Syracuse people in particular, please read this letter from Dr. Chase Catalano at the LGBT Resource Center and read my brief note at the end.
November 15, 2013
Dear Syracuse University Communities:
On Friday morning, November 15, 2013, we arrived to campus to witness a clear act of symbolic violence and we are dealing with the emotional repercussions in response. Our passive educational effort to raise awareness that trans* (transgender, transsexual, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, and gender fluidity) lives matter at Syracuse University, that was situated on one of the grassy knolls between Schine and Newhouse, was vandalized. The destruction of the lawn signs (metal bent, tossed signs, stolen signs, spit on and stepped on signs) was not due to an act of wind; this was an intentional action to silence, intimidate, disrespect, and disregard the message of the LGBT Resource Center. In an effort to resist such tactics, the remaining signs were repaired and put back in the ground, attempting to reflect the original message that Trans* Lives Matter.
We speak of valuing diversity, inclusion, and social justice at Syracuse University, and today, I believe, we find ourselves lacking any embodiment of those values – aside from our enduring spirit and persistence by replanting and recovering the original signs.
To those who vandalized our signs and tried to literally throw away our message, we say, “You will not succeed in your attempts to disempower us.” Your actions will be considered a challenge to develop stronger solidarity across Syracuse University amongst all marginalized people. Your tactics will not deter us from being a part of a larger strategy of inclusion, respect and acknowledgement that all lives matter at SU. This did not happen to just the LGBT Resource Center, our staff, or any affiliated students – this happened to all of Syracuse University.
We are thankful that, as far as we know, direct violence on any individuals did not occur, and we want to be clear that violence against bodies is not the only way to enact violence against people. The responsibility to resist, to name disappointment and outrage, does not rest solely on those who are trans* or part of LGBTQ communities at SU. Silence in response to this act of vandalism is complicit agreement. Speak up. Work to make SU safer. All lives should matter.
D. Chase J. Catalano
I have started a post I am asking people to reblog on tumblr. It includes the photos I took earlier that week of the installation. In addition, feel free to post the photos around facebook and wherever else. Don’t worry about crediting me. This way, the vandals will have inadvertently caused even more people to see these important messages. Thank you to everybody at the center who worked on this installation. I appreciate all your hard work and recognize that this must be a hard time for you. I hope the larger SU community responds to this and that it doesn’t all fall on the trans community’s back to stand up for ourselves, as usual. I won’t hold my breath.
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Push (“Precious”), Sapphire
Saint Joan, Bernard Shaw
Reclaiming Aphrodite: The Journey to Sexual Wholeness
Sexual Positions (small, hardcover)
Frankenstein, Mary Shelly, Hardcover
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Sexist Language: A Modern Philosophical Analysis 1981
Sons & Lovers, DH Lawrence 1970s
Short Stories, DH Lawrence 1970s
Jailbird, Kurt Vonnegut
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (acceptable condition)
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Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness
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Lesbian Feminism in Turn of the Century Germany
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Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised a Girl, John Colaptino, Hardcover
Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendships & Love Between Women
Legal Guide for Gay & Lesbian Couples (comes with a CD, perfect condition)
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Resolving Sexual Abuse
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Hello, Elliott! I would like to thank you for taking the time with me today to answer a few questions, and I look forward to your visit to SUNY
Fredonia in November.
The first question that comes to mind is related to your research and experience as a transgender writer. It’s clear that this genre has been underrepresented in the media and in the canon. I’m curious to know if you believe this might be changing, for the better, and if you would recommend self-publishing as a means for other transgender authors who wish to get their work out there?
A: I do believe this is changing and rather rapidly. There have been a number of innovative literary works by transgender authors in the past few years. Typically, writing on transgender people has been written by non-transgender people, or it has been restricted to a narrow autobiography format. There were trans writers in academia writing more complex things, but for the first time I think we are seeing a number of transgender people making a name for themselves as artists.Particularly novelists and poets.
I do recommend self-publishing. If you have the time, energy, and access to the internet, I strongly recommend transgender authors do it all themselves, and perhaps work with other transgender people when they need to. It isn’t easy, but I think it’s important that we take the reins over our representation. For too long, people have been projecting all kind of baggage onto us as a group. We’re revolutionaries, we’re sexist, we’re metaphors, we’re tragic, we’re fascinating, we’re medical anomalies… It’s important to me at least that I have the control over my representation. Otherwise it’s going to be twisted by someone to make it sell. I think it’s suitable for a transgender author to self-publish. People doubt me as a “real author” much like they doubt me as a “real man.” It’s typically believed that you need to go through this long process before you’re a writer. You need to pay thousands to get an MFA, slowly work your way up by publishing in journals, send your manuscript to a million agents, until maybe one day your book is published. Until then, you’re “aspiring.” I say screw that. Just put it out there. You aren’t going to get rich or famous, but you probably wouldn’t have anyway.
Q: I noticed a connection between the title of your latest book, I Know Very Well How I Got My Name, and the title of a song from pop-icon Morrissey. In an interview from 1987, Morrissey was quoted as saying “I refuse to recognize the terms hetero-, bi- and homo-sexual. Everybody has exactly the same sexual needs. People are just -sexual, the prefix is immaterial.” … I’m wondering how you feel about such labels, and if you were inspired at all by this singer/songwriter?
A: I think the media often wants to pin down artists with labels and dumb them down, for marketing purposes. It’s like how Barnes & Noble has the “Gay and Lesbian” section. The press really wanted to reduce Morrissey to a “gay icon” and I think he pissed a lot of people off by evading and complicating that notion. That’s one of the reasons I always found him more accessible than male artists who were very clearly “gay” or “straight.” He was sort of queer before his time. Of course I imagine he’d want nothing to do with that word. But he’s always meant a lot more to me than just that. I’ve played around with different labels. Sometimes I’ll say I’m a gay, though that never feels quite right. I mean, I pretty exclusively pursue relations with men at this point, but I don’t really identify with gay men. Then again, neither do most gay men. “Queer trans men” just seem like a very specific group of people. It evokes a very particular subculture that I’ve never quite felt a part of. It seems too precise and limiting. Maybe it’s because when I’m home, I don’t spend a lot of time with people who went to college. “Queer” always carried a element of class, for me. But it’s also useful and inclusive. Even “transgender” has been a struggle. I’ve used it for convenience, but I think it’s a tiresome word. It probably has to do with being a writer. Similarly, Morrissey is a lyricist. When you analyze the meaning of words, it’s hard to just carelessly state “I am _____.” Particularly since sexuality seems to override everything. For whatever reason, we’re really attached to this idea that our entire being is like 90% defined by our genitals and the genitals we find sexually arousing. It’s really bizarre.
Q: We look forward to you coming to Fredonia in November. Can you give us any details about any upcoming projects you are working on, or where your research may be leading? Rumor has it you may be coming out with yet another book? I don’t want to give anything away, but what does thefuture look like for Elliott DeLine?
A: Thank you! I’m looking forward to visiting. I don’t go about researching in a typical fashion. When I feel blocked in my writing, I figure I have to 1.) read some more 2.) live some more. I’m working on
a third book but there isn’t much I can say about it with certainty. So far it’s about the same old things - Being a trans man in his 20’s. Isolation. Unrequited love. Introspective rants. Anger. Subtle and overt oppression. But there’s a lot more sex and the first half takes place in California. I have a lot of problems with the world, and I hope that I can demonstrate them through scenes in my writing. That’s my main drive.
As far as what my future looks like, I have no clue. I want to find a way to have financial security while I continue writing and traveling. I want to make my home, Syracuse, a better place for marginalized people to live. I want recognition. I want to fall in love. Mostly, I want to befriend a lot of cats.
* * *
From Shifting Standards, Issue 4 Vol VX. Fall 2013. SUNY Fredonia’s Women and Gender Studies Program.
Evelyn Deshane, “The Smart Nostalgia of I Know Very Well How I Got My Name. Prosaic.
Available free here: http://bit.ly/1b74CGY
*Evelyn’s site: http://keyboardsmash.wordpress.com
Thank you to Evelyn for once again clarifying what I’m saying in my work, because the hell if I know ;-) Beautiful and kind words.
Reading by Author Elliott DeLine, Q&A, and Book Signing at SUNY Fredonia
Where: McEwan 202. SUNY Fredonia. 80 Central Ave, Fredonia, New York 14063
When: 6-8 PM. November 5th 2013
What: A reading from I Know Very Well How I Got My Name, followed by a Q&A session and a book signing.
2013 Transgender Day of Remembrance in Syracuse, NY
Where: The Steps of City Hall, 233 East Washington St, Syracuse, NY 13202
When: 6 PM, November 20th 2013
What: Transgender and cisgender (non-transgender) people alike are invited to join us at this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil in Syracuse, NY. This candle-lit vigil will honor and memorialize those who lost their lives this year, murdered because of the way they expressed their gender. There will also be several transgender speakers and allies from our local community. See the facebook event for more details.
Dignity graphic by Blake Chamberlain.