Tuesday, December 1, 2020

2020 Visions of Dysphoria: A Poem for Students of Trans Literature


A poem for my students
inspired by the Fall 2020 syllabus:
Transgender Literature:
Gender Diversity and Reading Beyond the Binary

The printing press has grown old and broken
But the stereotypes continue to last and replicate
Through the words of fantasy authors:
Those five transphobic “s” slurs.

Take down those images wherever you see them
Replace them with paintings of trans lives past, present, and lost
Scholinski, Elbe, and Alcorn
Teach us to visualize more livable worlds.

Take us across the stars to Venus,
Or into the homes of elfin princesses,
Or to homecoming dances with our best friends,
Wherever love in all its forms is found. 

There we will hear the music playing,
A Kiki number, a drag standard,
As strawberries and tangerines dance
Through the streets many call work and home. 

But treed carefully down the roads past old mansions,
Impossible Mountains that never let go,
Transylvanian theaters with their fishnets and boas,
Or else you too may be bit by fangs or crimson lips.

Monsters come back when we forget
That, “we are each other’s harvest.
We are each other’s business.
We are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

Though fear not, for warriors you have become,
Able to carry the stones in your pocket and heart
Torn down from broken walls and abolished prisons,
Fighting openly and authentically in the battles to come.

The future of trans literature is yours to write.
So stay focused, don’t forget the small things,
Because a single stone can bring down mountains.
What you know, what you do, what you say, what you think matters.


Pandemic Feminism: A Poem for the Rising Generation


A poem for my students
inspired by the Fall 2020 syllabus:
Many Ways to Be a Woman:
Intersectional Traditions of Feminism and Femininity

Would you rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all?
Would you bake a pie even if you may get judged for it?
Would you wear pynk no matter your genitals or gender?
Would you detox your feminine and masculine programing, even if it gets called dirty?

Let’s hope you will because we don’t just need another RBG
We need another you, each of you, all of you,
Whether you sit in the supreme court or in a medical lab
What you know, what you do, what you say, what you think matters.

This year reminds us that life and choice can be cut short
In kitchens from the 1950s, Christmases and Weddings from the 2010’s,
Summoning up nightmares of red cloaks, white hoods, and vampire pregnancies.
Yet through it all we repeat the words: don’t let the bastards get you down.

Because sometimes #wetoo find ourselves down rabbit holes,
Tied up or cut down in board rooms, doctor’s offices, or red rooms of pain.
But we fear not: we know about power, about speaking up, about liberation.
Our sisters, brothers, and siblings have shown us the way up and out together.


That is why we march in the streets of Somalia, Kenya, and Pakistan,
That is why we call out the names: Khalil, Floyd, Taylor, Garner, Brown, and Martin.
That is why we reject the master’s tools, that is why we call for reform and abolition.
That is why we build bridges of our backs: so future generations can escape with their lives.

We would rather there be bad feminists than no feminists at all.
Because the sisterhood is still powerful
When it reaches out across racial, class, and geographic divides,
And when it unites the whole queer, trans, intersex, and non-binary family.

The futures of feminism is yours to write; show us new ways to be a woman,
a man, a creatively gendered and sexually empowered human being.
Moving forward, may you stay focused - don’t forget the small things -
And remember: what you know, what you do, what you say, what you think matters.

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Object of Transgender Aesthetics


A More "Bloggy" Work in Progress Post

A Definition of Cisgender:

A sensitivity, aesthetic, orientation, attraction, allure, animus, or networking towards objects or material environments extended or provided to the person on the basis of gender assignment.

A Definition of Transgender:

A sensitivity, aesthetic, orientation, attraction, allure, animus, or networking towards objects or material environments not extended or provided to the person on the basis of gender assignment.

These are contingent definitions I am thinking through as I revise my work into a book project, specifically into a chapter on trans aesthetic relationships with objects and physical environments. The purpose is to further centralize objects that typically get moved to the periphery of transgender identity, primarily as tools of language, performance, signification, expression, and legibility. How does transgender phenomenology and materialism develop trans psyches in different ways and vary depending on physical environment, geographic location, historical times, cultural milieu, access to technologies, and socio-economic power? In this work, I am building on generations of queer, BIPoC, feminist, and marxist thinkers as well as still developing transgender studies in the materialist vein. The object of transgender aesthetics is already emergent in society and the academy but needs further articulation as transgender literary and artistic theory synthesizes as a field.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Trans Literature Review: When the Moon Was Ours


A new Trans Literature review of "When the Moon Was Ours" (2016) written by Anna-Marie McLemore, a queer Latina author, telling the fantasy tale of trans love, witches, and a girl with flowers growing out of her wrists!

Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Quarantine Classroom: A Poem for Plague and Pandemic

A poem for my students
inspired by the Summer 2020 syllabus:
Diversity in the Eras o
Medieval Plague and Modern Pandemic

Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago?
Where has the semester gone?
Hwær cwom symbla gesetu?
Where was the summer?

May you heed well the wisdom
How to survive a plague and act up
For all fruits who fall far from fathers
And sprout seeds of a different sort.

May our five or six feet apart
Not cut us off from our quests
Through the riddles and chaos
To find new meanings for intimacy.

Pardon our household dances and revels
Only keep us far from devilish parties
Death will not be stopped by walls or class
Although masks prove better than masques.

May quarantine unravel our pride,
Unveil and unteach our prejudice,
For the uprisings has begun
Among those left for dead.

But as we march, beware the crusades
Promising purity and monstrous cures
For the new men may look much like the old
Only devoid of creative diversity.

May our histories and dreams prepare us
For facing that hideous power
Which causes men to lose their heads
Guiding us in word, love, courage, patience, and glory.

Through flood and fire
May we hold on to hope
Even as the inferno rises
Let us hold up those lives called ‘lost.’

As plague and pandemic fall and spring again,
May these lessons and stories carry you
From season to season, age to age,
Looking back, remaining present, even as we move forward.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Trans Literature Review: Golden Boy


Happy Non-Binary Day!

Check out the new Intersex Literature Review on the Trans Literature YouTube channel! This week, we are discussing "Golden Boy," the story of an intersex boy and his politician family after a sexual assault prompts a reexamination of the veil of secrecy they maintain around experiences of sex and gender.
Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Trans Literature Review: Transcendent - The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction (2016)


Looking for a trans-affirming alternative to Harry Potter? 

Check out the new New Trans Literature Review: "Transcendent: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction" (2016). This book collects a series of science-fiction, fantasy, and other imaginative stories with characters from across the trans spectrum!

Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Trans Literature Review: The Testosterone Files


Trans Literature Online reviews "Testosterone Files" by Max Wolf Valerio, a native American descended from the Blackfoot Confederacy, who shares his life as a transgender man after being a contributor to the foundational collection This Bridge Called My Back. In particular, the author shares the effects of testosterone on his body and the myriad changes in his life he underwent as part of his transition.

Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Trans Literature Review: The Last Time I Wore A Dress


A new Trans Literature review of "The Last Time I Wore a Dress" is now online! Dylan Scholinski is a fantastic artist who shares the story of a time when his parents forced him into a mental institution that tried to "correct" the fact that he is transgender in a process called Conversion Therapy.

Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Trans Literature: Review of Redefining Realness


The Trans Literature Youtube Channel continues!

Check out the review of "Redefining Realness" by Janet Mock! This is the first book in a series of memoirs about the journalist, director, and author as she grew up as a black trans woman on Hawaii and on the mainland. The book explores the inextricability of gender, race, and class as her experiences shape her professional and personal trajectory. Within the wider public and even within trans media, the stories of trans women of color are not given nearly the spotlight they deserve. This literature opens up conversations that are all the more pressing as black trans women are beaten, exploited, and murdered in record numbers. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for teachers.

Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Trans Literature Book Reviews: the Prince and the Dressmaker


The Trans Literature Youtube Channel is continuing! 

Check out the review of "the Prince and the Dressmaker" by Jen Wang about the double-life of a young person who yearns for a life of gorgeous dresses while carrying the responsibility to be a marriageable royal man. The book also features the aspirations and work of a dress-maker who stands by the Prince as their partnership evolves and deepens.

Comment to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Trans Literature Book Review: Lily and Dunkin (2016)


Trans Literature is now presenting book reviews! 

This week: Lily & Dunkin, the story of a middle school boy struggling with his mental health after moving to a new town & a trans girl trying to save a tree from being chopped down.

Comment on the video to offer suggestions for upcoming reviews!


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Watch the Transgender Roundtable on the Pardoner Live


The Transgender Roundtable on the Pardoner goes LIVE tomorrow (Thursday, May 7th, 2020) at 4:00PM EST!


Join us live on Youtube and we will answer your questions! All are welcome, from Medievalists missing Kalamazoo, to students, to people bored at home!

Panelists M.W. Bychowski, Joy Ambler, Blake Gutt, A.J. Odasso, and Zac Clifton Engledow will be presenting insights for today inspired by medieval texts: gender & sexuality, plague & pandemic, relics & tradition, as well as violence & community.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Rainbow Prayer-Beads: A Poem for a Queer Christianity Seminar

A poem for my students
inspired by the Spring 2020 syllabus

In the little hours we share together,

There are many things left unsaid.

As the queers knock on the kingdom gates,

We remember the most vulnerable in our kin-dom.

Certainly, our bus has many stops to go,

But may we keep our fervor for equality and equity.

May we honor all those who have been erased,

All those queens and kings and monarchs of hell.

Let us shine a spotlight on abuse and corruption,

To reveal the real abominations among us,

To nurture healing not hate amidst plague,

To decolonize our hearts and our institutions.

May we write a new love song,

A fight song that speaks to fear, pain, and chaos.

When Wild Men call us into Mythopoetic Woods,

May you be guided by all our queer fathers, mothers, parents.

When queer messages and messengers arrive at your door,

May you find the strength and clarity to read them truthfully.

When disorientation and utopias leave us nowhere,

May you find companions for the ever erring adventure.

Although we may not check all the items on our lists,

May we confess the beauty of not fitting into identities.

And at times, we may hold back from our truths and desires,

But in the twilight we will sparkle for those who can see us.

So, as you travel onward to cross paths of light and night,

May a coven of queers ever be found to empower you.

And when the sun sets on each day,

May you be affirmed in your heart that you are good.

Blessings to you all,

May we find one another along the way to somewhere, nowhere, and elsewhere.


Crip Horizons: A Poem for a Race and Disability Seminar

A poem for my students
inspired by the Spring 2020 syllabus

In the pilgrimage to non-violence and equity,

We come face to face with crusades against our diversity.

Yet some apples fall far from the tree,

Opening new paths for our sons, daughters, and all children.

Looking ahead, we may fear that we will become ghosts or angels,

Before we reach our utopian horizons.

As the sky breaks into dirty, pynk, juicy, crazy, classic shades,

We are reminded that this will be all our America before it’s all over.

In the meanwhile, we may stand five or six feet apart,

Telling the stories of our wounds.

Praying that our beloveds,

Will one day be free of the haunted house in which we are stuck.

So too with all those in the prisons,

May they rise like phoenixes burning the industry to the ground.

One day, we will reach beyond this silent planet,

And leave behind our eugenic and colonial monsters.

On the twilight of that long night,

May a new moon announce our transformation.

As the God or goddesses of the skies look down on us,

With blessings and love instead of violence and plagues.

In the great show of our diverse humanity,

May the freaks rise to take over the market of ideas.

May we find one another on the journey there and back again,

Through the dragons of our own cruelty and mistrust.

Until we arrive home at the Cathedrals of our liberation,

Where we don’t need another ruler or fool; all of our friends are kings.

Blessings to you all,

May we find one another along the way to somewhere, nowhere, and elsewhere.