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things i liked about the "transecting the academy" conference on saturday:

+ lots of different people with different perspectives.
+ not hearing any transer-than-thou discussions.
+ i got to shake hands with zach. i got to meet dean from makezine. i got enough courage to go & be a dorky fan to joelle ryan who gave basically the only speech i liked at the boston day of remembrance this year.
+ joelle's amazing poem that included the phrase "revolutionary spree." (who wants to screen patches?!)
+ hearing this kid zane talk about trans bodies in a really smart way, & denouncing the standards of care "checklist" & being really sincere about demystifying the process of being trans. (not just demystifying it for non-trans folks but among ourselves as well.)
+ not feeling invalidated for not (currently) medically transitioning.
+ getting to hang out with yumi & ilana all day.
+ pauline park going "we're here, we've been queer for 3,000 years, & you've been used to it." also, like, her complete unshakeableness even in the face of really stupid or offensive questions. it was fucking impressive.
+ the "toilet trained" presentation about bathroom issues.
+ feeling excited about the work i'm planning to do & how much good stuff can come from it & how many rad people there are to meet & talk to.

things i didn't like:

- people who said transwomen can never be "real" women (ditto transmen/"real" men) & it's not fair of them to ask people to see them that way. and called this analysis RADICAL.
- people who said you can never divorce the body (physical sex) from gender.
- people who said you have to completely divorce the body from gender.
- people who wanted us all to just get along. (yes, everyone is entitled to opinions & yes, we can all self-identify however we want but that doesn't mean those opinions aren't oppressive & it doesn't mean we need to skip the part about identities being co-opted, appropriated or invalidating.)
- people who talked about bodies as if they are either male or female.
- people who made fucked up race/gender analogies that didn’t even make logical sense.
- mods who did not bring the panels together in a cohesive way & who did not direct discussion at all.
- a white person speaking waaaaaay over the allotted time on a panel about race/ethnicity when the only person of the color on the panel was waiting to talk.
- the panelist who i think was talking about representation of transpeople/trans bodies in porn, but whose argument i could not even identify, let alone follow, & who passed around a really loaded & potentially triggering picture without giving any context or warning.
- the ensuing porn is good!/porn is bad! discussion that went nowhere as usual & really had very little to do with trans issues.
- not knowing where the fuck to use the bathroom. i'm hoping i just missed the announcement in the welcome speech, since we arrived late. (zach?)
- missing our intended bus home.

also, providence is terribly cute & i liked it there. also, i might try to present at this conference next year (if there is one next year?). also, if grad schools don't start sending me letters soon i might implode. the end.

ps. happy to discuss further any of the above notes.

also ps. even though i seem very critical of a lot of stuff that went down at said conference, i am really glad i went because getting pissed off forces me to articulate clearly why i disagree, & hearing things phrased badly or offensively reminds me how not to talk about things, how important it is to be specific, how easy it is to get comfortable, how hard it is to make yourself see past your own experiences. hi i'm an optimist.


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November 2006

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