includes an e-mail from Elisabeth Sheehan with a subject line of: Improve sperm integrity
• noun 1 the quality of being honest and morally upright. 2 the state of being whole or unified. 3 soundness of construction.
Thanks for getting me to think about the integrity of my sperm. It's the one thing about it that I really hadn't contemplated lately. I have to admit, that other than that aspect of it, I think about it a lot.
Your mail did get me to wondering about a few things: How is it that you've come to be so concerned about the integrity of sperm? Did someone make a "good sperm" promise to you that went awry, or have you been scorned by sperm in some other way?
I would really like to get my hands around this thing. Perhaps if we keep going back and forth on it, we'll come to some productive end. Otherwise, it will just keep swimming around in my head.
I hope you really are sincere about this, and not just all wet.
Up for it,
What Elisabeth doesn't know won't hurt her. Yours and my dirty little secret:
A friend of mine told me today that he is going to have a vasectomy. As he described to me what his doctor described to him, it educated me on how things have changed in almost 20 years. I got my vasectomy when I was 29. I had been married for 9 years, and they still gave me the hardest (no pun intended) time, in terms of consent, before they'd do the procedure. "Are you sure you want to do this," they kept asking. My wife had to "sign off" on it, and I think they even might have asked me if I had discussed this with my parents. I had it done at Duke. Nothing but the best for my boys.
That experience taught me empathy for the humility of women in "stirrups" for exams. Me legs were put in them, and then this sheet comes toward me with a hole in it, maybe 6-8 inches in diameter. The sheet went across my torso from about mid-stomach down to my thighs, and then my stuff was pulled through that hole. Give me the Valium now, I screamed in my head. Actually, it wasn't the entirety of the stuff that was pulled through, but just the part they would be working with, if you know what I mean. Sort of like just the Prada bag hanging out, if you will. Which was a good thing, because by then, the other accessory had headed north, farther even than it did the last time I jumped into a freezing cold swimming pool.
One would think that that would be enough humiliation for the day, but then the doctor said, "Mr. Martin, if you don't mind, we have some interns that we'd like to allow in to watch the procedure." Oh yeah, please sit them in the front row with a vat of popcorn and a soda the size of a horse's leg, I thought. More Valium, please.
They shot me up, and I immediately started to relax, though I was talking and my arms were flailing about. "Mr. Martin, you're going to have to keep your arms still during this." More Valium.
In looking back through my journal (Editorial Aside: The search feature in LiveJournal is one of the very few things about LiveJournal that unequivocally sucks.) for my vasectomy story, I came across this scene from a GenderPac conference I attended in May of 2002.
GenderPac is a national organization working to end discrimination and violence caused by gender stereotypes. A very large portion of the attendees at this conference were transgender. Most of the rest of the attendees were either gay, lesbian, or bi, with a host of straight people who deal with sexual orientation in business.
The description of this session starts off a little ordinary, but things quickly proceed to pandemonium.
One of the workshops/discussions I attended was called, "Feminism, Drag and Tranz." It was to explore whether doing drag (both drag queens and drag kings) was in support of, or against, feminism. The two different sides basically were: (1) it's against feminism because drag queens are men making fun of women, and drag kings are women trying to be men, and (2) it supports feminism because feminism is about women (people) being able to do/be whatever/whomever they want to be, and men being able to dress up like women and women being able to dress up like men is in that spirit.
Okay, so let me set the stage for the conference and for this particular session. First of all, a majority of the attendees at the Gender Pac conference are transgender folks. Some straight people were there (for instance, companies and organizations sending their HR folks there to be educated), and of course some bi, gay and lesbian folks. I was there because IBM became a corporate-level sponsor of the conference this year, and as a result was awarded complimentary tickets. I met two of my IBM colleagues there, one a gay man, the other a lesbian.
This particular session was led by a panel, with one moderator sitting on the panel. The moderator is a fairly well-known civil rights activist butch lesbian. She is not transgender. She loves to dress totally in men's clothes. That day she had on a man's suit, complete with a tie (not a clip-on). Her hair is very short, gray, and combed back. So, she is the moderator, is a woman, but looks somewhat like a man.
Joining her on the panel is "Sissy." Sissy is a totally straight man, and he could look no straighter. He has that ruddy complexion -- like that of a drinker -- thinning gray hair, no make-up -- he looks totally like a "man." However, he is wearing a quite short, pleated skirt -- very much like high school cheerleaders wear -- and a cute, short-sleeved frilly blouse. He is from Montana -- out in the sticks. He is here at the conference because he is totally ostracized from all our communities -- gay, straight, and trans -- just because he feels more comfortable in a skirt and blouse. He actually dresses like that all the time at home -- including at his job -- from which he was fired, and with legal action, rehired. He is constantly verbally abused, and has been arrested three times, one time buying a birthday card for his daughter in a local card shop. That's all he was doing.
Joining them on the panel is a drag-king. She is the headliner in the Great Big International Drag King Show II, which was one of the conference's main entertainment events that you could attend. So, she is a woman who dresses up like a man for her act. At this moment though, she is dressed, and looks, like a woman.
The panel discussion begins with the moderator, the lesbian dressed like a man, calling on folks in the audience for their thoughts. The first person she calls on to comment on whether drag is in support of or against feminism is a transsexual female-to-male youth. This boy, who used to be a girl, is wearing a red baseball cap and has on a tank-top. His youth, more than anything else, makes it hard to determine if he is a boy or a girl, though. However, the moderator refers to him as a "her," and he corrects her by saying, "I am a boy." Unfortunately, the moderator didn't hear this comment (the boy is half-hidden from the moderator behind a pole, which doesn't help things). The young man makes his comment, and the discussion continues, with the moderator sweeping the room from left to right taking questions and comments.
The discussion has moved along, and Sissy (on the panel), the totally straight man dressed in the skirt and blouse, now speaks, and then takes comments and questions, starting back on the left side of the room. He calls on the same young boy (with the red cap and tank top), and in acknowledging him refers to him as a "she." Uh oh!
The boy stands up, puts his hands on his hips, and yells (much to the entire room's horror), "I am a trannyboy! I said I was a 'he,' and this is the second time I'm called a 'she!' I would think that this place, here of all places, people would get it right!"
Total quiet in the place.
The butch lesbian moderator says,"Hold it now! Time out! First of all, let me apologize to you. I'm one of the people who referred to you as a "she," and I didn't hear you correct me. I'm sorry for that. Second of all, we cannot assume that everyone here knows everything about transgender people and transgender issues; many people are here to learn just that. People are going to make mistakes. We need to learn from each other and be patient, and most of all, we all need to be respectful."
In the meantime, Sissy, who started this whole thing, sort of has his head cocked like he is totally confused, and now he says, "Trannyboy??? I don't even know what that is! I'm from Montana. We only have three colored people in the whole town!"
A collective breath is drawn in by the entire room. A black, lesbian standing right next to me, bends over with her hands covering her face and shaking her head, saying, "No he didn't say colored people!"
The room was in pandemonium.
Just at this time, I looked around the room, and I thought, "My God. This is like being in the twilight zone."
After recovering from this, everyone on the panel called on people in the audience to speak by saying, "You in the red cap," or "Yes, you with the green shirt on..."
I met Joe for dinner at
I thought I recognized our waitress, maybe from school, and I asked her, "Do you recognize me?"
She looked at me with one of those looks like, "I don't know you from Jack. If you think you're famous or something, sorry to burst your bubble, but I have no idea who you are."
"Nooo," she replied in a tentative tone, her eyes widening, and turning her head slightly to the right and pulling it back.
Figuring out how she was taking it, I laughed, and said, "You look familiar to me, so I was wondering if I did to you, too. That's all."
I danced at CCs tonight. Lame. I danced less than 7 dances.
Rick E. and I had a very spirited discussion about Brokeback Mountain. Walter looked at each of us, alternately, like watching a Wimbledon match.
I was at Flex for about 15 minutes, before I realized that Tula Box was not hosting the karaoke tonight. Seems she had a prior engagement over at Legends.
She did show up later, though, and made us all laugh as usual.
It was fairly crowded tonight with the likes of Steve, Joe, Loren, brianrdu, Mike (Brian's colleague and friend), av8rdude, Carl, Craig, David, Ric, Rick, Jeremy, and Walter.
Too late in the night, Joe, Steve, av8rdude, and I stopped at Shanghai Express, where we, indeed, found Dawn in her "tur-kwaz" outfit.