Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Transgender (Topless) Pool Party

Something amazing happened while I was in Minneapolis for The Creating Change Conference.

There was a transgender pool party, they have it every year. That, in and of itself, is really awesome and empowering. But, then we, students from the Auraria Campus, started a topless pool party at this transgender pool party.

I have to say that it was the most empowering experience that I have ever had. I felt free and comfortable, and the best part was how encouraging everyone was to each other. When someone would take their swim top off to join, we would cheer. Not in a pervy way, but in a supportive way.

There were many trans* women there who were probably already feeling uncomfortable in their swim wear, but also enjoying the chance to be who they want to be with no judgement. Some of those beautiful women joined our topless party, and started to appear more comfortable with the situation. By the end of the night, there were at least 40 topless people who had not been previously topless.

Simply put, it was an amazing experience. The energy that night was amazing, and I don't know that I will ever experience something so profound again in my life and I feel so honored to have experienced it at all.

Sue Hyde, the exectutive director of the conference, said that this was the best session of the conference.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A moment of appreciation

for the word, Cunt.

yeah. I said it. Cunt. I love the word. It's not politically correct, and it seems to piss people off but I love that. It's blunt, and it's powerful. The word "Vagina" is not nearly as powerful, and that's why it's politically correct.

But think about it, Vagina comes from the latin for sheath of a sword... so they're just for "swords" or penises to inhabit? Well, I don't have one of those.

I have a cunt. I claim it. It's mine, the word and the beautiful body part.

Eve Ensler wrote it best, check out this performance of "Reclaiming Cunt" from The Vagina Monologues

And if you liked this, come see MetroState Feminist Alliance perform the Vagina Monologues on March 31 in the Tivoli Turnhalle or April 1 and 2 at Hamburger Mary's.

Words don't work so well: Pronoun problems

The English language has more that 2x more word than the next language, yet the words we do have are inadequate when someone with an unconventional identity. This is not a problem for those who identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. It's not even a problem right now for people who identify as transgender men or women. But it's not always that simple. Sexuality and gender are both spectrums, and there are not labels for all of those degrees of difference.

So, what do you call someone who identifies as neither man or woman? Or both man and woman? Or somewhere in-between?

Some identity words for the individuals who identify outside of the gender binary are; queer, genderqueer, intergender, androgyne/androgynous, third gender, genderless, or, in first nations traditions, two-spirit.

The problem comes when the individuals who use these identities are referred to. Pronouns, ugh. Even if someone is being considerate and asks, "what pronouns do you prefer?" what would they say?

The pronouns used for people in conventional society are he/him/his, she/her/hers and they/them/their. Until recently, they/them/their was used to refer to multiple people. Now, it is grammatically correct to call an individual person "they" but, would you agree that it sounds weird?

So, not everybody likes they/them/their, what now? There are some lesser known gender neutral pronouns out there such as ze/hir or co/co's.

Ze/hir is used within some trans* communities, but many people find it clunky and hard to use. Co is a gender neutral pronoun coined by feminist writer Mary Orovan in 1970, and is used by intentional egalitarian communities that strive to create a genderless society, such as Twin Oaks in Virginia.

I like co as a pronoun, but not everybody does. The problem is that there is no real gender neutral pronoun that works for everybody, or works in mainstream society.

What do you think?