Naked Reader Book Club Discussion: Take Me There -Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, Edited by Tristan Taormino (January 24, 8-10 PM EST)

NuMe NuMe
Welcome to the Naked Reader Book Club! The fabulous Sacchi Green will be our host this evening. Tonight we'll be discussing Take Me There--Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, Edited by Tristan Taormino. A book filled with very steamy transgender and genderqueer erotic fantasies. This is definitely going to be a meeting you won't want to miss!

In mainstream media, the erotic identities, sex lives and fantasies of transgender and genderqueer people are often oversimplified, sensationalized or invisible. Take Me There is an erotic collection unlike any other, celebrating the pleasure, heat and diversity of transgender and genderqueer sexualities. These stories will take you from San Francisco to Israel, from heartache to lust, from ballet shoes to a bondage table, from M to F and F to M—and in between and beyond.

With contributed stories by Gina De Vries, Rahne Alexander, Ivan Coyote, Helen Boyd, Giselle Renarde, Dean Scarborough, Evan Swafford, Jacques La Fargue, Kiki DeLovely, Kate Borenstein, Toni Amato, Sandra McDonald, Andrea Zanin, S. Bear Bergman, Anna Watson, Julia Serano, Rachel K. Zall, Alicia E. Goranson, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Michael Hernandez, Shawna Virago, Sinclair Sexsmith, Arden Hill, Zev, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Penelope Mansfield, Skrian McGuire, Laura Antoniou, and Patrick Califia

Whether you've read the book or not, everyone is welcome to join the Naked Reader Book Club discussion! If you have had a chance to read Take Me There, feel free to drop in and give us your opinion on this book.
01/16/2012
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Sacchi Sacchi
Just in case you didn't know (am I the only one who usually only comes to this discussion page?) there's an excerpt from the book, a whole story by Kiki DeLovely, right here:

link

Go read it right now!
01/23/2012
NuMe NuMe
Quote:
Originally posted by Sacchi
Just in case you didn't know (am I the only one who usually only comes to this discussion page?) there's an excerpt from the book, a whole story by Kiki DeLovely, right here:

link

Go read it right now! ... More
I think before the meetings it is pretty much just you and me, Sacchi. And thank you for linking to the excerpt on here. I've been promoting it everywhere else and totally forgot to put it in here.
01/23/2012
Brendada Brendada
Quote:
Originally posted by Sacchi
Just in case you didn't know (am I the only one who usually only comes to this discussion page?) there's an excerpt from the book, a whole story by Kiki DeLovely, right here:

link

Go read it right now! ... More
no- I think more peeps look but don't tell!
01/23/2012
Sacchi Sacchi
I point folks here when I post intros to the books (or excerpts therefrom,) and I know from comments that some people get here early enough to read them before things get rolling too fast to keep up. And that's just what I'm going to do now. Tristan's introduction to Take Me There is as well worth reading--and as long--as most stories, so I won't quote the whole thing, but enough to, well, lubricate the mind. (Later I'll have quotes from an interview with Tristan, and background about their stories from Giselle Renarde, Anna Watson, and Sinclair Sexsmith.)

Introduction: Gender/Fucking

[Several paragraphs snipped, fore and aft]


For those of us who appreciate the written word’s power to not just get us off but bring nuance and complexity to erotic storytelling, we don’t have all that much to choose from. As the spouse of a person who identifies as trans and gender- queer, I believe it’s time for transpeople to be the authors and central characters of a book of their own, to be enjoyed by other transpeople along with their partners, admirers, allies, fuckbuddies, friends and lovers. I want to see folks who challenge gender norms as leading men, ingénues, crush objects and sex symbols on the page. That’s why I put together this collection. So, what exactly is transgender and genderqueer erotica? It’s erotica by, for and about transfolk, FTMs, MTFs, genderqueers, gender outlaws, as well as two-spirit, intersex and gender-variant people. It is about people who like to genderfuck and fuck gender.

Among the diverse array of voices in the book, one theme that emerged is the power of seeing and being seen as beautifully illustrated in Patrick Califia’s story about a gay transman longing for his identity and desire to be not just acknowledged, but treasured. It’s not simply about passing or not passing, which is an idea often explored with transgender characters, but about being acknowledged and desired in a sexual context. Being truly seen for who you are by a lover is where affirmation and want collide, as in Andrea Zanin’s story of a baby butch dyke and the transwoman she picks up in a small-town café. Likewise, the main character in Helen Boyd’s “All-Girl Action” longs to be touched as a woman by other queer women. Amidst a neighbor- hood blackout in “The Visible Woman,” by Rachel K. Zall, two women leave behind how others perceive them and focus on how they see each other. In “On Hys Knees,” Evan Swafford’s narrator articulates this hunger for recognition but also safety
as he looks at his boi: “The naked female sex, which this boi usually hides under baggy jeans and men’s clothes, is uncovered for Daddy. I warrant this trust and take it seriously. Because I see my boi as hy truly is. And hy knows that I’ll protect hym, keep hym safe. It’s what we both need.” It is this recognition and trust that allows the boi to surrender to his Daddy in a scene full of fisting, sadism and love.

Throughout the stories, no one is all that surprised about anyone’s gender, which bucks the trend of having a transperson’s “real” or former gender revealed. But there are revelations of other kinds. Jack tries to have what he calls The Conversation with a trick at a bar, but his pants are down before the talk actually happens, in Michael Hernandez’s “You Don’t Know Jack.” In “The Therapist and the Whore” by Giselle Renarde, Manny is a butch dyke struggling with her identity who can’t seem to talk honestly about it to her therapist; she feels most at ease fucking a transsexual sex worker whose comfort with her own identity creates a space where Manny can be Manny. For Ivan Coyote’s narrator in “Hold Up,” too much talking and processing is an absolute boner killer: “I would rather be fucking or fisting or tangling tongues or pulling each other’s hair and deciding by willpower and whim just who is going to suck whose what, and when and exactly how.”

Most of the characters in these stories don’t fit into neat little boxes and those that appear to fit, do it not-so-neatly. A lustful homecoming is full of sacred tradition and modern queerness in “Tel Aviv” by Jacques La Fargue: “I go from fresh- faced yeshiva boy to breasted bride as the layers come off, and I don’t care. It’s your cock I want.” In Kiki DeLovely’s “Taking the Toll,” a femme describes her genderqueer lover: “She has this edge about her—not completely hard yet deeply masculine. This is the edge where my lust resides.” That lust takes them both all the way to the confession booth. Anna Watson wrote to me before submitting her piece, “Femme Fatigue,” inquiring if femmes as main characters were part of my vision for the book. I welcome her contribution since we both agree that many femmes consider themselves genderqueer, because they consciously choose to fuck with female and femininity norms. There are femmes throughout this book, including one who surprises her boyfriend when her gender changes mid-fuck in S. Bear Bergman’s “Payback’s a Bitch.”

In her story “Dixie Belle,” Kate Bornstein imagines Huckle- berry Finn transformed into Sassy, a prostitute at a New Orleans brothel. Before there were identities like transgender, there were struggles and longing like those of the characters in “Sea of Cortez” by Sandra McDonald. Both of these pieces are the imagined histories of prototypical gender radicals grounded in the sights, sounds and language of their time periods. Considering the recent controversy—about NewSouth Books’ decision to release a version of Huckleberry Finn without the words nigger and injun in response to the removal of the book from public schools and libraries—Bornstein’s piece is especially provocative. It also speaks to the power of language to define and redefine cultural identities over time.
01/23/2012
Antipova Antipova
Hooray, it's Naked Reader Book Club Day! Take Me There was absolutely amazing, I can't wait to hear what everyone else thought!
01/24/2012
Ryuson Ryuson
Totally gonna be here tonight now that I can attend while doing my homework!
01/24/2012
Jul!a Jul!a
Quote:
Originally posted by Brendada
no- I think more peeps look but don't tell!
Yeah, for what it's worth I read all the posts as they come in, but don't usually have anything to add.
01/24/2012
Ivy Wilde Ivy Wilde
Quote:
Originally posted by Sacchi
Just in case you didn't know (am I the only one who usually only comes to this discussion page?) there's an excerpt from the book, a whole story by Kiki DeLovely, right here:

link

Go read it right now! ... More
Thanks for the link, Sacchi. That was an unexpected treat.
01/24/2012
Ivy Wilde Ivy Wilde
Quote:
Originally posted by Sacchi
I point folks here when I post intros to the books (or excerpts therefrom,) and I know from comments that some people get here early enough to read them before things get rolling too fast to keep up. And that's just what I'm going to do now. ... More
"...It is about people who like to genderfuck and fuck gender."

What a great line. I am certainly curious how this discussion will go. I wish I had read the book simply for curiosity's sake. I'm not sure if I'm quite broadminded enough to find most of the stories arousing. Though I'm sure I'd find them fascinating, at the least.
01/24/2012
Antipova Antipova
Quote:
Originally posted by Ivy Wilde
"...It is about people who like to genderfuck and fuck gender."

What a great line. I am certainly curious how this discussion will go. I wish I had read the book simply for curiosity's sake. I'm not sure if I'm quite ... More
That's how I was feeling going into it... "well this will be interesting and I'll probably learn a lot, but I don't know if I'll get turned on..." but it blew me out of the water. You don't have to be gender-bendy yourself to enjoy how excellent the stories are---they do a great job of showing the characters' vulnerabilities etc. There were a few that "get off" on the fact that they're "breaking rules," and that's fine but not as much arousing for me---but far and away most of them were just like "I'm a human and I have desires and they're hot."

I do recommend this to everybody. Even if you think you'd only be 'fascinated to learn'---I'm pretty sure it'd speed up your heart rate too.
01/24/2012
wrmbreze wrmbreze
Quote:
Originally posted by Brendada
no- I think more peeps look but don't tell!
I agree!!
01/24/2012
Nicole D Nicole D
Looking forward to the book discussion tonight. You guys always know how to keep the conversation juicy
01/24/2012
winterseve winterseve
Quote:
Originally posted by Sacchi
Just in case you didn't know (am I the only one who usually only comes to this discussion page?) there's an excerpt from the book, a whole story by Kiki DeLovely, right here:

link

Go read it right now! ... More
Thanks Sacchi! I will. I didn't do this book this month.
01/24/2012
Jul!a Jul!a
I will definitely be reading along, but most likely lurking this evening.
01/24/2012
NoOneNosMe NoOneNosMe
I'm new to the book club. Antipova (my mentor) remembered that I am bigender and she suggested that I come. I read the excerpt and it was amazing! I saw so much of myself in that story. It was so cool. I didn't even know genderqueer erotica existed! Looking forward to the discussion
01/24/2012
Antipova Antipova
Quote:
Originally posted by NoOneNosMe
I'm new to the book club. Antipova (my mentor) remembered that I am bigender and she suggested that I come. I read the excerpt and it was amazing! I saw so much of myself in that story. It was so cool. I didn't even know genderqueer erotica ... More
Yay! Welcome NoOneNosMe! I hope you love the meeting!
01/24/2012
wrmbreze wrmbreze
Quote:
Originally posted by NoOneNosMe
I'm new to the book club. Antipova (my mentor) remembered that I am bigender and she suggested that I come. I read the excerpt and it was amazing! I saw so much of myself in that story. It was so cool. I didn't even know genderqueer erotica ... More
Welcome, be sure to send Liz an email. She'll give you a free book since its your first meeting.
01/24/2012
NoOneNosMe NoOneNosMe
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
Yay! Welcome NoOneNosMe! I hope you love the meeting!
Thank you! I'm really excited
01/24/2012
NoOneNosMe NoOneNosMe
Quote:
Originally posted by wrmbreze
Welcome, be sure to send Liz an email. She'll give you a free book since its your first meeting.
Awesome! I can't wait to read the whole time. I loved the story that was posted online.
01/24/2012
wrmbreze wrmbreze
01/24/2012
wrmbreze wrmbreze
01/24/2012
Sacchi Sacchi
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
That's how I was feeling going into it... "well this will be interesting and I'll probably learn a lot, but I don't know if I'll get turned on..." but it blew me out of the water. You don't have to be gender-bendy ... More
Antipova, huge thanks for making this point. I know half a dozen of these writers personally, enough to have a sense of how hot they really are, and they and a few others have written for my anthologies, so I already knew what knockout writers they are. It's good to know that my perceptions of the book aren't unduly influenced by previous experience.

And welcome, NoOneNosMe! It's great to have new folks here.
01/24/2012
NoOneNosMe NoOneNosMe
Quote:
Originally posted by wrmbreze
Dang it I lost...
01/24/2012
Sacchi Sacchi
Sinclair Sexsmith (who has a lively story here) did an interview with Tristan for the Lambda Literary Review, and I'll be quoting oarts of it as we go along. Here's the first installment; some of us of more "mature" years will understand the feeling of discovery and fulfillment when we first found Tristan's nooks.



Siclair and Tristan:

“I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE THAT WRITING AND PUBLISHING EROTICA, ESPECIALLY FOR MINORITIES, IS A POLITICAL ACT. WE MUST WRITE OUR OWN STORIES, OUR OWN TRUTHS, OTHERWISE OUR DETRACTORS AND ENEMIES WILL DO IT FOR US”
I picked up Best Lesbian Erotica 1998 when I worked at an indie bookstore, and it changed my trajectory. Suddenly I was asking myself, why do I love this lesbian erotica so much? I was seeking a new answer. I read it in the corners of the stock room on my break, hid it beneath large hardbacks when I worked at the information desk, and could barely tear my eyes from it when customers approached.
That book introduced me to Tristan Taormino, who was the series editor for Best Lesbian Erotica, published annually by Cleis Press, until 2009.
Quickly after picking up the 1998 edition, I sought out more from Tristan. I found her Village Voice column. I found On Our Backs, a feminist sex magazine that she edited. I’ve been following her work since, and there is much work to follow, as she writes widely. Taormino has authored seven books and edited twenty-three anthologies, in addition to directing and producing more than two dozen adult films and being a serious trailblazer for the genre of feminist porn.
Taormino has been incredibly influential in the fields of sexual education, queer visibility, BDSM, erotica, and queer desire—and incredibly influential on me and my own work. My own stories are included in a few of her anthologies, including her newest, Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica.

With Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Taormino has created a path for trans and genderqueer erotic explorations in a genre that still sadly under-represents such themes.

Many of the stories in the collection are very personal and very elaborate about the narrator’s (and likely the author’s) inner emotional landscape around gender, sexuality, and bodies. I was immediately touched by the opening stories, and continued to be enthralled, entertained, emotional, and turned on throughout.
I caught up with Tristan to ask her more about the process of putting together this new, much needed, and ground breaking book.

You’ve edited dozens of anthologies. How is this one different?

Nearly all the erotica anthologies I’ve edited before have been centered around lesbian erotica; although over the years many of the stories have featured trans and genderqueer characters, this anthology is devoted entirely to erotica with those characters.
01/24/2012
LicentiouslyYours LicentiouslyYours
Quote:
Originally posted by NoOneNosMe
I'm new to the book club. Antipova (my mentor) remembered that I am bigender and she suggested that I come. I read the excerpt and it was amazing! I saw so much of myself in that story. It was so cool. I didn't even know genderqueer erotica ... More
Welcome NoOne!
01/24/2012
NuMe NuMe
Wow! You're all nice and early this evening.

Welcome everyone! So glad you're here. I can't wait for tonight's discussion.

Thank you Sacchi for hosting and for all the wonderful information you add.

AND... if this is your first time here, please email me with your real name/ef name and address so we can send you a welcome gift of the book we're discussing tonight.
01/24/2012
Sacchi Sacchi
Quote:
Originally posted by NoOneNosMe
Dang it I lost...
But you had the power to scroll down before blinking! Did you forget that?
01/24/2012
wrmbreze wrmbreze
Quote:
Originally posted by NoOneNosMe
Dang it I lost...
Me too.
01/24/2012
Sacchi Sacchi
Welcome, early birds! See, Liz, we had 27 post here before the official opening, and they count as much as any others.
01/24/2012
Total posts: 479
Unique posters: 22