Category Archives: transphobia

August 30, 2011, 9:06 am

News Flash: Hollywood Still In Closet, Drag Kings Freak Famous Christians Out

I will be one of the first to admit that I don’t really get Lady Gaga, not the way other people do.  But I’m starting to.

The first time I saw her was on American Idol, doing a hit song that I had never heard, “Poker Face.” I Tweeted to FaceBook, “Who *is* this Gaga person?” One of my cultural studies colleagues from the South, whose partner wrote the music for the biggest trans off-Broadway hit since Rocky Horror, shot back, “She is a *genius* — that’s who she is.”

Suddenly a song that had just been blending in on my car radio made itself obvious, and I began to follow Gaga’s rise to super-stardom.  Like many campy performers, she is particularly popular among gay men. However, unlike some of the more famous disco queens (here I would cite Donna Summer’s long reluctance to connect to gay fans and the ever-ungrateful Gloria Gaynor, who said in 2007 that she viewed her…

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June 17, 2010, 1:27 pm

Call 1-800-FEMNIST: Would Publicity About Unnecessary Genital Surgery On American Children Get Women Off Their Asses?

OK, I know I haven’t blogged about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ($20 billion? Not enough, Barack — and do not point your finger at me to show how “tough” you are. Hyper-masculinity pisses me off.) I have also not blogged about the closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the California case that will nominally decide whether Prop 8 is overturned, but that will really decide that GLBT marriage will go to the Supreme Court sooner than activists on either side intended (see Georgetown law prof Nan D. Hunter at Hunter of Justice for updates.)

What I am thinking about a lot this summer, however — since I am writing a book on radical feminism in the 1970s — is: what could happen to kick women in the United States out of their torpor and provoke a feminist political revival? Specifically, what could get women to care about female genital mutilation here in the United States,…

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September 20, 2009, 2:12 pm

In Search Of The History That Hasn’t Happened: Caster Semenya, Gender Barriers And The Right To Compete

Several weeks ago, while watching some early round matches at the U.S. Open, a friend of mine and I were discussing how unbelievably homophobic the world of sports still is. Of course, you might point out that we were having this conversation at the National Tennis Center, which is named after a lesbian. Billie Jean King first fought sexism in the sport; was then forced out of the closet; and then, having lost all her sponsorships, competed as an out lesbian. Subsequently, Martina Navratilova (pictured at left in all her glorious butchness) came out, lost her sponsorships, competed as an out lesbian and — also like King– became a serious player in the political and legal struggle for civil equality.

But friends, this boundary in tennis was broken thirty years ago. Where is the history of queer athletes moving into the mainstream that should have followed? Can you name more than…

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April 15, 2009, 2:52 pm

Notes From The Archive: Some Of Those Nasty Rumors You Heard About Some Feminists Are True

Every once in a while, as I plug away at my ongoing research on second wave feminism and anti-pornography activism, I come upon a piece of evidence that the rifts in women’s liberation were far uglier than the accounts of them that have survived in many secondary accounts of the movement.

Not infrequently, some of these startling moments cause me to re-think central themes from the 1970s: racism, homophobia and what would come to be known as transphobia, among them. As one example, I realized today, while taking notes from one of the feminist memoirs I am reading, that I have underestimated the anxiety triggered by masculine women among some old-guard second wave feminists who were critical to the early years of the movement, anxiety that seems to have survived intact into the twenty-first century. In her autobiography Not One Of The Boys: Living Life As A Feminist (2000), activist at…

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