Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What I've Been Reading and Watching: Kushiel's Dart, The Gwen Araujo Story

I recently finished the first two books in a fantasy series by Jacqueline Carey. The first is called "Kushiel's Dart" and it is heart-stoppingly good! Set in a mythical post-medieval France, the story centers on a courtesan who is also trained as a spy. She is an anguisette, which means she experiences pain as pleasure. She is trained as an adept of one of the Houses of Naamah. Servants of Naamah are male and female courtesans whose work carries the sacred weight of a spiritual act. Each house has its own focus, including ones for aesthetic perfection, merriment, sadism, masochism, and money fetish. There is plenty of hot BDSM in the novel, as well as court intrigue, romance and epic battles. Ms. Carey is a highly perceptive and daring author, with insights touching upon the nature of human interactions, politics, sex and sociology. I loved it!

I caught "A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story" on the Lifetime channel. I half didn't want to watch it because I knew it would break my heart. No happy ending here. I was really moved by this story, which brought me to tears too many times to count. Gwen's struggle to be accepted by her family, her misguided romance with an ex-Marine who supposedly didn't know she was transgender, her lack of support at high school leading to skipped days and a drinking problem. I think we have all felt the pain of not belonging, of wanting to be loved for who we are, of not wanting to pretend anymore. But even more than that, I relate to TSs in a more subtle way. Even if they want to play at sweet and innocent, their cocks make them a target. It's like "nasty girl" written across their forehead. Too many close-minded people think that means they do not deserve respect. I know what it's like to be oppressed for my dirty mind. Shame sucks when it's not a game.

I remember when I first heard the news of her death, which took place in Hayward here in the Bay Area. She was murdered by 3 young men she had "tricked" at a party. Believing her a biological female, she had messed around with each. Later on, she was lured back so they could take their revenge. She was only 17 years old.

I remember the shock of it. How could this happen so close to San Francisco? Here we are in our golden cage. Hayward? I can't say I've ever been there. In mentality, it seems a thousand miles away. At least that's how it was portrayed in the film. In fact, they didn't even mention its proximity to San Francisco.

After watching her story, the only consolation I could think of was knowing that these men who killed her, who were so afraid of their own sexuality, are now in the hell of jail -- a place with plenty of grim opportunities to test their sexuality further. Revenge is such an empty feeling.