Monthly Archives: March 2023

Transgender Day of Visibility: Honoring Queer Nature

So Sinopoulos-Lloyd, a young person with bulky black hair, wearing khakis and something strapped over their right shoulder

Debbie says:

It’s International Transgender Day of Visibility, which has been celebrated for 14 years.

The day was founded by transgender activist[3] Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009[4] as a reaction to the lack of LGBTQ+ recognition of transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourned the murders of transgender people, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community.

In 2023, a despicable fraction of our country is working to make transgender people entirely too visible, in terrifying and destructive ways. This makes it even more important to, as Wikipedia says above, “acknowledge and celebrate” the living trans people doing great work.

I’m completely aware that there are hundreds of extraordinary trans organizations doing terrific work for trans safety and trans rights, and I know other people are identifying and uplifting all of them. Nonetheless, what I want to do here is celebrate an organization which combines trans (and LGBT) rights and freedoms with the ecological and nature-based work that directly affects all of us.

The organization known as Queer Nature

dream[s] into what queer ‘ancestral futurism’ and other alternatives to modernity could look like through mentorship in place-based skills with awareness of post-industrial/globalized/ecocidal contexts. Place-based skills include naturalist studies/interpretation, handcrafts, “survival skills,” and recognition of colonial and Indigenous histories of land and are framed in a container that emphasizes listening and relationship building with ecological systems and their inhabitants.

Founded by Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd and So Sinopoulos-Lloyd (both of whom use they/them pronouns), Queer Nature is based in Washington State, though it started in the Intermountain West. So’s photograph is at the top of this post. Its site has information on the indigenous and natural history of both locations. Offerings are limited in 2023 due to death of a parent and attendant family responsibilities; they include skillshares, stealthcraft (“blending in to your surroundings, going unnoticed, and collecting strategic information about your environment”), anti-oppression work for people engaged in nature connection and/or social justice, and much more.

Just reading the website is like a window into how differently we can live. Projects like this deserve visibility both in the context of transgender visibility and in the context of alternate ways to occupy the planet. Thanks to the Sinopoulos-Lloyds and their team for continuing this great work, and wishes for their family to recover well from the current loss.


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Sumo for Women!

Lucia Watanabe grappling with an opponent in a sumo match

Debbie says:

No matter how long and hard I work to reframe my thinking, I continue to find places where something I should have known simply never occurs to me. Today, it is “Who knew there was women’s sumo wrestling?” Of course, there’s no reason there shouldn’t be women’s sumo. Once I came across Rodrigo Almonacid’s article, Female Sumo Wrestlers Slap Down Prejudices in Brazil, in the Japan Times, I did a little Googling: women’s sumo has been around for years, and has been picked up in many countries, though it is not permitted in Japan. The Japanese sports establishment is also opposed to seeing women’s sumo become an Olympic sport, despite many other countries trying to add it to the Olympic list.

Almonacid begins with a mother-daughter team of Brazilian sumo wrestlers, Valeria and Diana Dall’Olio. Valeria says:

“There’s a lot of prejudice. When you say you practice sumo, some people think you have to be fat,” said Valeria, 39, as she prepared for a competition at a public gym in Sao Paulo. “Women are always under a microscope in the martial arts, because they’re sports that have generally been restricted to male fighters.”

Women are forbidden from competing in sumo in JapanIn Brazil, women are approximately half of the competitive sumo wrestling population. Their bouts are divided into lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight.

At their Sao Paulo gym, the Dall’Olios brush off dirt from the ring after a tough day, in which Diana won one of her three bouts and Valeria lost her only one, against 18-time Brazilian middleweight champion Luciana Watanabe.

Watanabe, 37, is the public face of sumo in Brazil.

She shares her passion for the sport by teaching it to children in Suzano, a small city with a large Japanese-Brazilian population 50 kilometers outside Sao Paulo.

“Men are usually the ones who teach sumo,” Watanabe said, “But I think I inspire the kids when I show them my titles.”

Watanabe is pictured at the top of this post.

Aside from wanting all sports to be open to people of all genders, I don’t have much to say except that it makes me happy to even think about women’s sumo wrestling matches … and I’ll take my happiness where I can.


Thanks to Samiha Hossain’s invaluable global feminist resistance roundup in Mona Eltahawy’s Feminist Giant.

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