Austen Crowder

Open thread: positive trans blogs

Filed By Austen Crowder | May 27, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: day in the life, humorous blog post, positive, trans, transgender

I'll be honest: sometimes, I need to see proof that others are being successful in transition. I need to see people happy, talking about their lives in their chosen gender, sharing stories. (Yes, I focus on the trans female spectrum, but hey. My form of entertainment is my own.) Frankly, while blogs by trans folk just sharing what they like are pretty awesome, nothing beats a great YouTube account to make the day a little brighter. Here are a few accounts I follow that have good humor, a lighthearted attitude, and some great quotables:

Red is Dead

She's hit or miss for me, but her stand-up is pretty awesome. This routine was featured in the Tranny Roadshow that toured the country a few weeks ago. The gorilla suit joke kept me giggling all day, and as the jokes unfolded I found myself saying "right on!" over and over again.

Grishno


(warning: foul language)

I love this girl. I mean, I really, really love this girl. She's one of the first things I share with my friends on youtube: not because she's trans, but because her rants are simply hilarious. My roommate and I quote this bathroom rant to each other when we walk out of nasty women's restrooms, and it never, ever gets old.

Debutante Brawl


(Warning: sex talk, surgery talk, and... um... really classy vibrators)

She's a freelancer, which is cool enough. But she's also a derby girl in training, and has taken the time to document her post-GRS experiences, which send the cool factor through the roof. I just love the optimism that's in her videos, and the childish wonder that twinkles in her voice while she talks about her life. For her, it seems that transition is Just Another Thing, and she approaches the subject with a light heart. Her account is also pretty darn classy, in that sex- and trans-positive way.

Share your favorite trans-positive blogs and accounts in the comments. I'm fully aware that my selection isn't that diverse and would love to have some new places to find pick-me-ups.


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While I like the performance piece...
*spew beginning*
...all the other stuff just reeks of queer chic. The "if you want to be a hip queer person" you have to be into this shit. You HAVE to be sex positive, you HAVE to love sex toys, be vaguely poly and idolize sexworkers. You have to think every transmasculine person is the hottest thing since sliced bread.

And the only way you can be considered "real" is if you buy into this culture.

Same clothes, same music, same computer activities, same web sites, same references... blah, blah. It's dreary. I'm sick of it already.

*spew over*

Seriously Austen, cultural hegemony doesn't equal happiness.

You're right. That's why I asked for more accounts, blogs, and ideas. :D

I am fully aware that my videos here aren't exactly heterogeneous, and I'd like someone to point out some more interesting materials. Please, bring out your favorites.

I thought about this a bit more after I posted that comment. (I'm a tech writer by trade, and had lots of time to think while editing a test outline.) I didn't exactly cover what I needed to cover in that comment above.

Cultural Hegemony doesn't equal happiness. Noted and granted. And yes, my tastes in blogging do lean a little hipster. I didn't post these videos for some sort of social commentary, however; I posted these videos because I laughed when I saw them, without really putting much thought into the monocultural statement I'd be making with my choices here. I saw funny things, I shared funny things.

That being said, what makes you happy? If you share them here, then we both win: I get more fun things to watch/digest, and you get to share a different perspective that I obviously didn't hit upon here. I've seen you around these comment threads a lot, and I respect your opinion quite a bit. Please educate me.

My friend saw this article and told me about it.

Ouch! Way to hate, Gina. And thank you for judging me without knowing anything about me. Just so you know, I'm not in the slightest poly, I don't have some unnatural love of sex toys, I certainly don't idolize sex workers, while I don't condemn them.

And are you really slamming on people for what they choose to wear, listen to and do in their spare time. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts you have absolutely no more an idea of what my life is about than I do of yours.

Should I apologize for being white, living in LA and being happy more than half of the time?

You can think what you want and I'm certainly guilty of reacting too strongly to internet comments, but it's just so silly that you would attack Grishno, Austen and me cuz we hit some unfounded perceived stereotypical pet peeves of yours.

The discussion of this stuff interests me. People should be true to themselves. But not if your side is based on your intolerance for characteristics you just don't like.

FurryCatHerder | July 28, 2010 9:31 PM

I'm on LiveJournal with the same name.

Mostly I scream about energy and environmental issues these days.

The personal stuff tends to be "friends only", while the political / environmental issues are open to total strangers.

Neat videos! Liked the one before the jump. Not that I thought the others were culturally hegemonic or anything... just goofy people being goofy.

There's my blog.

I'm not sure that it's a trans-blog though. It's authored by a blogger who happens to be TS/IS, and so naturally has a lot of commentary on that.

But it doesn't dominate my life. I blogged before transition about "Software Development, Space, Politics, and Interesting URLs. And of course, Brains..."

I still do.

But you can add the science of sex and gender, and a good dose of TS, IS and GLB Human Rights now. The problems there are so often caused by the same bigotry, it's impossible to disentangle them.

http://zoe.brain.on.teh.net.au or http://aebrain.blogspot.com

I guess I'm a post-op success? Whatever, I'm more concerned about the paper I'm giving in July at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2010), and the one at the Artificial Life Conference (ALIFE-XII) the month after that. Oregon, here I come, then Denmark.

You're welcome to check out my blog... Ascension of Spirit

I don't really write much about trans subjects per se... nor will you find any queer chic there, or the usual transsexual angst... I'm just a middle-class homemaker with a pretty sweet life, who happens to also be in transition from M to F :)

Donna Lee | May 28, 2010 10:33 AM


I had my gender reassignment surgery 2-10-2001 and my life has been wonderful ever since. I am a sub teacher, a retired federal civilian worker and a very OUT member of my local Democrat party. Life is Oh So Good!!!!!! And I have a wonderful partner also who totally respects me for who I am.

I can't take most youtube video blogs.
But for written blogs, I like these 2...

Excellent media analysis: http://skipthemakeup.blogspot.com

A very thorough historical blog: http://zagria.blogspot.com

There's my blog. The difficult stuff is all in old entries. Even then, it was a mostly positive blog, because I'm a mostly positive person. :)

I'll look around for more.

Hi Austen!

My friend was all "you're vlog is in an article!" And I was like, "whoa!" And she was like, "yeah!" And I was like, "show me!", and she was like, "ok!" True story.

I'm glad you like the vids. Kinda honoured. Thanks! I sorta can't believe anyone watches em, I'm such a rambler. I really just started doing them as a way to get out there pre-transition and it sorta became a nice way to meet people with similar experiences. I guess lately it's become a habit. Dunno. People seem to like watching them, so why not, right?

I like Grishno, too. She's a sweet girl. You have such great taste! ;)

I found your videos through a friend, and watched many of your GRS reports because I'm planning on surgery with McGinn. Very, _very_ informative. If nothing else, know that you helped one girl make an important decision. True story. :)

I write for Bilerico for much the same reason you've been doing the youtube channel - it's a great way to meet like-minded people, network, and generally feel less alone in my experience.

Oh, awesome! Dr. McGinn is rad!

I really had to feel comfortable with whomever I chose and after my phone consult I knew she was the lady to rock out my bits'n'pieces.

I know that set of vids is hella long, one for every day after surgery for two months, but I really felt confused about the time-table of things beforehand. I wanted to get an idea of the day to day of recovery in more than a written account. Making it a video diary felt like it would give a much greater sense of mobility, with-it-ness, and general mental/physical state through the progression. The only problem is it adds up to hours and hours of footage to get through. All the same, I think I probably would have watched them all myself beforehand if such existed. But then, I was super ravenous for info at the time.

I don't want to push Dr. McGinn on anyone. Picking a surgeon is a very personal thing. You're trusting so much to them. It was a hella long process for me. But I can convey what a great experience I had. The chick's rad. I mean, she's trans, beautiful and was in frickin' NASA!!!

Can I tell you I've never actually heard of bilerico. I don't know if that's embarrassing or not, but I don't really have tons of involvement in the community outside of YouTube. But my friend referred to y'all as huge. Pretty rad.

If I may ignore the fact that you listed me in you article, I really appreciate the fact that you are highlighting positive people. That's something I feel is really important. For so long it felt like the only transgirls out there were miserable.

To be honest, that is a huge part of why I am still making videos. I don't mean to come off as arrogant or anything in saying this, but I'm aware that I lead a pretty happy life. Work pisses me off sometimes, but I'm really lucky to have found a career that fits me and that I've thrived in. I love my friends and family and have had almost nothing but good experiences throughout my transition. I know this is a little charmed and super lucky. But I feel it's kind of important to let people know that you can make it through this huge life change and come out the other side a boring, happy person.

Anyways, sorry for the insanely long response. I'm kinda procrastinating at work right now. After Effects can wait!!!

So, keep up the good work! Don't let the man get you down! Jam out with your clam out! ;)

Snap, sorry. I prolly oughtahave found a way to email this. Kinda long-winded. Take 'er easy.

You can contact me at austen@bilerico.com, if you're interested. I'd love to chat further.

Thank you so much Cait for mentioning my media/culture blog "skip the makeup". I hope it's entertaining, but it is mean-spirited, and all the negativity a trans-hag like me can conjure up. I totally agree with you about Zagria's wonderful blog. It's an incredible resource of trans history and she never fails to come up with people even a trivia-obsessive such as I have never heard of. A real treasure.

For Austen's craving for unadulterated sunshine and sweetness, I suggest the YouTube videos of Les and Leith, a trans couple whose loviness and humor confirm: a) there are some adorable trans people out there; b) you can find a wonderful partner after you transition; c) you don't need to end up a bitter old hag such as I. They use the term "tranny" more than I would like, but their smug oogy-woogy cuteness seems to evaporate all pretensions to serious gender or identity politics. A sample:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YhrQIukOZg&feature=channel

You realize that second paragraph had, like, ten things that made me giggle and squeal, right? :D

Related to the "trivia and history" thing, I've started "How Sex Changed: a history of transsexuality in the United States." It's a great piece, and it's been a blast to read. (For example, did you know the namesake of Science Fiction's illustrious "Hugo" award ran a pulp magazine called "Sexology," in which US readers were first inundated with stories of sex-change practices?)

I've added your blog to my RSS feed. Thanks!

How Sex Changed is one of the best books on any trans subject, and I would highly recommend Joanne Myerowitz's work to anyone interested in gender studies or trans activism. She has a very interesting discussion of the brief "liberal moment" when gender clinics opened in many universities (albeit with some pretty oppressive criteria for participating in them) contrasted by the "McHugh" era when so many were closed down.

No problem, thanks for writing it! I've only been reading for 2 months now, but it's been fabulously refreshing.
I appreciate the thoroughness of the posts, too. Far too often blogs end up like a tumblr feed.

susan lim | May 29, 2010 2:34 PM

Hi! Can you recommend any positive trans bloggers of color?