Saturday, December 9, 2017

ways to support my work (on Patreon or otherwise)

Note added subsequently: I have decided to suspend the "Patreon work-around" that I describe in this post, as it was simply too much work to maintain. So if you want to support my work, you can either do it via Patreon, or else make some kind of one-time small donation/gift to me via PayPal – instructions on how to do so can be found below...

I have been (and continue to be) on Patreon, where people who appreciate my writings can pledge support for me at levels starting at $1 a month, with the possibility of rewards such as free e-books, signed copies of my books, or even me writing blogposts on a topic of their choice at higher levels. All patrons (regardless of pledge level) can access "for your eyes only" posts, where I share behind-the-scenes updates, unpublished writings & recordings, and other goodies.

Patreon has made a HUGE impact on my life. As a self-employed writer and speaker/performer with no other outside income, I've had to spend much of my time scrounging up freelance work, speaking gigs, and other odd jobs in order to make ends meet. But thanks to the generous support of my patrons, I've since been able to commit way more time to 1) concentrating on writing future books, and 2) publishing free, accessible, ad-free essays (on either Medium or my blog) on topics that I am most interested in writing about (particularly LGBTQIA+, feminist, and social justice issues). Most of these essays would never have been published by mainstream news/media outlets as is (as most editors favor short pieces that remain on an "activism 101" level).

So Patreon has been a real blessing for me, and I highly encourage you to support me there!

But... some people would rather not join Patreon. And others have decided to leave that platform due to a recent change in their processing fees. [note: shortly after posting this, Patreon went back to the old system!] So for those who wish to support me, but do not want to be on Patreon, I have created the following alternative:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

recently updated merchandise (books & music) webpage!

I wanted to get the word out about this sooner, but I recently updated my "stuff to buy" webpage for the impending holidays!

If you click that link, you will find:
Once again, here's the "buy stuff" link. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

my Jesse Singal story

Note added March 16, 2021:

Back in late 2017, I wrote “my Jesse Singal story,” which was a 4,000-ish word essay about my experiences with him up to that point – that post remains intact below. Since then, there have been numerous developments that support and/or dovetail with points I made in my original piece. And since Singal recently dragged my name through the mud again, I thought it best to begin by briefly summarizing everything that has happened up to this point.

For those who don’t know me, I am an author and scientist who has written extensively about transgender people and issues, including trans healthcare and children. In 2016, for reasons unbeknownst to me, Singal took an interest in these latter topics, penning a series of articles – starting with How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired through 2018’s When Children Say They’re Trans – that most of us familiar with these matters felt were heavily slanted, if not intentionally biased. Those links will take you to my immediate responses to those two pieces; even more critiques of these and his other trans-related articles can be found here.

There are lots of people who disagree with me about trans issues, but I don’t go around writing “stories” about them. Singal is the sole exception to this, the reason being, he is the only journalist I’ve ever encountered who has attacked me on a personal level. Specifically, after I penned a civil blogpost critiquing his first trans-related piece, he began publicly smearing me, as documented throughout this post. For those looking for a TL;DR, the main incidents (all described in more detail below) are:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

new talk: Debunking Anti-Transgender Myths and Tropes

I regularly give talks at colleges and conferences on the subjects of gender & sexuality, feminism & LGBTQ+ issues, and activism more generally. I have just added a new talk to my booking page that some of you may be interested in:

Debunking Anti-Transgender Myths and Tropes
Attempts to deny or delegitimize transgender identities often invoke “biological sex,” make overly simplistic claims about gender socialization and privilege, and/or raise the specter of cisgender people (particularly children) being “turned transgender.” Drawing on her popular essays Transgender People and “Biological Sex” Myths, Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments, and Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates, plus her background as a biologist, Julia debunks these common myths and tropes, and instead forwards a more holistic understanding of sex, gender, and transgender experiences. An alternate version of this presentation, called “Biological Sex” and the Pathologization of Transgender People, specifically addresses how these same myths have shaped medical/psychological discourses and diagnoses.

A few other talks you will find on my booking page include:

So if you are affiliated with a college or conference, and potentially interested in bringing me out to speak, all the info you will need can be found on that booking page!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October/November events, plus essays and interviews!

On my Patreon page, I just posted an update that includes: 1) all my October & November readings/talks/performances, 2) a recent podcast interview with me, and 3) my Twitter essay/thread debunking the latest fear-mongering article depicting transgender as a mere "social contagion."

You can access that post & info here for free!

And if you appreciate my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. If you do, you'll get access to behind-the-scenes updates, unpublished writings & recordings + more! Depending upon how much you pledge, you may be eligible for rewards, such as free eBooks, signed copies of my previous books, or requesting me to write about specific topics.

Thanks for listening, -julia

Monday, September 4, 2017

Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics, Political Correctness, and Social Justice Activism: essays and a new lecture

I have written extensively about these interrelated and highly debated topics. In this post, I compile these essays (see links below), and share the description for a brand new lecture I have prepared on this subject (and which summarizes my perspective on these matters). If you are potentially interested in having me present this talk at your college, conference, or other event, please visit my booking page for more details.


A Social Justice Activist's Perspective on Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics, and Political Correctness
Over the last century, social justice activism has played a crucial role in challenging prejudice and promoting equity for women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups. While most of us profess support for these past accomplishments, we may nevertheless resist newer expressions of social justice activism, or dismiss them as examples of “call-out culture,” “identity politics,” or “political correctness” run amok. In this talk, author and activist Julia Serano addresses this discrepancy. Julia has written (particularly in her books Excluded and Outspoken) about how social justice movements sometimes become too exclusive, inflexible, or counterproductive -- tendencies that likely contribute to resistance toward contemporary activism, and for which Julia has suggested potential remedies. Julia also demonstrates how the general public's lack of awareness about how prejudice and discrimination actually work, and how activists can effectively counter them, is a major factor driving this resistance. Generating more light than heat, and remaining accessible to activists and non-activists alike, Julia will discuss the purpose of social justice activism and its limitations. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Balancing activism, "free speech" & "call-out culture"

Last week, I published an essay called Refusing to Tolerate Intolerance, which makes the case that we must challenge and refuse to tolerate acts that are intended to dehumanize, intimidate, and silence minority/marginalized groups. I also explain why those who claim that we *should* tolerate said acts because of "free speech" 1) are misapplying the concept, 2) do not understand how marginalization actually works, 3) are behaving hypocritically, or 4) some combination thereof.

At the end of the piece, I mentioned that I am currently working on a follow up to that essay: “Hate Speech versus Call-Out Culture.” I have written about “call-out culture” at great length in the past, specifically in my second book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (shown to the right).

To the best of my knowledge, “call-out culture” is a term that originated within intra-activist discourses to describe expressions of activism that seemed misguided or unduly harsh to other activists. Back in the late zeros/aughts and early tens/teens, those of us who discussed this problem recognized that activism was crucial and that some call-outs are indeed necessary, and we were trying to balance that need with the fact that sometimes call-outs (in certain cases and contexts) can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, the phrase has since been appropriated by non-activists as a pejorative to smear any expression of activism that they dislike or disagree with.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

my music on Bandcamp - special offer!

Tomorrow (Friday, August 3rd), Bandcamp is donating 100% of their profits to the Transgender Law Center (a wonderful organization). So I encourage you to check out my old noise-pop band Bitesize and my current solo music project *soft vowels sounds* on that platform. Via those links, you can listen to all the songs for free, and if you enjoy them, please consider purchasing them tomorrow!

If you are unfamiliar with my music, feel free to check out my blogpost Transgender-themed artists, bands, music, songs & anthems, which shares many of my trans-themed songs (including my "Lola" parody: "Ray"), plus links to lists of many other transgender musical artists that you can also support...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lies about Transgender People and the Vagina Monologues

This is one in a series of essays exposing falsehoods forwarded by feminists who are suspicious of or antagonistic toward transgender people. This series includes Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments and my forthcoming essay Transgender People and “Biological Sex” Myths. If you appreciate this work, please consider supporting me on Patreon.

These days, almost every anti-transgender hit-piece written from a feminist perspective will mention an incident that occurred in 2015, in which Mount Holyoke College canceled a scheduled performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues for not being inclusive of transgender people. By citing this instance out of context, these writers attempt to assert or imply that:

1) all trans people must want to censor The Vagina Monologues.
2) more sinisterly, trans people are trying to stop women from talking about their vaginas.
3) this is yet another example of why feminism and trans activism are inherently incompatible.

However, this framing purposefully ignores two crucial factors.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

why my piece won’t be appearing in The Stranger

On Wednesday, June 28th, the Seattle news outlet The Stranger published an article called The Detransitioners: They Were Transgender, Until They Weren't. Amongst its numerous flaws, it gave credence to the notion that there is a “social contagion” to become transgender, and that this is a cause behind why some people eventually decide to detransition.

Back in 2016, I detailed both the biased thinking behind, and the potential harm caused by, this notion, in my lengthy and nuanced essay Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates (and in this follow up). Herzog reached out to interview me for her The Stranger article, saying she had read my essay. I was open to it at first, until it became clear to me that she was planning to legitimize that “social contagion” theory in her piece. When Herzog's article came out last week, I penned a blogpost called Stop pitting detransitioners against happily transitioned people, in which I pointed out the skewed framing and several (albeit not all) of the misconceptions that Herzog's article forwarded.

Friday, June 30, 2017

stop pitting detransitoners against happily transitioned people

People have been asking me to respond to The Stranger's recent "The Detransitioners" article, especially because I am quoted in it. So this is a (not so brief) statement to that effect.

A year ago I wrote a long-read essay called Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates - it was my attempt to address the many issues that are usually overlooked or erased in sensationalistic & fear-mongering articles about people who detransition. Between that piece and a shorter follow up post, I felt like I said just about everything I had to say about the subject.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

trans women are women! plus free book chapters & a NY Times interview

Yesterday I sent out my latest email update - you can read it via the link and/or sign up for my email list here. Here are some of the highlights:

I was interviewed in the New York Times as part of their Pride 2017 coverage - the article is called Julia Serano, Transfeminist Thinker, Talks Trans-Misogyny. You can read it via that link; if it's behind a paywall, here is a PDF version.

I wrote a new Medium essay called Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments. If you like the piece, please click the "heart" icon at the bottom of the article - that way more people on Medium will see it!

I recently made three chapters from my latest book Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism freely available for download - all of them challenge psychological theories and diagnoses that needlessly pathologize transgender people (which is why I wanted to make them readily accessible). Find out how to download them (btw, the linked post also includes excerpts from my novel-in-progress).

I am able to make these book chapters and the Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments piece freely available thanks to my Patreon supporters. If you support me there (for as little as $1 per month) you'll have access to behind-the-scenes updates & polls, and unpublished writings & recordings. If you pledge at higher levels, you may be eligible for rewards such as free e-books, signed copies of any of my previous books, and/or choosing the topic of a future blogpost. So if you appreciate my work, please consider supporting me there!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

my first patron-requested post on Patreon!

As you may (or may not) know, last year I joined the crowdfunding site Patreon. People who support me there (for as little as $1 per month) can read almost all of the posts, which include behind-the-scenes updates, polls on what I should write about, plus unpublished writings & recordings. People who pledge at higher levels may be eligible for rewards, such as free e-books and/or signed copies of any of my previous books (depending upon the level) - more details can be found here.

At certain pledge levels, I offer the reward of writing a blogpost about any subject of a patron's choosing (within reason). Well, today I published my first ever patron-requested post - it's on the topic of passing and employment post-transition. It's a public post, so even if you're not a supporter, you can read it via the link.

If you appreciate it and/or my writings more generally, please consider supporting me there!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

regarding that transracial/transgender Hypatia article & accusations of "witch hunts"

As some of you may know by now, about a month or so ago, the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia published an article by Rachel Tuvel called "In Defense of Transracialism." I have not read the article (it is behind a paywall), but by all accounts it draws parallels between "transracial" and transgender, and makes the case that, if we accept the latter, then we should accept the former.

Tuvel's article was widely critiqued by academics (and to a lesser degree, activists) with knowledge of the fields of critical race theory and transgender studies for reasons explained here by Shannon Winnubst (who is one of the co-authors/signers of an open letter to Hypatia asking the journal to retract the paper). In response to the letter, Hypatia apologized for publishing it (although, as of the time I write this, they have not retracted it). Hypatia apologized (whereas other journals likely would not have) because of its dedication to "pluralist feminist inquiry" and because the journal views itself as "an important site for the publication of scholarship long-considered marginal in philosophy." As Trans Lady Academic points out, the response stemmed from "commitments that several editors at Hypatia itself had laid out to avoiding the exploitative and anthropological gaze."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Outspoken is a Lambda Literary Award finalist!

Earlier this week I learned that my latest book, Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism, is a Lambda Literary Award finalist in the category of Transgender Nonfiction! It is the first time one of my books has become a Lambda finalist, so I am excited by this news, and extend my congrats to all the other finalists!

For those who haven't seen the book yet, Outspoken compiles 48 of my trans-themed pieces from over the last decade-plus, including many of my early slam poems, essays and manifestos written contemporaneously with Whipping Girl and Excluded (including chapters originally intended for those books), articles challenging DSM diagnoses and the psychopathologization of trans people & gender variance, plus some of my recent writings addressing differences within trans communities and approaches to activism.

Outspoken is available (in paperback & e-book) at Amazon & other online outlets (a complete list can be found here), and bookstores & libraries can purchase it through Ingram. If you belong to, or write for, a media outlet (print, webzine, blog, etc.) and you are interested in reviewing or publishing excerpts from the book, please contact me and I can provide you copies.

In the coming months, I plan to publish blogposts covering each section of the book (including sneak-peaks & excerpts). But in the meantime, here are some Outspoken-related pages you can explore:

Finally, if you have read Outspoken and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review of it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites (this really helps with garnering attention for the book).

Thanks for listening! -j.

Monday, February 20, 2017

on Milo, the limits of free speech, and who gets thrown under the bus

I recently published an essay on Medium called Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance. In that piece, as well as in a follow up essay I published yesterday morning, I touched upon recent debates regarding whether Milo Yiannopoulos should be granted a platform to speak at universities and other high profile venues. I argued that Yiannopoulos has a long history of inciting hatred and harassment campaigns toward women, people of color, trans folks, immigrants, and other marginalized groups. I invoked Karl Popper's "Paradox of Tolerance" to make the case that we should not tolerate people (such as Yiannopoulos) who attempt to use their "free speech" in order to suppress and silence others.

While many people (especially those who have witnessed the real harm Yiannopoulos has caused over the last several years) agree with this position, others have taken a free speech absolutist stance that can be paraphrased as follows: "Yiannopoulos may say horrible things that I don't agree with, but I support colleges and others who offer him a platform to speak (and you should too!) because FREE SPEECH." (or something like that.)

But today, we learned the true hypocrisy of the "let Milo speak because FREE SPEECH" crowd. Yesterday, audio/video clips surfaced wherein Yiannopoulos suggests that teenage boys are old enough to consent to sex with older men. In the wake of that revelation, the American Conservative Union, who had previously invited Yiannopoulos to speak at their upcoming CPAC conference, rescinded that invitation. Simon & Schuster, who had been vigorously defending its decision to sign Yiannopoulos to a huge $250,000 book deal, announced that it was canceling that deal. Even employees at the alt-right/white nationalist news outlet Breitbart (where Yiannopoulos is a senior editor) have threatened to quit if he is not fired.

In other words, the same people who were arguing for, or even championing, Yiannopoulos's FREE SPEECH a few days ago, are now disassociating themselves from him. They are, in effect, "no platforming" him.

Friday, January 27, 2017

my San Francisco Women's March Speech

This last weekend, I had the honor of speaking at the San Francisco Women's March. It was an amazing event with an unbelievable turnout, estimated to be between 100K - 150K people. I have never seen a crowd that big before.

The speech I gave was called Empathy Politics - you can read it via the link. It's on Medium, so the more "hearts" it gets (icon at bottom of the page), the more likely it will appear on other people's Medium feeds.

Part of the speech explains why we can defeat Trumpism, because we are the majority in this country. The second half counters recent debates about "Identity Politics" (which I re-frame as "Empathy Politics"), which I believe should be an important part of social justice activism moving forward.

You can listen to a live recording of me giving the speech, which I have made available on my Patreon site - it is a public link (not all of them are). If you like it, please consider supporting me there!

Finally, The Bay Area Reporter interviewed me and other March speakers about our participation in the event.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

first Outspoken review! (and future excerpts, reviews, and interviews)

As you may (or may not) know, at the end of 2016, I released my third book, Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism. It's a collection of forty-eight chapters spanning the last decade-plus, including my early slam poems and spoken word, essays and manifestos written contemporaneously with my previous books Whipping Girl and Excluded, plus my recent writings addressing differences within trans communities and activism.

I self-published Outspoken (on my own imprint Switch Hitter Press) and (for personal reasons) I haven't been able to do much promotion for the book until now. In the coming weeks, I plan to publish numerous excerpts from the book, and I've already started uploading YouTube videos for some of the slam poems that appear in the book! (More will be released later this week...)

If you are a writer and/or run some sort of zine, podcast, website, etc., and are interested in potentially reviewing the book and/or interviewing me about it, feel free contact me and I can try to get you a copy!