By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 8, 2009
âTruth Serum has been digging me a huge hole of debt,â reveals Aliza Shapiro about the Boston-based production company behind the reoccurring, all-gender, all-genre performance cabaret, TraniWreck. In the six year sheâs been running the business, Shapiroâs Truth Serum has successfully produced some of Bostonâs most entertaining queer and trans events.
But it has come at a price. She jokes, âIt sucks the life out of me, but I donât feel alive without something in the pipeline. I came to this from my love of producing cultural events, not any business smarts.â
Shapiro identifies as genderqueer, and says, âWhen people ask what pronoun I prefer, I say whatever. I donât have a preference. My intimates switch between she and he, because they understand the complex nature of my gender - and I like that. I appreciate when people recognize my personal expression of masculinity, but Iâm not hung up...
2009: The Trans Year to Come
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 31, 2008
In a world where Thomas Beatieâs pregnancy can capture world-wide attention overnight, itâs difficult to foretell the top trans stories of 2009. But hereâs a sneak peek. Activism/PoliticsDespite our collective sigh of relief November 5th 2008, thereâs still plenty to fight for: nationally (ENDA), and locally, as in Gainesville,...
10th Annual Tribute to Our Dead
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 20, 2008
With all the protests this past weekend, one could easily conclude that the ban on same-sex marriages is the single greatest affront to LGBT civil liberties today. And yet, many are still being violently attacked and sometimes killed simply for being queer or transgender. Last month, in little over one...
Playwrightâs Trans Activism Sparked by Jewish Heritage
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 16, 2008
As a little kid, Butch Is a Noun, author and performer S. Bear Bergman, recalls being a little Jewish ambassador. Self identifying as queer, trans and a butch Bergman uses the gender neutral pronouns ze and hir and says that youthful experience led to hir trans activism. âBasically, I ended...
Up From the Depths: Triggered.
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 9, 2008
Visual artist Georgette Freeman titles her current exhibit, Up From the Depths: Triggered. When I reach the sixty-one-year-old artist by phone in the same 275-square-foot San Francisco apartment sheâs resided in for 33 years; she suggests, âWe both know the word triggered. Mine was retirement.â When Freeman talks about things...
HeteroQueer Activist Speaks at Southern Comfort
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 2, 2008
âIâve been in the family for so long - nearly 30 years - itâs home to me. Straight, to me, is a lifestyle I just canât relate to even though I present fairly straight.â C. Michael Woodward identifies as heteroqueer; âIt means Iâm a man who enjoys the company of...
Advocating for Out of Home Youth
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 25, 2008
âItâs a pretty disturbing picture,â Jody Marksamer says of the new study by the Equity Project examining why LGBT youths enter the juvenile justice system and what their experiences inside are like.For the past three years Marksamerâwho uses male pronouns but says he doesnât like to talk about his gender...
Sheâs a Boy I Knew
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 18, 2008
Queer Canadian filmmaker and media activist Gwen Haworth swears, âIf I sit through another portrayal of victimization for the supposed purpose of âeducation and awarenessâ, or another image of a trans woman putting on high heels and lipstick, or another film that equates gender transition to the metamorphosis of a...
Lucky Coyote Open for Indigo Girls
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 28, 2008
Folk singing duo Coyote Grace has big news. Like lightning this summer their luck struck twice. It all started when the Indigo Girls asked trans musician Joe Stevens and his partner in life and music Ingrid Elizabeth (aka Coyote Grace) to open their Seattle concert. âThat was very exciting!â Stevens...
Circus Amok No Freak Show
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 21, 2008
The classic American side show relied on exploiting racial and anatomical differences of its performers for the edification and entertainment of a white audience; while also demarcating the socially sanctioned line between ânormalâ and âfreak.â A former sideshow performer, Jennifer Miller has mixed feelings about sideshows, which she contends were...
Former Attorney Tackles Workplace Issues, FTM Borderlands and Transphobia
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 14, 2008
When Dr. Jillian Weiss first came out, she admits, âI didnât really have the courage to transition on the job. Nobody I knew at the time had done it, and I didnât anticipate that it would be successful.â A decade later, Weiss shepherds others through that very process, advising employers...
Radical Radio Tranny
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 7, 2008
âI donât support same sex marriage in Massachusetts,â announces trans activist, radio host and Massachusetts resident, Ethan St. Pierre who peppers his speech with self-revealing bombshells, that make the self-described radical guy sound surprisingly conservative. Founder of the Internet broadcasting network, , St. Pierre also sits on the board of...
Shifting Genders in A Post Furry World
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 31, 2008
Once upon a time, Egypt Urnash existed only online, in the form of a black dragon or a sentinent black hole in an alternative Internet world. âPresenting online as a slinky black dragon woman,â she says now, âwas a large part of how I compartmentalized my gender issues, and learned...
Getting Kids Off the Streets
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 24, 2008
Rej Joo stumbled into a career helping Portland, Oregonâs queer youth help themselves. A few years ago and fresh out of college, Joo (âjust a guyâ who identifies politically as a trans man) took an Americorp position with Portlandâs Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC.org), an organization that addresses at-risk...
Columbus, Ohio: New Trans Hotspot
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 17, 2008
When a freak storm dumped two feet of snow on Columbus, Ohio this spring, it forced TransOhio to cancel its first Transgender and Ally Symposium. Now, barring further natural disasters, the event - featuring trans luminaries Kate Bornstein and Sile P. Singleton - will take place Aug. 22-24. The symposium...
Folk Musician Worthley Returns
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 3, 2008
For the first 20 years of her professional music career, Cathy Worthley was known as George, a Scottish folk musician who released a half dozen albums, had his own indie record label, and was once pictured in Snowboarder Magazine playing bagpipes on a snowboard. Despite her commitment to the genre,...
Whatâs in a Name?
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 26, 2008
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 19, 2008
June has become the month for Pride celebrations, and for trans folks, this year offers more venues than ever to show your pride or protest the current political environment. A few events (past and future):New England Trans Pride MarchWith their slogan (âRemember Stonewall? That was us!â) recalling the 1969 New...
Baby Dee: Clevelandâs Harp Playing Transgender Legend
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 12, 2008
Fifty-something classically- trained musician, Baby Dee - who just began releasing albums this decade - has an eclectic resume (including stints as go-go girl and circus freak), and an equally colorful collection of friends including the âlegendary strip club geniusâ from the East Villageâs notorious Pyramid Club, who once set...
Trans Activist Awarded for Leadership
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 5, 2008
This week as part of Los Angelesâs Gay Pride celebration, trans activist Masen Davis will be honored with the Berman/Schaffer Award, recognizing his leadership skills in building strategic partnerships that further the LGBT movement. Davis, the Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center, Californiaâs statewide transgender civil rights...
Writing Around Gender
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 29, 2008
Since its formation in 1999, Write Around Portland - a volunteer-facilitated series of writing workshops for Portland, Oregonâs underprivileged - has become an institution, publishing 25 anthologies, facilitating 300 workshops and serving more than 1,700 individuals. But, until this year, the organization had never held a workshop specifically for transgender...
Reverse of ENDA: Trans Methodists Win While Gays Lose
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 22, 2008
Earlier this month the United Methodist Church - nationâs second largest Protestant church - disappointed gays and lesbians, choosing to retain church laws that decree homosexuality is âincompatible with Christian teaching,â and bar queer people from church membership. But, in a separate vote, they rejected similar language in relation to...
Lawyerâs Cross-Dressing History
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 15, 2008
âI used to dress up in my motherâs clothes every chance I got,â recalls Michael D. Silverman, executive director of New Yorkâs Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF). âHer makeup bag was my favorite toy. Iâd wear my momâs stockings or play with her high heel shoes. I loved...
Transgender African American Delegate Makes History
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 8, 2008
When party bigwigs meet at the Democratic National Convention Aug. 25 in Denver, theyâll share the room with a handful of transgender activists, including Marisa Richmond, the partyâs first openly transgender African-American delegate. President of Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC), Richmond is a registered lobbyist supporting trans inclusive legislation at...
The Naked Playwrightâs Transgender Jesus
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 24, 2008
âThe basic premise is that Jesus was FTM,â says award-winning playwright Tobias K. Davis, describing his one-act play, Crossing, which retells the story of Christâs crucifixion with this transgender twist. âHis struggles and persecution and crucifixion were motivated not only by his teachings and how they threatened the Roman Empire,...
Filmmaker Examines Trans/Pregnant Bodies
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 17, 2008
âWhen I tell people I want to get pregnant, it takes [them] aback,â says Elyse Montague, an award-winning filmmaker. âItâs a contradiction.â Oregon trans man, Thomas Beatieâs pregnancy may have captivated national attention, and polarized LGBT opinion like no other, but Montague addressed the issue in his 2006 short, Well...
High School Confidential
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 3, 2008
âIâm not like most trans guys,â says high school senior Evan Wallick. âWhen I was younger I didnât act like a little boy, I acted like a girl, but it was very much acting. I had a [girl] friend whoâŠwas teased about looking like a boy, and it scared me....
The Disappearance of Heather Alexander
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 27, 2008
Heather Alexanderâs fans believed in magic. They flocked to Renaissance Fairs, sci/fi fantasy conventions, and filk (internet folk music) concerts to hear Alexanderâs Celtic-inspired tunes. Her cult following represented communities steeped in fantasy, magic and lore. But in the winter of 2006, even Alexanderâs fans couldnât believe their eyes. That...
Memorializing LGBT Suicides
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 20, 2008
âMy first reaction when someone tells me theyâre suicidal isâŠâI totally understand.â trans artist Dylan Scholinski reveals. âIâve been in a constant state of saving my lifeâŠgoing back to when I was high school age. Suicide has been a continual threatâŠwhether it was my own attemptsâŠ[or] going through that with...
Helping Trans Kids Out of the Shadows
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 13, 2008
âHow does a 14 year old shoot a 15 year old in the back of the head because heâs wearing high heels?â Trans activist Jenn Burleton muses about the recent murder of southern California teen. âMore than any other source of childhood abuse, teasing, and bullying; femininity in male children...
Activist Creates Compelling PR
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 6, 2008
âWhat shocked me working at the National Center for Transgender EqualityâŠwas the sheer level of discrimination out there,â maintains the groupâs former Deputy Director Simon Aronoff. âNot letting [transgender] employees use the restroomsâŠor just blatantly firing them; extreme harassment, police brutalityâŠThe discrimination and oppression out thereâŠis just really intense.â Having...
Deaf Leatherboy Hopes to Resuscitate True Spirit
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 28, 2008
âI think most people are aware we exist,â Alex Leffers says about deaf members of the queer community. Still, he contends, âThereâs a lot of unnecessary fear. We use our hands to communicate, true, but we do welcome conversation with people that arenât familiar with sign language. Stop apologizing for...
Conservative Trans Candidate For President of the U.S.
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 21, 2008
Ben âBennie Leeâ Ferguson is running for president. âTo the best of my knowledge,â the self-described bisexual cross dresser brags, âIâm the first openly transgendered U.S. presidential candidate ever to register with the Federal Election Commission.âFerguson hopes the publicity around her presidential candidacy will, come November, translate into a win...
Sex and the City and The Nature of His Package
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 14, 2008
Imagine flipping on the TV and finding a debate about whatâs in your pants. Thatâs what happened to former drag king Cooper Lee Bombardier, when an episode of Sex and the City opened with the cast discussing the nature of his package. âIt was bizarre,â says the trans artist, performer,...
Transgender Poet Slams Asian American Stereotypes
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 7, 2008
Â âSlam is fierce. Itâs so open and completely honest,â raves Kit Yan, an award-winning transgender slam poet. âAnd then people judge you on it, which is so heart-breaking.â After attending a poetry slam for a college assignment, he tried slamming. âAnd I really sucked,â Yan laughs. âI was awful. I...
Gender Squishy Photographer A Dirty Queer
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 24, 2008
Last month, Portland, Oregon based trans photographer Nik Wilhelm stepped in front of the camera and bared his soul - and his pre-operative chest. For 30 days in December, the resultant photographs hung in Portlandâs feminist bookstore, In Other Words. Identifying as a âgender-squishyâ person who gets a rush off...
Trans Teens Graphic Comic
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 17, 2008
âThere are so many transgendered teens living on the streets hustling, using illegal hormones, getting pumped full of silicone and doing all sorts of drugs,â complains Madison âMekâ Potts. âA lot of them back themselves into a cycle that can be really hard to get out of. Many [people] who...
Trans Musician Rolls Across Country
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 10, 2008
Over the last seven years, country singer Rae Spoon has toured relentlessly, crisscrossing his native Canada, and traveling by Greyhound bus for 17 months straight. Heâs parlayed those endless road shows into dozens of music festival performances, appearances with stars like Natalie Merchant, Emmylou Harris and Ani Difranco and accolades...
Looking Ahead to 2008: The Trans Year to Come
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 3, 2008
With presidential elections looming, 2008 promises to be a politically contentious year. At least this summerâs Olympic Games promise to distract us from American politics, and thereâs some hope - via trans cyclist Kirsten Worley (nominated as one of the most influential women in Canadian sports in 2007) -...
A Roller Coaster Ride: 2007 Trans Year In Review
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 27, 2007
From a transgender perspective, 2007 was a year with a lot of peaks and valleys. The entertainment field, in particular, witnessed many accomplishments, but the community as a whole was tested with some significant blows. ACHEIVEMENTS A number of trans folk received recognition for their notable achievements including Just Add...
The Tao of Trans Activism
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 20, 2007
Zander Keig is the Vice President of FTM Internationalâs board of directors. Heâs also a veritable one-man trans activist army, volunteering with a dozen LBGT organizations, while helping other trans men navigate transitioning. âThe most common piece of advice I give is: âThereâs no one way to transition,â Itâs hard...
A Twisted Sister
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 13, 2007
Twist, a queer pop-rock musical that opened Dec. 1 in L.A., weaves Victorian erotica, dark comedy and gender-bending into Charles Dickensâ Oliver Twist. Driven by physical desire but begging for more, Oliver journeys into an underworld ruled by a male dominatrix â Fagin - played by Alexandra Billings. â[This] is...
Changing Sexual Orientation
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 6, 2007
âIf gender identity is fluid, then sexual orientation is as well,â contends psychology grad student lorne m. dickey, who identifies as a gay FTM and spells his name entirely with lowercase letters. Though many scientists and laypersons believe sexual orientation is fixed and immutable, dickey disagrees. His own experience suggests...
Portlandâs Not So Good Queer
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 29, 2007
It would be easy to dismiss Lisa/Lee Iacuzzi as a troublemaker. Iacuzzi - who uses the names Lisa and Lee interchangeably, identifies as bi-gendered and prefers the pronoun s/he - has been arrested four times for petty crimes like jaywalking and calling 911 when a police officer videotaped her/him. One...
Indian American Fights for LGBT Families
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 22, 2007
Every year, beginning Nov. 9, South Asian communities from around the world come together to celebrate Deepavali (also called Diwali), a five-day event, known as the Festival of Lights. âSome of my strongest early memories are of Deepavali celebrations,â recalls trans Asian American artist/activist Aakash Kishore. âTo me, it means...
ENDA Ends and Community Gains
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 15, 2007
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that includes protections for sexual orientation but not gender identity. The Senate is unlikely to vote on ENDA this year and Bush has promised a veto. Although the debate over ENDA has been a...
Filming the Tranny Two-Step
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 8, 2007
Accompanied by filmmaker Malic Amalya, the Chicago-based band Actor Slash Model toured the West this summer playing queer-and trans-friendly venues and creating a space for other trans musicians to share in a combined music and filmmaking experience. The film project, scheduled for completion in 2009, will weave live performances with...
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 1, 2007
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Daan Erikson likes to joke about his musical career: âI was in an all-girl band in high school - until I ruined that.â Coming out as a trans guy may have put an end to his garage band but itâs opened the door to a great deal...
A TransAmazon Takes on The Man
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 18, 2007
Four years later, the controversy over 2003âs The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey, is still boiling over. With an impressive CV and two documentary films to her credit, Joelle Ruby Ryan - a graduate student at Bowling Green University - recently became the first MTF-spectrum trans...
Athlete Fights For More Than a Spot at 2008 Olympics
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 11, 2007
Kristen Worley is on a mission. The Canadian cyclist is determined to make it to the 2008 Olympics, but even more the transitioned athlete - the term she prefers over transsexual - hopes to prevent a repeat of what happened to Shanti Soundarajan. A runner from India who won a...
Things Clik For Trans Rocker
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 4, 2007
If you havenât already heard of The Cliks - and the bandâs ĂŒber-hip lead singer Lucas Silveira - youâve probably been living on my parentâs farm. Over a few short months this summer, Silveira, who was raised in a village of 600 on Portugalâs Azores Islands, became North Americaâs best-known...
Things Clik For Trans Rocker
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 4, 2007
If you havenât already heard of The Cliks - and the bandâs ĂŒber-hip lead singer Lucas Silveira - youâve probably been living on my parentâs farm. Over a few short months this summer, Silveira, who was raised in a village of 600 on Portugalâs Azores Islands, became North Americaâs best-known...
Sexing Up Disability
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 27, 2007
Sinâs Invalid Artist Performs Friday
Mark your calendars. Everybodyâs favorite gay holiday, Halloween, is fast approaching, and in all the hubbub of donning costumes, touring haunted houses, attending glamorous parties and dodging het tourists, you might miss groundbreaking performance artists Sins Invalid. Bringing the sexy back to disability, Sins...
Trans Youth Advocates for His Peers
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 20, 2007
With a growing number of trans children vocalizing their gender identities, thereâs a growing need for outreach to and services for trans youth and their families. Fortunately, efforts are afoot to do just that. GenderPAC hosted a youth summit this summer; earlier this month, Seattleâs Gender Odyssey premiered the first...
Disability Activist Reveals Core Truths
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 13, 2007
In 2007âs The Marrowâs Telling: Words In Motionâa collection of poetry and proseâdisability activist Eli Clare examines the way bodies carry history and identity over time. In particular, he maps the physical ramifications of his Cerbal Palsy, rural heritage, gender transgressions, queer sexuality and abuse survival. Identifying as âa white,...
Genderqueer Student Hopes to Change Health Care Field
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 6, 2007
As they head back to school this week, 38 LGBT students do so with scholarships from the Point Foundationâthe nationâs largest publicly-supported organization providing financial support, leadership training and mentoring to students marginalized because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Beginning a second year at Yale University, Point...
Trans Filmmaker Reinvents the Teen Comedy
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 30, 2007
Actress-Filmmaker M.C. Brennan has exciting news. After her transgender teen comedy, Dramatis Personae, won an Outfest Screenwriting Lab fellowship and was given a staged readingâwith Exes and Ohâs auteur Lee Friedlander directing Nip/Tuckâs Willam Belli in the lead roleâthings are really heating up.âThe Outfest experience led to a lot of...
Taking His Clothes Off Gains Trans Artist Prestigious Award
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 23, 2007
âI love to see peoplesâ faces when I take off my clothes,â says performance artist Scott Turner Schofield about disrobing onstage. Schofield, who receives testosterone treatments but hasnât undergone gender reassignment surgeries, says, âWhen I take off my clothesâŠI go from being this cute young man to an adult female...
Federal Judge In Idaho Orders Treatment For Trans Inmate
By Dennis McMillan Published: August 2, 2007
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal district court judge ruled on July 30 that the Idaho Department of Corrections must provide female hormone therapy to a transgender inmate while her case proceeds to trial in federal court in Boise, Idaho. Jenniffer Spencer sued the Idaho Department of Corrections for failing...
Not Queer Enough?
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 2, 2007
An uproar erupted earlier this year when Peggy Munson (lesbian author of Origami Striptease) was censored at the annual San Francisco Lambda Literary Award finalistsâ reading. Her section was cut because organizers deemed a gender bending sex scene âstraight.â Unfortunately, Munsonâs (myspace.com/peggymunson) experience isnât an isolated occurrenceâeven in San Francisco....
Chicagoâs Sultry Siren No Illusion
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 26, 2007
Categorized as an illusionist for her ability to metamorphize on stage and embody glamorous and sultry personas, Angelique Munro, Chicagoâs âSultry Siren,â says the term is no longer truly apt. â[Transgender] girls like meâŠare in the female form all the time. Today, I live my life as a womanâŠ24/7. Thereâs...
Genre Fluid Performer Marches To Own Toone
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 12, 2007
Â Itâs difficult to sum up the accomplishments of trans performer Anderson (nee Annie) Toone in a few paragraphs. Ever since the late â70s, when a teenaged, harmonica playing Toone backed legendary San Francisco blues musicians and beat poets, heâs been a âgenre fluidâ musician, drag king and performer who changes...
One Thousand Times & Counting
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 5, 2007
Retired high school librarian Debra Davis has done it a thousand times. Over the last two decades, the trans woman has done it in hospitals, police stations, non-profit organizations, religious institutions, business meetings, and on campuses across the county. Sheâs even done it on television and in front of elementary...
Trans Spokesman No Good âol Boy
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 28, 2007
Controversy erupted in San Francisco recently, when Framelineâs LGBT Film Festival pulled Gendercator, a short film by lesbian filmmaker Catherine Crouch, which trans activists accused of being transphobic. In response, a number of lesbians protested Framelineâs actions, anti-censorship folk expressed concern and both sides called for dialogue.Jamison Green doesnât know...
Bi-Coastal Marches Celebrate Trans Pride
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 21, 2007
This Friday afternoon, June 22, eventsâon opposite coastsâwill celebrate transgender pride and protest injustice. New York Cityâs TransJustice presents the Third Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice, while San Francisco expects 10,000 to attend the Fourth Annual Trans Marchâan event organizers call âthe largest transgender event...
Crossing Boundaries with Fresh Meat
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 7, 2007
âIf I respected genre boundaries, Iâd look between my legs and never be trans,â Ryka Aoki de la Cruz declares. âIf I can say I have a penis and Iâm a woman, I can sure as hell say Iâm a poet and write poetry.â L.A. based performance artist de la...
Wise Musicianâs Mythic Tales
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 31, 2007
âAnytime new diversity becomes visible as a voice of culture, that changes how everyone looks at themselves, and forces a question of just what elements our society is comprised of, who is qualified to speak as an artist and who can represent what.â Trans identified writer, poet, composer and songwriter...
Struggling Trans Journalist Enamored by Women Rockers
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 24, 2007
âInteresting experiments by challenging artists such as Dar Williams aside, I believe pop music is very gendered. Thereâs a lot about that I likeâand quite a bit more I disdain.â Calliope Kurtz, who recently transitioned from male to female, relocated to Menlo Park, California from the East Coast and reentered...
Jockstraps and Unicorns
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 17, 2007
Sir Mixalot never saw it coming.You can be sure that when the rap star recorded that ode to big butts, âBabyâs Got Back,â that he never, ever imagined how Athens Boys Choir would remake the tune for 2007âs album, Jockstraps and Unicorns. With the familiar beat as the soundtrack to...
Dignity for All
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 10, 2007
Asian American transgender activist Pauline Park considers the push for gender-neutral pronouns in the U.S. âprofoundly ahistorical.â âGender-neutral pronouns are not native to the English language,â she argues. âAndâunlike in Chinese, for exampleâ[they] feel extremely artificial to speakers of English.âPark says sheâs come to understand that the historical roots of...
Fighting the Bathroom Blues
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 3, 2007
The search for a clean and accessible restroom, already challenging in many urban environments, becomes especially arduous for women and men who are trans or gender ambiguous, as they face harassment, discrimination, hostility, violence and arrest for using the âwrongâ bathroom.âIâve personally experienced restroom discrimination for most of my life,â...
Sheâs Not The Man
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 19, 2007
âBeing trans happens to more than just the trans person,â says Betty Crow. She should know. The trans-identified New Yorker is best know as cover girl and subject of her wife Helen Boydâs books 2003âs My Husband Betty: Love, Sex and Life with a Crossdresser and the recently released Sheâs...
Poet Embraces Multiplicity
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 12, 2007
âIâd rather be a verb than a noun,â says award-winning poet Thea Hillman. âI try not to identify if I can help it. Things that are more true than not about me: Iâm a queer, intersex writer, and culturally Jewish activist. I go by she.âA frequent presenter and spoken word...
Gay Trans Man Collaborates With Feminist Mom
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 5, 2007
âPerception,â trans man Aaron Raz Link remarks, âis in the eye of the beholder. It legitimately belongs to them,â he says of his new book What Becomes You, an unusual trans memoir, which offers both Linkâs perspective and the perspective of his mother, renown feminist scholar and poet Hilda Raz....
A Transgender Conspiracy
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 29, 2007
Lipstick Conspiracy, the all-transgender band from San Francisco, who added drummer Natalie Yeh to returned to five-piece form last year, continues to delight audiences. Formed in February by Sarafino Maraschino (vocals and guitar) and ( and ), Lipstick Conspiracy also includes (, and ), (, and ), and new drummer...
Activist Filmmaker Clocks In
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 22, 2007
âWe donât often see [trans] people with triumphant stories about being themselves and really making itâŠI thought it was time for a celebration of our differences, our sameness and our lives.â So says first-time filmmaker Martin Rawlings-Fein of the impetus behind his Clocked: An Oral History, a documenary portray...
SRLP Founder Fights For Trans Survival
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 15, 2007
Itâs not hate crimes that are threatening trans survival. Itâs governmental bureaucracies. So argues attorney Dean Spade, who founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) in 2002 to provide free legal services to low-income and minority individuals facing gender discrimination. He also authors numerous papers and essays for anthologies like...
Trans Rockerâs a Little Bit Country
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 8, 2007
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 1, 2007
During the late 1980s and the early part of the 1990s Jahna Steele was a Las Vegas showgirl. As a stand-out performer with the Riviera Casinoâs Crazy Girlsâ Revue. she was sent to open Crazy Girls in Japan, where she stayed for a year. Steele was voted âSexiest Showgirl on...
Nobody Passes All The Time
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 22, 2007
Mattilda aka Matt Bernstein Sycamore is not trying to pass. In fact, the genderqueer female-identified activist is trying not to pass. Rather than hoping to gain acceptance as member of her preferred gender, Sycamore uses a name that denotes not only her femme identity and but her clearly âmaleâ given...
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 15, 2007
Jean Bobby Noble is an unusual boy. An assistant professor in the School of Womenâs Studies at Toronto, Canadaâs York University, Noble co-edited The Drag King Anthology, authored Masculinities Without Men?, and 2006âs Sons of the Movement: FTMs Risking Incoherence on a Post-Queer Cultural Landscape. So why wonât Noble...
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 8, 2007
âI had always wanted to meet a real writer, but none of them would ever hang out with me because of my overbite,â jokes transgender satirist Charlie Anders about the motivation behind her critically acclaimed, San Francisco spoken-word variety show, Writers With Drinks. âOK, I did occasionally wind up with...
Challenging White Supremacy
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 1, 2007
Max Toth is tired of being treated well. Heâs angry that heâs gone from, âbeing dismissed as a crazy acerbic feminist to validated as a virtual authority about everything that comes out of my mouth.â âSince people began perceiving me exclusively as maleâŠ it was as if I had been...
Hereos and Villains
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 25, 2007
Alicia E. Goranson is trying to change the face of trans literature, and sheâs doing a good job of it so far. The Boston-area transgendered writer hopes her 2006 debut novel Supervilliainz (Suspects Thoughts) will break the trans community out of the ânavel-gazingâ of the memoirs and theoretical works that...
Sticky, Unmanageable Stories
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 18, 2007
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. ButâŠI decided that if I couldnât say what I needed to say...
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 11, 2007
For more than two decades non-trans photographer Mariette Pathy Allen has chronicled the lives of transgender individuals and the emergence of a transgender rights movement. Influenced by Margaret Meadâs study of culturally diverse gender roles, Allen shared a hotel with a group of crossdressers in 1978, was immediately captivated by...
A Preview of the Trans Year to Come
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 4, 2007
Many of the notable trans folks I featured in 2006 are planning even more exciting work in 2007, and the upcoming year promises a plethora of cultural contributions in the fields of music, art, film, publishing and theater. Be on the look out for:
Publishing A new stack of...
A Watershed Year for Trans Rights
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 28, 2006
Following on the footsteps of a watershed year, 2006 saw increased visibility and political gains for the U.S. trans community. Here are some examples: 1. With the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, California became the first state to outlaw gay panic or trans panic defenses to justify violence.
Ending Cruel and Unusual Punishment
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 21, 2006
Itâs estimated that 30 percent of transgender Americans have been incarceratedâthree times the national average. Those that go to prison are often placed in the sex-segregated institutions based on genitalia, not gender identity. This system is particularly brutal for transgender women, who are forced to live in menâs prisons where...
Some Kind of Queer
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 14, 2006
Since its first showing in 2000, the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch has been widely celebrated as a positive representation of transgender identity and transsexual embodiment. Thatâs a misguided perception, says trans scholar and artist Jordy Jones. He argues that the filmâs protagonist isnât transsexual at allâbut rather is...
Together We Stand, Divided We Fall
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 7, 2006
âI didnât just dis a specific member of Congress, right?â Executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Mara Keisling prods. âItâs not in anyoneâs interest for a particular congressman to hear me call him âthe most dangerous person in America.âNCTE may be a non-partisan organization, but it...
Trans Singer Makes History
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 30, 2006
âThe world probably isnât ready for a guy like me,â says trans singer Joshua Klipp, who made musical history on his self released EP Patience by singing in both his pre- and post-transition voices on the R&B track âLittle Girl.â Klipp says he was terrified that his transition would destroy...
Trans Surgeon Keeps Small Town On Map
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 23, 2006
At first glance, the small Colorado town of Trinidad seems an unlikely travel destination, yet over the last four decades, thousands of trans women have flocked to the quiet burg. Their pilgrimage continues today despite the resistance of local religious leaders.Behind its quaint architecture and coal mining history, Trinidad conceals...
Speaking For Our Dead
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 16, 2006
Raven Kaldera speaks for the dead. Specifically, the FTM, transgender, intersexual spiritual leader says he communicates with those memorialized November 20 on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. âOur dead are angry,â Kaldera says. âAnd they want this to stop. Being as I talk to them, I can guarantee you this:...
Vietnam Vet Finds Peace Through Transitioning
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 9, 2006
Janice Josephine Carneyâs life is marked by two significant events. The first was her near-death experience in Vietnam; the other was 30 years later when she transitioned from male to female. Now the subject of a new Barbara Rosenthal short film, Finding Peaceâwhich premiered at last monthâs New York Image...
Former Lesbian Feminist Reports on The Man Heâs Become
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: November 2, 2006
This Bridge Called My Back Contributor Chronicles His Transition Max Wolf Valerio isnât the man he expected to be. Before beginning testosterone treatment nearly two decades ago, the American Indian, Latino, Sephardic Valerio was a lesbian feminist poet whose pre-transition prose is enshrined in the essential feminist of color tome,...
Banned Candidate Not Your Average Grandma
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 26, 2006
They may not have a restraining order, but Floridaâs Hillsborough County public access channel has barred county commissioner candidate Jean Batronie from stepping foot on their propertyâeven to attend a political debate with rivals for the seat. The colorful Batronie certainly isnât your average grandmother, but that hasnât squelched concerns...
The Wrongs of Transgender Rights
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 19, 2006
Transgender Rights the new University of Minnesota Press anthology edited by Paisley Currah, Richard M. Juang and Shannon Price Minter, is an impressive compilation from lawyers and scholars whose contributions range from disturbing to inspirational. The disturbing entries focus on the absence of guaranteed basic human rights for transgender individualsâwho...
Stop The Rainbow I Want to Get Off
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 12, 2006
Diane Lynnâwho says she never belonged there in the first placeâwants out of the LGBT community. Lynn (not her real name) underwent âsex affirmation surgeryâ in the early 1970s and now lives a ârather stealth lifeâ on the East Coast, with her husband of over 20 years. Identifying as born...
Shame on Me? Shame on You
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: October 5, 2006
Over the years, Brooklyn-based, The Shondesâand its three quarter transgender, three quarter Jewish quartet (drummer Temim Fruchter, bassist Louisa Solomon, violinist Elijah Oberman and guitarist Ian Brannigan)âhave been the object of much finger wagging. And theyâre proud of it. In Yiddish, âshondeâ means a disgrace or an outrage, and is...
Kate Bornstein: Cure for a Cruel World
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 28, 2006
âIâm a deeply depressed person,â author and performance artist Kate Bornstein admits, explaining that it wasnât altruism that sparked Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws. âIâve had times in my life when I was suicidal, âŠ and [that] was sort of a reference...
Butch Femme Art of A Dandy
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 21, 2006
"A real dandy would never ask permission to be a dandy," insists genderqueer artist Chris "Jackadandy" Carraher. "One must simply claim it, and then have the style to carry it off," hy states, actively ignoring the indignation of other self-described dandies who claim a working-class, 50-something, female-bodied butch can never...
Itâs Not Easy Being Green
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 14, 2006
Speaking with Steven Polito, a.k.a. Hedda Lettuce, is like interviewing a couple that keeps finishing each otherâs sentences. The gay man slips in and out of character without warning, yet itâs clear when heâs himself and when heâs channeling the controversial comedienne. The six time New York drag queen of...
Legal Eagle Gets Cocky
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: September 7, 2006
Penises donât make the man. So argues Seattle lawyer Spencer Bergstedt in Meema Spadola and Tom Powersâ documentary Private Dicks: Men Exposed (available through Firstrunfeatures.com). In the film, participantsâmany of them nakedâexamine how having a dick influenced their lives. âIf thatâs the sole determiner of what makes somebody masculine,â Bergstedt...
Bring in the Noise
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 31, 2006
Musician Julia Serano is tired of all the femininity bashing and she wants it to stop. She argues that those who decry the value and authenticity of femininity express unconscious patriarchal percepts. âAn important yet often overlooked aspect of traditional sexism,â Serano argues. â[Is] that it targets people not only...
Spanish TV Favorite Mark Cummings
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 24, 2006
When Mark Cummings first saunters on set in jeans and a carpet of curly black hair peeking from beneath his shirt, he strikes talk show hosts and audience members alike as just another Hispanic guy. Cummingâs appearance and approachable presence have made him the toast of Spanish-language television and endeared...
Stonewallâs Beemyn To Transform UMass Campus
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 17, 2006
Brett Genny Beemyn, the new director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, wants the school become the leading trans-friendly campus. Beemynâ who monitors colleges on trans-inclusive policies for the Transgender Law and Policy Institute (www.transgenderlaw.org )âknows what that takesâin fact, last month Beemyn was honored...
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 10, 2006
In 2003, Reuben Zellman became the first out transgender person accepted into a Jewish rabbinical school, an experience he describes as both a tremendous privilege and a challenge. A California native with a degree in linguistics from University of California, Berkeley, Zellman is completing his Rabbinical internship at New Yorkâs...
Michigan Or Bust: CampTrans Flourishes for Another Year
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: August 3, 2006
The first weekend in August, as they have for three decades, thousands of lesbians will pilgrimage to the heart of Michigan, and transform a remote acreage into a temporary city. The annual migration culminates in the weeklong Michigan Womenâs Music Festivalâalso known as MichFest or simply Michiganâwhere women will bare...
Comic Timing Tackles Transphobia
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 27, 2006
Ian Harvie is on a mission. Sure, the transgender stand-up comic wants to make audiences laugh, but only if he can humanize trans people at the same time. Harvieâwho plays to mainstream comedy establishments around the country, including the Boston Comedy Connection, and the Funny Bone clubsâcontends that heheâs the...
Is Femme A Gender Identity?
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 20, 2006
Weâve all heard of male-to-female and female-to-male gender identifications, but female-to-femme? In this era of gender exploration, filmmakers Kami Chisholm and Elizabeth Stark bring us FtF: Female to Femme (www.ftfthemovie.com), a documentary that examines lesbian femme identity as a radical gender expression.The filmmakers say film is a response to pervasive...
Lifeâs a Drag, And So Are Politics
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 13, 2006
When Portland, Oregonâs venerable drag king troupe, DK PDX, broke up earlier this year, some performersâlike the charismatic Johnny Mozzarellaâtook their acts solo while others still ponder their next creative endeavor. Though drag kings didnât originate in the Northwest, there has been a long and influential presence there, which was...
Everybody Loves a Whiner
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: July 6, 2006
Â San Diegoâs Autumn Sandeen says she likes to whine. A lot. In fact, the board member of San Diegoâs Transgender Community Coalition and member of Californiaâs Transgender Equity Allianceâwho also dedicates six hours a day researching and posting items as a moderator on Yahooâs transgender news group âsees her trans...
Filmmaker is Man Enough
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 29, 2006
When independent filmmaker Luke Woodward started filming his documentary-meets- ametur-porno, Enough Man, he worried that mixing the genres might have catastrophic effects.âI did worry that it might come out like a nature channel special or some thing.âFortunately, Woodwardâs groundbreaking debut film avoids National Graphic fodder. Instead, Enough Man features nine...
Trans Grand Marshall Fights for Economic Justice
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 22, 2006
Cecelia Chung, Deputy Director of Transgender Law Center, will be honored this weekend as one of San Franciscoâs LGBT pride grand marshals, and sheâs quite deserving of the tribute. The Hong Kong native helped found the cityâs Trans March, now one of the largest trans events in the city, and...
Call His Prayers Answered
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 8, 2006
The first time I speak with Malcolm Himschoot I ask what everyone wants to know.âDid you get married? Did you come out to your in-laws?âAudiences of the 2005 documentary Call Me Malcolm fairly beg for the answer. The filmâwhich follows Himschoot during his final year in seminary to become an...
Rock and Roll Revolution
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: June 1, 2006
If you were waiting for the call to arms, here it is.âThe ground work for the GLBT community has been done. Its time to take over.âThose who expected the revolution to be led by street activists may be surprised that the speaker of these words is a 30-something trans rocker;...
Trans Women Cops Fight The Blues
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: May 25, 2006
Last year, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the verdict in Philecia Barnesâ employment discrimination suit bringing national attention to prejudice within law enforcement agencies. Not all trans women in uniform face discrimination during or after their transition; in fact, some are surprised to find support when they come out.San...
Before and After T
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: April 6, 2006
Dead silence.Iâve just asked writer/performer/activist Imani Henryâthe trans man behind the critically-acclaimed theatre piece B4T (Before Testosterone)âhow he thinks race impacts our experience of gender. Heâs replied with silence.âCan I ask you one question?â Imani finally responds. âBesides my show, do you know anything else about me?âI admit Iâve done...
She Was a Teen Hooker
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: March 2, 2006
Natasha Sommers just turned 20 and already sheâs got a reputation. âPeople know who I am,â she declares. âNatasha Sommers is a âtranny mother.â That kind of thing.âIn addition to her work âmotheringâ other young trans women, Sommers is known as a sex worker. Sommers says she got into the...
The Real T Cooper
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 23, 2006
T Cooper, the highly acclaimed novelist, has abandoned writing to MC Eminem-themed Bar Mitzvahs. Touting himself as Slim Lindy, Cooper dreams of being a serious hip-hop performer and he bristles when labeled an Eminem âimpersonator.âLike J T Leroyâthe transgender author who supposedly survived an abusive childhoodâT Cooper is a figment...
Protecting Idahoâs Endangered Communities
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 16, 2006
Itâs hard to say what some Idahoans find more controversial about Nikki Leonardâthat she fights the stateâs highway department on behalf of endangered salmon or that sheâs transgender. The fisheries biologist lives in Boise, Idahoâs capital cityâa bastion of diversity in an otherwise conservative state. There, Leonard works for the...
Champion for Trans Legal Rights
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 9, 2006
Shannon Minter has just won $100,000. He didnât win it playing poker or in the latest state lottery. He doesnât even get to blow his winnings on a new sports car or a trip to Hawaii. Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rightsâwho gained national attention...
Coloring the Media
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: February 2, 2006
Itâs a good thing Andy Marra likes to keep busy. Itâs not just that the Korean American transgender activist is Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamationâs Asian-Pacific Islander Media Fellow, or that sheâs served on the boards of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the National Center for...
Better Late Than Never
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 26, 2006
For four decades Church lived in fear that if anyone discovered her secret, she would âwake up dead on morning.â That fear was enhanced when a gay man living in her rural Australian town was murdered. Church says that in addition to her fear, she delayed her transition from male...
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 19, 2006
Matt Kailey has just returned from Acapulco. Out Front Coloradoâs intrepid staff writer was flown, gratis, from Denver to Acapulco as part of that cityâs effort to encourage tourism.âDenver is a target area.â Kailey explains.When heâs not darting around the world on press junkets, Kailey is better known as the...
Transamericaâs Secret Weapon: Deep Stealth
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 12, 2006
âHello, itâs me.â The feminine voice purrs softly.I always like it when my interview subjects are prepared for my call, but none have ever greeted me so informally. Just as Iâm about to reply, she continues. âIâm either on my motorcycle or in class right now. So leave me a...
Bringing Sexy to XXboys
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: January 5, 2006
The boy in the San Francisco Mission district coffee shop, bent over his laptop with the baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, looks more like one of the neighborhoodâs many Latino teenagers than a hot shot 25-year-old Paris-based photographer. Tattoos snake up both arms and peek out from the...
2005 Year in Review
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 29, 2005
If you watched TV this year, you know trans folk were totally hot in 2005, popping up on every show from the Simpsons to CSI. These trans characters werenât just the ubiquitous chicks with dick types either. FTMs got in on the cultural exploitation with representations on shows like Cold...
Man Enough to Take on Rap
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 22, 2005
Rocco Kayiatos, otherwise known as the San Francisco Bay Area hip hop sensation Katastrophe, modestly describes himself as just âa dude that makes music.â That probably seems like a huge understatement to Kayiatosâ many fansâincluding the hoards of swooning sorority girls who adore his rapid-fire rhyming, âTender Heartedâ tattooed chest,...
Sheâs All There
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 15, 2005
Iâve reached Jennifer Finney Boylan on vacation at her Maine home. Before I can start the interview, her literary sensibilities insist on properly painting the scene.âWe have two or three inches of snow on the ground. Your timing is actually perfect because we just got home from skiing in the...
Clear and TransParent Rights
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 8, 2005
âMy son and I have an awesome relationship,â boasts Paula Funatake, founder of TransParentcy.com, about her preteen, Evan. âHe has been around my transitioning since he was born and I have hidden nothing from him. He can ask any question and I check in now and then to see how...
Swings Like A Girl
By Jacob Anderson-Minshall Published: December 1, 2005
Professional golfer Mianne Baggerâs biggest challenge this year was winning the right to step out onto the green. In her quest to find acceptance in professional competition, Bagger has overcome the initial resistance of both golfâs governing agencies and other female pros who worried that Bagger would have an inherent...