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What Queer/Trans works are folks reading or have recently read?
11Tesseractive First Message
(Um, these are both webcomics that are making the transition to print, for those of you who don't live on the internet. Hehe.)
14ShawnMooney First Message
The last queer book I read was much more mediocre, alas, Briefly Told Lives by C. Bard Cole. A couple of the stories were interesting, and I found Cole wrote about sex fairly interestingly; but overall, too many of the stories read as weak first drafts.
"Maybe our feet stich
this would closed
one dusty step
at a time,
create a scar;
the first healing skin."
Stone Butch Blues has been an interesting and a fascinating read, showing me another choice I have in the gender spectrum, but not answering the questions I had about stone where it intersects with sexual behavior... and it's only helped to reinforce the ideas I had about said issue... ideas that I had hoped to be refuted by evidence otherwise. It's given me even more fodder for thought dealing with the ongoing search for my gender. It's also giving me a great look at the history of people like me. It's fascinating and enlightening, simultaneously a bit of a relief and a bit disappointing that there's been people like me or at least similar to me for decades (if not centuries), with the inability to hide, to go undercover and be someone we're not, trying to live life the best we can and get by in a society who is terribly threatened by our existence.
Macho Sluts actually isn't about what I was expecting. I was expecting gay men leather sex. I got lesbian/dyke leather sex. I'm not complaining.
My Gender Workbook is a work-in-progress for me. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out my gender by the time I'm done, but I have a feeling it won't do this for me. I have a feeling that I'll just realize that only I can figure that out (which I already know, but still). I decided to read/do this one after absolutely adoring Hello, Cruel World and reading it over and over and over again.
So, yeah, lots of books on gender recently.
Stop the press, Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan sequel, with the _flaming_ title Peter Pan in Scarlet has some wonderful trans and feminist subversive play with gender change and clothing. It's also a great read -- and the antidote to all that saccharine kidslit that floats around at Xmas.
I am reading Speaking Sex To Power which is a collection of essays covering the period of Califia's transition. It's a book I really like, for how he is both personal and political.
I am a big fan of Kate Bornstein too - I really love My Gender Workbook and am currently dipping in and out of Hello, Cruel World. WebWeirdo_DC, I wonder how you found the workbook?
And finally, I am looking for a good introduction to queer theory - any recommendations?
I had the same problem trying to read Augesten Burroughs. Does anyone get the tangent I'm failing to hold onto? Maybe it is entirely subjective...I think it is definitely something that goes on within my peers that read the same sorts of books as me - almost a fetishism of sexual abuse and sex work.
I think it's why I love Patrick Califia - i'm tired of everyone going "oh I'm SO fucked up!" - I LOVE Califia's unashamed reveling in queer behaviour.
Of course denying and silencing these experiences would be a horrendous thing and there is a definite validity in writing and reading about them.
Hmm. I think it's a little too late and I'm too tired to be explaining what I mean.
Queer theory comes in two varieties: the post-modern "everything is a performance" brand and the political "g/l/b/t are an oppressed minority" version.
Obviously it isn't either/or, but the two groups tend not to talk to each other much. I'm on the political end of things myself. A good introduction to the post-modern school would be Annamarie Jagose's Queer Theory, followed by Judith Butler's Gender Trouble. I haven't approached the political side academically, so I'm not sure if there is a standard text. I've been reading Queer Studies: a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anthology. I haven't finished yet, and the person who gave it to me said it was uneven, but what I've read so far has been pretty level-headed.
I just noticed the date of your message, so I guess this is irrelevant, but it's written. Maybe it'll start some more discussion on this thread.
I'm going halfway through My Lives, by Edmund White and I'm loving it. But hey, I´m a big Ed White's fan.
I also read a lot of theoretical books. The latest was finishing Queer Studies: a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anthology which I thought had some really interesting and helpful articles, including one study on how one's way of identifying yourself can change depending on the context. (Example: a bisexual person might identify as gay at work, but insist on a bi identity in queer space.)
Personally, I'm wading through Bi Any Other Name, which is, on the whole, less interesting than I'd hoped. It's a nice affirmation of bisexuality, and a recognition of its many faces, but I've got some definite gripes with it. (Partly, it's just becoming dated...)
I'm only about 2/3 through, but I'll write a full review when I'm done, and post a link to it here.
Here's to hoping we can get this thread up and running again:)
Bi Any Other Name is also outside my interest area, but I see from the review that it's an anthology of people's personal statements, like Genderqueer, which I just waded through. Genderqueer did an excellent job of rounding up diverse voices from the genderqueer community, but it did a lousy job of finding voices who were sufficiently skilled at writing to be able to communicate thoughtfully on the topic. I suspect it too will date quickly. It is, however, good to have authentic voices from our past preserved, so I was glad the book existed, even though it didn't help me that much.
Are you reading for yourself or for a class?
That seems pretty close to my experience with Bi Any Other Name. There is certainly a diversity of experiences recorded, at all different levels of comfort or openness about their bisexuality. To me, today, it feels like a historical document, though. It was very much a product of the 1980s: consciously positioned in response to lesbian-feminism, the biphobia engendered by AIDS, and the end, if you will, of the sexual revolution.
I think the same book written now would be very different. A lot younger, for one thing, and probably a lot more queer-identified. In fact, I wonder how much overlap there has been between the bisexuality movement and the queer movement...
I'm not reading for a class, just personal interest. I wish I had a class to discuss things with, though! I just finished my bachelors and my program was too rigorous to allow me to take psych. of sexuality classes, or anything like that, sadly.
How about you? What brings you to this neck of the woods?
I don't know where you're located, but maybe you could get a book group together to discuss things with. That's kind of like being in a class but without having to worry about there being a right answer. Anyway, I wish you all the joys of "just" reading for personal interest. I've found it to be one of the greatest things life has to offer.
Hi all, new to this group, and relatively new to LT. Chris, I have to agree with your comments to byzanne re general split in queer studies between the pomo and political contigents. And while there's definitely a fan base for Butler's works---myself included---I too tend to lean to the political end of the spectrum.
Haven't read Queer Studies but will make a point of looking it up. I'm particularly intrigued by that article you mentioned about social context determining how one identifies to others. As someone who is moving away from rigid either/or labels (been there, done that) and wanting to identify simply as "queer", I've found that it's hard going. It's almost like I'm compelled by others' assumptions/biases to be more confrontational (and contrarian) and so end up assuming various positional identities.
Re great books recently read: Julia Serano's Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Passionate, articulate and makes a convincing argument. She totally rocks.
EAG: What do you think Judith Butler has to offer, and who would benefit from reading her stuff? (As my review of Gender Trouble shows, I am definitely not a fan, but maybe there are other people reading the list who would be interested in her work)
Tangential backgrounder: The whole French poststructural wave was just coming into vogue during my final year of university and I gobbled it up for a while, finding it a refreshing change from old-school socialist/marxist analysis. Since then, I've veered back and forth between the pol and the pomo and am still sitting very uncomfortably on the fence.
Hey, I remember reading Charlotte Bunch's essays back in the day! (yup, older than dirt) Though for me they were scattered about in various anthologies, NYC pamphlets and in Ms. magazine. The Redstocking Brigade. The Lavender Menace. Wow, that took me down memory lane.
On my to-be-read list:
1. Sex Changes, which I've read before, but now own a brand new copy so must reread
2. Are We Persons Yet? and
3. Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence which seems a bit dated, but hey, got it for a buck at Goodwill...
I've just been listening to podcasts from Beyond Masculinity: Essays from queer men on gender and politics. Lots of good stuff there which has me thinking.
Has anyone heard of it?
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