Thursday, March 25, 2010

Symposium Blues

Two years ago Cameron and I attended the Bodies of Knowledge Symposium hosted at USC Upstate. It was a transformative experience for both of us. We met new friends who have become very dear over the subsequent two years. We shared a meal at the same table as Helen Boyd, the author of MY HUSBAND, BETTY and SHE’S NOT THE MAN I MARRIED. (She’s the only person who has ever noted the matching rings Cameron and I wear.) Cameron and I had just begun exploring gender and her transgendered diagnosis. Unfortunately, we could not attend last year. The organizer had mentioned it would be more of an opportunity for students to present papers and she wasn’t arranging it on such a high level while finishing her quest for tenure. As a result of such a positive first experience, I had high hopes for this symposium, especially considering the guest speaker, Bear Bergman, author of BUTCH IS A NOUN and THE NEAREST EXIT MAY BE BEHIND YOU.

I was deeply disappointed. Perhaps because music has become so interwoven in Queer/GLBT issues, a transman rap performer was invited, which was excellent. The DJ and constant bombardment of ‘90s music was not so excellent. In fact, for my hearing impaired wife, it was torturous. Her hearing aids do not discern conversation from music under such circumstances, which reduced her to smiling and feeling rather foolish. I was not doing much better as I fail to hear the space between the words in loud music and end up hearing a blur of loud sound that I cannot parse. A couple of requests for reduced volume were entirely ignored.

An incident occuring there was incredibly jarring for me. I came to realize that transmen were accorded great respect and perceived of as sexy and hot. The transwoman present got a very cool reception and the constant bombardment of the same question, “No, really, what is your name?”

Bear writes of the problem in THE NEAREST EXIT MAY BE BEHIND YOU. Apparently heteronormative folks have no qualms in asking very personal, very intimate questions of transpeople, expecting answers simply because they curious. Indeed, Heteronormative people seem to project an attitude of entitlement to answers, and an expectation that the transperson should be happy to comply, even though they would never answer such intimate questions themselves. Moreover, there seems to be an innate drive to “peak under the napkin” to see what genitalia the person “really” has and a drive to know their “real” name. The heteronormative paradigm simply does not have space for difference or other.

So I pose this question. Suppose I put on a plaid shirt and baggy jeans, leaving my purse at home and put my wallet in my back pocket. And suppose I had neatly printed “George” on my name tag. I wonder what might have happened? I’m not a slender twenty something with long black hair to belie the masculine dress and presentation. I would simply be one more transperson whose body will never conform to societal expectations of the gender role I would be assuming. And because I’m older, obviously female in body build, would that room full of people insisted on reading my name tag as “Georgia” instead?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Go Team!

The challenge: Capture the team spirit that my daughter embodies. Please create a tiger paw necklace using orange, purple and white. My sixteen-year-old daughter loves the design and wear anything thematic.

The answer: rich purple glass beads and seed beads compliment this custom polymer clay pendant and matching purple, orange and white beads. Finished with an extension chain and a tiny star.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

My Friend's Son

Because every necklace has a story...

I adore commission work. It didn't take long for friends, family and coworkers to begin buying necklaces for their loved ones, for secret Santa, or for themselves. But this story probably touches me the deepest.

I have a friend who made hard but wise decisions many years ago. Despite the pain in her heart, she has been separated from her son for a great many years. Now an adult, they recently established contact. Viewing his picture on Facebook, she saw that he wears "guy jewelry" and commissioned this piece. She envision black and silver, giving me creative license to interpret it my way.

This is the result.

Stained Glass Murano Heart

Because every necklace has a story…

Many years ago, I minored in Art History. I loved studying the Gothic period with its marvelous cathedrals and stained glass windows. When I happened upon this heart, echoes of that rich glass letting in the light of heaven compelled me to obtain it. Now I invite you to share that rich spiritual light that fills the heart.

Swirls of gold and silver foil compliment the swirls of red and purple in this stunning necklace. I have added Swarovski crystals and lampwork beads, as well as other elegant glass beads to compliment this heart. The silver seed beads create an illusion of a silver chain without the weight and will never tarnish.

Necklace is 20 inches long and the heart with bale is approximately 1 5/8 inches.

Featured at: Designs by Dreamweaver: Hand Beaded Art