Giving Voice to the Once-Silent

From The New York Times

The Gimlet Eye
Giving Voice to the Once-Silent
Deidre Schoo for The New York Times

Amos Mac, left, a founder of Original Plumbing, a San Francisco transmale zine, at work in Brooklyn.

Published: August 11, 2010


“WE figured we’ll print 500 copies and they’ll take months to sell,” Rocco Kayiatos said the other day, referring to Original Plumbing, a quarterly he started a little over a year ago with a friend, Amos Mac.

“We just thought there was a need because the world is pretty much ignorant of the existence of transmen,” said Mr. Kayiatos, a poet and rapper who performs under the name Katastrophe and who, like Mr. Mac, identifies himself as a transman.

It turned out that Mr. Kayiatos’s assumptions were both right and wrong. It is true that a lot of people remain uninformed, if not about the existence of transmen — to use an umbrella term for someone born female who identifies as male (think of Chaz Bono) — then about the variety of the experiences that fall under the rubric and transmen’s growing cultural presence.

Those people probably don’t live in the Bay Area, where the zine is published, and where transmen have been gathering over the past decade in numbers no official agency has counted. But the scope of the population can be guessed at from its visibility on the local scene.

Continue reading at:

I love ‘Zines and Blogs because DIY is the way we have a say in defining ourselves and what is important to us.  They are an alternative to the corporate propaganda machines.

Posted in Art. 2 Comments »

Just Kids and an Exhibit of Later Works by Andy Warhol

Last night I finished reading Patti Smith’s recent memoir of her friendship with Robert Maplethorpe in the late 1960s, early 1970s, titled Just Kids.

Perhaps it is nostalgia what with looking at photographs of that era and remembering friends who died.  But there was a time when we were less obsessed with why we were transsexual and spent more personal conversations about art and artists.

There is a retrospective of the later works of Andy Warhol showing at the Fort Worth Modern through May.  Tina and I are going tomorrow as our Valentine’s day celebration.

One of the movies I saw in 1967 that really influenced me was Chelsea Girls.  That year the Velvet Underground’s first album provided a darker counterpoint to Sgt. Pepper.  I was working at a shit job in a piss factory and like Patti Smith, I too had something inside of me called desire.

I was political and part of a movement that helped end the war in Vietnam and we were all “just kids”.

When I got to San Francisco and started the process of changing sex I was helped by an office that offered support for those changing sex.  It was started by people who had their “Stonewall” three years before New York City’s.  And they too were just kids.

I was best friends with a sister named Leslie.  We went to old movies together and dug the crowd that hung out at Andy Warhol’s Factory, perhaps because he actually used queens in films directed by Paul Morrissey. Candy Darling tragically dying young of cancer.

We spoke of the creating our lives as art projects, “I am an artist and my life is my art.”  Mostly we were escaping, running from as much as running towards.

Rock and roll with words that mattered from Dylan to Patti Smith, whose opening lines to her first recording “Hey Joe”, the A-side of “Piss Factory” were, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.”

We lost so many people along the way.  Too many to drugs and way too many to AIDS.  Andy Warhol died in 1987, over 20 years ago.  Robert Maplethorpe died about the same time.

And somewhere along the line we stopped caring so much about art as something that really matters and be came obsessed with why we are this way.

As though the existential answer of, “I am this way because this is the way I am” is insufficient response to bigotry and psychiatric abuse.

Demonization of groups, an example,

By Andrea B.
I have watched the various waves of demonization of various groups, over the years.

Here is one group that is not usually covered.

The demonization of Punk and the demonization of Metal was just the same as the demonization of other groups. The difference is the demonization of Heavy Metal, exposed a lot of the naked prejudice’s amongst the haters, as people like Dee Snider of Twisted Sister took the battle to the haters, which scared the crap out of them.

In this quick note, I will cover for sake of convenience, new wave of British metal, heavy metal, hard rock, Goth metal and all other genre’s of metal and rock, under the term ‘METAL’.

Recently I was watching some documentaries about Heavy Metal and reading about the attacks on hard rock and metal by the religious right, republicans and democrats in the USA. Tipper Gore trying to accuse everyone in Metal of being into BDSM, when none of the rockers had a clue what BDSM even was. That was very funny. At the time the only people into BDSM were politicians, religious campaigners against heavy metal, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Megadeath song ‘Hook in the Mouth’ lays that entire episode bare. Then again Megadeath songs hit every issue it tackles like an express train. As Megadeath has said, Peace sells, but who’s buying?

It was obvious from watching Al Gore and Tipper Gore in the congressional hearings that their accusation was not about the people into Metal. Tipper Gore made the allegation that the song ‘under the blade’ which was about an operation a band member had on his throat, was really about BDSM, which confused the band and a lot of rockers as no one knew what she was talking about, except possibly her.

What was really funny, was watching the shock on the faces of the senators, when they realised the lead singer of Twisted Sister Dee Snider, could actually speak fluent english, with a good command of grammar and language usage. They read the cover of a book and imposed their own prejudices. They got egg on their faces for there bigotry.

Some people did take note at the time, although most political commentators did not notice as they were also blinded by prejudice.

They actually believed that young rockers would grow up to be drug addicts, perverts dropouts and useless, just like the psychiatrists, politicians and religious people, who were all campaigning against them.

Some of the rockers from back then, are still in Metal bands. A lot of young rockers from then, have grown up to be bank managers, beauticians, contractors, mothers, fathers, back bones of communities, doctors, managers, stock brokers, commodity brokers, etc. All are still have the metal.

Those who knew nothing about or rejected Metal, assumed that metal was just a noise with no direction or purpose, THEY WERE THEN AND STILL ARE VERY WRONG ABOUT METAL.

Iron Maiden, another metal band who are demonized by commentators, is a band that have constantly critisized pointless war and need less sacrifice of soldiers, yet that is never mentioned. The song ‘number of the beast’ was actually written about a nightmare of being trapped in hell, but the religious right deliberately took a different meaning so they could have an excuse to protest at metal events. Iron Maiden cover lots of social issues in their songs, particularly in the album ‘A matter of life and death’ which covers religion and war.

Megadeath have covered issues which most people wish would never be heard. Recently Dave Mustaine has become a born again Christian, which has taken the edge of Megadeath. It is interesting to note the change in covering social issues from Megadeath, due to religious conversion.

In metal songs for example by Black Sabbath and Dio, there are songs that raise the issue of disposable children and those who let themselves be led by the nose without thinking to disaster.

Ronnie James Dio released a song called ‘Rock and Roll Children’ on a seven-inch vinyl years ago. That song laid out exactly what happens to children when their parents dump them on the street for whatever reason they are inconvenient to have at home.

Most interest groups think it is only there group that is thrown out on the street, it is not. Their blinkers don’t allow them to see the wood for the forest. A lot of interest groups have the same problem of parents dumping there children onto the street, due to them being inconvenient.

The Kids that get kicked out of their homes are

Children who are goth,

Children who have different political opinions,

Children who don’t follow there parents right wing ideology,

Children who are metal heads,

Children who aren’t blindly nationalistic,

Children who are punk,

Children who question religion,

Children who are kids who are abused,

Children who are transsexual,

Children who are intersex,

Children who are mentally ill,

Children who don’t follow there parents left wing ideology,

Children who don’t fit the narrow-minded ideas of what a child should be,

They are some of the various other ways of categorizing those children who are trying to grow, for bigots who like to put everyone in a box, called ‘not like us’. That box is for dehumanizing people and discarding them as not even worth a thought.  The bigots don’t want to face the fact that these kids are just as valid as them, but the ‘Animal Farm’ mentality of being ‘more equal than others still prevails.

As long as the ‘Animal Farm’ idea of ‘some being more equal than others’ prevails, society as a whole will suffer and lose some of its potentially greatest thinkers.

I remember at one point in the 80’s that the people who liked Metal in the USA alone was in the tens of millions, let alone worldwide. That is just one demonized group.

Black Sabbath did a song, called  ‘Mob Rules’, which had a nice little line, ‘if you listen to fools, the mob rules’. That might give you an idea why not only the religious right, but also other political groupings don’t like Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio songs.

Def Leopard a group not normally associated with politics or social comment, wrote a song called ‘Gods of War’ which had the lines ‘We’re fighting for the gods of war, but what the hell we fighting for. We’re fighting for the gods of war, but I ain’t going to fight no more’. Might give you an idea why they are not liked in political circles.

For those of you who think that Metal is mindless, here is a little lesson.

On average, there is more political content in an album by Megadeath, Dio, InFlames, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Rammstein, Phenomena, Gary Moore and a whole host of Metal bands, than in some of the more entire mundane music genre’s that exist today in the charts.


This is a selection of what has been mostly played on my CD player over the last few weeks. Yes I still have a CD player and a vinyl turntable.

Nightwish: End of all Hope, Wish I had an angel, Bye bye beautiful, Amarath, Nemo,

Black Sabbath: The sign of the Southern Cross, Falling of the edge of the world, Children of the Sea, The mob rules.

Rammstein Du Hast, Moskau, Links 2 3 4, Ich will, Benzin,

Q5: Steel the light, when the mirror cracks, missing in action,

Yngwie Malmsteen: Dream on.

Blue Oyster Cult: Veteran of the psychic wars, (A song that could have been written for battles with shrinks, or any other eternal war)

Aerosmith (sometimes the Joe Perry Project): Rag doll, Walk this way, What it takes, Let the music do the talking,

Dio: The last in line, Rainbow in the dark, Rock and Roll Children (a good description of what happens to transsexual children or any child for that matter, who are thrown away by there parents, because they are hypocrites who care more about what the neighbours think, than there children)

MSG: Armed and ready,

Thin Lizzy: Cold Sweat, Holy wars,

Lynard Skynard: Freebird,

Def Lepard: Gods of War, Pour some sugar on me, Women.

Motorhead: Orgasmatron, Bomber, Eat the Rich, Overkill, Ace of Spades,  (Lemmy was brilliant in Eat the Rich)

Ozzy Osbourne: Crazy train, Mr. Crawley, Shot in the dark, Bark at the moon,

Him: Killing Loneliness, Wicked game,

AC/DC: Back in Black, Thunderstuck, Who made Who, Razors Edge,

Ted Nugent: Homebound,

Ian Gillan: New Orleans,

Therion: Birth of venus,

Skid Row: 18 and life,

W.A.S.P: The idol, Blind in Texas,

John Norum: Aphasia (of the Europe, wings of tomorrow CD), Total Control CD,

Hammerfall: Bloodbound,

Cinderella: Somebody save me, Gypsy Road, Nobodies fool,

Molly Hatchet: Boogie no more, (i have to buy another CD of flirting with disaster, as my idiot friend scratched it)

Scorpions: Alien Nation, Women, Humanity, Winds of change,

Within Temptation: Our solemn hour,

Joe Satriani: Surfing with the alien,

Helloween: A tale that wasn’t right, Heavy metal hamsters, Dr. Stein, I want out, Future world, Save us, Hell was made in Heaven, Just a little sign, I’m alive,

Lordi: Would you love a Monster man, Hard rock halleluja, Blood red sandman,

Phenomena: No retreat no surrender, Double 6 55 44, Hell on Wings, Killing for the thrill, Dance with the Devil, Chemical high, What about love,

Iron Maiden: Run to the hills, Number of the beast,

Theatres Des Vampires: La Danse Macabria, Angel of Lust, The golden sin,

Accept: Balls to the wall,

Judas Priest: Breaking the law

Metallica: Nothing else matters,

Slayer: Raining blood,

Phil Linott & Gary Moore: Out in the fields,

Inkubus Sukkubus: Church of madness, Burning times,

Hear n Aid: We’re stars,

Gary Moore: After the war,

Megadeath: Motopsycho, Peace sells,

Alice Cooper: Poison, Teenage Frankenstein, The man behind the mask,

All best played through an old Marshall 200 watt valve amp and 200 watt speaker cabinet. Then you can start to hear it properly. A battery of 500 watt amps and matching speaker cabinets is what is really recommended for an appropriate listening environment.

All of the above I now have on CD. Once I had it mostly on Vinyl. I have a rather large collection. I still occasionally put on ‘Homebound’ by Ted Nugent, which I have on the B side of a 7inch single. I disagree with his politics, but love his music. Scream Dream was definitely a milestone.

Further reading

Twisted Sister

Dee Snider (a documentary I recommend, the guy met all his metal heroes by making a documentary. I wish I had thought off that one)