I sat down at an organizing meeting for Gender Jam and I’m so impressed with this coming event (November 20-22)! They will have free workshops, music, and food–a veritable STONE SOUP story!
You’d be the berries (hurr) if you helped this Olympia DIY festival, centered around female-, fluid-, and trans-identified folks!
What is Gender Jam?
*GenderJam Mission Statement*
GenderJam is a not-for-profit radical community event. We recognize that
we live in a society full of power imbalances along lines of race, class,
gender, sex, sexuality, age, physical ability, size and other diverse
identities. Though these differences can feel intimidating, we also affirm
that we share common experience that inspires us to fight these norms. As
we work towards ending sexism in our society, we feel it is essential to
build community and experience each other in new ways, loving and supporting
one another. GenderJam’s intention is to build community and empower women,
female-bodied or identified people, transfolk, queers, ladies, and
genderqueer people. We hope to do this by sharing skills, listening to each
other, performing for each other, working together, learning from one
another, and affirming and lifting each other up. We hope to create spaces
for dialogue, motivation and creativity, and to practice open communication
and love for one another in the process.
We welcome the greater Olympia community to join with us in this effort. While
the GenderJam festival itself will occupy just one weekend, our intention is
to make it an anuual event, and more importantly to re-create our community
to be as safe, inclusive and supportive as possible for people who are
woman, female, gender queer, and/or trans-identified. We hope to be a
permanent visible, irrepressible and positive force now and in the future.
What kind of standards do they have?
GenderJam Anti-Oppression Statement
Welcome to GenderJam! We seek to create a space that is as safe, inclusive and supportive as possible for people who are woman, female, gender queer, and/or trans-identified. We recognize that we live in a society full of power imbalances along lines of race, class, gender, sex, sexuality, age, physical ability, size and other diverse identities. Though these differences can feel intimidating, we also affirm that we share common experience that inspires us to fight these norms. As we work towards ending sexism (SMASHING PATRIARCHY) in our society, we feel it is essential to build community and experience each other in new ways, loving and supporting one another. In order to create this space, we ask the following of all:
1) Please do not use oppressive language. “Gay” should not be used as a derogatory term; neither should “lame” or “retarded.” Challenge yourself to be aware of your words.
2) Be aware of how you use your body. Everyone has a different history, comfort level and personal space needs. Please make sure all touch, casual or not, is consensual.
3) Not all space at GenderJam is for everyone—there will be events for people of a particular identity group. Please respect these safe spaces.
Our assumptions sometimes get us into trouble. If we assume we know someone’s gender, national origin, sexuality, or preferred pronouns, for example, it can result in hurt feelings all around. Sometimes people suggest that we shouldn’t assume things about people. If you can do that, great! Teach us sometime. For the rest of us, let us start simple: When you assume something about someone, recognize that it is an assumption and try not to cling to it. Be prepared for your assumptions to be shattered!
Keep in mind: It is okay to ask people about WHO they are. It is not okay to ask people about WHAT they are. It is not anyone’s job to educate you about themselves or their identity. If you are curious, do some research on your own! That being said, if you treat people with respect and listen when they talk about their experiences, they will generally do the same.
But wait! I’ve never met a trans person before! I don’t know anything about trans issues!
…Well, actually, you probably have met a trans person before, even if they didn’t introduce themselves as such. Don’t panic: other people’s ignorance about trans issues is nothing new to most trans people. There are, however, some things you should know that will generally help us all get along and hopefully save trans people a lot of grief from always having to answer the same questions.
A word about pronouns:
A person’s pronouns, like their name, belong to them and them alone. When you ask someone for their name, also ask them what pronouns they use. If you call someone by the wrong name or pronoun, most people prefer it if you correct yourself by repeating the entire sentence correctly and not apologizing.
Much of the oppression GenderJam is working to eliminate is rooted in and reinforced by established societal institutions. One of these institutions is policing or the police. There has been and continues to be a great deal of violence perpetrated by the police towards trans, queer, women, lad.i.y., femayle bodied and/or identified peoples, poor people and people of color. Though we cannot legally choose to dismiss, ignore or act against the police, we do not agree with their actions or involvement in our lives.
If a GenderJam participant, volunteer or organizer is approached by the police, we ask that you do not speak with them or aid their investigation. Instead, please look for a mediator with a blue armband and let them know that the police are interested in you or your activity.
In this situation, a Gender Jam mediator(s) will approach the police and ask them to leave. Our intention is to limit their access to our space to keep all participants as safe as possible. However, we respect that it is your choice to respond to the police as you see fit.
If you do come in contact with the police, know your rights!
- Do not talk to the police.
- If the police approach you and begin to ask questions, ask if you are being detained: “Am I being detained?”
- If you are not being detained:
a. Leave immediately.
b. Let a GJ mediator know that the cops were interested in you or your activity.
- If you are being detained:
a. You must (legally) remain in their presence.
b. You do not, however, have to say anything. Say, “I’m going to remain silent,” and “I want to speak to my lawyer.”
c. Make it clear, if you are being detained, that you do not consent to a search: “I DO NOT consent to this search.” The police will search you and your belongings with or without probable cause.
- Do not invite the police into your house. If they try to come in, have one sober person talk to them outside, or do not answer the door.
- Cops are trained to lie, trick and manipulate you. However, you cannot lie to them (legally).
- Whether you are being harassed, detained or arrested, GJ recommends that remaining silent is the best decision to make in the face of police harassment and intimidation. According to the Miranda Rights, “Anything you say can and will be used against you…”
GenderJam Respects a Diversity of Tactics
GJ recognizes that people need to exercise different forms of communication and reclamation in order to attain their desires, as well as address their dissatisfaction with the oppressive societal structure in which we live. GJ believes in autonomy and affinity.
GJ has set out to create spaces for dialogue, motivation, and creativity. GJ hopes to aid the manifestation of your inspiration. But please remember to be responsible for your actions and the safety of others; the actions you take are autonomous of GJ spaces and vice versa.
And WHAT do they need?
Here’s the rest:
Gender Jam Wish-List
-microphones and stands
lighting for performances
film projector & screen
money to help with travel and other misc. costs
craft supplies and games for childcare
Gender jam merch
- hair gel
- chalk/ dry erase board
- bike tools!
- rubber gloves
- long sewing needles
- cd player
- art activites
volunteers to run lighting if needed for performances
Please let us know if you can contribute any of the above mentioned.
I’ve been spending a lot of time working on community organization, a move, and the like, so I haven’t been writing much.
Within the last 24 hours, 2 different friends asked for clarification on WA’s Driver Licenses–specifically, on correcting your gender on them. Here’s the email I sent them.
From a paper article this august:
8-11-09 SeaTimes – State reverses transgender driver license policy
Washington used to require people changing the gender marker on their license only to submit a letter from a doctor saying the person “initiated appropriate clinical treatment.” That could mean anything from living full time as another gender to undergoing sex-change surgery. Washington was among a small number of states that did not require the surgery.
The new policy has one small difference from the pre-2009 policy: It allows applicants to submit a letter from a psychologist in lieu of a licensed physician.
The current policy still requires an altered birth certificate for applicants who want to change their gender on an enhanced driver’s license, which serves as a passport for citizens crossing the Canadian border. The birth-certificate requirement, which stemmed from post-9/11 discussions, is touted by the Licensing Department as a strategy to prevent forgery and bolster counter-terrorism efforts.
From a friend who’s successfully done this I learned that it’s a mail-in process. The DOL site states:
Change your gender designation
If you would like to change the gender designation on your driver license or ID card to accurately reflect your identity, mail a written request to:
Assistant Director for Driver Policy and Programs
Department of Licensing
PO Box 9030
Olympia, WA 98507-9030
The request must include all of the following:
- A letter from you requesting the change in gender designation. The letter must include:
- The name, address, and gender designation shown on your current driver license or ID card.
- The name, address, and gender designation you want on the new driver license or ID card.
- Your current phone number.
- A letter on official letterhead from your licensed medical, osteopathic physician or psychologist stating you have initiated the appropriate clinical treatment.
- A photocopy of your current Washington State driver license or ID card.
- If you want to change your name, you must also include an original or certified copy of your Court Ordered Name Change.
Hopefully that’ll help!
With ‘political correctness’ (the fake cultural competence) poisoning our culture , it’s not done to admit to having an agenda against unchangeable aspects of who someone is. However, just like in the 50s, it still happens.
I shared WeBetterWinThisTime‘s article President Carter Calls Out Bigotry with a friend of mine who is slightly limited by the intensity of his privilege. He and I go rounds about class access issues all the time, but this article seemed to be a turning point in his comprehension. Pointing out that comic (which someone included in the comments), I said,
-ism is never acknowledged as -ism, it’s always about something else. You can tell by people’s reactions: ‘it’s ok’ for ‘people like me’ to (be late/mess up an application/break norms of appearance and behavior). There’s less consequence and more praise for someone’s ‘boldness’.
Brass tacks: note that the black man who sassed a white police officer (low authority within the legal/political realm, though probably above the professor’s) should have known better… yet the white senator who called the black president (often considered the highest authority within the US legal/political realm, and definitely above the senator’s) has done correctly.
Have I made it sufficiently clear? Race completely flipped the reader’s perception of authority of the situation. This flies in the face of all logic. How does this apply to my situation?
Just like with race: If you do not appear to be heterosexual/cissexual, you may be judged harder because you’re not “one of us”. Imagine if you and your best friend Billy did the same work on a math test, but he scored higher than you did. Now take that to the job market. Take it to the shopping mall. Take it to church. Take it to the party at your friend’s house on Friday night. Get stared at. Get pushed aside. It sucks.
My personal solution (and again, I’m read as white so there is privilege tied into this–I’m more likely to get be recognised for my awesome than a black guy in my shoes would be) is to know my stuff. I do my best to know what the hell I’m talking about. And not really make a secret of being queer, or ill, or trans. I figure that gives people a chance to chew on the concept that ‘hey, maybe the next transfolk or queer or chronically ill person that comes along will have something cool to give, too!”
It’s still -ism thinking, but at least it gives the next guy a chance. That’s why I’m out and proud. Are you?
Our economy is crap. American families are facing homelessness in numbers not seen since the Great Depression and, like in the Great Depression, we find ourselves returning to family with greater frequency. This can be especially complicated for the individual with gender variance, especially when the transperson’s family is trans-ignorant or downright transphobic.
Friday night, a local transman in this situation (I’ll name him Terry) was visiting a sibling’s home along with the rest of the family when a family member took exception to his declared identity and assaulted him. Terry fought back and was kicked out. While he appears to be physically well, he is shaken–and he now has no job, no home, and his only pair of shoes was broken in the altercation.
I’m hoping you can help him out. I’m taking donations for his needs–food, clothing, shoes, hygiene supplies–and seeking safe shelter and other resources for him. Please help meet Terry’s needs by clicking below!
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’Matthew 25:36, The Message
And remember: if you find yourself alone, Call the United Way Helpline, usually 211, or call 866-4-U-Trevor 24/7!
Hat tip from Backstage – The Actor’s Resource, pic from source too
So they’re making another rehash of 80s media–a live action Smurfs movie. Value-add: it’s got Misogyny! Tasty, tasty misogyny. Mmm.
The cattle casting call for ‘Sophie’, played by an 8-10 year old, describes the character in part as follows: “though always appealing, she is often socially awkward and doesn’t fit in”. As someone who grew up assigned-female, someone who has fathered an assigned-female child of his own, I find this entirely sick.
She can be awkward, intelligent, and not fit in, that’s ok–as long as she performs (is appealing)! Her older brother, he doesn’t need to appeal. But a prepubescent girl (in the same age range as my child, probably part of why this irritates me) is already being pressed into the performance model.
I dare say that is the single unifying characteristic of feminine gender roles–the expectation to perform. I asked a female friend of mine what it was that made women accept this sort of policing. Her response was thought-provoking: “[M]y initial thought is that it’s expected, and when women don’t go along with it, it results in negative social responses. so to avoid these ramifications, they go along with whatever will keep that conflict away.”
How is this enforced? It starts with gender training that involves teaching female-assigned folks to rely on socioemotional rewards for self-worth, rather than allowing them accomplishment in their own right. If you think I’m kidding look at the gender-based school studies that are ALL over the place. From there, it’s a matter of harassment for noncompliance. My birth name will always be a special hell. Maybe because I was a dude, maybe not, but for some reason I simply was not capable of performing the roles asked of me. From kids at school I got:
“That’s not a boy, that’s not a girl, that’s a Judy!”*
This is why I’m a transman against misogyny (among other forms of discrimination). I don’t want ANYONE harassed this way: Cis or Trans; Masculine, Androgynous, or Feminine; Gay, Straight, Queer; Color, Class, Ability; whatever. Help me dismantle this element of society. Help me create a world where we raise people to believe they’re valuable in their own right.
*not my birth name. You want to know what my birth name was? Ask Calpernia Addams, she knows.
Browsing what’s fun and new this morning, I found yet another verbal (textual?) assault on the trans issues front. Bryan Fischer, formerly the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance (position papers here), starts his article by personally insulting Autumn Sandeen, a veteran and a hero of mine. Not only does he straw man her refreshing discussion on the realities of ObamaCare’s relation to Gender Confirmation Treatment, he goes on to refer to everyone undertaking this difficult journey as
“confused Americans who want to surgically mutilate themselves…the attempted suicide rate among transgendered individuals is many times higher than among the heterosexual [sic] population, certainly a reflection that the inner dissonance they live with is terribly self-destructive.”
Right and wrong in one: suicidality in transfolks is an unfortunate reality, but the APA knows reparative therapy isn’t the answer. So does the AMA–who say coverage for treatment is medically necessary. So Fischer harasses people, and makes the wrong recommendation–which is to be expected–but he’s categorically insulting all of us–gender-matched folks too. After all, if you’re not transphobic, you’re enabling.
So here’s how you can speak up on the issue: Get yourself a Reality Check from Whitehouse.gov. Then Contact Renew America, the blog on which he posted this opinion piece, and share this article with others. Talk talk!
(thanks to [transgendernews] for the tip)
Something I neglected to mention in the previous post:
Reporters and bloggers, use your pronouns wisely.
Q. What guidance does AP Stylebook give about the use of pronouns in stories about transgender persons? Should the pronoun reflect the gender with which the person identifies or the person’s actual sexual anatomy? – from Greensboro, N.C. on Wed, Jan 17, 2007
A. See the AP Stylebook entry on transgender: Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
In other words, the pronouns are he/him/his in an article about Lucas Silveira, Chaz Bono, Diego Sanchez (Democratic Representative Frank’s employee), Loren Cameron (artist and speaker), Jamison Green (author, speaker, and mentor), and thousands of other out transmen. She/her are reserved for Diane Schroer, Charlene Hastings, and other ladies.
If you think about it, it makes sense–after all, it’s difficult to comprehend a complete stranger’s identity, trans or not. Before starting my transition, I never realised how central gender is to identity here in the US, but it is. Think about it–even a person whose sex and gender are completely in alignment may be upset at being called the wrong gender.
As any author or musician knows, media is the mythmaker of society. You guys now set the terms of how Joe Q. Public (Or should I say, Joe The Plumber?) sees the world. Anyone who’s been on a non-trans website with articles knows the ignorant and sometimes hateful things being said. You’ve got a chance to make the world a better and safer place, simply by respecting our names/pronouns and refusing to validate ‘tranny panic’ defenses and the like.
Are you going to take the chance?
Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?
Science News’ recent article “Sex Change Operations: The Science, Sociology and Psychology” is at best, laughable, and at worst, misdirection that keeps transmen invisible and underserved.
I can’t tell you how many articles briefly mention us, claim our numbers are lower (figures I’ve heard lately peg guys like me at about 50% of transsexuals, just less likely to participate in the community), then go on to discuss only the treatments pertinent to the ladies (who are awesome! But us guys deserve recognition and awareness too.).
Needless to say, when they lead off with Chaz Bono, Transman Nouveau, I thought ‘finally, they’ll talk about us guys in a trans article!’. I hoped too soon–Not only did they not discuss our medical treatments and needs, they rehashed the same slanted information all directed at women.
Some of you are probably wondering why it matters. It matters because guys like me need insurance plans, doctors, therapists, teachers, employers, family, friends, and lovers with an accurate idea of what we’re going to go through, what our medical and social needs will be, so that they get where we come from. It matters because these same treatments are paid for by insurance to ‘cisgendered’ men and women (people who are not transsexual) for other conditions, while ours are considered ‘cosmetic’ (Despite what the AMA says) and must be paid out of pocket. It matters because society’s reactions to gender variance can be just as life-threatening as cancer. It matters because we pay taxes and buy papers like anyone else. It matters because we’re just as much citizens, so we deserve the same rights as our feminine counterparts. “All… are created equal”, right?
I call on Science News to read this article on non-trans writing about transfolk and redact their article, using the proper pronouns and either dropping the reference to Chaz Bono or be inclusive of transmen’s needs, indicating comprehension of the issue. I also offer the following information, pieces of presentations I’ve given at colleges as well as public conversation:
Transmen: A 101 on Medical Needs for Laymen and Reporters, too
Does he look like a girl to you?
- This is not a ‘choice’. Gender lives between the ears, not the legs, and ‘reparative therapies’ are harmful.
- No-Ho Transmen: Not all transmen take Testosterone–and some of them still look like the men they are! A celebrity example: Lucas Silveira* of the Cliks. In fact, I know two local guys that have better beards than I do.
- Hormone therapy: Testosterone is given in several ways. It provides facial, fat distribution, muscular, and vocal masculinization. It’s safe and healthy. It’s administered as follows:
- Testosterone Cypionate/Enanthate : Injected every 1-2 weeks, depending on dose
- Sustanon/Reandron: Injected every Twelve weeks
- Gel/Patches: Daily
- The surgeries we need may include:
- ‘Top Surgery’, or bilateral mastectomy.
- Hysterectomy and/or oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries)
- Metoidoplasty or ‘meta’, which releases the tendons holding in the clitoris to form a small neo-phallus that functions independently
- This may include urethral extension, see below
- Phalloplasty, which takes skin from the arm or side to create a longer, thicker phallus which depends on a silicone pump for erection
- This includes vaginectomy, which is exactly what it sounds like
- This includes urethral extension, see below
- Urethral Extension, which may happen as part of either of the above, reroutes the urethra through the neo-phallus. The surgeon often uses lining from the inside of the cheek.
- Not all transmen have surgery. I know a guy whose breasts are so small that he doesn’t even bind in an athletic top.
For some guys, their bodies and social misunderstanding are only mildly distressing, others can be driven to addiction, high-risk sexual behavior, and even suicide. We need federal provisions in place for these gentlemen’s needs so even the severely afflicted can move on to be healthy, productive members of society! This is why Transmasculine accuracy is needed in the media. Ignoring the issue or spreading misinformation will only hinder society as a whole socially, economically and, dare I say it, spiritually. Choose wisely, folks.
*It disturbs me a bit that a man is listed as a ‘lesbian musician’… for my own peace of mind I’m going to assume this is because they were on the L Word or because some of the ladies in the band are lesbians.
Project Pastiche is now Pastiche Foundation… we have filed for Washington Nonprofit Corporation status and should hear from the Secretary of State’s office in a few days. We’ve got a Federal EIN and it looks like the next step will be to get Federal Exemption.
This is really happening, people! We are blowing up like woah! We’re going to keep raising funds for surgical and hormonal treatment for Gender Variant individuals.
Other goals include establishing consulting practices for academic/business/communit
y/human services/mental health/municipal/religious
/social organizations on Gender Variance. This will not only create a more just and safe world for Gender Variant folks, the funds obtained will create a drop-in center for LGBTQQIA adults in Olympia. We’ll also be able to provide crisis/preventative referral services for our clients, as well as provide peer counseling that can ease feelings of isolation.
One of our next steps involves obtaining grants for Pastiche. Do you have grant request writing experience, or know someone who does? Please contact me and let me know.
Do you know any Event Insurance providers? We need insurance for an upcoming Fundraising event. Please give me the person’s information!
Thank you again for being part of Pastiche!
Let me explain. No, there is too much…let me sum up.
Most people in our culture view transsexual and other gender expressions as “freaks”, “weird”, “ill”, whathaveyou. Television has far too frequently portrayed us as such, and let’s face it–some of us have not been Our Own Best Representatives. And how many people that do not participate in Queer Community can actually say, “I have a friend who is trans”?
So how are they to understand? How easy is it to assume that the Television is true? How easy to be misinformed? Though biologists have known for years it’s not true, we still teach kids that penis = male and vulva = female. If my position is unclear, let me say directly:
THERE IS NOTHING TO FORGIVE WHEN SOMEONE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING.
My wonderful aunt L and I had a discussion the other day about things I post on Facebook and how they bother her… she was very disturbed by a joke logo i made at the suggestion of a friend. With the colors of the Trans flag in the background, the bold, all-caps text reads “BOOBS-B-GONE”. That really disturbed her and made her uncomfortable. In fact, a few of my female relatives have expressed upset specifically at my work toward top surgery.
I could be wrong, but I get the feeling it is something like “i identify with my breasts” + “i identify you as female, so you should too” = “you’re insulting me by wanting them gone.” I think because they would be very upset to lose them, they are upset I won’t have any anymore. Auntie L, if you read this, please confirm or correct.
If I’m right, that’s an example of transignorance: The assumption that despite my statements, I am female because that’s what they always thought; and that therefore, I should feel the same toward my body as they do about theirs.. Consider the ratio of folks whose sex and gender do/not match and it’s a reasonable assumption, just incorrect.
It’s possible that as we get to know each other (provided I manage not to act like some self-entitled, whiny moron), her discomfort may cease. It may not, but it’s certainly not worth fighting over. After all, it’s not as if she said something like these words from Sacramento Shock Jock Arnie States:
ARNIE STATES: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels…You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.
So a kid oughta be beaten for being trans. Nice. I don’t care if they’re ‘shock jocks’, it’s bull to write this off. Late last year, a transwoman named Ruby Molina was killed in their town, and I would hazard this was another aquaintance murder like Angie Zapata or any of many other cases. He may not understand trans issues, but he knows what violence is. Saying things like that, you know someone will be naive enough to take him seriously and think this is acceptable.
*ahem* Anyway, so we have someone who doesn’t really accept or understand the identity of another… versus someone who (regardless of whether they were being literal or not) expresses a hope that violence will visit the life of another.
Get the difference? Thanks, Auntie L, for being on the positive side of this spectrum.