Helen & I

From: “Callie”
To: <helenboyd@myhusbandbetty.com>
Subject: Going To The Queer Playce
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2005 06:49:49 -0500

It was lovely meeting you in Burlington. I read your blog entry on the conference, and it is joyous to see someone who is so hepped up about the community. It is when you acknowledge that this isn’t simply your partner’s community, one where you only put out the potato salad & soda, but that it is your community, one that supports (and challenges) your own journey beyond gendered expectations, that you are compelling.

Anyway, I was in the shower this morning, and a blurb for your next book came to me. As a writer, I have no thought that you want to do what others suggest, or that you have any lack of projects on your own plate, but who knows, it may stimulate a little something in your own thinking. My only flickering hope is that it gets you in the mainstream, talking on Oprah, not about dealing with queer husbands, but about how queering ourselves beyond gendered expectations can be the most empowering thing we can do for ourselves.

In any case, continue your good work, your good exploration and your good life.

Love & Light,


Going To The Queer Playce: Enhance Your Relationship, Expand Your Possibilities And Empower Your Life By Playing Beyond Gender

In this book, Helen Boyd shows how exploring beyond the expectations we hold about gendered behavior can make any relationship better by allowing the full potential of our humanity to exist. The bedroom should be a place where people drop their armor and are allowed to touch the tender and tough parts of them which we often hide in everday life. By playing beyond gender expectations, we reveal more of ourselves, and that revelation makes us more able to life a full, happy & joyous life.

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On the evening of  November 12, about 75 people gathereed at the New York State museum to hear a straight white woman explain how trans people screw up in building community.

Helen Boyd and her crossdressing spouse, Betty Crow, were brought to Albany by Rhea Daniels to express a message that ” resonates for all people on the transgendered spectrum, those in their lives and those who want to support them” according to a publicity flyer.   Ms Boyd’s message though, was a sour diatribe based mostly on how the transpeople in her circle, message boards she runs on her website MyHusbandBetty.com, are mostly quabbling about things she considers minor, and that transpeople have to get over that behavior and act like adults.   She supplemented this with an anecdote about how trans patrons had abused a NYC bar she patronized, talking too long to change in the bathroom and carrying in flasks to avoid paying for drinks and when one was confronted with their behaviour they started an e-mail campaign saying that the bar was anti-tranny.  This tale, which seemed based only on conversations with bar staff, was told to remind explain how trannies pollute even places that welcome them.

Ms. Boyd said her book, “My Husband Betty” came out of a rant she made to a friend about how bad the advice Dr. Phil gave to the partner of a crossdresser was.  Her friend, who also worked in publishing, suggested it was the basis for a book.  This, according to Boyd, was the beginning of her steps into building trans community, steps she might not have taken if she had thought about her actions before making them.

While Ms. Boyd told anecdotes from a few gay people she knew, she told almost no anecdotes from transpeople.  She did recommend Jamison Green’s book and mention comments from Tristian Taramino, but her view seemed  to almost be entirely based on the crossdressers and neo-transsexuals who populate her board.

While demanding support groups that are supportive, she pushed her own agenda against the lives of trannies.  She complained that she and her husband had been attacked while casting the community as a whole as a failure.


denied her own gender queerness to get dates and have a sex life

 i don’t think i will ever forget betty repeating to the crowd “we have to grow a pair, grow a pair, grow a big pair” when talking about lobbying the govt.  betty did note the oddness of saying this as a tranny, but said it anyway.  betty may not say trans what, but lines like that make it clear.

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 From: Callie

To: Diane Sofia Frank

Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2005 9:53 PM

Subject: crowboyd

It was like watching the high schoolers rag on the junior high kids for being so immature.

Helen wanted to talk to about 60 people about what’s wrong with the transgender community, and surprise, surprise, that comes out to the fact we fight over trivialities again and again rather than acting like grown ups. She wants us all to grow up, but to her, that meant we have to stop being so obsessed with identity.

She feels she was gender queer in hs, but learned how to act feminine to get dates. “If I wanted to have sex, I had to learn to act like a straight girl.” And then at the end, she wondered why people who are gender queer suppress it, I reminded her she told the answer: to get laid. That surprised her, just as it did when I caught her asking someone wanting an autograph if she was a partner. “You don’t understand! Partners are my peeps!” No, you don’t understand when you say trannies shouldn’t be so identity obsessed and you say you don’t know why, and you do the same thing, it’s noticed.

Betty spoke up and challenged me, saying we need to look beyond trans, and I asked if any support group with trans in the title was set to be wrong, and she said “no, that blah, blah, blah, when you stay with trans you end up shooting yourself in the foot. ” In other words, just what I said.

These are people who find it easy to talk to trannies but can’t handle challenge.

I laughed on the way home, that death laugh, the one I get when I realize how separated I am. The people who know me know I have always been porcupine, and I made Helen laugh, and Betty tried, but they will slough off the challenge quickly. They have to. It’s about being what they want to be, and it’s more fun to be the big wallys.My mother was suprised when I was back at like 9:15. No change for me, because in a short time, running, no time to look like more than a cheezy CD, and that ain’t me. But I doubt I could explain that to our speaker — the one that the host said would “resonate for all people on the transgender spectrum” — because the struggle to be exposed and seen is not one she understands, and not one Betty is focused on. No deep truths that need to be revealed, just a fun character to be played.

It was sad and sadder for me.

So I laughed.

And wanted to die.

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Session Start (Callan:Diane): Sun Nov 13 08:26:05 2005

Callan: the more I think about this straight white woman, out for 4 years, hectoring trannies about their idiocy in building community based almost totally on her experience on her board, the more upset I become.

Diane: I haven’t totally read her notes for Albany yet.  Sorry to hear that

Callan: Well, she told the people what they wanted to hear: it’s those bad trannies that are the problem. And self-loathing creeps that we are, we loved hearing that.

Diane: There have been a lot of catfights on the boards lately

Callan: Right.  And in her myopia, seeing the board as the window, that’s transdom to her . Identity battles over and over again, like junior high schoolers.  But the only good tranny she mentioned was James Green.  And I’ll guarantee I know that James Green better than her.

Diane: ok…but I think I’d have an easier time here if you gave me your “positive” point of view rather than what bugs you about Helen

Callan: I give my positive point of view routinely in my writing.

Diane: Yes, I know… but somehow I’m not connecting that talking about what’s wrong with what they’re doing she’s not what’s wrong with them. I see her as criticizing behavior and you’re spot on that she herself can’t get away from identity labels

Callan: This is about an arrogant intruder telling people what is wrong with them. She claims to want to build community. I think doing that by scolding, by criticizing in ways that can be shown as not reflected in your actions is not building community.  I think her actions are more destructive than constructive, whatever she calls them because she doesn’t lead by doing what’s good, listening & reflecting but rather by telling others how they are wrong.

Diane: ok… So besides yourself…who did you see leaving the room/barfing etc?

Callan: I just saw the old hands getting crusty.  We have heard this before. But as I said, many love preachy preaching, when someone else tells us that the others are as wrong as we think they are

Diane: well, fire and brimstone can be a fun ride

Callan: “Thank you for speaking the truth that the bad trannies fuck everything up! We need to save the community from them!”  

And the that very separation is what is bad

A preachy preacher tells you the world is going to hell and they have to change.  A teachy preacher tells you that you are in hell unless you change and Preachy Preachers are a lot more comforting

Diane: fine bad republicans fuck things up for good republicans too. I’m not entirely sure where anything goes/is going. I wonder if in E. Germany,or in Hirschfeld’s times that they worried about the distinctions

Callan: Well, that was a point she thought she made, that we are all in this together

Diane: fair enough. but do I think a big trans community is possible

Callan: Has she read “Those Heterosexual Faggots!” from 1994? Terry Murphy liked it so much she called and read it to me on the phone.  Was upset to find I had written it.

Diane: that’s the part that I’ve always had difficulty with myself,

Callan: No, Helen tried to say that.

Diane: when you say we’re all in this together sometimes I start thinking like that old joke where Tonto turns to the lone ranger and Says What you me “we” paleface?

Callan: what you mean we, white man. . . yeah.  And that’s why Helen’s “we” feels so empty because it’s clear she doesn’t really listen to us just sweeps us together.

Diane: so if I feel that way. I get down to a certain bottom line. I want ‘some’ legal protections. I don’t want to have to worry about employment, housing issues. I want a clear, protective, clean legal process for TS. I want “gay marriage”

Callan: I understand the questions of what “the community” wants.  It’s not as simple as a dance event every weekend.

Diane: and I’m not sure what else there is

Callan: I am the one who says there is no trans community, only a network of interlocking communities

Diane: We wrestled with that last night at AO we provide what middleaged couples want

Callan: But Helen sees her world as “the trans community.”  And so do her supporters, like Rhea

Diane: Well, you say that, I say that, and sometimes dear old Suzy might be interpretated as saying the same thing. I say there’s no such thing as community on her boards frequently. I talk about trans-communities plural

Callan: OK.

Diane: but I think people do get infected by the unification bug rather than the coalition building bug

Callan: But when Helen claims to speak about and for the trans community and I get upset then she tells me I am an identity monger.

Diane: ouch…  she has a tongue she does

Callan: You know my big beef with Miqqi?

Diane: no…but I find Miqqi unitelligible anyhow…how can I have a beef with someone who I can’t read

Callan: Miqqi quoted me in one of her pieces, calling me a CD.

Diane: put a label on you rather than just saying “callan”

Callan: I said that I had never identified as CD, and was upset she labeled me that way

Callan: She told me that she was sick of identity politics people like me.  She assigns me the damn identity! and when I am upset, it’s my identity politics problem!

Diane: annoying

Callan: U bet. And much what Helen did last night. “Don’t label!  Only I get to label!”

Diane: I’ve been dealing with that in ways too but I prefer to make an educational event out of it

Callan: I just went last night.

Diane: I keep talking about all the modifiers that are assumed to be attached to a label and ask which ones they assume about me

Callan: We need language we do. But explicitness identifies twisted thinking and that makes people upset,  like people who want to claim enough superiority to write books, stand at the front of lecture halls and take board positions

Diane: that’s the flip side After we signed off last night I got an email from my sponsor in the book circle she didn’t like the first two paragraphs of the review, and it was clear that I wrote those paragraphs for a “in” audience for people who lived with the lies who lived and worried about other people writing about them and that for an outsider to this those paragraphs didn’t work as well as they might

Callan: Yeah.  How do you bring everyone else in when you only have a few graphs?

Diane: well, I can and will do better

Callan: It’s a big challenge to contextualize growing up trans every time.

Diane: smart woman

Callan: Good.

Diane: a bit nuts but very smart

Callan: Nuts is good.

Diane: she said once past the first two paragraphs she was reading the rest on the edge of her seat

Callan: Good.

Diane: so I’ll do some tinkering…at least for the version that goes to the book circle but there was a point to this relating to what you were saying about explicitness and who understands what about needing language

Callan: OK

Diane: and then having the experience to create the language and I keep writing and hit and miss

Callan: I have a note of someone who says that we need things to communicate — memes!  God, not memes, shared metaphors, codes to invoke shared experience symbols and when the experience isn’t shared trying to cobble together a set of metaphors is hard. Tell me what that fraise de bois ice cream you had from that little shop in Paris tasted like and I bet it’s not like strawberry ice cream from Kroger

Diane: which is why I think “I am my own wife” fails a bit because it never really communicates Charlotte’s experience as trans or gay….. Charlotte has no lover in the play,  no affair, only furniture and gramophones

Callan: But she never found one which is very trans

Diane: she had several affairs with older men according to people who have read her biography

Callan: But even the actor didn’t get Charlottes experience. his inner charlotte didn’t feel better in the dress

Diane: I don’t think the playwright got Charlotte’s expereince

Callan: Right. I believe that to be true.

Diane: He only got his experience being a gay American from the bible belt, and he stopped there…. and never really got into Charlotte’s skin,  what her desire really was

Callan: And Helen, well Helen isn’t even trying to get to the richness of trans experience.  She knows enough and can’t move beyond that yet.

Diane: Helen is freaked by Betty’s claims of transness

Callan: Right! So how can she speak positively about transness?

Diane: and her (and don’t you ever repeat this) not reading Betty as femme anyhow

Callan: Right.  Helen is a woman, Betty is not.

Diane: It’s not only that she wants a penis in her love life,  she doesn’t see woman in betty in the first place, and not having met Betty I don’t know

Callan: And if Betty ever got there, became pussy, how would Helen feel? : Is it Betty holding on or it not being there?

Diane: Helen wants a guy

Callan: And she should get one, rather than keep the mate she has as a guy. as much as possible

Diane: she has written recently about missing having the ‘catch’ on her arm….the hot guy, the smart guy

well, there’s also the question of what Betty really wants

Callan: Desire shift is wicked way hard especially when we don’t want it

Diane: just like Z uses me as an anchor  Betty may use Helen that way

Callan: Very well may.  Betty works for Helen’s brother in law

Diane: didn’t know that

Callan: All in the family.

Diane: right.  that creates knots of it’s own

Callan: But all this shit, well it’s real

Callan: and the declamations last night were a projection and I felt abused by them targeting all of us for her pain. It means her words lack blood. No reality.

Diane: the other thing with Helen is that she doesn’t care for women all that much she is somewhat ,,put off….I guess I can put it that I dig being in the women’s circle so much.  she’s annoyed with Judith Halberstam’s notion of female masculinity,  because Halberstam had no room for hetero women with masculinity

Callan: She is annoyed with many things, but can’t leave them as questions or see how that illuminates her just makes it other people’s fault.  where you stumble, there lies your jewel.  J. Campbell

Diane: but as you say, the old timers just sit and bristle?

Callan: What the hell can we do? I mean, I bet I pissed her off but not so much that she found me psychotic. Enough letting others talk, enough reflecting what they say, not just saying my own point

Diane: well that’s the point.  I’m taking the somewhat cynical view that time will teach Helen what arguments can’t

Callan: Yeah.  Maturing is a process but still, the people hit in the process.

Diane: that she’s not like Virginia…. but I don’t think she wants to stay with trans stuff anyhow. She really wants to be a writer and started with stuff close to her it’s the next book I want to see

Callan: When I e-mailed with her I told her that I though that trans partner was way too confining, that she has to talk about how to be a straight queer, her journey as helen, not as partner to betty, and that was something she cannot yet hear.

Diane: btw is the “Those heterosexual faggots “somewhere where i can find it easily?

Callan: It’s on my site somewhere.  PicoSearch has it.

Diane: I think she’s actually starting to separate Helen the straight queer from betty…its just beginning of a process

Callan: Fine.  But last night, that wasn’t the point.

Diane: that’s the problem for her being asked to speak at a given time. You get where she’s at now and that does keep changing the gender queer business on her part just showed up on the boards strongly in the last two weeks

Callan: Well, it was abusive.  She isn’t capable of giving context to a big speech,  to making clear this was like a blog entry not a book

Diane: It was abusive because she put labels on other people….

Callan: And was mightily twisted in her rationalizations. No thinking through. No respect for others challenges beyond her nose

Diane: thinking this stuff through takes years

Callan: Yup.

Diane: maybe decades.  it’s really hard stuff

Callan: And what I wish was when she found someone who could challenge her,  she engaged that challenge rather than putting it off, Like I keep looking for people & ideas to challenge me and help me do the work.

Diane: What I wish was that you had private time with her.  many people don’t do well with public challenges

Callan: I’m too scary.  I offered myself a few times and she mostly wanted content for her site rather than to engage the issues and once it gets on her site it’s public and I have to be killed.

Diane: I meant sitting down after the talk…small BS session. just a few people,  some good booze,  a little light jazz

Callan: I am sure she would rather sit with the sycophants who think she is a hot mama

Diane: I’m not sure

Callan: Well, she doesn’t say “Why don’t you come with us?”

Diane: How were you introduced to her btw What I mean is this:  I want to work on some of those things,  but I don’t want it to be about you personally

Callan: I met her in Burlington, some e-mails, saw her again last night

Was I wearing the right labels? No.  : I’m one of those people who think that quality is more than labels and you have to look at the content, not the label.  But then again, my mother taught me to shop.

Diane: I agree, and on the surface Helen agrees but she slips back into the easy stuff

Callan: Yup. And when she is queen of the hop at these things, well… some people like that.

Diane: she’s Peggy Rudd’s almost chosen successor

Callan: Yahoo!

Diane: the straight white chick who can advocate for guys in dresses but she’s far queerer than Peggy

Callan: Next Generation

Diane: and she does see a lot of the crocks that peggy was blind to

Callan: But maybe like Linda Peacock she will find someone who really sees her and move on.

Diane: she just got kicked off  partner’s list for not being pro trans enough. Her natural voice is that of partner who wants a man but gets trans in some way

Callan: Once we get an audience we think we have to serve them, when often we have to move on, or they make us into someone we don’t like being as many wives have found out. 

I think her current voice is partner but it’s not her real voice the one she clings to to avoid the mess of who she is.

Diane: do elaborate?

Callan:  Like “The Lean Out” on my site where partners have to lean out to balance each other and as long as Betty is the queer one she can be the one holding hands and leaning out

Diane: she’s an ex-punk…. who hates women who use beauty to get what they want from men

Callan: Her role model is Billy Idol and she was never the pretty one so Betty wanting to be the pretty one is freaky.

Diane: I don’t really get Billy Idol…never have

Callan: “I can’t claim that his clothes were mine, because people know I would never wear them — and that’s not just about size.”

Diane: Helen had an icon up showing her rolling her eyes and in the middle of the animated gif, there’s one frame… where she smiles and it’s dazzling. I told her that guys would kill to be the person who she smiled at that way and it pleased her

Callan: I know.  She could be hot if she let herself be. But somehow, she has to be the smart girl not the pretty one.

Diane: she can’t be both… but as you say, a lot of this is a vehicle through which she works out her own issues but at least she’s doing that

Callan: And one thing I know is that as long as I am a tranny, Helen won’t be able to hear much of what I say. Because I am behind the filter.

Diane: I read Peggy Rudd and I get the imprssion of a woman who is wrapped in cloud of novacained cotton candy

Callan: What we do for love. . . .

Callan: Last night an MTF who is in a support group with FTMS, group therapy, said they thought it would be bad. but found that she could actually hear what FTMS said when she filtered out the same thing said by an MTF like her

We have these filters when we let the label mean more than the content, and to Helen, well any tranny born male has a lot to prove

Diane: you don’t get the content because of the filters that stop at the label

Callan: Yeah. If a republican says it, it must be wrong, at least according to Betty.

Diane: Betty hasn’t met the ‘good’ republicans

Callan: Could she see them even if she met them? The issue is Betty not being open to good people, whatever label

Diane: Have you read Rhenquists dissent on Roe V Wade?

Callan: No.

Diane: I have, and it’s really an amazing document.  What he said was- the supreme court needs something other than it’s own judgement, a legislative history, in order to find that the right of privacy extends to abortions. He didn’t say it couldn’t make that determination, he said that there was a procedure that needed to be followed in how the law is constructed.  Now, I happen to disagree that that is the proper way to deal with 9th amendment issues. I think the 9th amendment, by virture of not defining the process of determining non-specified rights left it open to the court to do just that to say we see the state encroaching on an inherent right …but I digress

the point is that Rhenquist was operating from a solid basis of legal tradition that had nothing to do with anything other than how law works in government and I can disagree on this very important question STILL see him as an honorable man vs Scalie who rewrites stuff to fit his conclusions

Callan: And you have to value his dissent,  respect a different POV and so many can’t do that.

The problem I have is with people who can’t imagine that there is a level of knowledge different than their current level that is valid and valuable They are in 5th grade and they can’t imagine what an 8th grader would think because the label makes walls that keep them in their own closet where they can call others wrong.

Diane: I’m a classical liberal…we do respect the conservatives, just not the radical fundies, so it still comes down to Helen pointing fingers about labeling and division and then going ahead and labeling and dividing

Callan: Learning to honor, value, respect, and support others who are different is so valuable And yes, Helen don’t do that and then abuses others for not doing that. But that’s the real work supporting even people whose choices squick you, as long as those choices are informed and consensual

Diane: I think the hardest thing I do is to support the people who are different.  I’ve been making friends slowly with a literate thoughtful promiscuous, man-hungry CD who is honest, about her choices, and who she is and what she wants

Callan: Good on’ya!

Diane: point is we’ve very different agendas, but we’re talking from mutual respect, or at least I am

Callan: Different ways to be woman. But women have that issue all the time. how do we support people making choices we would never make?

Diane: she doesn’t get a lot of people telling her she’s good

Callan: What tranny gets affirmation enough? I watch SuperNanny to pretend she is praising me.

Diane: because there’s honesty, integrity UNDER those choices behind those choices I don’t want to pick up a guy at a bar she knows who she is

Callan: Well, lots of women consider that a pleasurable and proper activity.  She has thought it through


Diane:  http://www.jamieyanak.com/confessions/beholder/beholder.html
You might get a kick out of her

Callan: Thanks. Always like good writing, not people acting out on an auditorium of people and claiming to be the informed and enlightened one.

Diane: well, it’s not like Jamie doesn’t act out

Callan: Acting out isn’t the same as acting. And in Helen’s case, lots of people in her wake

Diane: well, I think there’s a lot of hope for Helen, but it takes time.  when you get called to preach it’s really hard to change the contract to “teach” it’s easy to give the audience what they want and not what they need

Callan: Unless you are open to your own obligation to heal by engaging challenge.  But yeah, being the queen is fun. Wish I could get that feeling But somehow, I’m left being the sage

Diane: I wish you could too I think it would a lot healthier for you (excuse me) to be teaching rather than critiquing

Callan: The doubter is wise, the believer is happy.

Diane: I doubt too….lots

Callan: That part I get

Diane: you could take that stage but your doubts stop you? not wanting to be the preacher stops you?

Callan: But taking the stage requires an audience and I have always liked to kill audiences so they can experience the same joy I get in rebirth.

Diane: so write a book get an agent

Diane: tell Rhea you want a forum

Callan: Not so easy when you have fallen off the grid. and Rhea sees me as anotha tranny not a real girl goddess

Diane: the grid is easy enough to climb back on

I’m gonna make you mad at me

Callan: OK.

Diane: because I think you CAN do it and I just don’t know what stops you.  I don’t always agree with you but I do believe in you

Callan: Thanks.  Now make me mad.

Diane: “Just Do it” speak your truth

Callan: yeah,

Diane: tell Rhea you want a turn on stage.  build a community of your own

Callan: Look up “low latent inhibition.”

Diane: overcome it

Callan: Good ideas. Reasonable requests

Diane: hey, one thing Helen has done is build a community on her boards.  people get together. yeah, you can say it’s like minded sycophants but ANY community can suffer that charge

Callan: I agree with you. I “should” do something. but somehow,  I don’t know how to find ways to heal the little hurts.

Diane: whose…your hurts or someone elses?

Callan: Mine. I am way too raw and way too sensitive and I don’t know how to just take the hits and keep going.

Diane: My suggestion….and this is something I try to get across to Zanna without success your healing/saving the world comes from healing other people

each time you help someone else, somehow a little healing will go on with you whether it’s time or distance it’s the recipe for dealing with the loss of a loved one and isn’t that really about the loss of a part of myself

Callan: My sister sent me to Kripalu, wanted to remind me that I could help others.  I did, of course, even though she trapped me in a hell course for that. But the challenge was always how I got healed in the process.  Who heals the healers?

Diane: your sister sent you to cripple you because she couldn’t think of anything else

Callan: I agree, you are right, To give is to receive. But my reception, well. not so good.

Diane: and you have a lot to give. Constructive suggestion: some of it is packaging

Callan: All of it is.  be the cartoon people need but how does that help me?

Diane: which means that maybe you need help  in an editing process

Callan: You know, I tend to blow fuses in therapists. as in many people

Diane: I know… you blow fuses all over the place.  you warned me when we first started talking a few years ago that you’d alienate me too so far you haven’t

In some ways you are that hot pot of water you need to find a way to be cool at first and turn up the heat gradually so people don’t jump out

Callan: This makes me crazy.   The whole “play small and then get big” ideas so you won’t scare people off at first,  and when I transform to lower voltage all the heat builds up in me

Diane: well, come up with an alternative if you don’t like that then you need to find another outlet for it

Callan: Sorry.  Haven’t done it yet and I’m a bit too fried after these decades

Diane: I don’t know how to help you on that.  You know…

Diane: that maharishi keeps going

Callan: Yup. He has the rap down and gets odder and odder the farther he is from challenge

Diane: he started out saying that all it took to reach enlightenment was 20 mintues twice a day, and looking at it through my eyes he either was wrong then or wrong now,  but he keeps going he keeps trying and that I have to hand it to him

Callan: Amen. Time’s latest issue is on Ambition, and I perused it to see what I missed.

Diane: and?

Callan: Long list.  Family and Faith at the top, probably.

Diane: I see, when you don’t have an answer, round up the usual suspects?  So like time

Callan: LOL. That was quite the dismissal. I answered about what I missed.  No comment on Time.

Diane: I was commenting on time for having that in there. I obviously misunderstood in these reactionary times…family and faith are trotted to the for of everything with the Bushies

Callan: But, this is one point CrowBoyd doesn’t get.   Helen Boyd says that we have to counter letters from the right with letters from the left. But the left is open minds and the right closed, at least in terms of movements, Southern Baptist, Robertson et al,  and the have the faith to discipline followers but who can discipline the lefties?

Diane: I’d rather work from the another place entirely. Clinton’s genius was doing that.  the point isn’t to discipline the lefties, the point is to subvert the righties

Callan: We do need to work from another place entirely but Boyd don’t get that.

Diane: The right wing wakes up every day from the nightmare that science and modernity has taken another wounding shot at the god of their fathers the modern world confuses them

Callan: a shot at the simplicity and closed minded world view of their fathers too much choice so we need to cut off the edges

Diane: they want certainty, and the way to deal with that isn’t too worry about party discipline in the left it’s to keep on hammering on the self-doubts of the right to talk about the fear behind home schooling

Callan: It’s to build wonderful things they don’t want to live without to be attractive and compelling,  rather than dour and defended

Diane: well, that’s the other part: seduction.  You need the carrot and the stick

Callan: And why they hated Clinton because people loved him and that freaked them

Diane: he did it well.  too bad about his dick

Callan: But the people who loved him really just saw that as part.  The people who hated him saw that as revealing the flaw of seduction

Diane: yes… it stlll baffles me how having an affair and lying about it, is somehow more a crime than starting a war on false pretenses and lying about it

Callan: Yup. But one is moral because war is moral and one immoral because sex is immoral

Diane: oh well…it’s getting late in the morning… I think I need to get on with my day

Callan: Have a lovely.

Diane: you too

Callan: bye

Session Close (Diane): Sun Nov 13 11:12:21 2005



DOR, Plop

What do I remember from last night?

Almost falling down the rough framed stairs in the rainy darkness, wearing heels and hauling bins, after trying to smear some makeup on my face?

The precious makeup spilled and broken on the rainy pavement?

Being pointed to the other door as I came into the Day Of Rememberance event at the Social Jusice Center?

The moments pawing though my purse as the purile videos started, my hands covered with brightly covered powders from dead makups, trying to find my keys and make sure the cell phone that sprawled in pieces on the road still worked?

The arrogant poet who spouted canned drivel about oppression that had no relation to growing up trans?

The bright female in the blue suit and tie who chose wanted to quote figures rather than be present?

Hawk, who said this day was about the living, when it was not, rather it was about lives, lives gone and lives here?

Yumara, a drag daughter of sorts, who spouted with energy and passion, brilliance and light, but no thought or discipline?

Charlene, who filled the space left for all with platitiudes about everyone being people, or her black suited lover who looked at my drag influenced appearance with a hard and cutting edge?

All those trannys in the same places and with the same defenses saying the same thing?

The heel cap on my favourite boot, cracked, broken & lost in the dark night?

Will I remember my wait at the Unitarian coffeehouse, trying to figure what I would say while people played and played and played into the night?

My walk up to the stage, the stage where I tried to joke about being in the native dress of my people, where I watched people not know what to think or say?

My reading of “How Old,” the first time I read it or heard it read, even if it has been read at the DOR events in SF for four years, the reading where I found a clear voice?

My walk back to my seat during the applause?

The standing ovation some people gave me as I sat?

My wanting to cry when I was done, cry for all those dead & dying trannies, as the gentleman after me sang Kermit’s “Rainbow Connection?”

The family who came up after and told me Jesus would save me if I actually believed that the gospel music I liked was for me?

The Korean fellow who said his daughter did poetry and he was moved?

The two Unitarian ladies, one who kept calling it crossdressing, and one who was helping the FTM child of a friend come out?

Changing clothes in the WalMart parking lot, walking by the kid on security at the door, and washing my face in the men’s room?

My mother, who couldn’t ask or be open affirming as I was spare about my experience before I went to bed at 12:30 AM?

My father, who woke me up with his exercise at 6:03 and as I pulled myself out of bed, asked about when my court date was, and about lawyers?

My purse is still full of precious essence, now rendered useless because it lost cohesion, broke in a fall.  My face still feels tight from the pink pump handsoap I used to wash it with in that men’s room.  My socks and shirt still have the stains where they removed my makeup or dried my face when there were no paper towels.

And my heart is still broken up from the reminder how little things change, how much trannies live in walls and  even people who can be emotionally moved have trouble doing the hard work of thought and action to back it up.

Bing bam boom.


notes for a session

What You Need To Know About My Transgender 

1) My transgender is about my work, my calling.
2) The challenge for me is becoming product.
3) The hardest thing about trans is doing it alone.
4) The most difficult thing about trans is negotiating others fears.
5) The most painful thing about trans is not being able to give your gifts and have them accepted.
6) I know that I will never be female, or ever have a girlhood.
7) I am not two people.
8) I am not typical of current transgender thought.
9) The challenge is to both be defended and open.



“Too Hip For The Room”

How do transwomen take power?

Fallen off the grid.
 Outside community.

 Living In The Question: Liminal

Extraordinarily High Pain Levels
 The Denial Cycle
 Being Dead: Katie
 Slam My Head

Killers: The Skunk Eye & The Mud.
 Low levels of latent inhibition.
 Concealment vs Revelation

Every choice considered: Performance.
 Human doing, not being.
 “I know they will like me if I give them what they want.”

Renounce desire.

The Sexy Bits: Desire Shift
 Lost girlhood

“Affirmed & Valued, Understood & Desired”
 It’s my fault. 
 I’m stupid, because I don’t know how to satisfy others.

Finding a voice, being exposed

The challenge of being Post Therapy
 deep vision
 recieved wisdom

The lack of play.

Who heals the healers? 
Who makes safe space for Shiva’s Daughters?
 Unitarian Minister:

They told me my calling was to denial.

Now, even people who claim to affirm calling
tell me I am “too.”
 too intense
 too analytical
 too overwhelming
 too challenging
 too queer
 too damn much

How do I move beyond being
 a joke, or
 a curiosity
and become
 honoring my own pain
 not just trying to swallow it?
(cause if I don’t honor it, it will kill me.)
For whom are you willing to be queen
 be projected upon as. . . . .

Purging Ambiguity, Enacting Purity


Calling Is A Bitch

It makes me crazy when people talk about calling like it is some nice, pleasant thing.

Calling is a bitch.   Life is a struggle between your acorn and your forest, between the expectations of the community and the voice of your heart, between tame assimilation and wild individuation.

Too many people think that calling is easy.

“Well, Oprah, we were challenged in the corporate rat race, but we loved barbecuing, and it was on one of those barbecue quests that we realized that faith is like a mustard seed, and that we had a true calling to develop a range of gourmet mustards . . . . . “

Imagine a teen coming home to tell their Mom:

“Yeah, after I finished driving the bankers out of the church, I got it. I’m gonna get a gang of guys and we are gonna go around riling up the people so much that eventually the government is gonna execute me.  But it will be great — for the next 2000 years or more, people will do good and bad things in my name.”

What would Mom say?

“Oh, Jesus!  Your stepfather got you into the carpenter’s union, so keep your head down and your nose clean so  won’t get into trouble!”

Calling is easy.  Service is easy.   It’s easy to do what others want you to do and call that God’s work.

The challenge is serving your highest calling.  Mother Theresa could have just been a nun taking care of the poor, but she knew that she had a higher calling.  She had to become a worldwide voice for those poor, offering a story of caring that others could grasp.  She may have had constant fears that God had forsaken her, but her highest calling pulled her though people calling her arrogant and full of herself, though the rigors of others turning into a cartoon figure for good or for bad.

To achieve your highest calling always, always, always means you are an agent of change in the world.  No one’s highest calling is to maintain the status quo, to defend the forces that turn us into lazy comfort seekers looking to avoid challenge.  No, our highest calling is always to ask people to be more, to do more, to have more open hearts and minds.

What’s the first bit of that?  It’s to affirm the callings of others, even when they challenge your own comfort.

Imagine Mary saying “Go ahead, Jesus.  If you know yourself to be the son of God incarnate, then you need to do what will get you sentenced to capital punishment, and your actions will make ripples which can lead to salvation.”

My calling was clear to me from a very early age.  I am what is now called transgender, but has been called other things at other times, including shaman and two-sprit.  The context of that calling crystalized when I heard an anthropologist say “In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity.”

“Remind us of our continuous common humanity.”  Is there anything else that is the mark of our highest calling than to speak for connections which challenge us to come from love rather than for separations which comfort us by playing to our fears?  That is the universal lesson.

I was told from a very young age that my own calling was sick, corrupt, perverted, un-godly and un-natural.  I was told that the essence of good was held in the conventions of the community, and breaking down the sacred line between men and women would lead to moral degeneration, hideous corruption and eternal damnation.

Faced with that challenge, I had to figure out if my calling, my desires, my Eros were of God or of Satan.  Where is evil and where is good?  My path took me to one answer: those who speak for separation, for us versus them, for sin being something that others do are working for evil, and those who speak for connection, for thread that connects all, for sin being something we do when we cast others out of our own heart, those are the people working for good.

There may be no surprise that most people prefer preachy preachers, preachers who want to tell you that the problem in the world is that other people are evil, rather than teachy preachers, teachers who want to tell you that the only problems you can really fix in the world are inside of you. It’s much more comfortable to agree that others suck than to be challenged to take personal responsibility for changing ourselves and thereby changing the world.

Unfortunately, the truth is that change and healing always starts inside of us.  And it involves stepping away from the expectations of the crowd, away from satisfying the desires of others, and moving to manifesting our own change in the world, moving to opening our hearts to challenge rather than just parroting answers which keep the walls between people up and fixed.

That acorn in our soul may grow a new tree, but that tree needs to clear the way for its own growth.  Creation requires destruction, the clearing out of what now is there, blocking the sun and not serving the highest purpose. The Hindu Trinity is Vishnu, the god of birth, Bhrama, the God of life, and Shiva, the god of death.  They make up the cycle of life.

If this is the cycle of life, then it just makes sense that some of us are called to be the daughters of Shiva.  We are here to clear away space for the new.  This is the outcome of our love, the special calling that helps us make change by revealing connections too easily obscured by the barriers we build in our hearts and minds.

It was clear to me from a very early age that my special skill was knowing how to ask just the right question, a question that would clear away the foggy thinking.  It was clear to others that my special skill was knowing how to ask just the wrong question, question that challenged assumptions and messed up everything.

My gift is cutting away rationalizations that obscure connections, my calling to cross gender is an ancient one that anthologists have found in illuminating connections offers benefits to cultures.  I am a knife that cuts away the moss growing on the walls that comfort us.

In other words, my calling is to be a challenging pain in the ass.  A challenging pain in the ass, doing God’s work.

I told you.  Calling is a bitch. It may be easy to find some way to serve other people, and it may be easy to name that your calling.  But finding and trusting your highest calling, the one that makes the most potent change you are capable of creating, well, that’s wicked hard.  Your true calling will always challenge people who need the comfort that comes from walls, who need the comfort of the status quo.

This isn’t the language most want to hear.  They want to believe that a calling which confronts is one that is just wrong, because callings should always be sweet and socially acceptable.  How could a calling, something that comes from God, not be as sweet as a summer day?  Could God ever make a hurricane or fire out of love?

God made porcupines.  And some of us are the porcupines, a bit bristly and sharp.  Because we are not cuddly, does that mean we are not made by God?

To support yourself in the world, you first have to support others.  To affirm your own calling, you have to affirm the calling of others.  And that includes the callings that you don’t understand or think you agree with, unless you believe callings are little rational things that you can understand, and not deep spiritual things whose total wisdom is only visible to the universe.  For change to happen, the battle must be joined, and that means that some people just have to speak and make visible bad beliefs & ideas so they can be challenged, examined and explored by the wider world. We can’t see the hidden evil of separationists, and what can’t be seen can’t be changed.

For those of us whose highest calling isn’t sweet and comprehensible, whose calling leaves us exposed and vulnerable to the abuse of the world, because we represent the removal of walls they like to cling onto, calling isn’t something easily taken.  Calling is a bitch.

I know.  And if you don’t believe me, I will show you my scars.

Ignore The Pain; Pay Me Later


to rachel:

the remembering people remember why forgetting is important, but
the forgetting people don’t remember why remembering is important.

when they hear a story from queers
straights always assume that
they understand what it means.

“i shivered with only a blanket
in sub freezing temperatures
for over a week”


“yeah, i understand
i went to miami for a week in january
and it never got over 62!!
i was freezing!”


to hoddy

the spiritual benefits of discomfort.
clothes, seats, rods, kneeling
puritans to buddhists
awareness to the world
openness to others
and in the end
discomfort is what allows us to grow
discomfort is what allows a congregation to grow

(one reason bigger congregations have an easier time
like bigger people
more space to spread the discomfort over.)


BS == Belief Structures

as in
“for many transsexuals it isn’t enough to embrace their choices, you have to embrace their bs too.”
“this is a mechanical culture that says feelings don’t matter, so people feel unable to understand and express their feelings.  instead, they end up imposing their own bs, the rationalizations wrapped around their feelings.”

its usually the bs
we use to wrap our feelings
without examination or awareness
that gets in the way.


1) From others: “Callan, I have no idea how you renounce your life this way.  I couldn’t do it.  It must have taken years of training.

2)  From God: “Yup, you have it right.  You are hosed.  But (she said, laughing) the real kicker is simple: When you let it out you wil be enourmously good at it and it will reward you in good ways.”


Tangled In The Invisible Fence: Beyond Separations.

just because things are invisible, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

ask any dog who has had to learn to live with an invisible fence.  combine that antenna in the ground with a shocking collar, and you learn how to give the edges a wide berth.

the dog has to deal with an invisble fence that is fixed in place, secure and constant, and he learns to back off.

but when that fence is invisible because it is always shifting, popping up whenever someone’s fears are triggered, well, that’s another thing altogether.

bailey talks to an expert who says that trans kids need three things: removal of anything the parents or teachers judge as socially inappropriate (take away the desired), clear feedback that their desires will never, ever come true (take away the dreams), and an understanding that if they make the wrong choices, people can marginalize, shame and humilate them with legitimacy (take away the dignity.)  once those three things are gone, the kid has a chance of appearing to be normative.

but just because things are invisible doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.


the breakthough in trans
comes when you stop thinking about
man plus or woman plus
woman minus or man minus
but you just think about
who is this unique person in front of me?


when the rope swing
between childhood and adulthood
is severed too soon
when we are adultified early
losing the affirmations and struggles of adolescence
to some constructed performance
we almost always go though life
as two entities
an adult with slick experience
a child with a broken heart.

when is the rope severed?
when a child has a secret
that they know they cannot say
to anyone.

rachel knows what to do.

it’s to listen and honour
what the person in pain says

and then,
after they feel heard,
to say

so what can you do?

but she doesn’t have time or energy to do that
and who can blame her?

one of the hardest things to do
is to honestly open yourself to someone else
so people stop

even parents
who think it’s all about them
and not about


when you are taught to
suspect your
desires, dreams and dignity
as being un-natural, tainted, perverted, corrupt, demonic, etc.
and then
when you are the one
who offers affirmation and support
for expressing those
desires, dreams and dignity
somehow, that affirmation must be suspected
as being un-natural, tainted, perverted, corrupt, demonic, etc.

this is the reason so many just say
their desires, dreams and dignity
come from god
but we know that it’s the ones who do that
most fervently
whose desires, dreams and dignity
comes from a satan
of separation and not connection.


making my pain visible
in the world
seems both appealing & pointless
just another pain
and everyone has pain
but it’s my pain
and everyday it stops me
as i swallow it.

I got a spam mail in my in-box a few days ago.

The subject was “Ignore the pain, pay me later.”

I think that we all understand this.  Pain is gift, one that tells us when something is wrong, when it needs attention.

But many of us learn just to swallow the pain rather than try to fix what needs fixing.  We swallow, because people tell us that the only solution to the pain is learning to swallow it and be normative.

Callan learned early how to swallow pain.  She tried to express it, but people didn’t want to hear it, couldn’t engage it.

my pain is blinding to me
but to others
it’s just
too much
too long.

and any performance
which would transcend pain
cannot come out of swallowing pain
only out of pouring it out
as balm.


depression is defined by discouragement,
says an expert in the NYT.


early 1970s,
i was first prescribed anti depressants. 

but the young therapist was unsure —
kind of like depression, but not really.

depression of the heart
and not the body.


take away the desired
take away the dreams
take away the dignity



i speak but am incomprehensible.

my voice is only useful
if it supports another.

a scaffold
of mental energy
with necrotic flesh
devoid of life

thoughts keep
skeleton moving
heart and soul
just barely hang on.

courage removed
job done

not a human being.
a human doing.

and i haven’t done anything


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

But, but, but. . . .

It’s not when the discouragement takes over
when I feel lost.

It is the base state. 

I merely fend off engaging it
by doing routines that keep me in stasis.

Nothing is lost
but the courage to make
a flesh future

It’s just too much, too late.


Anti-depressants, as the NYT article makes clear, are not enough. 

 And to get them, you have to engage the medical system,
a system that understands sickness and not systems.

You know what is enough: changing the story. 

A changed story gives the courage to take risks,
lets you take bumps and be persistent,
lets you be enthusiastic enough to be ignorant.

“People who remember
remember why
forgetting is important,
People who forget
forget why
remembering is important.”

I don’t feel depressed,
because by the rigid tests of clinical depression,
I’m not.
food, sleep, action, chores, etc.

But a decade falling off the grid,
well that’s enough for many to diagnose.

Where is my story?

“Too hip for the room.”
bang me until
I do what you want
I fall over
whichever comes first.
and then
i die,

= * = * = * = * = * = * = = * = * = * = * = *
= * = * = * = * = * = * = = * = * = * = * = *

dear callan,

you are my child
and i don’t make junk. 

you are gifts,
even if those gifts are rejected
by those who think they need
the comfort of society
more than they need
the challenge of god.

the minute you believe
that your failures of the flesh
are more important
than your fierce fabulousness —

you know,
the beauty that
so many have tried to convince you
is your biggest failure of the flesh
a sickness to be denied
with that powerful mind
rather than a brilliant light
your mind was meant to serve

the beauty they thought justified them in
taking away your desired
taking away your dreams
taking away your dignity
the beauty that would rock their world
if they only let it in
as it makes manifest
that there is only one human nature
a continuous common humanity
that defies walls of rationalization

— as long as you believe
your failure to do what normal people do
means that you can’t be all you can be
you will not have
the courage of your convictions
the power of your truth
the beauty of your soul.

if you can find
a doctor
a counselor
a pastor
who believes in your beauty
not in your sickness
who believes in your possibility
not in your mistakes
who believes in your mind & spirit
not in their dogma
who believes in questions
not in answers
who believes that i live in my creations
not that anything challenging is sick, un-natural or demonic.

then maybe you can find someone
in whom you can finally convey to you
the reflection of how
i see you
my darling daughter.

someone who enters your world
rather than demanding you enter theirs
because in your world are gifts
your beauty should have drawn them in
put them at ease
but your beauty was too far buried.

they like girls with a good smile
not girls with a good simile.

you don’t need fixing
you need flying

even if you believe
you are too old, too worn-out and too decrepit
to ever leave the ground,

even if your odometer rolls
it means nothing to me

other than you are even more ready
to fly.

go girl
go and be
the beauty i made
in you.

= * = * = * = * = * = * = = * = * = * = * = *
= * = * = * = * = * = * = = * = * = * = * = *