Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I'm not the most holiday happy person in the world (to be honest, I loathe the holidays), but there's something about Halloween that I really enjoy. It's the ear candy that I enjoy more than actual candy!

Here are my top 10 favorite Halloween-themed or Halloween-ish songs:

10. "The Ghostbusters Theme Song"

Who you gonna call? 

This song is so cheesy that it is more than right. It is PERFECT!

9. "This Is Halloween" - from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 

Oh yeah. Still chillingly good.

8. "La Métamorphose de Mister Chat" - Dionysos

Monsters in Love is one of my favorite albums from this awesome French band, Dionysos. As the album title implies, the theme is about, well, monsters in love. This song is one of their best.

The best line: "It's hard to be a cat in this fucking town!" 

7. "I Put A Spell On You" - Screamin' Jay Hawkins

This is basically a jazz staple, most famously recorded by Nina Simone, but this is the original song sung by the incomparable howler and crooner, Screamin' Jay Hawkins. This man is so underrated, and maybe was too "out there" for his time and even for this time. But c'mon, what's not to love about the chilling line: "I put a spell on are MIIINNEE!"

6. "The Trial" - Pink Floyd

From Pink Floyd's magnum opus, The Wall. It may not be Halloween, but the song/video sure is surreal, frightening, and crazy. It gave me chills when I ever first saw it. And it still does!

My favorite line: "Crazy, toys in the attic, I am crazy." 

5. "Superstitious" - Stevie Wonder

One may not think of Halloween when they think of Stevie Wonder, but when you really listen to this song, it is kind of spooky with the way he pleads for us to avoid broken mirrors, walking under ladders, and how believing in things that we don't understand can do more harm than good. Plus, even the funk and groove of this is kind of scary and pretty insane, like Stevie's talent ;) .

4. "Scream Like A Baby" - David Bowie

I always thought of all songs on this David Bowie classic album, Scary Monsters, that "Scream Like A Baby" is the most chilling (and brilliant). The way his voice is sped up in the middle of the song and the register changes from high to low in this frenzied way...definitely hits the spot for me!

3. "Get Out Of My House" - Kate Bush 

Kate Bush's voice may not be everyone's cup of tea. It is an acquired taste because yes, sometimes it can be grating and "too much" at times, but it is ethereal, an enigma in a way, and chilling when Kate Bush nails it just right. "Get Out of My House" from her classic The Dreaming album is one of my favorite tracks on it, and it's definitely one of Kate Bush's most crazy, wild, and spooky best.

2. "Science Fiction/Double Feature" - from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Those lips! Those teeth! It's not really Halloween without them, and this Rocky Horror Picture Show opening number!

1. "Thriller" and "Ghost" - Michael Jackson

Okay, so I had to tie this one, but it's by the same artist who doesn't need an introduction.

"Thriller" is obviously the KING of all Halloween songs, and the album of the same name is the KING of all albums, being still the #1 best selling record of all time. It's next to impossible to not hear it somewhere on Halloween. It's a timeless classic that will live on forever, like MJ himself!

Another Halloween classic of his that's by no means as famous and far from being his most well-known, but I've always loved it, and that's Ghosts. It was his attempt at creating another scary short film in the Halloween/"Thriller" tradition. I think the reason why it never caught on or really got the love that it deserved was because at the time of its airing, Michael's image was going through hell fire. The dancing and music of course is brilliant, but what's more striking really is Michael's acting and the makeup. Michael once went out in public wearing the disguise as the fat, white mayor, and nobody recognized him. That's magic! This video is awesome and always puts me in the spirit.

What are your favorite Halloween songs? 

I DARE you to do a reactionary blog post/list of your favorite Halloween songs - that, or post your list in the comment section below. Why? Well, because I love knowing what people dig :). 

Have a safe and fun Halloween, everybody!


Monday, October 27, 2014

On Reviewing: When It Is Being Taken Too Seriously

I don't really expect anybody to read this or really take my opinion on this to heart, but I feel it's something that must be said and that I need to let off my chest anyway.

I've been knowing about this for a while now, about how many reviewers who write a 1-3 star review are getting attacked by the authors and "street teams" in such a juvenile, immature, and even violent fashion (verbally and/or physically). And the funny thing about it is how it's the 3 star reviews that a lot of authors get particularly heated about, for reasons that I don't quite understand. A 3 star review is GOOD. It  usually means that the reader is in the middle, doesn't love their book, but doesn't hate it either. But...for some reason, a lot of authors go on rage mode about it, and it seems like these days a lot of authors are taking it to a personal level that's not only tacky and unprofessional, but wrong. Review bloggers are the ones who are especially getting attacked by these authors (because they're easier to track, find, and reach out to by email or home address). I'm not too surprised by this, considering that on three occasions, I've dealt with authors who took my 3 star review so personally and really showed their true colors/dark side over it when it was as fair and balanced as any 4 or 5 star review I'd give. Thankfully, those three authors didn't take it too far beyond the arguing/angry email. I just ignored their temper tantrum. But still, it was a turn off. When I hear stories of reviewers where the author or street teams are taking things to such an extreme level, it really is heartbreaking.

First of all, as much as authors really hate hearing this, I'll always be the first to say that no matter if you're a famous author or not, bestselling, award winning, doesn't matter, not everyone is going to love your book. And why should they? Is there such a world where EVERYONE loves one particular book or movie without a negative review or one person who doesn't like it in sight? I know a lot of authors wish this world would exist for themselves, but in reality, that doesn't happen. Ever. EVERYONE will get their share of 1-3 star reviews no matter how great a writer he or she is. It's just how it is. Why authors take it so personally is beyond me. Is it understandable to be annoyed, upset, or bummed when a reader doesn't get you or your work? Sure, but how hard is it to just accept and move on? And since when has a few 1-3 star reviews killed somebody's writing career or book sales?

I guess my main point is, really, is that I think many authors take reviews far too seriously. They're just opinions. Everyone has one. And yes, some of those opinions will be negative. It's just the nature of the beast. Even if a review isn't helpful or just plain hateful, even in that case, it's still nothing personal, just move on. Reviews are great no matter what, because at least it shows that somebody out there is actually reading your book, AND to make it better, it sparked enough emotion/feeling in them to actually want to go out of their way to write a review. That alone is something to appreciate even if that reviewer is not appreciative of your work. I'm not understanding why some authors respond to negative reviews, and only adding more to the negativity which only makes that author look childish, insecure, or more of an egomaniac. I don't think it's worth it. Keep things classy will never come back to haunt. If an author feels the need to respond to reviews at all (it's not always necessary!), why not keep things safe, mature, and friendly? Even with negative reviews, why not take what's being said and turn it into a positive? Sometimes, negative reviews can be a good thing, since a lot of them, the ones that are well thought out, usually make pretty good points that can help the author improve on their writing for future works. It's really what you make of it.

So with that, one of the reasons why I've decided to not review as much is because I think people take the fun out of it and have taken things way too seriously. It's sad, but honestly, I really don't have time for drama, online or offline. With exception to reading/reviewing books from my publisher(s), and maybe for a friend on occasion, I've decided that I do NOT want to read/review any works from anywhere or anyone else outside of that. It's unfortunate. It's not out of fear or being scared. I just don't really want to go through the possibility of going through what I've already went through three times before. Again, I'll still read/review on occasions, selectively, still honestly, but very selectively.

I'm very proud to be an author. I take my craft seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously within this industry. I love this industry, but I refuse to be involved in the drama that it sometimes attracts. I love to read and review, but as I am with my writing, I do it for the fun of it. I really wish people can go back to making reading, reviewing, and writing fun instead of focusing so much on sales and numbers. Yes, that's the nature of the beast too, but still...does anybody else find it so...distracting? 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

On Publication

This is a reactionary blog post inspired by friend and fellow author Cari Z,  in regards to publishing. The one thing that hit home for me was her saying that when an author sends out a work to a publisher, yes, that publisher is evaluating your work, but so is the author evaluating the publisher in regards to their professionalism, how they edit, sell, and promote your work, and so forth.

This is the thing.

Not many really come clean with this, but let's face it. The publishing industry is NOT what it used to be, for better and for worse. This digital age now allows authors to have OPTIONS which is something that just didn't exist back in the day. Nowadays, there's self-publishing. The traditional route of finding a publisher and that publisher publishing and promoting your work isn't the only way. These days, authors (self-publishers especially) can (and really have to be) publisher, self-promoter, cover artist, editor, and so forth. This is a wonderful thing, naturally, since it allows authors to have more options and to not be limited by just one route and one route only. For a lot of authors, that balancing/juggling act is where they thrive. But for many of us still, we want and trust our work to be in the hands of a publisher who will have the proper editing team, cover artist, proofreader, and so forth to make our work as polished as it can be with their help. It takes a whole team to create a book. More than that, the publisher must take the time to work with the author to ensure that the finished product is the best it can be. When a publisher doesn't have high standards for this, it is not only unprofessional, but it is a disservice to the author and publisher to not hold up to those standards.

I will admit this, lovelies, that the reason why I've sent out my work to so many publishers (big and small, mainstream and indie) is because I don't believe in putting all your eggs in one basket. Unfortunately, not all publishers are created equal, and not all publishers work out. Like all businesses, there's always a chance that they'll "go under." Some go out of business for whatever reason, or some are just going under because they aren't professional and don't care to keep their business in order. I've been there, done that, with all this, so this is nothing new for me. I always have back up publishers to send my works to for just in case these scenarios happen. It can happen to any publisher, no matter how big or small they are (with the latter, though, it's especially common).

My only advice with publishing is that, folks, first of all, don't rush. It's OKAY to take your time. I know we live in a day and age where everyone is so hell bent on publishing as much as possible for money, fame, and in the name of being prolific and bulking up their bio. This drive, though awesome, can be detrimental. Don't rush a manuscript just for the sake of putting it out there or sending it out to a publisher. Don't word count chase; yes, as authors, we do this, and yes, it feels great, the more words the merrier, but at the end of the day, quantity does not equal quality. Take your time and do your best, and be proud of your work no matter if you feel that it's worth publishing, or something that is better to be left scrapped/shelved despite all the hopes, hard work, and love that was put into it. Some works just aren't meant to be published, and that's okay, as long as you had fun doing it. I think intuitively, you'll know which work is realistically publishable, and which ones aren't. I've been there, done that, too, with no regrets.  Do your research on the publisher. Not that I'm saying stalk them on their Facebook page(s) or Twitter, but just keep an eye out on how they promote their books and how seriously they take their authors. It's pretty easy to tell which publishers truly take pride in their books/authors versus those who make it obvious that it's not a top priority. Don't jump onto any publisher; it's okay to be picky or selective. It doesn't make you a diva. It just means that you care about your work and don't want it to be with a publisher who doesn't care about it as much as you do.

The biggest advice I can give is really, folks, have fun. Don't take it all so seriously, meaning like, yes, take your craft seriously, work hard, learn, and keep evolving/growing in your art, make new friends along the way, keep things classy with your editors,  publishers, and readers, but remember, it's writing, and the essence of it is rooted in imagination and fun. Don't lose sight of that! As long as you're having fun, and your readers are having fun too, then well, that's the greatest, isn't it?


Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray

Title: The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray

Author: Mitzi Szereto

Publisher: Cleis Press

Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Gothic Romance

Length: 214 pages

Published: November 19, 2013


Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mitzi Szereto’s Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray continues where Wilde left off with the Faustian tale of a man of eternal youth and great physical beauty who lives a life of corruption, decadence and hedonism. The story begins in the bordellos of Jazz-Age Paris, moving to the opium dens of Marrakesh and the alluring anonymity of South America. In his pursuit of sensation and carnal thrills, Dorian’s desires turn increasingly extreme and he leaves behind yet more devastation and death. He ultimately settles in present-day New Orleans, joining with a group of like-minded beings known as The Night People. They inadvertently return to Dorian his humanity when he falls in love with a young woman he rescues from becoming their victim. She will be his redemption, but she will also be his final curse.


To take a classic work like The Picture of Dorian Gray and basically continuing on where Oscar Wilde left off is a pretty daring thing for any author to do. Mitzi Szereto obviously has a love for the original tale. It shows in her mastery of Wilde's romantic and flowery writing style, but she also makes it her own, such as what she does with this re-telling.

As one would expect from a book about the dark, elusive, and hedonistic Dorian Gray, this is far from being one "fluffy" or "uplifting" novel. It's no "redemption story." It won't make you feel all warm or fuzzy either. The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray takes you on a roller-coaster ride through one man's rise and fall in trying to live life to the fullest without restraint, limits, morals, and rules. In Szereto's tale, Dorian's corrupt and decadent life takes the reader from the bordellos of Jazz-Age Paris, to the opium dens of Marrakesh, and to South America. There's a lot of sex, a wide array of sexual encounters with many people in all walks of this gothic life, drug use, and violence. Anyone who has read the original novel wouldn't be surprised by this: the violence is pretty heavy, and there are many questionable areas of consent in the mix as well that may make readers squirm. It's all sexually charged in a pretty over the top way, in true Wilde/Gray-fashion. If you're expecting a resolution to all this, then a most important point would be missed. As Wilde has written in the Preface of The Picture of Dorian Gray, "All art is quite useless." So, essentially, the art of being corrupt and bad is also useless, and is meant to be enjoyed for what it is. That's The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray in a nutshell.

Mitzi does a wonderful job at summarizing many events in the original tale to where you don't necessarily have to read that first to understand what's going on in her "sequel" of the work. One should, of course, if they haven't already, because then this retelling can be more appreciated in how well the author pulled this off. Sure, there isn't really a whole lot of "meat" to this story when it comes to plotting. It's basically an erotically charged and violent/hedonistic romp told in the point of view of a man who has eternal youth and an insatiable appetite for corruption, decadence, and hedonism. Dorian is far from being a likeable character, so you won't be rooting for him or his decisions, and yet, he still manages to inspire us even today. The pacing of this story may be slow for some, but it does suck you into the mood/feeling of the scenes that definitely brought me to the times. I know at first glance one wouldn't think that this is erotica, but it is, whereas the original story wasn't, so one has to keep that in mind. This book doesn't necessarily titillate or arouse, though, in the way you'd expect from an erotic novel, so that may pose some problems for some readers too.

The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray is a hard book to recommend, but I think it's one that is easy to at least, if anything, appreciate. The essence of Oscar Wilde and Dorian Gray pops out of the pages. It's dark fiction that dabbles in the paranormal. The story/plot really doesn't go anywhere but down with absolutely no ambition to lift the reader up. But in the fashion of its era, that's the point, and the author and this book does that triumphantly. This book won't be for everyone, but it isn't supposed to either. If you want to take a read through the dark side, this is it, and it's so worth giving it a try.

Rating: 4

Brand New Minor Character: Yasmin Ahmed

This character isn't "new" per se, but her presence is new on this blog! Yasmin Ahmed is only in one scene/chapter in The Man on Top of the World, but naturally she's still important. The Somalian model that exudes the look, attitude, and regal beauty of my Yasmin is this model with the same first name, Yasmin Warsame. Isn't she gorgeous?

Yasmin basically mirrors Izzy beauty and fashion wise. And though her scene in the book is short, she sure was a lot of fun! ;) Seriously though, this model is just...stunning! A true inspiration.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Happy Coming Out Day!

It's National Coming Out Day! And this is the year where I've come out in many ways....

I'm intersex.

I have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia/ male and female genitals.

I proudly flaunt the whiskers on my chin and my stache that naturally grows on my face.

I'm not sorry about it. I love it!

My nickname is "Muscles" and "Diesel."

I was raised a girl. Bless my parent's heart, but at heart, I 100% feel that I would've been happier if I was raised as a boy. Today, I'm male-centered/trans* in my mind, but at heart, I'm gender neutral. Some days, people see "a lady." Other days, people see a "Sir." I've been called "androgynous." Sometimes, people look at me confused, and don't know what pronoun to use and they just say "Hello" or call me a "person." I don't mind how society sees me, because I know who I am and don't need everyone to SEE the way I see myself. Being called a boy/one of the guys/sir is very nice and makes me giddy, yes, it really does, but nothing makes me happier than to simply be seen as a person.

I'm pansexual. I used to identify as bisexual, but bisexual isn't trans-inclusive. I'm not attracted to "everyone" or "everything", but I am open and have had romantic and sexual relations with people of all kinds of genders, orientations, and identities. It's not a choice. It's just how I've always been.

I'm not on this Earth to educate. If people have questions about what it's like to be intersex, trans*, and gender neutral, I'll answer them, but I won't necessarily lecture you. I don't go out of the way to educate unless I want to vent about the highs and lows with being intersex, because yes, there are many. The best way to know what it's all about is just to know the person, not only the labels and terms.

The world's not perfect, and not EVERYONE will get LGBT/QUILTBAG, but you know what?

It might be today's cliche, but it still rings true: IT GETS BETTER. And we will survive ;).

Happy Coming Out Day to my fellow LGBTQIA lovelies and the allies! Much love, always!


Here's Johnny!

As I'm already on to refining/editing Chapter 8 of The Man on Top of the World, I thought of refreshing y'all's memory of the narrator of the book, Jonathan Maxwell. The "pic-spiration" for him is Roger Taylor, the drummer of Queen. The only thing missing is that Jonathan has a more prominent dimpled chin, but otherwise, the look of "Johnny" emanates through these pics I found.

Johnny is just as fabulous, glam, and fashion-forward as Izzy, younger than him, but more mature.

But he loves to smile, joke around, laugh, and have as much fun as his "Captain."

And like Izzy, Johnny has a very serious, sometimes jaded, and "dark side". Don't we all?

He tries to be optimistic and see the bright side of life regardless :).

Izzy's music and his drumming is an escape for him.

And one of the greatest escapes of all for him and Izzy....drag!

So there's Johnny for ya in this nutshell. For now ;).


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On Reviewing: Taking A Hiatus

I've announced this on my author page, and naturally, I'll announce it on here too. After I read/review the next few Cleis Press books that are on my queue, I'm going to take a long hiatus from book reviewing. The main reason is that I really want to dedicate more time to polishing up The Man on Top of the World before I send it out to a new publisher and working on The Mistress with my editor. I also can't seem to make the time to read/review as much as I'd like to, because there's my day job and other things that take up a lot of my time and energy. That's not to say that I'm not going to make time for reading. I'm always reading something, mostly classic literature (erotic and non-erotic), but I really want to take a break from reviewing and just read for pleasure. I'll eventually get back to reading/reviewing LGBT erotic/romance fiction in the future, but for now, it's so long, until I get that "itch". I do review LGBT films once in awhile on the author page; they're short and sweet, so there's that, but as for reviewing LGBT books, I just need that break. Book reviewing this past year and ten months has been a lot of fun. I have made a few new great friends, and have read/reviewed such amazing pieces of work by doing it. Thank you to many of you who have gotten as much pleasure out of reading my reviews as I have reviewing the book(s). It's because of you that I'll do it again in the future.

As always, xoxo


Monday, October 6, 2014

An Update: The Man on Top of the World

I'm going to be open and transparent about something, lovelies, in regards to The Man on Top of the World. After I'm done rewriting/self-editing the book, I'm going to shop around for a new publisher for it, and for its sequel, All That Glitters. Basically, I just think this book deserves better. It was accepted from a publisher well over a year ago. This January, that would make it two years. And...still, there's no book out, and I feel like it has been strung along by the publisher long enough. Granted, this book really does need more TLC that I can now confidently say that I have the ability in doing right now, but still. Obviously, the contract has long expired and is now void since the book hasn't been out a year after its acceptance date. The same goes for All That Glitters; by this November, the contract will be expired since it has been a year since acceptance. I've been very patient, more than patient, really, and now it's time to move on. It's not fair to me, the books, or you guys to be strung along any longer than it has already. So yes, that does mean that the wait will be much longer for all of you that have been and are still waiting for some 1970's glam rock romance erotica action, my "glitterotica" as I call it. I'm hoping that by January the book will be polished enough for me to feel that it's ready to be sent out to a new publisher. If it takes longer than that, so be it, but naturally, I will keep everyone updated on its progress. Thank you to everyone for being so patient, kind, supportive, and just wonderful. The Man on Top of the World is coming for you soon.

You just have to wait just a tad bit longer ;). Love you all, and keep being awesome!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Brand New Character Change: Roxanne Foster Shengyi

As y'all know, The Man on Top of the World has basically been taking over my heart and brain all year (basically longer than that). I know a lot of people are still waiting for it. Even though by now it should be out, it's a blessing really that it's not out yet. To sum it up, rewriting this thing has truly been an exercise in discipline for me. Not only on enhancing my writing, but fleshing out a lot of areas that weren't there before when I originally wrote this as a short story. Now, it really is a novel, and I'm so excited to continue working on this until it's as polished as I can possibly make it. I'm not trying to rush through the editing process, but I'm not going to lie, I really can't wait for this to get published. There are many new characters, minor, yes, but they still matter. The biggest change was on the third key player, Roxanne Foster Shengyi. I just found out tonight that Shengyi has many meanings, but two of them are very coincidentally telling. The Chinese character for shēng means to be born, to give birth, life, and to grow. The second Chinese character for yi means meaning, wish, and desire. It's so fitting! I also found some "pic-spiration" for how I envision Roxanne these days.

This is Japanese-American model/actress, Devon Aoki. She exudes Roxanne's look and style in my mind, and these pictures are glam-rock ish, so I'm feeling it. I'm not sure who the model is in this picture, but this I can picture being Roxanne's look outside of the glam rock scene.

I'm finally at the part of the book where I can start fleshing out Roxanne's character from her Chinese-American background, talents, and such. I'm going to be hush hush for the most part about what else I'm concocting with this book in making it better, so this is all y'all will get! For now, anyway! :p hehe.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cover Reveal: Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 13

A few days ago, I got the news that I'll soon be receiving print copies of the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 13. I'm so excited to be part of this anthology amongst the company of many well-known authors as well as new ones. Maxim did a wonderful job with editing "Madame Chocolat". The release date for this anthology is January 6, 2015, just three days before my birthday!

It is now available for pre-order!

This anthology will be such a treat! Release day can't come soon enough!


Friday, October 3, 2014

The Intersex Q&A Breakdown: The Questions That Are Annoying and/or NOT Okay

Nowadays, I'm pretty open and honest (in person and online) about letting it be known that I'm intersex when/if the topic comes up. Most people are still generally unsure or have no clue what intersex is, and have more than likely never met an intersex person before, which is why they're curious and have many questions to ask. While I'm okay with people asking questions as long as they're broached in a respectful and intelligent manner, there are some that are NOT appropriate.

Here are the top questions I get asked almost immediately when I say that I'm intersex:

1. "So, you are a hermaphrodite?" OR "Is that the same as hermaphrodite?"

While I cringe every time somebody asks me this, I DO understand why. "Intersex" is still a fairly baby term to describe people who have a body that isn't typically male, or typically female, externally, internally, and/or genetically. This could mean a male who has ovaries, a penis that looks more like a clitoris, or who has an extra X-chromosome, or a female who has a clitoris that looks more like a penis, no vaginal opening, and so on. There are many types of intersex conditions, each that have their own characteristics, shortcomings, pros, and cons. The word "hermaphrodite" embodies the fantasy, not the reality, of real people and of what being intersex entails. It's stigmatizing and objectifying, about the equivalent of calling trans* women "she-males". The word immediately takes away the humanity of a person, and only highlights the fetish. Not cool. It's alright to ask somebody what intersex is, but please, do NOT immediately call someone a hermaphrodite.

2. "Can you get pregnant?" 

While it is possible for intersex people to get pregnant, frankly, I find this question very odd. Does one ask this question normally to anyone? Unless you're talking about your significant other, I highly doubt it. Whether or not I can reproduce is really nobody's business but mine, and/or my partner.

3.  "So, how does your body work?"

I won't get into graphic detail about this, but the general curiosity is in relation to how my body "works" in the bedroom and how I urinate. The intersex condition that I have is a very external one, and my body is different. Some may call it gender ambiguous, or "confusing." It may turn some people on, it may turn some people off. Either way, I love my body, and I'm comfortable in it, but what I'm not comfortable is being asked this. There's really no nice way to ask this. So don't ask it.

4. "If I go down on you, does that make me gay?"

I also make it clear that though I've been raised female, and may look outwardly female at first glance, my gender identity is NOT female. I'm male-centered, but I'm non-binary/gender neutral. Even if I was trans-male, I'd still be non-binary/gender neutral, because that's how I feel at heart. Does this make dating complicated? It can. Not everyone is open minded to me, and that's okay. There are plenty of people who are. I can understand the questioning of sexual orientation when one is involved with a trans and/or intersex person, but...the simple answer to THIS question is..."No."

5. "Can I see what it looks like?"

The "it" being what I have between my legs. Answer always Again, curiosity is human nature, but this question is another objectifying one. Not to mention, it really isn't that sexy, honestly. Just because I'm intersex doesn't mean that I'll just flash my body at anyone, and it's also not an excuse or make it OKAY to ask this question. It's NOT okay.

6. "Are you going to get surgery?" OR "Are you thinking of surgery?" OR "When's the surgery?"

Why make this assumption? While some trans and/or intersex people want and need surgery, it's not always the path that people want to go to feel more comfortable in themselves and their bodies. A lot of cases, it's a luxury, and not affordable to everyone. I've been asked this question since I was a kid, and...never wanted surgery, still don't want it, and I'm tired of people assuming I want it, need it, and have thought about it. The preoccupation with the physical is what I and most trans people really are tired of people focusing on so much when we are open and honest about being who we are. There's more to the trans and/or intersex experience than the physical.

7. "What happened?" OR "How did you get this way?"

This question is deep, but I really don't have the answer to this. I am who I am. I was born the way I am. I know WHY I have the intersex body I have based on the condition I have, but WHY it exists is something I'll never know. This question isn't the worst thing to be asked, but it's usually asked in a tone that makes me feel like there's something wrong with me, or that I have problems, or that I'm some enigma that a person wants to investigate on. It always comes out awkwardly and sounds funky. I'm fine with educating people on CAH (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia). How I got it, I don't know. Some things in life just are what they are.

8. "Wow. You're like otherworldly. Are you like an extraterrestrial?"  

Yes, I've been asked this, still do, and yes, it's hard to keep a straight face. I know that many cultures  see intersex people as otherworldly, and that some gods/goddesses in those cultures are male and female, outside of that, don't forget, folks...we are PEOPLE, not aliens.

9.  "How does your family feel about you?" 

While this question is not necessarily bad, and I understand what is meant, I think a question like this is something better asked if you really know the person very well. Asking a complete stranger this is a little too personal. But to put a tiny spotlight on this topic, I'll say this. Families raising intersex children are unique too. During the puberty stage is where it's not only the most challenging for the intersex child, but also for the families too, since puberty for an intersex child is usually very different/unique from that of non-intersex children. To answer this, though, mine had their ups and downs about it, but they didn't treat me any differently or feel any different way because of it. Just confused, but just as accepting about me as I was at the time. Some intersex people maybe had a better and more positive childhood; mine had its dark moments. In a nutshell, we aren't all the same. 

10. "So if you have male and female parts, does that mean you know everything about gender?"

I wouldn't even wish this. There's more to gender than clothing, genitals, surgery, and all that stuff that is all about the physical and nothing about the emotional and spiritual. Only YOU can define your gender. None of this can. There are many labels these days that we can use to better understand and for others to better understand ourselves, but at the end of the day, no label, term, or stereotype should justify who we are. And the only validation should really just come from you, not others.

I'm only one intersex person. I can't speak for anyone. No trans and/or intersex person can. We're all unique and different with very vast experiences to tell. I believe that the reason why these questions are very annoying and driving us batty some days is that people take way too many liberties with them. They're asked far too often, and my biggest gripe is that these questions are more focused on our bodies than on who we are as people. People aren't this preoccupied with cis-bodies. Why is it okay to be so concerned about a trans-person's or intersex person's body just because they're intersex or trans? Wouldn't it be more interesting to know about the actual journey/experience of being intersex and/or trans outside of the physical? It doesn't need to require really deep thought to do this. Just get to know a person. Treat them like a normal person. I'm not saying that people can't ask questions, but don't make assumptions, and don't disrespect or objectify the person in the process. Someone being trans or intersex doesn't make it free game to do this. If you're curious and want to ask questions that may be a bit too personal or nosey, just think about it for a minute, and this something that I'd ask to a cis-person? If the answer is no, don't ask, unless the trans or intersex person starts the discussion first. Just putting all this out there, and throwing in my two cents on the matter.