Cris Beam: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

"Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers" tells two stories, the story of young minority trans girls coming to terms with themselves in Los Angeles, and author Cris Beam's journey from being someone who ran away from her own mother at a young age who becomes the foster mother of Christina, the main subject of the book. Cris and I recently chatted about how she started writing this book, what it taught her, and what she hoped people could learn from it.

The thing that was interesting to me in the book was... as much as I work with youth, it's all online, so there's a built-in distance. And reading your book, there was no way I would have been able to deal with everything. It was way too much drama for me.

Yeah, there was a lot of drama.

Was that something you had to learn to deal with, or do you just have a better tolerance than me?

There was a lot of drama, for sure. When Christina came to live with us, I was certainly overwhelmed a lot of the time, and made a lot of mistakes. So, it was definitely tough. I got used to it gradually, I think, because I was teaching at the school. So, I acclimated in a way.

Christina from Transparent: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

When I went to the San Francisco stop on the book tour for Cris Beam's "Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers," I got a chance to chat with Christina, the trans girl Beam primarily wrote about in her book. While Beam was busy signing books, we went outside on Castro Street for a quick chat for Oasis. Having read about the shy, withdrawn Eduardo in the book, it was certainly a much different story being with the boisterous Christina, who had such a great energy about her:

So, you first met Cris when you were how old?

I was around... 15? 14? It was briefly that I met her at the school, the first time. As she explained, I was always running off. I never wanted to be in class. I was just not a school for learning. Everybody was doing their own thing, having their CD players, going to the computer room. The teacher was never, like, around so...

What kept you showing up at all?

Exactly, huh? When I could have hung out anywhere else? I think the fortunate thing was my parents were always implementing education on me? And even though they weren't demonstrating how, because my parents never graduated, or completed junior high.. so it just gave me a reason to keep on going. I wanted to prove how good I can be.

Looking out...

A regular feature that wraps up news items found elsewhere on the web about LGBTQ youth (and some additional randomness):

Life Lessons: Labels

By Jeff Walsh

"Once you label me, you negate me" -- Soren Kierkegaard

As many people on the site know, I'm not a big fan of labels. I feel they provide solace and false comfort, but in a way that offers no long-term gain. When I came out, way back when, you had two options: you were gay/lesbian, or you were bisexual. And, as I said in the first Life Lesson, The Moment You Knew, I was bisexual for a day or so before accepting I was gay.

But I think the larger problem with labels is not in what they actually mean. I don't think anyone gay rejects the classification that they are attracted to people of the same sex. If that's all it meant, it would be hard to argue with it. But all of the additional societal baggage we've attached to the label is where the problem kicks in.

Once you get past the dating angle, being gay is seem by many to mean you are: effeminate, promiscuous, weak, like to do drugs, enjoy dance music, wear tight clothing (when you're not in drag), and everything else you can think of. Which I know is untrue, because I'm not weak.

But seriously, what is the attraction of labels?

Contest winners...

Hmm, a few repeat winners this time, but Hyacinthus certainly scores a lot of free swag. And the winners are:

Christian Chavez of RBD comes out!

Christian Chavez, 23, of the popular Mexican pop group RBD came out of the closet today, after photos of him getting married in Canada were published by a Latin gossip site. He released the following statement:

"On March first 2007 certain photographs were released that show a part of me, a part that I was not prepared to speak of in fear of rejection, of criticism, but especially for my family and its consequences.

I think it's time to grow up, not only as a human being, but also as an artist.

I believe love is the purest feeling that exists and in this career filled with loneliness, having the opportunity to share those moments with someone, that when you look into their eyes, you forget all the negative things, it's a gift of life, that I cherish more than fame.

Kinsey Sicks controversy on college campus

Yikes, it looks like my beloved Kinsey Sicks have themselves some controversy, as the Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow at Fuhrman University in South Carolina have launched a campaign to prevent the group from coming on campus, as well as questioning their $10,000 fee coming from the general fund. They even have an online petition (don't sign!) and everything.

There's also a campus news report on it (although one of the people interviewed seems to think two of the Kinseys are straight, which is entirely untrue, heh):

It's kind of funny that the controversy kind of makes the point even better than their show would have on its own. So, the dialogue has reached even more people in the community. Fabulous. You go, girls!

Why are you here?

I've been really thinking a lot about Oasis the past few days, which is why there haven't been many posts here. Oasis only gets a limited chunk of my day, so thinking about Oasis has consumed a big part of that time.

Looking out...

A regular feature that wraps up news items found elsewhere on the web about LGBTQ youth (and some additional randomness):

Tommy Roddy of Pride High: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

"Pride High" dumps the metaphors. The characters in this comic book aren't 'mutants' just for the sake of indirectly talking about homosexuality. Nope, they are young, gay superheroes.

The comic's creative force, Tommy Roddy, recently (we're stretching the bounds of "recently" here, it was back in December, I think) spoke with me about his comic book (episode 3 of 12 was just released), the process of creating a comic, what's in store for the future of Pride High, as well as some of his own backstory and coming out.

Pride High is out now, so what was the origin and the gestation period for it?

It was probably about five years, I think. It started off as a round-robin fiction group. I forget the exact number of us, but it was over 10 writers. We created all these characters in the same, shared universe in anticipation of the online roleplaying game "City of Heroes." The game was in development for far longer than any of us expected, so we had years to write stories and build up our own little mythos. When the game finally came out, the stories took a backseat to actually playing the game. But I eventually began to miss the stories. I took time out from the game to write a novel-length narrative about teen heroes who would go on to become Pride High. The reaction from friends was very positive. However, the consensus was that the story would make a much better comic book than novel, given the superhero genre. I agreed.

Friday Contest-Mania!

Big contest selection this week (total giveaway value =US$304.46 MSRP), since I missed last week. These will die down a bit after this, as far as volume anyway, since a lot of this was me pushing through my backlog of review items.

Tags:

Gideon Glick makes the talk show rounds...

Gideon Glick, who came out in Oasis a little while back, hit the talk show circuit this week with the cast of Spring Awakening.

On Wednesday night, they hit Letterman to sing "The Bitch Of Living" (Gideon is the one who sings "See them showering at gym class"):

On Thursday morning, hey showed up on The View to Sing "Touch Me" (Gideon is the third person to sing, actually singing "Touch Me, Just like that...")

Enjoy...

Looking out...

A regular feature that wraps up news items found elsewhere on the web about LGBTQ youth (and some additional randomness):

New feature on Oasis: Life Lessons

OK, time for a new feature on Oasis...

We all have alot of great stories on here, but they are hard to find, scattered everywhere, told in snippets, etc.

With Life Lessons, my goal is to explore the big topics that are shared across the membership of the site. The format will be that I'll mine content from my own life, write it up in some polished form, and link it off to a forum of the same name.

Life Lessons: The Moment You Knew

By Jeff Walsh

It happens in an instant. That moment of recognition. Before it, you may have been confused, questioning, and unsure about who you are... but afterward, you may have still had questions... but you knew what the deal was.

There's just that "Moment You Knew," where life changes.

For some people, it was less dramatic. They always knew, it just eventually got a name. For others, it is a longer journey.

But however you get there, it is still something that changes you life forever. There will always be life before that moment, and life after it. It is "The Moment You Knew..."

My story: My entire coming out happened online. My gay community was online. When my modem was occupying the phone line, I was connected. When I logged off, I was alone. What is often taken for granted today is still something I remember not existing.

When I first America Online, it was not to explore my sexuality. It was for "research." At the time I was writing a screenplay and there was a gay teen character in it. Since, I wasn't gay, I figured using some of the trial memberships online would let me talk to gay teens to help develop the character. I was in my early 20s at this time.

I got into some of the gay teen chat rooms, identified myself as a straight screenwriter, and said I needed their help to tell my story. One of the guys I chatted with ended up being my first online boyfriend.

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