Vaginal Discourse

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Every now and then, I get all optimistic about the state of trans people in society. Usually, it’s because I’m not paying attention and/or focusing on a tiny subset of us. To wit:

Back in April, a man shot and killed Brandy Martell (a trans woman of color). I’m not sure how I missed the news, but I’m pretty sure the media largely ignored the story because she was a trans woman of color. (via Julia Serano)

Yesterday, a Brooklyn trans woman died in a suspicious fire, and the New York Times cared just enough to discuss her body and clothing. (via Janet Mock)

Oh! Here’s some political news:

Eric Fehrnstrom is called Mitt Romney’s “most trusted” adviser. Well it seems that Mr. Romney’s most trusted adviser is alleged to have “glee”-fully outed a transgender women, ending her career in politics. This from GQ:

Fehrnstrom saved his cheap shots for smaller-time Massachusetts pols. When a political activist and gadfly … was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the fact that she was transgender was an open secret in Boston political circles. But Fehrnstrom was the first one to put that information into print—”I can remember his glee when he found the birth certificate,” says former Herald reporter Robert Connolly—thus bringing a swift end to [her] future on Beacon Hill. [Emphasis, redaction mine]

(via Abby Jensen)


In a totally random format, because I have to wash my pussy after he spent two days hiding in my neighbors’ garage (for realz).

Did you know that the Jim Collins Foundations funds gender confirming surgeries for needy trans people? They do! You can submit a scholarship application or donate here. Via @radicalguy

Supreme Court refuses to hear state’s appeal, ending Wisconsin’s ‘Inmate Sex-Change Prevention Act.’

The ACLU and Lambda Legal jointly filed a case in 2006 on behalf of several transgender inmates entitled Fields v Smith who were experiencing severe physical and psychological harm after the medical treatment they had been receiving under prison doctors’ care was abruptly cut off due to the new draconian law.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin then struck down the law as unconstitutional based on both the Eighth Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) and on the Equal Protection Clause after a four day trial. The state of Wisconsin appealed the ruling in 2010 and in August of last year, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the previous Lambda Legal court win, stating: “Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no valid penological purpose and amounts to torture.”

Monica Roberts via @AutumnSandeen

In Defense of the C-Word by Laurie Penny

For me, “cunt” is, and will always be, a word of power, whether it denotes my own genitals or any obstreperous comrades in the vicinity. The first time I ever used it, I was 12 years old, and being hounded by a group of sixth-form boys who just loved to corner me on the stairs and make hilarious sexy comments. One day, one of them decided it would be funny to pick me up by the waist and shake me. I spat out the words “put me down, you utter cunt”, and the boy was so shocked that he dropped me instantly.

After a few days in the Adirondacks, rummaging through robber barons’ bookshelves, I’m somewhat refreshed. Here’s some things I’ve been reading to get the bad taste out of my mouth:

-Monica Roberts has a post up about silicone pumping amongst trans* women of color. It’s partly in response to this recent story from The New York Times.

-Matt Kailey tells the story of his first visit to a support group for trans* people.

-Do you like the good folks at Smith-Corona? Do you want tips on how to navigate doctors’ offices while fat? If so, you should check out Mrs. Arvoidupois’ guest post on Hanne Blank’s blog.

MtF Confessions is a Tumblr. It’s interesting, albeit frequently soul-crushing.

-s.e. smith has the lowdown on TSA’s new “chat down” procedure, and on the intersection of privilege and psychological profiling.

-Please phrase your compliments for Rebecca in the form of actual compliments.

Hi there!

For some strange reason, I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t written anything in a good 96 hours. Between my day job, watching my country eat itself, and all sorts of personal bits, I’ve been a bit down and unmotivated.

However, I assure you that I’m working on post about genital electrolysis that you’ll all want to read. Actually, the topic of the post is almost as expansive as this blog, so I might accidentally write a book about it. I’ll try to keep it under 1000 words, you know, like those pamphlets creepy guys are always trying to give you as you anxiously wait for an opportunity to jaywalk.

In the meantime, I present the second A Cunt of One’s Own blogaround, under the new-and-improved title of “Meet the Clit”:

-Joelle Ruby Ryan has a great essay up about living large, and refusing to be unseen:

The great stage called life allows us to be big, boisterous, rancorous, animated, noisy and vibrant. Are you sparkling glitter along your trail? Are you doing your work like Audre Lorde implored us to do? Are you freely allowing yourself to be too much, go too far, and live vivaciously and vociferously, without apology for who you are?

-If you want to know how to make vagina cupcakes, The Frisky has you covered. Apparently toasted coconut pieces are excellent stand-ins for pubes.* Given that there’s not actually a canal there, I’m wondering what’s up with the word “vagina”. How about vulva cupcakes? Or, more obviously, cuntcakes? It’s not rocket science, people.

-Autumn Sundeen reports on a new directive from the Veterans Administration:

The National Center for Transgender Equality analyzed and described the new policy directive. The center reports that the directive states that VA staff must provide care to transgender patients “without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients” and that all personal information about transgender status and medical care is to be kept confidential. The policy also reiterates two existing regulations — that sex reassignment surgery cannot be performed or paid for by the VA, and that all other medically necessary healthcare for transgender veterans is covered, including sex specific care like mammograms and pap smears, and transition-related care, such as hormones and mental health services.

Considering it’s the VA, I’m willing to call that a baby step in the right direction.

A trans woman whose document changes the government of Malaysia refused, has died of a heart attack at age 26.

-Here’s a tweet from the New York Abortion Access Fund and The Lilith Fund:

Wow. Who can afford that? RT @lilithfund: The average cost of an #abortion for our clients in July was $1,212. #poverty #healthcare #justice

So, there’s that to think about.

-Joanne has a kickass post up about coming to embrace fat acceptance.

-Sarah Morice-Brubaker wrote about the next logical step in the war on people who are making incorrect choices about their bodies: In Which I Explain why Marathon Runners are Depraved and Should Just Have their Knees Fall Off Before I Give them One Red Cent

*If you played “toasted coconut pieces are excellent stand-ins for pubes” in the rarely-used-phrases-I’ll-bet-I’ll-see-on-the-Internet lottery, congrats!

I thought it would be only natural to start a blogaround of notable news and commentary. I’m not sure how frequently or regularly this feature will appear, but I’m currently aiming for once a week. I’m also looking for a good title, although I have to admit, “Face the Vulva” is definitely growing on me.

If y’all have news, links, or ideas for a guest posts (or fundraising ideas, for that matter), comment away!

Joelle Ruby Ryan recently wrote about traveling while fat and transgenderqueer.

There’s actually a nifty advice column on talking about ableism, breast cancer, and sexuality. (Via @ Scartleteen)

Juliet Jacques’ latest column at The Guardian explores passing as a cis women while out and about.

Our Bodies Ourselves has a link to Stephen Colbert’s takedown of the recent Summer’s Eve debacle.

Adam Polaski at Bilerico reports that the US Department of Health and Human Services is reconsidering its homophobic (and transphobic) blood donation policy.

The Ms. Blog previews a new book: Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex.

The Ms. Blog also noticed that Michelle Obama’s milkshake was in the news this week for some reason.

Morgan Page is over at Pretty Queer, where she’s discussing transmisogyny in Toronto’s queer scene.

Lastly, I award a spontaneous Tweet of the Moment award to Martha Plimpton for:

My vagina is a mysterious bog wherein lives a tiny green man who dispenses wise advice, albeit with poor grammar.

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