Speaking of Jayne County and experiences in the ‘60s…

Jayne County @ CBGB’s performing “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?”

The Goddess of Punk Rock , the one and only Jayne County , performs her classic anthem to Gender Benders everywhere entitled , “Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl?” at the Legendary Nightclub CBGBs’. Pay Close attention to the rap about Georgia in the beginning.
Recorded by DJ Tennessee for “Tennavision” aired in May of 1998.
Copyright All Rights Reserved by Jayne County & Tennavision Inc.

(1974 version, as Wayne County.)




A thing that frustrates me abt the way talking abt trans women and stonewall is that like, the reason people wanted to highlight trans women’s presence was to show how gay and trans liberation have historically been linked, but the general trend has been to still talk abt it in this adversarial gay vs trans way that talks abt them like they are two separate groups like “trans women gave gays their rights, cis gays had nothing to do w it” (besides being untrue and focusing too much on one event) misunderstands why it’s important to reintegrate trans women into these historical narratives (and to highlight their race/class): to show that they’ve been a part of the communities and actions, and that transness or race or poverty were always a central part of gay lib (not just things to add onto it)

and the thing is if people actually went back and listened to and read what Stonewall vets had to say in their own words we wouldn’t have this problem to such a degree. 

Something else that would aid understanding of the interconnectedness of gay and trans liberation in the early years of the movement, imo, is acknowledging that the terms have not always been defined the same way they are today. Identities like “drag queen” (which is what Marsha P. Johnson typically called herself) and “transvestite” may be popularly seen as regressive today, but in the time that Stonewall happened these were real identity labels! They described a way of existing in the world that would likely be lumped in with trans womanhood today but in reality was more nuanced. The kind of hard-line distinction we make today between “cis gay [male]” and “trans woman” didn’t even exist when Stonewall happened so it’s ridiculous to try and apply those distinctions in retrospect.

(Not to mention that nobody who makes these arguments seems to remember that Storme DeLarverie existed.)

Some older discussion of this, including some perspective from Jayne County who was also at Stonewall. (And IDing as gay/doing drag at the time.)

One very relevant snippet from the longer quote there:

Christine Jorgensen actually came to Atlanta to do her one-woman show, so I was aware of the idea of transsexualism from quite early, but I didn’t know where I stood in relation to that. I was relating very much to this blanket idea of ‘gayness’, and my transsexual realisation didn’t come till a lot later. In the 60s, people weren’t making divisions as much as we do now; we didn’t talk about gay, lesbian, transsexual, bisexual, transvestite or anything it was all just one big grab-bag of being different. Sometimes I think we’d all be a lot better off without all that classification and arguing about terms, although I recognise that it’s a very basic human need to be able to say ‘I am THIS.’ But now that people know so much more about sexual minorities, it seems harder. I know people have to learn about other people’s lives in order to become more tolerant, but sometimes that makes bigotry worse. The more straight people know about us, the more they have to hate…

Some common ways of looking at things and terminology have also changed quite a bit just since she wrote that in the mid-‘90s. Incidentally not long after I started getting involved. Come back in another 20 years, and some understandings and ways of describing things no doubt will have changed at least as much by then.







do you ever think about how little Michelangelo cared

All right, everyone, grab a chair and sit back because I’m going to share with you what I learned about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel in my Art History Class.

The man NEVER wanted to paint the damn thing. But the pope at the time “forced him to” According to my teacher. Michelangelo hated this man, I MEAN REALLY HATED HIM. So did a majority of people. The pope’s nickname translated literally means “Terrible pope”.

And the working conditions were awful. He had to work on his back with all that paint, which is filled with some toxic shit that gave Michelangelo a limp for the rest of his life.
(Also, our teacher made us get on our backs and try drawing with both hands JUST to prove how bad and uncomfortable it is.)

At the time, the ceiling was so high, you could barely see it. You need binoculars to get a good look at what’s up there, by the time people could see the paintings, there was a lot of weird symbolism that Michelangelo hid up there.

This one? The creation of the sun and moon? God is mooning you. And the pope and all others after him prayed under that without knowing.

This one? At the time, dissecting was sacrilegious and everyone found out how behind God was what looked like half a brain. blah blah, science, science, that pissed everyone off.

And also, ALLLLLLL the men and women in the Sistine Chapel are all on fucking steroids. My teacher described the women’s bodies as “Men bodies with boobs slapped on.”

And then there is this:

Now this is the back wall. Michelangelo actually wanted to paint this one after he finished the ceiling. (and there was a different pope too, I believe.) However, originally, EVERYONE in that painting was naked. And they didn’t like it. Adam and Eve naked? That’s cool. But Jesus? Now you crossed the line. So the pope at the time hired someone else to censor it and give the important figures clothes. He worked on it for 6 or 9 months before he died.

And then the symbolism in this one is great. Somewhere in the right, there are homosexuals in heaven. (No matter what, the Vatican will say “Those straight men are happy” I’ll get to that in a second), Michelangelo painted himself near Jesus, and the terrible pope is in hell with a snake biting his balls.

And if you were to point ANY of this out to the Vatican, they will deny all of it and claim Michelangelo was a catholic hero. In fact, when they discovered the symbolism around the 60s or 70s, the guy who told the Vatican was kicked out of the Vatican for life.

TL;DR: Michelangelo hated the pope and made the best “fuck you” of all time.

YO. ALL OF THIS^. Michelangelo was hella grumpy all of the time. It was fantastic.

However, as beautiful as this commentary is, I’m gonna make a little correction. The Pope isn’t the one in hell getting his balls bitten; that guy is actually the Papal Minister of Ceremonies a the time, Biagio de Cesena. 

See, when Michelangelo was painting this, as you said, lots of people were uncomfortable with all of the nudity (especially because the Last Judgement [back wall mural] was painted much later when nudity in religious art was even more controversial than before), but the dude who was the angriest was de Cesena. 

He was so angry that he reportedly burst in on Michelangelo while he was working (which is already a big no-no because Michelangelo’s requirements for working were mostly “fuck the hell off and leave me alone or else I quit and I will stab you in the eye with my paintbrush/chisel”.). He then proceeds to tell Michelangelo that this fresco is disgusting and obscene and shame on him etc etc. He also referred to it as “i stui di nudi”, which means “A stew of nudes” which is one of the best descriptions of a thing ever, if you ask me. 

So Michelangelo, probably on the cusp of homicide is like “Thank you for the notes. Now get the fuck out,” and de Cesena reluctantly does. 

Later, he comes to see the finished product and finds that Michelangelo had painted his portrait down in Hell to represent the Minos, King of the Dead. He has the ears of an ass and the above described crotch biting snake:


Upon seeing this and being enraged, de Cesena went to the Pope to demand that it be changed and that Michelangelo be punished. However, the Pope was SO incredibly done dealing with Michelangelo’s snark, tantrums, and general hatred of the world and everyone in it, that he didn’t want to do shit. 

The Pope’s response to him was literally to say “As Pope, I have a lot of influence on Earth and up in Heaven, but I have no jurisdiction in Hell. You’re shit out of luck.“ 

And it stayed.

Michelangelo, grade A artist, snark master, and professional dick.


My art hero right there lol

All of the above reasons are why I love Michelangelo with a passion.  

Michelangelo, Patron Saint of Tired Artists






Here’s a cool trick to see if a man actually respects you: try disagreeing with him

A friend of mine did something with online dating where, before meeting a person, she’d say no to something minor without a reason for the no. For example: “No, I don’t want to meet at a coffee shop, how about X?”, or “No, not Wednesday”, or “No, I don’t want to recognize each other by both wearing green shirts”. She said how the potential dates reacted was a huge indicator of whether she actually wanted to meet them, something I readily believe.

I’ve mentioned this to a few people and sometimes I get very annoyed and incredulous responses from guys about how are they supposed to know that it’s a test if the girl is being unreasonable? How are they supposed to know that and let her have her way? I find it difficult to explain that if you find it unreasonable for someone to have a preference of no consequence which they don’t feel the need to explain, then you are the one being unreasonable. You can decide for yourself that it sounds flaky and you don’t want to date her, but you don’t have a right to know and approve all of her reasons for things in order to deign to respect that she said no about it. Especially in the case of someone you haven’t even fucking met yet.

The point isn’t to know it’s a test, the point is that if you would only say “yes” if you knew it was a test, then what if it’s not a test, but because she hates coffee shops, or because she’s attending a funeral Wednesday and doesn’t know you well enough to want to share that, or whatever else? Because if you’re making rules for when other people can have preferences and not explain why… yeah, that is a thing they can reasonably want to avoid.

@ all the angry dudes in the replies: the point is not to trick or manipulate men. The point is to see how a potential romantic partner reacts to a minor inconvenience.  If they say, “oh, ok, would seven work instead?” or “well there’s this Armenian tea house I’ve been meaning to try out, want to go there?” then that’s a good sign that they’re safe to date.  If they throw a fit and/or demand to know every little detail about your rationale over something as simple as rescheduling dinner plans, that’s a bad sign. A really bad sign.

It’s like this, dudes. Women in Western society are socialised to cooperate and compromise. Some men are socialised to get all their own way, all the time.  These dudes are incredibly dangerous to women their partners,* and the only way to tell them apart from the OK guys is to pay close attention to how they react.  If you’re one of the OK ones, this isn’t about you. Learn to take “no” for an answer, and you’ll be fine.

*Updated to reflect the fact that abusive men can target any gender, and the fact that I used this screening tactic to good effect during my Big Gay Slut phase.

This also works for finding out if your friends are good friends or not. If someone constantly blows up at you for minor inconveniences, or who tries to guilt you into keeping something your problem, then they’re not a good friend to have.