Category: thoughts


FAQs Are Up


Been meaning to make these for awhile…

Edit: there is now only one FAQ for everything.
(They’re also linked in the right sidebar on the page.)

Let me know if you have any questions that I didn’t cover here!

xo,
Sarah


Posted by on June 22nd, 2008 at 01:15 am

thoughts | Comment »

Oops. I seem to have run out of content.


I just looked up and realized you’ve gone 10 days without seeing a new artistic photo of a beautiful genderforking person.  Sorry about that.  That’s partly because I’ve been buried under other projects, but also because I’m running thin on photos.

When I first started the project, I was able to go to flickr and find 20 or 30 gorgeous/unique/appropriate images before I finished my morning coffee.  Now it takes more of an all-night spelunking adventure to fill the queue.  It’s still possible — just harder.

So please accept my apology for the shift in content flow.  I’m not going to make any promises about what will happen next, but I will let you know that I’m thinking of you.  This site is not forgotten.

Maybe it’s time to start digging into YouTube more…

Other ideas welcome.

Edit: Okay, so of course the second after I write this I get hit in the head with a bunch of new content, and find out that people are starting to tag things “genderfork” on Flickr! Thanks, guys!!!!


Posted by on June 21st, 2008 at 06:44 pm

thoughts | 1 comment »

Gathering Up a Certain Kind of Awesomeness


Over on my Twitter stream and my personal blog, I’ve spent the last two days putting out a request for people who self-identify as intelligent independent creative queer professionals to speak up and let me know who they are. As of right now (9:40 am PST on 5/21/08), 43 people have raised their hands. Many of them have done so privately, either through email or a direct message to me on a social networking site. Others have done so publicly, through their own Twitter accounts or by leaving a public comment on one of my blogs.

I didn’t realize there were so many of us within reach of one another.

I’d like to echo the same request here: if you’re in this group, please let me know. You can send me an email at andi (at) genderfork (dot) com or leave a comment below.

And a quick note about the words. I realize every single one of those terms (intelligent, independent, creative, queer, and professional) can mean lots of different things, and they’ve each been brought up for debate at least once in the last 48 hours. I’d like you to go read what I have to say about them before deciding where you stand on them.

Then, if it’s you, just raise your hand.

Thanks,
Sarah


Posted by on May 21st, 2008 at 08:59 am

thoughts | 2 comments »

Interview with Me on Blogging and Gender


I had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed yesterday by the fabulous Miss Lilycat on Pirate Cat Radio about blogging and gender — two very different topics which somehow blended together nicely. The interview was two hours long, interspersed with some music, distractions, and other neat stuff. With Lilycat’s permission, I’ve edited it down for you into easier-to-digest segments:

Interview on Pirate Cat Radio: Segments

  1. Part 1 (15 minutes) – Overview of my blogs, discussion about Twitter, Internet karma
  2. Part 2 (21 minutes) – My history with blogging, my history with poetry, privacy and secrets on the web, my gender identity
  3. Part 3 (18 minutes) – Transgender issues, my sexuality, gender in the media, “hitting bottom”, pronouns and etiquette with genderqueer people
  4. Part 4 (4 minutes) – Gender fetish, queer community, Genderfork.com, “My mom is awesome”
  5. Part 5 (6 minutes) – Wrapping up: “Relax about gender and go get yourself a blog.”

Enjoy!


Posted by on March 30th, 2008 at 02:41 pm

thoughts, video | 1 comment »

Interview on My Gender and Sexuality


The fabulous Dr. Karen Rayne recently interviewed me about my gender and sexuality for her adolescent sex education blog. She did a great job putting it together and was fun to work with. I think this quote sums most of it up:

“I get called “sir” a lot in public, but everyone who knows me understands that I’m female. Most people assume I’m a lesbian except for the men I date, and they’re often convinced that I’m straight. I’ve learned to stop taking it all personally and to go just go with the flow.”

Interview: Part 1, Part 2

Enjoy!


Posted by on March 26th, 2008 at 06:54 pm

thoughts, video | 2 comments »

“Just Be Yourself”: Easier Said than Done


I was talking to a friend recently about fashion and style — trends and trendsetters, copycats and people-pleasing, the good and the bad. Eventually she threw down the Big Point: “Everyone just needs to be themselves.”

I nodded in agreement. “Right.” Of course. It’s so simple.

And then I paused. “Wait. But what does that actually mean? In the context of culture and influence, how do we know what’s genuine? I mean, do I wear pants because that’s what Sarah does when she’s being herself? Or do I wear pants because it’s expected of me?”

We hashed it out some more and agreed on a definition. Yes, we’re pushed around by cultural standards, but we have choices within that framework. When people say, “Be yourself,” what they mean is, “Choose what feels natural over what feels awkward.” They mean, “Choose what appeals to you over what you think will appeal to others.” They mean, “Be comfortable.”

In other words, I might feel obligated to wear pants (or at least some kind a fabric that hides my genitals in public), but it’s up to me to choose which kind.

Lately I’ve been seeing my choices in the frame of Gender. I grew up believing that there were two buckets of choices for any situation: one that men got to dig through and one that women got to dig through. You could choose whatever you wanted in your quest to “be yourself,” as long as it was within your designated bucket. Sometimes the same option would end up in both buckets, but the context was usually different.

Like having to wear pants, I thought I had to wear girl.

It didn’t work to me. I felt awkward and uncomfortable. I made choices based on what I thought other people wanted for me, and the result always seemed wrong.

I only felt like I was “being myself” when I secretly dumped both buckets into a kiddie pool, climbed in, and started splashing around. The options I needed were all there; I just had to take out the Gender Wall.

I love Susan Mernit‘s recent post on this topic: My Love for Patti Smith, or Sex, Gender, Androgyny and Freedom. She touches on the immense fear that comes when you begin to suspect that “being yourself” requires disregarding rules you were taught to adhere to. “There was a risk I’d move so far beyond what my parents wanted for me—and what I unconsciously expected of myself–that I’d hit a point of no return,” she says. “And I didn’t want that.” But she goes on.

“And then, one day, things became different. Long married, I got divorced. Long a parent, my son left home and went off to college. And coming from many years of being repressed and afraid, I became braver. Suddenly, I was single and making life over. Revisiting the questions Patti Smith raised for me—about sex and gender, femininity and androgyny, about being yourself and showing it, no matter what others thought—suddenly became both relevant and important.”

These days, I give myself permission to splash in the kiddie pool more often. And sometimes it’s not even such a secret. It still feels deviant—wrong in a different sort of way—but it also comes with feeling comfortable in my skin, and that means I’m being myself… which is what they all say I’m supposed to be doing. So I try not to feel too bad about it.

Hey, at least I’m wearing pants.


Posted by on March 2nd, 2008 at 02:10 pm

thoughts | Comment »

Done with Pseudonyms


Dear Lemonade Drinkers,stripes1.jpg

I started this project under the name of Andi Sharp. As some of you may have guessed, that’s not a name people call me in other parts of my life. I used a pseudonym here because this project was a bit outside my comfort zone and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. Five months later (almost to the day), I’m realizing that

a) this project is wonderful, and

b) it would be even more wonderful if I could connect it with other parts of my life.

So on that note, please allow me to (re)introduce myself. My name is Sarah Dopp. I’m a project management consultant in Silicon Valley, and I’m genderqueer.

I’ll tell you more about myself in a proper profile sometime soon. In the meantime, I just want to say “Hello,” and let you know that there’s a whole person with a real life behind this project.

Thank you for enjoying it with me.

Love,
Sarah


Posted by on February 16th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

faces, thoughts | 7 comments »

Hmm…


I think boxerbriefs could be the new hot pants…


Posted by on December 8th, 2007 at 11:26 am

thoughts | 3 comments »

“Who,” Rather than “What”


The Sartorialist (a fashion blog) has a beautiful post today about an androgynous image:

Often I read comments on this blog like “Shouldn’t clothing enhance a woman’s form and femininity? ” or something of that nature.

I think this is a very narrow view of what clothing should/could do for a person.

Clothing only needs to keep you protected from the elements, past that what you do with them is your option.

This young lady is a great example of self-expression and intellectual dressing.

Nothing she is wearing really speaks to WHAT she is physically ( fat or skinny, tall or short, male or female) but her look speaks volumes about WHO she is mentally.

Is this fashion? I don’t know but it surely is an extremely evolved version of self-expression.

Bravo!

See the image.

(via Kung Foodie Kat)


Posted by on November 25th, 2007 at 02:32 pm

thoughts | 1 comment »

Jeans Shopping


So, I’m in the men’s section at the Levi’s store, leafing through the low-slung bootcuts and trying to remember how many inches I need to add to my waist size to accommodate my hips and thighs in a pair of men’s jeans.

It’s Sunday — the official day of the week for relaxing, running errands, and not worrying about how I look. I’m wearing a boxy jacket and baggy pants, and my head is freshly buzzed. I did something unusual today: I left the house without makeup or earrings.

A twenty-something male sales clerk is working next to me. He looks up at my face, smiles, and says in a loud, friendly tone, “Do you need help with anything, sir?”

I hold his gaze for another moment and smile gently. He pauses, looks closer, and says under his breath, “Sorry. Ma’am,” — quietly enough that if I were hard of hearing, I might miss the whole interaction. Quietly enough that his nearby co-workers don’t hear his mistake.

I hold my gentle smile but let my eyes go cold. My response is in my sweetest, most steady, most soothing voice: “No, thank you.” He walks away quickly. I am suddenly not so interested in trying on these these jeans.

I’ve already seen the rest of this floor, and I’m frustrated. The styles I like aren’t made for my body. Feeling stuck, I try to work through the dilemma by asking myself the real question on my mind: “What gender do I need to be right now?” The answer is, “I need clothes that fit.” I walk upstairs reluctantly, drizzling globs of self-confidence behind me on the floor with each step, like a water balloon coming untied.

The second floor is all women — trendy, young, thin, and styled — flicking through hangers quickly and commenting to their friends on what looks adorable.

Between the displays for “skinny jeans” and “super-skinny jeans,” I pause at the full-length mirror, watching myself in context with the women around me.

I look like a boy.
Continue reading »


Posted by on November 6th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

thoughts | 3 comments »

godhunt


Dear God
(for lack of a better word),

I don’t want to personify you here,

but I do speak to my toothbrush
in the second person,
so I assume that means
I can refer to you as “you”
without inferring gender or human traits.

And I don’t usually disclaim my shorthand,

but with you,
I think it’s important.

I’m in San Francisco’s mission district
at 9 on a Saturday morning
and I’ve been on a scavenger hunt
for two hours now,
looking for you.
I’m out of practice.
It’s been awhile.
I started before I woke up
with flashes of the lover I can’t have
sitting under my eyelids.
I held them there for as long as I could—
her cheeks, her hands,
the angles of his body around mine,
the sound of their voice— Continue reading »


Posted by on November 5th, 2007 at 01:17 pm

poetry, thoughts | 8 comments »

Called Out: More Statements of Intention


Over the last three months, this blog has become quite the repository of images. And when you start to amass a collection of anything, patterns begin to emerge. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the common androgynous portrait features that have sprung out at me (chunky hair, curious eyes, and angled jawbones, to name a few). And it’s fair to say I’ve been fascinated by these faces. Hypnotized. Transfixed.

Recently, though, my community has tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out some other patterns I’ve been overlooking:

Most of these photos are of young, thin, pretty, fashionable people.

“I’d like to see more ages and sizes represented.”

“I see androgyny in working class people every day. Where are they?”

“Everywhere I go there are pretty people. When am I going to see pictures of people who look like me?”

Oh. Right. That.

I’m not going to try to justify this pool by saying it’s what people should be looking at when they think of the intersection of genders. The people who have called me on the sameness of these images are absolutely right: I’m missing whole demographics here, and am quite arguably adding to the fucked-up industry of beauty-at-the-expense-of-reality by maintaining this theme. These points are dually noted and amends are being schemed.

But while I’m here, it might help if I give a little insight into my process, so you can understand the reason behind this pool of pictures.

Here’s how I blog:

  1. Go to Flickr once every few weeks.
  2. Browse under tags relating to androgyny and similar concepts.
  3. Compile a bunch of images that speak to me (and that also give permission to be blogged on other websites).
  4. Line them up so that new image appears on the blog every day.

I am limited by a few constraints:

  • I lead a busy life, and am not in a position to spend as much time on this blog as I’d really like to.
  • I’m not comfortable blogging images that don’t explicitly identify themselves as gender-playful, out of respect for individuals who may not want to be seen that way.
  • Most portraits on flickr that I’ve found under these tags are of young, thin, pretty, fashionable people.
  • My intention is to help people become more comfortable with gender ambiguity, and so I find myself looking for faces that evoke a sense of familiarity with the cultures I come from (which, admittedly, are very WASP and magazine-beauty-oriented).

As I said, though, these aren’t excuses. Just acknowledgements.

I welcome suggestions on how I can broaden the pool from here, and will spend some more time thinking about it.


Posted by on November 3rd, 2007 at 02:30 pm

thoughts | 5 comments »

If Gender is a Venn Diagram, My Gender is the White Board


I’ve been struggling with a riddle in the values of my upbringing:

“Men and women are equal.”

“You can be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do when you grow up.”

“You will probably be more successful than most men, and that’s okay.”

“Times have changed. Women can do whatever they want now, just like men.”

“There’s no difference between men and women anymore.”

They’re fabulous mantras, and I believe in them. The intentions behind them have carried me far. But when I come across double-standards, sexism, and gendered power struggles in “the real world”, the Upbringing Values voice in my head short-circuits and starts yelling, “La! La! La! I can’t hear you!”

I think this is a common experience for women today.

My experience goes a step beyond this, however. Continue reading »


Posted by on October 20th, 2007 at 12:55 pm

thoughts | Comment »

Welcome: A Statement of Intention


Dear Passersby,

Welcome to Genderfork! This is a new blog — please add it to your feed reader and make yourself at home. Within this space, we’ll be exploring androgyny and other gender intersections. My name’s Andi*, and I’ll be your host.

I have two personal goals for this project:

  1. To compile all of the genderforking resources, imagery, and ideas that I come across on the web into one beautiful repository. I want to experience a sense of cohesion with these concepts — they all too often feel scattered and disparate.
  2. To encourage a conversation around the grey areas of gender with friends, with strangers, and with strangers who need to become friends.

…because I think we can all agree: Gender is a loaded word.

In some communities, it is sacred territory — we are assigned a gender at birth, it is a given, and there’s just no need to discuss it after that, thankyouverymuch.

In some communities, it feels under attack — we are assigned a gender at birth, and then some people take it upon themselves to change their genders, and then we feel very embarrassed when we don’t know what pronouns to use.

In some communities, it is Play-Doh — we are assigned a gender at birth but we recognize that it’s a flawed system, and so we turn it into a malleable and fluctuating medium for expression and try to have fun with it.

(This is an oversimplification, I know, so I hope you’re still following me.)

Sometimes, these communities have to interact with each other, and that often involves anger and pain. I know this because I am a member of all of these communities. And I hope that all of these communities will feel welcome here.

I want to help humanize this conversation. I believe connections break down community walls and create new spaces for growth. Because of this, you will see a lot of photographs of faces and bodies here (most of them blogged via flickr with respect for copyrights). Some will be beautiful. Some will be uncomfortable. All will be real people with real lives and real stories to tell. You’ll find that I am more interested in experience than academics. I like to look people in the eye.

So I’m just gonna set up shop here, at this fork in the Gender Road, and see who passes by. I do hope you will come join me for a glass of lemonade, a conversation, and some lovely people-watching. Really, it’s a beautiful day to be inspired — you can’t argue with that.

And I am glad you’re here.

Much love,
Andi

* The truth is out. My real name is Sarah.


Posted by on September 16th, 2007 at 03:57 pm

thoughts | 4 comments »

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