Wednesday, June 27, 2007

extra: feel like dancin'. . .no time for lunch

Shawna Virago & The Deadly Nightshades

Trans Rocker’s A Little Bit Country

by Jacob Anderson-Minshall
Images for this article: (click on the thumbnail to see fullsize)
“If Keith Richards was a tranny that got together with Merle Haggard, I’d be their love child,” declares trans rock ingénue Shawna Virago. “Only a lot better-looking.”

Dubbed “the sex symbol laureate” of trans rock, Virago is far more than a pretty face. The singer-songwriter is also an activist, writer, filmmaker and actress.

As a filmmaker, Virago’s black-and-white shorts include Hustle, Shut Up, Josephine! and Almost Human. Now working on her fourth film, Virago says, “I have a very DIY aesthetic and—just like my songwriting—I prioritize content above all else.”

Having starred in several underground movies, Virago is adamant: “Hollywood could never portray a trans woman like myself, or like most of the trans people I know—hence, the importance of festivals like Tranny Fest.”

Every November, the Transgender/Transgenre Film Festival, or Tranny Fest ( ) , offers screenings, performances and visual arts by and for transgender and genderqueer people. When founders Al Austin and Christopher Lee retired recently from the world’s first transgender film festival, Virago took over. She says this year’s Tranny Fest will be smart, sexy, and naughty, “just like it always is.”

As an activist, Virago served on San Francisco’s Transgender Human Rights Task Force, co-chaired the Transgender Political Caucus and co-founded TransAction, an organization that aims to expose and end police violence against the transgender community. And, she was the first trans woman to serve on the board of San Francisco Woman Against Rape.

“Trans women also deal with misogyny and sexism … and all the other fucked-up shit women have to face. Over the years, I’ve heard lamenting by queer women about trans men ‘leaving’ the community, which I can understand. But I’d also like to see women celebrating the inclusion of trans women into the community.” . . .

CNN Plans Day-Long Coverage of GLBT Issues Wednesday

. . .Special correspondent Thelma Guitierrez's report from Trinidad,
Colo.--the "Sex-Change Capital of the World"--for Paula Zahn Now.
Guitierrez interviews Dr. Marci Bowers, who every week performs about
five vaginoplasties, an operation to transform men into women. Nine
years ago, Bowers was a man herself, and she provides first-person
insights into the physical and emotional journey that her patients
experience. . . .

On prenatal tests: “We can sympathize with the unborn child”

. . .and peddling religion:

Pro-life movement finds support from an unlikely quarter

Steve Cook of San Jose, like most California pro-life advocates, is not surprised when he and his anti-abortion posters attract verbal abuse. After all, "pro-choicers" on the Left Coast have a reputation for intolerance. But after over 25 years of marching, picketing, and speaking out for the unborn, what really hurts, he says, is people screaming, "Traitor!" "Shame!"

[[ProLifeGays.jpg]]This is because Steve represents a group that the Left never expected to find on the anti-abortion side: the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

Like most pro-lifers, Cook is convinced that any abortion of any unborn child is murder. But he has another reason to be uneasy with the ideology of "choice". “If prenatal tests could detect a tendency toward homosexuality in the unborn, some mothers would abort their babies because they did not ‘choose’ to have a gay son or daughter,” he explains.

Asks Cook, "Would gay abortion advocates say, ‘OK, it's your choice: go ahead and wipe us out?’

"I was on a medical ethics committee connected to an Episcopal Church," recalled Cook in a phone interview with California Catholic Daily, "and I was amazed at people who said that infants are ‘not necessarily' human beings. I said, 'They're different from you, and maybe you don't want them, but that doesn't make them less human.'

“Yet the gay and lesbian community itself is divided,” said Cook. “Not all gays are against aborting ‘gay’ babies. In the UK in the 1980s [famous British cross-dresser and gay activist] Quentin Crisp told me he’d had a life of rejection and wished he had been aborted.” . . .

What does the hammer throw look like?

Here Russian Tatyana Lysenko, the current world record holder (78.61 meters or 257.91 feet), shows how to throw the hammer.

Keelin Godsey: Transgender All-American, discus and hammer throw

A transgendered track and field star at Bates College is determined to earn a spot on the U.S. national team and compete in the 2008 Olympics.
Godsey, left, poses with teammate Liz Wanless
Reprinted from

LEWISTON - Keelin Godsey arrived at Bates College in September 2002 as a young, free-spirited woman named Kelly who planned to play basketball.

Long before she decided to exchange the orange ball for a silver shot put and hammer, charting a course to become an 11-time All-American track and field thrower, Godsey decided that the gender side of the equation wasn't a perfect fit, either.

Bates' current most-decorated female student-athlete, possibly its best ever, has begun the long, complicated and expensive process of becoming a man.

"I knew it in seventh grade, when people really started hassling me about being gay," Godsey said. "I could never really figure that out, because I didn't think of myself as gay. I thought of myself as straight. I liked women, but that was a straight thing for me to do."

Now a senior, less than a year away from graduate school and the myriad obligations of life that follow, Godsey has chosen to do something about that confusion, permanently. Bates' current most-decorated female student-athlete, possibly its best ever, has begun the long, complicated and expensive process of becoming a man.

Godsey, a native of Parker, Colo., spent last summer and fall "coming out" as transgender to the Bates community and its rival schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. After announcing the name change, Godsey requested that professors, coaches and teammates use the male pronoun in athletic department press releases and casual conversation.

Most have respected those wishes. When interviewed, coaches and teammates refer to "Keelin" and "he" without fail, and with a straight face. . . .

Review: "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother"

by Marc Breindel

"People tend to think that everyone's open about every subject and everyone's willing to talk about anything," says Alexis Arquette with a huff at the end of her supposedly revealing self-documentary. "I'm done with the fascination. I'm really just happy to be me at this point."

That odd comment comes as an unwelcome conclusion to a two-hour portrait of a sex-change candidate that ends without revealing whether the subject has actually had gender-reassignment surgery.

"People just have to have a big question mark as to whether I have a vagina or a penis," Arquette declares. "It's nobody's concern but mine."

Well, then, can we have our money back?

Arquette wants to have her breasts and penis, too. As an Us Magazine editor points out in "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother," the celebrity and her family have benefited mightily from the public's fascination with them. If it weren't for celebrity-obsessed publications like Us, the editor points out, "They'd be working at salt mines now, or something." Yet the actor who basked in the psychedelic spotlight of "The Surreal Life" reality show is now reprimanding viewers of her documentary for wanting to know how her story ends. "People should not be asking me those kind of questions," Arquette scolds. "It's inappropriate." . . .