Monday, February 28, 2011

How To Make Love to a Trans Person

by Gabe Moses

Forget the images you've learned to attach
To words like cock and clit,
Chest and breasts.
Break those words open
Like a paramedic cracking ribs
To pump blood through a failing heart.
Push your hands inside.
Get them messy.
Scratch new definitions on the bones.

Get rid of the old words altogether.
Make up new words.
Call it a click or a ditto.
Call it the sound he makes
When you brush your hand against it through his jeans,
When you can hear his heart knocking on the back of his teeth
And every cell in his body is breathing.
Make the arch of her back a language
Name the hollows of each of her vertebrae
When they catch pools of sweat
Like rainwater in a row of paper cups
Align your teeth with this alphabet of her spine
So every word is weighted with the salt of her.

When you peel layers of clothing from his skin
Do not act as though you are changing dressings on a trauma patient
Even though it's highly likely that you are.
Do not ask if she's "had the surgery."
Do not tell him that the needlepoint bruises on his thighs look like they hurt
If you are being offered a body
That has already been laid upon an altar of surgical steel
A sacrifice to whatever gods govern bodies
That come with some assembly required
Whatever you do,
Do not say that the carefully sculpted landscape
Bordered by rocky ridges of scar tissue
Looks almost natural.

If she offers you breastbone
Aching to carve soft fruit from its branches
Though there may be more tissue in the lining of her bra
Than the flesh that rises to meet itLet her ripen in your hands.
Imagine if she'd lost those swells to cancer,
Diabetes,
A car accident instead of an accident of genetics
Would you think of her as less a woman then?
Then think of her as no less one now.

If he offers you a thumb-sized sprout of muscle
Reaching toward you when you kiss him
Like it wants to go deep enough inside you
To scratch his name on the bottom of your heart
Hold it as if it can-
In your hand, in your mouth
Inside the nest of your pelvic bones.
Though his skin may hardly do more than brush yours,
You will feel him deeper than you think.

Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They're just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts
And honestly, they can barely contain us
We strain at their seams with every breath we take
We are all pulse and sweat,
Tissue and nerve ending
We are programmed to grope and fumble until we get it right.
Bodies have been learning each other forever.
It's what bodies do.
They are grab bags of parts
And half the fun is figuring out
All the different ways we can fit them together;
All the different uses for hipbones and hands,
Tongues and teeth;
All the ways to car-crash our bodies beautiful.
But we could never forget how to use our hearts
Even if we tried.
That's the important part.
Don't worry about the bodies.
They've got this.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Let's talk about sex, baby! (A safer space discussion)

Let's talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain't gonna stop it
Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows
Many will know anything goes
Let's tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course, how it should be
- Salt n' Pepa

What else can we say, by popular demand we're talking about sex!

Join us for a safe space discussion this Wednesday at the Gerber-Hart Library:

Wednesday, February 28
7pm-8:15pm
Gerber/Hart Library (1107 W. Granville)

People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend! Reporters are asked not to attend in their professional capacities, but may contact genderqueerchicago@gmail.com for more information.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

T-Friendly Bathroom Decal Distribution Day

Join T-Friendly Bathroom Initiative Organizers for a Decal Distribution Day on Saturday, March 5th in Lakeview. Volunteers will meet up in the lobby at the Center on Halsted for a brief training. Then we'll take on the neighborhood!

Saturday, March 5th
12:30PM-4PM
Lakeview--meet at Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted)

How does the T-Friendly Bathroom Initiative work?
The process is simple. We'll be providing pledges to business owners and organizations, asking them to commit to keeping their restroom facilities welcoming of all genders. If they sign the pledge, we give them a decal, which will signal to the world that this establishment has pledged not to police patrons out of restrooms based on gender.

What will volunteers be expected to do on Distribution Day?
Volunteers will approach businesses owners and ask them to sign the T-Friendly Bathroom Pledge. We'll give you all the information you'll need at the training to answer their questions Don't worry if you're shy--you'll be traveling with buddies!

Where can I learn more about the T-Friendly Bathroom Initiative?
Check out our wikipage.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Body/Self

Does being more aware of my body mean that I have to be uncomfortable with it? It. An object. Is 'it' something that exists outside of me, is 'it' something I inhabit, or is it that me and my body are inseparable? And why is it that this last thought scares me so much?

I have spent a long time existing outside of myself. My new found gender variance and trans identity (like picking up a shiny coin) has snapped me into a sense of awareness of myself, of me as my body. But I now find myself resisting the trope of bodily discomfort. My discomfort.

Am I just running in circles here? Is there something about being more aware of my body that translates to discomfort? Is comfort an illusion, an ignorance of my body? I don't think it has to be. But I think that my lifetime outside of myself has not prepared me for my body.

-b
edited and re-posted

This I Used to Believe

by Scott

I used to believe I had some sort of essential gendered energy emanating out from my entire being, like an aura that can only be captured by one of those cameras at the state fair. I used to believe that this gendered energy could be sensed and interpreted correctly by other people, regardless of how I looked, dressed, or acted in the moment. So when people read me as a man or a woman, as straight or gay, as cis or trans, I used to believe their assumptions had any bearing whatsoever on what I “really” was.

Coming out bisexual/pansexual taught me how artificial are distinctions between genders, how so much more diversity exists between individuals than between Gender A and Gender B. Coming out androgynous has taught me how totally full of shit most people are about gender in the first place.

In the space of an average day, I pass through plenty of gendered spaces. I’m assumed to be a butch lesbian, a femme gay man, a 14-year-old boy, a straight woman, and people interact with me accordingly. In a social/relational sense, I am what other people want/need me to be.

Furthermore, what others want/need me to be often has far less to do with how I am physically presenting than with where they need me to exist in the gendered hierarchy of the moment – is this person socially above or beneath me? Are they a potential ally, or a potential threat? And, most importantly, can I fuck them and maintain my current investment in systems of power?

Guy at the gym, to me: Whoa, I’m glad you’re female. I was thinking “Oh shit, that’s one pretty guy.”

Would it make me less of a man to fuck that?

Woman I’d been flirting with in a queer bar: Wait. Are you… TRANS?

Would it make me a slutty, dirty, morally compromised bisexual to fuck that?

I’m beginning to learn that this involuntary gendering can be pushed back on, flouted, or “worked.” For example, my partner’s favorite hobby is frightening cis people. In the name of good comedy, I have given hir standing permission to gender me in whatever way will freak a stranger out the most.

Dudes on the street: Hey, your girlfriend’s really pretty.

My partner: Yeah, everyone’s gay for him.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Speak

by: glimmers & change


I've been thinking a lot about anger

about how angry I am

How I was maybe

born into this


I watch my mother sometimes

she is beautiful

in every light

but she is nervous

and does not always use her voice


My father speaks over me a lot

I am constantly defeated

by my own silence

With these two initiatives

I try to reconcile

talking in between

and not speaking at all


The past,

the future

of me

Is a constant battle

a struggle, towards acceptance

I am working

to be visible

And to approve of myself

As easily seen

As unnoticed

in shadows of the same light

of a different time

Monday, February 21, 2011

Safe Space Topic: Personal Genderqueer


Your Own Personal Genderqueer: A Safe Space Discussion

The word genderqueer is an umbrella term for gender-variant folks and has many different meanings depending on whom you ask. What does genderqueer mean to you? Have you always seen genderqueer in the same way? How do, or don't, you personally identify with the word?

Access Living (115 W. Chicago)
7-8:15pm (we start and end on time)


Genderqueer Chicago welcomes ALL people who want to think and talk about their genders, with the slight exception of researchers and reporters in their professional capacities (aka, we're not your homework...).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

STILL LOOKING: Keep GqC Going- Become an Organizer!

We put this call out a few days ago, and we still have room for folks to come out! Just shoot us an e-mail, and we'll provide you all the details!

Genderqueer Chicago is actively seeking new organizers to add to our team!

What is a GqC organizer?
-While everyone who participates in GqC has a significant role in the group, organizers make sure the day-to-day runs smoothly. GqC is entirely peer-led and volunteer run. We have almost no money and few resources, so organizers work in creative ways to make GqC a sustainable group. Organizers post community work to the blog, book spaces for meetings, plan events for the group, serve as advocates for attendees, facilitate weekly meetings, and build relationships with our larger community.

Who can be an organizer?
Anyone who lives in Chicago, can attend weekly meetings, likes to work in a team, is reliable and on-time, and has attended a few more GqC meetings can be an organizer. If you've never been to GqC or only just recently started coming and think you might want to organize, shoot us an e-mail, anyways and let us know.

What if I'm not sure if I want to be an organizer?
Read on...!

STILL INTERESTED? WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Come to our new organizer orientation to learn more! You don't have to commit to being an organizer, but strong interest is recommended.

New Organizer Orientation will be held:
Saturday, March 5
From 5-7pm
On the North Side of Chicago
(please e-mail genderqueerchicago@gmail.com for location information and details)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

T-Friendly Bathroom Initiative Launches!


This project, made possible by all-volunteer energy and community donations, has launched!


HERE'S THE PRESS RELEASE:

CHICAGO- In an unprecedented effort to make the city of Chicago safer for transgender individuals, local youth organizers have launched the “T-Friendly Bathroom Initiative,” a grassroots community project that challenges business owners to protect gender identity in their public restrooms.

In 2011, more than 500 businesses and organizations will be asked to sign a pledge that commits them to allowing gender-variant customers to use the bathroom of their choice. Businesses that sign the pledge will be awarded a window decal, so that gender-variant people can easily identify trans-friendly businesses.

“We expect this will dramatically improve the way transgender people experience our city and state” said Kate Sosin, Co-Founder of Genderqueer Chicago and a project organizer. “We want business owners to understand that under the Illinois Human Rights Act, it is not just their right to protect transgender people in bathrooms, it is their duty.”

Gender identity and expression is protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act, but everyday, countless transgender people are harassed in public restrooms for not "passing" as male or female. This policing often results in violence against gender-variant people. It can also mean health complications for those who are not allowed regular access to bathrooms.

"This project is a critical reminder that trans folk can empower themselves to achieve something positive," said fellow organizer, Christina Kahrl of Equality Illinois. "What we're getting to do here is change the dynamic, so that we don't just limit ourselves to protesting against those businesses and organizations who wrong trans folk.”

The initiative was spearheaded by youth organizers in Genderqueer Chicago, and is endorsed by Join the Impact-Chicago, Equality Illinois, Video Action League and others. For a list of complete participating businesses, organizations and other information go to: http://friendlybathrooms.wikkii.com/wiki/Main_Page.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Safer Sapce Survey

Hey Y'all!

We want to here from you. What would make GqC a safer space? What are you looking for in a safe space? Please click here to answer these questions or give us any other feedback...

Thanks!

Call for Submissions: Bodies of Work

Bodies of Work

Transgender, Transsexual and Gender Variant

Art and Literature Magazine

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS from the editors

The editors (Cooper Lee Bombardier, Annie Danger, and Morty Diamond) are three trans artists who believe art and literature are two of the most vital parts to our world today. At this moment, there is no magazine which brings all transgender, transsexual and gender variant writers and artists to the forefront. They believe it is time to publish such a magazine!

The purpose of Bodies of Work is to publish and promote literature and art that celebrates the diverse visions and understandings of the transsexual, transgender and gender-variant international community through language and image. The editors want to inspire and be inspired by the innovative output of our communities and come together with trans artists of all genres in creative discourse. The editors want to engage and support our creative processes and learn how trans artists and writers create.

Bodies of Work will:

  • Introduce a wide audience to literature and art by the trans and gender-variant community.
  • Provide a unique opportunity for underrepresented writers and artists viewpoints.
  • Discover and publish emerging and developing writers and artists.

Bodies of Work will be published both in print and on the web. Print costs are high, so our agenda is to build a website first and print 3 magazines a year when we have the funds.

We are currently seeking submissions for our inaugural issue! All trans and gender-variant artists, performers and writers are encouraged to submit work.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Prose and Poetry: Submit up to 8 pages of work(double-spaced, 12 pt.). It is best to send all of your work in one Microsoft Word (.doc) or text (.rtf) attachment.

Interview: We welcome interview submissions with a trans/gender variant artist/writer/performer. Up to 8 pages (double-spaced, 12 pt.)

Graphic files: Submit up to 5 visual art images or photographs. Photography and visual art should be sent using .tif files ( at least 300 dpi /300 pixels per inch resolution) or .jpeg files. Please include a short artist's statement about the work submitted.

Songs and Sound Art: Submit up to five MP3 files. Please include a short artist's statement about the work submitted. All sound art and music will be featured mostly on our website.

Video Art/Movies: Please send a URL to the work if it is online. If not, please send a DVD copy. Please include an artists statement about the work.

ALL submissions: Please include:A short bio (two sentences) with your name (as you want it to appear in print), email, phone, and mailing address.

Deadline for submissions to be considered for the inaugural issue will be April 10, 2011

Please send all submissions to:bodiesofworkmagazine@gmail.com

Monday, February 14, 2011

Queer Love


Whether you're out buying boxes of chocolates or hating on Hallmark, show trans and gender-nonconforming folks some love this Valentine's Day with some gender-bending hearts:




Sunday, February 13, 2011

This I (Used to) Believe: A Safe Space Discussion



Back in 2009, This American Life aired an episode called "This I Used to Believe" that featured stories of people who, for one reason or another, let go of their firmly-held convictions in favor of new ideas.

We often talk about what we believe about gender now, but what about last year, five years ago, or during childhood? How have those beliefs evolved and why?

Join us for a safe space discussion this Wednesday at the Gerber-Hart Library:

Wednesday, February 16
7pm-8:15pm
Gerber/Hart Library (1107 W. Granville)

People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend! Reporters are asked not to attend in their professional capacities, but may contact genderqueerchicago@gmail.com for more information.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I am the Queen- Screening on Friday


For the last four years, Humbolt Park-based organization, Vida/SIDA has held a beauty pageant for transfeminine spectrum youth.

Now, that pageant has been documented by filmmakers, Josue Pellot and Henrique Cirne-Lima, in I am the Queen.

The film is screening for FREE this Friday, Feb. 18 at Roberto Clemente High School (11147 N. Western Ave.). A reception fundraiser for Chicago's first LGBTQ shelter will be held after the event (for information can be found at http://www.vidasida.org.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Body is Against Me

My Body is against me.

Every day it tries to undermine me a little bit more, every day it slowly turns into something I don’ t want it to be.

I know many people have body issues, but are their bodies fundamentally wrong. Are their bodies the exact opposite of what they should be? If my body were right I wouldn't be picky about it. I wouldn’t mind if it was too heavy, if my nose was a little crooked, or if my breasts were too small. Because, at least I’ d have breasts. At least I wouldn’t grow facial hair. At least I wouldn’t have a penis.

I fantasize about what it would be like not to have the wrong body. I would fantasize about having the right body, but that is a concept so foreign to me I can’ t even begin to imagine. My thoughts about my body are so warped that I can only settle to imagine what the lack of discomfort is like; the presence of comfort is mystery.

Sometimes I think about hurting my body. I think about cutting it. About stabbing it. About slicing it. About hurting it. I want to punish my body; I want to make it hurt just like it hurt me. I want to get revenge for putting me in a men’ s locker room filled with jeers about the women’ s bodies I wish I had. I want to get revenge for the times it made me feel jealous, then guilty about my girlfriends’ bodies when we had sex. I want to get revenge for the time I cried after I understood I would never have a period. I want to get revenge against it for everything its ever done wrong, and them some.

Sometimes I think that killing my body would be the only adequate revenge. Because my body came pretty close to killing me emotionally. And is emotional death of the spirit not the equivalent of physical death of the body?

Fortunately, my body didn’t kill me. It didn’t for one simple reason: I am stronger than my body. We had quite the fight; my body has scars that will never go away. Likewise, I have thoughts that I will never forget. But, in the end, I won. And not only did I win the fight, I gained control. Control of my body to make it how it should be.

When my body is how it should be I won’ t take it for granted. I won’ t abuse it. I won’t hurt it. I will respect it. Most importantly, my body doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be right.

By Natalie

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Riki Anne Wilchins is Chicago-bound!


Riki Anne Wilchins, gender activist and author, is coming to Chicago this Thursday afternoon to Loyola to speak with Judy Shepard on Hatred and LGBTQ Community Support.

Riki's book, Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of the Gender largely inspired the founding of Genderqueer Chicago and informed its mission to be fiercely inclusive and affirming across identities. Wilchins also edited GENDERqUEER: Voices from Beyond the Binary, and authored Queer Theory, Gender Theory. Wilchins was a founding member of the Transexual Menace, Camp Trans, and GenderPAC.

Those who want to attend must register to do so. Click here for more information.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reminders

by: some kind of anonymous

He reminds me, "You are fluid. It's ok." But is it, am I? I keep feeling like I'm going through it, the big crisis, the process that will lead me, inevitably, to right here, right where I am, where I belong. Inside my body. And outside, outside of my body are these questions, these people, these things and experiences that have me calling, calling best friends and acquaintances, other gender outlaws, folks that have known me, and now knowing me, still respect me. "Hello? Hi, I'm having a gender crisis, and so, I'm thinking, I'm thinking about shaving everything, down to my bare skin. Starting over again." So, I paint my nails, I have a cathartic experience, it is out of body. I am running. Those friends on the other line, those friends, standing before me, are looking at me, responding to me -- they are unfazed. Because I am still, right here, where I belong, in this body of what I've chosen to be a completely fluid gender identity. So, I gotta tell me, "stop questioning." And sometimes, sometimes you need to remind me, I love it here. I love the journey, wholly and completely. Sometimes though, it takes a few shifts, a bit of changing, a little extremity. And that's what's ok. I am just remembering.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

CONFRONTATION: a safer space discussion!

Now that we've endured the blizzard and all the snow and ice that came with, it's time we return to our postponed meeting topic and discussion. WOOHOO!

Whether it be a name or a pronoun, your choice of hormones or attire, we all have to face it: confrontation, and it's not always easy. How does gender impact how we deal with confrontation? In what ways does the way we deal with confrontation vary from space to space and person to person? Often there's room for us to say "Hey, that doesn't work for me," but other times, it doesn't feel so easy. Inevitably we are faced with questions after coming out that feel confrontational, or we are forced to deal with others gender hang ups in the process of coming out to folks. Be it in ourselves or to others, we are often faced with the challenge, maybe even the guilt of having to come out, answer the tough questions and stand up for ourselves. Come join us for a safer space discussion on confrontation this Wednesday.

Access Living (115 W. Chicago)
7-8:15pm (we start and end on time)

Genderqueer Chicago welcomes ALL people who want to think and talk about their genders, with the slight exception of researchers and reporters in their professional capacities (aka, we're not your homework...).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shoes

by Dee

My motto about gender is:

You'll never know if a shoe fits unless you try it on.

Lately, I've been trying on a lot of different shoes.

Some days my preferred pronoun is singular-they. Some days it's "she". Occasionally I like my bulging triceps.

It's possible I'll never settle on just one pair of shoes.

I'm afraid that if I wear the same shoes for too long, my friends will expect me to wear the same style forever. But sometimes I change shoes just because I don't want to admit to myself that I like one pair better than the others.

Is gender really that important? "The shoes make the man" supposedly. But they shouldn't -- there is far more to my personality than my gender or my sexuality. But I spend so much time thinking about shoes, that must mean it's important to me, right? Or maybe it's that people give my shoes more consequence than they deserve.

The only thing I'm sure of: I hid my shoes in the closet for far too long.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

GLAAD isn't laughing at SNL

Saturday Night Live has been stirring up debate thanks to a controversial skit that aired on the show last weekend.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is asking viewers to take action against NBC over SNL's mock-commercial for "Once Daily Estro-Maxx," a fake hormone-replacment pill for transgender women. Shot in the style of many pharmaceutical ads aimed at women, the "transgender" consumers in this skit are represented by cisgender male actors in what GLAAD calls "dehumanizing" light. According to GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios, "The attempted comedy of the skit hinges solely on degrading the lives and experiences of transgender women."

Read the rest of GLAAD's statement here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WEDS MEETING CANCELED!


Due to the blizzard, Gerber/Hart Library will be closed tomorrow.

As such, our regular Weds. meeting is canceled this week. Help us spread the word by telling people you know who come and posting this message to Facebook!

Please check back for information about next week's meeting.

Also, please stay safe and warm!

See you next week. <3
-GqC

Website graphics and design by Andre Perez