taiWelcome! I’m Tai Fenix Kulystin (previously known as Scarlet Lotus), I am a queer fat genderqueer polyamorous switch and my pronouns are they/them. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the joys and pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

Outside of this blog I am currently finishing up a Master's degree to help me launch into my career as a Gender & Intimacy Coach and Somatic Sexuality Educator. I am passionate about working with people of all bodies, genders, sexualities, and relationship styles to help them move toward experiencing the (sex) life of their dreams.

Archive for the ‘Gender Galaxy’



Semantics Sunday: Gender Galaxy

One of the terms I have in my lexicon but also something that I could expound upon for quite some time. I was talking with someone recently about my idea of the gender galaxy and she said something about liking femininity, not wanting to give it up. I kind of balked at her and asked how that was what I was saying at all. I find it so ridiculous that people assume that taking gender off of a binary means that femininity must go away.

On one hand, it makes sense, because a lot of the work of the feminist movement has been, basically, to do the same work as patriarchy and discredit femininity only from the other side of it, discrediting it from the inside, because it’s constructed. One thing I love about the idea of performativity is that it names everything as a performance, the constructed nature about the way we think about gender, but it doesn’t mean that we all don’t have some sort of pull toward one or many types of gender expression.

But, I digress. The term “gender galaxy” first appeared in Expanding Gender and Expanding the Law: Toward a Social and Legal Conceptualization of Gender that is More Inclusive of Transgender People by Dylan Vade, published in 2005 in the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law. He says:

I suggest a non-linear alternative conceptualization, which I call the gender galaxy. The gender galaxy is a three-dimensional non-linear space in which every gender has a location that may or may not be fixed. For instance, butch woman is one particular gender location. Feminine FTM is another gender location. These are two different valid gender locations that are not linearly related.

The article is fascinating, and I highly encourage you to read it as well, for further information of his explanations. He mentions that generally when we try to go away from the two options of (he uses male and female but to me those are sex categories rather than gender, and so I would say masculine and feminine) gender we move it onto a spectrum instead of just a one-or-the-other option. However, moving it onto a spectrum means it is still grounded in that binary, and his idea of a gender galaxy is moving away from that, as mentioned in the quote above.

Gender galaxy is a term that Sinclair of SugarButch has written about and defines, and I highly encourage all you who haven’t to look at his brilliant writings on the subject. One of the best examples of his writing about the gender galaxy comes from his telling of his journey of learning how to navigate within the gender galaxy and finding his identity as butch:

It took such a long time for me to come to comfortably sit in this butch identity, for me to (if we’ll continue the metaphor) navigate the gender galaxy, and find a comfortable orbit around an identity label. Some of us don’t ever settle into that – some of us are radical little spaceships that explore treasures from all sorts of different worlds and words that we orbit. I guess the trick is, in my opinion, to simply find the routes that are the best to navigate (not necessarily the easiest, but the most satisfying), the orbits where there is plenty of oxygen, the alliances that create treaties and share resources and have excellent adventures.

We basically have to make our own gender galaxy maps. And while some gender mapmaking tools – queer theory, gender theory, postmodern theory, queer literature, smut and the language of lesbian desires – while some tools help immensely, I still couldn’t quite escape the praxis, the application of the theory, because of the ways that the social constraints and social policing affected my own process deeply.

I’m working on a post of my own personal galaxy map to femme, how I’ve gotten here, what it means to me, and I’m hoping to be done with that soon. In the meantime, you have Sinclair’s to reference and my ideas of gender galaxy to ponder, as follows.

Basically I see the gender galaxy as having lots of little solar systems, with the sun or focal point of that solar system being a certain gender identity. There are some people who stay in orbit around one sun. Some are closer than others, like the difference between Mercury and Jupiter, and some are farther away and have irregular courses like Neptune. Still others are asteroids or comets, moving around multiple solar systems, moving through the gender galaxy itself without one focal point or another. Some people may inhabit two planets or three or four. The beauty of the gender galaxy is the limitless amount of possibilities.

Obviously, as my own gender identity includes femme and therefore includes femininity (or, femmeininity) I am not anti-femininity, nor do I believe that gender should be abolished or that the gender galaxy is getting rid of gender, on the contrary. Gender is even more emphasized in some ways in the gender galaxy, except instead of confining it the gender galaxy makes gender overly available. Opening up gender from a gender binary or even a gender continuum to a gender galaxy makes it so that there are no expressions of gender that are considered incorrect. We would no longer be able to fail at gender, either, as there is no set limits as to what gender is or could be.

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Queer Love, Het Love, Whatevah

By Athens Boys Choir, “a gender-deviant, multi-media, spoken word/hip-hop extravaganza.” Found via Ellie Lumpesse and Feministing. I absolutely love it, and so even though many of you will have seen this already, I’m still reposting it for those of you who may not be reading Ellie (though you should be).

Pansexual is one of the identities I embrace, usually pan or omnisexual when I don’t want to get into my definition of intellisexual or my use of the word queer. I’m all about multiple identities that mean the same thing with slight differences.

It also features Team Gina who I’ve posted a video by before, AND who I am going to go see tonight! I’m so super excited about that. Go watch ButchFemme and Rock The Like by Team Gina on YouTube, or go to their myspace page and listen to some of their other songs. I love them. So excited!

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Scarlet Seductions

Click here for the larger version

Popped my HNT Cherry! I wanted to do something very “me” for this my very first Half-Nekkid Thursday, so I put on my leather scarlet corset and scarlet and white polka dot skirt and grabbed my lovely scarlet and white Vicky Venus dildo and my terra-firma harness and took tons of pictures, though only a couple were really worthy of posting, as it goes.

I thought the whiteness of my thighs (I am a pasty white Alaskan, you know) along with the white and scarlet of the skirt and Vicky would look just lovely, and you can see some of my Bettie Page tattoo peeking out from under the skirt (the second “hidden” picture shows more of the tattoo and more of the corset). And just look at how cute the Vicky Venus dildo is! It is my favorite, I am so enamored with her. She’s even got a little belly button!

Taking these made me start to lust after the wireless remote control that Amazon has for my camera, and also a tripod. Neither of which I have, but both of which would be helpful for future HNT’s and photography in general.

One of the things I really want to do is take more pictures, but it’s difficult to take self-pictures (without a remote and tripod especially) and I have a lack of models. I much prefer models/portraits/people to landscapes and such. I suppose I could start advertising, but part of it is that I don’t feel ready to shoot models because I don’t think I’m “that” good yet. However, perhaps I just need to put that aside, because the more I shoot the better I will be.

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My Femme Cock

Many years ago I bought a terra firma harness (with extender strap) and Leo (in black). I have used it many times (though not as many as I would like), on a few different partners, both male and female.

However, most of those partners and occurrences were few and far between. Recently, while Master and I were in England, I used it on him. We had talked about it for quite some time, but we never really got around to me fucking him in the ass. It was very fun, and may have been one of the catalysts to me discovering my Top/Domina side. Not that one has to be a Top if one has a cock, oh no. I know that is not true, and that is not what I’m trying to imply. However, for me, there was a bit of power that I was wielding due to being the penetrator and I not only got back in touch with my cock, but I also got back in touch with that side of me that enjoys wielding that power.

Honestly, when I bought my Leo he was a butch cock. I was much more butch in high school before figuring out my femme side and embracing it. I really did and do love butch genders, and I really enjoyed playing with a butch gender on my own body, something that I still play with on occasion, I do own a black pinstripe suit and a few ties, I do enjoy going to the drag king side of my personality, as opposed to the drag queen which is my primary gender expression.

So, while I still love my butch cock, he is not quite me anymore. I have also used him quite enough on myself, which seems a little strange for my cock to have been used inside me. Perhaps this is a small point, and I think it is in some ways, but it is what I feel. It’s not that I don’t think that I could use my cock within myself, I just have used it maybe too many times. I love Leo for me, and for packing, and for fucking, but it’s not my cock anymore, it’s a dildo.

My cock needs to be femme. And my new femme cock needs to be scarlet. My scarlet femme cock is going to be gorgeous, and will make my lovers salivate at the thought of it, and it will be my femme cock. My femme cock will have a femme expression as well. She will be fabulous and perfect. And I’m not limiting myself to just one femme cock, but I need a primary one.

I found a fabulous red glitter cock at Cahoots, a sex toy/novelty store not too far from my house. However, I’m not sure how I feel about having the balls attached. It could be interesting, but, may not be quite right. But I LOVE the red glitter. It kind of makes me think of The Wizard of Oz, which makes me want it even more. It is definitely a femme cock. The problem with it, too is it is jel-lee (which I would have to use a condom with, which isn’t horrible, but could be annoying) and I would much prefer a silicone cock.

The other I’ve been eyeing is General. The common problem of both of them is that they’re both rather thick (not to mention General is expensive!). That’s not always bad, and apparently I’m just drawn to having a big cock, which makes sense as it would fit the rest of me. However, I’m sure I would want to use it for anal play quite often, so that could be an issue. I would almost have to have a female partner before I could justify a cock which did not go well with anal play. Both dildos would be lovely for cock sucking, but I’m not sure how much Master is down with sucking my cock. My primary femme cock would need to be not as thick as the other two, but I would want to get the glitter one for style as well as function.

I’m enamored with Tiger as well as the P-Spot and Luxury. Perhaps getting P-Spot or Luxury and the Wizard of Oz (WoO) cock might be a perfect combination. The P-Spot is (as you could guess) made for the prostate, but I would guess that it would be nice for getting the g-spot during anal sex as well. The WoO cock may be best for receiving blow jobs and a nice vaginal cock (with condom). This may mean I need to invest in more condoms.

Any suggestions for other fabulous femme cocks for me to look at? I would like to refrain from the jelly if possible, but I have yet to find a cock as fabulous as the WoO cock.

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Fabulous Fat FemmeCast

Another wonderful femme resource found via Sinclair Sexsmith.

The FemmeCast is amazing, I’m listening to the third cast right now about fat femme self esteem. I absolutely love it. They just finished a segment about the Femme Conference which I still desperately want to go to! I wish I had money. Alas. If anyone out there needs a roommate I may be able to make it happen… I doubt it, though. Anyway, back to the cast info.

FemmeCast: The Queer Fat Femme Podcast Guide to Life is an audio newsmagazine for Queer Fat Femmes, Fatshionistas of all sexualities and Queers of all genders. Hosted by Bevin Branlandingham with a cadre of regular contributors, we’re discussing dating, fat fashion, social justice, friendships, sex, gender, tranny talk, culture, travel, community and feature new music by Queer artists. A whimsical This American Life meets a radical queer how-to novel with MTV generation timing, FemmeCast will keep listeners laughing, connected and inspired.

There is a lot of amazing information within this cast, and I can’t wait to listen to the other episodes. It has made me laugh and made me feel better about myself to hear all of these wonderful fat femmes and fat femme lovers talk about how awesome and fabulous it is to be/love a fat femme. I mean, how awesome is that? What would you rather listen to than something which will make you feel better about yourself?

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My Concept of Femmeinism

As you may have noticed, I’ve changed the title yet again, though this time a minor change from “feminist” to “femmeinist.” Now, the difference is subtle, but I believe there is a big difference. Traditionally feminism has tried to lead women to more androgynous looks, and has really frowned upon femininity as just something which the patriarchy has thought up, a male fantasy, and not something that we should buy into.

As Julia Serano said in Whipping Girl “Even many feminists buy into traditionally sexist notions about femininity–that it is artificial, contrived, and frivolous; that it is a ruse that only serves the purpose of attracting and appeasing the desires of men… After all, as a concept, feminism is much like the ideas of “democracy” or “Christianity.” Each has a major tenet at its core, yet there are a seemingly infinite number of ways in which those beliefs are practiced. And just as some forms of democracy and Christianity are corrupt and hypocritical while others are more just and righteous we… must… forge a new type of feminism, one that understands that the only way for us to achieve true gender equity is to abolish both oppositional sexism* and traditional sexism.**”

Femmeinist thought, however, embraces femininity and femmeininity, and is working toward that new type of feminism (or, femmeinism). While currently gender politics is still working on abolishing oppositional sexism*, traditional sexism** still abounds. It is in the fact that in order to be “gender neutral” one must look masculine, there is nearly no way to be gender neutral while really taking on feminine characteristics. Femininity must be strong, otherwise it wouldn’t be that if someone is wearing make up or a skirt that seems to automatically negate any other masculine gendered performance.

Something I came across here via The Femme Show was a definition of what femme is, or can be: “[the femme is] a betrayer of legibility itself. Seemingly “normal,” she responds to “normal” expectations with a sucker punch– she occupies normality abnormally.” – Lisa Duan and Kathleen McHugh from “A Fem(me)inist Manifesto” This is why part of my idea of who can be femme or not does not have to do only with sexuality. Femme is not about who you sleep with, though it can be, but there are plenty of feminine lesbians who are not femme. Femme is about consciousness: a conscious genderfuck in the rouse of traditional femininity. Anyone who consciously takes on the role of femininity as a deviant identity can be femme. Though, I believe it is easier for those who are already outside of social norms, such as lesbians and bisexual women, to come to a queer femininity and embrace it.

Femme is not something that sneaks up on you (though, it can sneak up on you in some ways, but there must be a conscious awareness to it as well), there is a definite change that happens from feminine to femme, or butch to femme or butch to genderqueer to femme (as was, in some ways, my transition). There is a transition, as with any trans identity: female to femme, perhaps. There is a wonderful movie which I am dying to see (I’ve only seen the trailer for it) which is called FtF: Female to Femme (you can view the trailer here). It seems like a step in the right direction.

I have so much more to say about femme, so many more ideas, and I will have more posts on it in the near future. This is kind of a rough-draft. Expect more and deeper investigation.

* oppositional sexism – “The belief that female and male are rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each posessing a unique and nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires.”
** traditional sexism – “The belief that maleness and masculinity are superior to femaleness and femininity.”

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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