Recent posts

Reflections On Coming Out

October 11th was National Coming Out Day, which was established after the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This celebration of identity is intended to promote equality, safety, and tolerance for all, regardless of sexual identity. People’s willingness to share their coming-out stories is a significant part of this movement. As someone who studies storytelling, I can tell you that stories are a powerful expression of the cultural and individual aspects of our identities. It makes sense that collecting coming-out stories would yield a great many insights about the commonalities of both oppression and acceptance. Continue Reading →

We Don’t Care Who’s On Top in New Zealand

I recently came across a marriage billboard that is currently in New Zealand, and really enjoyed it so I thought I’d share it here. The website I found it on (Pundit Kitchen) says that it is considered controversial there. Regardless, I think it is a well done ad, although one of the posters has already been torn down. The billboard reminds me of when a friend of mine got married (she identifies as female and got married to another woman), and countless people asked me who the bride was. They were both brides and if you’re wondering, yes, they both wore wedding dresses (and looked beautiful). Continue Reading →

Trans Info For Medical Providers

I have several friends who are medical professionals, as well as a few friends who work as patient instructors. They teach nursing, nurse practitioner, and medical students how to give medical exams by playing the role of a patient. For three of my friends this means that they may get multiple pelvic exams in one evening so that the students learn how to do an exam as well as how to act. Bedside manner is important, after all. Running across information on a new site called TransLine was interesting, and I sent a link to several of my medical professional friends. Continue Reading →

Malaysia Training Teachers To Spot Gay Children

According to the Jakarta Globe, the Malaysian government has started training teachers and parents to spot early signs of homosexuality in children. The consequences of being spotted or outed are are not clear in the article, but adult men and women can be prosecuted for engaging in homosexual acts, or even oral sex. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Voting While Trans

According to a study from UCLA, up to 25,000 transpeople could lose their right to vote this year due to stricter voter ID laws. Find a discussion of the issue and links to resources here. Basically, be informed about the voting rights in your state, keep records, and take advantage of resources compiled by activists and advocates. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Use Your iPhone To Find Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

I’ve had an Android for most of this year, and I absolutely love finding new apps for it (I wrote about one to help with PTSD, but I also love Priceline’s Negotiator and Craig’s List). I love that I can use my phone to look at penguins being fed at the California Academy of Sciences (it’s called Pocket Penguins, in case you need a daily dose of adorable) as well as do practical things like refill medications. So, when I heard about an app that helps with seeking out gender neutral bathrooms, I was naturally interested. Despite the fact that I come from a tech-literate family and I’ve always had a computer, I am still frequently impressed by technology and this app is no exception. TransSquat is currently only available for iPhones (it’s $2.99), and uses GPS to find gender neutral bathrooms. Users can also add gender neutral bathrooms so other users can find them. Continue Reading →

Limits of the English Language – Revisited

Our most recent theme week, Sex and Language, has prompted me to revisit a topic that I blogged about a while back: the use of language when describing a significant other. At the time, I was struggling with what I should call my Sig O. Since my partner (yes, I’ve settled on that word) is transgender, I was bouncing between boyfriend and partner. “Boyfriend,” on the one hand, led everyone to assume heterosexuality, while “partner” made me sound like an old lesbian (no offense whatsoever to that crowd, I’m just not quite there yet). This of course brings up the question of whether or not I actually care what people think of me. When I use boyfriend and people assume I’m straight, should that bother me? Continue Reading →

Polari: Gay Slang of the 60s

Though it sounds like a term straight out of Twilight, Polari is actually a 50 yea- old queer slang language. Used among gay men in the UK, Polari (often seen as Palare, as the word comes from the Italian “parlare,” or “to speak”) was born out of necessity; gay men in the 1960s needed a certain level of privacy, and thus a secret slang language was born. According to the few sources I was able to find, Polari is a mix of several different languages and slang dialects, including English, Italian, Yiddish, circus-slang, and Gypsy languages. Polari was made up of a small lexicon of only about 20 words, but was ever-changing and often included up to 500 words. This website has a lot of Polari words and their modern translations, but I’ve picked out a few of my favorites to share with you here:

plate                   feet; to fellate

onk                     nose

oglefakes           glasses   (definitely going to use this one)

meshigener       nutty, crazy, mental (ah, there’s the Yiddish I recognize!)

cottaging           having or looking for sex in a cottage

cottage              public loo (particularly with reference to cottaging)

basket               the bulge of male genitals through clothes

chicken            young boy

So, MSP readers, if you catch me throwing in a few Polari words into my posts here and there, you’ll know where they come from! Continue Reading →

“You’ve Got She-Mail”: The Use of Gendered Pronouns on RuPaul’s Drag Race

Okay, so I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I just started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. I had heard of the show before, but it wasn’t until I started watching some reruns at a friend’s house that I realized how much I’d been missing out. The show is, in a word, fabulous. From RuPaul’s ever-changing wardrobe to the weekly “She-Mail” messages, the show is like a bad car crash- you just can’t stop watching. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of dramatic divas compete for the title of #1 Drag Queen? Continue Reading →

Queering Jewish Traditions

Though I’ve become far less spiritual in the past several years, my Jewish cultural identity is still a huge part of my life. I treasure all of the holidays- for the food, the family, and the inevitable craziness that comes with all of the above. However, I have struggled to find my place in the Jewish community as a queer individual. My family and the Jewish community I surround myself with are extremely supportive of me, but the “laws” don’t always agree. In fact, the synagogue that I attended all throughout my childhood (I even had my bat mitzvah there) does not perform same-sex marriage. Continue Reading →