poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, January 24, 2004



Friday, January 23, 2004
Study: Genes may trump nurture with intersex kidsRandy Dotinga, / Network
Friday, January 23, 2004 / 05:34 PM

Sex-change operations aren't just for grown-ups. A tiny number of newborn baby boys go under the knife when their genitals are so malformed that surgeons figure it's better to raise them as girls. But a new study suggests that switching genders is hardly so simple.

Researchers found that eight of 14 boys who grew up as females later declared themselves to be male. Nurture, it seems, couldn't beat out nature, at least in most of the children.

*It certainly will make doctors think twice before rapidly performing genital surgery on intersex children,* said Dr. Eric Vilain, a genetics expert at the University of California at Los Angeles. *Hopefully, the doctors will wait to see which gender develops before performing surgery.*

The fate of so-called *intersex* children has long been a major topic of debate. What do you do with babies who are born with birth defects that make it difficult to recognize their gender?

About one of every 3,000 babies has a more serious problem -- severely malformed or so-called *ambiguous* genitalia. The gender of the child may not be obvious, and the babies often appear to be both male and female.

In the past, influential psychologists theorized that *gender identity* had everything to do with environment: Raise an intersex boy as a girl, maybe with the help of surgery and hormone treatments, and he -- she -- will grow up to think and act like a woman.

This approach didn't always work. In a famous case documented in the book *As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl,* a Canadian boy who suffered a botched circumcision was operated upon and raised as a girl. He suffered through a tortured adolescence and later chose to live as a man and get married.

In reality, *Nature as well as nurture affects your gender identity,* says Dr. Melvin Grumbach, a pediatrician and professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco. 8It's not all one or another -- and in an individual, you can not be sure what is the deterministic factor.*

In the new study, researchers spent several years following the lives of 16 children who were born with a defect known as cloacal exstrophy that left them without normal penises. All the children are genetically male; all but two underwent surgery to remove their testes (which were inside their bodies) and create female genitalia.

The findings of the study appear in the Jan. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The two children with intact testes were raised as boys and continued to think of themselves as males. The other 14 were raised as girls, and even their birth certificates reflected their new genders.

Eight of the 14 later declared themselves to be male, and six of them said they wanted to undergo sex-change surgery to gain penises. All 14 had some male traits: They had trouble interacting with girls (but not boys), and they reported little interest in playing with dolls or playing house.

*In normal genetic and hormonal males, there's a rather district likelihood that their brain has been masculinized, both in terms of their behaviors and their identity, how they see themselves,* said study co-author Dr. William G. Reiner, a pediatric urologist at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Experts said the study provides more evidence that psychologists and doctors need to tread carefully as they decide whether to *assign* an intersex child to a particular gender at birth.

*What's critical for all of us as surgeons is to operate when operations are indicated,* Reiner said. *If we don't know if they're indicated, we should be careful about doing them.*


Where Bards Tread the Boards

At the Poets' Theater Jamboree, verse goes live on stage.
By Nirmala Nataraj

Television's Captain Kangaroo, Bob Keeshan, died Friday morning in Vermont, a family friend told CNN. He was 76


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Catholic cardinal: 'Most gays are perverts' / Network
Wednesday, January 21, 2004 / 06:09 PM

A Catholic cardinal in Belgium has shocked international gay rights activists by telling a newspaper *most gays are perverts....*

THE DREAM By the Mother—Auroville India

There should be somewhere upon earth a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of good will, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of, concord, harmony, where all fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his suffering and misery, to surmount his weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities,; a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments. In this place, children would be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their soul. Education would be given, not with a view to passing examinations and getting certificates and posts, but for enriching the existing faculties and bringing forth new ones.

on this day in 1818 Keats writes his poem *On a Lock of Milton's Hair*

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

No Exit
The nation's mentally ill used to be locked in asylums. Now they're stowed in prisons.
By Sasha Abramsky and Jamie Fellner

Fifty years ago, more than half a million mentally ill Americans lived in state-run mental hospitals like the one depicted so searingly in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Today, laws protect the mentally ill from needless involuntary stays. As a result, fewer than 80,000 people now live in such institutions.

grassroots activist
You are a Grassroots Activist. Anti-capitalist,
anti-patrist, anti-authoritarian, whatever,
you're just fuckin' anti. You probably tell
people you hate postmodernism, but that
assertion elides the complex interdependencies
among academic poststructuralism and
street-level activism. You don't bathe
regularly, and know at least one person who has

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

P. B. Shelley
You are Percy Bysshe Shelley! Famous for your
dreamy abstraction and your quirky verse,
you're the model "sensitive poet." A
vegetarian socialist with great personal charm
and a definite way with the love poem, you
remain an idol for female readers. There are
dozens of cute anecdotes about you, and I love

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?
brought to you by Quizilla

Chile: Threats to Transvestite Human Rights Campaigner

Rodrigo Lopez Barrera, a campaigner for the Transvestite (sic) Association of Chile has reportedly been followed, shot at and has received an anonymous death threat according to Amnesty International. The human rights organization is not only concerned for the protection of Rodrigo, but for the failure of the authorities to investigate the threats targeted at him.

Louder Than Words
By Kate Crane

This is the first of a two-part interview with Dean Spade is the 26-year-old transgender attorney and activist who founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in 2002.

Monday, January 19, 2004


Sunday, January 18, 2004

 A Dishonest War
  By Edward M. Kennedy
  The Washington Post

  Sunday 18 January 2004

Of the many issues competing for attention in this new and defining year, one is of a unique order of magnitude: President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq. The facts demonstrate how dishonest that decision was. As former Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill recently confirmed, the debate over military action began as soon as President Bush took office. Some felt Saddam Hussein could be contained without war. A month after the inauguration, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said: "We have kept him contained, kept him in his box." The next day, he said tellingly that Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction."

a wonderful reading not to be missed...
an evening with:

Dodie Bellamy
Eleni Stecopoulos

Saturday, Jan. 24 7:00 p.m.
3435 Cesar Chavez
San Francisco, CA

Dodie Bellamy's latest book Cunt-Ups (Tender Buttons) won the 2002 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for poetry. Her infamous epistolary vampire novel, The Letters of Mina Harker, will be reprinted in 2004 by the University of Wisconsin Press. Also in 2004 San Francisco's Suspect Thoughts will publish Pink Steam, a collection of stories, memoirs and memoiresque essays. She is currently working on The Fourth Form, a multi-dimensional sex novel. This semester she is, insanely, teaching fiction writing at San Francisco State, Antioch Los Angeles, and CalArts.

Eleni Stecopoulos's poetry and poetics have appeared in the New York Times, Harvard Review, Open Letter, Zazil, Chain, Rust Talks, and elsewhere. Her essay “Geopathy” is forthcoming in Ecopoetics. She is finishing a dissertation out of Buffalo on Artaud, Paul Metcalf, autoethnography, alphabetic terror, Chinese medicine, time and the American frontier, etc.


DIRECTIONS: to 3435 Cesar Chavez #327

Mass transit.

Bart - get off at 24th go south on Mission, (the numbers will get
higher) walk 3 blocks, cross Cesar Chavez (there will be a stop light)
go right 3/4 of a block, turn left in to parking lot.

MUNI- get off @ 27th walk north (the opposite direction the muni would
be going from down town) walk one block turn right on Cesar chavez,
Cross Delores, Guerrero and then cross valencia, turn right into first
parking lot.

Buses- on Mission take (going southish)- 14. 14L, 49 (get off at 26th -
1/2 block from cesar chavez - walk south - cross Cesar Chavez turn
right; Valencia - 26 get off just past Cesar Chavez , cross Valencia on
Cesar Chavez, turn right into parking lot..


any questions contact:
kari edwards


February 7th, 7:30, with Ron Silliman @ La Tazza, 108 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA

February 10th, 7:00 p.m., with Charles Bernstein @ Casper Jones Cafe, 440 Bergen Street (off of Flatbush Ave) Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, March 18th at 7:30 p.m., with Julianna Spahr @ Modern Times Books Store, San Francisco, CA