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I Don’t Care About That TERF Pussy Church And Neither Should You

23 Aug

There’s been a bit of a hub-bub lately over the IRS granting non-profit status/recognition to an anti-trans Pussy Church of Final Judgement or whatever. On the surface, this definitely seems like some seriously bad news.

On one hand, the Trump administration has displayed a growing commitment to redefine anti-LGBT discrimination as a matter of “Religious Freedom/Expression.” On the other hand, TERFs and other typically secular anti-trans movements are increasingly adapting the playbooks and accepting funding from the anti-LGBT Religious Right. Advocacy and acceptance of trans rights and visibility of our needs has been a largely recent thing, and the current political climate has seen increasing hostility and the looming threat of losing what small gains that have been made.

People have been asked my opinion on this, because I’ve had a reputation for dunking TERFs that goes back years before I got a pussy myself. It would be remiss of me to not put something out there regarding The Psychic Temple of Pussy Youth or whatever. So I thought for a bit over what I wanted to write. However, honestly this doesn’t seem quite so dire when you take a minute or two to think about it. I mean –

Okay First Of All That Fucking Name

There was a real opportunity here for TERFs. They could have formalized an organized sect of Dianic Wicca for instance. Called it “The Sisters Of Mary Daly” or something with similar gravitas and sense of reverence. But no, TERFs gotta be oh so clever with everything they do, so now it’s the Super Special Pussy Power No Penis Boys Allowed Church. This is not going to work out well for them in the long run.

I literally cannot wait for a case against this group to go to court. I cannot wait to see a representative of this group argue to a crusty elderly ninth circuit court judge that they have a First Amendment right to discriminate against trans people because they “worship at the altar of pussy” or whatever. That’s practically begging for a contempt of court verdict, no matter how many tax forms you filled out.

You want to see how well this will turn out? Look up any number of cases regarding the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and driver license photos. There’s a handful of wins here and there, but largely it’s a disaster and considered an embarrassing joke. There’s a certain decorum expected when making claims or appeals towards upholding your deeply-held religious belief and expression, and claiming membership in a Holey Pussy Church isn’t gonna win anyone over in that regard.

It Couldn’t Be A More Transparent Honey Trap

So like, at this point it’s pretty well known who is behind this thing. If you don’t know, ask around about it on Twitter. I’m kind of thinking a certain someone must have fallen off the wagon because this scheme is a bit harebrained even for them. But anyway, despite being off the grid for a bit, they seem to be back to their old playbook.

It’s an old, tired playbook, y’all. We should all be familiar with it by now. Can we not be stupid about it this time? They want you to grouse and be upset by their existence and create screen-cappable posts they can claim are “threats” for the sake of their persecution complex and recruitment appeals. You’ve seen blogs compiling these posts, many of which go back to like 2010. Once they find a post they hold onto it forever. It’s not a type of fame you want.

If they can’t find anything they’ll just make stuff up, so why hand them ammo? Even now on r/GenderCritical or whatever they are going over this post with a fine-tooth comb for something to sob over…

“HE… HE SAID DUNKING! DUNKING LIKE IN WITCH TRIALS! THAT IS CLEARLY WHAT IS MEANT BY THAT! TAPPING INTO THE UMPTY THOUSAND YEARS OPPRESSION OF WOMEN BY PENISMALES IN DRESSES! THE USE OF SUCH DELIBERATELY CRUEL LANGUAGE IS PROOF THAT MISTER RANI IS AND FOREVER WILL BE, ON A SPIRITUAL LEVEL, A MALE PENISMAN!”
somebody on r/GenderCritical probably

The Endgame Is Sort Of Obvious, And Kinda Sad

I know these people aren’t stupid.

The likelihood of this church being used to facilitate workplace or housing discrimination is pretty slim. The idea that they will join forces with the Religious Right to sponsor some sort of Holy Bathroom Police Militia is unlikely. Hell, the idea that they are going to actually find anything more than token lipservice support from the Dark Web Free Speech Vanguard is practically non-existent.

So what are they up to? This may be premature of me to guess, but given what I know about who and what is involved with this organization, I have a pretty good idea. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts the endgame of this group is to use it as a base to form a new trans-excluding women’s festival around. Yeah, like Michfest, remember ever caring about that? Seems like a century ago.

But anyway, if this turns out to be the case oh my god can we let these people have their sad stinky hippie festival full of terrible music now? Trump is literally going to kill us all and these clowns have made it more than clear they are willing to burn down everything and help erect a Gilead 2.0 if they can at least guarantee making a few trans women’s lives harder along the way.

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A Cannibalistic Dissection Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

28 Oct Rocky Horror Picture Show

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A week before the writing of this, FOX aired a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, subtitled Let’s Do The Time Warp Again. I’m not averse to the idea of seeing it, but I’m not going to go out of my way either. Not for any particular reason politically, just simply because the original is so clearly and deeply rooted to a particular time period it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to update it. I’ll have more on that in a moment.

The main (and only) thing I need to know about the remake is that it showcased front and center a black trans woman, on the same channel FOX News is broadcast from, during a time when the right wing has dedicated themselves to a war against trans bodies. Regardless of any other merits or flaws in the project, I still find that deliciously subversive in a way the original never dared.

If you were hoping for more talk about the remake, I do apologize. There are plenty of other people talking about it, I swear. I’m not writing yet another thinkpiece about how problematic or transphobic or whatever the movie is. Plenty of other folks covering that ground. I’m not interested in RHPS creator Richard O’Brien’s bizarre and absurd notion that he can decide how much of a woman he is but nobody else can. Just yet another tired old has-been queen desperate for attention and latching onto trendy notions of “edginess” and “anti-political-correctness” as far as I’m concerned. The fact that he hates the remake makes me want to enjoy it out of spite tho.

What will I be talking about then?

Well lets start by talking about the Hays Code (and later rating systems) and the role of pulp sci-fi on queerness. Stories of alternate sexualities and gender explorations were all over the place in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, but due to publisher restrictions had to be formatted in a certain way. It was honestly surprising how far they were capable of going, as long as they didn’t directly show intimacy and all queer characters were punished at the end for their transgression from conservative mores. Here’s a sex-change sci-fi story from a 1953 comic book that covers the bases pretty well, with an exception I will elaborate on in a moment.

Rocky Horror Picture show even opens with the song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” which waxes nostalgic about shiny underwear and phallic Triffids, name-checking classic titles and names from films that would have been staples of a sci-fi obsessed 1975 audience’s childhood. Self-aware nods to these tropes echo throughout the film.

Lets line them up and see how the beats play out, shall we? We have aw shucks traditional protagonist(s), an audience insert for voyeuristic heterosexuals or questioning/curious queer folk:

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The protagonists find themselves stranded from the values and culture they took for granted, in a lawless anything goes environment:

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This leads to an awakening where deep, transgressive desires are brought to light and actualized… but at what cost?

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And at the end all transgressions are punished and the moral is driven home that some doors should never be opened:

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The spectre of conservative Americana glares disapprovingly at the dissolution of traditional values throughout the film. Not just figuratively, but directly and literally symbolized by multiple repeated vignettes evoking the sullen stoic gaze of the iconic Grant Wood painting American Gothic (a now campy and frequently satirized artwork that history forgets incited Rural Iowans to send the painter threats of violence).

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However, you will note that there is something missing from this one-to-one comparison between the sex-change comic book and Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is because in sex-change stories, the antagonist is the clothes or the transformation itself. This is as true in Glen Or Glenda in the 1950s as it was in The Danish Girl in 2015. This story has an antagonist with a distinctly more visceral presence, a hyperqueered fantasy to Brokeback their mountains and tempt them away from their traditional lives.

Enter Frank.

Frank is a transgressive nightmare, a culmination of everything feared about the sexual awakenings of the late 1960s/early 1970s. It goes well beyond the crossdressing and sexualization; Frank was meticulously designed to provoke. He literally hunts down, murders and later cannibalistically devours Eddie, a symbol of naive notions of 1950s “safe rebellion”. Eddie’s entrance, to the song “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul“, reflects an entirely different sort of nostalgia filled with sock hops instead of gruesome horror movies. Frank nonchalantly eulogizes Eddies murder by his hand as “a mercy killing! He had a certain naive charm, but no… muscle.”

Indeed.

When Frank displayed a pink triangle on his labcoat, the symbol was still viscerally shocking and radical. The book The Men With The Pink Triangle, documenting homosexual men’s experience in Nazi concentration camps, had only come out a couple years before. The infamous Paragraph 175 of German Law under which those men had been imprisoned was still on the books.

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Frank also dons a Lewis Leathers Aviakit Plainsman biker jacket adorned with badges from the Hell’s Angels and other recognizable biker gangs (including patches with the distinct Nazi Deaths Head and Eagle iconography of the Angels). This wasn’t the “making toy runs for sick kids” Hell’s Angels, this was the “locked Hunter S Thompson in the trunk of a car for several days” Hells Angels. This also presents contrast to Eddie’s sanitized pompadour-and-motorcycle schtick as the corny posturing it was.

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Frank’s fawning over his Frankenstein Atlas, Rocky, was another uncomfortable tribute/unmasking to the underlying homoeroticism in body-building culture, a subtext simultaneously acknowledged yet dismissed within said subculture. With Rocky as the dense and sweetly naive foil to Frank’s sexual innuendo, it’s presented as yet another affront to the values of yesteryear.

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Enabled through Frank’s brazen transgressions, the protagonists find themselves freed from convention to explore their own desires. This is illustrated in the floor show scene where the players vocalize their inner conflicts onstage. Columbia is full of regret and heartbreak, Rocky and Brad have newfound sexual urges that neither can quite figure out, and Janet feels empowered by the whole experience. Shortly afterwards, Riff-Raff and Magenta stage a mutiny to topple Frank as leader. Riff-Raff’s accusation says it all:

Frank-N-Furter, it’s all over
your mission is a failure
your lifestyle’s too extreme

Ironically, after forty years of cultural advance, a film that sought to deconstruct stifling tropes and liberate expectations has for the most part been relegated to yet another formulaic exploitation. It has a historical place, as a love-letter to the queer-coded villains of Hollywood’s golden age, but at this point Frank has joined them. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a fun ritual for voyeuristic straights, closeted drama club queers and assorted connoisseurs of camp and kitsch and likely will be for at long as movie theaters continue to exist. However, the cultural critique is a bit toothless and obvious now, the references collecting dust, and subtext lost under performative rote.

And maybe the ritual is the point now, a sort of mystery cult initiation for average folks looking for an excuse to buy a corset. But I believe an occasional reminder of what it all means couldn’t hurt either.

Sissy Killer: Silence Of The Lambs’ “Good/Bad Queer” Dynamic

24 Mar Sissy Killers Queer Coding

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It’s been 25 years since Silence Of The Lambs was released, and there have already been plenty of hot takes to go around. Recently, Jos Truitt over at Feministing posted an unflinching and thorough deconstruction of what the character “Buffalo Bill” represents to the trans community. Naturally, cis people completely lost their shit.

“How could anyone identify with a serial killer?” they lamented. Good point, it’s not like Hannibal Lecter wound up in four novels, five films, and a television series currently on it’s third season where he is the protagonist. Oh wait.

sissykillers2Dinner’s Ready.

Why is it considered ok to empathize with Lecter and not Jame Gumb? Both were brutal mass murderers known for short tempers and for mutilating their victims. Gumb was a gender dysphoric survivor of child abuse and neglect, and Hannibal Lecter was a calculating abusive manipulator that shut her off from medical care and murdered her boyfriend. So why do people root for Gumb getting gunned down yet also for Lecter’s escape and promise to kill again?

Seriously, check out the last couple minutes of Silence Of The Lambs again. Lecter all decked out like Truman Fuckin Capote bragging about “having an old friend for dinner”. He’s a triumphant anti-hero rather than a villain. And it gets worse with each subsequent film/tv depiction.

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The answer is simple: Lecter represents the “good kind” of queer, and Bill represents the “bad kind”.

While I don’t share Truitt’s particular tattoo choice (although I have seriously considered both the spear wound and the “LOVE” hand tattoo), I do have a tramp stamp of “In Voluptas Mors”, and yes it is a reference to Silence Of The Lambs. I, also, have a bit of a soft spot for the movie. A particularly fascinating element of the movie is that it features two queer codedsissy villains”, but coded in different ways and pitted against each other.

What’s that? Hannibal Lecter isn’t actually gay? That’s ok, because Jame Gumb “isn’t actually transgender”, right?

sissykillers3Meanwhile, the only definitely gay person in the movie is dead.

In the book, the infamous “tucking scene” also invites the reader to voyeuristically review Gumb’s hormone regimen, thinning body hair, voice training, electrolysis and even passing mention of breast development. This is presented with both a clinical air and a sense of disdain at the progress. But this is ok because Gumb is not “really transgender”, right?

Later in the book Agent Crawford threatens to have federal funding cut from the Johns Hopkins sex-reassignment wing and have the surgery re-classified as of non-medical necessity. There’s no telling how many transsexuals ongoing medical treatment were effectively being held hostage as an afterthought in this power-play. But this is ok because Gumb is not “really transgender”, right?

I’m sure there is also something to be said about namechecking the Johns Hopkins Trans Surgery wing as a plot point in the book, considering the actual one was shut down a decade before.

And even as Ted Levine’s lumbering, gangly tr*nny monster performance is frequently superimposed over depictions of the lives of trans folks, and the spectre of which haunts discussions of everything from “bathroom bills” to TSA clearances, Lecter represents the opposite of this stereotype. Lecter is theatrical without camp. He is effette but not effeminate. He drips with sarcasm and is impeccably refined and cultural and worldly.

The comparisons don’t stop there. In the novel, through Agent Starling’s feminist hero eyes she recognizes Lecter as “small, sleek, and in his hands and arms she saw wiry strength like her own” in contrast to Gumb’s frequently referenced large hefty frame. In the film, Lecter is depicted as deliberately clinical and meticulously clean, a contrast to the squalor of Gumb’s living area and poor hygiene and posture. Anthony Hopkins came up with the idea of having Lecter dressed in white in order to invoke imagery of doctors and dentists and peoples instinctive unease around them. But it also positions him yet again as an virtous-appearing authority figure. Perhaps this is why we are expected to continue to take Lecter’s gatekeeping of Gumb’s dysphoria at face value, despite the fact that it’s coming from a man restrained in a strait jacket and spitter’s mask.

“He’s not a transsexual, Clarice. He just thinks he is, and he’s puzzled and angry because they won’t help him.”

There’s almost definitely a “high/low functioning” mental illness dynamic going on as well that someone may choose to explore further down the line. How does nobody ever question Lecter’s capacity to make psychological diagnoses not only without clinical observation but while also himself deemed in a dangerous enough capacity mentally to warrant institutionalization?

sissykillers4Definitely someone with authority’s best interest in mind – Everyone Somehow

It’s not like positioning the audience to arbiter Lecter as a gatekeeper of queer sexuality is limited to his interaction with Jame Gumb. I mentioned earlier his murder of Gumb’s boyfriend, named after a leftist French intellectual. In the opening to the movie Red Dragon Lecter is literally shown in judgement of Raspail’s performativity, and Jesus Christ as Lecter scowls at Raspail’s unsatisfactory ability to blow the flute I’m sure Freud was doing cartwheels in his grave. And then, in the following scene, a bunch of progressive intellectuals giggle over Raspail’s missing status and subsequently nonperson him based on the same inadequate perfomativity Lecter judged him worthy of death over.

sissykillers5He’s either decided to kill a man or poop himself.

This sort of gatekeeping, this arbitration of judgement over folks less desirable is clearly the role the unexamined audience wants from Lecter. He returns to this role over and over and over, evolving from a useful monster to a justified protagonist in his own universe, while his gruesome body count silently grows.

Maybe y’all should re-evaluate what you consider so identifiable in Hannibal Lecter.

Honestly, Who Actually Gives A Damn About Hitler’s Penis? And Why?

22 Feb

hitlerspenis1Above, faked footage of “Hitler’s Jig

So, like, no offence but Hitler is a piece of shit. Cool, we got that out of the way.

He occupies a particular place in history as a reviled and defeated political force, as well as the public face to unfathomably horrible human atrocity. There is an instinct when discussing him to relegate his humanity to some sort of “othered” status. “Normal” people would be incapable of what he has done, people say, somehow missing the irony of assigning aberration to a political regime devoted to exterminating aberration. More curious, however, is how folks choose to relegate Hitler’s otherness.

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The current lascivious sexualized detail is his life folks are gleefully poring over is an atypical urethra formation that affects as many as 1 in every 250 folks born with penises, and an undescended testicle (a commonly associated malady). But why in the world should that matter? The frequent assertion is that it “could explain things”, but what exactly?

Gratuitous exposes assigning various sexual deviancies to Hitler gloss over the devastation his reign had on homosexual and gender-non-conforming people. 100, 000 gay men were arrested during the Nazi Regime, 50,000 of which were jailed and up to 15000 may have died in concentration camps. Records of transgender folks involved in these arrests is difficult to ascertain because they were lumped in with homosexuals, but it was enough to be contemporarily remarked upon. Alongside human cost, the Nazi Regime also destroyed the records of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute For Sexual Science, annihilating invaluable decades of compassionate scientific research and political works on homosexuality, gender-non-conformity and transsexual surgery.

It’s one (fairly complicated and not particularly admirable, tbh) thing to attempt to remove Hitler’s humanity rhetorically, it’s another to disdainfully invite others into the crossfire who suffered under him as well. One would think that after meditating on the man’s horrible quest for ideological, racial and sexual purity through terror, one may choose not to engage in similar demonization of historically marginalized individuals.

“STONEWALL WAS BY/FOR WHITE PEOPLE!” – #DropTheT Author Complains To Far-Right Website @FDRLST

9 Nov

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(EDITORIAL NOTE BY ME CIRCA AUGUST 2018: Oh shit, shout out to the time I literally burned this motherfucker’s website to the ground. What fun.)

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that The Assimilationists are at it again. Someone got really, really mad about Roland Emmerich’s terrible new Stonewall movie tanking and started a change dot org petition about it. Seriously. Then they staged an “anonymous” softball interview on far-right thinkpiece site The Federalist to complain about that. Give it up, Roland, your movie fucking blows.

According to “Clayton”, it’s the fault of the transgender movement that Emmerich’s terrible, terrible Stonewall movie flopped. Also apparently the “transgender movement” is the only reason Germaine Greer, famous for authoring a pedophile grooming manual, is considered controversial. Also blah blah blah someone’s still holding a torch for the stupid RuPaul/”tranny” debate from Spring 2014… how gauche.

So, first of all, that Stonewall movie is godawful. Even white gay guys agree. Nobody needs to insert “straight-acting” gay men into “historical” movies anymore, this isn’t the 90s. It’s pandering and insulting. It’s an appeal to respectability and catering to a demographic that honestly is no longer meaningful post-Ellen, post-Will and Grace, and post-RuPaul’s Drag Race, etc. At least to everyone outside the imagination of the petition author.

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This sort of mamby pamby “straight acting” Log Cabin assimilationist bullshit has in reality done little to advance gay rights. This change.org petition comes from the same mentality as Gay Pride Whoppers and Rainbow Snack Chips. Many of us in the gay community consider it cloying and insulting to our intelligence. Which is funny because the author claims to be a left-leaning socialist with feminist leanings, while also gushing fondly about the attention his petition received from MRGays like Milo Yiannopolos and white-supremacists.

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In summary, as a personal remark to the petition author: how dare you. I’ve been out over 20 years myself, as bisexual and shortly afterwards about my struggle with gender dysphoria. I’ve been disallowed from donating blood my entire adult life because of the same shitty bans that gay men experience; transitioning didn’t change that. I grew up in a state where being gay was illegal until my mid-20s, casting a shadow on many of my formative sexual experiences; transitioning didn’t change that. During that time, I witnessed police crackdowns on drag bars where I worked and was dramatically shaken by the brutal “gay panic” murder of a local fellow drag queen/transsexual. Transitioning didn’t change that.

But hey, you insist there is a line to be drawn between you and I, and I’m inclined to agree. You may have been a “socialist” and “radical” at some point, but now you’re at best you’re a useless bougie liberal prop for the status quo, and I am and will always be a bigger faggot than you ever will.

Drop that.

 

UNAPOLOGETIC, By Anne Tagonist, Volume Three, 08/02, Trans Activist Zine From My Collection

30 Jun

I mentioned on my detransition post on this blog that I had met trans activist Anne Tagonist. She was a regular at a queer punk get together (Queerwad) at Monkeywrench Books (a staunchly anti-TERF venue) that I attended with my boyfriend at the time during the Fall of 2002.

unapologetic01A bunch of early-00s trans activists just gasped at this

Well, she wound up giving me this zine in particular, which I scanned a while back for a post in an online trans group, but figure I should go ahead and put it out there for a wider audience. It covers a lot of discussions still going on now with the trans community despite being written 13 years ago. It’s pretty amazing stuff, and a valuable piece of our history. Enjoy.

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