Saturday, June 30, 2012

processing…processing…[dealing with invalidation as an anti-stealth]…processing…processing…

Originally posted here:

i would not be surprised if this is what my face looks like to other people:
it’s certainly how i feel.
kinda all the time.
too many interactions in my life cause my brain to jump into hardcore “processing mode”.  and it kinda sucks.  i sometimes wonder if it’s an improvement over the visceral, emotion-based reactions i used to have.  or if it’s worse.  or if it’s just an entirely new beast all together.
i am certainly glad that i don’t [usually] feel like someone kicked me in the groin HARD when they invalidate my gender in any of the myriad ways that happens every day.  it’s a hard thing, that going through life feeling like everyone is kicking me in the balls.  or maybe i still do feel that way, but i recognize it and move on.  my groin is resilient.
but the issue now is that “moving on” doesn’t mean “putting it down.”  oh, no.  not at all.
instead, my brain moves on to:
“why did that happen”  “what does that *mean*?”
in a proximate sense, it’s great ’cause i don’t uncontrollably burst into tears in the middle of conversations [usually] any more.  no that just happens when people titty tap me [jeeeesus dude, that hurt].  but that’s a small price to pay for having my brain really wrestle with what just happened.  brain-wrestling is an endurance challenge.  and my brain really likes to wrestle with things.
sometimes it’s awesome to get a chance to really think through gender stuff.  i mean, shit, i am well-trained in critical thinking and gender is certainly something that one can critically think about for a long time.
but most of the time, i’m like “brain, stfu.  i want to think about other things”.
good lot of nothing that does.  turns out my brain has a mind of its own.
— — — —
in the midst of a group conversation focused around another woman’s inability to find clothes that fit her right [she's about as tall as i am], she responded to my empathy with “yeah but you’re a guy.” [despite the fact that we had just been having a conversation about my being trans*].
instantly,
i didn’t respond.  not because i was ashamed.  not because i was scared.  not because i didn’t want to correct her.  but because my brain was already hard at work trying to figure out what the fuck had just happened.  certainly this was something that could have felt like a kick in the groin.  but it didn’t.  go figure.
the key point is, the person who said this to me, she knew i am trans*.  we had been talking about it not that much earlier in the night.  [this kind of shit comes up in conversation normally now.]  but [i'm pretty darn sure] she had known about it for a while.
and yet it still happens.  she invalidated my identity.  not on purpose, but she did.
believe me, this is not an isolated incident.  it happens all the time: someone who knows that i’m trans* still invalidates me.  invalidates my identity.  it’s not that i think they do it on purpose [although some do, and i know who are.  jackasses.], no no.  it’s just their instinctual reaction.
and i think i finally get it.
most people have a cultural stereotype of/template for/awareness of gender non-conformity to some [relatively small] degree.  ya know, tom boys and drag queens and such [some level of not conforming to "traditional" gender roles].   and certainly most everyone has a cultural stereotype of/template for/awareness of transgender people [in a more strict, non-* way].
but not of transgender people that are also gender non-conforming.  that’s a new one for lots of people.  they expect transwomen to be high femmes and transmen to be bears.  not that there’s anything wrong with either!  i love femmes and bears!  and femmebears!  but just as not all ciswomen aren’t high femmes, not all transwomen are either.
but these things work countergradient to each other.  and that’s a difficult one for lots of people.  that sentiment can [crudely] be boiled down to: “why would you transition from being a man to being a ‘masculine’ woman?”
good question.  but it’s one that requires much unpacking.  there’s a lot wrapped up in that question there.
not the least of which is trying to figure out why people feel like it’s their right to have a CLEAR explanation of someone else’s gender when they’ve never had to explain their gender to anyone else.  and if they don’t get a clear explanation, they don’t quite understand, and if they don’t understand, it’s harder for them to break habits.
that’s a basic thought pattern: it’s a lot easier to do something if you “get it”.
it would be much easier if i “passed” or “presented” or whatever…if i were femme, it would be easier for them to get me, to believe me, to understand me.  and they would be more prone to validating me.
i’m not out to shame anyone, i think this is just the situation we’re in.  i don’t think many people i know and interact with want to be sexist [or "cissexist"?] in such a way.  it’s just a pattern of semi-innate behavior that some folks have. in order for them to validate me by default, they have to understand me, and a large component of their understanding is how well i conform to their notion of what they think i should be like, given that identity.
it’s a shitty thought pattern.  and they have to overcome it.  we all do it to each other.  and we should all work to overcome it.
the validity of ones identity should not hinge on others’ understanding of what that identity means.
but it does.  and now i know it.  and that’s why i wear myself on my sleeves.  that’s what i’m open and out and have shit about gender all over the place… “like a rash” a friend said.
yeah.  exactly.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Assertiveness: a safe space discussion


Some of us are already well-equipped to defend ourselves when confronted or questioned, whether by relatives, coworkers, or acquaintances. Some of us still can't muster up the right words, even when we know we should speak. Have you always been assertive, or was it something you had to learn? Are you still learning? How have our gender journeys helped us become stronger individuals, and how can they help us become stronger still?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted (3656 North Halsted)

Genderqueer Chicago is as safe a space as we can make it. To help with this, we have some working agreements that we would like all who come to meetings to keep in mind while within our safe space meetings. Please check out our working agreements here.

Safe space meetings are strictly closed to researchers and reporters in their professional capacities. Meetings are open to anyone else wanting to talk and think about gender! For more info, give us a shout at genderqueerchicago@gmail.com!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

T and GQ OUT Mic


T and GQ OUT Mic
Every Third Thursday of the Month @ 7:30pm

Center on Halsted Youth Space (2nd floor, behind computer lab)
3656 N. Halsted (at Waveland)

Upcoming Open Mic Dates:

THIS Thursday, June 21st, 7:30pm
Thursday, June 21st, 7:30pm


T Out Mic is pairing with GenderQueer Chicago to host an all together awesome open mic and spoken word monthly event open to all. We encourage all gender variant folks, their friends, and allies, to bring a talent, thought, or rant to share. Each performer gets 5 minutes to do their thing and we may have time for encores.

All GQC events are no-cost, cta accessible, and wheelchair accessible.
Transport: EL: Redline to Addison. Bus: #8 Halsted. Street Parking.
See you there!

TranSquat App

Billy wrote to us:
Friends, and friends of iPhone. Hi, my name is Billy. I come from Chicago. I wrote an iPhone app called TranSquat. In a nutshell, it is a gender neutral bathroom finder that locates bathrooms that are gender free relative to your current location. You can search, add and share safe locations. It was written by and for the trans community. It is powered by data from safe2pee. You can help build the app by downloading and adding locations in your own communities. 
On a personal note, I wanted to write an app for the trans community.... It is also my fundraising goal to get 3000 downloads to help finance my top surgery with Dr. Charles Garramone...hopefully later this year. Please help support the trans community and help me reach this goal by downloading this app. As of now, I only need 2984 more to go!!! If you could share this with others whom might find this app useful and would like to support this project that would be much appreciated too!!!

 The TranSquat app can be downloaded here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hindsight is 20/20

I spent most of my childhood, out as a boy. Although, I had a girls body, that didn't stop me from expressing myself as the boy I truly was inside. I was considered just a tom boy by most all of the people around me, but none of them had any idea the waters ran much deeper than that.


When I was in grade school, I would often be approached by other children with the question "Are you a boy or a girl?" I loved these moments because even at an early age the thought of being a boy excited me, and that others saw me as a boy was even more so.

As I grew up and started developing, I worked even harder for that masculine image. I started binding regularly by age ten and trying to pass as a boy in most of my day to day life among people who didn't know me. I longed to be included in my older brother's social circles, feeling that I was a boy the same as all of them and wanted to do all the same boy activities. I developed a lot of simular interests to that of my brother and his friends to gain acceptance to that exclusive boys club they seemed to have formed for themselves.

As a teenager I struggled with my sexuality, while still feeling my deep seeded masculinity. I was confused about my feelings toward girls wondering to myself "Am I a lesbian?" and when I told that girl I'd been in love with for years how I felt about her, she responded with "I'm sorry but I'm straight", to which I replied in my head "But I'm a guy."

In my early to mid-twenties I still thought of myself very much as that boy I had always been, although I didn't as actively express my feelings outwardly as I had done in the past. Upon getting a job at GNC I discovered a different side of my masculinity, through health, fitness, and body building. I used to research the nutrition and science involved in body building and longed to be like the men I read about in the books I sold on the subject. This is also where I met my beautiful wife, who taught me about being transgendered, and that there was such a thing as being born in the wrong body. It is because of her, (and other influences) that I am the man, I am today.

What are some of the ways you have known throughout your life that something, wasn't quite right? How did you learn about transsexuality and that transitioning was an option? How did you decide transitioning was right for you? For those of you who are simply Gender Queer, when did you realize you didn't identify within the gender binary, and how are you living your lives today to match your gender identity?

Written by Malcolm Cameron Aschebrook-Kealiher


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pride: a safe space discussion

Pride is upon us. Let's talk about what that means for us. What does it mean to have pride in a fiercely normative society? Do you have pride? Do you not? Is it easy to cultivate your pride? What is the mainstream conception of this word? How is your experience similar? How does it differ? Come share your thoughts, stories, and questions.

Wednesday, June 20 th, 2012
7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted (3656 North Halsted)

Genderqueer Chicago is as safe a space as we can make it. To help with this, we have some working agreements that we would like all who come to meetings to keep in mind while within our safe space meetings. Please check out our working agreements here.
Safe space meetings are strictly closed to researchers and reporters in their professional capacities. Meetings are open to anyone else wanting to talk and think about gender! For more info, give us a shout at genderqueerchicago@gmail.com!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Privilege: A Safe Space Discussion

Privilege and disprivilege are things that affect everyone in a variety of ways. Issues, such as sexism, racism, classism, ableism, and so on can be replicated inside the same groups which are so often marginalized in those ways. Queer folks are no more immune to reproducing sexist or gender essentialist ideas then the rest of society, racist attitudes can exist among various communities, domestic violence is not just a heterosexual problem but impacts us all, and so on. Ignoring these problems leaves them un-addressed and fosters assumptions that these issues cannot be a problem within our own communities.

In what ways has privilege or disprivilege affected you or the way you live? How do you deal with privilege and disprivilege on a day-to-day basis?

Wednesday, June 13 th, 2012
7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted (3656 North Halsted)

Genderqueer Chicago is as safe a space as we can make it. To help with this, we have some working agreements that we would like all who come to meetings to keep in mind while within our safe space meetings. Please check out our working agreements here.
Safe space meetings are strictly closed to researchers and reporters in their professional capacities. Meetings are open to anyone else wanting to talk and think about gender! For more info, give us a shout at genderqueerchicago@gmail.com!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Genderqueer 101 workshop

Please join ellie june navidson and Lex Lawson for a relevant conversation on genderqueer identities! Saturday, June 9th at 6:30pm at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 Genderqueer is a a term often embraced by people who experience their gender in ways that do not conform to social norms. Genderqueer 101 is a workshop/discussion designed to cultivate understanding of non-binary identities. We will discuss things like explicit inclusivity, compassionate communication and cultural sensitivity.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Identities - A Safe Space Discussion

I am?
Click image for source



Wednesday, June 6, 7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted, 2nd Floor (ask for room number at reception desk)
3656 N. Halsted St. 

We talk a lot about our queer, gender, and genderqueer identities... what about the others? Race, physical or mental disability, social status; these can all inform each other, and our queer identities. What identities inform yours, are they visible or invisible, internally chosen or externally imposed?

Genderqueer Chicago is as safe a space as we can make it. To help with this, we have some working agreements that we would like all who come to meetings to keep in mind while within our safe space meetings. Please check out our working agreements here.

Safe space meetings are strictly closed to researchers and reporters in their professional capacities. Meetings are open to anyone else wanting to talk and think about gender! For more info, give us a shout at genderqueerchicago@gmail.com!

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