The History of Genderqueer


*Information was current as of 2014

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Today the 17th of May is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2017 #IDAHOT2017



All graphics created by yours truly Jeri Rae aka Fairy JerBear 

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The World Needs Peace – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

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A little Respect. 

Some great advice on respecting one another…

Pride Matters

By @pridematters1

I have spoken to a few individuals over the years about our wonderful rainbow families attitudes towards each other at times.
Sometimes some of us appear to forget the struggle we faced when coming to terms with our own sexuality. Forgetting the times when some of us felt like outcasts or “freaks”, forgetting the fact that everyone of us is different.

I often hear one group of the LGBTQIA community having arguments with another.

In the LGBTQIA community, we have different views on different issues, however, diversity should be embraced and accepted.

When in a bar early one night waiting for friends to arrive, talking to a trans female, a friend of a friend said to me in earshot of the lady, “what are you talking to that freak for?” which I replied “we are all freaks here my dear!”.

Truth is none of us are freaks! Truth…

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YouTuber Connor Manning Comes Out As Genderfluid

I’m so thrilled that more people, like Connor, who were assigned male at birth are realizing they are Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Agender, or otherwise Nonbinary. I’m proud of you Connor!

Connor’s introduction “Hey! Got something to tell you about my gender! I don’t feel like a guy. I feel like something else! I’m referring to myself as gender fluid now! It feels right!”

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My Gender Journey Posts in Chronological Order

I have chronicled my gender journey through various posts on this blog. Since they’re not listed in order elsewhere in the blog, I thought I’d list them here. To read about my journey, from my decision to call myself Agender through my coming out as Trans Femme/Agender to all my Facebook friends, read these in order:

1. JerBear Is Agender & Genderqueer – The Beginning

2. Finding Family, Celebrating Pride & Becoming Comfortable Being Myself, An Agender Fairy Bear!

3. On Being Agender – Update

4. My Gender Unicorn

5. My Story – A Trans Femme Agender Tale

Fairy JerBear aka Jeri Rae

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Celebrating Being Agender In Memes

Here are a couple graphic art memes I recently created on being Agender…

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Gay Men Trying To Guess Trans Terms

Jake Edward, a trans YouTuber gathered together 3 gay YouTubers for a fun and lighthearted game of guessing trans terms. A nice respite from heavy news and politics. Jake has cautioned this was for fun and shouldn’t be treated as an official trans glossary.

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Coming Out To All My Facebook Friends 

A week ago I decided to come out to all my friends on Facebook even prodding to see if I got a reply from people I wasn’t sure of. This is the letter followed by observations about the response:

Dear Friends,

As most of you know in late Summer of 2014 I began a gender journey. All my life I had felt insecure about my gender. There were a number of opportunities earlier in my life to look at my own gender identity. In the second half of my Junior year in high school at Pine Tree Academy I boarded with a local dentist and his wife. They had a daughter a few years older than me in college where she stayed in a dorm. As the dentist and his wife worked I often had a couple hours every now and then when I was alone. I discovered the daughters wardrobe or at least the part she left at home. I tried the clothes on and remember feeling that this was more than simple curiosity. Meanwhile at school there were a couple bullies who had made comments and shoved me when they knew no one could see them. At the end of the year I passed around my yearbook for signatures. Two of the entries were quite hateful. One used “gay” as an insult and the other called me a “faggot.” So come Senior year I made it a point to butch it up a bit, (appear more masculine), to avoid the bullying.

After graduation I left for college at Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts. In my first year there I met up with 3 or 4 gay guys. One of them was gender non-conforming, I became friends with him and had chats with him in the dorm stairwells where we found a measure of privacy. One memorable night he even took me and a couple others to a gay club. This was the fall of 1975 and my young mind was just overwhelmed by the experience. We continued to share secrets and concerns with each other. I came out as being attracted to guys and he shared both some of his exciting weekend encounters and his sadness at not being able to reconcile his sexual orientation with the church’s beliefs. Soon Winter break came and we went in different directions. As the break ended I was informed of something pretty horrific. My flamboyant gay friend had committed suicide. I was scared, sad, confused and determined to keep my secrets hidden which I did until 1987.

I came out as gay in February of 1987, thirty years ago. I quickly got involved with the community. I began working with people with HIV/AIDS (PWA), devising outreach programs and assisting PWAs secure services and support. During that time I heard a sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Church by a guest preacher who ran the denomination’s LGBT Program. He quoted Harry Hay, an early gay rights pioneer and founder of The Radical Faerie movement. What he said really struck a cord because his belief was that gay and lesbian people were different then straight people not just in the choice of sexual partners but also in our gender expression. The belief was that people like me were shamans, magicians and priests who stood between men and women and helped heal stresses and misunderstandings between men and women. I thought that I had found the answer.

During this time I got to know several transgender individuals beginning in the late ’80s. They were for the most part trans women and while I didn’t feel completely like a man, I didn’t feel completely like a woman either. So, while I felt an affinity with my trans friends back then, their gender identity didn’t match up with how I was feeling. By this time I had entered a relationship which became quite well known given our willingness to open up to the press. In an effort to be attractive to my partner who like hairy guys known as “bears” in gay subculture, I grew a beard stopped trimming hair off my body and became a bear, at least on the outside. I really grew to hate how I was frequently read – many presumed I was hyper masculine and probably into leather and S&M. I was really repulsed by that idea. I kept this a secret and our relationship weathered lots of challenges that came our way unitil August of 1996. On that date, for several different reasons, my partner and I changed our relationship from partner to close friend.

In 1996 I came to New Mexico and continued to work in HIV/AIDS work, focusing on prevention. As a way of deflecting presumptions about my masculinity I grew my
hair out and declared myself a fairy bear which sometimes morphed into a “care bear.” I got to know some wonderful Trans people here and learned a lot from them, particularly a couple Dine’/Navajo trans women who shared the ancient wisdom passed down by their elders about genders beyond male and female.

By 2009 my disabilities, symptoms and medication side effects made it difficult to work. Eventually I was declared disabled and left work. I began searching the internet for information that would answer the lifelong confusion I had about my gender. I began to see talk of genderqueer individuals. At first it didn’t click with me because all I observed were individuals who were assigned female at birth. Finally a news story changed everything. I happened on a news story about a hate crime that occurred in California. I’ve shared the story many times so I will just lay out the facts. A high school student who identified as agender, (who had been assigned male at birth), was riding home on a bus and had nodded off to sleep. A boy sitting nearby who thought it would be a practical joke to set the person’s skirt on fire. The agender student sustained serious burns on his legs and their story, (many agender individuals prefer people use a singular version of they as their pronoun), made local and national news. In response the community rallied round them. The high school the agender individual attended had an event where most students and teachers in the school wore skirts for a day to show their support. Other schools and groups honored diversity and showed their support in other ways. This story, particularly the explication of what an agender and genderqueer person was, really meant something special to me.

I continued to explore, I came out as trans/agender on my blog. I will not rewrite what I already have in my blog. If you haven’t read it leave a comment and I’ll give you a link. After this gender journey I’d been taking on my own I felt the need to connect with others. I discovered a trans support group here in Santa Fe and went to my first meeting. I wasn’t sure I’d be accepted but that fear soon left as I was warmly welcomed. Soon I became involved in the group and helped out with a website and a Twiiter account. I also help facilitate meetings now and then. I have met so many wonderful trans men, trans women and nonbinary/genderqueer individuals. I have learned from their stories and continued to engage in self reflection.

I am very grateful to all the people I have met on my journey. Everyone of you has played a part in my life and your kindness and knowledge have been very important. I now identify as a trans femme, agender, nonbinary/genderqueer person, but if it’s easier for you to remember you can call me transgender.

I am part of the trans community, a community that is now under siege. I consider the trans community as a very large extended family. When a black trans woman is murdered it breaks my heart, when someone is bullied and tormented so often they consider suicide I am deeply saddened. I also am dismayed that some on the right have reduced our community to mythological bathroom predators. I want my trans men and trans women friends to be free to use the facility that aligns with their gender identity and I, along with other nonbinary trans people want to have a gender neutral restroom available. Just like you all we want to do is take care of business, wash our hands and leave. We’ve been doing this for years without a problem. It’s simply a fact that after losing the marriage equality battle the religious right aimed their sights on trans folk. A mythology was created and occasional incidents involving cis men were woven into the tale. I promise you we aren’t putting ourselves in further danger by lingering in the bathroom one second longer than necessary. It’s trans people that are the victims in some bathrooms. Bullies in schools are on the lookout for anyone who isn’t their idea of normal. So it’s trans students, gay and lesbian students and gender non-conforming cis students who get verbally and physically attacked. This needs to end now! I am proud to be a member of the trans community. This community has changed my life and made it meaningful again. If you don’t understand, that’s okay. Ask questions, read up on who we are and remain our friend. On the other hand, if you don’t understand and refuse to learn and open your heart then, regrettably, I can no longer remain friends. I am too old to deal with negativity! I faced enough of it earlier in my life. As for my wonderful friends, family of choice, biological family and fellow activists who accept me and my community I thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️!

Hugs,
Jerry/Jeri

After this post began to receive likes and kind comments I was moved to respond. Here is that response with the names removed

I am feeling so blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude at the response to this post. Three of my friends, from way back, during my years in Norridgewock, Maine from 13 – 16 years old. Your simple “likes” were so moving for me. It shows you may not understand all I’ve shared but your willing to try. You’ll never know how much that means to me and the literal tears of gratitude I’ve shared. Thank you so much! I was also moved by the “like” from my high school classmate at Pine Tree Academy. A time filled with both wonder and joy as well as internal turmoil I didn’t show anyone.

And… my friends from my college era who left comments or “liked” this post. I’m so overwhelmed by their memories, their acceptance and/or their willingness to understand, even if it’s with some trepidation. This means so much.

Then there are all friends who knew me during my gay/AIDS activist 🏳️‍🌈 era your acceptance means the world to me. Finally my new trans family 🦄 who’ve welcomed me with open arms, gave me encouragement and advice and support and love ❤️ your literal and virtual embrace have sustained me during the last two and a half years. Thanks so much. Finally my two unwitting fairy godmothers, your inspiration means more to me than either of you will ever know. I owe you so much and I will try and pass it on by being an inspiration and activist in our community. Before I end I should acknowledge my friend and dare I say apprentice, we embarked on our new journey together and I wish you all the best life has to offer. I may have missed someone, if I have I’m sorry but know your friendship is gratefully accepted. To all thanks🙏🏼, hugs🤗, love❤️and unicorns🦄!!

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Is Gender Fluid? | Imogen Walsh | TEDxYouth@Manchester

A TED Talk about gender fluidity and non-binary gender identities…

Imogen challenges us to think beyond the gender binary and instead choose new expressions from our evolving language to reflect and embrace gender fluidity.

Fallibroome Academy student Imogen Walsh talks at TEDxYouth@Manchester 2016.

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Trans youth are real

A timely article in light of a recent controversial BBC special on trans youth that included “specialists” that are critical of the trans youth affirmation approach of health care professionals

Gendered Intelligence Blog

by Dr Jay Stewart, CEO Gendered Intelligence

Following the broadcast of  Who knows best? documentary by John Conroy on BBC 2 last week, there has been a lot of rich discussion, debate and thoughtful insight online by members of our trans, queer and LGB communities and beyond.

Part of me feels there isn’t anything constructive that I can add, so much has been said. I’ve been reflecting and some time has passed. However, I’ve been thinking about the impact of this programme on our young members and their families, and wanted to address it.

The young people at Gendered Intelligence often tell me of their general sense of not being listened to and also of not being taken seriously. Sadly, that’s their norm. Sometimes what young people want isn’t deemed important, or they are told that it’s not ‘doable’ or even ‘sensible’.

Well intentioned teachers, parents, carers, nurses, GPs…

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On the Nonbinary Community

A look at a community I’m proud to be a part of.

color it queer

Happy New Year! Let’s go back to talking about specific identities, yeah?

I think I’ll start the year off talking about a community that sometimes gets put under the transgender umbrella, but not really talked about specifically: the nonbinary community.

The term basically just means existing or identifying outside the sex/gender binary. The gender identity can be described as being a man nor woman, partially or a combination of these.

Similar to my format of the Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Community, this post will follow the format of: History, Myths, and Facts.

History

Contrary to popular belief, the gender identity of nonbinary is nothing new; it’s just a fairly new term used to describe one’s gender. Examples in history would be those who identify as hijras that dates back to the 15th Century and the two-spirit community, which dates back to the 18th Century…

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Why Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional (And 3 Ways to Practice It) — Everyday Feminism

A useful reminder!

Fairy JeriBear's Trans/LGBTQIA+ Musings From The City Different - Santa Fe, NM

I have written here before about why I, as a disabled, Trans/ Agender person designated male at birth, am a Feminist and what I perceive it to be. It can be an eye opener to discover that their are disputes, disagreements and outright hostility between different groups and individuals who use the word Feminists to describe them. Their are various “waves” of Feminism that emerged at a specific time and are aligned with viewpoints of particular spokespersons/writers/activists. The most problematic to Trans people and in particular, Trans women are the “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists,” as they’re labeled by some, (the people that adhere to this belief system just call themselves Radical Feminists).

I have grown to prefer what is called Intersectional Feminism (also called Fourth Wave Feminism). Intersectionality is a term that was introduced by American professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. The concept already existed but she gave…

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Virginia House Bill 1612 Would Negatively Impact Transgender Adults and Trans Youth

Speaking out against transphobic law proposed in Virginia.

O-blog-dee-o-blog-da

HB 1612 Would Also Create Costs for State Businesses, Budget and Economy 

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-10-52-28-amOn January 11, a Virginia lawmaker offered House Bill 1612 (HB 1612), which would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings, and public universities based on “sex,” as determined by one’s “original birth certificate.”  Additionally, the bill would require schools to inform parents or guardians within 24 hours if their child seeks “to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex, to use a name or pronouns inconsistent with the child’s sex, or to use a restroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex.”

HB 1612 would negatively impact over 34,000 transgender adults in Virginia.  Virginia ranks 24th in the United States in terms of adults who identify as transgender (0.55 percent) and over 40 percent of transgender adults in Virginia are People of Color, including 25 percent who identify as non-Hispanic Black or…

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How K-Pop and J-Pop Construct Masculinities

Another look at how KPop and JPop are redefining masculinity.

Digital Asia

Masculinity as it is constructed in Australia is seen as typically “hard”. An idealized Australian male is white, rugged, practical, heroic, and dependable, but also laid back (Morris; Murrie, cited in Tunstall 2014). Let me be perfectly clear about this right now, I am not even close to meeting the criteria of Australian masculinity. During my autoethnographic studies exploring YouTube, SBS PopAsia, and the internet at large I have come across videos of both Korean and Japanese male performers (singers/dancers/rappers) that not only construct masculinity in a very different way, but are also labelled as “attractive” and “sexy” by fandoms coming from a range of cultural backgrounds (see screen grabs of YouTube comments found below).

My Thoughts and Experiences on the Masculinity constructed by EXO-K (Sheridan n.d.)

EXO-K are a Korean “boy group” who serve as good examples of the complex mix of masculinities that seem to…

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K-Pop and an Alternate Masculinity

A fascinating look at the alternative version of masculinity in KPop…

上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi

Show the stereotypical/average American these pictures and videos, and they’ll likely make fun of how girly these young men look. Even while the likes of Justin Bieber and One Direction enjoy incredible popularity, there is also (among their non-fans) a very prominent and prevalent discourse about how girly they are. Soft, weak, effeminate, whatever words might be used. For all of our claims of openness, of diversity, and freedom, there are a myriad things a young man in the US (and, likely, in many other parts of the Western world) cannot do, cannot be, cannot wear, cannot look like or act like if he wants to be accepted as “masculine,” and if he wants to avoid being called sissy, pussy, wuss, or faggot.

And yet, in K-pop (and in S. Korean and Japanese popular culture & youth fashion more broadly), we see young men dressing, looking, moving, being, the kind…

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Regarding My Gender Identity: Let’s Be Clear!

I love Justin Hubbell’s Comic art! This strip breaks down “concerns” people have about our gender identity/expression, to what is really important.

Fairy JeriBear's Trans/LGBTQIA+ Musings From The City Different - Santa Fe, NM

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Wishing All My Followers & Readers A Happy New Year. I Hope 2017 Will Be Fabulous!

 

 

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New Year’s Day – U2

Another song to welcome in the new year.

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? // Auld Lang Syne | Anthem Lights

A gorgeous way to celebrate New Year’s Eve from some pretty gorgeous looking guys.

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