Transmisogyny On The Women’s College Campus: An Interrogation of Transmisogynist Admissions Policies at Mills College


Made a few updates to the original paper. Edited some mistakes, too. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that my investigation of the goals of women’s only institutions, as well as Mills, was woefully underdeveloped. There are a lot of other problems too -_- Water off a duck’s back.

Originally posted on bodyhorror:

At the bottom of this post is the download link for a paper I wrote in my narrative non-fiction class last semester. The class was taught by Faith Adiele. I chose to do my final paper on transmisogynist admissions policies at Mills, a women’s only private university (which I obviously attend).

Although I know my final grade on the paper, I haven’t gotten it back to see the edits Prof. Adiele surely made, so other than cleaning it up a little bit for clarity, it hasn’t changed since I submitted it in December. Having not shown it to really anyone at all (omfg what’s wrong with me), I’m sure there are errors, oversights, and other issues that I missed. If you are generous enough to want to read it and send me your criticism, I would be positively thrilled. Even if the things you have to say will hurt. Even…

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Gradual disembodiment. Dávid Nebreda.

Originally posted on MA Visual Arts: Digital Art.:

The body becomes an engine for testing and performance, the art of action becomes a new natural habitat as a response to less risky artistic trends of the time. The performance still retains
that indefinable aura of its beginnings in the ’70s. This is an art that is not for sale and which transition is executed at a time and space. We could distinguish the body art where the body becomes the protagonist, in a container that passes from becoming subject to an object, breaking the raw material aesthetic boundaries between life and death. It is an art presented rather than represented. Most artists reflect the limits of their own body. I would like to cite just one example that I find very significant of the body used as a gradual disembodiment.

David Nebreda.

David Nebreda is a Spanish photographer that converts his body in protagonist of his artistic work…

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The Subtleties of Advocacy and Empowerment: How The Anti-Choice Narrative Has Co-Opted Disability Advocacy

Part 1 of dog knows how many

Full disclosure: I make a living off the non-profit industrial complex. My part-time job in disability advocacy & raising $$ for schools for impoverished foreign children is how I pay the bills, but as you can probably tell my involvement makes me uncomfortable. Over the past few months, this discomfort has come to complicate my life in other, unexpected ways. As the social networking director of a program that is heavily involved with mainstream disability rights organizations, particularly those organized for & by people with Down syndrome, I’ve learned that the mainstream Down syndrome advocacy community (who are pretty uniformly white and middle-class, by the way) heavily intersects with religious anti-choice communities.

My personal relationship with abortion and reproductive health — hell, in individual autonomy in general — is not very complex. Just in case my opinion on the matter has not heretofore been clear, let me be explicit: every woman and every person capable of bearing a child should have the final say over whether or not, and under what circumstances, and with what resources, they carry and give birth. Every single one. Full stop. Because how can we legislate the myriad potential reasons for seeking medical care if we are simultaneously operating on the assumption that everyone is the ultimate authority on their own needs & desires? (NB: reproductive health is a term encompassing much more than conception, gestation, and birth, though it’s often used as shorthand for birth-control and abortion.)

As you may know, my personal beliefs have been non-negotiable for a long time. Since joining this non-profit last fall, however, I’ve begun to worry that reality is readying itself to call my ideological bluff. For some disability advocates, and particularly those who also identify as Christians*, the primacy of the fetus over the person carrying it is magnified (for lack of a better word) if pre-natal testing has determined that the fetus has Down syndrome or another genetic disorder. Anti-choice interests are not, it seems, above using anti-ableism and anti-racism as a means to make health care (and yes, abortion is health care) more difficult for women and uterus-people, and particularly women and uterus-people marginalized by a patriarchy that is white supremacist, ableist, queer & trans*phobic, classist, whorephobic, etc. How do you lower your expectations when they’re already on the floor?

All this isn’t to say that the targeted discrimination, and even genocide, of people perceived as inferior/wrong/broken/dangerous because of, for example, disability or mental illness, is well-documented and ongoing (and these are not the only factors, of course, by which communities and populations have been found to be inferior in the history of the world). And while of course abortion remains controversial, to say the least, the reasons why people choose to have abortions have come under close media scrutiny in recent times. Indeed, Amerikan legislation regarding these factors is sort of a hot topic right now. (And if you live in the Bay Area, you’ve probably seen the debate on billboards around Oakland.) Which is to say, the latest in anti-choice rhetoric is the framing of certain abortions as acts of genocide and eugenics, rather than the choices made by individuals who are aware that resources for infants and children, let alone those with disabilities, are being steadily defunded (but don’t you dare question gov’t spending on an imperialist military); rather than choices made by individuals of color who “are not children unable to make health care decisions [@SharkFu at the link, well worth the read].”

What do we do with statistics suggesting that 90 percent of pregnant people who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis choose abortion? And by what do we do with them, I mean, how do we categorize a phenomenon that may be resulting in the further stigmatization of people with disabilities? So my focus for the next installation of whatever this is will be about how the voices non-disabled advocates for disabled folx often dominate discussions of reproductive health and abortion; in advocating, ostensibly, for those who cannot advocate for themselves, they [we] have also often been guilty of drowning out and ignoring those who can and do.

*I’m going to focus on Christianity here, though I’ve no doubt that people of other faiths reject abortion for any reason on religious grounds, for the reasons outlined here.

Slut-shamed at the American border

Originally posted on Broadside:

Welcome to the United States of America

Welcome to the United States of America (Photo credit: Kai Strandskov)

By Caitlin Kelly

This is one hell of a post, by University of British Columbia student Clay Nikiforuk, from

What do you do when you’re detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary “evidence” is held against you, and you’re treated like a moral deviant? And what if its 2013, you’re a woman, and the “evidence” is that you possess condoms? It happened three times in two weeks — being detained by U.S. border officials on my way to or through the States…

I was detained, yelled at, patted down, fingerprinted, interrogated, searched, moved from room to room and person to person without food, water or being told what was going on for what seemed like forever. Just as I thought they were tiring of me and going to refuse me entry but at least…

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Reader Ramblings: Explaining Genderqueer To Those Who Are Not

Originally posted on Neutrois Nonsense:

I have a cousin who has recently come out as genderqueer. She and I were best friends growing up, and naturally I want to understand what her experience is like, but I just don’t get it. (I also don’t know if I am allowed to refer to my cousin as she/her anymore.)

I can understand feeling like you should be a different gender from what your parts are, or from what you were raised as, but I don’t understand what it would be like not to feel like either gender. Is it about the social constructs around what society tells you that girls and boys/men and women should be like? Because I understand rejecting those, not wanting to like cooking/the color pink/high heels/etc.

I guess I should ask her, but I don’t want to bug her too much. Can you provide any resources online for reading about the experience of…

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It’s not the truth that matters, but the lie: dysphoria and dysmorphia in my genderqueer body

Omission As Default

Most of my close friends know I’ve been seeing a new therapist in the past few months. They probably also know that she and I are designing some kind of program for me, to kick this bulimia thing once and for all. But that is probably as much as everyone, even my best friends, are aware of, despite the fact that I’ve been “out” about my eating disorder for going on seven years.

You’ll understand that I’m leery of talking — really talking — about eating disorders with people who don’t have them. Many people don’t want to hear about bulimia when it’s not in the abstract, or perhaps they do but don’t know how to talk about it. To be clear, I don’t resent my friends for feeling this way. People have stories and experiences and problems to which I can’t relate, or for which I have no language myself. The death of a close friend’s mother a year and a half ago, for example, still leaves me tongue-tied. I avoid the topic when I can; I want to be supportive and loving, and there for her to talk about it if she needs to, but am also paralyzed by the risk of saying something that will hurt her. Similarly, while I’m happy to listen to another friend, a trans persyn of color, talk about how their gender, perceived and otherwise, is affected by their ethnicity (and vice versa), my privilege as a white person puts me among the people who can at best only sympathize with their experience.

This is one of the reasons I started blogging so many, many years ago. I communicate best, or at least most comfortably, through writing, and if my friends want to know more about my recovery, they can go ahead read about it on the interwebs.

So here’s where I write some more about how my mental illness, my auto-immune disease, and my genderqueerness interact with each other (though viewing them as discrete entities floating in the morass, separate from one another, is getting more difficult with each passing year). It’s as much for me as it is for the swollen void of the internet. It’s as much to help me understand myself as it is to educate other people, if they’re interested in my experiences.

Admission as Recovery

My new therapist is holding me accountable for everything I eat, and everything I don’t. She has plans for me to go to lunch meetings with her to practice eating with and around other people; ten long years into my addiction, the idea of this still scares me. I keep putting off our lunch meetings, and for now she isn’t pushing me on it. As far as I know, she is cis, but she is trying very hard to understand how my gender complicates my eating disorder, and how even I don’t know which came first: the dysphoria or the dysmorphia, the gender crisis or the self-hatred, the body problems or the food problems.

My genderqueer body is something of which I’m both extremely defensive and yet often very harmful towards. I think these modi operandi serve similar functions, which is something that I’ve come to see when contrasting myself with other bodies and identities. Because in some ways, cis folks are not aware of their bodies I am of mine, nor are they as aware of the bodies of other people. The similarities that cis people and non-eating-disordered people share (though I’ll acknowledge, of course, that cis people can have eating disorders and that the mentally ill are not always cis) preoccupy me almost as much as my eating disorder does. Just as the cis person moves, eats, dresses themselves, navigates school and work and family without the fears and concerns of a genderqueer or transgender person* so the mentally healthy person moves and eats and dresses, viewing food merely as a pleasurable tool and means of survival. One cis friend of mine, who I have written about before, lives with perfect safety in himself; his comparative (or essential) unawareness of himself awes me, disturbs me. This ease — a less forgiving word might be ‘entitlement’ — is certainly something that many cis men like him exhibit. That cis people exhibit, that straight people exhibit, that white people exhibit, that people without disabilities exhibit, that people like me who are privileged in a variety of ways exhibit.

While I think it’s important to educate myself about the lives and experiences of people different from me (as much as they want to share these experiences, or even take the time and energy to educate me), I simultaneously wonder at the usefulness of sharing all my shit with people who can’t relate. What’s the point? If I can’t even really justify to myself this need to unburden myself more or less publicly on the internet, why bother giving it up to people for whom it isn’t a daily reality?

Openness As Therapy

But my therapist’s demands that I share with her what I eat and what I don’t, a tactic different from any other therapist I’ve ever had, reaffirms the importance of sharing my dirty laundry. For many years, I could not say the words “binge” or “bulimia” or “purge” out loud, even when I was alone. I still am not completely honest with my therapist about what it is I eat, even if it means telling her I had a turkey sandwich instead of admitting that it was really ham; it’s not the truth that matters, but the lie.

The challenge to get specific with her about what goes into and comes out of my body rattles me, but I guess I need the practice. And I think blogging has been instrumental in getting me even this far. So I’ll continue doing it for now, because maybe it’s good for me.

*As a white person living in Amerika, I am critical of the gender binary but I am also attempting to be aware of genders affected by Western culture’s racist/colonialist hegemony. I am genderqueer, but there are non-white & non-Western cultures and gender identities that existed before imperialist impositions of gender & sexuality on indigenous people. To my fellow white people, I recommend checking out this blogger’s work on QTPOC in the context of white supremacy & colonialism.

I’m Not Different: The Genderqueer Does Coachella

If culture is the summation of the beliefs and activities of this or that group in a given environment, then I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say that the attendees of Coachella 2013 (myself included) were participating in merely “bro culture” or “drug culture” or even “white upper-middle-class youth culture.” I think these labels are too limiting because I can think of few things more Amerikan than Coachella, the casually libertine music festival characterized by racism, capitalist consumerism, and hideous clothes. I’d like to think that, like 2 Chainz, by being critical of the event I can somehow distance myself from it. We all have our pipe dreams.


Not to sound bitter about being the odd queer out at a very LA event. I’m glad I went, though I don’t know if I would again. Seeing so many amazing artists perform was well worth the hefty fee of attendance, but I’m not big on camping in scorching deserts (though I will say that people are making the dust storm out to be worse than it was. I don’t like being covered in grit, but it sounds like a picnic compared to the weather at Burning Man).

Nevertheless, had I known just how bro-y Coachella was going to be, I probably wouldn’t have gone broke for a ticket. Jacked str8 white men in “No means yes” tees aside, just three days of the heavy gender-policing required of all general attendees — everything from bathroom lines to festival entry are separated into “male” and “female,” at the discretion of security, of course — was more than I like to willingly subject myself to. Still, it behooves me to acknowledge the privilege it takes to go to a swanky music festival in the first place, and to more or less blend in as one of the many white people paying to be entertained.


It was formerly a proven fact that I only get goosebumps for Whitney Houston. And then I saw Janelle Monae.


My friend, whose musical tastes rarely intersect with mine, was skeptical when I dragged her to the Gobi Stage, but neither of us expected Monae to blow our gotdamn minds. I still haven’t recovered from her, in her brilliant white jodhpurs and andro-bouffant, and her power and range, her ability to manipulate the crowd like giddy puppets. Her co-performers played as hard and with as much electric joy as she sang. Their cover of “ABC” by the Jackson Five was a highlight for me. The video really doesn’t do it justice. I made my friend feel my arm to confirm that the goosebumps were indeed there.


I have had a big kawaii soft spot for Claire Boucher, hipster goddess of the whispery high-register, since I saw the music video for Oblivion. Otherwise known as Grimes, Tumblr Incarnate charmed us all with her Adidas sandals and self-deprecating pixieishness, but reports that she was the standout performance over Janelle are all full of baloney. And I say this as a fanboi who screamed and twirled for “Be A Body” (as well as for her babely backup dancers, though I think it’s worth pointing out that two brown womyn voguing behind the white Boucher kept with the festival’s theme of cultural appropriation and the pop-ularity of for white artists to attach “vague ethnic allusions to coolness without context“) like the drugs had actually kicked in.


Exhausted from a long second day in the vast, windy hinterland of the Empire Polo Club, we collapsed on the lawn to rest for New Order’s satisfyingly nostalgic set. Flanked by my ex-girlfriend and her partner, we listened to “Bizarre Love Triangle” while struggling to stay awake.


What I would have given to see Eric Northman in the flesh.

And no, I didn’t see even one celebrity and I was out pounding sand all day long.


They aren’t kidding when they call Coachella the “repository of pop memory.” Like New Order, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Violent Femmes, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were one of the many well-established acts to play, but there’s no arguing that Cave remains the most obscene of the old men still rocking. Clad like a 19th century mortician, his white pate gleaming as he hurled himself into the crowd of iPhones and basketball jerseys, Cave was nothing if not diabolically energetic, roaring through “Stagger Lee” and “From Her To Eternity” like a demon inspired. But each lewd thrust of his hips made me a little more uncomfortable, as much by his fragility in the arms of the crowd as by the anachronism it created of him.

I left the set about halfway through. I wasn’t the only one who, for one reason or another, drifted away — or didn’t show up at all — to the Bad Seeds’ performance. From one review:

“Major main-stage acts also continued to suffer from attendance anemia. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ evening set there rocked with both tortured abandon and expansive grandeur (he was backed up by a string section and children’s choir on tracks like the lush title track from his new album, Push the Sky Away) – yet hardly anyone was there to notice.”


I went straight from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to see the Wu-Tang, but there were so many people crowding to see them that you couldn’t call what we did “watching.” It was like listening to “36 Chambers” on a radio hidden behind a bunch of tall white dudes.

You know white people love the ruckus.


No one knows from whence came the rumor that Daft Punk would be this year’s Tupac hologram. However, had I been smart enough to go see the Phoenix show, I would have been more than happy to settle for R. Kelly instead. I heard the Ignition x 901 remix from the shower trailers, which I had discovered were usually empty after midnight. Drip drip drip.


Apparently, technical problems during Pusha T‘s set bothered a lot of people, but I didn’t notice them. I enjoyed it, too. Both he and 2 Chainz performed “Mercy” on the same day. Plus, his constant exhortations to God kept things delightfully weird.


So do I recommend it for those who are considering Coachella 2014? Maybe. Word to the wise: if I attend something, it’s probably already over. And by “over” I mean “no longer fashionable.” It — whatever it is — is not cool anymore if someone like me hustled their bones out of bed and shelled out too much moolah for drunken sunburns in LA.

And that’s the truth.