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

Where’s Kate in January-February?

I'm so glad to be out on the road again with some old favorite performances and workshops, as well as some brand new material. I'll be blogging soon about what exactly I'm up to—but here are some dates for now. I hope I get to see you at one of these gigs—if so, please do say hello! xoxo Auntie Kate
 
JANUARY APPEARANCES: 
 
January 10 Sunday matinee New York City: MDLSX, By Motus, Performed by Silvia Calderoni. I’m speaking on a talkback panel after the performance http://lamama.org/mdlsx/
 
January 15 Friday evening, New York City: SQUIRTS at La MaMa. I’m onstage with Miz June and PWR BTTM, one time only! http://lamama.org/squirts-2016/
 
January 30, Saturday evening, Hartford, CT: "TRANS, Beyond the Tipping Point" at Real Art Ways, co-presented with Mark Twain House. http://www.realartways.org/event/trans-beyond-the-tipping-point-an-evening-with-kate-bornstein/2016-01-30/
 
FEBRUARY ENGLAND TOUR:
 
February 5, Friday evening, Manchester, Queer Contact Festival at Contact Theater. Performance: “On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us.” http://contactmcr.com/whats-on/46295-qc16-kate-bornstein-on-men-women-and-the-rest-of-us/
 
February 6, Saturday all day workshop, Manchester, Queer Contact Festival at LGBT Foundation. MY GENDER WORKSHOP, http://contactmcr.com/whats-on/48492-qc16-kate-bornstein-my-gender-workshop/
 
February 9, Tuesday evening, London, The British Library. Kate Bornstein In Conversation With Paris Lees. http://www.bl.uk/events/kate-bornstein-in-conversation
 
February 13, Saturday all day workshop, London, MY GENDER WORKSHOP. https://www.facebook.com/events/1493628694277011/. For more info and booking, email zed at queerhearted dot com.
 
February 18, Thursday evening, Brighton, at Dome Studio Theatre, Performance: “On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us.” http://brightondome.org/event/8775/on_men_women_and_the_rest_of_us/
 
February 19, Friday afternoon workshop, Brighton, location tba. “Hello Cruel World: Survival Tips for Trans & GNC Youth"
 
February 20, Saturday night, London, at Duckie! In cabaret with Sooze Frumin and Dame Poppycock. http://www.duckie.co.uk/saturdays/page/2
 
February 21, Sunday evening, London: Benefit screening of Sam Feder’s documentary film, “Kate Bornstein Is A Queer and Pleasant Danger,” — details TBA
 
February 23-24 Tuesday-Wednesday evenings, London, at SoHo Theatre: Performance: “On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us.” http://sohotheatre.com/whats-on/kate-bornstein-on-men-women-and-the-rest-of-us/
 
February 26 Friday evening, London, Wheatsheaf Hall, a LoveSpirit event with Barbara Carrellas and me: "Our Journeys in Sex, Gender and Spirit.” Tickets and details: click here.
 
————————–
 
MARCH, APRIL, MAY and JUNE BOOKINGS ARE IN THE WORKS
 
Please contact Jean at SpeakOutNow to bring me to a campus, town, or theater near you!

Trans Is Here To Stay—So Now What Do You Do?!

Hello Dear Friends, Family, Allies, and Simply Curious,

I'm happy to say that my cancer has been in remission for nearly a year and a half. My strength and stamina continue to improve—and that means I'm ready to hit the road again this fall. Given all that's been happening in the wild and wacky world of trans over the last year or so, it's clear that a new version of Trans 101 is sorely needed. To that end, I've put together a new workshop and I'm taking it on the road:

Transgender Is Here to Stay—So Now What Do You Do?!

Trans collage

On May 29, 2014, Laverne Cox graced the cover of Time Magazine, along with the words, “Transgender Tipping Point, America’s Next Civil Rights Frontier.” Ever since then, there’s been more and more evidence that proves Time’s point. Transgender is irrevocably out of the closet, and smack dab center stage in the culture. Some common questions that all of us are having to ask include:

  • Is gender a binary, a spectrum, or what?
  • What’s the difference between transgender and trans?
  • Other than gender, can you name ten factors that define your sexuality? 
  • What are three can’t-fail ways to be an ally in Trans civil rights? 
    (Hint: it’s not pronouns or bathrooms)
  • What words for trans must you never use? 
    (Hint: there aren’t any—it just depends on who you're using them with)
  • Can you articulate a definitive truth of gender that everyone can agree on?

I’ve designed this lecture/workshop to provide the tools most folks might need to mindfully articulate, discuss, have fun with, and navigate on their own terms, the world beyond a transgender tipping point.

Now Booking My 2015-2016 Speaking & Performance Tours

I’m looking forward to presenting this workshop in your town, at your high school, on your campus, or at  your conference. Here's a shiny new touring catalogue that lays out pretty much everything I'm doing on tour these days:  Download KateBornstein_15-16_Tour_Catalogue

Booking & interview inquiries, please email me at katebornstein at earthlink dot net. To get in touch with me personally, the best way is still Twitter or Instagram @katebornstein.

Hope to see you soon in your town!

xox

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.

 

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

 

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

 

Auntie Kate’s Bible Story & Prayer for Pride

Last night, I was asked to speak at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, my synagogue in New York City. I go there when I'm in need of solace or succor or someplace with peaceful family. Well, it's an LGBTQetc inclusive congregation, and each year they have a Pride Sabbath, and they invite a cool person who speaks to them about pride. This year they chose me.

Every week, on the Sabbath, a different part of the Jews' journey to freedom is read. I asked Rabbie Sharon Klenibaum (upon whom I am secretly crushed out) what portion of the Torah would be read that evening. She told me that every Pride Month Sabbath at CBST, the congregation hears the story of how Noah finally sets foot on dry land, right after a HUGE MOTHER-FUCKING FLOOD has wiped out humanity. But God promises never to drown humanity again. He didn't preclude other methods, but we are definitely NOT going to drown. God makes this covenant with Noah, and to seal the bargain, He gives Noah a rainbow.

My queer Jew people in New York City hear that story every year, and it always gives us goose-bumps, the rainbow part—God's presence as we step out of the closet and onto dry land. So, I was supposed to talk from the bimah for 10-15 minutes—about anything I wanted. I thought it best to stick to the scripture, so I told a midrash—that's a Jew version of a parable, and sometimes even a koan. A midrash is a person's re-telling of some part of the Torah. I wanted to stay on point, so I told a story that I think makes the rainbow an even more important synbol LGBTQetc Pride. Download KB CBST Pride Shabat 2012 I closed the evening with a prayer, and a lot of people have asked me to post it. So, here's my Pride Sabbath Prayer for you. Enjoy being proud. kiss kiss, Auntie Kate

——————

May all your deeds be mitzvahs.

May you find the fulfillment of your Desire in Sabbath.

May your power increase with every shred of power
you use in service to another.

May you realize the goodness in yourself
by admiring the goodness in others.

May yours be the face of your most cherished Deity.

May you come to respect yourself, whether or not
anyone else gives you the respect you wish for.

May you know your own worth to humanity 
whether or not anyone else knows this about you.

May you walk always beneath rainbows where you are met
with radical wonder and radical welcoming.

So say we all… Amen.


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.

 

Beyond LGBTQQIA etc, Who’s a Member of Our Club?

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.

The designation LGBT is problematic for many reasons, but primarily:

  1. LGBT conflates identities based on sexualities with identities based on gender. That's not problematic, because both sexuality and gender have roots in desire and desireability—so we fit together just fine, even though we are two spaces of categorization.
  2. LGBT—the four letters, and even a few more—doesn't begin to cover the number of people who claim identities that hinge on sexuality and gender. This is a problem, because people get left out or they're actively barred from membership and that's just not right. It's way past the time when we can exclude people based on shades of meaning. 

Over the past few years, I've been putting together a list of claimed identities who hinge on gender anarchy and sex positivity. These are the people I want to hang out with. These are the people whose activism I would support, and whose rights I would stand up for. With your help, I've increased the list from 141 identities to 185!! I know that I'm far from done. I need your help, please, to finish this list. Kindly let me know what identities I've missed, and what identities I may have erroneously added to the list.

I'm particularly interested in regional slang, and names of identities from countries other than North America. I'm not looking for names that other people may call us in order to shame or degrade us—but if we use one or more of those words for ourselves with pride and dignity, then it goes on the list. In some cases, I've made words up—I've indicated these with an asterisk, and I'll be defining them in the list that ends up going into the workbook.

Here are the requirements for membership

  1. The identity is based in outlawed or marginalized sexuality or gender. I sum that up as gender anarchy and sex positivity.
  2. Those who've got more privilege than others use their privilege to uplift, support and encourage others.
  3. No members can be mean to others.

So, here's the updated PDF of people I'd like to have in my clubhouse: Download GASP 2

See if you can spot yourself on the list thus far. Let me know who I've missed, or anyone I've added by mistake. I'll try to update the list daily, so keep checking back so you don't miss out on any of the fun.

Thank you so much.

Auntie Kate

PS — if there's a word or identity on this list you don't know, give it a google!

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.