Wednesday, April 4, 2018

new music videos & a live show this Sunday!

Many of you who follow me here do so because of my writings, but I occasionally write and perform music as well. For many years, I was in a noise-pop band called Bitesize, and my current lo-fi solo indie-pop music project is *soft vowel sounds* - you can listen to and learn more about both projects via those links.

I have a bunch of new news music-wise to share!

First, I will be doing a *soft vowel sounds* live show this Sunday, April 8th in the East Bay at the Ivy Room (860 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA). The other bands will be Polythene Pam and The Sweet Trade. I will be opening up the show, so get there early if you don't want to miss my set! Doors at 6pm, show starts promptly at 7pm, $6-$10 sliding scale NOTAFLOF, must be 21+, more details here and here.

Second, over the weekend I released two new music videos for songs I plan to do at Sunday's show. Here they are:

Open Letter is a "coming out" song that I wrote way back when I was transitioning (circa 2001-02). My previous band Bitesize used to perform the song, although we never formally recorded it. In 2014, I recorded this version for the *soft vowel sounds* EP Ray versus Macbeth and the Music Box, part one (which you can download for free via the link; just enter "0"). You can find the lyrics for the song on Bandcamp.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Autogynephilia: a theory that ignores lived experiences and basic mathematics

I have probably written more about Ray Blanchard’s autogynephilia (AG) theory than all but a small handful of people. I have done so for multiple reasons: 1) as a scientist, I am appalled by the theory’s lack of scientific rigor, 2) it denies many trans people’s lived experiences, 3) it makes far too many unnecessary (and incorrect) assumptions (i.e., it ignores Occam’s razor), 4) it is not scientifically falsifiable, as exceptions to the theory are routinely dismissed as being due to  “lying” or “misreporting” by trans subjects, 5) it needlessly sexualizes and stigmatizes people on the trans female/feminine spectrum, and 6) it does not even attempt to account for people on the trans male/masculine spectrum.

In this brief post, I will highlight four of my most thorough analyses of autogynephilia theory. Other writings related to this topic may be found on my Trans Psychology webpage.

The Case Against Autogynephilia [PDF link]
This is a peer-reviewed article that appeared in the International Journal of Transgenderism in 2010. It summarizes Blanchard's theory and the overwhelming evidence against it. I also propose simpler non-pathological alternative explanations that would explain Blanchard’s original findings better than his own theory.

The real “autogynephilia deniers”
A blogpost I wrote in 2015 in response to James Cantor (one of the few proponents of AG theory who is still actively practicing sexology) wherein I list all of the more recent evidence further demonstrating that AG theory is incorrect. I also highlight numerous instances where anti-transgender individuals and organizations have cited AG theory in their attempts to invalidate, stigmatize, and slut-shame trans women.

Reconceptualizing “Autogynephilia” as Female/Feminine Embodiment Fantasies (FEFs)
A blogpost I wrote in 2015, and which was later updated for my latest book Outspoken. (The latter version can also be freely downloaded from Academia.edu.) This extends upon what I wrote in my 2007 book Whipping Girl, offering non-pathologizing explanations for why “autogyephilic fantasies” (what I call FEFs) exist, and why they are more prevalent in some trans subpopulations than others.

Psychology, Sexualization and Trans-Invalidations [PDF link]
A speech that I gave in 2009; an updated version of the essay now appears in both my latest book Outspoken and on Academia.edu.  An accessible analysis of why there is so much focus on trans female/feminine people’s (real or presumed) sexualities in the lay public, media, and in the fields of psychology/sexology, while their trans male/masculine counterparts remain under-theorized in these regards. I discuss Blanchard’s AG theory in the context of these more foundational stereotypes and biases.

Like I said, many other writings related to, or addressing, AG theory can be found on my Trans Psychology webpage and in my books Whipping Girl and Outspoken...

[note: If you appreciate my writings and want to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon]

Thursday, February 1, 2018

upcoming college speaking events and other performances!

So a few bits of new news! 

First, if you haven't seen it, earlier this week I published a new essay: Thoughts about transphobia, TERFs, and TUMFs. It addresses the different underlying motives/sentiments/beliefs that often drive transphobia, and how we might take these into account as trans activists. It's on Medium - the more "applause" it gets (the clapping hands icon at bottom of the article), the more likely it will appear on other people's Medium feeds. If you really like it, you can give it many claps! So clap away!!!

Second, I just updated my events webpage to include some upcoming college speaking appearances. More may arise, but the ones currently listed are in Ohio, Maine, and Philly, so check it out if you live in those necks of the woods! And as always, if you are interested and able to bring me out to your college campus, please check out my booking page.

One of the other shows listed on my events page is happening this Monday (Feb. 5th): Yarn comedy storytelling! I will be reading a few humorous excerpts from my forthcoming novel. Other featured performers include Heather Gold, Aundré the Wonderwoman, and Bridget Schwartz. The show is at Homestead (4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA), doors at 7pm, show at 7:30pm. Reduced-price advanced tickets are only $12 and can be purchased here

Finally, I didn't put this on my events page yet because it's not 100% confirmed, but it's looking like I will be part of a "Quirky Queer Tuesday" music show at the El Rio in San Francisco sometime in March - those details will be listed as soon as I have them, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you're not familiar with my music, you should check out my current solo music project *soft vowel sounds* and my old (now sadly disbanded) noise-pop band Bitesize.

Hope to see you at some of these shows! Otherwise, you can follow me here or on other social media platforms, and as always, please consider supporting my work on Patreon!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ways to support my work (on Patreon or otherwise)

I have been (and continue to be) on Patreon, where people who appreciate my writings can pledge support for me at levels starting at $1 a month, with the possibility of rewards such as free e-books, signed copies of my books, or even me writing blogposts on a topic of their choice at higher levels. All patrons (regardless of pledge level) can access "for your eyes only" posts, where I share behind-the-scenes updates, unpublished writings & recordings, and other goodies.

Patreon has made a HUGE impact on my life. As a self-employed writer and speaker/performer with no other outside income, I've had to spend much of my time scrounging up freelance work, speaking gigs, and other odd jobs in order to make ends meet. But thanks to the generous support of my patrons, I've since been able to commit way more time to 1) concentrating on writing future books, and 2) publishing free, accessible, ad-free essays (on either Medium or my blog) on topics that I am most interested in writing about (particularly LGBTQIA+, feminist, and social justice issues). Most of these essays would never have been published by mainstream news/media outlets as is (as most editors favor short pieces that remain on an "activism 101" level).

So Patreon has been a real blessing for me, and I highly encourage you to support me there!

But... some people would rather not join Patreon. And others have decided to leave that platform due to a recent change in their processing fees. [note: shortly after posting this, Patreon went back to the old system!] So for those who wish to support me, but do not want to be on Patreon, I have created the following alternative:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

recently updated merchandise (books & music) webpage!

I wanted to get the word out about this sooner, but I recently updated my "stuff to buy" webpage for the impending holidays!

If you click that link, you will find:
Once again, here's the "buy stuff" link. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

my Jesse Singal story

Many people know of Jesse Singal as a senior/science editor at New York Magazine. Within transgender communities, Singal has garnered a reputation (particularly over the last two years) for repeatedly promoting ideas that are in opposition to, or which flat-out undermine, trans people’s perspectives on issues that impact our lives. He has done this in the form of seemingly serious-minded articles, but also in more flippant or provocative exchanges from his Twitter account (which he recently shut down).

As a trans author and activist who disagrees with many of Singal’s positions, I have gone on the record (in my own articles and Twitter threads) to challenge some of those ideas and his framing of them. But in this post, I want to talk about my personal experiences with Singal, because they are rather out of the ordinary. While I’ve long found these incidents to be frustrating and baffling, I never thought to compile them all in one place before. That changed last Friday, when Katelyn Burns (who is also a trans woman writer) shared her personal exchanges with Singal in this Twitter thread. [btw, Burns was forced to lock her account for reasons explained here, but the thread has since been archived here and here.] While she had far more interactions with him than I’ve had, some of what she recounts very much resonated with my own experiences. So I figured that I’d share my story here (I will explain more about my reasons for doing so at the end of this piece).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

new talk: Debunking Anti-Transgender Myths and Tropes

I regularly give talks at colleges and conferences on the subjects of gender & sexuality, feminism & LGBTQ+ issues, and activism more generally. I have just added a new talk to my booking page that some of you may be interested in:

Debunking Anti-Transgender Myths and Tropes
Attempts to deny or delegitimize transgender identities often invoke “biological sex,” make overly simplistic claims about gender socialization and privilege, and/or raise the specter of cisgender people (particularly children) being “turned transgender.” Drawing on her popular essays Transgender People and “Biological Sex” Myths, Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments, and Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates, plus her background as a biologist, Julia debunks these common myths and tropes, and instead forwards a more holistic understanding of sex, gender, and transgender experiences. An alternate version of this presentation, called “Biological Sex” and the Pathologization of Transgender People, specifically addresses how these same myths have shaped medical/psychological discourses and diagnoses.

A few other talks you will find on my booking page include:

So if you are affiliated with a college or conference, and potentially interested in bringing me out to speak, all the info you will need can be found on that booking page!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October/November events, plus essays and interviews!

On my Patreon page, I just posted an update that includes: 1) all my October & November readings/talks/performances, 2) a recent podcast interview with me, and 3) my Twitter essay/thread debunking the latest fear-mongering article depicting transgender as a mere "social contagion."

You can access that post & info here for free!

And if you appreciate my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. If you do, you'll get access to behind-the-scenes updates, unpublished writings & recordings + more! Depending upon how much you pledge, you may be eligible for rewards, such as free eBooks, signed copies of my previous books, or requesting me to write about specific topics.

Thanks for listening, -julia

Monday, September 4, 2017

Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics, Political Correctness, and Social Justice Activism: essays and a new lecture

I have written extensively about these interrelated and highly debated topics. In this post, I compile these essays (see links below), and share the description for a brand new lecture I have prepared on this subject (and which summarizes my perspective on these matters). If you are potentially interested in having me present this talk at your college, conference, or other event, please visit my booking page for more details.

THE TALK

A Social Justice Activist's Perspective on Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics, and Political Correctness
Over the last century, social justice activism has played a crucial role in challenging prejudice and promoting equity for women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups. While most of us profess support for these past accomplishments, we may nevertheless resist newer expressions of social justice activism, or dismiss them as examples of “call-out culture,” “identity politics,” or “political correctness” run amok. In this talk, author and activist Julia Serano addresses this discrepancy. Julia has written (particularly in her books Excluded and Outspoken) about how social justice movements sometimes become too exclusive, inflexible, or counterproductive -- tendencies that likely contribute to resistance toward contemporary activism, and for which Julia has suggested potential remedies. Julia also demonstrates how the general public's lack of awareness about how prejudice and discrimination actually work, and how activists can effectively counter them, is a major factor driving this resistance. Generating more light than heat, and remaining accessible to activists and non-activists alike, Julia will discuss the purpose of social justice activism and its limitations. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Balancing activism, "free speech" & "call-out culture"

Last week, I published an essay called Refusing to Tolerate Intolerance, which makes the case that we must challenge and refuse to tolerate acts that are intended to dehumanize, intimidate, and silence minority/marginalized groups. I also explain why those who claim that we *should* tolerate said acts because of "free speech" 1) are misapplying the concept, 2) do not understand how marginalization actually works, 3) are behaving hypocritically, or 4) some combination thereof.

At the end of the piece, I mentioned that I am currently working on a follow up to that essay: “Hate Speech versus Call-Out Culture.” I have written about “call-out culture” at great length in the past, specifically in my second book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (shown to the right).

To the best of my knowledge, “call-out culture” is a term that originated within intra-activist discourses to describe expressions of activism that seemed misguided or unduly harsh to other activists. Back in the late zeros/aughts and early tens/teens, those of us who discussed this problem recognized that activism was crucial and that some call-outs are indeed necessary, and we were trying to balance that need with the fact that sometimes call-outs (in certain cases and contexts) can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, the phrase has since been appropriated by non-activists as a pejorative to smear any expression of activism that they dislike or disagree with.