Some information has come out about me; I always knew if would, if I tried to do activist work. I’ve considered seriously what I should say, if anything, and ultimately I’ve decided to acknowledge what has happened, both recently and in the summer of 2010, when I was forcibly outed as trans by the National Enquirer. (The Daily Mail followed up by outing me as gay.)
My parents are two people who are well known because they are very good at making art. Their names are Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. I’m proud to be their son. There’s a reason my blog didn’t initially have my full name on it: I knew at least a few rags would pick it up and try to make my political views into a sensationalistic story. I figured it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they did–I’m proud of my politics and of the writing I’ve done on this blog–but not my favorite thing either. And of course it’s happened, and I’m not so much surprised as irritated, but I’d like to take the opportunity to say something.
I did not want to come out to the media. I figured that information was private, and honestly, probably not very interesting. After all, I’ve never sought fame or done anything interesting enough to warrant fame. My parents have. I haven’t done anything fameworthy, unless you count being born in a certain context.
I have had my privacy invaded and deeply personal information about me broadcast. And nothing about the situation has to do with me. It has to do with a cis supremacist society, one in which trans people do not have the right to privacy or basic human courtesy with respect to our lives or our bodies. The world does not have the right to know whether I am on testosterone, whether I intend to have various different surgical procedures, or anything else about my body. The fact that my body is a trans body does not make it public property or a matter of public knowledge. The fact that my life is the life of a trans person does not make it a matter of public knowledge.
I am not a “she-man” or a “he-she.” “She-man” and “he-she” are oppressive slurs, like “faggot.” If you are reading journalism that refers to me with slurs, and it’s brought you here to my blog, I encourage you to question what you’ve read previously. Similarly, if you’ve been reading journalism that discusses my private life, question why this is being reported on, why I am being treated like a laboratory specimen and not a person. These ways of talking about transgender people enforce violent narratives. They help to produce a culture that is not safe for transgender people, and we do not deserve that. We, like everyone else, deserve to be safe.
I choose to continue the work I’ve been doing on this blog: talking about trans issues, queer issues generally, and my efforts to be an ally to those who don’t share my oppressions (i.e. disabled people, people of color, women, and more). If you’ve come here looking for Hollywood gossip or some sort of “feud,” I’m not who you’re looking for. I am a poetry and anthropology student at a liberal arts college, man. I sit in my room, read, drink tea, knit, and think about social justice politics.
If you’d like to read about oppression and difference in the world–mostly queer politics, with a focus on trans folks, but also race, disability, class, and women’s issues–then you’re in the right place. I’m a young guy who is at the beginning of a lifelong learning process. I have a lot of privilege to check and dismantle; I’d appreciate if you’d help me do that if you see me saying something fucked up.
One of the most important tools I’ve found to fight oppression with is art, especially poetry, so you may find talk about contemporary poetry on my blog every so often. (For example, a queer female poet of color just won the National Book Award!) I’ve had some of my work published. If you’re curious about my work as a writer, there’s some information on my About page.
I don’t want a free pass into the world of activist writing and thinking just because my parents happen to be well known, so don’t stick around for that! Stick around if you’ve read a couple of my posts, think you like my politics, and are interested in what I’ve got to say. If you’re new to the world of social justice oriented writing, I assure you there are lots of much better social justice bloggers out there than me. I’ve just linked to two of my favorites, Monica Roberts and Julia Serano. You should go read them right now.
If you’ve come here looking for some basic education about trans issues, that’s fabulous. Check out this Trans 101 post by Asher Bauer! If you’re confused about terminology, you can check out these columns I wrote a while ago on the subject–one of them is a glossary of basic terms. I can’t promise they’re ideal, but they’ll give you some basis and background.
For reference, I have the WordPress’s comment moderation on. If your comment contains any cissexist or transphobic language, it won’t be posted. If your comment is a request for education on trans issues, I’ll post it, but I can’t promise to answer you personally! Sorry. Hopefully one of the links I just posted can help you out, or someone else in the comments will give you a hand. I’m a full time student, I have a part time job, and I run a student activist organization. It makes for very limited free time.
So, that’s about the shape of it: If you’re here for the activism, pull up a chair. If you’re here for some other reason, you’re probably going to be disappointed.