DTWOF Episode #509

June 12th, 2007 | Uncategorized

hot dog

In which Mo gets barbecued.

43 Responses to “DTWOF Episode #509”

  1. g-lo says:

    Comment restore

    1. Aunt Soozie Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Oh my!!!!

    2. Jo Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Idea for the next episode.. Sydney’s stuff scattered around the front yard when she returns from family vacation! Thank Godess she was not in a moving vehicle 🙂 (see episode 473.. by far my favorite!)

    3. Jo Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    I mean thank godess Mo, not being in the moving vehicle.. it’s hot 🙂

    4. hetero genus Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    I like Janis better as Jonas, or Jonah, a gentle natured little boy. Sticking a child on articficail hormones, even at his bequest, just to achieve a fantasy state. What’s to stop him from dressing and living as he desires without the checmical changes (another profit outlet for pharmaceutical companies, especially now that we menapausal women are rejecting hormone consumption), Just my opinion. Either way, the kid is adorably drawn and conveys a delightful personality.
    Poor Mo!!!!I guess that teeter just tottered. At least she knows now beyond doubt. Sydney, how could you!!! I have often wondered: Is the resemblance between Terry Gross and her coincidental? If you ever make a movie, a la the TinTin tale (thanks for the heads up on that, can’t wait), but with real people, maybe she would accept that role.

    5. Datamuse Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Yeah, Aunt Soozie, I think you said it!

    6. Andrea Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Nice smoking sausage.

    Poor Mo! I know this is essentially a drawn soap opera so there HAS to be drama, but can’t there be one relationship in your cast of characters that sticks around forever? 🙁

    7. R Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Would it be possible to get a ‘family’ tree of the characters of DTWOF? or a quick bio of each character, for those of us who are newish to the strip, i know Alison is busy but i am pretty sure someone on here could bring me up to speed, Thank You.

    8. Michael Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Oh dear; I’m glad Sydney got caught, but poor Mo! And is this the first time we’ve heard of Paul’s possible dementia onset, or did I miss something?

    Not to hetero genus: You don’t have any young Trans loved ones, do you? For MTF Trans youth, living as a girl without medical intervention is increasingly difficult and can become impossible. And why torture someone who knows who they are? Hormones are the best thing for Janis. She was a gentle-natured little girl in a male body, and then she hit puberty. Welcome to adolescence. The reason she’s so obnoxious is because she’s a 13 year old girl; it’s par for the course with puberty, regardless of whether it’s induced by your body naturally or by artificial means. She would be a million times more obnoxious if she were uncomfortable in her own skin and going through the wrong puberty, I assure you. My own adolescence would have gone a whole lot more smoothly if I’d transitioned at that age, and I’m witness to about a dozen Trans youth who are Janis’s age or younger and are transitioning (some on hormones, some on blockers, some on neither as they’re younger), and have seen the incredible night-and-day difference it makes. Transition, or lack thereof, will not turn adolescents back into sweet little children.

    9. jam Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    hetero genus said: “Is the resemblance between Terry Gross and her coincidental? If you ever make a movie, a la the TinTin tale (thanks for the heads up on that, can’t wait), but with real people, maybe she would accept that role.”

    no offense, HG, but please, BY ALL THAT’S HOLY, if there’s a movie, find someone other than Terry Gross to play Mo.

    howzabout any one Alison’s many doppelgangers?

    10. Ellen O. Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Ah, but just how much of Sydney’s gush to Madeleine did Mo hear? Did the leering patron interrupt some or all of it? What a cliffhanger! and nicely tied in with Paul’s Alzheimer’s.

    Regarding “R’s” question above, click on “Cast Biographies” on the home page of this blog. Good way to get started. Or buy the last two collections. Each has a solid introduction that introduces the characters. Better, yet, start from the very beginning, in _More Dykes to Watch Out For_.

    11. –MC Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Poor Mo. This one HOIT.

    12. meg Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Surely HG meant that *Sydney* looks just like Terry Gross. She does to me, anyway

    13. Alex Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Ha! Love the Madeline revelation, priceless!
    As for the little trans comment above, hetero genus, you seem to be mixing Janis up with a crossdresser. Transsexuals don’t take hormones to look more pretty in a frock and a feminine ‘persona’ that they can take off at night, they actually are women with a severe biological cock-up. Sorry to give two talk downs there, just I’m trans myself, FTM.
    What happened to the gay FTM guy who worked in the garage, anyway?

    14. Anne Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Poor Mo. I’ve had that call. 🙁 Sure it’s when things actually start to get better, but they hurt a lot worse until you get around the corner.

    15. byrdie Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Damn. Poor Mo. Granted, she found out about the convention fling, but I guess it was never made clear to her that Sydney was continuing the fling.

    For a while, I was finding it interesting that Mo was seeming to get pretty much the relationship she was fantasizing about years ago when she spied that one Log Cabin lesbian at the Pride Parade: someone with money (reality, on credit card), whose family would accept her (actually happened) and who’d provide her with a wild sex life (for a while) while supporting her literary dreams (well, Mo’s a librarian, at least).

    It’s just so close to what Mo originally wanted. I wish that Sydney had either not freaked about Harriet and thus committed to polyamory rather than polyscrewery; or just settled for a friendship with Madeline.


    16. Alex the Bold Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Oh Mo. I’m so sorry.

    17. Alex the Bold Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Yesterday, while fwipping through one of the books, I realized, we’ve never gotten Jezanna’s back story (have we?).

    18. Angi Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Yes, poor Mo — but she’s put up with Sydney’s crap for years AND let’s not forget her own little fling with Fiona in graduate school. So I have a hard time feeling TOO sorry for her. Especially since she let Harriet go all those long years ago for so much less — A VCR!!!! — which was a HUGEMONGOUS mistake.

    And hear hear to Michael’s response to hetero genius — I too have seen the huge positive difference that transitioning makes in the lives of trans youth, and the psychological trauma not being able to transition can cause. Janis is Janis — a teenage girl in all her glory. If the strip is still around when Isabelle (Harriet’s little one) or J.R. hit puberty (and they are not transitioning into boys) it’ll be the same. I personally think that Janis is beautiful, although I too wax nostalgic for the days of Harry Potter and Stuart as Hagrid. But if Jonas had been Janis back then, it’d have been just the same and I’d be wondering where that sweet little girl went…

    I’m very interested to see what happens to Sydney as her father continues to deteriorate mentally — who will she spar with?!

    19. Alex the Bold Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Ep, ep, ep, ep, ep. Just a minute.

    Mo’s “fling” with Fiona was non-sexual and, as Mo described it, just an infatuation. AND she discussed it with Sydney.

    Also, Mo didn’t “let Harriet go.” Mo was harping on Harriet for buying a VCR (as Harriet said, I just wanna tape fucking All My Children) and Harriet finally snapped.

    Which brings to mind that Mo then opined a few strips later that she felt like slashing Harriet’s car’s tires.

    I would certainly like to see Sydney’s many shiny pretty pieces of overpriced crap destroyed by Mo in a fit of righteous fury.

    Then Mo can move back to the house with Stewart, Sparrow and Lois.

    20. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    I don’t want to put Hetero Genus (which I keep reader as “genius” and then snorting, to tell the truth) through the ringer more than necessary, but could you keep your transphobia to yourself, please? This is one of my internet happy places and I’d like to keep it that way.

    “articficail hormones, even at [her] bequest, just to achieve a fantasy state.”
    a fantasy state?

    Looks like the poop may have hit the fan w/r/t Sydney and Mo. Maybe it’s time to separate the non-monogs from the monogs.

    21. Jen Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    I love how the headlines follow both story lines: conflict, lack of security, all that’s old is new again.

    22. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    ps to Alex:

    the gay trans man was Jerry! I may or may not have written DTWOF fanfic which fleshed out he and Lois-in-drag’s, uh, scene.

    23. mulierebus Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I’d like to see mo and sydney become polyamorous and stick it out. This thing with Madeleine obviously doesn’t mean as much to syd as mo does.

    24. Jen Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t think it’s transphobia necessarily, just a lack of understanding. It’s tough to understand a foreign concept if one’s had no exposure. What better way than through a fictional character and some excellent and kind responses?

    25. mysticriver Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Alex – Jerry! He’s still around I think? Although the last episode I remember he was hanging out with Lois watching the Olympics, so I guess it’s been a while.

    Michael – I think Janis might be about 15 or 16 or so now – she was a few years older than Raffi. Although, yeah, with all the new hormones rushing right now, she might be more like a girl who just hit puberty. I remember being just as annoying!

    And jeez – Janis actually looks pretty hot! That’s scary.

    Although on the other end of the spectrum, Mo and Jasmine look really hot in this episode too (although poor Mo!) Love the little lines around the mouth on both.

    And I love Jennifer’s cellulite!

    Gorgeous drawing details! The lines and cross-hatching are beautiful.

    26. Jen Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Thinking about it now, transphobia may have been the only word available but IMHO it’s not the right one. What is the transgender equivalent to “heterosexism”?

    27. martinet Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Janis is beautiful, and I’m glad she’s now on hormones under a doctor’s guidance rather than still taking street hormones.

    I think this is the first ep I’ve seen in which Lois looks older! She also looks thinner than usual; is that part of her “aging process”?

    Re whoever said “I wonder how much Mo heard. . . “–believe me, she heard enough. That’s why she’s got that look on her face. She’s stunned, and that’s why she’s not hearing her obnoxious library client.

    28. mysticriver Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Just realized, in thinking about Janis’ age – Lois & Jasmine have been together five years now!

    Who will fill Ginger’s vacancy in the house? Jasmine & Janis? Mo? Will J.R. get her own room now? The mind reels…

    29. Doctor E Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I have nothing to add to the relationships/trans discussions, but I love how Paul and Sydney are drawn to resemble each other.

    And Lois is wearing crocs! I’d never noticed the things before the nice folks on this blog pointed them out, but I’ve been at music festivals the past two weekends, and was astonished at the number of people wearing them. How did such a widespread footwear fashion phenomenon pass me by?

    Oh yeah- I’m a hetero male.

    30. PKintheUK Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    For the person who wanted a “family tree,” if you can get your hands on any of the books, they usually include exactly such a document at the beginning!

    31. Alex Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Jay in Chicago:
    Lois and Jerry ’scene’ fan-fic?! Where?!

    32. tallie Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    oh dear, i really don’t want to gang up on hetero genus, but i will say this, which i direct NOT to hetero genus but to the sentiment behind his/her comment:
    I’ve heard a bunch of folks say that transitioning early is bad for kids/youth, for various reasons. i think oprah even did a show about parents who chose to get their 6-17 year old kids on hormones or hormone inhibitors early.
    Basically, taking ANY kind of hormone (birth control included) long-term is bad for you. Transmen get liver problems, trans women have bone problems, etc. by taking hormones early (pre puberty), however, one can usually take a lower dosage, which MIGHT mitigate the potential long-term health effects. not to mention, taking hormones post-puberty forces your body through another puberty stage (acne, weight shifting, etc) where taking hormones prepuberty “tricks” the body into only having one.
    basically, if a kid can take hormones early, it’s probably better for him or her physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
    to add more (i know, everyone’s rivited) if a minor can get diagnosed with gender dysphoria before 18, most health insurance companies will cover surgeries (post puberty) as treatment for a necessary medical condition, rather than “cosmetic.”

    i would like to say this: it’s janis’ doctor who is telling her that women are weak, demure, and not “muscley,” not her hormones. this is an issue that many feminist transwomen have taken up with more eloquence than i, but if one does believe janis’ gender performance is a result of her “girl hormones,” than how do you explain strong, capable, kickass femme bio-women?

    *** steps off soapbox, sheepishly wanders back to lurker-status***

    33. gardengirl Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    mysticriver: speaking of artistic details…
    there WAS kind of an upset over this year’s SI Swimsuit issue. Seems like Sports Illustrated in their infinite wisdom decided not to send the Swimsuit issue to libraries this year. Serials librarians everywhere got pissed and demanded that SI honor their subscriptions to a full year of issues.
    The librarians won and SI humbly apologized.

    34. Rohmie Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Uh oh, does this mean that Mo will be moving in with Lo, Sparrow and Stu to make up for the loss of Ginger’s house payments?

    35. Jaibe Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    About Paul’s Alzheimer’s — he has been calling Mo Madeline for a while, but I thought that was an indication of a) absent-minded prof and b) hint to us reader of how much Madeline & Sydney are at lit. conferences together (with Paul.)

    Is Jennifer going to stick, or does Sydney live alone with an Alzheimer’s patient?

    I thought Mo & Sydney were here to stay after the dead cat episode, but I think maybe Alison is sick of drawing her ex… I’m sure she’ll explore the Alzheimer’s thing, but maybe no more than Harriet’s single motherhood…

    36. Jaibe Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Whoops — I tried to put the phrase “late night brutality because I can’t think of a polite way to say this” in warning comments before that last paragraph, but unfortunately I used angle brackets & I think the website ate that line… I hope no one was shocked / offended!

    37. Jaibe Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    “late night brutality WARNING” argh! I’m just digging myself in a hole…

    38. Jaibe Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    PS it’s depressing how much more I look like Paul than Jennifer…

    39. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Jen: I’ve heard “cissexism” used as an analogue to heterosexism. (”cis-” being adopted to mean, basically, “not trans”, so a cis-sexed person would be someone not trans.) Maybe I ran into it in Julia Serano’s powerful new book, Whipping Girl?
    But I’d say describing someone transitioning as “a fantasy” as pretty transphobic.

    Alex: that fanfic resides safely on my hard drive, pending further editing. Though I’ve often wondering about starting a DTWOF livejournal slash community. (;

    And, while I know this is verging quickly off topic, I have to respond to tallie’s comments about the safety of taking exogenous hormones.
    Basically, taking ANY kind of hormone (birth control included) long-term is bad for you. Transmen get liver problems, trans women have bone problems, etc. by taking hormones early (pre puberty), however, one can usually take a lower dosage
    I would say this is mostly untrue. Hormones administered in any way but pill form tend to have low liver toxicity. Most trans men take testosterone through either injections or skin applications, so no pills=little liver toxicity. Though few or no long term studies have been done specifically on trans people, most of us are have our liver enzymes monitored with our labs regularly. And I haven’t heard of anyone having this problem. Same with trans women and bone problems. That to me sounds like a lack of hormones and could be handled with adjusting dosages.
    I also don’t see why someone starting hormone replacement pre or during puberty would necessarily mean they’d have to take less. But maybe I’m misunderstanding you.
    Um, there also isn’t much legal precedent into forcing insurance companies to, you know, do what we pay for them to do and cover expenses related to the disorder called Gender Identity Disorder–usually because most have clauses blatantly stating they won’t cover “gender reassignment” health concerns, and because GID is currently labeled a mental health disorder. Some people have gotten things covered either by fighting for it, or lucking out and getting one of the few plans that don’t disallow it out of hand.
    That was longwinded. Sorry.

    40. long time reader Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    great! best episode in a long time! well balanced with great story/ drama line!
    thanx Alison!

    41. Tera Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Poor Mo : ( I hope her and sydney can work this through, I love them together

    42. K. Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Okay, here’s the thing:

    Maybe Hetero Genus is wrong.
    Likely she said something that reveals some level of discriminatory thinking.

    But this issue is one that is being hashed out in communities like this all over the place. And I think the creator of this strip knows that. Mo, Sydney, Ginger, Sparrow, Lois, Toni–they’ve all had vastly different opions on a ton of hot-button issues in the past! From gender-identity to military intervention. And for the most part, the strip allows them each their turn to make an eloquent case. Contradiction, dialectism, duality–it’s all part of the conversation.

    The fact that this community sees fit not only to rebut HG’s statement en mass, but also essentially to tell her to shove it and keep it out of “our happy place” really apalls me.

    Diversity of opintion, people! It’s part of all that is good! This is not a simple issue.

    43. JenK Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    R – The cast biographies page is good. If you want to know how most of the cast meant, get Unnatural Dykes To Watch Out For – there’s a “graphic novella” at the end that tells how Toni met Clarice, Mo met Lo, Lo and Sparrow dated, et cetera.

    Jaibe – DOES Sydney look like Alison’s ex (Amy)? I know that Alison has said that Mo was based on herself when the strip started, and Sydney is more like Alison perceives herself now. So I don’t think Sydney is Amy.

    Today’s strip:

    I think Paul’s mistake is common Alz confusion. He knew he was talking with Sydney’s consort who works in a library, but he remembers the name Madeleine not Mo.

    That said, SYDNEY thought it was Maddy, and acted accordingly.

    Re: Mo & Harriet’s breakup, I never thought it was JUST about the VCR. Harriet said she’d rather be with someone who can be supportive and not just be down all the time.

    Finally, I will note that for a serial (aka plotted a month or 6 at a time, not one novel or trilogy or what-have-you that was plotted out from the beginning) Alison has managed remarkable consistency with very little retcon required. I think she’s better than Robert B Parker at this point (who started the Spenser series in the 70s 😉

    44. Karen librarian Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    There’s a good reason that patron can’t find the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. I’m sure Alison knows it, but for those who don’t, it’s sort of an interesting story:


    45. Karen librarian Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    or a bad reason, perhaps I should say

    46. Andrew O. Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Aren’t Carlos and his boyfriend Daniel still together?
    From what I’ve heard I believe Terry Gross is too shy to be in a movie.
    Mo deserves better than Sydney anyway. Remember what Sydney did to Thea?
    The drawing just keeps getting better and better.

    47. B Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Since the subject of transliteracy has been raised, do any of you have advice on useful books and/or websites to read? I have a dear friend who’s FTM and I’d like to keep my quasi-ignorant feet as far from my mouth as possible. Therefore, much education is required. Any thoughts?

    48. Feminista Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Dear B–A year ago I decided to educate myself about trans issues. I recommend the following to start your journey:

    Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison (James) Green

    MTF Success Stories edited by Lynn Conway (includes many links to trans groups).

    Writings by Raven Caldera (FTM in a partnership with a MTF)

    Writings by Leslie Feinberg and hir (preferred pronoun) partner Minnie Bruce Pratt

    49. April Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Hear hear to difference of opinion. We don’t all have to march lockstep on this, it’s not like we’re the Ridiculous Right, eh?
    Personally I share some of HG’s concerns on the medication of children, as well as the either/or gender boxes you have to squeeze yourself into to “prove” to doctors (and everyone else?) that your feelings count. Hence little Janis feeling that if she does any heavy lifting she can say bye-bye to her prescription…
    Hmmm… thinks…

    50. liza Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Wait! I now have an identity as a cis – a non trans person?

    I’m going to back up hetero genus here and say that janis *is* trying to achieve a fantasy. But we all try to achieve a gender fantasy. Masculine, Feminine, Butch, Femme, Androgyne, Sissy, Tomboy. No matter what your body of origin – gender is a chimera, constantly created and recreated through time and place.

    The trick is not to believe the little man behind the curtain. Male and Female only have meaning in social context. Gender is a cultural creation. It will always change its meanings and the ways it manifests.

    Michael – all puberties are the wrong ones. And do we ever know who we are? I’m not the same person at 58 that I was at 14 – thank g*d. I get that teenagers and young adults think they know who they are, but trust me, it all changes over time.

    51. xckb13 Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Yes, liza, you do – take a moment and consider the privilege that comes with that non-trans identity!


    52. xckb13 Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    The shorter (better?) version is at the bottom of the page.

    53. Kat Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    oh my….the plot thickens…..

    On a separate topic, I’ve got a question for the DTWOF bolg universe: has anyone noticed Maggie Jochild around anywhere recently? She was a very frequent commenter for a while, but (like me) has faded from discussions.

    anyone know?

    54. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    I can’t believe someone would mock me for indicating that I find this comic and the community around it to be a welcoming space. Could you back up, please, and take a look at what I was saying? Now I’m appalled, too.

    I’m not going to devote more than a few more minutes on this issue, but the issue of whether we trans people exist is not up for debate. We are here. I can’t help but look really suspiciously at anyone who would want to have a “diversity of opinion” on whether I exist and deserve rights or not. I kind of hate to play this analogy, but shall we have a “diversity of opinion” on homosexuality, as well?

    55. xckb13 Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I give up. I’ve tried to post a longer comment three times now, and it’s been eaten every time. Now I’ll just throw my hat in with people with better internet access and watch Jay, Michael, and Alex take it from here.

    56. kate Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    very funny headlines

    57. lb Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this…

    58. dg Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    How would a non-lesbian coming to this board and suggesting that lesbians not force themselves into rigid, socially constructed boxes by dating only other women go over? My guess is not well.

    Why would that never be tolerated, but it is considered acceptable for non-trans folks to suggest what transpeople should or should not do with their bodies and lives under the guise of “diversity of opinion” and other crap like “creating a dialogue”?

    Sorry, white folks don’t get to tell black people how they should live, straight folks don’t get to tell lesbians how to live and non-trans people don’t get a say in what transpeople should do with their bodies or their lives. That’s not being an ally; it’s being a hypocrite.

    59. Annie in Hawaii Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Aloha! What a fanstatic episode! Easily the best drawn and written in a while, combining so many layers of comedy, soap, issue-laden: Syd’s father’s accidents of memory awful and hilarious at the same time reminded me of my own father’s bittersweet and sad decline,”why are you taking away my truck keys??? I’m not going to get lost–we live on an island and everybody knows me!” He did have a point but we took the keys anyway.) Mo’s expression was priceless (been there). I never liked Syd but Mo will probably forgive her instead of kicking her in the okole.

    60. Douglas Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    The Little Cold War is only a week old and already it’s in DTWOF.

    61. Butch Fatale Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    K — would you feel the same way if we were debating whether gay people could be cured, or whether paying women the same wage as men would be detrimental to family values? Divesity of opinion is one thing, but you have on the one hand, people calling transition “living in a fantasy” and someone who is misinformed about hormones in transition, and then you have transguys and allies defending transpeople as . . . people.

    Yes, Janis’ mom was concerned about her going on hormones, but from a compassionate and informed point of view. No one’s objecting to people’s right to have opinions, but when you have opinions about other people’s existence and identity, you’re likely to get some strong opinions voiced in response.

    62. april zosia Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    just wanted to say the newspapers are rad. i really dig how the story changes as the frames progress. Also, the funniest thing i’ve though of in a while is an older person, someone paul’s age or a but younger, reenacting the cold war, which makes the last frame almost like an inside joke (with myself)…

    ahh…such the introvert..


    63. mk Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I think the Mo & Syd relationship is really interesting and I highly doubt Mo was totally in the dark about Madeline. Also, I don’t think that Mo’s fling with Fiona was non-sexual – she was totally attracted to Fiona and just because they didn’t have sex didn’t make it platonic.

    64. Jana C.H. Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    For the latest on Maggie Jochild go to:


    Jana C.H.
    Saith Anna Russell: I’m not making this up, you know!

    65. Kathy Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Great strip.

    As someone who runs a message board for young transpeople (mostly teens and 20s), honestly, Janice’s obviously silly behavior is SO spot on. She’ll get over it, most everyone does. And there’s too many great powerful women in her life for her not to!

    As far books, another very very strong recommendation for Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl. She’s got an interview in the new issue of Bitch too!

    66. IGH Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks Jay and dg for speaking well on this. Debate is all nice and fine, but my life isn’t your debate and no, a difference of opinion on who I am or if I’m living in a fantasy world actually isn’t welcome.

    Education and working through ideas are important, but there also need to be things that a community of people sharing ideas agrees on as a baseline. In this space, for example, on of those things is that being gay isn’t disgusting or reprehensible or any of the other things that some people like to say it is. If we couldn’t agree on those things, no conversation had would ever get past debating those basics, and many people would feel personally attacked and leave the space. Respect for trans people, our identities, and our right to live our lives as we need and want to, ought to be one of those baseline agreements.

    67. liza Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Is a Cis sort of like a Shiksa?

    68. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    It’s a science prefix. It has no negative connotation…not that shiksa necessarily does either…

    69. clara_lemlich Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:03 am

    i’m really glad to see people spelling out that people’s lives aren’t up for debate, nor their existence as fully human beings.

    ever since the last string of posts on this blog about trans identity and the whole MI women’s music festival hooh-hah, i’ve been struck by how similar some people’s comments were to things that straight folks in my classes say about LGB people– that the existence of hetero privilege is up for debate and that queer folks are somehow responsible for whatever negative stuff we experience (most recent example of this was a student who, upon hearing that many of us can’t legally visit our partners in the hospital, at least in many jurisdictions, said “boo hoo. if i really loved someone and wanted to see them in the hospital, i’d just bust in– i’d find a way to be there.”) i’m continually struck by how our humanity is challenged in these classes that i facilitate– subtly and not so.

    which is why it continues to amaze me when people on this site and other LGB friends of mine use the same tone when talking about trans folks. and that it’s done in the name of “differences of opinion.” saying that a trans kid is trying to achieve some sort of fantasy is not an opinion– say about liking Nader or Kerry or whatever.

    and just because “this issue”– meaning the validity of trans identity and experience (and, yes, the validity of cis-privilege, which i sure as heck have and appreciate being reminded of)– is being “debated” elsewhere doesn’t mean that it’s somehow natural that it’s happening here as well.

    i look forward to a time on the DTWOF blog when every reference to trans identity and experience doesn’t lead to comments that put trans people (and allies) in the position of having to defend themselves and their choices–

    70. Andi in Boulder Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:20 am

    Thanks for the latest installment Alison!

    I love the brilliant literacy of DTWOF; even the title is evocative. “Doctor, doctor” has so many meanings. Doctor, doctor =Dr. Sydney and Dr. Madeline; Doctor, doctor = Dr. Sydney and her Dr. Professor father; Doctor, doctor = Dr. Dad needing to see a doctor…Janis seeing Dr. Taubman….layers and layers.

    Then there’s panel #8 — Lois the Drag King in her crocs, Janis the trans-kid not wanting to ruin her nails, and the “straight male” character, Stuart, lounging by the pool in his “skirt.” It beautifully captures one of my favorite Lois phrases, “Love is a many gendered thing.”

    And ya gotta love the ominous little mushroom cloud emanating from the grill as Stuart reads about re-starting the arms race. Booooom!

    What a beautiful contrast of two very different backyards.

    71. liza Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Intresting you brought up Michigan. Apparantly that little festival has become so toxic that performers who have appeared there are no longer welcome at Dyke Marches. (for those of you who were out at the movies, Bitch, a Lesbian musician, was bumped from the lineup at the boston Dyke March because she had performed at Michigan)

    The story has only been reported in blogs, and I can’t find any statement from the producers themselves, so it’s unclear how it all came about.

    But The mind boggles.

    I’ve been to Michigan. Hell, I’ve worked at Michigan many many times. It’s where I first met our Alison.

    Well, it’s not like they invite gallery owners to perform at Dyke Marches, but still. I wonder who will be disinvited next.

    72. D.F. Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 1:00 am

    ouch! poor Mo! to hear it like that, completely unexpected…. incredibly painful.

    it’s amazing how that haggard look on her face echoes Toni’s… another Bechdelian astute observation, perhaps … how much these things (the breaking of trust, the loss of deep partnership) take a toll…

    and yes it is the first time Lois begins to age… boyish / aging … beautifully done, captures that particular reality well… n’ yes, she’s still hot.

    on a completely different note re: janis being a pain b/c she’s an adolescent, and that’s just hte way adolescent girls are … i’ve never understood this. can’t help but feel that this brand of adolescence is an American phenomenon, i.e. culturally specific … i know there’s research on this somewhere … and i have to say, i don’t have the stomach for it. strikes me as incredibly spoiled.

    i come from a large extended immigrant family & have many 2nd-gen cousins, most of whom did not go the type of thing that’s excused as ‘just being an adolescent.’ and – dear god i hope none of ‘em are reading this – the ones that did came from more privileged backgrounds & were allowed to develop more of a sense of entitlement.

    i know i sound crochety & old, but i’ve always felt this way. (maybe i’ve just always been crotchety).

    with janis, i can almost understand it, as an acting out / trying on different gender expressions / finding her way / becoming a diva. i’m speaking more to the general 13- or 16- year old adolescent thing.

    hmmm…. i sound really bitter don’t i? i’ll have to check into that. in the meantime, elucidation & thoughts welcome.

    lastly — yes, like clara, i look fwd to the day when we don’t have to plunge into struggle and education and basic validation of a reality or way of being around either trans OR poly stuff… tho, even as an ally, i learn a lot…

    … but it’s all part of a process, no? (that most of us went through ourselves, at some point, whether it was internalized stuff or affecting someone we loved…)

    anyway, …. thnks all for sharing your experiences.

    now i think i’ll go eat some maoist orange cake… yum.

    p.s. about the bio page — just a heads up — some of ‘em are a li’ll outdated — good starting point — but books n’ following the storyline on the blog are better.

    73. Defining My Self Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Some people believe that gender is acquired, not a function of appearance, genitals, or chemicals. Some people believe the opposite. It IS a difference of opinion, and your belief that my identity is a product of Whatever is just your belief, not oppressive to me UNLESS you try to tell me what I must believe and articulate.

    I don’t identify as cis and don’t care to. I’d rather define my own identity, and it won’t be based on a binary or as a victim role in comparison to others. If you don’t have room for that self-definition, or for difference of opinion, then you’ll have to shut me up, won’t you? Wonder how you’ll go about it? Keeping people from seeing sci-fi movies so they can judge for themselves? Keeping dyke performers from playing at Dyke Marches?

    Lastly, questioning the appropriateness of adults injecting children with poorly-understood body-altering chemicals in order to manipulate their self-expression is questioning child abuse. If it was a child who felt bad about having brown eyes because she felt being blue-eyed was her true identity, and she had the choice of contacts (noninvasive) or ingesting chemicals linked to liver toxicity, shortened life spans and lots of other medical difficulties that will be denied, no doubt, as fast as this gets posted — what would a responsible adult choose? The question of parents making decisions for their children’s health is not transphobic, it’s out there in the media in a major way. If the issue is not about actual survival or health, and there’s an alternative to invasive, permanent treatments until the child can decide for herself, I vote for finding another way for her to pursue self-expression until she reaches adulthood. The impatience of children (and the immature) is well-known, but that should not dictate responsibility or reason.

    Now, go ahead and call me transphobic. You got one label in your arsenal, one issue in your head, just get it out and keep screaming “Communist, communist” until enough of us get sick of the “Either you’re with us or you’re against us” mindset. We are waking up nationally, and I for one can’t wait.

    74. D.F. Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 1:08 am

    forgot two things:

    1. thank you so much allison for this strip, and for continuing to keep DTWOF running even as so many new things are on the horizon. it’s really incredible.

    2. on the picking up of Alzhmrs – can’t believe i left this out, but then again it’s probably *so* not an accident – again, thnks. you’re always on. how the family deals, the denial.

    this is incredibly timely for me right now, right at this stage, so i’m really touched & really appreciate it.

    maggie, do you still read this blog? i miss your comments and presence!

    75. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 1:34 am

    poorly-understood body-altering chemicals

    Hormones for transition have been being prescribed for about the last 50 years. They are *not* poorly understood. You have no basis for making that claim but as a scare tactic.

    They are also *not* linked to liver toxicity. They are safe and often LIFE SAVING. Honestly.

    76. D.F. Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 1:49 am

    To Defining:

    Ok, first off, the use of the analogy of internalized racism (i.e. wanting blue eyes) to internalized ‘binarism’, to meet you on your terms, is not cool. even *if* i accepted the common argument that trans identity = internalized sexism, I would find this argument offensive. Different oppressions work differently; don’t co-opt one to make your point re: an entirely differnt system. As it is, I disagree with this central argument, tho I understand it ‘cuz I’ve been there.

    Regarding where you’re comin’ from: some of yr points i see — there can be a puritanism of the Left (and I haven’t read all the comments / thread) — but the rancor I don’t.

    Back to the ‘internalized sexism / acceptance of the gender binary’: Trans realities, as I understand them, simultaneously subvert and acknowledge the gender binary. For me, being a femme does too — it’s a paradox and a holding of contradiction in a way that I find beautiful. I understand it best spiritually — going to the essence of things — accusations of essentialism be damned (I stand accused). Trans experience gave me the gift of the binary – playing with it, being conscious about it, w/o being trapped by it. (And the sex is really good too.)

    I’m leery of chemicals in the body, true, seeing what 30 years of anti-psychotics guaranteed to help & be safe (or safe enough) can do. I avoid most pharma. But youth have voices & agency too, as do former youth. If you’re not trans yourself, how can you determine if the price is worth it?

    Re: the agency of young people: … child abuse does not involve children’s agency. the choices being discussed do. this statement was really painful to read.

    Bringing it back ’round: people, including young people, do have choices regarding changing themselves in accordance with what others see as internalized oppressions, including internalized racism. Eye surgery, bleaching of the skin, these happen everyday. Folks are trying to operate in a complex world. Regardless of how you understand these actions, throwing judgement and hate doesn’t liberate anyone, least of all the thrower. In fact, it tends to jus’ come back ’round & further imprison the person hatin’…

    Good luck.

    77. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Also, Defining My Self, is this: We are waking up nationally, and I for one can’t wait. a threat?

    I’m going to try to make this my last comment on this particular issue here, but that was so uncool and unnecessary.

    Non-trans privilege and entitlement.

    78. Jen Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 2:29 am

    on the Alzheimers story line: I’m reminded of the beautiful documentary “Complaints of a dutiful daughter” about a woman caring for and learning to relate to her mother as she (the mother) goes through the early stages of Alzheimers. Not a depressing movie though, full of hope.

    79. clara_lemlich Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 2:38 am

    Liza– my mind, for one, does not boggle. i don’t know about the Boston thing, and I don’t know exactly where you’re coming from on all of this and how much of this discussion you’ve been exposed to (did you read the whole string on this blog about MI?), so pardon me if i’m reminding you of something you already know– but there’s a social movement going on… it’s about breaking down gender binaries, about expanding all of our possibilities, about people no longer being trapped inside of bodies that don’t feel right and lots more.

    many musicians and teachers and plumbers and probably art gallery owners, have employed a strategy, as part of this social movement, to boycott (no pun intended) an event that discriminates and, in doing so, would seek to keep this movement down. an additional strategy is to give more space, at public events, etc. to the people who’ve taken this risk– who’ve turned down the gigs, etc. and to give less public attention/spotlight to those who made a different choice. the same thing happened with artists who chose to continue to tour in South Africa during apartheid. and no, I don’t think that MWMF is the same as apartheid South Africa– but the strategy is.

    so, no, my mind does not boggle. there are various strategies that we can make use of. discussing the pros and cons of each would be interesting– but whether MWMF is where you or i (i think i may have first met her there as well) first met Alison is sort of not the point.

    it gets back to the person (sorry i can’t remember who) who wrote in this string about a common baseline of understanding (one part of that, i think, is agreeing that policies like ‘women born women only’ are flawed and hurt us all). when you say that your mind boggles, that tells me that that baseline isn’t there. which makes it really hard to talk about strategy together.

    80. xckb13 Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 2:38 am

    liza, I’m sure that no one would ever try to stop you from participating in the Dyke March. Just as long as you first drop trou, let everyone have a good hard look and an hour-long discussion about who – or more importantly, what – you are, and present a signed affidavit from assorted physicians and therapists regarding your life-long commitment to the lesbian lifestyle and the sex, gender, and sexual orientation of your sexual partners. That’s what community policing is all about. It is not appropriate (in my opinion, of course) at Michigan, but, more importantly, it’s not what happened at the Dyke March. Bitch was not turned away at the gate or taken to task for not being a real woman or a real musician or a real gallery owner. She was asked not to perform in an official capacity by the organizing commitee of the event, which concluded that her view of transgender women is not representative of the Dyke March’s stated purpose as an event for the whole lesbian community. Bitch’s girlfriend Daniela Sea plays the transman Max on the L-Word. Her former bandmate Animal is genderqueer/trans-identified. She seems to have the FTM side of things pretty well covered (let’s not even talk about the relationship between FTMs – fetish objects or traitors? – and the lesbian community). Unfortunately, Bitch belongs to the part of the lesbian community that considers it perfectly acceptable to deny, silence, and discrimate against a group of lesbian women – lesbian transwomen – because there’s still a sneaking suspicion afoot that they’re all just men in drag. Bitch’s comments on the issue indicate to me that she does not believe transwomen to be deserving of the title “woman,” which is reason enough, in my opinion, for the Dyke March organizers to request that she not take the stage as a representative of the event – which is, after all, for all women who love women.

    It is not my intention to start some kind of argument with anyone (or, heaven forfend, to resurrect the Michigan debate, which AB has already suffered through once on this blog). I just wanted to point out that the “discrimination” against Bitch is not the discrimination that transwomen face, constantly and particularly shamefully, within the lesbian community. liza, I hope you can forgive me for addressing this to you. Your comments served to get me thinking, and that’s always dangerous.

    An interview with Bitch and several other lesbian performers and activists regarding MWMF can be found at http://indigogirls.com/correspondence/2005/2005-06-13-a/interview02.html (I don’t want to discuss it, I just found it interesting!!)

    81. Alex K Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:13 am

    Longish comments on exogenous female and male hormones (ones your own body isn’t making) and their effects:

    1) Studies to evaluate these effects generally look backward; they can give us information on what happened with the drugs available some years ago, prescribed as they were some years ago. Predicting from those “retrospective” results how our bodies will respond to slightly different drugs, prescribed slightly differently, is a tricky business. We will learn only in several years how transpersons’ bodies have responded to today’s drugs and prescription regimens.

    2) Oestrogens shift clotting patterns (making the blood “stickier”) and stimulate growth of certain types of cells.

    3) Androgens also stimulate growth of certain types of cells.

    4) Liver tumours can originate directly because liver cells are stimulated by oestrogens / androgens. This fact was identified in the early 1960s, when a very rare liver tumour – “hepatocellular adenoma” – started to occur more frequently among women taking The Pill (again, a “first-generation” Pill), and even more frequently among women who had taken The Pill longer. (If you were wondering whether this might be celestial retribution against women who choose not to fall pregnant, relax: Hepatocellular adenoma is by no means God’s scourge. Even among long-term users of The Pill, it’s uncommon.) Hepatocellular adenoma is benign. It can rarely turn into hepatocellular carcinoma, which is malignant.

    5) Liver tumours can also originate because micro-clots within liver vessels block blood flow at one site and send blood to another – the cells in the better-fed, abnormally better-fed, site start to grow. The growths are called by the name of the process: “Focal nodular hyperplasia”. Lesions of focal nodular hyperplasia are benign and do not turn malignant.

    6) Any kind of liver tumour, benign or malignant, can rupture, owing to minimal trauma or spontaneously, with bleeding into the abdominal cavity and death.

    Transpersons, to my knowledge, rely on exogenous hormones, given long-term, to maintain their persona (and of course their emotional health). I’d say that even when using carefully prescribed and monitored hormones, transpersons are likely, but not certain, to be increasing their risk of liver disease — increasing it to an extent that we’ll be able to assess only when Janis is in her 20s or 30s. (A stance between those articulated by JAY IN CHICAGO and DEFINING MYSELF.)

    And with street hormones, in varying doses and of varying potencies? Oh my.

    The responsibilities of adults as they guide adolescents through their choices — well, I’m pleased not to have to carry those burdens.

    For clarity: I’m cis. A big cissy. 8^)

    82. Alex Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:32 am

    Ok the Michigan thing is just God awful and petty, but so is banning the artists from other gigs (saying that, that misinformed petty little article made me balk).
    By the way. Trans is not self expression. Its not, I want to bring out my inner tree or whatever, it’s a medical disorder/condition. It is also, of late, been (thankfully) reclassified as what it really is, intersexed.
    You give me a bio guy, who has Cleinsfeld syndrome (misspelt I know, almost wrote Seinsfeld) and suddenly developes breasts and no Adam’s apple at puberty, or a boy born without testosterone producing testes, (so no adams apple, no beard, no muscle growth, severe self esteem issues, depression) and tell him that he can’t take treatments, that they’re ‘living out a fantasy of being a “real boy” when their body quite clearly proves they’re not, and changing that body is merely adhering to rigid gender binaries’
    (I’m a bi transguy with an straight MTF girlfriend who has a fairly kinky sex life, to hell with binaries)
    Rant over 🙂

    83. Alex Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:47 am

    By the way, when we’re talking about hormones and stuff, other probs of being trans are: osteoporosis (both), early menopause (FTM), severe ingrowing hairs and potential infections (MTF), tissue disintegration (FTM binding), sterility (both), acne (FTM), depression (MTF), itching (FTM), weight gain (both). When you’re transitioning these are mostly just irritating (and facking itchy.
    These aren’t:
    Loss of job (both), loss of family (both), loss of long term partner (both) getting the living crap kicked out of us (both), rape (both), and of course since many of us, tho not all like myself, were ’sissys’ or ‘dykes’ at first, so get ostracised not only by hetero society who think we’re porn lady boys or uppity butch lesbians, but the gay community as well who consider us traitors or freaks (both). Isolation (both). Suicide (both) – but of course this has everything to do with us suddenly realising we made a huge mistake, and are living out a fantasy (which is a LOT rarer than you think), and nothing to do with any of the above.
    Ok, NOW rant over, sorry, everyone 🙂
    Maybe Mo tell Sydney she knows about Maddy, on her drive back home?

    84. K. Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Good morning everyone,

    Oh dear. I’m sorry I upset some of you, and Jay, I’m so sorry you felt mocked. That wasn’t my intention. I was just kind of taken aback at the heat and unilateralness with which HG got whacked for her comment, which I think was off-hand and even innocent (read, not-well-thought-out, not meanly-intentioned, etc.). We’ve been spending a lot of time on this word “fantasy,” a lot of time and a lot of anger and heart-ache, and nobody thought to say, “Hey, HG, what did you mean by that? Clarify.” She just got sort of jumped on. And that’s what I was protesting.

    I do agree with Butch Fatale and IGH about having agreed-upon baselines and being respectful, but I’m not sure we have evidence that HG was violating those. We need, maybe, to take a minute and ask folks what they mean before we make straw men of them.

    And when I said it wasn’t a simple issue, I didn’t mean that the existance of transpeople was up for debate, of course not. But drugs aren’t simple, especially for kids–there are folks out there fervently oposed to innoculation, there are homeopaths and Christian scientists. And gender isn’t simple, as we all know–is it biology? Is it perception? Is it performance? There are so many ways to think about it, just as there are many ways to be trans, many ways to be gay, or any of these identities that are so important to us.

    I guess this is what I’m getting at: these important and positive agreed-on baselines, and what we do when we perceive they’re being violated. Because I haven’t noticed HG back here, not to defend what she said, not to clarify, not to say anything. And after the heat of some of the comments in response to what I said, I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back either. So if the idea is to exclude anyone who doesn’t fit into our idea of what this baseline is, without giving them a second chance, or asking them to explain, well…I think we’re mirroring the mainstream world in pretty unfortunate ways.

    85. Alex Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Hmm, me again, I’m actually heartened at just how many people immediately stood up for trans when they think we’re/they’re being picked on, its good to see

    86. Kelli Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 8:45 am


    87. Angi Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 9:30 am

    “Bitch …was asked not to perform in an official capacity by the organizing committee of the event, which concluded that her view of transgender women is not representative of the Dyke March’s stated purpose as an event for the whole lesbian community. Bitch’s girlfriend Daniela Sea plays the transman Max on the L-Word. Her former bandmate Animal is genderqueer/trans-identified. She seems to have the FTM side of things pretty well covered (let’s not even talk about the relationship between FTMs – fetish objects or traitors? – and the lesbian community). Unfortunately, Bitch belongs to the part of the lesbian community that considers it perfectly acceptable to deny, silence, and discrimate against a group of lesbian women – lesbian transwomen – because there’s still a sneaking suspicion afoot that they’re all just men in drag. Bitch’s comments on the issue indicate to me that she does not believe transwomen to be deserving of the title “woman,” which is reason enough, in my opinion, for the Dyke March organizers to request that she not take the stage as a representative of the event – which is, after all, for all women who love women.”

    This seriously frightens me. How is it possible for a woman like Bitch, who has clearly had relationships/experiences with FTM folks (or in the case of Daniela, someone who plays someone who is FTM on TV) to then make a statement that transwomen aren’t women?! This is something that has plagued me again and again, in my work with trans youth (both MTF, FTM and genderqueer etc.) and in my own experiences with a partner who identifies as a transbian. In my neck of the woods there are very few places for us queer folks to go, and all of the lesbian organizations have these incredibly exclusionary statements that basically mean that my partner is welcome, despite the fact that she doesn’t primarily identify as female, because she has female genitals, but any of my youth who honestly and truly identify as women aren’t welcome because they were born with male genitals. And yet no one — not even my boss at the organization for queer youth I work for — understands why my partner and I boycott places like Michigan and these other organizations “because we can still get in.” This drives me freaking nuts! I guess I have the privilege of being young and being from a generation of queer folks who have a little more latitude around recognition and acceptance of differing gender identities, but I am over the folks in the queer community who think it is OK to discriminate against trans folks in the name of feminism or women’s solidarity or whatever. It’s time we all realized that the best way to gain acceptance for all of us is to support and honor our trans brothers and sisters, because whether they are FTM, MTF, genderqueer or whatever, their bravery in being honest about who they are also helps the rest of us overcome gender-based stereotypes about being men or women, and about being queer.

    OK, sorry about the soapbox there, and I didn’t mean to make hetero genius feel bad or attack her commentary — so sorry about that.

    And even if Mo didn’t have actual sex with Fiona — she still had an intimate emotional relationship with her and to me that counts as much as having sex, even if she did talk to Sydney about it, which if I remember was not until after Sydney had figured a lot of it out (I’m thinking the end of the most recent book here). I think Mo and Sydney are just bad news altogether. Not to say that Harriet and Mo were much better — there is something to be said for being allowed to have a VCR. I think it’s time for Mo to find someone new…maybe time for Mo and Clarice to try again, now that she and Toni are caput? (Just a joke, please don’t tar and feather me!).

    88. Al, et al. Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 9:42 am


    Mo and Clarice?! That would be hilarious, although I think they would end up coming to blows (no pun intended) on the front lawn before things ended.

    89. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 9:55 am

    K., to review, Hetero Genus said:
    I like Janis better as Jonas, or Jonah, a gentle natured little boy. Sticking a child on articficail hormones, even at [her] bequest, just to achieve a fantasy state.

    This is not a new message for transsexual people, so I’d say we’re mirroring the mainstream world in the usual ways, actually.
    Why would you want to defend that?

    There’s nothing useful about forcing someone to go through a puberty that they just will have to undue the effects of later. Since there’s an intervention to stop this that is generally considered safe with a doctor’s care, not letting the her do it would be inhumane.
    It’s already been previously covered that Janis was using black-market hormones.

    90. Angi Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Does anyone else think this thread is going to bring on one of Alison’s existential crises about what the purpose of the blog “really is”? Sorry if it does, Alison, I’m sure none of us mean to stress you out!

    91. gatheringwater Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 10:06 am

    I came for the comic, but I stay for the lo-down and show-down! As far afield as these comments sometimes get, I enjoy them and the passions they inspire.

    It seems to me that one point the story is trying to make is that cultural ideas about what it means to be a woman influence the self-identity of trans folks. Janis is reading Elle magazine, for heaven’s sake! What is that, if not a fantasy?

    92. meg Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 10:24 am

    As a side note, there’s now a great internet site for children of Lesbian/Gay/Transgenderd/Queer folk:


    For kids (of different ages! They’ve recently added more stuff for teenagers) growing up in these families, it gives them a chance to read stories written about families more like theirs, and to connect with other kids from LGTetc families.

    A great resource for kids, and good to know about… my sister is one of the editors there and she does Good Work, so you know it’s worth checking out.

    So, NOT Elle magazine… *L*

    93. liza Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 10:27 am

    well, xcbk13, I read the Cisgender Privilge document, and it is so full of holes I could drain spaghetti in it. Yes, I am saturated in all kinds of privileges. I’m a white (the Jewish kind) upper middle class, able bodied, educated, woman born woman. Do I automatically expect to be treated fairly in all contexts? Are you kidding?

    When I brought my then pregnant partner to an ER in a rural Catholic hospital in Pennsylvania because she seemed to be hemoraging, did I have to wait in the waiting room while they told her to go home and wait for her lesbian fetus to abort into the the little plastic bag they handed her. Yes.

    The fetus who just graduated from fifth grade yesterday, by the way. Turned out it was an infection from a polluted lake, not that they bothered to check. So, no, I don’t automatically expect fair or even accurate medical treatment.

    Health Insurance. Maybe, for those who can afford it.

    Clothing works for me? Humpf. When skinny white salesgirls look at my gorgeous buxom body and say, “I think not.” Is it any wonder that my favorite clothing store was a men’s haberdashery run by a big African American man, who always greeted me with a huge smile and said, “Big butt? Fantastic! That’s why we have a tailor on premisis”

    Did that make me feel safe and recognizable as my gender? Well, I’ve had my share of women screaming at me when I walk into the Ladies room.

    Expect that my documentation will decrease suspicion of me in other countries? You should have been there when I was held at gunpoint at the Moscow airport years ago. Quite the adventure.

    Expect my bio normative body parts not to alarm people? Well, it would be hard for my bio/hetero normative brothers to take a whiz in a christian only club, that’s for sure. Their boy bits mark them as suspiciously Jewish.

    I could go on, but the point is that this document not only erases class/race/religion/ethnicity/size/able bodied and sexual identity issues, but also seems to exist to make people feel guilty based on their position on the oppressometer.

    And that is an alienating old tactic. It obviously works in some cases, but I’m not buying it.

    That doesn’t make me transphobic. It does mean I’m a good critical reader.

    94. Jay in Chicago Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 11:18 am

    If you read anything like that with the purpose of tearing it down, it’s not that hard to do so. They are just guidelines and suggestions for further thought meant to be read in good faith and not, literally, like a checklist. *I* have some of the non-trans(/cisgender, though I don’t like that word, because I *am* cisgender and transsexual) privileges listed because I look pretty unambiguously like a guy. And Did that make me feel safe and recognizable as my gender? Well, I’ve had my share of women screaming at me when I walk into the Ladies room. is part of the point of a checklist like that. Some one who has never had the experience of hostility in a bathroom because of how they look might never think critically about what their binary gender privilege is in that situation.

    95. Robin B. Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    In response to Andi in Boulder’s comment:
    “I love the brilliant literacy of DTWOF; even the title is evocative. “Doctor, doctor” has so many meanings. Doctor, doctor =Dr. Sydney and Dr. Madeline; Doctor, doctor = Dr. Sydney and her Dr. Professor father; Doctor, doctor = Dr. Dad needing to see a doctor…Janis seeing Dr. Taubman….layers and layers.”

    I totally agree, and I also wonder if the Doctor, Doctor title also connects to the barbecue theme in a reference to the 1980s Thompson Twins hit : Doctor, doctor, Can’t you see I’m burning, burning”. . .

    96. –MC Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Doctor songs. How about “Bad Case of Loving You” by Robert Palmer? “Doctor, doctor, gimme the news ..”
    There’s “Doctor Doctor” by the Who (one of Entwistle’s songs). There’s “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson: “Doctor, is there nothing I can take .. to relieve this belly ache?”

    97. Finsbury Parker Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    When did Mo find out about the convention fling?

    98. Danyell Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Jay, I totally feel you. I’m not trans, but sometimes dress masculinely and have very short hair, so I am often mistaken for a guy or “not enough of a woman” as the case may be. Basically, the gender divide makes life harder for so many people. I’m not really pro-artificial hormones, but I

  2. Madeline says:

    Hi Hetero Genus. Sorry to get all agro, but you and your opinion are just flat out wrong. I’ll assume you are misinformed about transwomen as opposed to biased…. but it has nothing to do with “fantasy states” or “dressing”. This is our lives, and it is not only very difficult to live as one’s true gender while being driven by the hormones of your (incorrect) birth gender, it is also just downright unpleasant. I’d be happy to clear up the sociological and medical details of the trans existance for you.

    Lesbian, Transsexual, Medical Doctor, willing prescriber of hormones to many of my sisters and brothers.

  3. Vivid Lady says:

    Only 2 responses? Difficult to believe… was everything recovered after the server glitch?

    Poor Mo. I very much hope she stands up to Sydney. This has gone too far.

  4. Flint says:

    Hi Alison,
    I love the way you drew Jennifer! So brilliant!

  5. naomi says:

    poor mo!!

  6. an australian in london says:

    What happened to the hundreds of comments debate that were here before? They were such an education for me.

  7. cenobitetx says:

    Well, I say that Sydney needs to pick up some wood, a hammer and some nails and start building the dog house now so it will be ready to move into when she arrives at home.

  8. g-lo says:

    At this point I increased the number of restored comments based on a different Google cache search. Thanks to site visitor: “Yoj la Rosz” for providing the query syntax.

  9. Vivid Lady says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you kindly, g-lo! *Whew!!*

  10. Vivid Lady says:

    Sorry about that. Contritely back to topic…

    For allusions in the title, how about “Doctor, Doctor, Mr. M.D., won’t you tell me what’s ailin’ me?” That’s got to be a misquote, but another of the lines goes something like, “I’ve got the fever; you’ve got the cure!”

    Poor Mo!

  11. Ella L says:

    >Bitch’s comments on the issue indicate to me that she does >not believe transwomen to be deserving of the title “woman,”

    In the linked interview, Bitch says the exact opposite: that MTF women are women. She explicitly defines the issue at MWMF as the right of a specific group of women to say “no” to others’ demands, a right she feels is insufficiently respected in our world.

    When I see transactivists engage in this sort of mischaracterization, I genuinely lose sympathy for their position. It’s one thing to disagree with what Bitch has said. It’s quite another to put words into her mouth that are so different from what she actually said – it feels to me like Bitch’s actual point is being silenced and overwritten. Why not actually deal with what the woman actually said about boundaries and entitlement, instead of pretending she said “transwomen aren’t women” when she didn’t? Do genetic women’s opinions and positions on these issues matter so little that they can be simply ignored instead of engaged?

  12. xckb13 says:

    Ella L, I think genetic women’s opinions and positions on this issue are certainly sufficiently engaged. Obviously, what Bitch has to say on the topic of the festival policy is important. That’s why we’re all reading an interview with her (and Tami Rae Carland and Daniela Sea) instead of with Nancy Burkholder.

    Bitch says that she does not consider transwomen “women” in the way that she considers herself a woman. As I said earlier, I believe that “this [indicates]…that she does not believe transwomen to be deserving of the title ‘woman'” because all she is doing when she explicitly allows transwomen their delusions (“If they want to be a woman, I’ll call them a woman…”) is indulging in a bit of pomo linguistic tinkering: labels can be sacrificed without too much trouble. But when it comes to genuinely acknowledging the lived experience of ALL women, she balks. She draws a line in the sand that cordons off transwomen from all other women. Why is that acceptable? If her experience of life as a woman is so different from that of other women – “just like a black woman is a totally different woman than me in a lot of ways” – why are transwomen the only ones left at the door? Should they, like the women before them who for so long were and still often are barred from universities, most professions, the clergy, politics, the military, sit down and shut up when they are told that they’re just out of luck because they weren’t handed the necessary membership card at birth?

    The issue of respecting a woman’s right to say no is a very serious one, and it has two components: inside the community of women and outside it. Outside it, the issue is a woman’s right to say no to a man or to a male-dominated power structure and have her wishes be respected. Assuming again that Bitch actually means it when she says, “If they want to be a woman, I’ll call them a woman, I’ll treat them as a woman, no problem. I don’t have any problem with changing up my definitions of what a woman is” (however condescending her tone may be), that excludes this component from the Michigan debate. Turning to the other component: inside the community of women (such as at Michigan), it is an issue of violence against women perpetrated by other women, and the list of corresponding workshops is a long one. The issue of women saying no to other women and having their rights respected is an important matter that belongs within the community, and it is not a dialogue that can be had when one party is relegated to shouting over the gates. In any case, if women who have a problem (or, as in the case of transwomen, are assumed to have such a problem) respecting other women’s rights don’t belong at Michigan, where is the panty check for women-born-women who habitually victimize, demean, and abuse other women?

    And speaking of ascribing inaccuracies to other people, I would appreciate it if you didn’t overwrite my identity with your version of who I must be. I am not a trans activist. I am an interested party who very much wanted to go to Michigan a few years ago, before that became impossible for me for reasons that I understand and respect. And to think that I was born a woman. I guess the conditioning failed to take.

  13. xckb13 says:

    Below is a link to a recent article by Talia Bettcher, a professor of philosophy at CSULA. To quote the abstract, “This essay examines the stereotype that transgender people are “deceivers” and the stereotype’s role in promoting and excusing transphobic violence. The stereotype derives from a contrast between gender presentation (appearance) and sexed body (concealed reality). Because gender presentation represents genital status, Bettcher argues, people who “misalign” the two are viewed as deceivers. The author shows how this system of gender presentation as genital representation is part of larger sexist and racist systems of violence and oppression.”

    Though the issue on this thread of AB’s blog (shouldn’t we all just be giving her accolades or picking at Sydney&Mo in some other strip by now??) is not transphobic violence, I thought that the article might be interesting for others involved in the discussion going on here and on the Maoist Orange Cake blog concerning “disclosure” and the basis and reality of transgender/transsexual identity.


  14. eliyanna says:

    hey fellow dykes,

    do you remember when mo stumbled into the bathroom and was berated by a chick who thought she was a man and then a very feminine trans woman came to her rescue (after mo had been transphobic to that very same person)? transphobia is about fear of any kind of gender difference that’s not the norm. we should all try to remember that although trans people experience this more acutely, this is shared oppression. when i am yelled at on the street for being a dyke and my wife is nowhere to be seen the bigots who do the yelling don’t know that i share my bed with a woman, but they do know that i don’t look the way they think a woman ought to look.

    up with trans sister/brother-hood!

  15. xckb13 says:

    eliyanna, thanks for your comment. an important point, very well put!

  16. Hammerwoman says:

    Pre-transition, I was so used to the stares and double-takes, the comments and snickers- they’d been going on my whole life anyway- that I hardly noticed them. Sometimes friends who were with me would get uncomfortable, and one day at the beach a surf photographer who knew me ripped into some tourist who noticed me getting into a wetsuit and asked the guy whether I was a boy or a girl. The photog was snarling a lot more than was necessary, and I realized that there was more than a little, “we know he’s a femme freak, but he’s our femme freak,” in the exchange. I was terrified to go out in public in a dress, because I was sure that the threats in those dark looks would quickly escalate into violence.

    So one day I screwed up my courage and traded my jeans and sneakers for a denim skirt and clogs, put on a little makeup, and headed over to the mall. I was so scared I could hardly breathe. The mall was really crowded for a Tuesday afternoon- I had forgotten all about school vacation. This was gonna be bad! I was determined, though, and I plunged in, doing my best to ignore the people around me.

    Somewhere between Sears and Footlocker, I started to realize that there was something very strange going on. I didn’t have to ignore them- they were ignoring me. I had unaccountably disappeared. My sister explained it to me; “You’re just a middle-aged woman like the rest of us. An aging hippie-chick. No one sees you.”

    My wife says it this way: “When people look at you, they see a nurse. In scrubs, in dress-up clothes, in shorts and sandals, they see a nurse. Why would anyone stare at a nurse? It’s the perfect gender stereotype.” Now, my wife is a truck driver. When people look at her, they see a dyke. And they do look at her. She knows all about the stares, the comments, the snickers, she’s gotten them all her life, too. We’re both amused that I don’t get them any more- unless I’m with her. Then, people figure that I’m a big ol’ dyke, and then they’re staring at both of us. It’s all about gender. . .there’s something about this that just ain’t the way a woman is supposed to be.

  17. xckb13 says:

    The year before I starting transitioning, I went to a conference in Sochi, on the Black Sea coast, with Special Olympics. The real reason that the conference was there, of course, was so that we could all go swimming in the sea three times a day. And I looked like a nightmare in a swimsuit: hairy, tattoos hanging out everywhere, shoulders like a biathlete, the works. But the SO people (the nice middle-aged ladies) who had made me buy the swimsuit were very excessively concerned about protecting me from other people and constantly reassured me that I could be beautiful one day and that my prince would come to carry me off. Don’t worry, honey, you’re hideous, but you’re OURS. You just need to…well, work on yourself a bit.

    I’ve been dating my girlfriend for the last several years. She wears her hair short and prefers t-shirts and jeans, which is not considered an appropriate outfit for a woman in this country. Before I transitioned, we often got physically attacked on the street for being gay men or snickered at for being dykes. Now we get still attacked on the street when we’re together for being gay men by the same people who would call her a dyke if she were walking alone. Not surprisingly, the favorite slur for us as gay men is the equivalent of “hey there, little ladies” and the kind of tongue-clicking call that people use to call cats in some parts of the world and women in others.

  18. Flossy says:

    I’m no so sure that Sydney did get caught. Looks to me that the rude Sports Illustrated fan interrupted Mo just as Syd started talking…ugh…maybe. Looks like he knocked Mo’s phone away.

  19. mlk says:

    xckb13 and others, thank you for sharing your stories here. I admit to having some uninformed points of view (as opposed to a difference of opinion) about a topic that basically comes up for me when I visit this website.

    I hope it won’t be seen as flaunting my ignorance when I say that I still don’t have straight in my mind the differences between transgendered and transsexual, and who all has been speaking up on this thread. It was eye opening to me when Alison posted about Vermont’s transgender identity bill. hadn’t thought about it before, because I don’t believe Alison self identifies in this way, but it seems that she’s transgendered and protected by this much needed piece of legislation.

    profuse apologies for relying so heavily on this site to learn from/about parts of the community still subject to ignorance and discrimination.

  20. A former stereotype... says:

    ::sigh:: I totally did the ‘bimbo’ routine early in my transition. Thank the Goddess I grew up to be a fabulously strong womyn! I should call up my friends from back in the day and thank them for not throttling me…

  21. kellan says:

    mlk, take a look at Trans 101: http://ftmichael.tashari.org/trans101.html

    There is a ton of good information as well at http://www.t-vox.org

    With regard to the Vermont bill, some gay people and lesbians identify themselves using the terms transgender or genderqueer, while some don’t (take particular note, if you look at either of those pages, that transgender and/or transsexual identity is completely separate from one’s sexual orientation. Being transgendered does not necessarily mean that you are gay, and vice versa). My guess is basically that however she identifies herself, AB doesn’t do discrimination of any sort, because she rocks. So she was naturally excited about the bill.

    In any case, the bill is good for all of us – gay, straight, trans and not trans – because gender-based violence and discrimination affects us all. At any moment, any one of us is subject to the preceptions of others regarding our gender identity and the accompanying assumptions about our sexual orientation (most of the population missed Trans 101, unfortunately).

    I love this blog so much…

  22. mlk says:

    love it that Paul ran Syd’s cell phone through the dishwasher! Alzheimers? maybe . . . hilarious? definitely!!

  23. Jayelle says:

    Oh, if I were in Mo’s spot, I’d be washing Sydney’s clothes with poison ivy, running other electronics of hers through the dishwasher, tearing up her car…but I know Mo’s not that kind of woman.

    I love Janis’ attitude, too. She’s definitely acting like a teenage girl! I remember looking for excuses to slack myself–I know I’d have much rather been sitting in a chair with a magazine and freshly-done nails than helping move a picnic table.

  24. Homo point of view says:

    Lesbian wimmin need to get a grip.

    From all that I read here if it is a true reflection of the m to f state of mind, they’re not looking for equality they’re looking for a place on a pedestal.

    Every argument I’ve read necessarily diminishes the experiences of XX wimmin.

    XX wimmin are NOT allowed to have an opinion in any way that contradicts the dogma. Why?

    If they are so desirous of being seen as real wimmin how come they don’t demand science create a method of inducing a period?

    The fact that many wimmin wished this didn’t exist is irrelevant. Wimmin have to deal with this all their lives, whether they want it or not until menopause is NOT insignificant.

    The fact that there are a few percent for various reasons that do not have to deal with this is irrelevant as well because their experiences to not define the societal expectations both good and bad society forces wimmin to deal with every day.

    Being, male, female, transgendered is NOT just an internal process.

    It is also a reflection of the SUM TOTAL of our experiences and the rules, regulations we’re taught by society and often forced upon us.

    Even if we eventually free ourselves, we bear the effect of the struggle.

    No I am NOT defining what a wimmin is by menses, but you canNOT trivialize the impact this has on the experience of wimmin, their behavior, their expectations, their feelings of self-worth.

    Yeah it would be wonderful if we could control this all, but in truth who we are, what we want, and how we see each other is far more reflective of what society tells us we are or should be than the internal make up.

    “The roles of men and women” in the heterosexual world are the basis for the sense of transism. Without it there would be no foundation. The notion one doesn’t fit in their body comes from that.

    NOT having to deal with menses is basically not having to deal with a big part of being wimmin.

    To pretend otherwise is to refuse to think.

    If a young girl never has a period – there will be family panic. It’s not a good sign.

    Menses despite the many negative feelings wimmin themselves feel on the subject happens to be a barometer of good health.

    Without one – something is probably wrong.

    Being female is NOT just about makeup, clothing, walking with a sway.

    Thanks to extreme sexism in our society it means a lot of oppression, and often second class wages for similar work, and unwanted pregnancies forced on them by pitiless men.

    You cannot simply ignore this when trying to define wimmin.

    It’s good and bad,

    To add to the insanity now XY wimmin demand XX wimmin the MOST OPPRESSED group on this planet, and throughout history should be shut out of their own festivals – because they dare to have an opinion at variance with a group that does NOT define the whole group, but has somehow co-opted the thinking for the group regarding their own definition of self?

    Janis like most XY wimmin seem to define wimmin by their role in society as targets of male desires.

    Lesbian wimmin if they do not want their lives controlled by XY wimmin with their own agenda, they need to get a grip, and say lesbian XX wimmin define lesbian, not anyone else.

    It’s going to be a very intersting decade regardless.

  25. kellan says:

    ““The roles of men and women” in the heterosexual world are the basis for the sense of transism. Without it there would be no foundation. The notion one doesn’t fit in their body comes from that.”

    This is not true for me, and, I suspect, for a sizeable group of trans people.

    On many levels, gender IS performance, and it has a significant societal component. However, it is also mental hardwiring. Socially-constructed gender binaries had very little to do with why I transitioned. Regardless of how comfortable I felt in as a “dyke” in the lesbian community, I simply was not one. This body, the one that runs on testosterone and does not have breasts, is my body. Whether or not that makes me “male” or a “man” or whatever can certainly be up for grabs if identities are being deconstructed. If we’re going to do that, however, in the process some of us are going to have to give up our grips on XY wimmin, XX wimmin, and, in fact, on the concept of wimmin in general.

    People make choices about the structure of their lives for an infinite variety of reasons, and the same is true of trans people facing transition. Sweeping generalizations about the power of society and the meaninglessness of identity are reductive, trivializing, and ultimately untrue.

    Also, two biology points: “Menses despite the many negative feelings wimmin themselves feel on the subject happens to be a barometer of good health.” (1) Plenty of women, including my girlfriend, do not have menses for “natural” physiological reasons. This makes her no less of a woman than anyone who does have periods, just as not giving birth to children does not invalidate womanhood. (2) What is with the XY and XX wimmin designations? Have YOU had your chromosomes tested?

  26. kellan says:

    Also, where does “Janis like most XY wimmin seem to define wimmin by their role in society as targets of male desires” come from? You never know – maybe she thinks the lesbian partner of her dreams will only like her if she’s slim and willowy, with elegant nails…or she could just be annoying her mother, because that’s what teenagers do. It takes all kinds.

  27. mlk says:

    it’s really good to hear from you again, kellan. I agree that it takes all kinds.

    and, I’m kinda confused by homo’s point of view . . .

    I didn’t know how good I had it until I stopped spending so much time with straight women who complain about their kids (that were, it seems, wanted by their mothers when they were born) and seem to think that having had several children and one miscarriage is somehow equivalent to having had several miscarriages and no children — and spent more time around lesbians who *didn’t* want children and yet had to endure the cramping, bloating, pms, etc. that comes with “that time of the month.”

    sorry about that runon setence. is anyone still with me?

    anyway, infertility aside, I’ve had it pretty good — maybe 4 to 6 periods a year, menses that last 3 days with only one day of “heavy” bleeding, no cramps since adolescence and, for many years, periods that invariably began first thing in the morning so I knew to put in a tampon.

    despite this menstrual weirdness, nobody has *ever* suggested that I’m not a “real” woman.

    as kellan has already suggested, having or not having menses no more makes us women than having or not having children.

    I had an “aha” experience during the whole MWMF brouhaha. when there are so many ways that women are different from each other — physically, emotionally, sexually, as women of color and those who are just plain white, as women who’ve been abused and women who don’t understand why those who’ve experienced abuse can’t Just Get Over It — whether we were born in a male body or female body is just one more of the many varities inherent in womankind.

    at the same time (you can tell I’ve continued to think about this) it seems that whether transgendered women are incarcarated with men or with other women, or receive adequate medical treatment for rape or “female” problems is far more important than whether they’re permitted admittance to all women’s music festivals. even the Bush administration has included women and people of color in positions of authority — without coercion, but because we’ve come a long way since the start of the civil rights movement. maybe once some of the other trans battles have been fought and won, the MWMF leadership will open its doors to all women?

    maybe it’s easier to jump all over lesbians who exclude trans women than it is to confront the insurance industry, our prison system, healthcare providers and other Big Bad Meanies?

    someone please shoot me with a tranquelizing dart or give another point of view if I’m trampling your sensibilities! I haven’t followed Aunt Soozie’s advice (in an earlier thread) where Homo Point of View is concerned — what she and kellan posted definitely touched a nerve. and I’m still muddling through a lot of this.

    thanks for listening, and sorry for all that rambling.

  28. Homo point of view 2 Kellen says:

    Exceptions DO NOT make the Rule.

    Exceptions do NOT BREAK a rule.

    You can ALWAYS find exceptions.

    The fact that your friend is healthy and does NOT have a period is ABSOLUTELY IRRELEVANT to whether or not billions of women on this planet view menses as a sign of “good health.”

    The absolute WORST WAY to understand group dynamics is to interpret via personal experiences.

    All Personal Experiences are UNIQUE.

    Group experiences are “held in common.”

    Any viewpoint like the ones you express “I’m not like that – so what you say isn’t right” is specious

    I’m not speaking or trying to exclude exceptions.

    I am trying to see what is typical and usual (devoid of right or good sense) for the most # of women in order to understand what is the broadest description that would ALSO be the MOST USEFUL in describing the LARGEST # of women on this planet.

    Knowing that should be the “basis” of any definition of the “female person.”

    Those that deviate are NOT deviants, but they are NOT the defining elements.

    Transism may be “normal” and a “healthy state of mind” but it is NOT typical and SO RARE that it canNOT define being female or a woman.

    IF included as an essential element of being a woman BILLIONS of women are excluded. That is utterly insane.

    It canNOT subsitute or add to the experience of growing up female because in large part that doesn’t happen.

    Growing up is a “transitioning experience.”

    That is NOT something an XX woman shares or experiences.

    How about just acceping transexuality fully and completely and saying it is EQUAL and SEPARATE gender experience – and does NOT NEED to be defined by the standards of a bigender world.

    You’re trying to have your cake and eat it too.

    Slamming bigenderism for excluding you, but then when it suits you demanding inclusion in one or the other gender.


    Regarding your comment:
    (….transgenerism) is also mental hardwiring. Socially-constructed gender binaries

    HELLO! That does NOT contradict what I said at all.

    Exactly who defined the “mental hardwiring?”

    Mostly “men” male researchers. Over time the specfic field of study has gained more and more “mostly heterosexual” females, but the basic theories being researched today were described by men.

    Which means……. their view of what male/female are is what defined it for us and the cultures.

    A woman thinks this way – so you define yourself as female – no problem.

    BUT that sense of ‘female mind’ is a “conclusion” based on “societies expectations” of women.

    The ONLY way culture could have NO role would have been if ALL the researchers had NO cultural expectations or beliefs of their own.

    That is impossible of course.

    It DOES NOT exist without society to define it.


    You’re caught in your elliptical illogic – Spin your words all you want, but it won’t make you right.


    That’s where I got the comment regarding Janis’ notion that The second to last panel where her mother is yelling at her about the bimbo routine and telling her women are not just objects of men’s desire.

    I paraphrased that.

  29. mlk you're being to specific says:

    You had periods – that’s enough.

    Of course you would need to COMPLAIN about being them not monthly for anyone to wonder if it meant anything – did you complain to people who would care enough to ask this?

    It’s NOT anyone person or group that determines the meaning of menses.


    It is fortunate that you as an individual did NOT experience any of the widespread and EXTREMELY deep attitudes in that regard.

    I have to assume you never ever read the bible – Old Testament to be exact?

    If “menses” were NOT important, than levitacus (which is still followed by the ultra-orthodox) would have had NO reason to require women to be excluded from society for 2wks during her menses and have a ritual cleansing to purify her from the experience.

    From that prohibition, the West developed all sorts of beliefs and expectations that mostly all were used to oppress women.

    No ironically even if you didn’t have one you still were penalized as if you did – that would be confusing.

    The comment it’s a “man’s job” really refers to a job that must be done every day. One that cannot have slack times – which many cultures believe is ABSOLUTELY going to occur for a woman.

    honestly, to understand the significance look outward NOT inward. You’ve been very fortunate.

    YOU MADE AN EXCELLENT POINT regarding the PRIORITY of the transgender agenda.

    That is in part why I said they want to be put on a pedistal.

    HAVE women in general solved all their sociatal issues, attained equality and are treated fairly?

    Has the one group of humanity oppressed for forever ruthlessly suddenly become the ruler?

    No women have a long long way to go, and it is outrageous that transgenders make wimmnin target #1.

    It is a sort of backstabbing.

    FINALLY there IS NO constitutional right to attend a music festival.

    There is NO right to be ‘accepted.’ As lesbian wimmin know those that hate them have every right to hate them.

    Yet in demanding the right to go the festival they are demanding acceptance ON THAT LEVEL – it has NOTHING to do with civil rights. And everything to do with forcing women to accept something they simply do not want at a particular moment.

    The right to do associate in a private setting with people of your choosing IS A CIVIL RIGHT, and if lesbian women don’t watch it, they’re going to be 2nd. class citizens at women’s events everywhere.

  30. kellan says:

    Homo Point of View, you’re being rude.

    In fact, I really wish we were having this conversation in real time.

    First of all, throughout my comment, I tried to use language that is specific to me: just because it was not true for me does not mean that it is not true for others. In fact, I know plenty of trans people for whom it is true. I also know plenty of trans people for whom it is not, and I happen to be one of them. That does not make my experience an exception and your opinion the rule.

    Transism, as you call it, is not an essential defining feature of being a woman, just as being white, able-bodied, mixed-race, lesbian, married, or any number of things that contribute diversity to the community of women are not essential features. I don’t claim to know for certain where that line is – who is a woman and who is not – but I sure do know that the experience of menses isn’t it. And, disagreeing with Maggie J. on this one, I don’t think that female conditioning in childhood is “it,” either. I think there should definitely be boundaries on who can attend MWMF, although I think the community needs to think longer and harder about where that line should be in order to support all women instead of supporting select groups of women and shutting others out. Specifically, I disagree with drawing the line at “female conditioning,” because I think that this allows the MWMF community to use transwomen as scapegoats for real fears about male violence and oppression. Transwomen experience that just like any other woman, and the question of whether that kind of second-class treatment started in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood is wholly inconclusive evidence of a female identity.

    Finally, I enjoy the existence of gender binaries in my life (in a carefully moderated, non-oppressive way, of course!). I have often encountered the fallacy in the opinions of nontrans people speaking about trans people: some of us what to do away with the gender binary entirely. Many of us do not. Genderqueer is a valid identity for some, and not for others. What I emphasized in my comment is that I am not excessively attached to the socially-constructed gender binary for my own self-definition. What I see when I look in the mirror is me, and I call it male, because that is the slot in the gender binary that my appearance and self of self fit into. And for me, in this world, it is right: I am a man, and I will always reply that my gender is male. If someone wants to dispute the nature of “male” and “female” with me, however, I am willing to put my gender on the table and brandish the scalpel. But I will not do that if the person with whom I am speaking clings fiercely to their own gender identity while disputing mine. I know you didn’t say as much, but this is the feeling I get from your comments: because I am transgendered, my gender is constantly subject to reclassification, inspection, and questioning by others in a way that any nontransgendered person’s gender is not. I am not a third sex, and I do not need to prove that my gender is valid by your standards or anyone else’s. That is why I am continuing to follow this discussion about MWMF – because I see that my trans sisters are being put in that position, and I believe that is wrong.

    And regarding Janis: maybe you should take another look at the comic. Janis’s mother says “You’re on my last nerve with the bimbo routine. Women are strong and capable, not just objects of desire.” Not a word about men – because, in fact, at least in the DTWOF universe, it’s not always about men!

  31. kellan says:

    And mlk, I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to respond to you sooner.

    I’m sorry that I seem to be talking so much, but I found your comments very interesting. Specifically, I agree with “Homo point of view” that the fight for women’s rights and equality is far from over, regardless of the Bush administration’s pseudo-enlightened view of Condoleezza Rice, and similarly, the battle for the rights of transgender people is a long, long way from being able to rest on its laurels. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why MWMF continues to be such a high-profile debate, since as you pointed out, there are many other things to work on. All I can say is that those things ARE being worked on by many people every day, invisibly, flying under the radar of the mainstream press and even of the LGBT press, in many ways that have absolutely nothing to do with trans people at Michigan. However, I conjecture that MWMF has become a lightning rod when it comes to trans inclusion for several reasons (there are certainly more, but these are what immediately came to mind):

    1. The particularities of anatomy. Transmen fight similiar battles for inclusion in gay male spaces, but their position is undermined from the beginning by the stereotypical gay male focus on a specific body part that it is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate satisfactorily, unlike the options for genital surgery that exist for transwomen. Also, of course, no gay man in his right mind could call the presence of an FTM’s unreconstructed genitals at an all-male event an abuse trigger, while that is a valid concern for MTFs and other women at Michigan.

    2. The importance of Michigan as a component of women’s and lesbian identity. Many women, and by extension, many lesbians, including numerous transwomen and some nascent transmen (myself among them, at one point), see Michigan as the holy grail of lesbian identity. Unlike abstract legal or political battles for women’s and lesbian rights, which are exhausting and apparently never-ending, Michigan is a tangible celebration of the culture and community of womanhood – something that every woman can approach on her own terms, just as she is, and hope to find a place in. The hopes of transwomen are no different.

    3. What Bitch talked about in the infamous interview. Women in general ARE socialized not to say no. There is still the expectation that women, particularly lesbians, will be the first to open their doors and the last to close them. That’s part of why the issue of FTMs and their access to lesbian spaces and distinction from the lesbian community is such a touchy one. And many MTF women have been very hurt because they expected the lesbian community to be more open to them than it is. But I see this as a work in progress: old-school butches and femmes saw themselves shut out of the lesbian community in the 1970s on the grounds that they reified stone-age gender stereotypes, and they had to fight for inclusion, for the right to be considered lesbians instead of heterosexist stooges. The same is true now, I think, of MTF lesbians, and even straight-identified MTF women, when it comes to Michigan: the festival has become a cultural touchstone for womanhood, but a group of women is being told “no” at the door. Why is that, and why is it acceptable? The conversation about a woman’s right to say no to others and to an oppressive power structure is essential to have. But as I said in an earlier post, that conversation cannot be had when one party is relegated to shouting over the gates.

    Ok, this was way too long. Thank you all for bearing with me (I assume that is you’re reading this, you made it to the end…!)

  32. kellan says:

    That should be “the holy grail of women’s identity” in #2. Assuming, of course, a rockin’, queer-friendly type of woman, which I have on good authority is the type you find at Michigan.

  33. mlk says:

    mlk you’re being to specific, your point is well taken. as I believe I admitted, I have unresolved feelings about not having been able to have children and getting (indirect) complaints from both sides — women who are exasperated with their children, and women who are exasperated about having to endure menses. actually, I generally fly under the radar both about my infertility and my “special status” (for lack of a better term) when I hear other women bitching about their lot in life.

    because of your tone, I don’t follow your arguments too well. may I just say that I don’t know of any work that women do which can be delayed because of uncleanness, and your Leviticus argument didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever. I believe that women’s work has been done by women, even during times of uncleanness — Jewish men didn’t do this for them. we’ve simply picked up the slack for one another, something that women have been done throughout the ages.

    interesting to me that you’re using Leviticus in your argument, since disputing Leviticus is key to arguing against the conservative Judeo-Christian belief that homosexuality is an abomination to God. prohibitions about having sex with a woman when she’s unclean are among the prohibitions against sex between people of the same gender. are you ceding this ground to religious fundamentalists?

  34. mlk says:

    thank you, kellan, for speaking kindly and with patience.

    I understand your point about not being able to have a conversation when one party is barred at the gates. I guess, given its history, I don’t see MWMF as a place for a discussion about female identity and inclusivity to happen, which is most unfortunate. seems that not all women at Michigan are “rockin’ queer-friendly” women, and some of those who aren’t are in positions of authority.

    still a lot of growing pains in the community.

    I’d been thinking that you’re a MTF woman — are you, in fact, FTM? either way, you’ve got a lot of appeal — too bad you’ve got a gf 🙂

  35. kellan says:

    why mlk, *blush* – thank you for your kind presence in this conversation. I enjoy exchanging ideas with people who come to listen as well as to talk. (I hope it doesn’t seem like I come just to talk! I’ve learned an incredible amount from following the discussions on this blog, and sometimes I just get overexcited when typing, especially since speaking up on these topics in face-to-face conversations is very difficult for me). Also, I love your picking up on the double-edged sword that is Leviticus. Have you seen this? http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html I don’t know if this is actually the original source, since it has circulated on lots of different sites, but it contains the whole thing.

    I am, in fact, an FTM, but I was very much a part of the dyke community (liberal arts college, ya know) until I transitioned at age 22-24. Ironically, I had always wanted to go to Michigan, ever since I read the book The Girls Next Door.

  36. mlk says:

    I’ve seen this (the open letter to Dr. Laura about owning Canadians) before, and think it’s hilarious. these decisions are perplexing!

    the one about playing football with gloves reminds me of “discussions” that my father says his college roommates used to have about whether it’s OK to use dish liquid that contains some sort of pig product. I can’t imagine such a dish detergent, but apparently it existed (or something like it) in the 1940’s, and was a subject of controversy in that bachelor household.

    my father, BTW, came down as one who had no qualms about using the product. then again, he was raised Orthodox (it still astonishes me) and had no qualms about breaking any and all of the dietary food laws. he probably would have handled a football without gloves, too, if he were at all athletically inclined.

  37. mlk says:

    on a less personal note —

    where’d everyone go? seems kellan, Homo Point of View, mlk You’re Being to [sic] Specific and I are the only ones left in the room. yeah, there’s a new strip and all — but isn’t there more to be said about Leviticus and Dr. Laura pork and MTFs on a pedestal?

    then again, maybe not. yeah, we’ve got it all pretty well covered . . .

  38. kellan says:

    I think Homo Point of View and mlk you’re being too specific are the same person. She just wanted to reply specifically (!) to both of us.

    I tried to fan the embers on Friday or so by posting a link, in the middle of the discussion of the current strip, to an article in SF Weekly about puberty blockers for kids who may be trans, since that’s where this whole topic got started. It seems that everybody is too busy stressing about Mo and Clarice (and rightly so) to pay attention, though, and that’s undoubtedly just as well, since we have covered a lot of ground already. Plus the rhetoric heats up really quickly when it’s just three or four of us in the room, so maybe we should all give our keyboards a rest for a bit. In any case, I recommend the article for an interesting read: weekly.com/2007-07-11/news/girl-boy-interrupted/1

  39. mlk says:

    yeah, it’s time to give keyboards a rest on this. I just want to amend what I wrote above because the final editing leaves something to be desired . . .

    isn’t there more to be said about Leviticus, Dr. Laura, pork, and MTFs on a pedestal?

    now I feel *much better.* and that’s what it’s all about, right?

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  43. Sora RYu says:

    i usually don’t speak like this but Sydney got served…poor Mo!….why didn’t they break up? (note – I’m reading the series backwards)