To The FemmeMobile! Away!











With apologies to my friends who don’t like long things, and the friends who have been assaulted and can’t read things even remotely about it. I’m not putting this behind a cut. It’s too easy to bypass; at the very least, the number of episodes should be noted.

I have never been badly assaulted. I’ve never been hurt. That said, if you can’t read anything remotely alarming, I suggest you scroll past. Thank you.

**

I readΒ this essayΒ and as I read it, I thought, “The sad thing is, this isn’t uncommon. But I bet most people reading it will think it is.” The first comment I saw confirmed that.

I also thought, “If a lot of people started making lists like this, I bet we could raise social awareness. I bet more people would report it. I bet more guys would step in.” (I feel sad that I believe that’s what we need to happen.)

So. These are my stories.

When I was fifteen, I was taking the trash out behind the pet store I worked at. As I walked back to the store, a small man got out of his white, window-less van and started walking toward me. He was, stereotypically, offering me candy. He had some in his hand. Would I like some? I said no. He had other flavors in the van. No. They were free. No. I’d be doing him a favor; he had too much. No. By the time I reached the pet store door, he was ten feet away. I got inside and told my supervisor. She laughed: how stereotypical. I asked if we should report it. She said it was probably nothing.

I didn’t report it.

When I was seventeen, a group of college friends and I swapped addresses to stay in touch. This included a 40-year-old man. He started sending me letters detailing what he wanted to do with me, sexually. The letters made me feel like a piece of meat, worthless, horrible, disgusting, at fault, a tease, ashamed. They were vulgar. At best, he talked about “watching your tail swish when you walk away.” When they kept coming I showed them to my parents, in tears. My father talked to a police officer, who told him there was no point in reporting it: by the time anything happened I’d be legal, and fighting it would be almost impossible. It was only words. My dad helped me draft a letter to the man harassing me, and we sent it. My dad intercepted any following letters and kept them, in case we ever needed evidence. (I found several more in a drawer years later that I never knew had come.)

I didn’t report it.

When I was nineteen a supervisor walked around alternately yelling at or telling his underlings they were dressed like/looked like sluts. Several times a week a girl would be found crying because of his actions. I was never accosted, but every time he came near I’d verge on tears and bristle all at the same time. When he walked around behind my station, I would hold my breath hoping he didn’t call me a slut or say I was wearing inappropriate clothing or yell at me. I started having panic attacks about going to work. I quit that job.

I didn’t report it.

I went to Thanksgiving dinner with a family not my own, and was seated catty-corner to an uncle. He spent the meal looking at my breasts and leaning into my personal space. By the time we left I was on edge and felt dirty. When I hesitantly said something, knowing I’d see him again, I was told not to worry: he was a good guy. I was probably imagining things.

I didn’t report it.

When I was in my early twenties word came down from my bosses: one of the business’s members had been caught making unwanted sexual advances toward one of the employees. We should, at all times, send him to one of the (two) male staffers, and not be alone with him. Though the employee who’d been harassed reported it to our bosses, no one reported it further. The member continued to come, and continued to try and get girls alone.

I didn’t report it.

I once received an email from someone who’d seen my photo on a dating site. The email detailed explicit sexual things he wanted to do with me — and my long hair. It was hilarious, because if it wasn’t hilarious then it was creepy and made me feel sick, used, and disgusting.

I didn’t report it.

In my mid-twenties a client hit on me, and when I rebuffed his advances as gently as possible, he fired me.

I didn’t report it.

When I had just moved to my first apartment, a friend came to visit and help me move. He told me we should have sex “just because.” I said no. He argued with me. I argued back. I didn’t want to have sex with him: I shouldn’t have had to argue with him about it. When the argument started I stopped drinking beer. I locked my pit bull in my room that night, and hoped that if he came in she’d help protect me. When he returned to his home (several states away), he started texting me, calling me, saying horrible, abusive things. When I told him if he said abusive things again I was going to hang up, he said them again. I hung up. He accused me of being abusive and controlling the conversation. I continued to try and be polite. I continued to try and tell him carefully, gently, politely that I wasn’t interested in dating or having sex with him. He yelled at me for not being attracted to him. He called me names. He harassed me with phone calls, emails, and text messages multiple times a day. He lived in another state, and I was still afraid for my safety. I finally told him to have a good life, I hoped things went better for him, and not to contact me again. I deleted everything he sent thereafter, ignored his calls, and eventually he stopped trying. I lost a friend of 13 years when he became verbally and emotionally abusive because I wouldn’t have sex with him.

I didn’t report it.

When I was twenty-seven I got a flat. I pulled over into the parking lot of a corner market I frequented and began changing it. A man in a white “Christian-something” van with no windows pulled up and asked if I needed help. I said I didn’t. He stopped his car, blocking mine, and got out. He insisted. I insisted no. He stood and hovered over me, leaning against my car, petting my dogs. He asked if they could get out through the windows. He asked if I lived nearby. He asked if I had a boyfriend, a husband, a roommate. When he finally left, the grocer — who spoke very little English — came out and asked if I was okay. I said I was. Maybe the guy really was a Christian trying to help. Maybe he was using the name to make people comfortable, and help wasn’t on his mind.

I didn’t report it.

When I was twenty-eight a man asked for my number so we could “hang out.” I gave it to him. When he got pushy about going on a date, I tried to explain that I wasn’t interested in anything more than being friends. He said he thought I wasn’t like those “other bitchy sluts.” He thought I was different than “other women.” He told me that he had to be pushy and force women into dating him because otherwise no one would ever go out with him. I avoided the place where I’d met him, afraid he’d use the force he’d spoken of.

I didn’t report it.

I was walking down the street one night when a group of young men started to approach. They said, “Hey, baby,” and “Want to have some fun?” They cat-called and made lip-smacking noises when I walked past. I felt safe because I had a dog on either side; 175 pounds of muscle and teeth, and both dogs were on high alert.

I didn’t report it.

In point of fact, this happens at least once a month; usually during the day, in public, where I at least feel safe. I never report it. I just keep walking.

When I was twenty-nine I met a neighbor I wasn’t attracted to. We hung out as friends when we were both around. He told me late one night that I was falling for him. I told him I wasn’t. He argued with me about it. I said I knew my own mind, and I wasn’t interested in him. He said I was, I just hadn’t realized it yet. We argued for ten minutes, maybe more. After that he started accusing me of avoiding him (I wasn’t, yet) — he would come by my house and when I wasn’t home, he’d accuse me later of hiding from him. He got into my personal space. I stopped hanging out with him.

I didn’t report it.

When my client became a widower, he started hitting on me. Maybe. Maybe he was. Maybe he wasn’t. I disconnected ties, because after all of the above I couldn’t be sure. I would rather be safe.

It’s a scary thing that “being safe” means I can’t even talk to someone who might just need a helping hand, and has no other interest in me at all.

It’s a scary thought that in most of the cases I’ve listed above, even if I’d reported them, nothing could have (or would have) been done.

It’s a scary thought that of all the people I know, I feel I get harassed very little. I feel, overall, safer than most of my female friends.

We need to start teaching, “Don’t rape. Don’t be a creeper,” rather than, “don’t be a victim.” If you see someone in these straits, help them. If your friend is creeping, whether or not they mean to, tell them. Use peer pressure. Report things. I don’t want to assume all men are rapists. Men, I assume you don’t want to be seen as a possible rapist. Let’s fix it.

J



{June 5, 2012}   Link spam!

Some fun stuff I’ve been finding.

First! Jason Alexander, y’know the comedian, did something stupid. In a comedy bit, he said cricket was gay and then pantomimed effeminate stuff, thereby offending homosexual folks as well as queer and straight genderbenders AND feminists.

But mostly the gays people.

They called him on it. He pooh-poohed them. More people called him on it… so he actually sat down and thought about it. Then he wrote up this apology, which might be the best apology I’ve ever read, in large part because it means he actually THOUGHT ABOUT IT and is willing to learn and grow. YAY!

Also, a friend linked me to this as well: Fuck Yeah, Hard FemmeΒ An extremely awesome Tumblr account with — you guessed it — hard femmes.

Which has made me think about the definition of femme some more. I somehow doubt I’ll ever find a definition that I can accept. And each time I look, I start wondering about the whole genderqueering definition again.

More on that later.

J



{August 5, 2011}   I <3 Willie Nelson


So, the other day I was headed to SoCal, about to hop on a plane, and I realized I’d forgotten my book. Oh woe! So I grabbed a lesbian romance off one of Q’s shelves, No Strings by Gerri Hill, and proceeded to read.

About halfway through No Strings, I saw the final Harry Potter movie. I quite liked the movie, but was a little disappointed at the lack of a complete Draco character arc, made more obvious when even Neville got a character transformation. (Generally speaking, a full character arc happens when the character’s behavior/attitude/emotion changes: Neville went from geek to hero, Harry had a complete hero’s arc, as did Snape, Dombledore and — well, most people. Ron went from bumbling bafoon to knight, Hermione from bossy brat to person-Harry-couldn’t-have-figured-things-out-without, and together Ron and Hermione went though a romance arc. Draco, I realized, wasn’t likely to have a hero’s arc — though he could have pretty easily — but I figured he’d have some arc. Instead, he’s the same sad little coward character walking out of the movie he is walking into the series. This made me really glum, because of all the characters there — except maybe Voldemort, but obviously his character arc was a mortal one — Draco had the most potential for real change.)

Feeling put out that the character with the most potential for real change didn’t get any change, I emailed DK, who was way into HP back in the day and likes the things I like, and asked for some Draco fic that had a complete character arc so my craving was satisfied. DK delivered! Among other things was an awesome Harry/Draco slash fic. (Slash indicates queer-of-some-sort romance, be it lesbian, gay, or trans.)

So I read this novel-length fanfic that had several complete character arcs (very well done; I understand the author is published now, and I might just look up her books) and was also slash.

THEN I went back and finished No Strings.

I quite liked the first half of No Strings, all the character development stuff and then them getting to know each other. Then the romance-plot stuff kicked in, and I pretty much skimmed through the rest of it. This is normal for me and romance novels; I like the bits learning about the characters, and I don’t really bother with the romance part. I started writing romance novels because I was writing slash, but slash is… different. Reading slash and reading romance right on top of each other really brought it home for me. DK linked me this blog post not too long ago, and most of it I’d already sorted out, but one thing in there — I think it was in there — was talking about how slash isn’t set into a specific genre formula yet, how you can do pretty much anything you want. Not so with romance. I also find it interesting that the lesbian romances I’ve read are definitely romance novel formula, but the gay romance isn’t. Often, yes, the published stuff is, but then you have books like mine. By Degrees is about overcoming major past trauma (the death of parents), opening up your emotions so you can come to grips with the fact that you’re gay and you can have sex and feel again. Oh, and by the way, there’s a romance that is the catalyst for that plot. In the Rough is about dealing with more past trauma (I have a theme, okay? *grins*) so he can get his shit together and take care of his daughter. Oh yeah, and on the way he realizes he’s in love with his best friend, but has been ignoring it because of self-hate due to — you guessed it — that past trauma. Off Trail is about learning how to trust again and letting people in to help, and the guy he lets in to help just happens to be the guy he falls for. This is definitely more romance-novel than anything else I’ve written in the gay world.

Then there’s the Dragon series, which is all action/adventurey, and in the midst of their action and adventure they start to fall in love.Β  If I look at my fanfic — the stuff I write not to get paid for, but just because it’s fun — while romance features heavily in it, usually the romance is what’s happening around the main plot. Often the romance is either a catalyst or the result of whatever is going on, but the main thing is what’s going on. In Naruto fic that was Kakashi being insane, in Star Trek it was Kirk and Spock on the run while Kirk has amnesia, in X-Men it was Rictor dealing with child abuse and in X-Men: First Class (if I’d ever gotten around to writing that, which I didn’t) it was multi-pronged: Moira finding Charles, Charles dealing with being a paraplegic, Darwin coming back to life, Alex learning to control his powers and Hank coming to terms with his fuzzziness.

I started writing romance because I thought I WAS writing romance, but the more romance novels I write, the more I chafe. I realized, when I read those two books side by side, I wasn’t writing No Strings back when I was thrilled about writing; I was writing Harry/Draco. Not romance, but slash. The closest thing I’ve found to it in published books is a Tanya Huff book, The Fire’s Stone (very awesome; also the heroes are gay, woo hoo!) and various Sharon Shinn “romantic fantasy” books. Which makes me wonder… have I been very stupid?

I’m looking for an agent for my hetro paranormal romance novel right now. I’m sorta-kinda working on the sequel to it; I had a trilogy planned. They all interest me, but none give me that fire fanfic used to give me. I’ve often thought it was just because, well, fanfic is easier. You don’t have to create the people or the world, you can take what’s been given and run, there’s a built-in audience with, let’s face it, low expectations. Definitely easier.

I’m also working on a fantasy novel. I have little hope that it will get picked up or published anywhere, to be honest, because it’s kind of bizarre and not easily niched. Publishers don’t like that. But wow, I think about it all the time. I can’t sleep for thinking about it. I’ll stop writing for a few days because of stress or businesses or whatever, and when I come back it’s easy to just pick up and keep going. I don’t look at the clock a million times or check my word count to see how far I’ve gotten. There’s a (gay) romance in it, but the main point of the story isn’t the romance. This is how I felt about fanfic, but it’s not fanfic: it’s just as hard as creating anything else from scratch.

What I’m going to do is keep writing it, finish it, and start looking for an agent for it. Then I’ll decide whether to pick back up the romance sequel or write either a sequel to the fantasy (already plotted…) or a new fantasy. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. On a practical side, it means I’m probably going to remain training dogs to pay the bills… and I’m so tired of that. I just want to be writing. On the emotional side, at least I’ll be thrilled about what I’m writing, rather than in this occasionally-excited, kind of pleased, wondering when I’ll be done state. I’ve really missed being thrilled.

Maybe it’ll work out. I don’t know. I’m just feeling a little frustrated, I guess.

J
(cross-posted to my everyday life blog)



{April 20, 2011}   Blogroll!

Hey, guys!

I updated my blogroll. Blogs that were defunct or no longer used are gone (it always worries me when blogs just vanish, and I hope their authors are okay and happy out in the world), and blogs I’ve been following by link-hopping are up. Some of them are experimental, still. Now we’ll see if I ever get around to changing it again. Ha!

J



{April 19, 2011}   Butches!

Oh, guys, this is awesome: Butches With Cute Animals. Awwwww! But my favorite month is April, because I just found out my boifriend, Q, is on there! Twice! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

J



{January 5, 2011}   Hot hot hot butches!

OMG. Time goes by, and I don’t see butch bodies because I’m not searching them out, and I swear, I forget. I forget how amazingly hot I think they are, and how much they turn me on. I mean, I know in an abstract sort of way, but…

Well. Then I see this, which only has a few butch/trans photos, but OMG I’m like, “Jesus Christ that’s HOT!”

Wow. I mean — wow. Wowee, even.

Okay, it’s also the fact that they’re half naked and OMFG muscles. *whimpers* Q is still as hot as these people, but I think because I SEE her regularly I’m like, “Hee hee, that’s mine,” but there’s not that first whoa-startle-stare reaction.

Holy god, Q is hot. πŸ˜€ And we’re both working on exercising again and getting back to the gym and eating better, so I have high hopes of us staying hot. And when I say ‘us,’ I mean ‘her.’

I also just finally clicked on the Butch Lab, and it makes me happy. So much eye candy! How could I not be happy? (Yes, I am totally objectifying and sexualizing those butches. No, I’m not reading the interviews. I’m just drooling. It’s awesome.)

Next, or at least soon: The study on femmes! Woot!

J



Given the latest bouts of bullying, I though I’d spread the word on parents who are coming out in support of their gender-bending kidbits.

Even when those kidbits are five.

Especially when those kidbits are being bullied for a Halloween costume, by — this was the worst, imo — parents.

I kind of love this mom.

J



{July 30, 2010}   Fun stuff links

Hey, guys! Q found out about this awesome thing, and though we can’t make it this year I thought I’d pass it along!

It’s the Queer Biker Invasion of Death Valley, 2010!

Anyone out there have bikes? *grins*

J



So, in my other life I’m a total comic book geek. And San Diego Comic Con, the BIGGEST comic book convention IN THE WORLD, is this weekend! But alas, I’m not going. 😦 Last time I went to ComicCon was a few years ago (there was a time when I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but then I got a job. >.<), and I went like this:

You can’t see my stomach muscles in this pic, but I assure you, I did so many freakin’ crunches for the months ahead of time that I HAD THEM. I was quite sad they didn’t show up in photos. Oh well.

This year, the Westboro Baptist Church decided to picket ComicCon. THOSE FOOLS. I’m so proud of my fellow geeks right now, though. See, the denizens of ComicCon… decided to PICKET BACK. Hee. Hee hee. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. They arrived with signs that said things like, “God hates kittens,” “Thor is my god,” “Your god got nailed to a cross. My god has a hammer,” “God loves gay Robin,” “Odin is God,” “God needs a starship,” “Superman loves fags,” “Fags are sexy beasts,” and so on. They even had a chant going: “What do we want? Gay sex! When do we want it? NOW!” One guy said into a microphone (in what I hope was a good Vader impression), “I find your lack of faith… disturbing.” And the best part? There were the usual handful of Westboro guys… and hundreds of fans.

Holy shit. I love my fellow geeks. I’m so proud right now!

You can read about it, and see LOTS of awesome pictures (including guys dressed up as Jesus, and Buddy Jesus, along with the more usual assortment of comic and movie characters) here.

And here.

And here and here and here. And there’s even video and whatnot, here!

Hee hee. Don’t mess with geeks. We mess back. πŸ˜€

Yes, that would be me in the middle...

PS if you hit those links, you should check the comments. They make me happy. πŸ˜€



et cetera