New York City

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On Mermaids and Freedom


mermaid women and children

Artistry, activism, body paint, glitter, feathers, scales, nakedness, beautiful decoration, gleeful abandon: why only once a year?

Saturday was the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. It's an art parade that's been hosted by Coney Island USA, a not for profit arts organization, for 25 years to celebrate freedom, expression, diversity, joy and the summer solstice. I've attended each of the past four years and wish there were more opportunities for people to be out, in public, as happy and free in their bodies as they are at the parade.

I'm curious about other such festivals around the country. I've recently learned via Liberty at Going Braless (registration required) about a few that are very family oriented, as this one is. For example, she told me about Eeyore's Birthday in Austin. Does anyone know of others?

Below are some photos that I think show the best of the parade: the freedom and expressiveness of people of all ages, genders, orientations, body shapes and abilities. They were all taken by my partner Will Van Dorp (see more in his Flickr set or on his blog here and here).

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Vigil for Sanesha Stewart

Sanesha Stewart, a young black transwoman in the Bronx was murdered in her apartment on Saturday, February 9th. You can read about her story at Feministe and New York Blade. Meanwhile, I just received this message from Queers For Economic Justice organizer Reggie Gossett, announcing a vigil to be held in Stewart's memory:

~~~Join Family, Friends and Community Members Saturday, April 5 for a Community Vigil to Honor the Memory and Celebrate the Life of Sanesha Stewart~~~

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Beautiful writing about personal sexual experience and the negotiation of "deep relationships and light relationships and predominantly sexual relationships and a few client relationships."
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Help playwright Jorge Cortinas and see some fantastic performers at New Dramatists

I just received this notice, sent by Lisa Duggan to the NYU Gender Studies list and thought that readers of this site who are near NYC might really want to attend:


First you fracture it, preferably when you're in between insurance coverage so you're stuck with some significant bills. That's what Jorge did. We've only managed to raise some of the money, so now we're throwing him a benefit at New Dramatists on January 17th, starting at 7 PM to help offset the rest of the costs.

The fundraiser/performance event at New Dramatists below is for the brilliant queer Latino playwright Jorge Cortinas, who fractured his clavicle in a bicycle accident during a period of being uninsured.

Please come, circulate the announcement, and help pack the house.

(If you don't know Cortinas' work check out the listing from New Dramatists below, then scroll down to the fundraiser announcement.)

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TransNYC presents "Developmental Experiences of Transgender Youth"

Developmental Experiences of Transgender Youth

Arnold H. Grossman and Anthony R. D'Augelli


Friday, Dec. 7th, 7-9pm

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NYU's Queer Union presents "Beyond Marriage: How Family Politics are Racialized, Sexualized, and Gendered"

How Family Politics are Racialized, Sexualized and Gendered


For decades, the discourse of family values has been used to shame women on welfare, people of color and queers.  Join LUCHA, Gentleman of Quality, and Queer Union for a panel presentation and discussion on how we can unite to reject--rather than reinforce--this hateful discourse.


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Transgender Access to Healthcare

Join Outlaw, HIV Law Society and the Office of LGBT Student Services in a discussion of Transgender Access to Healthcare.

The transgender community faces numerous obstacles in the healthcare system including ignorance on the part of doctors, nurses, and administrators, outright discrimination by staff and practicioners, health insurance complications regarding coverage for services, and a host of other issues.

Join us on November 14th as members of the LGBT community, a lawyer, policy advocate, direct service provider, and healthcare trainer, discuss the issues around access to quality affordable healthcare for the transgender community and what they are doing to change the healthcare system.


Michael Silverman: Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

Pauline Park: New York Association For Gender Rights Advocacy

Kim Watson: Community Healthcare Network's Transgender Program

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A Conversation with Elizabeth Bernstein and Mark Padilla on sex work and sex tourism

Book Culture celebrates Elizabeth Bernstein & Mark Padilla as they discuss their new books.

Elizabeth Bernstein, author of Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex
Not simply a compelling exploration of the changing landscape of sex-work, Temporarily Yours ultimately lays bare the intimate intersections of political economy, desire, and culture. Elizabeth Bernstein is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Barnard College.

in conversation with

Mark Padilla, author of Caribbean Pleasure Industry: Tourism, Sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic
Padilla’s examination of bisexuality and tourism as much-neglected factors in the HIV/AIDS epidemic makes this book essential to anyone concerned with health and sexuality in the Caribbean or beyond. Mark Padilla Is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at theUniversity of Michigan.


There will be a reception following the event and it is free and open to the public.

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Poly Pride Day After Party

From the Polyamorous NYC web site:

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Poly Pride Day Picnic in the Park

All Poly and Poly friendly people are invited to participate in this truly special, unique event. It will be an unparalleled opportunity for people from all over the country to gather and publicly celebrate polyamory. The main rally in Central Park will feature a full day of speakers and performers that will entertain, engage, and inform.

For info check out

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