â€śI had always wanted to meet a real writer, but none of them would ever hang out with me because of my overbite,â€ť jokes transgender satirist Charlie Anders about the motivation behind her critically acclaimed, San Francisco spoken-word variety show, Writers With Drinks. â€śOK, I did occasionally wind up with my teeth in their lapels. But really, itâ€™s just a sign of respect.â€ť
In addition to organizing the highly praised literary event, Anders (charlieanders.com) is a prolific writer, authoring the 2002 non-fiction how-to guide The Lazy Crossdresser, and the 2006 Lambda award-winning novel Choir Boy, a genderqueer action-adventure novel about religion. Her work is represented in nearly a dozen anthologies including Pills Chills Thrills & Heartache, Pinned Down By Pronouns and The
â€śMost of my anthology contributions have been fiction,â€ť Anders says. â€śAnd everybody knows that fiction is just your childhood trauma filtered through the prism of music videos.â€ť Making light of her pension for anthologies, Anders teases, â€śI havenâ€™t made it into Chicken Soup for the Soul or Best American Erotica yet. I tried writing one story that would make it into both volumes, a sort of spiritual journey where people find healing with kinky sex.â€ť
Anders describes Sheâ€™s Such A Geek (shessuchageek.com)â€”the just released anthology she co-edited with Annalee Newitzâ€”as â€śfirst-person accounts by female geeksâ€¦ of what itâ€™s like to be a woman in a male-dominated field or subculture.â€ť The anthology includes a â€śwhole bunch of kick-ass biologists, computer scientists, physicists and other types of geeks.â€ť
Anders is also the publisher and co-founder of Other magazine who explains, â€śWe felt there was a giant underground ocean of alienation underneath Americaâ€”and we wanted to cash in on it.â€ť Other magazine (othermag.org) is aimed at â€śpeople who defy categories,â€ť and â€śthe new outcasts.â€ť Other is an unusual magazine, Anders suggests, because, â€śWe deliberately didnâ€™t pick one focus or one subculture to represent. That way we could make money off as many different kinds of alienation as possible.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m pretty much an absurdist writer,â€ť Anders says of her fondness for satire. â€śI believe everything human is ridiculous, especially constructs like religion, politics, gender, sexuality, etcetera.â€ť
Anders says she started Writers With Drinks (writerswithdrinks .com) in order to bring together different scenes and communities, literary and otherwise, that wouldnâ€™t normally intermingle. She does so by presenting an eclectic fusion of genres and approaches. â€śI found out that if you offer drink tickets, you can trick people into showing up and hanging out with you.â€ť
Once an actual choir boy, Anders still sings in choirs and karaoke bars and runs the web siteÂ which has been lauded by London, Englandâ€™s The Sunday Times and Yahoo.com, and which Anders insists is not â€śsome sort of satire against crazy queer-bashing sites.â€ť
â€śIf you have to ask why God hates figs, then itâ€™s already too late for you and your soul has been consigned to bathe in a hot paste of gritty torment for all eternity, with seeds pricking every inch of your skin.â€ť
The queer transwoman says that in order for others to keep up-to-date on her current sexuality, sheâ€™s been experimenting with utilizing technology to alert anyone with a cell phone about her â€ścurrent sexual orientation.â€ť She insists sheâ€™s also started a website that lets people know â€śexactly how queer I am todayâ€”right now itâ€™s hovering around 83.2 percent.â€ť
â€śFor a while, though,â€ť says the ever amusing Anders, â€śI hacked my own genome so I would glow different colors depending on whether I was currently more attracted to men, women, or other genderqueers and transwomen like myself.â€ť
Donâ€™t miss Anders hosting the next Writers With Drinks, Feb. 10 at , 3225 22nd St., San Francisco, from 7:30-9:30pm. This month features Angie Krass, Marta Acosta, Eric Spitznagel and Frank Portman.
Trans writer Jacob Anderson-Minshall can be reached at email@example.com.