01 March 2012

It's A Butch World Out There: LIVE!

A lot can happen in twenty years. Twenty years from now you could find yourself married with children, settled into your dream career, or going to that dreaded high school reunion just to see if the head cheerleader actually did end up dating the football captain. Twenty years is, however, far too young to take your last breath.

A good friend of mine passed on Sunday; tonight was his viewing. The funeral home was packed with family members and friends from all walks of life. It didn’t hit me until I saw him that he was really gone. And I had this awful realization that I would never hear his voice again. I cried and held another good friend of ours as they cried.

We all stepped outside for a smoke. After one, we had a second, and a third. Somewhere along the line we started telling stories about his life—about the crazy stunts, the late nights, and all the occasions where he would make us laugh. And we started laughing. In the midst of this tragedy, we could look at the light he brought in our lives. Those memories are gifts he gave us. And even though this never should have happened, we can remember those moments and smile.

What I have to say tonight, GFB, is to not let life pass you by. Snatch up every moment and love one another fully. Reach out to people you have not heard from in awhile and just ask how they are doing. Build those connections…maintain them and cherish them. Be inspired. Create art. Create SOMETHING. Above all else, just go out there and fucking live man.

Kenn’s life was cut far too short, but he lived every single moment he was given to the fullest. Thank you for being in my life and for the impact you had. See you on the other side man.


29 February 2012

Kings United: Lip Syncing/Learning Your Song

HAPPY LEAP YEAR, YA'LL! (and happy birthday to Superman)

So, you have that song picked out, but do not know all of the lyrics. Lip syncing in time with your song is a big part of your performance. Especially if it is a king pageant with judges watching your every move. You need to get the lyrics down and in time. Some kings print out the song so they can read it over while listening to the song. Personally, I write it out to read over a few times while playing it so that my mind recognizes the words from writing them. I tend to drive a lot so that gives me plenty of opportunities to play the song continuously. Below is another was if you do not have access to the lyrics.

First: Get rid of anything that will distract you. You need to focus and relax.

Second: Close your eyes and focus on each word as the artist sings them.

Third: Start with replaying the chorus so you can learn that. It is the catchiest part of the song so it will be the easiest to remember.

Fourth: Learn the bridge the same way as the chorus.

Fifth: From there, start learning the first verse. It will go into the chorus and/or bridge and once you get into it, you will become more confident.

Sixth: Continue the fifth step with each verse.

Seventh: Play the song in its entirety once you learn each verse, chorus, and bridge individually. This will help you match the timing between them and the tune to each.

Continue each step until you are confident enough to get on stage and know the song fully. If you want, you can also test yourself by singing the song in your head while at work where you are not able to read the lyrics or play the song. After you get the lyrics to your song down, then you can move on to dancing and lip syncing together.

Chance Encounters

Drag King

28 February 2012

Partner Circle: Coming Out, Part II

In our society, there are many different versions of ‘the talk’. In this community, however, the ‘coming out talk’ may be the most monumental we face. For some, this conversation could be potentially life changing, thus making it all the more daunting of a task. By this point, I am going to assume that you and your partner have had said ‘talk’ – they have come out to you as either questioning their gender identity or, having thought long and hard about it, have come to the conclusion they are what we would call transgender. This is not to say that just because your partner has come out to you questioning their gender identity they are automatically trans*. This is why ‘the talk’ is so important, you need to ask your partner how they wish to identity, whether it be as trans*, gender non-conforming, gender neutral, what have you. Once that has been established, one can assume that your conversation ended with the two of you still being together, seeing as you are here reading this.

First things first, I want to compliment you on choosing what I consider to be a more ‘adult’ road. I myself have never had to make this decision, so I cannot imagine being in those shoes. However, love is love is love – it is a completely genderless emotion. So I guess what I am trying to say is…thank you. Thank you for choosing love over fear and sticking with your partner no matter what you face together. But I digress…

Now that you have had the talk with your partner, you need to have one with yourself, and you have to be honest during this conversation. Sometimes, we placate others because we want to see them happy, but we forget about ourselves in the process. Your happiness should be your main focus, and that is not a selfish viewpoint. If you do not keep an eye out for your own happiness, no one else will. Sit down with yourself, take a deep breathe, and ask the questions you were afraid to let yourself ask when your partner first came out to you.

A lot of cis-women who date other cis-women consider themselves lesbians (or gay, whichever your preferred label is) and that label is extremely important to them. I am not saying your self-adhered label should not be important to you, but I am imploring you to realize it is not the most important thing at hand. If you are a cis-woman and your partner comes out to you as transgender, meaning they are female-to-male, society will have us believe that a man and a woman in a relationship denotes a ‘straight couple’. Here is the thing though – if being out with your trans* partner is going to have you constantly worrying about people thinking you are a straight couple, then society is not the issue here…you are.

I know that labels are important to us, I really do. As a queer woman, I know there are people that would not want to date me were I identified as bisexual or pansexual, because there is a stigma associated with those labels. It’s an unfortunate fact in our community that we judge first by label and then by who the person is underneath said label. However, you are not responsible for the community, you are responsible for yourself in your relationship. If being a woman who identifies as a lesbian while being a relationship with a partner who identifies as a man is too much for you, then you need to let each other go. But if you are willing to fight for the relationship, willing to let go of your adamant adherence to a label in favor of your relationship, then I really truly wish you the best in the world.

When in doubt, I suggest always choosing love over fear.
Even if you lose, you are still going to win in the end.

Xx Emily

26 February 2012

FTM Chronicles: Job Interviews

Interviews can be tricky. Maybe you’ve pumped yourself up and walked into the building confidently, but then the nervousness comes back as you make your way to the proper room or as you wait to be called in by a secretary. What to say, what not to say. Everything is going through your mind. Did you remember a pen? Are you wearing appropriate clothing for the job? Time keeps ticking as you wait to start. Then… here he comes and shakes your hand firmly, “you must be Mr. So-and-so. Pleasure to meet you.” You let out the breath that you didn’t even know you were holding.

For some, this process is not scary, but for a trans guy, it can be horrifying. On top of the typical nervousness that comes with a job interview, you have your gender to worry you even more. For a pre-HRT guy, it is normally worse. They may get misgendered a lot and on the phone interview or email, you presented as male. Then comes the interview, and they start messing up on pronouns. If you have not had your name changed yet and are pre-HRT, then it may be even more nerve racking when trying to explain. If you are already on HRT and have a high pass rate (mind you I hate using the term ‘pass‘, but it will help explain in this article), but have not changed your name, then it may or may not be easier to explain. Then there is that stage where you are on HRT, had your name change, but your gender marker is not changed. You get stuck wondering if they will harp on that at all. Depending on the job, they may have different uniforms for male and female. An example may be in security, some have male and female ties for their employees to wear. So how do you know when and how to tell your possible or new employer about your transition or if at all? Let me tackle these one at a time.

First, pre everything. This is the hardest. Some may say not to tell them during the interview process at all and wait to see if you are hired before talking to your employer. You may or may not be able to do this. Personally, when I was pre everything, I held off on telling possible employers because I found that if I did disclose this information in the interview, then I did not get the job. It all depends on the interviewer and how the process was approached. Use your own judgment because you do not want to put yourself in harms way.

Second, pre HRT but had name change. Depending on how you pass will determine if you need to disclose anything. If you go in there, the interviewer is using the proper pronouns, then you know you are fine until at least filling out the hiring packet and such if you get hired. If that happens then just fill out the paperwork. Do not ask questions on gender or name change. If it asks for a prior name if applicable, then put your old one down (even if your record is sealed). The interviewer most likely will not even look at that since that is back office stuff. When you hand over your id for the one identification part, just do so. In some states, the marker is so small, that they will not notice it since it is not what they need to type in. If it comes up, then discuss what you are comfortable with.

Now, if they did not start with the right pronouns (maybe they do a double take or looked confused when calling your name), then just merely correct them. There are enough androgynous people out there that they may just feel like they messed up and will then apologize.

Third, started HRT but not name change. Now it gets easier. They most likely will not even bring it up, but if they do, then just say what you are comfortable with disclosing. Hell, even blame your parents. Just claim they were hippies or whatnot when you were born and they gave you a girl’s name. Things get easier on HRT in this department because they do not look at your identification until after hired so your gender marker will not pose as an issue in the hiring process especially once on HRT and having had a name change.

Lastly, on HRT, had name change, and gender marker changed. My best policy in the case, go stealth. No one needs to know your personal life nor your past life. Work is work. It is not personal. You can be out about it, sure. But only do what you are comfortable with doing and what will benefit your career. I know guys that are teachers and stay stealth entirely because of worrying it will affect their career.

I want to say a few last things before ending this. Be safe and be cautious. Just because someone is gay friendly, gay, or liberal, does not mean they are trans friendly. Always put your life and career first. Do not put yourself in harms way. There are a lot of assholes in the world that will not think twice before doing something stupid. I do not want to wake up and hear about a brother, or sister, of mine getting hurt or worse. So always use caution and safety. Next week I will tackle correcting co-workers who are misgendering you, whether an accidental one time thing or on purpose to be ignorant.

Be safe, ya’ll.