greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

"This is not really happening. You bet your life it is."

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
Tags: 5chambered, blood oranges, deadlines, fay grimmer, foreign editions, red delicious, regret, reviews, the drowning girl, transphobia, travel, turkey

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