#379: It’s February! Let’s read and discuss “Saying Goodbye To My Chest”
Join us on Sunday, Feb. 26 to discuss Naomi Gordon-Loebl’s outstanding essay
Happy Thursday, Loyal Readers. I need to get one thing off my chest before launching into today’s issue. David Coleman of College Board is a very silly man. Caving in to political pressure and watering down AP African American Studies is not exactly the best way to start Black History Month.
I could go on (and on) about Mr. Coleman. But let’s not distract ourselves from the task at hand: reading and discussing this month’s Article of the Month, “Saying Goodbye To My Chest,” by Naomi Gordon-Loebl. It’s a powerful piece.
In particular I recommend it if you identify as cisgender or have not had much experience with trans people or trans issues. As we’ve established over and over again, reading is never enough when we’re on a journey of learning and understanding. But it’s a good step toward empathy.
⭐️ HHH #19 is Thursday, Feb. 16, 5:30 - 8:00 pm PT. We’ll gather at our usual spot, Room 389 in Oakland. Hope to see you there. Get your free ticket here.
Saying Goodbye To My Chest
Naomi Gordon-Loebl put on a binder for the first time when she was 14 years old. She liked how the white T-shirt fell against her flat chest. She loved the way she looked and felt. But only seven months ago, fully 20 years later, did Ms. Gordon-Loebl make the appointment for her top surgery. She explains:
I never hated my chest. It’s a perfectly fine chest; a good one, and I’m fond of it, even. It’s been with me for some 21 years. Everywhere my body has traveled, it has come along. Everything I have done, it has done too. It has been a part of me, and in some ways, it always will be. It needs to go now, not because it is wrong, or something worth despising, but simply because it is standing in the way of a life I can no longer postpone.
In this beautifully written account, Ms. Gordon-Loebl shares her journey and explains how she has felt being trans. It’s like “moving through a world where there are invisible rules” that she is always breaking. She writes about washing her hands quickly in the bathroom, getting patted down in the airport security line, and wanting desperately to sleep shirtless. “Sometimes I find myself idly imagining that what I am doing is returning my body to its rightful state,” she writes. (18 min)
This month, I warmly invite you to read, annotate, and discuss “Saying Goodbye To My Chest” as part of Article Club.
If you’re interested, this how things will go:
This week, we’ll read the article
Next week, we’ll annotate the article as a group
The following week, we’ll listen to our interview with Ms. Gordon-Loebl
On Sunday, Feb. 26, 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT, we’ll discuss the article
If this will be your first time participating in Article Club, I’m 100% sure you’ll find that you’ll feel welcome. We’re a kind, thoughtful reading community. Feel free to reach out with all of your questions.
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