Updates on life on the road

By , December 11, 2014 2:29 pm

It’s been a while since my last update on life as a touring artist, so I figured I’d take some time and share some thoughts. The 2014-15 school year has been going well! Since September I’ve been to Iowa, Boston, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oregon for work. I’ve also been to Portland and Santa Fe for weddings and to Colorado to visit my brother, sister in law, and their new baby. After all this travel, I’ve updated my touring map:

Red are school gigs, yellow are festivals or conferences

Red are school gigs, yellow are festivals or conferences

Most of my work is still in the Midwest and Northeast, but I’m starting to see more in the South and a little bit on the West Coast. Still no Mountain States, but I have a few conversations going that will hopefully turn into gigs in the coming months or next school year.

Continue reading 'Updates on life on the road'»

Ten reasons ‘Mister Sister’ is awful

By , December 5, 2014 1:50 pm

Get ready to groan. Kate Pierson, a founding member of the B-52s, just released a single titled ‘Mister Sister,’ and she’s hoping that it’ll become “a trans anthem.” Are you worried? You should be.

Here’s the video:

And here are ten reasons why it’s awful:

  1. ‘Mister Sister’ sounds really close to ‘she-male.’ It really sounds like something that would be yelled as an insult out of a car window.
  2. As far as I can tell, there are no trans people involved in the music video. (Please correct me if I’m wrong!)
  3. The lyric “you raid her closet for fish-nets.” Because that’s the height of trans feminine presentation.
  4. Why is Fred Armisen in this music video? Why is he playing dress up? Why is he reinforcing the idea that all trans women are men in dresses with shitty fashion sense?
  5. I’m gonna give Fred an extra hard time because Portlandia does some fun things with gender. Appearing in this music video feels like a big step back for his presence as a potential ally.
  6. Only trans women exist. Trans men aren’t worth singing about.
  7. Lyrical foul: “Nothing hurts when you are a beautiful girl.” Another trans woman was killed, yesterdayBeing trans isn’t just about being pretty.
  8. This may seem kind of petty, but the production quality is just sub-par.
  9. “Debbie Delicious” – the new name of the trans woman – sounds like a drag queen.
  10. Lyrical foul: “Now you’re on everyone’s party wish list.” Because I transitioned so I would get invited to parties!
  11. Bonus eleventh reason! Arbitrary and capricious costume changes and shitty acting!


David Bowie’s Throwback Thursday

By , December 4, 2014 2:24 pm

Earlier this week I caught the David Bowie Is exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit was totally worth going to, although at $25 was a little pricey. Still, I’d recommend it. That’s not what this post is about, though.

One of the (many) awesome songs from Bowie’s discography is Rebel Rebel:

Hearing the opening guitar on that song immediately takes me back to the late ’90s and to Boys Don’t Cry.

Continue reading 'David Bowie’s Throwback Thursday'»

Supporting Trans Visibility

By , December 2, 2014 3:40 pm

I recently got an email from a high school student with, among other things, the following question:

What do you think is one of the Transgender communities biggest obstacles in receiving public attention, and positive public attention?

My thoughts are below.

Continue reading 'Supporting Trans Visibility'»

Review: Original (Hitachi) Magic Wand (with bonus discussion of post-op orgasms and sex graphs)

By , November 11, 2014 11:38 am
Hitachi wasn't thrilled about being directly associated with an iconic sex toy so, as of 2013, it's now (officially) the Original Magic Wand.

Hitachi wasn’t thrilled about being directly associated with an iconic sex toy so, as of 2013, it’s now (officially) the Original Magic Wand.

Its been a month since I last wrote about sex, and considerably longer since I’ve reviewed anything. I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by discussing how my sexual response has changed almost a year after surgery and by reviewing one of the most well known sex toys around: The Hitcachi Original Magic Wand. This is a sex toy with a 46 year old lineage, a 5000 word Wikipedia article with almost 80 references, a guest appearance on Louie, and a humorous Twitter account. Not surprisingly, the Magic Wand has garnered lots of reviews over the years. A Google search for magic wand review brings up almost four million results ranging from Amazon customers to Autostraddle. There’s even a pair of great write ups by Zinnia Jones on using the Magic Wand as a trans woman. The first is an in-depth review of and guide to using Magic Wand attachments, while the second is a much shorter piece with some specific suggestions for first time users. With all that awesome info out there, what could I possibly have to add to the plethora of reviews, interviews, and articles?

Well, the ‘review’ section of this post is actually gonna be pretty short. In fact, it’s gonna be so short I’ve decided to craft it as a haiku:

Well crafted sex toy
Powerful betwixt my legs
Loud like crashing waves

Continue reading 'Review: Original (Hitachi) Magic Wand (with bonus discussion of post-op orgasms and sex graphs)'»

Thoughts on Representing Trans*: A Symposium at U of Chicago

By , November 10, 2014 2:46 pm

This past Saturday the University of Chicago held a one day symposium that “that facilitates dialogue between academics, artists and activists working broadly on the politics and practices of trans* representation.” The day was divided into three parts: First, a panel titled Sociological Approaches to Trans* Representation, which was made up of academics. Then, a panel titled Artistic and Activist Approaches to Trans* Representation, which was made up of activists and artists. Finally, there was a screening of the documentary Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Dangerfollowed by a discussion with Kate and the filmmaker Sam Feder. I was only able to catch the tail end of the first panel, but stayed for the second panel and the film screening/discussion. I’ve written up some summaries and panelists quotes below along with a few of my own thoughts. Continue reading 'Thoughts on Representing Trans*: A Symposium at U of Chicago'»

Signal Boost: Trans* and Genderqueer Music Therapy Group in Philladelphia

By , October 29, 2014 5:42 pm

Note: I’ve worked with Julie Lipson, the therapist in question, at Camp Aranu’tiq for years and have nothing but good things to say about her. I don’t have personal experience with her work as a music therapist, but I’m sure it’s amazing.

Trans* and Genderqueer Music Therapy Group

A unique group where participants will explore:
-building confidence within the self and with others
-reclaiming parts of the self that have been hidden or lost
-experiencing the group as a mirror and sounding board
-reconnecting mind and body

Sundays, 10:30 am-12 pm, Dates TBD

Sensory experiences can lead to a deeper understanding of your inner
self and creative potential. No musical experience necessary. Sliding
scale fees are available.

This 5-week series will be led by board-certified music therapist,
Julie Lipson, MA, MT-BC.

For questions or to register, please contact Women’s Therapy Center at
215-567-1111 ex. *812 or Julie Lipson at
[email protected] For more information on Inner Rhythms Music check out www.InnerRhythmsMusic.com

Sexytime communication, pre- and post-op

By , October 10, 2014 5:41 pm

One of the many reasons I like having a blog is that it gives me a platform to talk about sex. I’ve attempted to define feminist porn, I’ve reviewed sex toys (albeit not for a while – stay tuned on that front), and I’ve bitched about 50 Shades of Grey. The comfort and experience discussing sex and sexuality that have stemmed from writing this blog were absolutely on my mind when I worked with Early to Bed to create a sexytime guide for trans women and our partners. (Stay tuned there, too – I’m working on revisions and updates.) But I haven’t talked about sex much since December, and The Surgery. I don’t apologize for that gap (goddess knows I needed time to process) but I am conscious of it. And, as I’ve continued healing and masturbating and hooking up, I’ve been thinking more about myself and how my new and reconfigured body works. In particular, I’ve been thinking about sexytime communication, and how things have changed since The Surgery.

Pre-op, I intuitively assumed that there’d need to be a Talk with every new sexual partner. At the very least, there was an expectation of disclosure. Without getting too into the question of whether or not trans people are obligated to disclose their transness (and I think the answer is no, we aren’t obligated) I do think it makes things simpler to disclose. There’s less of a risk of physical or emotional violence, certainly. It also just removes a potential bump in the road: even if a partner is enthusiastic about sleeping with a trans person, they almost certainly have unconscious expectations about what’s going to be between a man or a woman’s legs. Not meeting those expectations may be surprising (even if it’s not bad) and I’d rather skip that kind of surprise when getting undressed with a partner. Continue reading 'Sexytime communication, pre- and post-op'»

Attending the 2014 HRC Chicago Gala, and an open letter to HRC President Griffin

By , September 30, 2014 2:31 pm
Because the trans community can't go fifteen minutes without talking about HRC...

Because the trans community can’t go fifteen minutes without talking about HRC…

Less than a week ago, I wrote a post about HRC President Chad Griffin apologizing to the trans community on behalf of HRC. If I may, I’m going to quote something I wrote in that post:

I expect to continue to view the HRC with skepticism. My dollars will still go, first and foremost, to smaller and more trans-specific organizations. My primary support as an activist will do the same. We cannot afford to be complacent, or to give the HRC any sort of free pass. But, near the end of the keynote, Griffin asks, “please continue to hold HRC accountable. Hold me accountable.”

So lets do just that.

Shortly after I published that, I was offered the opportunity to attend HRC Chicago’s 2014 gala. The invitation was utterly unrelated to my post – the ticket came through the Chicago trans activist community – but it nevertheless seemed timely. Chad Griffin would be speaking at the dinner. I’d be attending with other members of the Chicago trans community. And I’d have the opportunity to see what, exactly, HRC meant when it called for people to “celebrate the strides HRC has made toward achieving equality for our community this past year.”

Lets avoid any building of suspense: The “strides” the HRC was celebrating rarely included trans people, and the “community” was overwhelmingly white, cis, and male.

Continue reading 'Attending the 2014 HRC Chicago Gala, and an open letter to HRC President Griffin'»

Trans women, sex, and race

By , September 25, 2014 3:34 pm

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on a sex guide for trans women and their partners, titled Trans Women + Sex = Awesome. The current version is available for free online at Early to Bed. I’m trying to figure out what would make sense as a long-term home, as well as how to create a print addition. (Any suggestions on either of those projects is, of course, most welcome.) Earlier this month, Trans Women + Sex = Awesome was picked up by Autostraddle, which led to some awesome exposure, including a shout-out from Crash Pad on Twitter (squee!). One response, however, has given me the most food for thought, and I felt like it deserved more than 140 characters of consideration. Specifically, a post from Viva La Luna titled So You Can Fuck Us, What’s Next? // Going Beyond Sex With Trans Women.

For all the shit trans women experience as a broad community, Luna says, trans women of color (TWOC) have it even worse off.  It would be stupid to argue with that position. Across every survey and study I’ve seen, TWOC are the most targeted group for hate speech, violence, and sexual assault, not to mention the most likely to suffer issues of homelessness and unemployment. We live in a racist society, and that racism is only made worse when overlapped with societal and interpersonal transphobia. But Luna draws upon her experiences to respond to Trans Women + Sex = Awesome and Mira Bellwether’s Fucking While Trans, and to bring race into how we discuss trans sex and sexuality.

I’m thrilled to have her voice in the conversation, and honestly embarrassed to admit that issues of race and racism had not crossed my mind while writing Trans Women + Sex = Awesome. 

Continue reading 'Trans women, sex, and race'»

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