Look at my name in print like I’m an author and all.
Last year I emailed Lambda Literary about their Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, and got told yes, me, as a not-American can apply to do the Fiction Cohort with the, the, fucking the Zeyn Joukhadar. I sent in the first chapter of my novel We’ll Never Be Remembered full of sexy trans femme Muslimah migrant sisters doing sex work and hooning cars, and a few months later I got accepted.
And the Retreat, which was online cos thanks ongoing epidemic, was fucking awesome. Which I never blogged about cos I’m a lazy cunt and pushing two years of slowly getting better chronic fatigue / burnout / Long COVID / Epstein-Barr Virus / or as I like to call it, chronic ijdgaf syndrome. And then Lambda Literary said we are publishing an anthology, send your best shit. Which is still the first chapter of my novel. At 10 pages or under that is, and contextually standalone. Some of the other chapters I fucking love too but the sisters, who moved into my head and apartment a couple of years ago, who all said write the stories we tell you and we’ll take care of the rest, said listen cunt it’s gotta be chapter one.
And then I got a copy in the mail and there’s my name in print.
Heaps big love to Vasiliki Lazaridou (who’s currently shooting their film and hasn’t slept for I dunno how long) and Gala Moody who both read the first readable draft, all 150,000 words, and provided excellent, and I mean fucking excellent opinions, criticism, advice, support and all. And to Zeyn Joukhadar who is the living embodiment of meeting your heroes and it being amazing and excellent. And to Lambda Literary for reading my very very niche shit and going yeah this is what we want.
Obviously I want you to buy it. Not only for me, also for the 50-ish other new queer and trans writers, many of whom are QTBIPOC. Their shit is gold. Support your local independent bookshops too.
Georgina Beyer, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, takatāpui, wahine irawhiti, trans woman, sex worker, actress, politician.
Star of Jewel’s Darl way back in ’86. The first trans MP in the world. Responsible for getting the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act passed, decriminalising sex work in Aotearoa, and for the 2004 Civil Union Act which led to legalising same-sex marriage.
I never know what to say when someone dies, even 10 years on. Gala and I joked my epitaph should be, “Fuck you looking at? I’ll knife ya.” Ten years ago, Iain Banks died. Shit joke. Unequivocally my fave author at the time. I’ve read a heap since then and in that specific genre only Tamsyn Muir and Ann Leckie have come close. Yeah, a lot of other writers are amazing and touched my heart, made me laugh, but this is the you can take a tote bag of books to a desert island kind of love and it’s those three with Iain forever first.
Like so many weird subculture scenes, Iain got the attention of way too many straight white dudes. And because he was a nominally straight white dude, with a love of fast cars, whiskey and drugs, he doesn’t get much attention outside that very mediocre bubble of dudes talking. Yeah, Excession is a banger of a space opera, but have you read Feersum Endjinn? Or Whit? That shit has radical, liberatory politics all the way through. He was writing Black, Brown, trans, queer liberation and love back in the ’90s. And he always seemed like one of those so rare, genuinely good, thoughtful, fun, caring men. The kind we need a whole lot more of.
Over the almost twenty years of this blog, I’ve written about or mentioned him in the low hundreds of posts. He even has his own tag, though for that number he should be a category. Here’s some of my faves, chronologically.
Which caused me to read some of my own writing from the last decade and I’m not as shamed or embarrassed as I feared. Which might be me lacking in self-awareness of what I’m missing, but whatever.
And what caused this — I was not paying attention and February 16th was his birthday and it’s 10 years since he died — was a thread by Assoc for Scottish Literature with a bunch of links to articles and interviews I’m going to remind myself of by putting here:
I’ve never celebrated str8 wyt valentine’s day but I always forget it was the day colonialist invader Captain Cook got himself murked for trying to kidnap Kalaniʻōpuʻu on Hawaiʻi. This ten-year-old reminder comes from somos lobos, no ovejas. Fucked around, found out, bro.
Continuing on from my last post on the early-’90s comic She-Male Trouble, the back cover of Issue #1 is highly relevant to all the cis hysteria about us pissing where they piss. #bitchesgottapiss #utijustsayno #washyourhandscunt
I was talking with a comic artist the other day and old ’90s language became a convo — shemale, tranny, chicks with dicks, heshes — and some of that connecting to transsexual sex workers in King’s Cross, Sydney back in the ’70s, where my elders tricked on the street, stripped in clubs, and worked in brothels. Which reminded me of a comic I think I got hold of in Sydney sometime in the late-90s, She-male Trouble. I think I saw an ad for it in Horny Biker Slut, where the degen sisters first appeared. Created by John Howard, published by Last Gasp, it’s pervy, exploitative comic porn, reminds me of Oglaf!, and is the direct but largely unknown ancestor of young trans femme tumblr artists from a decade ago. Would it get mercilessly shredded on the internet today? Yup. Was it actually one of the few representations of transsexuals (period more or less correct language there) which wasn’t vaguely TERFy and exoticising academic blaahs? Also yup, along with Grooby, Shemale Yum, Bob’s Tgirls, and that original world of equal opportunity internet trans porn.
And some I gave their own posts to ’cos they were utter bangers, and some I might even give their own posts, ’cos also bangers. So many books. I can only take one fiction and one non-fiction with me? Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Rehearsals for Living, and Tamsyn Muir’s Nona the Ninth. And one book of poetry? Fatimah Asghar’s If They Come For Us.
P-Valley Season 2 is damn! those bitches are messy damn! the lighting damn the camera work damn! the music damn! the poledancing the poledancing the poledancing damn! the hair makeup eyes shoes heels costumes hips butts tits skin flesh Black femininity gushing flooding drowning anyone too weak for its power (me. I am too weak) damn! Uncle Cliff she every time and damn if I did not need to sit down after all that every time Diamond’s tight fade and soft lips and eyes.
Another in the small pile of books out of Aotearoa I’m getting all up in my memories about reading. I haven’t thought about Witi Ihimaera for decades. Same with Peter Wells. Old names in an anthology of mostly young Millennial and Gen Y poets and writers. Some of the other old names I can’t read past knowing they were rad-fem-les-sep transphobes back in the day. Cool if they’ve grown from that, but irrelevant to me; they did the damage then and I don’t need to read them now.
Dasniya said, on Thursday when their nohinohi little one was all big eyes and focus as I sung old Māori songs I seem to have remembered for them, she was seeing a show as Sophinesaele by Pelenakeke Brown and I said that name sounds familiar, reckon I’ve just been reading them. And I had. Her writing, A Travelling Practice, one of the couple of non-fiction pieces, and one of the couple that really stuck with me out of all the writers. The other was Jessica Niurangi Mary Maclean’s Kāore e wehi tōku kiri ki te taraongaonga; my skin does not fear the nettle, not the least for reminding me te Reo Māori is grammared but gender neutral, ia, tāna, tōna … like all the best languages. I photographed Pelenakeke’s piece and sent it to Dasniya before she saw her performance.
I should have marked all the writers I really liked. Forgot to do that with my usual oh I’ll remember of course I won’t and now I spose I could go back through. Almost finished my most recent stack of books and the upcoming pile is heavy on Māori Pasifika and I’m very fucking happy about that.