Thursday, July 16, 2009

Establishing Genderqueer Chicago

"I have begun speaking simply of gender as a name for that system that punishes bodies for how they look, who they love, or how they feel-- for the size or color or shape of their skin. I do this not to collapse our differences, but to emphasize our connections."
-Riki Anne Wilchins

Welcome.

It’s a funny, if not problematic, thing to create an “inclusive” genderqueer group. “Genderqueer” itself is little more than a junkyard identity- an attempt to name all the little somethings in us that defy gender as a constructed binary. That is to say, “genderqueer” means very little… and it also means everything.

Still, there is a particular pang felt by those who of us who transgress (or wish to transgress) our assigned genders and/or gender scripts. We stand out, our sense of place in this world as indefinite as the identities we create to describe ourselves.

We’re shopping in the wrong sections at clothing stores, or peeing in stalls marked with people shapes that don’t resemble us, or being called “sir” when we want to hear “miss,” or gawking fearfully at our closets, or cutting our hair against our wills, or borrowing makeup because we’re afraid to buy it or…. The list could go on for an eternity (and the list would far exceed issues of visibility).

What is specific to our community are not our experiences, our cultural backgrounds, our ages, our sexual orientations, our races, our class backgrounds, our aesthetics, or even our gender identifications. Rather, it is our anguish. It is the suppression of our complexities when gender systems fall short.

In recognition of this unnamed ache, we ally ourselves with one another, across multiple and intersecting identities, in forming Genderqueer Chicago.

Genderqueer Chicago is an inclusive group for all who identify as genderqueer/genderfuck/bigender/transgender or otherwise gender-non-conforming folk as well as those who are questioning their gender identity/expression. We hold weekly meetings for community members to debrief, discuss, and connect with other genderqueer individuals. If you’d like to get involved, please e-mail us at genderqueerchicago@gmail.com.

*Group discussions are intended to serve as a support space for folks wishing to question their own gender identity/ expression, but folks who do not feel the need for such a space are asked and encouraged to participate in Genderqueer Chicago through activism, organizing, and education. Genderqueer Chicago is an inclusive community, and anyone wishing to take part is considered family.

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