Stand Up For Transgender Equality: A Reading List


I was in the lobby of a theater in Washington, D.C. when I saw the first of the tweets about the Trump administration’s decision to stymie protections for transgender students on the federal level. It wasn’t until the play ended and I was on the Metro home that I had cell service; I began to piece together what exactly had happened. My palms were sweating. I tried to make conversation with my friend, but I felt nauseated and heartsick.

I thought of the transgender and gender non-conforming kids in the youth group where I volunteer and the outspoken, proud, lovely trans kids in our county’s schools. I thought of Gavin Grimm, who’ll stand up against the Gloucester County School Board in front of the Supreme Court on March 28. I thought of how often trans folks have to reduce their stories to make them palatable to cisgender people, smoothing all of our glittering edges into sameness, rather…

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Celebrating the Trans Community: A Reading List


Transgender Awareness Week occurs during the beginning of November, traditionally culminating in the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This period serves to amplify the achievements of the trans community, as well as illuminate its struggles. The Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the victims of hate crimes, suicide, murder and countless other violences trans folks face daily.

2015 has not been kind to the trans community. Trans celebrities receive awards and accolades, yet 79 trans-identified folks have been murdered this year. Many of them are women of color. Many were killed by people they knew, people they trusted.

Historically, the complexities of the trans community have been overlooked, its activism whitewashed or erased or ignored completely. Hollywood continues to cast cisgender actors in trans roles, reaffirming these revisionist attitudes. Subconscious, thoughtless or intentional, this is insidious. Erasing the experiences of a community—the good and the bad—erases the community altogether.

Every story is…

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All the ‘Harry Potter’ actors who spoke up for trans rights (Part 3)

Culture Box

As much as it breaks my heart, our trilogy must conclude here. (It doesn’t really matter what order you read these in, but if you want to read the first two before you keep scrolling, click here and here.)

If you’ve read the last two instalments- or just, y’know, the title of this one- you should know the drill by now. Rather than give J.K. Rowling’s transphobic ramblings any more airtime, this three-parter is about acknowledging and celebrating the Wizarding World actors who have in some way affirmed their support for the trans community. (This is regardless of whether or not they denounce Rowling by name- let’s not forget, aside from various personal reasons they may have for not doing this, quite a few of them technically still work under her.) It doesn’t matter whether they’re relatively obscure or household names- if they’ve expressed views that are the antithesis…

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All the ‘Harry Potter’ actors who spoke up for trans rights (Part 2)

Culture Box

Welcome back! If you’re here then hopefully you’ve read Part 1- if not, you can find it here– but suffice it to say this brief trilogy is all about acknowledging the Harry Potter actors who’ve proclaimed themselves to support trans rights, rather than give J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans outpourings any more airtime. It doesn’t matter whether they worked on the original films, the Fantastic Beasts pentalogy or any production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child– if they’ve used their platform to speak up for trans rights, they’re going on this list. Starting with…

(PS: this is the part where I start to break the alphabetisation-by-first-name rule, for absolutely no reason whatsoever besides dramatic effect. Enjoy!)

Emma Watson

Emma Watson, arms in “body builder” pose and wearing a white t-shirt with “trans rights are human rights” written on the front.

The above badass photo of Watson sporting a “Trans…

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All the ‘Harry Potter’ actors who spoke up for trans rights (Part 1)

Culture Box

I mean… you can tell what you’re getting by the title, right?

I’m not going to go over Rowling’s bigoted outpourings again- we’ve all read them, we all know by now what she said, although you can check out my other Potter-related pieces here and here. Instead, I want to spread the word on the many actors affiliated with the Wizarding World who, with varying degrees of readiness to call Rowling out directly, have expressed their support for the trans and non-binary community. So, without further ado, here are all the Harry Potter actors (from the initial films, Fantastic Beasts and various Cursed Child productions) who have publicly supported trans rights.

Oh, and the really good news? This list ended up being long enough to split into three parts! So this isn’t actually all the out-and-proud pro-trans thespians, just the first five of them (in alphabetical order by…

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Basic Sex Education: A Review

Thing of Things

[My friend nextworldover wrote this as a Reddit comment in response to a person who grew up conservative Christian and did not know anything about sex. I thought it was an excellent explanation of how sex works and asked to post it as a guest post.]

People have sex for many reasons, the most common of which are pleasure, bonding, and reproduction. Stimulating erogenous zones (including genitals but also other sensitive areas on the body) feels pleasurable to most people, and can relieve sexual arousal. Sex is often an intimate and vulnerable experience, which many people find deepens their emotional bond with their romantic partner. Sex is also the way that we conceive children.

Pleasure: When aroused, the genitals generally become engorged. For a penis, this is visible as an erection. For a vulva, this is visible as the labia and clitoris swelling and appearing flushed. Arousal also…

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The 19th Century Lesbian Made for 21st Century Consumption


Jeanna Kadlec | Longreads | June 2019 | 12 minutes (3,114 words)

When we call Anne Lister, the 19th century British diarist and adventurer reimagined in HBO’s hit series Gentleman Jack, the “first modern lesbian,” what do we mean, precisely? Critics don’t seem to know. The catchy tagline coined by Lister’s devotees and perpetuated by the show’s marketing is good branding, but makes for a slightly confusing moniker: what is it, exactly, that makes Anne Lister a “modern” lesbian, let alone the first?

The answer goes beyond a casual Wikipedia-esque list of Lister’s propensities and accomplishments that most coverage of the show has thus far relied on. To understand what makes Anne Lister unique, you have to understand how lesbianism and identity were understood in the 1830s — and it’s far too simplistic to say that women with women was simply “unimaginable” for the time, that Lister was completely…

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