Letters for My Siblings: Call for Submissions …

Reblogged from Letters For My Brothers

Letters for My Siblings: Call for Submissions

Deadline: February 1, 2014

Word Limit: 2500

Publisher: Transgress Press

Contact: lettersformysiblings@gmail.com

The Lambda Literary Finalist Letters for My Brothers asked transsexual men to pass on to their pre-transition selves any important advice that they had as post-transition men. In Letters for My Siblings, we wish to capture short pieces of a similar spirit from people who are genderqueer, gender non-conforming, bigender, agender, or who simply don’t fit nicely into the boxes of “man” and “woman”.

Your submission should be between 500 and 2500 words and address one or more of the prompts below.

Not all prompts will apply to all writers. Your submission should be about your own lived experience — please avoid delving too far into the theoretical, or making broad generalizations about any group (even one that you belong to).

Send all submissions to lettersformysiblings@gmail.com by February 1, 2014. Authors will be notified of acceptance within six weeks of the submission deadline.

• What does it mean to transition as a non-binary identified person? How have you transitioned medically, legally, socially, or otherwise, and why? Has your transition been an important part of your identity and/or experience? How and why?

• Where do you fit in the larger trans* community? Have you found friendship and connection among other trans* people, binary or non-binary? Have you encountered discrimination or resistance to your identity within the trans* community?

• Have you been able to find or create language to describe your gender/experience? Are you intentional about using (or NOT using) particular words for your gender / experience? Why do you use (or not use) these?

• How has your non-binary identity intersected with other parts of your identity, such as your race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability/disability, or age? Are there times when these other parts of your identity come in conflict with your gender? If so, how do you manage these conflicts?

• What do you like about being non-binary? What is your biggest frustration? How do you navigate a world set up only for men and women?

• Who are your mentors? Who has guided you on your journey / transition? Who do you look up to?

• What advice would you give to genderqueer/gender non-conforming/non-binary people who are at the beginning of their journey?

As compensation for their contribution, all authors will receive a free copy of the anthology upon its publication. Transgress Press will donate all proceeds to organizations benefiting trans communities (www.transgresspress.com/our-donations).

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Disclosure is a Spectrum

I really like what Micah has to say here about non-binary visibility and how that relates to coming out/disclosure.

genderqueer.me

Stealth

Back in the day (not too long ago, and still today) transgender people were advised to move far far away where nobody knew who they were and there’d be no trace of their previous life. The fact that one used to be a different sex was shameful, worth hiding at all costs. The intent of transition was to “pass” as the desired gender – male or female, only – integrating oneself into a society where a different-gendered past does not exist. Never revealing one’s transsexual history was a marker of success. It was and is perceived as secretive, deceptive, safe.

In a general sense, stealth signified post-transition invisibility. But how can we as a community make strides for our rights if we’re not visible? If nobody comes out, loud and proud, we’re perpetuating the stigma of the transsexual.

Yet some people face real or potential danger should they reveal…

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Hormones

My partner has been trying to get on HRT for something like a month and a half to two months now. Its been a pretty unpleasant process consisting mostly of long phone calls to unhelpful and/or uninformed doctors, clinics and receptionists. As I’ve mentioned before, there are very few doctors offices or clinics in our state that work with trans* people and as it turns out most of them want you to have a recommendation from someone else.

Endocrinologists want you to have a general practitioner who referred you to them or a letter from a therapist, sometimes both. My partner doesn’t have a general practitioner, they haven’t seen a doctor in years and we couldn’t find any info on general practitioners who are trans* friendly. The only therapist who was recommended to them said that he would want to see my partner for 3 to 4 months before he would write a letter for HRT for them. The nearest recommended endocrinologist is trans* friendly, but his staff is not, so it was recommended that my partner lie about wanting to see the doctor for a “hormone imbalance”. These are only examples of some of the more helpful people my partner talked to.

But there is good news…

Yesterday my partner went up to Washington D.C. for a preliminary screening at an LGBT health clinic that prescribes hormones using the informed consent model. They will have to go back twice more, once to get a medical screening to make sure that they don’t have any health issues that would make HRT dangerous and to get some blood work done. Then the will have to go back again after that to get the results of the blood work. If everything looks good they will be given a prescription for Estrogen that day. Needless to say, after all of the roadblocks they’ve encountered trying to get hormones here in our state my partner is pretty excited.

Queer Dialects and the Language of Passing

Partner

I don’t know what to call my partner when I’m talking to you.

I know what you expect to hear, but that’s not right. Out of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” girlfriend might be more appropriate… or at least I know it will be one day, but right now that would only make things more confused. So I say, “my boyfriend” even though it’s wrong, because it’s what you expect, because that’s the only way to avoid outing them, me, us, to you, a near perfect stranger. It feels like switching languages, or maybe just dialects. Out of my own insular, subcultural one and into your larger more universal one, a language that makes inaccurate generalizations about people, a language in which there is no right word for us, but using my words would lead you to make assumptions and ask questions. Questions about my life that, as a stranger, you don’t really have any right to the answers to, but I don’t even want to hear you ask, so I hesitate and just say “my boyfriend”.

Pronouns and Passing

By now I must certainly be a dialectical expert, switching easily between “they” and “he” as we navigate the alternatingly safe and unsafe spaces in our lives. I have become quite practiced at pronoun gymnastics, I can change your gender in one breath, obscure you with my words and cloak you in the safety  that comes with passing.

I’m acutely aware of what passing means now in a way I never was before. The moment before I speak I feel as though I’m balancing on the edge of a knife. I want to speak truthfully of us, because I am proud and we are beautiful, but I know that passing could be all that stands between us and unemployment. or assault.

I know that being able to choose safety is a luxury and when I lie with your pronouns I feel like a traitor, because I know that somewhere out there are so many others like us who cannot hope to hide behind the safety of false pronouns anymore.

We too are losing that luxury.  For now the language gives me room enough to pass, room enough to keep you safe, but that space is shrinking in steady increments.  And I am ever so keenly aware of how quickly that space is dwindling, every time I’m speaking. A million times a day I have to make that choice and every time I remember that one day there won’t be any decision to make. Part of me is relieved to know we won’t ever hide again, and the other part of me is dreading the living with that danger.

Queer Words

There are very few words for people like us, mongrel gendered as we are, and the words we have we made ourselves. We subsist on our own queer dialect, growing on the outskirts of a language that cannot satisfy us. We are lean and hungry and desperate, but words grow slowly. So we savor every last morsel of our meager harvest and imagine ourselves feasting gloriously as we muddle and struggle and toil here on the margins for the words to feed our souls.