Today’s travel adventures

By , April 13, 2014 10:46 pm

I used the now-standard line on the TSA agent in Shreveport, LA, when they flagged the bag with my dilators: “I’m a sex educator. Those are dildos.” The agent visibly paused, zipped the bag back up, and said, “I’m not going to open it. I still have to wipe it down to check. He,” she gestured at the agent at the x-ray machine, “owes me.”

I was delayed getting into Dallas, so missed my connecting flight. I gave candy to the ticketing agents and – low and behold – I was the first person called from the standby list. Got a window seat, too, and saw lightening flashing in some clouds during the flight. Very pretty.

I gave more candy to the flight attendant on the plane from Dallas to Chicago (they’d been delayed and I figured they could use some love) and he gave me a bottle of wine saying he needed to “even out the karma.” That’s right, not a glass of wine during the flight; he handed me an entire bottle of red wine in an opaque plastic bag as I was getting off the plane.

Never a dull moment. But now I am so incredibly ready for bed.

What is Feminist Porn?

By , April 8, 2014 1:45 pm

Last weekend, I was in Toronto at the Feminist Porn Awards and the first day of the Feminist Porn Conference. I managed to snag tickets from a friend who had won them as a raffle, and basically told me, “If you can get to Toronto, you can join me at the awards and conference!” Well, obviously I took her up on that. The awards were a ton of fun, and it was interesting seeing an industry celebrating itself like any other. But the conference really got me thinking about issues of porn and feminism, so I figured I’d organize and share my thoughts a bit.

The biggest question that came up as I was getting ready to leave – from friends and family and people on Facebook – was, “Um, what is feminist porn, exactly?”

Continue reading 'What is Feminist Porn?'»

Travel Tips from a Touring Artist

By , April 7, 2014 1:26 pm

Welcome to the Life of a Touring Artist

In late 2010, I quite my job and started working as a touring artist and educator full-time. Since then, I’ve gone on dozens of flights, a handful of road trips, stayed in hotels, university guest housing, and on people’s couches, spent way too much money on shitty airport food and side-of-the-road diners, and met tons of students and teachers and fellow artists and activists and educators. In the course of all that, I’ve learned a few lessons about making travel as easy and pleasant (or, at least, as un-un-pleasant) as possible. I’ve already written a bit about spending money to make money, and this post can kind of be thought of as an extension of that idea. Except here, I’m not necessarily talking about spending money to make money, but spending money (carefully and with consideration) to make travel as smooth as it can be. Continue reading 'Travel Tips from a Touring Artist'»

Lets Be

By , April 1, 2014 10:50 pm

Being transgender or gender variant can be exhausting. We all know that. But it can also be energizing. Being trans calls us to push for marginalized and underprivileged people everywhere, and to seek change not simply for our own sake but for the sake of everyone.

Being transgender or gender variant can be confusing. We all know that. But it can also be clarifying. Being trans forces us to look in the mirror, even when it’s hard and we don’t like who looks back. It allows us to see that change is possible – change is inevitable – even when things look bleak.

Being transgender or gender variant can be difficult. We all know that. But it can also be amazing. Being trans forces us to examine ourselves, gives us the opportunity to know ourselves, and pushes us to be ourselves. As part of the trans community, we have siblings and allies around the country and around the world: Fighting for prisoner rights and prison abolition, fighting for employment nondiscrimination protection, fighting for sex workers’ rights, fighting for safe housing and safe schools and safe streets. And simply ready to be there, to lend a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, a fist raised in solidarity.

Being transgender or gender variant can be.

Being can be.

Lets be.

Do you provide transgender inclusive healthcare?

By , March 23, 2014 10:20 pm

I’ve decided to reach out to Chicago-area organizations that claim to serve the LGBT community and ask the following question:

“If you provide health insurance to any of your employees, does that health insurance cover trans-inclusive care? Such care might include (but is not limited to) mental health services, hormone prescriptions, and surgeries deemed necessary by a licensed medical or mental health care provider. ”

I’ve heard through the grapevine that some organizations which claim to represent and serve our community do NOT provide trans-inclusive healthcare. According to the HRC and a UCLA report (PDF warning) such care adds little – if any – cost to employee health insurance plans. As such, the idea that LGBT organizations could provide health care and not include trans care seems, at best, a glaring oversight.

This survey will be totally informal, but I’m curious what the response will be, if anything. So far I’ve asked HoBro, CoH, WCT, BYC, The night Ministry, Equality Illinois, and TPAN. Any other organizations that I should ask?

Signal boost: ‘Reflection,’ a short film

By , March 18, 2014 3:28 pm

I recently got an email from the associate producer, Sunday, of a short film, Reflection, asking me to check out the trailer. The film is described as “an honest look at what it means to be a parent to LGBTQ youth. This is a story of a mother and her enduring influence on her child’s life, and that despite her wishes for a ‘normal kid’, her love and understanding makes all the difference.” In her email, Sunday expanded on that description, saying that the film is “about a young single mother struggling to raise a 8-year-old gender non-conforming child. Despite her frustrations, she comes to terms with accepting her child’s transgender identity, ultimately realizing that her love for her son trumps all of her fears.” Here’s the trailer:

Reflection Trailer from Noka Productions on Vimeo. Continue reading 'Signal boost: ‘Reflection,’ a short film'»

The cold journey north

By , March 16, 2014 7:43 pm

I’m currently in Harrisonburg, VA where the National Weather Service said to expect up to ten inches of snow. I’ve read a lot of loquacious fantasy in the last week, which made me want to try my own hand at a different writing style.

With a clunk, the baggage carousel began to move, vomiting luggage from its depths as if  from the belly of a great sick beast. I stood, slowly, judging those who pushed and shoved to get closest to the carousel. “Carousel,” I thought, “a word only used for a children’s ride and for a dispensary of worldly goods flown across continents.” I approached the snaking black surface, coiling around the claim area as if writhing with indigestion. Surrounding me were others from the plane: men, women, a small child; people on their way home or away from home; people returning or fleeing. My bag was easily identifiable by a red bandana tied around the top-most handle. I slung it off the curling carousel and walked out the door.

It was starting to snow, or rain, or sleet, or a combination of all three, as I walked to the rental car counter. At larger airports the different companies might have been spread across multiple lots, each bristling with car after SUV after van. Here, though, all the companies were crowded into a single parking structure as if huddling for warmth against the approaching storm. “I’ve reserved a Nisan Versa,” I told the woman behind the counter. She nodded, handing me the keys and sending me on my way. Continue reading 'The cold journey north'»

Travel and touring updates

By , March 11, 2014 11:26 pm
Flying into Los Angeles is a LITTLE different than flying into Chicago....

Flying into Los Angeles is a LITTLE different than flying into Chicago….

Just realized I hadn’t posted much recently about my time on the road. So lets correct that oversight!

I started my touring for 2014 a few weeks ago, traveling up to Minneapolis for Poonies at Patrick’s, where a bunch of Chicago artists ventured north to share our work alongside some awesome MN artists. They’ll be down in Chicago this May for Patrick’s at Poonies.

Then, last week, I went to Philadelphia for a followup appointment with my surgeon, Dr McGinn. Her physician’s assistant said everything looks good (huzzah!) and I’m cleared to be a regular person again (double huzzah!). While in Philly, I got to hang out with some friends, which was lovely. I also got to connect with the Awesome Dr Timaree of Sex With Timaree, where she, another sex educator, and myself recorded an impromptu podcast over margaritas. Check it out!

As I write this, I’m sitting in lovely Los Angeles. Since Chicago was supposed to get 3-8 inches of snow today, I am more than happy to escape for a few days. I’m here at the University of Southern California; tomorrow I’ll be conducting a workshop on transfeminism and hosting a performance of No Gender Left Behind. Check out the info on Facebook. I’ll get to stay an extra day in LA to hang out with some friends, and will hopefully bring the weather (mid-70s and sunny) back to Chicago. A girl can dream…

Continue reading 'Travel and touring updates'»

Big Vagina and the conspiracies THEY don’t want you to know about

By , March 3, 2014 1:43 pm

Note: This is the current draft of a piece I performed at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis this past weekend.

The toilet paper lobby is in cahoots with Big Vagina.

I don’t mean “big vagina” as in “vaginas that are large.” I mean Big Vagina, as in capital B-Big, capital V-Vagina. As in Big Tobacco, Big Coal, Big Pharmaceutical. As in Conglomerates. Cartels. Cabals. Other… intimidating words that start with a hard-C sound. Shady backroom dealings, where mustachioed billionaires smoke cigars and discuss the course of international events. And lemme tell you, the toilet paper lobby has Big Vagina all sewn up!

That’s an unpleasant visual… I apologize.

But I know about their secret dealings because I am a recent initiate into the world of having a vagina. I possess something of an outsider’s perspective. See, I used to have a penis. For most of my life I had one, actually. But then, on December 10, 2013, a day foretold in prophecy, I stood naked atop the highest peaks and called upon otherworldly powers to make right a cosmic injustice.

Or maybe I simply went to a surgeon in Philadelphia and had some awesome fantasies while high on morphine.

But either way, my outie became an innie and I gained secret knowledge that Big Vagina doesn’t want you to have. Like Big Vagina’s relationship with the toilet paper lobby.

Let me tell you how peeing works when you have a penis: You stand in front of a toilet or urinal, you unzip, you aim, you shake, and you zip. You might wash your hands, but you probably won’t. Because – if done correctly – peeing from a penis does not get urine all over the fucking place. Continue reading 'Big Vagina and the conspiracies THEY don’t want you to know about'»

Breath in through your nose, out through your mouth

By , February 20, 2014 9:33 pm

I default to Lamaze-style breathing when I’m nervous. That is, the type of breathing technique outlined over and over again in pregnancy books and magazines and websites and sitcoms and movies:

  1. Take a deep, full-bodied breath in through your nose on a three or four count
  2. Hold that breath on a three or four count
  3. Breath out through your mouth on a three or four count
  4. Repeat

My mom taught me this type of breathing when I was a ten year old. I suffered from anxiety attacks throughout my childhood, particularly when going to bed or going to sleepovers. Well, trying to go to sleepovers – I rarely made it through the night without calling my parents to come pick me up. My mom taught me this focused breathing for the same reason it’s taught to pregnant women: It physiologically relaxes the body by bringing in more oxygen, it helps  provide focus, and it (hopefully!) distracts from pain or discomfort. Continue reading 'Breath in through your nose, out through your mouth'»

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