Annabelle River's picture

What I Learned from the Gay Puppies

This past Memorial Day, Chicago hosted International Mr. Leather, a long-weekend festival and pageant for the gay-male BDSM community, which has already been written up by Dan Savage and by my partner over at the Geeky Sex blog.  I have written of my fondness for puppy play before on this site, but I had never been around many human-puppies. The concept was too enticing to pass up.

But beforehand, sitting in a bar with my fiancé and our friend, I realized that I was feeling socially anxious in a way that I haven't felt about play parties for a while now. Because I had never before been to a sexy-party where I was so likely to be the only woman present. In sexually-liberated communities, we often like to downplay how fundamentally different we are from people who fall into different categories of sexual liberation. But for all the warm fuzzies of confederacy and label-rejection, I realized over my Irish coffee around the corner from the IML fancy hotel that my tits and long hair still designate my body as unambiguously female, even femme, and it was safe to assume that most of the attendees of a butch-leaning gay men's convention would not find me attractive. I would only know the two people I came with, and at the very least, I was going to look conspicuously different.

arvan's picture

Whatever I feel...

I am really falling in love with The New Internationalist.  I ran across this well written and thoughtful piece today.  The question of whether the individual or the society is given preference in defining the individual, is being thrust into the spotlight as a topic of sex, gender, body - around the globe.  Every day, I see more news of people articulating for themselves, the terms of how they are to be defined rather than assume the terms that society would give them.  These are wonderous times, indeed.


'Boy or girl?' tends to be the first question asked when a baby is born.
And a cursory look at the genitals usually provides the answer.
But it's not that simple, says Zachary I Nataf.

'Whatever I feel, that's the way I am. I was born a girl, and that girl died one day and a boy was born. And the boy was born from that girl in me. I am proud of who I am. A lot of people actually envy us.' Chi-Chi, who lives in a village in the Dominican Republic, is speaking to filmmaker Rolando Sanchez for his 1997 documentary Guevote.

The film portrays the daily lives of Chi-Chi and Bonny, two 'pseudo-hermaphrodites', and the way in which their families, partners and other villagers respond to them.

They are not alone. A rare form of pseudo-hermaphroditism was first found among a group of villagers in the Dominican Republic in the early 1970s. Thirty-eight people were traced with the condition, coming from 23 extended families and spanning four generations.

Chi-Chi's mother has ten children. Three of those ten are girls, three of them are boys 'and four are of this special sort.' she says. 'I knew that this sort of thing existed before I had my own kids. But I never thought that it would happen to me... I told them to accept their destiny, because God knows what he's doing. And I said that real men often achieve less than those who were born as girls. And that's how it turned out. My sons who are real men haven't achieved as much as the others.' 1

The medical explanation is that, while still in the womb, some male babies are unable to produce the testosterone which helps external male genitals to develop. They are born with a labia-like scrotum, a clitoris-like penis and undescended testes.

In the Dominican Republic many of these children were first assumed to be female and were brought up as such. But because they were genetically male, they began to develop male characteristics at puberty, including penis growth and descending testes. Villagers gave these children the local name guevedoche or 'balls at twelve'.

arvan's picture

A Closer Look at the UN Guidelines for Universal Access for MSM and Transgender People

Over at Akimbo, the official blog of the IWHC, there is a nice assessment of the UN's recent report on AIDS and transgender.  They broke down the good, the bad and the awesome for you and include a link to download the entire document.  Take it in and take the knowledge to where you can make a difference.


by Chelsea Ricker on May 27, 2009

As we reported in our link round up on May 15, the United Nations has released a new action framework, UNAIDS Action Framework on Universal Access for Men who have Sex with Men and for Transgender People (which you can download as a PDF by clicking on the image to the left).

I’ve taken a bit of a closer look at it, and here’s a quick assessment:

arvan's picture

Openly gay man voted prom queen at LA high school

From the Monterey News, a nice little bit of news about gender, high school, self-identification and group recognition.  The mindset of previous generations is still visible, but as this queen demonstrated, it is no longer in complete control.  A recognition of our shared humanity is becoming more and more commonplace. :-)

LOS ANGELES — An openly gay teen was voted prom queen at Los Angeles' Fairfax High School in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on the campus about gender roles and teen popularity.

Sergio Garcia, 18, was crowned queen Saturday night at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

"I feel invincible," Garcia said in his tiara and charcoal-gray tuxedo.

A few days earlier, he gave a speech that won over some cynics and led to an ovation and his unlikely victory.

"At one time, prom may have been a big popularity contest where the best-looking guy or girl were crowned king and queen. Things have changed and it's no longer just about who has the most friends or who wears the coolest clothes," Garcia told a gymnasium full of seniors. "I'm not your typical prom queen candidate. There's more to me than meets the eye."

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