did they slap fake boobs on a cis guy?"

Conversely, I've seen some work get a lot of promotion within Queer festivals, just for having trans people in them. This got shorts over the cut, and moved B-features into A slots. When The Switch was *just a webseries*, GLAAD called me up to check in and the Huffpost did a story on us.

If you can give me that post, you can probably find a solid trans actor and get lots of positive media exposure. I can even draft it for you, but it does need to be a post coming from [TITLE OF MOVIE] .

Can you do this? 

In response to Joy Smith:

http://www.straight.com/news/553441/joy-smith-canada-must-target-buyers-sex?comment_mode=1#add-new-comment

 

 Under the old laws, sex workers (and their bookkeepers, security and even roommates who were "living off the avails") could be arrested and placed on a life-long sex offender registry, prevented from travelling and have their children seized. And yet the only people I saw actually trying to end this injustice were pro-sex-work groups. People allied with the views espoused in the article, who were "concerned about women and girls," made some noise about the Nordic model, but it was the sex workers who organized and got this law overturned - all at great personal cost and risk. I say we listen to the people who actually fix things.

 
What of exploitation? A lot of people are horribly exploited and even forced into agriculture, and no one seems to be in favour of banning that. Same for food service, garment manufacture, caregiving, and a lot of other fields that pay a lot less than sex work. These other fields *also* see sexual assault and rape. The solution is not criminalization of the worker, nor of the client - how do you expect labour standards to be upheld when business has to operate in secret? The solution is labour standards, respect and worker organizing. These are much easier things to make happen when people can do their jobs openly and transparently.
 
As for the Nordic model - I'd like to see stats that actually back this up. Human trafficking stats are dubious: often, travellers and foreign workers suspected of prostitution (read: people of colour, trans people), are stopped, searched and interrogated. Once it is "determined" that they are sex-workers (the evidence can be as little as "had frilly underwear in suitcase") border guards then conclude that they are not "on vacation" but are being trafficked against their will. Border security detains and deports them - all "in the interest of protecting them" of course. I've seen it happen to American actors. I've heard of it happening to East-Asian women on vacation to Australia. It supports the hypothesis that a lot of anti-trafficking leglislation, when practiced, winds up being no more than a thin justification for xenophobia. So I don't buy the stats coming out of it. So please, give me some meticulous research, and until then, let the sex workers decide what's best for themselves.
 Unanimous. They were terribly-designed laws that made sex-work dangerous and now parliament has a year to draft better ones. I don't feel optimistic about Harper, but hopefully new laws will not:
 
- make it illegal to have a sex worker as a roommate
("living off the avails")
 
- criminalize doing sex work indoors. In Canada. Where it's cold outside. And also unsanitary and dangerous
("bawdy house")
 
- checking in to make sure the client isn't potentially violent
("communicating for the purposes of")
 
- prevent people from learning other trades because they can't tell anyone about their employment history, so they can't have a resume, so they can't get a job
 
- take away peoples kids
(you can be a rampantly verbally abusive bigot and have kids no problem, but if you do sex work...)
 
- put escorts on the lifelong sex-offender registry
(Homicide can be removed from your record. Sex work can't.)
 
- enable police to rape sex workers
 
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-strikes-down-canada-s-prostitution-laws-1.2471572
 

(Huffpo won't verify my Facebook, so I'm jus tposting it here for now)

 

Mr. Leto, I hope you read this. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

 

I'm the producer on the world's first transgender TV show (welovetheswitch.com). We have trans actors playing trans characters. People ask us 'why?'

 

The numbers are clear: roles in film and TV are disproportionately written and cast for the majority. White. Male. Cisgendered. Straight. Able-bodied. Domestic accent. Thin. Good-looking.

 

Minor roles go to the majority unless otherwise specified. Before 2007-ish, networks told casting directors that "lab techs are male because female lab techs would be screwing the boss." Unless a character is listed as "open ethnicity" it means that the character is white. If it doesn't say that they're fat, the character must be slender. No-one uses a wheelchair, a cane or crutches, no-one is visibly mixed-race, no one has scars, and no-one has a non-middle-American accent unless it's a plot point.

 

When an actual minority role comes up, actors in that minority are told that they "don't have enough experience." The role goes to the majority. Often in makeup. Usually poorly. Minority actors are shut out.

 

I would *love* to see trans actors playing cis people and vice-versa, but what we get instead is almost no work for trans actors at all, even in "uplifting" films about us. Same for actors who are disabled, mixed-race, fat, or have a "different" accent. Or who are more than one of these.

 

It's wrong. And it needs to change.

 

Please feel free to mention this in future interviews.

 

Amy Fox

I keep having dreams where I'm in a confined space with an everyday-looking but very dangerous man. He doesn't want me to leave the car,the warehouse, whatever. So I go for the throat with whatever object is at hand - a pen, garden shears, something pointy /andor sharp. I hit my target - there's a hole where his carotid should be; his spinal cord should be severed. But her keeps coming at me, restraining.

The one I just had was long and especially awful. The attack was more clear. The outcome of not freeing myself was being tortured and executed. The space was a large industrial site. And the violence was explicit - ragged skin flaps, exposed spine - and he just kept coming, cocky as he broke my ribs.

I think this dream has been happening since transition. What is this man, the fear that creates him? A different experience of the threat of stranger violence, as a butchy passing-transsexual woman rather than as a feminine cis-looking guy? Or is my futile fight a symbol of my 90%-of-the-time inability to shake the feeling that I haven't actually transitioned, no matter what I do? Or just a straight-up desire for power over the people I'm afraid might rule society?

 To paraphrase The Matrix

"Why does my clit hurt so much?"

"You've never used it before."



After surgery, I couldn't find my clitoris. The front end of my labia healed shut. They had to be re-opened. So I got it fixed in Vancouver. And when they opened me up, they cant; find my clitoris. But they can find a bit of white scar tissue. They tell me that my clitoris had necrotized. Died and fallen off.

This was a bit of a blow. The clit was, to me, the most important part of GRS.

Before and after that, I have weird feelings coming from the area. Like sandpaper on something sensitive. I have weird dreams about my genitals. And in my dreams, they are fully sensate. Presumably, these are phantom sensations, the remnants of nerve damage.

Flash forward three and a half years. I'm on a work trip to Europe (to sell a transgender sitcom to broadcasters). I stop in Montreal to see if there is some way to mitigate the damage.

"I knew the risks when I signed up for the surgery, but is there anything you can do."

They tell me that the problem is actually that my clitoral hood has sealed shut over my clitoris. The doctors out West weren't familiar with the technique.

(Insert joke about men not being to find the clitoris here)

Yesterday, I had surgery to open up my clitoral hood. It was fast and largely painless.

And today, as per instructions, I pushed the incision open and applied antibiotic creme.

Still not sure how well this will work. I'll find out.

Like TV: a sunny and rolling landscape, like widescreen California, where youth with magical secrets receive their elixirs. Each bottle strangely numbered to indicate its effects. I secretly quaff those of a fried, her numbers are 3-6-9. Drink this one and I look so young, I look how I feel when I play the larp character Emily the Science Nerd and I realize what was supposed to happen when I was fifteen, but which was derailed by being in the closet. How odd. How pleasant, this. My friend, experience and gothy, she says there's a drawback, a bounce, a price. I'm curious, but not deterred.

Moving on.

Dropping and being someone in a dream is nice, but what happens when the dream is done? Do they wake up with missing time, or do they remember being your puppet? Will this good ol' boy like the fact that a transsexual was dreaming that I was him? At least I did so unknowingly and didn't destroy his life. Saul is out there, and he joyrides his host bodies. And here he comes, angry.

I drift outside of the man I am riding. I let him speak. He's not happy about this. I explain myself, the situation, and leave.

I am a guest here.

This time I wake up in the traveller's lodge. In a body built to spec. It's my proxy self. A fluid disposable with no original consciousness. Much more ethical. And it looks different from how I do day to day. It looks like all those other women who, in my waking life, rounded out the audition room for the EMT role: dark hair in a long ponytail that suits her face, that doesn't make her look like a long-haired rocker boy. Fit, like I am now, but not in such a way that makes her afraid to stretch, lest she tear the shoulders out of her blouse. Someone who had time to be functional, and isn' racing to make up for a decade and a half inching along in the closet. Oh, and a tan. I'm through with sunburns.

It's not that bad in waking life. In waking life, I look pretty sharp, my health is good, and people generally assume I'm a woman. But what's important here, More importantly, most importantly, she's not like the person I remember seeing in the mirror all through the wrong puberty. Not like that ghost that is riding me. As her, I have space.

The body isn't stable of course. But the first thing I could do when I figured out how to work a basic lucid dream is to dream my way into a more comfortable body. And it's an improvement. But even when my focus shifts, and my subconscious self image reasserts itself, my body stays female.
Right. I should really tell people.

I see Christopher, or at least his parallel, and I ask him if he saw The Thirteenth Floor. "Because it's like that."

He's skeptical of course. But this is a dream. And I've been lucid dreaming for a bit and I have my tricks. In this case, telekinesis. Observe sir.

Now he's starting to get it.

Of course, I'm not the only rider in here. There are people here from six, seven universes up. People who stop through my waking life on their way here.

I will swim back up with them later.

I've decided that I absolutely adore it when people quote me, or refer to my writing.

"And I could just respond by pointing to the excellent essay by Amy Fox in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme  but I’d rather go on engaging myself here. (If there is any hope for us all, it lies with butches like Amy Fox.)"

http://truequeerlove.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/nothing-can-be-said-of-being-butch.html

 

Often, we encounter two women's organizations. One's activism acknowledges and supports the opinions and rights of intersex people, sex workers, trans people, intersex people, and same-sex abuse survivors. The other's does not.

The inclusive organization points out the failures of the organization whose idea of "women" only includes "women who agree with us."

The latter rebuffs these criticisms. They claim that the inclusive organization is being "divisive."

After all, we are all on the same side. We both support (some) women's rights. But for you to criticize us, is to slow down women's rights.



This is like an invading army claiming that a resisting army, in fighting back, is warmongering.

After all, we are on the same side. We fight for peace. But to fight us is to create war.
The problem is called "depersonalization"

It's a way of living your life so that you don't feel it.


This is why everything feels so... unreal. Even my greatest successes.

 

I've been doing some painting. Art - to put ideas onto paper.


Remembering how it felt as a teenager - it hurt then, and when I think about it, it still hurts.

But maybe that's an improvement? It's better than ignoring it. It is, as Este would compare, "Like removing a splinter - it hurts on the way out."


Maybe it's better not to drag up the past - to forget and move on?

Perhaps at some point. Perhaps probably. Yes.

At some point.

But I think it would be amiss not to first understand what happened.

The object here is not to feel pained. It is to well and properly remember.

Anniversary

Aug. 7th, 2013 12:58 am
 I have been out to myself for seven years, and twenty-two and a half hours.

Best decision I ever made

http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Federal_trans_bill_passes_second_reading_in_the_Senate-13650.aspx

 

 The "washroom panic" line is a very successful, but ultimately mistaken method of derailing trans equality, and I hope that readers of Xtra will see through it. For those of us familiar with history, we may notice a similarity in it to arguments that "Queers shouldn't be around children."

 
That I am aware of, there are no laws in Canada at all about who can use what washroom. And this bill won't change that. But the Conservatives would like us to think otherwise. Because, under Harper, Cons have become more about panicked emotional distraction than sober judgement. First It was about legalizing spying to "protect children from online predators," now it's about preventing trans equality to "protect women from someone... peeing nearby?"
 
I think we're smarter than that.
 
Further, Nunavut, like many other jurisdictions around the world, already has protection for trans equality and that I am aware of, there has been no spike in washroom harassment of women. (I mean - seriously - who is going to try to commit a sex crime while in drag?)
 
This bill, and bills like it, which trans people and allies have been laboring on for years, if not decades will, however, make it possible for more trans people to find work and housing. It will make it harder to fire queers for being "too swishy" or "too butch." And it will set an example for human rights codes in Canada and around the world.
(From a Facebook discussion relating to [THE ORGANIZATION IN QUESTION])

 I've seen waaaay too many "women's" (and "labour" and "gay" and "student" and "environmental" and "neighbourhood..." and for that matter "patriot") organizations derail criticism of their actions and stall out change by saying that to call for public accountability of them "is to attack the cause." (i.e. women, labour, the environment, etc...)
 
Many people prefer an approach of kind patience and fence-mending. But when I see the above tactic, I'm pretty much then and there willing to help take a piece out of the organization, just on  general principle - if only as a warning to others that might mimic them. So I hope that [THE ORGANIZATION IN QUESTION] is *not* problematic, and does *not* try this.

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