Memories, Catie Curtis, and Andrew X. Pham

So one of my favorite musicians has released a new CD this year.  Yay!  I’m listening to it on Spotify right now.  (Spotify is an online music service/doohickey that lets you search for and listen to thousands of albums free of charge.  I highly recommend it!).  The singer is Catie Curtis (, and her new album is called Flying Dream.

I first found Catie Curtis when I was first coming out.  I was already high on k.d. lang’s music, and Melissa Etheridge was kind of meh to me, and I remember thinking, “There have to be more lesbian artists out there.”  Lo and behold, AfterEllen produced a whole list, many with a kind of electro sound.  Which is great, but not really in my taste profile.  I prefer acoustic geetars (as in, “I’ll let you touch the geetar.” “You mean guitar guitar, right?”) to sonic thumps and bumps.  Although Tegan and Sara obviously rock.  But I saw Catie Curtis, with her lil’ acoustic guitar on the list, and hopefully googled her.  And fell in love with her songs that night.

I remember wandering around my apartment, topless, dancing to her music, much to the chagrin of my downstairs neighbors, as there was absolutely no insulation between our first and second floors of that low-slung apartment square.  I would bake whole wheat chocolate chip muffins to “Troubled Mind” and really think about “Fusco’s Song”….which was a hidden track on A Crash Course In Roses, and thinking that it was probably about a trans* guy, or a trans* girl.  The implications of suicide in the trans* community was hitting me hard, after stumbling onto Andrew Pham’s Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam (, in which the author’s brother commits suicide after coming out and not being accepted by his community.  I’m not super religious, but I felt that I had found that book in my college library for a reason: to serve trans* people.  Trans* guys in particular.  Why else had I found this book in particular, as I was coming out, in a library full of travellogues (safarnameh’s!) and ethnic studies articles?

Somehow I got away from that goal.  Part of it is my panic attacks around queerfolk which dog me even today.  It’s hard to help folks when you feel sweaty and scared around your so-called brethren (I’ve had some bad experiences, so yeah).  At least PFLAG is my little niche of support and love that we’re building right now. Somehow, I need to reconnect myself to that goal.  Idk how….. I’m not therapist material, but I can be a role model.  I can be there for the young genderqueer and trans* folks in my community.  I can live my life as authentically as possible so that others can feel that their own lives can be full of love and happiness.

But it requires a commitment, doesn’t it? More than just hoping that life will treat me well.  Actually making it do that.

As my friend Evy, who has a knack for bucking me up when I’m down, says, Time to get swimmin’ boi! 


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