Monday, September 16, 2013

September book of the month; Trans Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships beyond the Gender Binary

Reviewed by Sabrina Samone

Lately, for many recent personal reasons, this book caught my attention. As transgender people, we are the first to know and to understand that gender does not equal sexuality. Even I, as a young trans-woman that was only exposed to a typical trans-heterosexual relationship with a Cis-gender person was a little taken aback at first to the variations of partnering that goes on in the Trans community. Even as a member of the transgender community, I had to educate myself about the various sexual orientations.

Transgender deals only with gender and within that group that makes up maybe 3% of the world’s population, within us is the entire spectrum of sexuality and sexual orientations. I have never came across a book that touched on this subject and dared tried to explore the various avenues for sexuality that are truly unique to the trans community. It’s possible to say it s one of the many special gifts unique to transgender people, because sexuality, in a transgender world, can be explored in as many ways known to man and few that are unique to only us.

Trans-Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships beyond the Gender Binary, is a collection from editor Morty Diamond. An intense personal and sexy that is far more than just about sex. It explores the many ways of navigating the love and self across the gender spectrum. With contributions from filmmaker Silas Howard, writer Max Valerio, author and performer Julia Seramo, author Sassafras Lowery, activist Bryn Kelly, Sister Spit’s Cooper Lee Bombardier and musician Shawna Virago.

“This is where sex and gender collide; they ricochet like fragments of heart rending shrapnel. Rarely has a book about lust been full of so much love, conflict, and intelligence.  If you think you already know what’s in these stories, or you think you don’t need to know, you’re wrong,” said Patrick Califa, author of Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism.

Exploring the crossroads of gender and sexuality, Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships beyond the Gender Binary offers unusually engaging narratives that create a raw and honest depiction of dating, sex, love, and relationships among members of the gender variant community. FTM, MTF, third gender, gender queer, and other non-traditional identities beyond the gender binary of traditional male and female are included in this often heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking, always heartfelt groundbreaking anthology. From monogamous love and marriage to anonymous sex and one-night hook-ups (and everything in between), these stories offer readers insight into the precarious emotional and practical mechanics of intimacy among gender-variant experiences.

Within the 155 pages is an interesting mix of essays by people who push gender boundaries.  It’s frank, funny, tender, vulnerable, tough, fierce and heartwarming. This book  debunks the myth that a transgender person’s sexual partners is limited but proves the contrary that we may in fact have the most options of any gender or sexual orientation.  It is a Celebration of the fact that indeed we are the best of both worlds.

If you think you have read all there is to cover the Transgender experience this book will live you feeling you just began to understand what it can truly mean to be Transgender. It does truly laugh out loud funny, you will drop this book to scream laughing and call a friend to tell them what you’ve just read. It’s dead on, each story you may be able to relate or know a friend or a social network friend that is Trans that is going through something similar. Transmuseplanet highly recommends this to all in the community our admirers and Cis-genders seeking or in relationships with someone Transgender.
Below you can click the names of few of the various artist to watch you tube video of them reading their contributions in the book

Morty Diamond

Ashley Altadonna

Cooper Lee Bombardier


August book of the month: An Awaited Reckoning; the Solstice Moon Series

July book of the month: The Lady Chablis; Hiding My Candy 

 June Book of the Month; Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out 
May’s book of the month; I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman

Friday, September 13, 2013

Russian Anti-gay Propaganda law behavior now here at Charleston Southern University

Sabrina Samone, TMP

Like in the days of the Nazis, when a country is free to single out a group of individuals it deems undesirable, we have proof the consequences can be catastrophic…or have we?  Little is being done by western leaders over the crimes against humanity taking place in Russia and other countries that are openly persecuting LGBT persons.  According to Andy Humm; anchor of Free Speech TV Gay News show, Congressman Gregory Meeks recently admitted to a new Russian Caucus in DC to address Russian issues, the genocide of LGBT people was said to only be on the new caucus’s “radar”.

One hundred and three right wing republican groups have signed a letter of support to Russian Leaders for their new anti-gay propaganda laws, leading me to believe that this would be favored in the USA if Republicans ever gained total control of the White House. A few of the Right Wing groups that would like to openly persecute LGBT people here is the states are; The American Family Association, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Mission America, Real Women of Canada and the World Congress of Families, all who have signed their support of the anti-gay laws in Russia.

If you doubt LGBT Americans are not being affected yet by the desire to do as our comrades in Russia are doing to LGBT people, think again. Charleston Southern University, a four year Baptist university just down the street from me here in North Charleston South Carolina, USA,  has a major expansion under way and part of that expansion is, according to them; redefining our core values, translation;attack the gays.

According to WCBD Counton2 news, Stephen Lovegrove an openly gay student in his junior year of college has been fired as a resident assistant and has had his scholarship to the University taken away for posting the live performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Same love performance on his facebook page.

Because Lovegrove wanted to publicly post his religious beliefs and his pride in who he is, a gay man on his facebook page, the Baptist University has hindered his educational pursuit.  News 2 talked to Dr. Rick Brewer, the dean of student affairs at the school and asked about the conversation with Lovegrove. The Dean responded, “These are personnel issues that couldn’t be discussed.” Stephen Lovegrove has opted not to return this fall to CSU out of fear of LGBT persecution.

While we as American LGBT people focus our attention signing petitions in support of boycotts against the Russian Olympics, posting videos of murdered LGBT youth on your face book pages, remember that Big Comrade brother is here is the USA now, watching LGBT youth at many Southern Colleges and doing the same as Putin, only no one is watching.

It’s time to focus the attention of right winger’s attempts to do the same here in the states, it’s no longer would they do something similar here in the states, cause they already are, but how far will they try to take the same hate we have unfortunately been witnessed to in Russia.

According to Ryan C. Wilson of SC Equality, "The SC GSA Network has reached out to this student and has been offering him assistance and support."


                                                 Related Topics on Transmuseplanet

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trans* Faces #3: Veri Unique; she came..she her own unique way.

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

One of the new faces of the Transgender Advocacy scene in the Carolina's is Veri Unique. An accomplished woman to say the least, who is spearheading The Veri Unique Foundation; the Carolina's newest Trans Advocacy group that is designed to bring awareness to individuals of the Transgender Community and particularly the often neglected, Transgender minorities. One of the foundation's first main focuses is towards Transgender Youth of the Carolina's and is currently seeking input and assistance from the community. Along with guiding the often confused Trans-youth of small towns throughout the Carolina's, the foundation aims to be an asset to many Transgender people redefining themselves through education and job placement.

Veri Unigue is a Military hero, serving her country proudly before transitioning, an advocate for education, a Finance broker, small business owner and currently pursuing her Masters Degree. One of many, of her goals, is to bridge the gap between Transgender people of color and the greater LGBT community and to help minority LGBT persons to debunk long standing southern stereotypes. She is also much more; a bridge from the days when many TBGL people felt left out of Christianity to be a role model to those with in the community who continue to hold on to their faith and moral beliefs and a role model to minority Trans-youth.

I first met Veri Unique online. She is also a member of the TMP family as administrator of the Facebook community page . I wanted to have a moment to get to know her better and to introduce her to the Transmuseplanet blog readers, the community and to share her much needed message of unity and support for minority Trans-youth. What I found was an intelligent sister who is not only articulate and educated but who has a strong belief in helping her community and passing it forward to the youth of the future.

TMP: You’re a fellow South Carolinian sisters, but in different areas, one that is not always viewed as the most accepting in South Carolina. What is your opinion on the level of recognition in the state capital area concerning trans-women of color and the level of support from fellow LGB people?

Veri: Honestly, I feel the level of recognition of minority trans-women in the state capital area is extremely low and represented in a darker light than non-minorities. That is to no fault of the area, but more so to the high percentage of minority trans-women who fluctuate to the entertainment and prostitution lifestyles rather than self, entry-level, and higher education. There is no way around it, education, trades/skills, and normal lifestyles all tend to give the general public a better view of trans-women (especially minorities). I just see more Craigslist ads for minority trans-women than I do working regular jobs, in the library, grocery store, etc. Now I’m aware not every has a great support system in life or was nurtured around education, hard work, and professionalism. But we live in a country that education isn’t denied to anyone. Loans for college don’t deny because you’re transgender, or not every single employer in the world will shut its doors. If we live in a country where slaves and their descendants can arise, establish HBCUs, function in politics, and risk being killed for reading a book, then I won’t buy any long term excuses for anyone not taking advantage of all that’s out there.

TMP: You created The Veri Unique Foundation this year. What are the reasons you wanted to start this organization and some of the goals you hope to achieve through it?

Veri: a) The main reason was for the epidemic I mentioned before. I want to use my networking ability to create Awareness & Advocacy. Awareness that there are minority trans-women who are successful, professional, educated, and spiritual. This first angle will debunk many of the stereotypes the public has of minority trans-women.
  b)The second is Advocacy. The advocacy portion will include creating a network of trans-friendly employers and education institutions. It is my belief that through these two strong avenues. (Education and Employment), we can see a gradual decrease in the sex ads, pornography careers, etc. For instance, if a trans-women approaches me and has a desire to get a G.E.D., go to Cosmo school, or earn a bachelor’s, I want to have a binder full of numbers (lol Romney) to make a phone call and send that person to a contact who will assist them without any hassle.
  c) Lastly, I just want to build a network of young minority trans-women locally and eventually nationally. I just notice that most (not all) trans-women I’ve encountered are middle-aged and not a minority. They have lived as their birth gender for 35+ years at beginning their transition. Let’s take a few moments to do some math: Let’s say the average annual income of a non-minority male is only $20,000 per year. They started working somewhere between age 18-22. Now at the ripe age of 40 they decided, oh I’ve really been a girl my entire life. That male now transwoman has had the opportunity to enjoy non-minority male privileges in society (which comes with inalienable perks that a minority male may have to work 3 times as hard to even come close to) not to mentioned having possibly earned anywhere from $360,000 - $440,000 gross income, built a 401k, Health Savings Account, etc. VS. a 18 y/o minority trans-girl with no family support, kicked out, and haven’t had the mentality to pursue an education. Now I’m not saying all scenarios are like this but I’m willing to bet 80-90% are.

TMP: What message would you give other Trans-people of color about getting involved more with organizing and raising awareness of the violence that has plague so many Trans-women of color?

Veri: That message would be simple. Understand the avenues that facilitate violence and move in an opposite direction. 9 out of 10 of the violent crimes we see committed deal with intimate encounters where the person was not upfront about their biological situation. We don’t owe an upfront explanation to the world, but we do to anyone we are considering being intimate with. Now there are scenarios like the recent one in N.Y. with Islan, but that was more of an isolated even. I focus more on the major issues to solve. May she rest in peace too.

TMP: How has transition been accepted within your immediate African-American community?

Veri: 5% supportive/understanding. 95% unsupported/not understanding. And I’m ok with those numbers. I don’t have time to spend with 95% of people who never really knew me to begin with. 99.9% percent of them all don’t pay my bills anyway.

TMP: What are ways you think we can, as Trans-women of color, raise the bar for our younger sisters and brothers in the state of South Carolina?

Veri: A great idea would be to start a focus of Minority Trans-Youth here in SC. They will need role models just like everyone else. All they would need is to just see someone like them and realize who they are. Most of them feel some kind of way but just don’t have a name for it. I spoke with one of my close sisters yesterday. She indicated she felt this way since childhood, but didn’t discover a name for it until almost 18. Imagine the mental anguish. Let’s you and I put a ball in motion.

TMP: Recent events in the media have focused attention to Transgender Military personnel. As a military veteran, what are your views as to why this ban should be lifted?

Veri: That a simple answer. If the job can get done, who should care who does it?

TMP: Many within the Trans community are divided between accepting Chelsea Manning as a legitimate transgender person and divided over whether or not she is a traitor or a hero. As an actual military hero what are your views on the Chelsea Manning media blitz?

Veri: I haven’t really followed the case much, I’ve read a few articles weeks ago. I can speak from personal and very recent experience, that sometime we can experience things that make us go forth with who were really are. Almost kinda like “I don’t give a darn” about hiding and people’s perception. That’s what led me to live full time after only being on HRT for 6 months. Now in her case, I don’t really know. I take 6 months to mind my own business and 6 months to stay out of everyone else’s. It keeps me pretty busy year-round.

TMP: You are currently pursuing your Masters Degree. You will be attending as your authentic self; how rewarding is that for you and how as a community can we encourage younger trans-people to stick it out and continue their education?

Veri: It is rewarding for me. First because I’m pursuing an expertise in a field that matches my personality, second because I’m quite quite sure I’m the first Minority Transwoman they have encountered. I consider it an honor to show society a young black woman who is pursuing what they are, talented, articulate, and beautiful inside and out. And hopefully when I’ve walked across that stage and handed my second degree, they will smile, nod, and acknowledge that this day a transwoman of color has seen, came, and conquered.

TMP: What words of advice would you give to young trans-women of color about achieving their goals and not seeing themselves as limited by their gender dysphoria?

Veri: Put your assurance in your personality, character, spirituality if you choose, and your education. Because once you are rooted in yourself, you are better equipped to handle the stares, remarks, and discrimination. That’s the main reason I decided to live now instead of later. I told myself, if I can live full time now without all the physical changes yet taken place and get comfy with who I am, then I can comfy once I’m stacked with hips, lips, and fingertips.
TMP: If you had one chance to tell the world and knew everyone would hear you at once, what would you like them to know about Veri Veri Unique?

Veri: I’ll be honest, I’ve always told God if He ever allowed me a public stage I could only give Him the glory. You may not like church but cha gotta love Jesus. There are many names for God, but Jesus Christ has proven Himself to me beyond a shadow of a doubt. I know for certain I would not be here without me loving me and Him loving me. You may be Atheist, and by all means you reserve that right. I respect you and your views, but as my favorite book says in Joshua 24:15. “As for me and my house…” you know the rest. Toodles.

I met and found a  sister who is both outspoken and a true born leader. I'd urge the community to stand behind her and with her to make the goal of helping our youth possible in the Carolinas.

To lend your support and be apart of the Veri Unique Foundation or to learn more about their mission, follow links below:

The Veri Unique Foundation Group

The LBA Group LLC ; Business by Veri Unique


                                       RELATED TOPICS ON TRANSMUSEPLANET

Trans* Faces #2: Ryan Cassata: One World...One Love...One Community 

 Trans* Faces #1: A chat with Lyle G. of Munich Germany


Monday, September 2, 2013

South Carolina’s Defense of Marriage Law Challenged

Sabrina Samone, TMP

Long before the Supreme Court struck down D.O.M.A, South Carolina’s House of Representatives approved the S.C. Defense of Marriage Law in 1996 with an 82-0 vote. The Senate voted to approve it in a voice vote. Then Governor David Beasley signed it into law. It says, “A marriage between persons of the same sex is void ab initio (from the start) and against the public policy of this state”, according to a recent article in the Charlotte Observer.

Two S.C. women who were legally married in Washington, D.C., have filed a federal lawsuit in Columbia, challenging  S.C.’s  law and a 206 amendment to the state Constitution that expressly banned same-sex marriages, according to the State Newspaper reporter, who also appealed to that papers preferred readership of Tea Party Republicans by adding; ‘the lawsuit not only takes aim at  a state law and a constitutional amendment passed by ‘majorities’, but it squarely confronts a long standing and deep-rooted social, religious and political culture of a majority of South Carolinians who oppose gay rights, even as the idea of such rights gains increasing legitimacy elsewhere.’
 The Republican controlled State paper went on in detail to convince its readers that no one in the state of South Carolina supported marriage equality for all LGBT people which would imply, also, its hundreds of thousands of South Carolina LGBT population that along with travel to the state by members of the group has pumped billions into the state economy according to AFFA. It’s an expected game many progressives in this state anticipated; controlled propaganda.

“Although plaintiffs Bradacs and Goodwin were legally married in the District of Columbia on April 6, 2012…they are treated as legal strangers in their home state of South Carolina,” the lawsuit states. “This suit is really about equal treatment of all South Carolina citizens under the law,” said attorney John Nichols, who represents the plaintiffs.”We should value people who want to live in a committed relationship regardless of gender.”

According to an Aug. 2011 article in the Post and Courier, ‘Being gay in Charleston’, South Carolina is home to more than 117,000 openly and out gay, lesbian and bisexual people, almost 3 percent of the population according to a 2008 estimate by the Williams Institute at UCLA and that still might be under counted.

South Carolina LGBT had once settled to aim at lesser targets while other states sought marriage for its citizens. After DOMA it was apparent that each member of LGBT populations of each state, along with help from the ACLU, had to take matters into their own hands to fight for Marriage Equality. While major metros in South Carolina such as Charleston and Greenville enjoy a more liberal atmosphere than other parts of the state, it is those LGBT people in small S.C. towns that suffer the most discrimination; high unemployment, the highest suicide rates of any group in the state, high prostitution rates and drug addiction. Those are the products of South Carolina’s bigotry, the ruin of human lives.

Year after year the roar of S.C. LGBTQIA community’s cry for equality grows louder. No more will we wait to be handed crumbs. No longer will we wait to see a trans-woman of colors’ only career option be a showgirl or prostitute. No more will we be denied the right to secure the property and investment that marriage is. No more will we be denied less equality or settle to aim for lesser targets. No is no longer an option.


Please check out local state LGBT organizations to volunteer your voice to gain ‘your’ equality.


                           RELATED TOPICS ON TRANSMUSEPLANET

Roll Call: South Carolina LGBTQ…Please stand

South Carolina Equality announced the introduction of H.4025: “The Workplace Fairness Act” at a press conference at the State House

The College of Charleston to install gender neutral bathrooms for trans students