Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

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Wow. Okay. Hi. So it sounds like you want a Genderplayful Marketplace to happen. Awesome.

I’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the letters, comments, tweets, likes, views, posts, and reblogs from the last 5 days. Ya’ll are phenomenal.

And videos are a lot to ask. I know. So far I’ve received four of them. I can work with that, but really, it would make a huge difference to our upcoming fundraising effort if we could bring in more. Also: all of the videos I’ve received so far appear to be from transmasculine crowd (trans men, butch/androgynous women). These are fantastic, and please keep them coming, but it would also mean a lot to the balance of the project if we could pull in some representing trans women, femmes (men, women, and so on), drag queens, and other genderfabulous faces.

So here’s where we get serious. If you’ve been thinking about making a short video of yourself explaining why this marketplace is important to you, go do it. Get it done. Go go go! Don’t worry too much about making it clean and perfect — I’ll be editing it down to chunks and weaving it together with other videos. You will be beautiful.

The best way to send them appears to be through Google Docs. Just log in, hit “Upload”, get it up there, and then hit “Share.” Share it with genderplayful@gmail.com.

For those who might be new to this conversation, here’s my overview of the project, complete with me sitting naked in a towel:

And here’s a small handful of the things people have written…

Why is a marketplace for androgynous clothing important? Because of people like me.

I want to be able to dress up, feel comfortable, feel like myself on a daily basis. I want to be able to have variety in my clothing styles besides just “jeans and a t-shirt” while mainting an androgynous image. I want suits and dresses and kilts and dress shirts that don’t accentuate the fact that I was born biologically female. I want to be able to find a place to buy and replace binders and packers of all varieties. I want a place where boots and shoes are bought and sold that fit my feet and don’t have a high heel.

To those trying to get this project off the ground, and turn this into a reality, I am grateful.

You’ve been to the department stores…

Here is an example of a genetic male androgyne shopping experience:

Go into any department store and look for clothes in the mens section, and you will find the following colors: beige, brown, gray, black, and navy blue. If you’re lucky you’ll find some red, forest greens, or maybe even a colorful Hawaiian shirt. The only place you’ll ever find a sense of color is in men’s dress shirts, but they all of the same cut, and usually are solids or pinstriped if you’re lucky – no scoop neck, V-neck, or something innovative and fun. If you want teal trousers or a paisley patterned shirt then you’re out of luck. Also, the men’s clothing isn’t fitted – it’s meant to fit baggy and not show off your figure. Fitted shirts or slacks are a rarity for men in department stores.

So you go shop in the women’s section and find the color and pattern you’ve been looking for. But the sizes aren’t big enough, the tail of the shirt is too short to tuck into your pants, the darts in the shirt are useless on your flat chest. The trousers would look cute on you, but don’t fit right around the hips, so you find a pair that does, but the pant cuffs are too short and barely cover your ankles.

I think there is a niche market for genderqueer fashion – the only other option I see is to break out my sewing machine and spend all of my free time making my own clothes, and I’m not that good at it anyway.

–Timi

Buying from our peers just feels better.

Where I get my stuff from matters to me. I like the idea of being able to dress the way I want to and buy from my community at the same time. I love the idea of a place where the genderqueer community could come together to swap second hands stuff that worked. I adore the idea of having a place to talk about how to make stuff fit or look cool with other people who get it. It would be fabulous to have a place where I could find people who made genderqueer stuff and support them in making my life a little bit easier.

I am also super excited about having a place where I could sell (or heck, give away) some of my funky femme clothes to my super beautiful funky femme brothers and sisters and siblings.

These are rocking my world, ya’ll. Keep the stories coming!

~ ~ ~

Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

~ ~ ~

Update 12/4/10: I made a video for ya. (Well, it was originally for Genderfork, but it’s for you, too.)
Also: I’m naked in it.

This is the week of shaking trees. Two days ago, I put out a call for stable employment (for the first time in six years). My consulting work has gotten thin and bumpy, and it’s time for something to change.

There’s another idea that’s been on the table for awhile now, though, and I think it’s time I told you about it.

I want to build an online marketplace for gender-variant clothing solutions.

Not a store where I sell to you, but a service like Etsy and Ebay where we sell to each other, in a focused, supportive community. And while we’re at it, we also trade all sorts of tips and inspirations on how best to look the way we want, gender-be-damned.

You know what I’m talking about. Tuxes for hips and breasts. Size 16 extra-wide high heels. Custom alterations, custom orders, custom tailoring. Hot unisex indie designer labels. Hand-made t-shirts. That awesome skirt from your closet that doesn’t fit you anymore. A good chest binder. That amazing jacket you found at a thrift store for $5 that you want to resell. And while we’re at it, let’s bring in styles from every subculture that celebrates androgyny, which is pretty much all of them.

I’ve been thinking about this for a year.

I talked to the staff at Genderfork last winter, and we agreed it should be a separate-but-friendly project (Genderfork is run like activism; this would be run like a business).

I did a bunch of research on software options, and had to table the idea for awhile because a good multi-seller marketplace solution didn’t exist. But I’ve got one now. It came out in September. We can do this.

I have the web development, the project management, and the community organizing skills to make this happen. And I love the people this will serve. Relentlessly.

All I need is time and money.

You know. That stuff.

I’m in talks with a family member who can give me a loan, but they need to know that there’s enough support for the project to warrant the risk. Also? Loans are stressful. It would be awesome if we could offset it with some community support. So…

I would like to launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter is a service that lets community members donate to projects (and receive thank-you gifts based on their donation amount), to meet funding goals. The goal and timeline are set in advance. If the goal is met, the donations go through and the project happens. If the goal isn’t met, the donations don’t happen, and we consider it closed.

This is a test.

If we can rally a ton of community support, I will go all in on this plan and make it happen as quickly as is humanly possible. If we get only moderate support, I will take a day job and build this project slowly, in my off-hours. If support seems slim, I’ll consider it closed.

**How You Can Help Without Giving Me Money**

Do you want this to happen? Help me convince the world that it matters, that we need these clothing solutions, and that the best way to get them is to come together and create them collaboratively.

Here’s how you can do that. I want you to make a video of yourself explaining why this is important to you. Use your phone, your webcam, or whatever you have nearby. Don’t make it fancy; just make it real. Tell us what matters to you, what you need, or what you have to give.

I will collect these videos and edit them together to make a promotional video for the kickstarter campaign. Or maybe multiple videos, if you send me lots of great stuff.

The more faces we can show, the better.

Your voice will help me convince others that this project deserves their support. That it needs to happen.

How to get your video to me…

Chances are your video will be bigger than the average reasonable email size. So here are some options (just pick one):

A) Use Google Docs to upload the file. Then share it with genderplayful@gmail.com

B) Get a Dropbox account, put it in the public folder, and email genderplayful@gmail.com the URL to that file.

C) Post it as a video reply to my YouTube video.

A Note on Privacy: I plan to use your face and your voice, but not your name, unless (maybe) you say it in the video.

Deadline: This Tuesday.  As Soon As You Can.  I’m going to start pushing things out to the world this week, so the faster the better, but I’ll continue to make use of material that comes in later, too. It all makes a difference.

This will matter.

Make a video. Do it for everyone who needs this marketplace, but isn’t ready to say so out loud. Do it this weekend. This is your art project. Go.

Love,
Sarah

Update: If making a video really isn’t your cup of tea, another thing you can do is write a paragraph explaining why this is important to you. You can leave that in a comment below or email me at genderplayful@gmail.com, and it will find the right audience. Thank you so much!

~ ~ ~

Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

As luck would have it, the two books I contributed to this year are being launched in the same week.  This is actually quite lucky because it means I can confuse everyone with it, and distract them from looking at one book with the other.

Here they are…

1) Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. (Get it.)

genderoutlaw This is a very powerful and important book, and you should buy it.  I say this not as a contributor, but as someone who’s been holding space in the gender-variance advocacy world, who knows that most of you are craving more exposure and information, and don’t know how to get it without coming across as clumsy.  THIS IS A GOOD BOOK.  It’s a patchwork collage of 52 voices, many of whom are hidden in daily life, but all of whom are well-spoken and have something powerful to say.

I’m honored to add that my piece is the End Note. It’s a brief meditation at the back of the book about where I see us, and where I think we’re going.  An excerpt:

We are five years old. Eighteen. Thirty-seven. Sixty. We are starting grad school, starting companies, starting families, and starting trends. We are serving coffee and signing paychecks, nursing the sick and teaching children, building technology, growing food, producing masterpieces, and changing laws. We are woven into this culture and we are finding each other. We are sharing our notes, strengthening our stories, reaching out for one another, and welcoming everyone in.

And when we wake up in five, ten, twenty-five years, we’ll find that the queer issues we’re fighting so hard for today have been trumped by an understanding of the fluidity of gender. We’ll have learned that masculinity and femininity are not mutually exclusive, and how satisfying it can feel to represent both at once, or neither…

Buy the book to read the rest, and the REST! ALL of the incredible essays, stories, poems, naked pictures (yes, naked pictures), cartoons, and conversations. I’m serious. You want this one. Go get it.

2) Coming & Crying

Edited by Melissa Gira Grant and Meaghan O’Connell. (Don’t get it.)

comingandcryingThis is the other book I’m in. You don’t need to read it.

The project itself, from a purely observational standpoint, is fascinating. Melissa Gira Grant and Meaghan O’Connell decided they wanted to have an intervention into publishing — especially published sex writing — and to bring more of the rich, raw, honest writing style that was surfacing on the internet (about sex) to the printed page. They used a service called Kickstarter to raise some money from the community before they gathered the writing, so they could self-publish it properly. Their goal was to raise $3,000. They raised $17,000. And now they’re starting their own media label.

(But just because the project is fascinating does not mean you have to buy the book.)

The book is erotica-meets-drama. It’s a book of sex stories with all the messy awkwardness and overanalysis left in. I wrote a story for it. It’s under my real name. It’s a very personal story. Let’s just accept right now that I’m never going to run for Senate.

If you are a member of my family, I strongly recommend that you (please) do not buy this book. If you have a purely professional relationship with me and would rather not feel weird the next time you see me, I also really don’t think you should buy it.

And if you’re anyone else, you know what? We’re in a recession. You need to buy groceries. Look! Shiny things! I think your grandmother is on fire. Don’t look at the book.

Also? It was a limited print run. They’re gonna sell out soon anyway. And who knows — they might not print any more. So you probably can’t get the book anyway. It wasn’t meant to be. No, you can’t see an excerpt. You never heard about this. Enjoy your day.

(Don’t get it.)

Love,
Sarah