Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Transgender athletes

After all of the recent headlines about the acceptance of transgender athletes (Kye Allums, Keelin Godsey, LPGA's inclusion of transgender athletes, etc.), I decided to do some research on the actual policies that govern participation.

There are three main levels of policies:
1. Olympic (IOC) and professional sports, which are the most restrictive and controversial of the three, requiring hormone treatment as well as genital reassignment surgery.
2. College sports, which rely on hormone treatment.
3. High school sports, which is the most open of the three, requiring neither hormone treatment nor genital reassignment surgery.

There isn't one policy that covers high school or college sports, rather a set of recommended policies that must be taken up by individual schools.

Policies governing Olympic and professional sports are also implemented within each individual organization.

Anyway, this takes an in depth look at high school and college sports:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trans acceptance in basketball?
I don't try to be negative, but I just like to question the actual "progress" being made in moments like these. I guess it is a slow transition that must be made, but one has to ask whether the acceptance merely comes from the fact that, at this point, Kye Allums can be a man on the team as long as he still looks like a "woman". Once any physical transition takes place, he will no longer be able to play on the team. I find it extremely problematic that the individual is not really viewed as transgender, or of the opposite gender, until they physical represent that gender. I believe that the acceptance, or lack of acceptance, comes from how much of a threat the individual is to the game. Since Kye has no "biological advantage" over the women at this point, he is not a threat and can remain on the team. In contrast, one can examine the controversy over runner Caster Semenya in terms of the same argument. Because it is socially and historically accepted that men are stronger and better at sports, the possibility of someone on a women's team being a man, or intersex, is too threatening and must be proven to be a woman. We unfortunately live in an "I'll believe it when I see it" mentality and until we get out of that rut, we can't expect too much progress, least of which in the world of sports.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Click List

The Click List: Top 10 Videos is a countdown show on LOGO featuring music videos by LGBT artists. The majority of the videos are quite difficult to watch. They are pretty over-the-top in a DIY sort of way in that the quality of the videos and sets are very amature with overly dramatic lipsyncing and magnified movements. The music is pretty bad, most of which consist of lyrics about (homo)sexuality and are backed by techno/club beats. My feelings toward this show are quite ambivalent. However, based on my first experience I can say that I am fairly disappointed in the fact that all of the videos on the list are by presumably gay men with the inclusion of the occasional transwoman. Anyway, here's one of the more intriguing videos on the list.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Antony interview (excerpt)

GROSS: I’d like to talk with you a little bit about gender. You describe yourself as transgender. What does that mean to you?

HEGARTY: Well, you know, it’s pretty simple. I don’t identify as a man. I identify as transgender, you know? I mean, it’s a pretty typical phenomenon. There’s probably transgender people in most families, somewhere around the line. Usually exhibits…

(Soundbite of laughter)

HEGARTY: Its symptoms, like, by the age of five or something, you know that your alignment is subtly or very overtly different than the kids that may be around you. I always aligned more with my mother and my mother’s side. And my pursuits and interests as a really young kid were more creative and always leaning more toward the feminine side as opposed to towards the masculine side of activities. So, it’s really as simple as that, you know? I made a choice to, sort of, really spell it out for people, especially since I’m not someone that is transitioned to—towards anything, really. I’m just sort of in a process of embracing myself as a transgender person and presenting myself, you know, as I am…

GROSS: You mean as opposed to having a sex-change operation to surgically alter yourself?

HEGARTY: No, not necessarily. That’s not what I meant. But you know, it could be more subtle than that. You know, I mean, I think people tend to be really obsessed with transgender people’s physical configurations. But transgender is a condition of the spirit, you know? There’s something very reductive that tends to occur in perceiving transgender people and even gay people, in that society tends to want to reduce them, in almost a crude way, around an obsession with their sexuality or even their genital configuration, which has—there’s a kind of a cruelty to that, when, in fact, what we are dealing with is people whose spirits are different.

And it’s much more subtle and there’s a lot more potential there within each of those children and within each of those adults that remains unacknowledged and sometimes even unexplored, because people, even individuals, fall victim to society’s impression of them or society’s reduction of them. And what you tend to notice about a transgender kid, you know, they’re usually the ones that are kind of dancing by themselves in a little circle of light, and they see colors more brightly, and they’re very sensitive to the feelings of kids, other kids, and adults around them. And my suggestion is that they have a little gift inside their hearts that could be a real asset within the family. And I think that’s true of gay kids, too, you know?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wild Side

So I just came across this clip for the first time?!!! It's probably one of the most emotional 2 minutes and 24 seconds that I have experienced in a LONG time. I NEED to find this movie. Trip to Amoeba anyone?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Helium Bodies

We walked toward the sky
When our only desire was to dig our toes in the dirt
We sought stability
But our flags caught the wind
Carried us away with dreams of unslanted grounds

We wore our banners like capes
Covered in every color but white
Flew overhead so that we could see the city grid
And wondered why gravity couldn't pull us down

Friday, June 11, 2010

The opposite of standing still is...crawling?

While it is an improvement, there are, of course, still some problems with this new policy. I guess we should just embrace that change is indeed occurring.

Next up: not needing a note from a doctor saying you are "in the process of gender transition"!
And then maybe deleting sex from the passport altogether. It serves no purpose.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010


Saw this on someone's blog and fell in love!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I just found out about this show... It's exciting but I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. However, the website does have some very useful and informative links, which is a huge plus!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Dear Tyra Banks,

If someone is a transgender woman and blatantly states that she identifies as female and always has, you do not ask her boyfriend if he considers himself gay or bisexual.

-David Gutierrez

"Ain't I a Woman?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

We are the soldiers of discourse

We ran when no one was chasing us
Looked for things that didn't exist
We punched through walls
And leaped over fences

We bound different parts of our bodies
Hid things that didn't belong
We humored ourselves with thoughts of being whole
Because we knew something could be done

We disguised our fear as strength
And marched through the desert in jungle camouflage

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Introduction Spirit possession and gender" from Spirit Possession Modernity and Power in Africa

The relation of spirit possession and gender formed an important subject in the theoretical discussion of spirit possession cults. That the great majority of the possessed were and are women (although in the last years the numbers of men have increased) caused anthropologists to ask for explanations. In addition, feminists recently discovered that spirit possession was used by women not only to challenge and appropriate male power, but also to confirm and subvert gender categories. Spirit possession dealt with the resistance and empowerment of women and other marginalized groups, but also with the dislocation of gender categories thus denaturalizing male hegemonies through spirit possession. It allowed alternative models of agency which displaced the hegemonic association of masculinity and femininity (Cornwall 1994: 116)

In many regions in Africa, spirits are gendered. In forming hierarchies, they often replicate the inequalities between women and men. However, spirits of various pantheons often establish their masculinity or femininity as fluid rather than fixed, offering gender as a continuum of qualities found in both females and males. Thus, male spirits in the Brazilian Candomblé, for instance, are associated as much with emotion and softness as with forceful dominance, while female spirits include images of the fierce and the powerful, as well as the sensuous and gentle (Cornwall 1994: 126).

In the contribution of Jean-Paul Colleyn on the Nya Cult in Mali only men are possessed by an androgynous divinity named Nya who according to the context is referred to as ‘she’ or ‘he’ thus oscillating between the two sexes. Members are married to Nya and call him or her ‘my husband’ while becoming his or her wife. Thus, as in many other regions in Africa, the gender of the possessed is also dislocated. Initiation, continuous contact and incorporation of the spirits through marriage may alter or shift the medium’s gender. In Northern Uganda, for instance, the relationship between spirits and their mediums was seen as a marital and sexual relationship, the spirit being the medium’s spouse. As such, male spirits were said to feminize male spirit mediums while emasculating female spirit mediums. In contrast, among the Lugbara permanent or temporary asexuality was an essential characteristic of spirit mediums enabling them to mediate between the human and the spirit spheres (Middleton 1969: 224); while in Lamu on the Swahili coast the gender of women and men married to Jinn spirits was not changed at all. Men would marry female jin and women would marry male jin (El-Zein 1974: 71ff). Perhaps because these unions were thought to be fertile and to produce spirit children they did not shift the heterosexual matrix.

In many regions, male and female spirit mediums own spirits of their own and of the opposite sex. In one session, various spirits of different sexes may enter the medium and provide alternate versions of gender, thus displacing the dominant gender hierarchies. In the selective recombination of gendered traits, the person possessed by spirits is given the chance to play, to present a range of choices and alternatives within which people can locate themselves (Cornwall 1994: 127). Thus, spirit possession can be a stage for enacting tragedies, comedies, travesties and parodies of gender that are constantly recreated and dislodged.

This highly flexible aspect of spirit possession is worked out in Susan Kenyon’s chapter on Zar spirits in Central Sudan. In her careful case study of a butcher’s wife possessed by various male and female Zar spirits she offers insight into the contradictions and complexities of ideas about women’s multiple-gendered identities, about autonomy and power in relation to possession by spirits.

In addition, in her discussion of possession in Madagascar, Lesley Sharp gives the example of female royal Tromba spirit mediums that undermines the dominant assumptions in anthropology that participation in what are often assumed to be marginal cult activities is generally regarded as proof of the structural weakness of women. Instead, she shows that among the Bemazava, women embody local power in the political arena that enables them, for instance, to make substantial decisions on local development projects.

In Alexandra de Sousa’s chapter on spirit possession on the Bijagós Islands the bodies of women serve as vessels to accomplish the initiation of young men into full ancestors. The spirits of these young men who because of their premature death could not accomplish their initiation into full personhood take possession of women. The possessed women undergo an initiation and thus establish and fulfill not only their own personhood but also the one of the spirit they embody. Thus, female initiation is in fact a post-mortem male initiation. While in everyday life women’s bodies become the location of a future child, during initiation they harbor the spirit of a defunct who died too early. Pregnant women are not allowed to undergo initiation because it is impossible to carry at the same time a foetus and a defunct.

Here possession surely is not sex war. On the contrary, it is concerned with the social reproduction of the community, women’s bodies not only producing babies but also ancestors. During the time of initiation women change into warriors, the age group of the young men they have incorporated. While being pregnant with a defunct they display the virile qualities of warriors thus relating to the longstanding warrior tradition of the Bijagós Islands. By doing so they dislocate the dominant gender norms while at the same time confirming their productive power of women’s bodies.

As in other African regions, the self, the body and the person are not unitary concepts but open to a constant reformulation through mutable entanglements with others. In this context, spirit possession could be seen as one of many practices that inscribe dividuality (Strathern 1988; Battaglia 1995:3).

Michael Jackson within a transgender discourse. LOVELY!

Randomly came across this very interesting analysis of Michael Jackson's work focusing on his vocal stylings in Off the Wall. Thank you Francesca Royster for a lovely read!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some late-night sketching

So last night I decided to sketch again, but to sketch from my own work rather than using other sources. Looking at all of my old photos I was reminded of all the work I had done revolving around hooded figures. There was a need to place a fabric around someone's face in order to represent a power dynamic, an unidentified person, and/or suggested violence. I became intrigued again by the hood, but this time it was the isolated head that became a powerful my mind. The hooded imagery inspires a sense of ambivalence and actively poses questions when the viewer is not given any context. I most likely will not pursue these drawings, but it was refreshing to explore something fairly separate from what I have been invested in, although there are many moments of overlap. Who knows it might come up again!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chinatown, thank you for not disappointing me.

Chung King Rd. is more like an old wooden roller coaster. There is a constant creaking fear of what you will be seeing in the next gallery. Overall, you get a fairly uneventful and disappointing experience, a sort of "Eh, I just came on the ride to see what all the fuss was about". However, you do get to experience the much anticipated excitement while you're at the top of the hills. The names of these peaks are Robert Mallary, Kathrin Burmester, and Travis Somerville.

Robert Mallary's sculptures are quite exciting, especially his more figurative work. His mid-century pieces create a strong visceral experience that straddle the line between the grotesque and the beautiful, reminiscent of Louise Bourgeois's work.
Crucifix, 1962
The Cliffhangers, 1963-4
Nosedive, 1962

Ballerina, 1960

Kathrin Burmester's large-scale, pixelated digital prints of baseboards were a very pleasant inclusion in the Jancar Gallery. Her utilization of photography is quite smart and places the work in the context of painting, the abstract, and the banal, among other intriguing discourses.

White over Blue, Red, Yellow, Green and White on Blue (Baseboard), 2010

White over Brown over Spirals (Baseboard), 2010

Beige and Beige over Brown (Baseboard), 2010

Travis Somerville explicitly deals with race relations throughout the nation's history. Because of the time-specific imagery appropriated in his mixed media collages, he confronts the viewer with seemingly antiquated images and forces the viewer to consider them in the context of the contemporary moment. This work was by far the most powerful and most politically charged of the work exhibited on Chung King Rd., especially considering the recent events at UCSD.

Unfortunately there aren't many images of his work on the net...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The internet is wonderful!

It's not quite the same as going to a good library and picking up random books to look through. You don't get the smell or the different textures of covers and pages in your hands. The physicality of discovery is absent, however, your eyes can still be in for a treat. The pro of surfing the web is that you can quickly jump from link to link and discover something new and exciting.

Alex Kanevsky

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Currently looking at...

George Platt Lynes
So many wonderful images, yet there are very few on the internet. So, this is the best image I could find without going through the trouble of scanning and uploading.

Shadow Puppets

We danced along your side
Lying where you walked
Sleeping where you ran

Waiting for the moment
You became the silhouettes
While we flickered and pulsated
To the rhythm of your hearts

Now the light is gone
And we lie as one
Until the lightning separates us.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Passages passing the ages

Three lovely exerpts from Plato's Symposium.

"There is dishonor in yielding to the base, or in a base manner; but there is honor in yielding to the good, or in an honorable manner. Base is that vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul, inasmuch as he is not even stable, because he loves a thing that is in itself unstable..."

"The sexes were three in number, not, as they are now, two, male and female; there was also a third the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, which had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word 'androgynous' is preserved only as a term of reproach."

"He [Love] is of flexile form; for if he were hard and without flexure he could not enfold all things, or wind his way undiscovered into and out of every soul of man."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Before I forget

Likely to be an impossible project:

Get people to take a snapshot of an object/view of concentration or unconscious stare directly before and after a gender reassignment (or related) surgery. I would then translate those photographs into small (11x14) drawings or paintings. The final pieces would be diptychs, or possibly triptychs including the patient's self-portrait.

(This was a very quick thought. Still working on it, even though it probably will never be executed.)

Sunday, January 31, 2010


So I'm all about resolving issues of gender dysphoria, but this is just creepy. No offense. It's mainly the masks that I can't handle. It's almost like you'd be having sex with a mass murderer!
(Just in case, this site is adult-oriented)

Words more beautiful than a Hellenistic pediment

Now I'm a literary novice, but this is by far one of the most beautiful things I've ever read! Where is the beauty in art lately? Everyone and everything seems to avoid it.

I remember awkward pauses the most and cold tea I couldn't drink while hot.

It was the information age
but, instead of being informed
I put holes in walls
then plastered them.

I read history books like newspapers and whispered current events in your ear.
My yesterday's are closer than your today's-
(nothing's happening.)

I'll sleep with the television on
and listen to the footsteps above us
or the fountains that sound like rain.

I'll dream in black and white.

-Amanda Domenech

Antony, you are beautiful!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Dear Miranda July,

A mutual friend told me that you had been working on a new movie and book last year. I keep visiting your website to see if there are any updates about it, but haven't seen anything yet. I suppose Eleven Heavy Things provided me with enough pleasure for the time being.

Thank You,

Whoa there Kelis!

This was just too good to pass up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Burial Series #6

...ready to start #7!

A new addiction

I thought that I was addicted to coffee... I can already tell this blog is going to be much more addicting. This will be my very neat electronic version of a desk full of clipped articles and pictures, half-torn pieces of paper with my ideas scribbled on them, folded up receipts with names of artists I need to look into, and individuals, books, communities, etc that people suggest I look up. It will definitely be much less stressful for me than having to live with a mass of unorganized paper. Hopefully it will be good for my artwork- a one-stop shop for sources and ideas.

And now, on to Charlie White. While looking up faculty at grad schools that I'm applying to, I came across this artist whose work is very intriguing. His Teen and Transgender Comparative Study photographs are quite amazing, so here they are:

Pass This On

All the excitement over Tomorrow, In a Year has made me rewatch some older videos by The Knife. This one is still SO GOOD!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The melting point of bodies

When you found out the sonogram was wrong
You rushed home to change the color of the room
To better suit me
Before the paint could dry
The water broke

I was painted the color of the walls
By the time I took my first breath
You greeted me
Treated me like
The prince I never was

You taught me how to make things with my hands
How to break the extra ridges off the moon
When I cried
Because it looked
More like the sun

I found myself back in the room
Where the paint never fully dried
And with my fingertip
Wrote the name
You left me

Being stubborn can only get you so far

I've been anti-blogs for quite some time now, but I came across this and decided it was time to make one of my own. "The Times They Are A-Changin'"
Amanda Simpson, First Transgender Presidential Appointee, Begins Work at Commerce Department - ABC News