L Word Box Set Winners!

Okay folks:

#4 denise
#13 bzzzzgrrrl
#14 Emilie
#27 Miss Avarice
#29, Bevin
#37 Blythe
#63 MsF
#69 Ari
#80 s.c.
#84 jh

You are now the proud owner of the L Word Season 5 Box Set. Email me – aspiringstud (at) gmail.com – your address and I will send it out to you sometime in the next two weeks. If you’re outside of the US, let me know and I’ll figure out how much it’s going to cost to get it to you.

Congrats!

The Girl in the Red Dress

The Girl in the Red Dress

At first I’m trying to ignore her. I have my latest review book, Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica; I have my iPod on to some soothing lofi mix Muse made for me; I have lube in my pocket for a quick jerk-off session before we arrive in New York. I need all the sanctuary and release I can get before returning to that hyper-stimulating city.

But she’s making a big show of her many bags, heavy, designer luggage, and she – being tiny petite thing – seems unable to slip them all into the overhead luggage rack.

The only other person in this car is a man in the back who has been snoring since I got on. I think about telling her to just leave her suitcases on the seat next to her, but her jaw is set, her sensuous mouth twisted in a sneer, and as she begins to climb onto the train seat to reach the rack better, I sigh and, reluctantly, get up to help her.

“Please. Let me,” I say, sliding behind her and putting my hand on her waist to guide her out of the way, then taking the heavy suitcase out of her struggling grip and nudge it onto the metal rack easily. She’s got a great ass in those tight jeans. Her eyes are wide, then she drags her gaze along my arm to my face. I watch her watch me. She looks like Penelope Cruz, all dark hair and big pools of dark liquid eyes.

“Um,” she says. “Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it,” I answer, a bit dismissively, now offering my hand so she can get down. The train doors buzz and are about to close, we’ll be in motion shortly. I pick up her other bags and one by one put them up into the rack above her seat. She takes off her thin white sweater and sets it with her handbag next to her, and watches me.

I groan a little with the weight of the last one. She notices. “Thanks again,” she says, and I detect a slight accent, French maybe, though she looks Spanish. Her words are a little airy, already pulling Vogue Milan out of her purse and turning her attention to it, a tiny sideways glance at me to see if I’m still standing next to her, waiting for my good-dog biscuit.

I retreat back to my aisle seat. We are facing each other, opposite sides of the train. She is absorbed in her magazine. I put my feet up and crack open my book, start reading through the bondage stories. She takes out a compact and lipstick and fusses with her mouth, repainting, touching her fingertips to the edges of her lips, then wipes microscopic flecks with a tissue. I don’t watch her, but she periodically sweeps her eyes over to me. I rest my hand on my neat little package as I read through the story by Toni Amato, “A Girl Like That:”

She’s the kind of girl who brings out the worst in me. Coming on all hip and cool and all into sex, rubbing some part of herself all up against me every chance she gets. I’m not saying all the things my people taught me about women are so great, but I’ll tell you what, where I come from, that kind of girl is called a cock teaser.

It’s like there’s this small thing, like those stars they talk about, those White Dwarves, sitting deep and low in my belly, and this girl comes along, doing her number, and that son of a bitch just goes nova.

She makes the worst part of me want to do the best it knows how to teach her a thing or two about fucking.

I’m stroking my cock unconsciously through my jeans when I notice someone looming next to me, and it’s her, she’s returning from the bathroom with a clutch in her hand, I didn’t even notice her get up. The girl smiles, almost, and pushes past as though I am taking up the entire aisle, or maybe to show off her gorgeous ass in those tight, tight jeans.

The train lurches and opens its sleepy doors, the man in the back of our train car is moving at half-speed and makes his way off the train.

We’re alone.

She notices too. She’s looking out the window but keeps stealing glances at me. The conductor comes through and says nothing to either of us, just takes the small pieces of paper on our seats, the remnants of our tickets.

I go back to my book. I finger the bottle of lube in my pocket and think this would be a good time to go rub one out, then get absorbed in a story about a dyke cop who is passing as male in a straight club, picks up a girl and takes her, handcuffed, out to her truck. I nearly reach my hand into my pants.

“Um, excuse me?”

She’s standing, still in her seat but leaning forward over the seat in front of her, facing me, ass tipped to the side, front of her button down revealing creamy skin, long dark hair swinging. She smiles when I look up, flashes me an intentional smirky pose that she has practiced in the mirror – her seduction look. “Would you help, I have to … I need … something from that bag.” She glances up at it.

I put my book down and tug at my jeans to cover my hard-on. Clear my throat. “Sure.”

I get up and move toward her. She kneels and reaches for it, her back to the aisle as I come up behind her and reach up.

“This one?” My mouth is close to her ear.

“No, not – yes, that one,” she says as I touch the smaller suitcase. She reaches up to help me, bending slightly forward, as we both ease the weight of her bag down onto the seat. And I swear she rubs right against me, pushing back, just a little. Maybe I’m imagining it. Yeah, sure Sinclair; you just happen to have a boner and this girl offers up her ass on a silver platter.

I back off. Return to my seat. Again.

“Um, thanks!” she calls.

I toss a half-smile over my shoulder. “Don’t mention it.” She pulls a bundle of fabric out of her bag and I don’t watch. I don’t pay attention. I can’t see it. I shouldn’t be watching, but I am. It is slinky and red. She finds a few other bits and tucks her hair behind her ear, gathers an armful of clothing, makes her way toward me, down the aisle, to the bathroom at the back of the car.

She’s in there a while. I try to concentrate on my book, to not wonder what she is doing, what she’s slipping into, who she’s meeting when she gets off the train, not to imagine being that somebody so filled with lust and permission that I’d fuck her right on the platform, couldn’t even control myself long enough to wait until we went to dinner, drinks, a show, whatever it is she’s dressing up for. My breath is quickening and my hands are starting to do that aching thing where they are pulsing with grip, wanting to hold push grab press punch slap.

She makes her way back to her seat like the aisle is a runway, like she’s coming in for a landing. Each step deliberately placed. Legs precisely angled and separated and her gait is sharp, strong. Her red dress swings from her hips, past her thighs, to her knees. A few bracelets jangle from one arm, simple and slim. She’s pulled her hair up high on her head, into some sort of ponytail, then twisted around itself in a beautiful knot.

I watch her as she closes the distance to her own seat. I don’t drool. I am not drooling. I try not to drool at the sight of her ankles, her calves, the hints of the backs of her knees as her dress swings. I wipe my mouth. Her ankles cross just slightly, which makes her hips curl and switch like a figure eight. Like a come-hither finger.

I swallow. Breathe in. And quickly open my book, flustered, and turn it to the page I was reading as she slides onto the train seat and I snap out of my spell.

Of course – of course – I am too zealous and the book slides out of my hand, skittering out into the aisle. I take a sharp breath in and some spit goes down the wrong way, I start to choke, cough, loudly, as I jump up to retrieve the book.

Oh good lord. I get ahold of myself. Straighten up, book in hand. Clear my throat. I don’t look at her. I can’t see her. I am sure I am five shades of crimson and I steal a glance her direction, she’s covering her mouth, that perfect smirky smile, eyes dancing, looking away from me. Obviously she saw everything.

Fuck.

I resettle. Book in lap, adequate breath in lungs. I sneer to myself. Re-open the erotica. Do you have to be so obvious? I yell at myself in my head. You dumbass. Real smooth, Sexsmith.

She’s going through her open case next to her, I can see her arms moving but can’t see what she’s doing. Then suddenly she’s up, out of the seat and back in the aisle, pads down toward me as if she forgot something.

I catch a whiff of her perfume as she walks by. Dizzying, intoxicating. The swish of her skirt. I watch her little toe-heel trot down the aisle. My body acts without my mind and I reach for her. My hand on her hip. Lightly at first, but then she doesn’t pull away and I grab her harder. Both hands and I stand, pull her toward me, her back to me, and she is still. I can’t see her face but I can feel her breath through my hands, she’s holding it. Surprised. Waiting.

I lift her skirt in the back to reveal her perfect ass. A work of art. A combination of genetics and squats and hundreds of hours at the gym. She knows it. She’s bare under her red dress, no panties, no stockings. Perhaps that’s what she forgot. I can’t resist, I palm the apple of her ass, caress the flesh, spreading her cheeks and opening her slit.

She lets out her breath, finally, and it comes with a breathy moan, just a little.

And I’m gone. The slightest noise from her lips and all I can feel is what it’ll be like to be inside her, to feel her body curl around my arm and buck and thrash and grasp as she comes. I’ve got to feel it. Got to make her.

I press against her back. Her neck is bare, hair up, and my mouth is just at the corner of her jaw, below her ear. I reach around her and pin her arms to her sides, pressing her back to lean against me, and she arches, thrusts her hips up, feels the cock behind my fly. She lets her head lean back against me, lets me take her weight.

“Bend over.” Right next to her ear. Barely audible.

I release her from her hold. She turns her head just a bit and her face is quizzical, open, lustful, a tad resistant. I run my hand up under her dress firmly, continue to drag it up her back, then press, hard, on her shoulder blades, bending her over the train seat in front of her.

“I said bend over.”

Faster now. Unbuckle and unzip. The dress pushed up to her waist, one hand on her lower back to keep her hips tipped up to me. Her asshole is dark pink, a burst between her cheeks, perfectly smooth, and her ass is perfectly round, my thighs are already quivering and hips pulsing, so ready to fuck.

I grab one of the condoms I always keep tucked into the inner pocket of my bag. Roll it on. Spit into my palm, and again, lube up my cock. Spit again at my two fingers and shove them at her hole.

I hear her gasp – “ah” – just once – and she glances back over her shoulder, eyes heavy-lidded and dark. I push on her upper back again.

“Head down.”

Her body shudders at my voice and gives in. A ripple of submission through her backbone and I feel to my toes the way it makes every hair on my body stand up, clench, awaken.

Cockhead at her asshole, I enter her easily, so smooth. So tight. The resistance of her ass is just more friction and tension between us and I want to tear into her. Split her apart. Harder now. Faster and she’s taking it so well, “so good baby,” I whisper to myself, fuck it’s so good. She keeps her legs strong and pushes back against me. It’s not enough lube and I remember the bottle in my pocket and laugh to myself. What kind of pervert am I to carry lube on the train?

I pull out and squirt it right on my dick, smear it, and ease back into her.

Oh yeah, give me that ass. Give it to me.

The girl in the red dress has her arms braced against the seats, bracelets jangling. We hit a rhythmic sliding stride and she brings her forearm down in front of her, leans forward, brings her other hand between her legs. Immediately I feel her knees weaken and press together, back arch and spine curl and oh it’s beautiful. I bring my hand up her spine to her shoulder blades, then her neck, take a handful of hair and keep her steady. She pulls against me, not to get away, but to heighten sensation. Struggling has such varying degrees. She doesn’t want out, she wants more.

I take grips on her hip and hair. Slam against her hard, pull out slow. Slick where my cock is fat inside her, swelling and eager. Resistance and tension. She tips even further forward onto the seat until she’s held up by it, lifted at the waist, hand furious between her legs, thighs pressed so hard together, on her tiptoes straining up and tipping forward more, further, until she lets one foot come up off the floor and bend at the knee, toes curling.

She is starting to let go, really let go, become undone at the seams, and she can’t keep the tension in her muscles so she stops resisting my hand in her hair, my palm against the flesh of her ass, holding her cheeks apart, fingers gripping her hipbone. But I don’t let go, I just hold her stronger, tighter, take her a little deeper as she opens, opens deeper, opens hard, and every hinge in her body loosens, I feel it from inside pulse and ripple and again, and again, until she is gasping, chest heaving, crying out, gasping for air. And I ease up, slide in slow, press hard and sweet against her as orgasm fades, shudders, and her body rebuilds itself anew.

I pull out and let her rest. We are quiet a moment. I release my hand from her mess of hair and caress her neck gently, let my hand drape across her hips and thighs, even find her hand, wet and warm from her own liquid, touch her fingertips gently.

Her breathing calms. She sighs, once. Reaches up to brush her hair from her face and I stand, tuck my cock, zip up, run my fingers through my perfectly messy hair to assess the damage.

She stays where she is, leaning for support over the bench seat. I pull the skirt of her dress down over her hips with a shit-eating grin on my face and smack her ass once, a little harder than I meant to, but playful, and she gasps and tenses, then stands. Her makeup is smeared. Her face is still open and sweet from the release but it changes as she watches me. I gather my book and pocket bottle of lube and put them back in my bag, pick up my jacket and slide my arms into the sleeves.

She’s still watching. Eyes wide. Breathing.

“We’re here,” I say. The train is slowing and I can just make out the tunnels of Penn Station as we arrive in New York City. She blinks. Opens her mouth to say something.

I grin. Lord she’s cute. I kiss her cheek as I slip by her and remove her heavy suitcases from the overhead racks. I notice strappy black high heel shoes at her seat and my mouth waters.

Heaving the last of the bags down, I turn to her again. She’s still by my seat, now empty, one finger in her mouth, looking a little shy. I smile and nod, once, a goodbye-take-care-have-a-nice-night gesture, and turn to the door as the train comes to a full stop.

“Um!” she calls after me. I look back. “Thank you?”

I give her a long glance from her ankles up to her legs to her hips and belly and breasts, the disheveled red dress, hair tumbling from its neat design on her head. She’s stunning, really. Delicious.

“Don’t mention it,” I say, and step off the train.

Eye Candy: Rachel Maddow, again

If I do too many more posts about the bromance I’m having with Rachel Maddow, I’m going to have to put it under aspiring stud … or I’m going to have to rename this blog “Maddow Fans.”

But I can’t resist. There are some new photos from the New York Times Magazine interview, A Pundit in the Country, and I’ve done a bit more of my homework.

First! Two things you should know:

  1. Rachel has “doubled the audience for a cable news channel’s 9 p.m. hour in a matter of days.” This is totally amazing.
  2. If you happen to not be a TV person (I’m not), or can’t seem to get home by 9pm to watch the Maddow Show (I can’t), or primarily watch all your TV via Netflix (I do), or never get to a friend’s house to watch their recorded episodes (I’m too busy drinking prosecco with the Muse to watch TV) – NEVER FEAR! As of today, the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show is now reproducing the ENTIRE RMS via podcast at Rachel.MSNBC.com.

And now: the butchest interview in the history of butch interviews. An excerpt from the recent New York Times Magazine article:

Always on her: A handkerchief. One of my liabilities as a broadcaster is that I am little teary. Having a handkerchief is handy. My partner, Susan Mikula, buys me cute ones.

Always in fridge: Champagne. I always keep a bottle, because you might need to celebrate at any moment, and a bunch of mustard, because I am a mustard person.

Obsolete item she won’t part with: I have a little stockpile of lawn mowers, some of which it has been years since they worked. But it seems wrong to get rid of lawn mowers, so I keep them.

Clothing item a talk-show host needs: For me, it is sneakers, which I can wear 80 percent of the time, secretly behind the desk. That reminds me who I am, even though I am dressed up like an assistant principal in order to meet the minimum dress code for being on television.

She drives: I have a seven-year-old Ford pickup. Remember, I have to go to the dump.

Hobby: I am a hobbyist bartender. I have a liquor cabinet. I research classic drinks from the golden age of American cocktails and I make them for me and Susan.

Favorite obscure liquor: Rhum agricole. It is rum made from sugar-cane juice rather than molasses. It is freaking awesome.

Hat tip to the femme top, who pointed me toward the following story which describes how Maddow met her partner, Susan Mikula.

And I quote:

Maddow walked into her life after Mikula told mutual friends she needed a “yard boy” to help her manage the demands of a creaky old structure that had stood empty for almost a year as well as the 2 acres of vegetation that were threatening to take over.

“Zing went the heartstrings,” according to both of them, when Maddow, 31, a Rhodes Scholar and gay activist, arrived for the job. Maddow had moved to the area to write her doctoral dissertation comparing AIDS policies in the California and British prison systems, but also needed to earn some money. A year-and-a-half later, on Halloween, she moved in.

-from Weekday Bantering is Balanced by Quiet New England Weekends – February 24, 2005 by Eric Goldscheider

“Yard boy,” huh Rachel? Oh you kinky dawg!

Your very own L Word Season 5 Box Set

8 Against 8 is over! We raised more than $13,000 to oppose Proposition 8 in California.

Thank you, everyone, for the comments and support and re-posting the media I was posting, for sharing posts, for driving traffic, and of course for donating.

I overdid it, really. I’m so sick of gay marriage anything. But here’s hoping that even just one of the things I posted resonated with one person out there, and made some sort of difference. I will still be posting a few political things between now and the US election (Tuesday! November 4th! FUCKING VOTE, PEOPLE!), but it will be back at my regular one-post-a-day schedule. And there will be smut. Promise.

And now for something completely different:

Like a dozen of my blog neighbors, I was given ten copies of The L Word Season 5 to give away to my readers, and they arrived at my place yesterday.

So it’s official. Want a copy?

I kind of love to hate the L Word. I can’t stand watching it. I stopped watching in Season 2 when Shane & Jenny’s roommate set up videocameras in their home, in their bedrooms. Not. Okay. I thought it was a cheap ploy for drama, and a cheap ploy for male viewers to be able to insert themselves into the lesbian action. Hey, if you’ve got other explanations for why this plotline was used, I’d be curious to hear them, but that’s my take – and it was enough for me to stop watching for nearly three seasons.

I caught up last year with seasons 2-4 so I could watch Season 5, and I was able to distance myself from it enough to occasionally enjoy it (oh, Alice) and consistently critique it (Kit, Shane, the lack of character development, the fucking drama, the constant sex with straight girls, the race, the class, the transphobia, the cliches, the gender issues, UGH).

Still, it’s nice to see lesbians of any kind on TV, isn’t it? It’s nice to hear people use my language and reference my culture and hell, the hot girl sex is not entirely awful.

I can’t say I was entirely disappointed that we’re going into the last season of the L Word. I’m kind of glad it’s over so I can stop watching for purposes of keeping up with the culture. And the spin-off – did I just make up in my head that it’s Alice? I thought it was Alice. But now I can’t find a reference.

SO! Back to the give-away contest:

The L Word returns to DVD with the complete fifth season on Oct. 28th in a collectible 4-disc set. DVD includes all 12 dramatic and deliciously provocative fifth season episodes from Showtime’s successful long-running series featuring all the beauty, chaos and complexities of a group of women who inhabit Los Angeles’ lesbian community plus behind-the-scenes special features.

By entering you agree to give me your address so I can mail you these DVDs. If you’re in the US, I will pay shipping; if you’re outside of it, I’m sorry but you’ll have to cough up the shipping.

Leave a comment in this thread to enter. Here’s what you’re going to include:

  1. Are you registered to vote? (Hint: look it up here.)
  2. Do you know where you are going to go to vote? (Hint: look it up here.)
  3. ARE YOU GOING TO VOTE on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH? or, did you already vote absentee/early? (It is possible that just asking people to vote is actually a good way to get them to vote.)

Sorry for the US-centricity of these questions. If you are not in the US, tell me:

  1. When is YOUR election?
  2. Are you registered to vote?

Winners will be chosen at random by comment number on Friday. Please only enter yourself once. There will be MORE prizes coming!

8against8: Ruby and Ami

Ruby & Ami, Seattle, August 2006.
Because along as gay marriage is outlawed, only outlaws will have gay marriages.

Some text by the ever-charming Ruby & Ami, from their website about their wedding (because they’re geeks, duh), Outlaw Wedding:

Ruby: I mean, have you ever been so, so excited about something that you couldn’t hardly keep it to yourself? Well, that’s what this is all about.

This is Ami typing, and I just have to say that I have found one of the most beautiful, smart, funny, challenging, compassionate, irresistible, warm and kind people on this earth. Her name is Ruby, and I’m going to marry her. Every day I have a little moment where I let myself be floored for a second by how much she brings to my life, how much I look forward to getting to see what happens next, and how impossibly lucky I must be to get this much out of life. Alright, alright, enough of the schmoopies- you single folk out there: quit ch’er groanin’, and get yourself to our wedding and get laid. We know the greatest people, OMG! There’s something for everyone in this event, my dearies. Let’s have a magical evening together!

Ruby here. Isn’t she great? That’s really how she talks to me — so sweet. We spend a lot of time grinning at each other. We argue about who’s luckier (and I know I’m right — it’s me).

PS – I hear they are having a baby! Congrats, Ruby & Ami!!

8against8: Stephanie and Denise


Photos from Stephanie & Denise’s wedding, Oct 11th 2008 in Yosemite.

They sent me that first one, the other two I swiped from their family blog, which includes this description:

Read by Denise, to Stephanie: “Our life is full of conversations spanning commutes and gazes spanning evenings. I’m a person of action. I try to show my commitment to you every day by loving you with everything I have, and I will continue this for the rest of our days.”

Read by Stephanie, to Denise: “To quote one of my favorite authors, ‘Today I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.’ …And as we stand here this morning, I am overwhelmed by the journey that’s brought us to this moment, and honored to be your partner, your best friend, your wife, on the journey that stretches out before us.”

8against8: Clare and Jack

Clare & Jack, September 2008.

Says Clare: “I am wearing a vintage dress and hat from the 30’s (note the vintage strappy heels as well ;), my daughter is wearing a vintage dress from the 50’s and Jack in wearing a super-fly new suit (yum!) . We have some domestic partner benefits here, and we creep closer and closer to legalization every year In Washington state, but we are not legal yet. Hopefully it will move up the coast from California.”

8against8: Holden and Femme

Femme is my Gender and Holden from Packing Vocals

Says Femme: “It was August 21st 2004, and getting married? It was (and is) fucking fabulous! The best day EVER. We had a churchful of family and friends cheering us on which was incredibly special. The public statement was infinitely more important than either of us had realised it would be. We would (and will) do it again in a heartbeat. Of course, it would be wonderful to be able to do it legally.”

8against8: Ban gay divorce instead

I don’t know about you, but I could really use a good laugh about all of this gay marriage / presidential election activism. I got an email from Kevin from 9in10.org about these short comedy pro-gay-marriage ads that pinpoint the hypocrisy and idiocy behind the opposition (to borrow Kevin’s words). He also mentioned that they won the audience award at the Boston Comedy Festival recently!

The interesting thing about these ads, too, is that because they’re so sarcastic and seemingly straight-laced (I am guessing), they are reaching a much wider audience and attracting a lot of hateful and bigoted comments. So if you like ’em, leave a kind comment for Kevin & the 9in10.org folks, will ya?

Sometimes I wonder where all the folks who are pro-Prop-8 are – I expected to have slightly more backlash when I started posting all this NO ON 8 stuff. Go figure, I’ve been preaching to the choir.

Sometimes I feel like if I had the backlash, I’d be actually MORE effective, because as it is I’m probably just talking to people who are already going to vote no on 8. But hopefully the things I’ve been posting are inspiring, enlivening, encouraging, and supportive, so all of you are having an easier time talking to your friends, family, & coworkers as election day approaches. Maybe you could send them these videos! (But probably you don’t want to send them to Sugarbutch. The gender theory and butch/femme and all the talk of dyke dick is probably too much for now.)

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as we can to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Prop 8!

8against8: Did we vote on YOUR marriage?

From the creator:

This is a personal video I made showcasing some of the best video clips and images since gay marriage became legal in California.

In May of 2008, the Supreme Court of California ruled the state was unconstitutionally discriminating against same-sex couples by denying them the “fundamental right to form of a family relationship”: i.e. MARRIAGE.

However, in November 3 states, including California and Arizona will be voting on amending their state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage. Florida’s ban would go further, and threaten domestic partnerships for unmarried couples, even if they’re heterosexual.

All of the images and video clips were from California… however, gay rights groups in either of the 3 states would surely appreciate any donation possible.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much money as we can to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Prop 8!

8against8: Saving Marriage (documentary)

Saving Marriage film trailer:

About the film, from Saving Marriage (the movie) website:

Masschusetts is First

In a historic decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court makes that state the first in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

That puts Massachusetts at the front lines in a war now raging throughout America. On one side are those who believe marriage is a civil right that all couple should have. On the other are people who believe it is a sacred institution reserved for a man and a woman.

Both sides believe they are right. And both sides believe they are saving marriage.

The Political Firestorm

The court ruling allowing gay marriage causes a public outcry that pushes legislators to propose a constitutional amendment that would override the decision and take gay marriage away. Suddenly, the lawmakers find themselves enmeshed in a passionate debate pitting civil rights against tradition.

On the day of the vote, just a few feet from the legislative chamber, thousands of demonstrators from both sides pack the Statehouse to capacity, screaming and singing until they have no voices left. Thousands more spill outside.

At midnight, when legislators cast their vote, the gay marriage advocates suffer a crushing defeat, as the amendment is approved by a razor-thin margin. Gay marriage is one step closer to being made illegal again.

The Fight Continues

But there is still hope. To become law, the amendment must withstand a second vote in eighteen months. For everyday people, the political has become personal, and they intensify their efforts to defeat the amendment.

Two months later, and many months before the second vote is held, the court’s decision goes into effect. Gay and lesbian couples begin marrying all over Massachusetts, even though the pending amendment means their legal status remains in jeopardy.

Overnight, married gay couples become a reality, and people in this small New England state begin to re-examine how they view same-sex relationships.


I haven’t actually seen this film – if you’ve seen it, please do leave a comment and what you thought about it, or write it up on your blog and leave a link.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as it takes to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Proposition 8!

8against8: Tying the Knot (documentary)

This is part a series (2 of 3) of trailers & write-ups about documentary films about gay marriage.

Watch the trailer for the Tying the Knot documentary:

Reprinted from the Tying the Knot website:

When a bank robber’s bullet ends the life of police officer Lois Marrero, her wife of thirteen years, Mickie, is honored as her surviving spouse but denied all pension benefits. When Sam, an Oklahoma rancher, loses his beloved husband of 22 years, long-estranged cousins of his late spouse try to lay claim to everything Sam has. As Mickie and Sam’s lives are put on trial, they are forced to confront the tragic reality that in the eyes of the law their marriages mean nothing. From an historical trip to the Middle Ages, to gay hippies storming the Manhattan marriage bureau in 1971, Tying the Knot digs deeply into the past and present to uncover the meaning of civil marriage in America today.

TYING THE KNOT is a journey through 5,000 years of history with marriage in mind. Didn’t princes and princesses used to live happily ever after? Author EJ Graff corrects some myths and fairy tales that the Extreme Right has been spinning as of late.

For example, did you know:
• Marriage has been a constant battleground and has changed many times to reflect the values of society?
• Marriage had no religious significance even in the Catholic Church until the Middle Ages?
• Protestant churches have split a number of times over issues related to marriage?

Are these quotes from the 2004 Republican National Convention?
• “This sort of marriage is not in the best interest of children.”
• “God has a plan for marriage and this isn’t it.”
• “Allowing this kind of marriage will pave the way for all sorts of moral depravity.”

In fact, these arguments were made about marriage between a man and a woman. In TYING THE KNOT civil rights attorney Evan Wolfson tells the love story of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, who fought a long battle with the Commonwealth of Virginia for the right to marry. The year was 1962. Mildred was black and Richard was white, but their loving lives together were anything but simple.


I haven’t actually seen this film – if you’ve seen it, please do leave a comment and what you thought about it, or write it up on your blog and leave a link.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as it takes to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Proposition 8!

8against8: I Can’t Marry You (documentary)

This is a series (1 of 3) of trailers & write-ups about documentary films about gay marriage. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of activism happening around this issue, so much organizing. I’m getting overwhelmed researching it all. I’m trying to pass on the best stuff during this 8 Against 8 campaign.

I Can’t Marry You film trailer:

From the I Can’t Marry You website:

The 2003 documentary “I Can’t Marry You,” narrated by host Betty DeGeneres, explores same-sex marriage issues through the personal experiences of twenty gay and lesbian couples who have been in long-term relationships of 10-55+ years. Their poignant and powerful testimonies put faces to, and actual examples of, the painful impact of discrimination on our daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, parents, aunts and uncles, loyal friends, coworkers and tax paying neighbors.

This one-hour program features interviews with:
The twenty couples, their parents and children; Evan Wolfson, the prominent civil rights attorney of Freedom to Marry; John J. McNeill, Former Jesuit Priest and author of “The Church and the Homosexual;” Adam Aronson, of Lambda Legal; and the leaders of the New York Christian Coalition.

Filmmaker, Catherine Gray created this documentary to educate her own gay constituency about the importance of having these rights and to show us that gay and lesbian couples can have healthy, committed long-term relationships. She believes that education is the only way to affect change and win this civil right.

Gray shot the film in large and small cities across the country, including: New York City; Saugatuck, Michigan; Asheville, North Carolina; San Francisco; Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. She felt it was important to represent diverse couples that vary considerably by age, ethnicity, religious and educational backgrounds.

Our film debuted in New York City at the GLBT Community Center to a sellout crowd.

“I Can’t Marry You” would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and organizations who gave their support, including: Human Rights Campaign, GLAD and Marriage Equality. Unfortunately, until the laws in our country change, marriage for same-sex couples is still a dream.

Buy “I Can’t Marry You” at Wolfe Video, top gay/lesbian-owned exclusive LGBT distributor of films, DVDs, and videos.


I haven’t actually seen this film – if you’ve seen it, please do leave a comment and what you thought about it, or write it up on your blog and leave a link.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as it takes to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Proposition 8!

Marriage is so gay*

Last week, I dreamt of my future wife.

That’s a strange thing to write down and admit, actually, especially publically; but I thought exactly that when I woke: that was my future wife. I still know exactly how she tasted, smelled, how her waist felt in my arms.

I’m not sure how I feel about marriage, really. My mom has always said I should wait until I’m 30 to get married, and thinks too many people get married too young. I don’t really think the government should have anything to do with my personal relationships, and I don’t think the government should value certain kinds of relationships over others – one man + one woman? What about a triad, a lesbian couple, co-habiting straight men? Who cares how people make a household work, as long as they do?

But: I do believe in commitment, in stating publically that you love someone, in gathering friends & family in a ceremony that celebrates and affirms the difficulty, the support, the community around a relationship.

Since I came to be aware of the inequalities of queer relationships in the eyes of the law in, oh, I don’t know, high school? middle school?, it has just been a given that I couldn’t “actually” get married.

“Whatever,” I told myself. “Like I would get married anyway. Like I want The Church + The State involved in My Relationship.”

And the activist circles I ran in were skeptical of marriage as The Gay Rights Issue: “There is so much to be done!” we argued. “Marriage is such an issue of privilege. What about hate crime legislation, discrimination policies for the workplace, queer homeless youth, AIDS, suicide rates, the drinking/drug problems in the queer communities? What about foster kids and adoption and simply BEING KILLED because of gender and sexual orientation? What about cissexism and trans advocacy?”

Unfortunately, the momentum of queer activism isn’t necessarily in the radical queer youth & college students – it’s with the money. And mostly-white mostly-middle-class homos have already decided what The Gay Issue is: marriage.

It’s a symbol, really: not just a symbol for normalcy, but a symbol for a relationship. And that’s what is at the heart of this movement, the heart of the difference in sexual orientation: the right and ability to choose whom we love, with whom we partner.

While my personal beliefs are still a bit more radical than that, I’ve studied the history of social change enough to know that chnage happens gradually, in pockets, a little bit at a time. I also feel like gay marriage activism is a limited scope – like aiming for the mountaintop instead of the sky – because it still defines marriage as two people, right, we’re still talking about working within the monogamy system here. So while many of our poly friends are going “rah rah gay marriage! And PS, what about us?” the gay marriage activits are kind of saying, “Shhh, we can’t talk about your issues right now.”

But then again, it’s easier to go little-by-little than to overhaul the whole system. It’s a classic social change model conflict – after observing a system of oppression, do we a) work from within it to attempt to change it, or b) throw it out completely and start over? My radicalism wants marriage to be thrown out. I mean really, what good is it? But I feel the same way about other institutions that seem to matter to some feminist theorists and reclaimists, such as Christianity. I don’t personally have any investment in the system of Christianity, so I can’t imagine going inside of it to fix and change the oppression and hierarchical marginalizing structures that are in place – but others do have that investment, and are doing the work to include women in clergy, to research the history of more women saints, of queer history in the church, etc. Lesbian and feminist priests and nuns and churchgoers – what they find in the practice must be worth the work of reclaiming and rebuilding, for them.

Actually, I can draw a parallel here: for me, it is language. I am a poet at heart and never cannot be. People ask me why I use language they deem offensive – dyke, fag, pussy, cunt, slut, butch, femme, queer – and I try to explain it is because I love these words. As if they were delicate glass boxes filled with mud, I pick them up from being buried in the compost heap and wash them, dig the dirt from their creases, make their silver shine, make them see-through again. I am invested in the system of language, even though within it -built into the very makeup – is a hierarchy that says certain people are better, best.

Which brings me to my next point: words. Of course “marriage” is not the same thing as “civil union” or “domestic partnership” – the words are different. “Beautiful” is not the same thing as “cute” or “gorgeous” or “attractive” or “stunning” or “elegant” or “handsome,” right? Those all have slightly different connotations, even if their definitions are overlapping and very similar.

I am a poet. I’ve worked hard to say that sentence. I eat words for breakfast and fall asleep with book after book open on my pillow. I theorize language and meaning and definitions and semantics, revive words that are suffering, influse love and equality and value where I can.

It doesn’t matter how many rights there are in a “civil union” or “domestic partnership,” they will never be marriage, because they are not the same word.

Period.

Mark Twain wrote, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

It is the difference between fire, and a firefly.

Words are not some static, fixed thing. They are living, they have lives and evolutions, they are manifestations of the culture from where they come, in which they are used. We can change them. They do change and evolve and grow to suit the needs of culture – they reflect a culture, but they also shape a culture. A new concept, term, or phrase can define a movement, a change, activism.

Researching all this information about the state of gay marriage in my country recently has really got me thinking about my own future. I don’t come from a very traditional family, I’ve never thought I would have a very traditional wedding – bridesmaids, groomsmen, white dress, any of that. I’ve received some amazing, beautiful, moving photographs from queers over the last few days, and I find a part of me is craving to have some beautiful party, some celebration, where my love and I can costume up and wear cool clothes and be surrounded by our friends looking dashing.

So I have some ideas forming about what I’d do for my own ceremony. No real dealbreakers, just ideas that I like. Although I am really attached to the idea that our first dance would be choreographed – let’s hope my future wife knows how to swing. (Let’s also hope next time I’ll dream her phone number or URL, so I’ll figure out how to contact her.)


* I hate this common use of “gay” and not infrequently call people on it when I hear them say it. But the tension in this sentence – calling marriage “gay” – cracks me up. Kind of like the bumper sticker I saw at Little Sister’s Bookstore in Vancouver, BC many years ago, which read, “Straight people are so gay.” Hah!

8 Against 8: 8 bloggers – 8 days – as much money as we can raise to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote no on Prop 8!

8against8: We are not the enemy


Another photo project: We Are Not the Enemy

Please send work-safe photos with “We are not the enemy” somewhere in the image to [email protected] LGBT pals and groups are welcome; couple status is not required.

I don’t know who these hotties are, but I want to meet them. More photos at the We Are Not the Enemy Blog.

8against8: Take a Picture, Take a Stand


The kissing is a protest against the “yes on 102” signs – Vote NO on 102!

Take a Picture, Take a Stand: Grassroots campaign against Proposition 102 in Arizona

From their Flickr Group:

Prop 102 would amend the Arizona Constitution to say “only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state”. This issue is on the ballot for November 4th, even though Arizona residents voted on, and rejected, this issue just two short years ago.

This time around, the “Yes On 102” campaign has a huge budget to spread their message. Their billboards, signs, and radio/television ads are everywhere right now. It’s easy to let that make us feel invisible, marginalized, hopeless….but now, more than ever; we cannot afford to let that happen.

Consider this a call to action! We want to counter those images and messages of divisiveness, exclusion and prejudice with images of inclusion, equality and acceptance.

If you live in Arizona take a picture of you in front of your “No on 102’ lawn sign, print a sign for your car window and take a picture of that, or stand in front of one of the “Yes” signs holding your own handmade sign that shows your support of equality and your desire to defeat this proposition. Kiss, hug, hold hands, flash a big peace sign…whatever you’re inspired to do.*

If you live elsewhere in the country, but want to show your support, make a sign of your own celebrating peace, love, acceptance, equality, love. Involve your children, neighbors – heck, get your pets in the mix too – just make sure to write “No On 102” somewhere on the sign!

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” To that we add, never underestimate the power of a simple photograph. Our pictures, taken from the heart, often speak louder than our voices ever could. Collectively we believe these images will carry our message of equality forward and outward – spreading a wave of positive energy that will help us defeat this proposition once and for all.

[Ah shit! That reminds me: Riese wanted “no on 8” photos for a photo quilt. I want to send one to her. Better do that. ]

I’m going election-crazy

… but you probably already know this. There is SO MUCH I want to post and write about to encourage activism, voting, political awareness.


Free VOTE! poster from Nikki McClure, one of my favorite artists, at BuyOlympia.com.

Another campaign against Proposition 8 is keeping running list of all the upcoming No on 8 rallies, events and actions http://www.myspace.com/noonh8 and has signs, buttons and more at our not-for-profit CafePress page www.noonh8.org.

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain from Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal:

Dear Senator McCain,

This week you have lashed out against the “Feminist Left.” I understand your frustration. You see that women are not flocking to the McCain/Palin ticket and you don’t understand why. Allow me to illuminate you.

The truth is, Senator McCain, your candidacy is the worst for women in recent history. You thought that women would vote for you once you put a woman on your ticket. But women aren’t fooled by this tactic. Women, Senator McCain, vote on issues important to us, not on whether or not the candidate wears a skirt.

The problem, Senator McCain, is your voting record, platform, and policies. You have consistently voted wrong on issues that directly impact American women’s bank accounts, personal liberties and health.

Read the rest of the article at HuffPost, visit feministsforobama.org and the Feminist Majority blog (check out the twitter responses for “Why are you voting for Obama?” – great).

Amazing photo essay of Obama by journalist Callie Shell … I can’t stop going over and over the photographs. Some of the quotes make me teary: Several days before the primary, my cab driver told me he was going to vote for Obama but he didn’t believe a black man could win against a white man or woman. I called him after the election to see if he voted. With pride in his voice he said, “I did and I took my kid with me and the next day I told him he was right. He could be anything he wanted to be someday, even President.” (via Kottke)

8against8: Ariel and Amy

A couple photos from Ariel Levy’s wedding to Amy Norquist, as published in New York Magazine.

The accompanying article is The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook by Ariel Levy, and discusses Ariel’s process going up to the wedding, especially in buying the wedding dress.

And yes, this is kind of gratuitous eye candy, but I just adore that photograph of Ariel & Amy, they look so happy and so beautiful. (I also really love the idea of wearing a white suit at my own wedding.)

8against8 – 8 bloggers, 8 days, $8,000 – Vote NO on Proposition 8

Film screening: The World Unseen

Here’s a brief little break in the political activism of this week to bring you a small announcement about a (free!) film screening TOMORROW in Los Angeles. Might be just what the doctor ordered to get our minds off of politics for a minute, eh?

The World Unseen is “an amazing story of race, love, and strength set in 1950’s South Africa.” The synopsis is as follows:

In the pressure cooker of apartheid South Africa, two women meet and their worlds are turned upside down. Miriam is a traditional Indian mother – hardworking and self-effacing. Amina breaks all the rules by driving a taxi and setting up a cafe with a local black man. In the face of outraged disapproval, their friendship flourishes. But the price, for Miriam, is the discovery of impossible truths about her marriage. In a system that divides white from black, black from Asian and the women from men, what chance is there for an unexpected love to survive?

More information on the film – including some beautiful, beautiful stills of the film – at www.theworldunseenmovie.com

The film is screening in LA tomorrow:
Thursday, October 23 at 7:30PM
Regent Theatre (614 N. La Brea Ave), Los Angeles
Shamim Sarif , the writer/director, and Sheetal Sheth, star of the film, will be at the screening to do a Q&A following the movie.
If you’d like to attend, RSVP to 310-967-7286

See more photo stills from the film, they look just beautiful. I’m excited to see it! Fans of queer/lesbian films might also recognize Lisa Ray – one of the leads – from Water, which is also fantastic.


8against8: Julie and Nikola

Your musical interlude during this week of activism against Proposition 8 is Comedian Julie Goldman’s music video “Commitment Ceremony.”

This so cracks me up. So clever, and such a subtle way to point out how commitment ceremonies are inherently unequal.

Comedian Julie Goldman married Nikola Smith in 2005 in Massachusetts, which, aside from California and Connecticut, also grants same-sex marriage rights.

(photo from Go Magazine)

… If you think Julie is hot and funny (and, uh, who wouldn’t?), also check out a great clip of her stand-up routine where she talks about shopping for her wedding.

We’ve replaced your usual smut with political activism … let’s watch

“What’s going on here?!” You may be asking yourself. “What happened to my usual Sugarbutch Chronicles, with queer eye candy and smut and gender theory?”

Through October 28, it’s the 8 Against 8 campaign, where 8 lesbian bloggers are raising $8,000 over 8 days to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Along with Grace & Grace, Lori Hahn, Kelly at TLL, Dorothy Surrenders, Pam’s House Blend, Riese, Renee at Lesbiatopia, we are writing to raising awareness about the homophobic, bigoted political initiatives that are stripping away equal rights from queers.

It’s not just Proposition 8 in California, it’s also No on amendment 2 in Florida, No on Proposition 102 in Arizona , No on Question 1 in Connecticut, and No on Act 1 in Arkansas. Educate yourself. Talk to your friends & family. Send emails. DO SOMETHING.

The 8 Against 8 roundup on Sugarbutch:
Day 1, Monday:

Day 2, Tuesday:

Day 3, Wednesday:

  • Julie & Nikola, and a video for Julie’s hilarious comedy-song Commitment Ceremony

Day 4, Thursday:

Day 5, Friday:

Day 6, Saturday:

Day 7, Sunday:

Day 8, Monday:

  • Photos of fierce-gorgeous-moving-sexy-hot-inspiring queer weddings!
  • Got photos of YOUR gay wedding you’d like to be featured? Send ’em in to aspiringstud at gmail.com.

We have currently raised: $6,314 of $8,000 as of 10:30am on Wednesday, 22 October! We have reached our goal! Late on Wednesday, October 22, our donations tipped over $8,000. BUT the polls are still saying that we are not guaranteed a win against Proposition 8. Keep donating! Let’s see how far we can go! As of Monday, 27 October, we’ve raised over $13,000!

Sex Blogger Calendar: Behind-the-scenes video


Sex Blogger Calendar Photo Shoot – the Group Shot
by Stacie Joy

Want to come party with the Calendar Pinups?
Save the Date!
We’re having a release party, because yes, that’s the kind of swanky sex bloggers we are.

Friday, November 14th 2008
6:30 to 9:30 pm
White Rabbit, 145 East Houston in New York City
Raffles! Prizes! Giveaways!
Burlesque dancers! Performers!
Get your brand-spankin’-new calendar for just $20

And here’s a bit of the behind-the-scenes video that Dacia shot. I hear there’s a second part to the video that will likely be shown closer to the calendar’s release. I can’t wait to see the calendar!

8against8: Ellen & Portia

Not that this is news, but Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi married in August this year, and Ellen has, for the first time, been a bit political about GBLT issues on her show, taking out ads like this one above urging people to VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 8.

If you haven’t seen the video clips of their wedding that Ellen played on her show, I highly suggest it. It makes me really teary every time. They are so in love, and their moms are so sweet, and the wedding just looks stunning. As a Hollywood LA wedding should be, I suppose.

8against8 – 8 bloggers, 8 days, $8000 – vote NO on Proposition 8

8against8: Del & Phyllis

What a better place to start on the 8against8 activist week than to highlight the first lesbian couple to be wed in California after the state’s Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in May of 2008. In June, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were legally wed after being together for over fifty years.

UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy projected in June 2008 that about half of California’s more than 100,000 same-sex couples will wed during the next three years and 68,000 out-of-state couples will travel to California to exchange vows. (via Wikipedia)

Del and Phyllis met in 1952 and were founding members of the Daughters of Bilitis, the US’s first lesbian group, who also published a magazine called The Ladder (you can stop by the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn to see all the old issues of The Ladder). There’s a great video of Del & Phyllis speaking about the DOB on YouTube, please do check it out.

More information at their wikipedia page and also in the documentary film No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, which looks like it’s replayed on PBS on occasion. (It looks like the New York Public Library might have copies, but you can’t actually check them out. I’d really love to see this – if anyone knows how to get hold of a copy, please do let me know.)

Below is a video clip of their exchange of vows.

Del Martin is a bit of butch eye candy herself … there’s a sort of a sneer to her smile, isn’t there? I can’t quite place it but I can sense it. Del died in August 2008 in San Francisco, with her wife by her side. She was 87.

As a budding young activist and baby dyke, discovering the stories of Del and Phyllis were profoundly moving for me… I remember staring at their reproduced black & white photographs in lesbian history books and being profoundly grateful for all they had endured, incredibly sad for the bigotry they experienced, deeply moved by their perseverance and dedication, so relieved that I live in a better time – a culture that tolerates (if not occasionally celebrates) my gender identity, my sexual orientation, and even my history, where my particular subculture came from. There are so many scholars and activists out there doing work on the history of the queer activist movements in the US, and looking through some of Del and Phyllis’s stories always reminds me how recent so much of this history was made.

I know, I’m young, it’s true; I’m 29. I’ve been blessed to grow up in quite a gay-tolerant culture. I look at gay & lesbian activist history in the 50s and 60s and I see my own history, my own legacy, my own inheritance. I’m thrilled to have shoulders like Del and Phyllis to stand on, and to stand up for. I’m so, so glad that they were legally married before Del passed away, so glad they got to witness the beginnings of the legalization of gay marriage in this country.

This history isn’t over yet, though. This is a living history, history with a pulse and breath, with driving activism forces behind it. We are changing things – we already have.

8 Against 8 – 8 bloggers, 8 days, $8,000 – vote NO on Proposition 8

Vote NO on Prop 8

8against8 – 8 bloggers, 8 days, $8,000 – Vote No on Proposition 8!

This marks the beginning of 8 Against 8, where 8 lesbian blogs are writing for 8 days against Proposition 8 in California which would render same-sex marriage illegal and raising a goal of $8,000 to defeat the initiative.

Aside from me, the other 7 bloggers participating in this 8 Against 8 are Grace Chu and Grace Rosen at Grace The Spot, Lori Hahn at Hahn At Home, Kelly Leszczynski at The Lesbian Lifestyle, Dorothy Snarker at Dorothy Surrenders, Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend, Riese at This Girl Called Automatic Win, and Renee Gannon at Lesbiatopia.

In addition to California’s Proposition 8 on the ballot in just a few weeks, Florida has Amendment 2 and Arizona has Proposition 102, both of which would amend their state constitutions to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Arkansas also has Act 1 on the ballot, which would forbid gay and lesbian parents – and any unmarried parents – from adopting children.

Every day during 8 against 8 I’ll be featuring some different things against the initiative. Donate some funds NOW, talk to everyone you know about voting in this year’s election (regardless of their location), urge your Californian friends and family and lovers to VOTE NO on Proposition 8.

8against8 – 8 blogs, 8 days, $8,000 – VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 8

What Happened in September

September has come & gone and I’m slow on the roundup. I already kind of miss the September masthead, I loved the serenity of the water and it was a fun reminder to have the “gender buddha” quote up at the top.

Here’s what happened on Sugarbutch.net in September:

SEX

  • The Sugarbutch Star Contest is officially underway!  The first entry came from Eileen and follows the narrator meeting a cute femme on a New York subway and picking her up. I wanted to get more of the entries written up, but September, like all months, was incredibly busy and full.
  • Tess has been busy busy busy producing the New York City Sexblogger 2009 Calendar, and I wrote up some of my experiences at the calendar photo shoot. I can’t wait to show off the final calendar, it looks fantastic!
  • I entered a contest on Best Sex Bloggers with my short story called The Creation Myth, and I won! The prize was a fabulous For Your Nymphomation sex toy case, which is featured in the story (along with a professional bottom), and my review of that is still to come.
  • I was named on the list of top 100 sex bloggers of 2008! I’m still surprised and honored, thanks to all who voted.

GENDER & THEORY

  • I attended the Femme Conference in Chicago in August, and when I had the chance to synthesize some of the topics we were discussing there I wrote the monthly In Praise of Femmes column on the architecture of identity. I also did a femme conference roundup & links list, pointing to other bloggers who attended and other reactions to the conference.
  • I travelled to my parent’s hometown – where I spent a lot of time growing up – and visited much of my large extended family in September in order to attend a wedding. Weddings and family are two incredibly gendered situations, and so wrote a very journally entry upon returning, a small complaint with some reflections.
  • I’ve had various people ask whether I go by “he” or “she,” so I figured I’d talk about pronouns: mine 
  • Couple definitions in September – define: need a word for “one who receives chivalry” and define: cisgender. There’s some controversy over the term I wrote about in August, “transmasculine,” and I’d like to write up a counter-post to that sometime in October.

RELATIONSHIPS

MISCELLANY

  • Obama 08. Oh, (American) politics. I’m disillusioned & a bit depressed about it all. That’s basically what this post says, except it goes deep into my own personal political history. Please register to vote, please vote, please vote intelligently.
  • Good Eye Candy this month: Brooklyn singer & rocker LP, a video featured on Ellen’s show of Ellen & Portia’s wedding, and some hot shots of a butch at the gay prom.
  • Only one toy review – the pack & play cock goodfella.

Eye Candy: Rachel Maddow on Jay Leno


Oh I just can’t resist. I don’t usually do celebrity eye candy, that’s a whole different ballgame really, but I’ve got such a bromance crush going on with Rachel Maddow. She’s been making big headlines lately – she’s got her own show on Air America, The Rachel Maddow Show, (Monday-Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern on Air America Radio, also available streaming from the Air America website), but only recently she got her own MSNBC show (Monday-Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC-TV, and is re-broadcast on MSNBC at 11 p.m. and on Air America Radio the next day at 7 p.m.).

Everybody’s been talking about how out and queer and visibly a bit butch she is. I can never seem to remember to turn on my TV, but I keep watching clips of her online and she is just brilliant.

She took some time to stop and chat with Jay Leno just a few nights ago, October 9th. Now that MSNBC isn’t dressing her up in lipstick and girl suits, she’s back in her own clothes and looks – in a word – hot. Those glasses? Nerdyhot. That shirt? A little bit rockabilly, a little bit cowboy, a little too big, pretty darn butch.

On Matthew Shepard, and Not Getting Eaten Alive

On October 6th, 1998, Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming, beaten, and left for dead – because he was gay. He was taken to a nearby trauma hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, and died on October 12th.

I lived in Fort Collins at the time. I was not out, I was living with my high school boyfriend of five years. Nobody I knew was talking about it, aside from the brief acknowledgment in order to look away. There were protesters at the hospital. The Denver newspaper announced that he had died before he actually died.

I remember crying. I remember being so confused as to how this could’ve happened. I remember being terrified to come out in that environment, so I stayed in the closet for two more years.

Years later, after I was living in Seattle and came out and was building an amazing queer community, I saw Matthew’s mom Judy Shepard speak at my college. I’m paraphrasing here, but I remember a few things she said so deeply: “I’m just a mom,” she said. “I’m not an activist, I’m not a historian, I’m just a mom of a really great kid who died because he was gay. People ask me all the time, what can I do, and I always tell them: Come out. Come out everywhere, all the time. People discriminate because they don’t think they know any gay people. They don’t know that the guy they go bowling with is gay, that their office neighbor is gay, that their dry cleaner is gay. They think gay happens “over there” in big coastal cities. Until everyone starts realizing that gay people are just like them, discrimination will keep happening.”

I tell that to people a lot, especially baby dykes (or baby fags or baby queers) who are struggling with coming out. It’s our number one place of activism: to be who we are. To let the soft animal of our bodies love what it loves. It is not easy for any of us, but for some more than others, as there are still very real consequences to coming out and being out, not just with our families and parents (especially) but in our daily lives.

I was searching for some Judy Shepard direct quotes and came across this article from 2001, which relays more of the thoughts I’m trying to articulate:

Matthew came out to her at the age of 18, three years before he died. He decided in his own time and space when to tell his parents about his feelings on his sexuality and how that was important to him. After explaining how she and her husband dealt with Matthew’s coming out, Judy believes that “Your goal in life is to be the best and happiest you can be. Be who you are. Share who you are with the rest of the world.” Come out. Come out to yourself. Come out to your family. Come out to your friends. Be who you are and don’t hide in the closet of fear. Take pride in who you are through and through. […] In closing, Judy illustrated her thoughts that if the corporate world of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals would come out and be true to themselves, their lives, and the world we live in would be a better place. Maybe Matthew would still be here today. ‘It’s fear and ignorance that killed Matthew. If fear is shed, the violence will go with it.’ Acceptance of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals would not allow fear and ignorance to exist as hate.
Erie Gay News report on Judy Shepard at Mercyhurst April 3 2001.

Years after I left Colorado, when I was in Seattle and studying writing, especially formal poetic forms, I wrote an acrostic poem about Shepard. The acrostic is a form you’ve probably played with as a kid, at least – you take a word and make each letter in the word the first letter of the line of the poem. In this case, the assignment was to write an acrostic about a place, capturing both the essence of the geographical space and an event that occurred there. The title is a reference to the date he was attacked.

    MATTHEW 10:6 (Acrostic)

    Framed in thick oak trees, equidistant, streets
    Open to fields marching toward undisturbed horizons
    Regulation-height lawns burn with summer’s oppression
    Tearing boys from youth, from breath. Behind

    Cinnamon foothills, anger and ignorance sprinkle
    Obstructions in the north winds. An easy tragedy
    Laughs. Tail lights disappear, tangled in this inevitable
    Last night – train whistles whisper, keeping company
    Infused with ghosts. Plucked from a fence,
    No one blinks – hospital doors swing shut.
    Shepard boy releases. The world watches the moon set.

Announcing, at last, that it is fall

Oh, femmes.

Damn you and your hotness, and the ways it undoes me to see you retire your flirty ballet flats for tall boots, to watch the scarves and pashminas and oranges and browns be pulled from closets, announcing, at last, that it is fall.

Fall is my favorite season. Partially this is because summer is my least favorite: I don’t do well in heat, and my best wardrobe is not shorts and A-shirts (or “consentual partner beaters” as Rose has dubbed them) but rather blazers, boots, vests, jeans. And all those burnt, dying, brilliant fall colors are my signatures – reds, blacks, browns. Classic, simple.

Fall seems to be the season I most stop and remember the wheel of the year. It is the pagan new year, the time when the dark stops creeping in slowly and is solidly here. Where the veil becomes thin.

I like this. I’d even say it is one of my defining characteristics: I like the dark stuff, I like the shadow. I like going into all that messy-ness and attempting to turn on the light, look around, sort through things, make sense of it all. The darkest stuff is often the richest – dense, telling, deep, intense, formative. Perhaps it is part of why I like the nitty-gritty of relationships so much: I am eager for those small moments of revelation about myself or another that can happen when sorting through the dark.

Fall also means the nearing of the end of the yearly calendar, so this is the time when next year’s calendars start to come out. There’s the Brooklyn Girls calendar, which, I admit, the first time I looked at the 2007 calendar when it was released in late 2006, I thought, “these girls can’t all be femmes. Really? They are? Clearly I live in the right city …” This year, I’m wondering where they all are. Reflecting recently on the smallness of the queer communities and cirlces I’m involved in has been making me wonder where the OTHER queer circles are in New York – there must be some.

Also, I’m a pinup in the New York City Sexbloggers 2009 Calendar – but you already know that probably. Looks like the launch party will be in November, but there’s no firm date yet. I’m also one of the designers for that calendar (thank the gods Jack is co-designing) and I am up to my chest in calendar days and pinup photos.

Hey, there are worse jobs, I know!

It’s been a big couple weeks, too, with a lecture in Conneticuit on Tuesday, my mom visiting town, Muse’s birthday, dates with Rose – no shortage of events in this crazy Gotham city.

I seriously need some R&R (and maybe a bj or two or five). To quote Pearl, “I need to get my drink on.”

I [heart] Brooklyn Girls 2009 Calendar

The I [heart] Brooklyn Girls 2009 calendar is about to be released, and it looks like a good one. I loved 2007 – twelve decades of pinup styles featuring hot hot brooklyn femmes – but I thought 2008 was a bit of a disappointment. The Coney Island photo shoot just didn’t compare. Maybe I had high standards from the fabulous ’07 shots, but I really didn’t care much for last year’s.

2009, though, looks fantastic. It plays with pinup girls in “campy career” shots, like “Baking Beauty,” “Chemist Queenie,” “Literary Lady,” and “Stitching Sweetie.” They describe the calendar images as “fashioned after images made popular by pinup artists Elvgren and Vargas. The calendar showcases a dozen campy career girls in authentic vintage garments, lingerie and swimwear. From the Head of the Class to the Chemist Queenie, Women at Work pays homage to classic pinup while poking fun at traditional gender roles.”

(You can see some of the shots at their I [heart] Brooklyn Girls website, but they haven’t released the 2009 calendar overview yet.)

Tonight is the calendar launch party in Brooklyn.

I *Heart* Brooklyn Girls 2009 Calendar Launch
Friday, Oct. 10th, 9pm
Southpaw, 125 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

www.iheartbrooklyngirls.com
$15 (includes a calendar)

On being a (gender) freak in New York City

I am not noticed much in New York City. My recent trip to Washington State’s Olympic Penninsula reminded me of this and I’ve been more observant of it ever since.

Honestly, to most subway commuters, shoppers, service industry employees, I just don’t register on their freak radar. I dress quite conservatively, usually, for one. I’m often in slacks and button-downs, kakhis and a polo, with a gadget bag and an iPod when I am commuting to and from Manhattan, and I just don’t account for as much attention as someone soliciting for money, someone homeless sleeping on the train, someone with a boa constrictor, someone in a wedding dress.

[Maybe it’s a class thing – upper class and working class are noticed, middle class is generally anonymous and neutral?]

I have often noticed that I pass as male here – that people, service employees especially, call me “sir.” But in watching this a little closer I have noticed that it’s not that I’m passing necessarily, I think people are just not paying close enough attention to me – it’s quite obvious I’m female upon just the slightest attentive glance, and I don’t think most people are consciencious enough of genderqueer-ness to call me “sir” by default.

My freak is not in my display of clothing, my costuming, my visible markers – my freak is that my clothing is on this body, that my gender presentation breaks the sex/gender assumption of my societally-instructed gender role. And honestly, the survival skills of New York mean that you don’t – you can’t – pay too much attention to the average Pats and Jamies around you, because you will either: a) get completely overwhelmed by the input, or b) miss observing the dangerous freak and find yourself in harm’s way. It is a skill that, as an empath, observer, and writer, I have had much struggle learning, as I want to be able to observe and notice the things going on around me, and indeed that is one of the best things about New York City, this huge, constant swirl of energy and life. But while it is energizing in small doses, to live inside of it constantly we must develop thick, massive boundaries as to not take in all of the constant comedy and tragedy around us.

When I dress up for a date or for a photo shoot, New York’s reaction to me is slightly different. This is when my masculinity becomes deviant and subversive, even aside from the body it is performed upon, because I start looking like a fag, I add elements of flair and sissy and dress-up and vaudeville, and that is not quite the same conservative masculinity that gets scanned over and does not set off anyone’s freak radar.

So my masculine gender is only “freaky” when it starts to be more feminine, more faggy, more queer. This makes sense now that I’m thinking of it – I just never thought about it like that.

My identity is largely marked by the construction of clothes, costuming, and physical appearance, as I think many butches are, as that’s the most obvious adaptation of the non-normative and subversive gender, and of rejecting the compulsory gender. But strangely I’ve gotten to the point where my construction of this notion of my identity is so “natural” that it doesn’t set off freak radar anymore. It’s only when I take my adopted gender role to more queer places – camping it up, making it more feminine with traditionally feminine colors, adding bold accessories and high contrast – that I start standing out in this city.

sugasm #149: editor’s pick!

Eileen’s Sugarbutch Star story is the editor’s pick at Sugasm #149 this week – thanks!!

This Week’s Picks

More Sugasm | Join the Sugasm | Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup each Tuesday and Friday.

Happy Birthday, Muse!

Her birthday was actually last weekend, but it’s taken me nearly a whole week to recover from all the goings-on from the past week, and I finally realized I never posted this, even though I prepared it to be posted for her birthday.

Muse’s girlfriend and I threw a little cocktail party last weekend – Waistcoat & Crinoline party – with some fantastic food and small group of good friends. The Sock Hop is Muse’s signature when she’s not drinking prosecco – a drink that up until recently was unnamed, but Bevin suggested the Sock Hop and it stuck immediately. This was the first obvious choice for our cocktail party drink menu.

The second drink was suggested by my new roommate – since of course we were going to have copious amounts of prosecco, so he suggested adding Elderflower liqueur and muddled strawberries. Turns out this is a delicious concoction! And it has now been officially cristened “The Muse.”

Muse looked amazing, she was in her best naughty June Cleaver outfit complete with pink stilettos. Most of the other guests were in vests and ties, myself included.

Read through a few of her guest posts and perhaps send some love her way, or encourage her to write more (she’s a little shy about her writing). And join her in wishing her happy birthday, will ya?

DC celebrates mothertongue

I’ve met Natalie – the coordinator of mothertongue – in passing a few times and always really enjoyed her company, I always wanted to go down to DC to see her show and watch her perform some more. Those of you who are in the area are lucky to have this fab event coming up, check it out.

mothertongue Turns 10 Years Old
October 15, 2008
Word.

Safe. Empowered. Creative. Heard. Since October 1998, mothertongue has encouraged women in the Washington, DC area to share their voices. mothertongue is a community-based, all-volunteer run organization that works to create a safe space where all women may speak freely and powerfully and have their creative and artistic voices heard. Through monthly women’s spoken word events and writing/performance workshops, mothertongue encourages women to use their voices, art, talents, and skills to build just and inclusive communities.

mothertongue celebrates its tenth birthday on October 15 at the Black Cat, featuring spokenword performances by mothertongue cofounders Karen Taggart and Ruth Dickey; mothertongue collective members, and a splash of new voices.

After the open mic, the anniversary celebration will continue with local up-and-coming folksinger Nancy Eddy and the punk rock duo Trophy Wife.

The event will also showcase a screening of The Coat Hanger Project (2008) directed by mothertongue alumna Angie Young.

Unlike any other spokenword organization, the proceeds of each mothertongue shows go to a local beneficiary. mothertongue is proud to have supported a diverse group of local DC organizations, including the Black Lesbian Support Group, Dinner Program for Homeless Women, DC Rape Crisis Center, Hannah House, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, Lesbian Services at Whitman Walker, Tahireh, Ophelia’s House, Visions in Feminism, Girls Rock DC, DC Kings,The Rainbow History Project, and
Phasefest 2008.

mothertongue calls upon readers from across the DC Metro Area to share their original spokenword on the celebrate 10 years of mothertongue with original spokenword performances. Natalie E. Illum, mothertongue’s current President and longest-running board member, will also be stepping down at this herstoric event. She looks forward to being an inspired audience member at future mothertongue events.

Got something to read? Contact Michelle Sewell at msewell[at]mothertonguedc.org Or Danielle Evennou at dmevennou[at]gmail.com.

When: October 15, 2008
Doors 8:00pm/Show 9:00 pm
Where: The Black Cat (1811 14th St, NW)
Cost: $8-10 (proceeds to benefit mothertongue’s future programming)

STAY IN TOUCH:
www.myspace.com/3wordproductions
www.myspace.com/mothertonguedc
www.myspace.com/wordwarriorsbook
www.myspace.com/girlchildpress
http://www.mothertonguedc.org

about the calendar photo shoot

The New York City Sex Bloggers 2009 Calendar photo shoot took place this past Sunday at the Slipper Room, and it was a huge success.

The Slipper Room, if you haven’t been, is a really amazing venue where the New York Burlesque troupe reherses and performs. It’s got fabulous gold and red curtains, iron art-deco railings, velvet booths – the works. Burlesque Night Club & Cocktail Lounge floor manager and DJ, Ken, was in attendance to help with logistics (thanks Ken!).

I frequently admired photographer Stacie Joy for her toppiness of the entire shoot. “What if possibly we …” “No.” Stacie would cut us off. “This is what we’re doing.” Stacie’s assistant darren Mayhem was running around and taking care of all the crazy details with much grace. We had our own scene stylist, Jezebel Express, who, when we were swing dancing toward the end of the day, revealed that she’s got a degree in dance – and given her burlesque talents I’m not so surprised. Though I didn’t work with them, also significant for the shoot were hair stylist Danny K Style and makeup artist Stormy, who was celebrating her 50th birthday and was a freakin firecracker. I can’t wait to see her perform some of her burlesque, I bet she’s amazing. Makeup and hairstyle make such a difference, it’s still a surprise to me – Mariella, for example, looked so much like a classic pinup – I couldn’t get over it.

Speaking of the beautiful pinup girls:


Elizabeth, Tess, Diva. (Oh I love heels.)

Twanna was an amazing little brown courtisan and she’s got such a great smile. (Her outfit made me feel like such a pervert, and I suppose that’s part of the point.) Audacia was so elegant in two different corsets and gloves, Desiree pulled off Jessica Rabbit like you wouldn’t believe. Diva‘s identity was protected, so she had to cuddle up with me for a few of the shots (aw, such a tough life, Sinclair, you’re thinking. I know. The things I do for art). Elizabeth was rockin’ some feisty heels and amazing fishnets, which was all the more glamorous because she’s rarely dressed up all girly like that. Jamye has an even bigger camera personality than she does in person, and one of my favorite moments was when she was doing one-legged push-ups to get her muscles to “pop” prior to her shoot. Hot! Lux was lovely and a bit smoky/mysterious in lots of black, Rachel couldn’t get away from featuring her great ass – and why would she? May as well show it off if you got it, yeah? Mariella showed off her perfect hourglass figure and looked like such a pinup. The feather boa tipped the tall leggy blonde Riese into a serious model, she had such the perfect smile-with-your-eyes Tyra thing. The sadist in me got off as I watched Tess writhe in pain getting her corset laced even tighter, and I even got a chance to smack her ass at the end for a minute.

Oh yeah, and me … well, I’ll tell you there were some fabulous accessories involved in my shoot, including a pocketwatch and a cigar. We’ll see which ones turn out, I think we’re all still waiting for the proofs from Stacie.

Twanna, Desiree, and Diva have their own round-up accounts, and Tess posted to the Sex Blogger Calendar blog about it too.

Today’s the deadline to buy a day on the calendar, so head on over to the Sex Blogger Calendar blog and pray that your birthday or blogiversary or kinkiversary or coming-out-iversary is still available.

It’s going to be a hellofa calendar.

event: 1st Annual Sarah Palin Book Club (a Lambda Fundraiser)

Some folks are throwing a party tomorrow night to watch the VP debates and raise money for the Lambda Literary Foundation at Cattyshack, the dyke bar & dance club in Brooklyn.

Hosts: Holly Bemiss & Erin Bried
Time: Thursday, Oct 2. 7 pm onward. (We’ll later watch the debate at the bar, or if its too loud, pile into our place, just a few blocks away.)
Location: Cattyshack, Park Slope, 249 4th Avenue, near President, Brooklyn
Fabulousity: 2-1 drinks, open bar on MGD beer, a back patio barbecue, and free admission. A special prize will be given to the best Sarah Palin look alike. Invite all your friends!

We’ll donate all funds raised to the Lambda Literary Foundation to help them 1) host the Lambda Literary Awards, 2) run the only LGBT Retreat for Emerging Writers, and 3) publish The Lambda Book Report.

If you can’t attend, please help spread the word!

Here’s a description of the event in Time Out New York; on Queerty; the evite; or donate directly to the LLF.

review: Pfun plug by Njoy

One of my favorite sex toy stores ever sent me the Pfun Plug by Njoy a few months ago. Literally, months ago. I think it was July.

So that right there should probably tell you a bit about what I think of this toy – I review toys sometimes that aren’t even on my review list because I get so excited about them! But this one was hard for me to get into. At first I thought they were sending me the Pure Plug, which I was totally excited about, but when I ended up with the Pfun plug I was skeptical. It’s made specifically for prostates, after all, a bit of anatomy that I don’t have.

So, it sat in its beautiful satin-lined box for a little longer than I’d care to admit.

And finally I was chatting with Tess one day, before this whole calendar nonsense started, partially because I know she’s a big fan of Njoy. Big fan. This Pfun plug is my first Njoy toy, so hey, don’t get me wrong, I was really excited to receive it.

I say to Tess: I’m not sure, it’s such a boy toy
Tess says: Just fucking try it. I thought so too, but it’s actually super great.

And oh my is it. Maybe it’s the weight, which is what differentiates it from the other … many … butt toys I have, but it’s really quite different. The head is not too fat and goes in pretty darn easily, with this great warmth because of the weight of it. And the smaller ribbed part of it is just pronounced enough to give it a lot of texture when going in and out.

It’s pretty good as a sort of ben-wa balls for g-spot stimulation too – obviously it’s not really long enough to get too far inside, and for you size queens out there (you know who you are) it’s not going to be enough, but generally the Pfun Plug has got a great angle for hitting the g-spot just right.

Okay, some logistics: this buttplug is 3-1/2” x 1-1/4″, which makes it a bit longer than average, but an excellent width that is not too much but not too little. It weighs 10.6 ounces, which is, uh, heavy. Very heavy. It’s made of stainless steel.

This lovely little toy makes me want to try out the Eleven. So. Much.

October masthead: come for the smut …

Yep, it’s that time again – a new month, a new masthead. I can’t believe how quickly September went by. Roundup of September posts coming soon.

Not really much to add about this masthead. The photo Muse took of me at the bar at the Femme Conference during a much needed break. The pin on my lapel is from the little Sugarbutch store and says “I ♥ Femmes,” which I wore all weekend, when I wasn’t wearing my “I ♥ Femmes” tee shirt. That’s probably Jameson in the glass. And that is definitely my favorite red tie.