Tuesday, May 7, 2019

"99 Erics" – an update about my forthcoming novel!

Over the last few years, I have been writing silly, surreal, sex-positive fiction centered on a character named Kat Cataclysm. Back in 2016, I published the chapbook you see here, full of short pieces that were supposedly penned by her. And this fall, my/her debut novel – 99 Erics: a Kat Cataclysm faux novel – will be released!

99 Erics will be published on Switch Hitter Press in October, 2019. A description of the book, plus links to excerpts, are below. More info (including cover art) will be made available once it is complete.

If you are a writer or media outlet interested in reviewing 99 Erics, or interviewing me about the book, please contact me, and I'd be happy to get you a review copy as soon as they are available!

In the meantime, here is a brief description...

Kat Cataclysm is an ethically non-monogamous bisexual woman and absurdist short fiction writer. 99 Erics is a humorous account of Kat’s experiences writing a book called 99 Erics, which is about her experiences dating ninety-nine different people named Eric. It is more surreal than slutty. Not that there is anything wrong with slutty.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

lyrics to "Cisgender" (my latest trans-themed song)

As some of you may know, in addition to being an author, I also write and perform music – originally with my noise-pop band Bitesize, and currently with my solo music project *soft vowel sounds*. Quite a few of my songs are transgender-themed – back in 2014, I chronicled many of these in a blog post entitled Transgender-themed artists, bands, music, songs & anthems.

Just this last December, I debuted a brand new transgender-themed song. Actually, it's a cover of one of the catchiest classic rock hits from the 1970s, albeit with me "trans"-ing the lyrics (for reasons explained in the following live performance video of the song). I've also included the lyrics below, so feel free to sing along if you wish! 

I will be performing "Cisgender" at my next *soft vowel sounds* show on Saturday, April 6th at El Rio in San Francisco, and will likely do it at future shows as well. To keep posted about my upcoming live shows and recordings (including a new album later this year!), I encourage you to sign up for my music email list. Happy listening...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Origins of "Social Contagion" and "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria"

This post inadvertently grew out of research that I've been doing for another essay, which I will link to once it is published. Basically, while the concept of "social contagion" is quite old, the notion that it somehow causes children and teenagers to adopt transgender identities is rather recent. So I was curious to know where this assertion first arose. To this end, I carried out a series of internet searches, and was surprised (although perhaps I shouldn't have been) to find out that it seems to have originated on the same three websites (4thwavenow.com, transgendertrend.com, and youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org) that Lisa Littman surveyed for her study on the (scientifically unsubstantiated) concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD). I was also rather stunned to learn that virtually all of this – the founding of two of those three websites, the first ever claims that social contagion causes kids to become transgender, the coining of "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria," and Littman's recruiting parents for her survey – happened within an extremely short period of time (roughly half a year).

After doing a little more detective work, I put together the following timeline detailing the recent history of these concepts and the websites that gave rise to them. This is a lengthy post (for the sake of thoroughness), but there are two main take-home points: First, the notion that "transgender is caused by social contagion" seems to have been invented by a reluctant parent of a trans child in February 2016. It was then reiterated by other parents and posters on these websites, and then was subsequently picked up and parroted by conservative media outlets and gender-disaffirming practitioners as though it were an actual condition rather than mere hearsay. Second, there was a lot of overlap and coordination between these three websites, and eventually with gender-disaffirming practitioners as well, in creating, popularizing, and disseminating these ideas – in other words, this was an activist campaign. There is nothing inherently wrong with activism, as we are all activists to some degree. But what I chronicle here challenges the typical framing (favored by mainstream journalists and pundits) that pits "concerned parents" and "objective scientists" against "biased out-of-control transgender activists." The reality is that both sides have agendas, in that we are both fighting for what we think is best for trans & gender non-conforming (GNC) children. (Although I believe that the existing evidence better supports the gender-affirmative model.)

The timeline is below. But first, two brief preliminary sections (which can be skipped over if you are already intimately familiar with these matters). There will be a brief summary at the end.
[& if you are looking for a "TL;DR" version, some of the major highlights from the timeline are covered in this Twitter thread.]

Monday, January 21, 2019

my thoughts on Twitter, tagging, subtweeting, & blocking

I joined Twitter back in 2011 and, for the most part, I've appreciated the experience – it is the social media platform that I spend the most time on. It's a great place for me to get the word out about my writings and music, and to find/follow/read other people's work. But over the last few years, Twitter has become far more difficult to navigate.

For me personally, the primary reason has been the anti-transgender backlash we've been living through the last few years. Not that long ago, trans people were not in the public eye so much, and while trans-haters definitely existed online, they were not very organized. But nowadays, they are far more vocal and coordinated in their efforts. Often they will swarm transgender people's (and allies') feeds expressing hatred and misinformation. Increasingly, they've resorted to mass reporting to get trans people suspended from the platform for relatively benign things.

Then there are the usual aspects of Twitter that most of us have engaged in at one time or another – e.g., quote-tweeting articles & tweets that we disagree with (thus enabling/encouraging our followers to comment upon them as well); tagging/@-ing other people into conversations that they'd rather not be a part of. While not always done in a mean-spirited manner, these things can also make Twitter somewhat inhospitable at times.

As a writer, I am quite used to being criticized. And I understand that social media is now the new public forum where ideas will be shared and debated. While I am always open to listening to sincere constructive criticism, far more often than not, the negative comments I receive on Twitter these days are either thinly veiled (if at all) attempts to smear or dismiss transgender people and perspectives, or more general complaints about "liberals," "feminists," "SJWs," and the like. In some cases, these individuals may simply be "letting off steam" or "getting something off their chest," but the end result (whether intended or not) is that other people who are fundamentally opposed to my perspective & existence will likely find that comment and flood my feed, thus creating a hostile environment for both me and my followers.

So long story short, I have become very liberal with blocking accounts.