Lazy Sunday: How Low


 

Hi, everyone!

I’m back from my little trip south of the border, and feeling much, much better. It’s funny how little it can take sometimes to make so much of a difference. Just a little of the right care in just the right places is often all it takes.

Well, the lead singer of Against Me, now going by the name Laura Grace, has now joined Mina Caputo amongst those with either the courage or brazen recklessness to transition in the public eye (not to imply that either really had much of a choice, mind). She’s announced her transition through Rolling Stone magazine. Keep an eye open for the HILARIOUS assumption that readers need to be informed that no, Laura is NOT the very first transgender musician ever.

I can’t help but feel things like this are pieces of a larger cultural shift. That they hint at something immense, and immensely beautiful. Would this have been possible even five years ago? Why now?

Let’s make the most of this now, everyone.

Anyway, I find the whole thing enjoyably recontextualizes a lot of her past work. For instance, this stark meditation on the mechanical repetitions of addiction, and the meaninglessness of statements of “I’m going to change things!” when you’re not yet able to address what really needs to be addressed. Something I understand entirely too well:

Elsewhere…

Aiofe O’Rierdan has executed one of the most brilliant metaphors for the importance of understanding intersectionality and bearing in mind the multi-facetedness of oppression that I’ve ever read.

Erica Inchoate has written a brilliant, moving piece on something particularly horrible that was done to her in an effort to “cure” her gender variance. Trigger warning for non-consensual psychosurgery. I had the privilege of meeting her this Thursday, and she really is an awesome person. And because, sadly, I know there’s that horrible part in almost all of us that wants to ask: no, you can’t “tell”. Now please consider why you wanted to know.

From the Guardian, here’s a really cool visual-graphic breakdown of LGBT rights in the US on a state-by-state basis.

And speaking of rights… both happy and sad to say that Argentina has beaten the ever self-congratulatory “developed” world to the punch on transgender human rights legislation. Congratulations, Argentina! Now, if only us in the Global North can let go of our hubris long enough to catch up.

By the way… did I mention that thing about Ontario’s courts declaring that it’s a violation of constitutionally protected human rights to require trans people to have undergone SRS in order to obtain an updated gender marker on their passport?

Because they did.

Now, if only us in the “progressive” province of BC can let go of our hubris long enough to catch up. ;)

And I’ll leave you with this:

Your tells are so obvious.
Shoulders too broad for a girl
Keeps you reminded
Helps you remember where you come from

You want them to notice
The ragged ends of your summer dress
You want them to see you like they see every other girl.
They just see a faggot. They hold their breath not to catch the sick
Washed up on the coast, I wish we could’ve spent the whole day alone
With you

You’ve got no cunt in your strut
You’ve got no hips to shake
You know it’s obvious, but we can’t choose how we’re made

Kiss kiss, dear reeders. I love you all!

 

Comments

  1. Ruth says

    So nice to hear you sounding so much cheerier this week. I hope that things continue on the upswing. Love ya too.

  2. embertine says

    Oh god, that Erica piece made me actually have to lie down until the buzzing went away. That is entirely horrific.

    • Rasmus says

      Fuck. That’s literally sickening… And I’m not easily moved and I don’t have a personal connection to anything trans* or mental health treatment. I’d take that trigger warning seriously.

      The skeptic and science progress enthusiast in me wish she was talking about something that happened in the premodern era. There are apparently still places where some patients are better off going to a homeopath (or other placebo monger) than to a doctor.

      • Dalillama says

        The people who were (and still are; I don’t know of anything that awful going on right now, but that could just be the limits of my knowledge, and I’m aware of some pretty heinous shit) allowed to practice medicine turn my stomach on a routine basis. I literally cannot comprehend how someone could do that under the guise of medicine.

        • Rasmus says

          Hmm. I recently watched a Norwegian documentary about nature v.s. nurture. One of the episodes was about whether gender identity is something we’re born with or something we acquire later.

          *Trigger warning* Somewhat troubling stuff about children with unclear sex and gender identity.

          Norwegian doctors apparently still perform surgery on children with unclear sex and gender identity before the child is old enough to understand what’s at stake and to voice hir own preferences.

          They have a method to determine the gender identity. It’s partially based on an estimate of the levels of hormones that the child experienced in the womb.

          I guess time will tell how well that works for the patients…

          According to one of their specialists he would personally prefer to wait with surgery, but they have to operate because the parents will have an “existential crisis” if they can’t assign a gender as soon as possible and because society isn’t ready for kids that aren’t boys or girls.

          • Dalillama says

            According to one of their specialists he would personally prefer to wait with surgery, but they have to operate because the parents will have an “existential crisis” if they can’t assign a gender as soon as possible and because society isn’t ready for kids that aren’t boys or girls.

            They’re children for crying out loud. What conceivable significance has their gender got to people who aren’t them? What is going on in these people’s heads?! I simply cannot comprehend the thought processes that are going on here.

          • Rasmus says

            Yeah, I don’t know. That part was probably a generalization on the part of the doctor. The documentary that I was watching when I learned about this is a tendentious effect-seeking mess. But it’s definately true that they operate on really young kids in Norway, or that they did so in 2010 at least.

            I would have thought that parents would get used to not knowing their baby’s gender in the time it would take for the medical team to get done with the gender investigation of the child.

            But then it is true that people in society behave as if they think that they have some sort of right to know the sex/gender of other people’s children. People get up in arms everytime that a couple comes out in the media and talks about how they’ve decided to keep their child’s sex a secret.

    • says

      Fuck, yeah, I feel sick. I ignored that trigger warning once, now I know how she survived, and her writing was useful. But not sure I could handle ever reading such a piece again.

  3. Happiestsadist says

    How did I now hear about the Ontario news!? (Admittedly, I’ve been under a rock of late. ) YAY.

  4. Lucy says

    *Fuck*. I am shocked, sickened and appalled by Erica’s story. No actually, those words don’t cover it. I have no words that work here.

  5. sjrosewater says

    Cool graph. But I’m a little peeved how they call it just “Gay Rights” instead of LGBT rights or something. That pesky little “T” is just left out to dry. It also annoys me when journalists are forgetting about trans rights but still use “LGBT”, as if it meant only gay rights.

    How hard is it to say “Gay Rights” and “Transgender Rights” when you’re talking exclusively about either and “LGBT Rights” when you’re talking about something that encompasses both?

    • says

      Funny thing is, later in the graph, they explicitly chart gender identity protections. Since when the fuck is protection of gender identity from discrimination a matter of “gay rights”?

  6. Anna says

    Got my GID letter from my doctor and plan to test the gender marker change the very day its official here in Ontario.

    Also got letter number one of two for surgery and just felt the need to share my joy :)

    Second should come soon.

      • Anna says

        They have some time to decide how they want to interpret the court decision but I shall keep people informed of progress :)

    • embertine says

      [Peter Ustinov]How exciting![/Peter Ustinov]

      Hope all goes well with it, you must be completely stoked.

  7. says

    I barely have words to utter in horror and anger at the barbarity Erica had to suffer. It seems in a lot of places parents have more rights than children to permanently fuck up their child’s life.

  8. says

    Erica’s story had me in tears… the was one of the most horrific things I’ve read in a while… Although, I do have a question… what did you mean about people wanting to ask about if you can “tell”? The only question I had was “how hard would be to come to terms with something like this being done to you?”… I can’t even really imagine… the betrayal of it, that consent was given for this to be done to a small child… it horrifies me to think what might have happened if I had voiced how I felt when I was younger…

    • says

      To put it brutally, I’m pretty sure the question is, “does Erica act like a fully functional person despite having had a lobotomy.” Which…well, all I wanted to know on that score was “how do you survive a lobotomy” and Erica kindly answered that herself.

  9. ericainchoate says

    I had the privilege of meeting her this Thursday, and she really is an awesome person.

    d’awwh, you’re far, far too kind. you’re also quite spiffy yourself.

    And because, sadly, I know there’s that horrible part in almost all of us that wants to ask: no, you can’t “tell”.

    i used to constantly look for “signs” in myself…you know, something other than what i could see with the aid of medical imaging, because the whole point, after all, of transorbital lobotomy was to keep it minimally visible such as to not disturb people, and, well, the sad part is that i used to be firmly convinced that i had “tells” about living with a lobotomy, and they mostly seemed wrong.

    mostly.

    at the end of the day, though, the shame is the worst “tell” of all.

  10. Predator Handshake says

    An interesting or strange thing I’ve noticed about the Laura Jane stories on a few parts of the internet is that people seem more concerned with how the transition will affect her voice than with the transition itself. I don’t know much about hormones’ effects on the vocal cords, but the concern is that she won’t be able to do that intense gravelly sound anymore. Is Janis Joplin that obscure of a singer these days?

    • says

      That particular concern is completely unfounded. The effect of HRT (for trans woman) on the voice is next to nil. Laura’s voice will be the same, unless she puts in the effort to train her voice to sound within the normal female range (which is very common for speaking voice, but somewhat less common (and considerably more difficult) for singing)… I soooooo wish HRT gave a female voice, but the fact is voice, like facial hair, is something that has to be managed separately.

      • Predator Handshake says

        Thanks! I suspected that was the case, but Laura already sings kinda high so it’s really not a big deal to begin with.

      • cashforyourscars says

        Does HRT have a significant effect on trans men’s voices? I’m wondering since you specifically said trans women’s voices weren’t affected. Joe Stevens from Coyote Grace sounds awesome, and it didn’t immediately occur to me that his voice may have sounded different before.

        • says

          Yes. Testosterone stretches the larynx, producing a lower vocal register, but this process can’t be reversed. Hence trans men’s voices do lower with, but trans women (who have been through a masculinizing puberty) have to try to overcome the “testosterone damage” to our voices through lots and lots of practice.

  11. chexuma says

    On the Laura Grace story, I stumbled across this post listing some of the very positive reactions from punk rockers and even a couple of WWE wrestlers.

    And the comment section is, on the whole, suprisingly supportive. You’re absolutely right that this would be utterly unimaginable five years ago.

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