Sunday 29 January 2012

Nottingham Invasion.

Has there ever been a dedicated t-night in central Nottingham before? I can't remember. There's Chameleons, of course, which has been around for years and provides a safe space for (mostly) MTF cross-dressers on alternate Thursdays. But they're quite a way out of town, which is difficult for those of us without cars. (Never mind that I'm otherwise engaged on Thursday evenings.) And there's Recreation, which started (again) last year. I do go to this fairly regularly (Wednesday evenings in the city centre are more convenient), but it's more of a support group than a social event and caters to different needs.

Now, into the vacuum has come Nottingham Invasion, organized by Samantha Hewit and Maddy Watson, scheduled for the third Friday of every month (the first being last December), meeting at the New Foresters and then moving on to other illustrious venues. And it's really taking off. Apart from the locals, it seems people are already travelling up and down from London and Durham. Which just goes to show.

I didn't make it to the first two Invasions, but I'm planning on going in February — if I can solve three problems: #1 (logistical): how to get there and back; #2 (personal): fear – the prospect of going anywhere to meet up with people I don't know always fills me with trepidation, no matter how nice they all might be; #3 (sartorial): what to wear.

Solutions: #1 Go on the bus (though this creates its own problems) or stay overnight (probably not). #2 Go anyway (to do anything else would be feeble). #3: Hmmmm...

As I said in a previous post (and in the comments thereto), I'm essentially always cross-dressed, in that all my clothes are off the women's racks, if never so overtly as to cause an adverse reaction. This time I should clearly get in the spirit of things and be more overt. But if I don't want to parade myself through the village (and I don't), I'll have to change when I get there and the facilities for doing that are somewhat lacking. My one saving grace is that, unlike (I'm guessing) most other Invaders, I don't intend (or want) to present as female at all — femme, not female, remember — so I don't have to worry about wigs, cosmetics, body shaping, or anything like that. So perhaps all I need is a skirt and shoes in a bag for a quick change in the toilets.

Perhaps a velvet skirt and some gothy shoes.

This is beginning to sound like fun :)

Wednesday 25 January 2012

male femme on Twitter.

I've now entered the Twitterverse. @malefemme is my (highly original) handle, in case anyone wants to follow me – though I don't really have much to say: 69 tweets in three weeks, and nothing of consequence so far.

It just seemed that things were happening, trans/gender/queer-politics-wise, over there. So I signed up. And it's true, there is a nebulous community of sorts. And ongoing discussions: #transchat , #queerchat , #MNGW and suchlike. And Jasper says he's building a PostGendered Twitterverse, which could be interesting.

Whether I'll stick with it, I don't know. It takes a definite commitment following everything – increasingly so as my Following list builds up (currently 130). But I'll keep going for the time being at least.

See you on the darkside perhaps :)

Sunday 1 January 2012


I didn't post much last month because I was busy elsewhere: finishing a big editing job and arguing online with anti-feminists about feminism. Yes, I know the latter is nearly always pointless. We come in with our opinions already preset, so that all we're doing is trying (and failing) to convince each other that we're right and they're wrong – until, sooner or later, we get round to trading insults, and usually sooner than later. In fact, very often people don't waste any time, they just get on with the insults straight away.

Nevertheless, I thought I'd write something about it all here, setting out my own perspective on feminism as a gender-non-conforming man, away from the arguments as it were (and if they followed me over I could always delete them). To this end I started Googling for anything related to "feminism" and "transvestite" – and after a while I came across this:

I don’t consider the way I cross-dress to be emulating any kind of ‘proper woman’, it’s just that it’s pretty hard for me to emulate the ‘tomboyish feminist welder/bike mechanic’ of my dreams without looking actually more masculine than I already do.

That wasn't quite what I was looking for, but it got my attention and I went on reading:

I think I have a hardwired notion that it is desirable to be a girl. I also have over the years accepted and internalised the fact that I cannot be a girl. Therefore it is desirable to be like a girl, and because of our hugely gendered clothing split, the easiest way to achive that is to wear the clothes of a girl. If I looked more feminine, I think I would probably act a lot more feminine, but as I don’t want to try and fail to pass for female, I ground what I do in an acknowledgement that I am male. The identity I project outwards is therefore feminine male, rather than woman. I want to dress as ME, not as something I am not.

This came from the same blogpost: Issues of authenticity and ‘womanhood’. The blogger: Stand-up comedian, amateur occultist, musician, metalhead, and out transvestite, Andrew O'Neill.

After that I went through the entire blog from the beginning (October 2010), nodding emphatically and enthusiastically as O'Neill laid out his thoughts on coming out, being out, passing, femininity, binary gender, labels, language ... as he talked about harassment, phases, heels, fashion, records, grind(core), noise, steampunk ... as he referenced Eddie Izzard, S.Bear Bergman, Andrej Pejic, Genesis P.Orridge ... basically ticking my boxes one after another.

As for my title, that comes from this post: Gender-punk and consumerism, which is partly about labels and partly about buying pink handbags. All very nice :)

Finding a blog where you agree with almost everything is like a big virtual hug. And it's especially warming after you've been engaged in vehement online disagreement for however long. I may come back to the arguments at a later date; at the moment I don't feel like it. Instead, I'll just add Andrew O'Neill's splendid Postmodern trannyblog to my blog list and make sure to go and see him next time he's in Nottingham – whenever that might be. Apparently he did a Pride benefit here only a fortnight ago and I missed it :(