At Somatechnics back in April, I was lucky enough to meet the fabulous Susan Stryker and hear her present about her latest research project, on Christine Jorgenson’s career-cum-hobby as a film maker. The project relates Jorgenson’s visions of herself behind the camera, making films, with her production of a public self as the ultimate, perfect, man-made woman. Along the way, Stryker makes some great links to the racialisation of that vision of Ultimate [Trans] Womanhood, and talks about the production of ‘transgender whiteness’. Really exciting stuff. I also met Eliza, who’s writing on trans pornography at the Uni of Amsterdam and has been making queer/trans porn with various collaborators all over the world forever. Along with Zoo, we went swimming at Coogee Beach, just as a thunderstorm was breaking overhead, in the craziest downpour. Eliza gave this quite stunning paper relating Walter Benjamin to transness, with the result that maybe we can talk about ‘gender affinity’ as a concept rather than ‘gender identity’ or ‘gender role’ or gender… binary? Affinity as in affinity groups, but also affinity as in a space permitting the micrological difference of everyone to each other. Pretty damn fun. Actually, the number of trans theorists at Somatechnics was really heartening — it’s the first time I’ve ever felt surrounded by people who were at least on a pretty similar wavelength, politically and theoretically, and I’m hoping to be enjoying conversations with them for a long time to come.
Eliza also alerted me to the awesome, AWESOME cinematic talent of Oakie Treadwell, director of Phineas Slipped and a feature called Maggots and Men. Maggots and Men is a trans/masculine re-telling of the Kronstadt sailor rebellion. Gender anarchy, alright. Phineas Slipped, a short, is about an English class in a boy’s school. As the teacher asks questions about a homoerotic novel, the boys/bois flit off into porno fantasies about Phineas and what happened when they met him.
Finally, an article by Emi Koyama from Intersex Initiative about the change from talking about ‘intersex’ to ‘disorders of sex differentiation’, covering the intersections between intersex activism, disability rights work and disability theory. I’m not sure I agree with her on some points — ie, it seems a mistake to return to a model of activism that works mainly for people who feel they embody a ‘normal’ gender, rather than taking gender apart altogether. Then again, different battles, different strategies.
PS I accidentally closed the tab I was writing this post in just now, and thought I’d lost it. Then I realised Firefox has a ‘recently closed tabs’ option in the History menu. It’s like a magic ‘restore’ spell. One more reason to convert to Firefox, folks. I also have a ‘light’ bout of pneumonia and have been mostly bedridden since Friday. Bedridden and rediscovering the internet. Wish my lungs luck with their struggle against the nasty bug.