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 I feel like so many people talk about trans women's bodies and fear trans women's bodies, without actually SEEING trans women's bodies. It's easy to fear someone that you never actually see...
 
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Trans Women: We are women and we belong.
Cis Women: Go make your own spaces. Stop imposing your male energy on our spaces!
Trans Women: But we're not men and not "third gender," (at least, not most of us) and "making our own spaces" completely misses the point. We're women. The most male thing any of us has done today is shave.
Cis Women: We're not listening! La la la la la la la...
Trans Women: ...
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 Since about early March I have been having recurring, semi-occasional visions of a Goddess of transsexual women. I think it's time to start sharing some of them.

The name that She gave to me is simply "The Horned Lady."

The birth of a Goddess is a momentous occasion. Aphrodite, who sprung from sea foam; Athena, who sprung from her father's head. Goddesses who are destined to change the world are never born in a simple way.


So too is it with the Lady of whom I now sing:

The Horned Lady floated in darkness. She received blessings from the gods and goddesses of all the cultures of the world, for her children live in all the world. From Asushunamir, child of Enki and rescuer of Inanna, she received fierceness and courage. From Blessed Inanna, she received beauty and majesty. From Athena, wisdom; from Artemis, tenacity. From Lady Persephone, sight in the darkness, when all other lights have gone out. From Lord Apollo, she received the brightness of the Sun. From Lords Aesculapius, Machaon and Podaleirios she received medicine and the surgeon’s touch needed to make her daughters whole. From Lady Seshat, she received knowledge.

From the Baba Yaga and from Lady Hekate, she received the gift of magick.

From the Mor Rioghan, from Queen Rhiannon, she received nobility.

From countless other gods and goddesses, she received humility and beauty.

From Psyche... she received a soul.

From the Furies she received righteous anger. Not only does she see and suffer the pain of her children - she seeks justice for them. Justice for the slain. Justice for those living in shadow. Justice for the cursed and spat-upon, justice for the weary who find no rest, justice for the ill who find no healing.

From all the Gods and Goddesses, thus, was She born.

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Last night, after ritual, I had a VERY intense and vivid dream of passing through the underworld. Every God or Goddess I met had a word for me, except the final, who had two. At every time that I stopped, that god or goddess took something from me as well.

Lord Morpheus took my pretense and said, "Dream." Lady Hekate took my fear and said, "Choose." Lord Hades took my anger and said, "Rest." Lady Ereshkigal took my illusions of safety and said, "Sacrifice." Lady Hela took my impulsivity and said, "Reflect." After these five sacrifices, devoid of negativity and falsity, I felt the presence of other souls in the underworld; ancestors and strangers alike. After completely losing all track of time passing, Queen Morrigan took my passivity and said, "Revive." I felt life coming back to me. Lady Persephone, finally, took my hand to show me the way to the world above and said, "Be Reborn."
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When someone says that they need "circles of [cissexual people only] for healing and deep work," whether they intend it or not, it stabs me deeply. It implies that they believe my understanding of my gender is shallow, and that I don't have need for that healing - or worse, that my mere presence would impede other women in their "deep work" and their "healing."

This HURTS. It's painful and destructive. It tells me that no matter how many people tell me the right words, that they don't REALLY see me as a woman.
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So I've been writing a transgender Star Trek fanfic. As the title indicates, the transgender character is none other than Captain James T. Kirk.

So here are the links to the first story of the Veronica Kirk Chronicles: The Crossworlds Affair!

The Crossworlds Affair on Archive of Our Own 
The Crossworlds Affair on Fictionmania

I'm also taking suggestions as to additional fiction archives I can post the Veronica Kirk stories to.

Next story is already in progress - The Russian Gambit!

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Katie Berger Tremaine

 

7/2/2011

 

Putting the Gay in Gaming

 

From role-playing to MMORPG, we will discuss how sexuality, and homosexuality in particular, has been portrayed in gaming. We will discuss how GLBT characters are portrayed in the gaming world and the relationship between the gay and gaming communities

 

Read more... )

 

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Katie L. Berger Tremaine

 

7/2/2011

 

Happy Writers and Fast Writers

 

Panelists: David Wilbanks, Kelly McCullough (moderator), Michael Merriam, Seanan McGuire, Anya Bast

 

 

Panel text underneath... )

 

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Katie L. Berger

 

7/1/2011


I thought a while about whether or not I really wanted to post these notes. Tyler Tork, one of the moderators, has the same information on his blog at tylertork.com - go there if you want to see his version. Otherwise, here's mine!
 

Free (and legal) Software Resources

Panelists: Adam Nave, David Walbridge, Rob Callahan, Tyler Tork

 

Panel is behind this cut. )
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Katie Berger Tremaine
7/1/11

Beginning Gamemastering


    Beth Kinderman (moderator), Eric Zawadski, Rachel Kronick, Ross Watson, Scott Jamison (aka SKJAM).

 

Panel is behind this cut. )
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As a student of sociology, as a trans woman and as a human being, I have to take issue with the commonly cited figure that 1:12 American trans women will be murdered. As a trans woman, I initially took this figure extremely seriously and I think that it taught me to be cautious, so it does have some utility. But it also teaches us to be afraid, which is far less useful, and I fear that the propagation of this myth would certainly make us look overly fearful if the data do not carry out its dire predictions.

In the last 5 years, an average of 15-20 trans women per year have been murdered. Going on the smallest credible estimate of trans prevalence (1:2500, Conway 2001), yielding a rough number of 60,000 trans women in the United States, we get an annual rate of violent death of roughly 15.6 per 100,000. This is approximately eight times the murder rate for the population of all women (2 per 100,000). Using more conventional estimates of between 1:200 (GIRES 2008) and 1:500 (Conway 2001), we arrive at a rough population estimate of 440,000 trans women in the US population, giving an annual rate of violent death of roughly 4 per 100,000, or roughly twice that of all women. Still concerning but less than some other subgroups of women.

My suspicion is that the 1:12 figure is based on the non-credibly low figures of 1:30,000 male births that were reached by Johns Hopkins in the 1960s and promulgated by psychological literature since them. The reasons the low prevalence is less credible is because the known trans populations in other nations than the United States have roughly a prevalence of 1:300 to 1:400 births, and moreover because Lynn Conway's survey of the trans community in the late 1990s revealed that 1:2500 persons assigned male at birth had already undergone a feminizing genitoplasty procedure. The Johns Hopkins figures would result in a murder rate of 390 per 100,000, a truly catastrophic rate (by comparison, the rate of violent homicide for the city of Detroit is roughly 47.3 per 100,000). We have been justifiably appalled at other anti-trans myths from that era that are still being promulgated by the same, aging, anti-trans feminists and patriarchs. We should discard as noncredible the estimates of trans rarity that were being put forth at that time by Men of Science whose goal was to diagnose and cure gender variance, rather than to encourage us to become ourselves.

I think that there are certain social myths - defining myth in the sense of a story that conveys truth without regard to its literal factual accuracy - that we trans women accept as true without sufficient question. One of them is what I am tentatively calling the 'murder myth.' The murder myth serves two purposes: It reminds us that we are special, and it reminds us that the world is a dangerous place for women of all kind, but especially for trans women. But statistically, it is inaccurate and it's probably a myth we shouldn't be telling.
 
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"Everyone has the same rights under the law--you can only marry the opposite sex. Nobody is discriminated against and there is equal protection under the law."

 

Anatole French's famous saying about the rich and poor being equally forbidden from sleeping under bridges and begging in the streets comes immediately to mind. Just because a legal provision is "equal" does not mean it is not discriminatory - discrimination is determined based on disparate impact of restrictions upon different groups of people.

 

In the case of relationship rights, being permitted to marry only a person of the opposite sex is discriminatory toward lesbian, gay and bisexual people because it denies them the right to be legally related to their primary life partner and permits theft from LGBT families that would not be possible against heterosexual families. In many states, the "opposite sex" restriction has been used to prohibit de facto transgender people from marrying anyone at all (a de facto prohibition that Texas attempted to codify into law this year).

 

This argument was also once made against making interracial marriage legal - so not only is it heterosexist, it's racist.

 

The idea that "everyone can marry someone of the opposite sex, therefore it is not discriminatory" is absolutely and totally incorrect.

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My name is Katie. I graduated from Rosemount High School 15 years ago as ****, and started transitioning in my late 20s. When I went through my legal name change in 2009, I was informed by my high school that I would be unable to change my name on my records, including my official transcript.

Unfortunately, this presents a significant challenge as I am now applying for college, and without my name being changed on my high school records, I find myself forced to out myself to every college as transsexual in order to apply. This is grossly unfair and discriminatory as even though it is the same rule as for people who get married, people who get married are not being outing as belonging to a gender minority simply because their name changed.

Are there any resources or options for me? I have a court order, that should be worth something!!!
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Wow. I do not know how to quit.

Yesterday I toured Hamline, informally.
Today I toured St. Kate's.
Monday, I tour Augsburg.
Tuesday, I go back to Hamline for a formal tour of the campus.
Thursday I visit Macalester

Two weeks from today, I visit the U of M.

As for St. Kate's... I really hope I can end up going there. It feels like home. 
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  First, let me confess that I didn't do as well this semester as I'd have liked to. On the other hand, being seriously sick for 70% of the semester and having regular relapses for the rest doesn't do wonders for your studies. On the gripping hand, part of me feels like I should have pushed through anyway. And on the other gripping hand... now I've got too many hands in this metaphor ;)
 
Anyway, today I took my second step toward my Bachelor's Degree: I went to take a tour of the first of five universities that are on my "list" - and these are actually universities that are REALLY well-regarded, something I don't think I could have dreamed of a decade ago. The first step took place last week during finals, when I asked two instructors to write letters of recommendation for me. One said she'd be honored, the other delighted.
 
Today I went with my friend Lisa Blauersouth (the writer of the rather wonderful webcomic Godseeker) to visit Hamline University. Hamline looks like the kind of place I could very easily fall in love with. Beautiful campus, good instructors, and signs on many, many office doors proclaiming the offices to be LGBT safe space.
 
Hamline is definitely high on my "shopping list."
 
My next tours are - St. Catherine's University (tomorrow), Augsburg College (Monday), Macalester College (next Thursday), and the University of Minnesota (Friday, June 3).
 
All in all, this was a REALLY productive day!
 
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Today is International Pagan Coming Out Day - like National Coming Out Day in the Fall, this is about taking an identity that is misunderstood and not very common, and bringing it out into the light. In the Pagan community, we often talk about "coming out of the broom closet" when we talk about telling people about our religious identity, because the parallels to coming out of the closet as LGBT - the idea of bringing out a misunderstood part of your identity to public identification and scrutiny, with risk of losing employment, family support and other elements of majority privilege - are a little too obvious not to be noted.

There are a little less than 1 million Pagans in the United States - and I'm one. I practice a personal, eclectic form of Wicca and have recently started a process of initiation into the tradition of Hellenic-Alexandrian Wicca, which is a form that focuses on the Greek and Egyptian Gods. One of my matron Goddesses is Lady Tyche, the Goddess of good fortune, which is part of why the Hellenic-Alexandrian tradition particularly seems to speak to me at this point in my path. Like many trans women who practice a Hellenic tradition, I also feel a strong connection to Hekate, the Goddess of Crossroads and to three goddesses of the Tuatha de Danaan, Brigid, Rhiannon, and Morrighan.

So merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again!
Blessed be!

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I've been taking basic classes from a local Hellenic Wiccan lodge, and so far I do like what I'm learning & practicing with them - what I would like to know is if anyone has experience with (a) Hellenic-Alexandrian Wicca, (b) the Ecclesia Ordinis Caelestis Templum Olympicus (Church of the Celestial Order & Temple of Olympus), the organization that this lodge is associated with or (c) specifically Our Lady of the Celestial Fire - I'd like to compare notes.

(I know that[personal profile] gamerchick has and she's shared her experiences with me - thank you very much, Beth!)

Thanks in advance!

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We are now getting down to the home stretch, as it were, of the semester. I won't be as active for a few weeks while I buff my GPA. :) Sorry!
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In response to this blog post, because I do not trust moderated blogs to fairly post critical comments:

The body is in fact tremendously relevant to the whole thing - partly because transgender bodies are discriminated-against, horrifically-stigmatized, traumatized bodies. This is a fact that many people in this whole, long, miserable debate - in which trans women's womanhood has been time and again heartlessly dug up for question, traumatically examined, and arrogantly rationalized away - have been trying very, very hard to ignore. Cissexual women have without so much as a second thought been intellectually raping trans women through this entire ordeal - and "rape" is not a word I use lightly. Not all cissexual women, it is a specific subset of cissexual women - but it has been happening, and at this point I would be remiss to not call it to attention.

As long as the solution ignores trans women's need to be recognized AS WOMEN, not as second-rate, inferior, constantly-scrutinized simulacra of women, this conflict will continue because, as my friend Autumn Sandeen so cogently said:

The years are gone when trans women like me said nothing, and did nothing to help ourselves. We are tired of words, of betrayals, of indifference. We have the strength of new faith, and the strength of ourselves; and we will not give up until we see full equality.

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A Widdershins Daughter of the Goddess

March 2012

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