Sandy Stone: Personal History
- Born 1936 in Jersey City, NJ
- 1965 B.A. from St. John's College in
- Started working as a recording engineer
- 1974 stopped working and went
through gender reassignment surgery
- Then began working with Olivia Records collective.
Life and Achievements
- 1979 ~ Janice Raymond wrote The Transsexual Empire:
The Making of the She-Male attacking Sandy Stone.
- 1983 ~ Stone befriended Donna Haraway (theorist), and in
1987 wrote her essay The Empire Strikes Back: A
- 1993 ~ Stone established the New Media program now
called the ACTLab (Advanced Communication Technologies
Laboratory) at the University of Texas
- "Rape...is a masculinist violation of bodily integrity. All
transsexuals rape womens bodies by reducing the female
form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves...
Rape although it is usually done by force, can also be
accomplished by deception."
- With her essay, Sandy Stone challenged the feminist
concept of a "biological woman."
Manifesto for Cyborgs
Donna Haraway, author of
the Manifesto for Cyborgs
was Stone's mentor before
she wrote her essay. Stone
was drawn towards the
muddling of those
boundaries, binaries, and
preconceptions that tend to
stifle a more liberated
understanding of gender
"Highest purpose of the transsexual is to erase herself, to fade into the
'normal' population as soon as possible"
Coyote - The Native American spirit animal who represents the power of
continual transformation which is the heart of engaged life."
Stone made the point that transgendered people need to step out of the
deceptively static structures to claim individuality. People are not bound to
exterior definitions, binaries, or prescribed roles. They should not hide the
fact that they are transgendered.
According to Foucault our
discourse on sex is repressed.
Perhaps this is why talking
about being a transgendered
individual is so difficult, and in
effect causes more repression
of all transgendered people.
This is the reason that Sandy
Stone employs all who are
transgendered to embrace it, to
be on the road to self
There are two main sides to the transsexual community. It is the transgendered
community that has activists, starts movements, gets people informed, [etc...] The
reason I say the two are separate [is that] transsexuals are only a small part of the entire
Ultimately the goal of the transgendered movement is to make it so that any sort of
gendered variety is not looked down upon. This includes cross dressing, like drag
queens and kings, androgyny, and transitioning transexuals.
But because we've localized under a broader movement, it also means that from a glance,
people are confused. A less informed person might not grasp the difference
between a transgendered individual as opposed to a transsexual. I personally do not feel
we have the numbers to argue and quibble over small things like [that]; however it does
bother some transsexuals that they are compared to cross dressers.
After all, we have very different goals - cross dressers are simply enjoying a temporary
and slight inclusion into the other gender by appearance, while transsexuals are acting
out their inner person and are bringing the outside in line with their general feelings.
So it's messy.
Most see gender as binary. The only anomaly is a
transgendered individual, yet we see this individual as a
transgendered only until they can get a gender
reassignment surgery. The transgendered label is only
Remedy: Get rid of the binary of the male/female sex.
Transgendered individuals can create their own identity and
sense of self.
The Influence of Judith Butler
Thesis of Butler's text:
○ Gender is an imitation of social ideas and
Being any type of categorized queer requires playing
the role (i.e. butch vs femme lesbian)
"The lesbian butch or femme both recall the heterosexual
scene but simultaneously displace it... In the case of the
transsexual, the varieties of performative gender,generate
new and unpredictable dissonances which implicate entire
spectra of desire." ~Sandy Stone, on Judith Butler
Genres & Passing
● The essence of transsexualism is the act of passing.
● Passing- to live successfully in the gender of choice, to
be accepted as a "natural" member of that gender.
● Genres- range of characteristics used to distinguish
between male and female
● "Individual change is the foundation of all things, it is not
the end of all things. Perhaps it's time to begin laying
the groundwork for the next transformation."
You'll have trans activists that openly embrace and suggest gender
differences. They might even go so far as to identify as gender queer,
bi-gender, or other such identities, which is cool. And they want to
eliminate the perceived 'gender binary', so that people can actually
start to be more comfortable with each other.
The other side are stealth transsexuals who comfortably have
transitioned and passed for their chosen gender, and have no interest in
outing themselves because they don't want that struggle present in
their life anymore.
You may have noticed that I stand in a curious place between the two,
because I do not mind outing myself, even though in most scenarios I'd
say that I pass without much question.
The Self-Erasing Category
Max Attitude & Nyx Matthews :
"We are taught that 'dissatisfaction' is fixed by changing what you
want, rather than what you are."
"What you are is just what you're born with - it's a bit like...
being told you should stick with the family you were born
into, or the class - like the medieval idea that being, say, a
peasant is something inherent... I think that's quite clearly
"There is an expectation of [a certain amount of] 'body hatred'
involved in obtaining 'sex change' surgery... the idea that a certain
amount of suffering must substantiate trans lives in order for surgery
to be admissible. One must construct a story about the pain of the
'wrong body'... like one has to be suicidal before it's okay to get
Gender Roles in Disney's Mulan
1. Female Stereotypes/
Role in Society
2. Male Stereotypes
3. Identity beyond
stereotypical gender roles
"I'm changing like the seasons
Watch! I'll even cut off my finger
It will grow back like a Starfish!"
"Outside body" vs. "Inside body"
"I am not a starfish, I am of a starfish. I am not my body, I am of my body"
Trans is about "moving towards oneself through oneself"
Transformative: something that starts in one place and ends in another
Trans = transcending or surpassing particular impositions whether
empirical, rhetorical, or aesthetic. It's all about re-shaping bodily
Cripple and the Starfish
"My creative process has always been what
I've described as accumulative. I collect a
lot of different shards and pieces, and I
create something that feels meaningful to
me by finding relationships between them
and putting them into a kind of collage" -
For Today I Am a Boy
Song circles around themes of duality and
One final clarification:
Even though intersexed individuals experience a lot of the same troubles
and issues, for the most part they have strayed from the trans
community - I guess, for a higher level of recognition or something.
Intersex politics generally remain separate from trans politics.
There's no clear answer, no right way and no easy way
in dealing with all of it, especially since from person to person, their
sexuality, comfort, and ability to deal with situations differ greatly.
But you can't have your own separate group for every single person
added to the LGBTQAA community, and right now the trans community
piggybacks on LGB because they are not fully recognized in their own