Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TRANSportation, Take 2

Ever been on a crowded train, suffocating with twenty or thirty strangers, keeping your eyes on your shoes because you're too afraid to look up? Well this is the train for you.

Join us on February 1st as we alert Chicago to the presence of gender-variant people with some light-hearted theatre.
We'll meet at the Randolph Brown Line stop at at 5:45pm On the NORTH side platform.
we will take the train together at 6pm.
We will ride with each car for two stops, performing some informal theatre to let train cars know that genderqueer people ride CTA daily. You need not be an actor to ride this train! And you need not be trans either. Gender funnies and all allies are welcome. Come out for a night of fun, safe, and informal education!
Please, set aside two hours for the activity.


  1. Have y'all thought about the framing of this activity? Because while "street" theater on the CTA sounds like it could be a really good idea, *some* people are well aware that *certain* trans/genderqueer people ride the CTA daily. Some of us already have people "alerting" the public to our presence--by harassing us, by nonconsentually posting photos and videos of us online, etc. (more info on the site that you are (I hope/presume unwittingly) drawing a parallel to--its first incarnation was even worse than what's up there now. And don't even THINK about using the word "tranny". It's not yours.)

    For a debunking of this concept of visibility, see my post, The Myth of (In)Visibility.

    To be clear, I would totally support public direct action, but not in a formulation based in ignorance of or unconcern for the experiences and safety of trans women.

  2. I think there are a few things to consider. One we are not posting photos or anything of the sort, we are being open about being gender variant and by that hopefully showing that it is not something to shame, make fun of or harrass. Maybe it will work maybe it won't but i still think it is important even if it only changes one persons mind.

    Second, I am not sure you have all the information of who is involved in this and yes I can and will use the word tranny because i own it, live it and love it.

    On a side notw we welcome different opinions on the site and feel free to contribute your own thoughts in the comments on as a blog post.

  3. Aidan,

    "Tranny" isn't your slur to reclaim. It is as much misogynistic as it is transphobic. Its primary targets are trans women, drag queens, and crossdressers, and it's used more often against feminine cis women than against trans men. It doesn't mean "transgender," it means "failing at femininity" or "doing femininity wrong."

    And my main point is that "visibility" is a concept you need to be more careful with. Because it's not always good, inherently positive, or anything of the sort.

    Did you read the links?

  4. A concern for the visibility and safety of trans bodies is respectable, however this critique wrongly assumes a lot about the people organizing and participating in this action, their identities and histories, and their knowledge on the subjects of which you speak. While I admire the argument that transfolk must be sensitive to privileges within our own communities, I believe it would disastrous to impede one another on the basis of assumption.

    What IS worth debating then is what trans people owe each other in terms of visibility or "caution" and how TRANSportation specifically is a violation of this unwritten pact, if it is in fact problematic.

    -Kate Sosin
    Co-Founder, GqC


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