"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.[more inside]
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
The Stranger's Queer Issue 2014 – How to Make Sure We Don't Leave Trans People Behind
- How to Stop the Stupid Debate About Taxpayer Dollars Funding "Sex Change" Surgeries
- How to Stop Thinking All Trans People Are the Same
- How to Date a Trans Person / How to Have Sex with a Trans Person
- How to Make Seattle Better for Trans People
- I Am the Best Feminist, for I Am Dating a Trans Woman
- How to Treat Trans Sex Workers with Respect
- About the Word "Tr-nny" by Mx Justin Vivian Bond
- How Zackary Drucker Photographs Trans People—Including Herself
- CeCe McDonald Speaks Freely About Being in Prison, Laverne Cox, Penis Pumps, and Gay Men Taking Women Seriously
- Interviews with Mac S. McGregor and Clyde Petersen
- Pride Everything 2014!
The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
JJ Levine is an artist based in Montréal whose photographic series Alone Time features one person as two different people, of different genders, in the same frame. The latest in the series has just debuted on Buzzfeed and features Levine's partner as both an expectant mother and an expectant father, as well as an interview with Levine. [more inside]
Last year, Rhea Ewing started asking questions like "What is gender? How do we relate to it? How do we talk about it? Does it mean the same thing for everyone?" In trying to answer them, she interviewed people and turned their responses into a zine, only to find that those answers sparked more questions. [more inside]
The Test Shot is an online visual project that aims to document and celebrate the variety and strength of transmasculine style. Ballet dancing "princess boys", dapper transmen fresh out of a golden age musical, hipstery trans* boys, preppy boy dykes, and video journalists in traditional Pakistani menswear showcase the diversity in how people interpret and express their gender through their favorite clothing. Original Plumbing [warning: non-explicit ad for porn site] is the premier print magazine dedicated to the sexuality and culture of FTM trans guys. OP documents diversity within trans male lifestyles through photographic portraits and essays, personal narratives and interviews. Read an interview with the creators, Dr. T's medical advice column, or check out blog entries on living in an all-male dorm,, how to get into queer porn as a trans guy,, and deciding to carry a baby after transition.. [more inside]
The Trans 100 is a list curated by We Happy Trans based on nominations of 100 key trans people breaking ground in American culture, arts, social justice, and politics. [more inside]
First noticed on tumblr but now available to all, Alex Clayden's paper "Same-Sex Desire in Pharaonic Egypt" which, among other things, tells you about the connection between lettuce and semen and the Ancient Egyptian for "You have a nice ass."
Right now Baltimore, MD plays host to FemmeCon, a biannual gathering for those who "seek to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity and provide a space for organizing and activism within Queer communities". Some of the issues faced by queer femme culture include femme invisibility in larger queer culture, the lack of non-stereotypical role models, being classed 'femme' by default, dismissal as "too much", as well as intersectional issues of femme with race, gender, and disability. In the meantime, femme subcultures such as tomboy femme, hard femme, and FEMME SHARKS as well as femmes in specific regions come together for inspiration, expression, power, creativity and support from each other - as well as from appreciative butches.
We Happy Trans is a place to share positive trans experiences. The site features a project called 7 Questions, where trans folk discuss their lives. Notable contributors include site owners Jen and Noah, as well as "glittery hot pink polyamorous unicorn" Ira, Moose, who just started testosterone treatment, and Stephen, whose charm proves that not all celebrities' kids are screw ups. [more inside]
Drag queen Sharon Needles, winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, has lately been facing a lot of criticism for their transgressive act: "Eli Kuti, a bartender at Lawrenceville's Blue Moon, where Needles often performs, recalls one performance in which Needles and another drag queen donned one-piece bathing suits emblazoned with swastikas. The two 'were hailing Hitler' and calling crowd members racial epithets, Kuti says." [more inside]
Model Behavior: A Laurie Penny essay on gender presentation, anorexia, neoliberalism, capitalism, queerness, gender, drag, media, America's Next Top Model, and a few other things.
GOOGLE RUPAUL. Drag superstar RuPaul (whose reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race" returns later this month) has enjoyed piles of free publicity thanks to name association with presidential canditate Ron Paul (NY Times). [more inside]
Are we born gay? And if we were, how would we know it? Sociologist Lisa Wade asks the question in response to the blog Born This Way, a collection of images of LGBT adults as children. Perusing the photographs tells an interesting story: being gay — that is, being sexually or romantically attracted to members of the same sex — is conflated with being gender non-conformist — adopting the mannerisms and interests of the other sex. (Previously)
Choice of Broadsides is a choose-your-own-adventure game set in an alternate 19th Century world that is much like our own, where Albion and Gaul fight for naval supremacy. You can choose to be a gentleman in a standard patriarchal society, or a gentlewoman in a matriarchal one. Later on in the game you can choose your sexual orientation. Originally there were no options for a same-sex relationship, but after demands from players, it was added in. Spoilers below the cut. [more inside]
—it takes some work for me to be convinced that men have the short end of the stick in this system that has set up masculinity to be superior. But I know there's something wrong with masculinity, and I know it's hard to express one's self as masculine without falling into the many, many harmful trappings of the limitations of a masculine gender, because I'm butch. A Manifesto for Radical Masculinity. [more inside]
"We know it's a little clichéd – but here's what we want to tell the census: We're here. We're queer. And we want you to ask us about it."
The 2010 United States Census will be able to count gay marriages and partnerships. George Takei and his husband tell you how. Even with the restrictions placed on that data by the Defense of Marriage Act, that's good news for the LGB part of the spectrum, but what about T? If you're transgender, despite what the Census might tell you, it's not so simple to be counted. (hat tip to nadawi) [more inside]
Poppin' Fresh from the newly launched QueerMeta community weblog: We'Wha: The Zuni Man-Woman. How could a six-foot tall Indian man be mistaken for a "maiden" and a "princess"? This was no Pocahontas! Even more intriguing is the relationship between Stevenson and We'wha. According to one gossip, "she" regularly entered the ladies rooms and boudoirs of Washington. How could Stevenson not know that her intelligent Zuni informant was really, in the words of one gossip, a "bold, bad man"? More about the 'berdaches' of the Zuni [ 1, 2, 3]. Google cache of last (Geocities) link here.