Trans Politics: Brianna Westbrook on Healthcare, Trans Military, and HB2796

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TransEthics: What was it that first got you interested in politics?

Brianna Westbrook: I’ve always been interested in politics since a young age. I love being a leader for people. I just never thought that I could run for office until recently. The confidence was not there for me in my earlier years of life. The election of Donald Trump is what pushed me to use my voice. That was my breaking point. I saw a storm coming last year when he selected Mike Pence as his running mate.

TE: What was it about Pence that made you decide to run for Congress? Continue reading

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Trans Artistry: Jessica Nightmare on Cis Discomfort, Sacrifice, and Politics

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TransEthics: When did you start drawing comic strips?

Jessica Nightmare: I’ve been drawing comic strips since I can remember. When I was really young, I drew these detective stories. I was a huge fan of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Ninja Turtles so I liked drawing characters in trench coats, ha. But my stories made little sense seeing how I was 9 years old.

TE: When did you come up with the concept for Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls?

JN: Way back in 2011. Back then a lot of people were talking about the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope you find in a lot of media. I thought of myself of fitting the trope perfectly except. Except because I’m a trans woman, I feel like I am many people’s nightmare. Continue reading

Trans Education: Samantha Allen on Gender, Career, and Acceptance

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TransEthics: Being transgender and Trans Rights have been a huge media topic of late, along with the pushback of those who try to restrict gender to genitals and chromosomes. Having studied gender & sexuality, what response would you give to these people?

Samantha Allen: Great question! I still remember being completely surprised by the existence of intersex people when I took my first Women’s Studies class while an undergrad at Rutgers. At the time, I was still suppressing the idea that I might be transgender –in fact, I’m not even sure I know what that word meant– and my understanding of human sexual dimorphism hadn’t progressed beyond what I’d learned in an eighth grade biology class. Learning that biological sex is nowhere near as simple as XX and XY, that transgender people can take hormones to alter their secondary sex characteristics, and that the category of sex is itself culturally contingent in all sorts of ways – all that was brand new to me, and it opened my eyes. I understand now why The Matrix was made by two trans women: stepping outside the system of gender and seeing it for what it is feels a lot like waking up from a dream. Continue reading

Trans Vision: Cookie Cosmos on Changing Expectations, Advocacy Through Porn, and Coming Out

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TransEthics: Your Twitter bio says you’re an “ethical queer porn creator and performer” Exactly what does that mean to you?

Cookie Cosmos: To me, Ethical Porn has always meant treating performers well. In my case I work with other trans people, so I try to make content the performers want to make, make sure they are comfortable doing it and that they take home a fair cut. It also means taking down content that the performer is no longer happy being marketed. I’ve cut scenes short in the past because a performer is experiencing dysphoria, and if you are working with other trans people I think that’s the least you can do.

TE: Do you think it’s important that trans porn be made by trans people? Continue reading

Trans Fearlessness: Jelena Vermilion on Bullies, Mental Health, and Relationships

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TransEthics: When you first came out as transgender, how did your friends and family react?

Jelena Vermilion: When I first came out as Trans, my folks and family were decently accepting. They all had their own biases and preconceptions about trans people, so obviously it wasn’t perfect. I can say they’ve tried to learn and understand those things. I also think that given who I was growing up, they sort of expected something like it, given my nature.

I was a pretty interesting kid… I played with dolls, read books, built things, destroyed things, did puzzles, watched Sailor Moon, etc… Without giving too much credence to the binary, I was deemed pretty “feminine” growing up by mainstream cis standards. I was very sensitive. I cried a lot growing up, and I always seemed to get picked on. I imagine my parents thought I would be gay before they thought I would be a girl. Continue reading

Trans Networking: Lisa Marie Maginnis on Homelessness, Survival Sex Work, and Technology

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TransEthics: Tell us a little about Hypatia Software.

Lisa Maginnis: The main goal of the Hypatia Software Organization is to provide assistance to experiencers of transmisogyny in need, as well as make talented and professional software engineers out of those who are interested in the mentorship program. Hypatia Software Organization is a mentorship and benefits program run for trans people, by trans people. Because of this we prioritize empathy and understanding for our members. We are very anti-carrot and stick, mentorship is never a requirement to have access to benefits. To be a member, you simply must experience transmisogyny. That said, anyone is welcome to volunteer with us!  Continue reading

Trans Satanic: Sadie Satanas on Religion, Kink, and Polyamorous Marriage

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TransEthics: I understand that you’re married. How long have you and your wife been together, and when in your relationship did you come out as transgender to her?

Sadie Satanas: My spouse and I were married on June 6th 2006 (6/6/6), but we’ve been together for 15 years. We are poly, but committed. I came out to her about 4 years ago after we moved from the Bible belt of Oklahoma to the Bay Area.

TE: How did that initially affect your relationship? Continue reading

Trans Differential: Halley Wynn on Trans Bodies, ‘Deadly Babes’, and Ethics in Sex Work

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TransEthics: Your Twitter profile says you are a “muscle t-girl”… would you care to expand on what that means to you?

Halley Wynn: Well, there are two separate but inclusive fields of thought I have on that: The personal and the political. I like fitness, weight lifting, different movement arts and working out in general. Participating in these activities generally gives you increased muscle tone and increased mass depending on the type and volume of activity, because of this I identify as muscly.

Now for my political opinions, I feel like femme people but especially trans femme folks are incentivized to avoid muscle mass or lots of tone. Being that it is supposedly a masculine trait, and therefore being “overly” fit is akin to outing yourself according to some.  So I am a trans femme fitness enthusiast: Muscle T-girl. Continue reading

Trans Survival: Rani Baker on Dealing with Trolls, Transition, & Trump Era Fear

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TransEthics: Your band, Destroyed for Comfort, has a very unique sound. To those who have yet to experience it, how would you describe it?

Rani Baker: The music I perform is typically very sample-heavy, intentionally retro, low-fi, and abrasive, with heavily distorted vocals. The sound (especially live) has frequently been compared to Skinny Puppy, Alec Empire and Crystal Castles, but doesn’t really sound exclusively like any of those acts. Occasionally more melodic and/or experimentally structured work is composed, but I tend to take the stompier, more anthemic tracks live.

TE: How did you come up with your band’s name? Continue reading

Trans Reporting: Katelyn Burns on Writing, Politics, and Moving Forward

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TransEthics: What inspired you to get into writing for various media establishments?

Katelyn Burns: I never really set out to be a writer or even an activist really. I’ve always been fairly political and my interest in trans politics and theory extend back even into my teenage years. I always did a good job covering my tracks, so all of my reading was done in secret when I was still in the closet. One day, after I had decided to transition but before I had started hormones or come out to many people, I was really struggling with my own body. I’d lost 110 pounds already but still had a lot of internal baggage to work through. My therapist suggested writing about it as a therapeutic method. Continue reading