Tag Archives: LGBT

Who Chaz Bono Is Not

Chaz Bono dancingI’ve had it. I gave Chaz Bono’s interview with The New York Times a tired, jaundiced eye because there was a lot of gender stereotyping going on in his comments, and at the time it reminded me of other problematic things I’ve heard transfolk say when the spotlight is upon them. But I freely admit that a lot  of this is about the questions culturally incompetent people ask (read: I don’t think David Letterman has any training in which questions to avoid asking trans-identified people), and the stress of coming up with responses on the spot. Given the documentary that focused on Chaz’s transition, and Chaz’s gracefulness during the Dancing with the Stars competition—in which people have questioned his manhood, his fitness, and his dance skills—I’d say Chaz is treading more carefully now, repeatedly speaking about listening to his elders in transition/transitude, and more importantly, speaking only for himself. I dare say it’s a level of diplomacy that Thomas Beatie, a.k.a. “the pregnant man” has not shown himself capable.

Certainly, I didn’t have high hopes for the national response to Chaz as a transsexual, but even skeptical moi is surprised at the intensity of the vitriol and resentment. Read More…

It Gets Better: The Anniversary That Wasn’t

I was reminded yesterday that we’ve just passed the one-year anniversary of the It Gets Better project, that anti-bullying campaign from Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller. On September 21, 2010, they made their now-iconic YouTube video telling queer youth that they should hang in there, because someday things will be better than they seem right now. Dan and Terry had been catapulted into action, they said, because of the recent media attention on a number of gay suicides, all of which, the narrative went, came in context of those kids being bullied and harassed by their peers. That Dan and Terry were really only speaking about young gay men and not the gamut of youth on the LGBT spectrum, and that the media lavished its attention only on recent white gay men’s deaths was not a topic Dan wished to discuss, though I and many others attempted to do so. Read More…

Old Enough to Know Themselves: Voices of Queer Teens

queer students at camp, jumping on a beachPlease welcome Rosa, a high school student from my home state, who is the latest guest blogger for Transplantportation while I attend to my wee one. I would also just like to note here that Rosa runs a Gay-Straight Alliance in her school, which have clearly shown to help with anti-bullying initiatives and increasing cultural competency of teachers, administration, and staff, when implemented in a school—something not available at Walla Walla High School, and banned this month by the Benton Franklin County School Board. We all need to push harder to include these student-focused groups in our schools.

When I was first asked to write a post in Ev’s absence I was incredibly excited to have a chance to bridge at least some of the gap between teenagers and adults. I so often feel like it’s nearly impossible for most teenagers to try to communicate with adults, and vice-versa. Adults view teens as these hormonally crazed aliens without a rational bone in their bodies. While teens view adults as these fascist rule makers with no purpose other than providing various doses of misery and “ruining their lives.” Read More…

Commodifying Transfolk

chaz bono dancing with the stars promo photoI will say right off the bat that I’m not the biggest fan of Dancing with the Stars. I like it enough to watch when someone I like—or greatly dislike—is on the show, much like I’ll watch American Idol on only a spotty basis. I really like dancing as an art form, especially given my total lack of physical grace, because I love to see the human form do things I didn’t know were possible, and then whoa, there’s music and lots of feathers to boot! But DWTS sometimes makes me sad, because the “stars” in question often seem to be scrapping for whatever vestiges of glory they can still obtain, and the whole faded Lola a la Copacobana thing is not my speed.

In short: I will watch Margaret Cho, Ralph Macchio, Jennifer Grey, Joey Fatone, and a whole host of others out of love and interest. I was not a fan of Kate Gosselin, Bristol Palin, or The Situation, but I still kept up with their performances. And that said, I do like how DWTS has included lots of out gay and lesbian personalities, like some of those I just mentioned and other folks like Lance Bass. It was only a matter of time before a trans man was selected for the dancing show. And so we have Chaz Bono, the “most famous” trans man out there. Or is he? Read More…

Ways to Hate the Gays

With summer comes the spate of anti-gay sentiment, or at least it feels that way to me. Maybe it’s because state supreme courts are wrapping up their year and the toughest decisions come out in June, or thereabouts. Of course this summer season we have the GOP primary jockeying, so as candidates are scoping for uber-conservative votes, they’re more than willing to say things like “gay families aren’t families.” We could blame the incessant “heat dome” for frying people’s brains and in their heat exhaustion, causing chronic foot-in-mouth disease. Whatever the cause, I am beyond sick of it. Let’s call a scapegoat a scapegoat. In this time of financial strife and political cowardice, I think it’s fitting to look at all the ways in which people crap on the “gays,” and excuse me, Dan Savage, but I’m using it as an umbrella term for queer, not a reference to your clique in Seattle. Read More…

A Guy Walks into a Doctor’s Office…

top surgery stitchesI admit it: I was a touch fearful about talking to the doctor on Monday. I’ve got a short list of items about which most physicians get lectury, after all. But for the reasons I expressed in my last post, I needed to have a local doctor, so I was willing to lay it out there. Susanne declared it was a “test” of his cultural competency. I liked that as an approach enough.

For some reason, the appointments at this family practice (it’s the same practice as the one for Susanne’s baby doctor) are significantly late to start. I know we all complain about start times at our doctors’ offices, but I can’t for the life of me understand why they set up 11:30AM appointments when all of the nursing staff, en masse, goes to lunch for 90 minutes, especially as they’re 45 minutes behind schedule by the time noon rolls around. Read More…

Dear Doctor

ring from the medical college of the univ of pennsylvaniaMy physical is tomorrow. I suppose most people call it an “annual physical,” but I haven’t had one in a couple of years because it’s been a while since I saw that physician. So it’s more my biennial physical, bordering on every 30 months at that.

For regular checkups regarding my hormone therapy, I drive out to Portland, Oregon, because I haven’t found a doctor in Walla Walla who knows anything about the whole gender transition thang, and this particular doctor sees more than 1,000 trans patients. Plus heck, it’s a pretty enough drive along the Columbia River, and I suppose it keeps my stamina up for long car rides. Read More…

The Headless Movement

March for Women's LivesI’ve said it before, and I suppose I’m saying it again; I don’t think there’s a progressive movement. I mean, of course, there’s a progressive movement, in that there are causes on the liberal and radical left that push specific interests. But the idea that a broad left wing will show up to march through the Mall in Washington, D.C. on a single issue, with no major fracture points on display, or that we’re beholden to a single figure who is speaks for even a majority of us, is dead on the vine. Read More…

Gender 101 for Trans People

chaz bonoChaz Bono ruffled more than a few feathers in the trans community this week when he gave an interview to The New York Times in which he explained his decision to transition:

“There’s a gender in your brain and a gender in your body. For 99 percent of people, those things are in alignment. For transgender people, they’re mismatched. That’s all it is. It’s not complicated, it’s not a neurosis. It’s a mix-up. It’s a birth defect, like a cleft palate.”

Yes, that is one way of looking at it, but certainly, not everyone who transitions—or defines themselves along the transgender spectrum—feels that way. And while Chaz is entitled to his opinion, half-assed reporting from the Times notwithstanding*, I would like to interject a few opinions of my own regarding the way in which some transfolk talk about transition and the way in which the media pick it up and report it. Read More…

Savage Defense

I was once a Savage Love reader, sure. I’ve known the definition of GGG pretty much since Dan Savage invented it, although I never realized until tonight that he came up with it and all of his acronyms just to save type space. Which makes sense, and is something that may fade away as newspapers trudge toward extinction. Almost a decade ago I read Skipping Towards Gommorah, and if there were big problems on the bigotry front, I missed them. And I laughed when Savage invented a new definition for “santorum” so much, I worked it into one of my novels-in-progress.

However, there came a day—I have no idea when—that I read his column and flinched. In giving some answer to a reader’s question he was too harsh, used a dose too strong of mockery, enacted an assumption that led inextricably to a position that I couldn’t abide. Like snowflakes at the leading edge of a cloud these added up over time, and eventually I stopped reading his column, and didn’t bother to spend time reading whatever was his next book. Read More…

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