(un)Thanksgiving, Wu Tang, Knitting a Vest, What My Last Name Actually Is, and a Call for Suggestions: The Stephen Ira Story, a Hallmark Film

I was going to make a post on Thanksgiving about colonialism and genocide, but I completely forgot that I was going to be with my family and you know, I wanted to talk to them and spend time with them, because I happen to very much like them.  And now I’m immersed in academic work–I’m doing a biographical study of Alan L. Hart, a trans man who lived and worked in medicine in early 20th century Oregon–and so any (un)Thanksgiving post I made would be hopelessly untimely.

So instead of writing you that post, I am listening to the Wu Tang Clan and knitting a vest so that I don’t explode from stress while reading different texts about gender variance in the 19th and early 20th century Pacific Northwest and writing a thirty page piece on trans identity, gender, and embodiment in the life of Alan Hart and working full days as a tour guide for part of the week! I feel like this fox.

You can expect radio silence for a little while, but my SLCSpeaks column will be up on Friday as usual.  I’ll post a link when it comes out, both on twitter and here.  And who knows, if I have some free time I may write a post–probably one about history, because I’m thinking so much about Hart and how his life is historicized, often with his trans identity being erased in the process.

In the meantime, though, I really want your suggestions.  You’ve come here to read my blog and you like what I’ve got to offer, but I want to know what specific subjects you’d like me to talk about!  Because now that I have a more substantial reader base (thanks, shlock journalism!), I’d like to know what you guys are thinking about w/r/t social justice.

And one brief public service announcement.  My name isn’t Stephen Ira Beatty.  It’s just Stephen Ira.  I get the confusion, because it’s different from that of my parents or siblings, but that’s my name!  If you’re a news outlet, please stop calling me Stephen Ira Beatty!  If you would like to call me by three names, my middle name is Elliot!


Take care, everybody.  Fight evil; queer beauty.

26 Responses to “(un)Thanksgiving, Wu Tang, Knitting a Vest, What My Last Name Actually Is, and a Call for Suggestions: The Stephen Ira Story, a Hallmark Film”

  1. 1 sarah November 30, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Hi Stephen, I would be really interested to hear your reflections on doing gender (gender performance) within the family, in particular with parents, the mother especially). I am currently writing a thesis about feminist mothers experiences of raising sons and have all of a sudden plunged head first into the trans world. There is of course diverse ideas about gender performance in the trans literature and you tube videos I have watched. I have found that because I am so enmeshed in social and critical theory sometimes it is easier for me to see, read and hear the thoughts of people who utilise similar conceptual lenses. Hence, I thought your reflections would be really interesting.

  2. 2 Ruth November 30, 2011 at 2:08 am

    I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on erasure of identity and the way social justice movements frequently operate through the reinscription (is that a word?) of identity. I think this is a really huge issue that plays out different ways for different erased individuals/communities. And in what way is it problematic to talk about the erasure of identity in the context of the erasure of whole communities (isn’t identity always in tension with community? hmm).

    sorry for rambling. thanks for making me think.

  3. 3 Kristen November 30, 2011 at 4:15 am

    I only met one transgender person in my life and I’m 44. I have a feeling that in 44 years, I’ve met more than one, only they remain closeted. Although you were thrust into this by schlock journalism, you are a perfect example of someone who is smart, compassionate, eloquent and also transgender. I’d like to see a time where it is considered “normal” and nothing to really talk about. I have no requests or suggestions because I think you’re doing a good job on your own. I look forward to learning more from you.

  4. 4 Kyle November 30, 2011 at 4:28 am

    What are some of the books you’re reading about the PNW? I find out about these early 20th-century trans/queer folks I’ve never heard of and it amazes me how many grew up near places that I did or had similar experiences. Alan L. Hart? Totally grew up in the same county as most of my family.

  5. 5 Sally November 30, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Hey Stephen, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I’d be interested in reading your thoughts around a couple of different issues. I noted somewhere that you described yourself as binary-identified. I know what you mean by that, but I would be interested in reading your thoughts around gender binaries. I’m a teacher, interested in issues of social justice and equity (particularly as they play out for young children) and I can’t help think that the problem is the binary. That is, it forces people to be one or the other and leaves little space for those who don’t feel that they fit into one or the other. That plus it also reduces our language. The other thing that I would be interested to read are your thoughts on historicizing people’s experiences … I’m really interested in that notion as well and I wonder about the ethics and responsibilities that come with our attempts to re-historicize people who are no longer here to have a voice in that process. I think that the issue first came up for me when I was doing my family tree and discovered that my great-grandfather had been illegitimate … three clicks on a computer was all that it took … I couldn’t have cared less, but I started to think about what responsibility I had for that knowledge. How did I change my grandfather’s life with that knowledge (because in a sense, it revealed that his name might have been different if his father had been given his father’s surname). I also started thinking about my rights to dig into someone’s life and to uncover a secret that had probably caused a family great shame at a particular time. So, as a historian and genealogist, I’d be really interested in your thoughts on the matter. Thanks :o)

  6. 6 Marta November 30, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I’d like to read your movie reviews. : )

  7. 10 Kristen from MA (USA) November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I’d like to see pics of your knitting! 😉

    thanks, shlock journalism!

  8. 12 kadin November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I’d like to see you get on a soap box and rant about urinary segregation. I’m sure you’ll have something insightful to say.

    Keep up the great work!

  9. 13 Marta November 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    What about “Matador”? No?

    Ok, I know you have a hell of a lot of school work on your plate but when you need a break, cuddle up to a Pedro Almodovar film festival. You will thank me. Start with “Woman on the Verge” and go from there. Do you know spanish at all? There are subtitles, of course but some of the humor may get lost in translation.

    Looking forward to your review of “The Skin…”

  10. 14 Ginevra December 1, 2011 at 3:13 am

    It doesn’t sound like you have a lot of time, however, I would be interested in blogs on anorexia / body image/ gender issues. Years ago, I read an excellent book on anorexia written by a Canadian psychologist.
    Unfortunately, I do not remember the name – I would like to reread it.
    So great that you are doing something meditative like knitting. Actually changes brain waves.

  11. 15 Cary December 2, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Hi Stephen,
    Totally unrelated to this particular post, but I just found yr blog and have been reading through it and really loving it. Just thought I’d give you a heads up on a few other sources of information/inspiration I’ve come across as a white hetero cisman holding my privileges, struggling against injustice, and working to build a better world:

    http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com (raw and a little overwhelming, but also brutally honest and uncompromising)

    http://zapagringo.blogspot.com (recently ceased regular posting, but the archives are plentiful)


    • 16 Stephen December 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for the recommendations, and I’m glad you’re digging the blog! I do know the Brown Boi Project–I think a friend of mine is attending one of their retreats this summer? I’m not sure; we haven’t talked about it recently.

  12. 21 David Carney December 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Can you do another definition column and get me up to speed with where drag queens fit and don’t fit in with transgender identity? Thanks.

    • 22 Stephen December 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm

      Right now I don’t really see the need for another whole column of definitions, but I’ll definitely think about doing a piece on the relationship between drag queens and trans identity!

  13. 23 dimovier December 4, 2011 at 4:49 am

    it’d be cool if you could write a thing on violence and “bashing back” – whether it’s really worth it to be deliberately provocative in a way that tries to get cis people to see what it’s like to be threatened, and what sort of line it could cross. (for instance, stealth trans people feeling threatened, provocation escalating into violence on both ends, etc)

    • 24 Stephen December 4, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Man, this is like 90 percent of what I think of all the time. I’ll try to write about it, but it might be in a very confused way! It’s one of those things that I don’t quite have my head around yet. Thanks so much for this comment; my partner and I just looked at it for a while and marveled at how well it parallels some of the things we’ve been thinking about and discussing together.

  14. 25 Ronny Chacin December 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Why is it so annoying to you using your father’s last name?

    I can only think of that it’s very chauvinist that our mother’s last names disappears when her children are named after their fathers last names?

    I’d love to hear your opinion on that!

    • 26 Stephen December 9, 2011 at 4:49 am

      Really it’s just because my dad’s last name is so famous! I agree that the system where we take the father’s name is problematic and patriarchal, but I took “Ira” just because I wanted people to be able to come across my writing and not automatically associate it with my dad.

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