Next Monday, Nov. 7, TERMINATor, a Seattle- and New York-based trio of experimental rock/punk/noise femmes, will be playing an intimate, all-ages show at PreAtomic Records in downtown Corvallis with moody Portland post-punk band Nu Waste and local indie jazz-punks Jean Shorts Jesus.
“TERMINATor’s dark, experimental debut album, Placate Boring Flesh, features elements of noise, post-punk, and goth, plus multiple swirling, unsettling flute solos by drummer Veronica Dye, who also played in early 2010s Sub Pop band Rose Windows,” said Caitlin Garets, one of Bitter Half Booking’s organizers. “The band is currently on a three-week tour of the western U.S., and Corvallis is their second-to-last stop.”
In a review of their album published in The Stranger, Seattle-based journalist and DJ Dave Segal writes, “Everyone’s equal in TERMINATor’s creative process; there is no leader. An instinctual curiosity guides their songs into unusual and interesting places, as is evident on Placate Boring Flesh. TERMINATor affectionately sucker-punch your expectations about how young modern women rock… Placate Boring Flesh is a brash, inventive first full-length that promises more wonderful and weird subversions on the blighted horizon.”
“I’m excited to see TERMINATor because I love seeing women and feminine people play music that is weird and ugly and confusing,” said Garets. “One of the things I like most about booking DIY shows is getting to provide people with the opportunity to see bands like this, that are exciting and different and kind of obscure, that they might not see elsewhere in Corvallis. As DIY promoters, we intentionally don’t profit off our shows, so the main thing we get out of booking is feeling good about amplifying art that we think is cool and valuable. I think that TERMINATor is cool and I hope other people do, too.”
The show starts at 7 p.m. with a suggested $7-10 donation for the touring bands. As with all Bitter Half Booking shows, it is meant to be a safer space for historically excluded performers and audience members, meaning there is zero tolerance for racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, classist, or predatory speech and behavior. Attendees are encouraged to look out for each other and challenge these behaviors if they arise. Bitter Half organizers’ phone numbers will be made available at the show, as will care resources like water, earplugs, masks, menstrual care products, hand sanitizer, narcan, and first aid kits.
Intersex Awareness Zine: Oct. 26 was Intersex Awareness Day, an internationally observed day that encourages people to take action for the rights of intersex folks and to share the stories and struggles of the intersex movement. In commemoration and solidarity, students at the Oregon State University Pride Center have created a zine that delves into intersex identities, experiences, histories, issues, and justice.
Included in the zine are a non-exhaustive timeline of worldwide intersex history, the erasure and invisibilizing of intersex people in medical fields and queer spaces, as well as some of the major focuses of intersex community activism, such as the denial of bodily autonomy to intersex folks and subjection to invasive, unnecessary physical exams or pressure to surgically and/or hormonally alter their bodies – issues which, in areas like women’s sports, often intersect with anti-Blackness and leave Black intersex people disproportionately vulnerable to such treatment.
“Intersex issues have unique and compounding effects on Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, trans, and/or disabled folks, who often already experience erasure, exclusion, harassment, discrimination, and violence,” reads the zine. “These struggles are collectively rooted in colonialism and white supremacy, which systematically enforce the gender binary and disenfranchise the bodily integrity and autonomy of people based on race, ability, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and expression, and migrant status. These systems of oppression are inseparably woven into governments, legal structures, institutions, sociocultural norms, and medical establishments in ways that target intersex people, and anyone without privileged white male and female bodies, particularly Black and Indigenous bodies.”
The zine also includes information about Oregon-based organizations that support intersex folks, including The Equi Institute, committed to enriching “the health of the trans, queer, intersex and gender diverse communities through trauma-informed care, culturally-affirming services and social justice advocacy”; and Q Center, the largest LGBTQ+ center in the Pacific Northwest that provides “safe spaces, community building and empowerment” for LGBTQ2SIA+ community members seeking connection and resources locally and statewide. Both organizations are located in Portland, though the Pride Center and SOL: LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network, which focuses on queer, trans, and intersex people of color, are referenced as local resources that are available.
“Intersex justice is justice for everyone – informed consent, legal protections, accountability,
colonialism, and reparations for those who have been systemically harmed benefits all people.”
The full digital version of the zine can be read here; physical copies can also be picked up at the Pride Center, temporarily located in Room 112 of the Student Experience Center (SEC).
Trans and Feminist Histories of Joan of Arc: Finn Johnson, a first-year Ph.D. student in OSU’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program, recently had a review published in Ms. Magazine for the play I, Joan, which he and other OSU students and faculty had watched in London while studying abroad – a play which centers trans and nonbinary visibility, power, and beauty, and connects modern-day attacks on trans rights and the “pathologization and ridicule of trans bodies” to the historical experiences of Joan of Arc in feudal France.
“Inspiring a whirlwind of controversy, I, Joan is a feminist, queer, and trans re-telling of the iconic story of Joan of Arc written by Charlie Josephine,” writes Johnson. “It is also a much-needed respite from the onslaught of transphobia that pervades popular media today.”
In this version, Joan is portrayed as a non-binary person – played by queer, non-binary actor Isabel Thom – constantly “pushing against the restraints of gender.” In the first few minutes of the play, Joan is seen wearing a chest binder, trans pride-colored socks, and a trans pride flag sewn onto the back pocket of jeans, and loudly proclaims, “Trans people are sacred. We are the divine.”
“This was a moment of celebration and pride that underlined the importance of reinterpreting history in ways that challenge and contest binary and heteronormative expectations,” writes Johnson. “The show is a raw and pointed affirmation of trans and non-binary lives. It also makes a lot of cisgender people, including some feminists, uncomfortable.”
He argues that what belies criticisms alleging the play to be an attack on or erasure of women’s history is “really a thinly veiled transphobia masquerading as feminist thought”, noting how those who have made these claims ignore the reality that the historical Joan was not persecuted and later killed for being a woman, but for “transgressing binary gender.”
Also highlighting the feminist themes of the play, Johnson points out that it is possible for someone to be both an icon of women’s and trans history, and both a “feminist hero” and a trans or gender non-conforming person.
“The play powerfully embraces the both/and of feminist and trans/queer possibilities for understanding and celebrating Joan,” writes Johnson. “As a trans person, I’m used to seeing people like me demonized in the media. Our lives are often represented by tragedy. While I, Joan certainly does not have a happy ending, this play serves an important function in the preservation of historical icons who have dared to transgress gender.”
U.S. Trans Survey Now Open: Through Nov. 21, the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey (USTS), the largest survey of trans people, by trans people in the country, is now open to people of all trans identities – binary and nonbinary – ages 16 and older who live in the U.S. or U.S. territories, regardless of citizenship status.
Available in both English and Spanish, the purpose of the USTS is to report on the voices and lived experiences of trans and nonbinary folks to inform research and public policy, and to serve as “important resource for use in public education and advocacy about transgender people, the patterns of discrimination many transgender people face, and the need for policy and social change to improve their lives.” The 2022 USTS is intended to provide an updated and expanded view of the experiences and disparities faced by trans folks across a wide range of areas, such as employment, family life, education, housing, health, poverty, and interactions with police and prisons.
In an Instagram post, the OSU Pride Center offers helpful information on what you need to know if you are trans and plan on taking the survey, and encourages participants to also let their trans friends and siblings know about it.
“Help us continue to be the largest, most diverse sample across all identities,” reads a statement on the USTS’ website. “Please spread the word to ensure that people of color, older people, those who live in rural areas, immigrants, Spanish speakers, those who are HIV+, and others hear about the survey. More than ever, it’s important to ensure that trans voices will shape the future.”