Dennis Cooper’s Blog: Marilyn Roxie presents … Twink Studies

Since late 2015, I have been compiling references and conducting interviews for my future book Twink Studies. Despite the plethora of writing on bears, leathermen, radical faeries and more, there is not the same level of detail out there when it comes to twinks. Twinks are variously described as “thin, smooth, and buff”, “slim or waiflike”, “unnecessarily bitchy”, or “shallow and air-headed”. With adult film titles like Man on Twink implying an inherent effeminate quality to the twink — while others promote a ‘boy next door’ dynamic — and opinion pieces stating that “being labeled a twink is like getting the scarlet letter of the gay universe”, there is clearly more to unpack than meets the eye.

For this post, I have brought together a sample of my findings so far.

Continue reading →

Just Experimenting: Video Art Exploring the Margins of Gender and Sexuality

Just Experimenting: Video Art Exploring Gender and Sexuality
Friday, June 9 at 8 PM – 9 PM (Doors 7:30 PM)
Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission St,
San Francisco, CA

Doors at 7:30pm! $5 to $20 at the door – 100% of the proceeds go towards supporting the Center for Sex and Culture. NOTAFLOF.

Just Experimenting will be an hour-long program of video art and experimental film that concerns the topic of experimentation: non-traditional video or film techniques and genders and sexualities outside of the norm. What does “just experimenting” mean to you?

Showing works by:
Crystal Mason, Danica Uskert, Charles Lum and Todd Verow, Ceven Knowles, Clitoressa, Meehaun Glasper-Wade, Rick Clarke, Eden Mitsenmacher, Jet Caputo, Paula Levine, Marta Strazicic, oberon strong, and Rocket Ear.

About the curator: Marilyn Roxie is a digital video collage artist. Themes expressed in their art include androgyny, male submission, and queer subculture. Roxie currently lives and works in San Francisco. You can see their work at

Accessibility: The Center for Sex and Culture has a 32 inch wide front door with a slight incline. There is a bathroom that will accommodate heavy chairs (no support bars – forthcoming installation). Main room is on ground floor with a 6 foot ramp up to it. The back door ramp will handle up to 42 inches wide (requires someone to assist in opening door).

About the films:
Crystal Mason – “I Know My Soul”

This video touches on issues of identity building and self love through self knowledge. Using a poem by the Queer Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay.

Paula Levine – “Mirror, Mirror”

Shot in Venice California at Muscle Beach, this is a short vignette about viewing and being viewed.

Eden Mitsenmacher – “Couldn’t Dream Anywhere”

It seems our consciousness is fascinated by our own hands.
It makes sense, for aren’t they a symbol of our agency? That endlessly fragile agency, the sense of which is mostly constructed, almost dreamt up. Yet we’re searching for it relentlessly.
Hurtling through space like that, is restlessness any wonder?

Jet Caputo – “grassonskin”

a human individual utilizes a machine to express their relationship to earth and her entities

Ceven Knowles – “aqua regia”

A web cam artist contemplates his projected image over the internet to the vaporwave soundtrack of the Computer Afterlife album by Infinity Frequencies while simultaneously broadcasting to his public.

oberon strong – “ALL FALLS DOWN”

ALL FALLS DOWN presents a digital hell-loop centering around the idea of the trans antagonist coming to terms with the ideas of home, anxiety, intimacy, our inevitable death, longing, and the conversation between obsolete and current technologies.

Danica Uskert – “cocaine superstar/pop that box”

A multi-layered shibari-striptease performance art music video, heavy on the kink.

Rocket Ear – “Don’t Fuck With England”

A love story of words, whips, fries, and chips.

Marta Strazicic – “Masculine Fragility”

A man oppressed by social norms rethinks his masculinity in the heart of the oasis, finally breaking through his fragility.

Meehaun Glasper-Wade – “I Am”

This is a timeline documenting emotions and changes I have experienced thus far throughout my medical and spiritual transition from female to male.

Clitoressa (aka Christina Goestl) – “sexflexnetz”

An audiovisual extravaganza re-mix in celebration of the infamous project, 1997-2006, – ‘A positive guide about pleasure, being informed and asking questions, encompassing drag kings, macho sluts, new fiction and performers, artists and writers from Japan’s Midori to Pat Califia.’ (I-D magazine) Produced for the royal blast-off picnic performance at Flex (AT), 1998. Revised and dubbed 2007. With a dedication to kink party people !i!i!

Charles Lum and Todd Verow – “BLOW JOB 2017”

“BLOW JOB 2017” is a remake, update and a deconstructive reimagining of Andy Warhol’s most famous 1964 short film “Blow Job.”

Rick Clarke – “THE SYMBOLS WILT”

…This confusion, this dark backwards, this failure in the duty of mothers, this burying of liberty’s putrid corpse is my misinterpretation of the immortal hour and the purity of my love, of my sex and of my fetishes – my fetishes of and for fetishes… the transference of energies after the golden death of the body is the cause of all this… I want to wonder about that, moving between bodies. Not really ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ and vice-versa, because that’s impossible to know for sure… the people without these powerful energies – i.e. everybody not me and thee – are parasites… For these vermins who inhibit our private world, our over-garden, to have a soul would be a travesty…

About the artists:

Crystal Mason
Crystal Mason is a youngest child. Genderqueer. Social, and works for art and art making. Crystal Mason is a mover of emotions and thought. A lover who submits. A black person who can not hide, so I assert my right to be seen. Art maker, arts administrator, videographer and editor.

Paula Levine
Paula Levine has worked in video since 1983. Trained through local community television production in Vancouver, BC, with roots in local histories, grassroots video productions and the power of community voices. Her videos have screened in numerous festivals, galleries and museums in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe, including the Canadian Embassy in Japan, New York Jewish Film and Video Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Canadian National Gallery. Her work has won many awards, including commendations from SECA, Atlanta Film and Video Festival, Montreal Film and Video Festival, with works in permanent collections and media libraries. Her video is distributed through Video Out, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Eden Mitsenmacher
Born 1987 in the USA; works in Rotterdam and Tel Aviv. Combines performance, video and installation to take a critical yet engaging view of social, political and cultural issues. Holds a BFA from Goldsmiths College University of London and an MFA from the Dutch Art Institute. Has participated in several exhibitions world wide, including; Istanbul Biennial, the Van Abbe Museum in the Netherlands, Holon Design Museum, Liverpool Biennial, Arebyte Gallery London, ANILOGUE, Animation Festival Budapest, Internationales KurzFilmFestival Hamburg Germany and many more.

Jet Caputo
Jet Caputo is a multi media video artist who often utilizes the special abilities that a hi-8 video camera has to offer. With an organic and homemade feel, he blends documentary techniques with expressionism to present themes of eco-eroticism, a connection to the earth, and self image. To see his work, visit or on Instagram as @krapnekpark.

Ceven Knowles
Ceven Knowles is video and new media artist out of Berlin. He works with themes of psychoanalysis, pagan spirituality, and the exploration of consciousness in digital and new media through his video art installations, art pornography, and music video.

oberon strong
oberon strong (b. 1990 in los angeles, ca.) is a queer rapper, photographer, and filmmaker. his work draws on themes of being othered, the absence of the lover, processing feelings of desire, and the relationship between death and photography.

Danica Uskert
Danica Uskert is a dis/abled, pansexual, polyamorous, mixed-race (Filipina-Slovak) multimedia performance artist and filmmaker. Her bdsm and fetish-themed work focuses on memory, trauma, self-love, identity, representation, and rebuilding one’s sense of self after sexual assault, abuse, and half a lifetime as a former sex worker/professional submissive. You can find more of her work at, follow her on vimeo at, or on twitter @donnauwanna.

Rocket Ear
Rocket Ear works at the intersection of sex, sound, software, and silliness. You can find him at or This is his first movie. He’d love to have your help to make another.

Marta Strazicic

Marta Strazicic (19/04/1995) is an MA student of new media and animation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia. She works in an art duo called SwS(Schwestern Sisters) with her sister Tea. They merged together and started making animated music videos, short animations, posters, various art exhibitions etc. Their SwS quote is:”Creating art is a one thing, but looking at other people’s art, it’s another thing”

Meehaun Glasper-Wade
Meehaun Glasper-Wade, is a California based visual artist residing in the Bay Area, SF. As a young Black transgender man he hopes his work will bring awareness to the black and queer community as well as their parallels and intersections. He is currently working on a series of paintings which examine certain notion(s) of masculinity within the black and trans male of color community.

Clitoressa aka Christina Goestl is an artist with an extensive dossier. She created and maintained the project ‘SEX – a positive guide’ (online 1997-2006, recently on show at Wien Museum, Austria, in a restored version,, developed the sex-positive interactive compendium ‘matrix.64’, and is a pioneer in shedding light on the pleasure spot clitoris with her artistic works ‘Clitoris Design’ and the 3d-print model ‘Clitonics’

Charles Lum and Todd Verow
Charles Lum, aka clublum, received his MFA in Photography from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago after 25 years scouting & managing film locations. His short videos have screened internationally in museum, art and film venues.

Todd Verow attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the AFI Conservatory.
He made his feature film debut with “FRISK” in 1996. (Sundance, Berlin & Toronto.) At Bangor Films, Todd has directed over 25 features and numerous shorts, establishing himself as the most prolific auteur emeritus of the New Queer Cinema.

Charles & Todd also co-directed the feature documentaries “AGE OF CONSENT” and “SEX & The Silver Gays” and the shorts “TOM”s Gift,” “been too long at the FAIR.” and “Secret Santa SEX Party.”

Rick Clarke
Rick Clarke is from the brutalist wastelands of the north west of England.

Polish Interview on Genderqueerness

An interview with me appears in Polish feminist publication Wysokie Obcasy on the subject of Chloe Aftel’s genderqueer photo series:,53664,18939134,poza-plcia.html

Use Google Translate to guide you if Polish is not your forte. The interviewer says this is the first published piece in Poland on the subject of gendequeerness, appearing in both print and online.

American Library Association: Nonbinary Gender Identities in Media: An Annotated Bibliography ALA.ORG

My website Genderqueer Identities was included in the American Library Association‘s very comprehensive non-binary gender bibliography! Available to download at ALA.

GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES – Julia Serano’s Holistic Gender Concept

Julia Serano’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (2013) is an essential, timely book that I was incredibly excited to finally read just recently. Packed with personal essays and detailed analyses of the ways that LGBTQ movements can harmfully police one another – and the tools needed to change that – I would highly recommend Excluded to anyone who feels unaccepted in some queer spaces or wants to end the back-and-forth between marginalized groups in the queer world, without ignoring identity-specific specific concerns, that so often can be a distraction from our fight to define ourselves and gain basic respect and much-needed rights.

One idea that Serano puts forth throughout her book that I would like to focus on in particular, rather than doing a review of the book, is the concept of looking at genderholistically. I think recognition of gender holistically could be one of the most beneficial steps towards acceptance of diverse gender identities. I have bolded some of my favorite parts in the quotes below. Serano applies this holistic concept to feminism and, consequently, it is a useful lens for viewing gender which:

“…moves away from the trite and overly simplistic “nature-versus-nurture” debates about gender and sexuality, and instead recognizes that biology, culture, and environment all interact in an unfathomably complex manner in order to generate the human diversity that we see all around us.” (pg.6)

Serano differentiates “essentialist” thought from the sense of gender expression arising naturally in her chapter on femme identity and reclaiming femininity.

“I am not an essentialist…I do not believe that all women are the same; I believe that all women are different. I believe that women naturally fall over the map with regards to gender expression and sexual orientation. I believe that there are no wholly “artificial” genders or sexualities. I believe that many of us experience natural inclinations or predispositions toward certain gendered and sexual behaviors. But those inclinations do not exist in a vacuum—rather they arise in a culture where gender and sexuality are heavily policed, where they are defined according to heterosexist, cissexist, transphobic, and misogynistic assumptions, where they intersect with racism, classism, ableism, and other forms of oppression. I would argue that this view of gender and sexuality is not essentialist. It is holistic.” (pg. 65)

“Once we accept that on some level feminine expression is natural, that for some of us—whether female, male, both or neither—it resonates with us on a deep profound level … once we accept this, then we can tackle the real problem: the fact that femininity is seen as inferior to masculinity, both in straight settings and in queer and feminist circles.” (pg. 66)

I have received countless questions on this blog, and from others about my own gender expression, about whether it is okay to be non-binary and present femininely. Reading Serano’s account can be a powerful antidote for those who feel shame around wishing to present through the feminine modality; for feminine-presenting / id-ing non-binary folks, femme trans men, and trans women who are consistently marginalized.

Serano also takes to task those who may hand-wave away gender as “just” a performance or “just” a construct.

“Instead of saying that all gender is this or all gender is that, let’s recognize that the word gender has scores of meanings built into it. It’s an amalgamation of bodies, identities, and life experiences, of subconscious urges, sensations, and behaviors, some of which develop organically, and others which are shaped by language and culture…Instead of saying that all gender is performance, let’s admit that sometimes gender is an act, and other times it isn’t…Let’s stop claiming that certain genders and sexualities “reinforce the gender binary.” In the past, that tactic has been used to dismiss butches and femmes, bisexuals, trans folks and our partners, and feminine people of every persuasion…Instead of trying to fictionalize gender, let’s talk about all of the moments in life when gender feels all too real. Let’s stop trying to deconstruct gender into non-existence and instead start celebrating it as inexplicable, varied, profound, and intricate.” (pg. 107-108)

Finally, in Serano’s Homogenizing Versus Holistic Views of Gender and Sexuality chapter, she outlines three tenets of a holistic model:

1) “…while our shared biology and culture may create certain trends (e.g. a preponderance of typical genders and sexualities), we should also expect the variation in our biology and life experiences to help generate diversity in our genders and sexualities (just as there is a great deal of diversity in our bodies, personalities, interests, and abilities more generally).” (pg. 152)

2) “…all human behaviors, including those associated with sex, gender, and sexuality, are complex traits—that is, they arise through an intricate interplay of countless biological, social, and environmental factors. Because there are many different inputs that may influence our sexes, genders, and sexualities, there will always be a wide range of variation in potential outcomes, rather than one or a few discrete outcomes.” (pgs. 152-153)

3) “…one can never truly peel away the biological from the social or environmental…in other words, as a result of our unique environment, experiences, and biological variation, our brains become quite individualized to a certain degree. And it is through our individualized brains that we experience and respond to the world around us. So the notion that one can point to a specific behavior or preference (e.g., some aspect of gender or sexuality) and claim that it stems entirely from biology, or entirely from socialization, is flat our incorrect.” (pgs. 153-154)

The holistic gender framework is very similar to my own ideas I have had for years about gender being a web of social, biological, cultural, and individually determined elements, so I was very excited to see it as a recurring theme and explained so articulately. There is so much wonderful insight to be gained from reading Excluded. I seriously cannot recommend it enough.


Source: GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES – Julia Serano’s Holistic Gender Concept