Presented at A Night of GenderQueer Readings at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco on May 4th, 2013
There are at least two ways to find out what it means to be genderqueer, whether you are genderqueer or consider yourself an interested ally. One way is to look up definitions in books or on the Internet and be inundated with interesting, but frequently contradictory information from many different viewpoints. These definitions can lend a voice to the variety of genderqueer experience that exists out there, but this is also an area where caution around inaccuracy and erasure is needed.
Here are just a few definitions of the term genderqueer:
Genderqueer: a spotlight on international research
Wolfson Research Exchange - University of Warwick Library
(third floor extension; see directions for visitors)
Monday 29th April
9am to 5:30 pm British Summer Time (GMT+1).
Interdisciplinary perspectives on genderqueer identity, exprience and culture: ALL WELCOME
With a performance event from 7pm at Zephyr Lounge, Leamington Spa
REGISTRATION IS FREE. PLEASE EMAIL: RESEARCHGAP@GMAIL.COM
Although there are many English-language resources and glossaries about transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary terms, there are not as many in other languages. I have begun a few pages at the Non-Binary Wiki, which anyone can edit, to list terms and their meanings in a few languages:
More will be added - these were created as just a start to this project and anyone is welcome to create further language pages or edit the ones that already exist to add new terms, citations of sources, or correct any errors. I am focusing on collecting terms related to non-binary gender identity, although general gender and sex terms can also be added to these glossaries. I am very excited about this project!
A couple of people submitted messages earlier today to say that I appropriated and stole the colors associated with the suffaragette movement in the UK for my genderqueer flag design, saying “this is not a creation, but an appropriation ” and “Ya nicked it!” There is more about why this movement chose these colors here. I suggest that you read this post in its entirety to clear up any confusion about the subject.
I had only received a DISQUS comment and one other message about this before quite awhile ago and this was my response, shown below:
“Does your blog use the colours of the Women’s Social and Political Union (suffragettes) on purpose or by accident?”
GQID: Hello there,
My intention in using lavender had to do with its association as a queer color, dark green as this color’s inverse, and white to represent agender or neutral gender, similar to the white in the transgender pride flag, more details on the color symbolism here. The organization that you speak of was in the UK, and being that I’m in the US and not equipped with much information on UK suffrage, I was unaware of this organization or its colors until last year, when someone else alerted me to this correspondence in a comment here on GQID. This is a color correspondence that I don’t mind at all, although being that genderqueer and non-binary people include those who don’t identify as women, I think it would be unusual had my choice of colors been purposeful in this way.
The DISQUS comment on another page was as follows (no longer visible on the about flag page because my current theme doesn’t support page comments, but I grabbed it from the DISQUS dashboard):
I guess you already know but on the off chance you don’t: Did you notice that the colours you proposed for the genderqueer flag are quite similar to the colours used by the WSPU (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W… in the UK? Certainly not the worst tradition to stand in.
I live in the US and didn’t know, and still don’t know (perhaps unfortunately), almost anything about women’s political movements in the UK and not too much more about those in the US (perhaps because of feeling discomfort around identifying as a woman) - how could I have known about this? Also, there have been several versions of the genderqueer flag. Below are the dates that they were released and what they looked like. You will notice that the first design looks nothing like the suffragette symbolism images:
June 2010, version 1:
September 2010, version 2:
June 2011, Version 3:
When creating the design, I was mainly focused on using lavender (#b57edc particularly, which is floral lavender as a web color, so there would not be any confusion with purple, magenta, and so on) due to its queer culture associations, white because of its similar symbolism to the pre-existing transgender flag, and green as a complementary inverse to the lavender. The final update of the flag to move the white into the middle was to prevent it from disappearing on websites with white backgrounds. There is more on the symbolism here.
Furthermore, I would not wish to use anything resembling a flag or colors associated with a women’s movement because the flag is about identities between or outside of the binary. It would not make any sense to draw a link between these groups. I don’t even identify as a woman, myself. I will add information to the about the flag page shortly to clear up any incorrect ideas that this flag is related to the UK suffragette movement and colors.
Needless to say when earlier I received the two messages “this is not a creation, but an appropriation ” and “Ya nicked it!” I just started shaking and trying to hold back tears. The flags and symbols that I looked to for comparison were other gender and sexuality identifiers. A search on whether there were similar looking flags already did not yield anything about particular flags (and please not that the first design does not resemble the suffragette symbolism anyway) - in fact, I was trying to angle for colors that were not commonly combined in general to create a more unique symbol.
I have already changed the flag three times until I came up with an aesthetically pleasing and symbolically clear design and I am not going to do it again to please anyone who thinks that I stole something I didn’t even know existed and that has nothing to do with the cause of genderqueer and non-binary awareness.
When I created the flag, I was in a very dark time in my life. I really wanted to die because I thought it was impossible to by happy with my body, the way other people saw me, and how I saw myself. I created this flag in part after more clearly realizing my identity and needing to have something in my life that could serve as a symbol of pride for myself, and for others who might identify like me. There are so many myths about genderqueerness and general lack of knowledge that I thought that making a symbol of awareness would be beneficial for anyone who wanted to use it, as a signpost that would say: “yes! I am not alone.”
My involvement with the genderqueer and non-binary community, the general trans* community, and the wider arena of gender and sexuality studies and effort has completely changed my life for the better. I ended up majoring in LGBT Studies, interning for the Center for Sex and Culture, and feeling more comfortable about myself, as well as gaining the ability to help others with their questions about genderqueerness and non-binary identity.
I don’t mind people asking me questions or being curious about this flag or any other material I have put out there and I am always prepared to correct mistakes, but I won’t accept these false accusations.
Second Life is an engrossing 3D world accessible online. Second Life is free to join and when you do, you can select from humans, vampires, animals, robots, or vehicles to represent your avatar. There are also items for sale on Second Life Marketplace and in stores in-world (some are free, most cost Linden Dollars which can be obtained by purchasing them with real-world cash or earning them in other ways within Second Life).
Even though the character that you sign up with may be referred to as having a male or female body, their initial body characteristics need not limit you - in fact, kinds of body parts, attachments, clothing, and so on that you can use with your avatar are as infinite as the ever-growing array of products in the marketplace is.
Virtual worlds offer an exciting opportunity to explore presentation and body types, both those possible and as yet impossible in the real world. An avatar could function as a canvas to work out your ideal self - or maybe just a persona you’d like to slip into once and awhile. In this post, I will detail the ways in which you can use Second Life as a tool for these purposes.
In Part 1, I primarily focus on how to get started in Second Life with a few notes about presentation and sexual characteristics. I will be more specific about gender, sex, and sexuality and places to explore in Part 2 (forthcoming).
This is in response to someone asking how to neutralise their gender on Facebook. I had tried the suggestion in your link a few times, but it always reverted back to [gender] once I clicked away from the page. Recently I came across this method, which worked perfectly! Everything in my timeline is now ‘they/their’.http://m0tei.co.uk/facebookgender/
GQID: Thanks to all of those who submitted this link! Followers, please let me know if this works / doesn’t.
In my own case, I felt more comfortable navigating the online dating world and being upfront about my identity and interests in my profile than face-to-face (more information on my dating experience here); online dating could also potentially serve as practice for self-introduction in in-person scenarios as well. While there will be people who are going to make assumptions about you or rule you out as a potential partner because of your presentation / because of their own interests in potential partners, I would recommend trying to become friends with the type of man you are looking for in this atmosphere and broaching the topic of trans* / genderqueer identities more generally seeing how receptive they are. Referencing how you identify and date may come after if it seems promising to go from there. Again, though, I really wouldn’t rule out trying online dating for long/short term relationships or more casual ventures since it can often be easier to present a clearer picture of oneself.
Genderqueer has been used in a variety of different ways, the most common that I’ve encountered in my research being the following:
- both man and woman
- neither man nor woman
- moving between two or more genders
- third gendered or other-gendered (includes those who prefer “genderqueer” or “non-binary” to describe their gender without labeling it otherwise)
- having an overlap or blur of gender and orientation and/or sex
- those who “queer” gender, in presentation or otherwise, who may or may not see themselves as non-binary or having a gender that is queer; this category may also include those who are consciously political or radical in their understanding of being genderqueer
Do you mean wondering if you are transgender as in the sense of transitioning medically and/or identifying as a binary gender? The term transgender is also used for any gender variance and gender identity that is not cisgender (increasingly used as such, from my reading), although the term can often still have binary, transitional connotations. There are both genderqueer people and transgender men and women who do not necessarily want to transition medically, if that is what you’re curious about - you can read more about that at Non-Op: Beginner’s Guide.
If you are instead curious about whether you identify as a binary gender (man or woman), as a non-binary gender, or something else entirely, my best recommendations would be to explore resources like Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook, playing with Yay! Genderform, and checking out the GQID resources page.
Hey everyone - do you have advice / how-to instructions, or a personal story to tell about exploring gender presentation and identity in Second Life? Let me know! I’m writing an article about this to post on GQID sometime in the near future.
Sam Rosenthal has recently put out a delightful genderqueer erotic novel called Rye. You may know Sam Rosenthal from Black Tape for a Blue Girl; he was also responsible for some fabulous electronic music on 1985 solo release Tanzmusik that I reviewed on my music blog A Future in Noise. He kindly sent me a copy of Rye for review (and enjoyment), and you can find my thoughts below the READ MORE cut (18+ only, please!). Rye is available on Amazon as a paperback and as a Kindle ebook, and on the book’s website as a signed paperback (along with other goodies). MIX TAPE 4 MATT accompanies the novel and is available for free or a donation amount of choice on Bandcamp.
(in reference to this question)
I don’t think that trans* is a perfect alternative as an umbrella term myself. Gender non-conforming (GNC) or gender and sexuality minorities (GSM) are other possibilities, but as of yet they tend to not be readily understood and, in the case of GNC, the assumption can sometimes be that GNC only refers to cisgender people who are gender non-conforming. I would welcome alternative umbrella term suggestions.
Kate Bornstein’s My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Comes out March 2013. The previous version from 1997 has been one of my most favorite gender exploration books, so I’m really excited about this.
About My New Gender Workbook:
Cultural theorists have written loads of smart but difficult-to-fathom texts on gender theory, but most fail to provide a hands-on, accessible guide for those trying to sort out their own sexual identities. In My Gender Workbook, transgender activist Kate Bornstein brings theory down to Earth and provides a practical approach to living with or without a gender.
Bornstein starts from the premise that there are not just two genders performed in today’s world, but countless genders lumped under the two-gender framework. Using a unique, deceptively simple and always entertaining workbook format, complete with quizzes, exercises, and puzzles, Bornstein gently but firmly guides readers toward discovering their own unique gender identity.
Since its first publication in 1997, My Gender Workbook has been challenging, encouraging, questioning, and handholding those trying to figure out how to become a “real man,” a “real woman,” or “something else entirely.” In this updated edition of her classic text, Bornstein re-examines gender in light of issues like race and class. With new quizzes, new puzzles, new exercises, and plenty of Kate’s over-the-top style, My Gender Workbook promises to help a new generation create their own unique place on the gender spectrum.
The purpose of this post is to collect the wide range of stores that sell these products, whatever your goals for presentation and whatever your identity may be. Comparison shopping and research will still be helpful to do on your own, but hopefully this list will give you a good start! This list also includes some tutorials for homemade items. Certain sites listed are NSFW/18+ as they sell sex toys as well, so be mindful of when and where you browse.
Note: Please be aware that some of these sites use language to describe identities or presentation that may not be appropriate, or sell products may be marketed as being crossdressing/drag specific (even if having wider uses, including for trans* people), so shop at your own discretion.
If any stores are listed here that have poor service or have stopped fulfilling orders, please let me know so I can remove them from the list. This is a work-in-progress - I would also love to hear of additional stores, tutorials, and related resources to add to the list! Transitional products which Amazon happens to sell are available for convenient access in the (newly created!) Genderqueer Identities Amazon shop.
Breast Forms and Related Accessories
As You Like It, Beautyform, The Breast Form Store (see also Adhesive and Tapes and Accessories sections), Cactus Point, Castle Supply, Drag-Queen Clothing, Envy Body Boutique, Glamour Boutique, Janet’s Closet (see also their Adhesive and Remover section), Lucy’s International, Make Me Heal, The Mystique Boutique, Nearly Me, Original Looks, Pals Breastforms, Pierre Silber, Suddenly Fem, Transform, TrueKare, Underworks, Wonderful Breast
Gaffs and Prosthetics
Packers / Prosthetics / STP (some links also include Harnesses / Packing Underwear)
As You Like It, Babeland, Come As You Are, EdenFantasys, early to bed, Fleshlight - Mr. Limpy, FTM Essentials, FTM Prosthetics, FTM-STP / Mango, Good Vibrations, LikeReal, LolaJake, Love Boat Shop, Pee3.ca, Peecock, Pierre Silber, The Pleasure Chest, Queen Cat Adult Toys, ReelMagik FTM Prosthetic Store, The Self Made Men, She Bop, Smitten Kitten, Stand-to-Urimate, Tantus, Tool Shed Toys, TransBoi Gear, TranZWear
Genderplayful (“a community-driven marketplace that celebrates diversity in gender presentation and body types.”)
HommeMystere (described as “lingerie tailored for men”)
Marimacho (“We construct masculine garments with narrower armholes and necklines, shorter sleeve lengths, more bust room, etc. Marimacho is dedicated to designing for and fitting diverse bodies.”)
Suddenly Fem (marketed as feminine crossdressing clothing with some transgender coverage as well)
Xdress (described as “lingerie for men”)
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Transcendence: A Positive Trans*, Non-Binary, and Genderqueer Fiction/Art Zine
Edited by Marilyn Roxie and Jacob Milnestein
Release Date: 1st Quarter/2nd Quarter 2013
As achievements in increased awareness of the spectrum of gender identities continue to be made, there is also a growing need for positive representation of trans*, non-binary, and genderqueer people in fiction and artwork; stories and images that can uplift and inspire those in the community, and enlighten our allies. The purpose of the Transcendence zine is to showcase the diversity of our identities and the varied ways in which we celebrate ourselves. We are currently seeking fiction and art submissions.
The zine will be also serve as an effort to generate interest for the anthology on the same topic we plan to release later on in 2013 - any submissions to the zine may be considered for the later anthology. The anthology, unlike the zine (which will be freely available online) will have a cost with all proceeds donated to a charity that works with the trans* community.
- Fiction Guidelines: Short stories - 4,000 to 8,000 word length. All genres welcome - seeking magic realism and speculative fiction in particular. Science fiction, historical, fantasy, straight lit are all acceptable, although perhaps it might be easier to steer away from direct horror due to the positive nature of the anthology. Please feel free to contradict this if you desire, whether it is through the the most breathtaking and life-affirming ‘Final Girl’ scenario within the context of a tale that deals with affirmation regarding gender, or another subversive approach.
- Art Guidelines: Art of uplifting nature (define positivity as you see fit) concerning trans*, non-binary, and/or genderqueer identity. The theme is entirely up to you. Art may be submitted along with or entirely independent of fiction piece.
- Fiction submissions: Submit your fiction work according to guidelines with a short bio and, if available, link to your website / online portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org as a .doc or .rtf attachment. with the subject TRANSCENDENCE ZINE SUBMISSION. Please include your author name and title of the piece. Content of text files should be presented in 12 point Times New Roman with 1 inch margins
- Art submissions: Submit your artwork according to guidelines with a short bio and, if available, link to your website / online portfolio to email@example.com as a .jpg or .png attachment with the subject TRANSCENDENCE ZINE SUBMISSION. Please include your artist name and title of the piece, as well as any notes on medium or background information you may wish to include.
- The deadline to submit is January 20th, 2013. Authors and editors will not receive monetary compensation for their zine contribution - this will be a free release.
- Queries about the anthology can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted to us @GenderqueerID on Twitter.
ABOUT THE EDITORS:
Marilyn Roxie blogs at Genderqueer Identities (http://genderqueerid.com/) and is a library tech and webmaster for the Center for Sex and Culture (http://sexandculture.org/) in San Francisco.
Jacob Milnestein writes stories. Like most people, he has a website.