The Blacklist has hipsters in it

hipster-dogI started the Golden List with transfriendly places a couple of years ago. About once every year I had to go back and update it, but this year I’ve found myself having to go back to it much more often. Not because , one would hope, there might be an increase of venues but actually because of the rapid disappearance of free zones.
And there is another trend: hipsters.
I am not against ‘hip’ people as a group, such negativity itself is now the trend and this one has anti-art and anti-intellectual characteristics that I think are very suspicious. What I definately don’t like however is the disappearance of squats and their replacement with hip venues that abuse the squatting and ‘Berlin’ aesthetics but sell coffee for 8 euros.

I have now finally extended and updated the BLACKLIST with examples of places that seem nice and creatively playful on first sight, but on closer look it turns out their ‘alternative’ outer shell is only skin deep, while serving a questionable crowd.
All the venues that I’ve put on the list so far are in Amsterdam but their style (and pricing) is spreading to the rest of the country. It’s a trend to ‘look-cheap-and-messy-yet-serve-super-expensive-junk-on-wooden-crates’. I think it’s fair to say this is not queerfriendly and it marginalizes economically precarious trans people even more.

With this update the following venues/parties got deleted: Apollo, Bordó, DV8, Farfalle, Fruitcake, The Mighty Aphrodite Show, Night Creatures, Slangenpand squat, Transfusion festival, V-spot, Valreep squat (voormalig dierenasiel). They’ve all gone defunct.

In other news:

Transgendergroep Nijmegen has recently put up a list with transgender initiatives in the Netherlands. Many of these are places you cannot go to physically, so I’m not putting them on my list :-)
As always: if you know of any other transfriendly events in the Netherlands, please let me know!

Dutch event: Trans en bloot

Finally there’s a Dutch equivalent to the widely-acclaimed TransBare All retreat. If you don’t speak Dutch but wish to attend anyway, contact the organisation. I’m sure it will be great, so be quick!:

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Meld je uiterlijk 24 april aan!

Eerste Trans & Bloot Weekend voor transmannen

imagesearchBegin mei 2015 organiseert Transman.nl het vernieuwende Trans & Bloot Weekend. Tijdens dit weekend bieden we een afwisselend programma met diverse workshops rondom het thema “thuis voelen in je lichaam”. Aanmelden voor het weekend kan tot en met 24 april. Dus… hak de knoop door en meld je snel aan!

Het Trans & Bloot Weekend (TBW) is van 1 t/m 3 mei 2015. Tijdens het TBW zijn er diverse workshops, waarin we praten, voelen, ervaringen uitwisselen en/of creatief bezig zijn. Het programma is afwisselend, zodat er voor ieder wat wils is. Continue reading →

Back to square one

Amsterdam is changing, and not for the better. It seems that everything we have been fighting for the past 30 years is flushed down the drains. The recent evictions of all major squats have meant that my Golden List of Transgender-friendly venues is now almost cut by a third. Week by week I have to delete entries because they no longer exist.
And the general public? They eat this up with much delight. Not realizing that squatters spent a lot of time and energy preserving these buildings, hosting events for a diverse community, providing life with more than just survival value for those of low income and developing creative spaces. These kinds of places are what keep a city alive and with it’s ending the essence of urban Amsterdam dies.
Yes I am angry, but mostly sad. We have been living in a neo-restrictive neo-conservative fearocracy since 2001 now and the ending is not in sight yet.
We need spaces for minorities, for trans* people without papers and for poor queers to keep on feeding ourselves with new ideas, away from the mainstream. I will keep on looking for safe trans/gender/queer spaces, but it’s getting harder and harder Continue reading →

My genitalia on TV

I’ve been on Dutch national television, explicitly speaking about my “man cunt” and cruising as a proud transman with cis gay men. As part of the television series “Tent & Seks” by Sunny Bergman which breaks ground slowly but surely.
I’m being interviewed on a bunch of pillows in a tent in episode 3 of this series, named ‘Out of the Box’. About the fluidity of sexual preference and the fluidity of gender. This episode was broadcasted on july the 31st 2014.
I’m not super happy with the quotes they decided to take from me (the editing process was something I had no control over) but my real and only purpose to be in this was to show to the Dutch viewers that genderqueer/gay transmen’s existence is not some weird freakish Berlin/San Francisco phenomena, but that we also exist in the muddy landscape of Holland.
It’s in Dutch but there are many English speaking people in it as well. Amongst them two transvestites who verbalize their sense of self really well + two elderly gay bears that speak about how the mainstream doesn’t perceive them as gay while they are in fact deeply in love.

Watch all the other episiodes here too: www.npo.nl/tent-en-seks
Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 1.41.17 PMfl

I sent a complaint to GayRomeo…

planet-romeoI sent a complaint to GayRomeo…
…and I didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt.
…all I got was a very nice answer.
Really. Very nice indeed, but it probably will not change much.

Once in a while, I get harassed by gay guys for my trans status that I display openly. Don’t worry, it’s very rare. So whenever it does happen, I feel sort of ‘seduced’ to get into a smart dialogue with these people, even while knowing that some really are too stupid. Yes, dimwitted people do exist. And sometimes there just isn’t enough vomit in the world.
I can block these awful guys (they’re usually young and know nothing of the world; they may be afraid to lose their gay identity when discovering they feel I am quite handsome, so yeah, I know where it’s coming from). But… If I block them nothing is gained. It’s a systematic problem that needs to be addressed more publicly. Continue reading →

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