Come Up to the Lab: My Gender Workshop

Ever since Time Magazine proclaimed a “Transgender Tipping Point” a year and a half ago, I’ve been exploring trans identities and expressions that aren’t included in mainstream acceptance—because as a nonbinary trans person, I have yet to occupy any mainstream tipping point. So I’m researching this for a new book I’m working on: “Trans! Just for the Fun of It!” and that makes this workshop a laboratory. So…

…come up to the lab, and see what’s on the slab!

Workshop participants will be encouraged to step out of any gender/sexuality comfort zones they’ve managed to establish for themselves. We will experiment more or less safely with a few of the very real dangers of living a trans life in a cis world, including a good long look at whatever it might be that shames us, humiliates us, and otherwise prevents us from having a wonderfully fun time with our genders. The tools I’ll be using include postmodern theory and Tibetan Buddhism, which overlap in slapstick.

All this to say you can expect a day full of laughs, more than a few head-scratching puzzles, and most likely a tear or two or three. Please do join me!

Manchester, UK: Saturday, 6 February 10am

SOLD OUT: London, UK: Saturday, 13 February

kiss kiss

Kate

Lambda Literary Pioneer Award Talks, 2014

First, here's a video (shot by audience member, Jim Fouratt) of Barbara Carrellas presenting & Kate Bornstein accepting the 2014 Lambda Literary Award. The text of both their remarks follows.

 

Barbara Carrellas Remarks,
Presenting Lambda Literary Pioneer Award to Kate Bornstein

Imagine with me, please. Imagine a place that is not here and a time that is before now. Imagine a gathering of ancient bodiless souls, all drinking tea and deciding the social priorities for the 20th Century. One gay soul suddenly turns serious. “I am calling for us as a soul group to congregate in the United States in the mid-20th century. Our time on earth will be short. Almost all of us will have died of a plague they will call AIDS before the millennium. Our task? To love and care and fight for each other so fiercely, to become so strong and so visible, that gay men and lesbians in a large portion of the world will have equal rights shortly after our deaths.

     There are gasps of awe and enthusiastic shouts of agreement. “Count me in! Me, too! Me, three!” When the cacophony dies down, one lone, lovely creature speaks “That is wonderful but, it’s not enough. What about everyone who doesn’t fit into the binary of gay or lesbian? Or man or woman? What about every sexual outlaw and freak of gender? Who’s gonna fight for their rights?”

     The thoughtful soul who had proposed AIDS to the group, says, “You’re right. But I don’t see how we can do it all in one go.” “Ah, but I do,” says the lovely one. “I’ll go down with you, but I’ll take another path while you take on AIDS. By the time you’ve finished, I’ll be ready. I need the time, anyway. I have research to do. I’ve been thinking that most of earth’s problems are caused by gender. Gender on earth operates like a evil cult. I need time to explore the nature of cults. I heard yesterday that someone is creating a new cult. I think they are calling it Scientology. I think I’ll check it out.”

     The lovely loner was not alone for long. Many in the AIDS soul group were so taken with the Gender Project that they volunteered to jump back into new bodies right after their AIDS lifetimes. “Wait for us! We’ll be back to join you. You’ll recognize us. We’ll be the cute ones with great haircuts, unrecognizable gender presentations, and creative pronouns. But we’ll need to be caught up to speed quickly. Write us some books we can read while we’re growing up. Books that will help us keep ourselves safe and prepare us to fight for the new gender revolution.”

     And thus it was decided. 

     Albert Bornstein was born in 1948. He joined the Church of Scientology in 1970, and learned cults from the inside for 12 years. In 1986, Kate Bornstein was born.

     If you ask the question, as I recently did on Facebook and Twitter, “What does Kate Bornstein mean to you?” the overwhelmingly most popular answer is, “Kate Bornstein saved my life.” 

     As writers, we have all collectively and individually inspired lots of people. We’ve changed more than a few lives with the power of our words. But how many of us can say that our writing has saved thousands of lives? 

     It is my fiercest pleasure to present the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Pioneer Award to my beloved partner in life, love and art, Kate Bornstein.

*****

Kate Bornstein Pioneer Award Remarks, Lambda Literary 2014

Thank you Lambda Literary, for this wonderful moment of recognition. You are perfect dears to be doing this for me. 

OK—thank you to so many of you in this room. Last year—and again just over a month ago—over 3,000 people around the world joined together to raise more than $120,000 to help me get through cancer therapy, when I was too sick with side effects or recovering from surgeries, to go out on tour and earn my daily bread. What’s more—something I never thought would happen, but your gifts and well wishes completely crushed, once and for all, my low sense of self-esteem. You saved my life. You made me wanna stay alive. Bless your hearts.

Alright now-pioneering. Only a very few people do that solo. I sure didn’t. In the areas of gender identity and expression, I have many colleagues to thank—as well as writers I’ve followed, imitated, and stolen from. Their names will appear on my blog, but I do need to speak some names here, tonight. 

My path as a writer of books has been guided by remarkable publishing houses and editors: 

  • Serpent Tail Press, Amy Scholder & Ira Sliverberg —  
  • Routledge Press, Bill Germano — 
  • Seven Stories Press, Crystal Yackaki & Amy Scholder — 
  • T Cooper for Akashic Books, — 
  • Tristan Taormino for Cleis Press,— 
  • Seal Press, Brooke Warner — 
  • Beacon Press, Gayatri Patnaik— 
  • and Routledge Press again, Erica Wetter. 
  • Love and thanks Caitlin Sullivan, co-author of Nearly Roadkill. 
  • Love and thanks to S. Bear Bergman, outstanding co-editor of Lammy award winning Gender Outlaws the Next Generation. 
  • Thanks to my tour agent, Jean Caiani at SpeakOut. 
  • Thank you Gail Leondar-Wright, for the publicity that first ever got Gender Outlaw out into the world. 
  • I’m forever grateful to my literary agent—I love you, Malaga Baldi. 
  • My friend and mentor for over 40 years is John Emigh—he’s always pushed me into writing what’s most scary to write about.

Finally, the editor who has been looking at all my words for 17 years now is my bubu, my muse, and my dear imzadi, Barbara Carrellas. When we were both souls outside of time and space, and we were deciding our rebirths: what could we do to ease the suffering of queer people? Well, it was Barbara who decided to make it her life’s mission to pioneer ecstatic sex that wouldn’t spread the plague. Thank you, bubu. You’ve brought ecstasy into my life and into the lives of all my kids—and you’ve always been there as an emergency power source all those times when I was nearly a goner. Love you, Miss Barbara.

*******

We live in interesting times. For the first time since anything trans has come to public awareness on this planet, the face of transgender belongs to a woman of color, Laverne Cox. The literary face of trans belongs to a woman of color, Janet Mock. And the pop culture face of trans belongs to a tranny of color, RuPaul.

Interesting times, indeed. For the first time ever, there are three generations of sex-and-gender theorists, artists, and activists, all alive at the same time—each generation has its unique point of view, each with unique experiences and timeline. 

I’m asking that we three generations of sex and gender artists, activists, theorists, and spiritual leaders come together in a pioneer coalition that deals with race and class within our community—for starters. I want we three generations of LGBTQetc to welcome family living beyond those letters, for we are legion.

Our legion of identities has the common denominators of sexuality, sex, gender identity, and gender expression. But because we live in a culture founded by Puritans, it’s shameful to talk about sex and gender. Nevertheless, all of us are here tonight because of terrific sex and/or fabulous gender. Now, Puritanical sex-negativity shames us into invisibilizing our terrific sex and our fabulous genders. And sadly, institutionalized sex-negativity extends into our own community. We shame each other. We’re being mean to each other. We have got to stop shaming, and distancing ourselves from sissies, sex workers, BDSMers, pornographers, sluts, burlesque artists, trannies and drag queens. These are the funnest people in our family—shaming these people and distancing ourselves from them is mean. It’s a Puritanically-generated mix of misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia. I’m asking you as your old Auntie: please stop doing that. Someone, pioneer a queer community that doesn't eat its own… please. 

In this spirit of inclusivity, Dear Lambda Literary people, may I be so bold as to tickle your own fabulous pioneering spirit? Please, Lambda Lit, create award categories for sex education, queer Young Adult fiction, queer spirituality, and one more category for books written by people with sex and gender identities not yet expressed by LGBT.

OK, I’m wrapping up now. Here’s the deal: I’ve got lung cancer and leukemia. I know, I know I might be around for another 15 or 20 years, but just in case I’m not, I wanna say this now: Please, my darlings, all of you, take care of each other. Watch each other’s back. Stand up for each other. Please.

Now, go sissy your walk, children. Please, stay alive. Have good sex, have fun with gender, and write great stuff about that.

Auntie loves you. 

Kiss Kiss

Tranny, Revisited by Auntie Kate

Background: There’s been a firestorm around the word “tranny,” which has been extended to “she-male,” and even to “gender outlaw.” I thought I’d covered all the bases on my stand on tranny five years ago, in this blog post:

http://katebornstein.typepad.com/kate_bornsteins_blog/2009/07/who-you-calling-a-tranny.html

But no, the controversy continues. I’ve been in treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, both of which tend to dull the mind. By last night, I’d recovered enough of my mind to realize that there’s been no definition of tranny to fight over, so I thought I’d come up with one that I could fit into 140 characters. Here’s what I came up with and tweeted:

“How I define #tranny: ANYONE who messes around w gender w little or no care as to how tht might effect their standing in mainstream culture.”

To my way of thinking, a proper and productive response to a proffered definition is to agree with it, disagree and refine it, or disprove it. The majority of responses to my tweet were all about how the word tranny has effected people’s lives. One person, however, managed to refute my definition by saying:

“I fuck with gender. I am not a t*****.”

For this person, I’m clarifying my definition. What I didn’t spell out is that I understand “tranny” to be a radical, sex-positive gender identity. Tranny is to trans person as fag is to gay man and dyke is to lesbian. More to the point of agreeing or disagreeing with tranny as a gender identity for oneself: I’ve been saying since I wrote the book, Gender Outlaw 20 years ago, that the only person who can name our gender identities is ourselves. In my own life, I’ve rejected the gender identities of both man and woman—despite the fact that I managed to live up to many cultural definitions of both those identities. I pass as a woman, I’m called she by strangers. AND I reject the gender identity of woman. Accordingly, if someone fits my definition of tranny and rejects that identity, then I respect their rejection of the identity.

Now, since I’ve opened this wound, I’ve decided to address some of the main objections to the use of the word, tranny. In no particular order, these objections are:

    — Reclaiming a Hate Word Doesn't Work

Tranny is not a reclamation. Tranny has been our word for nearly half a century. Some trannies in Sydney, Australia came up with the term as an umbrella term to unite with love and as family the disparate communities transsexuals and drag queens. This makes it unlike words like nigger and slut. These, and other words invented by haters, have been reclaimed and are being reclaimed with great difficulty.

    — Using the Word Tranny Promotes Transphobic Violence

Policing words out of existence will not stop transphobic violence. At best, it might change the words used during that violence. 

    — When Kate Bornstein calls themself a tranny, 
        
it encourages and gives others the right to call all trans women trannies.

No, it doesn’t. Transphobes don’t look to me for permission or encouragement for anything. They may, and certainly have, used my words out of context to support their views. TO BE CLEAR: Nothing I've said here or anywhere else should be taken as permission to call another person tranny until you know that's a word they use for their own identity—some people find the word extremely hurtful. So, please err on the side of caution and compassion.

    — FTMs are not allowed to use the word for themselves.

FTMs are certainly included in my definition if they want to be. 

    — Tranny associates me with pornography & sex workers.

Association with sex and sex workers is often a means of denigrating people. Classist sex negativity is no reason for me to cease celebrating my sex positive identity.

    — Why all this fuss, just to protect an edgy word?

It’s more than an edgy word. Tranny is a valid, vibrant, and vital identity. Protecting that identity is what I’m making the fuss about.

In closing: that people are offended by what I call myself is simply not my problem. Transphobia is our communal problem, and I have stood and will stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who’s fighting that hatred.

OK, done now. I’m going to get back to healing my body.

Auntie loves you. Have good sex and fun with gender. Kiss Kiss.

 

Guest Post by Barbara Carrellas: A Plea for Help for Kate Bornstein

Today is Monday, 5 May 2014. As of today, you have raised $22,181.00 to help Kate #StayAlive! Our goal is $75,000. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. xoxo

Hello friends and family,

This is Barbara, Kate Bornstein’s partner in life, love and art. I’m writing to ask—once again—for your help.

As many of you know, Kate’s lung cancer is back. It reappeared in late December in a lymph node behind her collarbone. The good news is that it did not travel far from it’s original site. Recent scans show it’s not in her brain or bones. The further good news is that it did not reappear anywhere that had been previously treated with radiation and chemotherapy. This means that the doctors can treat this new tumor aggressively and the treatment is likely to work. We have been assured that this cancer is still curable.

The bad news is that the treatment for this second round is way more intense than the last (and we thought that round was challenging!) This means that in addition to more intense chemo and radiation, she needs more supplements and alternative therapies to keep her fighting. She’s much weaker with this new treatment and needs to spend more on transportation to and from treatments. She has a hard time doing basic tasks, like preparing food for herself and the pets. Even getting dressed to go to chemo/radiation treatments is a challenge. Small tasks are not just physically, but also emotionally, overwhelming. This “brain fog” and the accompanying extreme energy drain are common, yet hideous side effects of the treatment. Worse yet, these effects will continue for months after treatment has stopped. This means we have no idea when she can return to work.

We are deeply grateful for your astoundingly generous donations of over $100,000 last year. It’s the support of her community—and we mean emotional, physical, and psychic support, as well as financial—that helps Kate #StayAlive. We still have a bit of that $100,000 left and we are stretching it as far as it can possibly go. (Let me take a moment to thank the people who are currently providing their services and products at reduced cost.) But Kate is going to run out of money very soon. 

In short, if Kate is going to #StayAlive, she needs the financial support of her community once again. Kate wants me to be sure to tell you how hard it is to ask for this kind of support. She knows many of you have financial challenges of your own. Please give only if and what you can afford. All of the money raised goes directly towards Kate's treatment.

Here’s the PayPal link to donate: http://bit.ly/1pkRV4K

Whether or not you can donate, you can help Kate #StayAlive by letting others know how they can help. Please forward/post/distribute this message widely. For inquiries and/or offers of help, write to KateStayAlive(at) gmail (dot) com.

And just so you know, Kate is truly appreciative of all the supportive tweets and other messages she's been receiving. Please understand that although it’s hard for her to respond to all of them, they mean the world to her.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love,

Barbara Carrellas 

& Team Kate

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

I began this blog on Sunday, Feb 16. I wrote that it was a bleak winter’s day in the city. You couldn’t really walk the sidewalks, you more or less had to shuffle along without lifting your feet. Storm after storm after storm here in the city, and most of us had given up trying to clear the stairs and sidewalks… or our salt ran out. The dogs were thoroughly delighted to be indoors and warm. They’re paper trained, but I wouldn’t give either of them an A+. The cats grudgingly adapted to the constant indoor doggie presence. The cats are raptors, see, with all their senses fine-tuned toward food that either B or I might have left out. To the cats, the dogs are a stinky, annoying distraction to the hunt. (We found that out through our animal communicator.) For Bruce the turtle, it might as well have been a blue-sky spring afternoon. Inside his terrarium, it nearly always is. And Barbara and I had a really sweet Sunday together, back when I began to write this blog. Well, I finished and posted it today, Wednesday, Feb 19. My next chemo treatment is tomoro. The chemo is causing me big time discomfort but no pain and I’m not throwing up. My brain comes and goes. I’m grateful that there’s no more to the side effects than that. (Knock wood!)

Two more weeks of treatments after tomoro's, THEN B & I go to Iceland to celebrate our birthdays (mine: March 15th & Barbara’s: March 16th). We found an awesome package last year when I first found out that chemo round one had worked, and the cancer was, for the time being, gone. Here’s our Iceland package: we’ve got five nights & 6 days hotel, a pass to the Blue Lagoon, a boat trip if the northern lights are shining, AND we've found a stable where we can go to ride short, stubby Icelandic horses!! (I think my knees are going to drag along the ground.) The day after we’re back, I begin 5 more weeks of weekly chemo and daily (weekdays) radiation. Then some more chemo for the fuck of it. Then I'm done. Or done for. Ha!!

I owe YOU my life. Truth. So, thanks. Huh. Just writing that makes me want to stay alive even more. Funny, how that works. I'm diving back into Buddhism. It was my first really deep mind/spirit puzzler, back in college and in the 60s. Koans blew me away, and Zen slapstick tickled my funny bone in a most delightful way. Now, I'm more into Tibetan Buddhism, and I'm boning up on wisdom and compassion. This, along with my dialectic behavioral therapy skills, is keeping me remarkably stable during this time. I’ll blog more when I can articulate what exactly it might be that I’m learning.

OK, here’s what’s not been a joy about this time: I’ve had to cancel my entire winter/spring touring season, over a dozen engagements that I was SO looking forward to. I’m sorry to disappoint—do know that I’m disappointed as well. I’m asking for rain checks from all the schools who wanted me to come speak or perform. Now… if you’re looking for an awesome speaker or act to bring to your campus or event, please consider contacting my booking agent, Jean Caiani at SpeakOut – the Institute for Democratic Education & Culture. These are way cool, leftie folks who make space for more radical leftie, loving voices. I really enjoy working with SpeakOut, and I know you will too.

Sad to say, I’ve also had to cancel out on International Ms. Leather, where I was slated to be both a judge and the keynote speaker. Most sincere regrets to the leather ladies of all genders. I was SO looking forward to being there with you at the reboot of such a wonderful BDSM gathering. I’m grateful and pleased that my replacement is none other than my pal & co-editor of Gender Outlaws: the next generation— the gallant, wise, well-spoken, and sexy S. Bear Bergman. Wishing him and you all a terrific time of it.

In closing—wow—I’ve finished this—it’s a beautiful, bright sunny winter’s day in the city, and that brings me to the very last thing I wanted to tell you: in what mode has your Auntie decided to face this round of treatment. Well, darling, I’m going for perky. Yes indeedy! Move over, Mary Tyler Moore. (Miss Holly Hughes says I’m more than Moore, and she wants to be my Lou Grant! Oh, purr.) Yep, perky me—that’s how I’m looking at these days of mine: with a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and a dance in every footstep.

I love you, and I’ll be in touch again sooner or later.

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate

PS: In the spirit of perkiness, here are some signals I’d like to boost.

Art Saves Lives

I’m a firm believer in the notion that art saves lives. To that end, I wanna support some artists who are dear to me:

1) Photographer, and queer arts impresario, SD Holman has kick-started a project called “Butch: Not like the other girls.” The title alone should tell you why it’s a no-brainer that I’m backing this project.I was supposed to contribute some writing to this piece, but then my cancer took over my life’s priorities. Do check it out and contribute if you can, cuz its a jaw-dropper, a real yum-dinger.

Stand like wonder woman2) I know songwriter Steven Alvarado from Twitter. Recently, I put out a call for help in dealing with nameless fears. Steven tweeted me back saying, “Stand like Wonder Woman.” I tried it. It worked—I felt better! Now, Mr. Alvarado is in a pickle and needs help with his rent. If standing like Wonder Woman makes you feel better, please help Steven out with his rent.

Reading Books Saves Lives

I can’t read much when my brain’s all foggy, but here’s what’s on my reading cue just now. These are my spirit books. I’m reading and re-reading these books by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama:

1) Advice on Dying, and Living a Better Life
2) The Essence of the Heart Sutra
3) Practicing Wisdom

For my physical #stayalive regimens, I’m reading these:

1) all of Kris Carr’s books on Crazy, Sexy Cancer
2) Healing Spices, by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, with Debora Yost
3) Life Over Cancer, by Keith Block & Andrew Weil MD

These are the fun books up on my cue, to read when I can’t write or just need to live inside someone else’s words besides my own:

1) The Rhapsody of Blood trilogy by Roz Kaveney
2) Redefining Realness, by Janet Mock
3) Changers, Book One, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper
4) The Reason I Jump, by Naoki Higashida & David Mitchell
5) The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman
6) Christian Science, by Mark Twain

 

The Cat Came Back

Hello, Dear Heart

My lung cancer is back—not in my lung, but in some lymph node. Here comes surgery, chemo, and radiation again. Now, kindly allow me to put this in a perspective and context that I promise is NOT scary. Really, I’m doing super well with this, and I’ve got a lot to tell you that I’m finding out, so please hang in here with me. Trust me, I’m The Auntie.

Right, history first: I was first diagnosed with lung cancer on September 24, 2012. I had surgery to remove the upper lobe of my right lung. The surgical team tried real hard, but they didn’t get it all. Normally, I would’ve gone straight on to chemo and radiation. But a big deal medical oncologist determined that there was no chemo that would work on me. If I wanted to live, he told me, it had to be by radiation alone. To be fair, the doctor was confronted by a challenge in me. I’ve got a whacky health status and, an immune system compromised by chronic lymphocytic leukemia that was first diagnosed in 1996. Plus, I’ve got a body grown on testosterone, that’s now running on estrogen. Genital conversion surgery aside, I’m minus a gall bladder, half a liver, and 12 inches of intestine. I’ve got cervical dystonia and scoliosis. I’m a rambling wreck! And, hello… I’m OLD! (Oh yes, I am. More on that later.) But y’know what the last straw was—the final thing about me that would bar me from all approved chemo regimens? Tinnitus. All my life, I’ve had a ringing in my ears. I didn’t learn until high school that I was the only one hearing all those mad bells and buzzers. I thought you heard them, too… all the time, like me. Well, tinnitus is a common side-effect of most chemo, and what it could do to me was make me deaf, and maybe even kill me. Like in Buffy or Haven, blood would leak out of my ears and I’d die, that’s what he implied anyway. Yes, honey, I do tend to exaggerate, but truly: it was the ringing in my ears when the big deal medical oncologist threw up his hands and, with a look of pity, handed me over to the radiologist.

My girlfriend and I did a lot a research—friends gave us terrific advice for alternative treatments. Through my touring work and book income, I’ve been able to pay for insurance that covered me fairly well for medicorp-government-approved procedures. But I had insufficient money to cover any forms of treatment outside the approved regimens—not to mention the cost of living while getting those treatments. That’s when my miracle happened. That’s when some friends came to my side. Thousands and thousands of friends and family came to my side. Maybe one was you—maybe you sent me money and/or you sent me love. One week of crowd-sourcing raised me over $100,000. Thousands of you. Thousands of people told me they love me. Can you imagine what a lasting blow that was to my low self-esteem?!

Well, the money raised covered it all. Thank you. Acting on the advice of Kris Carr, I found a clinic in Chicago where the doctors did their homework and found a chemo treatment that had just passed a stage two clinical trial. I began chemo on my birthday, March 15 2013, and I continued to travel to Chicago every three weeks through June. At the same time, I received 33 days of radiation, here in New York City. And it all worked. The cancer was gone, and it had been a year to the day since I was first diagnosed. Such relief and joy!! I had six amazing cancer-free months, during which I got back out on the road for some unforgettably wonderful engagements. What’s more, I’ve had the time and circumstances and good health to begin a novella—a book I’m writing just for the love of writing it. It’s delightful fiction that I’ve been wanting to write now for over a decade, but other books needed to come first. As of this past Christmas, I’d got through the first two chapters. Then, on December 30th, a PET CT revealed, and a fine-needle aspiration confirmed: yep, the lung cancer is back.

Darling, those were always the odds. That’s how cancer works. So now, I’m simply moving on with the next phase of living with cancer: more treatment. Treatment this time around begins with surgery at the end of January—then weekly chemo + daily radiation starting probably in the second week of February.
As to my touring schedule, I’m still working out my calendar with the doctors, but I’ve confirmed that I can do my week-long, six-city tour of Wisconsin, February 3-8. After that, I’ll do my very best to make all the gigs I’m already committed to. And for now, my booking calendar is closed for any new engagements before May or June. I hate to disappoint, and I thank you for your kind understanding.

Dear heart, please know I am dealing REALLY WELL with this. Of course I get scared, and I’ve named my fear as a realistic dread of the inevitably noxious side-effects of chemo and radiation. BUT… I’m not beating myself up for feeling scared, and I’m changing my perspective by reflecting on the delightful paradox: chemo and radiation are exactly what’s gonna let me live longer. Wanting to live longer is new for me. I’m not used to it. But I like it. Why do I wanna live longer? Well… for you. Truly. I so enjoy being your old auntie, and what’s an old auntie without her nieces and nephews?? So, fuck dread. And fuck cancer. I’m gonna write another non-fiction book about my life with cancer… I’ll get to that after I write my novella. See, now? I do plan to be around for awhile. That’ll get me two new books, and (lots) more time with you. I’m so looking forward to that. Thank you for your love.

Kiss kiss

Auntie Kate

 

Great News, Good Hope

Dear Twibe,

Here’s the bullet: The docs have scanned me, and the scan came back and
it says two wonderful things: 1) There are no new cancer cells in my
body and 2) The places where there was cancer have shrunk a LOT
already. So the chemo and the radiation, and the supplements and change
of diet are WORKING. Holy crap and yippee! It’s the best possible
post-chemo scan a person can get. AND I’m still not out of the woods.
Here’s what it means. It means I’ve got a good hope.

I’ve never been a big one for hope, but I always fall into it. There’s
dumb hopes, and greedy hopes, and impossible hopes, and tragic hopes.
But every now and then, you get a good hope, and with this scan, I just
got one.

The purpose of this scan is to determine a baseline picture of cancer
in my body, to match up against a more accurate PET scan that I’ll get
in 2 to 3 months. Why wait 2-3 months? I’m done with chemotherapy and
radiation, but they’re not done with me. The radiation and chemo are
going to keep working in my body for at least that long. And THAT means
I’m going to be chemo-brained, exhausted, and weak for that time. BUT
NOW I HAVE A GOOD HOPE!
A special thank you to everyone who contributed to my GoFundMe account.
 
You made this possible. Yes you did: you bought me my new diet, my trips
to Chicago, my nutritional supplements—in short, you kept me alive.
Thank you so very much. I've got good hope. 
I have such a good hope that I’m booking gigs. The earliest I’ve got
right now is a week in USA’s heartland in mid-September. If you’d like
to book me to speak or perform this fall, winter or spring, please
tweet me @katebornstein, or send me an email at my touring account,
katebornstein at earthlink dot net. Please be kind and only use this
address for touring questions.
OK—living with hope is new for me, so here I go. I promise I’ll keep
eating well, taking my supplements, and exercising as I can. It took an
awfully long time for me to write this, but when I get more of a brain
I’ll write some more, I promise that too. So, have good hope. I love
you.

Kate

 

 

Thank you… who?


ThankyoucherubThe gender workbook update is written and laid out in a final draft—everything but the acknowledgements. Since this is a crowdsourced book, I've thanked YOU in the dedication—yep, it's dedicated to twibe. Now, I'm asking for your input one last time: who deserves thanks?

You helped teach me, so now I want to know who taught you, because I want to thank them properly too. Please leave a SHORT comment here, or better yet tweet me with names of people—they can be friends, professors, parents, siblings, novelists, pornographers, SciFi show, storytellers, mentors, alive, dead, or in some other state of existence we don't know about yet. Angels, saints, and demons count. So do friendly faeries, elves, hobbits and so on. Who helped you on your sex and gender journeys? 

Wow. It's all done except for this.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

So, please: let me know who I should be thanking for the awesomeness that is YOUR fabulous sexuality and gender. Clock is ticking. Deadline for thank you's is noon (EDT) tomoro, Saturday, July 7. If you tweet your answer, please use the hashtag #MNGW (My New Gender Workbook).

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate

 

Susie & Aretha Bright’s Great Fucking Book

Brights-460x307I tired posting this review to amazon.com but the internet machine got in the way of me posting it there. So I'm writing it here, because this is a great fucking book. I mean that in every great sense of the words.

Sex advice books can be problematic for many reasons and this book avoids most if not all of the common problems, and so it's a winner.First off, sex advice is generationally problematic. Old people and young people have different views of sex. Most times, these views conflict.

Mother/Daughter Sex Advice solves this problem neatly by making all the advice an intergenerational conversation. How cool is that?!

Many sex advice books are limited in their scope of what sex means. Both Aretha and Susie are far beyond limits when it comes to sex. No matter your gender or sexuality, if it turns you on—or if you thought it might turn you on—it's probably in this book. I read with joy as all sorts of wonderful topics were playfully and intelligently discussed: erectile dysfunction, body image, even the taste of semen–and so much more–are all discussed with flair, gentle good humor and kindness by the two authors. The book never gets bogged down in serious discussions of sex, using long words. At several points in the read, I found myself laughing out loud. Now that's how to talk about sex!

And because the book is written as a conversation, the reader never feels targeted or spoken at. Instead, we are participants in a sweet, funny conversation between mom and daughter. In short it's everything your mom never told you about sex, and everything your daughter will never tell you about sex.

Maybe you've read my book, Hello Cruel World—it's about how to make yourself a life more worth living. Well, great sex is a great way to make life more worth living, and if you liked my book, you're gonna love this one. It's a sex advice book for the rest of us, whether we're a mom, a daughter, or both–whether we're a father, a son, or any combination of the above. Highly recommended.

Currently, the book is available for Kindle, and you can get your copy right hereHave fun with it. I did!

Deconstructing Sexuality

This blog is part of a series I'm writing while I'm updating the fifteen year old "My Gender Workbook" for Routledge Press. I'm asking for your voice to be included in the spiffy new version, because you are so much more than the first version of the book could have predicted. Every couple of days, I'll be posting a new question for you to ponder. If the question tickles your fancy, by all means please speak to it. For more about this update, check out the original blog. Thanks for your help.

I'm trying to break down sexuality into its component parts. If you're reading this blog, you know that sexuality is more than the gender of your partner(s). And if you've been reading my twibe's tweets about asexuality, you know that sexuality doesn't always include sex. So, what are the components?

Here's what I've come up with so far. I'm asking for your input: besides the following factors (in varying degrees in different people), what else is a component of a person's sexuality?

INTEREST IN SEX

BODY PARTS, CONFIGURATIONS, & IMAGE

GENDER ASSIGNMENT, IDENTITY & EXPRESSION

SENSATION

EROTIC/EROGENOUS ENHANCEMENTS & TOYS

LOCATION & TIMING

PERCEPTION & COMMUNICATION

DEBGREES OF CONSENT

TRUST, VULNERABILITY, PRIVACY & INTIMACY

CONFIDENCE & POWER DYNAMICS

SAFETY

LOVE & ROMANCE

PARTNERING

COMMUNITY, SOCIAL SKILLS, & INTERACTION

COMFORT & RISK

WHIMSY, FANTASY, FLIRTATION & PLAYFULNESS

MORALITY

INTELLIGENCE, SPRITUALITY & WISDOM

HUMOR & COMEDY

EMPATHY & RESPECT

COMPATIBILITY *

* I'm tying compatibility to placing varying degrees of importance upon perceived gender, race, age, class, religion, sexuality, looks, ability, mental health, family/
reproductive status, language, habitat, citizenship, political ideology, and humanity.

So… what else goes into defining a person's sexuality? The first draft of My New Gender Workbook is coming into the home stretch. Looking forward to your comments and tweets!

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate

Reminder: You can answer in the comments section of this blog, but Twitter is the very best way to respond. Response length, wherever you do it, is maximum 280 characters, two tweels. Your tweets do NOT have to be addressed to me, but DO remember to put the hashtag #MNGW on ALL your tweets about this or any other gender-y thing that might pop into your adorable li'l head.