Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Julia update November 2014: upcoming events, new writings & music videos!

So earlier today, I sent out my latest email update (btw, you can sign up for my email list here). It offers links to some of my more recent writings, an interview, plus two speaking events coming up this week in St. Louis & San Francisco.

I also describe two music videos I recently created for my new solo music project *soft vowel sounds*. Since I couldn't embed them in my email, I will do so here:

Music Box is the first song on the record. It is about being a third wheel and it appropriately takes place inside of a vehicle:

Ray is my parody of The Kinks' song "Lola". The video is admittedly not especially video-ish, as I wanted to highlight the lyrics of the song:

The entire record is available for listen or download (for free or name your price) on the *soft vowel sounds* Bandcamp site.

and speaking of music, on Tuesday December 2nd, I will be performing a couple of songs for the Bad Dyke Book Release + Bawdy Storytelling, featuring Allison Moon, Dixie De La Tour and other storytellers TBA. At Awaken Cafe (1429 Broadway, Oakland), Doors at 7, Show at 8, Tickets $15 (available for purchase here). More show details can be found here.

that's it for now... -j.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cissexism and Cis Privilege Revisited - Part 2: Reconciling Disparate Uses of the Cis/Trans Distinction

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

For the record: this essay is intended to clarify misconceptions about, and to encourage more thoughtful usage of, cis terminology. Anyone who references this piece in their attempts to deny or eliminate use of the term "cis" (and its variants) is clearly misinterpreting or misrepresenting my views.

In the first essay of this two-part series, I discussed how the way in which cis terminology is often used today can sometimes invisibilize certain forms of gender-based oppression, and potentially exclude people who exist at the margins of the transgender umbrella (i.e., people who don’t fit quite so neatly into a cis/trans binary). In this essay, I want to talk about the different ways in which a cis/trans distinction may be employed, as this can greatly shape the nature and ultimate goals of trans activism.

“Decentering the binary” versus “reverse discourse” approaches
One of the more commonly heard complaints about cis terminology is that it supposedly “creates a new binary” (i.e., trans versus cis). I strongly disagree with this argument. After all, people already make a distinction between non-transsexuals and transsexuals, and between gender-conforming and gender-non-conforming individuals. So the cissexual/transsexual and cisgender/transgender binaries already exist in people’s minds. It’s just that now we (trans activists) have explicitly named the unmarked majority as “cis.”