I’m Stephen Ira.  I’m an activist and a writer; I live in Yonkers, NY, where I’m a junior at Sarah Lawrence College.  We don’t do majors, but I study poetry, literature, queer studies, and critical theory.  I’m a gay trans man for whom both identities are equally important, a femme-inist, and a white person trying to do anti-racist work.  My poetry and fiction have been published in Spot Literary Magazine and 365 Tomorrows.  Right now, I have poems in St Sebastian Review, Specter Magazine, and forthcoming online as part of an anthology of trans and genderqueer poetry.  I have a short story in The Collection, an anthology of fiction by trans authors from Topside Press.  If you want, you can preorder it!  I’ve been a featured reader at the Velvet Guerilla Cabaret and the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival. I write for the online component of the trans male quarterly, Original Plumbing, mostly book reviews, and sometimes I contribute op-eds to LGBTQ Nation.

I have plans: overthrow oppressive forces, destroy rape culture, smash cissexism, demolish transphobia, rip apart ableism, fuck up whiteness and racism, stomp on sizeism, knit lace curtains.  I’m going to end cissexism.  This might take a minute.

The name of my blog refers to the Mattachine Society, a pre-Stonewall group of queer activists.

If you want, you can follow me on Twitter.

If you’re straight, you’re not the intended audience of this blog.  If you’re cis, you’re not the intended audience of most of this blog.  You’re more than welcome to read and to comment, but know that this is a blog by a queer and for queers.  If a post is directed at cis folks or straight folks, I’ll indicate that.

I try to make this blog safe and accessible for all readers, whatever their dis/ability may be and whether or not they are a trauma survivor.  Be aware that this blog is a potentially triggering space.  In case you missed it, here is my trigger warning policy.

Please know that I am not a Real Famous Person.  I don’t have an agent, a manager, or anything like that.  I am literally a twenty-year-old college student with a laptop and a (non-smart) cell phone that I can text Twitter from.  Every time a mainstream news publication publishes something with my name in it, it confuses me.  I’m not very good at the media and the media is not very good at me.

46 Responses to “About”


  1. 1 Hilary Grant November 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    You’re articulate, well read and passionate! Any reason why you don’t want to tell us your identity? Or, are you just waiting for a time that seems right? Just curious… :)

    • 2 Katie Guest November 18, 2011 at 7:04 am

      Hillary Grant, please stop being an idiot and do your research. You can easily find out who this articulate, well read and passionate person is if you can operate Google. Try it.

  2. 3 Mamo November 18, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Hi, My name is Mamo… I had a friend in my choir that wanted to be identified as a “girl”, so I took a course with the YES institute in Miami on gender, because in an all inclusive liberal church (Unity on the Bay) in Miami, I still had people raise their eyebrows… Could not believe that was possible, it was a very instructive course about gender… Hope all is well with you, ciao, Mamo

  3. 4 janice t November 18, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I would love to see you cover black transgender author Toni Newman who wrote memoir I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman. She is first black african american transgender to write memoir in USA. Her webpage is http://www.tonidnewman.com and her email is tonidnewman@aol.com

    You write well and speak the same language of toni newman.

    Her memoir talks about 25 years of transforming from male to female and surviving in America.

    Your support would be very cool.

  4. 5 Marty November 18, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Stephen Ira, you are brilliant! I came across your blog while researching some sites on gender identity. After reading the first sentence, I instinctively knew that I was getting an education at the same time.
    I appreciate your awareness and intelligence. Please continue writing and keeping the uninformed, informed.

    As a fore thought, would you ever consider writing a book? I would be first in line!

  5. 6 The Mamafesto November 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Stephen – if you have the opportunity and inclination, I would love to have you participate in a series I run on my blog: http://themamafesto.wordpress.com/this-is-what-a-feminist-looks-like/ It’s all about breaking down the stereotype of what a feminist supposedly “is” in order to help facilitate more dialogue in the hopes of keeping the movement more inclusive and forward moving. (my contact info is on the page I linked).

    • 7 Stephen November 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Hi! I’m a fan of your writing, and I’d be down to participate–I’m trying to avoid exposure in the mainstream media, but fellow bloggers is a different matter entirely. Feel free to reply to this comment telling me the best way to contact you so I can be a part of this project, because I’d love to.

  6. 8 Lisa November 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Hi. I enjoy reading your opinion pieces. I identify as a bi female and feel that loving is about loving the “person”. Male or female really doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been shocked over the years by how many people in the gay community believe that is some sort of a cop out. But that’s not why I’m writing. It’s about the Chaz thing… I’m a biological female and find lots of light chat and gossip exhausting to listen to and grating also. Whether it’s coming from a male or a female it annoys me and, while I certainly don’t begrudge anybody else the pleasure, I try to avoid it. I really don’t care what somebody ate for lunch or whether Ashton and Demi are divorcing, for instance.
    I think it’s just an issue of people with different personalities enjoying different communication styles. While my experience is that, as a whole, women are generally more “chatty”, its not just a girl thing. I think Chaz has been catapulted into the spot light because of who his mom is and he’s in the unenviable position of trying to find his place in the world in a very public way. He’s not perfect, but it seems to me that, give the amount of time he was able to survive on DWTS, despite questionable dancing ability, he’s helped to increase the level of public acceptance of trans society. Clearly there’s still a long way to go, but he put himself out there, warts and all, and I think that was a very brave thing to do.

  7. 9 marriedinthevegasstyle November 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Stephen has plans: overthrow oppressive forces, destroy rape culture, smash cissexism, demolish transphobia, fuck up whiteness and racism, knit lace curtains.

    I think I’m in love <3 too bad I'm a lady (bigender but still, more often lady)

  8. 10 Maryellen Stadtlander November 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I am sorry that I had never heard of yo until your comments about Chaz Bono. You are a very interesting person who can teach me lots. I like your perspective and feel enlightened. I will be following your words and thoughts going forward. Thank you.

  9. 11 bill November 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    hello. i enjoyed reading your blog. i made some graphics you might like. they’re yours if you like them. they’re here:

    best wishes on your site, and your poems.

    no need to post my comment.

  10. 13 Parker Austin November 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Hello Stephen,

    I’ve been working on a project that documents the lives of the LGBT community. I interview them about their life and how they felt. Then I create two photos the first one shows how they felt growing up and the second shows how they feel now. please check it out and let me know what you think.

    http://www.myacceptance.org/

  11. 16 elizabeth November 18, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Best blog ever

  12. 17 Frances November 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Stephen,

    I wandered to your website from a Huffington Post article. Now, I’m looking up definitions for many terms that are new to me (suburban-lawyer-mom). It is funny how themes of the various oppressive -isms are constant — define and control.

    I would like to end this comment with something that suggests support for you being you, but all I can think about is the knitted lace curtains you mentioned. Your own design or someone else’s?

    Take care,

    Fran

  13. 19 Nelda November 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Stephen, I’m a queer screenwriter living in New York. I just found your blog. I’m learning a lot from it. I wrote a screenplay where the lead is a male transgender who is dying of ovarian cancer. After reading your blog I feel like I still have a lot to learn and might need to rewrite my script a little. Thanks for the blog it has been really insightful!

  14. 20 Taylor November 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Not to be dense but I’m confused. If you’re a trans AND gay, does that mean you like (in the sexual sense) men or women?

    I’m guessing women, but only based on the feminist stance.

    Whatever your answer — I applaud your decision to live the way you want.

    • 21 dimovier November 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      He likes dudes. A gay trans guy is the same as any other gay guy: a guy who likes guys. A gay trans girl (who would probably use lesbian) likes girls.

  15. 22 Me November 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    You look so much like your aunt,Shirley MacLaine, when she was young. I wish you the best!

  16. 23 Kristen November 19, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I too was directed to this blog after reading about your supposed feud with Chaz. I’m a 44 year old single mom who returned to school a few years ago to build a better life. Its sad that we can’t live in a world where we all just strive to be happy and fulfilled.
    I’m so sorry you were outed by a tabloid. You’re absolutely right that it is nobody’s business unless you choose to share. You sound like a very smart and courageous young man. I look forward to reading your blog and learning from you.
    It is my hope that people will benefit from your experience and a time will come where this is not so difficult for the people going through it.

  17. 24 Rebecca November 20, 2011 at 2:48 am

    I really like the way you write. I’m glad to have found this blog. Keep up the good work!

  18. 25 Brody Levesque November 20, 2011 at 3:29 am

    WASHINGTON

    November 19th, 2011

    Mr. Stephen Ira
    Poet and Activist
    New York, New York

    Re: Your Op-ed regarding Mr. Bono.

    Dear Sir,

    That column was well constructed, argued precisely, and crafted in such a way that as a journalist, I felt deserved more coverage.

    As such, I have run it intact under your by-line on my personal blogsite, but would appreciate being given permission to run the column in LGBTQNation magazine.

    Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

    Sincerely,

    Brody Levesque
    Washington Bureau Chief
    LGBTQNation magazine
    202 556 0877
    BLevesque@lgbtqnation.com
    theroadtraveler@gmail.com

    Link to Ira Op-Ed: http://brodylevesque.blogspot.com/2011/11/guest-editorial-why-chaz-bono-is.html

    • 26 Stephen November 20, 2011 at 7:09 am

      I sent you an email! Thanks a lot for your offer, but at the moment I think republishing the Chaz article isn’t the right thing for me as a writer. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though.

      (Ha, I wish I lived in New York, New York. I actually live in the dinky suburb where my college is located.)

  19. 27 Mary Roberts November 20, 2011 at 3:58 am

    You are definitely articulate and interesting. I applaud your intelligence and willingness to discuss your personal life. I am sorry that you were outed by the media. I bear you no ill will but I find your comments regaring Chaz Bono to be rude and unnecessary. I also find your motives suspect. Chaz has been dealing with his shit for over 40 years. Give the guy a break. You, are comparatively a newbie to all this. If you don’t have anything nice to say….

    • 28 Stephen November 20, 2011 at 6:56 am

      I’ll copy paste another comment I made:

      I feel that I should remind you, and some of the other people in comments who seem distressed or puzzled by my age, that yes, I’m very young, but I’ve also been out as a transgender person since I was fourteen years old. (It wasn’t public knowledge, because I’m generally a private person.) That’s five years–six, come this January. Coming out as trans during your early teens means you have to mature very quickly, because people challenge your gender constantly. You have to be ready to assert yourself and demand respect, if in the kindest and most polite way you can. Essentially, I grew up very quickly.

      I have had years of experience of living in the world as a trans person, and frankly, since we live currently in such a void of good discourse on trans issues, that’s the most effective form of education about transgenderism that exists. It’s interesting to me that the world has decided to look to Chaz, even though he just came out in 2008, only three years ago. Because he’s come to the trans community so recently, to me Chaz actually seems very young–I don’t mean literally, of course, but it’s clear that he’s still trying to settle into a new way of being. It’s a pity he feels obligated to do that under public scrutiny.

  20. 29 KeepinItReal November 20, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Concerning Chaz Bono and his comments. I have no problem with his sexuality or conscience but his weight is another issue. It’s simply unhealthy!

  21. 31 The Qouch November 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Finally a well-read (celebrity-ish) queer activist. Please go far. Thank you.

  22. 32 NJK November 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Understanding who your true self is inside and out since the age of 14….shows courage, deep introspection and maturity. You honor all human beings by continuing to show people there is light and acceptance ahead, and they do not have to feel isolated and alone.

    Thanks for opening my eyes. You write so beautifully and I wish you every happiness in this world.

  23. 33 Chris Tina Bruce November 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Good morning and Thank You for speaking out for our community.
    Chris Tina Bruce

  24. 34 Cass J. Hodges November 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Bravo, Stephen. (The Chaz thing) is something that I and other members of my little queer community here on the west coast have been talking about/trying to articulate for awhile. So glad to see someone speaking out in an intelligent and on point way! Also, so sorry to hear about the media onslaught.

    I’m a queer transman myself, and also a poet/writer. Check out my blog if you get the chance.

    In solidarity,
    Cass

  25. 36 danangel November 24, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Hello Stephen. May I contact you somehow for an interview for a Spanish LGBT blog? Please let me know if it’s possible. Thank you.

  26. 39 Robyn November 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Stephen,

    I landed on your blog today via a link in an LA Times article from a few days ago regarding your response to the Chaz Bono comment. (The journey started with me clicking on an article about a new bar in my neigborhood and seeing there a link to their article about your reaction to Chaz’s comment.). The article was only published of course because of who your parents are – and as you explain in your blog the information about your parentage only came out recently and against your will in a tabloid rag. I agree with you that your parentage and your body is nobody’s business but your own. But I can help but it some way be grateful for these events as they happened because Without this LA Times article and the link to your blog it’s likely I would never have found your work as I’m actively invloved in following the issues you address. You are a brillant writer and an inspirational young person

  27. 40 Robyn November 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I may have hit max words on my comment before this? Not sure but if it did send it ended rather abruptly. I just wanted to say that although your outting was a clear violation of your rights the silver lining is that that is was brought me to your blog, and I’m grateful for that. Your are a complex, articulate and eloquent thinker and writer who will be an important cultural figure and I’m just glad I was able to discover you sooner rather than later.

  28. 41 Ginevra November 27, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Hi Stephen;
    Labels make me cringe. I prefer fluidity.
    Jim Morrison:
    “to transcend the body, we must immerse ourselves in it.”
    I’ve seen photos of you when you were about 13 – I looked a bit like you.

  29. 42 EJP November 28, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Hi Stephen,

    I’m a 30-year-old [trans]man, living in Canada. My partner sent me a link to your post on “stealth-shaming” because I’ve been struggling with feelings of guilt for not disclosing at work. There are a myriad of practical reasons not to, but it wasn’t until I read what you wrote about “being out” as trans, that it really hit home for me. I *am* out–as me! As the person I have known I am for a long time. Do I recognize that I now experience a level of cis-privilege because I navigate the world as a white guy? Absolutely. Should I punish myself–and put myself in harm’s way–as a result of that?

    Some have indicated ‘yes'; that the only way to truly check my privilege is to discard it. Yet, in doing so, I discard my identity along with it. While “trans” is part of me, I am and always have been a man, without the need to attach a prefix to it. My real goal has been to challenge the assumptions that men come in just one package [excuse the pun], and to advocate that having a penis or not is all to do with how you fuck and urinate, and nothing to do with how you identify.

    I really want to thank you for the things you’ve written on your blog (have been making my way through it over the past 24 hours), as they have helped me to realize that my decision not to publicly disclose my history does not make me a bad trans ally. I’m an ally because I stand up for LGB+ and Trans* issues in any forum, and fully support a person’s right to not only self-identify, but to navigate that identity in the way that makes the most sense for them.

    Also, thanks for calling out Chaz Bono recently–whatever your identity or history, there’s no excuse for behaving like a sexist, entitled dipshit.

    Cheers.

  30. 43 Karen Hardcastle December 5, 2011 at 5:30 am

    You were brilliant and fierce as a writer and a human when you were twelve and you still are. So glad to have found this blog.

  31. 44 transbeautiful [Karen] July 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    My son disclosed that he was transgender earlier this year, shortly before his 14th birthday. I just found your blog today and am so enjoying what i’m reading here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights and i look forward to more from you.

  32. 45 Leslie July 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I saw your 7 Questions interview and from there found your blog. I am a straight female and I think what you are doing is amazing. Congratulations on being brave and for knowing yourself so well. We, as human beings, have much to learn from each other and I hope I learn a little bit more every day. Keep doing what you’re doing.


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