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.
Read more about this site & me→


Archive for the ‘Gender Galaxy’


06.27

2008

Femme Conference 2008: The Architecture of Femme

Found via SugarButch here.

“The Femme Collective proudly presents “Femme2008: The Architecture of Femme,” an international conference celebrating queer femininities August 15th through August 17th 2008 at the Chicago Wyndham O’Hare: 6810 N. Mannheim Rd. near O’Hare International Airport. The conference will feature three full days of programming, including keynotes, workshops, panels, performances and even a film festival. Regular registration is $75 through July 15th, 2008 and then registration will go up to $95 for late registration, which is open through the conference. Registration covers all of the conference events and can be made by going to www.femmecollective.com.”

I would absolutely love to be able to go to this, but I doubt I will be able to go. Chicago is far away from me, and although I have been aching to go to a conference (mostly kink ones, but queer ones too!) I don’t really have the money to do so. Some of my favorite idols will be there for me to gawk at and drool over. I thought some who read me might be interested in this, although most of you probably read about it from Sinclair already, but, it still deserves repeating!

Like Sinclair, I’m going to repeat The Femme Collective’s mission statement, because of it’s fabulousness: Femme Collective is committed to creating conferences by Femmes, about Femmes, and for Femmes and their allies. We understand that Femme is more complex than just being a queer person who is feminine; it is a part of how we interact with and shape our world as queer academics, activists, artists, homemakers, parents, professionals, students, teachers, etc.

For all the details go to The Femme Collective’s site.

05.09

2008

It’s denim and leather and butch wax, kid, and don’t you forget it. Unless you’re vegan.

Butch is a Noun is a book I’ve been eyeing for months, but have not actually gotten around to buying yet, by S. Bear Bergman. I found this youtube video of him reading the first chapter of the book, which is called What Butch Is, which I have been told is the best part of the book. You can even read along (or read again, or re-read or watch and then read along) with the PDF excerpt available at Bear’s site.

I am going to watch it a second time… and maybe a third and fourth and…

Along the same lines (of butch/femme) Visible: a femmethology has a call for submissions going on. It is due June 1st, and I am working on a piece for it, though I’m worried with everything going on and the trip and everything if I will be able to get it together in time. I’m hoping I will.

Some more information: “Visible: a femmethology is a forthcoming anthology about the power and complications in presenting femme as a gender and breaking the traditional meaning of feminine. It aims to showcase personal essays exploring what “femme” means to those who claim it as an identity.”

Much more information on their website

03.24

2008

Faux Queen

I never knew there was a term for me already (somewhat) embraced and widespread in the community! This is why I NEED to be in San Fran and not fucking Salt Lake City. This and so many other reasons…

I love it, though I still prefer my femme drag queen gender to faux queen, it seems so… fake? I mean, if you think about it, in some ways bio-females hyperenacting femininity similar to drag queen femininity is just as if not more disrupting to the idea of gender as natural than male drag queens. At least, I think so. The trouble is getting to a place where you’re performing that hyper-femininity, and most of the time that is not easy unless you go completely over the top, which can be difficult.

Of course, I was thinking earlier how it would be wonderful to dress as a boy. I do embrace genderqueer as well, among other labels. While I’m a pomo girl I also think that labels have their usefulness, especially in a society which automatically labels, and so I choose to label myself.

03.23

2008

D/s and Gender Musings

I’m currently reading Venus In Furs for my Queer Theory class. It’s the first time I’ve read it and it really remarks to me the differences between F/m and M/f (and F/f and M/m) more than I could go into, of course, but here are some tidbits which made me think and realize a few things about my own self.

I know that Venus in Furs is not exactly what every F/m couple is, of course, but it does provide interesting insight. I tried to put myself in the position of Severin/Gregor with Master or any man for that matter, and I was unable to imagine it exactly the same, though it could be similar, and I’m sure other people engage in it, but I couldn’t see myself being a servant in the same way. A servant, surely, but there are things such as walking 10 paces behind him while shopping, carrying all his things, or things such as that which I wouldn’t feel comfortable or desire doing. However, things like taking his coat and opening the door for him and such I would be willing to do, waiting on him, things like that, but only certain things are ones I wouldn’t want to do.

For a Mistress, on the other hand, I think I would delight in doing some of the things I don’t see me doing with a Master. Although, I could were I in drag. I could see myself as the boi servant of some high femme woman. That could be hot. I would probably end up being a femme-ish boi, but a boi nonetheless. Curious. I could see myself doing those things as a boi for a Master as well, but not as the femme that I am.

What accounts for this difference? It’s quite obviously gender and gender roles. It’s due to the hyperfemininity which would be expressed by the performing of such actions, which I would find difficulty with should my Master do something like that. This is making me think. I wonder if I shouldn’t have spoken so hastily and discarded activities for all men. I didn’t really see myself to a feminine female except for now I do, and I blame the book. Perhaps it would be different if I were reading a book about a feminine male and his (boi?) woman.

Thinking about it I do enjoy the idea of a feminine male and his boi, and that makes me think of Tipping the Velvet, I seem to recall one such couple, as well as the main couple being one I described above, ultrafeminine woman and boi. I couldn’t see my Master as a feminine male, as he is very much not one, though he does have feminine sides, but not an ultrafeminine male.

Anyway, there were some of my musings. More later, I think. I have work to do.

01.18

2008

Poly and My Gender Crisis

I haven’t really talked much about polyamory here. This is something I would like to talk more about, and something which Master and I need to talk about as well. He has mentioned that he would not want another slave. I think his idea of poly includes us having a third, rather than just one of us or the other having another partner, but I’m not sure. I think I would want a secondary that’s just my own, and to be a secondary to that secondary. I also like the idea of us having someone who we are both with as well, but they would also have to be a secondary, he and I would come first. I would want our secondaries to have someone else, a primary, and maybe we could be involved with them as well somehow, or not, it would depend on the person.

I’m having a slight gender crisis right now, but that’s for a different post, I think, I don’t know, maybe not? I’ve been reading Stone Butch Blues, which is amazing and something that I think everyone should read, but I identify almost too strongly with Jess. I identify with butches, and I wonder if that’s part of what makes me a femme, or if it’s because I have some butch in me. I used to be butch. I loved it. I think I would still love it, but I love my femme-ininity just as well. When I was butch I still wore skirts, and maybe that’s what I need, to cross the lines instead of just being on one side or the other, but it’s hard to be somewhat butch and mostly femme it’s easier to be somewhat femme and mostly butch, and I don’t think that’s where I am at.

I feel like, in some odd ways, that I’m passing. I’m passing for straight and passing for woman, when in reality I am neither of those things. I love women and men, and women just a little more generally, but I’m currently with a man, which means I can pass as straight in the regular world, and maybe that’s good, maybe I need to be passing in Utah. I mean, it’s fucking Utah.

People look at me and think woman, they don’t have to figure me out, and maybe I like it when they do, but how do I encorporate a little bit of butch into my femme without cutting my hair or not wearing skirts or not wearing makeup, all of which I love to do/have. Odd, really. There’s no way to be feminine and in between unless you’re male, and maybe this is why I identify so strongly with drag queens and male femininity, because it’s a femininity which can be between man and woman while being feminine, but the between man and woman while being feminine for females is nearly impossible.

I long to be butch, yet I love to be femme, so where do I fit, if anywhere? This is partially where genderqueer comes in, but I want to be both and yet can’t be, and that’s basically genderqueer, but not only… I just don’t quite fit right. This is my gender crisis. I love the gender I’ve fit into, but how do I express it without wearing a gender tag that says “I’m a gothic looking bio-female genderqueer femme drag queen, ask me how!”? Otherwise I’m just written off as “woman.” And while I’m not against woman nor do I fault others for identifying as woman it doesn’t do it for me.

I love being femme, yet I long to be butch, but I know if I was butch I would long to be femme… wouldn’t I? Did I long to be femme while I was butch, or did I just long for a woman or a man who would accept me for who I was? Why did I start growing out my hair, so I could find a lover easier? I’m not sure. I’m not sure what I want, or what I am, or what I should do. But, then, I love having this long hair, and I want to grow it out, down past my shoulders, so it touches the middle of my back. Long black hair, nice and gothy and gorgeous and amusing all at once. I cling to my campy gender, my camp femme-ininty. I love it, and yet…

I think what I really need is a woman. I need female contact and companionship, not necesarially just for sex, but someone I can love and who will love me back. I’m not sure if I could have a woman bond like that as a secondary, though. I’m not sure she could be my primary either, though, since I’m with Onyx. And I love him, and I want him, and I love being with him and being his and everything that goes along with us being us, but he’s not a woman and he doesn’t understand some of the things that pull me so hard that sometimes i fear I will burst, or break, like women and queerness.

I think my longing to be butch is just a longing for a butch, or just for a woman, because I long for and love femme-ininity as well, so I think I’m just projecting my desire to be with a woman as my desire to be a different kind of woman, or the kind of woman I would want to be with, if that makes sense at all. I just ache and covet.

note: this, being a rant, is not asking for advice, but empathy is accepted happily.

01.15

2008

Gothic-looking Bio-female Genderqueer Femme Drag Queen

This is my previous post on the subject, and this post will be slightly different but also similar.

I’m a gothic/gothabilly-looking bio-female genderqueer femme drag queen.

You may notice that I have added a couple new identity markers to my identity than my previous post about this, both bio-female and genderqueer. I may even add “high” to femme, but I’m still debating this.

I consider gothic/gothabilly-looking to be part of my gender identity because it effects how I express my genderqueer femme drag queen self. If I wore other types of clothing I would express my femmeness or my drag queenness or my genderqueerity in different ways, but as it is I express it through a gothic/gothabilly type of dress. I don’t really consider myself goth or gothic, and I don’t consider any labels to really define me perfectly (part of the reason why my gender identity is so long), but I do think that identities are useful as ways in which to express something about yourself to others, but know that I mean them as temporary describers to express my current relation with my gender identity (as in this case) or anything.

Bio-female is pretty self-explanatory, standing for “biologically female” and basically meaning that I was born with primary sex characteristics of a female and my body has developed secondary sex characteristics as well. My body has developed into a female on its own accord, and without any suppliments or help from outside sources. Although I don’t really “feel” female, but I think that is my not feeling like a conventional woman more than not feeling “female” because sex identity (male/female) and gender identity (man/woman) are so closely intwined and hard to seperate.

Genderqueer femme drag queen all goes together, but can be picked apart as well. Genderqueer is basically my way of saying that I don’t quite feel that I fit into the conventional ideas of man and woman as genders (as opposed to male and female as biological sex as described above), although I adopt other remarkably feminine identities in femme and drag queen they are not the same as a bio-female woman, in my opinion.

Femme is more of a visual identity for me, it is my distinction between femininity and femme-ininty, basically that femme is my conscious decision to wear makeup and skirts and to appear in a feminine manner. Drag queen is more of an internal identity. I feel more closely associated with a the feminintiy presented by drag queens than the femininity presented by contemporary ideas of woman, that is, camp femininity. My femininity is exaggerated and over the top and comes from a place of realized unnaturalness.

I embrace the idea that all gender is drag, that there is no “original” gender, there is nothing which is innate in us towards the things which make up a gender, that does not mean that we aren’t drawn to certain activities or other, but, take for example gendered things throughout the years and in different cultures. In some cultures, such as many Native American cultures, long hair is a symbol of strength and masculinity, in some, such as our current culture, it is considered feminine. Some cultures have men wearing skirts, such as in Scotland, in our culture that is considered feminine. Men used to wear what we would consider tights in high English society, or lace or velvet, and all three of those are considered connected with the feminine.

I don’t mean that we aren’t pulled to certain things or others, which I think we are, and there is a mixture of psychological and sociological factors that lead to things like gender, and so on. However, what we decide makes up “masculine” and “feminine” traits are not normative, they are not natural or innate nor is there only one way to do them. This can be shown, too, just in the last 50 or so years. In the 1950s it was scandalous for women to wear pants, it was considered butch and masculine, but now most women often wear pants more than they wear skirts.

So, “drag queen” in my identity is related to this notion of performativity, that gender is not natural and is performed, and it is also tied in with me embracing a femininity which is not associated with women, but associated with men. Males can express a very different type of femininity than females can, and I try to bridge that gap, although I don’t think it is often shown to others, that is why this is more of an internal identity, as mentioned before. I love campy femininity, that femininity which is over the top, and most often associated with gay males rather than females. It is that which exposes femininity as a pose, a performance, and that is what I embrace.

Hopefully that all makes sense. Feel free to ask questions, I won’t be offended.

11.11

2007

The Paradox of Femme-ininity As Transgender Identity

The paper I wrote for my Gender and Sexual Orientation class. It is rather long and somewhat academic.

The Paradox of Femme-ininity As Transgender Identity

Simone de Beauvoir (1949) states in The Second Sex “one is not born a woman, but, rather, becomes one.” Judith Butler (1990) asserts in her analysis of gender in Gender Trouble that woman is to copy as copy is to copy, therefore there is no original when speaking of traditional gender roles or gender in and of itself, it is all a reproduction of something else. If these two statements are taken to be true, than anyone could become a woman, a man, or any other gender role which they desire. If women are not born then no other gendered identity is born either. Is gender, then, whatever we make of it?

Traditionally in our society gender roles are supposed to follow the sex which the gendered body is representing. Male bodies grow up to be men/masculine and female bodies grow up to be women/feminine. This isn’t always the case. Transgendered people throw off these two neatly defined gender categories which are socialized into us from day one. While multiple definitions can be applied to the term ‘transgender,’ it is generally and broadly defined as any gender deviance from the (two) traditional socially accepted genders (OutProud, 2007).

The term femme can have multiple meanings and interpretations as well: “[m]any femmes are lesbians, but femmes are also drag queens, straight sex workers, nelly fags, all strong women and sassy men” (Camilleri & Rose, 2002). Some have gone so far as to say “[t]rying to define femme is like trying to capture the essence of mystery” (Drinkwater, 2006) because it is an extremely subjectively defined identity, as all identities are. Specifically in this paper, however, the use of the gender femme in relation to genetic females who identify as femme will be examined. more →

10.24

2007

Hermaphroditic Drag Queen?

From my reading response for my Gender and Sexual Orientation class today. Losing Sue is about MtF transsexuals.

“One thing in Losing Sue that was interesting to me was the introduction of Della/Del, and him saying “I prefer being called “he,” but I don’t really identify as a man. I identify more as a hermaphrodyke.” Why does being something in between man and woman end up looking masculine? Is it because masculine is the powered gender and therefore feminine is the queer gender, and to be something in between you have to be less feminine? Does that even make sense? It makes me think of Wilchins in Queer Theory, Gender Theory who talks about, well, a lot of things, but when she talks about her own sexual reassignment and how it’s valid to say “I feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body” but it’s not valid to say “I feel like a herm trapped in a man’s body.”

I know there is a debate regarding the gender binary perpetuation of transsexuals, and I think it comes out, partially, of what I’m talking about above. Regardless of what we try to accomplish, also, society ends up putting everyone in one of two categories: man and woman. If you don’t fit, we try to find out the “real” gender of the person, what they “really” must be, because people don’t get the facsimile of all gender, like we were talking about two class periods ago. I often feel like any gender outside the two binaries is a waste of time, and my gender specifically is because what am I challenging? Anything? I’m not sure if I could say that I feel “female” but, really, I don’t know what that means. I feel trans because even though I am genetically female I don’t think there is much that goes along with that, aside from my physical self, but that only goes so far. However, because I’m female and enjoy femininity it’s seen as more normal than most other things. Could I identify as a hermaphroditic drag queen? Sure. Would it do much to change the way society perceives me? Very little, unless I wore a button/shirt saying “I’m a hermaphroditic drag queen, ask me how!” But most likely people would just get confused.”

More about this later, perhaps.

10.04

2007

My Gender Identity

I’m a gothic/gothabilly-looking femme drag queen.

Let me explain.

I add gothic/gothabilly-looking into my gender identity, because it dictates how my gender is expressed. If I was punk or lolita or more mainstream my gender would be expressed in a much different way. As it is, I’m beginning to adopt some things which are a little unusual for the gothic/gothabilly image, but I’m not a stickler to it either, and I’m not a stickler to my gender either.

I believe my gender is fluid. When I put a label on it, “femme drag queen,” I use that as at once slightly ambiguous as well as solid. I don’t believe it is really either. I can also identify as “trans” or “queer” as my gender, although I prefer “femme drag queen.”

It has taken me a long time to get to this identity. I was kind of oblivious for a long time, just kind of doing whatever, and rather feminine, but also not, and for many years I would only mostly play male characters in plays. I felt masculine, part of me feels more male than female, though I know and love the fact that I have a cunt, and this is partially where the drag queen identity comes in, though not only. I was rather femmish butch in high school, but mostly butch. I shaved my head, I was rather punkish, I felt rather masculine, though I also wore skirts. I had a friend’s father think I was a boy in a dress instead of a woman with a shaved head at one point, and I think it’s almost more accurate. I was kind of affronted at the time, but now I look back and I smile.

I recognize the fact that all gender is drag. “Woman is to copy as copy is to copy.” There is no “natural” or “innate” or “perfect” gender. All gender is a performance of gender, all gender expression is unnatural, all gender expression is fake, is a copy, is drag. And I love it. This is also partially where my gender identification of “drag queen” comes in.

Femininity as experienced by lesbians vs. bi/pan/omni-sexual females or males vs. straight females or males vs. gay males vs. any other sex (biological bodies) and sexual (who you sleep with) identities is extremely different for each group. The femininity which I can attain as an omnisexual female is not the same as the femninity which an omnisexual male or a gay male could attain. However, the femininity I identify with is that of omnisexual or gay males. The femininity I identify with is that of drag queens, both in subdued and extreme forms. The femininity I feel like I desire is a trans or queer femininity.

I am constantly performing my gender, and I love my gender, but it’s not something easily identified by those outside of myself. This isn’t a bad thing, I think, as on one hand it allows me to get closer to those who view me as typically feminine, and it allows me to shake up the ideas of it, though I don’t do that as often as I’d like, but I also do.

I’ve been told that I had a huge influence in my high school. My radical behavior influenced others to go do what they wanted and look the way they wanted and claim queer identities if they wanted. I’ve been told I’ve had a huge influence on my friends, one of which told me that she started wearing different clothing, clothing that she has always wanted to but never had the guts to, once we became friends and she watched me. She noticed me wearing whatever I wanted, wearing anything that I wanted, not caring about what others thought, and because of that she began to wear the clothing that she had previously been to self-conscious to wear. I know I have influence on people, and that simply by being me I can influence others (and I’m not meaning to sound pompous or pretentious or something, this is seriously what I’ve been told). It took me aback when I was told these things, but I’m glad I was told.

Not many people really get my gender at first mention of it, and a lot of people think that it’s something which is not challenging behaviors or thoughts, but the thing is it doesn’t matter as much to me what I’m challenging in others, though it does matter to an extent, but mostly I just want to be me.

10.03

2007

ButchFemme by Team Gina

I found this through my sister a while ago, and I just love it so much. We’re reading about butch/femme this week in Gender & Sexual Orientation, which made me want to post this for everyone, ’cause everyone needs to see it.

It’s simply called ButchFemme and by a pair in Seattle with wonderful lines like:
“you don’t see as many of them anymore, not like back in the day, you know, when they had to wear three pieces of women’s clothing not to be arrested…”
“I like butch girls and I cannot lie. You other femmes can’t deny, when a butch walks in all the femmes wanna fuss ‘cause there’s one of them and thirty of us”
“sometimes I miss the butch/femme dynamic”
“I like a girl whose pants hang off her ass. I like a girl with a little bit of body mass. I like a girl who knows she makes me gawk at her star tattoos, sun glasses, and mohawk.”
“Write me letters, bring me flowers, screw me all night for hours and hours.”
A cute little flag to the hanky code (“Hey butch girl i’m kind of having a problem, I see from your hanky that you’re flagging a bottom. It’s not that I want to be a sterotype, a passive femme girl, receptive, polite. But come on, is your bark worse than your bite? are you really gonna make me Top you tonight? i’m not trying to be predictable, but you’re going to have to pin me against this wall.” “Oh, is that what that bandana meant? Oh, no, I must have had that in the wrong pocket or something. No… no, no… I’m a Top, I swear!”)
and so many more.

Team Gina’s myspace page