|A very pregnant Thea Hillman and dramatic Mattilda bernstein Sycamore at their reading. Photo by Rink.
Intersex activist Thea Hillman and anti-assimiliationist activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore read from their new books, answered questioned from the audience and signed books at a unprecedented packed turnout of fans and the curious at the Market and Noe Street Books Inc. The store is located in a mall, and thankfully the bodybuilders did not drop weights, as they are prone to do often on weekends, in the gym above.
Thea Hillman read from her book Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word) which deals with someone finding out who they are, while undergoing pressure from the outside world of forced normality. Thea presents a unusual and original form of memoir that involves observations and experiences in sex clubs and other primal locations. That Theaâ€™s own intersex life is incomparable to othersâ€™ was a point made over and over, because there is so much diversity among intersex individuals, so that generalizations are to be discouraged.
Theaâ€™s obvious pregnancy took peoplesâ€™ breath away, and it was something that Thea found amazing also. The book was scary to publish because it was so personal, but there was some restraint to placate relatives.
Some facets of the book that were mentioned: Pubic haircuts, hormone extremes, high tension sex, overly thorough medical exams, and body vulnerability. Thea was asked by concerned audience members about intersex organizations, with information and support in mind. Thea closed with her view that life is about love, communication, and sex.
Mattildaâ€™s fans came expecting an emotional and literary tour-de-force and they were not disappointed. As the quasi coordinator of Gay Shame, Mattilda interjected that groupâ€™s and his views into his non linear novel So Many Ways To Sleep Badly. Encounters with hot young men and then some older men where money was exchanged for a trick were squeezed in between allusions to June Cleaver of Leave It To Beaver and the Black Panthersâ€™ Eldridge Cleaver. Climbing into a strangerâ€™s van, parental sex abuse, and chasing rats in a kitchen were vivid jolting aspects of the book.
Mattilda asked why outsourcing jobs to India was necessary, when SF tweakers can be employed to do such jobs. Advice for hustlers and the best hotels for trick-turning came up, as did bullying leftist straight men at protests.
Mattildaâ€™s unique voice and speech pattern make it clear that a live presentation or at least a video of him in action is the only way to really appreciate his work.
Both Thea and Mattildaâ€™s other books were mentioned and the appreciative audience descended upon them to chat and have a book signed after the Q&A.