Jul 102012
 

Tobi Hill-Meyer, the director/producer of the award winning film Doing It Ourselves (featuring trans women and their sexuality), has a rocking Kickstarter project for a new two-volume film set that is an erotic documentary featuring trans women and their partners called Doing It Again – In Depth.

It is crucial that this film gets the support needed to get off the ground. Trans women, for a number of reasons, are disproportionately under-represented in queer communities, whether queer events, queer conversations, and especially in queer porn. There are a number of discussions about this, and while they are all valid, Tobi, as a trans woman, is moving forward with this project to represent the sexuality and relationships of trans women. This visibility is so important to acknowledge these women as members of various communities, as well as to allow their stories to be shared.

I strongly believe in grassroots community organizing. I know that many of you only have a few bucks to donate; I myself am usually in that boat. However, 10 people donating $5 is $50, and 100 people donating $5 is $500, and it only goes up from there. So please, if you have the ability to support increased visibility for trans women, their sexuality, and their relationship, please donate what you can and help this exciting project get going!

Shanna

Mar 142012
 

My partner and I are heading to Momentum at the end of the month to present one of our favorite co-lead workshops; Check Yourself — Recognizing Privilege in a Sex Ed Context. We’re really looking forward to the event — we just found out that Jocelyn Elders (yes, the “masturbation is ok and healthy” Dr Elders) will be on the closing keynote panel. Many of my favorite people in the sexuality industry will be there as well; educators, authors, manufacturers, sex workers, activists and more.

If you’ll be there, please come chat me up! Often times at events, I meet people on the way out who say “wow, I didn’t realize you’d actually want to talk to me” and at that point, I really do, but we’re heading to the airport. If you’ll be at Momentum, I absolutely want to meet you, get to know you and have sexy nerdy talk, so stop by and say hi.

Can’t wait for all the sex geekery this weekend will provide. Hope to see you there!

-Shanna

May 272011
 

This month’s post for my monthly Unapologetic column on the Fearless Press deals with the concepts regarding the term Partner — the good, the bad, and the frustrating.

Sometimes, the English language just fails me. Aside from the ridiculous issue of pronouns (I mean, really, do we need to have masculine and feminine pronouns when we conjugate everything in neutrality anyways?), it’s so interesting trying to navigate in field of terminology to refer to people’s partners.

The other day, someone referred to my partner as my “wife.” Well, since both of us reject the concept of traditional marriage (versus our upcoming “Queer Celebration of Love”), it didn’t really fit, but even more so, it doesn’t fit because my partner doesn’t usually identify with either female or male identifies. My partner identifies as genderqueer, residing outside of that binary.

So the term girlfriend doesn’t really fit either. Moreover, as one of my straight friends revealed to me, calling her partner “boyfriend” after ten years of being together feels silly to her, and like she’s back in high school.

To read the rest, click here for Howdy There Partner.

Dec 302010
 

Date: January 28th 7pm-ish to January 29th 10am-ish

Location: The RACK Room in Denver

First and foremost: This is a “girls”-only event, and since the ladies of the RACK room believe strongly in gender inclusion, “girls-only” is not limited to girls born with a vagina. Transfolk, gender queer people, and anyone else who identifies in the realm of girl or grrl or woman or womin or womyn will be welcome. All orientations welcome!

Cost: $10 (to cover space rental)

This is going to be a super fun, inclusive night of both kinky and vanilla fun, from games to play time, gift exchanges to lots of munchies. 18+ ONLY, as both kinky and sexual play will be allowed. That being said, lets have a great night of kinky, naughty fun girls!

Everyone that is coming should bring:
A DISH: This is a potluck! bring deserts, a drink, anything sleepover-y! Liquor will be allowed, but if you are going to drink, please do not play, or wait until after you play to drink. This event is open to those under 21, but they are NOT allowed to drink. Sorry gals, that’s the way it has to be!

A sleeping bag or blankets

A GIFT:
We will be playing fairy godmother! Bring a small gift (or gift bag) of LESS than $20. Please do not have any particular person in mind as we will probably be white-elephanting gifts!

A movie or music if you are so inclined. This does NOT mean Sex and the City

Your imagination!
We will be playing a plethora of games both kinky and vanilla. If you have ideas for games, bring those!

Your toy bag.
If you would like to play, then bring toys to do so!

A stuffed animal and some rope (if you have it). There will be a competition during the night (for bear bondage/stuffy shibari)!

A change of clothes — this party ends at 10am Saturday morning! Make sure to bring something to change into, a maybe a towel or two for those of us that enjoy communal showers with the kinky girls in our lives ;)

If interested and needing directions to the RACK room, please contact Shanna or Mistress Saskia via FB or shannakatz @ gmail dot com or DaSozz at aol dot com.

Dec 132010
 

A cohort of mine from Widener University is behind this study, and I’m hoping to get lots of women and gender diverse people (who are/have been sexually intimate with women identified people) to participate. There is very little research done on queer sexuality, especially by people who recognize the difference between women, trans (men), gender queer and gender diverse. I’d love it if you’d support this great research by taking the survey if it applies to you, or at the very least (or if it doesn’t apply), passing it on, re-posting, etc. Thanks for doing your part in helping to create queer visibility and awareness.

-Shanna

This is a groundbreaking study about the lives of women and gender diverse people who are sexually intimate with women.  Please participate and forward on to others who you think might be interested.  Also, after you complete the survey, you can enter to win one of three $100 gift cards.

Are you a woman who is or has been sexually intimate with another woman?

—–OR—–

Are you gender diverse or trans and sexually intimate with women?

If you answered yes to either question, please take this survey

web.me.com/sexuality/

Who Can Participate?

You qualify if you identify as a woman who is sexually intimate with another woman OR a gender diverse person who is female-bodied, assigned female at birth and/or woman-identified and is sexually intimate with a woman. You must also be 18 years of age or older.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research study is to better understand the sexuality of women who are sexually intimate with women, gender diverse people who are sexually intimate with women, and those who may not identify their sexual orientation and/or gender so narrowly. In this study, sexual behavior and sexual identity will be measured to better understand women, including gender diverse people who are female-bodied, assigned female at birth and/or woman-identified, who are sexually intimate with women and those with whom they partner.

Description of the Study

This study is about sexuality and identity of women and gender diverse people who sexually partner with women.  The survey will take about 25 minutes to complete.  The study is completely anonymous, meaning there will be no way to trace any questions or data back to you or your computer, and it is completely free to participate.

Win a $100 Gift Card

After you finish the survey, you will be invited to enter to win one of three $100 gift certificates to say thank you for participating.

Additional Important Information

The Widener University Internal Review Board (Protocol #38-11)  has approved solicitation of participants. The Primary Investigator is Debbie Bazarsky, M.S., M.Ed.  If you have any questions, you may email her at sexuality@me.com.

Nov 102010
 

I was interviewed again for Laurie Handler’s Tantra Cafe Radio show. Although the talk is mostly about sex toys and how (if at all) they can fit into a pleasure centric Tantric lifestyle, I also touch on the concept of feminine and masculine, and why it doesn’t matter what your sex is when practicing Tantra as long as you are authentic to your gender, and respect either the feminine or masculine (or both in you).

I’m the second half, and I’d love for you to take a listen and get some feedback!@

Click here to listen to me on Laurie Handler’s Tantra Cafe show!

-Shanna

Oct 112010
 

I am one of the winners of the Phoenix Pride Coming Out Story Essay contest ( I even got to read mine out loud at the Zoo yesterday at the Coming Out celebration)…and as today is officially National Coming Out Day, I thought I’d share. Please feel free to share yours, or links to your own stories on your own sites, etc.

My coming out story isn’t just one day, or a week or even year. In fact, my coming out story isn’t finished. It is happening every day of every week of every year.

In college, I discovered the concept of orientation being fluid, and realized that I liked some of the women on campus. I joined QSA and EQUAL, and began to identify as bisexual. I told my mother and sister, and they reacted as expected; they didn’t really care.

Then in graduate school, I decided that I didn’t really like men anymore; I became a proud, flag-flying lesbian. I’m actually not kidding about the flag. I was a lesbian, and I liked women, and was attracted to women, and I came out to my friends and family and work and then…suddenly, I hit a speed bump.

Why? Well, I was suddenly dating someone that didn’t identify as a woman. I was dating a gender queer identified person. She didn’t care what pronouns people used to refer to him. When we were out and about, sometimes people saw us and identified us as a lesbian or dyke couple…other times, I could swear that people thought I was a twenty-something woman robbing the cradle with a 15-year old guy.

I loved this person. And this person didn’t identify as a woman. So I did what most young people in the middle of an identity crisis would do; I went online. And as I searched blogs and forums, I came across the term “Pansexual.” Ok, I thought. I can be pansexual, and be attracted to many people across the sexual spectrum. I was now a card carrying (I’m joking about the card) pansexual woman. Great. I started coming out to people as such on a regular basis.

In the midst of all this, I discovered something else about myself. Despite my angry feminist moments in college where I distained all things feminine as a creation of our misogynist culture and the patriarchy, I realized that while I didn’t embrace all or even most feminine things, my gender identity was developing, and it happened to have a Femme bent to it. One person I was seeing told me one day that I was “such a Femme.” I froze. I had always thought that being feminine or even a Femme was a bad thing, capitulating to social norms. But here I was, having spent almost an hour getting ready, getting a tingle in my stomach as my date opened the door for me, and a smile on my face as they brought me a drink. I had embraced the power of femininity, and I realized that even though I rarely wore heels and was allergic to pink, I am a Femme. Femme is my gender.

So here I was, a Pansexual Femme, and trying to come out to people. Trying to explain how Femme differed from female or woman was hard enough, but when I got into the term pansexual, people shut down. It was too academic, too different, too much. As I continued to prowl around online, I found that pansexual was a privileged term; it was mostly people in academia using it (and often just open minded bisexual people). I didn’t identify as bisexual, and I didn’t want a term that wasn’t accessible to everyone.

That is when I discovered the term QUEER. I was at a house party I’d been invited to by a fellow fierce Femme from roller derby, and I started talking to people about identity. At this party were people of all different gender presentations, from high femme to stud, gender queer and andro to trans folks of various presentations. And let me tell you, almost everyone at this party was smoking hot. I was trying to figure out how one would identify if you were a fierce Femme (IE, me) who was attracted to pretty much everyone in the room, and then, magically, I heard the term QUEER. It fit. It was perfect. It was me. It was an identity that fit me regardless of what I was wearing, who I was attracted to, what my own gender identity was, and everything else.

Now, as Queer Femme, I had to re-come out to everyone I’d already come out to. My family was open to it, but needed some education on the term queer. My co-workers were already reading Judith Butler and Kate Bornstein, so they got it. Some of my friends asked me what took me so long to figure that out, while others still thought of the term queer as a hateful term, and that involved much discussion.

When I moved to Arizona, the coming out process started all over again. Explaining my gender as Femme is always a hoot; people assume that unless you’re trans or gender queer, your gender is just a given. Mine is not. Femme is an attitude, a belief system, a presentation, and it is my deliberate gender. And here in Arizona, very few people understand my queer identity, and so it’s been an opportunity for education. My coming out story never ends, because I have to come out to everyone I meet, and everyone I’ve met, and because my identities are so fluid, sometimes I have to come out to myself.

The other day, my partner’s softball coach referred to me as her “roommate.” I was hurt and angry and frustrated. I’d come out to him already; as queer, as her partner, as her fiancé, and yet here he was, invalidating our relationship. So we both came out to him again. And will do so again if needed.

THIS is why coming out is so important. It creates visibility, and dialogue, and understanding, and these three things create change in our community. It is only with change that we can be seen as full members of our society, instead of second class citizens. So please, keep on coming out.

Happy Coming Out Day!

-Shanna

Oct 082010
 

Hello all,

I’m absolutely positive that you have heard of, in some way or some form, of the tragedy of multiple suicides by youth who were the victims of anti-LGBTQ bullying. Notice I don’t say the “gay suicides” — regardless of gender or orientation, NO ONE should have to deal with being bullied. Who are we to assume their identities? And when we say gay or LGBTQ in front of suicides, it depersonalizes them, puts them in a grouping, and takes the blame away from the bullies.

Below is a video from me. It’s part of both the It Gets Better project, as well as the Make It Better Project (LGBTQ youth empowerment). I think it is incredibly important to also give these youth the power to educate, find allies, build communities, and stop the bullying, in addition to reminding them that it almost always gets better, and that we need them to survive in order to beat the homophobia and transphobia, and create a better world for the entire community.

I’m not very erudite in this clip. I didn’t have a script, I messed up a few times, I’m awkward and the angle is off, and I mess up what I meant to say at one point. However, it is 100% from the heart. I hope that it touches at least one person, or at the very least, touches you enough to make your own video, or to volunteer in your community, or donate money, or support these projects that help support and empower youth. It is high time that the climate changed, and I’m not talking about global warming.

-Shanna

Other resources:
Scarleteen
Trevor Project

Oct 072010
 

Many people are talking about the It Gets Better campaign. I myself am filming a video for it. I think that it is a fine project, and support all of those contributing to it.

However, I think that it is also important to create change in the schools now, rather than just put a band aid on it until they grow up. BOTH are important messages. There is another organization now called the Make It Better Project, which is using social media, videos, the web and more to empower youth to create change in their own communities right now.

Please check it out and pass it on to any you feel might find it relevant.

-Shanna

Aug 042010
 

The other night, I was at my partner’s softball game. I go every week. Do I particularly like softball? No. Do I particularly like my partner? Yes. Ergo, I go, and I cheer for the team, and I support her as much as I can. I am the only partner of someone on the team who comes regularly; in fact, I’m often the only one sitting in the bleachers, for either side.

While there, my partner and I interact like people in a relationship do. Sometimes we kiss and hug a lot, sometimes we don’t. I cheer for her, and make salacious suggestions about what I’d like to do to her wiggling butt when she’s batting. We’re not super into public displays of affection, but we certainly are not one hundred percent chaste in public either. We always refer to each other as partner, we come and go together, we hold hands, and we’ve even mentioned our upcoming wedding in front of the team.

The other day, while at a game, a fellow player needed a pen, and the coach turned to him and said “LP’s roommate has a pen you can use.”

He called me her roommate. He called me the roommate of the person who is not only the person I live with, but the person I love, the person I have sex with, the person who is the reason I moved to Arizona, the person who waited in the lobby throughout my surgery to visit me when I woke up after the anethesia, the person who has driven me to the ER, the person who is the CO-parent of our cats, and so much more.

We don’t often realize how much language, even if not used maliciously, can hurt. By him refusing to validate our relationship, and referencing us as roommate, he told us we weren’t as good as straight people, that our relationship wasn’t enough, that it didn’t count.

People ask me often why pronouns matter, why it’s important to ask people how they identify, if it really is that big of a deal.

It is, because when someone says something that completey invalidates your identity, it just really hurts to the core. Yes, it does matter whether they prefer he, she, zie or something else. Yes, it is important to ask someone if they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning, heteroflexible or something else. Yes, it is really that big of a deal.

Language has power.

-Shanna