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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. eamon
    March 16, 2019 @ 2:00 pm

    Happy anniversary. And thank you.


  2. Tremas
    March 16, 2019 @ 2:09 pm

    Respect is a two-way street, and if someone isn’t comfortable calling someone a certain pronoun then we should respect their feelings and admit that their discomfort us valid and not necessarily rooted in transphobia or hatred but, as in my instance, a belief that trans culture is inheritly based upon a false gender binary. Literally the gender binary is required for trans culture to exist and I politely reject that.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      March 16, 2019 @ 2:46 pm

      Fuck off and never post here again.


    • Tracy Grammer
      July 15, 2019 @ 3:49 pm

      Dave and i discussed the possibility of a both/and in addition to the binary the night before he died. I’m sad that the writer has both misquoted and mischaracterized that conversation here.


  3. Brent Lampton
    March 16, 2019 @ 3:05 pm

    Not got anything insightful to say. Just that this was excellent to read and the care and empathy shone through the writing, and I feel I’ve learned without being taught. Was going to reply to Tremas, but I think Elizabeth’s succinct reply is the best one.


    • Brent Lampton
      March 16, 2019 @ 3:15 pm

      Oh and Happy Anniversary 🙂


  4. mx_mond
    March 16, 2019 @ 3:10 pm

    Happy anniversary and thank you for introducing me to Carter’s songs. They are endlessly fascinating.


  5. Ryan F
    March 16, 2019 @ 10:47 pm

    I’d never heard of Carter until you started tweeting about her recently (she’s a virtual unknown in the U.K. I think), so, first of all, thanks for introducing me to the music.

    Agree completely with your choice of pronouns for Carter – your argument is not only persuasive and logical, but from a gut instinctual perspective it FEELS right as well.

    I came to this site years ago looking for
    Doctor Who stuff, and end up ardently reading posts about political history and folk music.

    Thanks and best wishes.


  6. John G. Wood
    March 17, 2019 @ 9:05 am

    Happy anniversary!

    I found your description of the non-linear nature of trans narratives very interesting. When you came out, my instant thought was that the trans community had lost an ally but gained a new member (using ‘ally’ here in the sense of someone from outside a group who is actively supportive of that group). My brain immediately went “hang on – she’s always been trans, so how could she have been an ally?” and continued to flip back and forth until I decided I was probably nitpicking about labels. Of course it’s a false dichotomy. My error lay not in distinguishing the two – the labels are important – but in believing them to be in conflict. Both/and indeed.

    It’s not your job to educate old cis folks like me, but you being open about your experiences means I learn anyway. So thank you.

    P.S. Interesting how writing about Carter’s lyrical style led you to be more lyrical in your prose!


  7. Xaldel
    March 17, 2019 @ 3:17 pm

    Happy Anniversary, and thank you for this article. I’d been familiar with Dave Carter’s music before, but never with this apparent chapter in her life.

    Whatever Tracy Grammer’s feelings on the matter are, it’s at least pleasing to know that she allowed these things to become publicly known. I’d know many a transphobe who would not only insist on their own personal pronouns for a departed individual, but systematically deny that any of their struggles were happening even if they were as concrete as you’re saying Carter’s was.

    The best answer they would give when asked about their partner’s transness would be something along the lines of, “Well, if that’s how you want to interpret the life of a person you didn’t personally know.” Which granted, is similar to the runaround Grammer appears to have been giving you in that email in regards to Carter’s pronouns.

    That being said, I appreciate the boldness of being dutiful in corresponding with her on the matter and then ultimately publishing what felt right in your heart.


  8. Daru
    March 21, 2019 @ 12:32 am

    Thanks so much for the beautifully written article El (I had written a comment previously but didn’t seem to save as web was dodgy here recently!) But love this piece, especially with the songs embedded into it – and had never heard of Carter’ music until you had shared her here and in the Discord. Thanks again.


  9. Stephen Frug
    March 29, 2019 @ 12:52 pm

    Brilliant & fascinating essay; thank you. And thank you for pointing me at the music of Dave Carter, which I’d never heard before.


  10. Tracy Grammer
    July 15, 2019 @ 4:06 pm

    This article is compelling in so many ways but inaccurate in others. Please contact me to discuss.

    Thank you for continuing to support the late Dave Carter’s work and journey with your insight, outreach, and analysis. I have appreciated our exchanges and found them thought-provoking, moving, sometimes uncomfortable, but ultimately important.

    Your readership is welcome to reach out to me directly as well:


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      March 7, 2023 @ 12:21 pm

      Feel obliged to note that I did in fact contact Grammer, and that she never actually responded with any corrections. She also, at least until she largely withdrew from social media last year, remained conspicuously silent on the darkening climate of trans rights even as she was vocally politically engaged on other issues.

      For my part, I stand by everything in this essay.


  11. Kaylo
    September 20, 2019 @ 9:41 pm

    I’ve occasionally seen the phrase “the perfection of X” used to convey (1)”the process and result of X becoming fully what it is; a point of completion/beyond which no change happens” rather than the more common (2)”claim that X is something flawless or conforming to its ideal and most virtuous form”.

    So, for example, using the common meaning one would generally not assert the perfection(2) of George Mallory’s career as a climber, due to A> death at age 37, and B> failure to conclusively be the first to reach the summit. But by the first meaning, the perfection(1) of that career is a mystery. Some parts of the perfection(1) are clear – an attempt was made on the summit, and Mallory died before descending – but other key components are currently unknown and may be unknowable, particularly whether the summit was reached and the proper decoration of and reference to Mallory within the annals of mountaineering.

    I don’t say this to put words in anyone’s mouth, but because I see the possibility that if the first meaning was used, it could have lead to misunderstanding. When I read the quote about “the perfection of [Dave Carter]’s journey”, I assumed from other quoted context that it was meant in the first sense. But then your response seemed firmly rooted in the second/more common sense. That made me wonder if you had considered and dismissed the potential for the first meaning (perhaps due to other communications I don’t have context for), or if you had not been aware of it in the first place.

    So, if perfection(1) wasn’t already in your word-bag, I hereby offer it as an anniversary-and-a-half gift, and hope it may occasionally be of use or at least interest.


  12. Wendy Woodward
    February 27, 2023 @ 11:00 pm

    Dear Elizabeth!

    Thank you for writing and posting this. I ran across your article while looking for some of the lyrics to one of many of my long favorite Dave Carter/Tracy Grammar songs. This article was not only beautifully-written but thoughtful and thought-provoking. I love the embedded videos and will have to now purchase the Avalon CD.

    My offspring, who remains my favorite person on the planet no matter what their gender, has been struggling with gender dysphoria for a few years now. We are both huge, huge fans of DC/TG songs. I sent this article off to them (singular) and got an immediate positive response.

    Your article touched me on levels I cannot even describe yet; I have bookmarked it for future reading.

    My best to you and I wish you great happiness in your present and future.



    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      March 7, 2023 @ 12:22 pm

      Thank you so much for this, and all the best to you and your kid.


  13. Liberty Hunter
    February 10, 2024 @ 7:48 pm

    I hope this isn’t taken as snarky, but neither Cohen nor Mitchell are actually American songwriters.

    But Dave Carter sure was one of the greatest.


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