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Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

Henry Kissinger--Before

Actually I do not know if Henry Kissinger in fact did have a boob job. It’s more of an unconfirmed rumor. But it is possible that Henry Kissinger had his boobs done–most likely breast reduction and possibly pec implants.

I guess it is inappropriate to write about the body modifications of a former secretary of state or to speculate about his breasts. Political figures still experience a degree of respect in regards to their bodies, particularly the male politicians who are white.

I remember I was in Spain years ago when Ronald Reagan was president. A photo appeared in El Pais showing President Reagan emerging from the Mediterranean dripping as he lumbered onto the beach. The skin around his middle and chest was all saggy and gathered like cauliflower, and I felt certain I had never seen his body before and equally certain that the same photo did not appear in US papers. So that gets me thinking that Kissinger has definitely put on the pounds the past few years. I wonder if he is considering a change of diet or even gastric bypass surgery with a little tummy tuck.

Henry Kissinger--After (w/ Julia Allison)

Perhaps Kissinger has had botox or even his eyes done. They look stiffer and tighter than I remember them looking a few years back. His lips look thicker too, I think. But this is wrong of me to dig around the skin of a distinguished former public servant (even if he may have committed war crimes.) I know it is disrespectful of me, and I should just let it go and consider other more pressing issues–the on-going saga in Japan, the turbulent and uncertain times in the Arab world, the plight of homeless LGBT youth in our cities.

There is something different about his hairline though, right? It’s different than I had remembered. You see I met Kissinger briefly in the mid-1980’s when I worked in the executive dinning room at the American Express headquarters in New York City. Kissinger along with former President Gerald Ford, both Amex board members, attended a lunch for about 30 people in a private dinning room. Kissinger and Ford sat at the same table. Since I was a Young Rebublican and the youngest waiter on staff, (only 21 and completely adorable) our manager (an aging gay man who more than once told me he thought I was completely adorable)  thought it would be thrilling for me to serve these two Conservative political luminaries.

Henry Kissinger w/ Dolly Parton

I remember Kissinger being fussy about his appetizer. He didn’t want the shrimp–it may be because it was shrimp ,and he is Jewish, or he may be allergic, or perhaps he doesn’t like shrimp, or else he liked messing with me by sending me back to the kitchen with his plate of shrimp and the shocking announcement, “Henry Kissinger doesn’t want shrimp!” The kitchen staff then procured a melon, which I carried back to the former secretary of state. He looked at it, looked at me and annoyed asked, “What is it?” Channeling my mother, who worked in food service for two decades and did not suffer fools lightly, I dryly replied, “It’s a melon, sir. I believe a honeydew although it might be a canary masquerading as a crenshaw.” (OK, I really only just said, “It’s a melon, sir,” but had I been better prepared I would have said more.) I then returned to the kitchen with the rejected melon (which I remember was beautifully garnished with fresh cut strawberries) and announced to the waiting kitchen staff, “Henry Kissinger doesn’t want melon.” The head of catering, a Belgian woman who could have been masquerading as Eva Braun, spat out something in German or Flemish or tongues, and then added, “The hell with Henry Kissinger! Go to the next course.”

I wonder if Henry Kissinger gets waxed. Perhaps between his shoulder blades or maybe his lower back. If he wears a thong (you never know) he might go in for a bikini wax of sorts. Surely he must endure a certain level of manscaping. But why am I obsessing about this public figure’s body? What does it matter? Surely the most important thing is his public record, his intellect, his contributions to the country, his political ideals and philosophy.

Do you think he goes in for a regular colonic? It was the rage a few years ago. Apparently it gives you lots of energy once they clean you out. No! I must stop this insane musing over this man’s body. What business of mine is it? What difference does it make?

Madeline Albrigtht & Hilary Clinton

It’s not like he’s Hilary Clinton or Madeleine Albright or Condoleezza Rice or Sandra Day O’Connor or Nancy Pelosi or former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin or the recently deceased first ever former Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro. They of course have been fair game in the media for discussion about their body parts, their weight, their possible surgeries.  (Al Gore is unique figure. As a male political figure I have heard him discussed in the media because of  his weight swings. He is a known nibbler, not disciplined in his eating. I know this because the I learned about it in the media. They say he has womanly hips.)

Henry Kissinger & Sarah Palin

I guess I’m fixated on Henry Kissinger right now because next month I head to Oslo, Norway and will perform my play I Can See Sarah Palin from my Window! Lessons before the Second Coming. It is a comedy about cancer, misogyny, and hospitality. I have been doing some rewrites and reading about female politicians and apparently their bodies are essential to the public discourse whether straight male pundits considered them to be hot (Sarah Palin & Michelle Obama) or not (most other female politicians.)

But writing about Henry Kissinger and his possible/probably boob job, well, it all seems so silly, unnecessary, and rude.

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This will be one of those “this and that” sorts of blogs. Lots of things to highlight.

NEW podcast available of Queer & Queerer. Men as Feminists, Political Outing, and Archie You may find the discussion about outing homophobic politicians of interest as well as the one about privilege.  Have a listen here and check out the comment section.

I was recently in the Pacific North West and spent a week at University of Puget Sound with a bunch of VERY cool people including Jane (hey Jane!) We staged my play Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, and I am pleased to learn that a discussion continues.  Seth Kirby, who attended a number of my presentations, wrote an article: Gays and Lesbians often forced to choose between Identity and Faith.

Coming out in my teens and transitioning to male in my early 20s left me without a faith community. Had I wanted to go to church in Olympia, I’m not sure I would have been able to identify where to go. Even churches that accepted gay and lesbian people were not necessary open to transgender people. By 21, I was sure that religion was not for me.

Unfortunately, there are many people in the LGBT community who have had to leave their faith community. I am also fortunate to have many LGBT and allied people of various faith backgrounds in my life.

In Ex-Gay News… In the midst of the upcoming British elections, Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay (and transgender) people. From Sunday’s Guardian:

A high-flying prospective Conservative MP, credited with shaping many of the party’s social policies, founded a church that tried to “cure” homosexuals by driving out their “demons” through prayer.

–snip–

The CSJ reportedly claims to have formulated as many as 70 of the party’s policies. Stroud has spoken of how her Christian faith has motivated her to help the poor and of her time spent working with the destitute in Hong Kong. On her return to Britain, in 1989, she founded a church and night shelter in Bedford, the King’s Arms Project, that helped drug addicts and alcoholics. It also counseled gay, lesbian and transsexual people.

Abi, a teenage girl with transsexual issues, was sent to the church by her parents, who were evangelical Christians. “Convinced I was demonically possessed, my parents made the decision to move to Bedford, because of this woman [Stroud] who had come back from Hong Kong and had the power to set me free,” Abi told the Observer.

“She wanted me to know all my thinking was wrong, I was wrong and the so-called demons inside me were wrong. The session ended with her and others praying over me, calling out the demons. She really believed things like homosexuality, transsexualism and addiction could be fixed just by prayer, all in the name of Jesus.”

hat tip to my friend Tania Jane Taylor (or in Twitterland known as Sparklygrrl) in Manchester.

The ex-gay story has been in the UK press a lot this past year. In February Patrick Strudwick publish his investigative journalism piece in the Independent. He went undercover to reveal some of what is still going on in the UK. The ex-gay world there had been mostly underground, especially after Jeremy Marks in 2001 transformed his ex-gay program Courage into an LGBT affirming Christian organization. Jeremy also has a book out he published in 2008 after he issued a public apology for his role in promoting and providing ex-gay treatment in the UK. (Click here to order in the UK. For North Americans, you can get it at Amazon.)

DADT protest April 20, 2010 with Autumn Sandeen

Check out Autumn Sandeen‘s brilliant and moving letter: President Obama: A Transgender Veteran Is Not An ”Impersonator,” ”It,” Or ”Shim” Autumn was one of LGBTQ people who did military service and recently chained themselves to the White House fence in order to put pressure on President Obama to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She writes about her arrest as a transgender woman, who self-identified as transgender, and the uninformed and abusive treatment she received from Park Police and once in confinement. Oh, and hear the Trans-Ponder podcast interview with Autumn.

Calling transgender people “it” is clearly a way of dehumanizing transgender people. “Shim” — a term relative to “she-male” — is also a dehumanizing term to identify transgender people.  President Obama, your U.S. Marshal calling me “it” and “the shim” is the equivalent to calling an African-American by the n-word, or calling a Gay-American by the antigay f-word, it is absolutely unacceptable.

I believe the behavior of your U.S. Marshal’s sent the message to the prisoners that your representatives wouldn’t protect me if these prisoners had sought to physically harm me — because I was a less than human, a “shim.”  At no time did any officer correct or dissuade any of the other officers from such offensive behaviors.  In fact, they seemed to feel comfortable in doing so around each other, even in front of other prisoners.

President Obama, you should be able to identify the U.S. Marshal who raised her fist and yelled “Go Navy” several times, and called me “it” and “shim” because there is a fixed camera facing the U.S. Marshal Station. I’ve asked Jeff Lynch of the DC Trans Coalition to help me file a Freedom Of Information Act request for that segment of video — because I too would like to see the video, and I’m sure too that many others would like to see it as well.

As for me, I am back in the Susquehanna Valley (Selinsgrove and Sunbury, PA) working on my memoir, moving into the new house and recording a new podcast with Zack Ford tomorrow where we will look at legal and illegal discrimination of LGBT folks, a shocking verbal revelation (thanks to Peter Leeson’s recent comments to us about Episode three. check out Peter’s Tweets and Blog Posts)

In New England? Make plans to attend TransformNH in Concord, NH July 23-24. I will be there!

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