Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why new words?

Over the next several months, I will be writing a series of blog posts that explain some of the less familiar terms that I either coined and/or otherwise forwarded in my writings, especially in Whipping Girl and my new book Excluded: Making Feministand Queer Movements More Inclusive

I am doing this for several reasons:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

julia update - Excluded BOOK TOUR starts now, plus excerpts, reviews & interviews

note: this is my monthly email update for October, 2013 - to get these updates emailed directly to you, you can sign up for my email list here.

julia update october 2013

in this update:
1) Julia's Excluded book reading tour is afoot!
2) Excluded-related reviews and interviews
3) recent essays

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In Defense of Partners

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

This last weekend, I finally got around to reading Janet Mock’s recent essay How Society Shames Men DatingTrans Women & How This Affects Our Lives (note: there is also an excellent interview that includes her and Laverne Cox on HuffPost Live discussing the same issue). Mock wrote the piece in response to the media coverage and public backlash against DJ Mister Cee (a cisgender male hip-hop artist and radio personality) for his attempt to solicit sex from someone who he thought was a trans woman. Mock’s piece rightfully points out how the public’s shaming of men who are attracted to trans women—e.g., by insulting their manhood, or presuming that they are closeted gay men—undermines our identities too, as the underlying assumption is that we must be “fake women” or “really men.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Considering Trans and Queer Appropriation

[note added November, 2016This essay now appears as a chapter in my third book Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism]

Within the activist circles I run in, I routinely hear people accuse others of appropriation, or claim that certain behaviors or endeavors are appropriative. I myself have written about how certain people (e.g., cisgender academics and media producers) sometimes appropriate transgender identities and experiences (discussed more below). So I am certainly sympathetic to the concept.

At the same time, however, I have seen the concept of appropriation used (or misused) in order to undermine marginalized groups as well. For instance, cisgender feminists have long accused trans women of “appropriating female dress” or “appropriating women’s identities”—indeed, if you click the link you will see that this was part of the justification for why Sylvia Rivera was kicked off the stage at a 1973 Pride rally in New York City. On Cathy Brennan’s anti-trans-dyke website “Pretendbians” (which I refuse to link to), the byline at the top of the webpage says: “We don't hate you, we hate appropriation”—the implication being that trans women cannot ever be actual lesbians, but rather we can only appropriate lesbian identities and culture.