That Activating Feeling
I spend way too much time on Twitter. I guess that’s why I get so much reading done on the subway. When I’m riding the G to the L to the R/W on the way to my part-time job in the city or taking the G to the A/C on the way to my medical provider, I’m literally unable to indulge what has gradually become a compulsive, joyless habit. I try to fill these 45-minute gaps in my day by reading something that will activate me, something that will leave me mashing out Notes app flash fiction or drafting all-caps epiphanies in the subject line of an email to myself the second I stop reading. I’ve read a handful of things over the past month or so that gave me that kind of activating feeling every time I picked them up: Trap Door – edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton –brings together dozens of brilliant minds to discuss and contextualize trans visibility and cultural production with a level of nuance that far exceeds mainstream media’s often depressingly limited scope;Tommy Pico’s Junk is a 72-page poem that wants you to know that liminal space heard what you said and she’s pissed; and Snotgirl #9 is the latest issue of a comic book series about a super hot, green-haired, narcissistic fashion blogger that I like to read because it’s about a super hot, green-haired, narcissistic fashion blogger. Reading these left me feeling a little bit more alive, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, Edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley & Johanna Burton
Literal imagery and slang meanings aside, Trap Door takes its name from what its editors dub the “trap” of positive representation, which offers the promise of inclusion in lieu of material support. The critical anthology’s title also refers to the figurative “doors” that this representation can open for trans and gender-nonconforming viewers and readers, “making new futures [feel] possible” in a world that offers us few, if any, models for what our lives might look like. Through essays, interviews, and roundtables, Trap Door’s contributors –which include Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Juliana Huxtable, Morgan M. Page, and CeCe McDonald –analyze a variety of political strategies and artistic practices, past and present. Together, they cut through the false firsts and deeply whatever milestones that dot our current landscape of post-Laverne visibility, exploring a number of makeshift possibility models that predate the so-called “Transgender Tipping Point” by decades.