Gender Outlaws for Obama: the end… or is it just the beginning?

Yesterday was a such a pisser! We started the day at 105 contributors. At 12:24 this morning (EST), Trans-blogging for Obama Day broke through our target goal of 200 pro-Trans contributors to the Obama/Biden ticket. We raised over $6000 for Obama’s campaign. AND, we accomplished this on a day that was not only the start of a Jewish High Holy Day, it was also the day that will go down in history as “Black Monday ’08.” Despite it all, we flourished. Wait… we’re trannies—we do everything with a flourish!

In the future, when I’m asked how far the transgender community has come since my day, I’ll point to these days as a great leap for trannies, and even a small step forward for the world we live in. At the level of national elections, we are invisibles no more.

Here’s how the day played out…

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Gender Outlaws for Obama

Obama_prideToday is Trans-Blogs for Obama Day. The Stonewall Democrats are sponsoring a cyber day on which the transgender community can publicly rally around Senator Obama. We can show him our support and our numbers on a full day of trans and ally fundraising for the good Senator from Illinois. Twenty years ago, I never envisioned a tranny community, much less a tranny community that could make itself heard on a national level.

When I’m out on tour, a question I’m most regularly asked is, “How far has the transgender movement come since your days, when you were transitioning?” I usually duck the question, because the answer isn’t as simple as “great” or “awful.” Over the last two decades, there have been some wonderful political and cultural advancements. Yet I’m pretty sure that I speak for the majority of trannies when I say that from our perspective, we could certainly use more change than what we’ve gotten over the last twenty years.

Here’s what it was like twenty years ago…

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Honoring Virginia Ramey Mollenkott

514k8xghl_ss500__2Remarks I wrote and delivered in New York City at the Union Theological Seminary on Friday, September 19th, 2008—on the occasion of the publication of the new edition of her book, Sensuous Spirituality, and the acceptance of Virginia Ramey Mollenkott’s archives at The Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies in Religion & Ministry at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California.


One of the major blocks to going through with my gender change was my fear of God’s wrath. It makes sense—I’m a Jew, and we believe that God can be mighty wrathful when He wants to be—no matter that wrath is a deadly sin.

I left religion behind me, and embraced atheism as a spiritual path. Many transgender people do that: when our religious leaders tell us how angry God is going to be with us for messing with our God-given genders, we turn away from God. And we eventually reach a point of unbearable loneliness and inconsolable grief, with no God to comfort us. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott is the first person to address our spiritual conundrum. She is the first person to return us to God’s comfort and wisdom.

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Race AND Gender Equity Advocates for Obama

Look at Senator McCain! Please, look closely. You can do just that at the website of The Real McCain.

0849Two days before Governor Palin’s nomination. I turned to my girlfriend and said, “Y’know what? McCain is going to nominate a woman.” True story. I bet if Senator Obama had chosen a woman as a running mate, McCain would now be running with an African American man on his ticket.

It’s a mostly successful Right Wing tactic to splinter the Left into small groups of focused advocates, each grabbing for a seat at the master’s table. Unlike the different special interest groups of the Right Wing, race and gender activists haven’t worked together for decades building coalition. Gender versus race is costing the Democrats votes, damnit.

For my part I’m not going to be divided. I voted for Clinton in the Democratic primary, and I’m supporting and voting for Obama in November. Senator Obama is our best hope to push back the tides of racism and sexism that were unleashed and nurtured under the Bush administration.

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Grudge 2, a Deliciously Horrifying Vision of Intersecting Oppressions (with a bonus short horror film by me!)

Grudge_2Last night was Fright Night with a couple of friends and colleagues of mine, Felicia Luna Lemus, and T Cooper. I’m a fan of both their writing, which is compelling, edgy and completely charming—each in its own way. Well, last night I went over to their place for a late night Fright Night.

We watched Grudge 2. The writing, design, and directing pure noir manga, and not without its soft core pervy side—cute manga girls in school uniforms. With mini-skirts. Well, there are plenty of them in the movie. Be still, my heart. Along with The Grudge, it makes for a great double feature.

The title creature—be it grudge, curse, or ghost—is a new, scary archetype for Western audiences unschooled in Japanese horror imagery. He/she/it/they appear(s) as several ages, genders, generations, races, and species—shape-shifting into and out of any number of people’s bodies… their own, or the bodies of their victims. You never know if one of them is sitting right next to you, right now.

That’s what’s scary. And that’s what scares people about anyone who’s an outlaw that can pass for normal. People think we’re going to hurt them because, hey, that’s what ya see in the movies. So, even when our intentions are kind and honorable, the idea that outlaws can pass scares the poop outta people.

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God bless America, God curse the freaks.

RedwhiteblueThe closer we get to the US presidential election, the more frequently we hear, God, bless America. I’ve been embarrassed about that phrase all my life, because I’ve never known what God bless America (GBA) actually means. GBA is used variously as a statement of fact, a prayer, a wish, or a blessing. I think I’ve finally got it figured out… and God bless America is none of the above.

At first glance, GBA looks like a statement. But to make that work, you’d have to say, “God blesses America.” GBA sounds more like a command—a phrase generally spoken in an impressively commanding tone—as if to say, “God, I command You to bless America.” But no one commands God, right? Not even the people who claim to understand Him or His will.

Many people agree that God bless America is a fervent wish, a longing, or a prayer. If so, it sure is a strange prayer—intoned as it usually is, with fierce belligerence and/or an ear-to-ear grin. When spoken like that, God bless America can sure whip up an audience. Crowds of thousands respond to GBA with unbridled cheers of affirmation, and genuine tears of relief. And that’s the key to what GBA really is. It’s nothing so high and mighty as a prayer, a command, or a statement of fact. God bless America is a slogan. I mean, duh!

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Of What Possible Value Is Transgender Experience & Theory In These Changing Times?

Moving_on_5Dear Friends, Family, and Tribe,

I’m preparing to head out on the road again—I’m looking for tribe. It’s my 15th year of touring, and I’m both excited and apprehensive. The USA is clearly polarized—scarily so. So, who will be moving into the White House next? There are only two choices. A sweet, young man who has captured the heart of a great number of Americans? Or another playground bully and his girlfriend, the mean girl?

The world’s about to change, big time. But, no matter who will have taken the reins of the so-called free world, those of us who live out on the edges of the culture aren’t going to see much of the change we need in order to make our lives more worth living. And those of us who live out on the margins of the culture aren’t going to be any more free than we are at this moment.

Some of us live outside the culturally acceptable limits of gender, and sexuality. Others of us live way-y-y out on the despised margins of race, age, and class. Lots of us may be spiritual, but not too many religions want to include us… except maybe as charity cases. For many of us—ever since we were kids—people have laughed at us for how we looked. Or they stared at our differently abled bodies.

We’re citizens of the world, but too many of us end up as second class citizens, or illegal immigrants. We are most of the people in the world, but the powers that be are building walls to keep us out and apart.

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News Flash: Barack Obama is the Son of Two Men!

Well, according to Terry Moran of ABC’s Nightline he is. In his opening remarks, Mr. Moran informed his viewing audience that American history is being made. I’m sure there’s gonna be You-Tubing galore, but just 5 minutes ago, I heard the man say this:

“The Democratic Party gave its heart and soul, and it seems the muscle and bone and sinew of their political organization to Barack Obama, the son of a black man from Kenya, and a white man from Kansas.”

Maybe Terry Moran had just worked himself up to a tizzy with all that homoerotic flesh and blood imagery… or maybe it’s the TRUTH! And you thought my last post about WALL•E broke some gender territory!?!

That’s all. I just had to let you know.

kiss kiss

your friendly neighborhood not-man, not-woman
from neither Kenya nor Kansas

PS — yep indeedy — here’s a YouTube clip already. Terry is so worked up by all that body imagery.

WALL•E: A Butch/Femme Love Story… or Silly Rabbit! Robots Have No Gender

Ultimate_walle_2I’m completely smitten with WALL•E, this summer’s Pixar/Disney offering. But the last thing I expected to see in my friendly, heterosexual upper east side Manhattan neighborhood movie theater was a feature length cartoon about a pair of lesbian robots who fall madly in love with each other. WALL•E is nothing short of hot, dyke Sci Fi action romance, some seven hundred years in the future! Woo-hoo!

Isn’t that what you saw?
No? What movie were you watching?Eve1_2

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It Takes More Than a Knife in My Guts to Keep Me Down!

Hey there.

Just a quick note to say I’m back home from my major abdominal surgery in the hospital, and I’m doing well by all medical standards. I’m deeply grateful for the many calls, notes, comments, and text messages wishing me good health. And I rejoice that I continue to be surrounded and supported by family and tribe. As soon as I get my brain free of all this anesthesia and dynamite pain-killers, I’ll try to put a real piece up here.

OK, I love you. I do.


PS — Special kisses to the participants and attendees of Trans Pride 08 in Northampton, Transfabulous 08 in London, and the San Francisco Trans March coming up the end of this month. I’m sorry I couldn’t attend.

PPS — My regrets also to the Boston Dyke March 08, and the upcoming Femme Conference in Chicago this summer. Wish I could be there. Maybe a rain check?

PPPS — Lots of warm hugs and best wishes to all the youth—my hosts and hostesses—who’ve made me feel welcome in their schools, at their conferences, and on their campuses these past years. And kisses to my fabulous family in both Norway and Ireland. Love you lots, and hope to see you again sooner than later.