30 October 2008

Unabashed BS: Dr. Phil Fronts Like He's Cool With Trans Children

Dr. Phil's show yesterday was "driven by letter after letter--I'm talkin' stacks of letters" from parents freaking out 'cause their sons like pink frilly shit and their daughters like flannel shirts. Reading the telepromter very carefully, Doc explained that he would be exploring "the issues of children who don't behave consistent with stereotypical gender roles." Now, you know he didn't write that -- it sounds like something I wrote. When is the last time Phil McGraw thought about stereotypical gender roles? His goofy son is married to a Playboy bunny and his wife is like Texas' version of a geisha.

The topic screen behind Dr. Phil read, "Gender-Confused Kids." The "o" in "confused" had a trans symbol coming from it (the one to the left -- some graphic designer is really proud of himself.). Could they not fit "Kids-Who-Don't-Behave-Consistent-With-Stereotypical-Gender-Roles" on the screen? I liked that much better and there's a whole world to explore there. Implying that trans children are simply "confused" is downright offensive and biased. The kids on the show, much like the ones in the Atlantic Weekly article, seemed very clear on their gender identity. If there was any confusion, it lies within the parents who face the dilemma of whether or not to honor their children's identities in a hateful society.

Sighing constantly like he was about to lose his ever-loving mind, Dr. Phil asked a couple who have accepted their eight year-old male-to-female transgender child, if they were "aware that less than 20% of transgender children grow up to be transgender adults." Of course, he provides no source for this gem of most-certainly biased, unscientific data. It probably originated from one of the other guests on the show, Glen Stanton, a research fellow, with a Christian-based organization called, "Focus on the Family." Stanton said it hurt him to view a home video of the trans child filmed by her parents (and aired during this episode) where she describes all the stereotypically feminine things she likes including "little girls' thongs." And she wasn't talking about flip-flops. "When did you first feel like you were a girl," her mom asks. "When I was three. We were shopping at Walmart, and, um, we're in the boys aisle. And then I saw a pair of, um, little girl's thongs--undies--and I said I want to buy them." All the while, haunting, gritty music is playing in the background, courtesy of the Dr. Phil editors, guiding the viewers' attitude, telling them to be concerned about this child.

Appropriately, during the commercial break, an ad for a state proposition aired showing mythically maybe/maybe-not intersex Jamie Lee Curtis fake directing a children's choir with a fucking pencil (can't they spring for a baton? I'll buy it.). The rainbow sea of children's faces sings "Imagine" in a professional music studio, very out of tune. At least have the decency to dub that shit with a pre-pubescent boys choir or some ugly kids with good voices like they did in the last Olympics' opening ceremony. Just an aside...Cue Dr. Phil in a sit-down session with the eight year-old trans girl. Her face is not shown but you can see her sweet pigtails and red glasses. My favorite moment was when Phil asked her how she knew at such a young age how a girl or boy was supposed to feel. "Boys feel, like, hyper, and they always wanna fight and all that. I just wanted to sit down, relax, and all that." Me too, girl, me too. Let's us just rest our weary queer asses down for a moment and let the boys be crazy.

"Well," Dr. Phil challenges, "that could just be a boy who likes to sit down and relax." I don't think she meant that literally, Phil. She's a child, she's ineloquent, but you get the fucking picture. She wanted to wear a thong at age three, for Christ's sakes. Sounds like a tranny to me.

Thank Gawd, Philly brings in professor and clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Seigel (no relation, different spelling), from UCLA to explain gender identity vs. plain ol' gender in lay-person's terms. "How you're born with your genitals doesn't necessarily correspond with your brain's development, so you should accept your child for how they're born...It's on a spectrum, so you can be feeling fully male or fully female or somewhere in between."
Okay? Thank you.
Spell it out for the people, Dr. Seigs.
Dr. Phil, I suppose, representing the voice of his audience, then asks, "Are their tests you can do to find out if that's going on?" Yes, Phil, there's a brain scan called a tranny-scanny that enables us to see that shit, you fool.

The next guest was a mother whose 16 year-old son says he used to feel transgender but is no longer "that way." His feelings allegedly changed when his mom relocated the family to a more accepting town in order to allow him to be trans, but during his first day of school he was harassed. To my pleasure, the boy was interviewed (face blacked out) and what I thought might have been a voice distortion to keep his anonymity was his actual real gayest of all gay voice. Imagine Richard Simmons' voice. Then imagine Richard Simmons' voice claiming to be hetero now, complete with a girlfriend. Dr. Phil even clarified with the mother, "So he has girlfriends," to which she giggled, saying "he has many." Well, I have girlfriends, too, they're called fag hags. In the words of our intelligent trans 8 year-old girl, this boy obviously wants to sit down, relax, and all that. Someone get him a reclining chair, please. It must be exhausting to be monitoring himself at all times to make sure he's performing his version of masculinity, thinking he's pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. Mmm mmm mmmph (head shake).

In the last ten seconds of the show, Phil asks the parents of the 8 year-old to promise him that they won't give her hormones anytime soon. "I really hope you don't consider hormone therapy at this point, but you continue to let this evolve. That would be a wrong, wrong thing to do in my opinion. I want to be very clear about that." And what's the right, right thing to do, Dr. Phil? Force this child to go through a traumatizing puberty where her outsides don't match her insides? She's been living as a girl since she was three. What is the likelihood of her gender identity shifting back to male? I'd say it's about as likely as that 16 year-old former trans girl being a straight male with a girlfriend.

27 October 2008

Ballz to the Wall: Naked Yoga

To answer your first three questions:
Yes, I did it.
Yes, it was men only.
Yes, they were all gay.

There are two independent video stores in my neighborhood. At one of those stores you have to be 18 to enter, you can purchase poppers at the counter, and they have great section titles like, "My Drug Hell," where you will find movies like I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can. It is a queer-owned store. The other store always has little varmits (kids) scampering about, you can buy candy at the counter, and they have an extensive foreign language section called "Foreign Languages." This store also has cheaper rentals, more films, and is owned by a lovely straight couple. Both stores often carry the same inventory but I go to my pricier gay store first because if I have a choice, I want my money going back into homo pockets. I just do. So when my therapist, my boss, and my mother were simultaneously touting the wonders of yoga for its emotional and physical benefits, I set out to find a queer-owned or affiliated yoga studio.

Seconds into my search I was distracted by a website called Naked Yoga. Having to certify both my 18+ age and non-offense at viewing nudity/adult content had me thinking I was about to click my way onto a fetish site where I would see photos of men in poses like "Downward Doggy Style" and "Hand-job Stand." Alas, I came to the Los Angeles main page (there are other chapters in San Diego and New York City) where I was greeted with this explanation: Naked Yoga is a private club for men who like to practice yoga without the restriction of clothing.

After certifying my 18+ status for a second time, I found the answer to all my questions under "Why Naked Yoga?," which exposes the "lost art of homosensuality" (true, I can't remember the last time I was homosensual). The author says homosensuality can be achieved simply by being naked in the presence of another man without even touching. Instead of solely using sex to do this, the author sought out local gay nudist groups but found himself disappointed because their membership seemed to be dominated by "older and out-of-shape guys." That's shitty. I thought he just wanted to be naked with some dudes, now he's getting all finicky? Still, I pressed on to make a reservation for the next class, but because this is a private club, I had to apply for membership.

Having to answer a litany of questions regarding my physical appearance and exercise regimen, I was then asked to provide my Body Mass Index (BMI) because it said only men with a BMI under 27 were admitted to the club. I clicked the provided link to the Center for Disease Control's BMI calculator, entered my height and weight, crossed my fingers and, voila, my BMI came in at 22.3. Thank you God and mom for that low-carb, low-sugar, low-taste diet growing up. The membership requirements reiterated their theory that fat men "can slow the pace of the class [making] partnering difficult." Shitty again. Why not be real and just say that hot guys get pissed when they have to partner up with a fatty?

I arrived 15 minutes early to the small West Hollywood pilates studio that rents out space to Naked Yoga. Waiting outside with my other classmates, the first thing I noticed was that many of them had a lot of body mass going on. How did they get past the stringent gatekeepers? My $20 entry fee (about four dollars more than a single class at a pricey yoga studio) was collected from a man who turned out to be the gatekeeper himself. He was pretty handsome, save for an unfortunate shade of teeth which made me think perhaps he had had a bout with meth or was a smoker.

We went upstairs into a mirrored studio and my classmates started disrobing like they were on fire. Stop, drop, and roll, bitches. Take a pause for the cause, we're in a fucking yoga class. I took my moment to set my purse in the corner (no, I did not mean to say "murse" and I don't think that's cute), laid out my mat, making sure I got a spot with nobody in front of me 'cause I didn't want to be staring at unregulated ass for the next 90 minutes especially in forward fold. I calmly removed my shirt, setting an example for my over-eager classmates. I pulled my jersey shorts and underwear down, stepped out of them, and daintily tossed them atop my purse for added security.

I felt surprisingly comfortable and frankly, really good about myself as I inspected my nude figure in the mirror. I rarely examine my naked body but here I had no choice. It was either mirror or asses. As the youngest one in the room by some 15 years and a BMI of 22.3 (don't forget that, y'all), I looked slammin'--especially next to Father Time with the titties next to me. [As an aside and for the record: I am not ageist. I revere my elders and when I'm old, lord knows I'm either gonna be a rough lookin' tranny or some broke-down queen or both.]

Our instructor, who I'll call "Darren," walked around in his boxer briefs introducing himself to each of us in an un-sexy Long Island accent. He appeared to be in his late-forties with a kind and handsome yet weathered face, full head of gray hair, leather tan, and super-toned body. When everyone was naked and waiting on their yoga mats, Darren took position in the front of the room and removed his boxer briefs to reveal the largest flaccid member I have ever seen in my life, ever. Ever.

But really, ever. The dick alone had a BMI of 30.

Darren began the class, not with some thoughtful words of inspiration but by asking if there were any Scorpios in the house. Really? Am I watching a tacky Vegas lounge act or am I in yoga class? He proceeded to give a full astrological report telling us which signs we should date and how Mercury was in retrograde and some other shit I ignored. His voice was soothing but in an Alan Thicke, game-show host kind of way. In fact, now that I think about it, he had a whole Alan Thicke vibe going on. He should work that. Darren walked over to the stereo to turn on his iPod and screeching, piercing feedback erupted from the speakers. After we removed our hands from our ears some funky techno house beat came on and it was the fucking song from that Geico caveman commercial.

The class itself was just as challenging as any yoga class I have taken but the instruction was mediocre. Everyone's nudity mostly faded into the background except for a few times like when the man next to me demonstrated a plow pose on his back with his ankles by his ears. Also when Darren came behind me in a stretch and pressed his body against my back to deepen my pose. Put a rubber on before that thing brushes up against my ass and gives me something. Scary ass monster dick. By the end of class, I was sweating everywhere, sliding all over my mat, stinking the place up. I had recently given up deodorant containing aluminum chlorohydrate for a useless deodorant crystal and I was diggin' my stank! Feeling natural. Feeling homosensual.

When our naked odyssey finally came to an end 90 minutes later, I was exhausted and pleased that I had made it through the class. I jumped back into the safety of my clothes, grabbed my purse, and thanked Darren and his dick. Returning to my Honda Civic Hybrid (I've gone green), I glanced at my flushed face in the rear-view mirror reflecting upon this daring adventure to be naked amongst other gay men--all of us sweating, breathing heavily, and not one erection in sight (though the website assured me erections in class were fine and perfectly natural). Homosensuality, for me, exists in the brotherhood of being in your rawest, most vulnerable form with other gay men of all backgrounds. We share a rich cultural history that is mired in shame but rich with creativity and fortitude. This was a chance to celebrate that.


25 October 2008

Unabashed Homophobe: Can Jerry Lewis Die Already?

Jerry Lewis is mad comfortable saying "fag." He did it last year on his fuckin' telethon and again this week during a televised news conference in Australia. When a reporter asked for Jer's opinion on the national sport of cricket, he replied: "Oh, cricket? It's a FAG game. What are you, nuts?"

Jerry starred in one of my favorite films, Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy, co-starring Unabashed Queer Queen and inspiration, Sandra Bernhard. During Sandra's 2006 appearance on The View, she revealed (now I sound like fuckin' Perez Hilton) that, in addition to referring to her as "fish lips," Jerry also wanted her to do her own stunt, falling into a glass (parsons) table covered in lit candles, wearing only a bra and panties. He was probably intimidated by her sexual ambiguity and the fact that she wouldn't fuck him so he wanted her dead.

Shame, shame, deep-rooted gay-shame on you, Jerry Lewis, you incontinent alter cocker. If he's saying fag on television during fucking charity events just imagine what he says in his day-to-day life. I'm sure you can catch him down at Katz' Deli demanding that his "shvartze" waitress bring him some mustard for his tongue sandwich. He needs to get abashed and catch a case of some straight guilt. I want him to be nervous every time he even thinks of a gay person, be scared to utter the word, like some guilt-ridden white person who whispers the word "black." Whisper it, old man, whisper it! Look around before you say it, make sure I don't hear it cause I'll pop out of the bushes and cut you!

He's eighty-two years old, he's had a colorful existence, it's time to pack it up and call it a life. I'll help him pack.

22 October 2008

Unabashed Queers of the Week: Eight year-old Brandon/Bridget Simms and his mother, Tina

He spoke his first full sentence at a local Italian restaurant: “I like your high heels,” he told a woman in a fancy red dress.

The November 2008 issue of The Atlantic features a fascinating article by Hanna Rosin about the growing number of transgender children, some of whom are transitioning before puberty. The touching article is centered around eight-year-old Brandon and his mother, Tina, a courageous woman, who, in the face of much adversity, is determined to allow her child to grow up in a gratifying, unabashed way. The Simms' do not live in Manhattan and Tina does not have a degree from Brown in sociology. They live in a double-wide trailer in a "small southern town...where confederate flags line the main street," and Tina used to operate heavy machinery in the army. I thought growing up in metropolitan Atlanta with a basket-case mother was difficult.

Rosin follows the Simms', including Brandon's step-father, Bill, to a conference in Pennsylvania for transgender children and their families where Bill and Tina buy Brandon a two-piece bathing suit for a pool party. Two months after the conference, Rosin checks in on Brandon who is now going by "Bridget," and Tina, who has given away all of his boy clothes, is complying. Brandon's ears are pierced and his hair is slowly growing out. “If it doesn’t move any faster, I’ll have to get [Brandon/Bridget] extensions!” Tina says.

That's a good mother.

20 October 2008

Unabashed Queer TIVO Must: WE's "Sex Change Hospital"

Dr. Marci Bowers is the kind of doctor I would love: level-headed, down-to-earth, compassionate, and a post-op transsexual. Now that is real. Dr. Bower specializes in gynecology, pelvic and reconstructive surgery--another name for a sex-change operation . Admittedly, I wondered for a second if she performed her own sex-change like a hair-stylist who cuts her own hair.

This ground-breaking docu-reality show on WE (Women's Entertainment) profiles Dr. Bower's patients from pre-op to post-op delving into both their medical and personal experiences. And you should see some of the vaginae Dr. Bower created. I don't have much experience--actually, zero--in vaginae but these seem pretty damn good. "Sex Change Hospital" airs Tuesdays at 8pm on WE.

Unabashed Appropriation - Straight Male Hipsters, if you're gonna wear that, you better have a dick in your mouth

God Damn, I remember when that horrible h-word didn't even exist as it does today. "Hipster" was a reference to the beat poets, not some faggoty looking straight white guy. I have allegedly straight male acquaintances who have gone from appropriating black male culture, acting and dressing like 2-Pac, throwing up gang signs in every Myspace photo, to appropriating queer culture, touting their love of The Golden Girls, and wearing women's jeans. Are straight white men incapable of an original thought? Why can't they fucking stay their bland, bleary selves in their nondescript Old Navy cargo pants?

Try being a fucking real queer like me and having a casual conversation with some straight hipster guy. He will undoubtedly think you are hitting on him because he is so often confused for gay cause he stole our style. He will do anything he can to let you know he has a girlfriend. Anyway to slip it into the conversation, "Oh yeah, my girlfriend..." Just to nicely let you know even though he looks like a fucking cock-eater, he isn't one. Well, if you're gonna cop my style, YOU BETTER BE RIDING DICK. MAN UP, YOU APPROPRIATING PUSSY.

So you're thinking, "David Bowie and Mick Jagger married women and they dressed faggoty." Darling, they ate dick for breakfast because they knew if you wanna dress like a fucking faggot you better be able to back the shit up.

The only reason these fucking straight guys have the balls to dress like US is because now it's safe. WE made it safe for them. We were the ones on the front lines wearing outrageous, gender-ambiguous clothing, make-up, and hair, getting beat up and verbally harassed and now it's fucking safe and the straight man is once again enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor. Straight male hipsters, as Salt-N-Pepa once spit: Get off my bra-strap, boy, stop sweatin' me!

19 October 2008

EX-ternalized Homophobia: Turning Shit Inside Out & Upside Down

I have yet to meet a Lesbian/Gay/Queer/Trans person without some internalized homophobia. This fucking deep-rooted core shame runs so deep bitches don't even or won't even or can't even acknowledge its existence.

I am turning the shit inside out and upside down now.

Sit back and have a taste of my own brand of gay shame (shout out to my people at gayshame) as I summon it like some high voodoo priestess shaking a chicken bone over a bubbling cauldron in some freaky New Orleans moment (thank you, SB). Watch closely as it morphs from rage to self-love and, ultimately, to the gift of being my most authentic unabashed queer self. No apologies.

Unabashed? Queer?


Definition: Characterized by or done without shame.
Synonyms: bald-faced, barefaced, blatant, brazen, brazenfaced, unblushing, prideful, proud; bold, brassy, brazen, impudent, insolent, saucy, shameless; unapologetic, undaunted, undeterred, undismayed; unblinking, unflinching, unshrinking
"Gay-bashing" is a common term for hate crimes committed against my people. The prefix "un-" means "not, opposite of, reverse action, release from," so it's a cool coincidence that "unabashed" pairs un + bash as if to say "no longer bashed."


I use the word "Queer" because of its ambiguity. Queer means different things to different people. To some it is offensive slang and to some it is an umbrella term for gay/bi/les/trans people. To me, Queer is a re-appropriated term used to describe sexual orientation and/or gender identity or gender expression that does not conform to heteronormative society (wiki).


This website is dedicated to Julie Abraham, Professor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. It is also dedicated to the faculty and staff of Northfield Mount Hermon School who nurtured the exploration of my identity in a safe setting.