I just published a book!

By , June 29, 2012 2:17 pm

I’ve mentioned this in passing, but I’ve been working on a book for the past few months. It’s a collection of my writings, both new and from past projects. And here it is!


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Trans youth in the media

By , June 27, 2012 11:05 pm

Two big articles in the news the last week about trans youth, one from the Chicago Tribune, Transgender issues – at a very young age, and one from New York Magazine, S/He. I’d definitely recommend giving each a read, as they present varying pictures of how young people (as young as two years old in the Trib article) and their families are coping with gender expression and trans identities.

Both articles, however, mention the possibility that gender dysphoria is something young people “usually outgrow.” The Trib says that “there’s some evidence — most of it anecdotal — that gender dysphoria is a phase many children outgrow” and “in the decade that Menvielle has been counseling such children [with gender identity issues], he says that about 80 percent end up switching back to what their biology tells them. The rest remain transgender into adulthood.” New York Magazine says “some studies report that less than a quarter of prepubertal children diagnosed with gender dysphoria become transgender adults, but these numbers count anyone who leaves the study or who does not elect to have surgery as nonpersistent.”

To be clear, I think both articles do a great job furthering the cause of healthy, supportive care for trans youth. This is a minor issue in much larger articles which are, on the whole, well-written and respectful. At the same time, I don’t like the idea that kids may outgrow their gender dysphoria as a possible justification for not allowing gender exploration or for refusing hormone blockers, something discussed at length in the New York Magazine article. The articles don’t really address that implied logic, which is very problematic.

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Thoughts after meeting Dr. McGinn

By , June 26, 2012 10:32 am

As I write this, I’m sitting in Philadelphia Airport, waiting for my flight back to Chicago. I’m scheduling the post to go up tomorrow (for me) so hopefully I’m already back, safe and sound. Today was a long day. I had to wake up at 6:30AM, after just about six hours of sleep, so I could have breakfast with the high school friend who was hosting me and the drive the ~hour out to New Hope, PA. The breakfast was lovely, the drive was fine, and I arrived at the Papillion Center in New Hope almost exactly at 9:30AM. And then I waited for half an hour, just like I expected. Such is life when visiting doctors, I suppose.

Dr. McGinn was very pleasant and, after introductions, launched into her spiel which covered “history, care, and surgery.” And, amazingly, she really did cover almost all of the questions I’d already jotted down. Some of the major ones:

What are the logistics of the surgery?

Scheduling, as of right now, is from October onward. Most patients are admitted to the hospital she works with on a Monday, the with surgery happens that afternoon and a discharge on Thursday. You then need to stay in a local hotel or B&B (she had a few recommendations, and will be opening her own B&B this fall) for another ~10 days. During that time – and assuming there are no complications – she sees you about a week later to remove packing and check on healing, and then one final time ~3 days after that before you fly home. She then requires (strongly requests?) followup visits with her about 1-2 months later, and 6 months after surgery. In this, she differs from other surgeons; Dr. Bowers, for example, wanted a followup with someone who was familiar with the process, but didn’t require people come back to see her. As Dr. McGinn put it, she needs to know how her work looks once it has healed, so that she can improve upon it. Continue reading 'Thoughts after meeting Dr. McGinn'»

Thoughts on Pride, queer community, and fried cheese

By , June 25, 2012 11:22 am

I started writing this in Chicago’s Midway Airport, waiting for my flight to Philadelphia. While there, I have a consult with Dr McGinn to discuss gender reassignment surgery. She’ll be the second doctor I’m visiting of the three I’m seriously considering: Dr Bowers (who I visited a while back), Dr McGinn, and Dr Brassard. Hopefully the visit will give me a bit more clarity on who I’d like to use for The Surgery. If not, I see Dr Brassard in November, so would place making a decision on hold until then. (ED: I’m now finishing this after my visit with Dr. McGinn, which went really well. More on that in a future post, and apologies for any weird tense issues in this post which stem from writing it over a few days.)

Airport security was fine. A TSA agent tried – very politely and respectfully – to convince me that the new millimeter wave scanners were safer and more privacy conscious than the old ones. That may be true, but I can’t shake the memory of the TSA representative in DC discussing how trans bodies might be read as having “anomalies,” so I opted for a pat down. The pat down was fine, and the two women were really sweet; one asked how much I could bench press with my “awesome arms.” And so, once again, I smuggle my penis through airport security.

In the meantime, yesterday was Pride Sunday in Chicago. I missed the Chicago Pride Parade out of a desire to sleep in and have time to pack without panicking over scheduling, but I did go to Dyke March Saturday and to an after Saturday last night. Dyke March was in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood this year, pretty close to my ‘hood of Andersonville, and was a great time. The sense of community, the “Hey, I know you!” (over, and over, and over), and the explicitly political and community-focused feel of the event were in great contrast to what I imagine the Pride Parade was like Sunday afternoon. The party, at Parlour, was less exciting, but some friends and I had food in the diner next door, which was lovely. The cheese sticks (more like giant cheese logs) were amazing. i didn’t think a cheese stick could be amazing – I thought they were all equally pretty great examples of fried Americana – but I was WRONG. Go try these cheese sticks.

Beyond an opportunity for delicious fried cheese, I think Pride is an opportunity to consider what the gay community – and/or the queer community, although I’ll talk about that distinction in a moment – is all about. What Pride – as a concept and as a parade – is all about.

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Your gender reassignment surgery will not be covered

By , June 24, 2012 4:34 pm

Set to the tune of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, with apologies to Disney, Julie Andrews, et al.

Your gender reassignment surgery will not be covered
Even though Illinois has trans protection like few others
Good luck getting funding for those twenty thousand dollars
Your gender reassignment surgery will not be covered

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay!

Because I was afraid to speak up when I was a lad
My parents didn’t realize I was trans, oh I was sad
And now that I am older, doing research on my own
Insurance sends this message, sends it via mail, fax, and phone

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The Safe of Wonder

By , June 19, 2012 6:31 pm

A while back I mentioned a safe at Links Hall. A safe which has been there since the 1980s (at least!). A safe that has remained unopened for at least three decades. I’m still working on how to open the damn thing, but here are some pictures in the meantime.

Michelob Ultra Light Cider Review – Deliciously Yummy Summer

By , June 18, 2012 8:50 am

This is a sponsored post, but all of the opinions are my own.

Michelob Ultra Light Cider

Perfect for porch-sipping

I’ll be honest: Prior to working on this review, the brand Michelob did not scream “Fine, quality product.” I’m not a beer fan, and even though Michelob’s website, which you can visit here claims they are “crafting a better beer,” I remain skeptical. Fortunately, none of that matters to me, because the past few weeks I’ve been drinking Michelob Ultra Light Cider which – I am forced to admit – is quite delicious.

I often feel left out when my beer-drinking friends sit on our delightful front porch in the warm Chicago weather, drinking their beers. Even if I make myself a mixed drink, the experience isn’t the same. I like to have cider in my fridge; to me a ‘tall, cold one’ should start with apples, not hops or barley. Chicago has a ton of good ciders available in liquor stores, but most of them either still taste too strong for me or have something like 300 calories a bottle. Or both.

It’s at this point I begin to feel cheesy when describing Michelob Ultra Light Cider. It’s good. It’s damn good. It’s smooth, not at all bitter, and only 120 calories. I don’t want to sound like a shill, but this is a drink I’d recommend even if I weren’t being provided with a sample. My beer-drinking friends have trained me to be leery of mass-produced alcoholic beverages. Chicago has a huge craft beer and liquor scene, with tons of options. But this cider is good, even if it is made by a big company. Quite honestly, it’s entered the (very short) list of drinks I ask for when out at a bar or restaurant. It’s also gluten free, which is a bonus for my gluten-intolerant friends.

But what else can I say? This is a good drink. It’s a low-calorie drink. It’s a reasonably-priced drink. And it’s delicious on a hot Chicago day.

Check out the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on BlogHer.com to see what other reviewers are saying about Michelob Ultra Light Cider, or visit the sponsor’s site for more information.

As a final question, if you were to make a perfect pairing with a 12 pack of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, what would you pair it with?

Another day, another wildly different thought on grad school

By , June 17, 2012 10:52 pm

I thought I’d figured it out: This upcoming fall, I’d apply for grad school. Maybe in San Francisco, maybe Vancouver, BC, probably for Gender Studies. That’d be for admission in the fall of 2013. Then, this next year, I’d push touring hard. The first 3/4 of 2013 was a bit up in the air – where in Chicago would I be living? who would I be living with? – but the general plan seemed good. Then, as I tend to do, I thought about things and am now contemplating a wildly different course of action.

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I want to love My Artist’s Way Toolkit, but can’t

By , June 14, 2012 5:53 pm

Note: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own. Follow more about the BlogHer review program of the Artist’s Way Toolkit at Blogher.

All artists should be familiar with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you’re not, it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s usually labeled as a ‘self help’ book, which I suppose it kind of is, but it’s so much more: a creative guide, a prompt toward personal development, and a focused way to improve one’s artistic self. Even if you don’t follow every page or every lesson, I highly recommend picking up a copy. Unfortunately, I can’t make the same recommendation for the new online service, My Artist’s Way Toolkit. Read on to hear why.

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Looking for website feedback

By , June 11, 2012 6:08 pm

I’m currently planning to revamp RebeccaKling.com. I like lots about the site, and am not planning to change the basic theme, but have a few things I’m hoping to accomplish, mainly in how the menus function. Specifically, I’d like to be able to have a ‘Writings’ menu item which would link to this blog, specific pieces I’ve written, and my forthcoming self-published book. (Shh! It’s a secret!) I’m also thinking about a ‘Podcast’ menu item for (you guessed it!) a podcast I’m hoping to launch in the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, the Sliding Doors theme – what I’m currently using – doesn’t support more than the 7 menu items I currently have: About, Events, Hire, Media, Press, Donate, Contact. Sliding Doors does allow for another level of text-based menus, which you can see here (click on the image for the theme preview) which would give some more flexibility. I’ve also looked at a few different artist sites of folks I like for ideas. (Phil van Hest, Erica Mott, and Kevin J. Thornton, in particular. Thanks gang!)

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