YouTube Archive №1: “Our Trans Tube”; Discussing Feminism in 1994

Several years ago, I felt inspired to contribute a “Heresy” — a fan-type piece on a cultural artifact, more or less lesbian, with which one is obsessed — to the Brussels-based feminist magazine Girls Like US / GLU.

GLU Issue #3: Generations

As with writing for “community” legacy publications and presses like Cleis Press, The Lambda Book Review, or Sinister Wisdom, I received a prickle of wish-fulfillment at submitting to GLU ; there’s heritage and pride tied up in getting to brush shoulders with yesterday’s arts & letters cool girls; writing is less of a competition for me than it is a steady quest in hopes of one day receiving an invitation to a worthwhile table. In my teens, GLU’s covergirls in particular smoldered on my laptop screen, long before I was equipped to consider myself a writer, among a great many other things.

My “Heresy” wound up being on the late Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés.

What set me on my journey from GLU admirer to GLU contributor is more uncanny than the usual pinball game that seamlessly connects lesbians to one another — in fact, it was a trans guy who landed me, a lesbian, a byline in a “more or less female” publication (as GLU states), writing about yet another lesbian.

Several years before I wrote one, I read Cyrus Dunham’s “Heresy” titled “Their Trans Tube,” where he wrote of the queer wonders lurking just beneath YouTube’s neo-fascist surface:

Because of YouTube’s logarithmic ability to sort content thematically, one piece of essential trans visual history leads to another, leads to another, leads to another. Suddenly you’re an hour deep into grainy video footage of International Chrysis singing cabaret, or Sylvia Rivera at her protest encampment by the Hudson River. These fragments, in some small way, allow us back into the histories that have been pushed to the margins. We need these connections, I think, in order to know ourselves and figure out who / how we want to be.

Cyrus’ contribution is enviably short at just two paragraphs. At the time, overwhelmed with work and home over-connectivity, his words did make me fall in love with the internet and its ruins again. Today, they send a different prickle down my spine, if only because it’s just another reminder that the genuinely haphazard and lively connectivity of queer community can never truly be impeded. That this Brussels-based magazine shares its name with a newer TWOC movement in the U.S. is yet another reminder of queer serendipity.

This is my preamble to sharing one of several videos I’ve saved away on YouTube, never being certain what to do with them until my brain recollects a scrap of similar rhetoric during a discursive moment.

In 1994, at the height of the Lorena Bobbitt spectacle, Charlie Rose would play host to an arresting roster of feminist theorists for a panel on whether feminism had “gone too far.” This is all the remarkable when one considers the players:

  • Charlie Rose — host, later ironically ousted for harassing staffers during the height of #MeToo;
  • Christopher Hitchens — late Brit atheist whom I love for this piece on Diana Mitford Mosley;
  • Rebecca Walker — Third Wave Fund founder, Alice Walker’s bisexual daughter; she’s the only panelist to mention trans liberation;
  • Naomi Wolf — prominent pro-sex feminist from the era, more eloquent and housewife-friendly than most;
  • Tad Friend — then Esquire writer, now The New Yorker writer; and
  • Katie Roiphe — consent-loathing feminist thorn-in-side, daughter thorn to Anne Roiphe, whose cousin is Roy Cohn; Roiphe is most known for this insipid Harper’s piece, though she’s below in all her unrefined glory.

Roiphe got her due here. To that end, the background of this discussion makes Hitchens all the more of a candidate for a sainthood the atheist would most certainly rebuke in stride:



Periodic diary-style musings on the arts, homosexual culture, & the outhouse poverty class.

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Sarah Fonseca

Periodic diary-style musings on the arts, homosexual culture, & the outhouse poverty class.