Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stepping Out with my Sweet

Girl Sweet called me today, mid-morning. “I’m in the city. Can you meet me for lunch in an hour?”

Let’s see… Can I be clear across the city an hour from now when I’m still in my pyjamas and the coffee hasn’t even finished brewing…?

“I would really love to see you, even if it’s just for a little while,” she pleaded.

It would be our first “outing.” Sure, we’ve had lunch together before, but I’ve only ever gone out with boy Sweet. I’ve had girl Sweet over to my place, but we had no “real world” experience yet. To Sweet, this was important.

If I said it really wasn’t doable, she would have taken it as an affront. She would have thought I didn’t want to be seen in public with her, when nothing could be further from the truth. Hell, I want to show her picture to everyone on the subway and say, “This is my girlfriend. Isn’t she hot?!?”

Sweet is a hell of a lot needier, and way more of a girly girl, than any gg (“genuine girl” or chromosomal female) I’ve ever been interested in. I tend to like girls who only wear skirts facetiously. With Sweet, I really have to be careful. She’s sensitive. She’s a little bit fragile, even. She interprets everything as relating to her trans-ness.

“I’ll see you in an hour, Sweet.”

Miraculously, it took me only forty minutes to get across the city. There was Sweet, waiting for me at the subway. She looked more spectacular than ever, even though her outfit was very simple. I was glowing, seeing her. She was glowing, seeing me.

When we got to the restaurant, the server showed us to our table and said, “Enjoy your meal, ladies.” My heart fluttered just a little bit. Normally, I would have been irritated at being called a “lady” because I sure as hell don’t look or act like one, but today I was too delighted to care.

Sweet still has concerns about being “read” (about people wondering if her sex is aligned with her gender presentation), but I can’t imagine anyone viewing her as anything but the gorgeous girl I see.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lesbians in Sport? Surely not!

And you thought European football was a bore...

Stamford Bridge, 1921, the home of Chelsea Football Club. A crowd of 10,000 saw the French Ladies football team win 2-1. This game caused a stir in the media when the two captains, Alice Kell and Madeline Bracquemond, kissed each other at the end of the match.


Just a cute little tidbit for today's Monday Miscellany. If you're looking for more, check out my new page at the Queer Writers' website:

And, by the way, exactly why have you not yet purchased your copy of Cunning Little Vixens? This short story features lesbians from around the time of the above era, and it's only $1.99!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Straight Translation: Defining Trans Terms

In talking with my mom and grandmother about my relationship with Sweet, it became very clear to me that many people who are generally accepting (and I use that word quite consciously – I’m embracing; they’re accepting) of the trans community have little grasp on the terminology. That’s not a dig. Of course people aren’t going to be aware of definitions if they’re not a part of the community or if they haven’t studied trans issues academically.

With that in mind, I would like to provide a bit of a trans dictionary. The following is adapted from and an article by Warren J. Blumenfeld of the Univesity of Massachusetts, combined with my academic and Sweet’s acquired knowledge. This at least provides a baseline, though not every trans person will agree with every definition.
Definitions of Transgender Terminology

Biological Sex (or Chromosomal Sex): An individual’s sex as determined by their chromosomal makeup, which hormones predominate in the individual’s system, and internal and external genitalia. The distinction commonly made is that between male and female, but between 1% and 4% of the population is born intersexed, with biological aspects of both sexes to varying degrees.

: An individual who sometimes wears clothing considered inappropriate for that person’s biological sex. Cross-dressers generally want to “pass” as their target gender.

: A TG person who lives full-time in their preferred gender image, whether in preparation for a sex-change operation or not.

: DRessed As a Boy

: DRessed As a Girl

Drag Queen
: Generally refers to a gay man who sometimes puts on women’s clothing in a performative capacity, without necessarily attempting to “pass.”

Drag King
: Generally refers to a lesbian who sometimes puts on men’s clothing in a performative capacity, without necessarily attempting to “pass.”

: Abbreviation for Female-To-Male cross-dresser or transsexual.

Gender Dysphoria
: Medically, refers to extreme discontent with the individual’s biological sex.

Gender Identity
: An individual’s innermost concept of self as male, female, intersex, travesti, hijra, two-spirit… and the list goes on. Take your pick! Gender identity is about how we perceive ourselves and what we label ourselves, and it doesn’t have to be consistent with biological sex.

Gender Image
: The individual’s gender-presentation out in the world.

Gender Role
: Socially/culturally-defined roles and behaviours assigned to individuals based on their gender.

Genderqueer: An umbrella term describing individuals who don’t subscribe to the binary identities of male and female, who fall outside gender definitions, or who see themselves as both male and female.

: A member of the venerated (at least historically) “third sex” of India. Most hijra are biologically male or intersex, and dress and identify in a way reserved for women in that culture.

In Transition
: A transsexual in the process of changing sex. This including taking hormones, cross-living, and finally surgery. A practical minimum for this process is about two years, but usually it takes longer.

Intersex: An individual born with the full or partial sex organs of both male and female, or with underdeveloped or ambiguous sex organs. This word replaces the politically incorrect hermaphrodite.

: Abbreviation for Male-To-Female cross-dresser or transsexuals.

Non-surgical Transsexual
: A transsexual who may seek sex reassignment through hormones and/or cross-living, but stops short of surgery.

: To exist convincingly in one’s preferred gender image.

: Transsexuals who have had sex-change operation(s), and now have the physical anatomy they desire.

Transsexuals who have not yet had their reassignment operation(s), but who are working towards it.

Sex reassignment surgery (SRS): Sex-change operation.

: An organization, institution or individual that embraces transgendered peoples and their needs.

Transgender (TG)
: Frequently used as an umbrella term encompassing all those people who transgress society’s gender norms. A transgender person may feel society is limiting that individual’s personal expression by maintining two distinct gender constructs. This term often includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, two spirit, etc.

Transphobia: A form of oppression exercised against the trans community; the fear and hatred of TS/TG people, as well as those gender-transgressive element that exist in all people.

Transsexual (TS)
: A TG individual who wants to or has changed their body to be more in line with their gender identity.

: A traditional role in Native American and Canadian First Nations societies, this term describes both the feminine and masculine spirit co-existing in one individual.

Bright Blessings,
Giselle Renarde

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Same Old Sparkling Eyes

Before last night, I had an awareness, of course, of Sweet’s feminine persona. I knew the other half existed. I’d heard the voice. I’d seen the pictures. We’d spoken on the subject. A lot.

But the experience was still missing. I’d never met the girl face-to-face.

Earlier this week, Sweet mentioned being torn: he wanted to share “her” with me, share her directly. “But why?” he went on to ask. “What’s the point?”

Sweet’s always known how receptive I am to meeting the girl in him. I’ve been very clear on that point. I’m all-embracing.

Yesterday I was out having dinner with a friend. When I got home, there were about 300 messages on my answering machine. “Just calling to say hi…” “just wanted to see if you had plans…” “Just seeing if you’re home yet…” The phone rang even before I was finished listening to them. It was Sweet. But not just everyday Sweet. It was the girl.

“I was out having dinner with Mara,” I told her.

“Oh, that’s great. That’s good…” she began, hesitating. “I just thought maybe we could go to the movies. It’s too late now, but…”

My heart sank. I can see stupid Mara anytime, and here I spent the evening with her instead of with
her. Sweet. Her. I didn’t even know her name.

“Hey, who the hell are you, Lady? Here some random woman calls me up, doesn’t even introduce herself, and wants to take me out? Talk about presumptuous!”

Sweet giggled.

“What’s your name?” I probed.

“I can tell you that when I see you.”

I’ve always been a fan of immediate gratification and, having missed that evening’s opportunity to see my Sweet in this new-to-me form, I was dreadfully concerned this might be a one-time-only opportunity. He’d expressed his trepidations before. How could I be sure he’d want to unveil his feminine aspect for me again?

I wouldn’t normally make demands on the time of someone who lives so far away from me but this was a special occasion. “Come over, Sweet. Come now.”

At 1:15 in the morning, a beautiful woman appeared on my doorstep. I already knew the person, but the girl was new. We had a cup of tea and chatted. She told me her name, at long last. She was…oh, I’m fluttery-hearted just thinking about her… You know what I was most taken by? Those same old sparkling eyes, of course. Like I wasn’t having enough problems suppressing that question of love…

“I’m feeling self-conscious,” I told her.


“Because you’re so much prettier than me.”

Sweet giggled.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cock for a Day

At 2am, Sweet said it was probably time for us to get off the phone. He followed that statement with the question, “Have you ever thought about living as a man?”

We didn’t get off the phone until 3:15 that morning.

The fascinating conversation that followed sparked a short story called Cock for a Day, now available in the Wicked Ways section at
For The Girls.

Cock for a Day represents my own personal version of a trans fantasy, hinging on the idea of spontaneously growing a penis you know is only going to be around for one day. Life will go back to normal at midnight. What kind of dirtiness will you get up to in the meantime?

For The Girls is THE spot for straight gals. This porny playground is for members only, but, boy, is it ever worth it if you get to read my work. ;-)

Hugs all around!

Giselle Renarde

Thursday, July 10, 2008

With Art Comes Responsibility

Joni Mitchell got me thinking.

It takes more than the usual Swan Lake slippers and tutus to get me to the ballet. I don’t understand narrative in motion. I need words. That’s why I’m a writer. So when my dear friend invited me to The Fiddle and The Drum, I almost passed.

“No, you have to come,” she pressed. “It’s a collaboration between the Alberta Ballet and Joni Mitchell!”

Well, that changed everything. I’m half in love with Joni Mitchell. Of course I went, and Thank Ganesh I did! The Fiddle and The Drum was the most spectacular piece I’ve ever witnessed. Joni Mitchell’s music and words gave the dance the narrative structure I needed while her photography cast in shades of toxic green gave the ballet a haunting air. It was a daring, biting criticism of the American/Albertan obsession with oil and the lengths to which we’ll go to secure something that’s only helping us slaughter our beautiful planet.

What stayed with me, conflated with this gripping dance, was a single sentence from the program. Jean Grand-MaĆ®tre of the Alberta Ballet states, “as Ms Mitchell is incensed with human folly, she made it clear to me from the onset that this ballet could not be escapist entertainment when the world is in such shambles.”

I had to ask myself, “What is my art, if not escapist entertainment?” I write erotica, for Shakti’s sake! If I am producing art, must it not make a more important statement? More than just some people fucking? I felt I owed it to my fellow Canadian to produce something better.

And then I thought about
Tangled Roots, my new release. Sidestepping the entire debate of whether or not porn, erotica, and the like are socially important, I’ll simply say that this new novella redeems my body or work. Sort of. Maybe. In a way. This piece, if no other, makes quite pertinent social statements about the shape of Aboriginal identity in Canada, about systemic racism, about how internalized dominance and subordination can both manifest in the same flawed individual. It’s deep.

I’m hoping Joni would be proud.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This Question of Love

Sweet often asks me if he can read the stories I write about him. I always say no.

“Why?” he asks.

“It’s too revealing,” I tell him.

“We’re naked in bed together!” he counters. “What could be more revealing that that?”

“It would reveal how I feel about you,” I say.

“You can tell me how you feel about me.”

“No, I can’t.”

Why, I wonder, do I have so few trepidations about tearing off my clothes and hopping into bed with this man, but the idea of revealing myself emotionally to him fills me with fear? If sex is indeed “emotion in motion,” as Mae West claimed, shouldn’t I be able to tell, not just show?

On three separate occasions, Sweet has said to me, “There are a thousand ways to say I love you.”

Was that an I love you?

He despises the casual use of terms of endearment. We’re on the same page there—when some random dude calls me “sweety” I kick him in the face. Using them frivolously lessens the impact of using them when you really mean it. Lately, Sweet’s taken to calling me, my love. “It’s wonderful to hear your voice, my love.”

Was that an I love you?

And why am I so hung up on this anyway? It’s all fear. It’s all that silly dread of being more attached to a partner than he is to you. I have nothing to fear with Sweet. So why am I acting like such a loser? It’s middle school all over again!

Of course, he’s probably asking himself the very same questions. We all get hung up on this question of love. Sweet’s probably wondering what it meant that my last three orgasms exploded with his name. They’d all been generic before—that basic oh yeah, oh god, maudit calisse de crisse de tabernak! routine—but I practised while he was on holiday. I practised orgasming his name.

“I’m surprised that last one didn’t draw a crowd,” I said to him. “I expected to see my neighbours peeking in the window.”

“They might not know your name,” Sweet blushed, “but they’ll sure as hell know mine.”

And we’re both left wondering, was that an I love you?