Friday, December 23, 2011

SL Seasons Greetings!

Some holiday snapshots from Second Life, in part to commemorate my first rezzday as well as the slew of holidays this season.

And because I'm becoming such a virtual fashion plate, here's where I got the bits of my outfit.

Crop, Santa hat/jacket/corset: ~Vanilla Pleasures~by Madame du Couturier
Candy cane dispenser belt: Lusty Sexy Fashion
Boots, latex garter girdle: VvB Design (available inworld only)
Fully fashioned stockings: No.9 Nylons (available inworld only)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Aw Hell, ABC, Not Again...!

In 1980 ABC premiered a sitcom about two cis men in the advertising industry, trying to find an apartment in New York City. One of their cis woman friends suggests they move into a rent-controlled, affordable place in her apartment building. One hitch--the apartment building, known as the Susan B. Anthony Hotel, is strictly for (presumably cis) women. 

So, naturally, they don't hesitate to crossdress in order to get in.

The sitcom Bosom Buddies (get it? Bosom? Buddies? HAW HAW!) was not terribly popular and only lasted two seasons, but it was long enough for one of the cross-dressing stars of the show, Tom Hanks, to get major exposure as an actor. Shortly after Bosom Buddies was taken off the air, Hanks found himself in two starring movie roles--Splash, along side Daryl Hannah and John Candy; and Bachelor Party, which had a small part for professional female impersonator Christopher Morley as one of those gosh-darn deceptive trans women who got into one of the party-goer's pants only to pee while standing up and talk in a deep voice just in time to deliver some, um, comic relief, I think some call it....

Now, this is not to go after Tom Hanks, although he's got a lot of explaining to do for both directly and indirectly associating trans women with deceivers, and throwing in a helping of pitiful ain't-foolin'-nobody for good measure. This is about ABC, the network that green-lighted Bosom Buddies in the first place.

This was hardly the first time ABC had used trans women as the butts of jokes. Three years before, the ABC sitcom Soap premiered, introducing the world to another up-and-coming actor/comedian, Billy Crystal, portraying a gay man in one of the first portrayals of such on prime time television. Of course, by the second episode of the first season, he's crossdressing and telling his mother he wants a "sex change" so he can marry his boyfriend. Said boyfriend breaks up, so there's no further talk about transgender behavior after that--just a suicide attempt, followed by affairs with women. How convenient! 

This is, of course, another stereotype about trans women--that we're "really" cis gay men who want to have operations only because of society's homophobia. Only someone who doesn't realize the seriousness of transphobia--or doesn't care about making transphobia worse--would insist on such a skewed view. And yet, it's depressingly common.

Both of these television shows were regularly shown in my household, and so I got a double dose of stereotypes about trans women from ABC alone. No wonder it took years for me to come to terms with being trans.

So when I heard ABC was doing it again, I got peeved. Bereft of original ideas, they're reinventing Bosom Buddies with a focus on jobs instead of housing. Welcome to Work It, which makes ABC president Paul Lee "cackle with laughter".

Curiously enough, there's quite a bit of resistance to this show--from the dubious "mancession" narrative it reinforces, to the problematic use of crossdressing for humor value, to concerns that it reinforces the pitiful/deceitful narrative, are showing up online with comforting regularity. I haven't linked to any of the articles to illustrate this--Google is your friend--but that doesn't mean ABC will pull the plug on the sitcom prior to its 2012 debut.

If you could, please take a moment to sign this petition urging ABC to not let Work It on the air. If enough of us speak up, there will be at least one less media message against trans women, one less negative image for trans girls to struggle with.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Thoughts on Spirituality & Music

My Damsel and I talked about music at one point since our tastes in
music are widely divergent. She grew up in a strict fundamentalist
Christian home and while she doesn't exactly believe the same way her
parents do, her tastes reflect her upbringing; she prefers Christian
rock and pop over most other forms of music, and while she has some
knowledge of pop/rock from exposure to it in the general culture, she
doesn't get metal. She also states she feels a strong spiritual
connection to music.

In contrast, despite having had my own exposure to Christian
fundamentalism--I attended an Assembly of God in the early 80s and
subscribed to their beliefs for a time--I'm definitely a metalhead and
have been for over a quarter-century. But I used to play 'cello, too,
and even without that experience my parents had a few classical albums
at the house. In fact I listened to all the albums my parents had,
from Glen Campbell to Jimi Hendrix, from The Monkees to The Beatles.
Then there was my mother's love of Golden Oldies, my father's love of
country, and my own curiosity in everything from the history of jazz
to 20th Century compositional schools like Musique Concrete,
Formalism, Expressionism, Minimalism, etc.

But with all of this perspective, I told her I didn't feel so much a
spiritual connection as an emotional connection.

It's a conversation I've thought about much lately, and it occurred to
me that there may be a disconnect that's keeping me from making clear
where I stand. After all, if one is willing to accept that black metal
is the spiritual side of metal, given my love of the genre, you'd
surmise that there must be a spiritual element to my love of music,
albeit one that may seem highly unconventional and, from a humanist
point of view, nihilistic. (I don't see it as nihilistic, personally,
as much as complete; it doesn't forsake the darker side of humanity
nor does it fear death, but seeks to combine the whole of our
experience into a well-integrated gestalt. The emphasis of darkness,
evil, and death in black metal is more a matter of balance than
conviction that these things outweigh light, good, and life. But I
digress.)

Perhaps I should state that in music I find a fusion between the
intellectual and the emotional--the Apollonian and the Dionysian, as
Nietzsche might put it, or as William Blake categorized it, Heaven and
Hell. Music is mathematics and physics--frequencies, harmonic ratios,
energy expressed as dynamics and rhythm--which attempts to express and
invoke feelings in ways words cannot. It is very powerful, and engages
the mind in a rather broad way.

But to focus on this alone is to ignore that spirituality transcends
both the intellectual and the emotional, that it goes beyond the
merely ineffable--that which cannot be expressed in words--to
encompass the inscrutable, that is, things that cannot be comprehended
at all, but only experienced directly. If I could be assured that my
readers were fluent in Qaballah, I could easily describe this in terms
of the Tree of Life, and state that one must be able to perceive the
whole of the Tree rather than linger on the lower Sephirot, where
intellectual and emotional impulses lie. But it will need to suffice
that, in my view, the heart of spirituality is in unity with the
cosmos.

This is why I feel the most spiritual when in the woods, or when
looking at the night sky. The knowledge of how big it all is, and how
intricate, and how full of energy, combined with the emotionally
overwhelming realization that I am so small in comparison, and yet
still part of all of this, are only facets of the unity, and thus the
spiritual connection, I perceive. The experience is so massive that no
words, no song, no work of art, could compare. It's like comparing a
map to the territory it represents; there is no way for the map to be
complete without being the territory itself.

So in a sense, I think music *is* spiritual, but only as a fragment of
a much greater holiness.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

XMAS HELL 2011 IS UNLEASHED!

Over 3.5 hours (at this writing) of Christmas carols and originals
made by metalheads, punks, and assorted weirdos. Guaranteed to help
you survive the holiday season! Replace store muzak systems with this
playlist and watch those annoying screaming brats run far away at top
speed! Crank it loud and get a delightful mix of enthusiastic cheers
and disgusted sneers out of passersby! Dig up Andy Williams' moldering
corpse and shove this playlist in every holly jolly orifice! PUT THE
ASSAIL BACK INTO WASSAIL!!!

Have a happy holiday season! \m/

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Web Cam Girls I Mistake For My Gay Metalhead Friends

This morning I had an interesting little chat with a Web Cam Girl I
Mistook For My Gay Metalhead Friend, based on having similar IM
handles.

WCGIMFMGMF: hey u there? :) Hey i wanna meet you ,msg if you can
ME: Hey, LTNS!
WCGIMFMGMF: have we chatted before?? im 24/f u ?
ME: LOL! I thought you were a friend of mine who also goes by that handle. :)
WCGIMFMGMF: Just finished taking a bath..long day been kind of busy
but i'm feeling a little naughty now! so what's up?? ... want to have
some fun? ;)
ME: What kind of naughty?
WCGIMFMGMF: hehe u sure u can handle me when i'm naughty?
ME: I'm a domme sadist latex fetishist leatherdyke who's into fisting,
knives, and flogging the crap out of lippy bottoms. You sure you can
handle *me*?
WCGIMFMGMF: a what?
ME: LOL--why not look it all up, or find some horny dude to cam with. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bra. Shirt. Mask. Rawr.

My friend Bridget thought the bra looked good enough that it deserved
to be showed off. And I wanted to show the t-shirt off too, as well as
the leather dragon queen mask I got. A sexy photo set, if you ask
me...!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steel Origami

Taken at International District Station, Seattle. I don't know if I ever got around to posting these....

Operation MOAR RED STREAKS II

I meant to post these a couple weeks ago. These are all before/ during pictures. After pics will come later.

Why I Love My Damsel #4683

Imag0145

This is what I found on my bed when I got home today. <3

Monday, August 22, 2011

Show Me Your Scars

N.B.: I posted this to Twitter this morning as a series of separate tweets, and have made only minor changes.

Listen well. 

So many of my loved ones have scars & wounds & think they aren't beautiful. 

But those scars & wounds are WHY you're beautiful.

Show me a person without a single scar or wound and I'll show you someone who has nary a thing of value to offer anyone.

I say this because everyone I know that has something of worth to offer has had it taken from them or has been rejected violently. This world is full of perils for those of us who have something to give. None of us escape unscathed, although some are wounded worse than others.

Show me your beauty. Show me your scars.

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." 

Amen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who Exactly Wants A Period?

There has been a fair amount of controversy over an ad for Always sanitary napkins that Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturer of Always, has disclaimed. The ad thoroughly misgenders and erases trans women through equating us with drag queens--some of which have taken off their wigs, or are in a clearly-marked "Gentlemen" restroom. It also mocks trans women for the genuine distress of not being able to menstruate. I could go at length about what exactly is wrong with this ad, but others have already done so, and I advise you check out their take on the matter, here and here among other places. 

I'm including the ad below, with a trigger warning since this is pretty offensive to trans women:

Aside from the disgust and outrage I feel over the ad, I also paused and reflected on one of the assumptions of the ad--and I found it no longer rang true.

There was a time when, yes, I desperately wished I could menstruate--but not for menstruation's sake. To wit, I wanted to be a mother, badly. This desire, and the belief I could never conceive outside of some futuristic biotechnology, fueled a fair portion of the self-loathing I felt when I first realized I was a trans woman. The despair over never being a mother was so crushing that it shocked a couple of otherwise stoic therapists into passionate pleadings that I not give up hope, that there were other options. But that didn't take the pain away.

But then I found myself becoming a mother anyway--in two senses.

One, I was a stepmother to a young cis man I sometimes jokingly call my favorite red-headed stepchild. Helping to raise him has done much to fill the void--to have someone call me momma, to seek comfort and advise and love from me, to be nurtured and shaped into someone I am truly, humbly proud of having raised.

Two, while it took years to realize it, I was also a mother to myself. All trans women are, really. The woman who is denied by the outside world can only be allowed to grow up, to be nurtured and loved and cherished and protected, when we recognize the mother inside us. I'm not saying we're all great mothers--a lot of us have to learn how to be mothers at the same time that we're developing as trans women, and a lot of us (myself included!) make mistakes while doing so. But if we rise to the challenge, and learn how to be loving and kind to ourselves, to feel proud of ourselves and to encourage ourselves to reach further, we may find that the burning urge to be a mother will be well satisfied.

That said, I do not need any sort of essentialist notions of motherhood to determine whether or not I can be a mother. I am a mother, and a damn proud one at that.

And if you don't like that, you can shove your sanitary napkins down your throat. Always.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just How Many Trans Folk Are There? Pt. II--Why It Matters

About three months ago I addressed the fact that more contemporary statistics and analyses show that there is a much larger number of trans people than the classic "1-in-10,000" number still bandied about by so-called transgender experts. What I didn't do at the time was explain why it matters how many trans people there are. I am remedying that lack in this post, because it matters big time.

Note that below I am explicitly presuming a cisgender audience and that all references not qualified by "trans" are cis. This is depressingly common in cis writings, and I usually try to avoid such, but in this case, I am specifically speaking to you cis readers. My trans readership is a bit more likely to know what I'm about to spell out below.

Let's suppose that you are the administrator of a hospital--or, for that matter, a medical school--and there is a proposal to provide training on transgender health care needs. Let's further suppose you don't have any specific biases against trans folk, despite having been exposed to cissupremacist ideas about sex and gender from your parents' first clumsy attempts to explain boys and girls all the way through your own medical education. (A big supposition, I know, but work with me here.) You consider yourself a good person and want to provide help to everyone you can, including trans folk. But you're also looking at your budget and having to make hard choices about what to add, what to keep, and what to cut. Now, bearing all this in mind, are you more likely to support the proposal if you think only one out of 10,000 people are trans, or if you saw 0.3%--three out of 1000--are trans?

Never mind that, as I pointed out before, 0.3% actually sounds like it might be still too small, based on Lynn Conway's analysis of trans-related operations. Never mind that there's open debate of whether Dr. Conway's own numbers are too conservative.

Three out of 1000 versus one out of 10,000?

I would argue that most of you would be more supportive knowing the larger figure, whereas with the smaller figure you're more likely to see us as anomalies, and with perhaps some hand-wringing, more likely to deep-six that transgender health care training.

Idealistically, it's monstrous that trans folk's lives could be compromised so easily by mere numbers, but in a world with competing priorities and an emphasis on cutting costs to the point of austerity, numbers matter--and it's a lot easier to justify the health care training knowing that you're reaching a fairly sizable population--in the US at large, .3% of the population is just over 921,000 people. Yes, nearly a million people, from what are in my opinion very conservative and likely inaccurate numbers.

Chillingly, this same logic applies to pretty much every area where trans folk need better service, more protection, and greater understanding. If you're a state legislator, are you more likely to sign on to trans anti-discrimination laws if you know you're protecting only a few individuals, or a sizable portion of your constituents? If you're an HR director at a corporation, will you work harder to secure health care coverage if you think you have at most one or two trans employees, or if you have a few dozen? (Or, if you're the size of Walmart, a few thousand?) If you handle housing discrimination cases, are you more likely to educate yourself on trans issues if you think you might encounter them once in a blue moon, or if you realize that by numbers alone there's probably a lot more trans housing discrimination cases than you hear?

And what if you don't have any such power--if you don't make any decisions at all at your job? The numbers still matter. You're more likely to care about the welfare of trans folk if you realize that the odds are very good that you know at least one trans person, whether or not they are out to you. Yes, no matter how conservative you are--there's certainly conservative trans people. Yes, even if you live in a small town--although the trans person may have moved to find better opportunities elsewhere. Knowing this, you may be more likely to vote for laws that help protect trans people, or to encourage your charities to have an outreach that centers trans folks' needs. Dare I hope, you may even be more likely to call out obvious transphobic behavior when you see it, less likely to laugh at jokes about "men in dresses", more willing to open your heart and mind and start learning about us trans people. 

Every fiber in my moral being screams outrage that, in this world, we may flourish or perish on a statistic. But those are the facts. As long as our numbers are minimized it's easier to ignore our suffering and our need. But with knowledge that our numbers are far greater than originally realized, and that every cis person probably knows at least one of us, maybe more, attention must be paid.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

800% SLOWER!!!

Or, How to Make Ambient Music Without Trying.











Monday, June 13, 2011

Cog Days of Summer: Aftermath

After the steampunk Hurricane hit, some tried to be strictly genteel
among the mayhem, while others... just gaped... in awe. Collars
popped, drinks guzzled, dollars worn, and through it all some of us
managed to, dare I say, smile anyway....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Floozies & Fairy Tales: Aftermath

I didn't take any photos of the burlesque show I was at last night--I was too busy working lights and sound--but I did get photos of a number of us performers, staff, and close friends afterwards. Not included: Pictures of lesbionic plate licking or fisting jokes.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Growing Up in the Closet

TRIGGER WARNING: Frank, uncensored quotes of cissexist people and attitudes follow.

I was born in 1970. 

For perspective, that was roughly 18 years after Christine Jorgenson was outed in the press; eleven years after the Cooper's Donuts riot; four years after the Compton's Cafeteria riot; two years after Gore Vidal published Myra Breckenridge; less than a year after Stonewall.

I was too young for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but that's OK--it was still a cult favorite when I was in high school, and remember the call-outs my friends would sing in remembrance of their wild Saturday night fun: "In just seven days of oral sex, I can make you a fag, just like my dad!" And this was supposed to be a celebration of being transgender?

I was too young to remember the initial controversy around RenĂ©e Richards, but I remember Gallagher singing, years later, to the tune of "This Old Man": "He can play mixed singles by himself!"

I was too young for pornography--but driven by curiosity in the taboo, I looked at it anyway. And thus I got introduced to the litany of objectification and othering that fill cis narratives of trans women. Women with something extra. Pussy on a stick. Girlyboy. He-She. Shemale. Perverse creations of medical science with unbridled appetites for all sorts of sexual escapades. The frank if humiliating portrayals of trans women in porn was in stark contrast to the near-absolute silence in polite society, save for the occasional joke. We existed to shock, to titillate, to arouse, to satiate, to submit--but we didn't exist on our own terms, for our own reasons.

Just the bits I've mentioned so far was enough to keep me deep in the closet--worse, when my father discovered my stash of women's clothing, I pushed myself so much deeper into the closet that I refused to even think about such things, and instead weathered accusations of being homosexual--irritatingly conflated with transgender behavior--through my formative years. The most ironic insult? "You'd get laid more if you dressed like a girl!"

And of course there were movies, and the themes they draped over cis-supremacy's fantasies about how trans women were. Tootsie. (Manipulators!) Bachelor Party. (Perverts!) Soapdish. (Villians!) The Crying Game. (Vomit-inducing!) Silence of the Lambs. (Psychopaths!)

So as you might imagine it took a while to disabuse myself of all these negative images and embrace the fact that I am a trans woman. One might wonder how much better off I would have been if I didn't have to deal with such extreme cissexism. Never mind that--I wonder how many trans women would still be alive....

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Nature of Black Metal

It is all too simple to imagine black metal is only about obsessions
with darkness and evil, with death and Satan. Resist that temptation.

Despite the iconography and imagery that many (but not all) black
metal bands use, there is something far more basic at play here.

Black metal is the weed, the bramble, the creeping vine--seemingly
doomed to stay underfoot. Ah, but let the creepers find some object
that dares in its hubris to reach towards the heavens! Then its
rhizomes will probe, seeking purchase, turning tiny fissures into
gaping crevasses, drawing sap from the evergreen, climbing
relentlessly over rock, rending branches from their trunks, eroding
stone walls, inevitably and eventually leaving naught but ruin in its
wake.

Ah, but there are some things that the growth of black metal cannot
overrun. The mountain has too broad a base to be pulled downward by
mere tangles. The ocean is too vast and too briny to be drained. The
stars are too distant, with an abyss between us and them. To these,
the ancient ones that shall remain long after we and our works have
turned to dust, we bend our knees and bow our heads. Even the forest
brings us awe, even as individual trees are felled. Not that these are
any more eternal than we are, but they have earned our respect and
reverence.

That is the true legacy of black metal. And those who fail to
understand surely will be choked by overgrowth.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cis Narratives Versus Reality

I've always known I was a girl.

(Er, no I didn't.)

I hated playing with trucks and I loved playing with dolls.

(My Tonka dumptruck used to carry my GI Joes around.)

The moment I heard the word "transsexual" I knew that was what I was.

(I was terrified at the possibility--I knew what people did to trans folk in this culture!)

I left home at an early age so I could be my true self.

(If by "early" you mean "after I got a college degree", sure.)

I worked as a prostitute....

(LOLWUT.)

...So I could afford surgery for my boobs....

(Home grown, baybee!)

...Face....

(No, really, this is my actual nose, I inherited it from my mom....)

...And, well, down there.

(That's none of your damn business. In fact none of this surgery talk is your damn business, sirma'am.)

And now I'm a well-adjusted....

(Ignore these scars I got from living in a cis-supremacist world. Why change now?)

...Heterosexual....

(Ignore my girlfriend while you're at it.)

...Content woman!

(Up yours!)

I'm no longer transsexual.

(Like hell.)

And I wish those troublemaking transgender people would just mind their business.

(TRANS LIBERATION NOW!)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I'm Not Obsessed With Munchkin....

Imag0062

OK, maybe a little bit.

FINE. A lot.

Er, anyone in the Seattle area up for a game?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Just HOW many trans folk are there?

According to a recent survey, 0.3% of the US population--3 out of 1000--identifies as transgender:

http://www2.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/pdf/How-many-people-are-LGBT-Final.pdf

And based on Lynn Conway's analysis, 1 out of 500 people are transsexual--suggesting that 3 out of 1000 trans people may be still too low:

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html

But despite all this, I keep seeing numbers, commonly cited by cis "experts", that transgender people represent only 1 out of 10,000 of the population, or thereabouts.

Really, what are you afraid of? That maybe, if you're so wrong about this number, you're wrong about everything else you presume you know about trans folk?

Well, that's OK.

Because, you know what?

You are

And you should get over it now--and then start listening to trans folk and taking what we have to say seriously for a change.

Just saying.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday DJing in (and out of!) Second Life

I'm currently streaming a mighty, mosh-worthy set of metal right now! And I will be on a regular basis, from 12-2 PM PDT, but today I'm going to be DJing until 4 PM PDT!

If you're in Second Life, come to +LEVIATHAN+ to check out my set:

If you're not in Second Life--I got you covered anyway! Just connect directly to the stream:

ALL HAIL UNTO THEE!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mean Streak

110326-meanstreak

Get it? I look mean, and my hair has streaks...?

...Never mind. Anyhow, I like how the color turned out. :P ;)

Cock On Duty

110326-cockonduty

That's what the sign said, anyway.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hymns To The Dead Goddess--Podcast Available!

Visit http://httdg.libsyn.com/ for an archive of the past few months' shows.&nbsp;We'll have a separate archive for older shows, later.