|When I read TimĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘m WestĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘s line, ĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂĹWe are butch lesbians with penises we do not exalt,ĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘ I knew weĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘d hit a home run.ĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂÂ
âBy far the craziest thing Iâve done in my life, says Homofactus Press founder and publisher, trans man Jay Sennett, âis creating and publishing [the âJaywalkingâ] cartoons. I canât draw. In real time, I donât think Iâm funny. ButâŚI decided that if I couldnât say what I needed to say in a business-card sized cartoon, I had no business saying it.â
Sennett says he founded the micropublishing companyÂ (www.homofactuspress.com) to publish books that help âtrans men everywhereâŚfeel good about themselves and their choices.â Â
With Homofactusâ first release, Self-Organizing Men, an anthology that he edited, Sennett wanted to reflect the complexities of masculine communities. âThat meant including voices of people who had no intention of optioning hormones or who may not even live as men most of the time. I like sticky, unmanageable stories about people unwilling to resolve their contradictions into neat packages.â
Sennett included work by non-trans men in the anthology and he says, âI think some of the problems that plague FTMs such as penis envyâfor lack of a better phraseâarenât specific to FTMs. Many, many men struggle with masculinity and their bodiesâŚWhen I read Timâm Westâs line, âWe are butch lesbians with penises we do not exalt,â I knew weâd hit a home run.â
Sennett also wanted Self-Organizing Men to address white privilege in FTM communities.Â âIndeed, the insistence that transitioning is primarily about gender is a function of white privilege.Â As Bobby Noble argues in his essay [ââTransâ? âButchâ? âManâ? : On the Political Necessities of Trans In-coherenceâ], transitioning is much more about race than gender, since the privileges that have accrued to me are as much because Iâm white, as because I am a man.â
As a community, Sennett fears that white transmen ârecapitulate the racism and white privilege apparent in gay and lesbian and straight communities,â and he says, âWeâre also not winning prizes for our commitment to women and female identified folks.â
He believes that transmen can make a difference in transforming human relationships, but only if â[we] examine parts of our lives we may not want to look at. The ones that I see changing the worldâŚseem to be willing to own their own complexities; that is to say they acknowledge both that they are oppressed and also oppress others.â
Later this year, Sennett will be publishing The Marrowâs Telling: Words in Motion, the latest work from a trans man he believes is changing the world:Â Eli Clare, who wrote Exile and Pride:Â Disability, Queerness and Liberation.Â Marrow is a collection of prose and poetry that spans 15 years and âis organized not as a memoir but as an exploration of how bodies carry and translate histories and identities.â
Homofactusâ future plans include publishing anthologies of works by drag kings of color, and those by and about trans men of color.
The multi-talented Sennett (jaysennett.com) is also the filmmaker behind the autobiographical short Phallocy, which utilized spoken word, music and experimental techniques and double-exposed, sepia-toned footage, to examine Sennettâs life as a âfemale-bodied man.â Transmen, Sennett says are drawn to creative outlets because those processes âdescribe the indescribable.â
âLiving as a transman is like creating a great work of art. The process is more important than the goal. The intervals of silence and absence create balance and impact, and the very best art, like the very best lives, knows when to stop.â
Trans writer Jacob Andersonâs co-authored Blind Eye mystery series premiers March 2007 with Blind Curves from Bold Strokes Books.