Archive for the ‘Teeny Weenies Excerpts’ Category

I recently participated in a book reading at the Mercury Cafe in Denver, offering up a couple of essays from my latest book, Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects. Here is “Let’s See What You’ve Got.” (Note: The text of the essay follows the video.)

Let’s See What You’ve Got

“I’ve never met a female-to-male transsexual before.”

Yes, of course. I get this all the time from gay men. But this particular gay man had just spent the last fifteen years living in San Francisco. If a gay man lives in San Francisco for fifteen years and has never met an FTM transsexual person, I can only assume that he spent those fifteen years:

A) incarcerated.

B) homebound.

C) in a hut on the far side of Alcatraz island.

Almost every major urban center in the United States is teeming with trans men. If we don’t live there already, we often migrate there in search of a more welcoming community, better access to health care and other resources, and a larger trans population with which to connect. San Francisco, with its rainbow flags down Market Street and its “anything goes” Castro district, is particularly attractive, especially for gay trans men.

In reality, my fine gay friend from San Francisco, who apparently had to come to Denver, Colorado, to actually meet a trans man, has probably met many of them throughout his decade and a half in the City by the Bay – he just doesn’t know it. Thanks to the incredible transformative powers of testosterone, trans men rarely have to come out publicly unless we choose to, and we are hardly ever read as trans, even if someone is looking extra hard. (more…)

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Since my 40-year high school reunion is coming up in August (and since I was too hot to write anything yesterday, on the Fourth of July), I present an excerpt from Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects about attending my 30-year high school reunion:

Most Changed Since High School

As I pull off the highway onto Spencer’s “main drag,” I start to understand that time travel is, in fact, possible. There are the same pickup trucks, with gun racks and patriotic window decals. The same tidy homes sharing space with fast-food restaurants and corner liquor stores. The familiar sight of teenagers in the park, hunched over a joint of homegrown “Iowana.” My small-town adolescence, thirty years behind me, is now back in my future again.

The Oasis Lounge isn’t far – nothing’s far in Spencer – and I arrive a little too early and a little too unsure. The pickup trucks parked at odd angles along the bar’s fading stucco façade are merely updated models of the ones from my youth, driven to the local hotspot by a new generation of beer-drinking Iowa hunters and assorted other guys who just like the idea of guns. I let my car idle as I stare out through the windshield, trying to decide whether to park or drive away, waiting for someone – anyone I might recognize – to pull up, get out, and go in. Perhaps if I could join them as I enter the bar, what happens next might be easier. But no one shows.

If memory is correct, I had graduated with one of the most liberal, open-minded, and accepting classes that Spencer High School had ever produced. The Vietnam conflict was still grabbing the headlines, marijuana had found its way to Iowa and to the fields of our little farming town, and many of us believed that getting high and protesting the war were somehow related. We read Rolling Stone religiously. At parties, we tuned in to “Beaker Street,” a late-night radio program out of Little Rock, Arkansas, that brought us the anti-war, rabble-rousing, drug-positive music that was censored by the top-40 AM stations we listened to in our cars. And we chose “All Things Must Pass” as our graduation theme, either for its ethereal, other-worldly connotations or as a tribute to the fact that the school would have to let us graduate, whether we deserved it or not.

But that was thirty years ago – as faded as the tie-dyed T-shirt balled up in the back of my closet. Where are those people now? Did they leave, like I did, migrating to Denver, Colorado, or some other large, progressive city and vowing never to return for more than an overnight stay? Are they living in urban hubs now, eating organic and voting Green? Or did they remain behind, letting the exhaust from the hot rods cruising up and down Grand Avenue seep into their being until they became one with this place, at first recognizing that there was no way out, and then, finally, not wanting to take that out, even if it were offered? If they actually did make it out, will they bother coming back for this one night? And if they stayed on, who will they be? And, most of all, what will they think of me? (more…)

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I just got back from a much-needed and all-too-short vacation, and my brain is still on the trip. Therefore, I am presenting an excerpt from Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects, written when I was not so exhausted. Remember, Teeny Weenies is available in paperback, e-book, and Kindle format.

Putting the Men in Menopause

Shortly after I turned fifty, I started to perspire. It wasn’t the glowy dew that I had produced as a female and it wasn’t the labor-intensive, manly sweat that I like to think comes naturally to a hard-working, macho man who sits behind a desk and types for a living. It started at the top of my head and crept its way down, as if I had slowly stepped into a sauna, head first and then body part by body part, activating sweat glands that I didn’t even know I possessed, until I was left soggy and soaking, my clothes tattooed to my sticky, wet body. It was nature turning a hose on me as if I were some hormone-crazed dog.

This happened whether I was sitting on a blanket in the sun or directly in front of an air-conditioner turned on at full blast. It happened in bed and it happened on the street. It took me a while to realize that not every place I went was mysteriously undergoing random temperature fluctuations. This was internal – my own personal global warming.

The worst thing about these episodes was that they had a scary emotional component that often went with them. This part happened primarily at night, when things are scarier anyway, when I already found myself lying awake for hours wondering what hideous rare disease I was going to die from, how I was going to pay my bills until that time, and what exactly was going to happen to me when the universe stopped expanding and started to fold back in on itself.

As I pondered these things, a new and unfamiliar feeling crept over me – one of imminent dread and doom, as if something were horribly wrong right at that moment and I just didn’t know about it yet. Maybe the universe was folding in on itself already, and it would all get back to where I was before the flesh-eating-mad-cow-avian-flu caught up to me.

Then, within a minute or five, the wave of heat began moving down my body, inch by inch, or sometimes millimeter by millimeter. I could feel it beginning at the roots of my hair, creeping down my face and neck, across my chest, down my stomach and legs, and out the bottoms of my feet. Then it was all over, leaving a trail of sweat, and a resulting chill, in its wake. It was so powerful an experience that, even when I had managed to fall asleep in spite of all the worldly threats out there, it woke me up to lie shivering in my own perspiration. (more…)

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For the past three days, I have been on death’s doorstep, and it’s kinda scary because I think ze is making chocolate chip cookies and I can smell them from out here – very inviting!

That’s a slight exaggeration (I hope), but I have, in fact, been quite sick. And no, it’s not because I transitioned fifteen years ago (you know how some non-trans people like to attribute our every illness, injury, and general misfortune to the fact that we transitioned). But because I’m too sick to write articulately, today’s post is another excerpt from my new book, Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects (see right sidebar for ordering info).

I have been offering up sections of essays, rather than complete essays, as a kind of cliffhanger (in the hope that you’ll want to know the rest and buy the book), but this one’s short, so this is a complete essays from the book. Thanks for reading!

The World’s Smallest Penis

One of the benefits of working at a gay newspaper is that you get to surf very unusual Web sites in search of stories about porn stars or celebrities, so I wasn’t really surprised when I looked across the room and saw my coworker watching an online video that appeared to be a parade of naked trans men who had not had genital surgery.

Of course, this necessitated abandoning my own story and getting up to see what was going on. And as I got closer, I saw who these guys actually were – contestants in a Howard Stern contest for the world’s smallest penis. Now, I could win this contest hands down, but none of these guys were trans men. They were all non-trans men with itsy, bitsy, teeny weenies.

Even though the tape had just started, I could see that the first guy was the obvious winner. I’ve seen outie belly buttons that were bigger. The man was heavy, and that didn’t help, but the fact was that his penis was pretty much not there. There was his stomach – you couldn’t miss that – and below it was a smooth, triangular patch of skin (he had obviously shaved to enhance his chances of winning, if nothing else) with a tiny, round opening (his foreskin?) and a little bump – that was it. (more…)

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Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects is available now! My latest book can be purchased directly from the publisher on the Outskirts Press website and on the Barnes & Noble website, and it is winging its way to Amazon.com. It is also available as a downloadable e-book on the author web page through Outskirts Press. (Note: The e-book cannot be printed, but can be read on your computer.)

Teeny Weenies is a collection of personal essays (with one short story thrown in for good measure) about my female childhood, my trans adulthood, and, well, teeny weenies – including mine. When Just Add Hormones came out, quite a few readers contacted me saying that they wanted to know more about my childhood. Be careful what you wish for – a section of Teeny Weenies is devoted to just that – including the excerpt below:

The Disappearance of Richard

I don’t know how the game got started, but one night it just did. It didn’t strike me as unnatural and probably never would have had I not eventually moved from the world of a seven-year-old girl into a grownup system of gender and sexuality that didn’t approve of bending the rules. The game that Toby and I played seemed almost normal – a game of pretend. And maybe it was normal. Maybe it was everything else that was suspect.

Toby was a girl, and that was obvious – at least if you looked close enough. She already had the beginnings of breasts at nine years old, and she didn’t have a penis. I knew this because we often took baths together when I spent the night at her house. But she wasn’t like any of the other girls I knew in 1962 – the girls at school or in my Brownie troop.

Those girls ran screaming from spiders and worms, wore dresses to birthday parties, and served high tea to their dolls. I did these things, too. It was these little-girl activities, more than the lack of a penis or the expectation of breasts, that defined us as girls. Toby was the only one I knew who needed to present anatomical clues so I could nail down her gender. She was different.

Toby was two years older than me, big and broad-shouldered, with a spray of nutmeg-colored freckles across her nose. One canine tooth sat crooked in her mouth, so that it was the first thing anyone saw when she smiled. Her cropped hair was more beige than brown or blonde, and she didn’t seem to care much which direction it went when it decided to go somewhere. Over the three years that she befriended me, she owned two dogs, two salamanders, a guinea pig, a hamster, four chickens, a snake, and an iguana.

She took in neighborhood strays and I was one of them, trying to find my home among the ballerina paintings on my bedroom wall and the various Barbie dolls that were strewn about the floor among a sea of fashionable clothing and accessories. I knew what beautiful was supposed to be, and I knew what a girl was supposed to be, and Toby wasn’t exactly either one of those things. But she was the most beautiful girl I knew. (more…)

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I am taking the holidays off as much as possible, so instead of a regular blog post, today I bring you an excerpt from my upcoming (ETA March 2012) book, Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects.

One comment that I got frequently from readers of Just Add Hormones was that it didn’t address my childhood at all, and people were interested in what my younger years were like, so a section of Teeny Weenies consists of essays about my childhood. What follows is part of one of those essays. Hope you are all well and warm and preparing for a better new year. Thanks for reading!

There She Is

When I was growing up, the Miss America Pageant was greeted with a reverence usually reserved for Christmas. The whole neighborhood shut down, and everyone drew their curtains and gathered around the television set as if it were a decorated tree. The phone didn’t ring and no neighbor dared to come calling. There was serious business going on inside those houses, and it had to do with the armchair judging of the most important race in the country. Fewer people probably watched the election returns than the crowning of the most beautiful woman in America.

There was no doubting the importance of this contest. At five years old, I literally believed that a group of judges visited every one of the fifty states, lined up all the women of a certain age against a plain white wall, and chose the most alluring of the bunch to come to Atlantic City for the contest. It was the ultimate goal in life – to be publicly recognized for the most important accomplishment known to womanhood, and to get a crown, a brand new car, and a scholarship besides. There was simply no better deal in existence. (more…)

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Since we recently talked about trans support groups (if you missed that discussion, I invite you to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I thought that, in addition to today’s Ask Matt (see the post below), I would offer up an excerpt from my book-in-the-works.

I present this experience in the hope that it will help support-group facilitators, attendees – and me – to never forget what it’s like in the beginning:

I had driven around for two hours – up and down the street, around the block, down a side street, then another, then back. Every time I drove by the building, I looked, I studied, but there were no signs of life, no signs that anything might be going on there at all. It was already dark, but the mirrored front kept me from seeing any lights on inside.

There was a trailer court across the street, mobile homes scrunched together in perfect rows like kernels on a corn cob, a few porch lights on, but curtains drawn – they were in for the night.

But maybe, just maybe, someone was looking out. Maybe they were all looking out, staring over at the gravel parking lot on the other side of the street, waiting to see who pulled in. And I was absolutely certain that they would all know why I was there. They would take down my license plate number, call it in, find out who I was, and I would see it in the headlines the next day.

I could feel my heart beating – in my chest, in my neck, in my stomach, a full-body metronome that let me know how scared I was just in case I happened to forget. But I didn’t forget. Every time I drove past the place, my heart lurched, stopped, then started up again. There’s no meeting here, I thought. There’s nobody here. I need to go home. (more…)

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