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Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation



Editor’s note:

The author of this piece, J. Rudy Flesher, is a Philadelphia based actor, blogger and college student. After a three-year detour working in health care he recently returned to The College of New Jersey to complete his B.A. in Women’s and Gender studies. He blogs (sporadically at the moment and daily when school is not in session) here and at The Pistol in Bed Thirteen.

Regular readers of this blog will remember Rudy’s other pieces here, including, “Twentysomething Hairless White Gay Men Who Have Time To Take Pilates 5 Days A Week,” “I’m From Driftwood,” and “A Veteran Is Never An ‘It’ Or A ‘Shim’.”

Hello readers.  I’m thrilled that David has accepted my request to resume guest blogging, devoting my coverage to LGBT arts and culture.  Some of the folks I cover here will be artists and authors kind enough to grant me a moment of their time for an interview; others, including in today’s blog will be individuals on the talent roster of PhinLi Booking, an LGBT and sex positive booking agency for whom I am currently interning.  I am therefore being granted some very special access to some of our boldest and brightest artists, and cannot wait to share the fruits of my labor with you all!

Additionally, I will note that all books referenced here link directly to purchasing them at Giovanni’s Room, Philadelphia’s independent LGBT book store, and one of the only such stores left on the east coast.  I receive no compensation for referring you to them; I simply feel that they are an unbelievable resource to our communities and it is vital to support them, as I have blogged about in the past.

Today I am exiting to be blogging about the recently released anthology “Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation,” edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman.  If you’re familiar with either of their works individually, you know what a dream team this is.

Kate Bornstein

First of all, I should just admit that in my household, Kate is a bit of a goddess.  If authors, performers, and activists had groupies, we’d be carrying her luggage and her props into conferences and theaters.  Her 1994 landmark “Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us” literally changed the landscape of trans issues, queer community, and gender theory in the United States.  She followed up in 1998 with “My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, A Real Women, The Real you, or Something Else Entirely,” and the text is still in use today from individuals to college classes who want a fun and intelligent guide to gender.

A self-proclaimed advocate for teens, freaks, and other outlaws, Kate’s most recent publication was “Hello Cruel World:  101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and other Outlaws.” Kate’s blog links to a free download of a “lite” version of the book and she has recently added her own to cents to Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project.

S Bear Bergman

Co-editor S. Bear Bergman is no slouch hirself.  (For the uninitiated “hirself” is used instead of his or her self, using hir preferred gender neutral pronoun.)  I first became acquainted with Bear via hir essay “An Apology to my Mother,” in the anthology “Second Person Queer: Who you are (so far).” Hir most recent book, “The Nearest Exit may be Behind You,” is a collection of his essays, and was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Lambda Literary Award. Ze is also the author of the critically acclaimed “Butch is a Noun,” recently reissued with a new afterward. Like Kate, Bear adds educating and performing to his already considerable resume.

Part of what is so stunning about “Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation,” is that nearly all of the names of the authors are new to me.  Being a pretty avid reader of all things gender queer and trans related, plus with much of my academic research and own performance art falling into that arena in the last year, I consider myself pretty well-in-the-loop.  Kate and Bear have done an unbelievable job of cultivating submissions to their anthology, bringing new voices and new perspectives to the next generation of Gender Outlaws, and for this I am both thrilled and grateful.

If you reside in or near Manhattan, Blue Stockings independent bookstore, located at 172 Allen St, is hosting Kate Bornstein and some fellow gender outlaws for a night of gender anarchy in celebration of the release of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.  I invite you to come, as I will certainly be making the trip to be there.

To find out more about Kate Bornstein visit her blog or her Twitter account; visit Bear online here, and keep up with hir on Twitter.  If you are interested in booking either or both for an upcoming performance or conference, please visit Phinli to see all of their offerings, or email them.

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‘We’re Not Gonna Fix It’: TN Republican Says Congress Can Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence – Calls for Christian ‘Revival’



U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) says there’s nothing the 535 elected officials in the House and Senate can do to reduce gun violence and gun deaths.

“We’re not gonna fix it,” Congressman Burchett said on the steps of the Capitol.

“I don’t see any role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly,” he said in response to Monday’s school mass shooting in Nashville, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death by a shooter with two AR-15 style assault rifles and a handgun.

READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting

Instead of Congress enacting stricter gun laws, background checks, and a ban on assault weapons, Congressman Burchett said, “you’ve got to change people’s hearts,” as he called for a Christian revival.

“As a Christian, we talk about the church. I’ve said this many times, I think we really need a revival in this country.”

Monday’s shooting at the Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School was the 130th mass shooting this year in America, bringing the death toll from all gun violence across all causes to 9989, including 403 children 17 or younger, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Congressman Burchett is a member of the far-right Republican Study Committee, which has strong ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

On Monday, Burchett released a statement saying, “Kelly and I are praying for everyone at The Covenant School, especially the families of the shooting victims. No one should have to go through that kind of horrific event or lose a loved one like that. I’m so thankful to those brave folks who brought down the shooter and took care of the students and their families.”

Earlier this month Rep. Burchett was one of 26 House Republicans on the Oversight Committee who refused to sign a simple two-sentence statement denouncing white supremacy.

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Trump Trying to ‘Pollute the Jury Pool’ With ‘Gibberish and Obstruction’: Analysis



Donald Trump has been hurling ominous warnings and racist insults against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg ahead of a possible indictment, and legal experts fear those threats could provoke violence in the same way his rhetoric fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The former president has attacked state and federal prosecutors “thugs,” claimed two Black district attorneys are “racist” and used anti-Semitic tropes to suggests he’s the victim of a “globalist” conspiracy and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the prosecutors who are investigating him, reported The Guardian.

“Trump cannot stop the judicial process, although he can try to slow it,” said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor. “But he can undermine its credibility through his charges and by mobilizing his supporters. I see what he’s doing now as aimed at them, just as he tried to discredit the election returns in their eyes and anger them with baseless charges over the ‘steal.'”

Trump’s legal defenses have recently weakened after federal courts required some of his top aides, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, to testify in the Jan. 6 grand jury investigation, and compelled the testimony of his current lawyer Evan Corcoran in the classified documents case, and prosecutions in Manhattan and Georgia also appear to be nearing conclusion.

READ MORE: David Pecker is a ‘critical witness’ who could get Trump charged with a ‘second crime’: former prosecutor

“If I were on the prosecution teams in Manhattan or Georgia, I would expect Trump to assert every defense he can think of, including accusing the prosecutors of misconduct,” said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Michigan.

“None of these accusations about the motives of prosecutors, however, will negate the evidence of Trump’s own crimes,” McQuade added. “A jury will focus on the facts and the law, and not any of this name calling. The Trump strategy may work in the court of public opinion, but not in a court of law.”

Trump’s lawyers are using his trusted stalling tactic by raising “specious” objections in Georgia, according to former Watergate prosecutor Phlip Lacovara, and Trump is “trying to pollute the jury pool” with attacks on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

“All he needs is one juror who believes this is all a concocted plot,” Lacovara said.

Trump used many of the same tactics in his attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss, which ultimately led to the deadly U.S. Capitol attack.

“This is more of what we saw during the election,” said Donald Ayer, who served as deputy attorney general in the George H. W. Bush administration. “He throws up gibberish and obstruction.”


Image: Hunter Crenian/Shutterstock

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Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting



Governor Bill Lee quickly drew tremendous outrage in the wake of a school mass shooting where six people including three young children were shot to death. Social media users criticized the Tennessee Republican, who had signed a permit-less gun carry law, for declaring he was “praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community,” without posting any mention of the mass shooting.

Tweeting he was “closely monitoring the tragic situation at Covenant,” Gov. Lee said, “As we continue to respond, please join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community.”

There was no mention of any loss of life, and, as Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts passionately noted, the “situation” was a mass shooting.

“If thoughts and prayers alone worked to stop gun violence, there wouldn’t have been a shooting at a Christian elementary school. It’s your actions – including weakening the state’s gun laws – that’s killing kids in Tennessee,” Watts also tweeted. “SHAME ON YOU.”

Gov. Lee signed a permit-less carry bill into law in 2021, at a Beretta gun manufacturing plant.

According to the CDC, as of 2020 – one year before the permit-less carry bill was signed into law – Tennessee ranked tenth in the nation in per-capita firearm mortality.

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

Meanwhile, others took notice of the gun culture Gov. Lee has fostered in “The Volunteer State.”

MSNBC analyst and Bulwark writer Tim Miller commented, “Tennessee governor Bill Lee issued a statement recently about how the drag ban in Tennessee ‘protects children.’ If only he would have instead focused on laws that might have prevented the mass murder of children in his state today.”

Historian Kevin Kruse pointed to an article from last year, after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, titled: “Rep. Clemmons Seeks Renewed Gun Laws, Gov. Lee Requests Prayer.”

“You chose prayer over gun reforms last year after the Uvalde massacre,” Kruse wrote. “And now here we are.”

The progressive website Tennessee Holler pointed out that Gov. Lee, along with GOP lawmakers, “just appointed Jordan Mollenhour to the [state] board of education— whose company was sued for selling ammo to an underage mass killer (SANTA FE) and sold ammo to at least one more (AURORA) He has ZERO education experience.”

Let’s Give a Damn founder Nick Laparra tweeted, “We are 86 days into 2023. So far, 9859 people have died by gun violence and there have been 128 mass shootings. Meanwhile, @GovBillLee spends his days being outraged over drag queens and CRT and book bans. This is Bill Lee’s and the GOP’s fault.”

See the tweets and video above or at this link.

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies




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