Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Montana, Day 3, Amtrak

by Dane Z. Bauer

In the snack car en route to California, a scraggly middle-aged man starts talking to me about his ex-wife, a "crazy bitch" who "ruined him forever." He’s so close I can smell his vinegar breath, his crusty sweatshirt. His left hand is at my elbow: in it, a bottle of single-serving train wine. I avoid eye contact, back up into a booth and sit down. He say something like "Aw sweetheart, you don't want to sit with me?"
I glare at him, trying to look girl-angry – snappy, but not threatening, with half an ounce of cute to get him to listen. "I’m no sweetheart. You don't get to call me that unless we're related or dating, got it?” With half an eye on his boundaries, I turn to my sandwich.

He starts to yell about crazy bitches again. I shoot a pleading look at a woman standing near us. Come on honey, help a sister out? She looks away, takes a step towards the stairs. I tell myself she’s probably looking for a staff person. I look the man in the eye and try to talk slow, certain, controlled. "Sir, you are in my space. I need you to back away at least three steps, right now."

Another voice interjects: "Honey, is this man bothering you?"

I look up, and up. The voice is coming from a person about six feet tall, with football shoulders, a fuzzy red sweater, dangly beaded earrings, and fitted flare jeans. The voice is deep. I see the hint of stubble on her chin.

"Yes," I say, while my eyes telegraph an insistent no. no. no. no. I’m torn between hoping she’s going to superhero me out of this, and calculating how quickly I can disable the guy if it comes to that. I think: this is so much more dangerous for her than for me! What is she doing, getting involved? She doesn’t smile at me, but raises an eyebrow. The message is clear – silly girl. You think I’d get involved if I couldn’t handle this?
The man turns around. I can’t see his face, but he takes a step back, as she takes one towards him.

"What are you, some kinda freak?!" he shouts at her. I'm on my feet in a flash, fist pulled back. I’m ready. I’ll beat him to a senseless g-ddamn pulp. Somewhere past my animal brain, I’m terrified at how quickly I’m willing to resort to violence. "Don't you dare - "

"Sir!" she says loudly, cutting me off with a pointed look. "I am probably the only person on this train with both a pair of stillettos and a pair of genuine cojones, so take it from me: you don't want to be on the receiving end of one of my shoes.” She lets that sink in for a moment, staring him down. I swallow a bout of frenzied laughter, press my lips together. How in the world is this happening? We’re going to be okay.

He sputters, and a train staff person shows up, takes him by the elbow to lead him to parts unknown.

The breath leaves me, half sigh, half hysterics. Blood rushes to my head. That was a close one. Hilarious. And close. What a fucking cowboy.

I stick out my hand. "Thank you - I'm sorry - oy. Thank you ma'am. I'm Dane."

"Charlotte," she says, shaking my hand with a gentle squeeze. Her hands are perfectly smooth, with the vaguest hint of lotion. She smiles a little bit. I imagine I look more earnest than a puppy. I want her to know. I want her to know what just happened. I want her to know I’m going to take this back to my seat and curl up with it for days and laugh joyfully whenever I think of it and how grateful I am, and oh gender…

I don’t think any of that is really getting across, so I try again:

"All of us need to keep an eye out for one another, y'know?"

"Yeah," Charlotte says, with a wink and an eyeroll towards the woman who ignored me. I hadn’t noticed she was still there. For the first time, I realize she’s got headphones on. She’s missed everything. "Be careful, ok?" I start to answer “You, too,” but bite my tongue.

I want to stay and talk to her for as long as the train ride, but she slips past me, buys a hamburger, and makes her way up the stairs without another word.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spit It Out: Let's Talk About Language

As proposed at our last meeting, let's talk about language!

What words do you use to talk about gender? How do you define them or explain them to others? Is the language that we use to talk about gender always useful?

Let's break it down this Wednesday!
7pm
Gerber-Hart Library

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pride Parade Directions

If you're planning to march in the Pride Parade with us, here are the details on when and where:

The parade will line up at 11 AM tomorrow starting at Belmont and Halsted. We are the 40th group in line (towards the beginning), so we'll be around Barry and Halsted on the west curb. Look for the Genderqueer Chicago banner (along with some genderfabulous signs)!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Directions to the Dyke March THIS SATURDAY


This Saturday, June 26th, the Dyke March rally will take place 2:30 PM at 7054 S Jeffery Blvd. and we will march north towards the to Jackson Park at 63rd and Hayes. Genderqueer Chicago will be marching. So how do you get there?

From the North Side: Red Line to Monroe, 14 Bus towards Stony Island/103--arrive Jefferey and 71st St
From the West Side: Green Line to 51st, 15 Bus towards Stony Island/103--arrive Jefferey and 71st St
From the upper South Side: 15 Bus towards Stony Island/103--arrive Jefferey and 71st St
From the Loop: 6 Bus towards 79th/South Shore--arrive 67th and Jeffery OR 14 Bus towards Stony Island/103--arrive Jefferey and 71st St

Lots of alternate routes and routes from various parts of the city and suburbs have been left out, but googlemaps can help you out if these directions don't.

Hope to see you at the Dyke March! Look for the Genderqueer Chicago folks with their genderfabuolous signs.

Oh, and don't forget water and sunscreen. Because everyone knows that a parched Gender Outlaw is a sad Gender Outlaw.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

well, well, out of the gender well

by Knox Daley



well

I struggled hard with gender and sexism and all that for many years. Everyone finds their own way out of the heartbreaking system, and mine was through destroying gender. I got rid of it. Don't use it. I dress, act, and value things based on what I want and on my whimsy, not on what someone who was assigned female at birth is supposed to dress, act, value... I just don't worry about that at all. Sometimes people say gendered things to me still and it takes a little while to register, and then it's like "oh yeah, they have gender, they think about things in that way". Like for example, "why don't you dress more feminine?" eyebrow-raised.. uhhhhh, why don't you? "so are you gonna go on t?" Hmmm, I'm not planning on it, are you? I get a kick out of asking cis-men if they're gonna go on testosterone in response to them asking me if I am - the surprised shock of recognition is priceless. Throw it back at em, babies! Everyone's different, it's a beautiful thing. I am human variance!

well

I'm never sure what people mean when they ask me what I feel like "inside". I feel squishy inside! I feel a lot of feelings, I think a lot of thoughts. Sometimes just being human is too small of a holding cell for me, how could I possibly be only one gender, only Man or Woman? Sisterbrother, you don't even know the half of what I am. So yeah I am a female bodied trans-masculine genderqueer person, and that's just the very tip of the iceberg.

well

When I was a kid getting into punk rock, I didn't care much about gender either. My role models in the scene were the most badass people of any gender, it didn't matter. To me gender matters about as much as race; I acknowledge and try to understand the different perspectives it gives people but it's not a value or basis for decision making. Nobody encouraged me to get into computers or punk rock or record collecting, I just did it. Nobody encouraged me to get into recording or electrical engineering or guitar, I just did it. I don't get an award for this, it wasn't something I overcame. Sure, I get dismissed sometimes by people who don't understand, but as my grandmother used to say, "Fuck em!"

well

I just wanna do me, be myself, make my music, have my fun, etc. And I do. And it's awesome. Gender issues to me used to be no laughing matter. Now I prefer laughing. At myself, at the world, at how fun life is.

Personfriend, whatever way you have found so far in this life, I salute you for it. This is me, tell us about you...

News Coverage of South Side Murder

posted by: Malic

A transfeminine person was found murdered in a South Side neighborhood on Monday. The Chicago Sun-Times coverage of this death can be found here. (Warning: Please do not read this article if the subject matter might be triggering)

The article makes some disturbing assumptions about folks along the transfeminine spectrum, most apparent in the following sentence:

"Investigators do not believe his body was dumped there or that he was a missing person, according to police who said that corner is frequented by prostitutes."

This point insinuates that the victim's death could not possibly be the result of a planned murder because given victim's "female-clothes," Woulard must have been a sex worker, exempt from harassment unrelated to sex work. The sentence also suggests that the murder of sex workers, regardless of their identity, should be expected in their line of work.

I am outraged by the insensitivity with which the Sun-Times has dealt with Woulard's death, the assumption that all transfeminine people as sex workers, and the depiction of sex workers as acceptable targets of crime. I encourage everyone to write the Sun-Times addressing these issues. You can contact the Sun-Times online here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meeting Canceled for Banner-Making Party!


Our usual meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, at Affinity Community Services has been canceled, but we're doing something fun!

Instead of our usual discussion group meeting, join us at the Gerber-Hart Library this Wednesday, June 23, for a banner-making party as we prep the Dyke March and the Pride Parade. The artsy fun will begin at 7pm!

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************
So what’s with all the parades?

Some members of Genderqueer Chicago will join volunteers of the Gerber-Hart Library in the Chicago Pride Parade on Sunday, June 27. Everyone is invited to march with us!

Some community members are hesitant to participate in Pride, feeling that the planning and activities surrounding the parade have not included gender-variant communities or engaged Chicago neighborhoods outside of Boys Town. Given these feelings, we believe that is is important to have a visible presence in this environment, making a public call for greater representation of Chicago's queer and gender-variant community at Pride. Through out participation, we hope to reach out those who would not otherwise be aware of Genderqueer Chicago's resources and support volunteers at the Gerber-Hart Library who provide us with a meeting space.

We will post information about where/when we'll meet before the Pride Parade on the blog.

If you are not interested in the Pride Parade but still want to get in on this month's fun, join us at the Dyke March on June 26th! For more information: click HERE.
Check the blog for updated directions and information about the Dyke March and the Pride Parade!

Friday, June 18, 2010

run from it: trannyboyhood and my past life (as a dyke)

by littlefella

“Dyke!”

He sticks out a scrawny leg and trips me. Arms windmill as his crew belches out a collective hoot. Brain reeling back to high school, I keep running.

“Yeah, you keep running dyke!”

Shoulda nailed him.

Every heel that hits the Lakeshore path pounds another teenage memory back into my head.

“Hey, dyke!”
“I’ll show you what you’re missing, dyke!”

It’s been a while since I heard that word ‘cause I’ve been passing. I’ve been giving Boy lately and giving it hard—chest flattened by thriftstore T-shirts, face hardened with clenched teeth, grinding.

I get followed in stores now, clerks’ eyes glued to fucked-up hair and long-fingered teenage boy hands known to steal.

“Can I help you with anything, young man?”
“Are you going to buy that, sir?”

Eager to “help,” clerks trails behind, counting candy bars on store shelves and pockets where I could stash ‘em.

But here on the Lakeshore path, I get Seen. Going for my morning run alongside shirtless gayboys in spandex shorts, my sportsbra turns boypecs into girlstits. To the cisboy skaters on beach patrol, my short hair and hairy pits can only mean one thing.

“Is your pussy as hairy as you are, dyke?”

I could pass here, too, if I tried. A binder/baggy shirt combo could turn me into one of those junior high track stars in training, the boys who pump miles out of gangly legs to impress girls and please fathers. But it’s summer. It’s hot. And I’d rather feel the sun on my back than sweat pooling under nylon and cotton. So I take “dyke” like a tribute to my out-as-fuck femme days and run like a Girl. And remember.

Ani DiFranco in my stereo, I was a womyn with a Y kind of dyke, the generation that missed Lilith Fair and caught the last wave of Riot Grrrl. And despite my flashy new T-boy ID, I’ve still got some proud dyke in me.

I play Indigo Girls covers on my acoustic guitar. I like to Process my feelings. And yeah, I still like my popcorn with nutritional yeast.

What of it?

“Dyke” is different than the “are you a boy or a girl?” mantra I got used to in the last few years. It’s not an inquiry—there’s no intention to engage. It’s a label spat without question or ambiguity. Getting hit with it again reminds me that it’s a privilege to pass, even when I’m read as a Delinquent Teenage Boy.

“Dyke!”

Yet another one pops in my ear just before I get home. I smile at the observer, squaring trannyboy shoulders under sportsbra straps, chest puffed out with pride and girlparts.

“Yep. That’s me.”

Then I go inside. I shower and dress. I pass back into the world, my past invisible again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

March with Genderqueer Chicago at the Dyke March!


Some members of Genderqueer Chicago will be marching in the Dyke March, a grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, and transgender resilience. Taking place in a different neighborhood every summer, this year's march will happen in South Shore! Look for the Genderqueer Chicago Banner and join us!

Saturday, June 26th, 2010
Rally at 2:30 PM at 7054 S Jeffery Blvd, march north towards the to Jackson Park at 63rd and Hayes

For more information, check out the Dyke March facebook page HERE.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Past Lives: Discussion this Wednesday


Past lives happen. Join us for a safe space discussion of histories and hilarity.

This Wednesday
The Gerber/ Hart Library (1127 W. Granville)
7:00pm- 8:30pm


Genderqueer Chicago meetings are open to anyone wanting to discuss personal gender issues. Reporters and researchers are not invited to attend in their professional capacities but may inquire by e-mailing genderqueerchicago@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bound

by Haywood

Deep breath, to take in air
Shaven face, now feeling bare
Broken home from this ordeal
Try understanding how I feel
Change of clothes to go to school
My lifestyle's against the rules
Deepened voice and aftershave
Today I'm bound, and no one's slave
I know that I am not your dream
But things aren't always as they seem
Aviators and binders hold
The secrets that I don't want told
I won't apologize for this
Transgress myself to give you bliss
For this is who I want to be
So don't look now... But this is me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fun In the Sun!


Everything is a little different in the summer--we're happier, we're wearing less clothes, the gays are out to play, students are out of school and sometimes back in their hometowns, we sweat, we travel...and yes, we still think about gender, perhaps even moreso than before.

The coats of winter have been cast away!

Join us for a discussion about gender in the summer THIS WEDNESDAY
Affinity Community Services
5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.
7pm

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is Your GqC Blog Looking a Little Empty?

So is ours!

This blog is a community project, fueled by your submissions. No submissions means no blog!

If you have any writing, images, music, or videos you want to share, send them our way!

Please include a title and publishing name (your name, nickname, or "anonymous"). We reserve the right not to publish pieces deemed offensive or unkind.

E-mail genderqueerchicago@gmail.com.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trans Ally Launches Site for Families of LGBTQ People

An LGBTQ ally has launched a website intended for people with queer family members.

Friends of Fam
is looking for participation from other allies in talking about LGBTQ issues and family. If you're a great ally or you know of one, check it out.

Website graphics and design by Andre Perez