Hey there! How you doing? Been a while! Hope your summer is going well.
Me? Well, I just came back from spending three weeks in Australia, and wow, what a beautiful country. Before I left, I said I would post a full travel report later, but most of what I ended up doing there wasn’t related to kink or sexuality, so I think a travel paragraph will suffice.
So, in short: Australia is awesome. If you should ever have the opportunity to go, make sure you do your clothes shopping in Melbourne and Sydney (especially in Newtown, the queer district), as the local designers are fantastic, but skip the shoes and the Ugg boots (‘cause, um, ugh). Enjoy as much local wine as you can handle, because everything the country produces is a winner. Don’t bother with the local chocolate makers, but do visit a Koko Black chocolate lounge and eat their amazingly rich chocolate desserts. In Melbourne, check out the National Gallery of Victoria – their current exhibit, titled Liquid Desire, is showcasing 200+ pieces by Salvador Dalí, and I’d have gone back twice more if I’d had the time. It was incredibly well curated. And, if you make it up the coast to the north-eastern part of the country, skip Cairns and head straight to Port Douglas, where you should stay at the Pink Flamingo, a fantastic little resort run by a pair of super-nice German leatherdykes, and do lots of nature exploration.
I would like to add a quick apology to the people whom I didn’t end up contacting or seeing while I was there – the trip ended up being a sorely needed time to reconnect with Boi L (who’s working overseas for 7 months) and so we were not really very social. Your friendliness was nonetheless much appreciated, and I hope to make the most of it next time I come visit.
It feels good to be home. I finished a week-long ASL immersion class today and now I’m so excited about sign language I can’t wait to do the next one. After class, I wandered into the little vegetable store on the corner near my place, and the owner immediately started grabbing trays of berries off the shelves; he inspected them one by one, and added each one to the growing stack in his arms before presenting the whole tower of fresh summer fruit to me. “I know you like the berries!” From there, I walked past the shoe repair guy (yes, how handy, the place is a block away from me), who was outside his shop enjoying the sun. “You look amazing today!” he called out. (And I wasn’t even wearing any exciting shoes.) And then home to make a fresh fruit salad and share it with my temporary roommate, a novelist who works on her manuscript and does yoga in the living room while I write, read queer theory textbooks, buy train tickets for my fall speaking gigs, and so forth.
Really. It feels good to be home. Now, I just need to wait for Boi M to make it back from his canoe trip…
Anyway, I have a number of posts percolating, but I thought I’d get the “hello, nice to be back” one out of the way first.
I’ve also got two big thank-yous to send out today, both to awesome Canadians doing wonderful work, albeit in rather different ways.
First, this story makes me want to grab the nearest librarian and – well, okay, so I often have ideas about grabbing librarians, but in this case, it would be for the purpose of a hearty handshake and a thank-you for not bending to the pressure of sex-phobic nutwings, and for continuing to provide books about positive sexuality right in the nation’s capital. I love the simple pragmatism of Barbara Clubb, head librarian of the Ottawa Public Library. People want to read about how to have healthy, safe sex. We are a library. We will give them books. Hard to believe anyone would argue about that, but apparently they do… and apparently, clear-headed logic prevails.
Next, I give you Ivan Coyote’s latest Xtra! column. Ivan rocks all the time, but in this particular case, Ivan’s timing couldn’t have been better. Unfortunately I’ve been hearing people say things lately about how femininity can’t possibly be transgressive (at least not if you’re female), and how femme is a “conservative” gender. For all that I don’t identify as femme, I spend a lot of time looking that way, and it really pisses me off that anyone would purport to rate my potential for gender transgression based on an idea that’s dripping with plain old simple classic sexism (‘cause really, placing femininity at the bottom of a hierarchy is just sooo transgressive). Kinda makes me want to force-feed them a copy of Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity chapter by chapter. Anyway, so Ivan has come along and articulated precisely some of the things that make femme transgressive in a way that just makes my heart sing. Now, Ivan’s writing from a butch perspective, and not all the people who appreciate femmes are necessarily butch – but other perspectives on femme do not diminish its transgressive value. Another Vancouver writer of my acquaintance, this one quite the fierce femme herself, once said with an evil grin, “Everyone expects me to be interested in butches and trans men. But when I go up to them to say hello, it’s really their girlfriends I’m after. I love the ladies. I always have.” Transgressive indeed – femme on femme not only transgresses mainstream society’s idea of who feminine women are supposed to desire, it transgresses the queer norm of butch-femme desire too! Conservative gender. Pffff.
Perhaps one day I, too, shall find the femme who gets my (non-femme but still matched bra and) panties in a twist. In the meantime, it’s all about the butches and bois. On motorcycles, in canoes, in leather, in sweater vests, in flaming faggot pink-flowered shorts, at the boxing club, on stage, on fire, on paper, on webcams, on their knees, online, in photos. And on that last note, just for the sheer joy of it, I give you Sinclair Sexsmith’s “Top 100 Butches,” which is some seeeerious eye candy. Hot damn. (Oh, and Ivan’s at number 6, in case you were curious.)
Oh! Before I sign off, two things. First, if you’re not on my monthly-ish newsletter list and you’d like to be, sign up by sending an e-mail to SexGeekNewsfirstname.lastname@example.org. Second, if you’re interested in presenting a workshop at An Unholy Harvest (October 9-11 in Ottawa), tonight’s the deadline for your proposal! So send it along already, so we can choose among all you fabulous folks and put together our program for this year’s event! The form is on the website, along with details and the registration form. Bring it on!