If you read celebrity blogs (and fully 23.7% of Kinukitty’s brain is occupied thus; dlisted is one of my favorite things in the world, right up there with Twix, Fresca, and peace, love and understanding), you might have recently become aware of Stephen Ira Beatty. I think the Daily Mail started it, and it spread to the National Enquirer, and so on, and so on. Stephen has popped up in this context before, but this video seems to have spread further than anything else.
This could be a coincidence, or it could also be totally wrong; I did some half-assed research but did not employ science or anything. Assuming it’s not wrong and there is a reason (because, really, why not?), I can’t help thinking it’s because Stephen Ira Beatty is tremendously appealing. Also thoughtful, intelligent, educated, and well spoken – and sure, all those things are fine, but really, the adorability helps. And, in my mind, it’s exciting that habitual readers of the Daily Mail, the National Enquirer, TMZ, etc. are watching a video of a trans man chatting about being trans.
He got all the publicity because he’s the son of Warren Beatty and Annette Benning, of course, not because people want to better understand transsexuals or because he has interesting things to say, and that does suck. What also sucks is the circus sideshow tone of some of these posts – child of famous attractive heterosexual people is transsexual! Can you believe it?!!? All noted. (Here’s Stephen’s take on that.) But still – that’s an awful lot of people who probably never think about this stuff taking a moment to acknowledge it and, possibly, having a wow, that guy is pretty cool moment.
Said video, which made the rounds in mid-July, is of Stephen chatting about being transgendered and stuff. He started transitioning at age 14, and he’s 20 now, which I find mind-bogglingly splendid, and also really very encouraging. His parents are rich, and apparently at least somewhat open minded, which obviously put him in a better position to address his gender dysphoria than most people are in. (For instance, if you follow Dispatches from Tanganyika (which is damned hard to spell), you’ll read about how Billy Martin – formerly Poppy Z Brite – has had to sell off possessions to pay for his testosterone, and he still had to stop taking it for a time.) That doesn’t make Stephen any less impressive; it’s just worth nothing. Looking back at my own 14-year-old experience, which was muddled and unpleasant and thoroughly lacking in resources for fixing anything, I can only say damn, Stephen, you kick ass.
And Stephen’s blog, Super-Mattachine, is charming and interesting and well written. His most recent post is a review of queer porn movie Speakeasy (available here, along with a lot of other great stuff, including the marvelously titled “The Genderfellator.”) There’s some interesting introspection and discussion of the movie (Speakeasy, I mean; there’s a trailer here if you’d like to take a dip), including an acknowledgment of the cerebral nature of the review, which he clarifies by saying “A++, would fap again.”
The name of the blog, by the way, refers to the Mattachine Society, a pre-Stonewall gay rights group (founded in 1950) and its newsletter, The Mattachine Review. According to group founder Henry Hay, via Jonathan Katz, Gay American History (Crowell Publishers, 1974), via Wikipedia, the name references a French medieval and renaissance masque group called the Société Mattachine. These societies (again according to Wikipedia) were “lifelong secret fraternities of unmarried townsmen who never performed in public unmasked, dedicated to going out into the countryside and conducting dances and rituals during the Feast of Fools, at the Vernal Equinox. Sometimes these dance rituals, or masques, were peasant protests against oppression – with the maskers, in the people’s name, receiving the brunt of a given lord’s vicious retaliation. So,” Hay said, “we took the name Mattachine because we felt that we 1950s Gays were also a masked people, unknown and anonymous, who might become engaged in morale building and helping ourselves and others, through struggle, to move toward total redress and change.” Which is interesting, dontcha think? Also interesting (and also from Wikipedia), the Mattachine Society’s goals were “to unify homosexuals isolated from their own kind; educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican and Jewish peoples; lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social variants; and assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression.”
I had heard of Stephen before I saw the afore-mentioned video on dlisted, etc., but I didn’t start Googling him frantically. And, not to get all earnest and shit, I appreciate having another opportunity to find out more about him. He dislikes the celebrity media, which has outed and hounded him, so I suspect he might not find my enthusiasm in this particular case worth the candle. He would have a point there, obviously. He seems like a tolerant guy, though, so maybe he’d see a silver lining here, too.
(Also, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty upset about Kristen Stewart cheating on Rob Pattison – why, Kristen, why? Apparently she can’t act – I don’t know because I only saw her in the first Twilight movie, and I thought she banged “glum teenager with not ideal decision-making skills” dead on – as it were. I don’t care about that, though. I just like to look at pictures of her in Us and shiver at the pointy perfection of her nose.)
(And by the way, am I the only one who thinks the Orbit tower at the London Olympics site looks like it was built by Phineas and Ferb? That’s not an insult, by the way.)