V-Day, as in Valentine, Victory & Vagina - a world-wide women's pride movement, celebrating women's sexuality, denouncing violence against women & girls.
Its foundation is Eve Ensler's Vagina monologues.
In 2006 approx 1050
V-Days were arranged in 54 countries, in 2008 more than 3700. For the first ever Stockholm edition, 11th March '06, students, professional actors, politicians, pastors, theatre directors - and one transsexual woman - were asked to perform the monlogues. Master minds behind this event were Tina and Helene Delilah from the Stockholm Chapter of RFSU.
Click photo for bigger version
Photo: Carl Johan Rehbinder © 2006
In September, Nyamko Sabuni - the black woman in the orange dress - was appointed Swedish minister of Integration and Equality.
One of my most memorable public appearances so far was 15th Oct 2004, when in front of almost 1000 women I was given the Woman Of The Year Award at the tenth anniversary of Stockholm's Bitch Girls Club.
Considering that only a few years ago, there were fierce discussions in the lesbian world as to transsexual women's access to women only spaces, this was a powerful statement from Birgitta & friends. It was noted as a never before heard of gesture from the lesbian community, as far away as the US. Click on photo for higher resolution version
Another Stockholm club welcoming TS ladies is the women's fetish club LASH. Some years ago they even ran a sister club in Washington DC; What would we do without Helene Delilah, Cattis, Angelica & the others !?! Similarly named Club Lash, in Manchester, is three years their junior. When in early 2004 they arranged a literary evening, I was invited to read from my book "TransActions". (Just before the Jan '09 14th anniversary, Lilaa took over & the name was changed to Wish.)
For Pride week '02 Ulrika Dahl & others arranged a Swedish version of San Francisco's Dyke March, called Queer Feminist Manifestation - QFM.
Three of the eight inauguration speakers: Yours truly, Del LaGrace Volcano & Helene Delilah, of Club LASH fame.
The next day young journalist Sonia Hedstrand showed that political(ly correct) convictions work as extremely efficient filters; Where I said that "I don't understand how anyone who identifies as a woman can claim
not to be a feminist - but there are feminist groups who deny me the right even to be a woman", she wrote that "Anjelica(sic!), as always, claimed that feminism is the cause of all evil."
Quite a logical statement from one of the invited speakers at a feminist manifestation, wouldn't it be ...? Regrettably this was in Dagens Nyheter, one of our biggest & most respected national papers, and I never managed to get an excuse from them.
Only weeks before we arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand, in July '05, it dawned on Nancy that we would be staying with her the latter half of their Pride week. On the other hand: In almost no time at all she arranged this seminar, which - strangely, but an ever so nice change - was attended mainly by trans guys. The next evening we participated in the grand Pride party - almost literally on the other side of the world from Sweden.
Another strange fact: July is mid winter in New Zealand. How many other places celebrate Pride at a time of the year when potential party goers may well decide to stay at home because of weather forecasts predicting snow?
In March 2004, I received an e-mail from the Stockholm Improvisation Theatre, asking if I would consider being the subject for one of their improvised "Personakt" performances - a kind of "This is your life" built around an equally improvised interview. Getting off their stage late in the evening of March 25th, I felt like they had given me an immensely beautiful present - so amazing was their understanding of my situation, so awesome the songs they added as delicate spices. Improvised these as well - from a frantic rap number about coming out at work, to their concluding magnificent gospel about the joys of womanhood - based on replies from only minutes before to questions asked at the spur of the moment.
Admittedly Jan, the interviewer, had had a few days to skim through my book, but we first met no more than 30 minutes before the performance ...
... and the actors, Per, Helen, Johan & Sofia, only said "Hi" when they rushed by, trying to decide what clothes to wear - we didn't meet for real until on the stage, where they responded intuitively to my replies and re-enacted events from my life without having said a word between them; In one scene they revived the emotional content of some now purely intellectul reminiscences from my early teens, in another they gave me beautiful 'memories' from a conversation I never had with my dad, because he died a few years earlier.
Without a doubt this was one of my most magic experiences ever.
Maybe riding your motorbike in the Pride parade isn't "public" in the ordinary sense of the word, but considering the impact of Malou's TV documentaries it still was.
From Stockholm's 2008 hosting of EuroPride. The young lady is my son's lovely dyke friend Yulia. © Anette Malmström
The rain regrettably reduced the expected 80 000 in the parade to a mere (?) 45 000, and the 80 bikes to 20, but a very nice bonus was equally public and 'ordinary' TS woman Rebecca and her partner Helene.
Another way to go public is to have your private parts exposed in a Pride Park photo exhibition. The others were xx ones, only mine was a trans pussy,
which added a different twist to the exhibition.
Photographer Sussie Hedlund asked ten of her friends to guess which one was mine - they were all wrong. I first posted a 'pastel on sandstone' rendition of the photo, but even that felt too private.
Had to replace it with this botanic wonder.
2009, with head of security Mille -
under Friends -
at the top of
the parade ...
... and this
amazingly handsome couple
trailing behind ;o)
Pride photos '09:
© Sara Ängfors
In November 2010 I was invited to give a presentation to a private dentists' society, on the possible gender and sexual diversity among their patients ...
... with my own situation as the centre of gravity. The next day a woman in the group sent this e-mail to me and her fellow participants: "My mental space grew immensely, and was filled with understanding, empathy, respect and human warmth. It was an enriching experience, so much more than an ordinary presentation."
To be cont'd.