Today we are covering one of the most heartbreaking and bizarre cases in modern medical history. The story of David Reimer has been used as both a platform for reform around acceptance of Intersex identities and as a weapon against transgender children transitioning at a young age. What is more interesting though is that David Reimer was neither intersex nor transgender, yet his body and his legacy have been used as an exhibition for the rest of the world. Nothing better encapsulates the toxicity of social standards around masculinity and femininity than this story. And while Reimer was not part of the LGBTQ+ community, his case and his abuse shed light on the many harms done against queer individuals. So, let us start at the beginning of what would become known as the “John/Joan” case.
We return with part two of What a Drag; A History of Ballroom Culture & Modern Drag. We left off at the end of the 1950’s just as a new era was dawning in the queer community. The Lavender Scare was finally starting to fade as America’s understanding around sexual orientation was VERY slowly evolving. Organizations such as The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis had stepped away from being secret societies to standing up as open gay and lesbian organizations. The public transition of former war vet Christine Jorgenson had swept the country igniting a long debate around gender identity and gay rights. And on top of these events, the racial tensions of the era and daily feminist uprisings were preparing to explode into the revolution of the 1960s. As if waiting for an introduction, a small protest sparked the first fires of change.
Carol Baskin was born on an Air Force base in Bexar County, Texas on June 6, 1961. Like Joe, she didn’t have an ideal childhood and ran away from home at age 15, hitchhiking from Florida to Maine. She slept underneath cars until she could afford her own truck and then slept in the back of that with her pet cat. At age 17, Carol got a job at a department store and fell in love with her boss, Michael Murdock, who seems to have been several years older than Carol. The two were married soon after they moved in together because Carol feared the consequences of living in sin. BUt Mike beat her regularly and obsessively tracked her moves, going so far as to track the odometer on her car. The one solace Carol had was her animals, and soon she began to rehabilitate injured bobcats.
Today we cover a docuseries that has captivated the nation and the world at large for its sheer audacity and bizarre twists and turns. And while there are so many reasons to love, or love-to-hate, Tiger King, we here love it mostly because it is so damn queer. Along with a gay protagonist, who weds two bisexual lovers – at the same time – and hires several LGBTQ staff members. We also see a series of other queer characters and polysexual people. In fact, it seems one can’t be a ‘big cat owner’ unless they’re willing to be in an open or polyamorous relationship. We want to throw out a spoiler alert, and if you haven’t seen the docuseries then you might be tempted to believe we’re making all of this up. We think you’d probably enjoy our episode better if you have seen the series, but it is doubtful that we could ruin the experience that is Tiger King.
Today we are headed to China to cover one of the most inspiring transgender activists of our time. An individual who is defying gender binaries in a country that has done very little in the way of LGB rights, and even less for trans and gender non-conforming folks. Despite this, activist and business owner Chao (Chow) Xiaomi (Shou-me) is not one to be deterred. Though she identifies as gender fluid, she uses feminine pronouns and has a feminine expression. And though she has lived openly for the last 15 years, it is only recently that her work has drawn any attention. To understand Chao’s (Chow) predicament, we must understand the climate between China and its LBGTQ citizens.
The past 20 years we have seen a large surge in scientific research and understanding around sex and gender. This has been prompted no doubt by the voluntary outing of more and more trans and gender non-conforming folk. And as has been the case every time a minority group finds their voice, bigots and commentators on the “other side” find reason to increase their attacks. The realities and lies around transgender issues grows with time. Because of this, there is quite a lot of conflicting and confusing information out there about what it means to be transgender and what transitioning entails.
It’s Transgender Day of Remembrance and in honor of those who have passed we cover the origins of TDOR, the many trans people lost to anti-trans violence this last year, and 5 of the biggest misconceptions about the transgender and non-binary communities. If you were not able to make it to a vigil this year then perhaps our small reading will help.
Today we cover an amazing individual who’s all but been erased from history, Dr. Alan Hart. While he achieved much academic success starting at a young age, Alan would struggle with his career for decades. This was due to his transition from female to male in the early 1900s.
In our last episode, we had reached the final days before the morning of June 28th. We discussed how our community began to stand up and fight back. In part two we go in detail about the Stonewall riot.