Forbidden Androgynies

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Forbidden Androgynies Growing up in the 1980s, I remember particular cartoons that seemed indispensable and which even today seem impressively cool in their inventiveness. In no particular order, these include the disturbingly Satanic Thundercats with female icon Cheetara, as well as the more gently uplifting Dungeons and Dragons – with the wonderf...
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Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble

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 Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble Should the Internet be regulated? It's a question I've never thought about, until recently, and the reading of this book. Here is my review of a book about a topic I can barely talk about without looking like those aged politicians trying to grill Mark Zuckerb...
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Sod's Law (Edinburgh Festival)

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Sod's Law (Edinburgh Festival) A posh young aristo, singing lectures about fisting and 'man twats,' Sod's Law is a rather wonderful exploration of the history of homosexuality from the time of Henry VIII to the 21st century. From the court of the English Tudor monarch through Molly Houses and Oscar Wilde, we get observations on various legislations...
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Trans Pennine

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Trans Pennine (Edinburgh Festival) A gentle, generally light, small-scale drama, Trans Pennine explores family life after the death of the wife/mother, and a suppressed secret that finally comes out. Of the three-person cast, an embittered husband/father is required to confront a past he'd rather not remember, with the aid of his grown-up son and d...
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Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores

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Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores Haunting, disarming, his voice trembling then strong and soothing. Gruff Rhys played and talked for an hour, songs sometimes in Welsh, sometimes English, occasionally mixing recorded sounds, adding voice over voice or gentle squeaking bird calls from a tiny machine. This performance was a rare and intimate plea...
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Pussy Riot + The Estrons (Edinburgh Festival)

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Pussy Riot + The Estrons (Edinburgh Festival) You say 'punk,' I think of skinny men with psycho eyes, about to launch themselves at you with Doc Marten feet and broken beer bottles. Punk as frustrated patriarchy, turned in on itself, lashing out at anyone who comes near. I'm so glad, then, that I went to watch the mesmerizing Pussy Riot last n...
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Edinburgh Book Festival: Precarious Freedoms panel

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​Precarious Freedoms: Queer Perspectives From Around The World (Edinburgh Book Festival) Last night I attended a panel event at the Edinburgh Book Festival, its importance too great not to write about. Though much was discussed, the theme of trans visibility and invisibility wound its way around much that brought anger, but also hope to the fo...
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Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir

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 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir The African voice, in a publishing world dominated by white, straight, and stale, is a precious one, especially on issues of empire and colonialism. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir serves as a guide for those wishing to go beyo...
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The Lady Boys of Bangkok (Edinburgh Festival)

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 The Lady Boys of Bangkok (Edinburgh Festival) Their Big Top tent is located on the waste ground between plush apartments and offices – a no-man's land of genderfuck exotica. You walk along Fountainbridge road to see the gathering throng of taxis and the groups of all ages, their glad-rags on. The people are on their Friday...
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Queer and Trans Artists of Color Vol.2 by Nia King

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Queer and Trans Artists of Color Vol. 2 by Nia King The significance of this second volume of interviews is tangible in its dedication: 'to all the queer and trans people of color who are fighting displacement in the Bay Area right now and those who have already been displaced.' The American Dream is a hollow thing, a carrot on a fifty-foot rod: mo...
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What Lies Behind the Smile

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What Lies Behind the Smile The image I've included is my new favourite photo. I'm smiling, showing teeth more than ever, in a way so unfamiliar I barely recognize myself. In this image I radiate confidence, happiness, wholesome fuckability. Hardly Hollywood good-looks, but I feel beautiful. Let alien technologies millennia from now recrea...
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What's On (at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival)

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​What's On (at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival) First the good news, from a trans perspective: Lighthouse books has organized a month of public author-audience engagements, including talks with UK trans activist Christine Burns (25 August) and Chitra Nagarajan, co-editor of the study She Called Me Woman, of queer and trans women in Nigeria (15 August)....
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Queer and Trans Artists of Color

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 Queer and Trans Artists of Color: interviews with Nia King As a collection featuring approximately ten transgender artists, as well as several other LGB artists of colour, these interviews provide a trove of valuable insight into the experience of trans and queer people outside the American mainstream. Conducted originally via podcast, they r...
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My Week in Netflix: Denial and The Stanford Prison Experiment

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 My Week In Netflix: Denial and The Stanford Prison Experiment Denial (2016) is a film I was frustrated to miss at the cinema. Starring the ever-brilliant Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall, it covers the real-life events of Holocaust-denier David Irving and his lawsuit against academic Deborah Lipstadt, who had accused Irving of wilful distortion...
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The First Purge

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 The First Purge A dystopian near-future with America under the control of white supremacists, The First Purge is the prequel to a crossover trilogy of horror and social commentary of disturbing prescience. Given political developments in the US since 2016 in particular, I'd place this film up there with Get Out! (2017) as the kind of twisted ...
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Learning to Smile

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 Learning to Smile When I smiled, it was always awkward. My tightly closed lips – if you look at the other pictures of me in my Transgender Diary, you'll notice that you never see my teeth. In no photo of me going back to early childhood will you ever see my teeth. But then, in the final years before I came out as trans, you'll strug...
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She Called Me Woman: Nigeria's Queer Women Speak

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 She Called Me Woman: Nigeria's Queer Women Speak Transgender narratives seldom emerge outside white, Western experience - at least if we're talking about mainstream publishing. African trans, I'm aware only of the occasional documentary, which is what makes this book so especially valuable. An edited collection of personal stories, gathered i...
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Sicario 2: Soldado

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 Sicario 2: Soldado Islamist terror meets drug cartels and Mexican immigration: thus, does Sicario 2 begin, in literally explosive fashion. What emerges after the opening set pieces, however, is strangely un-dramatic, despite the best attempts of Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro to re-create the amoral desert of the original Sicario (2015). Wh...
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I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore

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 I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore (Netflix) My flatmate's been out of town for a few days, which has encouraged me to use the sofa in our living room a bit more often. This has never been an issue between us, she likes to stretch out on the sofa while I take the kitchen table. But these past few evenings alone in the flat have m...
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Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain

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Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain (Edinburgh Film Fesitval) As a snapshot of what it is to be a transgender female in a rural, religious setting, without medical aid or sympathy, I'd recommend this documentary. Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain (2017), follows forty-something Maria in the foothills and pastures of Andean Colombia. The scenery ...
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