Tuesday, August 14, 2018

sign up for my email lists & get free mp3s!

If you appreciate my writings, music, and performances, I highly encourage you to sign up for my email lists! I have two separate lists that you can join:

julia update - this is the most comprehensive list. Once every 2–3 months, I will send out a thorough update about all my creative endeavors, including info about new book & music releases, links to my recent writings & interviews, plus upcoming speaking events & performances. Basically, the whole shebang!

*soft vowel sounds*/Bitesize update - this is my music-specific list. Updates are shorter and more frequent (but no more than one per month), mostly to alert folks about upcoming *soft vowel sounds* shows, as well as new music & videos when they arise.

You can sign up for either update (or both) by clicking those links.

As a bonus, each update will include a link to a free mp3 of one of my songs! These will be available exclusively (and for a limited time only) through my email updates. So be sure to sign up!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

on Jesse Singal, slut-shaming, and calling women "hysterical"

I already told this story once before, in this piece, along with instances where Jesse Singal has purposefully lied about me, whipped up an online mob against me, and treated several other trans women with similar disrespect. I honestly want nothing more than for him to leave me the fuck alone—or at the very least, for him to only discuss my writings and positions, rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks. But he continues to harp about this, and spread lies about me. So here is a brief summary.

1) I regularly write about serious matters regarding transgender health and psychology. Jesse Singal disagrees with me on these matters, particularly with regards to the "80% desistance" statistic.

2) On July 25, 2016, Singal wrote a pro-"80% desistance" article, during which, in the midst of discussing my stance on this matter, he tossed in "as an aside, you should read her Daily Beast article about navigating the dating scene as a trans woman in San Francisco." That article had nothing to do with the topic at hand. And as I detail here, I know for a fact that Singal has read my work on sexualization and how it is an especially effective tool for invalidating trans women (the specific essay he read can be found here[PDF link]). So I presumed that he cited that dating piece in an attempt to purposefully slut-shame me.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Transgender is a Pan-Cultural and Trans-Historical Phenomenon

In my writings, I will often say that gender diversity and transgender identities are a “pan-cultural and trans-historical phenomenon.” What I mean by this is that if you consider other cultures, or look back through history, you will find examples of people who we would now (in this time and place) describe as falling under the transgender umbrella. This includes (but is not limited to) people who identified and lived as members of a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, people who belonged to “third gender” categories—an umbrella term sometimes used to describe established gender categories that fall outside of the man/woman binary, which are fairly common in non-Western cultures), plus people who are gender non-conforming in all sorts of other ways.

At the end of this post, I will provide a list of books that describe such examples of gender diversity across cultures and throughout history. Or you could check out the Wikipedia page on this topic.

This evidence strongly suggests that gender diversity occurs naturally, rather than being a product of culture or modernity. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the phenomenon occurs entirely independent of culture—after all, our self-understandings and the labels we use to describe ourselves are most certainly influenced by cultural norms and the language and concepts we have at our disposal. But what I am saying is that there has to be some natural (likely biological) component to this gender diversity. The alternative hypothesis—i.e., that within each of these cultures, there is an entirely unique socially-based “cause” that accounts for this gender diversity—seems utterly preposterous, and is in dire need of being lopped off with Occam’s razor.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trans health professionals consider gender-reparative therapies to be unethical

This is not a post so much as it is a citation to be referenced in my (and perhaps other people's) future writings on this topic. 

Gender-reparative therapies (sometimes called gender-conversion therapies) typically involve the use of positive and negative reinforcement strategies—e.g., having parents discourage or withhold gender non-conforming expression, toys, play partners, etc., while encouraging gender-normative behaviors—in an attempt to convert transgender or gender non-conforming children into cisgender and gender-normative ones. 

While the practice used to be more common, and while a few researchers (such as Ken Zucker) still advocate for such approaches, the field of trans health as a whole now considers such practices to be both unsuccessful (as it merely coerces children to temporarily hide or repress their gender identities and expressions, which they may assert again at a later age) and unethical (as it often results in a host of negative psychological outcomes, as reviewed in Temple Newhook et al., 2018).

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

a Pride month benefit show & a summer of music!

Happy Pride month everyone! I have three *soft vowel sounds* live shows lined up for the summer, the first one being this weekend!

This Saturday, June 9th, I will be playing at a benefit for LYRIC Center for LGBTQQ Youth. The event will be held at Laughing Monk Brewing (1439 Egbert Ave, Unit A, San Francisco, CA), who will be donating a portion of the evening’s sales to the cause. It's a great slate of music acts, including Cindy Emch, Mya Byrne, and Polythene Pam! If you're on Facebook, here's the event page.

I am the opening act, starting promptly at 6pm, so seriously, be sure to show up early!

If you want a sneak-peak into my set, I will be performing Open Letter, Switch Hitter, Macbeth, Greta Garbo, Music Box, Understudy, and my usual closer I Killed Sting, amongst other songs! All of those links will bring you to YouTube videos or Bandcamp pages where you can listen along to the songs. So prepare yourself to sing along! Or not, it's totally fine to just listen...  : )


I have two other summer *svs* San Francisco shows lined up! While I'm not actively promoting them yet, you can find find out the dates by checking out my latest music email update, or you can sign up for my music email list here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

May 2018 update: upcoming events, recent & future writings, & new videos!

my recent Patreon post about anti-trans myths
Yesterday, I sent out my latest email update. Here is a brief summary of what you will find in it:


plus the following upcoming events:

May 16, 2018 -- I will be giving a keynote entitled “Queer Communities and Future Possibilities” at University of Washington, Tacoma Pride, at 1pm at William Phillip Hall. More details can be found here.

May 24, 2018 -- I will be interviewed live at the California Institute of Integral Studies event: “A Conversation with Julia Serano and Zara Zimbardo: On Trans Feminism.” The event will be at CIIS, 1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, at 7pm. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; more event details can be found here and here.

May 28, 2018 -- I will be reading some of my new fiction at Yarn: Comedy Storytelling. Other featured performers include Heather Gold, Gina Gold, and Aundré the Wonderwoman. The show is at Shotgun Players (1901 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA), doors at 7pm, show at 7:30pm. Ticket info (including reduced-price advanced tickets!) can be found here.

June 9, 2018 -- my solo music project *soft vowel sounds* will be playing a benefit for LYRIC Center for LGBTQQ Youth. The event will be held at Laughing Monk Brewing (1439 Egbert Ave, Unit A, San Francisco, CA) who will be donating a portion of the evening's sales to the cause. The other acts include Polythene Pam and Mya Byrne. More details here.

You can read the full update here. If you want to receive my email updates directly to your inbox, you can sign up here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Buddy: the specialist bird

Buddy & me, August 2017
I usually don’t post personal stuff here, but my dear friend Buddy recently passed away on March 6, 2018. If you’ve enjoyed anything I've written over the past thirteen-plus years, Buddy was most likely perched on my shoulder for some or all of the time that I wrote it. This post commemorates her life and our time together...

The last time I wrote a post like this was way back in August 2005, when my Jenday conure Coby unexpectedly passed away—you can read all about her story via that link. I had never been so close to an animal companion before. Her passing devastated me.

My partner at the time suggested that we honor Coby (who was a rescue bird with a difficult past) by adopting another bird with a similar backstory. Along those lines, she mentioned a parrot that was up for adoption at the bird store she was working at. That bird’s name was Buddy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

new music videos & a live show this Sunday!

Many of you who follow me here do so because of my writings, but I occasionally write and perform music as well. For many years, I was in a noise-pop band called Bitesize, and my current lo-fi solo indie-pop music project is *soft vowel sounds* - you can listen to and learn more about both projects via those links.

I have a bunch of new news music-wise to share!

First, I will be doing a *soft vowel sounds* live show this Sunday, April 8th in the East Bay at the Ivy Room (860 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA). The other bands will be Polythene Pam and The Sweet Trade. I will be opening up the show, so get there early if you don't want to miss my set! Doors at 6pm, show starts promptly at 7pm, $6-$10 sliding scale NOTAFLOF, must be 21+, more details here and here.

Second, over the weekend I released two new music videos for songs I plan to do at Sunday's show. Here they are:

Open Letter is a "coming out" song that I wrote way back when I was transitioning (circa 2001-02). My previous band Bitesize used to perform the song, although we never formally recorded it. In 2014, I recorded this version for the *soft vowel sounds* EP Ray versus Macbeth and the Music Box, part one (which you can download for free via the link; just enter "0"). You can find the lyrics for the song on Bandcamp.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Autogynephilia: a theory that ignores lived experiences and basic mathematics

I have probably written more about Ray Blanchard’s autogynephilia (AG) theory than all but a small handful of people. I have done so for multiple reasons: 1) as a scientist, I am appalled by the theory’s lack of scientific rigor, 2) it denies many trans people’s lived experiences, 3) it makes far too many unnecessary (and incorrect) assumptions (i.e., it ignores Occam’s razor), 4) it is not scientifically falsifiable, as exceptions to the theory are routinely dismissed as being due to  “lying” or “misreporting” by trans subjects, 5) it needlessly sexualizes and stigmatizes people on the trans female/feminine spectrum, and 6) it does not even attempt to account for people on the trans male/masculine spectrum.

In this brief post, I will highlight four of my most thorough analyses of autogynephilia theory. Other writings related to this topic may be found on my Trans Psychology webpage.

The Case Against Autogynephilia [PDF link]
This is a peer-reviewed article that appeared in the International Journal of Transgenderism in 2010. It summarizes Blanchard's theory and the overwhelming evidence against it. I also propose simpler non-pathological alternative explanations that would explain Blanchard’s original findings better than his own theory.

The real “autogynephilia deniers”
A blogpost I wrote in 2015 in response to James Cantor (one of the few proponents of AG theory who is still actively practicing sexology) wherein I list all of the more recent evidence further demonstrating that AG theory is incorrect. I also highlight numerous instances where anti-transgender individuals and organizations have cited AG theory in their attempts to invalidate, stigmatize, and slut-shame trans women.

Reconceptualizing “Autogynephilia” as Female/Feminine Embodiment Fantasies (FEFs)
A blogpost I wrote in 2015, and which was later updated for my latest book Outspoken. (The latter version can also be freely downloaded from Academia.edu.) This extends upon what I wrote in my 2007 book Whipping Girl, offering non-pathologizing explanations for why “autogyephilic fantasies” (what I call FEFs) exist, and why they are more prevalent in some trans subpopulations than others.

Psychology, Sexualization and Trans-Invalidations [PDF link]
A speech that I gave in 2009; an updated version of the essay now appears in both my latest book Outspoken and on Academia.edu.  An accessible analysis of why there is so much focus on trans female/feminine people’s (real or presumed) sexualities in the lay public, media, and in the fields of psychology/sexology, while their trans male/masculine counterparts remain under-theorized in these regards. I discuss Blanchard’s AG theory in the context of these more foundational stereotypes and biases.

Like I said, many other writings related to, or addressing, AG theory can be found on my Trans Psychology webpage and in my books Whipping Girl and Outspoken...

[note: If you appreciate my writings and want to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon]

Thursday, February 1, 2018

upcoming college speaking events and other performances!

So a few bits of new news! 

First, if you haven't seen it, earlier this week I published a new essay: Thoughts about transphobia, TERFs, and TUMFs. It addresses the different underlying motives/sentiments/beliefs that often drive transphobia, and how we might take these into account as trans activists. It's on Medium - the more "applause" it gets (the clapping hands icon at bottom of the article), the more likely it will appear on other people's Medium feeds. If you really like it, you can give it many claps! So clap away!!!

Second, I just updated my events webpage to include some upcoming college speaking appearances. More may arise, but the ones currently listed are in Ohio, Maine, and Philly, so check it out if you live in those necks of the woods! And as always, if you are interested and able to bring me out to your college campus, please check out my booking page.

One of the other shows listed on my events page is happening this Monday (Feb. 5th): Yarn comedy storytelling! I will be reading a few humorous excerpts from my forthcoming novel. Other featured performers include Heather Gold, Aundré the Wonderwoman, and Bridget Schwartz. The show is at Homestead (4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA), doors at 7pm, show at 7:30pm. Reduced-price advanced tickets are only $12 and can be purchased here

Finally, I didn't put this on my events page yet because it's not 100% confirmed, but it's looking like I will be part of a "Quirky Queer Tuesday" music show at the El Rio in San Francisco sometime in March - those details will be listed as soon as I have them, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you're not familiar with my music, you should check out my current solo music project *soft vowel sounds* and my old (now sadly disbanded) noise-pop band Bitesize.

Hope to see you at some of these shows! Otherwise, you can follow me here or on other social media platforms, and as always, please consider supporting my work on Patreon!