why we whisper

Every time a powerful man goes down for some kind of sexual misconduct, we hear the term whisper network. What are they? How do they operate? How can we do better?

This week’s episode dedicated to my dear friend Deb who died this week. She was a wonderfully compassionate and loving human and we’re all a little less for her loss <3

Music by Cloudkicker

new year, new thing

I used to be that annoying asshole on the internet that was smugly above setting new year’s resolutions. Pish posh I said, time is arbitrary. If you want to make a change, just make it now! Why do we need some silly made up time to do it? But we have to acknowledge that human psychology works in certain ways, right? Most of us humans are pattern seeking creatures. We like ritual and meaning and patterns. What would happen if I leaned into that a little bit? What might I accomplish? The worst possible outcome was being another person who makes all kinds of promises to myself at the beginning of the year, then forgets them right? I’d be a little bummed, but like that’s not exactly a devastating outcome? With so little to lose and so much to possibly gain, I said fuck it. I made some promises to myself at the end of 2017.

I was mostly recovered from my bottom surgery, I was secure in my day job. I was getting ready to get married to the love of my life. I’d spent the last few years of my life between podcasting, speaking engagements, spending time with Celes, and my day job. I needed to set aside some time to do things that were just for me, just for my own enjoyment and fulfillment. Its not that podcasting and public speaking and all that aren’t fun or fulfilling, but they are definitely work. I wanted some things that didn’t feel like work. That’s part of what led me to Roller Derby. Its also why I started doing more Star Trek things. I spent some time learning Klingon, made it to a few cons, and even got to hang out and start friendships with some Star Trek actors. I had one on the show a few months ago.

Recognizing my privilege of course. I have an upper middle class income, lots of family support, and so on. So I’m in a position to do things a lot of folks might not have access to. So I don’t want to turn this into some cheesy “if I can do it, anyone can!” thing. But I did set goals for myself. And keeping them in sight while relying on the people I love for support has brought me some amazing things in 2018. So that’s what this episode is going to be about. Last week, I put out a call for people to leave me messages talking about what they went through in 2018, and what their hopes and fears are for 2019, and y’all fucking delivered. Some real life shit went down in 2018 for you, and I’m absolutely honored that so many of you chose to share your lives with me.

And I’ll say here that I’ve got some pretty cool stuff in store for 2019. There are some big changes coming for me. I’m gonna talk about those at the end of the show. But for now I want to share your stories. Let’s hear about 2018, and before we do, some of the stories I’m sharing here reference suicide, addiction,

female presenting WHAT?

Tumblr made an announcement that made lots of people pretty mad. Its also going to cause real harm to some people. This week we meet two of them.

The Tumblr alternatives mentioned (these links do not mean endorsements!)

newgrounds.com

pillowfort.io

dreamwidth.org

joinmastodon.org

 

Our outro theme is “Amy, I Love You” by Cloudkicker. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Support the show at patreon.com/thegaytheistmanifesto

queer country? yes. queer country.

When I was a kid, classic rock was the thing in my house. In the house, in the car, it was everywhere. At the beginning of every song I’d test my mom “who plays this this song?” And she always knew. She ALWAYS knew. I was super impressed by that. When I was around 7 or 8, my mom met the guy who’d eventually become my step dad. He was a country guy. There was a pretty immediate shift in the music that was played in the car and around my house. From there it was mainstream country only. I was a little weary at first. My mom and I had a connection over classic rock. I don’t know that I even particularly loved the songs, but they were my mom and I’s thing. It was a thing we had. And it just sort of went away all the sudden. But like also, Garth Brooks is awesome, so I bought in. I went along with it. As I got older I got into Metal, and eventually emo and hardcore and indie stuff, and I stopped listening to country. I also sort of started to pick up on the stereotypes about the music and the people who listen to it.

And so I still don’t remember exactly how I ran across it, but I found an article on the website bandcamp, which is a spot for independent musicians to post and sell their music. There was an article about this thing called the Queer Country Quarterly. I was super intrigued. Being a midwestern suburban white kid, queer and country were things that absolutely did not go together for me. I knew this was a story I wanted to tell. And so I got on a plane, went to New York, and I found Karen Pittelman. She fronts a band called Karen and the Sorrows, and she organizes Queer Country Quarterly, and their bigger extravaganza, the Gay Ole Opry.

Music from:

Karen and The Sorrows

Viva

Secret Emchy Society

Our outro theme is “Amy, I Love You” by Cloudkicker. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Support the show at patreon.com/thegaytheistmanifesto

are those prosthetics?

Starting a new story for my podcast is one of my favorite times. The possibilities are endless! I get to connect with a new person, be vulnerable with them, inspire vulnerability from them, illuminate some aspect of the human experience that’s new to me, and maybe to you! And traveling to do it is even cooler. I love traveling. Airports are kind of magical places right? They’re the places where journeys start! I used to love airports, still kinda do. Except one part. The part that being transgender makes kinda complicated

Quick content note, this episode contains some gross and borderline transphobic language, references to genitalia and allusions to sexual assault. Take care of yourselves, friends <3

wtf is rapid onset gender dysphoria?

A quick note before we get started, this episode contains lots of discussion of transphobic rhetoric, and references to eating disorders and self harm. As always, please take care of yourselves friends <3

When I came out, I had a strategy. The idea was to start close and sort of widen the circle. I told those closest to me and most likely to support me first, and I told them in person. I slowly widened that circle of in person conversations. Over the course of dinner and movie dates, and eventually phone conversations and text messages, the circle got wider. I was lucky. My friends and most of my family were almost universally supportive. Aside from expressing their love and support, there was one other sentiment I heard over and over again. People were surprised. I wore the man suit well. I ticked most of the man stereotype boxes. Giant manly beard, metal band, band t-shirts, gym shorts, lack of personal hygiene, and so on.

The closet metaphor exists for a reason. From a young age we’re taught that being different in the way we’re different is not okay. Its both explicit and implicit. Even if we don’t have the vocabulary, its something most of us just know. The closet is dark, and its scary, but sometimes its safer than the alternative. Some of us very carefully curate our personal lives and interactions with others to erase every outward hint of our queerness or our trans ness. Its a self defense and survival mechanism. That being the case, I feel like its safe to say that EVERYONE’S coming out is going to be a surprise to at least SOME of the folks in our lives.

This week we’re going to talk about a study and a group of people who have apparently forgotten this is a thing altogether.

I was scrolling through Twitter a few weeks ago and ran across an article from some shitty conservative news rag I’m not going to name because I don’t want them to get the views. The title made my stomach turn. “Is Transgender the new anorexia? New study suggests so.”

The fuck is this nonsense?

This new study is called “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports”

Hmmm Rapid onset gender dysphoria. It certainly sounds science-y right? And there’s a study about it. Seems legit. So what is it?

check out Zinnia’s blog at genderanalysis.net

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Out theme music is pretty sweet yeah? The song is called Amy, I Love You by the band Cloudkicker. We use it under Creative Commons Licensing.

#182 – You Can Tell Whatever Stories You Want

I was a pretty stereotypically boy-ish kid. I played football, I was in Boy Scouts, I loved camping. I played with GI Joes and Transformers. I liked getting dirty and playing outside. I liked sci-fi and action movies and wrestling and play fighting with my friends. I know now, in my adulthood, that there’s no reason those things have to be gendered. But in my childhood, my adolescence, and early on in my coming out, those WERE very much gendered things. I doubted myself so hard in those early weeks and months. I’d go to support groups and hear other trans women talking about how they wanted to cook and play with dolls. They wanted to join Girl Scouts and be princesses. None of that really resonated with me. Could I really be trans if I liked boy things as a kid? I know now that’s a silly question to ask. But I was still learning. At the time it seemed a valid and serious question.
The things I loved, and the way I loved those things were a very serious barrier to me in coming to terms with who I was. This week we’re going to meet someone who had a similar experience with her own passion. Her name is Willow Zietman, and she’s a blacksmith.
Willow’s shop on Etsy is here!
Willow is @willowthewhispmetalwork on Instagram
There are all kinds of cool pics and videos on her Facebook page here!
 
Other cool women blacksmiths:
@__redmetal__, @mcoyneblacksmith, @hamclarty , @klickaann , @lm_metaldesign , @alice_rehammer , @ryna_cady , @leslietharpdesigns , @mscaitlinsschool
Check them out and support them <3

#181 – Nothing Ever Changes

Content Note: Graphic Descriptions of Sexual Violence
A few years ago, I had a sit-down with an Ohio state lawmaker. He had proposed a North Carolina style bathroom bill for Ohio. He laid out the basics of the bill in a press release or a policy statement on his website or something like that, I don’t remember which. But in the news story I watched, he invited comment from the trans community. Like other conservative lawmakers, he was eager to make a show of claiming that he didn’t think of trans people as predators, its just that giving us rights makes other people vulnerable. Of course he didn’t frame it that way, but its exactly what he was saying.
I emailed him, and was surprised when he responded offering to buy me coffee and meet with me to discuss it. We met at a Starbucks by a mall close to me. He was friendly. He was polite. At least at first. We opened the meeting by talking about Leelah Alcorn, her death was still fresh in our minds at this point. He insisted on dead naming her. He did that childish thing where I would say Leelah, and he would respond by saying her dead name. It wasn’t the best way to start the conversation.
But as my friend Jonah and I sat there talking to him, he seemed receptive. He nodded and admitted several times that he had just not realized how diverse the trans community was, how many challenges we faced, and how difficult laws like this would make things for us. By the end of the conversation, I don’t know if I was confident we’d changed his mind, but he seemed changed enough that I had hope. Not a chance we was going to turn into a trans rights champion or anything. But maybe he’d at least realize the bathroom bill was a bad idea and drop it.
We weren’t the only meeting he took. He met with several other members of the trans community. They all told him the same things that Jonah and I did. And in every conversation, he acted surprised to hear what he was hearing. It was new to him every time.
Via email, Jonah and I pressed him with questions. Jonah dug up statistics about sexual assault in this representative’s district. He asked why those statistics didn’t spur him into action, but the idea of trans people in bathrooms did. I sent him a report from a group of domestic violence and prevention organizations stating THEY didn’t think bathroom bills were the answer. I asked him why he thought these experts we wrong. He had no answers for either.
It became very clear over time that he was making a show of having the conversation, but he was not listening. Its one thing to have a conversation. Its another thing entirely to actually listen. It seemed Representative Becker was very interested in being able to say he had the conversation. Not so much the actual listening part.
It also seems that was very much the case with Christine Blasey- Ford and her testimony about her experience with Brett Kavanaugh. There was a big show of having the hearing. She was asked deeply personal and invasive questions. She was challenged and put on display on the biggest possible stage. We heard lots of flowery language that sounded like compassion from the Republican lawmakers that grilled her. They made one hell of a show about having this hearing. But they never really listen, do they? Lawmakers love a good dog and pony show. Let’s get out the cameras, the microphones, the fancy nameplates. Let’s make a good show of it, so we can do absolutely nothing in response.
Whenever there’s a sexual assault story that makes the news, we see scores of people come forward with their stories. Some as catharsis, some as solidarity, some as a call to DO something about this problem. And it seems nothing ever changes.
I’ve never experienced sexual assault. Sexual harassment? Definitely, but never assault. And I know how gross I feel when thinking back to my experiences, and how reluctant I am to talk about them, I can only imagine what its like to be a sexual assault survivor in this environment over the last few weeks and months.
But we don’t have to imagine do we? We all know someone who is affected. Whether we realize it or not, we do. And as this show has always been about amplifying the voices of the marginalized, that’s what today is going to be about. We have three brave individuals who’ve decided to share their stories with us today and their thoughts and feelings about existing in our world and in our current political climate as sexual assault survivors.
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If you’re a survivor of sexual violence and you’re looking for a supportive community, check out A Voice For The Innocent. It’s a great org, run by people I trust.
Voter registration deadlines have passed in some states, and not in others. Check here to see what’s going on in your state and how to register if there’s still time.
If you want to help people get to the polls, check out Carpool Vote. You can register there as someone who needs a ride, or as someone willing to give one.

#180 – Is It Okay To Laugh?

I’ve not made a secret of the fact that I’m sort of uncomfortable with standup comedy as a medium. It seems really difficult to find standup comedy that isn’t misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, or makes jokes of things that I just don’t find funny, even if they’re not actually terrible jokes. It’s often just not my style. But my guest this week has a new special on Hulu called Don’t Look at Me, and it’s fantastic. Her name is Robin Tran, she’s a trans standup comedian. We had a great talk about the ways trans folks can fit into comedy and her own journey with mental health and using comedy as a coping mechanism for that pain.

Her special can be found here.

Robin is @robintran04 on twitter

Got a thing for funding the gay agenda? Check us out on Patreon

Other places you can get your Gaytheist on:

TGM on YouTube

TGM on Twitter

TGM on Facebook

 

Out theme music is pretty sweet yeah? The song is called Amy, I Love You by the band Cloudkicker. We use it under Creative Commons Licensing