Archive for July, 2011

bklyn boihood & Butch Voices Party in NYC

July 25, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I won’t be in town, but if you are, don’t miss this.

By the end of July we will be wrapping up the production of our 2012 calendar!

Join bklyn boihood, Butch Voices and other sponsors and allies in a celebration to wrap up this amazing experience for our models, photographers and contributors.

Kweer folks, a sexy venue, and fresh music on deck as folks mingle with the models, bloggers, photographers, partners and friends that make the bklyn boihood experience possible.

We’ ll have a raffle, giveaways, and a very special opportunity to experience the behind-the-scenes chemistry that makes this iconic calendar such an amazing experience. Hang out with the bois, see slide shows of calendar footage, meet models, hear/give feedback, PRE-ORDER the calendar and/or support any way you can!!

Date: Saturday, July 30th, Doors: @ 7
Vibe: Chill, Lounge, Grown & Sexy, Bar
Venue: The Gallery Bar, 120 Orchard Street (LES)
Cost: $10 Suggested

On Erotic Energy Retreat (Again)

July 25, 2011  |  journal entries  |  3 Comments

Photo taken by me the first year I attended

I’m off, yet again, to a desert valley in New Mexico full of beautiful hot springs and a circle of women who are coming to delve into our erotic energy, power, and pleasure.

This year, the erotic energy school that I’ve studied with for about 10 years is going through some changes, and some of the facilitators and staff are meeting before the workshop to discuss the new directions we might take. I’m looking forward to having a part in shaping the women’s programs—I particularly want to bring in more genderqueer, trans, queer, and masculine of center focused programming.

It’s been a tough month here at Sugarbutch, you may’ve noticed that I haven’t posted much since Cheryl died. In part that’s because the stupid things seem so much more stupid … and also because I’ve been quietly grieving. The School was actually set up in part as a response to the AIDS crisis in the ’80s, so much of the structure of these workshops is actually created to make space for deep grief and loss. I’m not sure what will happen when I have a place to drain it out of my body and into the circle, through this work, but I’m curious about experimenting with the well of emotion that I have been occasionally falling into.

I’m also thinking a lot about sexual aliveness, igniting my first and second chakras especially, though igniting my entire column of energy, all of the chakras, as a way to be more connected with myself.

I’m still not done with the ask me anything questions from Sugarbutch’s 5th anniversary, though I’ve been working on three different questions that are all about how to get off faster or easier (with a variety of circumstances), and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I too have some frustration that I can’t always get off easily in the particular way that I want to (meaning, strapped on and fucking), and I want to see if I can let go of that a little bit, or figure out how to ignite my energies in other ways. I don’t know what I mean by this exactly, but I want to go in there and explore. And hopefully report back about my experiences.

I wrote a bit about last year’s retreat, which was fairly difficult in some ways, though certainly still enlivening and strengthening and amazing. I learned a lot about my role in these circles, about holding space, and about what it’s like to bring masculinity into a space for women (although I’ve been learning about that ongoing for years, this was a slightly different experience with it).

This year, there are even more queer folks attending, and I’m packing some of the new gender expression toys I’ve been acquiring, like the Pete packing undies and the STP packer, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of edges I can push with my own masculinity, sadism, dominance, and feminine yang.

If you’re interested in knowing more about these retreats I coordinate, you can leave a comment with your email address or email me directly and I’ll be glad to add you to the (small, private) list I have, where I send out notifications of what’s coming up. We are working on a gender/queer base-level retreat sometime this fall in the Bay Area, and hopefully another base-level retreat for women of all/any type (not just queer) in the spring in (or near) New York City.

I’ll be back next week.

Congratulations, New York

July 25, 2011  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

It’s a pleasure to live here while New York made gay marriage legal.

I don’t think gay marriage is the be-all end-all of the equality fight (uh, does anybody? Maybe I don’t have to clarify that here), but I do think it’s an important symbol.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about marriage and weddings lately … blame Offbeat Bride for being awesome and Style Me Pretty for their one-in-100 amazing inspirations. And my couple’s therapist, who is starting to help me have a vision of how a relationship could really last. But, more about that another time.

Congratulations to all who are getting (legally) wed, and thanks, New York.

Photo by Mykelle on Flickr

I saw this photo first on Twitter and think it is just stunning. I’m not really one for rainbow imagery, but I do love dramatic water.

What I Read (For Cheryl)

July 24, 2011  |  journal entries  |  No Comments

Cheryl’s memorial was yesterday. More than two hundred people attended, brought food, and comforted each other, and fifteen people read some of their own thoughts and some of Cheryl’s work.

I hosted the event. It was the hardest reading I’ve ever done. I felt like I called on more of my tantra and energy/space holding abilities more than I used my reading host skills, though both of course were present. In putting together the line-up, I thought a lot about how much Cheryl has taught me about hosting readings, stage presence, how to order it, how to keep it moving, what to say and how to banter between readers. I learned so much in such a short time, she really knew what she was doing.

I had a pretty strict script so as not to babble, which, if you’ve ever seen me host a reading, you know I can tend to do. So here’s the part that I read.

Hello everyone. Thank you for being here at Dixon Place to celebrate Cheryl B.

We’re all here because we knew Cheryl, because she touched us in some way. Some of Cheryl’s accomplishments are listed in the chapbook/program, but we all know that she was widely anthologized, created three reading series in New York City in the last ten years, and performed all over the US, UK and Canada.

I’ve known Cheryl since I moved to New York in 2005. She was one of the first people I met in the literary performance circles. We kept being booked for the same readings, and eventually became friendly, then friends. She read at my chapbook release party in 2007, we started working together in 2009, and then started a reading series, Sideshow: the Queer Literary Carnival, together in 2010. I was there throughout her diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma last November, through the chemo treatment, which I even accompanied her to (once), and through her hospitalization.

What has struck me consistently in thinking about which story to tell about Cheryl here has been the transformation which happened after she was diagnosed. Cheryl had a dark, cynical sense of humor, and was private, often feeling alienated. But when she truly needed help from her friends and her larger community, you all—we—surprised her by offering up our support, our pies, our cars for rides, our wallets for Fresh Direct gift cards, our time, and our prayers.

I saw how much it meant to her that everyone rallied, throwing spelling bee fundraisers, offering research, and sending emails of support. Cheryl opened up and took in that love in a way that I’d never seen her do before.

Kelli told me that at the end, when she and Cheryl were doing some woo-woo aspirations that clearly were Kelli’s idea, Cheryl chose to say “I am thankful for my community,” and she didn’t even roll her eyes.

More than anything else, I’m so glad this event is an opportunity to get all of us together, all of us who loved and cared for Cheryl, and who love and care for Kelli, to look around the room and acknowledge what a community ourpouring of love looks like.

Tonight, you’ll hear some of her work read by some artists, writers, and friends, from Cheryl’s brother, and a few videos of Cheryl herself.

– Readers –

Thank you to all the readers for coming and being here today.

I’d like to conclude by reading one of my favorite poems, which has been a comfort to me lately. You’ll notice it’s not in Cheryl’s style, but I’d like to offer it up as a prayer, in whatever way that means to you.

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Thank you all for being here. Thank you Dixon Place, thank you to the volunteers who helped us set up and will help us clean up, thank you United Stages and Kathleen Warnock for the beautiful program/chapbooks. Thanks to Genne and Bevin for helping to coordinate this event, thank you Kelli for your beautiful heart and friendship, to all of us.

There is a new writer’s fund set up in Cheryl’s name through the Astraea Foundation; you can donate on your way out. When there are more events to raise funds for the Cheryl B. Fund, you can find out about them on wtfcancerdiaries.com.

You are also welcome to take a book from Cheryl’s collection, we have a donation hat next to it if you’d like to contribute.

And please remember to support each other, tonight and ongoing.

Thank you for being here.

Gender Carnival Roundup

July 21, 2011  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Worthwhile reads.

NeamhspleachasWhat Makes Gender

Dangerous LillyLabels – Being Politically Correct and Queerly Correct

Eusi MtoGender Anarchy and Gender Equality

Curvaceous DeeWhat Makes Me A Woman

Sexpert Jane BlowAre My Nipples Getting the Correct Signals

Sinclair SexsmithLiving Gender

Ellie LumpesseMy Take On Masculinity

Call for Submissions: Erotica for Perversions of Lesbian Lust

July 21, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I mentioned that I’ve been webmastering for Madison Young’s newest website, Perversions of Lesbian Lust, and we are looking for lesbian erotica to feature on BOTH the free preview site and in the member’s side.

Writing Submissions:

The Feminist Porn Network of Web sites is now accepting written Lesbian and Queer Erotica. Please email Madison Young at [email protected] with submissions for consideration.

PerversionsofLesbianLust.com – Pulp Lesbian and Queer Fiction Erotica Stories:

Each piece should be around 1000 words no more than 1500 words. $25 for each piece excepted. Looking for pieces from lesbian and queer identified writers.

Rights are non-exclusive; submissions are ongoing.

You can keep up with the new stuff on Madison Young’s Feminist Porn Network by following the new feministpornnetwork.tumblr.com.

Review: A Couple STP (Stand to Pee) Devices

July 21, 2011  |  reviews  |  5 Comments

So I mentioned that Babeland has a new Gender Expression category, and I’ve been going through many of the products, trying ‘em out. In fact, I’m behind. Mostly because of the event on Saturday and the last month of events, but also because I’ve been so busy USING these things that I haven’t made time to write about ‘em!

I still have to tell you about the double panel compression shirt and the pump & cylinder kit. Those will be next.

But for now, Babeland sent me two different stand to pee (STP) devices that I’ve been playing with.

These can be for “gender play,” but they can also just be something useful for many of us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom in NYC or out in the woods camping or in some port-a-potty somewhere thinking, why don’t I have one of those STP thingers?

Now, of course, I have to remember to bring them with me AND have them on me when I head to a bathroom, but it’s a step.

Here are the two that Babeland carries. There are a few others, but these seem to be the best of the best that are available—the others are more bulky, awkward, or of questionable materials.

1. The Go Girl

Go Girl comes in pink and camelflage. (Really? Gender a product much?) And it’s called “Go Girl.” Is that necessary? Seems like they are kind of cutting out a potential part of their audience—us genderqueers and masculine of center folks—and aiming for the ladies.

Whatever, I can kind of overlook that, it doesn’t really matter if “Go Girl” is etched into the silicone plastic through which I pee.

Plus: Made out of silicone, so it’s easy to clean. Very flexible and thin, so it rolls up into a tiny little carrying case, which makes it easy to carry around.

Minus: It’s kind of hard to get a good seal, and not so intuitive to use. Definitely takes a lot of practice, though it’s possible.

Go Girl is $12 at Babeland.

2. The P-Style

Mine’s green, but I dig the orange one too. The packaging is a lot less gendered, which I like, and it comes in a bunch of colors, like white, blue, and lavender.

Plus: Easy to use. It might take a few tries (I suggest getting used to it in the shower), but eventually the seal feels secure and that’s what has been the biggest difficulty for me, in getting used to these.

Minus: It doesn’t fold up, so it’s a little bit bulky, and doesn’t really have a carrying case, so you might want to come up with something to carry it in so it doesn’t accidentally get lipstick or pen marks or something on it while it’s tossed into your bag. It’s not very easy to slip subtly into your pocket, which is too bad, but I still much prefer the way it works.

This was the clear winner, for me, of the two.

P-Style is also $12 at Babeland.

I actually have one other that is basically a medicine spoon with a hole in the end that I purchased at some wimmin’s event in the late 90s … I don’t necessarily recommend that style, it’s pretty hard to get the placement right and since the medicine spoon is a pretty small volume in the container, sometimes it can get full really quickly.

I have seen a couple of STP packers, also, and I actually purchased one when I was in the midwest this past spring. I’ll have some notes for you on that in another post, eventually. (Basically: it’s pretty rad.)

Have you used an STP of some sort? What’d you think? Is it something you carry around all the time, or use rarely? Any suggestions for other products I should try out? Which one is your favorite?

The P-Style and Go Girl STP devicees were sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

Gender Celebration Blog Carnival: Living Gender

July 15, 2011  |  journal entries, on butches  |  6 Comments

Ellie Lumpesse has been curating a Gender Celebration Blog Carnival, and today’s my day to participate. The topic is “living gender.”

You can check out a few of the other participants, if you like: Curvaceous Dee wrote about what makes her a woman; Sexpert Jane Blow wrote about her perceived gender; Eusimto wrote about gender anarchy; Dangerous Lilly wrote about labels and being politically correct. Still to come are neamhspleachas and Ellie.

I hope this Gender Celebration Carnival will keep going! I think it could drum up some great conversation.

I don’t know when it happened exactly.

One day I just woke up and felt good in my skin. I went to my closet and felt good about the choices of clothing I had to offer. I dressed and looked in the mirror and I felt good about my reflection. I saw a photograph of myself and I smiled, and saw me.

It wasn’t always that way.

I didn’t used to recognize myself in photographs. I didn’t used to feel good about the pieces of clothing I would pull on to pull together an outfit. But somewhere along the way, things started shifting, and improved.

I probably can’t even put my finger on it. Not an exact date or time.

I remember when I threw out most of my clothes that were purchased in the girl’s department, going through my closet and my drawers with each piece: where did this one come from? This one? This one? and sifting them all into neat piles. I remember bringing home bags full of button-downs and polo shirts from the thrift store to try to rebuild some new version of me, some version that had swagger and dated girls and knew how to fuck. I remember buying three-packs of undershirts and three-packs of briefs and trying to figure out from the packaging what size I would be.

I remember trying on various versions of these in photo sets, self-portraits I would take of myself on my bed, against a wall, with an upturned lamp pointed at my face. Sometimes with a timer, sometimes from arm’s length. I have found folders and folders of these photos recently, with titles like “playing butch dressup” and “self butch” and “new clothes” and “wife beater a-shirt.” There were others: “lipstick” and “cat costume” and “corset” and “cleavage,” all carefully labeled in folders, back in the digital day before Picasa and iPhoto would keep everything organized for you.

But it wasn’t all about clothes and presentation.

They say there are many components to gender: chromosomes, genitals, hormones, external presentation, internal sense of self, and yes, of course, socialization and performance. Gender is not all of any of these things, it is not all performance, it is not all socialized. Some of it is innate. Some of it is about genitals. I believe there are many factors.

Gender is also about energy.

I remember studying some classmates in college: the way they sat, the way they held their pens, the way they slung their bookbags over their shoulders and defiantly walked out of the classroom door, shoulders back head high chin up. A little daring, a little rebellious. They sat with their legs open, taking up lots of space. I mimicked them. I practiced sliding low in a chair and splaying my knees.

I noticed that these people got lower grades than I did for doing the same work, because they were perceived to be not paying attention.

And then, when I started mimicking them daily, when my mimery became mine and became a slightly altered version of a copy of a copy of a copy, I started getting ignored by those same professors, started getting glossed over when my hand was up, started wondering why I wasn’t perceived as the straight-A front row apple-for-the-teacher student that I was.

Oh. Right. My gender.

But it wasn’t always like that. It was easier to recognize a straight-A student as a girl, apparently. My board shorts and polo shirts were not proper enough to be seen as part of academia, but my brain hadn’t changed. Curiouser and curiouser.

(That was workable, however. All it took was a few office hours visits with those professors and my participation in class looked much different.)

The other thing that changed was the girls. Suddenly I was visible, a catch, someone dateable. I had three dates in a week, once, in college, and my mind was a little bit boggled. (I didn’t sleep with any of them, or rather, none of them slept with me, but hey, at least I was getting out there! At least I was being noticed!)

I got a Facebook message from the mom of one of my childhood friends recently that said, “You look exactly the same.” I’m not sure what she meant by that, because to me I look so completely different. But I think she was trying to express some gender validation, some gender celebration, telling me that though my external appearance may seem radically different, that there was a similarity, a thread running through all of my life experiences that was me, at the core.

What I want to tell you is that now, I recognize myself in the mirror. Now, I don’t get up and obsess about gender before I even put on my clothes. Now, I get my hair cut every three weeks and keep it shorn tight in the back and on the sides. Now, I don’t debate if it’s a cliche to keep my hair short, I don’t wonder if perhaps I should grow it back out because lesbians should have options, I keep it short because I know I want to. I keep briefs in my underwear drawer because I know all the options, and those are what I like. I collect ties and cufflinks. I shop unapologetically in the men’s department and I don’t even know my sizes translated into women’s anymore: I’m 8 1/2, 34/30, M, 16. I feel handsome and beautiful and attractive and at peace with my body—at least, most of the time. It has taken time, I’m 32, but I don’t think about my own gender, and wonder what it would be like, living daily, if it felt comfortable, anymore.

The Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 Table of Contents

July 14, 2011  |  miscellany  |  4 Comments

It’s official! Cleis has given the a-okay to the table of contents I chose for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012. I’m so pleased with how this turned out, many of my favorite smut writers submitted pieces, and according to Kathleen it features writers “from 8 US states and 5 international contributors, including 3 from Toronto.”

If you’re excited about it, the best thing you can do to support me at this point is to go pre-order it on Amazon! Can’t wait to share all these great pieces with you.

Here it is:

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012
Edited by Kathleen Warnock
Selected and Introduced by Sinclair Sexsmith

Touched, by Amy Butcher
Heartfirst, by Kiki DeLovely
Rebel Girl, by Kirsty Logan
Hush, by Treasure Sapphire
Blood Lust, by Giselle Renarde
The Produce Queen, by Michelle Brennan
Hot Yoga, by Anne Grip
Stubborn Ache, by Elena Shearin
Maid for You, by Deborah Castellano
The Last Time, by Dani M.
My Femme, by Evan Mora
How He Likes It, by Xan West
Vacation, by Ali Oh
Come to Me, by Ily Goyanes
On My Honor, by D.L. King
Fifties Waitress, by Julia Noel Goldman
Skindeep, by Anna Watson
Envy, by Lulu La Framboise
When You Call, by Sharon Wachsler
The Elevator Man, by Lea DeLaria
Neck Magic, by Nancy Irwin
Never Too Old, by DeJay

The Last Sideshow is Tonight

July 12, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Tuesday, July 12th
at The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street at Avenue A
Free sex toy giveaway, 8pm. Reading, 8:30pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook