My Blog List

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bits and bobs and slack and shame and sistren

So according to statcounter I'm getting 4-600 a month at the moment. When I see repeats I tend to think that such people are sort of serious about gender, or else that they know me. So just to hope that those in difficult countries for questioning / trans people are finding that you can extract something of value here, and all good wishes.
Apart from that, there's this nerdy collection thing, like I've got 4 balkan states, Capetown, and a general scattering outside old Europe and N.America which are all solid. And Ho Chi Minh city and Ulan Bator ; yay Charlotte, you rock, keep on checking in while you travel.

I need to organize the blog somewhat, so I'm just down to definitely ruling out converting to wordpress before excuses run out for doing so.

Am somewhat more mobile personally and hope for better in the next month or so. I don't have to use crutches whilst cooking the friday meal and overall my health doesn't seem too impaired, no visible changes at least, though pain relief is problematic. I'm not looking forward to summer that much - skin deficiencies and limits on liquid intake.

I am thinking about a wedding dress, and how many charity/thrift places I'll need to haunt. I've got the rough notion to get something that's also performance gear, after some spray paint. A veil or mask, but I'm not sure about flowers in my hair.

Before the wedding , a wake. It'll make a good farewell to a male persona, and also it's about now when I should be dead, if my initial readings had persisted.
And maybe I should now apologise to the person at the trans group in London who I met when I was still fairly confused about gender identity. When they sympathized with me about what a difficult thing it must be for me, I rather unthinkingly responded by saying that no, being told you've got 3 years to live is hard and this was simply gravy. It definitely isn't gravy, but that comparison still helps me through.

Shame. Someone asked me ( in a positive context ), whether I felt any shame about being trans. I said not, but on reflection that wasn't quite right. Maybe it's a bit like the feeling you'd get when telling an unfriendly co-owner of a car that despite the fact that in some ways you've been an unconventional driver, this particular accident had absolutely nothing to do with you. It would be true, but maybe still somewhat embarrassing.

Sisterhood. Again, someone asked about how I find it, how accepting, how open, how different. So that's what I'll post on next.

And lastly, DO NOT VIEW THIS if extreme violence, especially in a form of state/victim nature gets to you. It's no longer on You Tube - really view with care...

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's politics...again

This is an attempt to amalgamate the last 2 posts, due to lack of originality and not yet being ready to do a piece on fashion semiotics, amongst other things.
So my politics in the 60's and 70's were not entirely untypical of the epoch. Low level volunteer stuff for anti war projects,hanging around anarchist groups, getting thrown out of school for passing out stuff on racist exam marking,( the joys of an english public school education). But when the UK counter culture essentially split into straight left politics and the weird consciousness/ community crowd, I definitely went with the latter. For many years I've tried to put some money and energy into alternative community frameworks and ventures on the margins of conventionality.
So its somewhat strange to feel myself back in a sort of life where identity is a political statement, and what I am is so much a pawn in other's games.
When it comes to something like TOTWK, I really feel that I must have slept for most of the intervening period too. It is just so hard to understand much of the campaign against the film.
I truly don't either understand or particularly sympathise with debates on whether or not the word tranny is pejorative and I don't feel that attempts to get the film withdrawn from the festival, or finding educative moments for panel discussions are particularly worthwhile.
Because it's simply a piece about drag queens with 'trannies' as a fig leaf for it's lack of originality, an exploitative piece of sleaze which Tribeca should be deeply ashamed of promoting. The Mercado / Zapata references were just utterly disgusting, and the only piece of moderate decency shown by the director has been to let it's semi-literate 'star' spectacularly fail to excuse it, rather than burden the world with his own more culpable attempts at justification. I know that by most accounts it's a bad, trivial movie, but that simply compounds Tribeca's idiocy in selecting it. I know it's non-deliberate hate speech, and maybe one should applaud the fact that no halfway socio-politically aware student film maker would make the many evident mistakes that this self opinionated clown has done. And I know that there are a number of far more serious topics for activist energy. could have been a good point to organize around. It could have been a time to make the point as forcefully as possible that we're not all freaks*, or victims, or people who generally live up to the bigoted stereotypes retailed by such as Greer, Bindel or Luna.
It wasn't.
And because such moments come along rarely, maybe we should be questioning why the comparative failure. Overwhelmingly I see these as proceeding from a lack of a reasonably unified approach with clear objectives, of too much distraction in trying to get some amorphous T agreement on issues and, frankly, of too much holding back because the director is well known in gay / drag circles. It hasn't come from the zeal, intelligence and industry of trans activists, which has been exemplary, but there is an issue of planning. Just as Luna had a year to consider, after being called on his use of 'trannies' in the projected title, so there could have been a year of working out options for how to deal with the movie. (I'm leaving out GLAAD from consideration, because that's a whole other issue than getting our own activist shit together).
I understand that my approach to activism is somewhat antique, and maybe there's a rose-tinted 'back in the day ' thing , but I do fantasize about other possible actions like, for example, the seat slitting thing that happened with ' Cruising', or the more normal emptying of appropriately red liquid. Especially as it would be only too easy to draw support from de Niro's own statements about sacrosanctity of expression, ( my art is rage, to recoin a phrase). And instead of arguing the toss about whether anyone would promote a film titled 'ni**ers with knives', a small blackface demo handing out watermelon slices and stuff asking how would afro-americans feel about being portrayed in a comedy / revenge /lynching film by a white director using all the old racial stereotypes AT A TIME WHEN LYNCHINGS WERE STILL COMMONPLACE. You don't need to be a weatherman to know about the killings of the last weeks.
Now I realise that these sort of play power street theatre things don't work as well with a minority such as the trans community. But are reasonably sympathetic media voices so hard to find that these sorts of tactics are unworkable ?
Then there's something which I really do think needs discussion for the future, namely what price would we, the trans community, see as acceptable for distributing this community slandering rubbish. Getting any substantial modification in the film itself, or expecting a principled stand by Tribeca when they can garner cheap publicity around a controversy, were always non-starters, and getting some sort of panel discussion seems totally inadequate. And frankly if the real murder references hadn't been withdrawn,( after being an effective stalking horse ?),then no price at all would have been worth it.
I simply don't know the kind of things available. I've always loved the video at the end of this post, though, and, for myself, including a trans version of that as part of every showing of TOTWK would be something of a win. I'm sure there must be loads of other possibilities, but the time to examine them is now, rather than when another such massive fail occurs again.
*I realise that the above may be seen as confrontational and unwomanly. At times, though, I find myself with something in common with Kate Bornstein, though hopefully I'm considerably more media aware. I was always a freak. And , like her, I think freaks always know that . But that's in spite of being trans, not because of it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A difference in timing

So you've grown your hair out, put a bit of jewelery on and you're out on one of the major shopping streets of the city. One time you're wearing a silk/cotton shirt, powder blue velvet trouser suit and green leather 4 inch heeled boots. Another time you're wearing flat canvas shoes, denim skirt and beige silk sweater. A couple of nerdy guys pass you and one calls out asking if you're a man or woman. What do you do ?
In the second case, I simply answered transi,( the ethnic style here), which at least temporarily defused any possible escalation, in a way that answering 'yes' wouldn't quite.
The first case...well I managed that once to give the approved pc response, 'Why don't you suck my cock and find out?'.
The second case was here last year, though, and the first was in London's Kings Road in about 1970.
Plus ca change, plus ca something completely different...