Gender Outlaws

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1. The scene at Verlaine: full of glowy things! 2. Readers Kian Goh & Tamiko Beyer.

Last night, Verlaine hosted the launch party of Tamiko Beyer’s new chapbook, bough breaks. There were free cupcakes, and also readings featuring contributors to Gender Outlaws! There were six readers, including Beyer.

In order…

Kian Goh, who just happens to be the love of Beyer’s life, as well the author of “Queerspace: Homeless LGBT Youth and a New Architectural Activism.” She showed a slideshow of photographs, and read a selection from her book. We learned about the Chelsea Piers and other queer spaces, which are generally “ephemeral.”

Kit Yan, a slam poet, read three pieces about the same relationship, which were all involved a Tibetan restaurant. His work did not change my opinion about slam and/or spoken word poetry, which is that the genre mostly consists of strung-together descriptions of food.

1. Heather Bryant, who writes fiction and nonfiction and is also the nonfiction editor of Drunken Boat, & Thais Chu, a designer. 2. Lauren, who volunteers for Bluestockings, which is a bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center, and sells Gender Outlaws and bough breaks.

Cory Schmanke Parrish, is a poet and member of Agent 409, a queer and multiracial writing collective. He submitted two of the poems that he read to Gender Outlaws, one for real and one as a joke. Surprisingly, the joke got picked. But both were pretty awesome poems; the serious was very moving, and the joke was entitled “The Secret Life of my Weiner” and included the line, “I hope (my penis) doesn’t ride the subway because New York is dirty and you know I don’t wash that thing before I put it back in my pants.”

Doyin Ola, “queer transfag activist, feminist and gender liberationist,” read what was “most definitely a sex piece.” It was about a rather anonymous sexual encounter between a trans-man and a short FOBby man with balls that were “delicate orbs.” I like descriptions of balls because balls are weird but cool, and I was glad that the narrator of this piece shared my feelings on this very important subject.

1. Readers Cory Schmanke Parrish & Doyin Ola. 2. Alana Krivo-Kaufman, an activist for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice; writer Toi Scott, who is writing for Trans Bodies, Trans Selves; and Sal Lempert, who works for AVODAH: the Jewish Service Corps.

Victor Tobar is a writer and the curator of Ruckus, a queer and trans people of color art and performance series at Bluestockings, which happens on the fourth Friday of every month. He writes mostly poetry, but he also shared his science fiction: a post-apocalyptic tale about magical beings who are queer, trans, and multiracial.

Tomiko Beyer, the author of bough breaks, explained that the chapbook is a sequence of poems about her desire to adopt a child, and motherhood as a gendered subject. Her writing was crisp, lively, and moving, but my favorite poem was the last one she read, which was a “celebration of (her) femmeness” and included the line “come so hard my mascara smears.” And it also talked about glitter. Glitter, orgasms, and mascara: now that’s some good shit.

–Julia Jackson is working on her MFA in fiction at Brooklyn College, and is a regular contributor for Electric Dish.

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