tgstonebutch: (reality check)

About content: this post speaks openly (and in some detail) about trans oppression in queer communities (with a focus on the ways trans men are targeted), gender border wars, purging, and gender-based coercion and abuse in relationships. Most of that discussion is in the first section, so if you want to avoid it, skip to the section titled My Response to Grandmother-nei-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds.

My Own Context for Reading Rose Lemberg's Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds

I remember the hardness of the chairs in the auditorium. I remember the buzz of the fluorescent lights. I remember trembling in my seat, my stomach in knots. I remember the energy in the room feeling dangerous to me, like if I moved I might get noticed, get hit by the violent storm.

I don’t remember what exactly people said at that queer town hall meeting. I have tried, today, as I write this, to recall those kinds of details. But I can’t access them. I don’t know how I ended up in that room. I don’t know who I came with.

It was 1996, probably. I think. Twenty years ago. And it was the first time I heard queer cis women speaking openly about the reality that some of their partners, some folks in queer women’s community, were transitioning.

I say speaking openly, but that is too measured a description, and a bit too kind. Because what they actually were doing was debating. Debating whether to allow this. Whether to purge these men from their lives and their community. Whether they could possibly bring themselves to ever date someone trans. Articulating their feelings of betrayal. Naming the ways they felt hurt and victimized that lesbians were disappearing. Describing the ways they felt trans men were erasing their queer cis womanhood, making them even more invisible than they already were. The ways their identity and community felt so intensely threatened by the existence of trans men.

They told proud stories about how they tried to convince, manipulate, and coerce their partners into not transitioning. They offered advice to each other, describing the emotional blackmail that was most effective in preventing their partner from discussing transition. They had this intense righteousness in talking about dumping long-time partners who pursued medical transition options. They consistently named the trans men they talked about as women, as lesbians, using she/her pronouns the entire time.

I knew purges well. Knew how this could turn in an instant from venting to something even more ominous. Recognized the danger electric in the air. Held the clear knowledge in my body that my ability to dance carefully on the margins of queer women’s communities could twist into a brick wall in my face. That really it was just a matter of time before that happened. I held very very still, sick and trembling, and waited for it to be over.

It wasn’t over when I left that night. Instead, it got worse. These conversations were everywhere, and sparked like flash fires any time I was in queer women’s spaces. There was no escaping them. They didn’t stay in those spaces either. Groups of cis lesbians would show up at the tiny trickle of trans men’s events that began to happen, in order to stand up and demand the conversation center on them and the ways that trans men’s existence hurt them.

I quietly attended a trans men’s open support group (one that welcomed allies), month after month after month, not telling anyone in my life that I was going. I never said a word in the group. Continued to present as and be read as a femme cis dyke. The men in the group all thought I was an ally. They were confused why I kept going. No one else went that wasn’t openly trans, even though they were technically welcome. At least not after accompanying their trans partner the first time. I didn’t have a trans partner, had not begun talking about my own gender with anyone. At the time, I didn’t even really know why I was going. My experience of gender did not match the experiences described in that room. But it was urgent inside me. I needed to go. It hurt to miss a meeting.

That time, those memories, are intertwined with my first moments of recognition of my own transness. That feeling of being deeply afraid, stuck still and trembling, dreading being recognized. That feeling of sickness in my stomach and shards in my throat as I listened to people I thought were my community, and even people I thought were my friends and family, debate my welcome and the welcome of people like me. That certainty, yet again, that who I was meant that I would be rejected, would not find love or sex or wholeness in relationship.

I was a late queer (and trans) bloomer, was part of queer community and doing queer activism without dating pretty much at all (after one terrible disaster). I had never had a romantic relationship with anyone, had pretty much only had casual sex with cis straight men (and one queer man). I identified as bisexual, but hadn’t had sex in a few years at that point. I’d spent most of my out queer life having unrequited unspoken crushes on cis women friends and friends who were queer cis men. This realization that letting myself be trans meant accepting that I would lose community, lose friends, lose my queer family, be treated like an enemy, and never find a partner, was a central part of my sense of myself as a trans person, from pretty much the beginning.

It seemed inevitable, that I could not be trans and be loved or even welcomed by queer cis women. That they would see me as the enemy, if they thought of my transness as real. That if they did love me, or welcome me, it was because they didn’t actually think my gender was real. Those were my choices, my only options as far as it went with queer cis women. To be rejected as enemy or accepted and loved not as myself. I literally could not imagine anything else outside of that framework. It seemed like nobody could, that we were all stuck and spinning and hurting with no way out.

It took several years before I could step enough outside my own trans reality and pain to recognize the ways trans women were (and still are) erased in queer women’s community. The ways transmisogyny was operating in those conversations. The ways that as women, to be rejected and erased from women’s communities was (and still is) an intensely harmful act of cissexism and transmisogyny.

It took many more years before I considered pursuing any sort of medical transition options. At one point, I was asked by my primary partner to promise that I would never go on testosterone. And I agreed.

It took longer before I recognized that attempting to coerce, convince, or manipulate your partner into making particular decisions about their gender or attempting to limit your partner's gender expression is abusive behavior.

From pretty much the beginning, I imagined not letting myself be trans. Hiding, so I could stay in dyke community, so I could keep relationships, so I might possibly be able to find a girlfriend someday. It took a long time for me to choose something else. It felt like such a huge risk to do so, a leap into a future I could barely imagine as anything but bleak and lonely.

My Personal Response to Grandmother nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds

I brought this personal history to my reading of Rose Lemberg’s Nebula nominated Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds.

Quite literally. After reading it, I relived the visceral memory of what it felt like to be in that room at that town hall meeting twenty years ago, lay in bed frozen and trembling. That feeling rolling round and round in my head, of stuckness, of being caught, of deep fear at being recognized. I saw myself, a future I could have lived, almost did live, in Bashri.

It hurt to read a story from the point of view of a cis woman who sounded so much like those women in that meeting, who struggled so much to hold the reality of her grandparent’s transness, and her sibling’s non binary identity.

It hurt, and it healed at the same time.

This story felt like such an emphatic clear answer to the framework that had taken me about a decade to think my way out of. Not an easy answer, not a simple answer, but such an insistent one.

My first cogent reaction to this story was: I wish I’d read this 20 years ago. I needed this story when I was first coming into my transness and trying to imagine my own future and what it could be.

This story, written by a trans writer, that centers two trans characters with very different genders. This story that works against a cis gaze even as it is told from the point of view of a cis woman. This story that broke open old wounds and helped them breathe. This story that insists on the reality that our transness cannot be muted without cost, and will need to be faced eventually. This story that offers a vision of queer family that cannot hold stubbornly tight to rejection of trans family, that instead needs to figure out how to hold us, perhaps a bit more loosely than before.

Considering Grandmother nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds as a Trans Writer

When trans authors write trans characters in a complex nuanced way, there are folks who won't get it. Especially cis folks.

It won't fit the prescribed form that cis people are told they need to follow in order not to be fucked up in their representation. It will be more complicated than that.

Because the prescribed form is written in a simplified way, that assumes that cis people have less nuanced analysis of and experience with trans oppression, transmisogyny, cissexism, dysphoria, and internalized trans oppression.

Because trans writers choosing to engage with the trans oppression of cis people that we know so intimately from having been targeted by it in so many ways and internalizing it in so many ways…we are going to engage with it differently. We bring a different lens, the complexity of our personal history, an on-the-ground analysis of oppression that comes from being targeted by it relentlessly. We tell different stories about it, because we are writing from deeper lived experience, because we have different reasons for telling them, and are often writing for different audiences.

Lemberg discusses this in their recent post about this story:





“The viewpoint of Aviya was difficult for me. It is a viewpoint that begins from a place of both love and at the same time rejection of our truest selves, which is so familiar and so incredibly hurtful for many of us with cis and/or straight family members. When I am writing a viewpoint of a cisgender family member who is loving, but only conditionally accepting I am both writing the other, and writing from a perspective which is excruciatingly and deeply familiar to me. Like many trans people, I have been pressured to learn this perspective, to internalize it, to center it before my own.”




This is a story that lives in the tension of holding firm in trans perspective and reality, and engaging and connecting with the internality of a cis perspective that deeply struggles to honor and accept trans reality. Connecting with cis perspective is something that is a common experience for trans people, as Lemberg points out. To engage with it while holding firm on a trans lens for the story itself is a nuanced balancing act that trans writers are much better placed to do. We have a lot more practice.

If this story were written by a cis person, it wouldn’t work.

I would never advise a cis person to write a story about trans people and tell it from a cis character’s point of view. I would especially advise cis writers not to describe the ways cis characters struggle to accept and love and be decent to trans people in their lives. Those stories mean something really different when told by cis people. Those stories are told in really different ways when they are written by cis people.

In Cheryl Morgan's article for cis writers, on “Writing Better Trans Characters,” she talks about the cis gaze:





"There is such a thing as "cis gaze"; that is, a book can be written because cis people are fascinated by trans people. They want to see us doing those weird trans things that they think we do. Or they want to see us as victims that they can feel sorry for and rescue."




That is what cis gaze does in a story. It sets trans people up as Other, as objects, as "fascinating", "interesting", "strange", sources of learning. It sets us up as objects of pity and rescue and study, far from the assumed cis readership. It does that in the structure of the story. This isn't about the POV character's gender, but about what the story does, how it frames the trans characters, what information it decides to share about the trans characters, what language it uses, what questions it grapples with.

This is about stories that turn trans people into objects for cis people to learn from, pity, manipulate, and use. Where trans characters are empty vehicles, not complex nuanced people.

It is important to distinguish the cis gaze in a story from the POV of the story. They are different things. You can write a story that is deeply entrenched in a cis gaze from the POV of a trans character. I've read a lot of those. You can also write a story from the POV of a cis character that is not written from a cis gaze.

Of course, it is possible for trans people to write stories from a cis gaze, because we can internalize it.

But it is also possible for trans writers (like Lemberg) to write stories from a cis character's POV that do something else, something different. Stories that do not come from a cis gaze. In my read of this story, it does something different, and powerful. Something that felt deeply needed for me personally as a trans reader.

This story is told from the POV of a cis person mired in the same framework I described in the first section, a framework that can’t imagine how to do relationship with trans people, can’t conceive how she as a lesbian might grapple with a trans man partner, or how to hold the trans and non-binary realities of her family members. Aviya is stuck in that framework I knew so well twenty years ago, a framework that purges trans people from queer women’s lives because it cannot figure out how to hold onto relationship with them. She is stuck in her own ableism and cannot fathom honoring the non-binary identity of her autistic sibling.

But the story is told from a different framework. A trans and non-binary framework. A framework that holds trans and non-binary realities in their complexities. That insists that Aviya recognize her love for her family and partner is critically important and worth struggling to hold onto, even when she is freaking out and can’t figure out how. That textually challenges trans oppression and cissexism. That illuminates the ways language structures can be hugely important barriers for trans and non-binary people. That insists on honoring the trans reality of a non-verbal autistic character.

This story engages actively with internalized trans oppression, ableism and misogyny. It does that in a way I found quite deft and careful. These things are textually challenged, again and again. It doesn't use unnecessary hurtful language. It works to slowly shift perspective over time. It's not overly blatant or didactic. That's part of what makes it work.

This story shows how stuck all these characters are in trans oppression, ableism and misogyny, both interpersonally and especially structurally. It shows the pain of trans oppression, from the POV of someone who realizes that she has been hurting her loved ones.

It's a hard story.

And, I think, a critically important one.

Final Thoughts

Grandmother nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” has been nominated for a Nebula, and I find that to be a very good thing.

I am awed by the fact that a story centering a queer family, focused on queer love (both familial and romantic), is honored in this way. I am awed by the fact that a story grappling with the limitations of gender and language, told by a trans author, is honored in this way. I am awed by the fact that a story which insists that the reader hold the complex realities of trans and nonbinary characters is honored in this way. I am awed by the fact that a story by an autistic trans author centering an autistic trans character with powerful and beautiful magic is honored in this way.

Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” has so much in it that moves me, so much that feels important and necessary and full of the kind of respite that I ache for.

I urge you to read it. To let this story in. To hold it in its complexity and nuance. To consider what it has to say.

Read Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds" for free.

(cross posted on WordPress, Tumblr & LiveJournal)

tgstonebutch: (boot)
Next weekend I will be reading my erotica at Leather, Lace and Lust in San Francisco. I really enjoyed reading at this event last year and am looking forward to it.

What: An Evening Of Lusty Literature By Many Of The Best Erotica Writers In The Bay Area!

From the tempting tease of delicate lace to the steamy heat of hardcore leather, these authors and performers will amuse, delight, and most of all excite you in all kinds of new and provocative ways. In other words, a night of kick-ass erotica performed by ass-kicking writers!

Sponsored by WriteSex.

Who:

  • Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, is a best-selling, award-winning author of seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing.

  • Amy Marsh likes to hypnotize people and play with her cats. She's a writer, clinical sexologist, certified hypnotist, sexuality and hypnosis instructor, and ally for trans/GV causes and for Hawai'i independence (Ku Kia'i Mauna!). She's currently working on a book about erotic hypnosis.

  • Daddy X has stories published in anthologies by Naughty Nights Press, House of Erotica, Cleis Press and now Daddy X, The Gonzo Collection has been released through Excessica. He is a frequent contributor to the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and their on-line Gallery where he serves as Storytime Editor. Many of Daddy's pieces are currently available in ERWA's Treasure Chest.

  • Jean Marie Stine is the author of a number of pioneering works of erotica published in the late 1960 and early 1970s, beginning with Season of the Witch in 1968, which was filmed as the motion picture Synapse. Her erotic short stories and novelettes have been collected as Trans-sexual: Fiction for Gender Queers.

  • Xan West refuses pronouns, twists barbed wire together with yearning, and tilts pain in many directions to catch the light. Xan adores vulnerable tops, strong supportive bottoms, queer activist communities, red meat, and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds.

  • M.Christian is a recognized master of erotica with more than 400 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica and many others.

When: Saturday July 11th, 2015. Doors at 630pm. Event starts at 730pm.

Where: The Center for Sex and Culture in SF. 1349 Mission St between 9th and 10th.

Tickets can be gotten here.

Fetlife event is here.
Hope to see you there!
tgstonebutch: (boot)

  1. I am officially living at home, and don’t need nearly as much help as I did immediately post-surgery. I still need help with stuff that requires carrying, substantial standing, or dealing with water hazards. But this is a lot more independence than I used to have.

  2. I graduated from PT, and am able to get from my place to a car and back, pretty much on my own. Did that yesterday, in fact.

  3. My disability paperwork went through and I am very grateful to now be receiving benefits.

  4. I went to the doctor yesterday and my xrays, my incision and my range of motion all look great. In a couple weeks, I will be partial weight bearing (still using crutches), and am scheduled to be returning to work a few days after that. I am now free (and encouraged) to bend my knee as much and for as long as I can.

  5. You may recall that my glasses broke when I got hit by a car and I have not been able to see clearly for a little less than 2 months. (Not to mention that my 4 year old glasses are oxidizing and irritating the skin on my face.) I still do not have my glasses, despite ordering them three weeks ago and being promised that they would be ready 4 days ago. I learned today that my order was cancelled for some reason, and the glasses place did not tell me when that happened nor the three prior times I called to see when they would be ready. Now I have to wait two weeks, unless by a miracle they are rushed (no promises, he said) and I can get them in a week. This means that I still cannot read text, or write, or watch moving images, for more than about 20 minutes without getting a migraine. I’ve gotten a lot of migraines recently, pushing those limits. And in two weeks, I am supposed to return to work, but my job is impossible to do without being able to see clearly.

  6. I was able to do a bit of writing recently, leading to several days of migraine, but I am still glad I did it. It made me feel more like myself. Other things in this category: cutting my hair, finally; bending my knee enough that I could close the shower curtain and not get water all over the floor; figuring out how to get Valentine’s Day presents for my boyfriend without entering one store, putting away my own groceries, going on an adventure to pick out a new bookcase (e.g. doing a non-urgent errand out in the world)

tgstonebutch: (boot)

I slept alone in my own apartment last night, for the first time since I got hit by a car. I’ve spent much of this weekend alone, in my own apartment. Just in time, really, as a month of no alone time in my own space was taking a major toll. I’ve lived alone for the last nine years, except for a month when I first moved to the Bay, and this past month. I’m an introvert, and a trauma survivor, and I need my own space. So, it’s a big deal to have it again.

I’ve been hitting walls this past week. I hit done with transphobic shit from professionals that I need to help me at the beginning of the week. I hit done with no alone time in my own space. I hit a level of physical exhaustion that felt like a brick wall. I hit done with not being able to see. (My glasses broke in the hit and run and I only have very old ones with a prescription that’s wrong). I hit done with the continual asking people to help me do the most basic things I need. Unfortunately, the only one of those that is actually ok being a wall is the one about alone time in my own space. So I’m hoping that getting this time alone in my own space will make the others easier. Because there is nothing I can do about them, really. These are the ongoing conditions of my life right now.

So, I’m in my own space in a new body that moves differently and needs different things, and that means again having to think my way through the most basic things about life. How do I get out of bed? How do I make it to the bathroom safely? How do I get myself some water? How do I get things out of the fridge? How do I organize the space around me so that I can meet my basic needs? What lights need to be left on all the time so that I don’t fall in the middle of the night?

It is constant and relentless work, requiring a level of conscious deliberate thinking that is completely exhausting. Nothing is on automatic pilot, nothing is just easy. Everything is difficult and requires thinking if not pre-planning and asking for help. Everything. The more time I spend here, the more I will be able to have ease in my daily life, but right now, I have little.

I took my first shower since the hit and run, today. It took two weeks of planning to get me there, but the OT signed off on the set up, and I was able to do it, safely and with no falls or mishaps. It thankfully was possible to do the actual showering alone, but the setting up the bathroom and taking down afterwards needed assistance. It did feel good, as well as exhausting. It is good to have finally truly washed my hair. My skin feels happier than it has all month.

I put away my own groceries today (I am lucky enough to be in a place where grocery delivery is possible). Which was exhausting, but it felt really good, to be setting up a food situation that makes me feel like I can take care of that basic need. Thursday was the first time I had “made a simple meal for myself” (as the OT would put it) in my own apartment, and it is good to be able to continue to do that, to be independent about food. Depending on others around food was one of the worst things about being in the hospital (especially because they kept depriving me of it). So, this goes a long way to making me feel safer.

I am stronger than I was, and need to stop less on trips outside of my apartment. PT is a wonder for building that kind of endurance, and it is one of the main things I need to keep working on. I hope to be able to make it all the way to the car without stopping, soon. I’d like to be able to get to and from a car without needing to borrow a mobility device or have someone follow me with a chair so I can rest. I’m well on my way to that goal but it will take a bit more work.

I actually was able to think about Shocking Violet for the first time since the hit and run this weekend. (More specifically, about restructuring so it goes somewhere different after Violet and Jax have their first kiss.) It was nice to be thinking about writing again. I am hoping to do more of that. I’ve got a side project going this week (beta reading for an author I adore) that I’m thinking might get those juices flowing again. I have a month yet of non-weight bearing after surgery, and would love it if I could do some writing in that time.

tgstonebutch: (boot)
 Save the date: I will be reading my queer kink erotica at Leather, Lace and Lust on 12/6/14 at the Center for Sex and Culture

In other news, my gay firemen cathartic play story "Facing the Dark" is slated to be printed in a charity anthology, Coming Together: Pro Bono, and my genderplay edgeplay story, "Strong" will appear in Best Lesbian Erotica 2015. Both of these books are coming out soon.

I've been doing some new writing on my website that may be of interest:
If you are interested in reading more of my reflections about my own writing, they are collected here on my website. There are also a bunch of resources for writers on my website (look on the lefthand sidebar), including a list of calls for submission for erotica and a queer and trans list of calls.
tgstonebutch: (boot)
I’m excited to announce that I will be on a panel discussing kink and disability in San Francisco in a couple weeks.

When: Saturday August 23rd, 2014. 6-830pm
Where: The Center for Sex and Culture 1349 Mission Street  San Francisco, CA [Between 9th and 10th Streets, on the corner of Grace Street]
Who: Carrie Wade, Lyric Seal, and Corey Alexander (me!)
What: Disabled Pride/Disabled Pain: Stories of Kink & Disability

The Center for Sex and Culture is proud to present a panel discussion of disabled folks discussing their experiences with kink. Join a panel of bad-ass disabled folks for story-sharing centered on disabled pride, sex, power, and (even sometimes) pain.

Suggested donation of $7-15 sliding scale. Pay what you can and no one turned away for lack of funds!

Access info: While the Center for Sex and Culture is not ADA accessible, there is wheelchair access through the front door and chairs have fit in the bathroom with relative ease. Our automatic door opener sometimes works, so sooner to the event we will update as to whether it is working or not! Please come scent-free (also no smoking outside the door and please be aware of chemicals you may come in contact with throughout the day). ***We are working on getting an ASL interpreter so as soon as interpretation is confirmed we will make a post on Facebook!***

I’m really looking forward to being part of this event; these kinds of conversations are rare and precious to me.

In related news, one of my core writing projects right now is a series of queer kink erotica stories that center fat disabled trans and genderqueer folks. I talk about this project on my website, and share excerpts from some of the stories I’ve been working on. I have also been doing a bunch of writing about writing erotica, which is collected on my website here. My series of posts on writing for trans readers may be of particular interest. I have also been working on translating my classes on stone sexuality into a blog series. My latest post in this series describes the pleasures of stone sexuality. I am also working on my first novel, which I’m pretty excited about.

I hope I will see you at the panel in a couple of weeks!
tgstonebutch: (boot)
So my second post about stone went up this morning. It's about the pleasures and dynamics of stone sexuality, from my experience.

Blog Series Description

First Post: What is Stone?

Second Post: Stone Dynamics: Where Pleasure Resides
tgstonebutch: (boot)
I've been doing more writing in the new year, which is one of the things I hoped I would have more room for when I moved to the Bay Area.

I began working on the novel. I began my blog series on stone. I wrote three new stories in March and April, two full length stories and one short short, that together with an earlier piece that is still unpublished, form a new phase of my erotica writing that includes an emphasis on centering disabled characters. In April, I wrote about aftercare in kink and erotica, and the backstory of one of my earlier erotica pieces, "Nervous Boy". May was taken over by life events, but I was able to write this reflection piece about compersion (the concept) and "Compersion" (my story that was printed in I Like to Watch). In June, I began to post some think pieces on my website about writing trans erotica and being a trans reader of erotica:If you are interested in reading more of my reflections about my own erotica, I collected them all on a round-up page on my website.

I have high hopes for my new stories, and am crossing my fingers that they will be printed sometime next year.

Next up is the blog posts I've got planned on stone (to continue the blog series I started in March), which I have not been up for writing. I am hoping I will be able to do some of that writing soon.
tgstonebutch: (boot)
I am thrilled to be included in yet another volume of Best Lesbian Erotica, the erotica series that helped to shape my eroticism and erotica writing. The 2014 edition of this much beloved erotica series, edited by Sarah Schulman and Kathleen Warnock, will be released on December 10th, and is available for pre-order now.

The table of contents includes work by well-known erotica writers and series regulars like Diana Cage, D.L. King, Theresa Noelle Roberts, Sinclair Sexmith, and Sharon Wachsler. Series editor Kathleen Warnock has called it “our most diverse line-up ever,” mentioning authors from India, Lebanon, and South Africa.

There are two official release parties (that highlight readings), one in NYC on 12/19, and one in SF on 12/12. I will be reading at the SF release party, alongside Amy Butcher, Jen Cross, Carol Queen, Sinclair Sexmith, BD Swain, and few exciting others to be announced.
When: Thursday, December 12th, 7-9pm
Where: The Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission Street between 9th and 10th, San Francisco

What: Queer Smut: Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party

Cost: $20 (includes a copy of the book) No one turned away for lack of funds.

My story in Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, “What I Need” is filled with intense dominance and raw desire, and I am so excited to have it appear in this volume. Here is a small excerpt that illustrates the kind of possessive dominance this story captures:

I need to be inside you.  This minute, no waiting, no preparation.  Fuck taking off any clothes, fuck finding an appropriate place, fuck finishing this conversation, I need to pull my dick out of my pants and be inside you immediately.  I am ravenous for you, need to have you, selfishly, focused on my urgency, aching to take exactly what I need from you right this second.  I need to stake my claim in you, on you, grab what’s mine.  Possess you thoroughly, ruthlessly, immediately.  And I can, because you are mine. You chose this 2 years ago, and keep choosing it, every day.

I hope to see you on 12/12 at the SF release party (and reading)!
tgstonebutch: (boot)

To celebrate The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories being in stock on Amazon as of October 1st, editor Rachel Kramer Bussel having a 48-hour flash sale. Not only do you get 69 stories for $12.12 (less than 18 cents a story!) you also get a whole other free autographed book. It’s a win win.

Note: This offer only extends to purchases on Amazon.com from October 1 at 12:00 a.m. EST to October 2 at 11:59 p.m. EST. I can only send to U.S. addresses for print copies, but can send Kindle copies to anyone. Just buy The Big Book of Orgasms from Amazon during that 48 hour time period, then forward your receipt by 9 a.m. EST on October 3 to orgasmantho at gmail.com with “BOGO” in the subject line and tell Rachel which of these Cleis Books you’d like. She will send yours by November 1st (or immediately if you request the Kindle version). Your options: Anything for You, Baby Got Back, Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Best Bondage Erotica 2012, Best Bondage Erotica 2013, Best Sex Writing 2008, Best Sex Writing 2009, Best Sex Writing 2010, Best Sex Writing 2012, Bottoms Up, Caught Looking, Cheeky Spanking Stories, Do Not Disturb, Fast Girls, Going Down, Gotta Have It, He’s on Top, Hide and Seek, ), Irresistible, The Mile High Club, Obsessed, Only You, Orgasmic, Passion, Peep Show, Please, Ma’am, Please, Sir, Rubber Sex, Serving Him, She’s on Top, Smooth, Spanked, Suite Encounters, Surrender, Tasting Her, Tasting Him, Twice the Pleasure, Women in Lust, Yes, Ma’am, Yes, Sir. Thank you!

Official description:

What happens when you bring together 69 authors sharing their hottest orgasm stories? If you have top notch erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, you get The Big Book of Orgasms! This climactic collection captures top erotica writers serving up steamy scenarios all focused on The Big O. Whether getting off from exhibitionism, voyeurism, or a very special pair of blue jeans, the characters in The Big Book of Orgasms explore all sorts of ways they can come. Go “Under the Table” with Elizabeth Coldwell and cheer for “The Pink Team” by Kelly Rand. Discover the thrill of hot wax and even hotter sex; these short stories bring the heat on every page! With a foreword by Ecstasy is Necessary author Barbara Carrellas, these are climaxes you’ll want to relive again and again.

My piece, “Baxter’s Boy”, which took years to write, is printed in this anthology. Here is a short excerpt:

He was a legend. Baxter. The first to transition in my college town. (At least, the first anyone knew about.) In 1994. Before the generation of FTMs that started T the instant they finished their degrees in women’s studies. Before the genderqueers and the transgressively gendered. Before bois spelled it with an “i” and any one talked about cisgender. Before the trans revolution hit my dykey college town, there was Baxter. Anti-social. Determined to enjoy his faggotry, in a time when it was frowned upon for FTMs to name their desire for cis men...or each other.

Baxter had been a softball butch, dated high femmes, fucked other butches in secret. Then he left town. When he came back, he was a fag. He brought out FTMs and butch boys, teaching them to celebrate their faggotry, to own their desire for pain. He was so good with a cane that he had experienced leatherfags begging to submit to him. Robert had been his boy for over 2 years now. They were a happy pair, rarely going out, except to cruise fresh meat. Boys that were full of need, and bravado, that needed to be shown their place. These boys would emerge from that house with their heads high, their leather immaculate, and a pride of fresh marks on their backs. 

He mesmerized me. I ached to be boy enough for him. Except I wasn’t a boy. I wasn’t even butch. This high femme dyke ached to play with queer boys. I jacked off to gay porn. I knelt to suck butch cock, dreaming of alleys and piers, glory holes and bathrooms. I had fantasies about Baxter, because he was a fag...and had dated femmes.  Might there still be desire in there, for a femme in seamed stockings, her deep red lips on his cock?

Now is the time to order The Big Book Of Orgasms from Amazon, fresh off the presses and with a free book thrown in for good measure.

tgstonebutch: (boot)

Cleis Press is doing a Super Summer Sale, and two books that contain my erotica are on sale for $1.99 in ebook form, on Amazon:

Pleasure Bound: True Bondage Stories edited by Alison Tyler- $1.99

Pleasure Bound contains "A Lesson About Gender", one of my two stories that center genderfluid genderqueer characters (the other is "Strong", which was printed in Say Please). I discuss the origins of both stories here.

Here is an excerpt, from the first part of the story, where the protagonist is watching a dual set of scenes with the same dominant, that spur memories of hir own dominant. (As a heads up, it describes gendered play that involves blades, bondage, rough body play, and pain play.)

"With his girl it’s intimate, reaching into all those places instinctively guarded, so dangerously deliciously intimate, his blade menacing her eyes, piercing the inside of her lower lip. She’s bound, revealed, facing the voyeurs; intensity building; then silky sliding penetration, fear twisting into pain. She’s tough. It’s not about breaking her. It’s about ripping her open slowly, savoring each tear, each exposure, each soft sound. She’s trembling, uttering very few words, simply soft gasps and pleading eyes. He’s up close, very close. She’s slowly split open like fruit, tears dripping.

With his boy: the boy’s not bound, not still. He takes positions braced against hardness: hard wall, hard floor; back to the crowd for the entirety, physical distance between them. Sir is huge, towering over his boy. He’s using percussive, slow rhythm; simple tools: fists, boots, belt; punching, kicking, beating, jarring. The boy is required to hold positions, made to do push-ups, pushed to physical limits. There’s constant verbal interaction, the boy’s voice keeping rhythm, counting off. Tears are present, but they’re not the point. Fear is not the point. He’s tough. It’s not about breaking him. It’s about building him up, revealing his strength to him, building something important, the boy taking pride in himself, Sir taking pride in his boy."

Brief Encounters: 69 hot Gay Shorts edited by Shane Allison- $1.99

Brief Encounters contains "This Boy", a microfiction piece that describes the fantasies of a dominant sadist. It was a cathartic piece for me to write, naming in particular a fantasy that I was choosing not to act on, about a boy who was asking for it.

Here is an excerpt. (As a heads up, it describes ds focused sadism.)

"I want to stalk this boy around the room, until I’ve cornered my prey against a wall. I want to watch the pulse in his throat speed up. I want to savor the scent of his fear, build it up as I menace him with my size and ferocity. I want to speak to him softly, about sadism, about the beast that roams in my skin. Detail all of the ways he has been teasing it. Describe exactly the promises he has made and how he has been asking for it. I want this boy to realize what he’s been doing, and be afraid. And then I want to take his breath, and watch him struggle with a smile on my face. I want him to know what it is to be at my mercy and to see exactly how merciless the beast inside me can be."

tgstonebutch: (boot)
I have recently posted a resource list on Writing the Other, on my fairly new writing website:
http://xanwest.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/resources-on-writing-the-other/

There are a bunch of links of interest on that site as well, including erotica round ups and calls for submission.


That site will be my main site for writing news and reflection, though I will continue to post here occasionally.
tgstonebutch: (boot)

e[lust] #42

Dec 152012

Photo courtesy of Penny

Welcome to e[lust] - The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Please check the site in January to find out if e[lust] will be continuing under a new owner, or not. Thanks for participating!

~ This Week’s Top Three Posts ~

My Stint as an Escort

Gone Daddy Gone

Showing My Spots

~ e[lust] Editress ~

Curtain Call

~ Featured Post (Lilly’s Pick) ~

Thoughts: Safe Words

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Ask Aunty Dee: Anal Play and Buttplugs
Being sexy
I’m Monogamish, Apparently
Orgasms, Spontaneous
Profoundly in love
Rape Fantasies
Why Don’t You Go Fuck Yourself?

Kink & Fetish

An Unexpected Gift
Cathartic Sex
Confession: The Stalking of a Doll
He got off to my laugh
Kink Guide to Fifty Shades Darker: conclusion
Kinky erotica from the top’s point of view
Pain and Collars
Pegging Prep for Virgin Territory
The Cowboy (1 of 4)

Sex News, Interviews, Politics & Humor

a different kind of scene

Erotic Writing

Desperation
Dream Lover
Everything You Give
From the Inside
Get Back in Line
Just Hands
Lust in the Dunes – Part VII: The Love Elite
nching on “Special K”
On The Phone
Out of the Blue
Tease
Take Two
The Stranger
White Stockings, White Stockings She Wore
What if?
Writing Challenge – A Question

tgstonebutch: (boot)

fangskitten on "My Precious Whore"

"I really enjoyed the kink aspects of My Precious Whore. While it’s not the kind of kink play I would personally engage in, I always appreciate a good kinky story."

And a lovely long mention by Angel Propps at Lambda Literary on "Strong"

"Some of the best transgressive erotic fiction to come along in recent years has been authored by Xan West and in the story “Strong,” Xan is working at top form. Gender itself is the beating, bleeding heart of the play between a transgendered butch and a genderqueer submissive. Using language that shows all too clearly the terrifying loveliness that is vulnerability, Xan delivers characters who willingly choose to go places where others fear to tread and the result is incredibly, satisfyingly filthy and erotic. The caning scene within this story literally made my thighs ache, and not just in sympathy."

And one that doesn't...
Here is what a reviewer says  about Coming Together With A Twist (which includes my story, "Ready"

"each one is imaginative, sexy and well written."

tgstonebutch: (Default)

Most erotic stories that I’ve read are from the bottom’s POV, or use third person omniscience. The ones from the top’s POV are more rare. That is one of the reasons I’ve written quite a few stories from the Dominant’s POV. This afternoon, I went back and looked at some of these stories, and thought about who is the center of the story, who is vulnerable in the story, who transforms.

“Nervous Boy” (Love at First Sting: Sexy Tales of Erotic Restraint ), which was the first story I wrote from the tops POV, has this somewhat omniscient top voice that is attuned to the bottom and what he is feeling, and is focused on facilitating his transformation. (An example of this voice: “I watch him carefully as I free my cock. His eyes widen. Is that fear? Excitement? Both, I decide, stroking my cock as I watch him. He is scared—what if it isn’t how he wanted? Or worse, what if it is? What if he really is a cocksucking fagboy who gets on his knees for strangers in alleys?”) Similarly, “Facing the Dark” (Backdraft: Firemen Erotica) and “My Precious Whore” (Best Lesbian Erotica 2011) are both written from the POV of a top facilitating a cathartic scene for a bottom. None of the tops in these three stories let you in much to their inner experience in a vulnerable way, though there are smaller moments of that. Instead, you witness the transformation of the bottom and desire for the bottom through their perception…their focus is on the bottom while you are inside their head. “Knives” (Best Gay Erotica 2009) is even more closed, where the top is fully in inscrutable armored dominance and seducing the reader by talking about all the ways that he uses knives in play.

I have seen this trend in most of the (rather rare) stories I’ve read that are from a top’s POV, where tops are deeply in the sense of themselves as all knowing, all powerful, invulnerable. Where they are inscrutable even as we are reading from their POV, showing off their prowess and strength and knowledge, displaying their bottom as a possession for the reader to admire, displaying their cruelty to seduce or impress the reader.

I get why these stories are hot, and some of them are crafted very well. And, as a top who is reading them, I need to be high on my own dominance to enjoy them and ride alongside them…otherwise they feel competitive, and full of posturing. (Much like these kinds of tales can feel in real life when tops tell them to me. If the top is not being vulnerable and focused on their own experience, struggles, and questions, but is instead solely focused on what they did to the bottom, and the impact it had on the bottom, it often feels like competition, posturing swagger, bragging. Especially, in my experience of it, when masculinely gendered tops tell these stories, particularly when they are talking about play with femmes and/or women. It can feel like the kinky version of locker room talk, and is often heavily laden with misogyny and disrespect for the hard work the bottom is also doing in the scene.)

Some well-thumbed examples of the kinds of erotica stories I am talking about are “Cocked and Loaded” by Thomas S. Roche (Taboo newly out as Sweet Danger: Erotic Stories of Forbidden Desire for Couples) “Harder” by Ian Phillips (Roughed Up: More Tales of Gay Men, Sex and Power), “A Beating” by Karl Van Uhl (Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex and Power), “Little Girls” by C. Lee Lambert (Tough Girls: Down and Dirty Dyke Erotica), “A Girl Like That” by Toni Amato (Best of the Best Lesbian Erotica), and “Feathers Have Weight”, by Alysia Angel (Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica). These are stories that are compelling, well written rides on the top side. (They also reflect my biases and kinks, which is why I remember them...many are from older collections.) The tops they depict, even when you are inside their head, are still basically invulnerable and inscrutable. Which I think reflects the image of tops (esp. masculine tops) in BDSM communities as a whole.

In contrast to these kinds of stories on the top side, I have deep love for Robin Sweeney’s “Dress Leather” (printed in Switch Hitters: Lesbians Write Gay Male Erotica and Gay Men Write Lesbian Erotica) precisely because it shows a deeply vulnerable top devastated by the loss of lovers to AIDS who has no idea why he survived past forty and is trying to build connection again with a twenty something boy, as the ghosts of his dead lovers swirl around him. It’s a heartbreaking, compelling, well written cathartic scene from the tops POV, where the top’s catharsis is at the center, and it’s gorgeous, and has stuck with me since I first read it in the late 90s.

As I grew as a top and grappled more with the inscrutable image of tops, the ways that tops are assumed to be invulnerable in life as well as play in kink communities, I have shifted my agenda when writing from the tops POV. I want more vulnerability in my tops, want the reader to see them struggle more, need more support, second guess, even when it is the bottom’s transformation that is the focus. My more recent story “Strong” (Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica) has a top who is facilitating a complex cathartic gender play scene, and who shows vulnerability while doing that, and I tried to create many more moments that illuminate the top’s vulnerability, and the way the bottom supports the top in that. I know that I’m at the beginning of pushing this agenda in my work. I’m looking forward to writing more stories that centralize top’s vulnerabilities.

Passages like these from “Strong” are the kind of thing I mean when I talk about illuminating the top’s vulnerability. As a heads up, they describe intense Ds, pain play, and rough sex.

“I need to see that she wants this, all the way through, and she knows how much I run on adrenaline when we play this way, how it reaches into my core and twists. I need to start fast, and hard, almost dare myself into it, because this scares the shit out of me, and that’s the only way to get over the mountain of fear that builds in me as I know we are going there. The more fear there is the rougher and faster I need it. I was especially rough that night, ignoring the gagging, groaning as I forced tears from her eyes.

‘That’s right, choke on my cock,’ I said gruffly.

There was rushing in my ears as I watched her choke, tears streaming down her cheeks, her eyes locked on mine, soft, reassuring. “

“Sinking into thud roots me, pulls me deep into myself. Using my whole body helps me re-establish, find my footing. He’s not the only one that needs to put himself back together, and he knows it. Knows that this is for both of us, that I need this as much as he does, and his job is to feed the energy back to me, to help keep it cycling between us.”

In contrast to those where the bottom’s transformation is the center, my “First Time Since” (Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica) has an almost entirely self-focused top (the reader may even worry a bit about the crushed out bottom getting his heart broken), where the top leads himself through grieving a M/s relationship and recovering from that grief—the top facilitates his own transformation, and the scene with the bottom is just one tool for that. In my more romantic “Willing” (Leathermen: Gay Erotic Stories), a jaded vampire is slowly led to realize that he might have found a long term companion—it is the bottom who facilitates the top’s transformation. (I’ve also written stories where the top’s transformation is alongside the bottom’s, from the bottom’s POV…but that’s another thing altogether.) I’ve been playing more with centering the top’s transformation and catharsis in my work. I recently taught a class on *Edgeplay from the Top*, and became even more invested in this as the participants openly shared my hunger for stories of tops pushing their own edges, taking risks, struggling, getting hurt. I know how much the communities I care about need stories like this, need images of more complex and vulnerable tops.

tgstonebutch: (Default)

I just heard this evening that Cleis Press wants to include my story, “Missing Daddy” in Best Gay Erotica 2013. The series is edited by Richard Labonte, and this year’s volume is guest edited by Paul Russell. Labonte originally printed “Missing Daddy” in an anthology he edited, Daddies: Gay Erotic Fiction.

This is the story that I read from most often; the voice is so strong it makes for a good one to read aloud. It features a Daddy reminiscing about when he was a boy dreaming about gay public sex, and being claimed by his first Daddy. Both Daddy and boy are FTMs in the story—a bear and his cub with a sweet and raunchy dynamic, and they are part of a community of trans fags. It features some lovely heavy pain play with canes, describing it from the POV of a submissive who is not a masochist, but takes the pain for Daddy, and it culminates in a classic gay fantasy gangbang initiation scene. I have tremendous affection for it. I’m really glad that it will be reprinted, and in such a widely read anthology series.

Here are what a few folks have said about it, in response to the printing in Daddies:

Xan West's wistful "Missing Daddy" is about learning and moving on." –Richard Labonte, from the Introduction to Daddies

 “The moody "Missing Daddy" by Xan West features a Daddy reflecting on an epic gangbang-in-the-park scene given to him by his own Daddy years ago, and relating to his own boys.” --T. R. Moss

“Intense, compelling read.” Steve Isaak

"A "cub" undergoes an initiation into adulthood in Xan West’s "Missing Daddy,"... for a book so full of canings, rough sex, and bondage, "Daddies" offers a surprising number of moving stories about relationships that find their own lasting perfection: these men adore one another, however gruff the manner in which they might show it." –Killian Melloy

(cross posted to tumblr)

tgstonebutch: (Default)

On the first day of my vacation last spring, I woke early in the morning before my flight to the Bay area determined to finish a piece of short erotica before I left town, just in time for an open call for orgasm microfiction. A couple hours of intensive work later, I finished "Baxter's Boy".

"Baxter's Boy" started about a dozen years ago when I had an erotic dream sparked by a surprise kiss from a fag I had a crush on one New Year's Eve, but thought I had no chance with because I was femme presenting at the time, though was actually gender fluid. I began to write the dream, and to read aloud the pieces I wrote to my friends. Thus was my career as an erotica writer born.

I never finished writing that story back then. But, about 2 years later, I picked it up again and tried to write the beginning of it, to introduce the characters, set the scene, as it started in the middle of the action. By then I was no longer genderfluid and had settled into a masculinity rather far from the femme gender I had been when the original kiss occurred. I set it the early 2000's in my small college town, where the kiss had actually taken place for me. And I tried to write the femme I used to be sometimes, who dreamed of being witnessed and desired in her trans-ness, fantasized about (trans and cis) fags wanting her.

I never finished that start on the story either. This spring, I had an idea of taking that beginning, and finishing it differently. Not with the scene I dreamed of, but with that femme’s fantasy jack off session after the kiss. And I had a piece of microfiction that started many years ago, a piece full of nostalgia for the genderfluid femme I used to be, the trans fags I knew a dozen years ago, the way queer communities started a deep shift in my college town in the late 90s.

I just heard this evening that the editor intends to print the piece, pending the approval of the press. “Baxter’s Boy” will likely appear in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s new orgasm anthology in 2013. This is the first piece of mine to appear in one of her anthologies, though she has curated readings I’ve been in before. I am excited to know that this trans nostalgia piece will be out in the world.

(cross posted on tumblr)

tgstonebutch: (Default)

I just got some last minute news I wanted to share with you. I will be presenting at Between the Covers next Friday. I hope that you can come out to see me read from my genderplay story, "Strong".

Where: Happy Ending Lounge, 302 Broome Street, New York City (upstairs is wheelchair accessible)

When: 8-10pm on Friday, October 5th

What: Erotica reading from two hot collections: Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica and The Harder She Comes: Butch/Femme Erotica

You may know that I write queer kinky erotica under the name Xan West. I will be reading from "Strong", which was printed in Say Please: A Lesbian BDSM anthology. Here’s how editors and reviewers describe the story:

"some of the most boundary breaking erotica I’ve heard in a while" --Kelli Dunham


"This story answers the question, “Which one was your favorite”. Favorite. Right here." --Butchtastic Kyle

"'Strong' doesn't just give you the scene, but why the characters must be in it, how they are driven, their conflicts and roles. It made me smile, thinking 'Finally! Someone delves into the how and why of themselves.' I feel as if I could take that story as use it as an answer to why we defy gender roles, societal rules, and enjoy BDSM." --Nina Potts

"Xan West, more than anyone I’ve ever read, intrinsically gets what I do at my core, as a femme and as a bottom." –Helena Swann

My work has been published in over 20 collections, including: Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 & 2012, Men at Noon, Monsters at Midnight, Backdraft, Hurts So Good, Best Women's Erotica 08 & 09, Leathermen, Frenzy, Daddies, Men on the Edge, Cruising for Bad Boys, Pleasure Bound, SexTime: Erotic Stories of Time Travel, Best SM Erotica 2 & 3, and I Like to Watch.

I hope to see you next Friday night!

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