Manual TypewriterEssays, Reviews, and Commentaries

By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Head Over Heels

| June 30, 2009

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Beyond the Pale

| June 30, 2009

Beyond the Pale by Elana Dykewomon Press Gang Publishers. "Whenever you tell the story of one woman, inside is another." (p. 17)   Elana Dykewomon was one of my early hero’s –shero’s I think we called them then.  Maybe some of you are too young to remember……well, actually many of you are probably too young […]

The Mother Dance

| June 30, 2009

The Mother Dance: How children change your life by Harriet Lerner, Harper Prennial 1998   I must confess I enjoy Harriet Lerner’s "dance" books a lot.  As a therapist I find her books excellent explanations of complex therapeutic theories that are written clearly, with descriptive clinical narratives that people can identify with.  As far as […]

Gender Loving Care

| June 30, 2009

Gender Loving Care: A guide to gender-variant clients By Randi Ettner W.W. Norton & Company, 1999 ISBN  0-393-70304-5 Published in In The Family Magazine, November 1999. There are scant resources available addressing the therapeutic needs of transgendered and transsexual individuals, and sadly many of the books that exist are seeped in a medical model perspective […]

My Lesbian Husband

| June 30, 2009

Review by Arlene Istar Lev My Lesbian Husband By Barrie Jean Borich Graywolf Press St. Paul, MN. What a wonderful title for a book! When I first saw it on the bookshelf, I just knew that I had to read it. The best way to describe this book, the word that keeps running through my […]

Brokeback Mountain

| June 30, 2009

Brokeback Mountain By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev They say the sign of a really good movie is you can’t stop thinking about it. Brokeback Mountain therefore deserves all the accolades it is receiving. Ennis and Jack stay with you, the way cool mountain air clings to you for days after returning to the big city. […]

An Inconvenient Truth

| June 30, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev I’ve been taking the titles of my columns from children’s movies for the past few months, and An Inconvenient Truth, as many of you know, is an adult movie about global warming. I raise the question with this column: is this an appropriate movie to watch with […]

A Whole New World

| June 30, 2009

A Whole New World By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev Those of you with small children will recognize the title of this column from the movie Aladdin, which my older son watched 500 times in the first few years of his life. My young guy was more into Shrek, which speaks a bit to their personalities. […]

Practically Perfect in Every Way

| June 30, 2009

Practically Perfect in Every Way By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev  Most people who have children have some vague plans to parent better than their parents had. I had visions of a fun home, filled with laughter, and toys. I knew I would never worry much about things like children with chocolate on their faces, or […]

Meet the Robinson’s – An Opportunity for Dialogue

| June 30, 2009

Meet the Robinson’s – An Opportunity for Discussion By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev Okay, I know that I am supposed to be a queer parenting columnist, and for those of you who have been following my last few columns you may think I’ve morphed into more of a movie reviewer. The funny part is that […]

Gay Sex in the 70s and A Simple Matter of Justice

| June 30, 2009

A Simple Matter of Justice: The 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation   by JEB (Joan E. Biren)  This is a wonderful film, by the exceptional documentary artist, Joan E. Biren, who has captured the passion, power, and incredible frolic that is the hallmark of queer political marches. […]

Dear Ellen Goodman

| June 30, 2009

Dear Ellen Goodman By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev This month’s column is a response to Ellen Goodman column, Figure in the Father Factor. In her column she is critical of the national spotlight on Mary Cheney and Heather Poe’s pregnancy and raises questions about the role of sperm donors in the family-building process. Goodman notes […]

What’s Wrong with Maple Sugaring, Anyway? Response: Postcards from Buster

| June 30, 2009

What’s Wrong with Maple Sugaring, Anyway? Response: Postcards from Buster By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev It has been a very busy month in queer ‘toon land. Apparently these television shows that I usually careful monitor for violence and inappropriate language, are actually a hot-bed of homosexual activity. Who knew? I knew about Tinky-Winky of course, […]

Go Rosie Response: Rosie O’Donnell’s interview by Barbara Walters

| June 30, 2009

Go, Rosie By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev It takes a lot to move me to tears. Working as a therapist you hear horrors all the time—not that it has made me immune to people’s emotional pain, but it does destroy an innocence about "how bad it can really be out there." I know about child […]

Complex Families Don’t Make for Easy Advertising Response: Gay Adoption Commercial

| June 30, 2009

Complex Families Don’t Make for Easy Advertising By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev Only a few years ago I would have been surprised to see the face of my family in American advertising. Images of two women touching — that might portray friendship but looks an awful lot like lesbians–are being used to sell cars and […]

Me. I Need Kids Response Response: Kate Walters on LesbiaNation.com

| June 30, 2009

Me! I Need Kids! By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev It generally takes a lot to get my dander up, but Kate Walter has succeeded. In her article on LesbiaNation last week, she asks the pointed question, “Who need kids?” As a lesbian who spent ten years struggling with fertility and is now the exhausted but […]

Aging into Feminism Response: Off Our Backs

| June 30, 2009

Aging into Feminism By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev From a talk: Sex & Gender in the City: From Lesbian Feminists in the 70’s to LGBTQs Today: A Cross-generational Dialogue on Gender, Identity and Activism Saturday, March 20, 2010 Wheelock College Brookline MA When I told two friends in Boston that I would be coming here […]

Letter to the Editor Response: In the Family Magazine

| June 30, 2009

Letter to the Editor In the Family Magazine    June 29, 1998    Once again, In the Family has taken on challenging issues — s/m –with depth and grace! A number of years ago, I presented a workshop on s/m issues at the National Gay and Lesbian Health Conference, and the interest was so great […]

Queer Families

| June 30, 2009

Queer Families By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev In some very basic way being a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered parent is really not much different than being a heterosexual parent. You still have to get up for the 4 a.m. feeding, or deal with teenagers who don’t clean their rooms. You still have to deal […]

Queer Family Statistics

| June 30, 2009

Queer Family Statistics By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev I was just asked to speak in a university class by two different students in the same class, each unaware that the other had asked. One wanted me to speak on being a "lesbian adoptive mom"; the other wanted me to speak on being a "a trans-racially […]

All of our Families

| June 30, 2009

All of our Families By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev These are heady times to be in queer families. Both locally and nationally lesbian and gay couples, same-sex marriage, gay adoption, transgender civil rights, are making the news. Perhaps it is easy for those without children to ignore issues like the recent controversy regarding Postcards from […]

Parenting in the War Years

| June 30, 2009

Parenting in the War Years By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev I haven’t written a column since September 11th and I’m finding it a very difficult prospect. I have, like many of you I suspect, spent a good deal of the last few weeks watching more news than I have in the last ten years, although […]

School Daze I

| June 30, 2009

School Daze: A short series of columns on American Education By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev A note on our National Tragedy: New Orleans is a city with a huge LGBT population. Let us all keep in mind that some of the victims and survivors of this national tragedy are LGBT people, who may experience additional […]

School Daze II

| June 30, 2009

School Daze: A short series of columns on American Education Part II By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev A digression on the need to discuss homophobia in the school system Well, a few months back I wrote a column about homophobia, expressing how, in ten years of parenting, none of the negative experiences that we had […]

School Daze III

| June 30, 2009

School Daze: A short series of columns on American Education (Part III) As some of you may remember in my last column I talked about an experience I had on a local (Albany NY) parenting listserve, where the list owner refused to let me post an announcement about an LGBT Parenting Conference. You may also […]

The Marriage Bed

| June 30, 2009

Marriage Bed By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev Both of us had lived lives outside of the mainstream. We traveled with our thumbs out throughout much of the Northeast delayed only by border searches routinely done for all long-haired types. We shared a bed whenever we could throughout high school and then lived together in college. […]

Election Day Blues

| June 30, 2009

Election Day Blues By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev I have had a terrible time writing my column this month. I was emotionally frozen before the election, deer-in-the-headlights type of thing. I have been completely immobilized since the election, wearing black and trying to figure out how to sustain a family on the windy edge of […]

Breaking Up is Hard to Do Well: The Best Interest of the Children

| June 30, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do Well: The Best Interest of the Children By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev Perhaps it is just in my corner of the world, but it seems that while the media and the religious right are struggling with the idea that some of us want to marry, in the real lived […]

Trans parenting

| June 30, 2009

Trans Parenting By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev In my work in the transgender community, I often have the experience of people cozying up to me at social events (in and out of the queer community) and, in hushed voices, asking me questions or disclosing information to me about themselves or family members who are crossdressers […]

Passings

| June 30, 2009

Passings By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev It is a season of passings. When controversial radical feminist writer Andrea Dworkin died last year, a friend said she "didn’t recognize her name." I guess that’s every writer’s dream: for your ideas to outlive your name. The passing of Connie Panzarino and Mary Francis Platt did not make […]

Ageing into Feminism

| June 30, 2009

Ageing into Feminism By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev This article was originally written for Off Our Backs, celebrating its 35th year as a feminist publication. It was not accepted for publication there, which I think speaks to my tenuous relationship with mainstream feminist voices, and whose words are silenced. It has since been published in […]

Transracial Queer Adoption

| June 30, 2009

Trans-Racial Queer Families 02.16.01 By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev This is an except from “No Place Like Home” published in Jess Wells (Ed.) HomeFronts: Controversies in the Nontraditional Parenting CommunityLA: Alyson Publications. (2000) Since many LGBT families are choosing trans-racial adoption, the faces of our community are increasingly filled with multi-racial families. This is yet […]

Our Bodies Our Selves

| June 30, 2009

Our Bodies Our Selves By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev My original copy of OBOS is tattered and torn, and yellow with age. I read the original in my late teens or early 20’s and the chapter called "In America They Call us Dykes" astonished and titillated me. I stared at the picture of the strong, […]

Homosexuality and American Politics

| June 30, 2009

Homosexuality and American Politics By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev Are you all breathing more freely having that damn elephant off your chest? That really was a heady election, wasn’t it! Hopefully, portend for good things to come and a good opportunity to examine the role of Homosexuality and American Politics. My older son is way […]

Do I?

| June 30, 2009

Do I? By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev As I sit down at my computer, I click open a new email. “Marry me?” It’s the twentieth time my partner has proposed. Our friends have been racing for flights to San Francisco, speeding up to New Paltz, and booking their caterers in Massachusetts. My email box is […]

Pride

| June 30, 2009

Pride By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev In 1969, on the eve of the Stonewall Rebellion, while the streets of Greenwich Village filled with dykes and faggots demanding their liberation, Linda and I hung out in the attic of her parent’s home in Brooklyn, listening to the Jackson Five on a transistor radio, smoking cigarettes, and […]

Facing Homophobia

| June 30, 2009

Facing Homophobia By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev I find that every time I answer a research questionnaire on gay parenting I am asked how I deal with the homophobia my kids face. There is a not-so-subtle assumption that my children will experience homophobia and I would like to not-so-subtly challenge that assumption. I mean, of […]