I got Rick-Rolled today.
It’s not quite clear as to how, after more than 20 years on the internet I fell for the Rick-Roll, but there is was, Rick Astley’s 1987 video for “Never Going to Give you Up” playing on youtube.
For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, rickrolling is one of the oldest internet memes – a bait and switch – if you will. You are reading a story and the author provides a link to a relevant topic, but the link actually leads to Rick Astley’s video. Rickrolled.
The video has more than 137 million views and it’s safe to say that at least 136.9 million of those views are rickrolled suckers just like me. Sometimes its disappointing but most of the times you just face-palm yourself and brag about your experience on Facebook.
So image having an entire crowd of EDM fans getting Spandau Balleted [or Trued] when they are expecting the bass to drop.
DJs are starting to troll their crowds with a “True” drop; The lights are flashing, the crowd is pumping and instead of the bass dropping, you hear the 1983 adult contemporary hit “True” by Spandau Ballet. The fake out drop is a shock to the crowd, but to the youtube viewer, it’s a move you wished you had thought of.
Earlier this year at a Brisbane festival, DJ duo Mashd N Kutcher’s whipped the crowd into a full frenzy when they dropped the ‘True’ to a collective ‘sigh’ of disappointment by the EDM crowd while the two DJs fell to their knees in laughter.
In October of last year, the DJ duo Adventure Club dropped the ‘True‘ during Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What!” The duo continued to interject Lil Jon’s line “Turn down for what!” during the drop and you can hear the EDM crowd moan and scream WTF! Within a few seconds, however, the crowd was singing “I Know This..Much Is. True” in unison.
A few days later, DJ Mallon made the same move.
The DJ/EDM crowd is having fun with this new form of rickrolling and everyone seems to be getting involved. Adam Sandberg from SNL made a digital short for when the Bass Drops, Ylvis [What does the Fox Say fame] and Key and Peele have all made sketches about the power – or ridiculousness – of the bass dropping.
In case any of you other DJs want to practice on dropping the ‘True,‘ DJ Mallon has made his drop available as a download.
Bro-ken Heart: Noun, used in reference to a state of extreme grief or sorrow, typically caused by the death of a loved one or the ending of a romantic relationship.
This year has been strange; my writing career took off faster than I could have ever imagined but my marriage began to fail. The great was always balanced off with something not so great, but maybe that’s how life works. It’s easy to say, “Things will work out in the end,” but do they?
I’m transgender which means there is no amount of therapy that will fix my already broken heart, but what I’ve noticed is that I fall in love faster and harder than ever and it takes longer to recover. Trans hearts break too.
Elyse Anders recently published a piece on Mofo Nation called, “I lied when I said I would love you forever” where she states, “But that thing where I said I would love you forever? That was never true. I kinda figured you knew that wasn’t true.”
I’ve been on both sides of this lie and each carries its own kind of pain. Having said the words “forever” and “always” knowing full on that I didn’t mean them packs a special little carry-on bag of guilt; but having those words presented to you so lovingly only to have them revoked at a later date is a cargo ship full of loss. Sometimes it’s a loss you can get over, sometimes it’s not, and I’ve had both.
When you are the person leaving, it’s really easy because you’ve already made the decision, in fact, the decision had been made within the first few months or weeks of the newly committed relationship. You were just there to fill time until the upgrade came. It’s true that when the decision to leave is made for someone you never truly were meant to be with, it’s an easy decision…even a relief when you finally pull the plug. For those people that I have inflicted pain upon, Elyse puts it best, “You saw the way that I was made of nothing but scar tissue and might. And yet you believed that I could surrender and give in to you.”
I couldn’t give into you because you simply weren’t the one. I live my life with no regrets and honestly, I don’t regret what I did to you, but please make sure you understand that I still think about you and what we had.
Being on the receiving end of the “forever” and “always” lie is a special kind of hell reserved for the heartbroken. It’s a taste of your own medicine and believe me, the taste is bitter and can induce vomiting. You reach out to people to tell your story, but those people aren’t around and after a while, who wants to see or hear you cry over someone everyone knew was bad for you but you thought was “the one?”
I tried…didn’t you see and feel me try? Why didn’t you hear my silent cries for help and why didn’t you respond the way I felt you should? I know, you are not a mind reader, you said that enough times but I thought it was my mind you could read; I believed you could read my mind and I was wrong. It wasn’t up to you to respond the way I thought you should. It was up to me to communicate with you more clearly.
What I’ve learned through out my life is that you can not fuck your way out of these feelings. There was a time when you and your significant other would break up and a month of rebound meaningless sex would fill the void. It was an easy way to get the validation you needed to move on. We all crave a level of validation but what some of us crave is an unfulfillable void. A bottom less pit like the one on Gravity Falls and honestly, is it possible to ever fill the bottom of a bottom less pit of emotions?
In Gravity Falls, everyone falls into the pit but miraculously they are on the next episode…it’s a cartoon after all, not reality but in reality, it’s really not the fall that will kill you, it’s the sudden stop and if you are not prepared to hit the ground running, it’s going to hurt. I wasn’t prepared.
As I continue my life on HRT, what I’ve come to realize is that the emotions are different, the feelings are deeper and all those times in life that we were required to pack our feelings down to make room for more, they all suddenly get released when your testosterone is zero and you’re estrogen is at a “normal” level.
I can’t get into my childhood, it’s too painful to talk about, but what I can tell you is that those experiences shape you as an adult and it’s nearly impossible to let them go. Cliche? I know…I never believed that. I always said that if you can’t let the past go, then you are simply living in the past and there is no future. I never lived in the past, but as I’ve come to realize, you need to reconcile your past in order to plan out your future.
I’m reconciling with my past and it’s a slow process, but that doesn’t mean I’m not worth the time or investment. I’m a great catch and people need to understand that I am not worth abandoning. That I am worth your effort because the payoff will be huge if you allow it to be.
In the mean time, I’m over here living, breathing, looking, searching, feeling and wondering…but I’m not waiting.
A couple weeks ago, I found my self inundated with people from Nigeria trying to engage me in religious conversations. Generally I would just block them and be on my way, but after the fourth person in a single day tried to chat with me on Facebook, I decided it was time to shut this down.
Below is the chat I engaged in with this person from Nigeria. I hope you enjoy it.
After nearly a half hour of telling this guy a story, I decided it was time to block him and shut this down. I blocked him and the “let me perform my miracle on u nw” came in under the wire.
Like a final scene after all of the credits of a movie have run, it was by far the best last comment I could have received. My only regret? I will never know what the miracle was.
Hey, how’s it going this morning? I know, that was awesome [lol]. Yeah, no, we had a lot of fun last night…really…but we need to talk.
Please, no, don’t get that way ok, just sit down and listen, you really seem to have a hard time listening to me lately and that’s one of the things we need to talk about.
We’ve been best friends since the 9th Grade. Remember how I would keep you and orange juice in a thermos in my locker? OMG that was so cool, I was drunk by 3rd period and by 4th, you had me mouthing off to Mr. Kreiger. I know, I still got all A’s in his class even after the number of times he had to kick me out…I know, I’m laughing out loud just thinking about it.
No, there is no way I could ever forget the time I gave Vice Principal Babbitt the double barrel finger salute. Let’s just say that was one of my finer HS moments because God I hated that douche-bag. I see he was brought to court for abridging someone’s first Amendment Rights in school. He deserved it.
In college we became even closer, being drunk by noon just wasn’t good enough anymore. Yep, I used you as a crutch to forget all this gender crap that I’ve known since I was six. You were there for me. Every time I woke up in my parents backyard not knowing where my car was [often left somewhere in Wisconsin, you hid my car so well vodka] or even what day it was [usually it was Sunday]. Good times.
Over the last few years we’ve grown apart, I know that and it’s my fault. It’s always my fault.
“No, please don’t cry vodka” <hands vodka a tissue>
I knew what my issues and problems were and I used you to cover them up. I knew that my crushing depression was related to my gender identity crisis, but I kept using you. I’m sorry for that, I never meant to hurt you and I hope that you can at least forgive me for that.
I had this talk quite a few years back with slow gin. She was cheap and easy to get, but she made me vomit this thick red bile and we haven’t seen each other since. I know you sometimes see her downtown, so don’t believe everything she says about me, slow gin needs to take at least 50% of the blame.
Anyway Vodka, we hung out again last night and it was so fun to reconnect with you, but honestly, you and cranberry juice aren’t getting along in my stomach this morning and I’m pretty sure C.J. won’t be invited to tag along next time, but that’s for you and her to figure out.
I woke up this morning feeling like all my teeth had been pulled out and hammered back into the wrong slots and I blame you.
“Wait! Whoa! I know you are upset with that comment, but it’s how I feel, no one listens to the way I feel, but you need to know this so calm down.”
“I can’t talk to you when you are like this, just.please.stop.”
<half hour cooling down period>
“I’m sorry I said that but you needed to know.”
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah that’s right.
I think it’s time we started to see other people. We’ve had a good run but you have too many bad memories associated with you and I feel that I need to find a new beverage to hang out with. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s always me, it has always been me, it always will be me, you know that, I know that so stop denying it.
You were Absolut [ely] fun to hang with over the years [Ha, you smiled, I knew you would like that one], but your bottle is packed and waiting at the door.
Um, no, those original Merciful Release/Reptile House Sisters of Mercy vinyl 12″ singles are mine and you know that so, yeah, no, those stay here. Yes, and everything on 4AD, Cleopatra, Metropolis, and WaxTrax Records are mine too…same with Clan of Xymox. Yeah! right! you never liked Xymox, you just want them because most of them are out of print and expensive to replace.
Fine Fine Fine, take the Test Dept, Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle and Coil, I can’t really listen to those last two since Sleazy died. Of course you can take Dead Can Dance and the Cocteau Twins, I always new ‘Ice Blink Luck’ was your favorite CD, but the Japan and David Sylvian records go nowhere.
So that’s it huh?
You meant everything to me and I will miss you, just not the way you make me feel.
Slate recently ran an article titled, “I’m a Butch Woman. Do I Have Cis Privilege?” In the article, Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart stated, “I was mistakenly misgendered in front of an auditorium of people” and continued to explain how she feels she doesn’t have cis-privilege stating, “Occasionally, to my shame, I’ve even argued on the Internet about whether it makes any sense to say a butch like me has cis-privilege.” Near the end of the article, the author concedes to her cis-privilege by stating, “But cis-privilege? Yeah, I’ve got some of that.”
This article caused some debate in the Trans community because we deal with being misgendered every single day of our lives and are repeatedly told by society, as well as the LGB community, to “get over it,” “stop being so sensitive,” and “well, if you choose to be transgender, then you should expect this type of treatment.”
Sadly, the transgender community does expect to be treated this way as our portrayal in the media continues to be exaggerated characters of drag queens and by right wing organizations pouring money into politician’s pockets to legislate against the transgender community.
I reached out to Vanessa Urquhart on twitter to get her reaction from the 330 plus mostly disagreeing comments on her article as well as the backlash chatter on Facebook; unfortunately that conversation did not go as expected and it finally produced the following tweet:
My issue, as she refers to, is the appropriation of the trans experience by comparing her gender nonconformity issues with those of the trans community. A cis-gender person stating that something is “not a trans issue” is a sweeping minimization of a community that has never had any level of cis-gender privilege and is an example of how the greater LGB population chooses to speak for us. Stating that ” I’ve struggled with my share of transphobia…” Vanessa attempts to co-opt the experience of a transperson while never stepping foot in our shoes.
Cis-gender privilege allows you to go into a public restrooms without being harassed, it allows you to play sports on your chosen team without question, cis-gender privilege means a stranger will never ask you what genitals you have, and it means never having to have two notes from licensed professionals to have your gender marker and name corrected on your state issued ID.
Cis-gender privilege also gets you an apology when you are accidentally misgendered instead an eye-roll, and a possible violent reaction when you try to correct the offending person. Cis-gender privilege goes much deeper than what Vanessa Urquhart may believe or even understand; it involves being accepted in your current gender with minimal questions asked. An acceptance the transgender community lacks everyday, not just at certain events and for 30 excruciating seconds. Unlike Vanessa, I as a transwoman have no “go-to response” and I certainly don’t have any deflection tactics after being misgendered because there is no sympathy on the part of the offender “after that awkward moment.”
I’m a transwoman and granted I have never walked in the shoes of a cis-gender butch lesbian (or cis-gender anything), so when I received the following tweet, I had no experience to fall back on to address this statement, so I reached out to a couple of transmales.
I spoke with Mitch Kellaway, co-editor of Manning Up Anthology and writer for the Advocate, Lambda Literary Review and Original Plumbing and asked his opinion on Vanessa’s article and the above tweet.
“Urquhart enacts a common misreading of the concept of “cis privilege” in her article. Rather, what she describes is her own lack of “gender conforming privilege.” “Cis-gender” and “gender conforming” are not synonyms — in fact they’re very different concepts. Urquhart, being a cis-gender, gender nonconforming person, still benefits from cis privilege, and experiences oppression from her gender nonconformity.”
“When she describes being misgendered as something she has akin with trans people, and therefore an indicator that she might not actually benefit from cis-privilege in that situation,” she makes a mistake to think that “misgendering” is the same experience for a cis-gender and transgender person within a cis-dominant society. They are not. Aspects may resonate similarly, but her response and the responses of those around her will not be the same — and in fact, they will reinforce cis-dominance by tacitly implying that it is shameful or preposterous that she could be a different gender than the one that her body (represented here by her “woman’s voice”) betrays.”
Joe Ippolito, PsyD., LICSW, transmale and founder and chairman of Gender Reel, an annual festival and website showcasing gender non-conforming and transgender identities in film and performance art offered this to say, “I do think there are certain privileges that butch women have over trans men or trans women, and that comes down to our anatomy. All cis people have some privilege around this issue…”
She [Vanessa Urquhart] does not at this point self-identify as trans, and is taking liberty in comparing here experiences to that of trans people.,” Joe continued, “but merely talking about cis-gender presentation privilege and how as a butch woman, she faces discrimination due to this factor. I am not sure it makes her argument stronger to relate it to a Trans experience.”
Does Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart have cis privilege? Yeah, I’m just not sure she knows how much privilege she actually has or the difference between gender nonconformity and being transgender. At the end of the day, when she tells people that she’s a woman despite their misunderstanding of her appearance, people will accept that – when a trans woman tells people that she’s a woman despite their misunderstanding of her appearance, she’ll never be sure if a fight is coming
Additional content provided by Nicole Vanderheiden, Mitch Kellaway, Joe Ippolito,Slate,Twitter
Transgender students are being identified within the Montana school system that may express interest in participating in sports, therefore, The Montana High School Association [MSHA] is proposing to amend their student athlete policy to allow transgender students to participate in high school sports regardless of their gender identity or expression. Minnesota State High School League [MSHSL] passed their transgender athletic policy in December of 2014 after considerable push back from the Child Protection League Action PAC.
Transathlete.com, a resource for students, athletes, coaches, and administrators to find information about trans-inclusion in athletics at various levels of play, lists 28 states that currently have a policy in place allowing transgender students to play; Montana would become the 29th state.
The MHSA policy proposes that all students, regardless of gender identity or expression, the opportunity to participate in a safe, competitive environment free of discrimination. The MHSA Executive Board shall designate criteria under which transgender student athletes may request to participate in an activity sanctioned for a specific gender that differs from the student’s sex assignment at birth.
Mark Beckman, MHSA executive director said “the districts have never been notified of disputes concerning transgender students”, but he calls it, “a proactive measure that would establish consistent procedures to protect both students and schools when requests do come in.”
MSHA public policy director Niki Zupanic says, “School sports are an important part of their students’ educational experience,” he continues. “It’s really important to make sure that experience is available to all students, regardless of gender.”
The policy would apply to 179 public and participating schools in the Montana school districts.
The Montana Family Foundation, an organization closely associated with known hate groups Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council and Focus on the Family oppose the policy.
In a podcast released last week by the Foundation’s president, Jeff Laszloffy, it starts “Will your high school be forced to put boys and girls together in a hotel room overnight? What about sharing a locker room? And what about putting a 6-foot-5, 220-pound guy on the girls’ basketball team? They may have to if the Montana High School Association gets its way.”
As in Minnesota, the policy does not allow for shared shower facilities, locker rooms or hotel room and a member school may apply for gender identity eligibility for any student who meets all other eligibility requirements. This policy will also bring Montana in alignment with recent changes to Title IX.
In May 1982 the MHSA was named in a federal lawsuit alleging numerous violations of Title IX. One of the results of that litigation is the Ridgeway Settlement Agreement, which has become the minimum standard for defining gender equity in Montana’s high school athletic programs. Since that initial litigation, Montana has become one of the national leaders in promoting equity in athletics.
To say that Venus DeMars, musician, painter, artist and leader of the dark-glam band All The Pretty Horses, had a busy 2014 would be an understatement. Starting the year off in the City Pages “How They Met” Valentines Issue was just the beginning of a year with both ups and downs.
Since that time, she successfully won her case against the Minnesota Department of Revenue, who had demanded back taxes of more than $2,000.00 over the Departments definition of what constitutes a professional artist. She went on tour with Laura Jane Grace and Against Me, made an appearance in Grace’s Yahoo series “True Trans,” launched an Indiegogo account to fund a new album, her first acoustic release, continues to work on her memoir, and finished the year in New York’s Brandon Saloon and Parkside Lounge playing and acoustic set in an intimate setting. All of this while mourning the loss of her mother in April of this year and unexpectedly ending up in the hospital in September with appendicitis.
As Venus reviews the final mixes of her new, yet untitled 13 track album coming in February of 2015, what could only be described as a time-capsule appeared under the radar in November of this year; Her 2004 documentary “Venus of Mars” was finally made available on DVD and Amazon Instant Video.
Filmed in 2003, originally released in 2004 and directed by Emily Goldberg, the documentary captures the early years of Venus, her band ‘All The Pretty Horses’ and her wife navigating the realm of her transition while fighting to be recognized as an artist who happens to be transgender as oppose to a transgender artist. The film is warm, entertaining, eye-opening to the times and takes a look at gender identity at a personal and professional level in a way that only Venus and her wife could experience.
As she finishes up her year, Venus was kind enough to allow ClaireOverThere an exclusive look into her life past, present and future. I was also lucky enough to speak with Jendeen Forberg, ATPH drummer during the 2004 filming who offered her take on the time period and shared what she is up to today.
The documentary is a great jumping off point as it allows her fans access to a time machine which illustrates how far Venus has come as an artist, a person, and how the perception of being transgender has changed in as little as ten years.
Claire: Whew…So…besides the above, what has Venus DeMars been up to over the past year that I have missed?
You’ve done your research!!! I can’t think of anything else… Just details on all of the above. Oh, and the revenue thing was limited to the State… the IRS we guessed would’ve been next, but I think they were hanging back watching the State audit unfold, and since we ultimately won, noting came from them. Evidently they had no issue with me or my business tax documentation. It was the State Department of Revenue that drove the audit and their accusation of my being a hobbyist instead of an actual working artist.
Claire: Why did it take so long for this documentary to be reissued on DVD and Amazon Instant Video?
The filmmaker had looked into rental distribution previously, but as an indy filmmaker, she was unable to do that without having a major film association and that was next to impossible to make happen. Most of the time was just waiting for Amazon to develop an indy-filmmaker rental option through their site. That took years with us not knowing if it would even actually happen. It kind of took the indy-movement in music and film to happen for them to finally get behind the idea… Anyway, once they finally did create that option, she just had to go through the process of preparing the document and waiting for their approval. That took a fair amount of time as well, but not horribly long.
We’re still waiting on the streaming option to come through, but having the rented downloadable option finally approved is good enough to begin making some noise about it. Thank you for noticing!
Claire: The experimental film and animation that you created for the documentary was ahead of its time, have you always perceived yourself as being ahead of both the artistic and societal curve?
Yeah, I’ve heard that before… I think just being myself was somewhat ahead of the societal curve. I came out to friends and family in the late 80’s, and publicly in 90 or 91. Once I formed “All The Pretty Horses,” I had to sit my band down and explain who I was as a trans-person and that I would be visually and socially quite public about being trans. They felt with it, though I’ve now heard recollections from mutual friends that there was a fair amount of “freaking out” going on with that sit-down talk that I was unaware of. Still, they were good enough to keep that away from me, and I think once we got going it all calmed down with them. In my recollection from back then, they were supportive. As the band continued and members came and went, the new band mates would join knowing who I was and their support of me grew, eventually my main band mates would also be trans-people for a time. My drummer in the documentary, Jendeen was the first. Some of her personal trans-journey is also featured in the film.
Since the documentary, the band went through some tough times and disagreements over direction, and I decided to take a hiatus for a few years. My two trans band mates from that time, continued along their musical direction forming a metal band together. I, on the other hand, continued along in the direction I wanted to go, I continued on from my glam/punk beginnings
Claire: Looking back at 2003/2004 is like viewing a time capsule, have you achieved what you believed you would over the course of 10 years?
Yes and no. I always thought at some point I’d get help. Break through into the above-ground music scene in some way, but I didn’t want to lose control through signing to a large record label. That resolve solidified after we finally got to the point where we had our “big break” interview with a New York music lawyer. My tour manager from then, Madmat, lived in New York. We’d been touring out there very constantly (seen in the documentary,) and had made a nice dent in the NY punk/alt scene from then. That had attracted attention, and Madmat followed it up with this high-rise office meeting just a few months after 9/11 when we had our next NY tour dates. The lawyer was very transparent with me. He spent time with the full band just talking about how much he personally liked what we did, and then directed things directly to me asking if I could ever consider toning down what I did. Maybe pull back on being so “out” about my being trans. He was referring to my performing topless with only my electrical-tape pasties on, and the general fetish aspect of my “look” followed closely by the band as a whole.
I of course said no. I said that was the exact reason he was talking to us at that moment. It was because of who I was and how I was willing to be out about it which had attracted the attention in the first place. He agreed, then added that He’d expected me to answer with a “no.” He said there just wasn’t anyway he could represent us under those circumstances, and wished us luck.
That was it. That was our “big break” and we smacked right into a stone-brick-wall over my being out as trans.
SO, That’s the “No” part of that answer. No, I don’t feel like I achieved what I wanted. I wanted to break through as who I was. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. New York had everything back then. Very fetish-based bands far beyond us… and hard-core metal stuff always pushing the envelope. Punk itself was already out there pushing everything quite hard… I’d imagined we’d possibly be able to leverage some sort of deal I could live with in that meeting. I was frankly bewildered that my simply being out about being trans and refusing to “tone it down” had crossed the line with him, and I guess with the music industry itself.
That still bothers me to be honest
Claire: How have the attitudes towards you and your art changed over the last 10 years?
I think some things have changed, but lots of things have stayed the same. Music-wise I think the Trans aspect is more accepted within the industry. Especially now that Laura came out (Laura Jane Grace.) I think the industry now sees the opportunities that I saw way back in the day. Being one of a kind is a perfect sales pitch. Being Trans is of course one of a kind…though a bit less so now. But still my point is that it’s unique enough for someone in music sales to see the promotional potential.
I always saw that…but the music industry is pretty shy. Quite conservative actually. Back then it was all way too hot. But now that the general public is more understanding, more empathic, they industry sees the pitch potential. When I came out, there was little empathy in the general public really. There was interest for sure, but assumptions of one’s bizarreness was more the norm, and therefore an interest in that is what drove things. Our audience was generally fascinated with my Trans-image back then, but more because it was so “out there.” Assumptions were that a male to female trans-person would be excessively passive or prissy. I wanted to break these assumptions. That’s one of the reasons I took the fetish-dom look for my visual presentation. That way I came from a place of confidence and strength rather than passivity. Also, the fetish community was also one of the few places who embraced difference back then. The Gay/Lesbian community back then wanted nothing to do with us for the most part. Eventually the gay-leather community began to be ok with us. Then slowly the rest of the community came around. But it was a slow process.
I knew I could guide that interest in a perceived bizarreness into a deeper understanding if I could just get them to know us as people, not stereotypes. I worked with my lyric, my performance emotion, delivery, intensity, subject of songs etc. And also in every interview we were able to scare up. I worked very hard at this. Challenged assumptions when they presented themselves. Tackled all the hard questions, the ones the community get’s pissed off at now. I knew people just needed to understand. They were so in the dark about us. The questions were often quite rude and invasive. But they were asked from a place of severe naivety. And I’d usually turn the “News of the Weird” interviewer’s attitude around. Often they’d change their question tactic to more human stuff. I knew they’d follow me if I didn’t play into their assumptions.
Slowly, slowly empathy began to replace those assumptions. In our audiences as well as from our press interest. But not always.
I still get trouble with my topless look in some places. I still get shit from people now and then. Those old assumptions die hard. My visual work, my paintings and drawings involve trans figures. Pre-surgical figures. The penis is still troubling for art galleries and at times the public. I still have my work taken down or refused or on occasion vandalized. I am still barred from being considered for any local arts focus or artist profile PBS programming because of that. I know this because filmmaker friends who work at PBS have told me.
There’s a scene in the documentary where we DO appear in one such segment. We got on kind of by accident. The producer who brought us in feared getting fired because of it. We don’t see the result in the film, but he did indeed get fired because of it.
We still have so far to go.
[Venus and ATPH appeared on PBS’s News Night MN and is referring to KTCA Producer Steve Spencer who appears in the documentary, ClaireOverThere reached out to Mr. Spencer for comment, but as of press time, he had not responded.]
Jendeen’s recalls the Performance on News Night MN:
The staff and the head folks in charge [at News Night MN] felt like us, that we were making a statement and that there would be blowback from us being there. All true. Yet we all definitely shared an espre’ decore, a bond if you will of the few bucking “the system”. I have respect for everyone involved. For in spite of knowing there would be controversy, they soldiered ahead.
They [attitudes] have definitely changed. For me for the best. There seemed to of been a period of adjustment locally if you will. The notoriety of being out as trans gave me quite the boost in reputation. These days, especially with the Wolverines [Jendeen’s Jazz Band] in the Jazz strata and corporate world, I notice only acceptance. More accurately, it is a non –issue. It is more of “can you do what is expected of you.” Which is as it should be.
Claire: Social media was almost non-existent when this documentary was filmed [Facebook launched in February 2004, Twitter in 2006]. Is today’s ability to be directly accessible to any one of your fans globally something that you could have imagined in 2004?
I was online back in the 90’s. Had our band web page up I think in 1995, though it took a number of years before one could have a .com of one’s own, so I piggybacked it off a basic dial-up internet package at first till the .com/.net options came through as a possibility. Once that happened, I secured prettyhorses.net, and eventually venusdemars.com as well, and shifted everything there.
Anyway, yes, no social media at all, but there were news groups, and emailing lists. I would add our convoluted complexly navigated web address on everything! I’d collect up e-mails everywhere, and I sent out weekly e-mail news list updates. I sent review disks everywhere I could. Did all kinds of research on out state/out country music magazines both online and off line, and sent them stuff constantly. I feet up our tours to New York, and eventually to the U.K. All pre-social media, and I collected up e-mails everywhere, and I’d email long, direct responses whenever one of my exist people sent me something. And I signed up for any e-mail list updates I could from the promoters from different states or countries I came across. I kept e-mail dialogues going between them all, stayed in touch with UK promoters, New York promoters, dialogue e-mailed directly at every chance I had. And it worked. It allowed me to pull the band far beyond being just a local band. But it was exhausting work.
To be honest, with all the whining about Facebook and Twitter etc, being too public or whatever… well, I remember the old days, and social media is a godsend!! I never complain. I just try to figure out work-a-rounds for the things I don’t like, and I’m TOTALLY in love with the wide non-privacy aspect of them. I live a very public life. Always have. So I have absolutely no issue with all that. However I do NOT appreciate the new “app agreements” that want to post FOR me, or want to know who I dial up and interact with. That is overstepping privacy in my opinion…but the rest? Bring it all on!!
So long answer short is, yes I could have imagined it. I DID the direct global interaction from the start…Way back before you could even secure a personal .com, but it was exhausting, exhausting work back in the day.
If I had the insight that social media would be what it is today, I would probably be quite wealthy at this time and would be living in France.
Claire: It’s extremely evident in the film [and twitter photos today] that you and your wife are and have always been close, knowing that most of us in the trans community end up divorced, how have you and Lynette been able to beat the odds?
I’m not entirely sure to be honest. But you know, when I came out in the late 80’s, we both just had no idea. We made it all up as we went along. We broke the rules. We ignored what the medical and physiological industry wanted us to do, and carved our own path. And it worked. I ignored the pressure to divorce and go through a full transition starting a new life somewhere else. That was what was expected, and what pushed on us from the medical and physiological people. We dropped out of it all once I’d found a good, kind, and empathetic doctor who was able to help me develop hormonal treatments. We basically just went off the tracks, and blindly fought through every roadblock. Roadblocks within ourselves and roadblocks set up by people around us.
I guess we both felt so alone in the whole process that we just stuck together. We got through it together because none else understood us
It’s been 31 years now that we’ve been married. Add another year onto that for us being together. And don’t get me wrong here, we have had our classic rock and roll drama relationship lives. We have had ALL the extreme ups and downs. Gone through all the loud public arguments, and tears and “Fuck-You’s.” I guess it’s just that, somehow we were the only ones who understood each other. And that got us through.
It still does.
When asked more about that time period and how her marriage has survived, Venus replied:
I’m actually trying to capture that early time when I first transitioned, or began to untangle who I was/am in my memoir…. Its so interesting seeing how things are now with the transcommunity compared to when I started…
I’m finding myself kind of bridging the old-world and the new-world of it all… There was just Nothing back then. Absolutely NO resources… We both felt so lost and on our own. Its SO cool to see partners now really able to tackle everything. Back then it truly was us against the world.
Claire: There was little in the documentary about the UK tour and UK press at the time reported that some venues would not allow you to play because of the “transgender issues.” Was this true?
And some venues who agreed to have us on the first tour without knowing about me being trans, and then refused to have us back for the second tour.
Yes, that happened.
And London surprisingly was quite the challenge for us going out during the day. Jendeen and I both got constant harassment from people passing by. Some quite vehement. From young and old alike. Men and women both. It was tough. We had to wear our physiological armor all the time.
But you know, when we’d perform, we’d win them over…Always.
We’d have people come up to us and just tell us how much they loved us and what we were doing, “Even though” they’d add, “I don’t understand at all.” But they truly were won over.
I KNOW we changed lives on those tours, at least in some small way.
There’s a few scenes from our Northern England gigs which reflect that. One time in particular which isn’t on the film, is after one gig way up north where some of the guys in the audience wanted to take the band out to a nightclub just to show us the city and all that it had to offer, The gigs we did were in Pubs, those all closed early, so these were early gigs… Nightclubs were for dancing and DJ music, not live music. Anyway, we almost went but then some other guys cam up and cautioned that we shouldn’t go. There were impassioned in telling us that we’d get attacked and they didn’t want us to get hurt. The first group who wanted to take us out realized that this was a real possibility, (they said,) and then very sadly, took back their offer wishing us well. I don’t know if it would’ve really happened, but from the way the odd Londoner gave us shit, I wasn’t going to argue the point.
I do not remember specifics, yet that does ring familiar. When something like that happened with us, another result was that we, as the Horses, grew even more determined to change things. It seemed to energize and embolden us to be even more visible and in their faces. Granted there was disappointment and a bit of anger as well.
Claire: Were there issues getting into the country [UK] for you and Jendeen [in terms of work visas and passports] as I’m assuming your gender markers and names hadn’t been legally changed.
And still aren’t..at least mine isn’t. Jendeen and I have moved on our own paths since the film, and I don’t know what she’s done now, but for me, I still have my birth name and gender on all my legal documents.
Yes there were issues and harassment. But at times there were no issues at all. You just never knew. But yes I did, and still DO have issues when traveling. Though it’s gotten better, and I’ve always just put it out there when it happens, saying I’m transgender. Did from the start even when I knew the customs agents didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. And I’d get challenged at times as to why I looked the way I did, “if I enjoyed it” in a derogatory way, etc.
Even once in Amsterdam the customs officer was sure I was a prostitute and because it’s legal there, he wanted to make sure I wasn’t trying to sneak around tax issues. It was pretty insulting once I figured out what he was asserting. I think it brings up another issue of assumption. That of all trans M to F’s must be into prostitution. This has happened to me everywhere. Out of country as well as in country. It irritates me. I see trans-youth, young M to F’s who fall into that trap of accepting limitations just because that’s what’s constantly given. We can do anything with our lives. We don’t have to be relegated to just that.
For me, every time I have flown nationally or internationally, I have never had any problems. If anything it roused the curiosity of Airport staff in a curious and pleasant fashion that endeared them to us.
Granted of the whole band I dressed for comfort as opposed to effect. Venus, Blowtorch where a bit more noticeable. Yet I don’t recall any ill effects that resulted from that. It was at times kind of a shared meeting of the ways.
Not be as arrogant in assuming everyone was watching us. Of course many folks did, yet the majority of people are naturally and understandably focused on their own needs. If anything we added (in passing) something unique for them to share with others later.
Claire: If your 2014 self could talk to your 2004 self, what advice would you give to yourself, your band and family?
It’s kind of what I thought back then… so I don’t know how my 2004 self would take it… maybe something like “Yeah, I Know.” It would be that time is fleeting. There’s so much to do and not enough time to do it all. So do everything you can now. Don’t wait. Don’t put off. Do the hard things, they don’t get any easier if you wait.
For family? I’d say to be sure they know without a doubt how much you love them.
Claire: Any final thoughts about the documentary, the time period it was filmed in and its current release to DVD and Instant Video you would like to share?
It’s odd now to see it. See that old band line-up, my Mom and Aunt alive. Knowing all that’s happened since. But it speaks well to the time. To where I was, and to what I was trying to do with my life. I wouldn’t change it.. though even back then, Lynette and I told the filmmaker she could show more of the rough spots, but she followed her path. I guess, I’ll talk about all the rest in the memoir I’m writing.
It is Important to know that Venus was a mentor for me which will always be precious. I learned so much from her and her patience with me was amazing. To finally be in her band was like a dream come true.
For me and the gang in spite of the challenges there may have been within the group it was never (then) to a point that obscured the reason we were all there. It was a time where we WERE different and glad of it. We embraced it and basically felt, say what you will, but once we hit the stage we will kick your asses. Which was always true.
Claire: In June of this year, you performed an emotional acoustic rendition of “Love Hurts” by Nazareth, does this song have a certain meaning to you or was it just a favorite of yours growing up?
Haha… Yes there’s a story behind that! Well I remembered that song from when Nazareth did it new.. and honestly I hated the song… it was back when everything on the radio was given to us by the big labels… and I eventually just quit listening to the radio completely. .. then Punk and the whole D.I.Y. movement started and I totally got back into music…formed my first punk band.
Well anyway about Love Hurts, So last summer a friend of mind down in New Mexico, sent me a FB message. He and his partner were listening to their personal mix of music one afternoon, and Nazareth’s Love Hurts came on.. (a song they both like,) and then one of my songs came on… I think something off 10 Bones.. anyway, they both thought it was interesting because they both liked BOTH Love Hurts and my song, and they wondered aloud what Id do with that song… and so David (my NM friend,) sent me that story, and challenged me to try…So I didn’t tell him that I never liked the song…and I kind of liked the challenge Because of that fact… so I agreed but “wouldn’t make any promises,” I said…Well, as I started really listening to the Lyrics, I suddenly felt the emotion behind them… and I suddenly really heard the song in a way I’d never done back when I was young and it was first out.
I felt it needed to be in 3/4 (or 5/6) instead of 4/4, and it just all came together so well… It shows you how things change… me and my teenage attitude back then and all… That song is on the new album.. it’s really lovely too.. I have a violin player I know from Sweden guest on it. Its really beautiful sounding.
One more thing on that which I didn’t know until then and after I’d figured out my version of the song..Its actually written by the Everly Brothers!!! Crazy!!
Claire: You are currently in NYC performing at the Branded Saloon, tell me about the room you are staying in that you and your wife painted.
It is lovely. It holds so many memories for me. We painted it in 2002. Right in the middle of the film, and right it the middle of our New York tours when CBGB’s was still going hard, and we seemed to know everyone. Each time we stay there, it’s like going home in a small way. It really has become our tiny New York home. It’s almost like a time-ship, but not quite. This next year we’ll be staying there to repair all the damage since then, re-paint the pealing paint, maybe Lynette will add a few poems, perhaps I’ll add another trans-person. It’s hard to describe. I’ll send some if the pictures I’m taking of it.
There was one story. So, the walls have three large nude blue trans-people. Life size. One with fiery wings, one with butterfly wings, one being saved from drowning by an octopus. All three are like me, in between genders. breasts but also with their penises intact. About five years ago, Lynette and I arrived on a late flight in, and felt happy to be back in our room…then I noticed something. All the penises had been very skillfully painted out. I was afraid the hotel had hired someone to do it because it was too controversial for people staying in the room. So all night I felt horrible, and went over and over in my mind what I was going to say to the hotel management. The people we’d become friends with over the years. The next morning I broached the subject, and they were all stunned. They had no idea it had happened and they all had to come up to see. I spent our time re-painting in all the penises and also writing on the door a request not to alter my paintings, that I was a trans-artist, and if someone didn’t like the imagery, they should just not stay there.
That also speaks to the time. It was tough back then.
Claire: You have a new acoustic release coming in 2015. Can you tell me a little about how this album differs from your previous works and why you decided on making an acoustic album?
It’s a shift away from electric band backed music. It’s very intimate but also just as powerful. I guess, I’d been doing these side gigs for some time now. Solo gigs and often just with an acoustic guitar. Every time I did one of those gigs, the audience would want an album just like what they’d just heard. I didn’t have anything to give them other than my full band albums. Eventually it just felt like it was time to do it. We finished touring with Laura, she’d agreed to to guest with me on a song, and I wanted to get away from the craziness of doing the same thing all the time. So I picked some of the covers which haven’t been recorded yet, and pulled songs of my own from across my ten year catalog and re-worked those songs into acoustic versions, and I wore one new song specifically for the album
At this point it’s a thirteen track album. The initially mixed disks are at this moment going to my four “beta-listeners.” People who’ve known my past work, and I trust to give me their honest opinion. Once they get back to me, I’ll finish it off and sort out the packaging and pressing costs. I want it to be vinyl, but I’ve also been arm twisted into having a CD version as well as digital downloads. I’ll create one more indigo go fundraiser to see if I can get help on the pressing costs. So far the fundraising has been able to pay for all the tracking at Sacred Heart studios in Duluth. An old Catholic Church which has been converted into a recording studio, but the natural reverb in the space is preserved. It’s crazy, like a six second reverb. And I brought my New York producer who’s worked with me on three previous albums in for the sessions just to help me realize each of the song’s potential. I’m really happy with it. And super excited to get it done and out there.
Claire: Do you have a title and a tentative street date on the new release?
No title yet… that’s one of the “next step” aspects, and I’m looking at February for the release month, I’m not sure if it will be in the first half or the second half… I guess that will depend n how fast everything comes together for this final stage.
Claire: Thanks Venus for taking the time to answer my questions
Offline we continued the discussion about our individual transitions, mine starting in 2014 while Venus’ starting in the late 80s, and how the internet directly benefited me by allowing me to see that other transgender people existed. Venus added, “Seeing how kids are free now is pretty stunning…though some things never change… its still hard, and there’s still a lot of hate out there.. We have a long way yet to go, but we’ve also come so far.”
There are scenes in the documentary where the hate was thick and the acceptance was low, but Venus and her band pushed forward and in the process, pushed the envelope of gender expression in art. “Back then” she states “it truly was us against the world.”
‘Boy Meets Girl’ has just finished its run on the independent film circuit and after racking up an impressive amount of critical acclaim and sweeping the 2014 FilmOut Festival, this poignant movie starring transgender actress Michelle Hendley is ready to hit the big screen in early 2015.
Set in a rural Kentucky town, Robby [Michael Welch, Twilight Series] and Ricky [Michelle Hendley] have been friends since they were six years old. Now in their early twenties, Robby, the epitome of a southern Kentucky redneck car mechanic and Ricky, a cute transgender girl who works in a coffee shop, push through their mundane life’s of the rural south and lament on their limited dating possibilities.
When Francesca [Alexandra Turshen], a beautiful debutante comes back home to visit, Ricky finds herself attracted to Francesca and this forces Robby to deal with his feelings for Ricky. To complicate the story further, Francesca’s fiancé and childhood friend to Ricky, Michael [Michael Galante] returns from his tour from Afghanistan to find out to his disapproval that Ricky and Francesca have become close friends
As the story unfolds and their lives begin to intersect, the four have to deal with identity, sexuality, frustration and finally a realization of who they are and what they want out of life.
This is a sex positive love story that crosses all gender lines says Director Eric Schaeffer [If Lucy Fell, Never Again, Mind the Gap] and when most movies dealing with transgender plots are using cisgender actors; Eric has cast an unknown transwoman for the leading role.
ClaireOverThere was given access to a prerelease screening of the movie as well as an interview with the leading actress, Michelle Hendley.
Hi Michelle, it’s great to meet you. I watched ‘Boy Meets Girl’ this week and as a trans-woman I have to say, “Wow that was incredibly real.”
Claire, I’m so glad the film rang true for you! It was of the utmost importance to the ‘Boy Meets Girl’ crew to create a story that felt authentic to the trans experience.
Previous to your acting career, you had a YouTube channel where you shared your transition details; do you feel that helped you prepare to be in front of a camera as an actress?
Yes! It seems silly to think that a bunch of YouTube videos would help prepare me for my film debut, but it definitely cut my nerves in front of the camera a bit.
Boy Meets Girl is your first feature film, how did you get involved in the project?
Eric [Schaefer, the Director] found me via YouTube and told me about his project. At first I thought he was just some dude on the internet with creepy intentions, but after checking out his IMDB and Skyping with him I realized he was a real deal director. I was very excited to be a part of the movie.
How does your life compare to the main characters life? Are they similar?
There are quite a few parallels between Ricky and I. For one thing, we are both young trans women. We also come from loving and supportive communities, families, and live pretty “normal” lives. We work 9-5 jobs, cry about boys, and probably spend too much time trying on clothes and looking at ourselves in the mirror. However, Ricky carries a dark past that has made her a little more edgy/ salty than myself.
How much creative input were your able to provide to the Director in order to produce such a true-to-life character?
The story and character developments of BMG were Eric’s creations, but he and I collaborated when it came to Ricky’s character as a transwoman. Eric used my personal perspective and experiences to keep many of the issues discussed in the film authentic, and it was his attention to detail and willingness to listen to my input that made this project so amazing for me.
To what level of transphobia have you experienced in your life as compared to what your character experienced?
While I have yet to experience any physical violence because of my trans identity, I was teased and bullied in my formative years. Kids can be mean, and I think everyone faces some discrimination/ bullying growing up. I was just targeted for being very feminine. Nowadays I don’t really deal with petty teasing but there are individuals who simply refuse to accept me (or any trans person) for who/ what I am. I do not give these sorts of people much mind though, to be honest. I don’t have time for all that negativity.
Although I imagine it [the tears] was part of the script, but when Robby said that you “aren’t really anything, not a boy, not a girl…” Did this trigger any emotions making the tears, and the emotional response, real?
Absolutely. This was by far one of the more challenging scenes for me. Eric needed me to break down and really feel the words Robby was saying to me, and at first all I could do was laugh! It was very difficult for me to open myself to hear something so deeply hurtful – something I personally never let myself believe over the years. My defense mechanism was to laugh and make light of it, but after so many reads of “you aren’t anything” I finally caved and the tears came in torrents. It was rough, dark, vaguely spiritual, and I slept HARD that night haha.
The final nude scene did not feel gratuitous and it fit in to the story line well, how did you feel about being asked to do full frontal nudity and ultimately, how easy or difficult was it to do?
I am so, so happy that the nude scene has been received so well, and not as some gratuitous, shock-value, sleaze shot. Eric let me know about the scene very early on (maybe within the first couple email exchanges, now that I think about it), and I was all for it from the get-go. I think there is a lot of mystery associated with trans bodies. The general public does not understand what it is to be a transgender person, and our bodies are often fetishized as something taboo and strictly sexual. It was important to treat this scene delicately, and I want audiences to see a trans body for what it is. It’s not monstrous, it’s not threatening anyone, it’s just there and it’s mine and it’s beautiful.
This is really just a classic love story told through the eyes of a group of twenty-something’s, do you feel that it will [or could] resonate across all audiences?
I know that it can. Like you said, this story has been told before, but what’s different is that it is being told through the perspective of a transgender woman. All the themes of attraction, sex, and romance are there with a few new conversations about identity, sexuality, and being yourself.
How do you feel about roles like Maura [Jeffery Tambor] in Transparent or Rayon [Jared Leto] in Dallas Buyers Club going to cisgender actors?
I’m happy to see fabulous cisgender actors bringing visibility to trans issues, but I will be happier when I get to see those roles played by fabulous trans actors. Works like ‘Transparent’ and ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club’ are helping more than they are hurting (in my opinion), but as long as my community is being represented by cisgender people there is more work to be done.
How did it feel to win ‘Best New Actress in a Feature Film’ at the 2014 FilmOut Festival?
Unreal. Humbling. Ridiculous, maybe?! But absolutely incredible. It’s motivating, really. I never knew that I had some acting ability, but recognition like this is so validating. Also, to know that I have contributed something worthwhile to my community and the trans rights movement is spectacular.
Are you working on anything now?
I am working on a lot of things actually. Auditions, my current jobs as a hairstylist and pizza delivery driver. It’s a crazy busy time for me, and I know the hours of lost sleep are going to pay off. I hope you’ll see more of me soon!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with ClaireOverThere, it was really an amazing performance and I wish you all the best for your future projects.
Claire, thank YOU! Loved your questions, and I hope we get to do this again sometime. 😀
‘Boy Meets Girl’ is a funny, warm, romantic comedy that addresses love, life, sexuality, identity, friendship and above all, how important it is to have the courage to chase your dreams and live your life without boundaries.
‘Boy Meets Girl’ opens in select major markets in February of 2015.
Kate Pierson, founding member of the B52’s will be releasing a new solo album on February 17, 2015 title “Guitars and Microphones” co-produced by Sia; the first single is called “Mister Sister” – a track she is referring to as a “trans[gender] anthem”.
“‘Mister Sister’ is inspired by all who are transgender and LGB, multi-dimensional and still transcending,” she told The Huffington Post in an email. “I hope it becomes a Trans anthem, but it’s really meant to empower anyone who feels ‘betrayed by the mirror.'”
It’s difficult however to write a “trans anthem” when you are solely concentrating on trans-woman and ignoring the trans-male. Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Our Lady J and the release of the Transparent Series on Amazon.com has pushed transgenderism into the public eye and it seems to have set the Trans merchandising machine into full gear…for trans-woman, leaving the trans-male feeling a significant level of erasure.
I reached out to Mitch Kellaway, co-editor of Manning Up Anthology and writer for the Advocate, Lambda Literary Review and Original Plumbing to get his take on this new “trans anthem.”
Mitch states, “I’m definitely happy to see more and more folks vocally expressing their support for Trans women, its needed; Trans women face the serious brunt of society’s transphobia and violence. But even while women’s hyper-visibility has often made them targets, it’s also meant that when cis folks imagine what a “trans” person looks like, all they can envision is a trans woman. Trans men remain largely invisible in the public eye, which does have serious effects on us being able to form healthy self-images. ”
Cisgender Trans allies mean well, but often fall short of their intended goals, which should be support and understanding, yet realizing they have never walked in the shoes of a trans-person therefore knowing little about the daily struggles.
Even the track’s title, “Mister Sister” can be albeit abrasive to all Trans-people. Are trans-woman “Misters” who become “Sisters?” This in itself is offensive because of the deliberate misgendering, but the complete lack of trans-male inclusion in the track [which could have been easily accomplished with the second verse/second chorus pop song structure] continues the issue of invisibility for the trans-male community.
“There’s been historically little brouhaha whenever Trans-men have been left out of cis people’s public statements about Trans folks,” Mitch says, “so it’s pretty easy and painless to get away with this slip.”
The campy new video features SNL alumni and Portlandia co-creator Fred Armisen, I’m assuming because he makes a great quirky stand-in for B52’s front man Fred Schnieder. Check out the video and follow Kate Pierson on Twitter @THEKATEPIERSON for album updates.
Going Going Gone – The CPL Action Story
“Her dreams of a scholarship shattered,” it says, “your 14-year old daughter just lost her position on an all-girl team to a male….” To make matters worse, it appears as though this male who replaced your daughter on the team also plans to shower with her, but as of yet, CPLAction has yet to explain how this would happen since there is no documented instance of this happening.
This is expected for an organization that doesn’t fact check it’s own materials. The advertisement featured a very depressed photo of a girl who we are led to believe lost her position on the girl’s baseball team to a transgender individual.
What the CPLAction PAC did not realize was that this was a stock photo for the cover of Going, Going, Gone – Susie’s Story. According to Amazon.com, “Going, Going, Gone Girl – Susie’s Story is a lesbian novel who’s main character, Susie Torres, “…accidentally on purpose comes out to her mother.” Not exactly the theme CPLAction PAC may have been targeting when they ran their ad.
CPLACtion PAC Advertising Going,Going,Gone-Susies Story
The author of the book, Barbara L. Clanton, has been writing adult lesbian novels that provide and empower positive lesbian role models. A small detail the CPLAction PAC should have been aware of when they decided to use a stock photo for their anti-LGBT ad.
On November 21, 2014, the CPLAction PAC ramped up their anti-LGBT rhetoric in a barrage of emails, twitter announcements and Facebook postings. Their main talking point this time around was, “that there is no state or federal law that requires or even makes provision for the MSHSL policy, and, until this week, Mr. Stead has been unwilling to admit it.”
CPLAction PAC must have missed the big news on April 24, 2014 when the U.S. Department of Education released new guidelines concerning transgender and gender non-conforming students. Under Title IX, transgender and gender non-conforming students are now protected from discrimination, thus creating a federal law that now prohibits discrimination based on sex within the public school system. Title IX states:
On their website, CPLAction PAC issued a statement concerning the upcoming vote saying, “We would hope that the debate on this serious a matter affecting so many Minnesota children, would be conducted in a more forthright, honest manner.” The vote on the Transgender Student Athlete Policy is December 4, 2014, however based on the current stream of incorrect information flowing from CPLAction PAC, their complete lack of fact checking and their inability to source general Federal Law, it appears that they are violating their own request for forthright honesty.