Sunday Sex Reads: Best of the Week – Trans Day of Remembrance

This week’s items begin our Sunday Sex Reads post; some of the best sex writing on trans issues in the news, for 2016, in honor of today’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (aka Transgender Day of Resilience) follow below.


“Hooman Samani, a director of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technology Laboratory at National Taipei University, Taiwan, built a machine that can respond emotionally to how humans treat it. Samani calls his professional line of inquiry “lovotics” and says “it’s about connecting the dots from two different fields. One is robotics, which includes artificial intelligence and mechanical engineering, and the other one is the science behind human love.””
* Scientists believe they’ve nailed the combination that could help robots feel love (Quartz)

“But there is another, more specific reason why Pence deserved to be booed in this particular time and place. AIDS hit Broadway hard; the Reagan administration’s cruel negligence toward the crisis resulted in the deaths of some of Broadway’s brightest lights in the 1980s.”
* There Is a Very Specific Reason Why the Hamilton Audience Was Right to Boo Mike Pence (Slate)

“After donning Samsung Gear VR headsets powered by Oculus, participants find themselves in the living room of a male college student. What begins as playful flirtation eventually takes a dark turn and becomes distinctly uncomfortable.”
* Gender Swapping VR Project Educates Youth on Sex and Consent (Future of Sex)

“Lee co-founded Utherverse, an adult social network, in 2005. A little more than a year ago, she launched virtual reality film studio HoloFilm Productions. She’s bullish about porn as the driving force for innovation in virtual reality and she has good reason to be. The monthly subscriber base for HoloGirls, HoloFilm’s main VR product, is growing 30 percent month-over-month.”
* Virtual reality porn is just foreplay: Why augmented reality is the future of adult entertainment (GeekWire)

“The Literary Review has taken it upon themselves to pore over said terrible sex writing in literary fiction and declare a winner every year since 1993 for the magazine’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award. The nominees were announced on Thursday morning… ‘Anne,’ he says, stopping and looking down at me. I am pinned like wet washing with his peg. ‘Till now, I thought the sweetest sound I could ever hear was cows chewing grass. But this is better.’
* The Nominees for the Worst Sex Writing Will Absolutely Make You Cringe (New York Magazine)

“Disney prides itself on being the happiest place on earth, but that probably doesn’t mean a happy ending. It was recently discovered that Disney owns the domain However, the Mouse isn’t trying to protect his wholesome family image against the rising tide of Pornhub oddities.”
* Here’s Why Disney Is the Proud Owner of (io9)

Warning for survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and trauma. “The story told by the court records shows how a revered authority figure can repeatedly abuse children over decades; how that abuse gets ignored and normalized; how those responsible can construct arbitrary barriers of proof to avoid addressing problems; how stereotypes of masculinity can lead to willful blindness; and how victims can be shamed into silence for decades, only to end up being victimized again by hard-nosed litigation tactics and the rigidity of the legal system. Indeed, Poly Prep’s treatment of Foglietta and his victims suggests an agonizing template for how abuse can proliferate unchecked over a long period of time.”
* The Other Penn State: Inside One High School’s Decades-Long Secret (Esquire)

Transgender Day of Remembrance (aka Transgender Day of Resilience) special edition is below. Here are some of the best sex writing on trans issues in the news, for 2016:

“I entered the sex industry because I lacked access to health care. … For transsexuals, this often has another dimension. These procedures can provide a degree of relief from gender or sex dysphoria, which, according to the American Psychiatric Association, includes “strong desires to be treated as the other gender or to be rid of one’s sex characteristics.” The APA further recognizes that some individuals with dysphoria “can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.””
* I Do Sex Work So I Can Look At Myself In The Mirror (Huffington Post)

“Treating trans women as sexual deviants has done them real, concrete harm. As activist Julia Serano writes, “Reducing a person to their sexual bodies or behaviors sexualizes them. And in our culture, sexualizing someone (i.e., reducing them to their sexuality, rather than seeing them as a whole person) is one of the most effective ways of invalidating a person.””
* Why Are Trans Women Penalized For Body Fantasies Everyone Has? (The Establishment)

“Chest binding is a fact of life for many people, including trans men, some gay women, intersex people, and gender non-conforming individuals like Naomhan. Flattening the appearance of one’s breasts—whether that’s through Ace bandages, compression undergarments, layered T-shirts, sports bras, or commercial binders—doesn’t just make it easier to pass in public as the correct gender or wear masculine clothes. For many, it’s a matter of psychological well-being.”
* Inside the Landmark, Long Overdue Study on Chest Binding (Broadly/Vice)

“As a trans woman who has had surgery I don’t want to buy into the ‘please let my vagina pass the pussy test.’ My vagina is different, it has limitations and its own wonderful sculptural qualities. I want to celebrate those rather than hoping that ‘wham bam thank you mam’ takes place without acknowledging its inherent beauty and narrative. ”
* The Dating Game… As A 50-Year-Old Trans Woman (Refinery 29)

“[Trans sex worker] Baroness Brittany Bendz, known as the “Darling of K Street,” opens up to Aurora Snow about the powerful men in D.C. she says she dominates — including bathroom bill-pushing GOP lawmakers.”
* Meet the Trans Escort Claiming to Service Anti-LGBT Republican Congressmen (Daily Beast)

“When asked by a TMZ reporter if she felt like (Re) Assignment‘s depiction of transgender issues could potentially set back progress, Michelle Rodriguez further illustrated why she is not a suitable choice to play a trans character. “If anything, it’s freakin’ promoting it,” she said. “Thank Kris Jenner for becoming who he became. And now you have a popular subject matter that nobody wanted to make a movie about, and now everybody’s on it.””
* Michelle Rodriguez’s ‘(Re) Assignment’ looks like it will be an epic, transphobic mess (Mic)

“Buck Angel is an adult film producer, activist and trans man whose work as an educator fights to sexualize the trans body and break down stigma surrounding the spectrum of trans male identity. He initially made a name for himself in the world of adult entertainment, pushing the industry to rethink their relationship with transgender actors and create visibility for trans and gender non-conforming men.”
* Buck Angel, ‘The Man With A Vagina,’ On The Role Sex Plays In Living Authentically (Huffington Post)

“While [Vaginal Creme] Davis used her various projects to communicate her message, J.D.s more generally conveyed its sentiments of dissatisfaction by incorporating found pornographic images (a “reaction against anti-porn, sexually moralistic second wave feminism”, as [Bruce] LaBruce puts it) alongside tales of porno fiction and murderous rampages. The zine’s founders didn’t discriminate. “(It wasn’t just) queer punks, but also prison shut-ins, prostitutes, oppressed racial minorities, transgender people… anyone who went against the grain and had similar interests, sexual deviance and radical politics,” says LaBruce, “We were fighting the gay mainstream by promoting no division between gays and lesbians, by being inclusive of queers of all races, ages, genders and sexual persuasions.””
* Revisiting the seminal queercore movement (Dazed)

“I got into the adult industry at the tender age of 18. I was really young. I needed money for my transition. Growing up in a small town I was discriminated against when it came to jobs. I couldn’t even get a normal job, like at Burger King. I wanted to transition, so I thought about it and decided to start working in the industry as soon as I turned 18. ”
* The Challenges of Being a Transgender Porn Star (Broadly/Vice)

“After a lengthy surgery performed by staff volunteering their time at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, [Thomas] Manning just became the first American to receive what appears to be a successful penis transplant. But according to Dr. Dicken Ko, one of the team leaders in Manning’s transplant, he and his colleagues will not be offering a similar procedure to transgender men just yet. So what’s stopping them?”
* Could Penis Transplants Change Everything for Transgender Men? (Fusion)

“When the tabloids chose to focus on a 19-year-old electing for a bilateral mastectomy, because they (the preferred pronoun) are non-binary transgender, the internet responded with predictable pearl-clutching and tired old tropes. Wannabe armchair psychiatrists were quick to denounce Opi Baron as “obviously mentally ill”, while the accusations that “being transgender is fashionable” still fly thick and fast (despite the first known British male-to-female transgender surgery being performed on an RAF pilot in the 1950s but, you know what they say, fashion comes back around).”
* I’m a little bit female and a little bit male. Finally, I fit in my skin (Guardian)

“The millionaire futurist Martine Rothblatt is often described as transgender even though she self-identifies as transhumanist. This may seem a minor distinction, but when you’re rich enough to commission an artificially intelligent robot version of your wife and loose yourself from the constrictions of biology, it’s not a minor distinction at all. Rothblatt contextualizes her sexuality with technology rather than historical gender roles because that makes more sense to her.”
* It’s Time to Make Sex Education Robotic (Inverse)

“…And yet — in spite of the critical and commercial success of projects that put trans people front and center — Hollywood is having a very difficult time letting go of the idea that putting a male actor in a dress, wig and makeup is an accurate portrayal of a transgender woman.”
* Matt Bomer and Men Who Play Transgender Women Send a “Toxic and Dangerous” Message (The Hollywood Reporter)

Main post photo by the incredible Corwin Prescott.

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