Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten years ago today...

So I have been a bit lax with regards to blogging lately. After a bunch of September and October posts, I became swamped with a number of out-of-town university presentations and local panels & book readings. I have also been trying to focus in earnest on book number two. It had been going rather slowly, in a somewhat piecemeal fashion. So I have committed myself to waking up extra early (5 or 6am) each day to get a solid 2 or 3 hours of writing in before heading off to work (that is how I managed to write Whipping Girl). On the bright side, I have been making good progress! The downside has been less sleep and less time for blogging...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

julia events update november 2011

Hi folks, I hope this update finds you well!

So like I said in my last update, I have a veritable slew of events (both SF Bay Area & out of town) this November! here they are:

Monday, October 17, 2011

two upcoming events!

hi all, for those interested in catching my readings, performances and/or presentations, you may be in luck, as I have two out-of-town college presentations this month, and a slew of events (both out of town & local Bay Area) in November. here are links to the two October events. In the next week or so, I will post a second update that will list all the November events...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Seeking quotes from queer women who partner with trans women and/or cis men

As a bisexual femme-identified trans woman, I have long been interested in (and concerned by) how the borders of queer women’s communities are policed - where certain people, actions and ways of being are seen as legitimately queer while others are not.

In my own community, I have found two different recurring complaints along these lines that I wish to chronicle for an essay I am working on:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My adventures in sexology (plus a Call for Submissions!)

My life has taken a number of interesting turns over the last ten years. And I am not talking about my transition here - if you would have told me 20 years ago that I would eventually transition to female, I would not have been especially surprised. However, if you would have told me back then that I would someday spend a great deal of my free time writing about feminism, and that some of those writings would be taught in gender studies classes, I never would have believed you in a million years.

The same holds true with regards to me being taken seriously in (some) sexology circles. I first became interested in the field as I was beginning to work on Whipping Girl (WG). Specifically, I saw a connection between how trans women and others on the trans female/feminine spectrum were sexualized in the media and how we were similarly sexualized in certain sexology & psychology theories. So, I did a lot of research on those theories and critiqued them in WG (specifically in Chapters 7, 14 & 17). At that point, I felt like I said what needed to be said, and I was ready to move on.

But after WG came out, I had a Michael Corleone-like moment: “Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

WPATH releases new Standards of Care

Over the weekend I received an email from the group TransActive that announced the WPATH (aka, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health) just released the latest Standards of Care. For those not in the know, basically these are guidelines for healthcare providers to consider/follow to address the needs of trans clients, particularly in situations where social/physical/legal transition is involved.

For those interested in perusing them, they can be downloaded at this link:

I am too busy the next few weeks to thoroughly go through them, but I will certainly be interested in hearing other people's thoughts in the days/weeks that follow...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue 2011 video

Hello again, welcome to day three of "link week" (I missed yesterday), where I share links related to my writing and activism. Today's installment is quite overdue...

So as many of you know, over the last three years, I've had the honor of working with Gina de Vries and Elena Rose (aka, Little Light) to co-curate the annual spoken word event Girl Talk: a Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue. Unfortunately, the show has only occurred in the SF Bay Area so far (although we are hoping to bring the show to other cities & towns next year!). To date, the only way people from other places have been able to experience the show is through an mp3 audio recording (of questionable quality) of the 2009 show (a link to that recording can be found here).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

upcoming anthologies!

OK, welcome to day two of "link week," where I share links related to my writing and activism...

So today, I want to let folks know that I have pieces included in two anthologies being released this fall, both of which are about trans love/sex/relationships!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Link week!

OK, so after spending 2 weeks ago blogging about, and replying to, my whole "transsexual vs transsexual" intervention, and taking last week to recuperate from all that, I figured that this week I would ease back into blogging by sharing a bunch of links related to my writing, performance and activism.

I will start today by sharing this link to an interview with me that appeared Friday on Persephone Magazine.

more to come tomorrow... -j.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Postscript for my “TS-vs-TG-Intervention” piece

So in the couple days since my blog entry A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention came out, I have spent a big chunk of my free time pouring over all the responses - both comments made on my own blog, plus all the comments that appeared when it was cross-posted on The Transadvocate and tagged on numerous Facebook threads. I knew I was writing about a hotly debated topic, so I am not *too* surprised that the piece generated interest (both positive and negative). But I am a bit overwhelmed by how many responses there actually were.

While I have read all of the comments, I don’t have the time to reply to each comment individually since there have been so many. So here, I will respond more generally to sentiments that seem to have come up on more than one occasion. Occasionally I will cite or quote specific individuals, but other times I will discuss some of the sentiments/reactions more generally.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention*

[note added January, 2017: This essay now appears as a chapter in my third book Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism]

Over the last year or so, I have read a number of blog entries and Facebook rants about the so-called “transsexual versus transgender” issue. For those who are unaware of this debate, it stems from a subset of transsexuals who feel that the transsexual community is not served well by being included under the transgender umbrella (some even go so far as to insist that there is a mutually-exclusive dichotomy between transsexual and transgender people). Along similar lines, these transsexuals also argue that inclusion under the LGBT umbrella does a disservice to the transsexual community, as it conflates two very different issues (i.e., sexual orientation and gender identity), and emboldens many cissexual LGB folks to appropriate trans identities and experiences, and to claim to speak on our behalf.

I have purposefully tried to avoid entering into this debate, primarily because many (albeit certainly not all) of the umbrella critiques that I have read invoke horrible stereotypes, and sometimes even hate speech, to help bolster their case. I have seen blatantly homophobic and biphobic remarks made by some anti-umbrella advocates. One post I saw described bisexuals as sexual predators who fetishize and prey upon transsexuals - this comment draws on a long history of monosexist stereotypes of bisexuals as “sex crazed” and desiring “anything that moves,” and it deeply offended me as a bisexual trans woman.

Monday, September 5, 2011

on returning to blogging...

Since I am now re-entering the so-called "blogosphere" with my new blog, I figured that it would be worthwhile to briefly mention why I took a hiatus from blogging in the first place, and what my hopes are for this new blog.

So from 2007 through 2009, I was a semi-regular blogger, mostly on my old LJ site, sometimes on the Trans Group Blog, and as an occasional guest poster on Feministing. Blogging is a wonderful medium for getting thoughts, ideas and essays out there quickly, which I definitely appreciated. Also, during that span, I was introduced to the work of countless amazing writers and activists blogging on other sites. So in many ways, my relatively brief foray into blogging was a rewarding experience.

However, there were also negative aspects to that experience as well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I was not aware...

...that August is apparently "Psoriasis Awareness Month" until just now. I am somewhat active on psoriasis message boards, and yet even I did not find out that this was our month to shine until August 26th! If I didn't hear about it until now, I highly doubt that the public at large has received the message...

Anyway, in the spirit of awareness: psoriasis is a chronic auto-immune type of condition that primarily affects the skin, although it can also affect other tissues (e.g., in psoriatic arthritis). I wrote a bit about my experiences with psoriasis last winter. I have since been doing much better. I began to write a long follow up post on that, but I haven't quite gotten around to finishing it. someday soon, perhaps...

anyway, now you are aware. Have a great day! -j.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Honey Money

A friend passed this onto me:

"Catherine Hakim: charm school marm – interview"

This has got to be the funniest book review-slash-interview that I have ever read. It totally titilated my erotic capital... ; )

Good Friday

Originally posted on LJ 4-21-11

So tomorrow is "Good Friday" - a name that totally confused me as a young (pre-recovering) Catholic child. Why is it good? Because Jesus died? If so, since when is being politically executed a good thing?

Or maybe it's good because he eventually comes back from the dead - if so, then shouldn't it be "bad Friday" and "good Sunday"?

Or maybe it's good because Jesus supposedly died for our sins? Well in world where that pope guy still insists that transsexuality and same-sex relationships are "sins", does that mean that I am forgiven? Or would I have had to be born back in the B.C. days to have been forgiven? Even if Jesus did die for *my* sins, is that something that I, as a moral human being, should be celebrating - political executions/martyrdoms that personally benefit me?

In any case, tomorrow represents an important anniversary for me. It was on Good Friday 22 years ago that I first presented as female in public!


Originally posted on LJ 12-19-10


December 2010


In August 2006, a friend was taking photos of me for use on my website and for promotion and such. During the photo-shoot, she asked a series of seemingly random questions that were meant to keep me relax and acting natural while I was being photographed. One of those questions was, “What is your favorite part of your body?” It really struck me, because no one had ever asked me that question before. And, almost without hesitation, I answered: “My skin.”

Way back during my physical transition, among the plethora of bodily changes that were taking place, the change in my skin was most profound for me. While some trans folks focus on some of the more prominent or symbolic changes, I marveled at my skin – the change in texture and appearance, how my face blossomed into a mess of freckles. I remember waking up mornings during that time, and my hand would just so happen to be touching my arm, or my leg, or face, and it would just feel right. I suppose that it’s a cliché to say that trans folks finally feel “comfortable in our own skins” post-transition. Well for me, I experienced that phrase quite literally.

on having fallen off the face of the earth...

Originally posted 1-4-10

This is not only my first post of 2010, but it is my first post more generally in quite some time. In my last post (way back in October), I made this vague comment to explain my lack of posting through the Fall of 2009:

“i've had four major life changes/upturnings (some good, some not so good, some a little of both) that have dominated my thoughts and time over the last two months.”

Since the start of new year is traditionally a time for recapping the previous year’s events, I thought it appropriate to be a little more explicit about some of the things that have been going on with me during the last half of 2009.

wow, the rest of the world really is as dumb as it seems...

Originally posted on LJ 10-27-09

ok, so i have not been posting much. nor have i been writing much more generally. i've had four major life changes/upturnings (some good, some not so good, some a little of both) that have dominated my thoughts and time over the last two months. i will probably write about some of them later, but in the meantime i've been mostly being kinda hermit-ish, taking care of myself, and so on...

one of my big escapes in the midst of all this has been watching the MLB (aka, baseball) playoffs. so i am not a big sports-geek at all, but i have a weak spot for baseball. when i was a young kid (aka, elementary school) i dreamed of being a major league baseball player. it was also my favorite sport to play, although i was not especially good at it. (although, being the smallest boy in my league, i also had the smallest strike zone. since i wasn't a great hitter, my little league coaches used to encourage me to get walks. i got to be pretty good at working the count. back when i played (late 70s, early 80s) nobody paid any attention to On Base Percentage - if they did, i might have been an all-star..., but i digress...).

so I was assaulted last night...

Originally posted on LJ 9-6-09

so I was assaulted last night. i’m ok, but it was traumatic nonetheless.

Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue

Originally posted on LJ 6-3-09

Happy Pride month everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know about a 2009 National Queer Arts Festival show I will be participating in this month. It is called Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue - it is a spoken word event that I have co-curated with Gina de Vries (and featuring an awesome cast!) on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area on June 17th, I highly encourage you to come out for it! All the details and a description of the show are below. Please be sure to order advance tickets online, as the event may sell out...

Whipping Girl FAQ on cissexual, cisgender, and cis privilege

[note added January, 2017: This essay now appears as a chapter in my third book Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism]

Note: this was originally posted on my now defunct Live Journal account on 5-14-09. Since penning this, I have written two more updated essays on cis, cisgender, cissexual, cissexism, cis privilege, & the cis/trans distinction, which touch on the different ways this language has subsequently been used (and misused), and the activist strategies underly these varying usages.

Ok, so this is the fourth installment of my Whipping Girl FAQ, where I answer common questions and/or clear up confusion about what I said (or was trying to say) in WG. This FAQ discusses the “cis/trans” distinction and “cis” privilege.

The origin of “cis”

I have come across people who have assumed that I invented the terms cissexual and cisgender, but this is not the case. I reference “cissexual” this way in my book:

Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM

Originally posted on LJ 5-6-09

FYI, I just posted a piece called
Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM over at Feministing.com. It's mostly about Ray Blanchard's suggestions to revise the Paraphilia section. Feel free to check it out if you're interested... j.


originally posted on LJ 4-12-09

So it seems that Amazon is ranking my book again. I checked it on Sunday night and it was de-ranked at the time. But it seems to be back up now...

For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s the deal:

more comedy jokes

Originally posted on LJ 4-4-09

so I recently got back from a crazy, hectic week on the road. I had three college presentations, plus the WAM! conference, all in one week. The WAM! conference was especially fun – I got to meet lots of people whose blogs I have read and/or folks I’ve corresponded with but whom I have never met face to face. It is neat to meet people that you know, but have never seen with your own eyes. It makes you realize how often we unconsciously make assumptions about people based upon their appearance in the "offline" world.

Am I the only person offended by this?

Originally posted on LJ 2-12-09

ok, so the following is a rant that I posted on a trans-themed email list. It is in reference an exposé written by folks within the gender variant community about a proponent of autogynephilia theory who happens to be a trans woman. Now this person has said some messed up things about people I respect, and she is accused of a number of other things which I have heard second hand that, if true, are very disturbing. Having said that, I wrote the following post in response to certain aspects of that exposé that really really bothered me as a trans woman and activist. For anonymity reasons, I have omitted/deleted names of the person in question, as well as those who published the exposé. I ask those who wish to leave comments to respect this anonymity...

Am I the only person offended by this?

If I were teaching a course on intersectionality...

originally posted on LJ 11-29-08

...I would assign this article for my students to deconstruct.

One gets the impression that the SF Weekly felt that transgender women, sex work and “illegal immigration” are not “sexy” enough subjects on their own to spark public outrage. So instead, they decided to sensationalize all three simultaneously. What "edgy" journalism...

I'd post some of the pics that accompany the piece, or quote some of the more racist, transmisogynistic and sexualizing passages therein, but it would just make me mad... -j.

eliminating people's rights

Originally posted in LJ 11-5-08

As of today, I refuse to acknowledge 52% of Californian's rights! I will do so randomly, at my choosing. I have deemed myself the ultimate arbiter of rights! After all, as a California voter, I have a God given right to decide who is entitled to "rights" and who is not.

Thus, by the powers vested in me as a California voter, I declare that:

Whipping Girl FAQ: "Submissive Streak"

Originally posted on LJ 8-22-08
In this, the third in a line of posts that address some of the more frequently asked questions I’ve received about Whipping Girl (WG), I want to talk about chapter 15: “Submissive Streak.” I’ve found that that’s been the most “polarizing” chapter in the book, in that lots of people have told me it was their favorite chapter, while others have told me that it was the one chapter in the book that they were bothered by or didn’t like.

Fuck me HBO

Originally posted on LJ 7-4-08

OK, so i'm wiped out from packing all day (as i'm about to move), so i pour myself a glass of wine and i'm flicking thru the channels and i stop on an hbo channel that has taxi cab confessions, which i've never seen before. and i'm sure that they've had many episodes about all sorts of different things. but of course the one time i tune in is a scene where a guy is with his trans girlfriend, and he's bragging about how he's straight and not gay, and she's going off about how she doesn't see herself as a woman because she can't bare babies, and the cab driver is asking her about sex change surgeries, and she's sharing with him all of her friends' worst case scenarios, and i just wanna fucking kick the tv in. but i won't, because it's my fucking tv, and i'd end up having to buy a new one.

BAR piece on Zucker, Blanchard & DSM workgroup

originally posted on LJ 6-1-08

So I'm sure that most of the folks who check out my blog are aware of the recent appointments of Ken Zucker & Ray Blanchard (among others) to the DSM working group that will hash out new gender/sexuality related "mental disorders" for the DSM. I have written at great length about some of the major problems with Blanchard's views of trans women and others on the trans feminine spectrum. Needless to say, I was not happy with their appointments.

An article recently came out in the Bay Area Reporter on the issue (full disclaimer: I am quoted in it) which went into great detail about the obstacles these appointments pose for trans activists. It also discussed some of the more over-the-top reactions it generated within the trans community, which included fears that the APA would put homosexuality back into the DSM or that Ken Zucker would advocate reparative therapy for young trans children in it (the DSM doesn't include therapies, only diagnoses).

more Bailey/Dreger stuff...

Originally posted on LJ 3-7-08

Hi everyone,
For those interested, I wrote a column that was just posted on Feministing.com that discusses a few recent developments regarding Alice Dreger’s “scholarly history” of the Bailey affair.

Also, I am happy to say that my “peer commentary” on Dreger’s article was accepted for publication, giving me the surreal experience of being able to say that I have a paper coming out in a sexology journal. Anyway, you can download a PDF version of my commentary here:

Hate Mail

Originally posted on LJ 2-27-08

So I sometimes receive disturbing emails. Sometimes they're from someone who fiercely disagrees with something I've said in my book or that I've posted on the web somewhere, and they're really mad about it. Sometimes it's a creepy webstalker who's particularly interested in/obsessed with transsexual women. But I don't receive a lot of actual hate mail. But occasionally I do. And here's one I received yesterday:

Whipping Girl FAQ: on the words, transsexual, transgender and queer

Originally posted on LJ 12-31-08

In this, the second in a line of posts that address some of the more frequently asked questions I’ve received about Whipping Girl (WG), I want to discuss the ways in which I use the words transsexual, transgender and queer throughout the book. I’ve received quite a number of emails from people who have had a transsexual experience and who appreciated many of the points I make throughout the book, but who were bothered that I used the word “transsexual,” and/or who were angered/disappointed that I positioned that identity/experience under the rubric of “transgender” or “queer.” Here, I hope to explain my reasoning and offer insight into where I’m coming from on this matter.

Whipping Girl FAQ: the necklace issue

originally posted on LJ 11-24-07
Whipping Girl FAQ: the necklace issue

So a couple of people have asked me about the cover of my book Whipping Girl (which is pasted at the bottom of this post) – specifically the fact that the woman in the photo is putting on a necklace. Their concern stems from the fact that in the book I critique how media depictions of trans women often show them putting on feminine clothing and accessories. I make the case that the media relies on our societal assumption that femininity itself is artificial and contrived in order to portray trans women’s femaleness as inherently “fake.”

So if the media depicts trans women in the act of putting on feminine accoutrement in order to emphasize our supposed fakeness, why would I do the same with my book cover?

TG Day of Remembrance

Originally posted on LJ 11-20-2007

So today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. To commemorate it, I wrote a piece called There's Something About "Deception" which was posted on Feministing.com yesterday - it touches on the myth of deception and violence directed against trans people. That got me thinking about an old piece that appears in my first poetry chapbook called Either/Or. The piece was called "scared to death" - here it is...

waiting for my Colbert bump!

Originally posted on LJ on 10-25-07

***note: shortly after I found this pleasant Wikipedia addition, someone removed it. Andy Warhol was so right about that whole fifteen-minute thingy...

So sometimes when I'm on Wikipedia, I search using my own name to see if anyone is referencing anything I've written. For the longest time, the only result was on the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival page where my essay Bending Over Backwards: an Introduction to the issue of Trans Woman-Inclusion is cited. But today, a second result came up: the Colbert Report page. After searching through it (it's a *humongous* webpage) I found myself mentioned under Criticisms of the show:

"the gays" are pissing me off

originally posted on LJ on 10-14-07

"The gays" are really pissing me off! And when I say "the gays," I'm not referring to people who engage in same-sex or otherwise queer relationships (a group which obviously includes myself). Rather, I am talking about the people who identify as gay or lesbian *only* and whose homocentric mindset leads them to think nothing of marginalizing and demonizing the countless gender-variant, bisexual, sex radical, economically disadvantaged and unapologetically feminine folks in their own community.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the c-word

originally posted on LJ on 8-3-07
Okay, so some people know about this and some people don't. Because I'm exhausted having to recall this story for people every time it comes up in conversation, I am going to post it here. It's about cancer. I plan to write about this more in detail at some point, but for now, hopefully this will suffice:

Gendercator-centered dialogs

originally posted on LJ on 7-12-07
As most of you probably know, a film called The Gendercator was recently selected and then subsequently pulled from Frameline (an SF-based LGBT film festival). It was a supposed sci-fi short produced by a lesbian filmmaker that depicts physical transitions from one sex to the other (i.e., transsexual transitions) as being imposed on gender-variant people by a rigid patriarchal/heterosexist society, thus implying that transsexuals are the “dupes” of an oppressive gender system.

Anyway, because the film was pulled (due to outrage from the trans community over the fact that a film with such blatant anti-trans stereotypes was showing as part of the LGB-and-apparently-sometimes-T Pride festivities) there have since been accusations of “censorship” (despite the fact that a blatantly anti-gay/lesbian film never would have seen the light of day at Frameline). This has resulted in a growing movement of late to 1) show the film, and 2) follow it with a panel designed to discuss the issues raised by the film. In theory, this would (*hopefully*) lead to a respectful dialogue that would heal the community.

Having it Both Ways

originally posted on LJ on 6-22-07

I went to the 3rd annual TransForming Community event tonight – it is an event that is dedicated to exploring the friction at the intersection of contemporary trans and queer communities. I think my two favorite pieces of the evening were those by Prado Gomez and Storm Florez, both of whom (in different ways) addressed the issue of trans men needing to own the fact that they are men (rather than retreating into the excuse that they are not “really” men when it suits their interests). Prado’s piece discussed how some trans guys will wield masculine/male power and privilege at one moment, then the next argue they don’t actually have such power because they’re trans, or they weren’t socialized male, or that they aren’t capable of sexually violating someone else because they don’t have a penis. Perhaps I appreciated these pieces so much because they addressed a certain double standard that I see going on all the time in queer/trans/feminist communities, but which has not yet been clearly articulated.


another old blog post from 5-10-07:

Normally, when people tell friends and acquaintances that they are about to undergo surgery, they tend to get immediate responses like, "I'm sorry to hear that," or "I hope it's nothing too serious." But when you're trans, people are often not sure how to react. I mean, is it a good surgery? The surgery? A surgery that you want, or one that you merely have to have? Should I congrat you or pass along my sympathies...

Anyway, I had surgery on Monday. Not the surgery, but merely a surgery. Actually, this was the fourth surgery on my right cheek in the last 6 months.


in april 2007, when I began "blogging" this was my first post ever:

my blog identifies as a “Blog-Born-Blog”. This means that it is was born and socialized as a blog, unlike your blog. While your blog may identify as a blog, live as a blog, and may face the same anti-blog discrimination that my blog faces, my blog believes that your blog isn’t nearly as oppressed. After all, your blog may call itself a “blog”, but it never had a bloghood like mine had. You should know that this is a “blog-born-blog”-only webspace, which means that my blog doesn't want so-called pseudo-“blogs” like yours around. But rather than say this to your face, my blog will instead insist that this webpage was always meant to be a place for other “blog-born-blog”s to get together and reminisce about our bloghoods - a bloghood that your blog unfortunately was not unfortunate enough to have had. However, don’t you dare accuse my blog of being prejudice against your blog, because if you do, my blog will claim that “blog-born-blog” is a legitimate webpage-identity. That way, if your blog challenges the policy, my blog will accuse your blog of disrespecting its identity, and then it can retaliate by disrespecting your blog’s identity as a “blog”. Face it, it’s a lose-lose situation for your blog...

the beginning of the end...or the end of the begining?

since 2007 or so, my first (and until now, only) blog has been on Live Journal, which now, as we speak, is dying a slow and steady death. spam robot vultures have been preying on my old posts. no one has been reading to my newer posts. LJ is dead. long live LJ...

so now, I am re-starting my previously semi-ongoing blog here, on this new (blog)spot. over the next few weeks, I will be transferring over some of my more precious previous posts. after that, it will be mostly new posts...

sounds exciting! let's get on with it!