Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 31st, 2008 at 10:00 am
Archive for December 2008
I’m taking a short break from curating text content and twitter content (and also from answering emails) for a few days while I travel for the holidays. There will be pictures posting here in the meantime. Be back soon!
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 23rd, 2008 at 04:30 pm
This photo is from “Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America,” an ongoing book project by Molly Landreth about what it means to be queer in America today. To support the completion of this project, please consider purchasing an 11×14″ signed print from her website.
And go look at the rest of the photos. They’re gorgeous.
(Sent my way by GenderKid — thanks for the tip!)
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 23rd, 2008 at 10:00 am
I am a single mom who works hard and completely independent. I don’t believe in the traditional gender roles of society where the woman stays home, cooks, cleans, and takes care of the children while the man provides for the family financially. But sometimes I think having that life would be much easier.
What keeps you going when you’re not on the “easy” path?
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 23rd, 2008 at 08:00 am
I could care less about the rest of society, but the comments which are directed toward me about my appearance, those comments which chip away at me relentlessly and wear me down one bit at a time (much like how the constant drip of water onto a stone eventually disfigures it), those comments which constantly make me feel like I’m wrong and disappointing, come at me from my own parents.
I tried explaining to my father a few years ago. Responding to his comment on how I would look lovely in a dress, I told him that I would be as uncomfortable in a dress as he would be. His retort was, “But, I’m a man!” I did not know what to say to that. Yes, we biologically belong to different sexes, but why should that be any sort of deciding factor on my gender?
I never thought the way I looked would have held any disappointment. On the contrary, I was surprised when my father even encouraged me to buy miniskirts and tube tops, when other fathers lament over how their daughters expose their bodies! I guess looking like a male is more disgusting, more unpalatable to him than needlessly exposing myself.
What surprises me most is that I am still getting these comments after years and years of them. I do not care about the ones I get from strangers, because their perception of me is purely physical and I can hardly argue that I maintain an image of femininity, but I am sort of let-down that even after all these years, the two people who should know me best in the world and love me unconditionally, are just as put off by my appearance as strangers.
But I am glad that I found Genderfork, and all of you beautiful people who don’t view me as wrong and disappointing. I am glad that I found people who understand that it’s more than aesthetical, this genderforkery. It’s…life.
What’s your experience?
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 22nd, 2008 at 03:27 pm
Thanks for the great feedback on what we should do next! Here’s what I took from the conversations:
I’m not sure yet how we could run a forum here in a way that meets our needs, so I’m tabling that idea for now. In the meantime, I’m making the commenting features a little better around here:
- You can now leave a comment anonymously — no name or email required. (Note: I’m still keeping a private record of IP addresses, though, which I use to whack spammers and trolls.)
- There’s now a list of Recent Comments on the right sidebar (great suggestion, Francisco!)
- That list also includes a link to a full page of Recent Comments, which also has a link that lets you subscribe to comments via RSS.
The comments you’ve been leaving for each other are phenomenal. I’m hoping this makes it a little easier to keep that up.
I’d also like to compile a list of other good places on the web where people can go to discuss genderqueer topics. If you know of some good spaces for these discussions, please leave a comment below and let me know.
Sweet! Let’s make one! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. If anyone knows how to connect this project to the right publisher, please get in touch with me.
This project will probably be more sustainable if we get more brains involved. Right now, I could use some assistance with gathering photos on Flickr. Do you wanna help? (It’s really easy once you get set up.) If you want to give it a try, please email me (sarah at genderfork dot com) the following:
- Your preferred name and pronouns (so I can credit you respectfully).
- A quick note introducing yourself and telling me why you want to help.
- At least two links to photos on Flickr that you think would be good for the site. (I’ll use these as starting points for getting your blog and flickr accounts set up.)
When picking photos, please make sure…
- They display an interesting kind of gender variance (hint: if you have to explain why it’s interesting, it’s not visible enough).
- They’re beautiful and high-quality.
- They feel personal. If an “average, mainstream” person from outside of the queer community saw these photos, they should feel (mostly) comfortable looking at them.
- They’re “safe for work”.
- They’re showing new faces (hint: if you search Genderfork for a photographer’s username, you’ll see what else has been posted from that person).
- It seems like the photographers would appreciate being featured on Genderfork (avoid people who seem uncool with queer culture or extra-protective about copyright).
- They include the “blog this” button in the toolbar above the photo (if they don’t, you’ll need to get the photographer’s permission to use the photo).
If you send me two photos that meet those requirements, I’ll set you up with access to help curate content at Genderfork.
I’ve also got a few other tricks and changes up my sleeve, so I’ll keep updating the site as I can.
Thanks, and keep contributing!
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 21st, 2008 at 06:26 pm
Time and again, people tell me that I “look straight.” Or that I “don’t look gay.” But what does that even mean? How do you “look gay”? Do I have to walk around with a men’s haircut and wearing men’s or sexually ambiguous clothing? Does the fact that I wear feminine clothing and look like a typical girl make me any less queer? How do my clothes or my image define my sexual orientation? To put it simply, they don’t. I don’t need to dress a certain way to let people know that I am queer.
When I go to dyke bars, I never get hit on. Ever. I’ve been told, time and again, that I look too straight. And you know what? That’s pretty offensive. If I’m in a queer bar, it’s pretty safe to assume that I’m queer, unless I tell you otherwise. I wouldn’t be in a dyke bar trying to pick up girls if I was straight. End of story. And why can’t people just assume that I am a femme instead of assuming that I am a straight girl? There are plenty of femme lesbians, and they are just as gay as the butch ones. Femme does not equal straight.
You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. And gender identity is different to everyone. I am a woman and I enjoy wearing typically feminine clothing. I like skirts and dresses. I like tights and stockings. I like heels and jewelry. But I also like wearing wife beaters and ties. I like wearing vests and Chuck Taylors. My outfit one day does not make me any gayer than my outfit another day. Who I am doesn’t change just because the packaging does. I wish people would stop making assumptions about my orientation based strictly on the clothes that I choose to wear.
I wear what makes me feel good. I wear what makes me feel sexy. My clothes don’t define my orientation. I’m just me. And I’m queer, no matter what I’m wearing.
What assumptions are people making about you based on your clothes?
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 20th, 2008 at 08:00 am
by Grace Moon, artist
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 19th, 2008 at 10:00 am
While waiting for the single-size woman’s restroom to open up, a shop owner encouraged me to use the men’s room instead. While I go for androgyny most days (you’ve even posted me on here before!), it’s usually pretty clear that I lean towards the feminine side. “They’re the same,” he said. And so my morning started off with a physical manifestation of my own views of gender: sure, there are binaries that most of the world expects you to stick to, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, just get your business done.
What do you do when the not-your-gender single-stall restroom is the only one that’s free?
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 19th, 2008 at 08:00 am
If you’ve been watching this site, you know that it has completely transformed in the last month or so. We opened up a place for you to submit your thoughts about gender and your descriptions of your identities, and all of a sudden, holycrap, there’s a community here. And a generous and supportive one, at that.
Personally, I’m humbled and thrilled. What’s happening is incredible, and I want to help keep moving this energy in the right direction.
But maybe you could tell me what you think that direction is. Here are some ideas in my head…
Opening up a forum for you to have free-form conversations with each other under whatever names and pseudonyms you want to go by.
Collecting these pictures and images into a book so the message can go beyond the internet and physically into people’s hands.
Creating a structure for volunteering so you can help curate content or be a resource for people with questions/needs.
Improving the site design and technology to give you better/clearer access to the things you care most about here.
Adding other kinds of content like video interviews, stories, featuring other bloggers, … (help me brainstorm here).
What else could we do? What do you think this site needs? What would serve you best? How would you want to contribute? Do you want to just keep it as is for now and see where it naturally evolves to?
Posted by Sarah Dopp on December 18th, 2008 at 10:23 am