Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-03-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Kate Bornstein part of UChicago event on trans* representation
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer
2014-11-11

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


According to its website, the "Representing Trans*" symposium held on the campus of the University of Chicago Nov. 8 was designed to "facilitate dialogue between academics, artists and activists working broadly on the politics and practices of trans* representation."

Rather than arriving, delivering a speech and making a quick exit, event keynote speaker Kate Bornstein—gender outlaw, playwright, performer, mother, aunt and advocate to "teens, freaks and other outlaws"—spent the entire day interacting with panelists and audience members and taking reams of notes before an early evening screening of the Sam Feder-directed film: Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger which presents an undiluted collage of Bornstein's life, mind and unbound spirit.

The film took it's title from Bornstein's Memoir; A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology, and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today. The book offered one explanation as to why Bornstein was not content simply to deliver a speech and move on.

"Yep, I've learned me some lessons," Bornstein wrote in the book. "I've got me some street smarts—from some mighty strange streets—and I'd like to pass them onto you."

To do justice to the subject, Feder's film was constructed with lyrical unconventionality intertwining Bornstein's past and present through intimate slices of life such as performances of Bornstein's plays, speeches, and a look at the family, friends, lovers, opinions, Pugs and pussies that shaped the vibrancy of a completely spontaneous individual uninhibited by politically correct titles or the predominant societal roles formed within the stringent limitations of the gender binary.

In one scene, Bornstein receives a call confirming a diagnosis of lung cancer. The camera lingers upon Bornstein's eyes as the realization of the diagnosis slowly sinks in.

In a post-film discussion with Bornstein, Feder explained an intentional resistance to a traditional form of trans* narrative story-telling. "By nature, those narratives are very limiting and they pander to expectations. But it's also limiting in the sense that it would be such a small part of the story—there's so many sides to explore, emotional tones to hit that can't really be hit with that sort of linear unfolding."

"For me, it was a relief to not be asked all those standard narrative questions," Bornstein added. "I'd gone through the talk shows in the early 90's and it was always 'what did your parents think? Did you have the surgery? Can you orgasm with those genitals?' It was such a relief to just relax and think about bigger issues than the story of my life."

Bornstein once received push-back on Twitter over ownership of the word "tr*nny"—something that was addressed in the film. Feder explained that the scene in which Bornstein discusses the issue was filmed in 2010 and was in reflection to a conversation that had occurred two years earlier. "I couldn't see into the future and how it would affect an audience in 2014. I don't know if people are hurt in that scene but how do we make room to have dialogue around that hurt and figure out what is driving the divisiveness of our conversations?"

Following the talk-back, Bornstein dispensed with a traditional keynote in favor of responding to the panels earlier in the day. Before doing so, Bornstein announced that, after over two years fighting two separate cancers, they are in full remission. The accompanying applause was ecstatic.

"In Tibetan Buddhist theory there are two basic truths," Bornstein said. "There's a relative truth and a definitive truth. A definitive truth? Everybody dies. A relative truth would be 'tr*nny is a hate word'." Obviously to many people it is, but it's relative because, on the other hand, many people consider tr*nny a hard won and loving identity. That argument has not sorted itself out yet."

After listening to a teaching given in New York by the 14th Dalai Lama, Bornstein had reflected on a definitive truth of gender. "It's simply [that] gender is relative. Gender never stands on its own. Gender always depends on something else for its existence."

"Words evolve. Words change in meaning," Bornstein added. "The actual representation of trans* and gender itself changes and it will change [again]. All we can do is ask if our words and representations aid in the defusing and disarming of the violence done in the name of gender. What we need to do is get down to the hard work of forging coalitions within our own people."

Bornstein ended the speech with both a request and an offer. "I'd like to ask you to be eloquent and speak whatever truth you need to speak to bring about the cessation of the violence done in the name of gender," Bornstein said.

Like the conclusion of Feder's film, Bornstein suggested that people do whatever it they could to make their lives worth living. As long that didn't include being hurtful to others, audience members were offered a "Get Out of Hell Free Card" as they exited.

"I'll do your time there for you," Bornstein had declared in the concluding scenes of the film as the camera pulled back from the Jersey Shore upon which an unbridled life of sexual freedom and self-determination was forged.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

2017 Truth Awards honor African Americans in the LGBTQ community 2017-03-27 - LOS ANGELES — In the spirit of awards season, African Americans in the LGBTQ community took their bows and trophies at the third ...


Gay News

Alphonza Watson, a Black transgender woman, killed in Baltimore 2017-03-27 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) mourns the death of Alphonza Watson, a Black transgender woman, killed in Baltimore, Maryland ...


Gay News

Anti-trans forces try to influence April 4 Palatine-area school board election 2017-03-25 - As April 4 general elections loom in suburban Cook and collar county municipalities, few local school board races will be watched more closely ...


Gay News

Trans advocate Wade honored by state Comptroller Mendoza 2017-03-23 - Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza honored several individuals for women's history month, including Chicago-based trans advocate LaSaia Wade. The ceremony was March 24 ...


Gay News

130 congregations to participate in Nat'l Weekend of Prayer for Trans Justice 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — This weekend, religious leaders, clergy, and people of faith from more than 130 congregations in more than 30 states will ...


Gay News

NC GOP refuses to allow clean up or down vote on full HB2 repeal 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON — On March 22 the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and Equality North Carolina slammed North Carolina's Republican leadership for their ...


Gay News

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoes anti-LGBTQ "License to Discriminate" bills 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) civil ...


Gay News

Attorney General Madigan pushes to strengthen Illinois hate crimes law 2017-03-22 - Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged members of the Illinois House to pass legislation to strengthen Illinois' hate crimes law. House ...


Gay News

PFLAG official talks transgender workplace support 2017-03-22 - Jean-Marie Navetta, director of learning and inclusion for PFLAG National, led a March 16 workshop on being a supportive and respectful ally to ...


Gay News

Trans veteran running for board position at Illinois college 2017-03-22 - During his Jan. 10 farewell address in Chicago, President Barack Obama suggested, "If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.