Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Blaming Identity Politics & Political Correctness for Trump's Election

I just wrote an essay called: Prejudice, “Political Correctness,” and the Normalization of Donald Trump. It is my response to all the political center & left pundits who think we should abandon identity politics, "political correctness," and social justice activism in the wake of the latest U.S. election.

If you like it, please share widely! Also, it's on Medium, so the more "hearts" it gets (icon at bottom), the more likely it will appear on other people's Medium feeds. So please "heart" it if you like it too!

Finally, this essay was made possible by my Patreon supporters — if you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please consider supporting me there.

Enjoy! -j.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Julia November update: my new book Outspoken is out, plus other stuff!

A few days ago, I sent out my latest email update. The big news in it is that my third book, Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism has just been released! It collects forty-eight of my previously unpublished or difficult to access trans-themed writings, including my early slam poems and spoken word, essays and manifestos written contemporaneously with my previous books Whipping Girl & Excluded, plus my recent work addressing differences within trans communities and activism.

Check out the Outspoken webpage to view the book’s Table of Contents, read part of the Introduction & other book excerpts, and explore the online trans/gender glossary that accompanies the book. At the moment, paperback books can be purchased at Amazon, and it will be available at other retailers & for bookstore/library purchasing (through Ingram) very soon (so stay tuned!). E-books can be purchased at/for Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Noble/Nook, iTunes Books, Kobo, Smashwords, and other outlets.

Another item of interest in the email update is the official release of the Whipping Girl 2nd edition audiobook! It is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, and other outlets.

The update also includes tidbits on my various other projects, plus helpful post-election resources for trans people.

You can read the update in all its glory here.

If you want future Julia updates emailed directly to you, please sign up for my email list.

enjoy! -j.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

three interviews, an audiobook, and a big Outspoken sneak-peak!

Hello, this is my first post here in a bit, as I've been in the throes of finally completing & releasing my third book, Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism. It will be available for purchase on Amazon no later than Wednesday, November 9th, with e-book formats and bookstore/library purchasing (through Ingram) up and running shortly thereafter.

If you are interested in "sneak-peaks" of the book, I encourage you to follow me on Patreon, a crowdfunding platform where (for pledges as low as $1 a month) you can get behind-the-scenes updates on what I am working on, access to many of my in-progress & unpublished writings, plus other goodies -- all the details are explained here.

There are currently two Outspoken excerpts exclusively available on my Patreon site:
1) A long-lost chapter originally intended for Whipping Girl
2) Sneak-peak: the last essay of Outspoken and online glossary

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Julia update: new writings, upcoming events, & Patreon!

So yesterday I sent out my latest email update. In it, I discuss:

1) new articles
2) Patreon
3) upcoming events
4) consider bringing me to your college campus!
5) past & future books
6) new additions to my website

You can read the update in all its glory here.

If you want future Julia updates emailed directly to you, please sign up for my email list.

enjoy! -j.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation (a follow up)

If you aren't aware of it already, last week I published an essay called Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates on Medium. It is a long-read, and my thorough response to recent mainstream op-eds and think-pieces coming out either for gender-reparative therapies and/or against gender-affirming approaches to transgender and gender non-conforming children. If you like the piece, be sure to recommend it (by clicking the "heart" logo at the bottom-left of the article) - the more recommends it gets, the more likely it will appear in other Medium readers' feeds!

In addition, German Lopez of interviewed me about my Medium piece - you can read that in the article: The debate about transgender children and “detransitioning” is really about transphobia. (note: if you take issue with that title, I didn't write it - see Twitter thread at bottom of this post.)

I received a lot of positive feedback about the piece. And I can tell that it made some waves outside of the trans/LGBTQ+/activism bubble by the numerous vitriolic & blatantly anti-trans responses I have received - sadly, this is par for the course. However, there are two categories of responses I received that addressed aspects of the article that I perhaps could have explained better, so I want to reply to those here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Activism, Language, and Differences of Opinion (a compilation of essays)

[note: The essays compiled here were written between 2012–2016. My more recent writings on these and related topics are collected in Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics, Political Correctness, and Social Justice Activism: essays and a new lecture.]

Activists of various stripes will often disagree with one another (as well as with the mainstream public) regarding what ideas and strategies are useful and productive, versus which may be self-defeating or destructive. Notably, many of these debates tend to be centered on language—for instance, is the word or phrase in question liberating, or acceptable, or anachronistic, or problematic, or downright derogatory.

While most people who participate in these debates champion a specific cause (e.g., being “for” or “against” a specific activist tactic or terminology), I have become increasingly interested in understanding the underlying standpoints and reasoning that lead people to adopt these disparate positions, and chronicling how rigid one-size-fits-all stances on these matters may erase or exclude the voices of many people who have a stake in the issue.

I have written extensively about this subject in my 2013 book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (the linked-to page includes excerpts from the book). Here, I will compile some of my subsequent essays related to this topic (with links when available). They are organized into the following sections:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Introducing Kat Cataclysm (aka, my fiction)

My most recent email update came out a couple weeks ago - you can read it here. (& to get future updates, please sign up for my email list.) In it, I discuss the recent release of some fiction that I have been working on under the name Kat Cataclysm!

Kat Cataclysm serves as a pen name (to create a little bit of separation between my fiction and non-fiction), but she is also a character in her own right: a bisexual absurdist short fiction writer, recovering slam poet, and failed linguist who has a somewhat silly and surreal take on the world.

And the first Kat Cataclysm book (a chapbook, really) is now available! It's called General Surgery & Surgeons General. This modest forty-some page collection offers a potpourri of Kat’s short stories, slam poems, and whimsical musings, which touch upon and/or outright tackle diverse topics such as YA dystopian fiction, photosynthesis, mountain climbing, temporal anomalies, ethical non-monogamy, Santa Claus, Prince’s song lyrics, malapropisms & paraprosdokians, and the trials and travails of the contemporary author. As if that were not enough, the book also premieres several excerpt chapters from the eventual Kat Cataclysm debut novel 99 Erics.

The book can be purchased at either:
CreateSpace, which offers the best royalties for the author. (in both book & ebook formats), where you can “Look Inside” the book (aka, read excerpts) by clicking on the cover.

Also, while on tour with Sister Spit in March, I recorded live performances of four of the pieces in the chapbook - here are links to those recordings:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Antioch Review Publishes Transphobic Article; Here's What Happens Next

So this has been a big story on my social media feed today. For those not in the know, here is a summary of what happened:

1) The academic literary magazine The Antioch Review recently published an article called "The Sacred Androgen: The Transgender Debate," by Daniel Harris.

2) Trans people found it to be highly transphobic for a plethora of reasons, which are smartly and succinctly explained in this open letter signed by hundreds of Writers, Editors, and Librarians.  [note added 5-6-16: I originally attributed this open letter to The Seattle Review of Books, but it turns out they were merely boosting the signal]

3) Antioch College (who publishes the journal) released a statement that, while not condoning the article and its sentiments, nevertheless expressed that they "have confidence in the Review’s editor and editorial process."

This is the story so far. But as a longtime trans activist, I'm pretty sure that I know where this is all eventually heading. So here are my predictions, in no particular order:

Moving Beyond the Cisgender Actor/Transgender Character Meme

Earlier this week I published a new piece on Medium entitled Expanding Trans Media Representation: Why Transgender Actors Should Be Cast in Cisgender Roles.

In it, I share my thoughts on how we might broaden discussions of trans representation in the media beyond the now commonplace critiques regarding who is cast to play transgender roles (in those rare instances when a movie or TV show even bothers to include a trans character).

If you like the piece, be sure to recommend it (by clicking the "heart" logo at bottom left) - the more recommends it gets, the more likely it will appear in other Medium readers' feeds. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Excerpt from Whipping Girl Second Edition

As some of you may have heard, the Second Edition of my first book, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, was released last month! It is essentially the same book, but with a new cover (as you can see to your right), some wonderful new back cover blurbs (which you can read here), plus a new additional Preface to the Second Edition.

In the new Preface, I discuss some of the history (both personal, as well as within feminist, queer, and transgender activism) that led to me writing the book, and addressing the topics and subject matter in the manner that I did. I also share many of my thoughts about what has happened in the decade since the book was originally released in 2007: the many promising developments in trans awareness and activism, plus the countless aspects and areas where there is still vital need for improvement.

While I cannot reprint the entire Preface here, I did want to share this brief excerpt (specifically, the first three chapters) for those who may be interested:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Touring with Sister Spit!

Hey folks, starting tomorrow (aka, Friday) I will be on tour with the legendary spoken word troupe Sister Spit! Other artists include Jezebel Delilah, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Nikki Darling, Cassie J. Sneider, Maisha Z. Johnson, Cassie J. Sneider, and Virgie Tovar, plus occasional special guests!

Here are all the dates - links take you to Facebook invites for the show (please share!), which will have all the details:

  • March 25 -- at Salt Lick Collective, Oakland, CA, 7pm.
  • March 26 -- at SF Oasis, San Francisco, CA, 6:30pm.
  • March 27 -- at Peeves Public House, Fresno, CA, 6pm.
  • March 28 -- at Last Projects, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, 7pm.
  • March 29 -- at UC Riverside, panel 1-3pm, show 7-9pm.
  • March 30 -- at Art Theatre Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 7pm.
  • March 31 -- at Weird Sister in Los Angeles, CA, 6pm.

  • Unless/until they sell out, there will be copies of Whipping Girl 2nd edition for sale at the shows. Plus, I will also be reading from some of my new fiction project at many of the shows. Hope to see you there!

    Monday, March 7, 2016

    Whipping Girl Second Edition is out this week!

    The second edition of my first book, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, is officially released this week (March 8th, to be precise).

    A wonderful article about the second edition, plus many readers' personal experiences first engaging with the book, appeared in BuzzFeed this weekend.

    While it's pretty much the same book on the inside (with a few small clarifying changes), it has a brand new Preface that discusses how the book originally came to be, plus my thoughts on various new developments in transgender communities and politics since the book was first released in 2007.

    The book launch event takes place this Thursday (March 10th) in San Francisco, at the GLBT History Museum, 7pm- I will be reading from the new Preface, plus engaging in further discussion and Q&A about the book and its themes, plus the recent evolution of trans activism more generally. (More details here and here.)

    The book is available now from Amazon, Portland's independent bookstore Powell's, the Philly-based LGBTQ bookstore Giovanni’s Room, and the Chicago feminist bookstore Women and Children First. You can also use Indie Bound to find brick-and-mortar independent bookstores near you that are or will be carrying the book.

    Here are some of the new blurbs from the back cover:

    Thursday, February 25, 2016

    Julia update: Whipping Girl 2nd edition, Sister Spit 2016, future releases, and more!

    So yesterday I sent out my latest email update. In it, I discuss:

    1) Whipping Girl 2nd edition is here!
    2) March 2016 tour dates (including Sister Spit)!
    3) new writings and web updates!
    4) two brand new books coming later this year!

    You can read the update in all its glory here.

    If you want future Julia updates emailed directly to you, please sign up for my email list.

    enjoy! -j.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2016

    placing Ken Zucker's clinic in historical context

    Note added March 28, 2021:
    Five years after it was published, this post is receiving renewed attention in the wake of Jesse Singal's recent assertion that he does not support conversion therapy. While I cannot speak to Singal's personal views on the matter, the article he penned (discussed below) strongly (and I would add, unduly) defended Ken Zucker against charges that his clinic conducted gender conversion/reparative therapy. 

    Below, I describe the history behind Zucker's approach, and how both "gay conversion" and "gender reparative" therapies share the exact same strategy of coercing gender non-conforming children to behave in a more normative manner, in the hopes that this might "turn" them heterosexual and/or cisgender.

    This history has become obscured as time has passed, especially since few practitioners nowadays want to be associated with "gay conversion." I often recommend Phyllis Burke's book Gender Shock: Exploding the Myths of Male and Female (1996), which details the historical connections between these related approaches.

    If you don't want to buy Burke's book, I would recommend Stephanie Wilkinson's archived article Drop the Barbie! (2001). It outlines the history of these overlapping approaches – from George Rekers, to Richard Green, to Ken Zucker – and includes the very telling quote that appears below.
    from Wilkinson, "Drop the Barbie"

    More recently, in their YouTube broadcast The XX Factor, Christa Peterson and Katy Montgomerie delve deeply into Ken Zucker's own journal publications to show (in his own words) that his goals were to change children's gender identities and expressions. They also show how Singal's article obfuscated these facts (see also this thread).

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

    I’m discontinuing comments on my blog. Here’s why...

    So as the title plainly states, I plan to deactivate the comments section of my blog posts moving forward. (Previously posted comments will remain intact.) While I don’t feel obligated to offer an explanation—after all, it is my blog, and I am free to format it any way I choose—I thought that it might be worthwhile to share my reasoning as to why.