my little bro

April 14th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Bechdel i-vi,1-234F

Look, my brother John and me got mentioned in this list in the Village Voice of “The Ten Best Musician/Comic Artist Friendships!”

I remember once going to a record store with John when I was twenty and he was sixteen, and the clerk being so impressed with the stuff he was getting. I think it was a Kraftwerk album. I was proud to have such a discerning little brother. In recent years, a fan of his work with Ministry has shown up at a couple of my readings. This makes me feel very happy and connected.

We’re number 10.

55 Responses to “my little bro”

  1. Ellen Orleans says:

    I’m glad you have this bond with your brother. It’s a real gift for artists and writers, who can feel estranged within their own families because they experience the world differently, to be able to connect in a deeper way.

    At least, that’s how it is for me and my brother.

  2. ksbel6 says:

    Very cool…sibling relationships are complicated things.

  3. Kate L says:

    Nice to hear of such things. I haven’t seen my own older sister since 2002.

  4. Eva says:

    Ditto all the above. I’m happy for you and your brother that you’re not just siblings – you are friends!

  5. Andrew B says:

    Hey all, I’ve just been trying to figure out where the talk is this evening (4/15). According to Alison’s events page and the web page at Wellesley, it’s at the Jewett Auditorium. According to the Yelp page Alison linked to above, it’s at the Collins Cinema. I just called Wellesley’s main switchboard (couldn’t get anyone to answer at the center that’s hosting the event) and the person I spoke to told me Jewett is correct.

    Jewett and Collins are right next to each other, but if you went to the wrong one it might not be obvious that you needed to try the other. They back up to each other with a road and a parking lot between them — this is the side of Jewett away from the quad.

    I am going to take the liberty of putting this comment both on the post for the event and the post about Alison and her brother (because it’s the latest post). Obviously Mentor can clip it if that’s inappropriate.

    [Just to add a bit more to the confusion, of course, here’s a link (dated yesterday) that says the talk is at the Collins Cinema: [Click here]

    However, the other interesting thing mentioned in this link is the talk by Hillary Chute about AB and LB before this evening’s triple-reading. –Mentor]

  6. Kate L says:

    … after the storm passed through last night, this year’s Take Back the Night march took place on campus. Check out a PHOTO of the march!

  7. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    It is so cool that they used one of your drawings to illustrate the piece. He’s not just your bro, he’s a (role) model. I have a loving but intermittent relationship with my own Brother, a human rights lawyer in DC. We used to go to his college campus for Parents’ Weekend. Hell, we went to his law school campus every other weekend! Brought the boy up in many ways.

    Here’s to being tight with Brothers!

  8. Brazenfemme says:

    As the saying (or lyrics) go, Jesus built my hotrod. Ministry remains one of my all time favourite bands.

    My own brother had a close brush with death a couple of years ago and all I can say is that I am SO thankful he is still here. He was the first family member I came out to. When I told my parents a few years after, my mother gnashed her teeth and said “Oh my god, what will we tell your brother?” and I said “he already knows.” To which her response was “What, so now you two are keeping secrets?!!”

    Ah, thank goodness for good siblings!

  9. Kate L says:

    … there may have been no tornado here in Smallville last Thursday night, but two summers ago, there was. It hopped and skipped over Smallville, at one point apparently sailing over my house where my dog and I were cowering in the basement, and knocking a web cam off the top of the water tower on a hill on the far side of my house. A few minutes later, just around midnight, my phone rang. It was my sister! She was over a hundred miles away, but had been following the weather reports about a “huge tornado bearing down on Smallville”. I guess she wanted to see if I had survived. i was touched by that. And, I also wondered what she would have thought if I had been fine, but my landline phone was down when she tried to call…

  10. Alex K says:

    @8 / Brazenfemme — Exactly my father’s response.

    He said, “I’m proud of you all for keeping a secret that you thought would trouble me. We brought you up” — my mother was dead by then — “to be close and to stick together. Seems we did a good job.

    “But,” he went on to say, “about IMPORTANT things like that, well, of course everyone in the family has to know.”


  11. Ian says:

    AB, I’m glad you have a bond with your family.

    I’ve learnt not to trust mine – they make me feel very much not part of the family. Admittedly I’ve been isolating myself from them for my own protection. But it still hurts when they do it, nonetheless.

    I thought I’d been making progress with rebuilding connections with my siblings and family. However, not only did they make plans for Easter that excluded me, they deliberately pretended that arranging plans was going to be terribly difficult until I gave up and said it was fine if they all went to my brother’s house (who I don’t get speak to at all for many very good reasons). Funnily enough, everything became much simpler and easier. Count amongst those a sister who always makes excuses when it comes to actually setting a date to visit …

    I was sarcastically joking to myself about being the “redheaded bastard stepchild”. Then I realised that I *was* born redheaded and that my paternal grandmother always swore I wasn’t my Dad’s child and my Dad accusing my Mum of affairs … I might actually *be* the red-headed bastard step-child! I think I’ll get a t-shirt printed with it on and wear it to the next time we do actually get together.

  12. Kate L says:

    Ian! 🙁 I feel your pain!

  13. Kate L says:

    How are folks back east dealing with the storm system from hell? It’s cold and sunny, here, now.

  14. ready2agitate says:

    Blustery wintery icy cold windy awful and rainy today – wtf *IS* this??? Is it going to SNOW??? We are shivering in our winter coats for blasted’s sake!

  15. NLC says:

    Just ’cause they’re cool:

    Penguin embroidered bookcovers: [Click HERE]

  16. ksbel6 says:

    For those of you on Facebook, you may want to take a look at the Persistance All Ways Butch And Femme page for a terrible account of discrimination against a MTF transsexual. Seriously folks, treating anyone as less than equal is just bullshit. I hope none of you plan to attend the Michigan Woman’s Festival which will not allow MTF transsexuals to attend because they were born with male genitalia. What a bunch of crap.

  17. Kate L says:

    You Gentle Readers of this blog may remember that I had my own revelation moment about the trans community, specifically the FtM trans community. I finally realized that a person’s body image was their own business, his business in this case, and that it should not be a problem for me. I’ve felt much better, since.

  18. Kate L says:

    The LGBT community here in Smallville may be facing Armegeddon this Tuesday night with respect to the Smallville Human Rights Ordinance, but I just had to laugh at the lead to the headline story in today’s Smallville Bugle-Dispatch:
    “It was a time to be heard as the Flint Hills Tea Party and the Little Apple Pride Committee held their rallies in Smallville Saturday. Although both rallies were not directly connected in any way, each started at the footsteps of the Riley County Courthouse.” The Little Apple Pride Committee was staging what was Smallville’s second-ever Gay Pride March. And the Bugle-Dispatch was correct… the Gay Pride March and
    the Tea Party Rally were not connected.

  19. ksbel6, you know how much I respect and like you. But you are tilting at a straw man here. Equal rights does not mean everybody is identical. And saying the refusal of those who created and maintain Michigan to alter their definition of “raised with girl conditioning” to include those who were “raised with boy conditioning” is NOT the same as the dominant culture’s oppression of transfolk, or women, or queers. We get to define our own minority status for ourselves. Those who define it differently (as you and I do) have every right to ask me/us to change our mind and embrace your theory, but if we decline, we are not oppressing you.

    Some of the women who began and sustain Michigan ARE essentialists who define gender according to genitals and hormones. As you know, I am not and most of the dykes I have known, been close to are of the opinion that gender is a construct created overwhelmingly by conditioning, most of which has shaped your personality by the age of three. MY experience of women’s liberation has been that of uprooting this conditioning, examining it for truth and lies, and reinventing myself, usually in the company of those who share the same imprinting. Sometimes ONLY in their company, because the insistence of those with male conditioning that they keep the focus of attention on them is draining. In my opinion, that shift in focus is partially (not utterly) responsible for the gutting of feminism. It has played a role along with racism, classism, Reaganomics, and the effects of not dealing with our own abuse as children.

    The thousands of women and girls who make Michigan happen each year are saying, unequivocally, they need a place devoid as possible of male attention-grabbing and tsurris. I think they have that right and it is not oppressive for a minority group to define themselves in a way contrary to the heteronormative paradigm (which does not allow self-definition for women and girls).

    I want and need time to converse and interact with women who are undoing their girl conditioning, not viewing it from an outsider’s lens. Every oppressed group needs that kind of space. When I was able to attend Michigan, the knowledge that every single function of that small town was being run by someone who had once been a 2-year-old girl and yet found her way into power and competence usually only granted boys was thrilling and energizing to my core. And to my daughter’s core. There is no substitute for it: We’re not stupid, if we tell you it doesn’t feel the same with male conditioning in the room, it DOESN”T. No matter how much I love boys and men, the crap they are forced to internalize damages them in ways I, as a raised-female person, want a choice about assisting them with. It is qualitatively different from the damage girls receive, and one week a year, I think we get to focus on the girl piece without being called the same as those who would kill transfolk.

  20. ksbel6 says:

    @Maggie: I said absolutely nothing about equating you with those who would kill transfolk…I would never say that.

    But discrimination is discrimination. Conditioning is a difficult thing to peg down. But the fact is, MTF are the most discriminated against people in our society and it needs to stop.

    I will argue that part of the reason your hypothetical girl was able to gain power is because she was able to become part of the boys’ club. Does that mean she has now been socialized enough on the male socialization spectrum to fit in, and if so, then why is she taking part in a women’s music festival anyway? We can go in circles with this forever. The fact is, MTF folks want to join the women’s groups and yet they are constantly being tossed out because they weren’t socialized as female…well what does that even mean? I was mowing the yard when I was nine. Does that mean I was socialized male? In which case, should I not be allowed to attend? Do you have to pass a socialization test before you get to purchase your tickets? Are the parents interviewed to be sure that little Suzie was adequately attired in pink for a significant amount of time after her birth? Unless that is the case, then it is a stupid rule, and I will continue to rail against it because it sounds entirely too much like this…”Hey black person, I’m really sorry but you are not allowed to sit in that seat on the bus. I realize that you have no control over the color of your skin, but because it is black, you have been socialized as a black person, and therefore you do not get to sit just anywhere.”

  21. boothbay babe says:

    Go, ksbel,go! Discrimination IS discrimination!

  22. Anonymous says:

    @16, 19, 20, 21: Family isn’t determined by whom we include, I think, but by whom we shut out.

  23. Alex K says:

    Oh, **bad word**. I’m not “anonymous”. I’m Alex K.

  24. Andrew B says:

    Hm, not-anonymous Alex K, 22, that was a little too gnomic for me. Please explain? Are you suggesting that exclusion is justified because it creates a sense of relatedness among those included? I doubt you are, because that looks like a dangerous path to go down. Are you suggesting that exclusion is bad because it creates families? That families are bad because they’re created by exclusion? The last would be kind of appealing if it didn’t seem so obviously false. Something else?

    What has the debate over the MWMF to do with family?

  25. Alex K says:

    I think that exclusion does create a sense of relatedness among those included, but I was not thinking that this is a good thing.

    (Listen to me channel Gertrude there.)

    I was thinking about how family is issued you like a prison uniform, this ill-fitting group of persons whom you can not escape, with whom you stand on terms of compulsory intimacy, like a dog or a child unable to refuse the address of “tu”, of “Du”. About how being part of a family is being unable to get away from your tormentors.

    And I was thinking about the sullen power-tradings that let you individuate yourself within this mass, the preferences and rejections and deliberate injuries, the hundred little malices that cumulate in feud, in not-speakings-to that go on for decades, in loyalties, in parties and sects, in “she who is not with us is against us”. I was thinking about Ian’s contribution (@11), above, and scapegoats, and what solidarities cost and how they are achieved.

    I was thinking that the family of MWMF-goers defines itself by excluding birth-males, and that an embrace selects those who are enfolded and distinguishes them from those who are not.

    I was wondering if, after Armageddon, when Hell is destroyed, Heaven will have any point.

  26. Andrew B says:

    Alex K, thanks for the reply and I hope I wasn’t too flippant earlier. What I thought was gnomic now sounds more like you circling around some topics that are painful to address directly. If I scratched a raw spot, I apologize.

    I can think of a bunch of replies but I’m not sure which of them ought to be made. The one thing I definitely want to say is that I believe Maggie Jochild’s explanation of her desire to associate, at least at some times, exclusively with people who were raised as female. I don’t buy all her ideas about how socialization works, but I believe that her real desire is for positive affiliation with people who she sees as like her — the exclusion of others is a side effect. And I’m sure the same applies to quite a lot, probably nearly all, the women who go to the MWMF. For all the awful things that people do to each other when they form groups, the desire to be with others whom one likes is a basic human desire and is a good thing.

    I could go on but I won’t, at least not now.

  27. boothbay babe says:

    But what about white people who just want to be with white people? Is that okay now? Why is one a good thing and the other not?

  28. ready2agitate says:

    Boothbay, it’s about power – who has it, who doesn’t, who gets to say who has it, who doesn’t.

    Women and queers and transfolks and POC and differently abled and elders, all have less power than men and straight folk and sysfolk and white folk and temporarily-able-bodied folk and young folk. (See Feminism 101.)

    Sadly, those who are often conferred less power in society, are also apt to fight over the crumbs.

    To wit: “…MTF are the most discriminated against people in our society….” Tell that to the African American straight man who after five generations is still living in poverty, subjected to hate crimes, and being treated less-than-human because he is not white. Or, to the Mexican American straight woman languishing in immigration detention, separated far removed from her nursing baby, and in danger of being raped by ICE enforcement.

    Sorry, but declaring ‘who has it the worst’ just distracts and drains from the larger institutional struggle for social justice we need to mount. As long as we’re fighting among ourselves, the dominant culture (think: Tea Party, think: Right Wing, thing: Rebublicans, think: corporate America) is laughing its way to the bank, and taking all our rights with them in the process.


  29. Ginjoint says:

    I’ve never wanted to attend MWMF, but only because camping’s just not my thing.

    But what a joy to come here, of all places, and find yet again, someone being completely flippant and dismissive regarding my girlhood – and the tons and tons and tons of baggage that went with it. Goddammit, that was (and is) a huge part of making me who I am, and I’ll not have it tossed away, or sneered at, thanks.

    To borrow the vernacular of the kids these days, why is it O.K. for born women’s “lived experience” to be mocked like this? We on the left, if we’re considerate, try not to do this to other disempowered groups. But I feel as women, once again we’re supposed to give and give and give – even if it means allowing our own unique experiences to be obliterated. I won’t.

    I also don’t think the situation at MWMF is remotely akin to black people on busses, either.

    I know, I know. I just don’t get it. The problem is, I’m thinking the same thing about you, so here we go, right?

  30. Ready2Agitate says:

    And how sad that we (once again) landed here amidst the joy and connectedness that Alison felt in seeing herself and her kick-ass rockin’ little brother touted in the Best Musician/Artist friendships. Such a nice thing! (esp considering some of the baggage placed upon little Alison when she was growing up – Fun Home.)

    ksbel6, you hit a raw nerve. But let’s keep the raging debate (or the debate raging) elsewhere, shall we?

  31. Ready2Agitate says:

    Ginjoint, how’s tricks?

  32. Ginjoint says:

    I’m O.K., thanks. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my home, and I have another surgery next week for my breast reconstruction. Yuck. Like the title of Marge Simpson’s favorite soap opera, it never ends. But I’ll finish up with another cliche – it’s all good. How’s you?

  33. Alex K says:

    @26 / Andrew B, @29 / Ginjoint: I honour Maggie, Andrew, and I believe what she says. I hope that I didn’t devalue or mock your experience, Ginjoint, because I honour you too, and I ask you to accept my apology if you think that I did so. Blessings wished as you go through the medical mill yet again.

    Andrew B, thank you for asking what I meant. I didn’t mean to present this readership with a koan. When I wrote what I wrote… well, I too often give in to the temptation to imagine that my own experiences are shared, are immediately comprehensible. But in reality: “Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    We all got a lo’ o’ ‘splainin’ to do, all the time, if we want to be understood and accepted. At moments of emotion, I forget to do my ‘splainin’.

    **makes contrite Cuban-American bandleader face**

    But what was FUN HOME about if not the misery of living with other people, other people whom one has not chosen, in a self that does not fit what they imagine you to be?

  34. Andrew B says:

    Despite R2A’s sensible advice (30), I want to try to respond to ksbel6, who is a regular and productive commenter here (specifically 20).

    Jim Crow was significantly different from the MWMF situation. First, municipal public transportation was paid for by tax dollars and thus it was inherently unfair for different citizens to be treated differently on it. But more than that, being unable to move about without suffering discomfort and humiliation has practical consequences. A person who is unable to travel freely has a hard time seeking education or work; she is prevented from transacting business freely; and she is prevented from enjoying the benefits of society which she otherwise would be entitled to — things as simple as enjoying a dinner out. This second point applies to all public facilities, even those that are privately owned, like restaurants, hotels, and long-distance busses and trains.

    Being unable to attend the MWMF has none of those consequences. The goal that transwomen share — being able to live as women — does not depend on attending the MWMF. It’s a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of North American women have never even heard of the MWMF.

    It’s not true that “discrimination is discrimination”. This is basically the same point that R2A was making by saying that there are differences in power, but I want to emphasize that it’s not just a mathematical ranking of abstract power levels. Jim Crow had very real consequences that the MWMF policy doesn’t have.

    People need to associate with those whom they see as understanding their views and feelings. Society legitimately limits our ability to do so when it would place those excluded at a real disadvantage. When there is no such disadvantage, people should be allowed to choose their associates as they wish. To treat all “discrimination” as equivalent is to ignore the harm done by Jim Crow and similar policies.

    GJ, best wishes for your projects and your health.

  35. ksbel6 says:

    I’m really sorry everyone. Andrew B is absolutely correct, I am very sorry for disturbing what was otherwise a very happy post.

  36. boothbay babe says:

    No need to apologize ksbel;your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s.
    I’m sorry for the flippant comment I made about white people.
    I’ve been reading this blog over my girlfriend’s shoulder for a long time, and thought I should enter into the fray;perhaps I should not have done so.
    In my long life, I have been discriminated against because of:
    my race,
    my gender,
    my religion,
    and my sexuality.
    It was only in the last instance that I had no legal recourse.
    So I remain sympathetic to the transgender folk.
    Even if their only discrimination is not being allowed into a silly music festival.
    Alison, I am sorry for veering from your very cheerful thread topic.

  37. Ginjoint says:

    Alex, you didn’t, no worries. And R2A and everyone else is right; this isn’t my blog and I don’t know how comfortable our host is about my putting forth opinions she may not agree with. So I’ll STFU. However, we do have a long, rich history of veering wildly off-topic… 🙂

    Boothbay babe, please enter the fray, always. As you said to ksbel, your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s, right? Pleased to make your aquaintance, even if we should disagree on some things. Disagreeing can happen sans hatred, despite what the world at large seems to show.

    [To repeat some points made here before:

    1] The content of a message has nothing to do with deciding whether the message is appropriate. All opinions are welcome regardless of who agrees or disagrees with them.

    2] However, all messages will be civil. Intensity of feeling is unavoidable in many discussions; and is, almost always, a good and admirable thing. But, blatant disrespect of other posters or bullying will not be tolerated.

    3] And to clear up a point about which there often seems to be confusion: Disagreement is not, in itself, a sign of disrespect. –Mentor]

  38. Kate L says:

    The brave, new Smallville city commission met for the first time, last night. It voted to place repeal of adding LGBT to the city human rights ordinance on the May 3rd city commission agenda. A majority of the new city commission has pledged to do just that. It has already been suggested by some of my co-conspirators that maybe, just maybe, the new, conservative city commission can be talked into keeping sexual orientation as a protected class, but dropping gender identity. Speaking as the only one of this group who took part in the first effort to add LGBT to the human rights amendment in 2005, I assured my colleagues that these folk are equal-opportunity haters. They see no difference between a gay man or lesbian and transsexuals. They hate any and all.

  39. judybusy says:

    Alison, that is so cool you can connect with your brother on this level!

    Ginjoint, I wish you well on your surgery.

    Kate L, you nailed it. Throwing the transgender people under the bus undermines it all. What was someone saying about fighting for crumbs earlier?

    As always, I learn nuances of things when someone starts a discussion–thanks to all for commenting/discussing.

  40. Zoe Brain says:

    “…MTF are the most discriminated against people in our society….” Tell that to the African American straight man who after five generations is still living in poverty, subjected to hate crimes, and being treated less-than-human because he is not white. Or, to the Mexican American straight woman languishing in immigration detention, separated far removed from her nursing baby, and in danger of being raped by ICE enforcement.

    So yes, compared with the next most discriminated against groups, they stand apart. Young Urban Black Males have the highest rate of being murder victims – 5 times the national average. Highest, except for one group: Trans women have 17 times the national average, and more than double that if they’re Black or Latina.

    The figures, the facts, say that Trans is to Black as Black is to White: and Trans Black gets the worst treatment of all.
    From “Injustice at every turn”, a survey of over 6000 Trans people in the USA:

    * Respondents were nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with household income of less than $10,000.
    * Respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or other mistreatment in the workplace, and one in four were fired because of their gender identity or expression.
    * While discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, it was particularly pronounced for people of color. African-American transgender respondents fared far worse than all others in many areas studied.
    * Housing discrimination was also common. 19% reported being refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression. One in five respondents experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression.
    * An astonishing 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to only 1.6% of the general population.
    * Discrimination in health care and poor health outcomes were frequently experienced by respondents. 19% reported being refused care due to bias against transgender or gender-nonconforming people, with this figure even higher for respondents of color.
    * Harassment by law enforcement was reported by 22% of respondents and nearly half were uncomfortable seeking police assistance.

    Show me a case where an African-American had died in an ER after being refused treatment because they were black… yet that happens to trans women. And it’s legal in 38 states to do that.

    As regards immigration detention –
    The documents allege that gay and transgender people in immigration detention were subject to systematic abuse and neglect while in facilities owned or contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    For instance, the complaints allege that Santa Ana Jail has a blanket policy to deny hormone treatment to transgender people in immigration detention.

    At the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange, transgender and gay individuals in immigration detention are segregated and kept in their cells for 22 hours per day, and have far less freedom to access recreation compared with the general population, according to one of the complaints.

    Rape isn’t a possibility, it’s close to a certainty. The rate in jail is 5% – but for Trans women, 60%.

    In addition, Alexis stated that the transgender group wasn’t given toilet paper. When they’d ask why the officer would respond with the anti-gay epithet, the complaint stated.

    A month later she was transferred to the Santa Ana Jail where she was also subject to mistreatment and discrimination, according to the complaint. In addition, Alexis didn’t get to see a doctor the entire five months she was in the facility, she stated.

    Another detainee by the name of Monica also filed a complaint, stating that she was denied her hormone therapy at the Santa Ana Jail after taking it for a decade prior to her detention

  41. ksbel6 says:

    @40: I would have said that, but it appeared to me that this group did not want to hear it, so thank you.

  42. Ginjoint says:

    Oh, hi Zoe, with your Google alert!! And you’re a dab hand at the cutting and pasting. Nice of you to dive-bomb when the opportunity presents itself, as always.

    Ksbel, nobody here is denying that trans people are mistreated. What I object to is the complete washout of the effects of being raised – and read – as female, because it’s inconvenient to the point you’re trying to make. Again, I will not have my lived experience denied like that – or better yet, turned into some sort of “privilege,” as I’ve seen done elsewhere. Because someone is trans, and mistreated, still does not give them the right to do that. And I don’t fall for any guilt trips toward that end, either.

    I forgot to say this in my last posting – thanks to all who sent well-wishes for my upcoming surgery. Much, much appreciated.

  43. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint: I think if you will reread my original post (#15) you will see that I was simply calling attention to a very specific case of MTF discrimination. I was trying to point out a situation where trans people should be being treated with the utmost respect, and yet still were not.

    The information about MWMF was simply me being mad at the world as it is another case of blatant discrimination against MTF folk. As I said earlier, women’s groups should let MTFs join because that is where they (MTFs) want to be. You can make all the statements you want to about how you as an individual were raised. However, it does not take away the fact that many butch dykes were raised female and yet they still physically abuse their partners. Many FTMs were raised female and yet they still pack and wear strap-ons and behave just like the fellas. So until MWMF starts only letting in people born female who were raised as female and only behave in feminine ways, then I will say it is a group of people who feel a need to feel power and display that power by not letting MTFs attend. I think it would be pretty fun as a matter of fact to find out just how many MTFs have already gotten in and passed the entire week.

    I wish you good luck with your surgery and your recovery. Going through all of that must be scary and painful.

    And now I shall disappear.

  44. hairball_of_hope says:


    Wishing you easy surgery and rapid recovery. Hurry on back, the Cubs need all the fans they can get.

    @ksbel6, Maggie, et alia

    I am a bit conflicted about MWMF. I understand the hurt and anger that MTF feel at being excluded from what is, for me, a hallowed place. I *get* how the exclusion of MTF and trans-identified womyn seems to be discriminatory and yet another example of the have-nots fighting over the crumbs.

    I’ve lived my life as a born-woman. No matter what boundaries, stereotypes, and walls I punch through, these are the bare facts: grappling with femaleness, the societal expectations of femaleness, and a lifetime of loving women have shaped me and profoundly affect me in ways that are different from the experiences of trans-identified, MTF, and hell, even straight women.

    Being at Michigan, surrounded by women who make it ALL happen, from the stage construction to the sound to the showers, right down to the women proudly walking about topless with their mastectomy scars in full display, is such a life-affirming and positive COMMUNITY experience that I can’t even begin to imagine other than born-women in that space. It feels more spiritual than political.

    There’s a separate section for family camping with boy children over the age of five, and while there has been some controversy about that over the years, it’s understood that MWMF is all about women, female energy, and female empoweredness, and so the womyn-born-womyn-only policy is rooted in deep historical precedent of making and maintaining womyn-space on the land.

    I am conflicted because I understand why MTF and trans-identified womyn would want to experience the wonderful community of MWMF. But I don’t think there’s a way to provide that without fundamentally changing the womyn-space experience for everyone else.

    (… goes back to her daily battle in the testosterone-filled cube farm …)

  45. ready2agitate says:

    Oh I am not in a good mood tonight.

    (It is HARD to try to retain one’s people’s traditions and culture against a Left that assumes that if you’re Jewish, maybe you have one groovy seder on a work night, but certainly you don’t have two, and you most definitely don’t go through the craziness of not eating chametz for 8 days. In other words, enlightened Jews are expected to be more assimilated than that.)

    Alas, my point earlier was missed, so I’ll clarify, in louder voice this time: I WON’T COMPARE AND RANK OPPRESSIONS.

    Ginjoint, I must’ve read your mind, because when I asked how you were doing, I was wondering how your health was. Good luck. Give ’em gin!

  46. Andi says:

    Greetings all.

    If anyone would like a happy distraction (I’m always in need of one) here’s a link to the latest brilliant blog post of cartoonist Allie Brosh.

    Tonight I’m listening to the rain pour down on the parched mountainsides of Colorado, and hoping it will delay Fire Season for another month or so.

    Sending good thoughts to all,


  47. freyakat says:

    @#45 ready2agitate: Well said!!!! I’m with you
    wholeheartedly in not comparing and ranking

  48. Kate L says:

    My mind wonders. It found this recent photo of astronaut Tracy Caldwell looking out the cupola of the International Space Station. I’ve always been interested in space exploration.

  49. NLC says:


    A great picture (thanks).

    And what a coincidence, I was just listening to Wilson Pickett’s tribute to the women astronauts, “Mustang Sally”, with its lines:

    All you want to do is run around,
    Sally Ride,
    Sally Ride.

  50. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A and fellow matzo crumb trail travelers

    Chag sameach. Wishing you and your loved ones a zeissen Pesach (sweet Passover), and hoping our digestive systems survive eight days of wandering through the food desert.

    R2A is right, there’s no point in ranking and comparing oppressions. I was reminded of this during the retelling of the Exodus during the seder… “…we were slaves for 400 years in Egypt…” “So where’s my damn reparations?” I thought.

    In reality, there are no reparations in the universe. Nothing material makes everything as it was, takes away the pain, the hurt, the suffering, the loss. The only true reparations are peace, freedom, a chance to live life to the fullest, and an environment that does not permit hate to breed.

    So, as we wander through the holidays of Passover and Easter, reminders of ancient times of unfettered hate that we have turned into life-affirming rituals of renewal and rebirth, let’s work on cleansing ourselves of our present fears, misunderstandings, and yes, even hates.

    To ksbel6, Kate L, and all the other trans and trans-identified folks on this blog, this is a safe place. We love you all. Y’all come back, now, y’hear?

    (… goes back to munching on matzo …)

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    Moving from the matzo crumb trail to the Appalachian Trail…

    Sen. John Ensign, GOP Senator from Nevada, has announced his resignation, effective May 3.

    Ensign, as you may recall, was schtupping a member of his campaign staff, who also happened to be the wife of his Senate chief of staff. After both resigned with hefty “severance payments,” Ensign’s parents made some big dollar payments to both former staffers, ostensibly to assist their transition to private life. Ensign even got the husband a paying gig with a politically-connected donor. Nonetheless, the cuckolded husband later went public with the revelations of Ensign’s transgressions.

    We never did start the “Maggie Mendacity Pool” on the blog, betting on the next hypocrite to traipse upon the Appalachian Trail. Perhaps we should start. I’m waiting for skeletons to drop from GOP Rep. Eric Cantor’s closet. There’s got to be a few in there.

    De-clique-ification note: The Appalachian Trail is a real place, but we on the blog use it as a euphemism for holier-than-thou public figures who end up being exposed as hypocrites, having shown themselves to be human by having outside relationships or being outted. The Trail became a euphemism when South Carolina GOP Gov. Mark Sanford claimed to be incommunicado while hiking the Appalachian Trail, but was found to have actually been in Argentina with his extramarital paramour.

    (… goes back to her schadenfreude …)

  52. Ginjoint says:

    Ksbel, I was responding to your post at #20, not at 15, FWIW. I stand by what I’ve stated. Should you decide to leave this blog, that would be unfortunate, but that’s on your shoulders, my friend.

  53. Ginjoint says:

    Kate, that photograph! **VeRTiGo** (((swoon)))

    I’m not afraid of heights, but I used to have nightmares about the vastness of space. Deep, cold, endless falling…I can’t imagine leaning against a window like that. I wonder what happens to a human body if it’s exposed to outer space – freezing, of course, but what else…off to Google!

  54. boothbay babe says:

    ksbel6; I hope you come back.

  55. j.b.t. says:

    Tomorrow is May Day! Happy May Day everyone!

    If you’re in MPLS, I’ll see you at the parade~ I’ll be dressed as a crow with a big black feathered mask.

    This year’s theme: CAWS TO UNITE!

    In solidarity,