Being bi, I personally don't see what the problem is, but you know, different strokes and all that, eh?
March 27, 2011 11:18 AM   Subscribe

 
Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They're just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts


QFT, no matter who or what you are.
posted by phunniemee at 11:22 AM on March 27, 2011 [41 favorites]


On the other hand, as the creator of the new zine Fucking Trans Women has pointed out, there's thousands of manuals and books and tips about how to have sex written about/for/in relation to cis people, and very few with regard to trans people. She's said she wants it to be a collaboration, like a recipe book.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:28 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't worry about the bodies.
They've got this.


This is sweet, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 11:30 AM on March 27, 2011


Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They're just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts


5/6 is a fraction, just like 1/24.

What matters is how the individual wants to numerate their denominator.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:31 AM on March 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


I saw this on Coilhouse a few minutes ago and thought well, this'll probably wind up on MetaFilter before long.
posted by brennen at 11:33 AM on March 27, 2011


Being bi, I personally don't see what the problem is, but you know, different strokes and all that, eh?

While I appreciate the power of the poem and the meaning behind it, I feel that this kind of headline can be considered insensitive, especially considering the message the poetry wishes to convey.

I really liked how the poem was able to simultaneously evoke feelings of awkward coupling yet search out the depths of intimacy, regardless of sex, gender or orientation. Thanks.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 11:36 AM on March 27, 2011 [26 favorites]


I am reminded of the lyrics to a song by Schmekel, the all-jewish, all-trans punk band:

I've got scars beneath my pecs
From when the surgeon changed my sex
And when I'm out with shirtless men
They ask about their origin

Shark attack! Shark attack! Shark attack! Shark attack!
My scars ar from a Shark attack!
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:39 AM on March 27, 2011 [125 favorites]


Yeah, well, that is, of course, assuming the trans person you are seeing actually wants to do anything, instead treating you like Ward Cleaver all the time despite how kind and non-judgmental you are.
posted by Samizdata at 11:41 AM on March 27, 2011


Shark attack! Shark attack! Shark attack! Shark attack!
My scars ar from a Shark attack!


I am stealing the fuck out of that.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:55 AM on March 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


It would be better if it were presented as prose, I think. Not sure this is really free verse. Thanks for the link though.
posted by howfar at 11:57 AM on March 27, 2011


I love it. I stumbled across it, not on the Blue, but on the blog of one of my favorite authors, Caitlin Kiernan, who happens to be transgendered. And I agree, it can also apply no matter what gender you are.
posted by Kitteh at 11:58 AM on March 27, 2011


Yes.

Also, is this where I get to repost this awesome video?

My Genital Affirmation

"First things first, my vagina prefers male pronouns."
posted by Wuggie Norple at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


All the ways to car-crash our bodies beautiful.

I love this.

And this: I really liked how the poem was able to simultaneously evoke feelings of awkward coupling yet search out the depths of intimacy, regardless of sex, gender or orientation.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:15 PM on March 27, 2011


On the other hand, as the creator of the new zine Fucking Trans Women has pointed out, there's thousands of manuals and books and tips about how to have sex written about/for/in relation to cis people, and very few with regard to trans people. She's said she wants it to be a collaboration, like a recipe book.

Rather than getting "instructions" from a website or a book...wouldn't it be better if the two people just communicated what they want to do? Outside help is needed here as much as outside help is needed to determine who is allowed to have sex with who.

I mean more than 80% of the askme human relation questions could be solved by both people just talking honestly about what they want.

Next up...how to make love to an exotic Aboriginal!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:16 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather than getting "instructions" from a website or a book...wouldn't it be better if the two people just communicated what they want to do?

I dunno, the zine editor is a trans woman and feels that it's needed. Not as an instruction book but as a jumping-off point for communication and/or a way for people to share ideas and what's worked for them. Does communication remove the need for or benefits of all of the books about sex and/or your (sexual) body for cis people?
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:26 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean more than 80% of the askme human relation questions could be solved by both people just talking honestly about what they want.

I think we'd be well served in our society if we were to have direct training in how to have honest conversations which don't involve assumption of offense or malice and which avoid deliberate button-pushing. It's not something a lot of people get, and the number of negative examples of human interaction fed into our lives through our media really needs to be directly countered.
posted by hippybear at 12:27 PM on March 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


Sorry. Mebbe not the right spot, but from my life, the impression was that the transgendered person needs to want to be loved.
posted by Samizdata at 12:28 PM on March 27, 2011


Sorry. Mebbe not the right spot, but from my life, the impression was that the transgendered person needs to want to be loved.

Helpful hint: when you are about to write something on the internet that you feel maybe is offensive so you preface it with a weaselly apology beforehand.... yeah, you should have gone with your first thought there , Sparky.

So you had a bad experience with some sort of trans person. The next time a Black person says something snarky to you you don't get to go on the internets and put down all Black people in America. Just suck it up and move on like everyone else in the world does.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:40 PM on March 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


the impression was that the transgendered person needs to want to be loved.

Is that so wrooong?

sorry
posted by jonmc at 12:41 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kitteh: I first saw this on Caitlin's facebook feed. I would have tossed her a link if she had included the original link herself.
posted by Ardiril at 12:41 PM on March 27, 2011


It's good, but I'd love it more if it was called "How to fuck a trans person." No need to use a euphemism.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 12:49 PM on March 27, 2011


No need to use a euphemism. - ... but but but, it's a poem!
posted by Ardiril at 12:51 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Making love and fucking are not the same things to everyone. It's not necessarily a euphemism.
posted by rtha at 12:52 PM on March 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Rather than getting "instructions" from a website or a book...wouldn't it be better if the two people just communicated what they want to do?

Sometimes you don't know what you want to do, or don't know the words with which to communicate the idea. Sometimes you need or want inspiration. Why do we need cookbooks, can't we just throw stuff in a pot and eat it?
posted by desjardins at 12:57 PM on March 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Making love and fucking are not the same things to everyone. It's not necessarily a euphemism.

This is true.

If I pay for your dinner beforehand, we're making love. If I pay for your cab fare afterward, we're fucking.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:57 PM on March 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


If there's no money involved, it's just wet wrestling.
posted by jonmc at 1:03 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's good, but I'd love it more if it was called "How to fuck a trans person."

That's easy - hide their hormones!

I'll be here all night folks - try the veal!
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:04 PM on March 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Aw man, you could have WARNED me this was going to be poetry! Here I was, expecting some good, or at least ironic advice on sex, love and trans people, and you had to go and inflict modern poetry on me. It's easy to early in the PM for this- aren't there warning tags?
posted by happyroach at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


... but but but, it's a poem!

Then it's even more important that the euphemisms are good ones. IMHO the sex = love metaphor is overdone and messes with peoples heads too much. There are too many people who confuse the two concepts for it to still be a good idea. But yea, the actual text of the poem manages to be both sweet and sexy in a way that the cliché in the title doesn't do justice to.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:12 PM on March 27, 2011


Why do we need cookbooks, can't we just throw stuff in a pot and eat it?

Well, yeah, that's the whole point of a cock pot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:14 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dislike didactic poetry, and therefore I dislike this.
posted by Diablevert at 1:26 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dislike didactic poetry, and therefore I dislike this.

I have no idea what this means so i shall smoke my imaginery pipe and look thoughtful.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:34 PM on March 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


It's good, but I'd love it more if it was called "How to fuck a trans person."

I'm guessing that it's a reference to Dany Laferriere.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:35 PM on March 27, 2011


I don't think you should read it as didactic, Diablevert, more like a soliloquy, if that makes sense.
posted by Segundus at 1:48 PM on March 27, 2011


I dislike didactic poetry, and therefore I dislike this.

How silly. There are some gorgeous turns of phrase in that poem.
posted by mediareport at 1:48 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> If I pay for your dinner beforehand, we're making love. If I pay for your cab fare afterward, we're fucking.

If you pay for both, are we dating?
posted by Decimask at 1:49 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing that it's a reference to Dany Laferriere.

Hmmm. I'm not familiar with him, but some googling says that the full title of that book is "How To Make Love To A Negro Without Getting Tired." I don't think that's likely.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:51 PM on March 27, 2011


How silly. There are some gorgeous turns of phrase in that poem.

Agreed, many great images to relish.

If you pay for both, are we dating?

Always get a credit report beforehand.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:05 PM on March 27, 2011


How silly. There are some gorgeous turns of phrase in that poem.

Eh, some of 'em aren't bad, but there's some real clunkers as well --- to my ear, "highly likely" grates rather badly, and I think overall the poet is relying
far too much
on the power of the line
break to make meaningful
some fairly pedestrian prose. I like a bit more playfulness in my stresses, a bit more bump and thump.

But these things are taste; you can only really state taste not argue it, some people are gonna like Whitman better and some people are gonna like Dickinson, it depends what your temperament's drawn to. And as far as taste goes, I despise didacticism, to my mind the point they're trying to get at in this passage

If you are being offered a body
That has already been laid upon an altar of surgical steel
A sacrifice to whatever gods govern bodies
That come with some assembly required
Whatever you do,
Do not say that the carefully sculpted landscape
Bordered by rocky ridges of scar tissue
Looks almost natural.


would have been far better made as a subtext to an encounter between too people, something along the lines of

"it looks almost natural"
puffs of air across his tongue but they struck her
body like whipcracks her very skin
seemed to curl back from him and he reached his pleading
palms out flat against her, thinking
don't you know I love you yet for your
bravery in bending
your body to the knife? your scars have sculpted you
and he kissed them his desperation

Blah, blah, that's not very good either, but I'd have preferred something like it. I sympathize far more with narrators than I do with lecturers, and would happily take Robert Browning over Alan Ginsburg any day.
posted by Diablevert at 2:24 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, yes. Fucking a trans person (not on my CV, but also not in my firewall rules list) is a fairly unusual item in the "We're taking our clothes off. Now what?" set of events, but I don't think it's outside the generic business of going to bed with someone for the first time.

Anyone whose sexual history involves a statistically valid sampling of partners will - or should - know that you start from scratch each time you're in a new game. Assumptions are likely to lead you astray in a bad way as often as they do in a good. Since the other player is also going to be as in the dark about you, the possibilities for fucking up are pretty expansive.

Even if it's all pretty standard stuff - you're of matching persuasions, you fancy each other, your various lubricants, engorging tissues and limbic systems are running down the checklist like Mission Control a minute before launch - the things that really get you into orbit may need a lot more. And for those to work, the physical intimacy takes a back seat to the mental, just at the point you're ready to light the fires and get lofted on a sea of outta control explosiveness.

So. Make no assumptions. Be mindful. For this to work, the other person has to be the single biggest factor in the game, and that means being utterly aware about how they are, second by second. The business of what slides over, into or across what is ultimately very important, but you won't find out if you go charging at it like you're trying to drive a Ferrari having passed your driving test in a Nissan. (Perhaps I'm channelling my inner Clarkson here. Ahem.)

With luck, you'll find someone who cares about you as much as you do about them - and in that situation, the physical stuff will sort itself out. We're all mutants at some remove from the same basic model, and that model is a long way down from aspects of gender.
posted by Devonian at 2:43 PM on March 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


How silly. There are some gorgeous turns of phrase in that poem.

Meh. Anyone can do turns of phrase- gwet back to me when the author learns to rhyme. Right now it's just a livejournal post with extra line breaks.
posted by happyroach at 2:53 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pictures or it didn't happen.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:59 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Devil Tesla - Obviously, far be it from me to argue with Google and Wikipedia, but the book's first publication in English, in Canada, was under the shortened title. There was also an article in Transition Magazine by the now sadly deceased author Don Belton titled "How to Make Love to White Man" - and I think that both of these might have been referencing something James Baldwin said, but I haven't been able to track it down on Google.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:59 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


No need to use a euphemism. -> 'Sucking a woman's dick ain't gay.' Dactylic octameter, sure, but the sentiment changes.
posted by Ardiril at 3:02 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


how? what about why?
posted by kitchenrat at 3:18 PM on March 27, 2011


how? what about why?

Because you find the person in question attractive. Because you like them. Because you understand that sex doesn't necessarily dictate gender. Because you understand that gender isn't black and white, and you're not bothered or threatened by that. Because you're okay with people expressing themselves and their gender identity in the way that they feel is most appropriate for them. Because trans people are, in fact, just like pretty much all other people, and you can fall in love or lust with one just as easily as you can anyone else.
posted by MeghanC at 3:52 PM on March 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


Just so I know what's going on. Which username are we fighting for not having ideas of love and sex that the majority here have?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:16 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fighting? I thought it was foreplay.
posted by Ardiril at 4:20 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Meh. Anyone can do turns of phrase- gwet back to me when the author learns to rhyme. Right now it's just a livejournal post with extra line breaks.

For the last week or so, I've been making this prioritized mental list of things to stop arguing about with people on the Internet. Right after I finish writing this comment, I'm going to add
  • What constitutes real poetry.
I think I will slot it in after Israel and abortion, but before modern art.
posted by brennen at 4:21 PM on March 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


needs more cowbell, I'm glad to see Fucking Trans Women linked here! I stayed up very late to read it the evening I bought it, because it's fantastic. The author is also hilarious. (In a section about anatomy she mentions that a frenulum resembles the Atari symbol, which it totally does omg, and that fact fucking delights me.)

hal_c_on, one of the upshots of that zine is that there is no set of instructions for fucking all trans women, that everyone's body is different and the way everyone likes to be touched is different, and that communicating with your partners is necessary and good. It's really worth reading (even if none of your lovers happen to be trans women).
posted by bewilderbeast at 4:22 PM on March 27, 2011


how? what about why?

I dunno. Why display your assholery as if it's something to be proud of?

Which username are we fighting for not having ideas of love and sex that the majority here have?


There's fighting?
posted by rtha at 4:24 PM on March 27, 2011


Whether or not this is good poetry is really beside the point. I think the sentiment here is conveyed really beautifully.
posted by anoirmarie at 4:38 PM on March 27, 2011


Has any one ever made love to a Trans Person dressed in a Transformers costume in the back of a Trans Am?

Cos that'd be cool.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jonmc: no, but transgirlfriend will be changing that tonight.
Ps thanks!
posted by honeydew at 5:01 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jonmc, how about shrugging off the coveralls after overhauling a Transmission? Boyfriend found that one rather enticing.
posted by tigrrrlily at 5:07 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Diablevert, I think what you (re)wrote seems like a ridiculous way to convey what this author is trying to say. Glad you were at least inspired to write the kind of poetry you'd rather read, at least that's... something.
posted by hermitosis at 5:22 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What awful and sophomoric poetry. It gives me what I would call "douche-chills," but I dont want
to gender-oppress anyone with my heteronormative sensibilities. I sincerely hope anyone who identifies with these feelings can find a better way to express themselves for the sake of themselves and their community.
At least it doesn't use the word "cis-gendered." That would make me want to find him/her/shim and remind them that your hetero friends are willing to accept you as you redefine yourselves in body, gender, and naming conventions, but when you try to redefine me,
I get very, very angry.
posted by BillBishop at 5:23 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


You have your own terms for people who are grouped differently. Thinking that they shouldn't have terms for you and yours shows an incredibly privileged way of thinking.
posted by hermitosis at 5:33 PM on March 27, 2011 [40 favorites]


I imagine that transpeople will get right onto that whole preposition issue for you just as soon as they've successfully dealt with all the anger that leads directly to the disproportionate likelihood of their being murdered.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:33 PM on March 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


I doubt, BillBishop, that we shall ever have to redefine you again.
posted by Ardiril at 5:47 PM on March 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


I had no idea that anyone was redefining me or that I was re-defining myself by saying that I am cisgender. It's just a useful descriptive term, perhaps a retronym, cleverly taken from organic chemistry lingo.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:08 PM on March 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


cowbell: I'm with you on this one. This may be because I'm a former chemist and as such I like bad chemistry jokes.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:19 PM on March 27, 2011


People take it upon themselves to get upset about being called "cis-gendered."


Huh. You learn something new every day.
posted by Neofelis at 6:20 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Neofelis, some people don't take kindly to being boxed in with those straight folk.
posted by Ardiril at 6:28 PM on March 27, 2011


People take it upon themselves to get upset about being called "cis-gendered."

Why not? If a transperson can feel strongly enough about gender to undergo surgery, why can't someone lucky enough to get the body they feel most comfortable with not want to be defined in a way they didn't pick?

I'll use "cis-gendered" since it makes other people happy and it's not the hill I'd choose to die on, but it's not my preferred way to describe my particular end of the gender/body spectrum
posted by Phalene at 6:33 PM on March 27, 2011


People take it upon themselves to get upset about being called "cis-gendered."

Mostly honky breeders. (A cruelly oppressed segment of our society.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:37 PM on March 27, 2011


"Has any one ever made love to a Trans Person dressed in a Transformers costume in the back of a Trans Am?"

Uh, to be truly badass and remotely comfortable, the preferred Trans Am fucking location is on the hood.
posted by klangklangston at 6:38 PM on March 27, 2011


What term do you prefer, Phalene? Perhaps I'm missing something, but this feels like being upset at someone referring to a tall person as "tall" - it's a description of one of their characteristics, not defining them as a person. (Or maybe right-handed would be a better example, since handedness is more binary and clear-cut.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:40 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


the preferred Trans Am fucking location is on the hood.

provided there's a scoop.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, to be truly badass and remotely comfortable, the preferred Trans Am fucking location is on the hood.

Remember, let the engine cool first. Make sure the hood is clean. Check the church schedule, some do have services on Saturday evening.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


That would make me want to find him/her/shim

"Shim?" Really?

and remind them that your hetero friends

Sexual orientation ("hetero") != gender identity ("transgender"). One can be trans and hetero. Or trans and gay. Or trans and bi.

are willing to accept you

Willing to accept! My, how sporting of them.

but when you try to redefine me, I get very, very angry.

You're not alone.
posted by bakerina at 6:46 PM on March 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm somewhat amused by the concept that someone would imagine tat cis-gendered, rather than being a useful term for discussion, is the trans community's disparaging version of "muggle."
posted by Navelgazer at 6:50 PM on March 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


Hearing the term "cis-gendered" also kind of makes me want to break things, not because I think it's an attempt to "redefine me" or something, but because it's the kind of smug, hideously jargony contrivance that -- especially when used blithely without regard for people who might not know what this made-up word means -- seems to have the sole purpose of making the speaker/writer sound as liberal and worthy as possible. Which is annoying.
posted by eugenen at 7:03 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"but when you try to redefine me,
I get very, very angry.
"

What, seriously? Why?

First off, they're not redefining you — you've always been cisgendered. It's a descriptive phrase, not a normative one. Second off, so somebody calls you "cis," which just means "not across." Are they keeping you from getting a job? Are they hurting your romantic prospects? What's the harm? Identity is always partially constructed from the outside.

Finally, what was with the line breaks? Were you attempting poetry or posting from a BBS?
posted by klangklangston at 7:08 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Smug is in the eye of the beholder.
posted by hermitosis at 7:10 PM on March 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Worthy? I don't know. Liberal? Well, transgendered studies, from which the term originates as I understand it, is a pretty damned liberal field, yes. At least compared to the world as a whole. Liberal in that it deals with issues of a group so marginalized in most national discussions as to be completely taboo.

So maybe it comes off as "liberal" as a side effect of humanizing people that much of the rest of the world would like to continue to "other," but I see that as a good thing, myself.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:11 PM on March 27, 2011


A word is a weird thing to get upset about. If you are cisgendered, then you automatically don't have to fucking worry about most of the things that transgendered people have to worry about. They can call me anything they want as far as I'm concerned. It's just a word. By accident of birth, I have the privilege.
posted by desjardins at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


The thing is, the term "cis-gendered" doesn't come up in the poem. At all. The only place it comes up is in the outsize chip on BillBishop's shoulder. Like or dislike the poem, it is a poem about transpeople having sex (with whomever), not about whether non-transpeople are offended or angered or annoyed by various labels for gender identity.

But hey, don't let that stop you from making the thread all about people-who-are-not-transgender and their delicate sensibilities.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


What, seriously? Why?

People fear change, especially when those doing the changing are the strange looking/sounding ones.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 PM on March 27, 2011


I don't think I've heard anybody ever say "cis" out loud. I'mnot even sure how you'd pronounce it, and I encounter more than the average amount of transgender people. It's an awkward word, but not work getting bent out of shape about.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 PM on March 27, 2011


Dear Lord, how offensive. Well intentioned, I suppose, but Othering and...I don't know; in some ways painting a particular, underrepresented and oppressed minority in a whimsically positive, exotifying (that is a word now) light is better than just bringing on the hate, but.

"Click?"

"Ditto?"

Not helping. Pointing and celebrating the diversity and whimsical oddities of outside groups of people is the embarrassing cousin of sneering and laughing, I guess. If you want to advance the safety and rights of people, it helps to emphasize the things we have in common; highlighting the superficial differences between privileged and discriminated groups of people is distasteful, even if you think it's nice.

As others have added above, if you need to know how to make love with your partner, talk about it like grown ups who admire and adore each other.

/knee jerk cranky pants

Some disclosure: I've had a very bad day. I'm sorry if I haven't worded my feelings well here, but they'd be the same even if I'd had the best day in the world. Only the eloquence of my expression would be different.
posted by byanyothername at 7:17 PM on March 27, 2011


Mod note: folks, this is not really a thread on whether you like the word cis-gendered, please do not turn it into one. If you want to have a respectful discussion maybe tone the rhetoric down a little. You have MetaTalk and email if you need them. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:27 PM on March 27, 2011


Why isn't it "How to make love with a trans person"?

Today is my birthday.
posted by andreaazure at 8:07 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


"make love to" is about twice as common as "make love with" according to Google.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:10 PM on March 27, 2011


Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders! ROCK AND ROLL!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:12 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


You make love to a trans person the same way that you make love to any other person on this earth: with passion, tenderness, understanding and desire.

fwiw I absolutely refuse to self-identify as trans-anything. I am just a woman and never wanted to be anything more or anything less.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN CISGENDERED. FUCK THAT. IT IS OFFENSIVE TO ME TO BE REFERRED TO BY THAT TERM.
To my ears that's exactly like saying "You've always been a ____" (Fill in the blank with your least favorite offensive term here).
"

Yeah, sorry, man, but I'm having a really hard time figuring out why you're upset.

Look, I'm a straight white American guy. Nobody used to have to say "straight," at a certain time it would have been assumed that I was white, and hey, this is the internet — if nobody says anything, I assume they're American.

And I remember at one point, I thought "cisgendered" sounded needlessly pretentious, because it was always presented alongside the "zie" and "hir" stuff that I still think is kinda nonsense.

But "cis-" really is neutral. You can get called an "American" as a descriptor, and you can get called "American," when they mean "asshole." Just because you're hearing the latter doesn't mean that all instances are that way, and it's an interesting way to reframe the argument.

I dunno, didn't anyone have to do high school exercises in law or English where you argued the other side's case? Think about how you would talk about gender if you were trans, had always been trans, and most people assumed that was fucked up. What you've always known is "normal," at least that's the healthy way to think of it, but the majority is different from you.

Other isn't bad unless you make it bad.
posted by klangklangston at 8:59 PM on March 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


klang basically said what I wanted to say, so I won't contribute any further to that particular derail.

I'll rather say that as a straight, cis male, this poem (which, no, isn't perfect, but how many poems are?) still spoke to me as someone baby-stepping back into the dating scene right now after a somewhat prolonged absence.

Not every detail, obviously, but enough to cool my fears about the coming week. So for that, I am thankful.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:07 PM on March 27, 2011


For the last week or so, I've been making this prioritized mental list of things to stop arguing about with people on the Internet. Right after I finish writing this comment, I'm going to add What constitutes real poetry. I think I will slot it in after Israel and abortion, but before modern art.

When you make your
List
Don't forget to
include
Atomic power vs. solar
Death penalty
and
The white privilege
posted by happyroach at 11:30 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would make love with a transperson and to a cisperson, because I assume the transperson would be a lesbian. It makes perfect sense.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:27 AM on March 28, 2011


I'm not saying anyone's wrong to feel one way or the other, just that it wouldn't have occurred to me.
posted by Neofelis at 12:39 AM on March 28, 2011


Can someone explain what this "cis" term means or where is comes from? I have no bloody idea.

its not really related to that Cis - trans chemical isomerism link is it? that would just be - um absurd.
posted by mary8nne at 2:31 AM on March 28, 2011


its not really related to that Cis - trans chemical isomerism link is it? that would just be - um absurd.

": What is the origin and meaning of the word cisgendered? "
"As for the origin; I just made it up. I just kept running into
the problem of what to call non-T*people in various discussions, and one day
it just hit me: non-trans = cis. Therefore, cisgendered. "

- soc.support.transgendered
via
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisgender
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:38 AM on March 28, 2011


Don't worry found it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisgender but really it seems an absurd level of jargonism.
posted by mary8nne at 2:39 AM on March 28, 2011


but really it seems an absurd level of jargonism.

Hard to say. It is precise, and slightly whimsical, which means it's more effective. And having a word for ... non-trans folk ... is actually necessary bit of vocabulary; I imagine the subject is comes up often.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:49 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always assumed it was a reference to Transalpine and Cisalpine Gaul, which is a pretty well-established use of the prefix "cis-" as the opposite of "trans-".

I'm not sure what makes it absurd - it's a somewhat jokey back-formation, but then people say "underwhelmed", which is absurd - you can't whelm lower than something, by definition. It's a jokey back-formation from "overwhelmed".

So, if you're prepared never to say "underwhelmed" in the interests of non-absurdity, that would be wholly consistent. Otherwise, "cisgendered" is less psephologically peculiar than "non-trans", less likely to start a fight than "normal" (or, God help us, "mundane") and less of a tongue-twister than "phenotypically congruent with gender self-identity", or something equally intricate.

However, we've been told not to talk about "cisgender" as a term in this thread, so maybe best leave it there. Or go to MetaTalk? Would that be appropriate?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:12 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


it seems an absurd level of jargonism.

Hey, trans people have been in the public eye since the 1950s, so cis people had four decades to come up with a word for themselves to distinguish themselves from us that was better than "normal" or "not trans". They didn't, so in the nineties brave usenetters stepped in, and it's a bit bloody late to complain about it now :)

If you want to advance the safety and rights of people, it helps to emphasize the things we have in common; highlighting the superficial differences between privileged and discriminated groups of people is distasteful, even if you think it's nice.

I'm half and half on this. I see what you're saying but this piece of work feels like it's aimed largely at people who are already sort of part of the great trans clubhouse -- fucking one of us gets your parking validated, after all -- and there can be great value for minorities in celebrating the ways in which we are different, and to draw pride from that rather than shame.

fwiw I absolutely refuse to self-identify as trans-anything. I am just a woman and never wanted to be anything more or anything less.

On the other hand, I find this a very compelling and tempting point of view, and drawing lines that separate a woman of my history from any other sometimes makes me sad.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:27 AM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


cisgender is pronounced like sis as "sister" and then "gender", correct?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:49 AM on March 28, 2011


folks, this is not really a thread on whether you like the word cis-gendered, please do not turn it into one.

Then maybe the quasi-threat-y remark, written two dozen comments before by someone describing themselves as a "provocateur," should've been deleted first.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:20 AM on March 28, 2011


it seems an absurd level of jargonism.

You think that's bad, "television" is an amalgam of Greek and Latin roots. It's madness! Freakin' audiovisual zealots think they can jam their far-out hooey down our throats, just making up words for no good reason!

All coined words are jargon. Whether they find broad use over time is a matter for history to decide, but "this word is new and unfamiliar" is the constant state of the language-learner; finding a newer word annoying is absolutely your prerogative, but that hardly makes it absurd. Attempts to describe concisely and precisely things previously left assumed or hazily expressed are a natural and necessary part of how we grow as language users.
posted by cortex at 6:31 AM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's confusing when one mod says "don't talk about this here" and the other mod talks about it here.
posted by desjardins at 6:45 AM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Actually, you can just about make a case for "television", if you're losing a bar bet. The irregular aorist of οραω - I see - is ειδον - I saw. Take off the aorist prefix and the first person ending, and you are left with ιδ. Carry the digamma and you've got ϝιδ - wid, or vid - which has a common root with video, videre, vidi, vision. It's a stretch, though.

That was offtopic, wasn't it? Pulling it round, I think that makes cortex's point. Every word comes from somewhere. Saying:

If a transperson can feel strongly enough about gender to undergo surgery, why can't someone lucky enough to get the body they feel most comfortable with not want to be defined in a way they didn't pick?

Does sort of suggest that that lucky someone invented all descriptive terms in English. Otherwise, they were already picking words to describe themselves from a bits box of existing terms - man, woman, tall, short, beautiful, strong, wise, brave. "Cisgender" wasn't an imposed replacement, but an addition to take into account that the bits box didn't have an antonym for "transgendered".
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:48 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's confusing when one mod says "don't talk about this here" and the other mod talks about it here.

Mostly we were going for "stop hollering at each other about this and turning the thread into a one-on-many fight in here", but I should probably just let it be as well, yes.
posted by cortex at 7:15 AM on March 28, 2011


Screw all this argumentation, mostly because I can't even figure out which side(s) of the argument many of these posts are on.

It's a fucking lovely piece of poetry reading as performance/video art.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:16 AM on March 28, 2011


I'm half and half on this. I see what you're saying but this piece of work feels like it's aimed largely at people who are already sort of part of the great trans clubhouse -- fucking one of us gets your parking validated, after all -- and there can be great value for minorities in celebrating the ways in which we are different, and to draw pride from that rather than shame.

To be clearer on why I find it distasteful, the overall message I take away from the poem isn't, "You shouldn't feel strange and scared to sleep with someone you love just because they're from a group you don't entirely understand" as much as, "It's okay to want to sleep with trans people." There's a pretty big gulf between the two. One humanizes and one fetishizes. Overall, this struck me more as fetishizing.

I'm sure that's not the intent, but that's what I'm reading all over it. Maybe part of it is that I'm not seeing it quite the way you are. It seems written for an audience who maybe don't know any trans people, but who want to seem open minded. I can't begrudge anyone for feeling that way, and I'm glad there are people who want to keep open minds, but it feels insensitive.

Oh, well. To be honest, I'm not sure how this poem could work. I'm sure it could, but it would take a delicacy that's not on display here, because the premise itself is kind of offensive to me.
posted by byanyothername at 7:33 AM on March 28, 2011


> All coined words are jargon.

*hugs cortex* Will you PLEASE explain that to all the people I talk to ever?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2011


Making love and fucking are not the same things to everyone. It's not necessarily a euphemism.

I agree. "Fucking" to me connotes penetration (likely showing my cis male bias there). "Making love" or "sexual activity" encompasses everything from hand holding to oral sex to fucking to hugging. I wouldn't call mutual masturbation or oral sex "fucking." I dunno. (Not to further derail, but it is a POETRY post, so linguistics seems an appropriate subject of conversation.)

I've long wondered why the terminology around fucking is so limited and boring, e.g. "making love" "having sex" ... perhaps that's why the poem fails for me a bit. (I admit I am with whoever above said they really don't like didactic poetry.)

I'm not so big on the mind/body separation thing, so, while I appreciate the intent, I didn't grok the poem. Aesthetically average to me.

Whether or not this is good poetry is really beside the point.

Really have to disagree strongly.

"make love to" is about twice as common as "make love with" according to Google.

Exactly. I'm afraid we're veering into "poetry as SEO" territory. No offense intended. I do appreciate the message; I wish I liked the messenger more.

I'm not sure how this poem could work. I'm sure it could...

Goddammit. Now you've set me off to find a better example...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:42 AM on March 28, 2011


I must tell you
this young tree
whose round and firm trunk
between the wet

pavement and the gutter
(where water
is trickling) rises
bodily

into the air with
one undulant
thrust half its height-
and then

dividing and waning
sending out
young branches on
all sides-

hung with cocoons
it thins
till nothing is left of it
but two

eccentric knotted
twigs
bending forward
hornlike at the top

"Young Sycamore," William Carlos Williams

...

The elephant, the huge old beast,
   is slow to mate;
he finds a female, they show no haste
   they wait
for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts
   slowly, slowly to rouse
as they loiter along the river-beds
   and drink and browse
and dash in panic through the brake
   of forest with the herd,
and sleep in massive silence, and wake
   together, without a word.
So slowly the great hot elephant hearts
   grow full of desire,
and the great beasts mate in secret at last,
   hiding their fire.
Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts
   so they know at last
how to wait for the loneliest of feasts
   for the full repast.
They do not snatch, they do not tear;
   their massive blood
moves as the moon-tides, near, more near
   till they touch in flood.

"The Elephant is Slow to Mate," D.H. Lawrence


/ymmv
posted by mrgrimm at 8:52 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be clearer on why I find it distasteful, the overall message I take away from the poem isn't, "You shouldn't feel strange and scared to sleep with someone you love just because they're from a group you don't entirely understand" as much as, "It's okay to want to sleep with trans people." There's a pretty big gulf between the two. One humanizes and one fetishizes. Overall, this struck me more as fetishizing.

I think it's ok to recognize sexual attractions and try and remove the inherent shame from them.
Wouldn't any poem you wrote about your desired sexual recipient involve some aspects of fetishization? What I mean is that fetishization, in the sense of embodying something with energy, is involved in all aspects of sexuality.
It is the potential power dynamic that makes it dangerous.

i.e. a person fetishizing their own genitals, versus a person lusting after a stranger on the street because of their amazing legs, versus a person so horribley ashamed of their lust because of what society has told them that after sex they must destroy someone by stabbing them in the face repeatedly.
posted by Theta States at 11:55 AM on March 28, 2011


/ymmv

Both of these are lovely.

I think it's ok to recognize sexual attractions and try and remove the inherent shame from them.
Wouldn't any poem you wrote about your desired sexual recipient involve some aspects of fetishization? What I mean is that fetishization, in the sense of embodying something with energy, is involved in all aspects of sexuality.
It is the potential power dynamic that makes it dangerous.


Yes, you're right, and I agree with you but when a person belonging to one group fetishizes another, there's a dehumanizing potential. I don't feel this particular example does a very good job avoiding that; of course, I'm assuming Moses isn't trans himself, by the tone of the piece, which may not be the case. That would change the dynamic somewhat.

I've been thinking all day about everything I find wrong with this poem. Leaving aside the quality of the writing and the touchiness of the premise--adding a personal, human element would do wonders for the idea it's trying to convey. I think what bothers me about it is that it exoticizes and fetishizes a group of people characterized only by some innate quality. I'd be fine with it if it were written from a particular perspective, about a particular individual; I think that could be very moving, in fact.

This isn't, like, the worst poem I've ever read or anything. I just think it works counter to its own intentions; it wants to present trans people as just like anyone else, but emphasizes how they're not. It's sort of sloppy and the idea, while well intentioned, wasn't thought out enough to not be offensive.
posted by byanyothername at 12:53 PM on March 28, 2011


I am going to now coin the term "cisfucking" because I'm bored and want to watch heads essplode.

Please check your cisfucking privilege at the door.

(should be better than a Cronenberg flick)
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:33 PM on March 28, 2011


You're making me want to write advice on how to make love to a cis person. It's been a long time, though; I'm not sure I remember what they like their naughty bits to be called.

I'm going with "clicko".
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:09 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


how to make love to a cis person.

Please. It's called "cisfucking", thank you very much.

But I agree we do need a special term to discuss non-cisfucking activities, for the (admittedly rare) discussions that don't involve rubbing clicko together.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:24 AM on March 29, 2011


Hmm, cisfucking sounds like sisfucking, and that's not very fucking cool.
posted by Ardiril at 2:12 AM on March 29, 2011


I've thought about entering this conversation for a bit. I don't know if I really have anything to add. But what the hell.

I dated a trans woman for a while back in the day, as they say. When I met her I had no idea. The first time we were intimate, there was a time when I indeed said those words. When did you have the operation? I was young and still exploring my own sexuality. She took it very well, and told me. We continued on from there.

We dated long enough that she introduced me to her young son. He was a cute kid.

We eventually split up. It was a mutual thing. No reason to go into details here. She was a lovely girl. I was a young guy and not looking for a commitment. We talked over the phone for a while after and then life happened.

One thing I do recall is that I lost the friendship of a gay male bartender when he found out who I was dating. It seemed to really piss him off. Maybe because we had had a drunken encounter one night. Maybe because he was bigoted against trans people. Maybe that's a thing. I never asked.

I regret that a lot. As well I regret losing touch with Amber. Life is too short to lose friends.
posted by Splunge at 5:23 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


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