We need to keep fighting! Bill C-389

15 02 2011

I strongly urge all readers who are residents of Canada to check out this link.

It contains a sample letter and an easy “copy-pastable” list of Canadian senators who will soon be deciding the fate of Bill C-389. If you didn’t already know, this bill would ensure rights for trans people in Canada by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian charter of human rights. (More on this issue here.) You are free to write your own letter of course but if time is short and words fail you, 2 minutes of your time is all it takes to copy and paste this sample letter and list of senators into your email and click send.

Right now, the people who have the government’s ears are the extreme right-wing nuts who think that all trans people are pedophiles out to get into the showers of little girls. So if we don’t speak up “en masse,” this bill will die and who knows if trans people will have official rights in Canada any time in the next 50 years.

Thanks in advance for any little thing you can do to help!

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.


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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Identity, masculinity and boxes

9 12 2009

This post by Bond made me go YES YES YES! They describe how people often apologetically identify one way (butch or femme, for example) with the caveat that they don’t live up/down to the stereotypes that are commonly associated with said identity. They suggest that people, instead, claim the words they they feel they identify with and make no apologies. If someone identifies as butch, they shouldn’t have to apologise for liking things normally perceived as “girlie”. I can related to this big time. I sometimes do say, especially when I’m giving a presentation on being a trans guy, or talking about it casually to someone who knows nothing about the topic, that I choose to identify (mostly) as male even though I don’t choose to adopt all the masculine stereotypes. But when I do that, it’s usually with the purpose of educating rather than apologising, as in: “I’m a guy, I don’t have a cock, I drink herbal tea and I’m a feminist. Deal with it.”

Earlier today, I read this article on reconceptualising masculinity. Similarly, it encourages people who identify as “masculine” in any way to give up their reliance on outdated models of masculinity and to expand the term to include anything that masculine-identified people do. Most importantly, the author encourages us to explore the possibility of having a masculinity that does not include misogyny. As a male-identified feminist, I’m SO down with that.

And how!

31 05 2008

I accidentally stumbled upon this post about the whole biology versus choice argument for sexual orientation and gender identity. I love it! Here is a copy of my response:

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Re-visiting the past

22 12 2007

(Originally written about one week post-decision) 

When I think back to my early childhood, I remember looking like a boy. My mother kept my hair short with the idea that it would be thicker later. People would often mistake me for a boy. My dad, who worked as a plumber for a community of Hasidic Jews in downstate New York, even used this to his advantage when he needed to take me to work. It was forbidden for him to take me there alone, without my mother there, since I was a girl. But since he could pass me off as his son, things were fine. I remember beaming when his boss, the grand rabbi, asked him: “Is this your son?” Sometimes, he would let me help him with his work. I got to clean fittings. He would look at me with pride when I said things like: “I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty like my brother!”

During this period, when I was under 8 or so, I often visualised myself as a boy or emulated male role models. I would dream of being Robin Hood. Or I would tell my family to call me by a male name, like “Bernie.” Bernie was a friend of the family who had a son named after him. I thought the son was cute (he was a teen at the time) and decided I wanted to be like him. My family thought it was odd but they humoured me.

I didn’t like to play with dolls, except for one that had a phone, and it was more about the phone than the doll. I had stuffed animals though. But mostly, I loved to play with trucks, tractors and matchbox cars.

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November 2007 – A decision is made

22 12 2007

And shortly thereafter, I start to write about it. This is what I wrote about a week after I made my decision (which had actually been making itself over the course of many years):

If coming out to oneself as transsexual marks the beginning of transition, then I suppose I am just beginning. However, if transition begins with the onset of questionning of and discomfort with one’s physical sex and/or culturally prescribed gender identity and presentation, then I’ve been transsexual from the beginning.

I remember looking into the term “transgender” (TG) about 4 years ago (late 2003) after answering a survey aimed at lesbian and bisexual women. I had self-identified as bisexual for nearly a decade by then and had been out for a number of years. While responding to the survey, I noticed that there was as alternative to “female” under gender: “transgender”. This was a brand new term for me. I had heard of transsexuals (TS), and even met a couple, but . . .transGENDER? Being an anthropologist and being well aware of the difference between sex and gender, I put two and two together and figured that maybe transgender referred to someone who changed their social identity without necessarily changing their sex. This idea appealed to me and I was fascinated with the idea that I no longer had to limit myself to “female”. It felt good.

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