December 10, 2008

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Do something gender transgressive, for you. Be mindful of the experience.
  • Write about it. You don't have to send it tonight, but ponder, savor what today revealed to you, what you revealed to yourself, and what you gifted to the world.
  • Send us your stories, pictures if applicable.
  • Ideas for good dates, locations for Coffeetalk in your city
  • Continued community organizing, dialogue, beyond Day Without a Queer

(Follow GQR's Twitter stream for updates at www.twitter.com/GQR. Can't "call in queer?" For everyone who had to go to work today, you can still volunteer for Day Without a Queer. Celebrate yourself! Remember, you can also volunteer for GQR while doing other things. Read on...)

Hello! We of the GenderQueer Revolution Board of Directors would like to thank you most sincerely for writing and offering to volunteer for Day Without a Gay, something we've taken to calling Day Without a Queer, as well as a number of other things, since "gay" just seems so limiting, doesn't it?

You may have already found other volunteer opportunities on this day, and what we have for you in addition to anything else you already have going on can only enhance what you're already doing. Call it a boost. ;-) In fact, part of what we're asking you to do could potentially be even more impactful if you're also volunteering elsewhere, but read on to see what we mean.

We of GenderQueer Revolution are a national organization dedicated to supporting ALL genders, everywhere, empowering people of all genders, helping people to embrace the gift of gender in their own lives and in the lives of others, supporting and cultivating genderqueer, gender-gifted individuals and communities, uniquely gender-gifted art, spirituality, research, and academics, and educating and building bridges across trans, gendered, queer, and non-queer communities and beyond.

We put the call out for volunteers in the following cities and regions, San Diego, Berkeley, Los Angeles, New York, and the Charlotte area, but our board, representatives, members, contributors, and activity go beyond into a number of other areas of the US, some parts of Canada, and other countries, particularly the UK. Our website does not reflect all of our educational, support, political, and artistic efforts and events, something which we are currently working on for the new year. (To put it another way, we've actually been actively doing the work instead of maintaining the website as well as we should, but we're going to do both come the new year).

Before describing what we would like you, our volunteers, to do (it's not hard, or rather, it could be extremely difficult, depending on how you look at it), a little background information:

Gender is something we ALL possess. We each have a unique gender experience, gender identity, and gender expression, at any given moment. Even if you do not identify as trans, genderqueer, or gender non-normative (or any of the nearly infinite other wonderful ways of expressing infinite gender diversity) you have a unique gender experience. No one else on earth has your history with gender, your eyes through which you have seen and filtered the world, even your exact interpretation or definition of the two (eh) most common genders, "male," and "female," whatever these terms mean.

Everyone also experiences oppression based on gender, no matter who you are. Perhaps, the gender- hetero-normative white male in middle suburbia sometimes wishes he could break free of the expectations and assumptions of emotionless, "tough," "provider," and if he does not, all the sadder for him. And perhaps, a heteronormative woman thrust into a role she never questioned would like to start questioning. Maybe not.

Also, hate crimes against lesbian and gay individuals have at their root genderphobia, genderism, essentially, gender-based hate. The Trans/Gender/Queer Day of Remembrance calls attention to this every year. The perpetrator shouting "faggot" does not know the sexual proclivities or the activities of the victim behind closed doors, but rather based solely on appearance has determined that the individual in question doesn't look "man enough," like a "real man," or whatever they deem masculine or male "enough," whatever that means, and therefore targets the victim as a symbol of THEIR own gender-based insecurities and self-loathing.

So! What would we like you to do? Think very carefully about how gender affects your world, everyday. Think about all the ways gender-based assumptions, gender-based privilege or lack thereof insidiously affects how you view yourself, others, your relationships, your past, your abilities, your prospects, your communities. Think about how gender affects the very language(s) you speak, how you address your fellow Beings, how you refer to yourself. Think about your fellow Beings be they trans, genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, gender-fabulous, gender-gifted, androgyne, crossdressing, or any other of the infinite ways people celebrate their gender-giftedness. Think about all the physiological, chromosomal, karyotypical, genetic diversity, and the literally hundreds of intersex ways of being that happen far more frequently and commonly than most folks imagine. Think about the variability of what's "acceptable" or fashionable for different genders from time period to time period, from culture to culture, from region to region, from household to household! Think about subtle gender assignations humankind places on things that really do not have genders! Think about how power, politics, class, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, all play into each other on the micro and macro scales. Think about your siblings, parents, and children of any gender and what they would have had or would not have had if they were perceived as a different gender, or if they were in a different body. Think about Yourself.

And in so doing, DO SOMETHING TODAY THAT IS GENDER TRANSGRESSIVE, genderqueer, gender-fabulous, gender non-normative, for you. No matter how you identify. Do something that challenges your gender self-concept. Think creatively. You can do something internal or external, great or small, whatever you would like, as long as it is meaningful for you. Be mindful of how you feel, how you relate with others, how your view of the world changes, if it changes. Celebrate yourself! Celebrate your gender(s)! Celebrate the fullness of all the shades, facets, and brilliance of your gender(s), and all that you are! Each person celebrating themself, and sharing that Light with others, truly does change the world!

And, when you do, write us with your experience! Send a picture, if applicable. We would like to honor your stories and post them on a new part of the website that we will be launching in the new year, one that will celebrate stories of gender celebration, genderqueer, gender diversity, gender-giftedness, of ALL genders. If you would like to stay anonymous, we would love to honor that request. You don't have to send it tonight, but ponder, savor what today revealed to you, what you revealed to yourself, and what you gifted to the world.

So that's Part I.

Part II:
We would like to ask you if you could take some time today to write us with some input (as part of your volunteer effort) with ideas about where would be a good place, not to mention dates, to have Coffeetalk in your city. What's Coffeetalk, you ask? Essentially, a facilitated discussion in a safe space, both metaphorically and literally, that allows for those gathered to talk about their gender experiences. Preferably in a space with coffee. We usually try to find someplace with a private room so we can be free to speak. Our members, contributors, and collaborators in the various parts of the US, particularly in San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley, New York, and Charlotte, would really like to plan Coffeetalk events in the next few months, preferably after the new year. If you have ideas, please take some time today, or the next few days, to write us! Do you have a gender? Well then, you're welcome to not only come, but to contribute!
http://www.genderqueerrevolution.org/gqr/events/comingevents/coffeetalk.html

Some of you expressed more of an interest in ongoing community organizing beyond Day Without a Gay, and we would definitely like to work together with you. Let us continue the dialogue.

Please check out http://www.twitter.com/GQR.

Thank you very much, and may you embrace all of yourself today.

-Alexander/ATG
GenderQueer Revolution, Board President