Monday, July 30, 2012

Empowerment: a safe space discussion


What does it mean to be empowered? How do we define it and seek it out on an individual basis? How do we (or can we) find empowerment through ourselves or through a community? How have our gender expressions empowered us, and in what ways do they still present a struggle?

Join us for this week's meeting, and hopefully we'll all leave with our heads held a little higher.


Wednesday, August 1, 7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted, 2nd Floor (ask for room number at reception desk)
3656 N. Halsted St. 

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!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

This weekend: WHAT'S THE T


In WHAT'S THE T, internet personality/trans activist/fierce community leader Ms. Ma uses her YouTube page to create community, live glamour, and spread the good word about queer safe spaces in Chicago.  Inspired by issues of race, gender, age and class in Boystown, WHAT'S THE T incorporates true stories and interviews from LGBTQA young folks in and around Chicago.  Here’s a look at the show! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7STk0yDREA&feature=plcp

WHAT’S THE T runs August 3 & 4 at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th Street).  Tickets are $25 for supporters of About Face Youth Theatre, $15 General Admission, and $5 for students.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the box office at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/1411 or visit http://aboutfacetheatre.com/.  Space is limited for performances, so get your tickets today!  If you have any questions, contact James at james@aboutfacetheatre.com.

About Face Youth Theatre (AFYT) was developed in 1999 in response to the murder of Matthew Shepard as a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer young people to tell their stories and create community.  AFYT is an educational program designed to engage LGBTQ youth ages 14 through 21 in theatre and leadership development.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Open Topic: A Safer Space Discussion



What do you want to talk about? Something been on your mind? Something from a previous meeting that you wanted to keep talking about? A topic you haven't seen happen yet? We want to hear!



Wednesday, July 25, 7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted, 2nd Floor (ask for room number at reception desk)
3656 N. Halsted St. 

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, July 16, 2012

Shapewear: A Safe Space Discussion



Binders and breast forms, gaffs and packers, wigs, corsets, and STPs - there are many clothes and accessories we wear that can change the shapes of our bodies. What have you tried, or want to? Did it help, or possibly make things worse? Any tips, tricks, or homemade solutions you'd like to share?


Wednesday, July 18, 7:00pm to 8:15pm
Center on Halsted, 2nd Floor (ask for room number at reception desk)
3656 N. Halsted St. 

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!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Science: a safe space discussion

Scientists are desperately trying to come up with explanations for why people are the way they are with regard to gender. Though it seems like such discoveries may prove to some cis-gendered people: "Look, we exist, and here's how," it can also feel alarming that science is trying to classify things which can themselves, feel isolated and succinct. Do developments in scientific understanding of gender play a role in your own perspective? Are such developments more a boon or bane to understanding and dealing with gender in our society?

Wednesday, July 11th, 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!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crowd Sourcing & Porn: it's not just for cis people anymore


I have a sorted relationship with porn, be it primarily written or visual. As a queer trans woman often the porn I enjoy is full of people with bodies unlike mine. That's because the porn with bodies “like mine” is too often full of really broken language such as “chicks with dicks,” “shemale,” or use “tranny” like it's going out of style. This is also almost always directed at straight cis men (though the same is the case with a great deal of lesbian porn out there).

There is an emerging queer porn movement and what made me start thinking about this again is a kickstarter for a new project by Tobi Hill-Meyer. I'll talk a bit more about why that project has become a catalyst for my thoughts and hope of challenging cissexist porn culture later.

Overall throughout my life and journey of sexual and gender self-discovery I have found that in many ways my sexuality has been robbed from me before I was even aware by mainstream porn culture. This has of course negatively impacted my mental health. But, it's not just the porn itself which I did watch and read but the discussion of sex and sexuality as it relates to trans people. Or more often how it DOES NOT relate to trans* people (unless they are props in someone else's fantasy).

Even if I choose to not watch or read most porn, the dialogue around trans bodies is ever so present in our society that I can't avoid it affecting me. I'm not saying I would not be dysphoric otherwise, but I can't say that the sex-negative culture I live in has helped. We do live in a very sex-negative culture, but that does not mean sex is not everywhere. Many people view America as a rather prudent society, but that in itself lead to a proliferation of sexuality. Chastity is inevitably the catalyst for thinking about sex. I could make an academic argument as to why, but I think the best explanation came from a comedian.

When you hear the Jonas Brothers talk about their promise rings, just try and not think about them having sex or about their sexuality. If I say don't think about the Jonas Brothers fucking, what is your first thought?

With trans* people, the moment we are robbed of any say in our sexuality we are forced to think about it. This is done even by other trans* people. We grow up in a society that makes us ashamed of our bodies and in turn often form a very tense relationship with our sexuality.

What got me thinking a lot about my relationship to porn and erotica is a kickstarter campaign started up by Tobi Hill-Meyer for a new project called Doing it Again: In Depth. The project is an erotic documentary which will go through the actual lives of trans women with their partners and splice explicit porn with interviews where trans* people can speak about their own relationship with sex. That's what I really love about this project, it does not shy away from how trans* people negotiating our daily lives is often part of negotiating our sexual lives.

I really suggest everyone reading check out the kickstarter, watch the preview, and consider donating. I would really like to see as much self-representation of our bodies as possible and if we don't do it I don't think the cissexist culture we live in will step up.

Crowd sourcing can show the power of our community to make our own decisions about what we want to see in the world around us. Crowd sourcing by no means gets us beyond cultural engagement and is not a perfect solution by any means. We queers are systemically poor and ideally should not have to be using our limited resources to challenge the myopic visibility of those with the power making us poor.

Though instead of viewing this as a new type of voting with our wallets, I choose to see it more as expressing our numbers. If every queer gave a dollar here this project would be filled many many times over. And to those who say “it's just porn we should spend our resources on more respectable things,” what could be better than showing a young queer kid it is possible to love their body and have it be loved in return?

And in the vein of using the words of comedians: “For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution. And our revolution is long-overdue.” -- Margaret Cho

I might still have an awkward relationship with porn. I will probably once again be reading a really good erotic fan fic and have to stop midway though because I'm feeling a panic attack coming on. However, I'm sick of internalizing all of this and want something to show the value in reclaiming of sexual voices.

My sexual self-respect is not a trivial matter.

-b

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

No meeting July 4th


Due to the holiday, there will be no meeting this week. Enjoy the day in whatever way you see fit, and we'll see you next week!

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