Posts tagged: trans

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Trans characters

By , May 25, 2011 3:24 am

One of my roommates recently got me hooked on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a sit-com about four horrible people who own a bar together, and the hilarious hijinks which ensue. The characters on the show are consistently petty, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and on, and on, and on. But since they always lose in the end, you feel OK laughing at them.

Intermittently, starting in the first season, one of the boys in the show becomes involved with a ‘tranny,’ as seen here (sorry it’s not a great clip – someone lemme know if there’s a higher quality version):

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Survey on trans terminology

By , May 19, 2011 10:20 pm

I was at a trans discussion panel at the Center On Halsted tonight and one of the panel members was Jamison Green. He mentioned a survey on trans terminology that I thought I’d share:

Greetings! Ten years ago, we conducted a short survey of our community’s reactions to the use of descriptive terminology in the professional literature of gender identity issues. Basically, we were interested in reforming the literature so it could speak respectfully about transsexual and transgender persons. To do that, we wanted to find out which terms transsexual and transgender people liked, and which they didn’t like. The results of our study were reported at the 2001 scientific symposium of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA), and had an immediate impact on the hundreds of medical and social scientists who were present.

A lot has changed since 2001, and we thought it would be interesting to re-open the survey, collect new data, compare the results 10 years later with the original results, and present our analysis at the 2011 scientific symposium of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (formerly HBIGDA) this September.

We are asking community members to rate and give us their opinions of certain terms which have been used in the literature, and some of the terms put forth by the community itself, so we can communicate the community’s opinions to the members of WPATH and (we hope) more widely in a subsequent academic publication. Continue reading 'Survey on trans terminology'»

Is ‘Orlando: A Biography’ Trans Fiction?

By , March 9, 2011 6:43 pm

Cross-posted at The Center for Classic Theatre Review, an online literary review of Court Theatre in Chicago.

As a transgender woman, I’ve read a lot of trans fiction. Stories about magical transformations, mutations which cause gender shifts, mind-transfer rays, nanotechnology, forced feminization, sexual domination. You name a way someone could possibly transform from a man to a woman, and some author on some website has probably beaten you to it. And I’ve probably read it: the full range of stories, from enthusiastic transitions of  willing participants to subjugation and rape.

When there is no one like you on TV, when pornography depicts “your kind” as a freak and a fetish item, when your story is absent from books and movies, you make do with what you can. Not all of the stories I’ve read were well-written. Not all of them cast trans people in a positive light, let alone a realistic one. But that hunger to find ourself in the world exists in all of us. Finding our own identity in stories certainly isn’t the only reason we read, tell stories, watch movies, see plays. But it’s a big one, the desire to find that resonance of ourself in someone else’s tale.

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Not much of a man

By , March 7, 2011 12:38 pm
Not much of a man by the light of day

Not much of a man by the light of day

One of the oddest experiences of my transition was going off hormones to deposit sperm. (Almost three years ago!) It made me feel – perhaps more than any other single situation – as if I was balanced on a knife edge between ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ I wasn’t a woman (the thinking went) since I was at a doctor’s office attempting to deposit sperm. And I wasn’t much of a man (the same train of thought concluded) since my sperm count was so frustratingly low the doctor couldn’t get a viable sample. It was an agonizing paradox, of sorts: If my sperm count was high enough for a successful deposit, the hormones weren’t reshaping my body in the way I wanted them to. If my sperm count wasn’t high enough for a successful deposit, the hormones were working but I’d have to stay off of them even longer, in hopes of getting my sperm count up.

Either way, I lost.

Since then, I’ve had many occasions where I felt uncomfortable being too ‘girly’ or to ‘manly,’ and have been unsure of how to navigate my way through. I’m reminded of a time, a year or two ago, I was bringing home groceries with a friend. I was attempting to carry way too much, and she laughed and yelled, “You’re not a man any more! You don’t have to do everything at once, so take two trips!”

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A delightful hookup

By , September 13, 2010 4:47 pm

Of the many fun things about the Fringe Festival, a great part was meeting a ton of people. Artists, volunteers, festival-goers, I got a chance to chat with ’em all. And, by happy coincidence, the venue I performed in was particularly queer-heavy, both in the subject of its performances and in its volunteer staff.

One of the people I met, we’ll call her E, expressed interest in getting drinks or coffee with me after the festival. I said I’d like to, because E is a cool person and I need more queer friends, but I definitely had the thought in the back of my mind that this might be asking me out on a date. Since I’d be happy either way – date or friendly socialization – I didn’t bother asking E to clarify. We set up a time and place to meet on Saturday night, and I tried not to over-think things. (“Things” being whether or not this was a date, what I was going to wear, how much makeup I needed, noticing while walking to the bar that – oh bugger – I forgot to put any on, and so on.)

When we met at the bar, E bought us both drinks and left her card with the bartender. I figured this was a good sign, but still tried not to over-think things. She then pulled out my chair for me and helped me remove my coat, at which point the signs became a little more clear. We chatted for the next hour or so, talking about the Fringe Festival, our previous and future artistic projects, our experiences living in Chicago, the ridiculous drunken people walking past the window; all the things you chat about with someone when you’re enjoying their company, getting to know them, and getting a little tipsy.

As we both worked on our third drinks (mine: a vodka cranberry, hers: a dirty martini) I realized I had almost reached the bottom of my glass while E had barely touched hers.  “E,” I asked, “are you trying to get me drunk?”

She looked at me. “Yes.”

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Patterns of “Transgender” in Google News archives

By , August 14, 2010 12:38 pm

I’ve been successful this past week in having a post every day, and even working ahead to have posts ready and in the pipeline a few days out. I’m really going to try and keep this up, because I love the amount of interaction and response that comes when I’m more consistent with my postings.

To that end, here’s a thought for this Saturday:

Google News archives have just over 70,000 results for a search of ‘transgender’:

transgender search resultsThey also let you see a graph of news results over the last 20 years:

Trans Articles GraphAnd a timeline for all the results in their archives, since 1960:

Trans articles archiveAn interesting pattern, no?

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“You know I’m trans, right?”

By , August 12, 2010 10:37 am

I was talking with some coworkers this week, B who has been there almost a year and K, the woman I’m training to be my replacement. We were joking about a number of things, and B made a self-deprecating joke about being gay. I followed up with a self-deprecating joke about being trans, and turned to K, saying, “You know I’m trans, right?”

That’s been my general coming out tactic lately, and I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice before on this blog. Today, K paused (awkwardly, I felt) and said, “Oh, yeah.”

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Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 6)

By , June 29, 2010 8:23 pm

Just when you thought it was over, there are a few more questions to answer!

  • Did you dress like a girl before you considered yourself transgender?  (Dress in drag, I guess?)

Occasionally, but not a lot. And that’s due in large part because of that language: it felt like dressing in drag. And the last thing I wanted, the last thing I ever wanted, was to feel like a boy in a dress. So while I did experiment every so often with sneaking something from my mom’s wardrobe, it was never that satisfying. (I denied taking her clothing the one or two times she confronted me about it. Maybe, in retrospect, if I’d come clean – and talked about my desires to not be a boy – my life might have turned out very differently.

Once I was able to put a name on my discomfort – I was trans, not a crossdresser – I was able to start experimenting with ways of feeling more feminine. Things like growing my hair out, shaving my legs, and so on. That eventually turned into buying women’s clothing, but by that point I’d say I was actually transitioning and not just experimenting.

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By , June 28, 2010 7:19 pm

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al ha-milah. Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu lihach-neeso bivreito shel Avraham aveenu.

Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and has given us the command concerning circumcision. Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and hast commanded us to make our sons enter the covenant of Abraham our father. (Source)

Eight days after birth, Jewish boys are supposed to be circumcised as part of the covenant between God and Abraham (in Genesis), as specified in Leviticus. In this way, Jewish boys are supposed to continue the line of the Children of Israel, fulfilling the obligations and duties laid out for them in the Torah.

There are no required rituals or ceremonies to mark the birth of a girl.

Circumcision Tools

Snip snip!

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The male gaze can jump in a lake

By , June 8, 2010 8:18 pm

While driving to work this morning, someone pulled up along side me at a stoplight and motioned for me to roll down my window. He was gesturing to the back of my car and saying something, and I worried that I had a light out, my trunk was open, or (worst of all) I hadn’t noticed a flat tire.

I rolled down my window and he started talking across the gap between our cars. I couldn’t really hear him over the rain, complicated by his soft voice and foreign accent. I finally understood that he was complimenting me on my bumper stickers. This happens every so often, and I always get a kick out of it. I have a couple dozen bumper stickers on the back of my car, ranging from the political – about Obama or women’s rights – to the silly (“No, I will not fix your computer”). I thanked him, and started to roll my window back up, when he yelled something I heard very clearly:

“Wanna meet up some place?

I rolled up my window, turned back to the light (green, by this time), and sped away.

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