Recently I got a message from a woman who took issue with me speaking on feminist topics in other forums. I dealt with it the same way I deal with all the other messages that say I’m not a “real woman” and that I should kill myself or just be male (a different way of saying the same thing) — I deleted it.
So I can’t quote from the author directly. But paraphrasing broadly, she felt that since I had the option of just washing my face and taking off my wig and putting on boy clothes and being accepted as a man, that my loss of male privilege was illusory and I was therefore unqualified to speak on matters of female oppression. (more…)
Quick side note: I still identify as gender fluid. However, the minute the barriers were lifted, most of my fluidity immediately flowed to the feminine side of the scale and is sloshing about there. After taking some time to evaluate, I’ve decided to initiate medical and legal measures to affirm it.
Summary: gender-fluid, yes. Woman, yes. Female, yes. Transgender, yes. Lesbian… I know I said I didn’t want to irritate other lesbians who can get a little proprietary about the terminology, but I can’t deny it. Yes, I’m a lesbian.
I can throw in more labels that may or may not fit, but I’ll need a few glasses of wine first.
The following is a presentation I prepared for a Pride event at my workplace. The format of the event shifted, and I won’t be able to give my speech, so I’m posting it here.
My name is Samantha. I speak from the shadows.
The year is 1976. The place is Kenai, Alaska. I’m at a school Halloween party, wearing a blond wig, blue blouse and white skirt, along with a calico superhero cape I made myself and a green mask. Mom insisted I wear the wig, blouse and skirt. I think she knows they’re the exact pieces of clothing I’ve been sneaking from her closet and wearing whenever I’m home alone. She probably thinks she’s teaching me a lesson, and she is, though not the one she intended. The mask is a paradox – I’m not concealing who I am tonight, I’m revealing it. (more…)
True confessions: I take provocative photos of myself and post them on my Facebook page. And this behavior intersects with my life in any number of interesting and troubling ways.
These are my work shoes. The one on the left is a women’s size 12E, the one on the right is men’s size 10 1/2.
Both of these shoes fit me quite nicely, The men’s shoe can accommodate my foot with a thick sock; the women’s shoe, a bit more snug, requires thin hosiery.
The women’s shoe is noticeably shorter than the men’s. Part of this is due to the fact that it’s tilted upward by the heel, but it also has less room at the toe. It’s not cramped, it’s just designed to fit my foot more closely. By the same token, it’s also narrower.
So why am I prattling on about footwear? (more…)
The erasure of women throughout history is pervasive. From Hypatia to Grace Hopper, there have been brilliant female minds working towards human progress who were relegated to the footnotes by men who minimize their contributions. This is one of the dynamics that drove the modern women’s movement.
But that movement has done its own erasure. In 1969, Betty Friedan warned about the “lavender menace” in the women’s movement, referring to the presence of lesbians in their ranks. Uncomfortable with lesbians, she rationalized her personal aversion into lesbians presenting a threat to the movement as a whole, and she was able to garner enough support in some quarters that lesbians were excluded, squelched and ignored, and the enormous contributions they had made to the cause were downplayed, straight-washed or outright ignored.