Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.
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With Memory and Honor

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009

OK, kids, it’s time to get serious, because the violence against the TG community is very serious indeed.


This Friday, November 20th, marks the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This event is held to pay respect to those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence and reckless hate; it is also held to increase awareness within the community at large to this violence and the danger it holds, not only for gender-variant individuals but those who share their lives. In 2009 alone, 99 individuals worldwide have been murdered either because they were transgendered, were involved with someone transgendered, or – perhaps most unsettling of all – were perceived to be transgendered by their attacker(s). With the violence against the community escalating at an alarming rate (2009’s murders to date are more than twice that of 2008’s), informing the public and working to educate others is a key step in reducing these senseless acts and preserving the dignity, safety and lives of all citizens.I encourage you to participate in your local events; the light of awareness helps to dispel the shadows of ignorance and hate.
For more information, or to find an event near you, please visit http://www.transgenderdor.org or http://www.transohio.org.

CDL Blogoversary, Day One: What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding Transgenderism?

Today is Claire De Lunacy’s First Blogoversary. To celebrate, I’ve invited some very gracious and awesome friends to contribute to this mess, sharing their words with you, my beloved readers. Over the next week, there will be a new post from a different guest each day, culminating with a new, full-length short story by yours truly. I hope you enjoy my guests’ work as much as I do, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens during the NEXT year.
[Today’s Guest Blog is by my friend Sra, a very dear “friend once removed.” When she’s not sharing her adventures and insights at her own, also awesome blog, Bunsnip, she can be found preparing for the big move from Utah to Portland, Oregon for law school.]

What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding Transgenderism?

Hello, everyone, my name is Sra and I write the drivel over at Bunsnip.com. I’m a real life friend of one of Claire’s real life friends, which means Claire and I are real life friends once removed, or just virtual friends, if you like. Claire is one of the funniest, most intelligent, and most bizarre people I’ve ever virtually met. Whenever she writes a comment on my blog, I’m left either laughing my ass off, or scratching my head because I don’t understand the obscure references she is able to pull out of her ass… er… I mean… her exceedingly knowledgeable brain… on any topic imaginable, but I’m sure these references would only make her comments all the more funny if understood. With this, her one year blogiversary of making people laugh and scratch their heads, Claire deserves to sit back, kick up her feet, and let other people do all the work for her for once. I’m only happy to oblige.

I’ve decided to write a little bit about transgenderism, since this seems a nice venue to do so. I am very interested in the topics of sexuality and gender, and if you’ve read Claire’s Transgender Primer for the Curious, Apprehensive, or Confused, you know that sexuality and gender are not the same thing. For instance, I was ok with “the gay”, as Claire likes to say, well before I understood and accepted transgenderism.

I don’t remember exactly when I became ok with homosexuality, but I know it was sometime before high school. Of course, as a young child it didn’t occur to me that there could be some moral difference between having romantic feelings for a person of one gender versus another. This attitude that one type of sexual attraction is ok while another is verboten is socialized into us. Sometime around maybe 4th or 5th grade, when kids are becoming more cognizant of their sexuality, I became aware of the fact that people recognize straight versus gay, and that straight is perceived as normal, while anything else is considered aberrant.

When I was a tween and young teenager, it was a regular part of slang to call things “gay” to mean “stupid”, and I partook of this slang like everyone else. Then sometime in high school, well after I had decided that homosexuality was a perfectly viable and completely amoral way of life, a friend of mine pointed out that using the word “gay” to mean “stupid” sent a message that I was actually much less accepting of homosexuality than I claimed. For some reason, I needed a little convincing (looking back now, I can’t remember how I might have rationalized my use of that slang), but I finally came to understand her reasoning and made the effort to change my slang usage.

And doing so made me realize that I may not have been as accepting as I had thought. It was then that it also occurred to me that, while I understood homosexuality, I didn’t understand transgenderism at all. And again, looking back now, it’s hard for me to revert to that state of mind in which I just don’t get it. I mean, if it’s perfectly natural to think that one could be attracted to someone regardless of sex, notwithstanding the accepted norm, it also seems perfectly natural that one could personally identify as either gender, notwithstanding the body into which one was born. But back then, I didn’t understand. I felt like if I was going to become the accepting person that I wanted to be, I really needed to figure transgenderism out.

~~ Let me make a little aside here. Some people errantly believe that when you’re talking about accepting homosexuality and transgenderism, then naturally you must also be willing to accept pedophilia, bestiality, polyamory, and, hell, maybe even necrophilia; like maybe homosexuality and transgenderism are gateway drugs to throwing all limits out the window, sexually speaking. This is a non sequitur, of course. (As an aside to the aside, with the exception of pedophilia, which I do find appallingly immoral, I am not making any judgment as to the morality of those other -alities, -amories, and -philias. Some of them might be a little stomach churning, however.) ~~

At about this same time, Hillary Swank played the role of a female-to-male transgendered person in the movie Boys Don’t Cry, which is based on the true story of Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, who is murdered when his friends discover that he was born female. I happened to come across the movie on TV one night, and found it very humanizing of transgenderism. It’s a story of love; it’s a story of hate. In short, it’s a story of the human condition. The film helped me see transgendered people as, well, just that, people. Really, that’s all it took for me to find acceptance of transgenderism, and understanding came with time.

In college, I learned that one of my family members identifies as transgendered, and I felt very fortunate that by this time I had already taken the steps to achieve understanding and acceptance of transgenderism, and wouldn’t have to deal with the search for acceptance when what was really important was showing love and support of this person, who is, after all, still my family.

A few years later, a friend of mine who I had known as Jason back in high school met with me for lunch because he had something to tell me. He was reluctant to divulge the secret, but I think subconsciously I had figured it out, because one of my first guesses was, “You’re not getting a sex change, are you?” That’s when Jason’s voiced morphed into the much higher voice of Lauren, “Well, actually…”

I was shocked, not only because I didn’t expect Jason’s voice ever to reach that high, but because a year or so prior, I had welcomed Lauren home from her LDS mission, which she had taken as Jason. That just shows to go you that you can’t suppose someone isn’t gay or transgendered just because of their religion. As a matter of fact, Lauren still remains devout to her faith, as do, surprisingly, many gay, bisexual, and transgendered people of all kinds of faith.

The most difficult part of learning that someone you know and love is transgendered is having to play the pronoun game. Hard as you may try, you will slip up, probably many times, before the hes and shes fall out naturally in their correct place. Incidentally, I’ve heard people use “it” when referring to transgendered people, and I can’t tell you how offensive I find that. People are never “its”.

The greatest thing about learning that someone you know and love is transgendered is the way that the person finally starts to make sense. Lauren in particular was always a little bit strange to me, growing up. In high school, as Jason, she would do this thing where she’d get uncomfortable and suddenly lower her voice dramatically. I always just thought she was being a goof, but now it suddenly makes sense. She had struggled with her gender identity her entire life, and tried hard to convince herself that she was a boy when inside she always felt like a girl. When she felt she was failing at being a convincing boy, she’d lower her voice nervously, or do something stereotypically male, trying to cover up. Learning that my friend was always the right person in the wrong body made everything about her click to me.

Claire makes the third transgendered person I know in my life. I’m counting her on account of our real life friends once removed status. The point here isn’t that I’m keeping score on my diversity of friendship score card, but that I am a 26 year old woman from Salt Lake City, Utah, and I know three transgendered people, which means there is probably someone in your life who is transgendered as well. This is why it’s important to come to understand transgenderism, and homosexuality, and bisexuality, as perfectly valid ways of identifying, because someone you know and care about will probably identify as one or more of these things. I think in life we all just want to be accepted and understood for who we are. I think if we try to accept and understand other people, without caveats and conditions, we will in turn find it easier to be understood and accepted ourselves. Easier said than done, especially for a grouchy non-people-person such as myself, but I work on it, and so should we all.

[It’s me again. Isn’t she great? Please be sure to pay her a visit at her blog, and tune in tomorrow for another great post dealing with Adam Lambert’s failure to become The Fairest of Them All, and what it means in today’s society.]

Primer UPDATE

Hi, kids.

Well, this Primer was a bit ambitious to tackle in a single busy weekend, but I anticipate its completion by tomorrow evening. Stay tuned!

Claire

Transeducation

So here’s the thing:

Long ago, back when the Land of the Free was still pretty young and had that “new country” smell, Thomas Jefferson exhorted those who would keep the whole crazy “America” train rolling to “educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

Poetically spoken words, and as true today as they were then – not only for our country, but for the myriad groups composing its citizenry. As a member of several groups – American, Hispanic, Liberal, Transgender, People Who Realize White Castle Is Kind Of Gross But Keep Eating There Because It’s Good, Damn It – I know how important education is to fostering understanding not only between groups but between members within those groups.

All of which brings me to my point: I’m currently compiling, via blog, Claire’s Transgendered Primer for the Curious, Apprehensive or Confused. In it, I hope to provide a (very) basic guide designed to answer questions that non-transgendered people have about us, as well as foster discussion and educate folks about who transgendered people are (hint: we’re people who happen to be transgendered, not amorphous clouds of gender variance who have temporarily taken human form. Well, except for me).

I’ve requested input from my transgendered sisters and brothers regarding the topics they’d like to see addressed, and now, I would ask you, non-trans readers, the following questions:

1) What questions do you most often have for or about transgendered people?

2) Do you have any first-hand experience with a transperson, or are you reliant solely on the media’s somewhat less-than-appealing portrayal of who we are?

3) What opinions do you currently have regarding the transgendered (if any)? Do you feel they might be subject to change if you were more thoroughly educated on the subject?

Judging by the reactions this idea has received so far, I’m both apprehensive and excited to see what develops. I would ask that, if you send me an e-mail or post your comments right here on Claire de Lunacy, that you be respectful of others’ opinions (which is not to say you can’t be a total smartass, just don’t descend into the lowlands of Flame Hate, The Hate that Flames) and contribute something genuine to the discussion (again, I must stress that ALL opinions are welcome, regardless of my alignment with them along the idealogical, religious or psychological spectra).

I’ll be compiling the posts, comments and messages I get this week and I’ll post the results in the Version 1.0 edition of The Primer this weekend, so whether you’re a transperson who’s dying to set the record straight (insert pause for irony), or a non-transperson burning with curiosity, let your voice be heard, my friends!

Education, collaboration, and illumination begin with YOU.

Well, okay, they begin with “E,” “C,” and “I,” respectively speaking, but that’s not very catchy, is it?

A matter of pride (ok, Pride™)

Happy Monday to you, readers.

As some of you are aware, this past weekend was, in many large urban areas, the annual LGBT Pride Parade and gay-stravaganza. Due to a series of circumstances best explained later (in a quiet room, by attorneys, with a box of tissues nearby) I did not attend this year, and instead ate veggie pizza and watched Little Britain, which certainly qualifies as some sort of Queer Pride event, I think.

With June, the official month of Pride™, drawing to a close today, my thoughts have turned to what exactly it is the LGBT community has to be proud about this year. As it turns out, we have quite a bit:

“How much for the ‘Hers & Hers’ bath towels?” Yeah, okay, the big deal right now is the legalization of gay marriage in California. Without opening the “This is the best thing since Robin Meade wore the green silk top/This is the worst thing since Ellen got a talk show” Debate of Hate, let me say that I think we can be proud as a community that we refuse to be told that different = less. Semantics aside, there’s a certain amount of Orwellian bias inherent in “we get marriage, you can have ‘unions.'” To paraphrase Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Don’t tell me to wait for my freedom.”

“Separate but equal” is a little long in the tooth to be propped up as a justification for denying loving couples the right to share that love in a public forum (as well as obtain the civil benefits of marriage, both tangible and intangible).

Also, if you’re looking for a career, I suggest getting into the wedding planning industry now, kids – ’cause we ’bout the blow the lid off that thang, as the kids say (which kids, we’re not sure. Possibly these). Seriously, ladies and gentlemen (or ladies and ladies, and gentlemen and gentlemen, or other calculable permutations thereof), the LGBT community has MAD disposable income, and once we’re actually able to get hitched, we set the bar high. Very high.

Congress finally paid attention to us. By “us,” I mean “transgendered Americans.” Congress recently held hearings on workplace discrimination toward Transgendered individuals throughout the country, and it’s my sincere hope that the testimony they heard will convince them to add us to the Workplace Discrimination Act’s protected classes…not because we’re oh-so-super-special, but because we deserve to work without fear of termination because someone has a wild hair you-know-where and decides to use their bias as a crowbar to set us adrift in the seas of joblessness.

Believe me when I say that I cannot wait for this to happen (the addition to the WDA, not the whole crowbar-into-joblessness thing). Having experienced this type of discrimination myself, I assure you that NOBODY deserves to be treated this way…dislike me, backstab me…hell, sit and bitch about what a freak I am to our coworkers while I’m sitting unseen in a booth behind you, you drunken, corpse-faced grimalkin…but don’t try to get me canned with lies, and DEFINITELY remember that karma’s a bitch (Actually, she’s usually quite lovely, and very giving, but if you accidentally call while she’s watching her “stories,” she’ll light into you, yo).

One of the coolest things about living in America is that we are (hair-splitting aside) a nation of equals…any and all of us can dream big and live big, because the opportunities are there, and we all share a common heritage as a country built on the idea that elbow grease and determination can get you just as high as a degree and a jetpack…just think how much higher we’d all be if we spent more time helping each other up instead of trying to cut the legs of those with whom we don’t agree out from under them.

For me, Pride™ has always been about being able to look those who would judge or dismiss me for being transgendered (or Hispanic, or a giant, or a fan of whistling the Imperial Death March every time someone in senior management walks down the hall with two lackeys in tow) in the eye and say “I am your equal – not in all things, but in the sum, and I am deserving of the same love and respect that you are” – and that’s why for me, Pride™ is an everyday thing, and not just something that rolls around every June. It’s SO important to acknowledge our history, how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go, but like Christmas, Pride™’s lessons are ones we should remember all year.

And also like Christmas, we should remember to take down the tree within a week. I’m looking at you, Ms. feather boa and fishnets two weeks into July! It’s not a parade if you’re the only one in Denny’s dancing to “I am Woman,” mister-sister!