Missing TBC this year? We’re throwing a party for you!!

You are invited to The TBC Halloween/Scifi Extravaganza! All proceeds from this fundraising party will go  to support the 2014 Transcending Boundaries Conference.

When: October 26, 2013, 7 pm - 11 pm

Where: Just off Lake Avenue by Quinsigamond State Park in Worcester, MA (Address and directions given with RSVP)

Who is Invited: All TBC Supporters (21+). Costumes are highly encouraged, with door prizes in multiple categories. All fandoms (including the "I Don't Wear Costumes" fandom) are welcome.

Cost: Donation of $10 (or more!) towards the 2014 Transcending Boundaries Conference.Your donation gets you into our science fiction themed Halloween party while helping to support our scholarship fund and bring more awesome presenters to the conference 

by Lisa Jacobs, President

 

This Monday, September 23rd, is Bi Pride Day (aka Celebrate Bisexuality Day), where bisexuals, pansexuals and all other non-monosexuals celebrate being their own flavors of queer. So if you’re bi, pan, fluid or an ally, how can YOU join the festivities?

On Monday, August 5th, the board of Transcending Boundaries Inc. met.  This was an exciting occasion, as all five board members - Lisa, Aimee, Sara, Lorelei and Laurel - were actually in the same place at the same time.  As our residences span from Massachusetts to Florida this was no small feat!

We began our meeting with an update on old business.  With so much happening in the next few months, we agreed that we do not have enough resources for all of the projects we would like to accomplish.  In particular, we tabled our discussion group and a family friendly picnic until at least 2014.  Of course if anyone is interested in either of those, let us know by emailing us.  We would love to see them happen.

We also discussed the taxes and incorporation papers, important parts of us being a registered non-profit. Fortunately there were no surprises and we will continue to operate as a 501(C)(3).

The rest of the meeting we focused on our social media strategy.  We wanted a way to distribute the work involved and also make sure we were creating great content.  Sara found some very helpful resources, and we'll be creating an official policy over the next few weeks.

We also took a group photo, we hope to share soon along with our bios, so you can get to know your board members. We're excited about the work Transcending Boundaries is doing and hope to see you at the Transcending Boundaries Conference in April 2014 if not before!

Former TBC presenter and long time TBC attendee Sarah Lemons reviews "She's Not There" by Jennifer Boylan. We hope that this will be the first of many media reviews we are able to post on our site. If you've read a book or seen a movie that is relevant to the interests of the TBC community, drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Book Review: "She's Not There:A Life in Two Genders"

When I first read She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders, it was not long after my wife had come to terms with being transgender and beginning her own journey of transition. I was grabbing for every single piece of transgender literature and was happy to find something non clinical that I could enjoy reading. What I love about Jennifer Boylan's book is the overall tone of a narrative, not simply a cut and dry recount of the coming out process. 

She's Not There allows you to become invested in Jenny's life before conquering the heavy topic of gender and transition. She uses the real humor of everyday life as a counterbalance from the sometimes more serious tone of being a transgender individual finding themselves. We get to follow Jenny's life from adolescence to adulthood and watch the relationships around her change and evolve. 

Originally published in 2003, the second edition comes ten years later. Included in this edition is new material including an afterword by Jennifer's long time friend Richard Russo, and a small exert from Diedre "Grace" Boylan. This extra material is a great addition to the story as they give a glimpse of how Jennifer's life has progressed. While there are a small collection of transgender memoirs, recollections of how it is to be transgender and have raised children and remained in a committed relationship are rare.

Call me a sap, but I enjoy stories with a happy ending, especially when those stories are true. While this second edition is not all rainbows and puppies, it is a realistic version of a healthy marriage. The new material rounds out the book well and addresses some of the topics that have come up in Jenny's life after becoming a public figure. 

I recommend She's Not There to everyone, trans, ally and everything in between.While informative, it is also a enjoyable read overall as Jennifer Boylan writing has excellent flow. Jennifer is also the author of Stuck In the Middle: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders which was recently released. You can find out more information about the author at jenniferboylan.net

by Raycho

Last weekend, members of the TBC staff headed to Connecticut for a site visit at the TBC 2014 conference hotel (Hartford Sheraton at Bradley Airport). While we devoted some of the time to scientific research on important issues like room service and bed comfort, the highlight of the trip was a tour of the facility with Kim, our fabulous contact at the Sheraton. 

The hotel has been recently renovated, and it looks great! We checked out the meeting spaces, the sleeping accommodations, the dining areas - there's a coffee shop, fear not! - the ballroom, and of course, the pool. Kim answered our questions and easily addressed any concerns we raised. She's committed to helping the conference go smoothly and create the celebratory, respectful space for which TBC is famous." We also got a look at the catering options for the keynote banquet, and we're hungry already! Rest assured that tasty vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options will be made available!

In a few months we will return to the Sheraton to provide their staff with training on welcoming people of all genders, sexualities and relationship orientations. In addition, we will also ask them to sign confidentiality forms so that everyone can feel safe and free to be themselves at the conference! We are also paying particular attention to accessibility issues and ensuring full participation for people of all abilities. 

We were already super excited, but now that we've seen all the great features of the venue, we can hardly wait! See you in seven months!

Houston we have a keynote speaker! We are thrilled to announce the keynote speaker for our 2014 conference will be long time friend of TBC, Wintersong Tashlin! E. Winter/Wintersong Tashlin (www.barkingshaman.com) is an educator, blogger, shaman, photographer, and activist with over a decade of experience running rituals and teaching classes that range from private one-on-one instruction, to workshops at some of the premier events in the United States. Topics he presents on include alternative sexuality & BDSM, spirituality, magic, queer/LGBT issues, polyamory, and disability management. He is associate editor for the LGBT blog The Bilerico Project, and an assistant producer/programming coordinator for Dark Odyssey Events. Organizations he has presented for include Transcending Boundaries, Five College Queer Sexuality & Gender Conference, National Tourette Syndrome Association, Dark Odyssey, The Floating World, Free Spirit Alliance, and The Pagan Kingdom of Asphodel. His ritual work particularly focuses around rites of personal transformation, and he is a founder and council member of Clan Tashlin, a magical and spiritual order built around a unique relationship between people and the energies of the world around us. He has appeared in television documentaries featuring topics such as polyamory, spirituality, and genital integrity in both the United States and Great Britain. His photography has appeared in Salacious Magazine, on the websites of Crash Pad and Fruit Punch Productions, as well as in a number of both pagan and mainstream books. Winter received a Bachelors of Arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

 

On March 26, 2013, the board members of Transcending Boundaries Inc. met.  The first big order of business was to welcome Sara, our newest board member!  We're incredibly lucky to have her joining the team, and know her skills will bring a lot to the organization.  

We briefly reviewed our existing resources, and hope to add a tri-fold pamphlet on polyamory and non-monogamy this year.  These pamphlets are distributed at events that we attend, as well as sent to other events all over the country.  

Next up was discussing fundraising.  We'll keep some of this plan under wraps for now as it's very early in the planning stages, but we did vote to donate $100 to the Help Kate Bornstein Stay Alive fund on behalf of Transcending Boundaries.  We hope to do some fundraising this year to benefit both Transcending Boundaries and other parts of our communities.

We also discussed some other potential non-conference events, such as a one day unconference, a discussion meeting in Northampton, a family friendly picnic this summer and a community service project.  Stay tuned as we announce more on those events.

Lastly, Micah, one of the 2014 Conference Chairs joined us to give an update.  We reviewed the proposed contract from the hotel and offered a few minor changes.  Although we had intended to also discuss the pricing for 2014 registration rates, due to the hour we tabled that discussion and will review it over e-mail.

Our staff met on Saturday March 23rd at 2 pm our staff gathered amid great excitement; The next Transcending Boundaries Conference will take place April 4-6 of 2014 at the Hartford Sheraton at Bradley Airport! The Sheraton has been incredibly generous with space and offers an excellent reduced rate for the room block. More importantly, we believe having the entire event in one building will help to foster the feeling of community that is central to TBC's philosophy. We'll let you know as soon as reservations open and our staff will be working with the hotel to meet all accessibility needs and provide transportation information.

Location wasn't the only big news to come out of this meeting. We also chose the 2014 theme, "Inclusion In Action." TBC strives to be inclusive to people representing all aspects of the gender, sexuality and relationship spectrum and we're thrilled to be highlighting that this year. It'll be a while before we start requesting presentations proposals so now is a great time to think about what you could add to our programming.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday April 14 at 6:30 PM and at this meeting we will be discussing options for our next keynote speaker. We are asking as many people as possible to attend the meeting "in person" at one of two locations (one in Springfield MA and one in Medford MA, near Boston). This will leave the maximum space available in our google hangout for our out of town staff. This is a big meeting and we hope you'll all be there!

Join us for the next TBC 2014 planning meeting on Saturday March 23rd at 2 pm for exciting news about the location and dates of the event!  We'll be discussing candidates for keynote speaker, conference theme and fundraising ideas. Now is the perfect time to get involved and see the conference creation process from start to finish. The meeting will be held in Medford MA. Contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for directions.

 

Want to help us plan but live too far away to make it to Medford? Not a problem! You can once again join in via google+ hangout. E-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on this process.

 

We look forward to seeing you all next Saturday!

On Sunday February 24th, the staff of TBC2014 held its first meeting just outside Boston Massachusetts.

We were thrilled to have a large and enthusiastic turnout both in person and via our Google hangout. Thanks go out to Mel and Rhys for helping us get the hangout working; we will definitely be using that program to facilitate all our future meetings!

We took some time to assess people's skills and interests and divide up the next years work accordingly. Most of the major organizational roles have been filled but we can definitely make good use of several more staff members, particularly to help with publicity and fundraising.  We have also chosen tentative dates and are beginning the location search this week.

Our next meeting is on March 23rd at 2 pm in Medford and we hope to announce the date and location in April.

Happy Coming Out Day to all! Coming out can be an endless process, especially when you have multiple identities regarding gender, sex, sexual orientation, relationship style, etc. If you come out to anyone today, please be safe and have support on hand if you need it. May we all be able to live as out and true to ourselves as we want, or at least need, to be.

Some background on pronouns

 

In case it's been a while since you last studied grammar, a pronoun is a word used to replace a noun in a sentence.  We use them every day, often without much thought.  Some pronouns are not gendered, such as they, it, we, or you.  English does use gendered pronouns however, with he/him implying a masculine identity and she/her implying a feminine one.  Take a look at the following sentences:

 

Joe is a great singer, he won a national title last year.

Alicia is talented, her book is fantastic.

 

In both cases the pronoun (he in the first sentence, her in the second) implies the gender of the person the sentence is about (Joe or Alicia).  If you'd like a great reference on pronouns in general, check out What is a Pronoun?, from the University of Ottawa.  

 

Gender and pronouns

Some people prefer gendered pronouns for themselves.  It can be an affirming experience to be acknowledged as the correct gender.  However, not everyone identifies strongly (or at all) as masculine or feminine, or their gender identify or expression may fluctuate.  What is the appropriate pronoun to use for these individuals?  Using someone's name every time can be awkward (although that is how some individuals circumvent pronouns).  Using the pronoun 'it' for a person is most often considered inappropriate, as it is usually used to refer to inanimate objects, not persons, and it therefore considered dehumanizing.  

 

This situation is where gender neutral pronouns come in!  These are words that can be used in the same way as other pronouns, but do not imply a gender as he or she might. 

 

Some gender neutral pronouns

There are several different gender neutral pronouns used in our communities.  This is not an all inclusive list, but rather a few of the more commonly used ones.  Please, feel free to add more in the comments section!

 

They/Them - Some people prefer to use they or them as a personal pronoun.  Although this is more often used as a plural pronoun (for a group, rather than an individual) some people do like to use it as a singular.  This is something you may of already used without knowing it.  An example is:

 

Bobbi left a message, but what time did they call?

 

Ze/Hir- Sometimes spelled zie or sie, ze can be used instead of he or she, and hir can be used instead of him or her.  Ze and hir are singular pronouns that do not imply a gender of the person being discussed.  An example is:

 

Ze plays the accordion, hir band is actually really fun!

 

Yo - Yo can be used in place of he/she and him/her.  Yo is gaining popularity outside the trans & queer communities as a gender neutral pronoun.  

 

Yo went to the store.  We're waiting for yo to get back.

 

E/Em (Spivak) - Developed in 1991 as part of an online game, LambdaMOO, Spivak was introduced as an alternate gender setting.  Originally part of the game to test the pronoun code, it was left in and caught on among users.  The usage of this set of pronouns is declining.  

 

E bumped the table and my drink spilled on em.  

 

Who uses gender neutral pronous?

Anyone can!  That's the beauty of them - they are gender neutral.  This means that even if you identify as male or female, they can still be useful words.  

 

Further Reading

Want to learn more?  Check out the following references:

by Sara H. Brosnan, Transcending Boundaries 2012 Membership Director

 

This is a historic time in my home state of Maryland. On March 1st, our governor, Martin O’Malley, will sign into law a bill that makes us the 8th state (9th jurisdiction including the District of Columbia) to legalize same-sex marriage. Massachusetts, where I went to college and home of the 2012 Transcending Boundaries conference, was the first.

The work for LGBT civil rights isn't over. Our country is still a scary place to be queer. Equality New Mexico, a state wide LGBT rights rights organization in New Mexico, where I lived for 4 years, just beat back efforts to pass a so-called “Super DOMA” law, which would have banned recognition of all forms of relationship rights (i.e., marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, reciprocal benefits, etc.) for same-sex couples. In the past six months, there have been an rash of attacks and murders of transgender people in Washington D.C., mostly recently the fatal stabbing of JaParker “Deoni” Jones, a transgender woman. Maryland still has no law protecting transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

To paraphrase an excellent article by Wintersong Tashlin, frequent TBC contributor, while same sex marriage isn’t the be all and end all of the LGBT civil rights movement, a vote against same sex marriage is a certainly a vote against queers in general. The vote in the Maryland legislature was particularly close. The vote in the Senate was 25 to 22, and in the House 72 to 67.

One of those voting against the bill in the House was a high school classmate of mine, Delegate Sam Arora. I’d like to close this post with a short letter to him.

 

Dear Sam,

I am deeply angered and sadden by your recent vote against marriage equality. It felt like a sucker punch to the gut from someone I had respected and thought I knew. When you decided to run for election to the legislature in 2010, I was excited that someone I had went to high school with was running for office. I was even more excited by knowing that you were a courageous progressive who had committed to voting for marriage equality. I knew you were deeply committed to your Christian faith, but thought it was of the same type as mine, a commitment to the seven corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, etc.). Because of your commitment to vote for marriage equality as well as your stances on a number of other issues, I went door to door to gather supporters for you and gave you money. Several of our fellow classmates, including other LGBT people, did likewise. You received an endorsement from the Equality Maryland, without which you would have never won in the Democratic primary. But then in the 2011 legislative session when marriage equality came up for a vote you waffled. And then this year you voted against recognizing the right for same sex couples to marry. You’ve never explained your reversal on this issue to me or more importantly to any of the LGBT people and their allies from your district, other than with vague allusions to your faith and to being for civil unions but not marriage. The day before the vote, I posted to your Facebook wall that I wanted you to have courage. I want our government to be filled with law makers with the courage to do what is right and just. I hope you resign from office. If you do not, I will be working tireless on behalf of your opponents in 2014.

 

Sincerely,

Sara H. Brosnan

Bella Kaldera is a transwoman currently living in Hubbardstown, Massachusetts. Hubbardstown is a small town, and Bella has made a conscious decision to be actively involved in her community. She sat down to talk to TBC about how important she believes it is to give back to the community in general as a member of a gender minority group.  For Part 1 of the interview, please click here.

 

The Content Committee had their first meeting this past weekend, and the conference is continuing to come together! We're developing a great plan for the weekend, including a new track, new ways to participate, and, of course, a Costume Party! If you're interested in presenting a workshop at this year's convention, stay tuned, as our call for presenters will be coming out in the next few weeks.