Friday, January 11, 2008

"When your heart steals parts that make you feel real"

I happen to have Julia Serano's livejournal friended, and her last entry included a link to the youtube excerpts from several performances in The National Queer Arts Festival's TransForming Community project.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the videos I've watched so far:

"I think it's problematic to occupy male space in the world but to refuse to recognize that that is indeed the space one occupies, and to proceed to shirk the responsibilities that come with that space." --Prado Gomez on trans*men who live and are seen as male, yet refuse to identify as such only when it is inconvenient (not unsafe; inconvenient) for them.
I see this come up in the ftm community on LJ every so often. Usually, someone will make a post that mentions that they go to a women's college--or any other women's space really--and arguments will break out as to whether or not ftm-spectrum people belong in women's space. Personally, I think it is up to each individual and to the specific space sie is entering to figure out if sie belongs. But, I think that if you identify as, and/or are largely seen as a male/man, then you do not belong in a space for women.
I know that there are ftm-spectrum folks out there that do not identify as men, but for those of us that is disrespectful for us to enter woman-only space and it is disrespectful to invite us there.

"They will let him in only if you all agree that this marks him--his former girlness--the thing he hates. Some will approve of your boyfriend's maleness because he passes and he will be the exception when they say ignorant things about other transpeople. Some will tell you about how they like transmen, but they just don't like transwomen--because they're still male. But doesn't that make your boyfriend still female? Well exactly, thats why he's okay, that's why he's in." --Michelle Tea's summary of what often happens within a group of dyke/lesbian/queer friends when one woman starts dating a trans*man.
I'm mostly interested in guys and I've never dated a girl. But this one of the reasons why I won't date a lesbian or go into spaces where guys aren't allowed/welcome. Yes, I am marked by being misgendered most of my life. This does not mean that I am a girl and it doesn't make me any less male. I won't date straight guys either.

"Last week, a woman I thought was my friend decided to teach me, unsolicited I might add, why ftms were welcome in women's space but not mtfs. Because men who used to be women well, they were women and so many women have experienced sexual assault (so have I however...). And we don't want your male energy in our space. What she was really saying was that they didn't your naked body in women's space..." --Shawna Virago on women, trans*women, being kept out of women's spaces.
Trans*women are women; trans*men are men.
Women should be welcomed into women's spaces.
Need I be any clearer on my thoughts?

"I am a straight man. There's nothing wrong with being a straight man. I'm still queer, but now I'm a queer straight man. And just because this is where I have finally felt at home in my body--does not mean that I think all gender bending people need to take hormones or have surgery. So I am confused when differently-gendered people feel the need to share their disgust with surgery or the medical industry with me. I don't like doctors, I'm terrified of needles, and I would rank surgery as one of my least favorite things to do." --Rocco Kayiatos (Katastrophe) on his feelings when some gender variant folks decide to berate him for not being 'queer enough' in their eyes.

"It seems, that one of the biggest challenges with this burgeoning community is the lack of language and deep understanding. There is a trans umbrella term that houses everyone from drag queens to transsexuals. This becomes dangerous, because then well-intentioned but underinformed people make assumptions about an entire community after only knowing one person." --Katastrophe again.
I have to say, I am not generally all that interested in rap, but his songs speak to me. I was so very upset when I realized that the couple of songs I bought off itunes were nontransferable to my new computer and I have been completely unable to find any of his songs on limewire or any of his CDs at stores, though I have searched multiple times. (the title of this post is from Bad, Bad Feelings, by the way)

And his words speak to me here as well:
"I only hope that someday all my friends will understand why they have to sacrifice their own desire to have their band play at Michigan or to hot tub in Osento in order to respect, love me and other transsexuals."

Julia Seranno is of course brilliant, but here are a few of my most favorite bits:
"Well, I'm sorry. But anyone who considers transmen to be women and transwomen to be men is not an ally of the transgender community."

"Sometimes you see things more clearly when you have been made to feel as though you are on the outside looking in."

"And my dyke community needs to realize that the anger they feel when straight people try to dismiss the legitimacy of their relationships is the same kind of anger I feel when they try to dismiss my femaleness."

"And when I call myself trans, it doesn't necessarily signify that I 'transgress the gender binary', but that I straddle two identities--woman and transsexual--that most people insist are in opposition to each other."

"Yes, I do know what those women have been through. I have had men force themselves on me. like you, we trans*women are physically violated and abused for being women too."

I loved Whipping Girl. I took notes in the margins and I intend to reread it after my mind finishes incorporating the knowledge and perspective I gained throughout the first read though.

"I'm proud to be trans*, but I really don't want to have to organize a candle light vigil every night to have my identity respected." --Ryka Aoki de la Cruz on GLB folks and trans*folks.

Of course there are other videos I liked, but these were the excerpts that I found speak to me the most.

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