If you like the GENDER book, but have kids who are just a wee bit too wee for our words, you might really love the Gender Now Activity Book (digital preview free here - http://issuu.com/reflectionpress/docs/school-edition) from the rad Reflection Press. They also have a poster inspired by the book (shown here) titled “All Genders Are Perfectly Natural,” as well as a few other posters I wish I had when I was still a public school art teacher. Way to go, gender kids team! Just thought yall might like to know.
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles and cultural expectations of what it means to be male or female, masculine or feminine, or any combination, or absence of gender thereof, which can be expressed through characteristics, traits, behaviors, and more. Rather than “being a gender”, we “do gender;” it’s a performance.
Gender can also be thought of as a system “of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people” (1) or a system “of symbols and meanings… a way of thinking and seeing” (2). We get messages about what it means to be masculine or feminine from our society, and those messages change over time and differ depending on the culture.
I went to my first Red Sox game, got a job, donated a copy of The Gender Book, got gender-policed, and spoke about gender
…all in twenty-four hours.
I also had class in between all that.
At lunch today, a kid no more than twelve or thirteen, in line behind me, kept asking his buddies if I am a boy or a girl. I’m seriously over these summer campers. I was annoyed.
I turned around. Rather than give my usual, “My gender is none of your business, and you shouldn’t worry about it” answer that I give adults, I said, “If you want to know if I’m a boy or a girl, the answer is both.” I should have just said the answer is “yes,” but the confusion might actually help him more.
He’ll discover his rudeness and what a genderqueer is when he gets a little older.
Last nite at Fenway Park, I watched my first Red Sox game, a pretty boring one until the eighth inning when we made up a 4-0 deficit with three runs, tied it in the 9th, and won by walk-off 5-4 bottom of the 9th. That’s a baseball game.
Around the 5th inning, I used the men’s room. A little kid looked at me twice as I washed my hands, but I was otherwise left alone. If I go into a women’s room dressed as I usually am, I’ll get stared at in there, so depending on the event or place or part of town I’m in, I go to the toilet of least resistance.
It’s sad that I have to use that phrase. But it’s true.
After the game, my friend Keith took this picture of me with a shirt referring to David Ortiz. It is funny because my nickname back home is Papi.
My nickname to my younger friends is Papi. I’m the transmasculine genderqueer that takes are of everyone before I worry about myself.
At the end of the day, unless I’m dating you or getting health services from you, my gender really isn’t any of your fucking business.
Most days, I encounter moments where I make a tough decision, the choice to either educate someone, or just pee and watch a baseball game. Or, like lunch today, I sometimes give an ambiguous answer so I can sit down and just eat a damn sandwich and still feel like a sort-of gender hero.
Imagine someone asking you “what” you are, maybe to your face, more often behind your back but just within earshot, every single day of your life.
Everyone feels the need to be the gender police. I’m simply guilty of finally being myself.
After enjoying last nite’s game, I woke up to go to a job interview. I had to dress dapper.
After buying a Red Sox hat and a souvenir t-shirt, my entertainment and incidentals fund has been wiped out. Harvard Square and Boston in general are expensive. I applied at The Harvard Shop, and got the gig. I’ll be passing out flyers to tourists and sending them to the store part time. Not a bad little gig.
After that, I had my Gendered Lunch Adventure, then went to the Office of BLGTQ Student Life to donate a copy of The Gender Book. I was a sponsor of the project, my friends back home in Houston wrote and illustrated it. If you’d like to check it out, go to http://thegenderbook.com. It’s a fantastic resource.
Speaking of awesome gender stuff, also check out my friend Nikki Araguz Lloyd’s YouTube series if you’d like a glimpse into the life of a transgender woman. http://www.youtube.com/user/nikkisamericandream It’s good stuff. Lots of good stuff on gender is coming out of Houston, TX. Yes, Texas of all places.
I ended today by signing up and performing for the Harvard Summer School open mic nite. I read a few snippets of this blog that fit with the theme, Identity. I obviously had a lot to say, and I’m glad I did it. It’s a topic I’ve been chosen to be a warrior for.
I’ve got to keep fighting the good fight.
I am also taking an intense graduate seminar, so I need to study. You guys back home and around the world, keep fighting it with me. Be an ally. Educate. And if a friend or family member insists on you helping them figure out what someone’s gender identity is, remind them gently that it’s none of their fucking business.