Friday, October 30, 2009

Bloggity Blogity Blog Blog Blog Note

O HAI! Like, remember me? I used to post--sometimes more than once a week--on this here blog!

Sorry, ducks, I know I promised you more vitriol--I did try to deliver with tonight's offering--but getting caught up with things out here on the west coast has been demanding. Also, my main client is playing the "we're not going to pay you, nyah nyah nyah" game, which is awful fun--nothing like being far from home with two months income being held in hock.

HOWEVER, I am slowly regaining equilibrium--or, since this blog is about anything but that--massive amounts of rage, and will be writing more and more often. I promise--and I've never let you down before, except for all those other times. Ahem.

Monster Rat: A Gallery of the Rape Culture

Hiram Monserrate is a douchebag.

Need proof? Consider the lovely legislative record of the freshman NYS senator: he not once, but twice threatened to caucus against his own party--which for the first time in over 40 years was in control of the upper house of the New York State legislature and had an ambitious progressive and reform agenda, including legalizing gay marriage--making good on his threat the second time and throwing the entire state government into chaos (and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.) And both times, he couldn't even stand steadfast to his own dirtbag principles (well, except the most important: look out for Hiram first)--he turned coat on his turncoat companions and slunk back to the Democrats.

And that's not even what earned him his nickname: Monster Rat.

That comes as a result of the "incident" of December 19th, 2009. Monserrate brought his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, to an emergency room over a half hour from his apartment. She had been slashed down to the bone by a broken glass. Monserrate claimed he had tripped in a darkened room and accidentally smashed the glass into her face. Giraldo disagreed, although she would later recant and say that his version was correct. But that night she called him "crazy" and said, "I can't believe he did this to me!"

It seems that he had been driven into a jealous rage by finding another man's business card in her purse. A security camera would later show images of him beating her in the hallway, dragging her by her hair. She tried to get away from him but nobody opened their door.

He was indicted, but once Giraldo changed her story, it proved impossible to convict him of anything but misdemeanor assault.

Now, I can leave it there: yet another case of a powerful man using his privilege to abuse a woman and get away with it--as Joanna Molloy did in the New York Daily News:
In the hallway after the verdict, women in jeans and lawyers' suits clustered in groups and shook their heads. "This sets women's rights back a long time," said one female court officer.

Forgive us if we find the couple's story the most incredible coincidence since Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same Fourth of July.

Erlbaum did find Monserrate - who courthouse wags have been calling Monster Rat - guilty of reckless assault, for forcibly dragging Giraldo out of the apartment in a scene caught on videotape.

It's a misdemeanor, so Monserrate gets to keep his job in Albany.
So for your enjoyment (read: rage), here is a gallery of Bramhall's cartoons, which are disturbing and triggering enough that (in a Second Awakening first) I present them after the jump.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Note

I know I've been away. Thank you for all your concern about my mental health: it is improving as my withdrawal stabilizes. Also, I'm currently on a transcontinental sojourn, which means that I have nice weather (I am typing this from a patio in California) and that can't but help my mood.

And that means more yummy vitriol, coming your way now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yet Another Below The Belt Post

That time of the month again:

The first person I knew who told me they weren't transgendered was a crossdresser I'll call Gene. He (and he did later come to insist on male pronouns, and stopped calling himself Gina on the message board we met on), decided that he really was in it for the clothes, and didn't find himself aligned with the other crossdressers on the board, who all thought of themselves as transgendered.

It was a little jarring to me at first; I had naively assumed that crossdressing=transgendered, so having someone overturn that conviction was surprising. But as I reflected on it, I could see his point. And since that time, I've met other people like Gene, some crossdressers, some genderqueer, and even some transsexuals who identify completely as their post-transition gender and have no desire to continue with any kind of transgender identity.

There exists, however, a group of trans women--at least, they seem to be exclusively trans women--who resist being placed under the transgender umbrella. Some refuse to even call themselves transsexuals, preferring the term Harry Benjamin Syndrome instead. They claim that transsexualism is a case of being "neurologically nteresexed" by which they mean that they have a "female brain," and therefore a medical, not a psychological condition.

Finish up over here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog Note

Bad serotonin day. Be back tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Duck Blogging

Lake Tahoe--courtesy of the fabulous Lena D.

Allow me to introduce myself...

Greetings, Ducks!

I seem to have taken an inadvertent week off from the blog there--sorry about that. Much of this is because my free time currently is being swallowed by some intense computer programming work; there's a lot to get done, and I'm trying to get it done and over with already, and I've had to teach myself a bunch of things I didn't know how to do before. (Today, I grabbed a static Google maps image and dumped onto my server! Yatta!)

The other truth, though, is that I've been struggling lately with my anti-depression meds. I went off of them over the summer--you may have noticed the intense, burning rage from that period--and went on a completely different med right before I left for Paris. It's an SSRI, a kind of AD that I have a real love-hate relationship with: on the one hand, they seem to work really well for me; on the other, I get all the side-effects. (I now think that my caffeine-withdrawal insomnia the first few days in Paris was heavily exacerbated by the new meds, which have been giving me insomnia of late.) And while the meds definitely kept me from crashing into the slough of despond, I wasn't exactly scaling the heights of ecstasy of late: in fact, my motivation has completely vanished. I haven't done aikido since that night I trained in Paris, I've only posted once in the last week here, and in general I lack any willpower to get things done. (Let's not even talk about my rapidly ballooning weight.)

So I'm going off them again, and maybe I'll find a new psychopharmacologist to get me on something new, or maybe I'll try to find another way to control my mood swings. But I can't keep on going the way I was, with a head lightly wrapped in what felt like fabric softener sheets. And I can't give up my writing, not after I finally began to reclaim it.

This, by the way, is pretty much par for the course with me--I've had a long battle against my depression ever since I finally began to seriously treat it almost a decade and a half ago (there's a fascinating story about how that all came about, which I will save for another day.) The first time I took AD meds, I thought I had locked my depression in a cell deep in my soul and it would never bother me again. The second time, I realized I was locked up in that same cell, but my depression was safely chained up and couldn't get me.

After the third time, I realized that my depression was chained up to me. And if I ever took my eyes off of, that fucker would kill me.

Don't worry, I have an excellent support system and I'm not in any danger right now. And I'm sure I'll get through this and cope--one of the reasons it took me so long to finally start working on my depression is that I'm so damn high-functioning. But it's frustrating to keep ping-ponging around like this.

Also, withdrawal sucks, even with my tapering off regime.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Today in Tales From the Douchoisie

Hello, Ducks! Can you guess what Google Reader threw up in my lap today? Did you guess Tucker Max? I didn't, which I guess is what makes it sexy...or something; I'm not up on my fratire. But let's check in, courtesy of The Frisky...

Oh, what? The fratire thing?

The Frisky: Gawker deemed you a “ham-fisted frat s***.” The feminist bloggers hate you. You’ve been called a “professional sexist,” “anti-feminist,” and a “promoter of rape culture.” The New York Times labeled your prose “fratire.”

TM: Hold on now. The New York Times was not insulting me when they called my writing “fratire.” In fact, they said I invented a new literary genre, one that defines a whole new generation of writers and readers. How is that an insult?

Yes, the brave new world of Two and a Half Men, Maxim, and Ketel One ads:

I think that this isn't exactly a new genre...unless you think that the needs, feelings, and emotions of young white dudes has been an underserved artistic destination for these last, um, 2,000 years.

Sigh. On y va...

The Frisky: Are you a “misogynist”?

TM: Complete bulls**t. A misogynist is someone who hates women. I love women. Everything I do is to impress women. Without women, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Plus, half my fans are women. The people who call me misogynist are the ones who haven’t read or engaged my writing, and are just looking for a bogeyman to attack.

The Frisky: In your stories, women throw themselves at you. How many women have you slept with, and what advice do you give men on women?

TM: I have no idea how many women I’ve slept with. Probably more than 300, probably less than 600? I don’t keep count, because that would be super creepy.

Some women absolutely do throw themselves at me. I think part of it is that there are always some women that are into rich, famous, and powerful men. Then there is the artist aspect. Half my fans are women, and they are fans because they love my writing. There is the masculine thing; I am one of the few people in media who is unapologetically masculine, and that’s very attractive to some women.

You know? He's not a misogynist. Just a narcissist living in his own, private world where women flock to him to give him blowjobs, sexy girls (the only real girls: see Amanda Hess' brilliant "Anatomy of a Tucker Max Joke") never think he's being insulting to him, and "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" is... awesome and groundbreaking movie, and great art always finds its way.
Box Office total, after two weeks: $960,425.

But wait! Ol' Tuck has an excuse for that!
It may not hit at the theater, but it will hit on DVD, and hit big.
Yeah, you and Joe Francis, amigo. Funny the company you keep.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Win Some, But You Lose Many, Many Others...

Double header of media mayhem!

First, the good news:

Roman Polanski lost the first round yesterday in his battle to avoid extradition to the US for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Already locked in a Zurich cell for the last dozen days, Polanski learned that he will remain incarcerated for an extended period after the Swiss Justice Ministry rejected his plea to be released from custody.

Swiss authorities said they feared he might leave the country if released. The director of film classics such as Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown has been wanted by US authorities since fleeing sentencing 31 years ago.

"We continue to be of the opinion that there is a high risk of flight," said the ministry spokesman Folco Galli.

He said the threat was too great for the government to accept bail or other security measures in exchange for the release.

Oh, and by the way? If you had any doubt remaining that this guy wasn't a megadouche? Or that he had somehow made some recompense? Feast your eyes on this:

Roman Polanskiwas to pay at least $500,000 to Samantha Geimer, the victim in his 1977 child-sex case, under a settlement in a civil suit Ms. Geimer later filed against him, The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend. Mr. Polanski, right, agreed to the settlement in 1993, but as of 1996 had not made the payment, according to court records provided to the news media in response to requests for access to the old case. It remained unclear whether the settlement was ever paid, though Ms. Geimer was still trying to collect as of 1996, by which time accrued interest had pushed the amount to more than $600,000, according to the court records.

But don't worry, the news can always get worse...especially when it's the NY Daily News:

A shocked judge demanded prosecutors explain why they asked him to allow a prominent Manhattan therapist to return to the home where she's accused of
slashing her husband Tuesday.

"I'm going to send her home to a 79-year-old husband when it's alleged she stabbed him with knives?" Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Anthony Ferrara asked prosecutors.

"You're assuring me he's going to be safe, that this piece of paper is going to protect him from knives?" he said, after granting a "limited" order of protection allowing Joyce Poster-Lederman, 64, to return home.

Funny how people never seem to worry that it's "just a piece of paper" when it's a woman who's being covered by it. Don't believe me? Check out this site about orders of protection in New York:
You have been arrested because you got into a fight with your girlfriend or wife. Maybe there is a reasonable explanation or your girlfriend does not want to "press charges." Unfortunately, at this stage it doesn't matter. You are now before a judge and whether or not you are released, you must completely stay away from the complainant.
A "full" order of protection or "restraining order" is a an order by the court preventing you from having any contact at all with the complainant or alleged victim of a crime. This could mean that if you live together you may not enter the home. Alternatively, the police will arrange a time for you to enter and get some of your things. You will not be able to call the complainant or talk to the complainant even if she calls you. The burden placed upon you is quite severe.

Yeah. Imagine, not being able to see the woman--please note, it was assumed to be a woman who was the victim--because you beat her up! Oh, the humanity!

Which is kind what the order is trying to protect, ya know?

Below The Belt: The Umbrellas of Transburg

My latest post for Below The Belt is now up:
I invariably use trans as short for transgendered, and transgendered in its so-called "umbrella sense": embracing anyone with a variance with the gender assigned to them because of their biological sex. (When referring to a transsexual's gender, however, I use trans as an adjective modifying that gender: trans man, trans woman. Although this is slightly confusing, I agree with Julia Serano and helen boyd that the space is vital in avoiding "othering" or invalidating a transsexual's gender--something that transwoman doesn't do, since it implies that transsexual women aren't women but something else entirely).
You can read the rest here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Times, They Are A-Draggin'

Several years ago, back when I was still a crossdresser myself (and working as a man), I came across a picture on an old hard drive of my boss. Wearing tight leather pants, a low-cut blouse, and makeup. And written in a pink script on the picture was a feminine name that shared his first initial.

I was caught somewhere between completely weirded out and strangely relieved to know I wasn't the only trans person in the office.

Which leads me to events in East Cleveland, Ohio, where mayor Eric Brewer was recently defeated in a primary election. Unremarkable, right?

Well...except for the fact that like me and my boss, somebody found pictures that seem to look like the ex-mayor on his computer hard drive. Wearing lingerie.

I'm not going to reprint the photos here--you can find them easy enough, ducks--except to say that they do look like the mayor, and that they "vibe" crossdresser for me. (When you've been around as long as I have, you've seen this sort of thing before.)

And speaking of seeing this thing before, it reminds me of another crossdressing pol who was outed before an election: Sam Walls, a conservative Republican in Texas who lost a runoff election for the state House in 2004. Now, in Walls' case, you just have to wonder how he didn't think this would happen: not only (as the pics showed) had he been out and about while crossdressed, but for Pete's sake he seems to have been the treasurer of the local chapter of Tri-Ess, the national crossdressers' organization.

Cases like Walls' and Brewer's show some of the disturbing inequities of life under the transgendered umbrella. One may point out that people like Walls or Brewer retained substantial privilege and did not face everyday transphobia--something that MtF transsexuals often have to deal with every day. But. Even in Oklahoma, a trans woman can run for office and be open about her history, whereas neither of the crossdressing politicians felt comfortable doing that.

And that shows the relatively large gap in both visibility and acceptance between transsexuals and crossdressers. Television shows, news reports, books--all concentrate on transsexuals, not on crossdressers; and the leadership of many trans organizations is dominated by transsexuals. Now, again, some of this is because there is a greater incentive for transsexuals, especially trans women, to push for their rights. There is too what helen boyd once called the "fear of queer": crossdressers can look "normal" in their everyday presentation and can fear (or feel no need) to lose that part of their gender identity in service to activism.

But that obscures--just as crossdressers themselves are obscured; no one is really sure how many there are, since so many are relatively closeted--the very real pain and angst of being a crossdresser, of not having the comforting narrative of transition--a story that seems, at least, to have a beginning, middle and end. If people now seem to understand, if not accept all the time, the transsexual narrative--"you're a woman on the inside" or "born wrong" or whatever the current popular meme is--but how do you explain that you only need to be a woman part of the time? That you only seek temporary solutions? That you live in the shadow of, as helen has also said, the other shoe never dropping?

A crossdresser I used to know wrote about this once*:
[...]my transness will always be subordinate to other people's experience of either womanhood or transhood. Women can look down at me because I'm a "part-time" woman, who dresses in costume and "doesn't know what a real woman's life is like"; transwomen can throw the same criticism at me, with the added vector that my transness can't be serious because it doesn't manifest itself constantly or as urgently as it does for a transsexual.

But it isn't true; I'm trans all the time, and there are a lot of times that I feel trapped in an endless cycle of oscillation between femininity and masculinity with no way to end the cycle.

Sure, compared to transitioning, my problems are the difference between jumping off of a cliff and riding the kiddie roller coaster. But who the hell wants to ride on the kiddie coaster for the rest of their lives?
But let's not stay all doom and gloom...courtesy of Joe My God, here's Donna Sachet performing the national anthem before a Giants game in San Francisco--the first drag performer to ever do so! Rock on, Ms. Sachet!

*She later transitioned, so take it with a grain of salt. Still, it's a good sentiment.

Friday, October 2, 2009


One of those days, yesterday, though not as bad as the following will make it seem--just didn't feel much like doing anything, so sorry no post.

Thought I'd rerun this bit...from a long time ago, before The Second Awakening, both the blog and my own personal sense of it. More original stuff later on, I promise.

Ma Saison en Enfer

1. Un nuit en enfer/A night in Hell

The night your wife finally moves out of the apartment, at your request, turns out to be surprisingly shitty. You knew this day would come, probably suddenly, and you've wanted it, but now that it's here you find yourself gripped with a slow-spreading, vastly deepening sense of loss.

You try to keep busy. You've already left work early, giving up billable hours just when you need them the most, to run home to make sure that the things you really want to keep have been clearly separated. As it turns out, you have a surprising number of purses, more than you thought.

You go to your therapy session and remain calm, and then head out to go to a gig at CBGB's gallery with your best friend, who has been your rock through the whole thing. The singer starts launching old songs--"You belong to me" is the one that hits you the worst--and you end up in the bathroom trying to cry. As it turns out, you can sob but there are no tears, not now, not even at the end, not even for you.

2. Mavais Sang/Bad Blood

Maybe it was your fault all along; maybe it was how you were made, all the issues you never confronted. Maybe it was too much in your nature to compromise, to sacrifice. Maybe you thought that somehow, bizarrely, that made you more of who you thought you were, even as the compromises took you further and further away from that idealized, non-existant person.

Maybe it was that never in your life have you felt the need to ravish. Maybe it was that you lay fallow waiting for ravishment.

Maybe that was some taint of the genes. Of the blood, the blood of your father and your funny uncle.

But there came a day when your wife began to take potshots at you for not noticing her, and then your bad blood roared through your tortured veins, poisoning your vision, painting the landscape with loss.

3. Nuit de l'enfer/Hellish Night

There comes a night, as it must, when your wife and alcohol and your medication mix together to perfect a cocktail of hell.

A night when your wife will yell at you, when you will feel everything slipping away from you as she tells you how you are not a man, or not the man she needs, and those words will cut you apart and pare away your illusions of your own happiness.

And the ground of your hell is fertile, and her words take root and bear fruit.

In this night, she will tell you that after the next morning she is no longer sure if you will be together.

Dawn will come without sleep and you will waken to the realization that your marriage is over. You will feel nothing at first. Nothing is left to feel.

Nothing will matter.

4. Délieres/Delerium I

You waken to a wedding, and it saves you. On the dance floor she will beg forgiveness and claim forgetfulness, and you will hold her and feel relieved. You will resolve not to throw away your second chance, because you have stared into the abyss and it nearly ate you.

You will resolve all these things, though you don't mean them. It is not in either of your natures to change course now.

5. Délieres/Delerium II

And for a while you both belive in the lie, because the lie has worked for so long. She will forget that you are not what you seem, not what anybody, even her, wants. And you will forget that she is a flesh and blood woman, not one of your fantasies that you try and shoehorn yourself into, to take the shape of your airy dreams. You will forget her impatience and her impulsiveness and your own propensity for inertia. You will forget all these things in the delerium of the most seductive drug, nostalgia.

You will forget all these things. But you will suspect.

6. L'impossible/The Impossible

She will tell you that she cannot deal with seeing you dressed as a woman anymore, and suggest that she spend the night with her girlfriends outside the city. You will be touched by her sacrifice and seduced by the thought of transgressing, for a while, the narrow boundaries of custom and biology. So you agree, though you grudge it, and hope for a day where the separation won't be necessary.

And yet, and yet, like a canker the suspicion grows that there is more here than you suspect, more being said than you have heard. And yet, and yet, you think that what you suspect, the hair of shadow that now hovers like a flaw in your sight, cannot, must not be true.

Your plans are both disrupted for your birthday. You come home to change, still made up, in your new jeans and pedicured toes, and you sense her anger and hurt. You think it is just that she is home, alone, and confronted even briefly by your own perverted self, and you are sad, you grieve inside yourself for the you that never was and never could be.

You grieve, not knowing yet what you grieve for, not knowing that grief is going to be your lot.

7. L'Eclair/Lightning

When you finally learn the truth, discover the betrayal, it leaves you physically ill. You stumble out of the house on an excuse, and wander downtown. You sit in anger with your best friend and she has nothing to say, nothing to give but an embrace.

Later will come the confrontation, the flash of brilliance that has lit up the dark corners of your marriage, of your soul, and you know as the bolt cleaves the sky so your life has been cloven in two, and you have been put asunder.

And in that flash you see the empty plain of new possibilities, even as your future dies upon the vine and with it all that you were, all that you were trying to be for five years, all that you thought was worth having and sacrificing for. The sacrifice is returned, you look at it as a feast, but your hunger makes you sick and you don't know how to begin, or even if you should.

8. Matin/Morning

You stay up late, far into the morning most days. Sleep is something you find only in the pills you bought at the drugstore. Even strong drink, which you avoid, does not bring it.

You find that you shared so many things. You replace a manicure set and several purses. You agree to give up the chairs in the living room, and her sister's bed that you slept on for two years. You keep the cats but lose the rug and the toothbrush. You lose a bookcase but gain several shelves on your new built-ins, the ones she insisted on.

You find your arms aching for her at night even as your heart shrieks its anger and drowns in its own blood.

The morning after she leaves, this very morning, you come home to the apartment, the empty spaces like fading ghosts. You want to collapse and sleep, but the bed is gone and you are too tired to inflate the air mattress. You take a shower and go to work. You want to cry as you walk to the subway, but you can't, because you are a man and there is no place to go and hide while you weep.

And you know that you will pass almost directly from this morning to another long, empty morning, despite not sleeping since the day before.

9. Adieu/Goodbye

And though she is gone, it cannot, will not be goodbye, though sometimes you scream in your soul to just be left alone, to lick your wounds alone in silence.

You know there will come a day when you can see her again without seeing him in your mind as well. You know there will come a day when you forgive each other for what you did, what you did not do, and all the myriad days that should have come but now will never arrive.

And you know this won't be the end of everything. You know it is the beginning for both of you, and the dammed stream of frustrated posibilities is already pushing you strongly from behind.

But you still want to weep, even though you cannot. You still want your tears, so you can say farewell to them. You still want her with you, and you can never say goodbye to that.

After Arthur Rimbaud
Translations of titles by Bertrand Mathieu

February 23, 2006