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Busting binaries

Pat Califia is a prominent queer activist and author from San Francisco, who has been pushing the boundaries of queer cultures, addressing marginal identities, and promoting sexual variation since the seventies. Califia is a bisexual transman, and much of his work is about breaking down dichotomies, whether it’s between man and woman, spirit and body, pain and pleasure, or abled and disabled bodies.

While in Montreal, Califia is hosting two workshops presented by Queer McGill. The first, titled “FTM body image and sexuality,” takes place today at 6 p.m. in the SSMU Clubs Lounge on the fourth floor of Shatner (3480 McTavish). Much of the workshop will focus on creating new definitions of masculinity for female-to-male transsexual folks. Although the workshop will be anchored in discussion of one group of transgendered people, many of the topics of discussion – relationships, body image, fantasies, lovemaking, and the pressures of conformity – apply to everyone. The second workshop, titled “The Psychology and Spirituality of Erotic Pain” will take place tomorrow at 6 p.m. in room B-30 in Shatner. In this session, Califia will provide basic info on bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism (BDSM). Most of the presentation will feature a live exploration of the top/bottom dynamic – with the help of a brave volunteer. Do not attend this workshop if explicit BDSM play offends you. For more information on these events, visit