Beau Ideal

Welcome to What Becomes You, the Blog That Becomes You. It crosses state lines to reach you, carrying infective agents for the powers of good.

This is an interactive blog about representation: how we are represented and how we represent ourselves in writing, science, performance, politics, movies, academia, comics, public health, professional wrestling…I cast a wide net. Myth, metaphor, transformation, and a good laugh. “We” is the group of your choice. Or maybe I mean the group people keep trying to introduce you to at parties. Or maybe that’s the other group, the one you’re supposed to be dating. Or really not supposed to be dating. Maybe we should have a war…

Maybe you can tell me.

This blog is here because I’m an historian and philosopher of science and a performing artist… and the author of a new book…and a person interested in race and gender and sexuality and power and status living in, as the Chinese curse is said to say, “interesting times.” Since I chose “male” as an accurate term to represent me, I had a sex change, and I wrote a book about the experience with Hilda Raz. The book is called What Becomes You. In my day, folks have chosen male, female, not white, white, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, blue-collar jock, sensitive helping professional, and pointy-headed intellectual as accurate terms to represent me, so clearly I’m likely to find it all pretty interesting, and be from Mars. Wait. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. That must be why I had the sex change.

Since I have just written a memoir about a whole series of very private subjects–in other words, taboo subjects for public discussion–my side of the blog is partly a travel journal about the process of becoming a public figure. It’s a fascinating process already, partly because everybody who is on the internet–or in politics, war, or the entertainment business–is a public figure, which is something we really aren’t talking about and should be. And because what people aren’t talking about is really interesting. As a transsexual, my “private” or “personal” life–my social adjustments, my sex life, my family life, my medical needs, my inmost personal secrets–have already been public for years. It’s Wednesday afternoon, which means decade-old video of my internal organs is probably being shown to med students somewhere right now. So my privilege is not having the option of the kinds of privacy that keep most people silent about dangerous and important ideas. I can be a guniea pig or a participant-observer. I figure I’m ahead of the game. Welcome to the future.

In addition to the continuing cliffhanger saga of life out loud, I’ll bring some:

Interesting sites/books/media about representation (plug of the day)
Interesting questions I think we should be bothering to ask (question of the day)
Interesting quotes that have come my way (quote of the day)
Interesting ideas brought up by all the above (you guessed it…idea of the day)
and a word for the day…your viral horoscope.

All this so we can engage in unregulated interstate transport of ideas. I know you’re out there…please leave trade goods on the virtual beach.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Since this is the inaugural blog, I will engage in shameless self-promotion so you can get a clue who I am and what I do.
Plug for the day–What Becomes You, my new book with Hilda Raz.
Question of the day–There’s now an established format for sex-based identity groups: “straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.” A gender-based format in radical communities is “women and trans.” If people who have crossed a gender boundary are segregated as a result, with whom are they segregated and why?

The idea for the day is that objects which absorb light become warm. Objects which reflect light remain cool.

Quote for the day, from the BBC via Malika’s Indian Transgender Blog (www.malikatv.blogspot.com)
Tax authorities in one Indian state are attempting to persuade debtors to paying their bills – by serenading them with a delegation of singing eunuchs [hijras]. Eunuchs are feared and reviled in many parts of India, where some believe they have supernatural powers. Often unable to gain regular employment, the eunuchs have become successful at persuading people to part with their cash. The eunuchs will get a commission of 4% of any taxes collected…Bharat Sharma, a revenue officer, told the Associated Press agency he was pleased with the eunuchs’ work.

‘We are confident that their reputation and persuasive skills will come in handy,” he said.

The word for the day, says Merriam-Webster, is Beau Ideal.

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8 Comments on “Beau Ideal”

  1. Dee Bell Says:

    If the writing in your memoir is as exquisite as the writing on your blog thus far, it should prove to be an excellent book.

  2. Juniper Alan Says:

    I’ve just spent two days reading your book. Where can I buy tickets to your performances? You made me laugh out loud when I should have been crying!

    Write another book, please!

    Juniper


  3. Communications
    In a rapidly moving news environment, FDF operates a 24/7 press office and provides communications support to members FDF is the voice of the UK food and drink manufacturing industry. We work hard to promote the interests of the UK’s most important manufacturing sector.


  4. well, that’s good to know.

  5. Suzan Mayer Says:

    Dear Aaron,

    Well, now that I’ve seen your perception of your initial interview with the counselor having a Masters of Social Work degree, your attitude then made more sense. The counselor seemed a little casual and overly friendly…I think I know her, but confidentially rules forbid… I think she is an old beatnik, retired and 69 years old this month. She is devoting herself to art and having a show in September at the Lake Oswego Library. She’s flattered you made her a landsman as she’s an old Buddha-Episco-Pagan in an aboriginal spiritual path, Si.Si.Wiss (Red Cedar Circle).

    I was so pleased seeing your book in publication. The quality and depth was so much beyond the usual memoir on gender issues. George sends his blessing as do I and hope to see you soon to discuss it in detail, if you wish.

    Sincerely,
    Beauty, Pleasure and Love
    Suzi

  6. Suzan Mayer Says:

    We attended the memorial for our dear Nestor Perala last night. He was a complex individual: a Gnostic priest, an entheogen explorer, a sponsor and counselor and founder of groups for recovering fundamentalists of all kinds, a founder of Northwest Gender Alliance, a Veteran for Peace, a stalwart Finn, a woman named Olivia, an omniverous reader, a mushroom hunter a Friend of Jung (Portland Chapter), a pianist and organist at various churches, and a wonderful friend. His daughters Christine and Julia are equally wonderful. The two grand-daughters sang as did Capella Romana and many spoke. We saw many friends there.

    Suzan

  7. genderkid Says:

    I just finished reading your book. I loved it. You know how, in The Catcher in the Rye, Holden says his favorite books are those whose authors he’d like to meet? Well, in the internet world, you can practically meet the author online! Or at least, read the author’s blog =)

    I got this book specifically because of its mother-son collaboration. Maybe, when I come out, I can give it to my own mom; for now, I think it helps me to understand her better. And I loved the poetic images in your part of the book.

    I’m just writing so you know that your book is being appreciated.
    Regards,
    Francisco


  8. Dear Aaron,

    Hello! We are a non-profit organization based in Madison, WI that sends books to LGBTQ-identified inmates across the United States. We receive many requests for trans books, but unfortunately our stock is always low, as we depend almost entirely on donations. (We use the bulk of our funds on postage.)

    Our professor in the History of Science department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lynn Nyhart, recommended that we get in touch with you to see if you might be able to donate copies of your book to our project. We would appreciate it very much!

    Please let us know if this is something that interests you, and thanks in any case.

    Be well,

    ~Irene and Melissa
    http://lgbtbookstoprisoners.org
    lgbtbookstoprisoners (at) gmail (dot) com


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