Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: identities (Page 5 of 8)

Home Sweet Heartache (HNT)

Click each image for the larger version.

So there’s not really too much naked about this picture, except my face, really, and that can be some kind of naked. These images are ones that were taken at a lookout point on Mount Roberts, after taking the tram up, taken by my mother. Mostly it’s actually Douglas in the background, as opposed to Juneau, the bridge you can see in one of them is the Juneau-Douglas bridge. I’m not sure why I like the one with me looking down, but I do, so I’m sharing two with you. Normally I would make one “hidden” but today I say: fuck that.

I feel like I’ve had a lot of changes happening lately, with my gender, my sexuality, the way I relate to my body in general, and so on. This isn’t bad per se, but it has put a strain on both my brain and my relationship, and is something we’re working through.

While I was up in Juneau and on the vacation in general I thought a lot about my identities (not as if that is a rare occurrence), and though I’ve come far, I still feel like I have a far way to go.

What does all this have to do with my HNT? Maybe because this is just one of the ways I look, just one of the ways I present myself, and I’m not sure if it’s accurate anymore.

Identity Musings – Part 2

Continued from the post yesterday, Identity Musings – Part 1 I encourage you to read that first if you have not.

I started leaning back toward femme the last year of high school. I didn’t have any serious relationships during high school, the few queer girls I knew either had boyfriends, didn’t seem interested, or I didn’t know them, and I wasn’t attracted to boys in my high school with the exception of very few. I lost my virginity at 16, the day it was legal for me to fuck someone over 18, to a man I didn’t really know. I don’t regret it, mostly I just wanted to get that whole virginity thing out of the way, but I do sometimes forget it happened.

I’m not sure what leaned me back toward femme, and, really, in some ways I had never left it. I was a wonderful mixture of butch and femme: keeping my hair short but wearing wigs when desired, wearing any manner of clothing I felt like, skirts, dresses, pants, capris, suits. I wore a suit to my junior prom: black coat, shirt, and pants with pink tie, socks, and hair to match my date’s dress. I look back on that time and realize in some ways I had my own gender figured out better than I do now.

I had this intense desire to grow my hair out, partially so that I would actually start attracting anyone. I didn’t think I was terribly attractive, but I looked back at myself with long hair and thought maybe that was the issue. I don’t believe that’s the case, but it was one of those non-logical I-really-want-to-get-laid-or-at-least-have-some-sort-of-sexual-encounter-with-someone-to-sate-my-skin-hunger type of things, so I started growing it out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my long hair, but I miss it being short. I definitely had this “boy phase” from middle school to near the end of high school, what I thought was a butch phase, but I really do think it was a bit more than that. I wouldn’t play female roles in plays for a few years (and I was in a lot of plays), and the first one I did rather reluctantly.

I embraced that genderqueer boi inside of me so wholly, and I really was more of a boy than anything, but I was often a cross-dressing boy.

When I have expressed my confusion regarding my gender, my need to have both of these in me, I’ve had people not quite understand what the issue is, why I can’t just be “in the middle”, why I can’t be both, where the confusion is coming from. There are also people who express their own blend of masculinity and femininity when I mention it, they say that they don’t feel that pull, that they exist with a little of both and don’t understand that pull either.

If I feel like a femme, why hasn’t that been enough? If I feel butch, why hasn’t that been enough? I’ve thought multiple times that because I could be butch I should be, because we need more butches around. But then I know that wouldn’t be honest with myself.

In some ways I feel like a transsexual femme, that I used to be a boy and now I am femme. Looking back I really do see the gender trends of my life rather clearly.

I feel like I started as a boy who liked girls things, but who was a boy, we’ll call him Sebastian. I was a queer boy who liked boys and girls, even though I looked like a girl I was still a boy. I grew up to be a boy, and then I decided to change and become a femme. Then I was a femme, I embraced that femme and she felt good, we’ll call her Scarlet. Now I’m realizing that while Scarlet is as perfect as I first thought her to be, that she fits me just like she originally did when I first had that femme-epiphany-moment, that she is not enough for me. I miss Sebastian, but I don’t want to give up Scarlet, I want to be both.

The thing is I’m both boi and femme, both male and female, both masculine and feminine, both Sebastian and Scarlet, and I always will be. I’m also not a mixture of the two. I’m not somewhere in between boi and femme, I don’t have my own planet that is a mixture of the two that I orbit around, no, I am a boi and I am a femme, sometimes completely separately and sometimes at the same time, but they are always to distinct identities. I have two different planets that I orbit around, and sometimes I orbit around both and sometimes I orbit around neither.

I have suppressed Sebastian for quite a while, but he is coming back with the realization that I need both of them to be whole. I am working on regaining that. And, who knows, maybe I’ll find another personae hidden in there as well, someone completely different than Scarlet or Sebastian.

Continue the musings with part 3…

Identity Musings – Part 1

I’ve been reading Pomosexuals for the last week or so, and loving it immensely. I read it while I’m on the elliptical at the gym, and I end up thinking about all these wonderful things that I would like to post about while I’m nowhere near my computer, or even paper to write ideas down with. This post has been swimming around in my head for days, thinking about how I got to the identities I embrace now.

Since gender, I think, is difficult to disentangle with sex and sexuality, I will be talking about all of those in this. It will be as much my general identity progression as it will be my gender identity progression, just focused a little more heavily on gender. Also, since this is turning out very long, it will be in two parts.

Any or all of these memories may not be entirely as they happened, as with all memories, but they are as I remember them.

I remember being younger–pre-school age, so 3 or 4–and taking a bath with my then-best-friend who was a boy, I remember us doing the “that’s weird” thing regarding each others genitals, wondering about the differences. I recall knowing the terms vagina and penis, though that may be that my brain at some point added them, and I remember remarking that my clitoris (I didn’t know what it was called at that point) was like a little penis. It’s not that I expected my clitoris to turn into a penis, or thinking that I was a boy, but I didn’t think there was much of a difference between them. Of course, I know now that they come from the same tissue, but that wasn’t exactly what I was thinking at the moment.

I remember growing up and liking dresses, while my (very 2nd wave feminist) mother did not like me liking dresses. She didn’t discourage me from wearing them exactly, but she would suggest that I did not wear them. The same goes with pink. Pink was never my favorite color (that elusive childhood obsession of a “favorite color” which changed nearly weekly), but I always have loved purple, and I think I would have liked pink sooner if it wasn’t for my mothers “yuck” reaction to it.

I remember my best friend M had a cinderella dress, and I coveted it. I remember liking to wear satiny nightgowns and have sleepovers with friends where we would play by rubbing our mounds together. I remember pretending to get married, and I would always be the preacher, rarely the bride or the groom.

I remember being girly, and I remember loving it. I was a femme, until I hit puberty, but I never “felt” female, I’m not even sure what that means. I think I mean that I didn’t really identify with being female or being a woman, though I did like girly things. I remember having “crushes” on boy celebrities that I wasn’t really attracted to, but that my friends A and T both did, and I was trying to fit in.

I remember hitting middle school and starting to wear all black when I used to wear all sorts of other colors. I came out to my then-best-friend W on the school bus before school in seventh grade, saying “I think I’m bisexual.” We talked about it, and he was cool with it, I’m not sure he quite knew what that meant. I remember having that spread around without my wishes, and then my own firm desire to spread it around.

I was sexual since sixth grade, or earlier maybe, but sixth was the first time I really started thinking about it, I had my first in fifth (October 10th–my best friend’s birthday party, it was a swimming party and I remember having to use a tampon for the first time that very first time I bled). I used to read romance novels, I read over sixty of them (I labeled them with numbers in my own OCD way), I was enamored with penetration, but lusted after the girls more than the guys. I masturbated… a lot.

When I was fourteen (though I certainly didn’t look fourteen) my older sister took me to Babeland (then Toys in Babeland) and bought me my first sex toy, a glow-in-the-dark bullet that I loved until it died (from overuse?).

I cut my hair short (about two inches) freshman year of high school. I started wearing pants more than skirts, though I still wore skirts because I’ve always loved them. I was very much a goth/punk butch fagette. I dyed my hair just about every shade of every color you can think of (ROYGBIV and more), and had all sorts of combinations, including pink with blue tips, yellow with green tips, pink and purple mixed around, red and purple, purple and white, and a very cool looking rainbow.

I was very out. I started the Gay/Straight Alliance at my High School my Junior year, and was the president that year and the next. I organized both high-school and community wide events. I worked with PFLAG and went to some of their meetings. Most people thought I was a lesbian, some of the people in my hometown still do, even though I was very out as bisexual. A friend’s lesbian mothers were surprised when she told them I was with a man.

I’ve been told that I was an inspiration to those around me, that I have helped them discover themselves and not be afraid of doing what they wanted or wearing what they wanted, because I was there to be a little more bizarre so they could go to their own personal extreme.

More of the path it took me to get here in part 2…

Family, Friends, and Identity

My trip is long over, I got back to Salt Lake on the 1st of October, though I started writing this before I got back, it’s taken me a while to get to finish it.

I had dinner with Coy Pink one of the nights I was in Seattle, who was absolutely delightful and gorgeous and I felt like we connected. My friends in Juneau are talking about moving to Seattle, and that combined with the possibility of getting to know Coy Pink better, as well as the general draw to the pacific northwest which I have all makes me want to move there. It’s rather probable that Onyx and I will end up in Seattle after we go to San Francisco, but that won’t be for a few years.

The week while in Juneau was nice, and gave me quite a bit of perspective, on a lot of things. The general life insights were pretty basic ones, really, but the identity-based insights were slightly more interesting perhaps… and one of these days I’ll get back to smut writing. A lot of the identity insights were because of the wedding/family reunion I attended the first weekend I was gone, but then there were more through spending time with old friends while in Juneau.

The first weekend of the trip consisted of going to a wedding, an activity that I do not do too often. Nearly all of the relatives of that side of the family were attending, so it was also considered a family reunion, just centering around the wedding. I think being around that much family makes one focus in on whatever it is they think the other people see, specifically I thought a lot about who I used to be, who I am now, and how that is the same/different.

I also felt like I had to squelch all my multiple queer and non-obvious identities and just fill in the family/relative identity. While everyone was interested in getting a little snapshot-idea of my life, it was mostly to figure me out and file me away, not because they actually wanted anything in-depth. I can understand that, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing exactly, but it did make me feel a little invisible. Partially my own obvious identities are the culprit of my invisibility. I have a male partner and present myself as femme most of the time (though I’m sure most of my family didn’t get femme vs. feminine), they didn’t see the queer genderfucker inside of me because I didn’t highlight it.

It’s also difficult for me to get out of the role I was in for the first eighteen years of my life, that of the baby, the daughter, the sister, or even to escape the role that my extended family knows me in: the baby, the cousin/niece/etc., the one who will always be twelve in their minds (or some other number, but I actually had that one said to me). I’m so much more than that now, and it’s difficult to get rid of that. I have grown quieter, though, less social, and that hindered me throughout the weekend. I found myself “family-d out” quite a few times, and wishing I had more time alone rather than being with my dad at nearly every moment. I stole privacy whenever possible, but I was still a little overwhelmed.

While there are many in my family who are larger, I was one of the largest at most events (or, at least, that’s how it felt to me). I’ve been focused on my weight for a while, I’m the largest and heaviest I’ve ever been right now, and I want to change that, mostly for health reasons. I was reminded multiple times on this trip that I am at risk for diabetes. I doubt I will ever be “skinny” or even not plus-sized, and I actually like that, my build doesn’t lend itself to a size 4 or even a size 8, and I’m okay with that, in fact, I like that.

Once I got up to Juneau I was able to focus a little more on myself, though not a lot. I feel like I didn’t have much time to myself up there as well, which wasn’t actually that bad. I spent a lot of time with friends, which gave me a little perspective on how I’d changed and how much they knew and yet didn’t know me, which is to be expected as I’ve not been around too much in the last four years, and I’ve changed quite a bit. They have changed as well, of course, but we still fit together, which was very nice.

One of my friends mentioned that I’m one of the last people our age who still dyes her hair crazy colors, and that made me question my motives for doing so. It came down to the same reason I’ve always had for dying my hair or dressing the way I do: it’s not for other people, or even personal expression exactly, it’s just me being me. I’m not making some statement I’m just doing what I want. Granted, there is a statement made, but I can’t control how people take it, really, but I can control what they see.

Since coming back home I’ve been a mixture of all sorts of things, including feeling rather unsexual, which is highly unusual for me. I’ve been depressed and unsure of just about everything, as all the things I was depending on have fallen out from under me (read: money sources). I’ll turn it around, as I always do, but I’ve been feeling stuck for quite some time. I’m hoping to change that, though.

Bitch Needs Your Help

I remember reading my mom’s copies Bitch magazine years ago while I was still living at home. I began reading it at a point in my life where my feminist nature was already deeply ingrained in me, although I wasn’t consciously aware of it. I don’t remember the year, but I do remember reading issue after issue, each one wonderful and eye-opening. I have never been subscribed to Bitch, although I don’t really know why, but there is usually an issue or two lying around mom’s house when I go back to visit (which I shall be doing this time next week).

Bitch needs to raise $40,000 by October 15th in order to produce the next issue of Bitch. As I’m sure many of you know, the economy is dramatically declining, and print magazines are no longer as popular as they once were anyway, so the combination is not a good one. They are a “nonprofit, reader-funded media organization” so they heavily rely on donations to produce the magazine.

You can read more about their plight and watch a video about it on their website. Every little bit helps, even $5 or $10, hell even $1 is one dollar closer to $40,000. I’m planning on donating what I can, and I encourage you all to do the same!

Cisgender and Getting Rid of a "Safety Blanket"

Sinclair brought up a great point the other day in his post define: cisgender that I want to touch upon and explore. Now, I’ve had cisgender in my lexicon since I started this site, and have been in the process of reading the book Sinclair mentions in his post, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity for longer than that (though am currently starting it over now that I’m not in school and can devote more attention to it). Whipping Girl is also where I got the definitions of traditional vs. oppositional sexism used in my definition of femmeinism. Needless to say, I think it’s brilliant, and look forward to finishing it.

For those of you who have not read Sinclair’s post (though I highly encourage you to), here is a definition of cisgender: people whose gender aligns with the cultural expectations of their sex and who have only ever experienced their subconscious and physical sexes as being aligned (e.g. feminine female, masculine male). “The word has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis, meaning “on the same side” as in the cis-trans distinction in chemistry.”

Now, back to the point. I have used the term “bio-female” in my gender/sexuality/general description for quite some time, and quite purposefully. Ever since reading Sinclair’s post I have been questioning this, and as you may notice I have taken it out of my description on the sidebar and in my about page. I have done this for a number of reasons.

First, however, I would like to explain my initial reason for choosing the term bio-female when I have been fully aware of the terms cisgender and cissexual for quite some time. What I realize now I meant was assigned-female-at-birth, as opposed to cis-female, because I have never quite felt cis-female, my gender has always been a little (or a lot) queer. Not only am I not cis-female because of my femme identity, but then when other identities are taken into account they dispute this as well. While I often do appear to the casual observer to be cisgendered, there are also plenty of times when I do not.

Sinclair’s post got me wondering: why do I have that in there? Why does it matter what I was assigned at birth if I don’t believe in binary genders or sexes? What was the reason for me to include this in my own description? The only answer I came to was that I didn’t want my sex misinterpreted. When I realized this I mentally laughed at myself. I realized it was a safety blanket, my version of a blue-blanket, and something I didn’t need anymore (perhaps never needed).

Because of that realization as well as the realization of the incorrectness of the term “bio,” for as Sinclair put it “there’s nothing non-biological about trans folks,” I decided to take it out of my description. I simply don’t need it anymore. Obviously at one point I thought it was necessary, I felt threatened that I would be assumed for anything other than female. I say this with a little bit of shame, it was my own internal cissexism rearing it’s ugly head. Despite being a decidedly fierce trans supporter and advocate for years I am still subject to my internalized cissexism, but I’m working on it.

There were two distinct times I can think of where I was “mistaken” for a male queen. These were both many years ago during high school. Nowadays I would be rejoicing for such a reading of my sex and gender, but in those days I had not gone through much if any gender revelations and while I wasn’t disgusted or outraged I was confused and taken aback (mostly because my boobs were huge and in both instances I was wearing a low-cut top, in one instance a corset). I think my original adoption of “bio-female” was in part due to those instances.

I have more thoughts about the differences between femme and cis-female, but will have to save them for another time.

On Being a Label Fetishist

After my stint with labels a while ago, it’s time for me to revisit them as they have been brought up a lot lately. While I did revisit my queer label more recently in a post about my queerness and I have been using my Semantics Sunday posts as a way for me to explore my individual labels, I want to go back to the more general subject of labels.

I want to start by saying this: I love labels. I would even go so far as to say I have a label fetish. This, in many ways, informs a lot of what I do, and there will be more on my label fetish later. As I’ve said before, basically any noun and most adjectives are labels. The problem with labels is that we need to realize that labels are useful tools but do not speak of us as a whole.

From my last post on labels:

An example: you order a burger at a restaurant. While this is a burger, it could be made of beef, turkey, chicken, soy, vegetables, black beans, or something else entirely. It could come with: lettuce, tomato, onion, mushrooms, pickles, garlic, pastrami, bacon, swiss cheese, cheddar, pepper jack, provolone, smoked gouda, or any number of toppings. It could also have: mayo, mustard, ketchup, ranch, hummus, barbecue sauce, or any number of sauces. It could be served on: whole wheat, white, sesame seed, rosetta… I think you get my point. These combinations create an almost infinite number of variations under the common label of “burger.” So it is with any label.

We call both garden burgers and buffalo burgers “burgers,” but they are radically different entities, and are often not (though sometimes are) consumed by the same people.

A lot of people dislike labels because they are limiting or because they believe if they choose to embrace a label it is then expected that they will never deviate from that label or appear in any way contradictory to it. This is part of the reason why I embrace a whole string of labels–femme and boi and faggette and genderqueer and drag queen to name a few… and those are just my gender labels–because if I present myself as a whole large group of labels it’s hard to push me into one box, because I’m already spreading myself across a thousand. By embracing a multitude of labels I am also trying to change the way we think about labels, because I can’t be pigeonholed into one label if I openly embrace multiple labels. How could someone choose just one label to put me into?

But I’m a rare case, though not as rare as some may think. Most people are not as comfortable straddling multiple labels, or orbiting multiple identities in the gender galaxy or any other galaxy. My multitude of labels enables me not to be shoved into one box, but how does that help those who don’t feel the pull of multiple identities, or who feel mostly one gender and a little another but who don’t want to embrace the second label fully?

That’s where realizing that while labels have the ability to box you in, they also have the ability to free you so that you have a better idea of yourself but also so that you can figure out the way you think of yourself, or what you think of yourself as, and then be able to move within or beyond that. Labels don’t have to be permanent nor do they have to inform who you are at every moment, just who you are at some moments or most moments or different transitive parts of you. The “problem” with labels can be “solved” by the realization of impermanence and fluidity, and that even if you embrace a label that does not mean you have to fit anyone’s definition of that label but your own.

I am aware that not everyone is obsessed labels in the same way I am (nor have they fetishized them). I don’t mean fetish in the sense of something that I need to get off, though it can in the right context, it’s more of an obsession or a desire. Perhaps more accurately it is actually a language fetish, theory fetish, or analyzation fetish… and there I go trying to nitpick my label of my fetish into something more precise).

Like I’ve said, I believe labels can be extremely useful when thought of in the right context. Labels are also extremely important, they can bring us together as much as they can tear us apart, the problem is so many focus on our differences instead of our similarities.

And I’ll leave you with a quote from The Leather Daddy and the Femme:

You want me to say I’m bisexual because you’re a woman, okay, I’ll say it. It’s no skin off my ass. But I don’t love women. I love you. Far as that goes, I don’t like most men all that much either. But I’d die for the guys in my tribe. Now are you beginning to get it? … See, it’s all well and good to call yourself whatever. I answer to faggot and gay male and leatherman and all those names, but if answering to a name means I can’t do something I decide I want to do, fuck it. And if someone wants to give me shit for what I decide to do, it’s their problem. … some rules exist just to prop up somebody’s prejudice, and they’re bullshit just like any other rule that’s meant to ensure conformity. … I’ve begun to wish more women were like you. Then maybe calling myself bisexual would make sense. Because believe me, if I had any objection to fucking pussy I never would have fucked yours, dear. I did not just screw you that first night to be polite. [bold emphasis added]

Musings on Masculinity

Ellie Lumpesse has been posting a series of interviews with men about masculinity all of which are absolutely fantastic, and I highly encourage you all to check them out. A little from her on her interviews: “So the other day I was thinking about masculinity. And then I realized I should probably think about it in conjunction with men. So, I asked a few guys to answer some very difficult questions about their relationships with masculinity. I’m amazed by the response so far and I hope that a dialogue will begin.”

When was the first time you remember being aware of masculinity? How old were you? What was the cultural climate or influence?

Growing up I don’t recall much of a focus on what masculinity was per se. I was raised by a single mother and largely raised by my two grandmothers; in fact I never even met my father until I was 7. Also I grew up in Norway which means a slightly different culture than in the US, though the ideas of Masculinity and Femininity are similar enough, if perhaps somewhat less extreme.

My first real experience with a Father Figure was when my mother got married to another man, a man I hated with a fiery vengeance. He also had a son who was 4 years older than me and we disliked each other even more. Growing up I had never been in to a lot of “proper” masculine activities, I hated sports and while other boys would love to play soccer or go skiing I would prefer staying home reading a book.

This didn’t fly with my step father, he had rather traditional ideas of what boys should be into and so he set out to “make a man of me”. Of course, even back then I had a rather stubborn and surprisingly well-developed anti-authoritan streak and I fought back against pretty hard. Luckily it didn’t last long as he and my mother had problems that resulted in a short marriage.

Do you think of yourself as masculine? Why or why not?

Yes and no. I like to think that I’ve embraced some of the better aspects of masculinity while rejecting the aspects I consider useless or counterproductive. My “embrace” of my masculine side began in High-school where I went through a large shift in personality, seeking to become more assertive, more confident and more in charge of my life. But with my typical contrariness I put my own spin on it and refused to easily fit with a masculine stereotype. Where other boys were still enamored by sports and physical prowess, I focused on mental prowess and poured my energy into becoming some sort of Intellectual Alpha-Male. The advent of the internet made this even easier and I adopted an online persona where I felt I explored a more aggressive masculine persona. I found it easier to be what I had been taught a Man should be online where I could play to my strengths than in real life where I still found the typical male bravado and chest-thumping to be rather distasteful.

Eventually as I got more comfortable with my masculine sides they also began to mellow and I began to feel more like moving outside the limitations they in some ways imposed on me. I feel less of a need to prove my masculinity, but more of a need to really explore it beyond what I had been taught about it, to find a masculinity that’s my own instead of that imposed by culture and society. I am still going through this process and am probably going to be doing so for the rest of my life. In fact the whole question of masculinity becomes just a part of a larger context of self-realization where simple labels increasingly fail to convey any real meaning about who I am and the ideas, thoughts, opinions and desires that I’m composed of. Masculinity fits, better than some other labels, but my Masculinity is to me unique, in some ways more forceful, in some ways more compromising than what others expect. It is in some ways subversive while in others it is almost frighteningly conformist.

How does your masculinity relate to your sexuality (be it your orientation, preferences, or expressions)?

For me my Masculinity in many ways ties in with my Dominant preferences. I don’t consider myself strictly heterosexual, but I’m primarily attracted to Biological females who are “feminine”, and I tend to present my Masculine side to others. Occasionally though, I feel a need to move completely out of that framework, to be the one not in charge, the one being fucked instead of the one doing the fucking, the one who surrenders control, while at the same time I have a very hard time doing so, and even talking about it or acknowledging it becomes very challenging. My appearance, mannerism and demeanor are thus almost universally “masculine” often in an almost exaggerated manner, especially around strangers or people I don’t know too well. In some ways this might be a defense mechanism, an easy way to keep others from really learning about me, from really getting to know me. Opening up and being vulnerable is something that I’ve always had a hard time with and even with my current partner who I feel closer to than anyone my whole life it still takes enormous effort on her part for me to really open up and show my vulnerable sides. The only consolation here is that it’s gradually getting a little bit easier.

Now this is not to say that I feel bad about my expressions of Masculinity, I definitely feel they are an important and cherished part of me, but I also feel a need to move beyond them and no longer be restricted by the limitations I feel they impose on me.

Queer Psychotherapy Conference

Found via Sinclair. When I read this my inner Psychologist was purring at the thought of it. I knew there must be conferences like this, but I had not heard of them definitively until now. Needless to say, I desperately desire to attend, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to do that.

www.ciis.edu/publicprograms for more information.

Queer Bodies in Psychotherapy calls attention to queer sexualities, identities, and practices that are inadequately addressed in both psychodynamic and somatic psychologies.

The Queer Bodies in Psychotherapy Conference is an opportunity for LGBTQI and straight therapists, queer theorists, somatic therapists and practitioners, members of various queer communities, scholars, activists, and educators to surface questions, develop theories, share case examples, and explore best practices in this emerging field. The Somatic Psychology Department at CIIS and The Center for the Study of the Body in Psychotherapy are organizing this conference as part of our ongoing commitment to exploring issues of embodied difference, marginalization, and the sociocultural understandings of somatic formation.


October 17 – 19, 2008
Hotel Whitcomb
1231 Market Street, San Francisco, CA

$225 for full weekend
$25 for Tim Miller Event (if not attending conference)


Tim Miller
Jewelle Gomez

Alzak Amlani, PhD
Matthew Bronson, PhD
Richard Buggs, PhD
Randy Connor, PhD
William F. Cornell, MA, TSTA
Dossie Easton, MFT
Karen Erlichman, MSS, LCSW
Zachariah Finley, MA, MFTI
Connie Hills, PhD
SJ Kahn, MFT
Kristin Kali, LM, CPM
Betsy Kassoff, PhD
Keiko Lane, MA, MFT
Janet Linder, LCSW
Connors McConville, MDiv, MA, MFTI
Elena Moser, LCSW
Rev. Trinity A. Ordona, PhD
Vernon A. Rosario, PhD, MD
Shoshana Simons, PhD
Steven Tierney, MA, EdD
Dylan Vade, PhD, JD
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Semantics Sunday: Fagette

One of my new favorite words, one which I’m even considering adding to my long list of labels up on the masthead, I’ve already added it to my gender description. I first encountered the term in the Fagette video by Athens Boys Choir which is absolutely lovely, hilarious, wonderful, and perfect.

Doing a search on google for faggette brings up over 18,600 results which are a mixture of pages with the Athens Boys Choir video on them or linked, personal profiles like myspace or digg, information for people with the last name of Fagette, some is information about La Fagette, France, and random other things. Aside from the video I’m interested in the Urban Dictionary definition of fagette which reads:

A lesbian or a woman that displays either a masculine or feminine attitudes, mannerisms, and dress depending on their whim at the moment.
At the Lesbian Club, Cheri was such a fagette that she was receiving looks of interest from both the Butch and Femme crowd.

As opposed to the simple other definitions: 1. A gay frenchman. Derived from “faggot” and “baguette.” 2. A female homosexual/lesbian. I would say I prefer the first definition of fagette(s) from UD instead of the other for fagette.

Further, I would propose my own definition (as that’s what this post is all about, right?) which brings it slightly away from sexuality, though I would say queer is a necessity as I believe queerness and gender have some sort of link together but queer doesn’t always have to do with who one sleeps with. I really like the “depending on their whim at the moment” part of the definition, and I think that is key for my own feelings and adoption of this label.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my boi side, especially since reading The Leather Daddy and the Femme since it is so amazing and is a queer femme who also dresses as a boi, who has both aspects (genders) within her and plays with both and in between. I have been feeling more of my boi side lately, but also enjoying and analyzing my femme side, yet another “switch” label for me to inhabit, perhaps, switching from boi to femme and back again and everywhere in between.

It’s often difficult to not have a definite place in this gender galaxy, or to be circling around more than one sun. At the same time it’s very freeing, because through embracing these specific labels I am able to then open up my own gender expression to fit inside or outside of the gender lines as I see fit. Just like I feel it’s sometimes necessary to restrict something or go to one extreme in order to find where you really feel comfortable, and I’ve had to do that.

Back to my definition of fagette. Basically I think of it as a queer who mixes masculinity and fem(me)ininity and creates their own version of both, whether their biology is male or female. I know it’s a rather open-ended definition, but I think gender is open-ended in some ways, a lot more open-ended than society would like us to believe anyway. A fagette can look like Athens Boys Choir: a boy with a vagina, or a bio-female drag queen, or like Miranda/Randy of The Leather Daddy and the Femme, or all sorts of other configurations. There’s something about femme masculinity in it (not to be confused with female masculinity), which seems contradictory, in any way but I’m talking simply gender and not biological sex.

There’s a type of femme which can only be achieved by mixing a little masculinity in, I think, the drag queen is a drag queen because it’s putting a feminine gender on the socially “wrong” body, but a similar gender is difficult to achieve when you are putting a similar gender expression, drag queen, on the socially “correct” body. Fagette is recognizing that wrongness, that queerness, and embracing it.

It doesn’t come out as femme drag queen for everyone, that’s just my experience of fagette, having to map it onto my identity in order to have it fit. It’s similar to what I mean by “femme drag queen,” the purposeful combining of femmeininity and masculinity in order to create a new gender all my own, an androgyny that doesn’t come out looking primarily masculine as most androgyny does.

Fagette is not limited to the gender expression “drag queen” as some drag queens are not fagettes, but some fagettes are drag queens. Fagette can encompass any gender which is a mixture of femme and fag (I believe).

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