Whipping Girl

the blog with the trans feminine touch!

i'm outta here...
post-skin cancer
juliaserano
LJ is dead. I am tired of the spam robots. I miss the folks who used to be here...

from now on, all my blogging will occur on this site:

http://juliaserano.blogspot.com/

i'm outta here. best wishes to all'y'all LJ folks. hope to see you in greener pastures... -julia xo

P.S., for those of you who are visiting here, feel free to check out the posts from the past. However, I will soon be locking up all the comments here so that the spam robots no longer have access to them...
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Honey Money
cow
juliaserano
A friend passed this onto me:


"Catherine Hakim: charm school marm – interview"




This has got to be the funniest book review-slash-interview that I have ever read. It totally titilated my erotic capital...  ; )

how to thwart the LJ vultures?
post-skin cancer
juliaserano
so this is my first post in a while, as I am trying to hunker down on writing book number two, rather than getting distracted by blog-posting... but much to my chagrin, I keep having to attend to my LJ account several times a day because of the relentless spam comments that I need to delete. My impression is that the spam-bots are aware that LJ is (sadly) a dying web space/community, and they are swooping in like vultures under the assumption that many people have completely abandoned their LJ sites.

Anyway, what I'd like to do is to "freeze" comments on all my older posts - i.e., prevent anyone from commenting on a post older than a few weeks. Does anyone know if this is possible and, if so, how to do it?

If this is not possible, and if LJ can't do anything to stop these spam-bot vultures, I may give up on LJ entirely. I don't want to do it, but it has become such a time-suck...

I welcome any thoughts/suggestions from anyone who is not a spam-bot...
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still here...
cow
juliaserano
ok, so the rapture apparently has not happened. but in all due respect to the prognosticators, it was especially windy in Oakland today!

Trying to find a particular quote...
mic
juliaserano
I posted this on Facebook, but no one had an answer for me. So I figured it was worth a shot to post it here, since LJ people tend to be the smartest of all the social media types  ; )

fabulous peoples of the internets: I am trying to find a quote - thought it was either Einstein or Wittgenstein (2 of my favorite "steins"), but now I'm note sure. Paraphrased, it is something like: If we can agree on all the terms/definitions, then we will not disagree on the theory/answer. Or something like that anyway... Any thoughts collective hive mind?
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Good Friday
me&buddy&mcbird
juliaserano
So tomorrow is "Good Friday" - a name that totally confused me as a young (pre-recovering) Catholic child. Why is it good? Because Jesus died? If so, since when is being politically executed a good thing?

Or maybe it's good because he eventually comes back from the dead - if so, then shouldn't it be "bad Friday" and "good Sunday"?

Or maybe it's good because Jesus supposedly died for our sins? Well in world where that pope guy still insists that transsexuality and same-sex relationships are "sins", does that mean that I am forgiven? Or would I have had to be born back in the B.C. days to have been forgiven? Even if Jesus did die for *my* sins, is that something that I, as a moral human being, should be celebrating - political executions/martyrdoms that personally benefit me?

In any case, tomorrow represents an important anniversary for me. It was on Good Friday 22 years ago that I first presented as female in public!

I've already written about this on two separate occasions. I talked about it in a piece I wrote back around 2005-ish called "Cherry Picking" (which should be appearing in an anthology sometime later this year). Here's what I said about it there:

The first time that I ever went out in public dressed as a woman was when I was 21.  I came home from college for Easter weekend while the rest of my family was away on a trip.  I shaved off the silly looking beard I had grown over the semester.  I put on my sister’s black cotton knit dress.  It had long sleeves, so that no one could see my arm hair, and I wore opaque tights to hide my leg hair. I’m sure that I put way too much make-up on my face and way too much product in my hair, but nobody seemed to care because it was the eighties.  I drove to a mall about an hour away from my parent’s house so that I wouldn’t run into anyone who knew me.  As I approached the entrance, an older man held the door open for me and called me “sweetie”.  I felt flattered and insulted at the same time, but mostly, I was just amazed to be getting away with this.  After walking around the mall for about ten minutes, I realized that I was hungry and hadn’t eaten all morning.  I drove to a Burger King for a shake and fries. The woman at the drive-thru window said, “Thank you ma’am,” as she handed me my change and receipt. I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful those three simple words sounded to me.

I also wrote about this meaningful moment in my life in song form - specifically a Bitesize song called "In the Know". For the occasion, I am temporarily making it available mp3-wise at this link:

http://www.juliaserano.com/av/Bitesize-In%20the%20Know.mp3


for those who are interested, here are the lyrics to that song:

as you drove through illinois/i was super paranoid/sneaking out of our garage/head to toe in camouflage/but no!/i’m never gonna let you know.../while you were pumping gasoline/i spent a day in quarantine/writing run-on paragraphs/in the bedroom aftermath/but no!/i’m never gonna let you know.../your toothpaste/your mouthwash/your hair brush/your dental floss/your wash cloth/your lotion/your saline solution/all of your stuff is staring back at me/it makes me feel guilty but i’m not gonna crack/but no!/i’m never gonna let you know...

As I have written elsewhere, my Catholic upbringing really fucked me over as a young child trying to make sense of my trans-ness. So it is somewhat satisfying to know that a crucial positive moment in my trans life occurred on a sacred Catholic holiday…

-julia

Julia update - February 2011
me&buddy&mcbird
juliaserano
hello all,

So yes, this is my first update in quite a while - since August of last year in fact. Sorry to have fallen off the face of the earth like that, but I was somewhat thwarted by health issues that, while not completely resolved, have gotten much much better. So now I am back with a vengeance! And here’s what I have going on during February and March:

I.) upcoming shows

February 14, 2011 – I will be reading at the annual and awesome spoken word event My Sucky Valentine! Other performers include Carol Queen, Kirk Read, Sherilyn Connelly, Charles Gatewood, Simon Sheppard, horehound stillpoint, and show host Thomas S. Roche.

Doors 7pm, show 8pm
Donation: $10-$20 sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds)
A Benefit for The Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission Street, San Francisco
Venue Web Site: http://sexandculture.org/
Advance tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/155881

more info about the show at: http://thomasroche.com/2011/02/03/my-sucky-valentine-2011/

February 26, 2011 -- I will be giving the Saturday evening keynote at this year’s Colorado Gold Rush conference in Denver, CO. More info about the conference can be found at: http://www.gicofcolo.org/colorado-gold-rush.aspx

March 10, 2011 -- I will be a featured speaker at the Lewis and Clark Gender Studies Symposium in Portland, OR. In addition, the following day at the symposium I will be part of a roundtable (along with Diana Courvant Graham and Elena Rose) entitled “Speaking of Privilege: Trans Women’s Experience of Feminism from the Inside.” More info about the conference (including its schedule) can be found here: http://www.lclark.edu/live/news/7221-30th-annual-gender-studies-symposium?preview=1

March 24, 2011 -- I will be hosting the third annual “Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue” show! Girl Talk is a spoken word show curated by myself, Gina de Vries and Elena Rose, and intended to foster dialogue about the myriad relationships and overlapping issues that exist between queer cisgender (i.e., nontransgender) and transgender women. In past years, the show has taken place in June as part of the National Queer Arts Festival, but this year the Queer Cultural Center (who organizes the festival) suggested that we have the show in March as part of Women’s History Month!

This year’s performers are TBA, but the cast will include Gina de Vries, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Marlene Hoeber, Sadie Lune, Elena Rose, and Rachel Rubin. The show will be held at the S.F. LGBT Community Center - Ceremonial Room, 1800 Market Street
Tickets: $12-$20 (sliding scale! nobody turned away!)

I promise to send out more info (including a link for advance tickets) soon...

II.) new writings

Over the last six months, three new essays that I have written have come out:

1) Back in October, the webzine “The Scavenger” included my essay “Bisexuality does not reinforce the gender binary.” You can read it here:

http://www.thescavenger.net/glb/bisexuality-does-not-reinforce-the-gender-binary-39675.html

2) As many of you know, a major part of my trans activism over the last 5 years has been challenging certain psychological depictions, theories and diagnoses that target gender variant people, especially those depictions/theories/diagnoses that are sexualizing in nature. (Some of my past writings along these lines can be found here: http://www.juliaserano.com/TSetiology.html).

A major focus of this activism has been centered on psychologist Ray Blanchard’s theory of “autogynephilia.” While countless trans activists, allies and advocates have long argued that the theory is short-sighted, not supported by the available scientific data, and unnecessarily stigmatizing, a handful of sexologists who favor the theory (e.g., J. Michael Bailey and Anne Lawrence) have dismissed these critiques on the basis that they have not been “published in a peer reviewed journal.”

To rectify this situation, I have written a research article entitled “The Case Against Autogynephilia,” which has recently been published in the International Journal of Transgenderism (aka, a peer-reviewed research journal). A link to the abstract of the article can be found here:

http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/15532739.2010.514223

Because it was published in a research journal, the only people who can access the entire article from this link are those with a subscription to IJT, or those who are a part of a university or institution that has a subscription to IJT. However, I am allowed to share this article with a limited number of interested colleagues. I know that quite a few people on my email list are involved in the fields of trans health, trans advocacy and trans activism. So for those of you interested in obtaining a copy of this article, please email me. (my email address can be found on the contact page of my website: http://www.juliaserano.com/contact.html)

3) At the top of this update, I briefly mentioned dealing with “health issues.” In December, I wrote a small, personal essay about such matters - for the time being, it appears on my blog here:

http://juliaserano.livejournal.com/18632.html

OK, that’s it for now...

Best wishes, -julia

Skin
post-skin cancer
juliaserano
Skin
December 2010

I.

In August 2006, a friend was taking photos of me for use on my website and for promotion and such. During the photo-shoot, she asked a series of seemingly random questions that were meant to keep me relax and acting natural while I was being photographed. One of those questions was, “What is your favorite part of your body?” It really struck me, because no one had ever asked me that question before. And, almost without hesitation, I answered: “My skin.”

Way back during my physical transition, among the plethora of bodily changes that were taking place, the change in my skin was most profound for me. While some trans folks focus on some of the more prominent or symbolic changes, I marveled at my skin – the change in texture and appearance, how my face blossomed into a mess of freckles. I remember waking up mornings during that time, and my hand would just so happen to be touching my arm, or my leg, or face, and it would just feel right. I suppose that it’s a cliché to say that trans folks finally feel “comfortable in our own skins” post-transition. Well for me, I experienced that phrase quite literally.

II.

Nowadays, when I look at the photos that were taken of me on that August day four years ago, I notice my skin and all those freckles, but mostly my attention is drawn toward a small red blemish on my right cheek. I remember having first noticed the blemish a month before that photo-shoot, during a hectic month in which my partner at the time and I were in the process of moving for the fifth time in seven years (that is a long story in and of itself). Anyway, at first I thought the blemish was a zit, but it didn’t go away. My bird Buddy, who spends much of her time perched on my shoulder, kept trying to pick at it. I kept telling myself that I should go to the doctor to have it checked out, but I was so busy packing and unpacking, and working hard to make my end-of-the-year book manuscript deadline, that I viewed the blemish as a relatively low priority.

That changed one September day, when I noticed a little blood vessel adjacent to the red blemish. As a biologist, I am aware that tumors often recruit blood vessels, so I immediately became concerned that it might actually be cancerous. Unfortunately, I was right. What followed was a year-long ordeal during which I had a 3 square-centimeter chunk of my cheek removed, as well as two plastic surgeries to try to fix the hole that was left behind. (I described this in slightly more detail in a previous post

These days, when I look at pictures from that August, 2006 photo-shoot, I can’t help but notice how my face has changed since then. First, I have a significant scar on my right cheek from those cancer-related surgeries. Some people tell me that you can hardly notice it. But I’ve also had people ask me outright “How did you get that scar on your face?” So I have to believe that it is fairly obvious. Even if others overlook it, it sure is noticeable to me.

And when I compare the face that appears in those old photos to the one starring back at me in the mirror now, it is striking how less freckly I am these days. This is an indirect effect of having had skin cancer, as in the years that have followed I have religiously worn sunscreen and large brimmed hats in order to reduce my exposure to the sun. The less sun exposure, the less freckles. I really liked my freckles, so it’s been kind of sad to no longer have as many.

But more than sadness, when I look back on pictures from that photo-shoot, I am filled with a profound sense of irony. On that August day when I declared that my skin was my favorite part of my body, little did I know that some of my skin cells were revolting against me, and that I would need to lose a big chunk of mostly healthy skin tissue in order to save the rest of my body from those renegade skin cells.

III.

I have been thinking quite a lot about my skin over the last two months. In fact, it has, once again, become my primary preoccupation. I have recently been diagnosed as having psoriasis, which is a chronic auto-immune condition that affects the skin. It is one of those conditions that no one fully understands, but many researchers believe that it occurs when the body mistakes healthy skin for wounded skin. Basically, what happens is that immune cells move into the epidermis and secrete factors that both cause inflammation and signal to the surrounding tissue to make new skin cells. Then, when these new skin cells arrive at the surface of the skin (where they are not actually needed), they die, resulting in what are called “plaques,” which appear at the skin’s surface. In addition to these plaques, the skin becomes very thick, red, inflamed and incredibly itchy.

Anyway, like I said, it is a chronic, life-long condition that, like many auto-immune conditions, may be dormant for periods, and then suddenly become more intense for one reason or another, often in response to stress or environmental factors. Although I was unaware of it at the time, in retrospect, I believe that I had a very mild flair-up of psoriasis during my twenties, primarily on my scalp (which is one of the more common places for it to develop) and my ears. At the time, I thought it was just a dandruff problem (a common presumption), and I battled it with dandruff shampoos. Around the age of thirty, it just seemed to go away, and I haven’t thought much about it since.

A few months ago, out of the blue, it started coming back. In September, I had my biannual full-body skin exam with my dermatologist. Normally, the focus of the exam is on potential skin cancer recurrences - luckily there were none. But this time, she found that the skin on my scalp was irritated. It was fairly mild at that point, so she suspected that it was just a case of dermatitus, which tends to be temporary and is usually less serious.

Over the next two months however, it only got worse. Upon close inspection, it became obvious that my entire scalp was extremely red and I could see plaques all over. I switched over to dandruff shampoos and conditioners, which had worked for me in the past, but they did not help at all. Eventually it became unbearable - my scalp itched incessantly and was a constant source of pain. So I went back to my dermatologist, and she said it was definitely psoriasis.

For the last month or so, I’ve been on a rigorous treatment regime, involving topical medications, medicated shampoos, and a once a week soaking-my-head-in-oil treatment to facilitate plaque removal. My scalp psoriasis has definitely subsided a bit, but has certainly not gone away. In addition, I have experienced a couple small outbreaks on other parts of my body, specifically on my arms and torso. The fact that it has started spreading to other parts of my body has really worried me, as it implies that my condition is getting worse rather than better. In people who have more severe cases, psoriasis can cover large swaths of the body. My grandmother had psoriasis, and it covered much of her legs. (Other relatives on her side of the family had it as well; it tends to run in families.) I am nowhere near that point, but the fear that my psoriasis may be becoming more widespread and severe is a constant source of concern. Some mornings I wake up and see lots of tiny, red, dry patches on my arms, which I have come to recognize as the first signs of flair ups. If I ignore them, they get larger and itchier. I can usually prevent this from happening by dousing them in lotion 4-5 times a day. Occasionally a patch or two will continue to grow, in which case I need to treat it with medication.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis, only management of the condition. In addition to the treatments I am undertaking, I have also tried to increase my vitamin D levels and to get more sun. Apparently, the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can signal the skin cells to stop dividing aberrantly. The irony has not been lost on me: After hiding from the sun for the last four years for fear of another incident of skin cancer, I am now actively seeking out sunlight (albeit in moderation). This has been a little difficult to achieve, as here in the Bay Area we tend to have very overcast and rainy winters. But at least we don’t have dry winters like much of the country, as this can really exacerbate the condition. Many people experience their biggest psoriasis flair ups in the winter, both because of the dryness and the sharp reduction in sunlight.

My dermatologist says that the treatments I am on, while topical, are quite strong. (Actually, I am alternating between a strong medicine and a more mild medicine every two weeks). If the topical medications fail to keep the condition in check, the fallback position (from a medical perspective) would be going on immunosuppressants. Apparently, they significantly ease psoriasis symptoms, but they have the considerable drawback of...well, being immunosuppressants. Needless to say, that is a path that I would only ever consider if absolutely necessary.

Anyway, I find myself dealing with this new development in my life on two different levels. First, there is my immediate having to deal with the changes in my body and my daily routine. Between the various treatments, making a point of getting some sun, constantly surveying my body and applying lotion, and so forth, a significant chunk of each day has become dedicated to dealing with psoriasis. Furthermore, as with most auto-immune conditions, stress is thought to exacerbate psoriasis, so I have been making a point of not pushing myself too much, and of getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night. This has really cut into my writing time (which has traditionally taken place early in the mornings before I head off for my day job) and other projects and chores have fallen by the wayside as well. I am hoping that this is a temporary phase, and that I will be able to resume my old schedule when/if my psoriasis goes back into remission. But of course, there are no guarantees that this will happen.

Psoriasis has also affected my quality of life in other ways, the most obvious of which is how uncomfortable the condition is. While the medication has helped a lot, my scalp is still red and inflamed and itchy a lot of the time. I liken my situation to having a minor cold: Because it is not too severe, you can go into work and get stuff done, but at the same time, you feel yucky all the time, and you are worried about exerting yourself too much for fear of the condition getting worse. It is a constant, low-level uncomfortability and cause for concern in my life; it is frustrating, but manageable.

The fact that my psoriasis is concentrated on my scalp has also touched a bit on my trans issues, specifically regarding my hair. First off, when I do my once a week oil treatment to remove plaques, I always lose lots and lots of hair - more hair that I have ever lost at one time in my life. This is most likely a temporary situation: as the plaques disappear they often take hair with them, but they usually do not affect that ability of the hair follicles to make new hair (which is what happens in actual baldness). The hair loss is probably not noticeable to anyone but me, but as a trans woman who was starting to experience male pattern baldness in the couple years just prior to my transition, the whole episode has been somewhat triggering.

In addition, I am only suppose to shampoo 2-3 times a week now, and some of the topical treatments have left my hair pretty yucky and unmanageable. Since my hair is long, I can just put it in a ponytail, which is no big deal. But the main problem is my bangs. I have a really high hairline (as a result of my previously mentioned flirtation with male pattern baldness) that is normally not very visible because of my bangs. But when my bangs don’t behave, my hairline becomes fairly obvious. In the last two weeks, I’ve had a couple instances where it seemed like strangers were either misgendering me or trying to figure out my gender. Granted, I’ve had many incidents like these in my life thus far (albeit mostly before and during my transition), and I can handle them just fine. But nevertheless, it is still a frustrating thing to have to deal with.

Anyway, those are the short-term issues that are foremost in my mind. Underneath all that, I am also trying to come to terms with the admittedly more nebulous long-term ramifications of having psoriasis. Like I said, my immediate goal is to work toward remission, but this may not be achievable. Many people deal with their psoriasis symptoms for decades without respite. And many times symptoms only get worse with time, not better. According to one paper that I read, the condition eventually becomes debilitating in 25% of people who have psoriasis. This may be due to the severity of the skin condition, or to the fact that some people who have psoriasis additionally develop psoriatic arthritis over time.

So while I am cautiously optimistic about my psoriasis going back into remission, I am also trying to come to terms with the fact that this is a chronic incurable condition that could potentially (although not necessarily) become debilitating at some point. To be honest, this was difficult to deal with at first. I just came out of a fairly traumatic last few years, and I was really hoping to have a relatively uneventful year (or two or three) with no significant obstacles or losses in my life to deal with. So when I first learned that I had this condition, I initially experienced flashes of anger and sadness.

But over time, this news has started to settle into my psyche. It has become just another part of who I am. I survived growing up trans in a transphobic world. I survived skin cancer. And I will survive psoriasis. As with all of those previous obstacles, I am working hard to control the few variables that I can control, and to let go of everything that is beyond my control. And I am trying to focus on all the things in my life that I am grateful for, rather than dwelling on the negative. Back when I was an isolated pre-teen and teen coming to terms with the fact that I was trans, I spent several years stuck on the question “why me?” I eventually realized that that was a completely pointless, unanswerable question, one that simply consumed my consciousness and prevented me from moving forward with my life. I soon learned that the more relevant and productive question to ask is: “So what do I do now?” 

IV.


Back when I had skin cancer, I couldn’t shake the feeling that those cancer cells were consuming me, like a parasite or plague. At one point, I completely disavowed my right cheek - I wouldn’t even touch it - because I knew that the cancerous cells that had taken over there were no longer a part of me. They were my enemy, intent on destroying me, and I desperately wanted them to be gone from my body.

A friend recently asked me if that’s how psoriasis feels. Do I feel as though my body is being consumed by psoriasis? Do I find myself disavowing my psoriatic skin lesions? My answer to that is an unequivocal “no.” With skin cancer, a small cluster of out-of-control skin cells were growing without regard to the health and well being of the rest of my body. Psoriasis is sort of the reverse situation: it is my immune system that is attacking my otherwise healthy skin tissue. In a way, it feels as though my body is betraying my skin, sending out immune signals to sabotage it. Rather than disavowing my skin, I feel really bad for my skin, and I want to make it better. And I desperately wish that I could convince my immune system to simply leave my skin alone.

In a way, all these thoughts are rather silly. My brain, and my skin, and my immune system, and the rest of my body, are all connected. We are all me. It is pointless to anthropomorphize my individual body parts and to pit them against one another. Just as it is pointless to declare that one part of my body is my favorite, when in reality, I need all of the individual parts to work together in order to exist.

Four years ago, I declared that my skin was my favorite part of my body. In the intervening years, the two major unexpected health issues that I have had to deal with have both involved my skin. On the surface, this might seem ironic. But I no longer see it that way. The older I get, the more that I find myself coming to terms with the fact that I am one body - a body that is both strong and susceptible; a body that is healthy and fully functioning in some ways, yet vulnerable and less functional in others; a body that I take for granted in many aspects, but which occasionally bestows me with obstacles, difficulties and challenges. I love my body, and at the same time, sometimes I am extremely frustrated by it. This might seem “contradictory” or “ironic” to some people. But I am becoming increasingly aware that having these mixed feelings is simply apart of what it means to be living.

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation book reading
cow
juliaserano
hello, I hope all your summers have been going swimmingly! This is a quickie update to let folks know that:

1) I have a piece in the newly released anthology Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (eds. Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman)! If you want a sneak peak of it, you can check out the Amazon page (which has previews):
http://www.amazon.com/Gender-Outlaws-Generation-Kate-Bornstein/dp/1580053084/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283177452&sr=1-1

as always, if you decide to buy it, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy at your local queer, feminist and/or independent bookstore...

2) if you live in the SF Bay Area, I will be one of the contributors reading excerpts from the book at the Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation book reading! here are the details:

Wednesday, Sept. 1st · 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA

Other Gender Outlaws contributors reading include:
S. Bear Bergman, Sherilyn Connelly, Sarah Dopp, Luis Gutierrez-Mock, ...Amir Rabiyah, Christine Smith, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Fran Varian, Shawna Virago, Sean Saifa Wall

Wheelchair accessible * ASL Interpreted * Scent free/reduced, please

This event is also a benefit for el/la para trans latinas, a health promotion. counseling and referral service for trans Latin@s, based in the Mission. (http://www.myspace.com/ellaparatranslatinas)

Pay What You Can at the door (suggested, $10).
**all proceeds from the event go to el/la.**

********

that’s it for now, hope to see you there! –julia
 

Julia update June 2010!
me&buddy&mcbird
juliaserano
Julia update June 2010!

1) Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue - back by popular demand!
2) Philadelphia Trans Health Conference
.............

hello! so a busy Pride month is just about upon us - here is what I will be up to this June:

1) Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue - back by popular demand!

As you may know, last year my friend (and awesome writer!) Gina de Vries and I co-curated “Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue” for the 2009 National Queer Arts Festival. Girl Talk is a spoken word show intended to foster dialogue about the myriad relationships and overlapping issues that exist between queer cisgender (i.e., nontransgender) and transgender women. We had an amazing cast who performed beautiful pieces, and the show was very well received! (for those interested, the link to an audio recording of the event can be found here: http://juliaserano.livejournal.com/15219.html )

Anyway, Gina and I have the honor of being able to put together a second installment of Girl Talk for this year’s National Queer Arts Festival! Here are all the details:

Girl Talk: A Cis and Trans Woman Dialogue
featuring D. Rita Alfonso, Ryka Aoki de la Cruz, Danielle Askini, Meliza Bañales, Annie Danger, Gina de Vries, Zarah Ersoff, Julia Serano, E. Rose Sims
more info about the cast can be found here: http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/QFest10/GirlTalk.html

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
7:30pm - 9:30pm
S.F. LGBT Community Center - Ceremonial Room
1800 Market Street, San Francisco

Tickets are $12-$20, and can be bought online here:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/111553
***note: based on last year’s attendance, we are pretty sure this event will sell out. So if you are planning to attend, I *strongly* encourage you to buy tickets online in advance.

here is a longer description of the event:
Queer cisgender women and queer transgender women are allies, friends, support systems, lovers, and partners to each other. Trans and cis women are allies to each other every day - from activism that includes everything from Take Back the Night to Camp Trans; to supporting each other in having “othered” bodies in a world that is obsessed with idealized body types; to loving, having sex, and building family with each other in a world that wants us to disappear. Girl Talk is a spoken word show fostering and promoting dialogue about these relationships. Trans and cis women will read about their relationships of all kinds - sexual and romantic, chosen and blood family, friendships, support networks, activist alliances. Join us for a night of stories about sex, bodies, feminism, activism, challenging exclusion in masculine-centric dyke spaces, dating and breaking up, finding each other, and finding love and family.

More info here: http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/QFest10/GirlTalk.html

***This event received a Creating Queer Community Commission from Queer Cultural Center funded through the San Francisco Foundation.***

2) Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

For those of you planning to attend this year’s Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (June 3-5; more info here: http://www.trans-health.org/), I will be presenting a workshop entitled “Sexualization and Anti-Transgender Discrimination.” It is tentatively scheduled for Friday June 4th at 2:30pm, but you should double-check your program when you arrive just to be sure. Here is a brief description of the workshop:

*Sexualization and Anti-Transgender Discrimination*
Sexualization occurs when a person is reduced to their sexual body or behaviors, to the exclusion of other characteristics. Sexualizing stereotypes of transgender people - including the assumption of trans people are sexual predators or deceivers, that MTF spectrum individuals are sexually motivated in their gender expression and transitions, and that attraction to trans people necessarily constitutes a “fetish” - are prevalent in both the general public and within psychological/gatekeeper discourses. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the numerous ways in which transgender spectrum people are sexualized, and the negative impact this has on our lives. Topics of discussion will include removal of Transvestic Fetishism from the DSM, suggestions for how trans allies and providers can be more cognizant and respectful of trans people’s sexual privacy, and strategies to challenge trans-sexualization without devaluing or denying our community’s sexual diversity and sexual expression.

also, I will be a panel member during another workshop entitled
“STRONG VOICES: Community Building Through Media Advocacy” (scheduled for June 5 at 10am).

OK, that’s all for now...
-julia
http://www.juliaserano.com
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