New From Aqueduct

I have email today from the very fine people at Aqueduct Press, informing me of new books that they have available. A couple of them look very interesting.

The first is a new novel from Andrea Hairston. Will Do Magic for Small Change is a follow-up of sorts (though a couple of generations later) to her Redwood and Wildfire, which won the Tiptree and Kindred awards. It looks like a really interesting book.

Of great interest to me, though possibly not to many of you, is The Merril Theory of Lit’ry Criticism, a collection of non-fiction writing by the legendary Judith Merril. Given that Samuel Delany describes Merril as, “perhaps the most important intra-genre critic the field has had”, she is someone that every aspiring SF critic needs to read.

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The LRB Does Trans

The London Review of Books normally only features in this blog when I am reporting on the VIDA count — it has a lamentable record. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t publish women at all. The forthcoming issue will contain an article by a woman, and it is about trans people. What’s more, you can read it online here.

Jacqueline Rose’s essay is very long, and somewhat rambling. It is broadly supportive, and contains a lot of interesting stuff. I certainly learned a few things from it. I don’t expect many of you will have the stamina to read it, but I know some of you have. As with any long piece, it goes off the rails a little in places, and I wanted to note those here.

First up, I don’t think it was “sentimental” of the writers of The Danish Girl to change Lili Elbe’s story so that she died from the results of her gender surgery, rather than from a later attempt to give her a womb. I submit that it was a deliberate lie to make it seem like gender surgery is much more dangerous than it actually is, and to give the impression that being a trans woman is a crime publishable by death.

Second, it is not generally true that hijra, “renounce sexual desire by undergoing sacrificial emasculation”. Some may do. India is a huge country, and hijra are found in other parts of south Asia as well, so I’m actually not comfortable with any blanket statements. However, I do know that some hijra have partners (whom they presumably have sex with), that some do sex work (which they may or may not enjoy), and some are involved in ritual sex work as part of their religious function.

Thirdly, when Rose pisses all over the Trans Day of Remembrance, she is clearly unaware of the work done by Transgender Europe’s Murder Monitoring Project which most definitely does keep information about the victims aside from their names.

My main concern about the article, however, is that it is a think piece, and as such it spends a lot of time trying to understand and explain trans people. When someone from outside of the trans community tries to do this, it often results in pontification about what trans people are “really”, and in pitting parts of the trans community against each other to try to find who is doing trans honestly and authentically, and who is a liar and a fake. This never works, because trans people are not all the same.

If you think about a gender spectrum, for example, someone who has a very strong identification with one gender, which just happens not to be the one assigned to them at birth, is a very different person from someone who is genderfluid, or agnostic about gender. It makes no sense to say that one of them must be “doing trans wrong”. Look, some men like to spend their weekends running around mountains, or white-water kayaking, while others prefer to spend it sat on a couch drinking beer and watching football. Is one of those groups somehow doing masculinity “wrong”? Or are they just different?

(I’d make the same argument about female gender stereotypes, but pretty much whatever women do you can find a ton of articles in women’s magazines pearl-clutching about how this is inappropriate female behavior and everyone should stop doing it or GUILT!!!)

So it doesn’t matter if Kate Bornstein and Jenny Boylan have different views as to what it means to be trans. That’s natural and healthy, not a sign that one is honest and the other lying to herself and others. If the trans thing has a value to feminism and gender studies, it is because we explode boxes in all sorts of interesting ways. Please don’t try to find new boxes to put us in.

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Eastern Tide in Store

Eastern Tide - Juliet E McKenna
Copies of Eastern Tide, the final volume in Juliet McKenna’s Aldabreshin Compass series, is now available from Google, Kobo and Nook (the latter US only). Amazon are doing their usual thing of making me jump through hoops to prove that I have the right to sell the book, but they’ll probably be on board tomorrow sometime. Links to the purchase pages of the books are available here.

Update: Eastern Tide is now available from Amazon as well.

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Fantastically Horny: Final Reminder

The crowdfunding effort for the Far Horizons Press anthologies has just a few days to run. It is a flexible funding thing, so the books are going to happen even though it is a long way from the target. I would, of course, like to be paid for my story, but more importantly I’d like the other contributors to get paid. Every little helps.

By the way, thanks to the BristolCon Foundation for contributing to the fund drive. Part of their purpose is to support local writers and publishers, and while I have an obvious vested interest this is clearly well within their remit.

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Hugo Finalists Announced Tonight

This year’s Worldcon, MidAmericon II, will be announcing the finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards today. The announcements will be made through their social media channels (Twitter, Facebook), and doubtless echoed by all and sundry. This will be, err, interesting…

Posted in Awards | 1 Comment

The Aldabreshin Compass Covers

Covers by Ben Baldwin
I’ve been wanting to post this for a long time. Here is the full set of Aldabreshin Compass covers. Huge thanks to Ben Baldwin for his magnificent work.

By the way, Ben says on his website that most of his work is available as A4-sized prints at £10 each. Postage is free in the UK and £3 per print for other parts of the world. I wish I had enough wall space for them all.

Posted in Art, Books, Wizard's Tower | 2 Comments

The Science of Sex Chromosomes

Sex Itself - Sarah S Richardson
One of the most common attacks on trans people that I see can be summed up as, “But, CHROMOSOMES!!!”. We know, after all, that our chromosomes are in every cell of our bodies. We are, allegedly, indelibly either male or female. That, we are told, cannot be changed. People advancing this view always claim to be arguing scientifically. They know very little about science. Part of my job, in doing trans awareness training, is to disabuse them of their foolishness. When I discovered Sex Itself by Sarah S Richardson I knew I had to read it. I am very glad that I did.

Sex Itself is essentially a history of the science of sex chromosomes. It is a fairly short history, starting in the early 20th Century, but is none the less fascinating if you have enough of a science background to not be put off by the language, which gets very technical at times. It is an object lesson in how cultural attitudes inform scientific research. Even the term, “sex chromosomes” is controversial. I use it here primarily because I want people with a poor understanding of the issues to read this post, and I know how search engines work.

Let’s start with a simple statement (emphasis mine):

Biologists have never been under the illusion that genes and chromosomes are all there is to the biology of sex. […] Today, academic sexologists typically distinguish between chromosomal sex, gonadal sex, hormonal sex, genital sex and sexual identity. Some would add sexual preference, gender identity, morphological sex, fertility and even brain sex to this list.

So yes, it has never been the case that science thought that sex was determined solely by chromosomes. Sorry, TERFs*.

Real science is complicated, messy. We still don’t really understand all of the biological pathways that result in the various facets of sex. What we can say is that X = female, Y = male is nonsense.

To start with, not all animals use the XX/XY system of chromosomes. Birds, for example, have a very different, and much more complicated system. And yet birds occur in male, female and intersex forms. There are species in which the form with XY chromosomes would normally be regarded as female (i.e. produces eggs rather than sperm). There is even a mammal species, the mole vole, that doesn’t have Y chromosomes. They have XX and XO variants, but the XOs still have recognizably male behavior and play a male role in reproduction.

Even in humans, “correct” configuration of the sex chromosomes is neither necessary nor sufficient to produce a body of a particular sex. There is at least one well documented case of a person with XY chromosomes getting pregnant and giving birth (to a daughter with XY chromosomes). And differentiation of ovaries and testes in the embryo is dependent on two genes on other chromosomes as well as the XX/XY pair.

Despite all of this obvious science, the book chronicles endless attempts by scientists to find a magic switch that is “sex itself”, the ultimate determinant of human nature; and to prove once and for all that men are from Mars and women from Venus. One of the most ridiculous examples of this is the 2005 Nature paper by Carrell & Willard which claimed that there is as much, if not more, difference between the genome of a human male and a human female, than there is between that of a human and a chimpanzee. It doesn’t take much critical thinking to find the flaws in that, but Richardson, good scientist that she is, goes in detail into the different methods used to calculate “difference” in the human-male/human-female case, and in the human/chimpanzee case, to show that the comparison is invalid. And she makes the philosophical point that a genome is a property of a species, not of a sub-form of a species that is incapable of independent reproduction.

Another example is the ongoing debate between David Page and Jennifer Graves over the status of the Y chromosome. Page maintains that the Y is a noble beast and source of all that is great and good in humans; while Graves maintains that it is a wimpy runt with no great purpose nor any evolutionary future. I exaggerate a little for effect, but both scientists openly use sex war rhetoric in their debates so they really can’t complain. The controversy has found its way into the media, and into popular culture. Richardson cites Gwyneth Jones’s Life and Brian Vaughan & Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man as examples.

My own preconceptions were not immune from Richardson’s intellectual scalpel. The easiest way to explain the results of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (the intersex condition that gives rise to things like the aforementioned XY pregnancy) is that human bodies are default female, and need a variety of processes, triggered by the Y chromosome, to make a male. I now know that this isn’t strictly true. An embryo will not develop as fully female without other active processes.

This issue shows how complex the cultural issues surrounding gender science are. I used to think that I was being proudly feminist in stating that being female was the default state of mankind, and that being male was some sort of weird mutation. I now find that I am a dupe of the Patriarchy for believing that being female is a passive state waiting to be conquered and controlled by the masterful Y chromosome. I am suitably chastised.

Another area where I have had to modify my own understanding is the relationship between Klinefelter syndrome and gender identity. Klinefelter is a condition where the body has XXY chromosomes. When I was young, this was thought to be potentially diagnostic of trans women. I remember being distraught when my chromosome test came back as XY, because an XXY result would have fast-tracked me through the medical system. However, from what Richardson says it seems that trans women are not over-represented in the population of people who exhibit Klinefelter, and consequently the condition is neither diagnostic of, nor a potential explanation of, our gender identity.

This brings me to the most spectacular example of sex science nonsense in the book, and a possible explanation for the beliefs of the TERFs. Klinefelter is by no means the only condition in which a body’s chromosome mix is neither XX nor XY. One of many others is the so-called “super-male”, XYY. Back in 1965 Patricia Jacobs, a brilliant geneticist who discovered the biological cause of Klinefelter when she was just 21, published a study in Nature showing that inmates with XYY were over-represented in a high security psychiatric institution.

Sadly Jacobs wasn’t near as good at social science as she was at analyzing genes. There are all sorts of flaws with the study, including the later discover that XXY conditions were similarly over-represented. But before you could say “radical feminism”, the idea that a Y chromosome was an indicator of criminal violence, and two Ys doubly so, was all over popular culture. There was even a series of books, and later a TV series, called The XYY Man.

The idea that XYY was an indicator of a violently criminal nature has long since been debunked, but the idea that a Y chromosome is the seat of violence is still very much current among radical feminists and is often cited as “proof” of why trans women should not be allowed into female spaces. Personally I think that if there is any culprit then it would be testosterone, and the Nazi attempts to produce a super-soldier serum (based on research stolen from Magnus Hirschfeld’s sex clinic) would seem to back me up. Doubtless the TERFs would claim that it only takes one drop of testosterone in utero to turn a human into a violent psychopath, so trans women still can’t be trusted.

And yes, I did use the phrase “one drop” deliberately there. Many of the flawed scientific studies that Richardson describes in the book reek of eugenics, and a book I now want to read is Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure of Man, which chronicles scientific attempts to prove white supremacy.

Science, as I noted above, is complicated, and the interaction of science with society doubly so. I totally understand the need to examine how medical conditions differ between males and females (and indeed between people of different ethnic groups). As someone whose body is now physically intersex (thanks to medical intervention) I have a vested interest in such things. But the obsession that humans have with categorizing things in binaries, and with using popular misunderstandings of science as a crutch for bigotry, makes all such work very dangerous. I am very grateful to Sarah Richardson for shining a bright light on the murky issue of chromosomal sex. Hopefully I can do her work justice in future training courses.

* Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists

Posted in Gender, Science | 4 Comments

Tide Coming In

Eastern Tide - Juliet E McKenna, art by Ben Baldwin
Eastern Tide, the final volume in Juliet E McKenna’s Aldabreshin Compass series, will be available in the usual ebook stores later this week. Once again we have some magnificent cover art by Ben Baldwin. Juliet has various guest posts planned for this week, and the first one is up already. It is part of the “Nobody Knew She Was There” series on Sarah Ash’s blog.

More news later this week.

And with the Aldabreshin Compass series finished, I need to find something for Wizard’s Tower to do next. Expect news.

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I Am Cait #2.7

The season finale of season 2 of I Am Cait aired in the USA yesterday. Here in the UK we have just got episode 7, so that’s what I’ll be talking about today.

The first topic of the show was Caitlyn having a heart-to-heart with Kris about their marriage and their future. That sort of thing I tend to think should be private between them and not commented on, but the exchange did further highlight how long Caitlyn has been struggling with her gender issues, and just how unhappy and non-functional people in that situation can become.

Next up was the question of genital surgery. Caitlyn hasn’t had it. She’s not sure that she wants it. That will doubtless come as a shock to some people. Jenny Boylan provided contrast by explaining how important surgery was to her, and how keen she was to get it. That was me all over. I could not wait to get it done, and like Jenny I have had no regrets since. She’s lesbian and I’m not, so there’s difference there. Caitlyn very clearly needed to transition for the sake of her mental health, but genital surgery is not a major issue for her. All of which goes to show just how diverse trans people are.

Jenny brought in Marci Bowers who is a surgeon specializing in gender surgery, and a trans woman herself, so obviously an ideal person to do such work. She noted that only around 20% of US trans people have had genital surgery, and that cost is a major issue there.

The other major storyline was Candis’s desire for a family. Having had zero luck in dating, she’s thinking of adopting. That won’t be easy because she’s single and trans. Adoption is legal, but getting to do it is a whole different ball game. Candis talked frankly about how so much transphobia happens politely, behind the scenes. People are all very nice to you, but somehow what you want is just not possible.

Of course, as Kris pointed out, having a family is by no means necessarily a cakewalk for cis women. All sorts of problems can arise, from infertility to pregnancy complications to husband problems and so on. So maybe things will work out for Candis.

This is the point at which I should note that I’m getting quite fond of Kris Jenner. Not fond enough to watch all of the Kardashian shows, but her public persona on this show is pretty impressive.

When I was at Kingston University last week one of the questions from the audience was about Caitlyn. The students didn’t seem too impressed with her. I asked if anyone had watched the shows, and none of them had. This is sad. Caitlyn’s media profile is pretty bad, and she’s made some horrendous mistakes. However, what she and the rest of the cast are doing on the show is valuable. Much of that is, of course, down to Jenny, Kate, Chandi and so on, but the show would not have happened without Caitlyn, and I rather suspect that her money is keeping it going. If you want to learn more about trans people — trans women in particular — then the show is very useful.

I think we have the season finale next week. This appears to be the show where they get back to talking about religion and politics. Then we’ll see how much Caitlyn has learned.

By the way, is it wrong of me to think that LA Clippers is a reality TV show about hairdressers in Hollywood?

Posted in Gender, TV | 1 Comment

That Was Trans*Code

I spent most of yesterday at Trans*Code, a meet-up for trans people and allies in the IT industry. It is primarily a hack day, so various interesting projects got started. Here’s a run-down of what we did.

Clothing Exchange – the idea here was to allow trans people who are getting rid of the clothes because of a gender change to donate those clothes to other trans people who might need new clothes but can’t afford them. Doing it online might be useful for people in small towns, though personally I hate all forms of mail order clothes buying.

Funding appeal site – this project sought to provide a venue whereby people could donate money to help trans people with their transition expenses. That could mean anything from paying for an electrolysis course to financing a private medical consultation. Donors would get perks from corporate sponsors. Clearly this needs a proper charity to run it and select beneficiaries, but it could work.

Voice training site – there was a lot of interest in this project, which aimed to provide an online self-help system for trans people seeking to change how they speak. Long term I think people would benefit from professional voice coaching, but that’s not something I’ve ever been able to splash money on and it can be expensive if you don’t live in a big city where such help can be found. Ideally the site would work with one or more professional trainers, but they’d have to be able to charge for what they do because it is their livelihood.

Music synching – this had nothing to do with being trans. Someone just wanted to be able to synch music over several PCs connected via the Internet. I can see it being a cool thing if you are playing an online RPG. Obviously everyone would need a (legal) local copy of the music.

Gender recognition game – Douglas Adams once produced a computer game about trying to persuade a bank to change the name on your account. It was basically a long joke about bureaucracy. This game was all about trying to get a Gender Recognition Certificate, which is way harder than changing your bank account.

Trans*Code directory – somewhere on GitHub where all of this stuff can get stored.

And finally the stuff I was up to. My friend Shaan from the Twilight People project wants to create an app based around the personal histories he has created. We spent a good part of the day brainstorming what that app would look like, and what we needed to do to make it happen. We didn’t actually write much code, partly because I don’t have all of the necessary skills, and partly because some development tools I was expecting to have didn’t turn up on time. More will happen in due course.

Huge thanks are due to Naomi Cedar for organizing the whole thing. Since the inaugural meeting last year she has moved back to Chicago, and she flew in especially for yesterday’s event. Huge thanks also to Emily and everyone from Go Cardless who sponsored the event, in particular by providing a venue. There were several other corporate sponsors as well.

One of these days, BGEN people please note, we must do one of these things in the Bath/Bristol area.

Posted in Gender, Software | Leave a comment

Students Are Awesome

These days if you read about British students in the mainstream press it is almost always in the context that they are a bunch of Fascist prudes hell-bent on preventing anyone saying anything about anything. That, of course, is because they have taken a dim view of the transphobic ranting of the likes of Greer and Bindel. I, am pleased to say, have not been “no platformed” by any students. Indeed, I was invited to speak at Kingston University last week.

The panel was about gender, and my co-panelists were Sabah Choudrey and Soof Andry. Yep, that’s two Muslims and me. And very splendid it was too. We had a very constructive discussion, and were well looked after (and fed) by the LGBT+ Society. Thanks are due to Jamie, Adam and the rest of the crew for doing such a great job.

Thanks are also due to Noorulann Shahid who arranged the whole gig but was unable to attend due to having to be at NUS Connference making history. First up, Conference elected Malia Bouattia, a Muslim woman, as President. Naturally all of the mainstream media are yelling “OUTRAGE!!!”, and while I recognize that Jewish students may have legitimate concerns I have little doubt where all of the journalistic outrage comes from.

In addition, Conference voted to create a full-time paid post of a Trans Officer. Back when I attended Conference just stating that you were trans would probably have got you thrown out, so this is a huge step forward. My congratulations to Noorulann, Jamie Cross and all of the other activists who have fought so hard for this.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gender | Leave a comment

This Is What It Sounds Like…

Prince - Brian Bolland
… When Gods die.

The original art is by Brian Bolland. The animated gif was made by Scott M. McDaniel and is part of this fascinating analysis of the image.

My May 4th show on Ujima will be a Prince tribute show. Obviously there will be guests, but all of the music will be performed or written by Prince. And yes, that is an excuse for me to play The Bangles, but also Chaka Khan.

Rock on, purple people. At least we know there’ll be great music to dance to in the afterlife when we get there.

Posted in Art, Music, Personal | 1 Comment

Mike Carey and Me in Bristol

As many of you will know, Mike Carey has a new book out: Fellside. Mike is doing a promotional event at Waterstones in Bristol on the evening of May 18th. I am delighted to have been asked to interview him. The event is free, but the store would like people to sign up on EventBrite so that they have some idea of numbers. It will be awesome.

And with any luck, as it is a Wednesday, I will have Mike on Ujima as well. That’s dependent on his travel arrangements, but hopefully we can make it work.

By the way, I’ve just bagged a great interview with Guy Gavriel Kay for the May 4th episode of Women’s Outlook.

Posted in Books, Radio, Readings | Leave a comment

The Force Awakens On Disc

Because I am addicted to the extras you get when you buy a movie on disc I got myself a copy of The Force Awakens as soon as it came out. I have the Blu Ray edition, which is two discs. The DVD may not contain the same material.

Disc 1 is the movie. There is no Director’s Commentary, which is a shame but is increasingly common these days.

Disc 2 has a fair amount of extras. It is nowhere near as in-depth as you would get from WETA on a Peter Jackson movie. Nor is it anywhere near as open and honest as what Jackson gives us (the final Hobbit film in particular is very raw). This is polished Hollywood corporate product, all intended to promote the brand. Nevertheless, it does tell us things.

I was unaware until I saw the extras that the currently President of Lucasfilm, and the Producer of The Force Awakes, is a woman: Kathleen Kennedy. I suspect that she has a lot to do with how the film turned out.

More generally, the thing that comes across most strongly from the material is the reverence that the crew had for the original three movies. Many people who worked on those original movies also worked on this one. It’s not just Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels. In fact one of the most important pieces of continuity is the fact that John Williams is still doing the scores. But there are also people whose parents worked on the original films, and people who grew up as Star Wars fans and dreamed of being able to work on the movies. Listening to all of these people talk, it is obvious why the film turned out the way it did.

One of the highlights for me was seeing Lupita Nyong’o talking about her first experience of motion capture. And of course Andry Serkis was there to help out.

Gwendoline Christie is quite interesting on the role of Captain Phasma and how she tried to make it clear that Phasma was a woman without in any way feminizing her.

There are a few deleted scenes. They are quite short, and mostly fun but unimportant. I would have liked the movie to have included the one in which we see Leia being General Organa, rather than being Mrs. Solo which is what she does for much of the film.

Skellig Michael is still the star of the film, closely followed by Lupita and BB8.

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The Ghost of the Shakespeare Tavern

Last night’s BristolCon Fringe went very well. We had 12 readers in all, two of whom were reading in public for the first time and did really well. You will doubtless see people on social media muttering about “the eyeball”. I’m afraid you will have to wait a while to hear why as I’m still a bit behind on the audio.

We also had a ghost. Part way through the evening we started hearing a voice coming out of the speakers in the bar. Jonathan Howard kindly went to talk to the staff and ask them to turn it off, but they pointed out that the speakers were indeed turned off. The ghost continued to interrupt the readers at random intervals.

The explanation that the bar staff came up with, is that the ferry boats that ply up and down the river have quite powerful radios, and occasionally their chat gets picked up by nearby electronics.

Hopefully, because it wasn’t directed at the mic the noises won’t get picked up very strongly and they won’t have spoiled the recordings. If they are clearly audible I shall take that as evidence that we had a real ghost. Possibly one with an eye missing.

Posted in Readings, Weird | Leave a comment

Kingston University Does Gender – Thursday Night

Kingston Uni ad
I have been planning to spend this coming weekend in London for some time, because Trans*Code is happening. Then last week I got an invitation to be part of a panel on gender organised by Kingston University Students’ Union. As it is scheduled for Thursday night, and I have some fabulous friends in London, I am able to do it.

So if you want to come and hear me talk about gender (and more importantly hear Sabah who is amazing, and Soof whom I don’t know but I am sure will be amazing too), then Kingston University is the place to be. Thursday night, 7:30pm in the Clattern Theatre. The FB event page is here. See some of you there.

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Marketing Evil

I’ve just been to Tesco for various things, including picking up my copy of The Force Awakens. They have this special offer going on where you can select a Dark Side or Light Side limited edition cover. From a style point of view, the black cover actually looks nicer, but who would want to side with Evil?

The answer of course, is obvious. You just have to look at all of the marketing surrounding the film. If you are a woman, a person of color, or old, then you are with the Resistance. If you are a young white man the the Evil Fascist Dictatorship is the side that you should support.

Does anyone else find that a teensy bit disturbing…

Posted in Feminism, Movies | 2 Comments

The Obligatory One Year Older Post

It is once again that time of year when my Facebook timeline fills up with messages from people I don’t really know. There are apparently some 130+ of them already. My apologies if I don’t respond to them all individually.

So far the day is going pretty well. I had a new episode of I Am Cait to watch. There’s a new Galactic Suburbia just released. The news Star Wars movie is out on BluRay today. And it is not raining (yet).

Tonight I will head off to Bristol for the Fringe reading series. It being Open Mic night, I will have a story to read. Jo tells me that there will be cake. Hopefully I will see some of you there.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

I Am Cait #2.6

The latest episode of I Am Cait to screen in the UK was all about (ex-)wives. Kris Jenner put in an appearance, and awkward conversations were had.

Mostly what I want to say about this is that such issues are very personal matters between the two individuals involved, and no one should make judgements on the basis of how they would feel in such circumstances.

Having said that, Jen Richards was talking on Twitter last night about how we hear lots these days about women who say by their partners through transition, but next to nothing about men who do the same. That’s obviously partly because the media isn’t obsessed with trans men the way it is with trans women. But I suspect there’s also a lot of social expectation (and sometimes necessity) for women to stay in a marriage no matter what. And of course there is less social opprobrium attached to appearing to become lesbian than to appearing to become gay.

If you listen to the likes of Germaine Greer or Fay Weldon it is clear that they think transitioning is just another thing that very masculine men to to betray their wives. It is like having an affair, except with yourself. And if you look at the posters for The Danish Girl it is pretty obvious that it is going to be a film about a loving wife who is betrayed by her partner.

That, of course, is just another stereotype that is rarely accurate. I doubt that there are many trans women who are that callous, but equally no one is free of the charge of selfishness. Of course if you have got to the point of a choice between transition and suicide then you get called selfish no matter which course you choose.

Hopefully, in a generation or two’s time, trans people will be sufficiently socially accepted that we can all come out early on in life and all of this denial and betrayal will be a thing of the past.

On the bright side, the episode was filmed in New Orleans, a city that I love. It reminded me of a fabulous long weekend that Kevin and I spent there a few years ago, and some of the best meals of my life.

I can haz beignets nao?

Posted in Food, Gender, TV | 1 Comment

Fringe Open Mic on Monday

The April edition of BristolCon Fringe will take place on Monday. April is traditionally our Open Mic event, which means that anyone can turn up and ask to read. The only limitation is that you have only 5 minutes.

I am planning to read from a new, unpublished story. It is the one I wrote for the Upside Down anthology (but didn’t get in).

It is also my birthday. There are rumors that there may be cake.

As usual the event takes place at the Shakespeare Tavern on Prince Street in the Harbourside District. Readings will start around 7:30pm, but people are likely to be there well before that. See you there.

Posted in Personal, Readings | Leave a comment