Tuesday, May 16, 2017

my first patron-requested post on Patreon!

As you may (or may not) know, last year I joined the crowdfunding site Patreon. People who support me there (for as little as $1 per month) can read almost all of the posts, which include behind-the-scenes updates, polls on what I should write about, plus unpublished writings & recordings. People who pledge at higher levels may be eligible for rewards, such as free e-books and/or signed copies of any of my previous books (depending upon the level) - more details can be found here.

At certain pledge levels, I offer the reward of writing a blogpost about any subject of a patron's choosing (within reason). Well, today I published my first ever patron-requested post - it's on the topic of passing and employment post-transition. It's a public post, so even if you're not a supporter, you can read it via the link.

If you appreciate it and/or my writings more generally, please consider supporting me there!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

regarding that transracial/transgender Hypatia article & accusations of "witch hunts"

As some of you may know by now, about a month or so ago, the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia published an article by Rachel Tuvel called "In Defense of Transracialism." I have not read the article (it is behind a paywall), but by all accounts it draws parallels between "transracial" and transgender, and makes the case that, if we accept the latter, then we should accept the former.

Tuvel's article was widely critiqued by academics (and to a lesser degree, activists) with knowledge of the fields of critical race theory and transgender studies for reasons explained here by Shannon Winnubst (who is one of the co-authors/signers of an open letter to Hypatia asking the journal to retract the paper). In response to the letter, Hypatia apologized for publishing it (although, as of the time I write this, they have not retracted it). Hypatia apologized (whereas other journals likely would not have) because of its dedication to "pluralist feminist inquiry" and because the journal views itself as "an important site for the publication of scholarship long-considered marginal in philosophy." As Trans Lady Academic points out, the response stemmed from "commitments that several editors at Hypatia itself had laid out to avoiding the exploitative and anthropological gaze."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Outspoken is a Lambda Literary Award finalist!

Earlier this week I learned that my latest book, Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism, is a Lambda Literary Award finalist in the category of Transgender Nonfiction! It is the first time one of my books has become a Lambda finalist, so I am excited by this news, and extend my congrats to all the other finalists!

For those who haven't seen the book yet, Outspoken compiles 48 of my trans-themed pieces from over the last decade-plus, including many of my early slam poems, essays and manifestos written contemporaneously with Whipping Girl and Excluded (including chapters originally intended for those books), articles challenging DSM diagnoses and the psychopathologization of trans people & gender variance, plus some of my recent writings addressing differences within trans communities and approaches to activism.

Outspoken is available (in paperback & e-book) at Amazon & other online outlets (a complete list can be found here), and bookstores & libraries can purchase it through Ingram. If you belong to, or write for, a media outlet (print, webzine, blog, etc.) and you are interested in reviewing or publishing excerpts from the book, please contact me and I can provide you copies.

In the coming months, I plan to publish blogposts covering each section of the book (including sneak-peaks & excerpts). But in the meantime, here are some Outspoken-related pages you can explore:

Finally, if you have read Outspoken and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review of it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites (this really helps with garnering attention for the book).

Thanks for listening! -j.

Monday, February 20, 2017

on Milo, the limits of free speech, and who gets thrown under the bus

I recently published an essay on Medium called Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance. In that piece, as well as in a follow up essay I published yesterday morning, I touched upon recent debates regarding whether Milo Yiannopoulos should be granted a platform to speak at universities and other high profile venues. I argued that Yiannopoulos has a long history of inciting hatred and harassment campaigns toward women, people of color, trans folks, immigrants, and other marginalized groups. I invoked Karl Popper's "Paradox of Tolerance" to make the case that we should not tolerate people (such as Yiannopoulos) who attempt to use their "free speech" in order to suppress and silence others.

While many people (especially those who have witnessed the real harm Yiannopoulos has caused over the last several years) agree with this position, others have taken a free speech absolutist stance that can be paraphrased as follows: "Yiannopoulos may say horrible things that I don't agree with, but I support colleges and others who offer him a platform to speak (and you should too!) because FREE SPEECH." (or something like that.)

But today, we learned the true hypocrisy of the "let Milo speak because FREE SPEECH" crowd. Yesterday, audio/video clips surfaced wherein Yiannopoulos suggests that teenage boys are old enough to consent to sex with older men. In the wake of that revelation, the American Conservative Union, who had previously invited Yiannopoulos to speak at their upcoming CPAC conference, rescinded that invitation. Simon & Schuster, who had been vigorously defending its decision to sign Yiannopoulos to a huge $250,000 book deal, announced that it was canceling that deal. Even employees at the alt-right/white nationalist news outlet Breitbart (where Yiannopoulos is a senior editor) have threatened to quit if he is not fired.

In other words, the same people who were arguing for, or even championing, Yiannopoulos's FREE SPEECH a few days ago, are now disassociating themselves from him. They are, in effect, "no platforming" him.

Friday, January 27, 2017

my San Francisco Women's March Speech

This last weekend, I had the honor of speaking at the San Francisco Women's March. It was an amazing event with an unbelievable turnout, estimated to be between 100K - 150K people. I have never seen a crowd that big before.

The speech I gave was called Empathy Politics - you can read it via the link. It's on Medium, so the more "hearts" it gets (icon at bottom of the page), the more likely it will appear on other people's Medium feeds.

Part of the speech explains why we can defeat Trumpism, because we are the majority in this country. The second half counters recent debates about "Identity Politics" (which I re-frame as "Empathy Politics"), which I believe should be an important part of social justice activism moving forward.

You can listen to a live recording of me giving the speech, which I have made available on my Patreon site - it is a public link (not all of them are). If you like it, please consider supporting me there!

Finally, The Bay Area Reporter interviewed me and other March speakers about our participation in the event.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

first Outspoken review! (and future excerpts, reviews, and interviews)

As you may (or may not) know, at the end of 2016, I released my third book, Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism. It's a collection of forty-eight chapters spanning the last decade-plus, including my early slam poems and spoken word, essays and manifestos written contemporaneously with my previous books Whipping Girl and Excluded, plus my recent writings addressing differences within trans communities and activism.

I self-published Outspoken (on my own imprint Switch Hitter Press) and (for personal reasons) I haven't been able to do much promotion for the book until now. In the coming weeks, I plan to publish numerous excerpts from the book, and I've already started uploading YouTube videos for some of the slam poems that appear in the book! (More will be released later this week...)

If you are a writer and/or run some sort of zine, podcast, website, etc., and are interested in potentially reviewing the book and/or interviewing me about it, feel free contact me and I can try to get you a copy!