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"Queerly Speaking" provides safe space for Dallas gay poets

By JW Richard (

Gay wordsmiths will be given an opportunity to speak their truths in poetry via the new monthly event, “Queerly Speaking”. This month's program will be Friday, September 25, at the Backbeat Cafe & Listening Room (formerly Opening Bell Coffee @ Mosaic) at the corner of Pearl and Akard streets in Downtown Dallas. The show starts at 8pm and will be held every fourth Friday of the month.

“Queerly Speaking” is a program of the newly formed collective, Fahari Arts Institute (“Fahari” means “pride” in Swahili). Fahari Arts Institute exists to celebrate and chronicle the contributions of LGBT writers, artists, and musicians throughout the African diaspora. Fahari's inaugural event was co-hosting a memorial for E. Lynn Harris in August 2009 with The View of Dallas, an African-American gay book club.

arvan's picture

Rhythm is a lady! Introducing Famba

Every now and then, something wonderful and beautiful happens.  The diversity of life is not a concept, but a brilliant expression of creation and joy.  I got followed on twitter about 30 minutes ago by @FambaGent.  I looked them up and found a Belgian, Lesbian, Feminist Samba band. 

Hell to the yeah!

Here is their bio from their web page (translated):

Famba currently consists of 25 committed and loving women who enjoy making music together. Famba has members of all ages and types from Ghent, Mechelen, Roeselare, Lier, ....

The group was created because some friends found that lesbians weren't visible enough at demonstrations and events. At the start, the group comprised seven women. Our enthusiasm was contagious: women came and went and now we have a 20+. We are all lesbian or bisexual and in one way or another socially conscious.

Percussion-training academies we don't have. But practice makes perfect and our two weekly rehearsals disciplined under expert supervision bore fruit soon. If you invite Famba, you can expect beautiful and compelling rhythms and great ambiance.

arvan's picture


Call For Submissions
Kate Bornstein & S Bear Bergman, eds

Deadline: 1 September 2009

In the fifteen years since the release of Gender Outlaw, transgender narratives have made their way into cultural locations from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s trannies and other sex/gender radicals are writing a radically new world into being. GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION (Seal Press) will collect and contextualize the work of this generation’s most forward-thinking trans/genderqueer voices—new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Edited by that ol’ original Gender Outlaw herself, Kate Bornstein and writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION will include essays, commentary, comic art and conversation from a diverse a group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.

*What we’re looking for*

GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION wants to collect work that represents a quantum leap forward in thinking and talking about gender and the gender binary, in the same way Gender Outlaw did almost twenty years ago. So blow us away. Bring the smart, bring the sexy, blind us with science, break the gender barrier, shine a bright light (or a disco ball) on the whole gender situation. Tell us about your future, what you imagine, how you want things to go and what you (and your friends) intend to do about it. Think big.

We’ll look at whatever you have for us – essays, graphic art, interviews/conversations, haiku, rants – as long as you’re thinking smart and fresh about sex and gender (and being an outlaw, of course).

People of any identity are encouraged to submit work. This means you – yes, you!

We intend to privilege non-normatively gendered/sexed voices in the book but will include all the good stuff we can, regardless of current identifiers of the author.

*The Details*

Deadline: Sept 1 (early submissions are encouraged). Submissions should be unpublished; query if you have a reprint that you think we’ll swoon for. While we hesitate to list a maximum, please query first for pieces over 4,000 words. If you have an idea and need help writing it out, contact us to discuss an interview-style piece or other accommodations.

Submit as a Word document or black/white JPEG (no files over 2MB).

Please include a cover letter with a brief bio and full contact information (mailing address, phone number, pseudonym if appropriate) when you submit.

Submissions without complete contact information will be deleted unread.

Payment will be $50 and 2 copies of the book upon publication in Fall 2010.

Contributors retain the rights to their pieces.

Send your submission as an attachment to

~please forward/repost lots and lots, as appropriate~

arvan's picture

Nong Thoom: Transgender Thai Boxer


Several years ago, a Muay Thai boxer named Nong Thoom began an amazing journey to claim her Self.  Her story is chronicled in a movie, Beautiful Boxer (2003).  Her story of self declaration and identity stated in her own terms is an inspiration.

Born as a male who identified as female at an early age, she was labeled Kathoey "Lady Boy".  She learned and exceled at the art of Muay Thai in part to defend herself from the abuses of being transgender.  There were other reasons as well.  In the countryside where she grew up, making a living was difficult, Muay Thai is a way for children to make their own way and bring honor to their family. 

For many young Thai men, kickboxing is a way out of poverty, a chance to escape the often rural confines of life in a developing country where the average annual wage is less than U.S. $2,000. It is also revered as a sort of religion. The traditional boxing known as Muay Thai was once used to decide the fate of kings—ritual and ceremony surrounds this most respected of bloody battles. Champions become national heroes. And it's just for men. 

(Laura Green, Thai "Ladyboy" Kickboxer Is Gender-Bending Knockout, National Geographic)

arvan's picture

Running scared

Posted by Anna Webster at The New Internationalist, comes a piece on a community under duress for being themselves in a repressive, fundamentalist culture:

No reprieve for gay community living with 30 years of sharia law

Living in fear: a gay transvestite in Iran.

Living in fear: a gay transvestite in Iran. JeROeN OeRLeMANS / PANOS


On 1 April Iran marked the 30th anniversary of becoming an Islamic Republic and adopting sharia law. For the country’s gay community, the occasion was a stark reminder of their decades-long persecution. Homosexuality was already taboo under the Shah, but the birth of the Republic in 1979 led to its criminalization. In 2007, despite a penal code stipulating homosexuality as a crime, President Ahmadinejad declared that ‘in Iran we do not have homosexuals’. Following international pressure and derision, he later conceded that there ‘might be a few gay people in Iran’ but denied that they faced execution.

arvan's picture

SexGenderBody: Home-field Advantage

I recently cross-posted over at my favorite political blog, The Motley Moose.  In the comments, a discussion developed with one or two people lamenting their perception that the topics of sex, gender, body were being 'walled away' here in a separate space, distinct from 'mainstream' conversations.  The concern was that by 'segregating' or distinguishing SGB as separate conversations, a separate space, a separate people, then stereotypes would be strengthened and both the sgb communities and the non-sgb communities would suffer a loss of relatedness.  The commenters did not see any difference between personal identity politics and larger, group identity politics - both are part of the same human experience.

I agree with their concerns completely.  It is their assessment of this site that I wish to clarify. is not a walled community for people to either isolate within or be in any way segregated.  That model is a traditional example of how a community is formed and supported in creating an identity.  This site aims to promote the community of our shared humanity.  Everyone on this planet has a self-definition of their own sex, gender, body.  There is no sub-set, no partition, no 'minority' culture.  We are all human and we all are individual & unique.

arvan's picture

Politics with a small 'p' as in 'personal'

(I have been neglecting my first blog, The National Gadfly for the last month.  The effort to launch and configure sexgenderbody had consumed my pea-brain.  Tonight, I posted my thoughts on why and how I distinguish the politics of the individual and those of society.  Cross posted here, by me with love for you.)

(Image courtesy of digado)

As many of you may already know, I have recently launched a community, collaborative blog:  In the last couple months, my content here had become a bit too higgledy-piggledy even for myself.  I found that I had a great deal to say on personal politics, the politics of self-definition.  This is not a conflict with the conversations I have been having here in the realm of Politics with a capital P, the politics of institutions and society at large or simply - groups.

Politics with a P are the more commonplace discussions that we all know and 'love': conservative vs. liberal, right-wing vs. left-wing, labor vs. management, class vs. class, race vs. race and so on.  Inside the myriad of daily Politic-speak are notions of the rights of the individual.  The terms of these conversations are subtly couched in a model where governments and institutions are defining the individual.  Rights, protections, entitlements, values, uses, and many other terms that all serve to reinforce the model that the individual exists in terms given by the society, or Political party affiliation.  A person's rights as given by the Constitution, a Political affiliation or membership in a religious sect.

Annabelle River's picture

Different Loving

Over a year passed between the time I realized clearly that I am a masochist and the time that I found the BDSM community, with its social coffee gatherings and open-to-the-public play parties.  It was a lonely year between my junior and senior years of college, during which I wasted entirely too much mental energy wondering if I was crazy.  It did sound irreconcilable to be a sane, empowered woman and also really like men hitting me and/or calling me a whore.  After a bad reaction from my college boyfriend, it took me a year to confess my "big dark secret" to a second person.

But in hindsight, blaming the college boyfriend was mostly a convenient excuse for my own confusion.  Alternative sexuality scares a lot of people.  I had to do a lot of reading and a lot of introspection on my own before becoming the sort of confidant woman who writes columns about BDSM for the world wide web.

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