I’ve been so busy lately (moving to Brooklyn, applying to graduate school, writing for Autostraddle) that I completely forgot to celebrate International Fisting Day on my own website! Jesus Christmas, I don’t know what came over me! I have a particular affinity for fisting, how could I have dropped the ball on this one? Fisting Day is the brainchild of Courtney Trouble and Jiz Lee, two amazing performers who don’t want to see fisting demonized anymore! As I’m still unpacking my life in Brooklyn, I’m just going to re-share the infographic I helped make on Autostraddle. I can’t take credit for how pretty it is, that’s all due to one of our interns, and when she sent it out it was literally one of the highlights of my life to date. But I had so much fun writing the words. If you like it, please go see the original on Autostraddle and leave a comment. Also check out Autostraddle in general if you haven’t, because it’s seriously the best work environment I’ve ever been able to take part in, it’s super queer, and you will probably love it.
It was the first story I ever wrote about sex, the story that made me realize that I really liked writing about sex. And I told all my campers to ask about it the first time I ever had to speak publicly about sex. You see, I attended and was a counselor at A-Camp, a camp run by Autostraddle that’s basically all about running around a mountain being queer. It’s about finding a national and international queer community. And it was the most fun.
And one night in August I got an email informing me I had been placed on the sex panel.
There was this mixture of thrill and dread. The only public speaking about sex had been during smut readings, where I just had to read my piece and get the fuck off the stage. Easy. But being that it was a panel, I’d like, actually be asked questions. About, like, sex. Sex I was having, sex I’d had, advice about sex. Gulp. And I was terrified of dead space. I kept having these visions of sitting up on stage, facing 200 queer people, and hearing crickets. And I just didn’t think I could handle that. Which is why I drudged up old faithful. The thing I knew I could talk about. The thing that was comfortable enough to have been my first ever piece about sex. I begged the people I knew attending the panel, my girlfriend included. “If there’s dead space, if there’s silence, ask about the fisting story. Just please, ask about the fisting story.” Turns out, there was no dead space. We had a constant stream of questions. But of course, I asked and I received. And I knew The Fisting Story was back when I heard “So Ali. We hear there’s a fisting story you’d like to share.”
A-Camper Joleen took some footage of the story, which I haven’t watched because I don’t like to hear myself talk, so I’m actually not sure how well this went. To be honest, I remember very little about the whole experience because I was busy sweating so much I could smell myself; y’all, I was so, so nervous. You can read the original piece here and hey, watching the below video will be kinda like coming to A-Camp. Hope to see you there next May!
I want to reiterate that this story about fisting is not a knock on fisting. Fisting is one of my favorite sex acts and if you have an interest in trying it, you should! I’m always afraid about this story just a little bit, because I’m a bit nervy that someone will take this and say, omg, never try fisting because look what can happen. I’d like to point out that I get hurt doing most things, most every day normal things, because I am quite clumsy.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read Transitions of the Heart, a collection of essays by mothers of trans* and genderqueer children, and mostly what I liked about it was that there were moments that made me bristle.
Let me explain myself a little bit.
Most of the time, when I’m talking about gender identity, I’m speaking with those who are from within the queer or trans* community. Which means everyone gets the vernacular correct. Everyone is super politically correct. You don’t see very many people mess up. This does a couple of things. That means when I or others that I know mess up pronouns, or ask a question for which the answer may seem obvious to others, we may feel like idiots. Like we’re uneducated or just plain mean. But gender is hard, people! Gender can be an uphill slog full of pitfalls and switchbacks. Of course, occasionally someone is going to make an assumption and use an incorrect pronoun because we’re all socialized, even the ones who make it a point to be educated. Even the trans* and the queer. So what I liked about most of these stories was that the mothers did not always have the right words and sometimes wrote terms or ideas that made my hackles rise, yet they were always coming from such a place of love. They were reaching out and figuring things out and they didn’t always have the answers. And that’s real life. There is no manual for this. It’s so individual and we’re all learning gender, ours and others’, every day. And sometimes, you just mess up gender. It happens. And it’s okay, you will be forgiven if you take the time to question and learn.
The only thing that really rubs me the wrong way, and not in that same good way– there is one essay writer who actually comes across as very bigoted toward gays, saying she does not personally believe in gay marriage and a few various other things against the LGBTQ community, and phrases these things in such a way that I don’t think she’s coming from a place of love. I won’t point out who, because as mentioned above these are all very real people and I don’t want to be mean. However, I question the value of representing this particular essayist in a collection so steeped in love and acceptance. Without this one particular essay, the collection would be stellar. And it says a lot about the merits of the other authors that, even with this one, I still think it’s worth the read.
Thank you for all your kind, loving tweets/words/emails about the GRE. I kicked its standardized butt! Well, maybe not in math (only 154) but I got a 165 in Verbal Reasoning and a 5.5 in Analytical Writing. And of course, now I’m ready to take on the World!
As you may have guessed from my twitter account, I’m now writing for Autostraddle! It’s really really fun, and if you have the chance you should hop on over and see some of the fun things I’m writing! But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up over here.
This post isn’t going to have a lot of content. But I am going to tell you what you can expect to see over the next few weeks!
A review of Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children. Cleis Press sent it to me a while ago, it’s by Rachel Pepper, and I feel like it needs some airtime.
I also haven’t done a Crash Pad Review in a while. And y’all, I am up for some queer feminist pornography. My clit needs it!
And of course, I’m pledging a one-handed read by the end of September. Taking suggestions: maybe another story about Q, my newest and bestest lady?
Either way, it feels good to back, to be done with the GRE, and to have a lot of different things ahead of me! Huzzah!
Something about the blog is officially broken. I’m working on fixing it. This is the obligatory “don’t judge me post.” Thanks guys!
The cat’s out of the bag now, as my first post went up today. I recently applied to Autostraddle for one of their contributing editor positions and was accepted on a trial basis for the next three weeks. That link up there? I wrote that. Look at this super fun thing I get to do for at least the next three weeks, hopefully longer!
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my two year blogiversary, which is this month on the 24th. I’ve gotten to connect so much with my community and it could never have been done thanks to this space I created for myself at a time when I was feeling very isolated and was working at a very discriminatory job. I didn’t really see what could be achieved using the internet as a tool. Now I know. Thank you all so very much. And if you wouldn’t mind taking a stroll over to Autostraddle, I can think of at least one article that would love to see your comments.
I liked just about everything in this book. No seriously, I did. And while I don’t identify as butch or femme, I think it’s a super valuable record of “what we do in bed.” By we, I mean the gender-non-conformists, not necessary those who self-identify with either one of these roles/titles.
For example, Aimee Herman’s “Channeling Charles Bukowski” is a wonderful playground of exploding gender, making this story one of my all-time favorites. Couple that with a charming narrator who has maybe noticed one of their co-workers, and some super skilled writing, and the performance-poet author’s unique voice, and it may be one of the best pieces in the book. And that’s hard to do, being that all of the stories are fabulous. The character experiements with moving through their work day with a cock on, andd they get a lovely surprise in the bathroom. We get a lovely description of the desire to be both receptive and agressive, a description I can’t quote on most review sites. But the entire cost of this book, even if you enjoy nothing else (and believe me, not possible, you’ll love all of it) is worth page 123.
Why did I take such a shine to this story, you may be asking. The thrill I get when moving through my day as a much more (ahem) masculine of center person (if you catch my drift) is completely validated by this story. And I feel as though this story mirrors my first experience with it. This is activism of the highest order: only monsters don’t have reflections, and I feel as though I’ve been given a reflection. That is such an accomplishment, because I cannot be the only one who feels that way. Literary activism of the highest order! Bravo Aimee Herman! Bravo D.L. King! Thank you for “The Harder She Comes” and thank you for legitimizing the things that give me pleasure.