Sunday, October 31, 2010

Extracurricular Activities: Safe Space Discussion Meeting This Wednesday

What do you do outside of work and other than GqC events? Do you see your gender directly shaped in/by these activities? How do you see yourself reflected in these activities? Why are they important and worth your involvement? Join us for a safe space meeting this Wednesday to talk about the extracurricular activities we do and what we enjoy that fills us and our time.

Wednesday, November 3rd
The Gerber/Hart Library (1127 W. Granville)
7-8:30pm (We're starting right on time from now on, so come before 7 if you don't want to miss out!)

As always this is an inclusive community event, and as such, it is free and open to the public. Reporters and researchers are not to attend in their professional capacities but may contact

People of all ages and abilities encouraged to attend.

The Pomegranate Metaphor

by Ephemera

I bought a pomegranate last week. This morning, I watched its gossamar membranes stretch to their limit before breaking. Juice drizzled down my fingers, oozing from the scarlet kernals, and I let it stain my cutting board.

I remember a third grade me telling the class that pomegranate was my favorite fruit. What was this strange word? There was no one to back me up. Even the teacher turned a scant eye in my direction after this proclamation. I’d try to drawn common ground in our eight-year old lexicon. It was more like corn than apples or oranges but sour like Warheads. I fell short.

Once, I invited my friend over to try one. We nestled into a blanket fort, couch cushions upturned to shield us from my mother’s view. She would have killed us if we stained her couch, but I gingerly pressed my fingers into the skin and pulled it apart. We treated the seeds like jewels, and he was converted.

Now things are different. “Antioxidant” spills off of grocery store shelves and sale people’s lips. I can buy pomegranate juice in every pseudo-bistro and health food store this side of the Loop. I can convince people they’ll like it by evoking words like “elderberry,” “tart,” and “refreshing.” Most of the time I’m grateful for the recognition when I ask the grocery boy where to find it. But every once in a while, I feel like I lost something that used to only belong to me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We Still Want Your Mid-west Music

A while ago, I tried to get a music share going, but only got two responses. If you were being shy or didn't get around to it, you have another chance! Give us your musician recommendation or volunteer to listen to music by November 10th.

It's no secret--there's a lot of talent in the queer and trans community of Chicago and the Mid-west. I, for one, am feeling like more of them should be on my Ipod. What's community for if not to turn each other on to new things and share stuff that's great?

Let's highlight some folks who are playing great music locally with a
5 Local Musicians You Outta
Check Out list.

Here's how it works,
Step 1: You send us the name of a musician/band you'd like to recommend AND/OR you send us your contact info if you are interested in being one of our reviewers.
Step 2: We contact the musician/band and ask them to send us some sample music.
Step 3: We match up the music to a listener who then writes a paragraph-long review.
Step 4: Once we get a few, we post them with samples and links to where you can find more of their stuff.
Step 5: Everyone has a better music selection.

If you're interested in being a reviewer or have a musician to recommend, send it to

Friday, October 29, 2010

Can a Boy be a Princess for Halloween?

One mother wants to say "yes."

Tribune Reporter, Julie Deardorff, writes of her child's struggle to pick a Halloween costume.

Deardorff reports that her son loves trucks and princesses. But when this 3-year-old decides to go as a princess for Halloween, Deardorff and her husband start to worry that the world will punish their child's choices.

Deardorff tells this touching story with honesty, care, and deep respect for her child's wishes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Genderqueer Chicago Announces New Meeting Space/ Collaboration with Access Living!

For many months now, we've been looking for a second home for our weekly meetings. We're thrilled to announce we have found one at Access Living (115 W. Chicago Ave.).

Access Living is...

a nonresidential Center for Independent Living for people with all types of disabilities. Access Living programs and services promote the empowerment, independence and inclusion of people with all types of disabilities in every aspect of community life. -Access Living website

From now on, we'll be meeting on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at Access Living. We'll continue to meet at the Gerber/Hart Library (1127 W. Granville) on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. Check the calendar on this blog, for the most up-to-date information about meeting times and spaces. Our first meeting at Access Living is on November 10th.

We're so excited to collaborate with Access Living, not simply because they're a fantastic organization but also because we believe that disability communities and gender-variant communities can find common cause on so many issues. Further, we hope that its central location will make GqC accessible to people all over the city.

To learn more about the intersections of disability and gender-variant issues, start with trans and disability activist and writer, Eli Clare.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beautiful Boy

"Beautiful boy
I wish you could hear my thoughts
Maybe then you would understand
And I would hurt you less
But you can't
You can only hear my teeth and the dumb things they say
So I run run till my feet don't hit the ground
Run till I pass out or you
You pass out of my mind or till it makes sense
No restraint no water no money or way home
No sense nonsense
And so I run
All the hurt radiating in and out of you
The hurt you created and the hurt that created me
In and out like the harsh breath over my busted ribs
Cracked out of desperation
Cracked like your thoughts
Beautiful boy how could I hurt you?
Beautiful girl how did I leave you?
Beautiful temptress why did I follow you?
So I run. Run till the thoughts slip out
And I leave you all behind
Leave all my ghosts behind
Beautiful boy I wish you could see my eyes burn too
Read my thoughts and know me
Stubborn words that flow so easily from mind to mind
And hand to hand are trapped behind teeth
And so I remain silent and just breathe
And the small iron chunk around my neck
Pounds back and forth
A steady metronome to chart my sanity
Shoe soles hitting pavement
Gravel grinding into your soul
Beautiful child I never meant to hurt you
But silence. Silence is all that answers
And so I run


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Anger: Safe Space Discussion This Wednesday

Where does anger come from? Have you found ways in which anger fuels you? Can anger be a vehicle for change? Or destruction? In what ways do you see anger manifest within you and affect your community? Join us for a safe space meeting this Wednesday about all things enraging and what expressing them means.

Wednesday, Oct. 27
The Gerber/Hart Library (1127 W. Granville)
7-8:30pm (We're starting right on time from now on, so come before 7 if you don't want to miss out!)

As always this is an inclusive community event, and as such, it is free and open to the public. Reporters and researchers are not to attend in their professional capacities but may contact

People of all ages and abilities encouraged to attend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Put on Your Artsy Pants

Our website is looking a little dull at the moment, but I believe you have what it takes to spruce it up!

Send us your artwork, your music, your huddled muse-fodder yearning to be seen.

This is a community blog and it can only be as creative, artist, fun and jubilant as those who submit. I dare you to put on your artsy pants this week and send us what comes out of it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


An excerpt from a speech given at the Day of Remembrance vigil at AIDS Project Worcester, MA in 2007:

I’ve been at a few Day of Remembrance events over the years. At almost every one, I’ve heard a story that goes something like this: “This person who was killed last year did not deserve to get killed. She was a really beautiful woman. She always passed everywhere she went. She knew she was trans since she was a little kid. She just wanted to be a normal girl and not bother anybody. And she got killed anyway. It’s not fair.”

Of course it’s not fair that anybody get killed. But personally, I don’t need to hear any stories like that this year. I don’t need to hear any stories that imply that a trans person is worth something, is worth mourning, as long as they are passing and acting normal. I want us to make sure we are honoring all trans people and all people whose gender does not conform to society’s expectations for them. For example, why don’t I ever hear a story that goes like this:

“That girl, she was the least convincing woman I ever laid eyes on. Big-boned, barrel-chested hog of a woman. Girl had more hair on her back than my great uncle Albert, and she sang bass in the church choir. And she still didn’t deserve to get beat up.”

Or how about this one: “Boy did not even try. He had a knack for making straight people nervous, and he loved it. Pissed ‘em off on purpose. Boy had tits the size of basketballs, and he would still lean over a counter and show cleavage to get a free drink, even after his voice started changing. And he still deserved safety and respect and love.”

We are a bunch of damn fine people. Instead of us saying we deserve to live un-harassed because we’re just like ‘normal,’ non-trans people … Let’s say we deserve to live un-harassed because we do, because we’re human. And let’s therefore ally ourselves with anyone who is fighting for the rights of any oppressed group. Let’s be part of a broad social movement for the human rights, dignity and self-determination of all people everywhere.

And then we will be even stronger than the amazing strength that’s here in this room right now. And then someday, no one will be ‘at risk’ anymore. And then someday, soon, and in our lifetimes, we will not need to set aside days for mourning. Kein y’hi ratzon – may it be so.

Thank you.

Read the whole speech or other assorted musings on gender, Judaism, and social justice at Sometime Davey Wins.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trans 101 and Beyond! Next Week

Want to learn more about transgender identity? Check out Northwestern's "Trans 101 and Beyond...!" workshop next week for a discussion about gender nonconformativity and the law, music, the world.

Thursday, October 28th, 5-7pm
Northwestern's Evanston Campus, University Hall 101
Free and open to the public! Refreshments will be served.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's Your Story? Tell us next meeting.

Stories are about conflict and change, and I suspect that most of us have our fair share. We tell stories to forge our own identities, to build community, to mobilize allies. How do we talk about our issues and experiences with gender? Come share your story or just sit back and listen.

This Wednesday
The Gerber/Hart Library (1127 W. Granville)

This meeting is open to anyone wishing to talk and think about gender. Researchers are reporters are not to attend in their professional capacities but can contact organizers by e-mailing

Why do you read? Write us a Letter.

We hear lots of stories about how people’s high school friends or bosses or grandparents are reading the Genderqueer Chicago blog. And still, most of our submissions come from our own organizers, friends, and neighbors. Our community has grown a lot bigger than this blog represents. We want to know what that community looks like.

So, for the first time, we’re asking this of you: write us a letter. Tell us who you are and why you read.

Tell us where you come from and how you found us.

Maybe you’re a parent of a trans person, and you’re looking to learn more about your kid. Maybe you’re a gender-variant person living in a place where you don’t see a lot of other gender-variant people. Maybe you’re a teacher, trying to understand how to support queer students.

Whatever your deal is, whoever you are, wherever you are, we want to hear from you.

We’ll post all responses here, on the blog. You can write anonymously or sign your name (as long as you’re not outing someone else).

If you get stumped on what to say, think about the following:

-Why do you read this blog?

-How did you find the blog?

-What posts have been particularly relevant for you?

-What do you want to see on the blog?

-Have other people’s stories on the blog changed the way you think in some way? How?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Susan Stryker is Coming to Town!

One of a handful of known transgender historians, Susan Stryker's work has not only provided us with a documented history of transgender life and struggle; it has challenged gay-centric organizing agendas, educated us on the events that shaped our community, and helped inspire complicated ways of thinking and talking about gender.

Stryker will be screening her Emmy-winning film about the Compton Cafeteria riots, Screaming Queens here (almost) in Chicago!
Sunday, October 24th at 2:30pm.
at Oak Park Public Library

Styker will be present at a reception at the event, so this is a rare chance to meet her.

Also, Oak Park Public Library has a stunning transgender resource collection, one of the largest in the U.S., in fact.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Riot Grrrl/Boi

by malic

Rebel girl, rebel girl

Rebel girl, you are the the queen of my world

Rebel girl, rebel girl

I think I wanna take you home

I wanna try on your clothes

-Bikini Kill (“Rebel Girl”)

If I tried on Rebel Girl’s clothes at this point in my life, I’d be less like a Riot Grrrl and more like the world’s most punk rock drag queen. But I’m a trannyboy with a grrrlhood dipped in modge podge, glitter, and girl power—I can’t shake that history from my skin.

I discovered Riot Grrrl sometime after my Second Wave consciousness- raising at age 12. Having read every thick volume of feminist theory in my school library (think: The Feminine Mystique), I dusted off “womyn with a Y” and found a label with less crunch and more bite: Grrrl. 

Everything You Need to Know About Riot Grrrl—I traveled all the way to the County Public Library for that little book of girls with big ideas. Sure, the cute n’ tough aesthetic appealed to me (though I had unsuccessfully dabbled in goth fashion during junior high cheerleading days, I never gave on my alterna-girl dreams), but the message sliced me like a three-chord riff: Revolution. Grrrl style. Now.

Don't you talk out of line
Don't go speaking out of your turn
Gotta listen to what the Man says
Time to make his stomach burn
Burn, burn
Burn, burn, burn, burn!
-Bikini Kill (“Double Dare Ya”)

Lyrics from the Riot Grrrl music scene were far from the flowery showtunes I grew up singing, but they were straight and to the point. Plus, screaming “Suck My Left One” when no one was home was pretty liberating for well-behaved adolescent.

But once I acquired Le Tigre’s entire discography, I realized that the Riot Grrrl party bus had rolled on by back in 1999. After all, Buffy was almost off the air, Sleater-Kinney disbanded, even the Spice Girls broke off into their separate dramas of unwed motherhood and prison. Girl power was looking less glamorous. Frustrated yet determined, I started a One Grrrl campaign to rev it up again.

I changed up my wardrobe, covering thrift store vests with Sharpie marker scrawl and mismatching chandelier earrings. I made my own zine before I ever held one, passing out photocopied musings to girls who looked like they needed some self-esteem. I would have started a band had I been able to trade in my Judy Garland vibrato for a Brody Dalle snarl (years of vocal training nailed my vocal chords to Broadway even when my ears were filled with bass lines). I even roped my parents into the whole thing, persuading dad to print stacks of feminist lit on his workplace copy machine and begging mom to let me wear combat boots to my first high school dance.

But at school I was a lone ranger. No matter how many girls said that they “really appreciated” the rants about sexual harassment and women’s history in my zine, no one made their own. I faced lectures from school administrators for passing out “profane advertisements” on school property (I guess naming my zine Emma Goldman Could Kick Your Ass wasn’t the best idea) and boys were on my case more than ever (“what the fuck is she wearing?”). I tuned it all out with my Walkman headphones til I ended up in college and attempted to be more sophisticated. I left my cassette tapes at home—Bikini Kill never made it to my iPod upgrade.

I joined the Feminist Majority. I took a Gender Studies class. I read academic articles about the same movement I had tried to revive. I started talking about Riot Grrrl with a kind of nostalgia it usually takes years to acquire. Riot Grrrl wasn’t “my scene” any more, and once I came into my tranny self, I felt like I was barred from grrrlness forever.

But I’ve been thinking…I still make zines. My gender rebel activism is totally feminist. And my iPod is slowly accumulating more PJ Harvey and P!nk than anything else. Riot Grrrl is a part of my history that I would never want to abandon, and I seriously doubt that any other grrrl would let me.

This boy is still a Riot Grrrl.

Stop thief, you can steal the way

I fuckin’ felt when I got up today

Well, I guess you’re the judge

I guess you’re the king of the forever beauty pageant I’m always in

But my hear beats blue, beats red, beats mad

Is this the only power that you really wanna have?

-Le Tigre (“On Guard”)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Genderqueer Chicago Open Mic Night!

Got talent? Show it off! Whether it's music, storytelling, stand-up, or puppetry, Genderqueer Chicago invites you to show off your skills (or simply kick back and watch) at our first open mic night THIS COMING WEDNESDAY. Bring your buddies! This event is FREE and open to everyone!

Wednesday, October 13
Kitchen Sink
1107 W. Berwyn Ave.

Kitchen Sink cafe is wheelchair accessibly, family friendly, and easily accessible by CTA (just off the Berwyn stop on the Red Line).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I look down at the table.

If I stare hard enough perhaps I can summon food? Anything to get people to talk less.

I look down like I'm going away; sorry can't talk, shutting down, uploading brain to some far away place, away from your shit.

You are not really looking for a response even though you look right at me, you don't want approval or detraction. You're being neutral right? You're just relaying the reality of "us guys," certainly you are not reinforcing constructed gender roles. That's crazy talk, this is just reality son, the reality of "us.". And, of course I am one of you, my identity is yours to assume, my body squirms at your appropriation, your ignorant theft.

I want to say something, I want to scream, or at least calmly explain that saying things like: "us guys don't need a lot of options, we just choose what we want, right?" plays on many gender biases and prescriptive assumptions of normalized gender behavior and emotions. I want to deconstruct ideas of male logical supremacy, to shatter the structure that places and defines "masculine decisive" logic over "feminine erratic" emotions, to call that implicit gender binary all together problematic and potentially harmful, to question the very notion that gender determines such things as how one orders food, to call you out, to call out so many things.

All this races through my head while my body continues to squirm uncomfortably in my seat. I want to scream these things to reclaim my body from you; some things I'm fine being excluded from. Or perhaps I should follow your advice, be one of "us guys" and spout chauvinistic and gender essentialist inanities, or do just as well and co-conspire, tacitly accept, to nod or half laugh makes me just as culpable does it not?

But then the server arrives, freeing me from choosing that uncomfortable prospect of responding and doing the easy, keeping my head low, smiling and nodding. The interruption gives me an out, a third way apart from the nod of tacit approval and the potential disaster of calling you out, a way to not respond, not to confront, try and forget about it, let your words dissolve without fanfare. It may hurt, letting you off the hook, letting you get away with a piece of me, but I'm not strong enough to wage that war right now. I just want to set it all aside and not be constantly reminded...

"Let's start with the ladies."



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Peer Pressure in Your Community- This Wednesday!

When having a community means having a compromise, what do you do?

Join us for a safe space discussion on that old-fashioned concept, "Peer Pressure." But please, leave your old D.A.R.E. notebook at home. :)

This Wednesday
The Gerber/Hart Library (1127 W. Granville)

This meeting is open to anyone wishing to talk and think about gender. Researchers are reporters are not to attend in their professional capacities but can contact organizers by e-mailing

Website graphics and design by Andre Perez