Soaking in a Gender Bath

My time this week and next will be filled soaking in the stories and lives of transgender and genderqueer people. That is how I work as an artist. I soak in the stories, the narratives, the theories and then I let them infuse my work.

I’ve made some wonderful breakthroughs with my new Transfigurations performance piece. I have unearthed some things in the Bible that have thrilled me that I have never seen before. You will be surprised to see the amazing Transgender Bible heroes lurking on the page right before your eyes.

I have looked to many resources to help me begin to understand the many different sides and issues of the transgender umbrella and the amazing people under that umbrella. The greatest education has come from simply sitting and listening to transgender people as they tell me their stories. But I have also found other resources to be helpful. I list some of them below. PLEASE share yours with me!

Here is Trans Family’s Gender 101

Why Don’t You Tell Them I am a Boy, a mother’s story about embracing her FTM son.

Transition in the Workplace

I recently picked up Virginia Ramey Mollenkott’s book Omnigender and have Riki Wilchins book Queer Theory, Gender Theory–An Instant Primer nearby to dive into when I want to go deep.

I also have been very much helped by the words of Kate Bornstein

The Transsexual Person in Your Life, some frequently asked questions/frequently held concerns.

Gianna Israel has a wonderful collection of articles she has written, including
Talking with you Children about Gender Identity Issues
Contentious Family Issues

Also check out:

The FTM Guide

FTMs in History

Survivor Project’s Trans Basics page

Trans-Ponder Podcast

Here is the first video in a long series by Erin, a 23 year old trans MTF lesbian who moved to NYC from Utah. In this piece she talks about why she had to leave Utah and the results of transitioning. Really great stuff–moving, personal and insightful.

Please share with me any websites, blogs, podcasts, videos, books or magazines that you have found helpful in exploring trans issues.

This post has 7 Comments

  1. Ally on November 8, 2007 at 1:08 am

    I hope you know I love you for doing this, Peterson. I love you anyway, but all the more. =)

    I could list off a few resources, and critique a few you’ve already named, but one has been particularly helpful for me as a mid-life (gasp! am i really…?) transitioner trying to keep a marriage and family intact. Helen Boyd’s books My Husband Betty and She’s Not the Man I Married have impacted my life in amazing ways, and if my marriage does survive, it will be in large part from what I’ve learned reading them. She and her partner Betty also maintain a wonderful online community here. The friends I made there helped me through the most difficult period of my life, the six months or so after I came out to my family, and I love them dearly.

    I’d also recommend anything by Reid Vanderburgh. Chapter 13 in Transition and Beyond, entitled “When Worlds Collide – Fundamentalist Religion and Transition,” is the best work I’ve ever read on the topic.

    I’ll think about it and comment again if I think of any really good references. If you run out of soaking material for your bath, give me a call!

  2. Elliot on November 8, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Well, I’m already probably seeing you on Saturday (do you know anything more about the vehicle situation for that, by the way?), but here’s a list of other resources to get you started:

    Butch is a Noun by S. Bear Bergman (HIGHLY recommended)
    Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg (fictional, yes, but still very insightful)
    Drag King Dreams by Leslie Feinberg (again, fictional but insightful)
    Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman by Leslie Feinberg (literally a whole transgender history collected into one great book)
    From the Inside Out ed. by Morty Diamond (a collection of essays by male-identifying, female-bodied people)

    As for online resources, I suggest:

    Alex’s TransRevolution (
    TransProud (
    Gender Awareness (

    And, lastly, as for continuing “physical” resources, like activities you can take part in when you’re around for them, here are some exclusive to New England:

    – Gender Crash! (Boston) (
    – Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (Boston) (

    Also in the works are, as you know, the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Pride Marches.

    And, if you need other people to speak to, you know you can ask me for names/numbers/email addresses, and I’ll be more than happy to ask if you can speak with them.

  3. Peterson Toscano on November 8, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you Ally and Elliot! I knew you two would have great resources to add.

    Elliot, I know that forever you have been singing the praises of Bear and tonight I get to see him myself (and you!) at the Stonewall Center at UMASS Amherst. Sweet!

  4. Liadan on November 9, 2007 at 6:00 am

    I found this video fascinating, particularly since it involves the different cultural reaction than an Asian-American family would have than your more typical WASP family unit.

    There is also Venus Envy, a webcomic about an MTF teenager (there is also an FTM friend and another character I’d have to describe as bigendered) written and drawn by a transwoman.

    So aside from that, what do you put in a gender bath? Rainbow rubber duckies? Pink and blue bubble bath? Inquiring minds want to know!

  5. Anonymous on November 9, 2007 at 6:19 pm


    A very basic question from a straight-but-not-narrow (but nevertheless somewhat clueless) Friend: what does “queer” mean, as in your term “genderqueer” or in FLGBTQC?


  6. Elliot Coale on November 9, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    I was ecstatic to see you yesterday, Peterson.
    I wish I could see you tomorrow, too, but I can’t wait to see Transfigurations on the 19th!

  7. Peterson Toscano on November 10, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    thank liadan!

    DC, according to Wikipedia, my one stop spot for most info these days, Genderqueer…”is a gender identity of both, neither or some combination of “man” and/or “woman”. In relation to the gender binary (the view that there are only two genders), genderqueer people generally identify as more “both/and” or “neither/nor,” rather than “either/or.” Some genderqueer people see their identity as one of many different genders outside of man and woman, some see it as a term encompassing all gender identities outside of the gender binary, some believe it encompasses binary genders among others, some may identify as a-gender and some see it as a third gender in addition to the traditional two. The commonality is that all genderqueer people reject the notion that there are only two genders in the world. The term genderqueer is also occasionally used more broadly as an adjective to refer to people who are in some way gender-transgressive, and could have any gender identity”

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