I have Pancreatitis, I was hospitalized and can’t afford to get medical attention, now I’m starting to show early signs of liver failure.
this is a really hard post to write.
so my friend ana is really sick and there are signs that it could get worse. she needs to raise money for her medical bills so she can get more help. the prizes offered are all really great. her and her brother and matt all make really awesome art, and the zine package will have my second zine in it also. anyway.
ana and i met five years ago doing tables at fucking warped tour (beginning a solid trend of me meeting cool friends in terrible ways) and she convinced me she had a ridiculous phone number that contained both 420 and 666. we danced to tacky-ass warped tour bands and she didn’t believe me that i was half-Black so i called my dad and had him verify. it was silly and weird and one of those days that could have been so forgettable under most circumstances.
we became penpals/email pals for a super long time and the same atmosphere existed there as it did at warped tour. we’d talk about lord of the rings and racism and all the while it took months for her to tell me how to spell her first name. our emails would be titled things like “my record player needs a break from me” and “red tea makes babies puke”. it was an odd friendship but a good one.
our paths didn’t cross again until september 2011. i remember being so nervous because it seemed so improbable that we’d be able to cover all the ground in real life that we had in email but we did and it was so fucking awesome. she also (i don’t know if she knows this) really helped me in dealing with mitch’s death. she offered me a perspective on how to approach death/life that i hadn’t been able to consider at that point at all because i was caught up in my grief.
our communication had been sparse for a while but it never changed how i felt. she said it best in an email in november: “this may seem silly, but you are the kind of friend who pops up into my head every once in a while and every time that happens I say to myself that I should write to you but reality catches up to me and I get caught up with being busy and I don’t. So here it is, so saying fuck it to being busy and caring more about friendships… [ed: some other shit about life etc] Anyway, I hope you are ok, actually more than ok I hope life is amazing for you. I look forward to hearing from you, I’ve always have and I’ll always will”.
ana is an awesome person, a great friend, and i don’t like the thought of her dying because our country has a fucked-up medical system. i don’t like the thought of her dying period . anything you could donate to help her out would be appreciated, and if you can’t donate maybe just reblog. thanks a bunch.
Going beyond the Western gender binary - unlearning our backward cultural conditioning
In Western colonial society (which dominates many aspects of the globalized, capitalist world today) we operate under the presumption that there are only two genders, male and female. But gender is a social construction. One’s options for what gender they identify with are shaped by the culture they are born into. Biological factors are most-often the primary driving forces that choose among the available socially-constructed gender categories.
Cultures around the world have different ways of talking about, thinking about, and identifying gender. It’s often a challenge for (particularly cis-sexual) Westerns to think about other ways gender can be socially constructed. Westerns have the false equivalency of gender and sex drilled into their eternal psyche from the time they are very young, and re-enforced through examples in popular culture. There is no biological reality to gender. Many Westerners have the bizarre belief that one’s XY-sex-determination should also inform one’s gender identity, a socially constructed role in society.
In some cultures, there is no distinction made between gender and sexual orientation and the same can be said for sexual orientation - our culture socially-constructs the options and our biology helps us identify which socially-constructed option feels most ‘right’ and best resonates with us.
I’ve attached some photos to offer some examples of non-colonial, non-Western construction of gender. They’ve all been uploaded onto our Facebook page photostream in case you’d like to ‘like’ or ‘share’ them there. There are literally hundreds of ‘third-gender’ identifying peoples around the world. The eight I’ve chosen are mostly examples I remember from some of my anthropology courses but if you google ‘third genders’ you can find many lists and examples.
Who cares? Why it matters.
The most obvious reason to care about the way our culture has constructed gender and sexual orientation is to deepen one’s capacity for solidarity with people who identify as transgender, transsexual, and others whose gender or sexual identity exists outside of binary Western culture.
But there are other reasons as well. Western culture’s binary nature often creates non-sensical, problematic binary identity constructions that are inherently problematic. For example, I believe that Western masculinity (dominance, aggression, lack of communication, lack of emotional expression, etc) is inherently problematic. I believe that to be the reason why most acts of large-scale-violence and terror are committed by men (see: 100% of the mass school shootings in the United States), and I believe it fosters a degree of internal misery within people who heavily adopt these particular ‘masculine’ traits.
In the age of information, and the age of global connectivity, there is no longer any reason (particularly for young people) to feel isolated or restricted to Western definitions of gender, sexual orientation and identity in general. I think the social ramifications of a generation where more and more people begin to identify outside of the gender binary would be tremendous, and I think we should all consider how we can unlearn our cultural conditioning to embrace other, perhaps less exploitative and dominating identities.
Background information on the identities depicted in the above images:
Hijras are male-body-born, feminine-gender-identifying people who live in South Asia (mostly in India & Nepal). Many Hijras live in well-defined, organized, all-Hijra communities, led by a guru.
Although many Hijras identify as Muslim, many practice a form of syncretism that draws on multiple religions; seeing themselves to be neither men nor women, Hijras practice rituals for both men and women.
Hijras belong to a special caste. They are usually devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, or both.
Nandi female husbands
Among the Nandi in Western Kenya, one social identity option for women is to become a female husband, and thus a man in society’s eyes. Female husbands are expected to become men and take on all of the social and cultural responsibilities of a man, including finding a wife to marry and passing on property to the next generation through marriage. Female husbands may have lived their lives as women and may even be married to a man, but once she becomes a female-husband, she is expected to be a man. Women married to female-husbands may have sex with single men uninterested in commitment in order to become pregnant, but the female-husband (who is often an older woman, often a widow) will father the child of said pregnancy and treat the child like her own.
Two-Spirit is an umbrella term sometimes used for what was once commonly known as ‘berdaches’, Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations communities. The term usually indicates a person whose body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Male and female two-spirits have been “documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America.”
In South America (with a large presence in Brazil), a travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender identity and is primarily sexually attracted to masculine men. Therefore, sometimes the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is not made. Travestis have been described as a third gender, but not all see themselves this way.Travestis often will begin taking female hormones and injecting silicone to enlargen their backsides as boys and continue the process into womanhood.
The work of cultural Anthropologist Don Kulick (a gay male by Western definitions) in Brazil demonstrated that gender construction in Brazil is binary (like Western gender construction), but unlike Western gender construction, instead of having a male-female binary, there is a male-notmale.
In this particular construction of gender:
- Males include: men who have sex with women, men who have sex with Travestis but are never on the receiving end of anal sex, men who have sex with men but are never on the receiving end of anal sex.
- Not-males include: women, men who receive anal sex from ‘male’ gay men or from Travestis.
Fa’afafine are the gender liminal, or third-gendered people of Samoa. A recognized and integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine, born biologically male, embody both male and female gender traits. Their gendered behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to mundanely masculine
Waria is a traditional third general role found in modern Indonesia. Additionally, the Bugis culture of Sulawesi (one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia) has been described as having three sexes (male, female and intersex) as well as five genders with distinct social roles.
Six Genders of old Israel
In the old Kingdom of Israel (1020–931 BCE) there were six officially recognized genders:
- Zachar: male
- Nekeveh: female
- Androgynos: both male and female
- Tumtum: gender neutral/without definite gender
- Aylonit: female-to-male transgender people
- Saris: male-to-female transgender people (often inaccurately translated as “eunuch”)
Kathoey (often called ‘ladyboys’)
Australian scholar of sexual politics in Thailand Peter Jackson’s work indicates that the term “kathoey” was used in pre-modern times to refer to intersexual people, and that the usage changed in the middle of the twentieth century to cover cross-dressing males, to create what is now a gender identity unique to Thailand. Thailand also has three identities related to female-bodied people: Tom, Dee, and heterosexual woman.
Excellent overview of non-binary gender categories. Sadly, Western imperialism has all but extirpated many traditional concepts of non-dualistic sex and gender categories through residential schools and religious indoctrination. -Q
This gives me all kinds of gender life and power.
I’m having trouble putting into words the way I feel right now. Having a long, depressed cry over it helped. But only slightly.
Just another routine day, going to the supermarket with my husband. I’m an Asian female - adopted from South Korea as a baby (in case you haven’t seen my previous rant here) - and my husband is a Caucasian male. I’ve been raised in New York. I have absolutely no accent, not even a New York one (no “cawfee” for me, thanks). I pull into the parking lot, headed towards a back row since everything seems to be full. We’re walking up towards the supermarket when I see this woman continually staring at us. Scrutinizing us. I know that it’s not going to be a pleasant conversation, whatever she ends up saying.
“You guys are a beautiful couple,” she starts. Well, that’s an unexpectedly nice turn. We thank her. “You know, when I see you guys, you remind me of my son and his girlfriend.” Oh, it’s starting, I think to myself. She looks at me. “What country are you from?” One of the more direct questions I’ve had in my life. I usually get the, “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” parade. This one is at least to the point. Not that I enjoy answering it.
“South Korea,” I reply. After all, it’s true. Despite being relocated here at seven months old, I’m an Asian woman who was born in South Korea. There’s no denying it, even if I wish I could sometimes. She nods approvingly, then continues staring at me as she addresses my husband.
“That’s where my son’s girlfriend is from. You know, people from her country are so respectful. They’re such good people.” Out of not knowing what else to do or say, I nod. ”She takes off her shoes when she comes into my house! I always tell her not to! And she’s so pretty! Take off your sunglasses.” Because I am weak and have always lived my life trying to please other people - this is a fact - I follow orders. “She’s just as beautiful as my son’s girlfriend.” I realize that she’s talking about me, to my husband, because she assumes I cannot understand what she’s saying. I feel my hands start to shake and my eyes start to well up with tears. I quickly put my sunglasses back on, and thank her for her compliment. My stomach turns because she doesn’t deserve a thank you. She doesn’t deserve anything. But I am so appalled by her words that I am rendered speechless and spineless.
As soon as we got out of the supermarket and back into the car, I let the tears fall. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how else to process.
How the fuck am I supposed to feel okay about being an Asian woman if I am to be met with idiots like that on a daily basis? How am I supposed to be okay with being “different” when people feel the need to alienate me and make me feel like it’s a disgusting, horrible thing to be? How do I fit in? Where do I fit in?
14k!!!! Aah! This is the most important 3 days of my life! We are 6k away from the goal, if you believe in this project, and you really want to make a difference please give to this campaign over the next few days! We need to ge to 20k, I feel it and believe we can do it! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far! We’re so close!!!!
[Picture: a woman pushing away speech bubbles with masculine pronouns and “it” inside them]
Here it is! I’m not 100% sure if I like how it came out… it almost seems a bit too cutesy for the subject. Maybe I just like drawing cute clothes and bright colours too much!
This is for a contest with the Canadian Human Rights Agencies for their conference in May. All the Advanced Illustration students and Design students had to enter as part of their final. Kinda pissed that they required us to print it off at 24 x 36…. which I think is way too big and expensive ($50!!) for most students and their budget. We don’t even get to keep the posters. And the top prize is only $200. I feel kinda ripped off. :/
EDIT: A couple of people have sent me notes saying that “Transgendered” is incorrect terminology. I apologize, I kind of added the text last minute, and should have known better. I’ve uploaded a fixed version. :)
This poster is a good reminder that pronouns aren’t “preferred”. They’re NECESSARY.
Also can I say how great it is that it’s a trans woman in this poster (who looks to be a TWOC to boot) instead of just another white trans guy as it is in so many other pictures like this one?
Natalie Yepez, better known by her stage name Maluca, is an Afro-Dominican singer based out of Bronx. She broke out into the music scene with her first single El tigeraso, a fast passed track described as “electric mambo”. Maluca’s fashion sense, non-conformist attitude, and music has led her to be compared to artists such as M.I.A and Santigold.
Learn more about Maluca at her website, where you can download (for free!) her 20 track music set China Food Mixtape.
You can also follow Maluca on tumblr!
Film: Pumzi is a Kenyan science fiction short film written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu. It was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of its New African Cinema program.
Pumzi, imagines a dystopian future 35 years after water wars have torn the world apart. East African survivors of the ecological devastation remain locked away in contained communities, but a young woman in possession of a germinating seed struggles against the governing council to bring the plant to Earth’s ruined surface.
not because of some “born in the wrong body” bullshit
but because doctors and therapists and family members and friends and even fucking strangers think they have a right to your body
a right to tell you how to live your gender
a right to tell you how to express your gender
a right to tell you what gender you are or are not
a right to ask you how you have sex
a right to ask you if its “really true”
when you are trans* your body is never your own.