Where Are Our Olders?

leslieI just heard the news: Leslie Feinberg is dead. I’m sitting in the kitchen on my own, sobbing uncontrollably. The pot of pasta is boiling over and I’m glued to my computer screen, re-reading about hir life in between blowing my nose on my sleeve. Somehow I thought I’d get to meet Leslie at some point. Ze* has been one of my Olders, even though I know hir only through the tattered pages of passed on copies of Stone Butch Blues and Transgender Warriors.  With her* death, I feel a loss of history, of critical perspectives, the loss of a warrior. While the pasta starts to disintegrate on the stove, I find myself wondering: where are all of our Olders?

Of course, there are so many Should-Be-Olders who never make it that far. Racism, trans-misogyny, violence, the AIDS crisis and so many more reasons why many never get to be Olders. And countless who do make it to Olderhood, pass too soon. Leslie, for example, died at age 65 of Lyme’s disease and multiple tick-borne co-infections, attributing her health crisis to “bigotry, prejudice and lack of science”. Her access to appropriate health care was made incredibly difficult by the active discrimination she received as a transgender person.

Clearly, we need to be working to challenge all of these systemic reasons that Should-Be-Olders never make it. But what about my role in the marginalisation of those Olders who do remain? How have I participated in pushing Olders out of movements?

There are so many barriers to older people participating in creative projects, political meetings and social spaces. Younger folks like me may judge them for not having the latest lingo, or dismiss their ideas as “dated” without reflecting more deeply on the lessons we could learn from these very same ideas. We may organise our meetings too late in the evening or up flights of stairs – the able-ism of which affects so many young disabled people too. Barriers could be technological or even about the speed at which we talk. In many cases, our communities have failed to offer the nourishment needed to sustain a long creative or political life, resulting in Olders needing to hole up at home and disconnect.

My friend Roxanna just called to check in on me and reminded me that being an Older is not necessarily just related to age, saying that in fact I am an older in many ways in my community too. I’m only 37, yet there are many situations in which I’m called on to be an older. Sometimes this is because I’m an older relative to those around me, or I’ve had the privilege and commitment of years honing the skills and roles I’m passionate about. However, other times, I’m an older because of the ways we haven’t made space for those Older than me.

I’m not just talking about queer, trans*, two spirit and transexual Olders. I’ve started to realise the way I prevent connections with a broader community of Olders too, because of my incorrect assumption that older people are inherently more conservative. Earlier this year I was invited to give a trans* talk at a church. The congregation was mostly aged 60+. When I asked in activity how congregation members had felt limited by expectations of their genders, one woman said “When I was younger, I used to really worry about what others thought was appropriate for a woman. Now I really don’t care what others think, and I’ll cut my hair however I want, wear pants or skirts and be as bossy and outspoken as I like. Life’s too short for anything else”. There was fervent nodding amongst many of the others. Huh! Perhaps many older non-trans people are potential trans* allies in ways I hadn’t even imagined. And it dawned on me: what an arrogant ass I’ve been to think I’m more radical than many older folks!

Since then I started noticing many older people open to conversations about gender and politics and other juicy topics. Yes, older people can be the keeper of traditions, both liberatory and oppressive traditions, and other times they can be the creators new ones. Many may be more attuned to what’s really important with an awareness of their days growing shorter and a keenness to leave a legacy of which they’re proud.

Olders like Leslie have left profound legacies. She’s been an example of how workers movements can celebrate gender diversity. How white trans people can be active on challenging racism. In Stone Butch Blues ze celebrated the ways sex workers and queers can make community, learn from each other and have each others backs– which is especially relevant today because of the way gay rights movements have thrown sex workers under the bus, including sex workers who are queer and/or trans women, in order to present an image of queerness or transness that would appeal to the mainstream. In honour of Leslie and in this spirit of making a place at the table for everyone, I’m renewing my commitment to appreciating, celebrating and working alongside Olders who are still alive. And I’m replenishing my commitment to my own future olderhood by nourishing myself this evening with that over-due bowl of pasta, a long warm shower and the companionship of loved ones.

* Leslie used the pronouns she/her or ze/hir, so I’ve interchanged these pronouns throughout. I love the sentiment behind this which ze said: “I care which pronoun is used, but people have been respectful to me with the wrong pronoun and disrespectful with the right one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect.”

A friend pointed out that white people’s use of the term “Elder” could be culturally appropriative of Australian Aboriginal communities and other First Nation’s & racialised communities. Thus, I’ve changed my article title and language from “Elders” to “Olders”. Even though the term “Elder” is used by some white communities e.g. many Christian communities, I haven’t been able to find out where the origins are and out of respect for the importance and sacredness of the word and role for many Indigenous and racialised communities, I’ve decided to change my language.

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

Boy Tits in the Locker-room

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

2 articles on sobriety: Wet >< Dry and The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Throat

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website

 

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

5 many ways to fight v2 FOR WEB

Dear Boy Tits,

I love you dearly and yet it’s time for us to part. These outfits are my dedication to you: fashioned from thrift store tugs of war with old ladies, raiding my partner’s closet and crossing back and forth between gender segregated clothing aisles.

15 you are beautiful FOR WEB

Every single moment of the last thirty seven years you’ve stayed loyally by my side (or at my front, as it were). You’ve cushioned my heart from many blows and boyantly helped me stay afloat through stormy years. We’ve played many a silly game together, like pretending you’re puppets talking with each other, or bouncing you up and down until you slap each other on the back like old men at the bar.

8 make your own party FOR WEB

I know it’s not your fault that this gender confused world has mis-read me as a woman because of you. There’s actually nothing about you that means girl or boy or anything in particular. It’s just that I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s chest, and even though it’s a gorgeous chest, it’s doesn’t feel like mine.

20 wear it however you want FOR WEBSo, it’s time for us to part, but please know that you are stunning and sexy and loveable. Many another boy or girl or genderqueer would be lucky to have you that close to their heart.

All my love, Sunny

105 Sunny (6188)100 DSC_6301

200 Sunny (6764) Small Edited Version205 Sunny (6675) Small Edited Version

250Sunny (6945) Small Edited Version

260 Sunny (7013) Small Edited Version203 Sunny (6975) Small Edited Version

303 Sunny (6541) Small Edited Version

310 Sunny (6438) Small Edited Version

320 Sunny (6595) Small Edited VersionLike Sunny on Facebook

Follow Sunny on Twitter and Instagram

Check out Sunny’s theatre work on his website

Thanks to Tania Anderson, the incredible photographer, Janet Vu for the David Bowie makeup, (m)-elly niotakis for being the first to suggest a David Bowie concept and Chanelle Gallant and Afi Browne for letting me raid their closets for accessories & those stunning zebra print boots, and Leanne for use of her space.

—  A retrospective of other Boy Tit related posts: —

boy tits photo B&WBoy Tits in the Locker-room

I’ve recently started taking my shirt and binder/sports bra off in the men’s locker room. It didn’t begin from a desire to flash my boy tits around, rather that I was fed up with the incredibly awkward configurations I used to twist my clothes in to hide these bouncy little babies. Moreover, I was incredibly bored by transphobia and cis-sexism*. Read more…

boy muff photo b&wBoy Muff in the Public Pool: this budgie will not be smuggled

I’m busy preparing my boy-muff for a swim in the local public pool after I was inspired by a letter I received from a trans woman in response to my recent article… Read More

 

article-1166157-0433AC7F000005DC-43_634x357National Security Threat: Boy Tits at the Airport

The sagging sagas of the boy tits continue… I’m on tour in the USA and it seems the new body scan machine has replaced the old metal detector Xray machine in most US airports. For the second time this week, my boy tits raised the alarm on the body scanner. Read more…

Fur edited Sunny2Boy Tits take on the Summer

With the change of seasons I noticed myself starting to angst over the thought of another summer wearing a sweaty binder[1]. A titillating thought: as this will be the last summer I have boy tits before chest surgery in October, why not bust out of the binary and give them the flamboyant good-boobye they deserve?! They are, after all, a beautiful part of my body that I love and want to celebrate. Read more…

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

2 articles on sobriety: Wet >< Dry and The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Throat

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website

 

Wet >< Dry

 Juggling drinking/user rights AND sobriety

Image

I’m about to turn 2 years sober – woohoo! Summer was a challenging time to get sober, particularly with so many queer events in Toronto that involve booze. The warm months are now a time when I fluctuate between deep gratitude that I’m not drinking, and wistful fantasies of swilling beer on patios and swigging bourbon in the park. A lot of sober queer folks struggle to stay sober during Pride month, so I’m reflecting on what our community could do to hold us, whilst also holding space for others to have fun or cope with alcohol and drugs. Both sobriety AND drinking/user rights are access issues in social spaces and within our political movements.[1]

Whilst I love intentionally sober space (yay for Sober Pride!), I also want our communities to be able to hold space for those who use alcohol or drugs as medication or to cope with this shitty world. I’m horrified that visionaries such as Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson (both trans women of colour on the frontline of Stonewall) were banned from some LGBTQ spaces because of their drinking or using. The impacts of that likely involved further marginalisation for each of them, as well as a HUGE loss of wisdom and experience to the movements which they kick started.

Here’s the thing: there’s a very big difference between some people being intoxicated within a space versus a space that feels intoxicated. For me, when a critical mass of people at a party or event are drunk or high, it becomes an intoxicated space. If there are only a few drunk people around in an overall sober/ non-drunken space, it feels way more manageabe for me. So the more people who refrain from drinking and using, the more the space can hold both sober folks and some people who are drinking or using.

I get that drugs and alcohol can be about more than coping – they can be about many things including fun, which is super important too! I’m not suggesting that everyone stop using/drinking – just that those who don’t need it, be more intentional about how and when they drink or use. Let’s remember that doing stuff without drinking or drugs can be awesomely fun too! Enjoying music and company and dancing and art events and deep conversations and connections that you are more likely to remember. No checking your sent texts to see the embarrassing things you sent! No trying to remember if you did inappropriate things.

Given that many sexual assaults, violence and other non-consensual behavior have alcohol involved, drinking less can also mean there are more folks around to support a culture of consent and community safety.

Suggestions for organising Gatherings, Dinners & Events

Various friends including Clementine Morrigan, had some great suggestions:

  1. If your event will include alcohol, post that on event promotions (social media, fliers etc) along with other access info.
  2. Organise more drug and alcohol free events, but with no one turned away for showing up either high or drunk. Communication well with guests so that people don’t start policing or shaming the folks who may turn up high or drunk.
  3. Serve tasty non-alcoholic drinks that are treats – not just water and soft drinks/pop. Check out Liz Shield’s tasty recipes here
  4.  Considering many people use alcohol as a “social lubricants” (to cope with nervousness, anxiety, boredom etc), have alternative social lubricants – like activities or games. E.g. interactive food bars (tacos, waffles, burger bars…), conversation prompt games, arts and crafts areas, books, tarot cards, nail painting supplies, or whatever! (thanks Hannah Pepper-Cunningham for this suggestion)

Ally Suggestions for Individuals

Whilst event organisers have particular responsibilities, each and every one of us has a powerful role to play. So here’s my request for the Pride month (and beyond). Unless you need to use alcohol or drugs as self-medication/coping:

  1. Have some sober nights – like if you’re going to 4 events this month, how about choosing 2 at which you’ll be sober?
  2. When you are drinking or using, consume less and be mindful of what spaces you consuming them in.
  3. If you think it would be welcome, check-in with your sober buddies about whether they want a sober companion to go to an event with. Ask them if there’s any other support they might want or need.

The more people who refrain, the more we can hold community and space for both those who are sober AND those who use drugs and alcohol to cope.

Happy Pride!

photo by Tania Anderson

* I wrote another related article last year with more reflections on our communities and supporting sober folks – here’s the link: The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Mouth

[1]Thanks to Clementine, Geoff, Quinto & Amy for politicizing me around sobriety as an access need.

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

Boy Tits in the Locker-room

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website

How gender self-determination may topple the world:

 prod640021 How many Pansies does it take to change a light bulb?

Facebook has come a long way from the “man/woman” drop down menu of a few years ago. We can now choose from an expanded list of gender categories by selecting “custom” from the scroll down bar, followed by options like agender, trans female, FTM, pangender, two spirit, androgynous or various other pre-determined choices. I tried typing “Pansy” and it flashed an error message across my screen, You must select one or more custom genders”

Wait, I thought selecting a custom gender was about being able to custom define ourselves? I looked up the definition of custom – “a habitual practice; the usual way of acting in given circumstances.” I routinely rock ruffles in place of cuffs, frequently flounce about in fishnets, and customarily carry a little “too much” emotion in my otherwise “manly” voice. Does that not make me habitually a Pansy?!

Apparently our genders need to be vetted by Facebook’s gender decision making board. Who’s job is that?! Like seriously, “Hi honey I’m home! Today I decided to allow Pixie Ranger and Pansy as genders, but I thought Stardust Unicorn was going a little far so I blocked that. How was your day?”

Or maybe it’s a computer program, and when a pre-determined number of people identify as a particular gender, the lightbulb goes on in Facebooklandier. So how many Pansies does it take to change a light bulb?

And what exactly, do the gender gatekeepers fear about Pansies and Stardust Unicorns? Are they worried that people will get ridiculous and make fun of the whole gender thing? My gender is “shithead”! No wait, wait, my gender is “buttfuck penisbreath”! Because that would be a disaster – children, gender is very very very serious because otherwise white men couldn’t be the bosses of the world and besides, there’s way too much free fun already in this god-forsaken world. Are you trying to make the professional-fun-makers lose their jobs? Just how selfish are you gender non-conformists?

Maybe the gatekeepers are worried that people who define their genders in non-normative ways may topple the entire world. I mean, shit what would happen if suddenly anyone could just define themselves in any way they felt moved to? If we could no longer rely on old assumptions about gender (and many other things), we might actually need to c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-e with each other. Like really and truly enquire, listen and share of ourselves. We’d no longer be able to assume that we can tell everything about someone by a limited vocabulary of words which have lost their richest meanings through the asinine assumptions dripping from the vowels and the rotting refuse caked on the consonants . When I say a word like woman or heartfelt or revolution – does it mean the same thing to you? Of course not! Language becomes laden with the baggage of the context in which it’s spoken, signed or otherwise shared. And that context, is a little (or a lot) different for each of us.

OMG and if we started to communicate more fully, we might actually begin to understand each other! Without our continuous misunderstandings, we might stop fighting and blowing each other up. And shit, let’s face it, that would be very very bad for the economy (at least this version of the economy).

I’m not saying we should abolish words or concepts like womanhood and manhood – these are beautiful things (well, people, really). It’s about politely asking these identities to stop blocking the telescope for a minute, so that we may peek through and be awestruck by the galaxy that is gender. The Carnivalesque Magicians! The Nerdy Pirates! The Petunias! The Sissies! The Bears! The Queens!

But what does this all mean? Aren’t these just words? Yes. And no. We create language to communicate important ideas. As our ideas and our understandings of ourselves and the world shift or become unobscured, so too does language need to adapt. Beneath what may seem trivial to some, is a universe of important and genius ideas and experiences. Next time you think something is trivial, I challenge you to drop your judgements (even for just an hour or so) and take the time to listen to why people are making language requests. You might surprise yourself by finding it’s liberating for you too. What’s your custom gender today?

In fact, often it’s not even about change, it’s about re-remembering, reclaiming or recentreing those who have had way more than the man/woman gender menu bar all along. It’s only really dominant western cultures that seem to be fixated on the two gender system. I’m deeply grateful to all the communities who hold warm places by the fire for a many gendered galaxy, and am praying my people will catch up soon. Two spirit people across Turtle Island (North America). Fa’afafine in Samoa. Hijras in South Asia. Sistergirls in Australia. Loosening our grip on the two-gender-man-woman-thing, is an important step in decolonisation.

Plus it’s way more fun.

What do we want? Infinite custom genders!

When do we want it! Now!

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

Boy Tits in the Locker-room

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

2 articles on sobriety: Wet >< Dry and The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Throat

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website

 

Boy Tits take on the Summer

Image

With the change of seasons I noticed myself starting to angst over the thought of another summer wearing a sweaty binder[1]. A titillating thought: as this will be the last summer I have boy tits before chest surgery in October, why not bust out of the binary and give them the flamboyant good-boobye they deserve?! They are, after all, a beautiful part of my body that I love and want to celebrate.

So if I love my boy tits, why chop them off?

The easiest way I can explain is to tell you about the turquoise green corduroy pants that I wore ever day in my early 20s. I don’t even remember where I found them. Certainly not in a shop, I used to hate shopping. The clothes I liked never fit my body shape. Plus the shop assistants used to be weird with me because I was frequently shopping in the “wrong” gender section. Clothes just sort of found me and I’d wear them day in, day out, until I stumbled upon the next outfit. So, the corduroy pants lived on me for several years. First they were a little too long. I was terrible at sewing so after I tried taking them up, they became a little too short. They had 2 pleats at the top which looked awful (it was no longer the 80s) so I used to wear long shirts over the top to hide them.

I didn’t particularly like the pants, but they worked. They clothed me and kept me warm. The pockets fit a lot of handy things. We went on adventures and had the best and worst times together. We climbed trees together. Wrote poetry. Rode across Australia on a bicycle. Protested uranium mines and logging of old growth forests. They comforted me through the heartbreak of being secretly in love with my best friend (actually, three best friends in a row!). With all this history and familiarity I was very fond of the pants, even though they didn’t fit me very well.

A few years later, for the first time instead of battling the stores or the whims of the clothes that found me, I saved up and had a friend custom make me a pair of pants. They were brown pin striped pants fitted at the top and slightly belled at the bottom with very cute quirky pockets. I LOVED them! I felt so good in them! They fit me perfectly. I felt like me in them. (Well “me” back then – how my fashion has changed – femme transformation!). So I lovingly gave away the corduroy pants to someone who liked them better than I had. I didn’t feel any malice towards them, even though I wish I’d realised sooner I could have the pin striped pants.

Similarly, it’s not that I hate my boy tits. They’ve given me a lot of pleasure. We’ve had some great times together. They’ve cushioned my heart from many blows. They’ve buoyantly helped me stay afloat when I may otherwise have drowned. I love playing silly games with them like pretending they’re puppets talking with each other, or bouncing them up and down until they slap each other on the back like old men at the bar. Every single moment of the last 37 years they’ve stayed loyally by my side (or at my front as it were).

And so I love them. Yet I don’t particularly like them. I feel self conscious about them, although more so in clothing than naked. I’ve felt betrayed by them on many occasions, although I know it’s not their fault that this gender confused world mis-read me because of them. Some days it’s like I’m wearing someone else’s chest, and even though it’s a gorgeous chest, it’s doesn’t really feel like mine.

This sense of loving and not liking my chest may seem like a contradiction, but only if viewed through a cisgendered (non-trans) lens. From a trans* perspective, it’s very normal (and not necessarily even a bad thing) to have conflicting feelings about my body. And in fact many non-trans people have differing feelings about their bodies too, it’s just they’re not accused of being confused or gender dysphoric as a result.

Like the pin striped pants, there’s a chest that would fit me better, and that’s the one I will co-create with the surgeon in October. If I could give away my boy tits like I did my corduroy pants, I would, because I’m sure they’d look lovely on some other boy or girl or genderqueer.

(Please note: just because I have a less-commonly-told relationship with my chest, it doesn’t mean that I am more radical or evolved than trans people who have more animosity towards their bodies. EVERY way a trans* person feels about their body is totally valid. I’m sharing my experience to expand the array of ideas about trans* bodies.)

So, this summer is my boy tits’ farewell tour and I intend on giving them the decadent finale they deserve. I’m in the process of designing my BTFSC (Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection). I’ve been experimenting with outfits fashioned from raiding my partner’s closet and thrift store tugs of war with old ladies. At the heart of the collection will be a sumptuous assortment of open blouses crafted to showcase slithers of sexy boy tit hugged to my heart with belts, stockings or colourful duct tape (folded over so I don’t get an accidental waxing). Yes, summer be warned: these boy tits are intent on causing a total eclipse this season.

Outfit in Photo: thanks to Chanelle for letting me raid her closet for this fur shrug and polka dot belt.

[1] For those of you not familiar with trans* stuff, a binder is something that hugs my boy tits to my chest so they are a little flatter.

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

Boy Tits in the Locker-room

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

2 articles on sobriety: Wet >< Dry and The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Throat

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website

And so shall our Heels till the Earth

Image

A love letter to those to whom femininity is forbidden or frowned upon. Effeminate boys & men. Femme trans* women and two spirit people. Femme genderqueers. Beloved ho’s. And all other femmes who are called “too much” or not meant to exist.

My dearest forbidden flowers,

Let me stand before you, that you may harvest your bloom. Fishnet stem reaching to tight studded shorts, matching phone case peaking from front pocket. Petals, my blouse hugging boy tits. My stamen, grandmother’s plastic pearls repurposed into safety pin qu-earring.

This blossom now, but before, I was the spindly weed, confused not by who I was but by how this gender disordered world sought to manicure me: first into a pretty girl, and then later a “manly” man. Lest they betray me, I kept my pink petals tucked under rigid thorny leaves. Until one day that tomboy I was clambered to the top of the hedge, straining to peer over, and I saw…You!

You! Exquisite haven of forbidden flowers in every imaginable bloom.

You! The stubborn glitter that lingers weeks after the party.

You who beckon to me in sweeping cement cityscapes with your flashes of fuchsia, glints of gold, and streaks of silver. You, prancing studded boots pressing possibility into pavement. And every micro-bounce to your step is a victory in this plagued world that seeks to smash your petals, frost your emotions, wilt your intuition, rake your ruffles and masticate your splendor into row upon row of neatly clipped hedges.

But together, you and I, we will hold the million memories of sweet children separated from boyhood dresses and silenced squeals and cascading tears and long locks of hair and mums’ lipsticks, abandoned under threat.

Have you ever wondered where the snatched sequins drift?

Where do the seized satin socks lie their worn out feet?

Perhaps there a river of confiscated emotions gushing down into a graveyard of broken lilac dreams. Deep graves crammed with giddy emotions and graceful gloves and girly giggles. Grey gravestones spiked into the treasures beneath.

This, my pledge to you:

For every crushed frilly boyhood, a thousand manly ruffles will take your place.

For every girl kidnapped into boyhood, a thousand constricting chains will be cracked.

For every femme called “too much”, a thousand more will be a thousand much-more-too-much.

For every fallen pansy, a thousand petunias will bloom on your grave.

And your ashes will be mixed with magenta and painted on the lids of a thousand thousand warriors. War paint. Fierce defiance. Faithful memory. We will not only not forget: we will make the pavements on which you fell our runways, and we will mince! We will strut so fiercely, prides of peacocks will follow our flaming trails. We will saunter until the streets are streaked with silver glitter. We will careen wildly in the highest of heels without caution for what is “practical”, because we know that every ground-breaking invention, every unimaginable innovation, every revolutionary creation was born from ingenious impracticality.

And to the hedge makers who would wrestle away our sparkly delights, with stifled snickers or crushing blows, let us tell them this: Beware. You are right to fear us. We are dangerous. We are revolutionaries. We are healers. We are mums, dads, brothers, sisters, siblings, cousins, lovers, fighters, artists, visionaries. Some of our lace may be tucked only beneath our pants. Some of our tears fall only behind dry eyes. Some of our pink is worn only in the soles of our feet. But make no mistake. We are EVERYWHERE! And our parties are fun-er. Our battle screeches louder. Our dreams brighter.

And our revolution will be the most
Spectacular
Fucking
Glitterbomb
you have ever seen!

It will be waged alongside warrior women and brazen girls and genderqueer grandparents and sex workers and ancestors and queens and studs and femme scientists and tomboys and crips and butches and sharks and faggots and magic makers and peacocks and inventors of mother-fucking-delight! Our trenches will be lined with fake fuchsia fur. Our guns will shoot silver glitter. And we will conjure storms of diamante studs that will scour the fear from the hearts of the hedge makers until there is nothing left except the naked love that held us all in the seeds of our births…

And when the storm settles,
we
will
dance!
until the sun streaks the sky in persimmon orange and crimson pink.

and so shall our heels till the soil
and so shall our glitter seed the earth
and you’d better be ready for the fucking exquisite garden which stretch all the way to the stars!

Yes.
Yes!
This is how it will be,
because you,
my forbidden flowers,
Dare To Bloom.

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

Boy Tits in the Locker-room

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

2 articles on sobriety: Wet >< Dry and The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Throat

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website

When a Man and a Woman love each other Very Much…

ImageIt’s 1991. I’m at my first high school dance. The public school kid at the private school dance, I’m already nervous. My bestie tells me that Bradley Jones[1] is going to ask me to pash (translation for non-Australians: make-out). WTF, Bradley Jones likes ME?!  It’ll be my first teenage pash. Finally! Shit, he’s walking towards me. My attempt to casually brush my hand through my long blonde hair is stalled as my pineapple ring gets caught in my plastic lollipop earring, causing me to hyper-ventilate thereby popping a button in my corduroy pants which are luckily held up just under my armpits with suspenders which have animal finger puppets sown onto them. (Shockingly, this outfit was not fashionable back then). The KLF’s 3am Eternal is shaking the dance floor, as he grabs me and pulls me into a slow dance to this fast song. The disco lights are ricocheting off a bead of sweat on his eyebrow, as I lean in for the kiss, earnestly pressing my eyelids closed…

Then he pretty much swallows my entire head. I’m not even exaggerating (very much). I know I have a small mouth and so I guess our mouths were mis-sized, but did he really need to open his so wide that I’m pretty sure my nose was deeply involved in the pash? And I remember this sinking feeling “oh shit, is this what all the fuss is about? This is awful!” I spent the entire 5 minute pash wondering how I was going to put up with this for my entire life, because I knew that pashing was an important part of THE STORY. You know the “trans-boy-who’s-forgotten-he’s-a-boy-meets-nontrans-boy-who-thinks-he’s-pashing-a-girl” story[2].

#boundforthenunnery

The next boy I pashed was thankfully a VAST improvement. Not before I spent a harrowing month convinced that my lack of pash enthusiasm was a sure sign I’d become a nun in a silent convent and have to renounce my earthly desires and possessions (I nearly burned those animal-hand-puppet-suspenders).

It makes me wonder, what the fuck were we learning at school? Unfortunately there was no Pash 101 class. I mean crikey moses, as if adolescence isn’t difficult enough already, teach us how to at least not humiliate ourselves with slobbery messes! 1991 was also the year my high school banned the Divinyls song “I touch myself” from our own school dance from fear of encouraging “anti-social behavior”. I would have thought they’d prefer us anti-socially “touching ourselves” to Madonna and Johnny Depp posters (mmm Johnny Depp) rather than socially grinding against each other. Now-a-days some schools teach how to roll condoms onto broomsticks and bananas, but what about teaching us how to actually ENJOY ourselves? I found myself consistently in dating situations doing things that I didn’t really want to be doing, or at least doing them in a less-than-entirely-enjoyable way. I consider I was mostly socialized male because of how I subconsciously chose to socialise myself[3], yet a notable exception is my socialisation around sexy stuff. In the complete void of trans* possibilities and other trans* stories in my childhood, I’d pretty successfully buried my trans-ness by the time I was a teenager. So the messages I was internalizing about pashing and bumping uglies were predominantly those dished out to girls. It took me years to learn how to say words like “no” or “slower”, or “it’s up here”. Why shouldn’t we be teaching these things in school, our families and communities?

Another mistake that many parenting and schooling systems make, is an assumption that sexual feelings and experimentation begin only after pubescent pimples erupt. This is a really weird hetero-normative view of sexual expression, based on the idea that you don’t get those warm feelings in your undies until there’s the capacity to make babies. Well I sure as hell got boners (like almost every day) from as young as I can remember. I had my first boyfriend in kindergarten – Hamish Kiddle. He spat a peach pit in my mouth when we first pashed (#kidromancerules). I was attracted to boys. Girls. Girlish-boys, boyish-boys, girlish-girls, boyish-girls and otherly-others. And they weren’t just the “I want to hold your hand” sort of attractions popularly depicted on greeting cards.

Yes, we seem to have a place for childhood romance but not childhood sexuality. After all, a society hell bent on making good little monogamous nuclear family units to propel the status quo needs to start grooming kids early for THE STORY. We like to believe monogamous romantic connections between nontrans boys and nontrans girls are so natural, that of course they inherently want to dress up and play out the middle class script: groom in dad’s oversized shoes, bride with the lacy table cloth draped over her head, wedding ring made from grass. But like many kids, I didn’t want to just play marriages. I wanted to play real “adult games”. And I know a lot of other kids around me had sexual feelings too, including many who acted on them with each other regularly. Yet childhood sexuality is such an incredibly taboo topic, that it seems we’d prefer to protect our own comfort (under the guise of morals) rather than protect our kids. Many of us don’t really even teach abstinence, we just sort of teach…. nothing, by saying… nothing much. But unlike the sharp knives drawer or chemical cleaning products cupboard, you can’t lock kids own bodies away from them.  In our denial, we fail to teach kids about consent and boundaries and therefore expose kids to the risks of causing each other harm including sexual assault, violence & abuse. Even more taboo, we fail to teach them how to safely explore and enjoy their own bodies.

In the complete absence of teaching either children or teenagers about sexual fulfilment with themselves or age-appropriately with others, we propagate the myth that a good sexual connection is this mysterious thing that should just kind of happen when the right man meets the right woman and they love each other very much. What bedroom misery this has wreaked! Like pretty much everything else: piano playing, carpentry, cooking, mathematics – good sexy times, including negotiation, communication skills, technique, the myriad forms of sexual expression (beyond that which requires a condom and a banana), getting real consent, are all skills that take cultivation.

Make no mistake: kids and teenagers are gonna experiment sexually with each other, whether or not we say anything to them. So isn’t it time to go beyond the “when a man and woman love each other very much” story book and the condom on the banana?

——

SEXY TIMES TIPS FOR TEENAGERS:

If there are any sexually active teenagers reading this, here’s my top 5 tips for less slobber and more fun:

–  Figure out your own body first. I made the mistake of thinking that nontrans boys were going to show me how to experience deliciousness in my own body. I didn’t orgasm until I was 23 – after many years of having sex.  I thought there was something wrong with me, that I’d been broken  when I’d been sexually assaulted as a teenager. It turns out, other than healing from the assault, I just needed to experiment and figure out what my body likes. Now it’s way easy for me to orgasm. Oh and orgasm isn’t necessarily even the best thing about sex – it’s but one of the many delights. So don’t stress out if you’re not coming. If you’re playing with others, take the pressure off by saying you wanna mess around without coming. And it’s perfectly ok to stick with just playing with yourself until you’re ready to play with others.

– Always ask the other person/ people if it’s ok to do something with/to them – which is called getting their consent. Never assume you have the right to touch someone or they have the right to do anything to you, even if you’re in a relationship, even if you’ve done it before with each other. You can ALWAYS saying “no” or “not yet” or “not like that”. There is no such thing as “leading someone on”. It doesn’t matter if you’re already naked or if you already told them today was gonna be the day. They shouldn’t assume that getting naked means you’re going to do anything.  Or that you can’t change your mind at any moment. You can play with ways of asking for consent or setting boundaries in ways that sound hot too. Practice your consent talk with your pillow or your friends. “You’re so yummy. Can I kiss you now?” “Can I touch you here now?” And remember that there are lots of reasons why someone might not feel comfortable to say “no” or “not yet”, so pay attention to their body language, ask them in several different ways, reassure them that it’s ok to say “no”, and consider taking things really slow.

– Don’t get fixated on sticking the hot dog in the bun. There is a smorgasbord of fun things to do. Talk with your friends or adults who you trust to not freak out or be creepy about it. Or make secret missions if you have to, to find information about your body and different sexy ideas.

– Experiment with what words feel good to describe your body. Don’t worry about what others think your body parts should be called -it’s YOUR body. You get to decide. For example, what some would mistake for my clitoris, I call my penis, dick or cock. Beneathe that is my inny bit or boy hole. Just tell others upfront, “Hey, I like to call this my ____. What about you?” Don’t assume it’s only trans* people who have preferences for particular words- ask all those you’re intimate with-everyone has words that feel hotter to them. These things are good to talk about BEFORE you get it on, but you can always mention it midway through too. Like if someone forgets I just gently say, “it’s really hot when you call this my ____.”

– Just because you do or don’t like something with one person, doesn’t mean you will or won’t like it with others.

– If the first time making out or being sexual with a new person doesn’t go so well (too much slobber, too fast, too slow, not enough kissing, they’re not touching you in the right spot, you can’t figure out what they like etc), it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed! If you like them a bunch and want to keep giving it a go, you can transform almost any situation with honest communication, intentional experimenting, or showing them how you like it (seriously, it can be really hot to guide someone’s hand or touch yourself in front of them, with their consent).

—-

[1] name changed to keep his pashing pride in tact

[2] When I came out as trans* I I had to go back and update all my stories about what my earliest queer experiences were. Like the time I had to revise who I’d “done it” with once I got acquainted with queer women’s and trans* definitions of sex.

[3] As many trans* people know, socialization is a complex beast – the world can’t just force you to be a certain way, people have a say in how they internalize messages about gender and other stuff. Like I always remember listening to what the teachers were saying the boys should be doing.

Some other popular blog articles:

Racism is to White People, as Wind is to the Sky

Femme Ally Conversation Starter

Boy Tits in the Locker-room

the Boy Tit Finale Summer Collection

2 articles on sobriety: Wet >< Dry and The Brandy is Just for the Zit in My Throat

Like Sunny Drake on facebook, follow on Twitter or instagram, connect on Linkedin

Check out video, photos, theatre shows and workshops on Sunny’s website