Anything That Moves
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Letters: Readers Talk Back!

Thanks From Tokyo

Hello. I'm a Japanese bisexual. I'm writing this letter in Tokyo, where I grew up. I'm a songwriter and a poet who works as a translator for a living. I've been reading ATM for two and a half years, since I first found this amazing magazine at Tower Books in Tokyo. As far as I know, this is the only place that has ATM in this big city. It's really sad, because I love this magazine a lot and wish a lot more people had a chance to read it.

Let me tell you about Japan a little bit now. We have a culture that is totally different from yours. We were told not to speak frankly, not to laugh out loud, to always fit the society, and being different is wrong. Things've been changing for the better in the last 10 years for gay and lesbian people, but still there doesn't seem to be any place for bisexual people. In Japan, there are lots of community organizations for gays and lesbians. There are lots of magazines for them, but none for us.

Here's my experience as a bisexual: I once fell in love with this lesbian woman, but what she told me was, "I don't like bisexual women because I can't stand being left for a guy." I also had a boyfriend who kept telling me not to leave him for a girl. I still cannot help wondering if bisexuals should only date bisexuals. It's just like someone said in ATM, I feel like I don't belong anywhere. And where there's no community for bisexuals, it seems really hard to find someone special. I believe this is a big problem we have.

Well, about ATM -- I translated some articles into Japanese and let my bisexual friends read them. They loved them a lot, too. A little while ago, Out Magazine had its Japanese version. I wish someday you could publish ATM in Japanese, too. We are waiting. Anyway, thank you for having time to read this letter. Please keep publishing, and I'll keep reading.

Atsuko Irie
Tokyo, Japan


I have a problem with your magazine (note, I didn't say my magazine) because I don't identify with it and am beginning to wonder about all this bold, frontier-traversing "inclusiveness." On the other hand, it's possible that Mark and his fearlessly led bisexuals are human beings who are being as inclusive as they can and don't dare to include me, but will get there later.

Here is my secret sexual expression: In an ideal world or in a few years time, I hope to be married -- as far as the laws of Canada permit, or if not, just spiritually married -- to two women. Two bisexual women. Who will, I presume, love each other as much as each of them love me, as much as I love each of them, which makes three couples or one marvelous triple unity! And yes, I am proudly bisexual, and can probably produce certificates from male and female exes to prove it if you insist.

Now, here is the non-inclusive bit (I didn't say you were excluding me)... in the last couple years of reading ATM, I have seen one, count them, one reference to female-male-female triads, and guess what? It was in Auntie and Uncle's advice column. Guess what? They don't like it. Guess why? Because they think it's a typical male hetero fantasy.

Oh, and since we're on the subject, I have also noticed that ATM is getting more and more into TG stuff, which doesn't leave space for the real nitty-gritty, tough, dangerous writing about a woman who extends her hetero relationship to another woman, or about a man who opens his straight marriage to another woman, or two male (female) lovers, one of whom also loves another male (female). Somebody might get hurt if you started writing about real life... somebody on the ATM staff might be vulnerable, and well, transgendered people are sort of, er, ah, fashionable. Right?

So are you evading issues? Are you excluding me? Or, should I believe as I want to, gorgeous bi girls and hunky bi guys, that you're working on your personal inclusiveness?

Whether or not you publish my letter, I hope it makes you think. Not "squirm," but reflect that some of us really, really want to live our (triad) life. Yes, it's conventional and bourgeois, but... 1. Every lesbian I know would like it if only to have children and men without giving up their freedom, and 2. We have a lot of fun, support, loving, caring, honesty, and good sex.

Incredibly sincerely yours,
N. Barbour
via cyberspace

Was Rita Mae Brown Bi?

Dear ATM:

Reading Rita Will, a 1997 memoir by Rita Mae Brown, I stumbled on this: "Much as I love women, I am not immune to the charms of the opposite sex -- if they act like men." (ch.57, p.300) Well! Perhaps ATM should try to interview her?

Tortúga Bi Liberty
San Francisco, CA

We Need ATM's Human Touch

I just wanted to say a big thank you for publishing material like Heather Franek's in issue 17. It is such a relief, in a way, to read a compassionate and reflective article from a person who does not only have experiences but also examines the world around her, and that in such a moving way lacking all bravado or pretense that, unfortunately, is so uncommon on the 'gay web', so to speak. It is not only the analytical identification of the issues in TS but the very human approach that our cruel and cynical world lacks. Thank you very much for great reading.

Paulina Varchavskaia
via cyberspace

What a Fantastic Magazine!

Hi! I just heard about your magazine when we received a shipment at the bookstore I work at for the first time today. My co-workers and I bounced with glee -- what a fantastic magazine! I was wondering how long you guys have been publishing this great mag. I heard eight years or so? Just curious!

Amy Starnes
via cyberspace

Essay Left a Nasty Taste

I was pretty happy with the last issue, but what on earth were you thinking with that nasty essay by Franek? It started out okay -- I'm a trans person dating a trans person, and I was interested in an honest piece on how tricky that can be. I'm also very sad about how much trouble a lot of us -- FTMs and MTFs, but especially MTFs -- have in finding non-abusive people to date, and it was nice to see that mentioned. Then, suddenly, we veered off into the realm of complete and vicious stereotype. Trans women have no right to be in women's space because of their male privilege? Well, hello there, Ms. Dworkin. What on earth are you doing writing for Anything That Moves? Since you seem to have missed a decade:

  1. There is no universal female experience of sexism. What has been called a universal female experience of sexism, is usually the experience of a very restricted group of wealthy white women who would no more welcome a recent dark-skinned Muslim non-trans immigrant like my lesbian housemate than they would PK. (Ask me for more detail, and I'll tell you about how feminist separatist groups treat a non-trans Muslim woman in hijab. Then tell me about how nurturing separatist women's spaces are.)
  2. Trans women are female, therefore trans women's childhood experiences are female experiences, as valid as non-trans women's are. Getting harassed by boys in a locker room because you're girly is as female an experience as bonding with the other white girls over how fat you are and better not eat that last piece of cake. Get over it.
  3. Trans women do not invent the standards of female beauty. Trans women suffer from those standards as much as non-trans women do. More, since if trans women do not meet doctors' standards of female beauty they are denied hormones and other treatment. Trans women also do not run around with male privilege oppressing other women. That's advertisers and politicians you're thinking of, honey. Can you name a single member of Congress who's trans?
  4. Non-trans people often blame trans people for the sexism of the world, with statements about how much more rigid trans people are about gender roles. It's transphobia my dear. Much like white people saying that people of color are responsible for fixing racism.
  5. If a non-trans woman is bossy, loud, and dominates meetings, other non-trans women talk about how assertive and sexy she is. If a trans woman does exactly the same thing, she's showing her male privilege. Huh?

Reading this essay left me with a nasty taste in my mouth, and a great deal of worry about PK's mental health. If Franek is this transphobic on paper, I certainly wouldn't risk dating her.

Love and Kisses
via cyberspace

The "True North"

First, I want to tell you what an awesome magazine you have. Until recently, I didn't know about ATM. A friend offered to lend me an issue she thought I might find interesting. She was surprised to learn I hadn't heard of ATM (being the totally bi chick I am), so here I am. I'm 38, a post-op T/S, great breast implants, tall, attractive, athletic, blonde Vixen! [That's meant to sound confident, not vain.] But I live in Victoria, British Columbia. Beautiful city, but 20 years behind in queer & T/S issues! My friend, Tathra, lent me the Summer 98 issue, #17. It dealt mainly with T/S stuff, which is obviously why she thought of me.

Which leads me to my questions. I would like to vacation in San Francisco or L.A. and truly experience the T/S lifestyle/ clubs/events, etc. Any suggestions, phone numbers, organizations, etc., would be greatly appreciated.

The other question is perhaps trickier. I have to be honest; the article, "It's What You Think You See That Counts", by Andrea Michaela Gonzalez had me so hot I could barely stand it! It has fueled my (ahem) "auto-stimulation" for awhile.

I realize this probably goes against a bunch of rules, but I would love it if you could put me in touch with Andrea M-G. We're definitely "cut" from the same cloth! Let me know what you can and can't do with regard to reaching Andrea. I can certainly understand the reluctance of being contacted by a stranger (from a foreign country, no less).

Last but not least, the bisexual explanation on the inside cover is marvelous. I find it extremely frustrating to describe being bi to friends. I have photocopied it and will always have it to assist in trying to get through to people.

Thanks again. As I said, any help with T/S info and contacting Andrea M-G would be way cool.

Your bi-trans friend from the "True North"
via cyberspace

Equality For All

Please accept this expression of my heart felt thanks to Andrea Gonzalez for her insightful and inspiring article on Matthew Shepard and the struggle for equality for all. HRC would let those of us who don't pass for straight to continue hanging by a thread while providing opportunities for those who do to reap the benefits of straightness. Thank you for pointing out the injustice of it all.

Diane M. Torrance
Cincinnati, OH

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