I've recently been impressed by some quality videos by trans people.
My friend Hannah Massie has a video on Understanding Gender Diversity, which is a good introduction to the whole subject:
She also features in a poignant video on gender dysphoria, The Invisible Prison, in which she talks, among other things, on the bureaucracy around transition, intervoven with other moving life stories from Chrissie Chevasutt and John Patching:
Both very suitable education tools in different ways. They also feature on the Gender Aware learning page, with links to articles and research referred to in the Diversity video:
T-Central recently linked to Tish's blog which featured a wonderful video (with beautiful artworks) by her friend CM Ralph:
It's about fulfilling dreams, and I think we can all relate.
If you didn't catch Adèle Anderson's song I posted a few weeks ago, here it is again:
I have added three more blogs to my blogroll (right):
Miss Twist Speaks Her Brains - I don't know why I didn't come across this earlier than last year. A psychology graduate, she has an authentic scientific approach to important matters and an irreverent take on fun ones. And she looks great, too. (Miss Twist Speaks Her Brains)
Clare Flourish - I've been reading Clare for some years. Always thoughtful and genuine, she is also honest in saying what she regrets about transitioning. Her posts are often long. An elegant lady. (Clare Flourish)
Nikki's New Life Part 1 - my friend Nikki's blog should have appeared ages ago but because of technical difficulties (i.e. me not knowing what I'm doing!) it's only just come up on the right. Sorry, Nikki! (Nikki's New Life)
Roz White continues to add to her series of Sisterhood novels (7 novels and 2 novellas), all well-reviewed and chosen by book clubs. You can buy them and read reviews on Amazon:
Roz is a good observer of the realities of the trans experience. Recommended reading.
Add: For LGBT History Month 2021, Roz has been reading extracts from her Sisterhood series:
There are others who write transgender fiction but so far what I have come across on book sites is either erotica (and there's more than enough of that online) or poor transgender SF. If I find any more mainstream fiction that's good, I'll let you know. I'm always open to suggestions for a good book with trans characters if my readers know of any more.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions as much as I do.
A dip in the archives
In her diversity video above, Hannah mentioned a Roman emperor who may have been transgender: Elagabalus (also known as Heliogabalus).
Born with the name Varius Avitus Bassianus in Syria around 204 AD, he was related to Rome's ruling Severan dynasty. He was hereditary priest of Elagabal (one of the local Baal gods of those regions so often condemned in the Bible) and on being acclaimed emperor in 218, aged about 14, he brought his cult to Rome and adopted the typically sonorous imperial name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. He was nicknamed Elagabalus after his god. After a short reign that provoked scandal, he was assassinated in 222.
Roman sources (Herodian, Cassius Dio, Lampridius) suggest he was LGBTQI+ and then some! Dio (Roman History, book 80, chapter 16, section 7) mentions his seeking a surgeon for vaginoplasty and Lampridius (Augustan History, Heliogabalus, chapter 7, section 2) says he joined the worshippers of Cybele in their frenetic dances and duly castrated himself and bound his penis, as was required of her priests.
These sources say he wore makeup, women's (or at least feminine) clothes, dressed up as Venus, slept with lots of men, was the bride in a marriage to a man, acted the female prostitute in brothels ...
One should treat all this with great scepticism. It's intended by the authors to be disgusting. Very briefly, this arises as it would seem he treated traditional Roman religion, protocols, culture and customs with some contempt, or maybe just with teenage and foreign gaucheness, and the Romans, being a virile culture, slated him with their long-standing prejudice against Eastern cultures and cults which they regarded as effeminate. Dio calls him a Sardanapalus, the name of the semi-legendary king of Assyria who allegedly preferred living in the women's quarters of the palace and doing women's work when foreign enemies were at the gates, and who has been used so often in political history as the epitome of an effeminate failure.
So Elagabalus's alleged transsexualism is not intended as a compliment, or even a statement of fact. We have little idea of who this young person really was; his image and reputation have been destroyed by so much contemporary and later prejudice or offended pride. Politics is a dirty business at the best of times. Therefore, it is not clear whether Elagabalus really was a historic transgender person.
|The Roses of Heliogabalus, one of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's gorgeous Roman-themed subjects, illustrating an episode at an imperial banquet when rose petals were rained on the guests.|
Cari lettori italiani
Oggi promuovo certi video, blog e romanzi in inglese, e spiego perchè è pericloso usare certi personaggi storici (Eliogabalo in questa istanza) come esempi di vita transgender.
Speriamo che questa crisi di governo si risolva in un modo intelligente.