A Tide of Horror, and some Good News.

There’s an op-ed in the Huffington Post today that expressed the horror in Charlottesville, Virginia succinctly: White Supremacy is Demonic.

I’m not Christian nor do I have time for the Devil. There is something absolutely demonic, however, in seeing the rotten spawn of Nazi Germany, the confederacy, slavery, et al, be so emboldened and so violent, and unrepentantly homicidal. It truly is beyond my ken.

But then, so is Trump.

It’s times like these I suspect I’m living in some future coder’s algorithm, for whom this is all “entertainment.” It’s too surreal and distorted to be, well, real.

And yet, here we are. I know it’s the function of my privilege as a white person to feel this sense of surreality. I know that black people and POC have been experiencing this since the beginnings of this country. Our country. And for the umpteenth time already this year, I recommit to my work, undoing my own racism, dismantling my own misogyny, razing my homo/transphobia, and classism. I’ll do my work and I’ll do my part and more I hope.

Make me an instrument of Peace.


In good TRUNKY news:

My publisher, Trystan Cotten of Transgress Press, has been urging me to write a treatment from TRUNKY, to pitch to TV and the interwebs. Last month, I began raising money to take time off in the afternoons of August and September and focus solely on writing this. I just got back from four days of concerted writey effort at my friends Vickie & Don’s VRBO in Black Mountain, where once I saw a mama bear and her two cubs! The only bear I saw this time was my Episcopalian priest friend Vic.

Here’s the link to my fundraiser, should you be so inclined to throw a transguy memoirist a cash bone: TRUNKYtv.

Thus far I’ve raised over 2/3rd of my expenses for these months! Thank you and YOU.

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I got to meet my own personal favorite writer, and editor, the VanderMeers! Jeff VanderMeer wrote the stunning Southern Reach Trilogy, and was oot and aboot with his brilliant partner Ann, editor of such canonical anthologies as The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, pubbing Jeff’s brilliant Borne. 

Another of my favorite inspirers, Sasha Velour, performed in Durham. The Season 9, RuPaul’s Drag Race winner was gracious enough to receive a copy of Trunky and seem genuinely interested in reading it! I got to meet her assistant, drag artist Vigor Mortis, and this photo was taken by Johnny Velour, papa in the House of Velour. If I appear insane, it is because I am beside myself to be next to this Goddess. 20265122_10155708244964274_6541942969425749729_n

Transgress Press-mate Lei Ming Wins Lambda Literary Nomination (and I’m still cute)

Touring mate, and Transgress Press brother Lei Ming (and sister Lura Frazey,) took the nomination win at the 2017 Lambda Literary Awards in Transgender Non-Fiction for “Life Beyond My Body: A Transgender Journey to Manhood in China.” If it couldn’t be me, I’m so glad it was Ray (Lei Ming). His story is remarkable, and Lura Frazey has done a gorgeous job of translating this epic tale into English. Transgender isn’t legal in China, nor is there the incredible wealth of data available to us in the States. If you think it’s oppressive here…this will give you a hearty dose of the THANK YOU BABY JESUSes.

 

 

 

Unabashedly, Gleefully Queer: Sammy at the Lammies!

Tig Notaro! Cynthia Nixon! Jeanette Winterson! Eileen Myles! Taylor Mac! Justin Vivian Bond! The presenters and attendees are a star-studded batch of LGBTQ goodness, suggesting, as the Guardian says, that this award ceremony is “unabashedly, gleefully queer…”

As the day draws near, I confess: what had been a rather lackluster attempt at excitement for the Lambda Literary Awards has blossomed into full-blown SQUEEEE. For reasons unknown, I’m often underwhelmed by my inclusion in really neat things. I suspect this is my lingering doubt/conceit that I am unworthy and that I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me. I am doing my utmost to dismantle this ridiculous Sisyphean self-defeat. Much of my ambitious art-life has been pushing the rock of me up a hill only to be squashed as it rolls back.  Whatever my problem is, TRUNKY (transgender junky) is a great book and deserves all the awards. This is just #TRUTH.

Enough about my humanity! LAMMIES!

Before the Lambda Literary Awards, don’t forget: I’ll be reading from TRUNKY at Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002, June 10th at 7p.  Bluestockings is

…a volunteer-powered and collectively-owned radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We carry over 6,000 titles on topics such as feminism, queer and gender studies, global capitalism, climate & environment, political theory, police and prisons, race and black studies, radical education, plus many more…

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Awe in Austin, Asheville Panache

I had the great fortune of reading at Bookwoman in Austin recently, with my labelmate Paige Schilt. Her memoir, Queer Rock Love, is a paige-turner (see what I did there). I burned through my copy, eager to see where this engaging trio of big-soul’d weirdos would go next. The similarities between our books are that both Queer Rock Love and TRUNKY are situated in a particular political moment, and that this “moment” has great personal consequence for our health, welfare, and the integrity of our families.

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They also grapple with our spiritual challenges, our resistance to orthodoxy of any kind, and of course, we’re both hilariously self-effacing and ridiculous. Paige brings her effortlessly chic aesthetic in person, however, whereas I am more of the “pretend it’s MEANT to be wrinkled” variety.

Thanks to Louisa Spaventa Jackson, professor at Austin Community College, I got to perform with a slate of amazing genderqueer/trans/queer writers and artists, including Drew Riley (whose portraiture of trans/intersex humans is breathtakingly beautiful), and the sassy and ebullient drag poet/ess Foxxy Blue Orchid (Dino Foxx). Glorious night, glorious art!

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Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC, was lovely! Melanie, the events coordinator, had asked Tina Madison White to introduce me. Tina is the new executive director of Blue Ridge Pride (congrats!) and also just a generally rad woman who gave TRUNKY a deep and thoughtful read, the kind of which an author dreams of. I was given the best swag ever there, too, authors: a bag of amazing local coffee. Malaprop’s: you get me.

I am looking forward to Bluestockings (and the Lambda Literary Awards) in NYC in June, the LGBTQ Center in Raleigh, NC too, and then we shall see what appears on the horizon, which I trust will involve more gendered hijinks, various mammals, and the shared love and community we grow every time we meet.

Booksarenotaluxury Hypes Trunky! Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas…

 

Books are not a luxury dot com will devote May to hyping TRUNKY! This org is spectacular and I highly encourage you to follow its suggested book buying schedule to make real change in both the literary and actual world.

I’ve been in Austin for a couple days, staying with my dear pals Andy and Brendan and their seventeen I mean four children, two aged Goldens, and Lorenzo the cat. Andy and Brendan (A&B) adopted their full family after discovering the two boys they were folding into their family had been torn from their sibling pair.

This may or may not be the queerest household I’ve ever had the privilege of being hosted in. Without disclosing too much, I’ll just say that the kids’ gender and sexuality possibilities have been encouraged to seed and bloom where they will.

I met A&B because Andy and I worked together for the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas for 4 years, during which time we passed the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Bill, drawing necessary attention to Texas’ brutal treatment of its most marginalized.

It strikes me that his children are the actual embodiment of all the work he/we have done for gay rights. I am never so delighted as when I experience the sense of my own antediluvian homosexuality around younger people! As my pal Louisa Spaventa says: we elders have decades of bad messaging to undo.

Keep up the good work, young’uns, dismantle all the binaries, and buy your Uncle some teeth, wouldya? It’s not cute.

The Writer Who Reads

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Me, Molly McGinn, and Sam Frazier–we had a warm and wonderous time at the Durham LGBTQ Center, reading and singing for an incredibly receptive crowd. We had terrific representation from LaVare’s House, a private halfway house for LGBTQ folks in recovery, and from North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, who dispensed naloxone and wisdom.

I’d like to remind y’all that I’ll be in Austin, TX, reading at Bookwoman May 1st https://www.facebook.com/events/140322969831064/

and then at Austin Community College’s Night of Queer Performance May 2nd  https://www.facebook.com/events/1840669476195200/

Can’t wait to see y’all!

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Interview with Queer Rock Love Author, Paige Schilt, and Austin Events!

Paige Schilt, author of Queer Rock Love interviewed me about TRUNKY, for her amazing blog. She set a high bar because she literally asked me every question I had ever hoped a good reader would ask!

You can purchase Queer Rock Love here, through Transgress Press. Paige and I will read together May 1st at Bookwoman in Austin, TX! I cannot wait. I’ll also be performing a reading (yes, that’s right) at Austin Community College for my long-time pal and occasional collaborator, professor Louisa Spaventa’s Night of Queer Performance, May 2nd!

I hope to see y’all soon. xo!

Linky Dinks and Newsy-Doos

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Well I have been a busy transgender human author lately! Transgress Press author Lei Ming and I spent a day in Atlanta, beginning with a colloquium at Georgia State University focused on the transgender relationship with institutions. Lei Ming, who goes by “Ray,” spoke of the lack of resources and community in China, particularly rural China, where he’s from. He shared the story of his mother sending him to a local healer, who tried to purge the “evil spirits” from him by painting characters on his torso and breasts. His story is amazing, and I highly recommend his account of transitioning: Life Beyond My Body, with Lura Frazey.

After that, we read at Charis Books, in Little Five Points, to a sweet crowd of folks who managed to get there despite the burning highway-collapse of I-85!

Finally, I got to speak at TEDxUNC, on the topic of home. I’ll post a video soon, but here’s a link to the post-conference review, via The Daily Tarheel.

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Goofball in the House of Charis Books

 

TRUNKY is nominated for a Lammy!

I am thrilled to be included in a stunning roster of trans and LGBTQetc writers whom are nominated as finalists for the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards!  Look for me and my dapper brother Eric, as we attend the event in New York City, Monday June 12th. Early booking is available, and recommended: there will be a plethora of remarkable performers and celebrity sightings!