“Transmen in the City”: Mainstream Mag Does Trans Story Right (Mostly)

TRANS:

New York Magazine’s Transmen and the City talks about “gay guys who love ex-girls, and other Brooklyn permutations.” At first this looks like just another queer trend piece, and maybe it is, but we’re gonna focus on the fact that William Van Meter spent nearly an entire paragraph talking about how cute Amos Mac looked sipping his coffee on a recent trip to Brooklyn. Earlier today on the twitter machine, Amos noted that parts of the article weren’t entirely accurate.


For the record, Amos’s chest tattoo does not read IDENTITY, but rather LIFESTYLE, and has nothing to do with his trans identity at all. When we asked him to elaborate, he told us it was an inside joke. “An inside joke across my chest, yes, but whatever, it’s my body.” In case you couldn’t tell, it’s the little things like this that make us love him so.

The article posits that “many” transmen prefer to date women and goes on to describe a recent trend of trans guys dating / hooking up with queer male-born guys. This quote from just such a male-born guy sums up our thoughts pretty nicely:

“It’s juvenile to have a fear of biological woman parts and this idea that they make the gender of a person. People are attracted to other people. Part of being young and queer is you don’t need to put yourself into boxes.” – Ben Riskin

We actually do appreciate that a mainstream publication like New York Magazine would approach the topic of transmen and their culture with this sort of enthusiasm, even if it means that parts of the article weren’t perfect. But hey, it happens! Ten points for trying! Then again, we get yelled at for posting a Trans / Genderfuck / Stud gallery, so what do we know?

In case you missed it, read Laneia’s interview with Amos Mac for Autostraddle, in which he candidly discusses transitioning, feelings, and his kickass zine, Original Plumbing. San Francisco-area readers can attend the Original Plumbing Issue 3 Release Party at Eros on Wednesday (tomorrow) night, by the way. You’re welcome.

Related: This same issue of New York Magazine, which is generally one of our favorite magazines, includes a bar guide which features the best bar for younger gay men, the best bar for older gay men and the best gay crossover party but not a single lesbian bar. We went to the Nightlife Awards, we read GO, we know they exist!

AS FAT AS I WANNA BE:

You Are My Sisters: “Marginalized groups must work to resist the tendency to devalue or bristle over any member whose actions might be viewed as “making the rest of us look bad”. The work to end all forms of oppression does not involve policing group members to ensure they are “on message”. Ending oppression – be it fat or racial or gender or whathaveyou – requires an active commitment to resist any cultural messaging seeking to frame one member of a marginalized group as representative of all members – regardless of whether the framing presents the members in a negative or positive light.”

STEREOTYPES:

Maureen Dowd has a lovely little op-ed piece on SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan that we think is supposed to be funny but is really just complete rubbish. (@nytimes)

BABIES:

Salon talks with the author of  She Looks Just Like You, a memoir about being a gay parent. – “Non-biological lesbian moms, like gay fathers who use surrogates, we’re in this weird zone between motherhood and fatherhood.” (@salon)

DEPORTED:

Iranian Lesbian Filmmaker Denied Asylum In The UK – “In Iran, the punishment for lesbianism involving mature consenting women consists of 100 lashes. This punishment can be applied up to three times. After a fourth violation of Iranian law, a woman convicted of “unrepentant homosexuality” is finally executed by hanging, often publicly, in front of a howling mob.” (@blogout)

RAPE CULTURE:

ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap spoke with several South African women soccer players who were beaten and raped because they are lesbians. This is known as “corrective rape” and, according to one advocacy group, there are 10 new cases of corrective rape weekly in Cape Town alone. The most publicized case took place in 2008, when Eudy Simelane, a 29-year old out lesbian soccer player, was beaten, raped and stabbed to death. When asked if he cares about the lesbians who are raped, a young African man had this to say (from ESPN’s Corrective Rape, video below):

“Why do I care maybe for a person who likes to be like me? ‘Cause I’m the man. God created me to be a man. I have everything to be a man.”

The website PeaceWomen.org put together a really informative report in 2009 that you should read, bookmark and share – Hate Crimes: The Rise of Corrective Rape in South Africa (pdf). To learn more about Eudy’s story, watch this short video: A Story of Corrective Rape. Impressive to see this sort of coverage coming from such an unlikely source as ESPN.

+

PUNK ISLAM:

Taqwacore Culture at South by Southwest – “Sena Hussain, describes herself as an ‘openly queer drag king and lead singer of a Taqwacore band.’ The best word to describe Hussain is unrepentant: “I’m not going to hold back…or hide anything really. I don’t care what kind of trouble I get into for it.” “(@racialicious)

HARRY POTTER:

They totally named the project after Neville’s frog (@feministing)

BEAUTY QUEENS:

Lebanese Woman Wins Miss USA – “Fakih shows young Muslim and Lebanese girls that they too can be considered beautiful. Yes, part of a fucked up system of beauty, but this is still a meaningful change.” (@feministing)

BRINGING UP GIRLS:

Is Dobson’s Book ‘Bringing Up Girls’ Anti-Feminist?

auto has written 594 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. Regarding the Maureen O’Dowd piece in the NYT

    I’m pretty sure she meant it to be funny but… I think it captures the tone of the majority of the coverage of the story very well. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t intentional, because it’s not a funny point at all.

    • Yeah…I’m actually not sure how to take this. At first, it seemed as if she was making fun of the whole discussion of her maybe/kinda/sorta/possibly being gay. Then, it seemed like she was making fun of the whole “she’s not gay, folks, look how straight we can say she is!” attitude. Then it started reading as “so what if she is gay? what a strong role model she could be if she was gay, right?”, which was weird because it seemed to also say that the counter to that was “poor desperate hetero who can’t get a date and isn’t that so sad but not as sad as being gay amirite?” Then my mental train derailed.

      In other words, to what extent is this actually satire?

      • She’s mocking Joe Biden’s over-the-top attempts to prove to Republicans that Elena Kagan is straight. (because if she’s gay, that would be Very Scary and then they ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT vote to confirm her.) Joe Biden – and others in the administration – knows this and, as a result, has trotted out every stereotypically heterosexual anecdote about Kagan from the past thirty years. I mean, even the White House essentially broke protocol by preemptively declaring Kagan to be a heterosexual, rather than just ignoring the gossip. so Maureen Dowd’s point is that this is all ridiculous and that Kagan’s sexuality is ultimately irrelevant and that, even if (as Joe Biden would have us all believe) Kagan is the straightest lady to ever walk to face of the earth, she’s sick of hearing about it.

        I thought it was an excellent piece of satire.

  2. I have to add to the depressing news…

    Norma Machado:

    http://bit.ly/aZMiGf

    (from IGLHRC) On April 7, 2010, a 20-year old lesbian, Norma Machado, was abducted from her home in Asunción, Paraguay by five family members and a family friend. She was dragged into a car where she was suffocated, strangled and subjected to multiple blows, resulting in severe bruising to her body.

    […]

    Machado was held against her will and subjected to three hours of humiliation and interrogation about her lesbianism.

    She escaped, hopefully she’s safe now. IGLHRC reported this a couple days ago and it doesn’t look like it’s gotten any media attention.

    • Hi, I’m from Paraguay.

      What happened to this girl was a big piece of news here within the lesbian community. You don’t see lesbians holding a press conference very often around here. Unfortunately, the only things worthy of note for the local media are The Stupid Things President Lugo Is Currently Doing, or Ridiculous Stuff That Can Only Happen Here. Now, I admit that I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t stumbled upon the story while changing channels one boring night. But later I noticed that while some online newspapers did the best they could to hide the story from their front page, others didn’t even care to say anything about it, and the one tv channel that ran the story is known for its gory content, so it probably didn’t reach the right audience. So basically, they just sank the story.

      Thankfully, the girl is fine, and I think she’s living with her girlfriend now.

        • As far as I know, there is no follow up. There are policemen involved and no one seems to care. Our judicial system is really slow, so it’s hard to say if anything will come out of this.

          About other bad stuff that LGBT people suffer here, I know for a fact that teenage gay boys have it really bad too. They get bullied and constantly beaten up by their own classmates, and nobody says a word. Not even their parents. It’s like they think it’ll fix them or something. Sigh. And there was this story about this lesbian soccer player who had been bullied so much that she had to flee the country. This happened like a year and a half ago, but I just found out about this recently. And I can’t even begin to imagine how many “corrective rape” victims are out there, who won’t file a report.

          Despite all of this, there are a few organizations that are putting up the big fight, and we’re getting stronger, slowly, but surely.

  3. i thought that nymag article was startlingly brief but i appreciate that it happened. the writer at least doesn’t act all wide-eyed and fetishy, though a few parts come off as a bit reductive. the part that stood out for me was mac mentioning how he’s embracing his boyband-loving femmy side more now that he doesn’t have to work overtime to identify himself to the world. that’s something i’m really interested in: the way that masculinity can be more fluid for biological men who have the privilege of going unquestioned as men and can knit and wear sarongs and always be “men,” whereas for a lot of genderqueer/trans/butch female-bodied people who aren’t read so easily as the gender they identify as, masculinity can sometimes (sometimes) play out in more stereotypical, rigid ways.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!