My World Cup diary (I)

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​My World Cup diary (I) Saturday Night My flatmate and I hosted a Beatles-themed party a few weeks ago. I chose the simple route for my Beatles-themed outfit, using string to tie lots of paperback novels to my waist, signifying Paperback Writer. It wasn't very inspired, but I did also create some mash-up posters for my flatmate (see pictu...
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Anxiety Dreams and the Cisgender Label

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Anxiety Dreams and the Cisgender Label I know it's bad form to talk about one's dreams but I'd like to start this post by talking about how I woke up in darkness last night, after an evolving, unpleasant, anxiety dream about being trans. In the first half of the dream, people saw me in a nice apartment, and wanted to take it for themselves because ...
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What's on (my mind)?

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 What's on (my mind)? The World Cup of football, not of Quidditch, is coming our way and we must embrace it. And yet, despite the politics and the evil lurking in the shadows, I remain excited. I remember my first World Cup, in 1986 in Mexico, a thing of scorching scenes on fuzzy TV screens of far-away exotica. Teams I'd never h...
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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Darker and more disturbing than any Jurassic Park film before, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is an epic, popcorn movie that channels our pessimistic current zeitgeist, leaving me to leave the cinema with a feeling of unease. I watched this film and thought of the way the real world is going, with a feeling of dread. ...
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The Breadwinner

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 The Breadwinner Afghanistan. The Taliban. A youthful female protagonist, gender-bending for the sake of her family's survival. The Breadwinner is a hypnotic, enchanting animation that has, at its core, the tensest of dynamics, sometimes re-calibrated with kaleidoscopic colours and emotions. Mixing brutal realities with recurring fai...
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On loving a film that others hate

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 On loving a film that others hate Instead of going to the cinema yesterday, I stayed in with my flatmate to watch a film I really like, High Fidelity (2000). How to describe the 'oh shit' moment when you realize a film you recommended is going down really badly with the other person? Following the ending, my flatmate spoke of it as if emergin...
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Star Wars Spirituality

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 Star Wars Spirituality I'm sitting on a plane as it's rising; it hits the clouds, breaking through, and the tension in my shoulders gives way to the smile across my face. Sunshine glistening against my window, with fields of cloud below me as far as I can see. I sit back, waiting to sip at the plastic see-through cup of blood-red wine. A hund...
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Excluded by Julia Serano

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Excluded by Julia Serano When she poetry-slams, the conviction and the eloquence Julia Serano possesses as a writer is there for all to see. Her style of fierce, funny, thoughtful insights is also present in Excluded (2013), arguably Serano's transgender manifesto, with a particular focus on issues of trans exclusion and communi...
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Solo: A Star Wars Story

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 Solo: A Star Wars Story Growing up as a Star Wars fanatic, my favourite character was Han, the reluctant Star Wars hero who grounded the original trilogy with a cynical humanity. Luke and Leia were just too perpetually honourable to have arcs: only Han, you felt, might genuinely have contemplated a descent into the Dark Side. Such darkness is...
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Transgender Art: Metanoia

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Transgender Art: Metanoia Transgender art comes around rarely, I've found, or perhaps I just haven't felt touched by it before. One of the most famous trans artists, Del LaGrace Volcano, is the kind I don't feel drawn to, images of the artist all gurning and grotesque, seeming to depend on shock and incongruity. Their work for me prompts these...
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London: Digital Identities Conference

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 London: Digital Identities Conference 18.05.18 Presenting at a conference on deprived sleep is like wandering Peruvian forests on Ayahuasca The last few days have seen me emerging from hypnotic tortures of sleep deprivation, of days blurring into nights blurring into dawns and hotel breakfasts. Train journeys taking me to speak at a conferenc...
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What's On (my lips)

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What's On (my lips) With a conference talk in London to prepare for this coming Friday, and with my PowerPoint slides empty in front of me, I did what any self-respecting, prospective academic would do in my position, by going out and buying lipstick. Wait, Gina, I hear you ask – But no. Do not ask for connections. Ask only for the colour. As ...
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Janet Mock: Redefining Realness

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Redefining Realness by Janet Mock Transgender autobiographies are dominated by whiteness. There's no need to set out a list, suffice to say that since the trans memoir began with Lili Elbe's Man Into Woman (1931), publishers have sought out the safest, most marketable kind of representation of trans to a white, heteronormative majority. This makes ...
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Lean On Pete

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Lean On Pete (on at Edinburgh Filmhouse) Patriarchy and capitalism both take a beating in Lean On Pete. It's a film about a youthful 15-year-old boy, Charlie (an award-winning performance by Charley Plummer) who rescues a condemned horse and takes it with him on a personal quest across wastelands and highways to find his surrogate mother, foll...
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Beast

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Beast I spent most of yesterday alone, after an exhausting week of ambivalent conclusions, and this made the dark and brooding Beast weirdly appropriate. The movie focuses on two outsiders, psychologically traumatised Moll and poacher Pascal Renouf, both inhabiting an island world of rugged coastlines, crashing waves, and an anally-retentive middle...
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Trap Door

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Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (MIT, 2017) We are living in a time of trans visibility. Yet we are also living in a time of anti-trans violence. So begins Trap Door, a 400-page anthology of interviews, essays and reviews of the experiences of predominantly African-American and Latino transgender people in the US...
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Learning Curves

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Learning Curves: speaking at my first conference This post could go one of two ways, narcissistic or focused on the bigger picture. I spoke at Edinburgh Mad Con yesterday – the conference of Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture. I spoke about the moral panic caused by the issue of transgender women using...
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To have or not have cosmetic surgery

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To have or not have cosmetic surgery It started as I was browsing images of Sarah McBride, the trans activist as girl-next-door, so pretty and passable. Then came Janet Mock, her model-good-looks, and I thought, 'fucking hell' and also, 'oh for fuck's sake.' And these are supposed to be my transgender role models? It's the weird dynamics ...
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Avengers: Infinity War

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Avengers: Infinity War It's set in Edinburgh! goes the cry, and I only wish it had been, or at least, much more than the five minutes that we get to see Edinburgh. Like the ten-second use of Northern Ireland in Hell Boy II, I was left wondering, what was the point? Locations-wise, the big winner in Avengers: Infinity War was outer space, with its s...
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A Quiet Place

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A Quiet Place A location of silence, where the slightest sound prompts monsters to leap out at you – and that's just the PhD room where I'm studying (that one's for all you PhDers out there). But seriously, the premise of this suspenseful, affectionate, horror film is one many readers will already be familiar with by now. Directed by and starring t...
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