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syrens:

Heaven and earth.

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

Leslie Hodge, best known as DJ Leslie, was a generous and creative soul devoted to bringing the hard-edged beat of industrial music to mild-mannered Ottawa, influencing a generation of music lovers with her non-mainstream tastes in music and fashion. Hodge, who was 44, died Thursday of complications from a recurring blood infection.

For more than two decades, Hodge was the hub of an underground music scene that grew around her weekly DJ night at Zaphod Beeblebrox, believed to be the longest running theme night of its kind in North America. But when Hodge began hosting Industrial Strength on Tuesday nights in the early 1990s, she wasn’t taken seriously because she was a woman, noted her friend Linda Seccaspina, who owned the Flash Cadillac store on Rideau Street from 1976 to 1995.

“Leslie was one of the people who came to my store,” Seccaspina said, recalling how she first met Hodge…

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syrens:

My Big Wee News.

Originally posted on The Breathings of My Heart:

So, as-you-know-bob, I’m doing a reading with fabulous femme Amber Dawn Writes (home page) and bodaceous butch Kalyani Pandya (Daily Xtra article by Lukayo) this coming Saturday to celebrate the launch of Amber Dawn’s latest book, Where the Words End and My Body Begins. There will be a write-in during the show, and there will of course be merch. I mean, buy Amber’s books, clearly.
But there will also be this:

FIGURES: Inpressions of a Professional Naked Girl FIGURES: Inpressions of a Professional Naked Girl

I’m rather chuffed about the whole situation.
It’s a limitted run of fifty (except that it’s currently a limitted run of forty-nine because the printshop and the other printshop and I Had A Miscommunication… But I’ll get it sorted out).

Anyway. That’s my wee bit of news. :-)


TTFN,
A.

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syrens:

Hey, hey, hey! I’m in a show on June 13th! It’s free! You should totally come! :-D

Originally posted on The Breathings of My Heart:

Hey, folks!

So I may or may not have mentioned this back in, like, February, when this scheme was first cooked up, BUT: I’m in a show! With Amber Fucking Dawn! :-D :-D :-D
Be still, my little femme literary heart! :-D

It’s a free show at 7:30pm, on Saturday, June 13th (so a week from this coming Saturday) at Venus Envy in Ottawa. The occasion is the launch of Amber Dawn’s quite awesome new book of Glosas – Where the Words End and My Body Begins – and there will be a sex-positive write-in (audience non-mandatory participation, essentially) during the show.

There will be love-letters to queerdom, poetry about queer history, femme identity, modeling, & sexwork, short stories told and read, and, as the flyer puts it, a whole lot of “sex, sass, humour, and healing”.

In short, you should all come.

FREE show ft Amber…

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So I have a sweetheart.
Or, more accurately, I have a shiny-new sweetheart in addition to the pre-existing sweetheart who is my lovely wife.
As it happens, my lovely wife has a shiny-new sweetheart, too.
And, oh hey, our respective shiny-new sweethearts are, in fact, the same person.
 
I am, effectively, married to my own metamour.
This does not suck, I don’t mind telling you. ;-)
 
I could, I suppose, have introduced this topic by saying “We have a sweetheart”. I mean, we do. The three of us have quiet-evening-in kind of dates together fairly frequently. But our mutual sweetie didn’t sign up to date a couple. She signed up to date two individual people who just happen to also be dating each other.
 
I have to admit that having NRE with someone with-whom my wife is also having NRE is… kind of wonderful. It makes some stuff (I suspect) a lot easier. Like, I have zero qualms about inviting my new sweetie to stay for dinner again without checking in with my pre-existing sweetie about it because I know damn well that my pre-existing sweetie is swooning over the same person, and doing so just as much as I am.
Convenient? Why yes. :-)
If this was a different situation – like, say, the one my wife is in the majority of the time – and I had a new sweetie who wasn’t also dating my live-in partner, I suspect I’d have to balance and juggle a lot more. There’d be negotiations around how many nights I spent at home, versus having sleep-overs with my new honey, versus how often it would and wouldn’t be okay for my New Person to be over when my wife gets home[1]. I know I’d be (perhaps unnecessarily) a lot more anxious about things like how much one-on-one time my pre-existing partner was getting and whether or not it was enough, versus the same for my shiny-new partner. As it stands, climbing into the pool of “active polyamoury[2]” in this particular way is, so far, remarkably lovely. I mean, it’s been a little over a month, more or less, so this is still very new. But it’s been relatively angst-free[3] and we’re all enjoying the Not Rushing, the knowing that we have time to explore and bond at leisure. None of us is looking at this like it’s “just some fling”, and that’s remarkably reassuring.
 
Something (one of many things, I’m sure) that I want to keep sight of, as the three of us move forward together, is that while, yes, our Person (who has a primary of her own, fyi) is “dating a couple”, my wife is also “dating a couple”, and so am I. A couple who will have (and will need to have) dates and sleep-overs and such-like without me tagging along. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that, just because one of the couples in this trio has a marriage certificate, the other two couples don’t exist or that they need less time (and energy, and attention) to develope and nurture their respective relationships.
 
So. There you go. I’m no-longer the most monogamous poly-person I know.
Let’s see where this takes us. :-)
 
 
TTFN,
Ms Syren.
 
 
[1] I admit that I’m guessing here. My lovely wife is a pretty laid-back individual who has a mile-wide compersion streak built right in. But that doesn’t mean she’d necessarily want to hang out socially with my sweetheart all the time, particularly not after a long and possibly frustrating day of Dealing With People at her day-job.
 
[2] As opposed to “passive polyamoury”? You know, the kind I’ve been doing for the past six years, where I’m dating only one person but said one person has multiple partners at a time.
 
[3] For, admittedly, a given value of “free” that takes into account the fact that “angst-ridden” is my default state and, also, that our Person is moving cities in a couple of weeks, and I’m kind of expecting an angst-fest of missing our girl once she’s headed on her way. We’ll see how we do in terms of navigating that one, but hey. :-) It’s not like she’s ditching us, we’ll just be living in different towns. We can all handle this, right? We can totally handle this.

syrens:

I really, really like this. Go have a read.

Originally posted on Sex Geek:

Having a body can be hard at times. If you look in any way non-normative, or identify as non-normative in some way even if you don’t look it, or if you experience your body in ways that are non-normative, the dominant narratives about how to have a body might not fit and might actively harm you. For that matter, even if you look and feel completely normative, heteropatriarchal capitalism still wants you to feel shitty about your body. It is not possible to live in a Western or Western-influenced context without absorbing the message that no matter how hard you try, it is fucking impossible to have a normative enough body. You must always be in the process of becoming a better version of yourself, or you’re doing it wrong. Whether it’s body hair management, keeping up with fashion trends and the “right” brands, making sure your face is perfect…

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So, this morning, I tweeted this:
 

 
Family grows in a lot of ways. It makes me happy that my wife’s girlfriend/servant sourced the soil for my garden, that my wife/property arranged the delivery and built the bedframes in the first place. It makes me happy that our sweetheart is willing to come and move soil by the bucket-full, and that my metamour’s roommate is willing to do the same. (Admittedly, part of this is just that they are both avid gardeners and all of six blocks from my house, but still. They come. This is wonderful).
So. The garden where I will (fingers crossed, successfully) grow the food that will (partially – it’s only two beds so far) feed my people? Is being built by my people. How awesome is that?
 
I don’t know what I want to say about this. I want to write about find your quarto, which you’re only going to understand as a reference if you’re intimately familiar with Cathrynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest. I want to write about how all families grow, how my wife and I finding another person to share our lives with, in whatever shape that takes, isn’t all that different from my sister giving birth to her-&-her-fiance’s first child. I want to write about how Kinky Femme’s extended poly family, her leather fam, stepped up to help her father move, and that he’s starting to understand that there’s enough love to go around, that you don’t have to police it or ration it. That I’m learning this, too.
I want to write that Your heart is an organ the size of your fist a TARDIS: It’s bigger on the inside and able to grow, as required, to hold everything it needs.
 
Maybe this is just the NRE talking – I wouldn’t be the first to come over all twitterpated and rose-coloured-glasses under these circumstances. And maybe it’s the sunshine and the fact that I get to grow an actual, in-the-ground garden with food and edible flowers and perenial herbs and all the rest of it. That my soul is going to be fed this year in a way that it hasn’t been in a long, long time. And that definitely has an effect on one’s outlook, I don’t mind telling you.
But either way, I’m looking at my growing family with a tremendous amount of joy in my heart.
 

[…] we move
four cubic meters of trucked in soil
by bucket chain
hand to hand
grinning
in the fading evening
I scatter the seeds
of rainbow chard and kale
more than cold-tolerant
tender and hardy
both
the food of our people

 
From “Cultivation” (by me)

 
 
TTFN,
Ms Syren.

So there’s this JAKEtalk (like a TEDtalk, but really gay) and I haven’t listened to it all the way through, because he opened his talk with a quotation about Gay Assimilation into the Het world, and then spoke briefly about the Queer Bubble, about increasing (ish?) acceptance of The Gay[1] in mainstream[2] society, and what that means, or could mean, when it comes to maintaining a Queer Identity when that identity is no-longer based on, or reliant upon, being The Other or being an Outsider.
 
Which seems very strange to me, at first blush, so I thought I’d ramble a bit and see if I can parse it out. (The JAKEtalk intro is being used as a jumping-off-point here, rather than this post being an actual response to anything in the JAKEtalk).
Onwards!
 
So, look. I’m a weirdo. I spent my teens and early 20s wearing All The Velvet and All The Eyeliner because (a) PRETTY!, but also because (b) I figured out fairly early on that, at 6’4”, there is no protective colouration that will make e look “normal”, so I might as well (i) wear what I actually like, and/or (ii) give them something to fucking stare at.
So I’m fairly well-versed in Identity As Defined By Otherness, even if it’s on the relatively shallow level of being an unusually shaped/sized cis chick. I’m pagan – in the “Bioregional Animism” and “Ancestor Veneration” senses of the word, rather than the more widely recognized “Wiccan Offshoots” sense of the word (thank you gods, for a country where we have “Freedom TO”-based freedom of religion), and I’m a poly, kinky bi-dyke femme. A lot of my personal identities/labels/shorthands-for-what-I-am are frequently explained by highlighting the ways that they contrast with more mainstream/normative/normalized identities.
BUT that doesn’t mean that my identities can’t exist without that opposition.
Being married to my wife doesn’t make me Not Queer. Or “not queer enough” for that matter.
One of my poly-leather family members once said (gods, lifetimes ago now, back when my wife and I hadn’t even been dating for six months yet) that being a “married queer” didn’t change the way that she built family, that she didn’t stop being poly (or kinky, or anti-o, or a TIFD) just because she was also a Nice Jewish Girl with a ring on her left finger.
This has stuck with me for years now.
 
I love my Bubble. My kinky, poly, trans-inclusive dyke bubble is awesome. But, specifically because it’s so awesome, I kind of wish 100% of humanity was in here with me. Not in here diluting the awesomeness with their hetcis-normative expectations, with their “stay out of my bathroom” and their “I don’t understand how that kind of relationship could be anything but abusive”, their “porn is the theory” and their “multiple concurrent relationships are a sign of emotional immaturity[3]”, their “you’re in love with your own oppression” and their “you just haven’t found the right man yet”… No. I mean I want 100% of humanity in here with our norms and ideals and social expectations[4] which, largely, boil down to “Your kink[5] is okay, whether or not it’s mine” and that the more options we have, and can put words around, the better.
 
I don’t think that we stop having our identities just because more people accept, normalize, and celebrate them.
 
My wife is not “less poly” just because her mother is happy to meet her many partners, and to have us in attendance for her 65th birthday. I’m not “less queer” just because my own gay auntie paved the way for me in our family, or because her parents responded with absolute love (I know, because she read the letter from them, responding to her coming-out letter, at my wedding) when she came out decades ago. My friends are not “less trans” because zir mom took zir shopping for more gender-appropriate clothing, or because her nieces call her their favourite auntie; and they’re not “less kinky” because they can talk about their desires and relationships with their vanilla friends.
We do not stop being what we are just because the Normal People still love us, or let us on the PTA, or look to us as part of our faith community. Being unwanted is not a prerequisite for being us.
 
It’s sucks beyond all possible measure that any of my poly friends have to keep coming out to their families-of-origin, have to worry about how said relatives are going to handle it when they bring their multiple people home for the holidays. It sucks beyond all possible measure that my family members have fam-of-o or (extended-community-members, for that matter – get with the program, y’all…) who keep getting their pronouns wrong even though it’s been YEARS since they came out. It sucks beyond all possible measure that any of my dyke Fam has to deal with out and out hatred as part of “being a good daughter”.
I know that we face this stuff, that our bubble is (our bubbles are) how we protect each other, hold each other up, keep each other safe, help each other heal. And I don’t want to lose the love that comes with building our own families in spite of the Charmed Circle wishing that we weren’t around being our fabulous, unapologetic selves “at” them. But we don’t have to lose it.
We don’t have to stop being big-hearted and open-hearted with each other just because we’re gaining the chance to be open-hearted with the people we came from, too.
 
 
TTFN,
Ms. Syren.
 
 
[1] Less-so The Trans, so let’s keep pushing for that one, shall we?
 
[2] Meaning heteronormative, cisnormative.
 
[3] TRY IT SOME TIME, I DARE YOU, KIDDO.
 
[4] Which, full disclosure: I ain’t perfect yet. None of us are. But I know where I’m going.
 
[5] Gender / family-structure / body / employment situation / sexual identity / etc – Choose your own adventure(s).

13 Observations in 3 Parts

syrens:

The Politics of Indigeneity (by tequilasovereign).
Accademic Feminists, in particular, please go read.

Originally posted on tequilasovereign:

Anti-Racist Feminist Allies and the Politics of Indigeneity

Part I

1) Everyone has a basic human right to identify themselves (who they are) and their membership in groups and polities (who they belong to). But self-definition and governance do not operate in a historical or political vacuum.

  • What it means to claim or be perceived as Indigenous is historically, socially, culturally, and spatially politicized.
  • Historically, individuals who identified as or were perceived to be Indigenous were targets of gang rape, physical assault, harassment, discrimination, and murder. Groups who identified as or were perceived to be Indigenous were sexually assaulted, enslaved, forcibly removed from their lands and homes, and subjected to brutal assimilation programs.
  • Historically, non-Indigenous individuals claimed Indigenous identity in order to stake a claim on Indigenous lands and resources. These fraudulent claims were often supported by U.S. government officials and the courts as a means to strip Indigenous peoples…

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Hi, folks!
So it’s catch-up week at KotW, and the most recent prompt has been corsets. Consequently, I’ll be talking a bit about them in this post.
 
Look. I love how a corset – an underbust, a plastic-boned bodice, even tight-lacing – looks. I recently did a portrature sitting where I deisilpunked it up as an alternate-earth WASP in her leather & pvc dress uniform. (I wore my Unholy Harvest dogtags, for those keeping track). Wish I had a photo to show you, ’cause I swear I felt like Amanda Fucking Palmer in that getup. :-)
I love the way a nipped-in waist – whether through actual hardware or just through wearing a fitted top – can accestuate my already-fairly-hourglass figure and play up my awesome shoulders and hips. I love the feel of the fitted, structured fabric. I love the way my hips and ribs feel moving against it.
But.
I kind of loathe the sore back that comes with wearing boned articles of clothing. Sorry folks. My fetwear is more likley to be a sarong and some gladiator sandals, even if the aesthetics of giant high heels + heaps-o-boning totally turn my crank.
Alas.
I am, occasionally, a practical girl.
 
That said, I do have a tonne of the things – mostly the plastic-boned kind that you can get on ebay for $9.99 – that I use primarily for modeling jobs (see above re: portraiture class, for example). Because they’re not understood, these days, as “underwear” (sexwear is a different story, mind you), and because our contemporary clothing tends not to be particularly structured (even a lot of business-formal-style “blouses” are actually knits these days), the boning and obvious shaping of a corset (or similar item) tends to lend an element of instant formality to a given outfit while also playing (however inacurately) with anacronistic themes. They’re a useful thing to have in a work-wardrobe when your job involves bringing fantasy to life – or at least depictions of same. Case in point:
 
Pixie x1
 
 
So those are my thoughts on corsets.
&hnbsp;
Kink of the Week
 
 
TTFN,
Ms Syren.

So someone on Twitter asked who-all was going to attend this evening’s Day Of Pink Gala (hosted by the CCGSD, formerly Jer’s Vision), and I responded, this morning, with one word: Nope.
While the sentiment was definitely clear, I did feel like I was being a bit misleading. So, as is my wont, I wrote a blog post to talk about this a little bit more.
 
Look. The truth of the matter is that I’ve never gone to a Day of Pink Gala. Even though it’s a free (iirc) party, and even though there’s a good chance that there’s free food at said free party, and even though I am exactly the kind of broke artist who will show up at a stranger’s vernisage specifically to eat the free cheese while trying to get a modeling job… I never went to DoP. For Reasons. Put it down to my being a home-body and big crowds making me nervous.
 
In previous years, this wasn’t anything to Make A Statement about, so I never did. At most, I’d shrug and go “Meh. I think I’ve got something else on that night” and not mention that “something else” was probably “youtube videos”. But then this happened: The CCGSD appointed Laureen Harper as their Day Of Pink ambassador. Now, on her own, Laureen Harper is just… some chick. Google her, and pretty-much all you’ll find is her connection to her husband, the current leader of the governing party of Canada.
You know, the biggest bully in the country.
(Okay, he might be tied with Don Plett, but every slime-ball needs a wingman, amirite?)
 
So here’s the thing. It is (technically) possible to have a lasting, loving relationship with a partner whose politics differ radically from your own. At least in theory[1]. So this would be a completely different situation if Laureen Harper’s youth-advocacy work involved being vocally and publically supportive of the rights of specifically queer and trans students to a harassment-free learning environment.
But, as far as I can tell, she’s not doing that. Sure, she talks about how it’s important to support diversity in schools, but in Ottawa, and in Ontario more generally, we’ve been watching state-sponsored English-language Catholic schools insist on the term “diversity” as a way to specifically refuse to support, or even recognize, their queer and trans students. “Diversity” in and of itself is great – the Pagans have a saying, “Strength in Diversity”, that references how much healthier a tall-grass prairie is to a monocrop, for example, how many voices singing in harmony with each other are way more powerful, more moving, than one voice shouting all alone – but “diversity” isn’t great when it’s co-opted by people who are actively trying to force you back into a closet.
 
Also, something worth noting: Pink Shirt Day was originally a campaign started by two rural Nova Scotia 12th-graders in support of a ninth-grade student who was hit with specifically homophobic slurs when he wore a pink shirt to school one day. Day Of Pink is a national upshot of youth-for-youth solidarity and, importantly, of youth standing with peers who face violence specifically because their gender presentation and/or sexual orientation is, or is perceived to be, outside of what’s considered “normal”.
So here’s a story from my own childhood:
I didn’t know “bisexual” was a thing until I was sixteen, and it took another year for me to figure out that “bixsexual” was a term that applied to me. But I didn’t need to be “out and proud” or even just “visibly queer” (as a cis, femme, little girl, the only things that marked me as “other” were my height, my music, and – unexpectedly? – my insistence on wearing dresses) to face homophobic bullying. Nobody beat me up, but my fifth grade was all about getting swarmed by mobs of classmates jeering “Are you a lesbian? Are you a lesbian???” (if you were wondering about where that fear of crowds came from…), stealing my shoes, being told that people being “different” was fine just “Not when they’re different like you”. It was my teachers being deeply unsettled to see me doing a Fred and Ginger dance routine with another girl in my grade.
I know damn well that I was not the only turned-out-to-be-queer kid in my class. Not just statistically, either (Ottawa’s a small town, for a place with a million people). Given that none of our teachers were saying “there’s nothing wrong with this, stop being a douche-canoe”, I can’t say I blame them for letting me draw the fire, if they’d even figured themselves out yet, which isn’t necessarily the case. But if they knew? If nine and ten year old kids knew they were One Of Us, and knew that to keep themselves safe they had to laugh at the (other) faggot right along with the Normal People… do you really think they wouldn’t?
I’m not typically one to quote Ivan Coyote, but they said something on facebook a while back, after having seen a high school teacher wearing a pink t-shirt that read “The Pink Shirt Says It All”. What they said on facebook was (I’m paraphrasing, I think) “The pink shirt means fuck-all if it’s not backed up with action”.
 
Look. There are things that CCGSD does that I really, really like. I love that they hold national conferences where high school students can learn how to advocate for themselves and their peers with a specific focus on gender and/or sexuality minorities and youth of colour. I love that they run Rainbow Write, locally, which is a program that bring queer and/or trans writers and, frequently, specifically queer and/or trans writers of colour, to Ottawa to do writing workshops with queer and trans teens[2] (and, if space allows, Rainbow Brights of all ages). But Day Of Pink is supposed to be about stopping specifically homophobic and transphobic bullying; about making schools and, more broadly, the world safer for our children; for sending the message (and backing it up with action, folks!) that this particular type of cruelty – which is used to police gender and sexuality at every age and regardless of what a given targeted-person’s gender and sexual orientation actually are, but which always, always hurts OUR kids, no matter whom its directed at – is absolutely not okay. Deciding that the appropriate ambassador for this message is someone who will actively dilute it, who is someone with deep and personal ties to a party that is clearly dead set against all of us who live outside of that tiny, narrow charmed circle? My dears, that was the wrong decision.
 
Those feelings of rage and betrayal that are flying all over twitter right now? Those feelings are real. Some of us believed you had our backs. But getting popular with the powerful crowd by betraying those who are already getting stomped on?
Honey… that’s what bullies do.
 
 
Ms Syren.
 
 
[1] Although, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how. That is a hell of a hard road to walk, even when your partner’s hateful, fear-mongering politics aren’t routinely being rammed into actual federal laws.
 
[2] The second time I came out – as kinky and poly and queer-femme – as an adult with my own place to live, it was queer (and frequently kinky and poly) femme poets who got me through my divorce, helped me see my reflection on paper, and helped me find my voice as a writer. I can’t imagine how much more of a huge fucking relief it would be for a queer and/or trans kid, a teenager who might be afraid of getting kicked out of their home if they’re open about who they are, to meet and be mentored by adults who are just like them and who get it.