“Pansy” EP Pre-Release to benefit the Transgender Law Center, and Action For Trans Health

Today, bandcamp is donating all of their profits to the Transgender Law Center in the US. To maximize the impact, I’m doing a 24 hour release of an A Side / B Side single from my new EP “Pansy” for £1.

15% of the money raised will go straight to the TLC (that’s bandcamp’s usual cut), and on top of that I’ll be donating 15% of my share to Action for Trans Health in the UK. It will only be available for 24 hours, from 8:00am Friday August 4 to 8:00 Saturday August 5, during bandcamp’s campaign. After that if you want to hear it, you’ll have to wait until I release the whole EP at the end of the summer.

The A Side is “But Why”, a song about weird romantic cultural norms. The B Side is a cover of “I Am Hated For Loving” by my fav trash lord, Morrissey, re-imagined as a trans love song to self. “But Why” will be on the full EP, but the cover won’t be so if you want trans mozzer, this is your only chance.

It’s only £1!

Support trans artists & trans activism!

When I release the full EP, the digital version will be free / pay-what-you-can, and I’ll continue donating 15% of my earnings from both the digital and physical versions to A4TH.

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UPDATE: Thank you so much to everyone who bought or shared my pre-relase single yesterday.

Bandcamp’s profits were about $100,000 (!!!) which will all go to the Transgender Law Center. My sales are just a drop in the bucket but I’m really proud that my music contributed to this massive fundraiser. On average you spent almost 4 times as much as my suggested price: bandcamp’s share came to £10.13 which will go to the TLC, and I’m giving the same (well, £11, rounding up) to Action For Trans Health. Lots of the support came from other trans artists which warms my cynical heart tbh.

I’m overjoyed that my music can materially support activist groups. When I release the full EP at the end of the summer, the digital version will be pay-what-you-can / free, and I’ll keep donating 15% to A4TH.

“I Pity The Cis” reading at SALT. Magazine launch

[Image description: Me, smiling in a white-walled art gallery, holding a copy of the magazine]

Content Note: non-graphic mentions of rape, abuse, and transphobia

Last night I read my piece “I Pity The Cis” at the launch of SALT. Magazine‘s launch for issue 9 at Deptford X. SALT is a feminist magazine run by women, and this issue was themed on The Furies (not to be confused with “the furries”). My piece was about the slow realization of being trans made slower by my abusive rapist ex-boyfriend, and how I pity cis people for having such narrow, heavily policed genders.

The gallery was sparse and the room eventually filled with art school graduates (or people who wanted to look like art school graduates) sitting on the floor. The first performer read an excerpt from her piece on what we will do under duress; the next un/did a hex; and the night ended with a dramatic reading about articulation and cadavers, done over a very wet, reverby soundscape. My piece was angry and bitter and quick, and people seemed to like it. Two friends came with me and I had a nice enough time—but if I’m honest I’m bored of how insular (uncritical) and abstract (inaccessible) the art scene is. I didn’t talk to anyone but my pals and the organizers, who were all very gracious and complimentary, because everyone else was doing that aloof posturing thing that artists and their critics do.

The only acceptable ways to behave in an art space are: like an enthusiastic, just-so-happy-to-be-there puppy with no complaints; or, like a cynical, self-righteous edgelord who is too cool to enjoy anything. Even now I feel guilty for what feels like whining. I’m always glad to be given a platform to talk about stuff I think is important like transphobia and rape apologism, and I did get paid a small sum: £20 with the promise of more, contingent on fundraising. I don’t want to be an edgelord, and I want to be invited back to do more readings. But like my friends have been saying lately, no more fake orgasms to boost the art world’s self-esteem (thanks for sharing that link, actual-artist Megan Pickering). Who is it for? Who’s allowed in and are they legitimate if they’re doing any less than a dozen projects? Am I going to be let back in after trans stuff isn’t “trendy”? Or will I be left outside, a killjoy yelling about rape culture? Maybe I feel the need to be extra nice because if I’m not, I’m a scary/angry trans person (or survivor, or sex worker, or migrant, or autistic, or Jew, depending on what I’m shouting about that day, can’t be all at once tho that’s Too Much). No one wants ‘people like that’ around because it’s uncomfortable. Imagine how much nicer I’d need to be if I wasn’t white.

I don’t have conclusions about how to navigate the tension between performing gratefulness in an ugly institution (the Art World) and relying on that institution for money and networking (to get money), but I want to highlight it anyway. It seems valuable to put a spotlight on tensions.

You can pre-order a physical copy of The Furies issue of SALT. here. I don’t think it will be published online but I’ll update this if I hear otherwise.

Solidarity action with migrants at St. Pancras

About 250–300 people took direct action to block the Eurostar departure gates at St Pancras last Friday night in solidarity with the migrants and refugees in Calais and detention centers in the UK and across the EU.

Activists blocked the departure gates and passengers were stopped from boarding the train to Paris.

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“This is what a border feels like!”
#‎sorrynotsorry‬

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Demands included: open the borders to all migrants and refugees; stop financing the racist killing of migrants and refugees; close down the detention centres; and stop deportations.

“No one in? No one out!”

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Rallying cries included:

“No justice, no peace!”; “If they won’t give us justice, then we won’t give them peace!”

“Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration, bullshit! Come off it! The enemy is profit!”

“All your racist fucking borders we don’t need ’em, need ’em! Back up, back up, we want freedom, freedom!”

“No more borders, no more nations, no more racist immigration!”

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“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!”

“Who shuts shit down? We shut shit down!”

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Some activists covered themselves in fake blood (in memory of those 3000 migrants who have died in 2015 so far) and literally glued themselves to the ticket barriers and the support beams in the middle of the departure area.

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The police instigated some shoving and aggressive language, threatening people with arrest. They pushed me and when I calmly told them “stop touching me, stop instigating conflict” they said they had the right to push us because they “fear for [their] safety”. They claimed they were being reasonable by “facilitating the protest” and implied that if we held our ground we would be roughed up.

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Perhaps helpful information for future actions: police were comfortable pushing us when we were standing, but would not push us with their feet when we were sitting; in fact, if we edged closer to them they would step back to create space between us and them.

Trains to Paris were delayed and the passengers seemed split on whether they supported the action or were annoyed by the inconvenience. St Pancras staff was likewise divided between calmly expressing support and frantically trying to usher passengers toward the police, who would then try to push past the activists to get passengers toward the barriers. Eventually the police made it clear that if we didn’t leave, they would kettle us and make a mass arrest.

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Aside from some pushing, the protest remained peaceful.

The action was led by Black Dissidents, The London Latinxs, and Sisters Uncut. One of the organizers, Tatiana Garavito, wrote a piece about the protest on openDemocracy. Here are some more photos I took before my camera battery died and I joined the action. #‎YourBordersKill‬

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“Queer Experiments: Fashion”

Here are some photos by Claudia Moroni from the queer fashion show I modeled in. Our runway show was directed by Krishna Istha, who is one of my favorite people.

Boi fashion is more than a dapper suit. Boihood confuses binaries and fucks with gender. On this night we transition from street/earth wear to outer space realness, taking in the galactic spectrum of looks in between. Our models comprise of self identified femme bois, masc bois, boys and grrls. Expect anything from bois in binders and skirts to butch grrls in lipstick to gender fluid marvels in silver and gold.

Eight of us walked down a tinfoil runway to Peaches’ “Show Stopper”: dapper masc of center boys/bois, sleek femmes, and sparkly non-binary babes. It was wonderful to be surrounded by powerful and unapologetic queerness.

2015.09.23 Queer Bois

Photos from the Calais Solidarity Festival fundraiser #1

The Calais Solidarity Festival was organized by The London Latinx, Food Not Bombs, the London Action Resource Centre (LARC), Convoy For Calais, Refugee Youth, and others. From the first fundraiser’s facebook event page:

Calais Solidarity Festival, taking place in mid-late October (Date TBC) is aiming to work with people in Calais to transform the camps – which some refer to as “The Jungle” – into a celebratory festival to honour the people of Calais, their journeys, power and resistance. The festival will run a weekend full of music and art performances, capoeira and music workshops, hand-cooked meals, and other activities to be confirmed at a later date. We will also be delivering supplies (clothing, toiletries, first aid materials, etc) and non-perishable food.

The event was packed with at least 100 people, and raised over £400.

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“The Space In Between”

I’m pleased to have been featured in my friend Lucy Brydon’s short film, The Space In Between. The 4 minute short shows me getting dressed in a mundane, unsensational fashion while I talk about trans/gender.

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The film has been selected to show at BAFTA and the Aesthetica Short Film Festival as well as several indie film festivals in London.

“Test Shoot” photoshoot and interview

Interview with transmasculine photoblog The Test Shoot:

My gender identity and presentation are fluctuating. I’ve felt uncomfortable with clear-cut femininity since I was a child, but it’s difficult to separate being inherently, biologically trans from my childish desire for male privilege. I think the “born this way” idea is problematic, if useful and convenient.

Photographs by LGW.

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These clothes reflect my masculinity, as I experience it right now—I’m going through a lot of changes. The green and cream patterned shirt is the first item of men’s clothing I bought with the intention of presenting as masculine—I found it at a thrift store in Amsterdam. It kind of gives me away as the pattern distorts around my chest, but I don’t care.

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The collared shirt and tie outfit is what I wear when I perform with my cello or need to look sharp for things like business dinners. UN Special Envoys have complemented me in this and a friend told me it looks like Kraftwerk. It’s my power outfit.

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The slacks and navy polo, plus glasses, is comfortable and reminds me of some misunderstood geeky, Californian entrepreneurship. It’s a self-parody of my seriousness.

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The houndstooth collared shirt and ragged green sweater don’t mean very much—I just like collared shirts. I got the sweater for a song last week on a trip I took up North to find myself.

Link to full interview.

Cello on Abi Robins’ “Such A Mess”

I’m very excited to have my cello featured on Abi Robins’ new folk album, Such A Mess. Abi’s a good friend of mine and an excellent musician, and it was a pleasure to record and perform with her around Denver.

2012-06-15 Abi Robins Swallow Hill

Performing with Abi and Sean Renner last year at Swallow Hill

We recorded with a home-made mic in her basement studio.

You can hear me on “Let Me Explain”; “I, Of The Tiger”; “Liar”; and “What Can I Say”.