Stonewall Anniversary Weekend in the ATL

June 14, 2009

Atlanta Pride had humble beginnings in 1971 as a protest march organized by the Atlanta Gay Liberation Front to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, and has since grown to be one of the largest Gay Pride festivals in the U.S. and definitely the largest in the South. Unfortunately, it has lost much of it’s radical queer roots in the process and has become more of a large party with tons of corporate sponsors and assimilationist politics (but that is another blog post.) Because of a number of issues Atlanta Pride has been moved to Halloween weekend this year, instead of the usual Stonewall anniversary weekend. This has left a great opportunity for local organizers to plan events that are political, community based, and that remind us of the reason we celebrate the last weekend in June.

There are a number of exciting events being planned to fill the gap. You can read about them on the on the Stonewall 40 Atlanta website here and Atlanta Pride website here.

I want to highlight a reading I am involved in that will take place Stonewall weekend for the fabulous two-volume anthology I have a piece in called ‘Visible: A Femmethology’. I am especially excited to commemorate Stonewall weekend with a reading from this book, as I think the fact that it challenges the queer community on assumptions and ideas around femininity and femme identity is especially appropriate. The event is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there!

Stonewall Anniversary Weekend Femmethology Reading
Saturday June 27th, 2009 8:30pm  @ Aphrodite’s Toy Box (3040 N. Decatur Rd. Scottdale, GA 30079)

‘Visible: A Femmethology‘, the only two-volume anthology devoted to femme identity, calls the LGBTQI community on its prejudices and celebrates the  diversity of individual femmes. Award-winning authors, spoken-word artists,  and new voices come together to challenge conventional ideas of how  disability, class, nationality, race, aesthetics, sexual orientation, gender identity and body type intersect with each contributor’s concrete notion of femmedom. Join us as we celebrate the release of this anthology, with readings by 5 local contributors: Brook Bolen, Caitlin Childs, JD Dykes, Asha Leong, and Margaret Price.

You can view the Facebook invitation here, read about the book on the Femmethology website here, read about the fabulous publisher here, and get info on the venue hosting the reading, Aphrodite’s Toy Box here.

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Femmethology Spotlight on Yours Truly!

April 29, 2009

Every week Homofactus Press features a interview with a contributor from Visible: A Femmethology. Below is a excerpt from my interview. Click the link at the bottom for the whole thing and check out the archives for past interviews. I am honored to be published alongside so many smart and thoughtful queers!

How do you define your femme identity?
I am a queer intersex woman who purposefully and thoughtfully creates and plays with a feminine gender that was consciously created by and for me. My femme gender is smart, sassy, tough, glamorous and fun. My shoe collection consists of tons of heels (4″+ please!), skate shoes and lots and lots of boots. My style varies between classic pin-up burlesque bombshell, punk rock riot grrrl and the always trusty jeans and t-shirts. My armpits are always hairy but I shave my legs most of the time. Bikini Kill’s self-titled EP changed my life, yet Britney Spears is one of my favorites. When I grow up I want to be a combination of Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls and Ruth from Fried Green Tomatoes. My femme identity did not come easily or quickly, and I had to work through a lot of my own internalized femme phobia and misogyny to get here. My identity as a femme changes and gets deeper and more complicated daily. I love contradictions. I love the surprises people hold and the way that opposites can co-exist in one person.

How do other identities you have not only intersect with femme but also contradict it?
As an intersex person, I have often felt different from other femmes. So much about femme identity and femininity is linked to being penetrated vaginally (I was born without a vagina) and often to having children (I was born without a uterus too.) Being a femme woman in a body that was initially assigned female but finding out when I was a teenager that my body didn’t quite fit that narrow category definitely informed my views on my own gender identity. Many assumptions are made about me and my body because of how I present my gender, because of my time as a sex worker, etc.

Read the whole thing on the Homofactus Press website by clicking here


Why are queers shopping at Amazon.com anyway?

April 15, 2009

My butch dearest and I just returned from a relaxing (and much needed) weekend away in the North Georgia Mountains. Upon checking my email, I was bombarded with multiple messages about Amazon.com removing LGBT books from being ranked on their website.

Now, I get the general reasons people are upset: labeling anything with queer content as “adult” while letting hetero books that clearly contain “adult” content stay is not cute. I was lucky to come from a book worshiping home where I was allowed to read anything and everything I could get my hands on. As a high school drop out with little formal education, I credit this access to books and information with giving me a great, although non-traditional, education. Queer folks (especially youth) need these books – a way to figure out the answers to the questions we sometimes can’t say out loud. To find out what the options are. To know we aren’t alone. Many isolated folks are not aware of alternative sources for books and information and Amazon.com is a likely a place someone struggling with or figuring out their queerness would go.

I also understand that it conjures up all kinds of images of crazed PTAs storming the school library and confiscating copies of Judy Blume books.

All that said, I’m still a little baffled by all the hoopla.

I am fortunate to live in one of the cities that is home to an independent, queer owned and run, feminist bookstore, Charis Books and More.

Charis opened in 1974 and has managed to survive in spite of Borders and Barnes Noble/Amazon.com. As of today there are only 10 feminist bookstores in the U.S. and Canada (compared to 120 in 1994.) I first found Charis as a kid when my mom would take me to its original storefront location on Moreland Ave. in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. When I was 15, a hot angsty mess, and starting to figure out my queer identity, I rediscovered Charis, on my own this time. They had moved to a house caddy-corner to their original location. Inside I found hundreds of books to help me sort my shit out, as well as a community. I began volunteering at the bookstore and continued to do so off and on. I learned about Charis Circle, the non profit sister organization to the bookstore which puts on free author readings, books groups, writing groups, and social justice programming in the store. When I was 20 I volunteered as a mentor in the fabulous but now defunct ‘Sistergirls’ program and a year or so later joined the board of directors and served for 2 years. I also completed a 7 month fellowship with the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities by spending 20 hours a week as part of the Charis Circle staff organizing disability specific programming and outreach via Charis Circle. This fellowship allowed me to create an ongoing disability series at Charis, which continues today, more than a year after my fellowship came to an end.

Charis (both the Circle and Store) have changed my life multiple times in the 10 years I’ve been going sans mom. They have offered me a never ending world of books, the opportunity to meet my favorite authors and even share a meal with one of them (Michelle Tea!!), a space to further my social justice and community organizing work, and above all else, a community. I’ve grown up at Charis. Gone from an awkward and angry punk rock baby dyke to a confident (and still angry) femme 20-something.

My question to folks outraged by Amazon’s shennanigans: Why aren’t we buying our books from the Charis or any of the feminist bookstores or LGBT bookstores (do a google search if you want to see if there is one in your area) or even your local indie bookstore which you can find listed here? Why is anyone surprised that a mega corporation, who is currently controlling the books that most people in the U.S. buy and have access to, is censoring queer, feminist and sex positive voices? Why are we allowing Amazon.com to be our source for progressive and radical information in the first place?

Bookstores like Charis exist to support OUR voices, to fight damage done to our communities by corporations like Amazon.com and Co. Even if you are somewhere with no indie bookstore, you can order online from most indies these days and most are more than happy to special order any book your heart can dream of (or recommend a damn good one if you don’t know what you’re looking for.)

Charis offers 10% off all online orders, so what are you waiting for? Click here and start shopping today! Let’s stop trying to force corporations to accommodate our community’s needs or think that buying corporate support will liberate us. Let’s instead support those who truly support us, in part because they are part of our community. Borders and Barnes and Noble/Amazon.com may be on every corner and always offer free shipping, but they can’t come remotely close to provide the never ending list of things a good independent bookstore does. If these aren’t enough reasons to shop independent, here are some more from the Indie Bound website:

Why shop Indie?

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy

  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
  • Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community–where they belong.

The Environment

  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community

  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Upcoming Events

March 31, 2009

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while. My life has been extra special chaotic and writing has gotten temporarily moved to the back burner.

I do have a couple of upcoming events that I wanted to share with folks:

Tuesday April 7th 7:00pm I will be doing a Intersex 101 at Agnes Scott College in the Teasley Auditorium which is located in the Science Building off of W. Dougherty St. This presentation will include basic intersex definitions, some or all of the film ‘One in 2000’ by Ajae Clearway, my personal story, plus time for q&a and discussion. This is a really good way to get the basics of what intersex is, learn about intersex activism, and how you can be an ally.

Thursday May 14th from 7:30-9:00pm I will be taking part in the official Atlanta Visible: A Femmethology launch party at Charis Books and More. This event is presented by Charis Circle and sponsored by the Atlanta Femme Mafia. It will feature readings from the Atlanta contributors featured in the two books including myself, Brook Bolen, Asha Leong, Margaret Price, and JD Dykes. It will be an evening full of fabulous writing on femme identity, thought provoking conversation, snacks, and fabulous fashion (I know I have been picking my outfit out in my head for months.)

There will also be another reading at Aphrodite’s Toybox sometime in the near future. Details TBA.

Please feel free to spread the word about these events and bring your friends, family, co-workers, next door neighbor, etc!


Sign-up for the Homofactus newsletter and get a discount on the Femmethologies!

January 9, 2009

In March 2009 Homofactus Press will be publishing ‘Visible: A Femmethology,’ a two volume book of writings by femmes (and those who love us) about identity. I am thrilled to be included. This is the first time my writing will be available in a real book and I couldn’t be happier. My piece entitled ‘Reclaiming Femme’ will be in Volume 2.

Homofactus will be offering 28% off all pre-orders of the book in the month of February, but you *must* subscribe to their newsletter to receive this discount. Sign-up for the newsletter by sending an email here: newsletter@homofactuspress.com or visiting their website

Thanks for everyone’s support of these two fabulous volumes of femme filled goodness. We will be doing a reading at some point at Charis for Atlanta contributors, so stay tuned for more on that.

In the meantime, here is the official table of contents for both volumes of the Femmethology:

Vol. 1

1. Diesel by Daphne Gottlieb

2. Transition by Allison Stelly

3. Snapshots: Being Femme, or Doing Femme by Katie Livingston

4. Not so much “MTF” as “SPTBMTQFF”: The identification of a trans femme-inist by Josephine Wilson

5. The Joy of Looking: Resisting the Couple Fetish by J.C. Yu

6. A Decade Later–Still Femme? by Sharon Wachsler

7. Femme Queening–An Identity in Several Acts by Kpoene’ Kofi-Bruce

8. Femme Is As Femme Does: On Being a Queer Southern Femme by Brook Bolen

9. Femme Fuck Revolution by Hadassah Hill

10. Subverting Normalcy: Living a Femme Identity by Ann Tweedy

11. The King of Femmes by Asha Leong

12. The Conversation by Mette Bach

13. The Shimmy Shake Protest: Queer Femme Burlesque as Sex Positive Activism by Maura Ryan

14. Femme the Sex of Me by Jennifer Cross

15. There and Back Again: Revisiting the Femme Experience of Genderfucking by Amy André and Sand Chang

16. Once a Femme, Always a Femme by Katrina Fox

17. Not That Girl by Margaret Price

18. Femme Bookworm, or, What’s a Girl to Read When She’s Feeling Invisible? by Anna Watson

19. Prayer by Miel Rose

20. Femme(In)visible or Gender-Blind? by Traci Craig

21. Meet Me on the Mobius Strip by Carol Mirakove

22. I Know You Are (But What Am I?) by Stacia Seaman

23. Some Femmes Don’t Wear Heels by Joshua Bastian Cole

24. A Place I Know by Sheila Hart Nelson

25. Journey to Femme by Emjāen Fetherston-Power

26. Femme-Lesbian Autobiography, or How Can You Be Certain That You Are That Way by Yael Mishali

27. Femme for Life by Moonyean

28. Can You See Me Now? by Sassafras Lowrey

29. Rebel Girl: How Riot Grrl Changed Me, Even If It Didn’t Fit Just Right by Gina de Vries

30. The Lament of the Dolly Lama by Clairanne Browne

31. Femmiest of Femme Hobbies by Tara Hardy

Vol. 2

1.Essence and Artifice by Leslie Freeman-Dykesen

2. Fringe Dweller: Toward an Ecofeminist Politic of Femme by Peggy Munson

3. Ignoring Childhood Messages and Breaking the Rules of Feminism and Professionalism: The Femme as World-Straddling Outlaw by Ann Tweedy

4. This Femme’s User Guide by A. H.

5. My White Picket Fence by Lisa R. Papez

6. Femme Chivalry by JD Dykes

7. The Femme Movement: Why We’re Here, Why We’re (So Damn and Beautifully) Queer, and Why You’re Gonna Get Used to It by Maura Ryan

8. Seams by Ryn Hodes

9. Reclaiming Femme by Caitlin Petrakis Childs

10. Outfit Separates by Maria See

11. Dirt Roads and Bucket Baths: Practicalities of Portable Femme Identity by Alisa Lemberg

12. The Anonymity of Femmeininity by Allison Wonderland

13. Searching for My History by Sassafras Lowrey

14. Femme at Work by J.C. Yu

15. Roadside in Perris, California by Kimberly Dark

16. “But I can be a femme in track pants, you know?” by Rachel Hurst

17. The Femme Factor by Darrah de jour

18. Too Sensitive? Exploring Trans-Masculine Femininity by C.T. Whitley

19. In/Visible Femme by J. E. Franet

20. I Am Not a Box by Ariel McGowan

21. Mapping My Body by August Nightingale

22. Confessions of a Fag Hag Femme by Sascha Elise Cohen

23. Buzz Cut by Lucy Marrero

24. Love Letter by Sinclair Sexsmith

25. Femmenemy by Cherry Bomb

26. It’s Less About What They See by Julie Jordan Avritt

27. In The Shadow Of The Valley by Sherilyn Connelly

28. Working-Class Incest Survivor Femme by Tara Hardy