taiWelcome! I’m Tai Scarlet Kulystin, the creatrix of Purveyor of Pleasure. I am a somatic sexuality educator, occultist, professional harlot, and gender & relationships coach. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

I identify as a queer fat genderqueer polyamorous switch and prefer the pronouns ne/nem/nir or they/them. I spend a lot of my time thinking about sacred sexuality, sacred kink, relationships, the body, queer theory, depth psychology, erotic psychology, sexological bodywork, and so much more. I'm in a long-term live-in relationship with my partner Onyx, and I also have a few other relationships and lovers.
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Archive for the ‘Gender Galaxy’


04.30

2010

Butch Voices 2010 Regional Conferences

I thought this might be of interest to some of you other than just me. I’m going to try and make the Portland conference, I think, since Portland isn’t too far away or too expensive to get to. I’ll be keeping an eye on further information and posts about the conferences and I hope you do the same. I like the multiple locations of semi-smaller conferences, it makes it more accessible, but it probably also makes each less well attended, so it’s a bit of give-and-take.

Next year we’ll have the second full sized Butch Voices conference to participate in, this year we have four regional conferences.

Butch Voices 2010 Regional Conferences: Call for Submissions

BUTCH Voices is a national organization composed of social justice activists who share a commitment to building inclusive community for self-identified Butches, Studs, Tombois, Machas, Aggressives, our partners and allies.

This year we will be holding BUTCH Voices Regional Conferences in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles & Portland. We invite you to join us for workshops, panels, and performances intended to celebrate our diverse identities.

BUTCH Voices Dallas – June 5, 2010 – contact – bvdallas2010@gmail.com

BUTCH Voices NYC – September 25, 2010 – contact – bvnyc2010@gmail.com

BUTCH Voices Portland – October 2, 2010 – contact – bvportland2010@gmail.com

BUTCH Voices LA – October 9, 2010 – contact – bvla2010@gmail.com

These regional conferences will be an amazing opportunity to create local and regional community awareness, to share butch voices, and critical thinking about who we are. BUTCH Voices Regional Conferences are a place to: talk about why we identify in the ways we do, learn how to tell our stories, address femininity, masculinity, discuss areas of overlap and intersection that are none of the above. We will talk about sex, embodiment, community building, our physical and mental health, and issues that stand in the way of Butch-identified solidarity and justice. Most importantly, BUTCH Voices is the place where we can be ourselves with one another.

This is our Call for Submissions. We welcome workshop ideas of all kinds, films, performances, skill shares, especially on topics which speak to the cultural, sexual, emotional, physical, and psychological relationships that arise in the lives of Butches, Studs, Tombois, Aggressives, Machas, etc. We are open to all perspectives–queer, feminist, womanist, neither or beyond! We particularly encourage proposals by and for people-over sixty, under twenty-one, working-class, and people of color or persons with disabilities.

Deadline for Submissions for BUTCH Voices Dallas is May 15, 2010 and for the other three Regional Conferences is August 1, 2010. Please submit your proposal or abstract to the corresponding Regional Conference (email addresses listed above) in which you wish to present along with a short bio of yourself and any other presenter.

Please forward this widely to all who may be interested in participating.
Thank you,
BUTCH Voices

Doublethink Over Dissonance

Onyx and I have settled in to a remarkably comfortable D/s dynamic. We have talked extensively about it, but the difference this time is that it just clicks, for lack of a better term. All the background issues that were making so much noise the last time we were trying these power roles have been resolved, thanks in large part to the many things we learned through the trial of the triad. I find myself enjoying to do things for him, and he is now more able to push and guide me than he was before. It is, in a word, wonderful.

I have noticed that I am hesitant to share this power dynamic with others, even on here to an extent. I believe this is in part due to it still, in some ways, being so new and foreign but mostly it is because it is still private and vulnerable. Despite the abundance with which I share my private feelings and thoughts on this blog (less so now than I have before, but I’m working on writing more when I don’t have writer’s block) I have an extremely difficult time sharing personal things with others, especially in person and especially those I don’t know very well. Hell, I even have trouble expressing things to Onyx sometimes which I would have no issue writing to him.

The last couple of weekends while going out with amazing people I’ve noticed myself being slightly more comfortable but still not all that comfortable with expressing my submissiveness, and that was with fellow kinky perverted people who have read my blog including stories of me being slapped and dominated and fucked. I don’t mean showing my submissvieness to them, but just talking about it.

I see others so secure in their submission and happy to proclaim to the world that they are submissive and I find myself having trouble with that. Perhaps it is because I am a switch. I can’t fully embrace my role as submissive because, although I feel submissive to Onyx, I do not feel wholly like a submissive. I cannot throw myself into submission with complete abandon because I am also a Top. Or, that is the roadblock I come to in my mind.

Although I don’t consciously think this is true, there is a part of me that thinks embracing submission fully would mean giving up the parts of myself that are not submissive. Call it internalized binary programming that says I have to be one or the other but never both. The way some people say someone can’t feel Dominant and submissive at the same time, but I highly disagree, I say I am always both and it is the people I am with and situations I am in that bring each out in me.

However, I don’t have any hesitations about expressing my dominant side. I think in part this is because it is less vulnerable, less private, in a way. I am more comfortable with it, but also because it seems to be less normative. It’s more “okay” to express because it somehow shakes up the expectations.

I feel the same way with sexuality and gender, I’m far more comfortable expressing my desires when they have to do with cis-females or trans-people than when they have to do with cis-males. Essentially, I’m far more comfortable expressing my queer sexuality than what would be seen as a hetero-sexuality, as if expressing desire for cis-males somehow makes me less queer. Of course, in some minds it does. In some minds it would completely invalidate any other expression of queerness.

Similarly with gender I have been desiring lately to express my masculine side, the personae (yes, plural) I designate as Quyn or Sebastian sometimes. I used to dress more masculine and drifted to the feminine and now I’m working on finding the way to be both or neither, to dress as I please. While I’m more comfortable expressing my femme drag queen gender identity I think because that, in some ways, is the one that is less normative, despite being assigned female at birth, but that’s a whole other post.

Perhaps in the same vein expressing submissive desires could somehow invalidate any expression of dominance. I’m not saying this is the case, but I do think that Aristotelian logic is so ingrained in our culture that it is difficult to work against. If we express ourselves as being on one side of a cultural binary we are not only saying what we are but we are saying what we are not. By this logic when I say I am submissive I’m also saying I’m not dominant. It works for everything, really: power, sexuality, gender, etc. All the identities I hold middle ground on, certainly, and others as well.

I’ve talked about this many times before, I know, and read about the phenomenon. It’s not new, but it is significant. The point I’m trying to make here, though, is that I’m more comfortable expressing one aspect but not another on these supposed binaries (and I should point out that I do not see power dynamics or sexualities as part of a binary system, but they are largely seen culturally to be so which makes operating outside of them difficult and that is why I am referring to them as binaries), and my comfortability seems to be backwards. I am comfortable expressing the non-normative desires, those outside what is culturally expected, when it’s usually (or so I think) the opposite.

I want to be just as comfortable expressing and embracing all of my identities, and the first step just like with anything is acknowledgement. I have internalized binary and aristotelian logic programming. I have internalized power dynamic programming. I can actively work on acknowledging this programming and work to move beyond it, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Instead of thinking of these socially contrary ideas in terms of conflict and feeling dissonance over them I want to get to a point of doublethink, where I am comfortable with embracing these identities that seem to be contradictory and am, further, comfortable in my own skin. That’s what it’s all about in the end, anyway.

Quyn (HNT)

While I was in Juneau I bought a sports bra which is smaller than recommended for my breast size. I bought it for the sole purpose of using it as a binder, turning my large breasts into a still-large-but-slightly-smaller chest. I wore it while performing in Julius Caesar and quite a bit around Juneau in general.

I haven’t worn it too much since I’ve been back in Seattle, partially because on days I know I won’t be doing much outside the house I tend to wear things that are comfortable and loose, partly because I have been feeling rather femme lately whenever we have decided to go out, and partly because I’m not completely comfortable showing off this masculine identity to the world yet.

The last few days, however, I’ve been feeling more and more like binding, packing, changing my gender presentation to one that is more masculine. I woke up this morning and just knew I was going to bind.

I’m still not comfortable enough going out here. Juneau was more comfortable, but less comfortable for other things. I don’t know this part of myself well enough to show it to people here yet, but I’m working on it.

04.05

2010

Trans and Poly Surveys

Another sort-of call for submissions, but surveys this time. These don’t take very long so I highly encourage you to take one or both depending on which categories you fit within.

This first one was found via Tristan Taormino’s twitter:

“The survey is intended for people who are involved in a romantic relationship. We will ask you about your views of yourself, your relationship with your partners, and your sexual encounters with people other than your primary romantic partner.”

Click here to take the survey!

I found this request via Essin’ Em and wanted to share it. It’s for a book similar to “Our Bodies, Ourselves” titled “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves.” There are basically three different surveys that you can take depending on the category you fit in, so it’s not just for trans people but also partners of trans people or parents of trans people.

Hi everyone,

I’m editing a book and would love your help finding transgender/genderqueer people, as well as their parents and partners for a survey. The answers will appear as quotes in the book, similarly to Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Want to be part of a resource guide for transgender and other gender-variant people?

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves features a line-up of wonderful transgender and genderqueer authors, and they’re looking for your help to make the book amazing.

Take the survey and your thoughts could appear in the book!

Go to http://www.transbodies.com/Survey.html for surveys designed for:

  • Transgender/genderqueer people
  • Parents of gender-variant children
  • Partners of transgender/genderqueer people

Please forward widely.
YOUR VOICE is greatly appreciated!

Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA
Editor, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves
transbodies@gmail.com
http://transbodies.com

04.02

2010

Call for Submissions: Stalled

This call was found via Essin’ Em, it’s been a while since I have posted a call for submissions, and I thought some of you might be interested in reading about it and possibly submitting. As I always am when I post a call for submissions, I’m thinking about what I might be able to include in this.

Working Title: Stalled
Editors: K. Bridgeman and A. Lee Crayton
Contact: stalled.the.book [at] gmail [dot] com
Submission Deadline: December 31, 2010

The range of gender non-conforming folks is broad. We are men, women, genderqueers, two-spirits, trans women/transwomen, trans men/transmen, intersex, bois, grrrls, butchs, faeries, FtMs, MtFs, tomboys, drag queens, transvestites, transexuals, queers, none or maybe all of the above?* In a society that preaches gender as rigid, fighting for gender self-determination can be challenging. For some the process is finite, traveling from point A to point B, while others wade continuously through the mire or transcend altogether. But despite the trajectory of our own personal journey, we all experience the polarizing demands of the binary.

One way these demands are evident is in sex-segregated spaces: changing stalls, detention centers, restrooms, group homes, homeless shelters, locker rooms, and security checkpoints.* These places can be hard to avoid, and interaction with them demands we make a choice about how we will present ourselves. With this anthology, we want to explore the sometimes difficult, layered, isolating, heart breaking, frightening, awkward, frustrating, challenging, funny, and/or queer experiences people are faced with in these settings. Stalled is a space for us to share our stories.

Gender-nonconforming individuals of all ages, published and unpublished, are encouraged to contribute to Stalled. We welcome submissions of all types: stories, poems, photos, art pieces; however you feel most comfortable expressing your personal experiences around sex-segregated spaces. Submissions should be non-fiction and based on actual experience. However, we respect the author’s prerogative to maintain characters’ anonymity.

*We recognize these descriptions are not exhaustive and are not intended to be restrictive. We encourage and hope to engage a broad range of experiences and identities.

Submission Instructions:

  • Submissions should be sent via e-mail to stalled.the.book@gmail.com.
  • Written submissions should be 1500 words or less, and submitted as a .doc or .docx file with pages numbered. Illustrations should be submitted in jpeg format.
  • You may submit up to 2 different pieces of work.
  • We welcome both published and unpublished authors; however, if the piece you’re submitting has been published, please note where and when.
  • In your cover email, please include Author’s Name, Pen Name (if applicable), Title of Submission, email address, and a brief Bio (150 words or less).

Submissions will be accepted throughout the year. The final deadline is December 31, 2010 (11:59:59 pm EST). All submissions will be responded to by the end of April 2011. Early submissions are encouraged.

Civil War

I feel as though I have warring factions within me, aching for battle and unsure of what to do, trying to figure out who comes out on top, but there is no “on top” to come out onto, not that I would have it if there were. In a world of innumerable options I can see them all and wish to partake in all of them, and not just one by one.

It is an ever-constant ever-changing process to become the me I wish to be, and so often I have no idea how to do it. I look at the past to help inform my present, to see what worked and what not to do, but I can only do so much without the freedom to explore beyond the limited space I am in now. I am made up of not just one but many dichotomies that are constantly at war and trying to figure out how to live together harmoniously.

As much as I don’t believe in binary systems for most things because these ideas are so solid in their construction it does often feel like I am being pulled in two directions. I must be one or the other at any given time as both cannot exist in the same moment or in the same space. It’s okay to have different aspects in yourself but for them to be existing at the same time seems to be something that is not believable.

I’m tired of rigid lines separating me from myself. I feel constantly torn, constantly at war with the sides I am told are opposites. They do not feel like opposites. I never am not one while presenting as the other, so how do I adequately express myself?

So I am exploring and learning, growing, changing, as much as possible but it never feels enough. I don’t know how to become who I will be, I only know how to be the me I am right now. The trick is to be okay with that and only that in the moment while striving for better.

Gender Exploration: Femme Fagette

I’ve been gravitating toward a much more “masculine” gender expression lately, really since we moved to Seattle. I’ve been slowly making my way over, though it’s only selectively masculine, it’s my fagette persona, my feminine masculinity that I’ve been working on developing.

Like my transition from bottom to Top to switch I believe this gender exploration will bring me from femme to fagette to femme fagette. Just as I knew I would end up a switch I had to explore the individual parts of that identity expression before I was able to really claim switchness for my own.

I believe in order for me to truly embrace all that is my gender identity of femme fagette, my own gender phrase and identity, I will end up never staying still in one gender for too long or coming to rest, much like switch is it’s own identity along with being Top and bottom identities and various other aspects of power and sadomasochistic and any other sexuality aspects thrown in. I claim femme fagette in the same way I claim switch, as a identity in perpetual motion, forever morphing and changing to fit my current desires.

The fagette aspect of my gender identity is somewhat femme in and of itself, so the two really are tied up within each other no matter what I do. I have days where I want to pack, wear a binder, and walk with a swagger and other days when I feel like putting on a ruffled skirt, corset, and a wig, and those days might not coincide with the identity automatically assumed.

My gender definitely has to do with both masculine and feminine energies but also a purposeful queering of those energies as much as possible. I often feel the most feminine when wearing traditionally masculine clothing, and visa verse. For me it is less about the specific gender expression than it is about playing with gender and experiencing it in a way that jives with me, however that might be.

As I mentioned in my last post I’m a bit of a chameleon, which is why, I think, I cling to such transitory identities. I enjoy labels, as I’ve gone on about ad nauseum, but the labels I end up claiming tend to be ones that are fluid such as queer, switch, poly, and femme fagette/multigendered/gender fluid, each of these can mean different things depending on the day and my mood.

One thing I worry about with terming myself “femme fagette” is that damned gender binary.

I recently opened FetLife and Twitter accounts for a “masculine” persona, Quyn or Quyntin Ari St. Syr. It was somewhat of a spur of the moment thing and inspired by Mina Meow and her persona Aiden. Ever since I’ve been thinking about what that means to have the two accounts and I know I as a whole am not fully represented now by either Scarlet or Quyn, but I wonder if I’m even partially represented.

I don’t feel like I have split personalities, both Quyn and Scarlet are me but are aspects of me but not the end all and be all of me either. There’s something missing there, and maybe that’s the complexity of how the two personae interact and feed off each other and there may be another aspect of me not yet fully grasped. I occasionally toy with the idea of getting rid of the Scarlet persona and expanding the scope of Quyn, but Scarlet has been such a part of me for so long.

I worry, however, that splitting the personae up in to, basically, a “masculine” and a “feminine” persona isn’t doing justice to what I’m actually feeling and is just working to reinforce the gender binary, as if in order to express an “other” gender identity I have to break it down into accepted gender norms. Though it could have the opposite effect, I suppose, since although I am setting up these two personae I think what I do with them could be potentially gender explosive and bust through the confining ideas of binary gender. I guess it all depends on how it’s perceived and what I do with it more than anything.

I’m still exploring and getting used to my newly embraced identities and I’m excited to see how everything progresses. I have had a lot of time recently to think about myself and my genders are something that I am working on figuring out more.

11.14

2009

Body Hair

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with body hair, I think that’s pretty common.

I’ve had periods of time where I can’t stand any of it, shaving my pits, pubes, and legs once they show even a slight bit of stubble, plucking my eye brows often freakishly goth-thin so that they are barely there (ah, teenagerhood). I’ve shaved my arms as well, though only once and never again since I thought it felt funny when it was growing in. I have tried shaving, waxing, plucking, rubbing, all to see what works best and what feels the best.

Then there have been periods of time where I love it in one form or another, not getting rid of it anywhere, or just shaving one part or another. At one point I was shaving nowhere but my pubic hair, which was kind of amusing. For a long time I shaved everywhere completely, though I’ve played around with different styles “down there” like a “landing strip” or a vee shape (though I haven’t tried using a stencil) and so on.

Recently I’d gotten lax about shaving, it was simply seeming like too much work, so I decided to stop completely. At some point Onyx remarked that this is the hairiest he’s ever seen me, and that’s true. For the majority of our relationship I’ve been pretty dedicated to shaving. One time when I was scratching my head, arm raised, Marla remarked that she thought my tuft of armpit hair was sexy, and I agree.

I suppose a lot of people associate body hair with masculinity, especially considering a “male” hormone is responsible for the growth of it (it is called androgenic hair after all), and growing more comfortable with an “other” gender expression has definitely been a catalyst for my choice to stop shaving. I’m not exactly interested in passing in one gender or another, and a masculine appearance was not my intention in stopping either, it is more about feeling comfortable in my body.

It’s also quite possible that I may change my mind tomorrow or the day after that or the month after that, I may grow tired of having a thick forest underneath my arms or a dark collection of hairs on my legs and take a razor to them. This is just one fluctuating part of that gender equation.

In addition to the rest of my body hair I have been letting the hair on my chin grow as well, instead of plucking it as usual. I have two little tufts to either side of my chin which are excellent for stroking when desiring to appear deep in thought.

10.15

2009

Fedora (HNT)

I bought a new fedora last night and love it so much that I needed to show it off. What better way to do that then with a series of HNT pictures? It is 100% organic cotton and possibly currently my favorite accessory, though that’s not a definite as I’m an accessory slut.

I had to pair it with a tie, of course. The tie is Onyx’s technically but I helped pick it out, it just works better with the hat than any of my ties. I was packing during this as well, though you can’t tell from the pictures.

Fedora HNT

I started out sans makeup, this first one (to me) feels a little more masculine, a little more debonair. I feel like a private eye.

fedora

On the flip side, this one is the one I see as most feminine. It’s mischievous, maybe a little dangerous, a slight smirk, though those aren’t necessarily the feminine qualities.

fedora

I tried out the purple lips to match the tie but didn’t really like them as much, this was my favorite shot of everything that included my breasts though, I really love the way they look and the angle.

fedora

Finally, a head shot/portrait/my new twitter picture/etc. This one looks to me like the me I see in the mirror these days, which I really enjoy.

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in HNT, so what better time than now? It’s been a while since I’ve done much on this blog, but that’s going to be changing as I’m getting back into the spirit of writing and feel like I have some things to say.

Butch/Femme (HNT)

This week’s HNT was Marla’s idea. We’ve been doing a lot of gender play since she got here in many different forms, and that combined with my newly cut hair, walking through this park a couple days ago and wanting to take pictures in front of the waterfalls, and the dress she’s wearing (which I was wearing yesterday) all gave her the idea for these shots.

I set up and took the pictures with my tripod and little camera remote (so handy!).

We got a little naughty in the park, it’s rare I’m on the other side of the skirt and I took full advantage of the fact she wasn’t wearing panties. Luckily there weren’t too many people around. You can see a hint of that in a couple of the pictures below.

Click any picture for a larger version of the same.

First a little of me…

butch2

butch3

One of her…

femme2

Then a little of us…

butchfemme2

butchfemme3

butchfemme4

butchfemme5

Check out Marla’s HNT for some of the same and some different photos!