What I Have Been Reading Today

Today was an early start, as I got up with my girlfriend when she woke up for work at 5:30!  My morning often begins with reading various articles posted on facebook and my feedly, and today I read some awesome articles that I wanted to share here.

“Second Grader in Charge” by Gendermom, one of my favorite blogs by a parent of a trans kid. Here she writes about her daughter’s confidence in picking out what she wants to wear to school–tight leggings and a t-shirt–and the conversation they have about what she’ll say if anyone bothers her.  I loved reading this, and it reminded me of the confidence of the trans girls in my cabin at Camp Aranu’tiq in regards to bikinis and swimming. I am glad that gendermom’s daughter similarly feels free to wear what she wants, and knows how she will respond to anyone who questions her.

“How to Write about Trans Women” 

This satire is an absolutely beautiful piece of writing that addresses the ways that the media often represents trans women.  It ends with a heartbreaking meditation on the effects of this representation for trans people. (Which may be hard for folks who experience transphobia and have often felt marginalized by representations of trans people). “You’ve done it. You’ve revealed the truth about ‘trans women.’ It will be breaking news, like bones and glass.”

Julia Serano’s “Regarding Trans* and Transgenderism” 

Another one of the parent blogs that I read sent me to Julia Serano’s blog, and this excellent piece on shifting terminology and the way that the trans community (and other activist communities) often try to eliminate words because of their negative connotations without considering the historical context or use of them.  I really like her concept of “word elimination” and “word sabotage.” The latter is when new terminology is used to sabotage the meaning of other words, for example how bisexual gets seen as bi-phobic and binary by folks who use pansexual and argue that it is more inclusive than bisexual. I also read her essay on the T-Word, which addressed some of the points that Kate Bornstein made in her speech at Gender Odyssey.  It is so important to consider the history of words and the intended use.

Finally, “On Gender Euphoria and Why It Is So Damn Important” is something that I read a few days ago, but still have saved as a tab on my phone because it is excellent. I first heard the term at Philly Trans Health in June, and I agree with Ash that we need to talk about it more instead of only defining trans lives by dsyphoria.  I think that this essay will also be useful for my own research and thoughts on the role of happiness vs. dysphoria/distress in narratives around trans children.

As Ash writes, “it matters because gender euphoria has only recently entered the mainstream. it matters because I hear more about gender dysphoria than I ever do about the trans people who are comfortable in their own skin, the trans people who are living their truths out loud and loving every single moment of it. it matters because trans people should be allowed to celebrate the little moments, the big moments, and all the moments in between when they love their bodies, their identities, and their expressions.”

Edited to Add:

Also, this piece on trigger warnings is excellent and addresses the experience of someone for whom they are important. I am firmly in support of trigger warnings and am tired of seeing articles that argue about how they are coddling students and creating censorship. (Another great article about trigger warnings is this one by Sara Ahmed, which talks about the specter of the “super-sensitive student.” content warning: talks about sexual assault.”)

And, also this piece is excellent, found through a comment left on “Ash Writes Things.” “What I have Learned about Feminism from Failing to Measure Up” addresses the importance of rethinking feminist activism and community, in relation to disability and capitalism, and the importance of reconsidering what we value in individuals and in society.  (TW: Sexual assault/suicide. also discusses chronic illness, job loss).

[Owl painting found on pinterest. From etsy–but couldn’t trace the source back]

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