incite!'s trans section
feel shoved into a box yet?

More Than 12 Steps Towards Trans Freedom
Trans Links
There are plenty of guidelines and precedents for gay rights and religious freedom and civil rights, but transgender activism is a very new movement. Therefore, I started this list....

More Than 12 Steps Towards Trans Freedom

1. Get gender off our records.

Either the gender/sex: space should be a write-in, or it should be left off most forms entirely. Why does a BBS, or an ad exchange site online, or your credit card company, need to know what your genitals look like? It definitely doesn't need to be on our driver's licenses; in fact, Australia's already taken it off theirs.
My main objection is that I don't fit into their little boxes; they're just pushing the idea that gender is either/or, one of only two opposites. If they really want to know our gender identity, they'll ask

GENDER: [ ] Straight Male [ ] Straight Female [ ] Lesbian [ ] Gay male [ ] F2M [ ] M2F [ ] Neutrois [ ] Femme [ ] Butch [ ] Femmy Butch [ ] Butchy Femme [ ] None of the Above [ ] Other (please describe):_____________________

So when you get an organization's forms and questionnaires, drop them a note to demand change one way or the other. Send them a copy of a transgendered fact sheet. Let them know what's up.

2. Start support groups in your town.

A few flyers and a weekly meeting in a cafe and you're in business!

3. Educate city and state reps. about transgender issues.

Write them letters, lobby them, send them articles, schedule an appointment to come meet them and chat, find the text of city ordinances and policies about transgender rights.

4. Get trans stuff supported/recognized by your city council.

It's okay not to know who to go to about this. If you know nothing about city councils, or resolutions, you can still call up or write to one of your city council members and ask them for help. They'll be delighted to help a young person get into politics and Be Active in the Community. You can look at other city council resolutions and see what they should say. (Evanston, IL; Iowa City, IA; San Francisco, CA; Cambridge, MA; Santa Cruz, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; All of Minnesota; Seattle, WA, and the rest of King County, among other places, all have legislation protecting people against trans-discrimination.)

5. Add trans folk to your school/work/city's non-discrimination policies.

Invoke gender discrimination and constitutional amendments. Tell them about trans-bashings and the need for youth to be protected.

6. Pressure your local bookstore into carrying lots of trans/queer books and starting gender studies and queer studies sections.

Order books through them and get your queer friends to do the same. Share little facts with them about the trans community while they ring your books up. Tell them how it's growing and how "trendy" genderfucking and gender studies are now. Suggest a section for it and offer to provide a list of good books.

7. Educate your educators.

Slip trans/queer youth fact sheets into all the mailboxes at your highschools and junior highs. Bring it up in class. Write papers about famous trans people like Joan of Arc or trans issues in the media. Be bold!

8. Recycle!

Get on a trans/queer mailing list, especially news-focused ones, and start writing to your local paper to share what you find. The number of letters to the editor they print on any subject depends on how many they get about it. Send them press releases (you can write your own) and articles, and ask why they haven't covered any of these stories. (Search the list of mailing lists for good ones.)

9. Spoof your paper!

Most newspapers, particularly those serving small communities, will accept guest columns from community members. You can write some on trans/queer rights, or have even more fun: Write an essay spoofing the anti-trans gender-policing ideas you hear, so far right that eveyrone is likely to find themselves supporting trans folk. Send it in with a fake picture and a letter professing your love of God and the community. (This has worked before; one guy in Chico, CA got a regular column this way!)

10. Spoof companies.

This is my favorite. Write them official-sounding letters from your town's branch of a well-known and powerful group like the ACLU, or from the "national headquarters" of a group you make up yourself. Demand that they amend a policy you dislike or add transgendered people to their nondiscrimination policy or introduce sensitivity training. Imply you'll sue. It's a wonderful thing. Remember to use a return address where you'll get their reply but which won't look suspicious.

11. Plaster the town with our faces.

Make subversive posters showing people what we looking and debunking stupid myths. One per poster is good. (Check out the Guerrilla Girls' work, and the Lesbian Avengers'.)

12. Get college classes about us.

If you're in college, get some students together and battle the Dean of Students or other administrators to institute a Queer Studies program. Make class suggestions and find teachers willing to teach them. (Okay, that's the hard part, but many universities will automatically let you have the class if you just find someone who wants to teach it.)

13.Stage public lunches/workshops on gender. Have balloons printed that say "Would your parents still love you if you were queer? Ask them!" and pass them out at the local elementary school. Hold fundraisers for bigger activist groups. Form coalitions. Think of your own ideas. Carry them out. Then tell us about it.

Resources:

GenderTalk: Gender transgression at its best

Transgender Humor

Index of sites on the TransGenderRing

GenderWeb

Geocities' TV/CD/TS/TG Directory All the trans* sites in www.geocities.com's free web space.

Chi-Tri-Ess Chicago's non-profit social/support group for straight crossdressers and their families.

Transboy's Home Personal page of an F2M youth, with tales of experiences with hormones, thoughts on trans stuff, and more.

Leslie Feinberg's early writing, "Journal of a Transsexual"

National homepage of the activist group Transsexual Menace

Julie's links page A list of transfolks' personal pages, with mini-pictures of the owners!

Activism, t-shirts, humor, awesome writing. Another Julie - the owner of the Transgen mailing list online.

A Transman Wonderful page about being F2M transgendered.

A bit of Rory's F2M homepage about a drag king workshop.

Diane Wilson or a Close Facsimile Trans writing, rants, web authoring, humor, music....

Reflections of a bigendered individual.

The Lavender Pages

#ts an IRC chat room for trans youth

Androgyny RAQ (rarely-asked-questions list) Incredibly wonderful and funny.

FTM-International

IFGE International Foundation for Gender Education.

WayOut Web "for drag queens, trannies, transvestites, transsexuals and transgenderists."

TG Forum

Yahoo's directory of Trans pages

Yahoo's directory of Intersexual pages

FAQ: Gender-Free Pronouns

Genderplex: Artists, Academics and Activists Explore Gender An online art exhibition and academic forum.


Trans 'n' Fans Network
by Zak Sinclair

Calling all transgender, gender-queer, gender-questioning, genderfuck, gender-bending, genderless, genderful, gender-changing, gender-exploring, gender-fluid, GENDER-FIERCE young people! You know who you are.... You're the girl who likes sailor-boy uniforms and dreams of meeting the captain in a dark hallway. You're the boy who dyes his hair platinum-blonde, stuffs his bra, draws on those ruby red lips and kicks up his heels to Madonna's Papa Don't Preach. You're the androgynous one who gets kicked out of both the men's and the women's restrooms. You're the butch one who loves an Armani suit cut-to-kill with a fishnet-femme on your arm. You're the diva queen who wears rhinestones, pearls, and glitter-gel skintight pants. You're the one who stays as far away from right-wing religious revival tents as possible.

You're the tomboy, the little girl fag, the femme boy, the pansy, the two-spirit, the gayboy who wears make-up, the dragking, the art-fart, the flamer, the dyke trapped in a fag body, the fruitcake, the army dyke, the young woman who wishes she were a boy, and the young man who wishes he were a girl.

Ever wondered why your body parts don't exactly match up with the way you feel inside? Ever wanted that genderless body you had before puberty? Ever thought you were gonna grow up from a little girl into a hunky man? Ever wonder why you got stuck with a penis and facial hair? Ever been harassed or beat up for being too much like the opposite gender? Ever thought you were fabulous and everyone else is all screwed up?

Welcome to our lives--the lives of transgender, transsexual, gender questioning, gender non-conforming, gender-playing young people. We are real. We are fly. We are everywhere.

IT IS TIME FOR GENDER-QUEER YOUTH TO COME TOGETHER.

So there's this thing, you see, called the Trans 'n' Fans Network that I'd like to tell you all a little bit about. It started, as all good things do, over chips 'n' salsa and iced tea in this queer café in Washington D.C. The six of us were all participants at the National Youth Advocacy Summit, a hella cool national youth summit that includes Capitol Hill lobbying, skills-building workshops, and lots of space for young queer people to tell our many truths. We had gravitated towards each other, as most of us gender queers do, and started to tell each other our stories. Namely, how we were feeling quite stuck in the wrong bodies. It seemed that we had so much to share that we really didn't quite want it to end there. So, I said, "Hey why don't we keep in contact in a more formal way and have these conversations with more people than just the six of us? None of us had enough chill vibes at home to keep us upbeat, alive, and loving our wonderful, gender-confused selves." So, we talked a little bit about what we wanted--information, support, contact, visibility, education, freedom--and we took the idea to the host of the Summit, NYAC.

Now, let me tell you a little something about NYAC, these people are serious about the T when they say it. You know how some organizations call themselves Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, yet have no clue about TG/TS issues? Well, NYAC gets it. They were already putting together an information packet on youth-sensitive transgender organizations in all parts of the nation before the conference began...they had two workshops on gender identity and quickly moved to have a third lunch-chat session about the Trans 'n' Fans Youth Network...they have a nationally-known, female-identified transgendered person named Sterling on their steering committee...and they want justice for ALL queer youth period, no questions asked.

So, what does this all mean? It means that we, with the support of NYAC, are starting the first national transgendered youth network. It means that we will be putting out a kick ass zine. It means that we will be doing national visibility work. It means that we will be telling, writing, singing, and drawing our stories to help each other out and to make friends who'll watch our backs. It means that we will be setting up an e-mail server for all tg/ts youth who want to know each other on-line. It means that we will being doing workshops and educational sessions in as many places and ways as possible. It means we will be identifying each other and being real. It means that we will be our own best resource. It means that we will start a conversation across the country that will start many more conversations in our hometowns, our schools, our families, our youth groups, and our journals. It means that we will come together in the face of intolerance, school dress codes that dont allow us to express the gender we feel suits us best, harassment from cops, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, an unbelievably high suicide rate, and family rejection. We will share our knowledge with each other so that we can move forward together, and move to love ourselves more completely.

If anyone out there is interested in learning more about what we are doing or wants to get involved, e-mail me at lyric@thecity.sfsu.edu, make sure you put it to Attn: Zak. You can also e-m ail NYAC at NYouthAC@aol.com, Attn: Megan Per-Lee.

Much love.

Zak Sinclair.