Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2013-03-11

Plus Size Underwear for All Gender Presentations

I wrote a guest post at Autostraddle about Plus Size Underwear! Peek under skirts and pants and find out how to be well-dressed underneath your clothes! I write from the perspective of how I wear and buy underwear, but I also have a hearty section of what I like to see on masculine of center folks (though I don’t wear that kind of underwear).

Plus Size Underwear for All Gender Presentations

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Peeking under a skirt. A little Bevin on Devin action. Photo by Courtney Trouble.

2011-08-21

News Items and Mr. Transman Pageant 2011, Sunday, August 28th in Brooklyn

Hi friends! I’m back from the woods and resuming normal life. As best as I can, of course, since it’s hot and it feels like everyone is still out of town.

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Actually, neither life is “normal”. Photo by Miss M from the Femme Parade.

A few housekeeping items and then a showbiz announcement.

*The story of Cougar, Bevin and the Atlantic City Homophobe was published on Autostraddle. Thanks to everyone who commented or talked to me about it. I even had a close friend who was holding hands with a new beau and instructed in his own neighborhood “Just because you people can get married now doesn’t mean you have to flaunt it.” Oh, we’ve got a long way to go.

*Turns out fat people can be healthy! Thanks CBS news!

*Also, the fatosphere is helping people get healthy! That’s awesome!

*I’m super excited about the Fall Season of Rebel Cupcake and put a call out for performers. If you’re interested it’s over on my Tumblr. If you’re planning a trip to NYC, Rebel Cupcake is the second Thursday of the month at Sugarland in Williamsburg.

*New York Queers! Get excited, next weekend, August 28, at 8PM is the Mr. Transman Pageant at the Brooklyn Knitting Factory! Brought to you by Murray Hill, NYC Showbiz Icon, and my pal Trent Brooks!

The pre-show line-up is fabulous, which alone is be enough to drop $15 and devote your Sunday night.

The dreamy Princess Tiny & The Meats. (Did you know that’s fag slang for tiny penis?)
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His words and sweet sweet guitar will melt you. Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

The awesome Schmekel, a band with a great sound and AMAZING lyrics. (Did you know schmekel is yiddish for tiny penis?)

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Sometimes they pass out guides to the yiddish terms they use in their songs at their college gigs.

Kit Yan, the winner of Mr. Transman 2010. I met Kit through last year’s pageant and he’s now a favorite at Rebel Cupcake and a friend. He’s an incredible slam poet. I can’t wait to see him perform and pass the crown to his successor.

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Kit Yan with Miss Mary Wanna in the Rebel Cupcake photo booth. Photo by Nogga Schwartz (of Schmekel) for Rebel Cupcake.

And speaking of successors! Recall from my bid for Miss LEZ in 2009 that there are many categories in Murray’s pageants:

PLATFORM (I hope they are thinking of catchy ones)
SWIMSUIT (this is nerve wracking–fellas if you get nervous be sure to have a schtick)
INTERVIEW (I hope the judges are thinking of interesting questions)
TALENT (we want to see genuine talent)
EVENING WEAR (I suggest something that glitters)

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Contestant #2 Topher, from his photo on the cover of GO Magazine. Check out the rest of the contestants on this write-up in Velvet Park.

Y’all, this pageant WILL sell out. Buy your tickets now!

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2011-07-27

Visible Homophobia

Remember after Pride when News 12 interviewed me about gay marriage and how they reported as news at 11 that I was single? Well, it was with great pleasure that I gave twitter the exclusive breaking news about my relationship status changing.

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Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

At the time of the news report we had started seeing each other but it was early. “Don’t worry, I’m not afraid of the competition,” she texted me after she saw the report.

We met at Rebel Cupcake when a mutual friend of ours brought her along to the party. We’ve been hiding in plain sight, running in different crowds in NYC.

Cougar is kind, attentive, clever, perceptive, sweet, hot and treats me really well. She also has really great style.

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Photo by DrivenByBoredom.com.

We’ve been having a lot of fun together and are both always up for adventure. We decided to celebrate a month of dating by going away for an overnight. I suggested Fire Island, since I love a good gay beach day, but she suggested the more adult and swanky Atlantic City. AC is only two and a half hours away from NYC and it seemed like fun.

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Cougar found this really cute hotel that is total gay bait. The Chelsea. I mean, it’s lit with purple lights, like a gay batman signal. It’s exceptionally well-decorated with a 1950s/60s era theme. Our room was gorgeous, with a fuzzy leopard print chair, a corner ocean view, and not one but two vanities (perfect for the Fag/Femme romance).

There are two pools in the hotel. The rooftop pool is very swank, with each set of reclining chairs two-by-two separated by planters for a bit of privacy. There are also private cabanas, a disco ball dangling above the pool and a poolside bar. I mention the set-up of the place as an adult area as it is relevant to the following story.

Cougar and I got into the pool and went to the deep end because there were a couple of children swimming in the shallow end and I didn’t want to get splashed. We floated around for awhile treading water and chatting and then settled next to the wall on the side of the deep end, Cougar with her back to the wall and me with my arms around her neck floating about a foot away from her (imagine a Junior High slow dance). We were talking and punctuating sentences with smooches the way you do when you are being affectionate.

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The kids had started bringing their splashing to our end of the pool, getting out and jumping back in, creating a lot of waves. Three teenagers had also gotten into the pool, a visibly heterosexual couple was also showing affection.

All of a sudden this woman comes over to me and Cougar and leans down to us and says “Excuse me would you stop gyrating and making out? My children are in this pool. This is a hotel. You should get a room and go up there.” She had a couple more snide remarks that I can’t recall. Her tone (and content) were extremely condescending.

I was flabbergasted. I had no idea what to say to her or whether her comments had merit. Of course any romantic mood fostered by the adult playground of Atlantic City or the adult setting of the poolside bar was completely ruined by what she had said. I said to Cougar “Were we doing something wrong? Don’t talk to her, I don’t want this to get bigger.”

Cougar went to the restroom and I continued to float in the pool, stunned. I typically react to hostility by letting people stew in their own juices and not giving them the benefit of a response. Usually people who are mean or aggressive are also insecure–they will imagine the worst possible response and their imagination is likely the worst thing they could do. When I realized she hadn’t said anything to the heterosexual teenage couple I became livid and wished I had something clever to say in the moment.

Cougar went over to her and talked to her. I couldn’t hear what Cougar was saying (but I could totally hear the woman as her response became shrill) and decided to get out of the pool and just leave the area. I was so upset.

Later, Cougar recounted what she said to the woman, which was (in a calm voice) “If you would like to talk about this like an adult I am in room 1814. We were nowhere near your children and not doing anything inappropriate. You have no right to speak to us like children. If you had a real problem you could have addressed it with hotel management.”

The woman got defensive. She asked Cougar if she had any children, to which Cougar said “That’s none of your business,” and then she tried to backpedal and say that her child came up to her and said she felt uncomfortable. Cougar repeated again, “If you want to speak to me like an adult, I’m in room 1814,” and walked away.

At the time I was really upset by the incident and didn’t express this to Cougar at the time, but the more space I get to think about this I am really proud of Cougar for standing up for herself/us with that woman. Especially knowing the woman didn’t bring her affection policing didn’t to those teenagers.

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Adults should get to be affectionate in public. Gay adults should get to be just as affectionate as straight adults. I don’t feel we were being at all lewd or inappropriate. We were far more like playful otters in that pool and not at all like the people on Jersey Shore.

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Otters showing affection.

Atlantic City is a city for gambling and drinking. The hotel we were staying at isn’t exactly kid-friendly, if it had been a child promoting environment I would never have wanted to go there for a getaway like that.

I kept running through whether the Chelsea hotel is gay-friendly or not. Perhaps other than the decor, it isn’t. I mean, if it had been overtly gay-friendly, in that way where establishments have gay rainbow stickers on their doors or overt diversity policies, would that have stopped that woman from trying to police our queer affection? Caesar’s Atlantic City advertises an explicitly gay-friendly environment. Do people run into this at Caesar’s? Would she have policed us if there had been other queer couples there as well?

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And I also wonder if she even knew we were queer or how she was perceiving us? I fly under the radar a lot, despite being 100% out of the closet, because my gender is flamboyant but on the normative spectrum for a lady. I’m also a lot more visibly tattooed in a bathing suit than I was a year ago. And maybe it was fatphobia?

Cougar doesn’t fly under the radar. She had a double radical mastectomy* which just made her already dapper gay good looks even more androgynous and people throw her shade in the ladies room a lot. She’s also super swishy in that way that I’m sure some well-meaning stranger will tell me “Honey, do you know your boyfriend is gay?”

Regardless, that woman was entirely out of line. If she had a problem with people smooching, she should have taken her kids to someplace expressly for kids.

I was upset about the incident most of the evening. I kept looking around suspecting everyone of being homophobes and searching for my people. My people who were sadly absent from Atlantic City. It was depressing.

I walk the world typically thinking the best of people and try to remember people are doing the best they can with what they have at any given time. And I also understand that this kind of stuff happens all the time, it’s really difficult to live life and prevent it from happening and I would rob myself of a lot of experiences if I kept my life exclusive to a fat queer bubble. And that’s certainly not what I want.

However, I know my gay dollars are important and I do prefer to patronize places that are explicitly queer-friendly. So there’s a balance.

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It’s so interesting that everyone I’ve told this story to has had a different idea about what they would have done if they were me in that situation. I had a straight friend who said she would have just taken her top off. Someone else would have suggested she take her children and leave us to our gyrating. Another person suggested a John Waters quote, which I had thought of in the elevator going back up to our room and wished I’d had at the ready.

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Sometimes my life looks like a John Waters movie.

I’m content with how things worked out, night of being upset aside. When I was able to dissociate from the incident for later processing, I had a wonderful getaway with my wonderful girlfriend. We looked at the ocean, I won $30 on a slot machine called “Kitty Glitter” and we had really good stuffed french toast for breakfast.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED:

I wrote an article on Autostraddle.com about the value of getting a prenup. I feel that a strong prenup makes for a strong marriage ready to stand the test of time. It’s also got the best title of any legal article I’ve ever written.

If You Ain’t No Punk Holla Gays Need Prenups GAYS NEED PRENUPS

Check it out!

*Cougar is working on this amazing book project called Champion: My Photo Journey with Breast Cancer.

2011-07-01

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Pride Edition

Hey, I can get legally married in my home state! How rad! I gave my thoughts to the Autostraddle round-up. Check it out!

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The cast of Rebel Cupcake Pride! Rod Tame, Dominic Berry, Fancy Feast, Regie Cabico, Me, and Rocco Katastrophe. My favorite part of NYC Pride weekend, at Stonewall. It was a precious and incredible event.

I went away on the beach sojourn I mentioned in my last entry! It was awesome, calming and amazing. One night away and two long cloudy days on the beach in awe of the beauty held in gray skies and gray water, the miracle of shells. The sweetness of a shih tzu.

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It has been a few months since I’ve updated the Queer Lexicography!

Gay Stamina Month:
So many people resonated with my declaration of Gay Stamina Month I thought I should include it formally in the additions to the queer lexicography. Gay Pride Month! How incredible that a rebellion in a bar in the late 60s would turn into a non-stop hustle of events for all homosexuals? They run the gamut from family pride picnics to insane nightlife celebrations. It takes a lot of stamina to stay that excited and go to that many events and yet people really seem to do it.

“Ironically I decided to take a break from Gay Stamina Month at Cherry Grove on Fire Island, where everything is so gay the bar at my poolside hotel room played ‘We Are Family’ on the hour, every hour.”

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Me and my former roommate Blaney! Photo by Amos Mac for Rebel Cupcake.

My friend Taylor Black is causing a hullaballoo at the new website PrettyQueer.com because of his harsh critique of Brooklyn nightlife. I have some thoughts on his entry in an upcoming post.

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But that said, I appreciate Taylor as a friend and co-creator and he brought me this incredible Gay Pride quote in honor of the season.

“I don’t think you can really be proud of being gay because it isn’t something you’ve done. You can only be proud of not being ashamed.”–Quentin Crisp

That is exactly it! Anyone in a marginalized identity has to work so hard to love themselves. It’s really being proud of overcoming the shame of a society that makes it really difficult to love yourself no matter who you are, but especially for who you are attracted to.

In the spirit of celebration of gayness, let’s add to the lexicography about sex! One of my favorite parts of being gay is having sex that celebrates the body and all it is capable of.

Sex Tornado: You know how when you have a sexy romp and it goes on for hours and sometimes it lands in multiple rooms? Like the couch cushions are on the floor, there’s sex ephemera everywhere (bottles of lube, toys, wrappers), clothes crumpled places, the bed blankets are on the floor, etc? And you go to the bathroom or leave your hotel room and come back and realize it is beyond obvious what has happened. It needed a name.

“I just got done cleaning up the sex tornado. I think we are due for another storm tomorrow night.”

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Fuck Knot: Glenn Marla introduced me to this term. It’s a good one, and it happened when we were teasing someone who was taking a break from a laycation in process who we noted was sporting a giant tangle in the back of her hair. It’s a thing, it happens. It’s really funny.

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Straight hair is more likely to develop a fuck knot, says Glenn Marla. This is Leslie and me (she is straight) at Mackenzi’s store.

Sex Isle: This is a derivative of sexile, which, according to Urban Dictionary means to be kicked out of your apartment so your roommate can have sex. However, I think the other side of that is part of the Sex Isle and is clearly more fun. Also, Sex Isle is a derivative of Love Island, where you disappear to when your lover is in town or you go on laycation with someone with whom you share romantic feelings.

“I have been on Sex Isle all week and I keep combing fuck knots out of my hair.”

As an aside, I have a different straight friend with a great coping mechanism to the soul-suckage rejection machine of online dating. When she goes onto her website of choice to check her responses she sings a theme song. And when she gets a particularly fun response she reads it aloud. It helps to make it a bit of a game.

Thanks to everyone who reached out after my last post about Cheryl’s passing. My friend Kelli stayed at her bedside literally 24/7 for months. If you are able to donate to the WTF Love Fund to help Kelli’s ability to pay bills you can donate at this website.

2011-05-06

Buying Bras from a Queer Perspective, A Radio Play and Sad Songs at the Bar

Three posts in one!

Happy International No Diet Day!

The nice folks at Autostraddle asked me to contribute to their mega article about buying bras for queer bodies. It’s really cool and funny and I think you’ll like my Queer Fat Femme perspective. The Lane Bryant plunge bra really did change my life. Go read it.

The Bra Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes and Gender Expressions

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Here’s me wearing a bra. Photo by Shameless Photography.

In unrelated news, I was in a radio play! It’s about a small town gay bar written by my friend Taylor who is from a small town in the South but really this bar and these characters could be anyone. I see a lot of my family in Memaw and Missy and some of the hateful Femmes I’ve known in my time could easily be the Femme in this. I play both the Butch main character and the Femme in this play. Grab a cold drink and give it a listen!

Missy’s Big Chance from Tom on Vimeo.

A Radioplay by Taylor Black
Edited by Tom Leger
with Bevin Branlandingham as Missy and The Femme, Julie Blair as The Bartender
Recorded at Collect Pond in April 2011

Taylor and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. We share an affinity for queer nightlife, lesbianism, Lucinda Williams and other related music so often we pre-party while watching an Indigo Girls DVD (with Taylor in the audience as a baby gay) and drinking champagne or reading aloud from lesbian magazines.

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One random Thursday Taylor texted me asking what I was up to. I had been at a press cocktail party exploring a new space I might use to book some parties in the West Village and was feeling just mischievous enough to get into some trouble. And since hitting lesbian bars with a gay boy is totally my 2001 I figured for nostalgia’s sake we had a plan.

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Great drink menu and make-out ambiance at 116 but no backstage… So I am thinking more of a swanky cocktail night.

I had him meet me at RF Lounge–formerly known as Rubyfruit Lounge. I don’t know why they changed it–most of the queers I know around my age have a copy of Rubyfruit Jungle. I love that book. It made me fall in love with New York City long before I ever visited. Also, as an aside, while I enjoy our queer nightlife parties, I intentionally throw mine at a gay bar and try to patronize queer bars and queer-owned bars as much as possible. There’s a reason there are only three lesbian bars left in New York City, we have to keep going to them in order for them to stay open!

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116’s flattering lighting.

We ventured in for RF’s $5 martini night and Taylor made a beeline for the jukebox. They have a killer one–the kind that plays mp3s and lets you search for artists so you aren’t shackled to one genre. And Taylor really hit my sweet spots with his selections, both by our dear Lucinda.

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The strawberry capirinhas at 116 were killer.

RF Lounge also has a video game machine that plays Erotic Video Hunt, which is one of my favorite bar games. During those two songs, I was enjoying a $5 cosmo, playing a fun game and listening to sweet sad songs–happy as a clam. The other bar patrons were sitting belly-up to the bar, not a soul was dancing. It was so magical in its simplicity.

We settled in, got more drinks and played more random bar games. And as Taylor headed to the jukebox and put in his $10 bill, the bartender shouted “No more slow songs!!” Now, first of all, Lucinda may play sad songs but they are certainly not all slow. And they also matched the tenor of the crowd in the bar far better than the vintage remixed Britney that was otherwise playing.

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The bartender at 116 didn’t try to control the music He was quite sweet.

Not one to be yelled at by a non-relation, Taylor abandoned his 20 credits in the jukebox and returned to my post at the video game machine. We had thought we were in for a nice sad sack takeover of the bar but not so. We finished our drinks and I returned to the jukebox to use Taylor’s credits. I played some Prince and Pointer Sisters (much better dance music than was being piped in) and some Sheryl Crow just to be contrary. Of course, I ended the set with Buttercup, my favorite fast song from the new Lucinda album.

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116 has a photo booth with a mirror to check yourself first! I didn’t have four singles so I didn’t use it but I intend to go back for it.

We left shortly into the playlist and headed to Cowgirl Hall of Fame for a late dinner (New Yorkers eat dinner really late, this is a thing) and then to Kamp in Park Slope. This is a weekly gay bar event that is really low key and fun, sweet bartenders, great dj (played Prince right after we got there) and even had a bull dog chilling under a bar stool. I was the only girl. Keep the 2001 hits coming.

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From the outside one would have no idea the moodiness and sexiness of 116.

After this experience Taylor and I decided we’re going to start a sad mob and do little takeovers of bars with good jukeboxes and drink specials and play good sad music. A bad remix of the 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl” might drive me to drink but a dose of Lucinda’s “Metal Firecracker” will keep me drinking and toasting to better times ahead.

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