In a world where stories like Thomas Beatie's pregnancy can capture world-wide attention overnight, it's difficult to foretell what the biggest transgender stories of 2009 will be. But here are a few of the stories—and trans folk—to watch next year.
Following our massive, community-wide sigh of relief after the 2008 presidential elections, some of us may think the hard work is over. But there's still plenty to fight for nationally—like ENDA ( the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ) —and locally, as in Gainesville, Fla., where the city council last year authorized transgender individuals to use women's bathrooms in the city's businesses and public facilities. The ruling is at risk during March's elections, when a ballot measure may amend the city charter to eliminate accommodations for transgender individuals.
Interested in influencing policy decisions? Drop in our your federal representatives during the National Center for Transgender Equality's 5th Annual Lobby Days in Washington, D.C., April 26-28, 2009.
Still in school? Join the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ( GLSEN ) for a new national day of action Feb. 27. TransAction! is a day for education about and celebration of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. To honor the date, GLSEN encourages students to organize a workshop, panel discussion or similar forum about gender, gender identity and gender roles.
If you're like me, snowbound days are perfect for reading, and 2009 brings new books to add to the pile. Trans publishing company Homofactus Press has two collections on the docket: first up in March is Visible: A Femmethology; edited by Jennifer Clare Burke, this two-volume anthology includes essays from over 50 contributors and explores what it means to be a queer femme. In October, the press plans to release Kicked Out, edited by Sassafras Lowrey. The anthology by current and former homeless LGBTQ youth forced out of their homes because of their sexuality or gender identity has a foreword by Matthew Shepard's mother and has been endorsed by PFLAG. With over 40 percent of homeless youth in the United States identifying as LGBT, this is a huge issue for our community.
Other nonfiction works include editor/filmmaker Morty Diamond's collection on trans masculine dating, Gendered Hearts; meanwhile trans activist Jamison Green co-edited Transgender Voices: Beyond Women and Men with Lori B. Girshick and trans academic Richard Juang is releasing Transphobia: Critical Perspectives on Anti-Transgender Violence.
Upcoming additions to the growing transgender care shelf include Social Work Practice with Transgender and Gender Variant Youth by Gerald P Mallon and Substance Use Disorders in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Clients ( Foundations of Social Work Knowledge Series ) by Sandra Anderson.
In the fiction category, post furry artist Egypt Urnash's long-awaited sci-fi sexcapade graphic novel, Five Glasses of Absinthe, should be completed by the end of the year.
In other literary news, filmmaker Elizabeth Stark recently started the blog Write Angles and will be offering an one-day workshop, "Success: Investing ( In ) Your Creative Resources" via Skype on January 11; and an online book-revising course starting January 15.
"In these financially troubling times," Stark argues, "There's only one sure investment that pays immediate dividends and has strong growth potential all at the same time: you."
If you're a more active type, you've got a lot of trans events to pick from this year, starting off with Boston's First Event Transgender Conference. With over 600 people expected to attend, the Jan. 18 event is one of the largest transgender conferences in the world.
Last held in 2005, the Equality and Parity conference in Los Angeles promises statewide action for transgender HIV prevention and care January 26-28. The Transgender Education Association of Washington, D.C., is collaborating with other groups in the mid Atlantic region to bring the International Foundation for Gender Education ( IFGE ) Annual Conference to Alexandria, Va., Feb. 4–7.
The Gender Identity Center of Colorado's annual transgender conference, the Colorado Gold Rush will be held in Denver March 26-29; Philly's Liberty Conference will be April 30-May 2; and the 27th annual Be-All shopping and entertainment extravaganza for trans women will be held June 2-7 in Chicagoland for the eighth straight year.
After the Pride season winds down, Atlanta's 5-day ( Sept. 22-27 ) symposium, the Southern Comfort Conference, is followed by the weeklong Fantasia Fair held every October since 1975 in the LGBT resort town of Provincetown, Mass.
Tyra Banks' favorite trans musician, Joshua Klipp, is co-producing a new LGBT music festival in San Francisco called SUPA-Q. The Sexy Urban Phonic Artists festival will be held March 13-15.
Speaking of music, this year will see the release of a number of trans albums including gender-bending model Jeffrey Star's first full-length album, Beauty Killer; and Modern Day Pinnochio's debut, Here I am. San Francisco's foxy trans-rocker, Shawna Virago, expects to release a highly anticipated new album. And trans MC Katastrophe's third album, The Worst Amazing, will be digitally distributed by on 307 Knox Records but will only be printed on vinyl.
Meanwhile Byrce's trans artist collective, Trans-Genre, is releasing its first compilation CD, Trans-Fusions, which represents a diverse array of genres and includes 15 audio tracks from artists like Coyote Grace, Ryka Aoki De La Cruz, Sassafras Lowrey, Dylan Scholinski and Modern Day Pinnochio. Proceeds from the $10 sticker price will go back into promoting trans artists.
On the performance scene the year starts out right with San Francisco's dance wunderkind, trans choreographer Sean Dorsey, presenting Uncovered: The Diary Project at the end of January. The new concert, commissioned by the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Queer Cultural Center is based on the lifelong journals of trans pioneer and gay FTM Lou Sullivan ( 1951-1991 ) ; and explores the gaps between recorded history, collective memory and lived experience.
In 2009, trans comedian Ian Harvie plans to continue his self-titled LGBTQ comedy/talk show; collaborate with Margaret Cho in theaters and clubs around the country,; perform at music festivals as his new alter ego, Travis Wayne; and appear on ABC's Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, which will make him the first trans performer to join the string of A-list comedian guests on the show. But it's his MANologues ( TM ) project that Harvie calls "most important"—he's been interviewing butches and trans guys in order to create a non-comedic performance piece to premiere at the L.A. Gay Lesbian Center in the spring of 2009.
"I want to help create community between butches and trans guys, while educating folks who may not be familiar with this sect of gender dialogue," Harvie explained. "Basically, my point is that no one feels a hundred percent okay about their bodies, even people outside the GLBTQ community. What we all choose to do about those feelings vary, but the feelings are similar."
Two-spirit performer Jennifer Lanier's None of the Above debuts this spring at Portland, Ore.'s, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center ( IFCC ) . The IFCC will also be home to Collective of Geniuses' Queers Heart Geeks for Pride before they open their own gallery/performance/community workshop space.
Transgender g-ddess Kate Bornstein will be keynoting conferences, facilitating her workshop: Your Gender: Now You See It, Now You Don't—examining intersections of the oppressive systems of gender, sexuality, race, class and age—and receiving an award from KESHET, Boston's grassroots organization promoting inclusiveness of LGBT Jews.
With Dirty Sexy Money canceled you'll have to turn to cable for trans content like LOGO's new competition reality series, RuPaul's Drag Race. The six one-hour episodes searching for America's next superstar drag queen debut in early 2009.
Keep your fingers crossed that the Brad Pitt-produced, Ryan ( Nip/Tuck ) Murphy-created, F/X show about a male-to-female transformation, 4 oz., will finally make it on the fall schedule.
Female to Femme filmmaker Elizabeth Stark's latest short, Little Mutinies—co-directed with her partner, Angie Powers, and starring Guinevere Turner—premieres on the 2009 film festival circuit. In the meantime, former-fest favorite and award winner Girl Inside will be released on DVD through Women Make Movies.
FTM porn star Buck Angel has received three 2009 adult video AVN award nominations: one as transsexual performer of the year, one for the film Even More Bang For Your Buck II and one for that film's FTM/FTM sex scene—which became the first such scene ever nominated for an AVN award. While he's waiting to see if he'll win, Angel's the subject of two new documentaries to be released in France and Spain; and will model for British artist Marc Quinn—famous for carving a gold statue of Kate Moss.
In 2009 trans author Jacob Anderson-Minshall will be writing the TransNation column, co-hosting the Gender Blender radio show on KBOO.fm, co-authoring the memoir Queerly Beloved, and promoting Blind Faith, the latest Blind Eye mystery. For more info check out Anderson-minshall.com .