A vow

26 01 2011

Recently, I’ve been trying to educate myself about the realities of asexual people and intersex people. I’ve been writing and speaking about “LGBT” issues for a long time, and often more specifically about the B and T that directly affect me. Years ago, I adopted LGBT as a shorthand for all non-heteronormative and non-cis identities and in doing so, I’m increasinly aware that I’ve been guilty of contributing to the erasure of a whole bunch of other people.

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What a drag: The evolution of Jack E. Dickinson, Part 2

18 01 2011

I’ve been meaning to post some thoughts on drag performance for quite some time. As described here, performing as a drag king was a major step in my transition process. Well, at least my pre-transition process. So here is Part 2 of a series of posts describing the different stages of my “drag career” and how they were linked with my transition from “woman” to “gender blended woman” to “questioning” to “trans guy” to … whatever the hell I am now. I’ll be discussing how my drag and personal lives impacted each other and how doing drag went from leading me to question the very core of my identity to a way of expressing that core.

Read Part 1 here.

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During the following months (spring/summer 2006), Dirk Van Dyk, Nat King Pole and I started meeting up with some other people who were interested in creating a new drag king scene in Montreal.  Billy King and Mitch Mitcham were two of those people and we had Miss Eva Vavoom who helped with some organisational matters in addition to taking on female roles complementing our manly drag kings. We got together to hang out and have fun but we also discussed how we could get together to make plans for a Drag King takeover of Montreal! We set up a yahoo group so that we could more easily keep in touch, share information about gig opportunities and recruit new performers.

There were more performance opportunities at different venues in town, such as the August edition of the Meow Mix at which I performed a sexy cop and biker number with my then girlfriend, and a fundraiser for a local youth help organisation at Café Cléopâtre, a famous strip/drag club in Montreal’s Red Light District. A whole bunch of us wound up performing at another fundraiser for a burlesque troupe at an obscure dive called Cabaret Chez Clo-Clo on St-Hubert where we got to meet up with other “underground” performers, which was way cool.

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Tips for teaching kids about non-heteronormative sex

9 01 2011

I’ve observed that some parents who are open-minded about sexual diversity still struggle to talk to their children about non-hetero sexuality. From what I see, the typical pattern is to teach them about “normal” sex first, because it’s assumed that this will be unproblematic to the children, and to wait until the kids are older to broach the topics of lesbian and gay sex. Bisexuality doesn’t seem to even be on the radar very often (big surprise). And, unless there is a trans person in the family, I’m fairly sure that most children don’t even hear any related terms until they’re in high school. In this post, I’m addressing sexual orientation. Discussing trans issues with children will come in another post.

While the intention of parents is probably to avoid confusing children, this “waiting” approach may do more harm then good and may lead to more confusion in the long run. By waiting until children ask specifically about same-sex sexuality, chances are the children will be exposed to damaging stereotypes and prejudice before the parents have the change to teach them anything positive. For children who may eventually come to question their own sexual orientation, this may cause them unnecessary anguish since they will have internalised, at a tender age, that their own sexual desires are “abnormal” or taboo. For children who wind up being hetero, this may contribute to their maintenance of ideas that may lead them to exclude or even bully non-normative kids.

I’m not saying this is irreversible! I’m sure that parents can still contribute to changing homophobic in kids later on. Indeed, many queer activists and allies were raised in homophobic households or households where it just wasn’t discussed. But ultimately, if more and more children are raised to see sexual diversity as the norm, fewer and fewer children will grow up thinking that non-hetero relations are weird and taboo. Fewer and fewer people will feel awkward about introducing “that gay aunt or uncle” or “that bisexual cousin.”

I’m sure there are lots of tips out there in books and on the net. I have to admit I never read them. I just went with my own gut instincts when I started talking about sex to my son. I found that making same-sex sexuality “normal” was largely a question of deconstructing what sex was to start with. I eschewed the traditional “this is how babies” are made premise, which in and of itself excludes same-sex relations as “unnatural,” and favoured a definition of sex that had to do with sharing pleasure. I explained that sex is when people touch each other in a way that gives them pleasure but that it was different than the way parents and children touch each other (so that he wouldn’t think that cuddling with mommy or daddy on a couch was having sex.) I also told him that some people like to have sex with women, some like to have sex with men and some like to have sex with both. Finally, some people have sex with only one person and some have sex with more than one. For an initial discussion, I left it at that. He was only about 6 years old so I felt that was enough information for him to digest at that time.

Later on, he started asking questions about more specific sex acts. I would answer those and give a bit more information. I always made sure to include all gender combinations. For example, when he asked me how babies got into a mother’s belly, I explained that often, a man puts his penis in her vagina and sperm comes out, which mixes with an egg she had in her belly and make a baby. But I also told him that sometimes people choose to get sperm from a place that stores it and they get it placed in their medically, or that they can mix a sperm and egg together outside the woman’s belly and then put it in so that it will grow in the belly. This is an option for women who want to have a baby without a man because they love women or because they want to raise a child themselves. I also told him that some people, like me, went from being girls to being boys, but since they still had girl parts inside their bellies, they could sometimes still have babies. So even some boys can be mommies. Like his (although I gave birth years before transition).

When he accidentally spotted a picture of a woman licking a man’s penis, he asked me why she was doing that. I explained that it’s one thing some people like to do when they’re having sex. Then he asked me if some people lick vulvas. I said yes, some people do. There are all kinds of body parts that people like to lick. Now, some might argue that this knowledge is too graffic for a 10 year old. But if it’s OK for a 10 year old to know that men put penises inside women’s vagina’s, why is it not OK to know that some people lick each others vulva’s, penises, butts, breasts or whatever?

Bottom line: I want my son to internalise the idea that sex is not automatically about making babies and that having babies does not have to involve sex. This dislodges heterosexuality is THE norm, an idea that is propagated by the hegemonic link between sex and reproduction of the species. Emphasising diversity also makes it clear that same-sex sexuality does not threaten heterosexuality and is not a hindrance to reproduction.

Of course, exposure works miracles as well. My son has grown up knowing people of all sexual orientations. He’s seen me kiss women when I was a woman, he knows that his uncle is practically married to his male partner, he’s seen men hold hands with men and women hold hands with women. So deeply is it internalised that all this is “normal” that when he saw a female friend with another woman, he asked her if that was her girlfriend.

Now, he’s already expressed that he likes girls better. And he does have an eye for women in bikinis as some friends will attest to. On the other hand, he kissed a boy on the mouth when he was in kindergarden. Regardless of his own orientation, I’m fairly sure that he will see all kinds of relationships as legitimate and worthy of respect, which is what I want. Of course, this is an ongoing project. He’s not in high school yet and I’m sure I’ll have to keep an eye out for things he picks up there. I’ll also have to keep countering media imagery that is counter to the ideals of inclusion. But I feel that he at least has a basis.

So what are YOUR tips for explaining sexual diversity to kids? What do you do to counter homophobic stuff they wind up learning at school? If you decided later on in your kids’ lives to start talking about it, what was your approach? What worked and what didn’t? What would you recommend to parents who are just starting to think and talk about sexual diversity?





Kissed by an Angel!

6 01 2011

Buck Angel that is! Yes, like many front row audience members at one of his shows, I was kissed by Buck Angel at Toronto Pride 2010 when he took one of his trips offstage in between pieces of clothes coming off. And yes, it was an open mouth kiss! And boy was the show hot!

Aside from that, before his show, he gave a talk on some of the awareness raising he does with regard to trans health. He also did a Q&A with the audience. It was really great to see how down to earth and unpretentious he is!





FTM inclusion in play spaces

14 10 2009

I”ve been wanting to write about this for a long time but hadn’t gotten around to it. Back when I was on Live Journal (I think my account is still open as Tboy Jacky. I started to blog there but quickly switched to WP where I have been happy ever since), I joined a few FTM groups. I got into some arguments about “women and trans” spaces such as parties and BDSM play parties. Some trans men, for various reasons, feel that having spaces for women and trans folk that inludes trans men while excluding cis men is unfair. I don’t have time to summarize those views here but below is my own views on it (in abridged form, believe it or not!) A recent “controversy” on a Fetlife discussion group led me to write what is below. I’m sure that someone will come along and express why they disagree and that’s ok, as long as the responses are respectful and not belligerent. I will delete those types of comments.

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Jake

18 05 2009

I got this link from fellow WordPresser Malcolm. I can relate to a lot of what Jake says, especially about the window on hetero men closing pretty abruptly once I started being read as male pretty consistently (also after only a few months on T). Up until then, even when I had short hair and looked fairly butchy, many men did not only not care, they actually liked it.

What differentiates me from Jake is that I have been bi for a long time so I haven’t only been with men. However, I had been with many more men than women up until a couple of years ago. I think it’s almost even now but, still, my early and most pervasive flirtation patterns were based on hetero (me as female with hetero males) relationships. Like Jake in his early forays into gay and bi male culture, though, I find it intimidating to flirt with queer men. I don’t quite know the cues. Even though everyone I meet reads me as male, I worry that gay men will see right through me at worst and be freaked when I tell them I have female body parts (all of them still) at best.

Another thing I have in common with Jake is that whole: “Wow, my chest looks male even though I have breasts” thing. It was nice to read that because I wondered if there were others like me out there.

Anyway, thanks to Malcolm for the link and thanks to Jake for the page!





Blast from the past: Of sex and scamming

7 03 2008

I got fucked! I got screwed! I got fucked in the ass!

No, I’m not describing my first gang bang (although . . . ummmm . . . never mind). These are all phrases people would use not to describe their latest experiences as a sexual penetratee, but situations in which they were ripped off or deceived.

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