Monday, April 25, 2016

Excerpt from Whipping Girl Second Edition

As some of you may have heard, the Second Edition of my first book, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, was released last month! It is essentially the same book, but with a new cover (as you can see to your right), some wonderful new back cover blurbs (which you can read here), plus a new additional Preface to the Second Edition.

In the new Preface, I discuss some of the history (both personal, as well as within feminist, queer, and transgender activism) that led to me writing the book, and addressing the topics and subject matter in the manner that I did. I also share many of my thoughts about what has happened in the decade since the book was originally released in 2007: the many promising developments in trans awareness and activism, plus the countless aspects and areas where there is still vital need for improvement.

While I cannot reprint the entire Preface here, I did want to share this brief excerpt (specifically, the first three chapters) for those who may be interested:

Ten years ago, I was in the throes of writing the book that would eventually become Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. At the time, I believed that I had important and relatively novel things to say about a variety of issues that all seemed interconnected to me. My recent transition (from having others view and treat me as male, to being viewed and treated as female) provided me with numerous insights into gender and sexism that I wanted to share with the world. That experience, combined with my background as a biologist, led me to question both sides of the “nature versus nurture” debate as it applies to gender. I was also concerned by the ways in which movements that were vital to my existence—such as feminism and queer (i.e., LGBTIQ+) activism—would sometimes forward theories and policies that served to further marginalize other gender and sexual minorities. And I wanted to examine the many under-discussed issues and obstacles faced by those of us on the transgender spectrum, and the parallels that I saw between media, psychiatric, and academic stereotypes of trans people. Finally, I wanted to challenge how trans women and feminine gender expression—individually, but especially in combination—were routinely demeaned and derided in both the straight mainstream, as well as in feminist and queer settings.

I thought that the book would likely be appreciated within trans communities—especially among those on the trans female/feminine spectrum, for whom I was explicitly advocating—and with at least some non-transgender feminists and queer activists—especially those who identify as feminine or femme. But I had no idea that, in the years that would follow, it would eventually be considered to be an important book within feminism, that it would be used in gender and queer studies, sociology, psychology, and human sexuality courses in colleges across North America; that parts of it would be translated and published in other languages, that it would reach and resonate with many people outside of feminist, queer, and trans circles, or that the book (and some of the ideas contained therein) would often be cited and discussed in mainstream publications.

While the major themes that I forward in Whipping Girl remain just as vital and relevant today as they were when I was first writing the book, some of the specific descriptions and details will surely seem increasingly dated as time marches on. So in this preface to the second edition, I want to place the book in historical context, as it most certainly was a reaction to what was happening in society, and within activist and academic circles, during the early-to-mid aughts (or “the zeros,” as I prefer to call the first decade of this millennium). While a decade is not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things, it certainly feels like a lifetime ago when it comes to public understandings and discussions about transgender people. 

More info about the book, plus links to outlets where it can be purchased, can be found here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Touring with Sister Spit!

Hey folks, starting tomorrow (aka, Friday) I will be on tour with the legendary spoken word troupe Sister Spit! Other artists include Jezebel Delilah, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Nikki Darling, Cassie J. Sneider, Maisha Z. Johnson, Cassie J. Sneider, and Virgie Tovar, plus occasional special guests!

Here are all the dates - links take you to Facebook invites for the show (please share!), which will have all the details:

  • March 25 -- at Salt Lick Collective, Oakland, CA, 7pm.
  • March 26 -- at SF Oasis, San Francisco, CA, 6:30pm.
  • March 27 -- at Peeves Public House, Fresno, CA, 6pm.
  • March 28 -- at Last Projects, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, 7pm.
  • March 29 -- at UC Riverside, panel 1-3pm, show 7-9pm.
  • March 30 -- at Art Theatre Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 7pm.
  • March 31 -- at Weird Sister in Los Angeles, CA, 6pm.

  • Unless/until they sell out, there will be copies of Whipping Girl 2nd edition for sale at the shows. Plus, I will also be reading from some of my new fiction project at many of the shows. Hope to see you there!

    Monday, March 7, 2016

    Whipping Girl Second Edition is out this week!

    The second edition of my first book, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, is officially released this week (March 8th, to be precise).

    A wonderful article about the second edition, plus many readers' personal experiences first engaging with the book, appeared in BuzzFeed this weekend.

    While it's pretty much the same book on the inside (with a few small clarifying changes), it has a brand new Preface that discusses how the book originally came to be, plus my thoughts on various new developments in transgender communities and politics since the book was first released in 2007.

    The book launch event takes place this Thursday (March 10th) in San Francisco, at the GLBT History Museum, 7pm- I will be reading from the new Preface, plus engaging in further discussion and Q&A about the book and its themes, plus the recent evolution of trans activism more generally. (More details here and here.)

    The book is available now from Amazon, Portland's independent bookstore Powell's, the Philly-based LGBTQ bookstore Giovanni’s Room, and the Chicago feminist bookstore Women and Children First. You can also use Indie Bound to find brick-and-mortar independent bookstores near you that are or will be carrying the book.

    Here are some of the new blurbs from the back cover:

    Thursday, February 25, 2016

    Julia update: Whipping Girl 2nd edition, Sister Spit 2016, future releases, and more!

    So yesterday I sent out my latest email update. In it, I discuss:

    1) Whipping Girl 2nd edition is here!
    2) March 2016 tour dates (including Sister Spit)!
    3) new writings and web updates!
    4) two brand new books coming later this year!

    You can read the update in all its glory here.

    If you want future Julia updates emailed directly to you, please sign up for my email list.

    enjoy! -j.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2016

    placing Ken Zucker's clinic in historical context

    So an article by Jesse Singal called "How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired" recently appeared on NY Mag. I was interviewed for it, but none of what I said was included in the final piece. This is perfectly fine, of course - no one is obligated to use my quotes in their article. But I did feel that the most important point that I stressed (i.e., placing the current Zucker clinic debate in the historical context of the long history of gender reparative therapies) was not duly acknowledged in Singal's article.

    Given this omission, I thought that it might be useful for me to share my responses to Jesse's interview questions below. I have removed Singal's actual questions (since I did not ask for permission to use them). But I did paraphrase them to give readers an idea of what I was responding to.

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

    I’m discontinuing comments on my blog. Here’s why...

    So as the title plainly states, I plan to deactivate the comments section of my blog posts moving forward. (Previously posted comments will remain intact.) While I don’t feel obligated to offer an explanation—after all, it is my blog, and I am free to format it any way I choose—I thought that it might be worthwhile to share my reasoning as to why.

    Thursday, December 10, 2015

    Julia update: new books for 2016!

    So yesterday I sent out my latest email update. In it, I discuss:

    1) Whipping Girl 2nd edition to be released in March 2016!
    2) my 3rd book Outspoken to be released late winter/early spring 2016!
    3) introducing Kat Cataclysm
    4) Spring 2016 events
    5) a few new(ish) essays

    You can read the update in all its glory here.

    If you want future julia updates emailed directly to you, please sign up for my email list.

    enjoy! -j.