Tuesday, December 29, 2009

holiday greetings, layout updates and mistaken genders..

First of all, happy holidays everyone. The Gendered Lex crew is spread out across the country at the moment. I myself am recovering from some intense family time and enjoying a full week off from work. With all my free time I figured I better get some blogging in. You may have noticed that the blog layout has changed a bit. I've been playing around with some of our options. Don't be alarmed if it changes again. :)

On to the actual post..

I am very rarely read as any other gender besides female. I am a cisgendered, female identified person so I guess that works out for me. However, for many people that is not the case. Particularly for people who fall somewhere on the gendered spectrum in a place other than "male" or "female." Being mistaken for a gender other than your own can be a source of shame, embarrassment, and frustration for people, and even worse, can result in violence.

In a perfect world it I suppose it wouldn't matter if someone made a mistake and called you out of your gender. You would correct them, they would apologize, and everything would be fine. In an even MORE perfect world, maybe gender wouldn't matter at all and we wouldn't be so obsessed with trying to put people into certain categories.

Unfortunately in this world, we're only given two options and we have to conform to them. I really got to thinking about this recently after someone left me a crappy comment on my you tube channel where they referred to me as male.

To give it a little context, I made a video about what comes inside the Tofurky vegan feast package. The video is maybe about three minutes long and is intended to be light and silly. Here is the comment that I received:

"More proof that being a veegan is just a fad. Look at this guy's pseudointellectual glasses... multiple piercings... rebellious short hair... and flanel. Str8 Tool. So egotistic they record themselves because they think people want to watch. Well, i enjoyed calling you out, dear sir."

So yeah. I mean, I know that there are a lot of ignorant creepy people trolling around in internet land, and trust me, my feelings aren't hurt. I had a good laugh about all of the misspellings in his comment and his obvious lack of knowledge about veganism. But I think what really struck me the most was that he thought I was a guy. I guess I'm just not used to it. It just seemed so ludicrous to me that he couldn't see that I'm female. Then it struck me, that this may be similar to what transpeople and genderqueer people experience on a daily basis; people who can't seem to see their gender identity for what it is.

I want to hear about your experiences with being mistaken for a different gender. What happened? How did it make you feel? How was it resolved?

De Las.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feminist/Womanist/Mujerista book club?

So I've been thinking lately that it would be nice to be a part of a feminist book club. As far as I know there doesn't seem to be one in central KY (by all means let me know if I'm wrong). I haven't been in school for several years now and I really miss having discussions where we dissect themes about race, class, ability, sex and gender in various books and articles.

So who is interested? The more the merrier, but we need at least 3-4 people I think for it to work. I know that everyone is huber busy too, so maybe we read a new book and meet every three months or so? I figure that would also be enough time for folks to order said book from the library if they don't want to buy it.

If you're interested, then post in the comment section that you are and include a book that you would want us to read! Once I have enough people I will try and coordinate us.

De Las.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Friday, November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Check out this site to see a list of events happening around the world. The University of Kentucky Gay Straight alliance is getting an event together. If you are interested in participating, come to the GSA meeting

Thursday, November 19
357 Student Center

Friday, November 20
Free Speech Area

Friday November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance in memory of victims of hate. UKGSA will be preparing Thursday night for an event the this Friday. There will be a variety of tasks to work on in anticipation:
-chalking every blackboard in whitehall with the name and circumstances of a victim's death
-creating signs and posters for tabling on Friday

Friday from 10 to 2 UKGSA will be tabling in the free speech area. In the case of rain we'll move to the patio. If you are able to please drop by or help in whatever way possible. This is an issue that you must bring to the attention of campus.

Witness Exhibit

Opening Reception
J Allen Studio + Spa
527 S. Upper Street
Friday, November 20, 2009

WHAT: a 3-month creative collaboration between 10 specially trained artists and 10 women who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault that culminates in a touring public exhibition

WHERE: Opens at J. Allen Studio + Spa at 527 S. Upper St. in Lexington. From there it travels to the 11th annual Ending Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Conference at Griffin Gate Marriott at 1800 Newtown Pike. A comprehensive tour schedule will be available at www.lexingtonartleague.org once finalized.

WHEN: Opening reception coincides with Nov. 20 Gallery Hop. On Nov. 30-Dec. 3, Witness will be a feature of the Ending Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Conference. Other dates will be available at www.lexingtonartleague.org once finalized.

WHO: LAL in partnership with Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (KDVA), Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program (BDVP), Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center (BRCC), Third Street Stuff and Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth (KUMH) have selected 10 artists and 10 storytellers from Central Kentucky for participation.

Artist training sessions were designed by LeTonia Jones from KDVA, Maria Almario from BRCC, Diane Fleet from BDVP and Karen Alexander from KUMH. Orientation sessions with all participants were designed by Fran Belvin, licensed and practicing art therapist, and Hui Chi Lee, art lecturer at University of Kentucky.

Paula Zaglul's Solo Show

come see Paula Zaglul's solo show at
Zag's Gallery
222 South Limestone Street, Suite 2
Friday November 20, 2009
6-9 pm
Jack Cofer and Ondine Quinn performing.

Paula Zaglul has done a series of portraits of local people. You may have seen some of her work around town, most recently in soundbar. Zag's Boutique is a wonderful place to find local art, jewelry and clothing. Stop by during the gallery hop!

Voices Against Violence Zine

Description taken from Hermana, Resist:

Voices Against Violence is a small zine-diy style, with work from people of color, indigenous folks, trans people & queer survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual assault. Included topics can be: healing from trauma, transformative words used as a healing mechanism, enabling healing, life after trauma, self-help guides/resources, self-healing, dancing as means to healing, healing through narration, forgiveness (do we need it?), & collective trauma.

This is an amazing project that I'm planning on submitting work to and I think you should to. Sexual assault and domestic violence happen in every community and we need to talk about it.

**UPDATE** The submission deadline has been extended to February 2nd y'all!

For more information check it out here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One step forward, two steps back...

God I'm so fucking mad.

Recently Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) introduced an amendment to the health care bill that would limit women's access to abortion. Stupak’s bill prohibits abortion coverage in the public insurance option included in the House bill. It would also prevent private plans from offering coverage for abortion services if they accept people who are receiving government subsidies.

From the NY Times:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi desperately tried to deal with an issue that has bedeviled Democrats for more than a generation — abortion.
Skip to next paragraph
Health Care Conversations

After hours of heated talks, the people she was trying to convince — some of her closest allies — burst angrily out of her office.

Her attempts at winning them over had failed, and Ms. Pelosi, the first woman speaker and an ardent defender of abortion rights, had no choice but to do the unthinkable. To save the health care bill she had to give in to abortion opponents in her party and allow them to propose tight restrictions barring any insurance plan that is purchased with government subsidies from covering abortions.

The restrictions were necessary to win support for the overall bill from abortion opponents who threatened to scuttle the health care overhaul.

The results of that fight, waged heavily over two days, were evident as one liberal Democrat after another denounced the health care plan because of abortion restrictions, even though they were likely to hold their noses in the end and vote for the bill itself.

“If enacted, this amendment will be the greatest restriction of a woman’s right to choose to pass in our careers,” said Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, one of the lawmakers who left Ms. Pelosi’s office mad.

Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, said the bill’s original language barring the use of federal dollars to pay for abortions should have been sufficient for the opponents. “Abortion is a matter of conscience on both sides of the debate,” Ms. DeLauro said. “This amendment takes away that same freedom of conscience from America’s women. It prohibits them from access to an abortion even if they pay for it with their own money. It invades women’s personal decisions.”

Now let's think about where we are. Check out what the folks at the Abortion Access Project have to say about the bluegrass:

Women in places such as Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia and Arkansas share a troubling commonality – they all live in states with the least accessible abortion services in the United States. Because of where they live, these women face daunting barriers to get safe abortion care if and when they need it. These least access states have the most restrictive laws and the fewest number of abortion providers. These states also share other traits: low levels of contraceptive care, high rates of poverty, and strong anti-abortion cultures. With little help to prevent pregnancy, few financial resources to help pay for abortion care, and the threat of isolation or even harassment within her community, the health and autonomy of a woman living in one of these states is at risk.

I don't know about you, but I'm pissed off, and I'm scared. This is a giant step backward for reproductive rights.

Learn about what you can do by visiting planned parenthood: http://plannedparenthoodaction.org/healthreform/

and the Abortion Access Project: http://www.abortionaccess.org/content/blogsection/7/119/

De Las.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Whoa. 64 Manliest Films to Date....

Check out the manliest films so far.

Too Big for My Skin- Campaign

So I was gonna post about the pepsi max commercials that continue gendered stereotypes, but I feel like I have made that point before so here is a better post.

This poem spoke to me because I have never really felt comfortable in my skin. I love the different representations of women that are present in the video. You can comment on the video in youtube and even respond with a video. I might talk to my fellow genderedlexers and see if we want to respond via video and post it here and on youtube.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

men in high heels and what not

It's time for another video post. This is the first time I've EVER used imovie to edit a video so it kind of sucks. But I promise, I will practice :)

This is a continuation of our discussion about sex week, and specifically about an event at the end of sex week where men are asked to walk in high heels for a mile so that they can better understand women (and women's issues).

So what do you think? Do you think this event will achieve what it sets out to? What might be a better way to help people better understand women's experiences?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This week is Sex Week at UK, and there are tons of events going on to promote it. You can check out a list of their activities and events on their website.

Taken from their website:

The purpose of Sex Week at UK is to increase sexual literacy by initiating an informed, open, and sustained dialog about human sexuality throughout the campus community.

Last night there was a poetry slam and art show at 3rd St. stuff. People read work and displayed art about sex, gender, sexual violence, etc.

Well I guess the family foundation caught wind of it and sent out the news crew. You can watch the video here.

Sex week also made it into the herald leader and the kentucky kernel.

I'm curious to hear about what you think.

Here is what I think.

I think that it's really important for people to be open and honest about sex, and unfortunately, in our society we're just not - and that leads to all kinds of problems.

There are the people who end up w/ STI's and unwanted pregnancies because they don't know enough about safe sex to protect themselves and they're taught not to ask. Women in particular are taught to believe that if they enjoy sex and have sex outside of marriage than they're slutty and damaged. There are tons of sexually active people (married and unmarried), who have unrewarding sex because they're not supposed to like it, so they don't ask how to experiment with it. (I can't tell you how many of my female friends were afraid to masturbate until they were adults). And far too many people don't understand the complexities of consent because AGAIN, we don't talk about it. Women students on college campuses face a disproportionately high risk of experiencing sexual violence and the university of Kentucky is no exception.

If sex week gets people talking about these issues then we should make it sex month. Fuck that, sex YEAR!

So I want to hear from you. So what do you think about sex week? Should it be an annual thing? Did you attend any of the events? If so, how were they? Are you happy with the events that are planned for it? Do you want to be a part of organizing sex week next year?


De Las.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Facebook friends, you know that you want to comment on here. Let's get the discussion started. What do YOU all want to see?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stepping Out on Lexington's Shoulders

My given name has never fit me. No variation of it has ever made much sense. I have often searched for a nickname but rarely ever got one (and never a good one). I even tried to shorten my given name by a letter in the second grade and was told by my teacher that to do so would be “illegal". Jerk. Not clicking with my given name is reasonable to me considering that it came from a list of baby names floating around in my parents' house during the 1980s. And so, because my parents found some appreciation in this name (number seven on the list), that is what I was christened. Now, over two decades later I am reflecting on this decision made without my consultation and feel just fine about wanting to choose my name.

So I picked “Eli”. It's Hebrew and I am (eventually) converting, after all. It is also a popular feminine name in Norway from where some of my ancestors conveniently hail. The question now, and the relevance to this blog, is how this change will go over here in the fine city of Lexington.

I have lived here for just over a year now and have managed to spend a lot of time and energy in the pursuit of social change. That given name has been attached to an impassioned public speech and a full-color photo in a newspaper. The prospect of requesting to be called by my chosen name is also terrifying to me. The wonderful queer community in Lexington has shown me that such an act has successfully been done before and that I won't be going this alone. This post is the first leap of confidence that will lead to the first time I will introduce myself as Eli, nice to meet you.

Eli stands for all of the times I sped through introductions and the roll calls to which I hardly responded. It stands for all the cat calls and the “hey man, got a light(s)?" It remembers all the times over the years when my friends told me that I didn't look like my name. It hopes for a sense of solidarity in queer identity within myself and for that first confident handshake yet to come.

Mostly, it means to say “Hello, Lexington. I am the same crusader for equal rights that I was yesterday. I am here and genderqueer. I was afraid to be me but within your city limits I have found the confidence to speak up. You can call me Eli, nice to meet you."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

good reads, good tunes, good questions

So this is an addendum to our intro video. We wanted to share w/ everyone what we're reading and/or listening to a lot right now, and to also pose a discussion question.

Just in case you missed the question;

What experience have you had in the last week that has made you think about gender?

Post your story in the comments section. Feel free to upload a video response if you'd like.

and if you want to share w/ us what you're reading/listening to at the moment, that would be cool too!


De las Ondas

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

introduction video

So Mervin, Jackson and I thought it would be fun to make a video introducing ourselves and talking about what we hope this blog turns into. So here ya go!


De las Ondas

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coming out day is BACK!

Coming Out Day is on October 11th but sadly that day is on a Sunday so this year the University of Kentucky Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) decided to have it on Oct 9th (which also falls in perfectly for Sex Week @ UK!)

Basically the idea behind Coming Out Day is a celebration for people who are gay, lesbian, all in between and all who are neither to come and be together in a supportive fun atmosphere as well as all those who support them.

This year we will be in the Student Center Patio celebrating with Music, Face Painting, A Bake Sale, Gay Trivia, an Ally Pledge, more fun activities you can shake a stick at!

And we have a giant closet for you guys to come out of!

Date: Friday, October 9, 2009
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: UK Student Center Patio
City/Town: Lexington, KY


De Las Ondas

Weekend Recap

So just last week here in Lex we had an awesome show at Al's Bar featuring Athens Boys Choir, 8" Betsy, and Lexington KY's very own Spooky Qs.

In addition to just being a kick ass show, the night also served as a benefit for the OUTsource, which is the university of Kentucky's GLBTIQ resource center.

Local musician Jack Cofer can be credited w/ pulling all of this together. He's been working very hard recently to bring more diverse acts to Lexington. When asked why this was important for him to do he said: "There are none [queer touring bands coming to Lexington] and there should be. There is a population here that appreciates it, and it raises queer awareness and it's not something we see often enough. I'm feeling very rewarded w/ the turnout from Tuesday, and by how many people really seemed to appreciate the show, including the performers. I can see that there is a demand for this sort of thing where there wasn't one at all, because people didn't think they could demand something like that in a town like this, and I"m more than happy to oblige."

So because you asked, Cofer is finishing up the planning of another queer music showcase on October 3rd 2009. The Queer Control Records showcase will also take place at Al's bar and will feature three bands from the San Francisco based label, local DJ's and fire dancers. 100% of the door is going to be donated to AVOL (AIDS Volunteers of Lexington).

You should also check out the next issue of local newspaper North of Center for an article written by Cofer about merging queer activism and the arts in Lexington.

And now, I'll leave you w/ some sweet pics from the show and the afterparty, Thanks to Shey Ruud and Ethan Hammonds.


De Las Ondas

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Venue in Town = I Peed on the Ground

Did the title grab your attention? Good. Let me propose something to you and please take the time to really think about this. As a cisgendered person, would you feel uncomfortable with gender neutral bathrooms in your favorite bar, or grocery store, or any other place you may frequent? And to those of you who identify differently, how would you feel if you came into your favorite bar and saw that the bathrooms were uniquely marked for the two types of humans who go out on a Friday night? I believe the response to the latter will be pretty uniform. Let me give you the story of my experience with the public restrooms in this town.

First of all, I am a pre-op, pre-hormone, androgynous, binding, FTM, gender-queer, and I go out A LOT. I used to work at the Good Foods co-op and before the expansion, they had gender neutral bathrooms. Sure, when I would walk out of the bathroom sometimes, a child would tug their mom's clothing and say "mommy, is that a boy or a girl?" but it's a Hell of alot better than a child screaming "Mommy, that boy was in the girl's room!" Or vice-versa.

I'm happy to say that I am no longer employed at this co-op, one reason being that with thier current expansion, they are providing larger bathrooms, which means they feel they need to throw a cut-out drawing of a "man" on one and a "woman" on the other. Some may be surprised at this step back in progress for this particular store, however it is coming from a place where the store manager said (to a cashier who shaved her head) "this is Kentucky, not San Francisco", then made her wear a hat.

I understand that with single stall bathrooms it is much easier to provide gender neutrality in a public space, which only pisses me off more when I see single stall bathrooms STILL LABELLED. To those spaces with large bathrooms providing multiple stalls I propose a third option. A safe option for people like me. I cringe at "Family" bathrooms, but God what a life-saver they are sometimes. Also, I have noticed some department stores provide a third option stictly for wheelchaired persons. In the event that I walk out of one of these and a handicapped person is waiting for me to come out, I will apologize profusely, however, I would rather someone assume I am an insensitive prick then stare me down on the way into the restroom because they feel I need to know just how disgusted they are.

To new owners who are just developing around Lexington (we are seeing a boom here) PLEASE include us in the drawing plans!!!! Buster's just re-opened bigger and better and on opening night I couldn't decide on a restroom (the old buster's was single stall and it didn't matter which one you used) and I had a male friend scope out the men's room and apparently even the toilet stalls have no doors. I ended up pissing in a corner of the parking lot all night.

Now back to my original question: To those of you who are cisgendered, would it really rock the boat too much to see a third space being provided for others? I mean, hey, if you're hateful toward non-gender conforming people, don't you want us to stop coming into your bathrooms?

This could go on forever and I want to see your comments!! Also lets take a moment to thank Third Street Stuff for being the ONLY public space who provide gender neutral restrooms. Thanks.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What word(s) would you choose to describe your gender identity and/or your sexuality?

I'm participating in a collaborative art show called a million little pictures, where people from all over the world were given a disposable camera and asked to document some aspect of their life in 24 frames. I decided it would be fun to document how the people around me all vary in terms of their gender identity and sexuality.

It HAS been a lot of fun, and it's been a great opportunity to have discussions about identities. A lot of people that I know chose labels that I didn't expect, and I had several great conversations about why we assume things about one another, and about how sexuality and gender are both very complicated, and each very different from the other.

I've decided to make this an ongoing project, so if you're interested in participating send me an email to laexigente@gmail.com, with "identification project in the subject line. In the meantime you can check out the photos here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Benefit Show for University of Kentucky's GLBTIQQA Resource Center!

On September 15th, at Al's Bar there will be a queer event benefiting the OUTsource, U.K.'s GLBTIQQA resource center. The line up includes Lexington's very own queer fronted band, Spooky Qs, along with Harvey Katz of Athens Boys Choir and 8 Inch Betsy a "dyke-core" band from Chicago, IL.

The show will start at 7pm and everyone bring your hunger, for Al's is one of the best places in Lexington to get a homegrown meal, or a late night snack.

To find out more about the performers, check out these links:

Harvey Katz

Spooky Qs

8 Inch Betsy

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gender normative privilege

Check this site out on privilege based on your normative gender status, or as my friend put it the other day "cisgender" status (i.e. having your biological sex and gender align).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Drag King YAY!

I went to Pulse last night for ladies night, and lo and behold there were DRAG KINGS! Many of my friends and I have talked about the need for many more of them in lexington, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had a drag king night at Pulse.

I talked to the owner and am going to perform at Pulse in the future. Yay. I will update everyone on the night and time. In the meantime, check out this blog on tips for drag kings. The Dukes of Drag are a troupe from Montreal and their site is tight. Happy Saturday.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Binding: A True Love/Hate Relationship

First off, a brief introduction-
I have been out as "trans" for a year and a half now. In the beginning I was alright with not making much of an effort to "pass" as male, because, well, my personality dictates that if I'm going to do something, I can't be half-assed about it. For instance, if I'm going to embark on some chore and I don't have the correct tools, I will not attempt to"make due with what I have" but instead say "fuck it" and wait until said tools appear to me. I know this isn't constructive behavior and I also realize that I can't make it apply to every life situation and the way I present myself in public nowadays has been challenged by the way I handle the stress of not being able to simply wake up one morning and be in the correct body.

So, about six months ago, a friend of mine who is taking hormones, but also binding, passed on his old binder to me, having finally grown out of it. I was eccstatic to say the least. I have, in the past done the Ace bandage thing and only for special occasions, such as parties or when I was feeling particularly annoyed with my breasts. It's painful, awkward, and not really something you should do when you have a full day of doing things ahead of you. My breasts would either work their way slowly out of the top, thus making the Ace bandage an excellent push-up bra or create such a tension in the middle of my spine that I felt like I was arching my back all day.

At first the binder felt uncomfortable and I couldn't imagine wearing it for an 8 hour work day, but I was very pleased with how well it concealed my breasts versus things I have tried in the past. Over a matter of a few weeks however, I became used to it. It became a second skin. Now, I never wore it to bed of course and once I knew my partner and I were in for the night, I always took it off. I started receiving compliments from friends - about how I looked more like myself and how I was noticeably more confident and, well, happy. It's a small step in the grand scheme of things, but to me, it has shown me just how badly I need to move forward on transitioning. I like to call binding, the "gateway drug" to ftm transitioning.

Unfortunately, as time has passed, my binding on a regular basis has been causing some problems. I started a new job recently and seeing it as an opportunity for a clean slate as far as how my co-workers view my gender, I have insisted to myself to start making more of an effort to pass. However, two weeks in (and with people in the lab referring to me by female pronouns anyway) I lifted a cooler in such a way that I strained something in my chest and because I was binding, it only made the problem worse. The following day I had terrible chest pain and had to put the binder aside, leaving my breasts free to jump around and let everyone know that I am biologically female and whats worse, tell them that I'm not serious about transitioning, that its a phase, that its something I do for fun, that I can't make up my mind, that I'm self concious, or that I'm weak, or that I haven't thought this through. Everyday when I get dressed to go out, I have to make a choice: my physical health or my mental health. When my body is not being physically restrained I feel tethered to it. But when I try to shove each part into a package that makes sense to me, I exude a kind of confidence I was lacking before.

I suppose what I'm trying to say in this blog is that being trans anywhere can be
a long and fluctuating journey. Some days its just too fucking humid to put on a layer of nylon underneath your clothes and somedays you just can't imagine leaving home without it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shameless event plugging

I'm going to shamelessly plug an event. Hope you don't mind :)


Hey everyone!!! We're trying to fly out some awesomely queer bands from San Francisco for a "Queer Control Records" showcase on October 3rd. (www.queercontrol.com).

We need to raise $2000 in order to fly them out so we're having a fundraiser this Saturday night at Al's bar featuring some awesome music by the tense kids and the indulgents, and a holding a raffle of some pretty sweet items.

If we raise the money to fly out the bands not only will Lexington have a chance to experience music that normally doesn't come to our neck of the woods, BUT, all the money we raise on at the showcase on Oct. 3rd will be donated to AVOL (AIDS volunteers).

Raffle items include (but are not limited to):

1. Gift certificate to CD central

2. massage from a Lexington Healing arts academy graduate

3. $70 gift certificate to charmed life tattoo

4. gift certificate to the Morris Book shop


So please join us this Saturday, Aug. 22nd at Al's bar on the corner of 6th and Limestone. Cover is $5 and it is ALL AGES. Music will start around 8ish, with the raffle happening between bands (Around 10:30pm)

Check out the facebook group page for more info on the event:


If you're interested in making a donation to bring these bands to Lexington, but you're unable to attend the fundraiser on Saturday, then send an email to jackcoferguitar@gmail.com and we'll work something out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Local Food Potluck and Gathering

Check out this post on Transform Lexington about a local food potluck and gathering that happens the first Thursday of every month. Tres cool.

Video killed the *gender* star

I think that I would like to do "video logs" on here. Suggestions for easily usable computer cams? Would people like to hear me (and others) talking about gender in lexington? Let me know. Spread the word about the blog too. I am always open to contributors.

I am not known for my cool taste in music. I know that and embrace it. I like to booty dance, and usually like music that helps me to do that. I love music in genderal and it has gotten me through tough times.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a video by Ciara called "Like a Boy". If there was an argument for the social construction of gender, I think this would be it. Ciara does a good job of questioning the gendered issues in dating, and then representing two genders in her video. I look at it as pretty feminist and progressive. It is also pretty damn sexy to me. I like when people blend genders. Anyway.

Contrast that with this video called "Crazy, Sex, Magic". The song and video are more recent (2009) and with Justin Timberlake in the video it has more star power. It has very little of Ciara's amazing dancing ability, and Ciara has a chain around her neck that Justin plays with during the song. I was made aware of this by Racialicious.com when they commented on the imagery. It was striking to me too. Here is the post .

They also mentioned that Janet Jackson's image suffered the most when the wardrobe malfunction happened at the superbowl, and Justin Timberlake seemed to emerge unscathed. Wasn't he the one that actually ripped the costume off? Does this have to do with the fact that he is a man?

I wonder if Ciara would do "Like a Boy" now, since she is becoming more popular? In both videos she is dancing around a man, would she have been able to put Justin Timberlake as the man she was singing to in "Like a Boy"? Does this have to do more with gender roles or celebrity? God-des has a song about the idea that record labels wouldn't sign her because she didn't look feminine. She mentions that female rappers "sold out" and became more feminine to sell their image and become financially independent. Does anyone think that Ciara did that?

Sometimes in Lexington, I feel a lack of interplay between consumer and commerce. It may be because people feel that they won't be heard. Or maybe because they don't care. I listen to pop music because it has a good beat and isn't as heavy as my grad school textbooks. I also try and support the local music scene when I can (with a little help from some good friends). I want and wish that people in Lexington had more of a conversation going on around them, especially when it comes to identities and how they affect all of us. Sex sells. Sexual attraction is based on gender. Gender issues are everywhere and taken for granted.

I'll leave you with a God-des and She video. They are now signed, thankfully, but it leaves me to wonder how many other bands aren't being signed because of their gender non-conformity?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gender specific restrooms

I recently read an article about a group of activists at a California school who were taking on bathrooms. That's right, bathrooms. They're goal was to create awareness around the fact that gender specific bathrooms often become places of anxiety and fear and unfortunately sometimes violence for trans and gender queer individuals. They've also banded together with students with disabilities to address accessibility issues in public restrooms.

As someone who is woman identified and rarely mistaken for the opposite sex, I don't find myself hesitating before I go into the bathroom, wondering if I'm going to get shit from the people inside. But I know that a lot of folks do and that just fucking sucks.

In order to help people feel safer a group of people have created a website called safe2pee where people can list gender neutral bathroom locations across North America. I took this description from the site:

The goal of the project is to create a resource where people who do not feel comfortable with traditional public restrooms can find safe alternatives, and to support advocacy and research to further the cause of gender free, inclusive bathrooms.

I looked up Lexington KY and the only listing for non-gender specific bathrooms was at the good foods co op on Southland Dr. I KNOW there are more of them around town, so I would like to challenge all of you to add them. The instructions for adding a bathroom are super simple and on the first page of the website.

de las ondas

Friday, July 24, 2009

OMG you're not a lesbian?!?!

Before I begin, I want to thank Mervin Sue for opening up the posting to multiple authors. I think this blog presents a real opportunity to create a meaningful discussion about gender and sexuality in Lexington and I'm eager to hear what other folks think. If you're interested in sharing you experiences/stories/reflections, whatever - say something so that you can be added to the author list.

Moving on.

I was a pretty lucky kid in that my parents were always very socially and politically aware. They encouraged us to read a great deal and to think for ourselves. We spent many family dinners discussing the importance of healthcare, what is class and why it's important to think about, or world history. Now don't get me wrong, my life wasn't all a bunch of roses - far from it, but this is something I am particularly grateful for.

However, I think because of this experience I developed a blanket notion of "progressive people" and I thought that everyone who is oppressed should, could, and would understand and, empathize with other oppressed people. Then, as I started to explore my sexuality, I naively thought that all queer people must be socially liberal and think about the world the same way that I do.

Can anyone hear that buzzer that goes off in a game show when you get the question wrong?

Now I can see how incredibly freakin' naive that was. And while I get that more and more all of the time, I still have moments where I'm like, wtf? How could you think that??

So fast forward to the last year in Lexington, and my partner coming out as transgendered. Prior to that he was pretty well known around town as a lesbian folk musician. When news started to travel down the pipeline about his new identification I had several lesbian friends pull me aside and ask me if I was ok. I also heard that a couple of them, behind our backs, refused to use male pronouns unless he specifically asked them to.

I know it shouldn't shock me, but it kind of did. And more than just shock me, it pissed me off. I know that people care about me and want to be sure that I'm alright but I also feel like they were making a ton of assumptions about my own sexuality and I felt a little bit like we might get kicked out of an exclusive social club.

It was around that time that I realized first of all that people thought I was a lesbian. I guess I'd never talked with my friends about how I identify as queer. I suppose I got lumped into the lesbian category because that's who my friends were. Since then I've been more vocal and assertive about my sexual identity and I feel good about that. But I'm also finding that it's confusing for a lot of people. I don't always feel like getting in depth either about the way I define queer and what that means for me, and frankly I can tell most people don't want to hear all that anyway. I guess I need some sort of succinct and quippy way to define my sexuality to them. One that won't waste anyones time.

I don't beleive that lesbians being shocked when one of their "own" "bites the dust," or that people getting screw faced over the word queer is unique to Lexington, but this is where I live so I have to think about it.

Does anyone else have a story like this?

De Las Ondas

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Be True to Yourself

Hey all. I love this clip of Ellen's Commencement speech. Check it out:

"Live your life with integrity... follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone's path unless you are lost in the woods and by all means take the path.."

I guess I am posting this because I am having a hard time this summer with figuring out what staying true to myself looks like. I feel a little bit lost, a little bit emotional, at times very alone and others horribly confused. I realize that I have a lot of great things in my life, but it is hard to see out of all of the emotion that comes and goes with the days. I used to get over things by staying busy and ignoring them. It doesn't seem like that is working anymore. I don't want to bother my friends with talking about it because I am not sure what to say, it is more than words it is a feeling.

This summer I have had family members fall seriously ill and it has made me come face to face with potential responsibility. I have had friends with problems bigger than those I have ever faced and it has made me question my own sense of right and wrong. I realize that I am not in the best financial state and it weighs on me daily. I have also seen that I look for acceptance by the people around me while lacking the inner acceptance that helps keep one going in the day to day. I spend too much time running away from things that are hard than facing them and dealing with them. I do too much for other people so that I can avoid some more. I don't know how to function any other way.

I'm really glad that I got my Genderqueer book back the other day because I am hoping that I will find some solace in it. Lately I have mentioned to people that I get mistaken for a boy, without ever really stopping to reflect how it affects me. In some settings I like my queerness, in others it makes me feel isolated and identity-less. I feel like I very rarely fit my haircut. I don't want to be all girly, but I'm tired of being looked at with a feel of interrogation. There are days when I want my chest to disappear and others when I love wearing makeup and showing some cleavage.

I feel like I am whining and I shouldn't be. I am really a very lucky person and I get to go to my favorite place in a few days. I'll leave it at that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Contributing to my Blog

So I have heard from people that they eagerly await for me to update this. Yay. I'm excited that people are also interested in this subject. I will try and update more in depth today.

In other news, I think that I have figured out how I can add additional "authors" to my blog. You will need a google account, let me know the email addy and I can make you an "author". Then you can post to the blog at will. Using your own passwords and such. Neat, huh?

Let me know if you are interested. I also reserve the right to take off blogs that are hateful to other people/identities/classes/races/genders etc. Not that I have to tell this to anyone, but just in case. I refuse to sit idly by and let hate continue.

In parting thoughts, sometimes when I put on a dress I feel kinda like a linebacker in a tutu. A little out of sorts. Does anyone else ever feel this way when they put on specifically "gendered clothing"? I also don't use a purse. I know that I have mentioned these before, but what is it about certain types of clothing that con notate gender to us all?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Teaching and Lexington and Gender and Me #1

I started my first class today to become a High School teacher. While I am sure that this will create many posts on my experiences, I was interested in a few things that were brought up today.

I appreciated many tips that the professor offered for helping with keeping control in your classroom, but one stuck with me. She told us that Men were never to meet alone with students in the classroom. Why only men? Are only Men perceived to be sexual predators? Is it a sexual thing or a power thing? How does gender factor into this? As someone that is often perceived as a man, I listened to the statement with a sense that I should heed her warning too. I believe that all teachers need to be careful with meeting with students alone. It bothers me that the idea exists that teachers cannot be trusted to meet with their students alone, but it is good to have an open door policy for your own protection. We do live in a sue-happy society that encourages people to seek out others perceived to have harmed children and punish them. I think that women can be just as harmful as men when dealing with children. We should be monitoring all teachers and children to see how they are affecting each other.

Also, we talked about professional dress. I realize that I will need to dress professionally, but I keep getting the feeling that I will need to wear more "womanly gendered" attire. Sometimes I hate wearing feminine things and feel like a football player in a dress when I put one on. I hate wearing purses and only put on a little makeup. I don't want to grow out my hair and will have to figure out many ingenious ways of hiding my tattoo. My mom shakes her head whenever we talk about it as a family. This is one of the reasons that I want to be sensitive to how long I want to be a teacher. I think all of this bureaucracy will get to me after awhile.

Teaching is dominated by White, middle class, women. If Men perceive that they need to be watched while working in the field, aren't we as a profession sending them a message that they shouldn't enter the field?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Men in women's bathrooms debate, again.

One of my favorite blogs, feministing.com, posted about an old issue with bathrooms access and transgender people. Focus on the family has decided to put out emails about it.

I was talking to someone about queer issues in Lexington, and what I have found growing up here is that often they are silenced. I believe that it is because there is a lot of old gay money in this area and people are afraid to ruffle feathers. I get tired of the silence though. Bring on the protests, bring on the larger conversation. I do know that the Trans community in this town is often underground.

Honestly, why do we think that trans people are waiting to go into restrooms and assault people? This feels a lot like the lie that rapists are hiding in the bushes. 80% of rape perpetrators are people the victim knows.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Promiscuity by Ani

Until I can get around to another post, muse on this video.

How is promiscuity gendered? How does this look in Lexington?

* Thanks to feministing for this.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reading Gender Daily

This evening I fled the residence hall for the solace of my favorite homework spot, Coffea. While I was finishing up my handout for a presentation that I am doing on Friday at a conference in Lexington on Heteronormativity in Higher Education, a friend (we will call him Bob) from a previous class came over to talk. His friend also came over eventually, and the three of us were discussing queer issues and sociology. At some point, a woman came over and stated, "My friend Amanda thinks that all three of you are hot, can she get your numbers?" My friend Bob stated that his girlfriend wouldn't be happy with that. His friend said that same thing. Then the woman turned to me.

My mind started racing. "Am I being read as a man? Who is this person? Are they straight or queer? Why would you ask for 3 numbers at once (surely I'm not included in the hot people)?" I looked back at the group of people the woman was referring too, and tried to take a quick read of any queerness that I could see. I asked, "Is she queer?" after saying a few words to emphasize the femininity in my voice. The woman replied, "She is bi." I told her that I appreciated the thought, but was not interested.

As I gathered my things to leave, I got the distinct impression the group of people were talking about me. The girl I think was Amanda announced to the table that she was going outside. I got my bag and headed the same direction because my car was parked on that side of the building. While I was heading towards me car, a man kept shoving Amanda and telling her to "Go." She was being shoved in my direction and I am pretty sure that the guy was telling her to talk to me. Maybe they read an interest in my hesitation?

This whole situation amazes me. I don't often pick up people in non-gay bars, and haven't really been asked for my number since being back in Lexington, at least not in public spaces (which I always assume to be straight anyway). How was my gender/sexuality read tonight? Would that have mattered? Could I have gone on a date with this person and freaked her out? Are my assumptions about the general population incorrect in assuming that they often aren't aware of in-depth queer issues? Am I overthinking all of this. It just blows my mind. I guess I am a hottie. I have a hard time thinking of myself as such, but that comes with the territory.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


So I am not the best at keeping up with things, unless I have accountability. Lately I have been working out more because I am in a program that makes me show up. Maybe I need to find a blogger group that will keep me posting. I guess I just wonder, between being a graduate student, hall director, vagina monologues co-director and queer activist, when do I have time for myself? Furthermore, when do I have time to write for this blog that is something I do totally for me? This falls right along with the question, when is action too much action? I always have a hard time saying no. There is always more to do to help others. I just feel a little worn out.

This week I have had several startling revelations:

-I am going to be doing the MIC program next year and am way excited about teaching high school for a little while.
-I'm wanting to bind but don't know how to go about it or when to do it.
-there is little to no space for Genderqueer people in Lexington or Kentucky at all. (comment on the blog if you feel differently or the same. Hope is good for me)

I just feel like the gender binary is alive and well in Lexington, and it makes me feel alone and without a place to find community. I would love to sit around with people and be ok living in between. As much as I love the Trans community, honestly, I don't see genderqueerness fitting in their either. Sigh. I'm too cool for ...gender school. Maybe that doesn't work so well.