Heads up, this content is 10 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

~~~

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 11 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

Heads up, this content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Genderfork.com — a volunteer-run community expression blog about gender variance that I founded two years ago — has exploded. In a good way. We’re getting far more submissions than we know what to do with, and the comments have started overflowing into tangential discussions. It’s time to grow.

Last week, we put out a call to the community, asking who’d like to help advise us on the creation of open community forums. We figured 10 or 15 people might raise their hands right away. When 70 did, we closed down the invitation and marked the group as Full. (Yep. Definitely a need for forums.)

Kicking off that discussion this week, we asked everyone involved a bunch of questions about where they’re coming from, what their interests are, and what they’re most inclined to talk about in a community forum about gender variance. We also included a question about how Genderfork has affected their lives and their own identities so far.

The responses hit me hard. This is the kind of site that has a big but quiet impact. To hear people put that impact into clear terms was hugely helpful to me, and moving.

Here were some of them….

* * *

“The biggest thing Genderfork has done for me is give me permission to not fit. For a long time I’ve felt like expressing an alternate gender without being trans in some way detracted or disrespected the life experiences and narratives of trans people. Genderfork has helped me embrace a gender identity that isn’t cis and isn’t trans and is still completely valid. Genderfork has helped me to feel real.”

* * *

“Genderfork is great! It’s helped broaden my idea of gender and taught me about the different labels we put on ourselves and each other. It’s a supportive little community that is very kind. I’m very glad it’s here on the Internet or else I think I’d be totally lost.”

* * *

“Genderfork hasn’t helped me with my identity formation, per se, but it has been crucial in how I’ve grown to accept it. Without the blog, I’d still probably be closeted about my third gender and feeling quite bad about it.”

* * *

“The blog helped me an amazing amount. I used to be just very, very confused. I didn’t even think it was possible that I could have a problem with my gender! Then I found the blog (I wish I remembered how), and it helped me a lot to figure out that I can be very happy even if I don’t present the gender traits of my sex.”

* * *

“Genderfork helped me to realise that it was ok for me to not be a woman or a man. I think before I realised that I was unhappy sometimes living as a woman but that I didn’t think I would be able to transition and live as a man full time either. I think genderfork helped me see that those are not the only two options and encouraged me to explore who I am a little bit more (still exploring, still having great fun doing it).”

* * *

“Genderfork has been invaluable, not in the formation of my gender identity, but understanding how that identity was defined. I already knew how I felt, but it took seeing other people relate to that, then label it, for me to understand what it was. If it wasn’t for genderfork, I’d still have that general feeling of ‘wrongness’ when acting or dressing as my gender identity.”

* * *

“Genderfork (along with the nudging of some friends of mine) opened my eyes and really gave me a safe space to examine and explore my own identity. I intellectually grasped the social construct of the binary, but was blown away by how many of the quotes and profiles here especially hit home for me. Seeing all the different labels or refusals of labels that people came up with was extremely educating in terms of showing me how wide this community really is. Also, being able to have a space where i know there are answers to the questions that answered anywhere else, and seeing, below every submission and profile, a flood of “Me too!” is really empowering.”

* * *

“As far as gender identity construction is concerned…well, Genderfork took me as a very confused individual and left me as a very confused individual. But it a good way! Knowing that there are alternatives to the oh-so-constricting binary is definitely an improvement from where I was. I’m still working through a lot of things, but it really helps to know that there are like-minded people out there in the world, and maybe even closer to home than I originally thought.”

* * *

“It’s shown me there are others out there who are like me and yet entirely unlike me at the same time. It’s helped guide me toward the ways to outwardly express my inner identity.”

* * *

“I wouldn’t say Genderfork has helped me form my own identity as much as it has shown me how diverse other peoples’ genders can be. It’s also helped to show me that it’s not abnormal to have a non-binary gender identity.”

* * *

*gulp* Okay. We’ll keep walking.