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I'm gonna get this out of the way up front: On March 6, I was contacted by the English Department of İstanbul Üniversitesi and invited to appear in early November as keynote speaker and deliver a paper during the Fourth International Akşit Göktürk Conference – "Madness and Literature." I was stunned and overwhelmed by the offer. There's going to be a Turkish-language edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, which made the opportunity seem all the more wonderful. On a short list of cities I wish to visit before I die, Istanbul would be in the top fifteen or so.

So...I requested time to consider the logistics, which, even with all expenses paid, would be daunting for someone who rarely travels and hasn't left the States since 1997. And, yeah, I knew that Turkey wasn't going to be the most trans-friendly nation on earth; what I didn't know is that some sources rank it second in incidents of violence against transpersons, much of which is perpetrated by police. But, I was still determined to go. The research continued (I'm not putting in all the links here; just Google "transgender" + "violence" + "Turkey"), and Kathryn became very concerned, probably more concerned than me. After all, it seemed like a sort of responsibility, to do this despite my fears, because transgender people in Turkey are often treated so abysmally, so horrifically. But I dithered, and the three weeks during which I needed to make the decision quickly passed. This morning – largely in consideration of Kathryn's concern – I wrote the department and declined the invitation.

And I feel sick about it, both because I deeply wished to see that beautiful city and its amazing culture. I have long been fascinated by Islam, despite its treatment of women and GLBT people – which, it should be said, is not so different than much of American Xtianity would treat us, and has treated us in the past. Given free reign, there are outspoken elements here in America and in England that would see us exterminated, or at least relegated to the shadows. But, back to Istanbul, I can't begin to explain my regret. I know this was probably my only chance to see the city, and to be asked to speak at such a prestigious conference on a subject so important to me was an incredible honor. This isn't about me putting my safety first. This is about me not wanting to see Kathryn and my family and friends worry. Probably, I know, the trip would have passed without any especially unpleasant encounters. I might well have gotten no more shit than I've gotten on the streets of cities in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. But I still declined.

But, I remain grateful for the invitation, and I always shall. So much for killing my fear.


As to other travel plans, yes I am to be Guest of Honor at World Horror in New Orleans in June. Likely, I'll only be attending Readercon on Sunday this year. Probably, I'll be canceling my plans to be in San Jose for the Nebula Awards weekend; this is a financial matter. Whether or not I'll be attending Wiscon to receive the Tiptree Award in person is still somewhat up in the air. I'll also be appearing as a Guest of Honor at Necronomicon here in Providence in August.


Work on Red Delicious continues to go well. I did get stuck on the beginning of Chapter Five, back on Friday. But, on Saturday, I found my way around the block. On Saturday, I wrote 1,431 words, and yesterday another 1,140. The book should be finished by the end of the first week of April, and this is a vastly better novel that Fay Grimmer, a fitting followup to Blood Oranges.

Speaking of which, there have been several very positive reviews in the last couple of weeks, both for Blood Oranges and and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Oh, and one for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I'll gather up the links and post them here sometime this week.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

But now I work.

Aunt Beast


( 18 comments — Have your say! )
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to Red Delicious. Sorry you're not going to Turkey, but I can understand the concern...
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:26 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry about Istanbul; it's also among my top places I want to visit. The Hagia Sofia could take an entire week and I'd be happy. Sometimes it sucks making the "adult" decision. I hope you are able to attend WisCon but will gladly pack up your goodies should it not be.
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)

Thank you. I am going to try and attend.
Frank Frey
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear that you're not going but yeah...I can understand the reasons.
Mame and I are looking forward to meeting you in New Orleans. Hopefully, we can bring Kat and Chris along with us.
I'll see you again in Providence in August.
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
My own fears of how people will receive me has kept me from revealing my gender. So it goes without saying I've already found you brave beyond words.

Beyond that, your hesitation on behalf of those who care for you makes sense.
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
Declining for your own concerns about your safety could, arguably, have been selfish.

But putting the concerns and fears of others for you above your own desires... that's about the most selfless thing you can do. So the decision sucks, and is hard (though hopefully not final; that is, hopefully you'll have another chance to visit Istanbul), but at the same time, it's the right decision to've made.
Mar. 25th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
I understand
I would have likely made the same choice. Don't discount that another opportunity might arise. Istanbul is beautiful, as are many places in Turkey. I hope one day to return.
Mar. 25th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Sorry about Istanbul.
Mar. 25th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
I have traveled a lot and Turkey is one of my favorite places. I don't blame you for not going. Your concerns would probably kept you in the hotel tho. I am really unhappy that your fears may be correct, tho I never had a moment of fright.

Please let us know if you do decide to go to San Jose, I might be able to attend your reading there.
Mar. 25th, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
One of our good friends married a man from Turkey & moved there and after two years she'd had enough of crude comments& being whistled at on subways & she moved back to the U.S..
CA Schmidt
Mar. 25th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
And I feel sick about it, both because I deeply wished to see that beautiful city and its amazing culture.

This just breaks my heart.
Mar. 25th, 2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you had to make such a tough decision, but I totally understand it. I get so angry that humans keep hurting one another over such ludicrous shit.
Mar. 26th, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
I am glad you were asked to Istanbul: I am so very sorry the country wasn't up to you. Perhaps you will still travel there someday.
Musically Speaking
Mar. 26th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
"So much for killing my fear"
I don't think you had any fear. Kathryn had credible fears which you killed quite effectively. I say again; you have made fear your little bitch.
Mar. 26th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
In hard times and hard lives we become either addicted or inured to fear just so we can function. When this happens, we learn to judge our actions by what harm they will cause to those we love. Istanbul be damned.
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
It's already been said, but indeed. This would appear to be far less about running from your fears than it is about putting to rest the (possibly very valid) fears of those people who care about you.
Perhaps the world will shift dramatically, one day before we're done. Istanbul will wait until then.

Edited at 2013-03-27 11:15 pm (UTC)
Sofia Samatar
Mar. 31st, 2013 04:32 am (UTC)
Even though you aren't going to Istanbul, it's a great honor to have been invited. And to have your book translated into Turkish! On these things, congratulations.

I'm sure there are people there who would have loved to see and hear you. I also know for a fact that there are people going to WisCon who hope desperately that you will come! My fingers are crossed.
Mar. 31st, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
I have ended up with no roommates and rather more cash on hand than I expected this year, so if having a free hotel room would help you get to Wiscon, you're welcome to stay with me.
( 18 comments — Have your say! )