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From a beloved friend of this blog:

I spent about 15 minutes putting on makeup after my shower this morning. Because I’ve been sick for over two months, some of which was spent only able to get from bed to chair and most of which which was spent not being able to walk further than the pharmacy on the corner, because I felt grotty and tired, because I have a turquoise t-shirt with a squid on it and that is awesome, because I need a haircut SO BADLY, because I spent time last night sorting out all my makeup and how it’s stored, because I wanted to.

And I was scared, going out. I always am. On the “being a bloke wearing makeup” front, and because of the possibility that it’d get me misread as female. […] It felt like with one eye I could see what I wanted to see, and with the other all I could see was acne scars and prednisone rash and double chin and out-of-control hair and so on. Too old and pudgy to be the pretty-androgynous-boy-in-makeup, too short and ambiguous (and pudgy) to be the unquestionably-male-bearded-dude-in-makeup.

I felt sick and anxious.  But fuck it, I needed my Red Bull.  Do not get between me and caffeine.  And I also felt happy at the same time, because I like playing with shiny things, pretty colours, changing my appearance.  I like, finally, after a lifetime of hate and ambiguity towards it, wearing makeup.

And my squid shirt was pretty rad.

So I went out.

Read the rest: ManUp MakeupAnd sometimes, people surprise you

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since the last time I got it together to post. I do apologize for this. However, one part of the journey has been learning that, despite my trying to deny it for many years, browbeating myself to do ‘better,’ and desperately hoping for some kind of medical solution, I’ve simply got lower energy than other people — whatever the cause may be — and can’t always accomplish everything I set out to do. Especially since my life has been much busier than heretofore over the last month or so. And this is okay.

I’ve started a new academic career, in a field related to gender and sexual orientation. Much to my chagrin, many of the professors are coming at it from a place of a huge amount of unexamined straight and cis privilege and centrism, that really keeps them from perceiving a big part of their field.

It’s very frustrating. Read the rest of this entry »

So it looks like there’s just been a fight on the fuckyeahfemmes community on Tumblr, that I walked in on late via somebody else’s tumblog, so I can guarantee you that what I have to say won’t take the whole discussion into account because I wasn’t there and still am not entirely certain whether or not to capitalize Tumblr let alone how to use it.

It seems that a quote referring to femmes as girls angered some of the trans men in the community, and led to a discussion of transphobia in the femme community, as well as — and this is where it involves me directly — a discussion of variously male-identified folks who identify as femme, and whether that is okay.

As I say, since I didn’t see the whole discussion, this isn’t meant as a recap of the specific incident in question, but more about the whole matter of people who aren’t women or female-identified, in my case men, identifying as femme, as that was called into question. So I guess it’s time for me to finally organize how I feel on the subject, an article that has been coming for some time.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is signal boosting for a friend who is currently filing a lawsuit against the Quebec Department of Civil Status for wanting him to be sterilized in order to access a legal change of gender. Check out his website here.

He writes:

I am a transsexual man who has been wrangling with the Registrar of Civil Status of Quebec over my legal sex designation for the past few months. There are many serious problems with this department, including arbitrary/inconsistent decisions due to bureaucrats interpreting articles 71 and 58 of the Quebec Civil Code however they want – therefore getting to decide what consists an appropriate sex change for trans- people, getting to decide whether to add a first name to a birth certificate instead of granting an actual change of name to trans people, general ignorance about trans issues and surgeries, unwillingness to dialogue with the community and medical professionals, hostile attitudes towards trans people from some bureaucrats, long wait times, barriers for non-citizens, and more. It’s a serious nightmare.

I have undergone a bilateral mastectomy, am on hormones and have paperwork attesting that I meet the criteria for GID – I submitted all of that info to the department. I was initially refused a sex change on the grounds of not having undergone phalloplasty. I contested this in writing because it has already been established that they cannot ask it as a prerequisite. They then revised their decision to state that I could not be granted a sex change because I had not undergone a total hysterectomy – as I type this, it is mandatory for trans people to be surgically sterile to be granted a change of sex in Quebec.

I am now going to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Civil Code article that dictates what conditions must be met to access a change of sex. While this legislation makes no difference to the Registrar of Civil Status, it hurts untold numbers of transsexual and transgendered Quebec citizens, forcing us to live as second class citizens and exposing us to great discrimination and violence. This legislation that makes surgical sterilization mandatory (it doesn’t take into account that some transsexual and transgendered do not wish, or are not able to undergo such surgeries) in order for us to be granted basic rights is literally a policy of eugenics – this is not hyperbole – and has no place in a province that values freedom and equality.

It is necessary that compulsory sterilization be abolished in order to comply with the Canada and Quebec Charters and to insure that trans people are granted their full citizenship. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Quebec to amend its Civil Code to ensure that it doesn’t contradict itself by protecting against unwanted medical treatment while simultaneously enforcing compulsory surgical treatment against a segment of the population.

This comes on the heels of the protest in Montreal last June calling for an overhaul of civil status rules as they apply to trans people.

As you can imagine, Elias is facing major legal costs as a result of this court battle, which if successful will make life easier for trans and gender-variant people throughout Quebec. Please, donate whatever you can (Paypal and credit card link) — even a few bucks will help. If you are gainfully employed, please consider giving more, as many trans and gender-variant people are perpetually underemployed and dealing with severe poverty, due to systemic discrimination of exactly this kind, and won’t be able to afford as much. And please spread the word in your networks.

My friends and loved ones and I thank you!

Okay, okay, I know I said no more Pagan stuff for a little while, but I absolutely have to signal-boost a post by a very dear friend in response to the PantheaCon trans fail, not least because it was slightly inspired by something I posted, but mostly because it is made of pure concentrated win:

In Our Own Image: towards a transcentric Paganism. Not safe for work or cissexist assholes.

I demand transcentric imagery, gods and goddess with the wide variety of trans bodies, trans genitals, trans selves. I demand a Horned God with hairy breasts and the new Year sleeping in his swelling womb. I demand Artemis, wild and free, with a penis. And some pagans think that’s blasphemy.

Fuck. That. Noise.

Our bodies are sacred too. We, too, are God, are Goddess.

For all those queer Pagans who have been reading my solstice series with fixated fascination, you really must listen to this recording of the Gay Paganism circle at PantheaCon, which just wrapped up in San José, California. There’s way too much fascinating stuff in there to summarize, but a lot of it expands greatly on some of the things I had hinted at in my post and other writings on my faith.

Click to listen: Walking it Out: Gay Paganism's Second Wave

ETA: But I can’t let this go without mentioning the transphobic fail that I’ve read reports of at PantheaCon. Linky linky linky loo.

I don’t want to talk too much about Dianic Witchcraft, not being a woman, but the folks in these blogs do a more than adequate job of calling out the problems with that rite (and having it in a public space), as well as the appallingly vulgar transphobic comments by (the person who signed themself as) renowned Witch Z. Budapest in the first link. (It’s important to note that Z. Budapest was not involved with the ritual.) Read the comments and have a drink each time you see someone contrasting “transwomen” [sic] with “women” while pretending that’s not what they’re doing.

As for me, I’m still learning about the place in my life that the Masculine Divine has. But, after having suffered a near miss a few years back, I’m prepared to say that at this stage of my life I would definitely not feel comfortable participating in any Men’s Mystery (including Queer Men’s Mysteries) that men who are trans would not be welcome at. It would dishonour a very significant share of the men in my life, and, in the words of a well-known Witch, I can’t be having with that sort of thing.

Further ETA: THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I MEANT, and it’s remarkably consonant with what I wrote a few weeks ago about the Masculine Divine before I heard about any of this stuff.

That’s not to say Magical Trans Women Are Here for Cis Lady Enlightenment, merely that their experiences are every bit as important to what constitutes Being a Woman in every possible sense, and that all women can learn from that. Goddammit, Women’s Mysteries means exploring all the mysteries of womanhood, be it cis or trans, butch or femme, queer or het, white or PoC, young or old, working lady or SAHM, childfree or mama of 5 bad assed kids, and all the awesome gray areas in between all of these labels. Because women are all these things, you assgoblins! Fuck, this is not rocket science. Trans women’s experiences are important to me as a cis woman because even though I don’t live them, they’re just as much a part of the mystery of womanhood as my own experiences. By denying my trans sisters, I’d be denying a piece of myself.


For all the rest of you who are just sick to death of the religious hoohaa and wish I would just get back to writing about femme boys already, don’t worry, this is the last for a while! (I think.) I have a few ideas saved up for subsequent posts, but what would you be interested in seeing me address?

Bill C-389 passed. The House of Commons voted — narrowly, but with support from every party — to outlaw discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in federal areas of jurisdiction and to consider crimes based on those grounds as hate crimes.

I’ve been working on this issue for a really long time and it’s an incredible relief and joy. For me, both as a genderqueer person and as someone in love with a trans man, it really hits home.

Let’s hear it for Bill Siksay, the bill’s sponsor and the NDP’s LGBTT issues critic. He’s a wonderful person and he’s retiring from the House at the end of this parliament, and I can’t think of a better legacy to leave behind.

It now must pass the Senate before the next election in order to become law. But if this should fail to happen, either because it gets defeated in the Conservative-dominated Senate or an election is called before it passes, the NDP has a very solid groundwork for reintroducing it in the next Parliament until it finally is passed. In the meantime, I hope the provinces move on introducing their own bills, to cover provincial areas of jurisdiction as well.

But enough of this. At least for a day or two, let’s celebrate

This evening I had the opportunity to go see, for the third time, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. If you’ve never heard of this troupe, they perform all-male drag ballet, pointe shoes, tutus, temperament, and all — for more than 30 years now. And they do it wonderfully.

In one of the purest examples of camp I’m aware of, they combine very strong technical virtuosity, erudition, and obvious love of the art to produce a plainly affectionate but screamingly funny send-up of the conceits of classical ballet. It’s highly accessible to non-ballet fans, and amid the parody, the dancing itself is extremely good, sometimes resurrecting nearly forgotten works, and many of the numbers show the dancers’ skills off impressively. Do go and see them next time they’re in town.

On a more serious note, it’s a little fortuitous that I actually had the time to go and see them, since as previously mentioned I’ve been working my gay ass off on Canada’s Bill C-389 on trans and gender-variant people’s rights, which faces its greatest test tomorrow afternoon in Parliament: its final vote in the House of Commons at third reading.

Time is very short, and the last vote in December was quite close. If you haven’t already, contact your MP, or several MPs, and urge them strongly to be both present and voting in favour of the legislation. The vote is expected to take place around 5:30 p.m. Eastern, and you can watch it on CPAC.

Once that’s done, I hope to release my next article within a short time. Sorry for the wait, but things have been pretty hairy around here.

I already knew it was going to be amazing to be in San Francisco over the Solstice season, and the prospect of an unchained Pagan bonfire on Ocean Beach after two days of Radical Faerie space was already exciting enough. Let alone one, as a commenter pointed out, held while Mercury is in retrograde and there’s a lunar eclipse.

Even then, though, I certainly did not expect to abruptly decide to join the people who were taking all their clothes off and scampering into the Pacific Ocean. (The thought process basically went: “I live in freaking Montreal. How many chances am I going to run naked into the water on the Winter Solstice that don’t involve a hot tub?”)

Anyway, it’s a beautiful season of synchronicity in my life right now, and I’ve been taking advantage of it to think about the uses of gender and sacred androgyny in my Pagan practice, and a few issues arising from it. I won’t expand too much on that practice itself at present*. But here are a few recent things I had really interesting and valuable discussions of during those four days.

I’ve found that, as in all things, it’s super important to consider my cissexual privilege in doing sacred androgyny work. Two different trans friends made more or less the same observation within a few days, in slightly different contexts, that encouraging people to think outside the gender binary plays way differently if you’re speaking to cis or genderqueer people than if you’re speaking to trans people (particularly transsexual people who identify clearly as men or as women).

Read the rest of this entry »

  • For those who are interested but haven’t yet heard, Bill C-389, the NDP bill to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code, successfully passed the report stage on December 8. It has only one step left in the House of Commons, the debate and vote on third reading, expected in February; but it must then get through the Senate before an election is called in order to become law.

    This was the first time the whole house held a recorded vote on the issue. The tally was 143 for and 131 against. All New Democrats and Bloquistes present voted in favour, as did most Liberals; however three Liberals voted against and several abstained. Most Conservatives voted against, but five voted in favour, including one who spoke against the bill at second reading, which to me indicates that they can be turned. Exciting days ahead.

  • On a related subject, some sad news for our community: Bill Siksay, the MP for Burnaby-Douglas, BC, and the NDP’s critic on LGBTT issues, as well as the proposer of Bill C-389, has announced he won’t run again in the next election.

    I’ve had the opportunity to meet Bill several times, and a more self-effacing, caring, devoted MP, with more integrity and commitment to our communities and giving voice to the silenced, you will never meet. He has been in politics for every one of the right reasons. We’re going to lose one of the best MPs Canada has ever had, in my opinion, as well as an unprecedented voice for trans and genderqueer equality.

    However, he is not resigning now, but staying in parliament until the next election. So he will continue to shepherd C-389 until then. Also, the bill was seconded by no fewer than 12 MPs, including Megan Leslie of Halifax who has worked with the trans community for years and gave a wonderful speech at 2nd reading. So if it doesn’t pass in this parliament, I’m confident it’ll be reintroduced in the next.

  • I have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco – I’m writing this on the plane for posting later. I’ve never been, so I’m finally making the pilgrimage! Among other things I’ll be taking part in Solstice gatherings with the Radical Faeries and the Reclaiming Tradition. I can’t wait. I’ll write about my trip when I get back!
  • Today is the international day for the depathologization of trans identities. Trans people around the world are calling on psychological and psychiatric authorities to stop considering their identities to be disease states, and demanding full access to transition-related care as a human right, without requiring a diagnosis of mental illness.

    As we speak, a team of psychiatrists is working to rewrite the notorious Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-IV), revising among others the articles dealing with trans identities and cross-dressing. Yes, cross-dressing is currently considered evidence of mental illness – but only in men.

    It doesn’t inspire confidence that the committee is headed by the dread Dr. Kenneth Zucker, head of the gender clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (a.k.a. “Jurassic Clarke”). Say his name to most any Canadian trans person and watch them shudder.

    I’m running all over today, but I’ll expand more on these themes in an upcoming blog post.

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