Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves SEATTLE Community Forum

This is YOUR opportunity to have your voice heard BEFORE the book is published, and contribute to the content. This forum aims to bring the transgender and gender non-conforming community together to talk about what areas need to be addressed/prioritized, and give OUR community a chance to vocalize OUR ideas around what WE think is essential in a book like this.

The forum will consist of a few folks performing a couple of artistic pieces, followed by us breaking up into facilitated small groups to discuss for about an hour. The purpose of the forum is to provide TBTS with input and feedback from the community. Each small group will have someone taking notes, and all notes will be forwarded to the TBTS organization. These notes will then be passed on to the editors and incorporated into the editorial process.

Allies are welcome to come along with someone who is attending this event as an observer to the community dialogue. We do need volunteers to help set up, clean up, and take notes in the small groups. If this sounds like something you’re interested in please e-mail us at gendercast@gmail.com.

We will be updating this page with facilitator and artist information as they confirm, and hope to have a good turnout. Our hope is that people will not only be able to get together to talk about the book, but also get to know some of our community leaders and organizations that are here in Seattle.

Event Details

Monday December 12th
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Annex Room, 1002 E. Seneca.
Fully Accessible
Please e-mail gendercast@gmail.com for additional accommodations if needed.

Facilitators confirmed

• Sid and Kennedy – The folks who bring you the documentary PUT THIS ON THE {MAP} as well as This is Reteaching Gender & Sexuality. 

•Debbie Carlsen – The executive director of Allyship

• A. Canelli MA, LMHC NCC
Of Informed Consent for Access to Trans Health ( ICATH)

•Elayne Wylie-Weichers - Director of Outreach at Seattle Out & Proud, Program Development & Outreach Committee Member at Out In Front Seattle, and Director of Support Services at Ingersoll Gender Center.

• Tobi Hill-Meyer

• Gwen Yeh - Facilitator at Ingersoll Gender Center.

Here is a pdf link to the TBTS book outline where you can check out the content and organization of the book. Please take a look and come join with questions and ideas.  

More info about the forum and Trans Bodies, Trans Selves project

What is the purpose of the forums?

TBTS is hosting forums all over the country, including San Francisco, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, D.C., Philly, Pittsburgh, Burlington, and Toronto. The purpose of these is to bring community members together to talk about the content of the book – including what needs to be prioritized in the book – as we are just in the first draft stages. We are also hoping this will cast a wider net and bring people in who can continue to work with us after the forums by sharing their experiences/expertise, and also telling their friends and family who could not be at one of the forums due to distance or time. Mostly, we recognize there are barriers to being able to be involved with a project like this, and we are hoping the forums will make that more accessible. Many of our authors are individuals who are able to give up their time to write a chapter without getting paid for it. This is not possible for many people and we are hoping these forums can be an entry point to connect with the book, meet some authors/editors, and share ideas/feedback.

What is Trans Bodies, Trans Selves?

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (TBTS) is a groundbreaking resource guide in-progress, being written by and for trans people. It is based off the idea of Our Bodies, Ourselves, but will cover a much wider variety of topics than the original version of OBOS. Including chapters that range from identities to understanding legal and medical systems, to relationships and sexuality, to youth, activism, and gender theory, this book will also contain personal stories, responses from thousands of surveys completed online, and transgender historical tributes and art.

A little more about Trans Bodies Trans Selves

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a resource guide for the transgender population, covering health, legal issues, cultural and social questions, history, theory, and more. It is a place for transgender and gender-questioning people, their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, and others to look for up-to-date information on transgender life. Each chapter will be written by a separate transgender or genderqueer author, but to provide consistency of layout, message and tone, authors will be given guidelines and will work closely with the editor. The book will be aimed at a general transgender and gender-questioning audience, and when using complicated language, will provide definitions and explanations. The tone will be friendly and fun, and will promote trans-positive, feminist and genderqueer advocacy. Included in each section will be anonymous quotes from everyday transgender people, who will be interviewed and also surveyed electronically, so that their voices are heard throughout. Short opinion pieces and testimonials (1-2 pages long) will also be included in each chapter. Finally, each chapter will contain references to resources such as books, movies, and organizations related to the chapter’s topic.

Of primary importance in this book is a worldview that supports human rights for all people. While the focus of the book is transgender and gender non-conforming people, we understand that a struggle for one group is a struggle for all. All of the book's chapters will recognize that sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, able-ism, ageism, and all other forms of prejudice exist within our communities and must be addressed. We will emphasize the fact that economics, the prison industrial complex, and strict anti-immigration laws are forms of oppression employed to divide people. We know full well that many communities are not represented or are under-represented in our author list. Thousands of folks have filled out the surveys, and those voices will be used frequently throughout the book, rather than the stories of the authors. Everyone who is involved in the book is involved on a volunteer basis. We understand it is difficult for many people to take on another project, particularly one that is unpaid, in spite of how strongly they believe in the purpose/mission of this book. We encourage all to contact us with feedback, concrete ideas and suggestions, and assistance whenever possible. Through this open door, we hope to shed light on the intent of the editor and also to hear different points of view from the community at large so we may create a strong and revolutionary book.

Web and Access Information

Monday, November 28, 2011

Does the subject of marriage equality put folks at odds?

We had some difficult dialogue today when this article was posted on our website. Here are some of my thoughts around the issue of marriage equality. Would love to hear some of yours!

Equality vs. Accessibility by Sean Leão

Wow! I awoke to read the dialogue around this article and it looks like WE, as a collective community, have a lot to say about the issue of marriage equality. I think this is a difficult topic and can often divide folks in our community, especially as we all have different needs and are in different life spots. As a cancer and self identified romantic, I struggled at first with the idea that some may not champion or agree with the idea of striving for marriage equality. I grew up thinking that marriage was a sacred space to cultivate a commitment to another person, and later after I identified as a lesbian, an arena or political opportunity to gain equal protection under the law, while validating my relationship and shifting the cultural attitude that demonizes homosexuality. Over the last few years this conversation has come up often, and after hearing others dialogue about their individual choices and also reading articles (not so much like this one) around this issue, I have been motivated to opt out of the marriage idea. Not because I don’t think a wedding or some kind of ceremony can be an amazing and powerful experience, but because it’s a way for me to acknowledge the myriad of things difficult with the ideas that the institution of marriage perpetuates.

1) The idea that it’s something you just do as a part of the life cycle! Relationships are hard, and the vows or promises made that support marriage are a lot for anyone. I can’t think of any other type of agreement or contract that allows for such little flexibility, plays into our ideas of ownership/fears/insecurities with “you must love me or stay in this, no matter what happens,” and almost always functions on the idea of scarcity or permanence. The idea that one or both people won’t change or evolve in a way that is no longer a positive or healthy fit, that one or both won’t have attraction and develop emotional feelings toward another, and that a 1:1 relationship model is the best for everyone.

2) With marriage equality for the LGBTQ –and I think this is where it can be difficult–It’s the idea that we are just like YOU. I guess the question that I hear discussed a lot with this is, who is the YOU?  The cis-gender heterosexual?  White?  Middle class or above?  US citizen?  Monogamous?  Able bodied?  When we are talking about marriage equality the question I am forced to ask is, who am I trying to be equal with? What does that look like? Does that even include me? I have heard discussions around the idea that marriage equality would challenge the gender composition of the family structure, the way family relationship dynamics operate. If the lesbian and gay community was able to marry, would that really increase our collective community’s life chances? Would we be more employable? Have less violence directed toward us? Be welcomed in all social spaces, media, etc.? Have better or more access to healthcare, housing, legal status, etc.? Would the oppressive ideas of two person relationships, monogamy, and the assumed pairing of masculinity with femininity dissipate?

3) The idea that it’s OK that marriage continues to be a gateway for services and protections we all need and deserve. Should we be supporting an institution that requires membership to have access to things like healthcare, immigration status, parenting and family structure recognition, inheritance, hospital visitation? As a single adult with no children, healthy, not currently romantically involved with someone who does not have U.S. citizenship or legal residency status, and who more often than not has had access to healthcare benefits thru employers, I think it’s easier for me to willfully opt out of supporting the endeavors for marriage equality, and spend more of my time and resources focusing on campaigns dedicated to getting access to these things for everyone. This is where the life spot and individual needs of our community members come in. If I or my partner was parenting, could be deported or couldn’t find employment due to immigration status, needed access to healthcare regularly, or was ill in the hospital, I would be hard pressed to forgo getting these immediate needs met, especially if I could have access to these things based on a partners insurance benefits, legal residency, or legal recognition of my parental relationship. While marriage equality is not the solution in the long term in regards to how we address the social disparities experienced by so many folks trying to survive in this country, it could be a stepping stone by which to get us to the ideal. Where it becomes problematic is historically when folks are getting their needs addressed they rarely come back to the table to make sure we all get them. While some may get immediate access to these things through marriage, many will not as neither person has benefits/citizenship/inheritance to share with the other. Would we be closer to amending some of these glaring gaps in accessibility if the resources and organizing around marriage equality was backing other things like universal healthcare, changing immigration legislation, legislation surrounding how institutions view family units?

I also acknowledge that as someone who is transitioning and will have my marker changed to M in the future, I will soon enough be able to enter a legal marriage if choose. That being said I don’t think that we as a community have to be on such opposing sides around the issue of marriage equality, and that we can more often than not be on the same side of wanting benefits for all people around accessibility. We don’t have to single each other out, erase self identification, or devalue the importance of individual needs, to be in support of where people are in terms of needs, or where each of us comes from.

I am still learning about this debate and welcome feedback. This is what I was thinking about today and I hope the discussion continues.......

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gendercast welcome's Marissa Adams, our newest addition!

Gendercast would like to formally welcome our newest addition, Marissa Adams as our Gendercast Coordinator/Intern.    We are so excited to have Marissa officially working with Gendercast!  We met Marissa at the Gender Identity panel both of us did last summer and we have been delighted to work with Marissa in various ways over the past several months.  Marissa brings passion and excitement and we are so excited to have them help us further our goals around fundraising, building up our resource page, outreach and further us along in our goal of creating opportunities for others to intern with us in the future.   You can hear directly from Marissa on the episode 16 check-ins.

Here’s a little about Marissa…
[Marissa’s pronouns are: they/them]
Marissa Adams is a queer activist.  They self-identify as genderqueer/
genderfluid and currently live in Seattle with their trans-male identified partner. They grew up in Oakland, CA, and attended Bishop O'Dowd catholic high school. Marissa is a Community Studies major at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), with an emphasis in queer & trans/gender studies, healthcare inequalities and feminist science. Community Studies is a social justice and activism focused major.
Marissa has been an intern with the Santa Cruz Queer Youth Task Force (SC QYTF), a non-profit, and worked to help coordinate the 2011 Queer Youth Leadership Awards (QYLA). They moved up to Seattle from Santa Cruz to do a six month academic field study internship with Seattle Out & Proud as Outreach Team Coordinator, spending much of their time in policy development. Marissa has decided to spend their last remaining months in Seattle working  with Gendercast (lucky us!!) and is also currently working at their first paid staff position as Assistant Coordinator of SC QYTF's 2012 Queer Youth Leadership Awards. They will by moving back to UCSC in December to work on QYLA, complete classes and prepare to teach a class in spring, entitled, "Queer Health," before graduating in June. After graduation, Marissa is hoping to find more work with queer issue focused non-profits.
WELCOME Marissa!!!