Posted on Wed Jun 24 22:00:00 CDT 2015
The following is an essay that I performed at Queer Mountain tonight, along with the video.
"In between" is a real thing. It is the space through which I can move without obstruction. It separates our star from the next, giving our world room to exist. It is the time separating one job from the next, giving room to explore. It is the relationship connecting you and me. In between is a world where magic can thrive. It is the world in which all boundaries are off, the rules are unknown, and anything is possible.
I live between genders. Like everyone, I was born and assigned to a gender, so I tried to fit into that mold until I was 28. It was an ill fit; things were demanded of me that I wasn't willing to be. I just kept walking through life appeasing people when I had to but otherwise doing my own thing. At a group dinner one night in 2006, somebody who only barely knew me, whom I rarely saw before and have never seen since, happened to just look at me and say "you have a really androgynous air about you". Now, this person was talking about how I present to the world, but in that moment I recognized an internal truth about myself. Most of what has happened to me in the nine years since has been because I realized that men and women are not the only people in this world.
How do I even explain what it's like? Words hold power. The right words let us access the intangible. I deconstructed gender. Later I put it back together as loose descriptive words. Androgyne, Genderqueer, Nonbinary, Enby, Agender, Genderfluid, Third Gender, and so many others, each carries its own unique magic, and each represents a flag In Between. The proliferation, each year bringing new terms, shows just how many experiences of the world there are.
I don't have a gender, and I use the word Androgyne to designate this. My experience of the world is never prefixed with "as a man" or "as a woman". I just view the world in my own way. In one part of my day I may appear to be a flamingly gay guy, in another part a sober professional woman, in a third part a young child quaking in fear. Each of these sets of mannerisms originate with my emotions, an acting out of an internal state, but none speak to an experience of gender.
But, how can I emote "androgyny" to a world that cannot see it?
Well, I can't. Bisexual and asexual people understand erasure. A woman dates women exclusively for a time and is assumed to be a lesbian. Then she meets and marries a man and the world assumes she was just "going through a phase". An asexual person gets married and so the world assumes zie actually is sexual and was "just going through a phase".
"Just going through a phase." "Gender is a biological term." "You're not really trans unless you experience dysphoria." "Trans women are just men trying to invade women's spaces." "Nonbinary is just cis trying to claim to be trans." "Attention Seeker."
Such toxic words. All dehumanizing. All to erase that which is different.
Being non-binary means striking the walls of this strictly gendered world. I don't know what bathroom I can use, so I fake it. I lie on forms that have a gender field, because only a few places believe I can exist. I don't ask out straight women because I am not a man, but I also don't ask out lesbian women because I am not a woman. I dress myself to be beautiful, knowing that I'll be misgendered but one pronoun hurts and the other does not. It means speaking out for women and for transgender people, knowing that so long as the binary rules, I need an invitation to join the party.
Being non-binary also means changing the boundaries. Finding common ground and unexpected friends. Relating to you as I really am, not as the rules say I must be. Creating new space for variety to flourish. Being beautiful as I wish. Seeing through the hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine pathologies and saying "oh, hell no". Experiencing and expressing rage, fear, joy, love, passion, delight, excitement, because fuck the rules and fuck decorum! This is my life and this tapestry of emotions, unchained from rules of how men should be and how women should be, is rich beyond compare!
I am happier than I have ever been. The people I love see me. The trans community has embraced me. At Queerbomb I finally feel safe and welcome.
The magic of In Between is to define my life on my own terms.
Posted on Wed Jun 10 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
While I posted on Monday the pictures of me, tonight I post the pictures that I took at Queerbomb. Most of mine were before the event and during the rally. By the time of the procession, I put my camera away and, as I said before, spent most of the processing carrying a Transgender Pride flag with my girlfriends.
I have found my people. This is my community, the large version of it. All brought together simply by refusing to follow the rules of gender and sexuality set forth by a society that cannot stand diversity.
I have never before been so happy. Nor have I ever before been in true fear of my safety and the safety of those whom I love. Every society imposes a penalty upon those who do not confirm, and we pay the price in blood.
Posted on Sun Jun 7 10:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
Queerbomb 2015 has come and gone!
What is Queerbomb? Pride. Inclusive. Without corporate dominance. With a deliberate effort to eliminate transphobia, biphobia, ableism, classism, and racism. An attempt to unite people from all walks of life who just happen to fall into the LGBTQIA family.
This year I attended with my pod, most of whom I didn't even know last year. I had a total blast even without attending the big crazy parties. Marching down 6th, waving the Transgender Pride flag with my girlfriends, surrounded by tons of people from the entire LGBTQIA community.
Posted on Thu May 21 12:30:00 CDT 2015
I still have very little to comment about February's HRC Gala. It was amazing how little clue the HRC has on trans issues. And, frankly, I am tired of the marriage rights thing. They are so focused on it that they have pretty much ignored the rest of us, some of whom are struggling just ot survive, and they are going to continue doing so. As soon as the Supreme Court decision comes down, they are going to start focusing on other countries. I have a little trouble holding that against them given that being gay is a death sentence in some of these countries. At the same time I know and am trying to help trans people right here who are just struggling to survive, who face discrimination and violence every day, and who face the real possibility that some of our own governments are going to criminalize our very existence.
More commentary than I planned. No more. Instead, I provide pictures of the beautiful people I went with. We had a table of six trans women, three close allies (two married to trans women), one enby (myself), and lots of poly representation. And then we had a lovely after-party filled with drinks, games, and talking about science fiction books.
Posted on Tue May 5 11:30:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
All right, world. Let's do this!
Posted on Tue Apr 21 13:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
Just added a lot of suicides to my memorial page. I added entries for Sam Taub, Taylor Alesana, Blake Brockington, and Ash Haffner.
Sure, that is only five suicides in the entire country in the last three months, but those are the tip of the iceberg. We don't really know of all the rest.
It is disheartening. The common thread that I and everyone else is noticing is that all of these teenagers committing suicide are being driven to it by bullying. Tons of bullying, online and off. While I was growing up, the common theme was to stop bullying of all kinds. Bullies would, theoretically, be punished. Now, it seems that few people can be bothered to even try. Yes, Twitter, I'm looking at you.
So, I am classifying them as suicide, but I am inclined to change each suicide entry to "murder". By society.
Posted on Wed Apr 1 13:00:00 CDT 2015 by Dukes
International Transgender Day of Visibility was created to celebrate transgender identities and raise awareness for the breadth of discrimination transgender people encounter. Before this day was created, the only international recognized day for the transgender community was Transgender Day of Remembrance; which mourns the deaths of our members lost to hate crimes and suicide. We would like to recognize all the revolutionary lives that have helped pave the grounds of our liberation; especially those of Silvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson who were fearless leaders in the USA and often not sighted for their work in what has been coined as the “Gay Liberation Movement”.
While we thank and celebrate the participants that were able to participate in this visibility project, we also honor all those whom have given us the privilege to create this project and support our community; whether in front of the camera of behind it.
We would also like for you to take a moment to reflect on the beautiful faces in our community that are not represented in this project due to lack of safety, security, or access to participate and we do not wish to erase the lives of those not represented in these pictures. Be mindful that this is only a very small glimpse within our community, we are human, and WE DO EXIST… and we exist globally in many fabulous forms! Our community is endlessly diverse and vibrant, and we ask to be treated with dignity, respect, and autonomy and to be given rights and protection to live our lives rid of discrimination and intolerance!
Thank you TGQ ATX, and thank you Savanni for your wonderful photo skills!
Posted on Tue Mar 31 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
At the beginning of August 2nd, 2006, I looked like I thought I was a cisgender, heterosexual man.
I have always been somewhat deviant in that I was a feminist long before I was willing to adopt the word and long before I really understood what that would require of me. I liked completely egalitarian relationships, I liked powerful women. I have, through most of my life, seen various examples of toxic masculinity (going to an all-boys Catholic high school provides ample opportunities). I did not really understand what I was doing in my late teens and early twenties, but I knew beyond doubt that I did not want to follow the example these men were setting for me.
I had a terrible time figuring out what kind of man I wanted to become.
Then, in 2006, I was in a conversation with someone who said to me "You have a very androgynous air to you". The words lodged in my brain as something much more than a mere descriptor. I researched when I got home, and by the end of the night I knew what Androgyne meant, that the word applied to me, and that my girlfriend had my back. With her support, I came out to all of my social circles within a two week period. I did not come out to my family or to my work until many years later, but I likewise did not keep it a secret.
The years have passed. I do not really look so androgynous any more, but I am still an Androgyne despite my feminine presentation. Only in recent years have I gained the confidence and the courage to assert my right to walk in trans spaces. I have finally learned to set aside "not trans enough", because non-binary individuals belong there just as much as trans women and trans men.
For me, International Transgender Day of Visibility has to be about celebrating all gender identities and all gender presentations. It has to be about giving visibility to those who get erased simply because they cannot fit into the molds provided by our culture's common vocabulary. It has to be about honoring the living in all their complex glory.
Posted on Fri Mar 13 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
Just imagine trying to play Chess... when most of the pieces look the same. Oh, wait, do you see "King" written on that pawn in the back?
Posted on Wed Mar 11 13:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel
I love bikes. I have absolutely no qualms expressing my love for bikes, and nothing really expresses my love more than the photographs I take of bicycles.
I feel joy every time I see a full rack like this.
Or bikes at rest out on a trail.
Pain when I see a fallen comrade.
This is my steed. It has served me well and I hope to keep it going for several more years. With only a single ring in the front, it doesn't quite provide the kind of hill-climbing power that I would like, so I may one day sell it to someone more interested in flatland racing. But until then, this is my machine.
I should also note that my car didn't exactly break down, but I no longer trust it to not break down. So I have not driven since the 22nd of February.