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january 03 dispatches





01-24-03   craig: books!

Our friends at Lyric, a queer/trans youth center in San Francisco, are looking for book suggestions. They've got some cash to add to the drop-in library and want ideas for queer fiction/non-fiction for young adults and other liberatory materials to corrupt and inspire young minds. C'mon people, don't disappoint--send me your suggestions and see your efforts translate into immediate results for awesome young queer and trans kids.


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01-22-03   craig: little drummer boy

I'm back on the east coast, sporting this winter's boldest fashion statement: denial. I'm wearing just a hoodie and a vest, dreaming of rickety hand-me-down bikes while riding the subway, carrying California oranges around in my backpack. I'm studying for my classical theory exam, eating up the Marx and struggling to find some appetite for taking in Weber. I'm gearing up for some new activist projects, dreaming of disrupting New York's bid for the 2012 Olympics, because we all know the evil of the Olympics and how bad they are for poor people in the cities that host them. I'm drawing inspiration from the havoc wreaked by the homos of the Pink Bloc actions that I joined at the San Francisco Anti-War breakaway march. I'm thinking about avocadoes but drinking coffee from paper cups on the go.


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01-12-03   dean: shy, but taking it all off for you anyway

after requiring unending technical support, lets hope you can click here and see photos of chests, sliced and diced for our collective pleasure. if you can't open them, let us know. i'm still really faking this whole webfaggot thing.


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01-12-03   dean: at the office on sunday, what the fuck?

Just catching up on a little old makezine.org business. Failing miserably at trying to post chest surgery pics for you, but with rania's tutorial soon, hopefully, there will be naked photos on makezine!! but i did want to follow up, today, on an old promise to post various flawed, but hopefully helpful, coming out letters i've used with my southernchristian family and foster family. they're on the transmissions page. try to remember that i was writing to a very specific audience, so there are a lot of stretches of the truth and weird analogies that i hoped would make me make some sense to them. well, it was a great idea, and it worked for a while, but now its been 8 months since my brother's talked to me--the idea being that i'm going to confuse his kids about gender (who already call craig "aunt craig" of their own accord, by the way). but i don't think my failures are the letters' faults. but typing them in, and seeing my own effort, and feeling how much ground i've lost with them in the past year, i felt like crying. still debating whether to drive down there after true spirit....


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01-10-03   dean: wear a dress

first, look at this and come to it. second:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1/10/03 Press Contact: Dean Spade Sylvia Rivera Legal Resource Program Urban Justice Center email dspade@urbanjustice.org

VICTORY FOR TRANSGENDER TEEN AGAINST FOSTER CARE SYSTEM: Judge Rules City Must Accommodate Teen’s Gender Identity

Tuesday, January 7. The Honorable Louise Gruner Gans decided in favor of Jean Doe, a 17 year old transgender girl. Doe was identified as male at birth, but has lived as a woman for several years.

Jean Doe sued the Administration of Children’s Services of the City of New York (ACS) when her group home confiscated all of her feminine clothing and accessories. ACS also forbid her from wearing skirts and dresses. Doe, represented by attorneys from The Urban Justice Center and Debevoise & Plimpton, alleged the group home’s policy discriminated against her on the basis of her transgender identity in violation of New York State’s Human Rights Law.

Judge Gans’ decision stated that ACS violated the law by failing to reasonably accommodate Doe’s gender identity, and that Doe was “entitled to relief in the form of an exemption from the respondents’ dress policy, to the extent it bars her from wearing skirts and dresses.”

Dean Spade, a transgender attorney with the Urban Justice Center, stated: “This case is a great step towards eliminating the serious discrimination and abuse transgender youth face in New York’s foster care system.” Hopefully, Spade said, this case will lead to policy improvements for transgender youth in the City’s care, who currently face physical abuse, inadequate medical care, harassment, and rampant discrimination.

This year, the City Council passed Int. 24, which made discrimination on the basis of gender identity illegal in New York City. This ordinance is part of a nationwide trend toward protecting transgender people in anti-discrimination law. Fifty-three jurisdictions currently have human rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, including Rhode Island and Minnesota. Doe and her attorneys are thrilled to see the national trend toward recognition of transgender rights reaching the New York courts, and hope to continue to prevail in future cases establishing protection against gender identity discrimination.

Doe stated: “"To finally receive official acknowledgement of my experience is truly satisfying. Hopefully, no youth in ACS's care will ever have to be subject to this kind of humliation and discrimination again.”


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01-06-03   craig: far from anti-racist

Okay, just quickly, so I can get this out of my brain, the promised thoughts on Far From Heaven: the movie is obviously visually stunning and an interesting commentary on the domestication of white middle class femininity (not unlike director Todd Haynes's earlier film, Safe). But as far as race politics, it falls apart. The film's take on integration is totally weird, insofar as it equates a white exclusion of black people with black resistance to white people entering their enclaves within segregated society. Dennis Haysbert, the black character, sums up the movie's collapse of white supremacy and resistance to white supremacy when he states that hostility towards interracial romance is the one area where "whites and coloreds" are in agreement. Displacing the politics of integration onto interracial romance personalizes racism, taking it out of its social context and suggesting love is (color)blind and will save the day. The violence of a white presence in a segregated black neighborhood is obscured by the movie's plea that we all just get along. And of course, making a black man the mouthpiece for a color-blind liberalism authenticates that position and erases its roots within white thought and power.

Onto another topic: sex. It occurred to me the other day to note the absence of any conversation about sex (real sex, like doing it) in my dispatches, and I'm wondering about that occlusion. Of course I've got issues with exposure, and already the work of writing out this life/lies in a public place is a challenge, but why is it sex that remains untouched? I've been having all kinds of interesting, dirty, exciting, ho-hum, and button-pushing sex in the past year, and I'm wanting suddenly to figure out how to write that into these politics and dialogues. I've thinking about: non-monogamy, love, public sex/public sex lives, transex, gender crossing desires, sex in scenes and communities, honesty, intimacy, s&m, buttfucking, talking about sex. I'm not sure what else to say at this point, I just know I want to figure out ways of transcribing some of these struggles. Anyone else want to get into the down and dirty here?


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01-02-03   craig: dispatch from hippie-homo central

Arrived in San Francisco a week ago, the plane touching down at a quarter past ten in the morning which, given the time change, meant that I arrived at the end of an already long elaborate day to the beginning of the day here in California. At the Oakland BART station I made friends with some lost hippies, apparently in town for a show by some former Grateful Dead people. Such things do not happen in New York.

I'm staying in the (sorta) Sunny Mission with Colby. On every corner there's a taqueria serving amazing, cheap fresh food. At the bar just a few blocks away, the jukebox plays Pink and David Bowie and the Smiths. Some other New Yorkers are out here that I know, plus this one dude who hangs out at The Cock in NYC and who I keep seeing places, we're like secret travel buddies but don't know it. Plus friends from Seattle, some of whom until now have only been virtual. I keep drinking too much and talking about science studies and other nerdy topics that are feeling very close to my heart.

Besides getting my ass out to nature, my San Fran agender includes checking out the No War art show at the Luggage Store Gallery and hopefully hooking up for some activisty stuff, cause I need a little inspiration. Any suggestions?

The end of my time in NYC was consumed with reading and re-reading an essay by Pheng Cheah called “Violent Light: The Idea of Publicness in Philosophy and in Global Neocolonialism” that blew apart western notions of public space within transnational capitalism. He argues for a contested and contingent process of negotation as an alternative to a public sphere that posits too simple and ahistorical a relationship between citizens and their states. Cheah writes, "Negotiation must here be understood as a necessity which arises when one inhabits a situation where there is no choice." The piece is fucking dense but I'd love to talk it through with anyone who's interested in reading it.

That's it. Hi to everyone on the east coast, I miss you.


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