Because this is a general question, the list that follows is also fairly general, but I hope at least some of it will work for you. It’s also quite long, so stick with me.
Before I get started, I want to preface this with a couple of points:
- If you need more specific resources or have more questions, my askbox is always open. I currently have anon enabled, though that’s not always the case.
- I am not trans*. There are multiple trans* people in my life, but I am not a trans* person myself.
- I’ve tried hard, especially in the student resources, to focus on issues of identity and socialization while avoiding explicit sexual content (anything beyond what’s standard for school-appropriate YA materials, basically), but be aware that trans* people are almost always sexualized just for existing, so you might encounter resistance on that factor alone. I encourage you to push back, if you have any power to do so.
- I use the word “trans*” to include all people who are not cisgender—that is, all people whose sex/gender assigned at birth does not match the sex/gender that reflects their sense of self. “Trans*” includes people who may or may not ever choose to alter their bodies to match that sex. It includes people who do not claim a gender at all. It does not inherently include or imply homosexuality. If this first point is confusing to you, some of the teacher resources below should help you brush up, and you should absolutely do so before you attempt to integrate this stuff into your curriculum. Nobody expects you to be perfect, but I hope you will do the best you can, which means continuously educating yourself even if you think you’ve already got a handle on it.
- I’ve done some serious work to look at reviews and criticism of anything I’ve included here, but it’s entirely possible I’ve missed something either in my reading of the material itself or in my evaluation of resources. On that note, if you see something I’ve messed up, PLEASE tell me, because I don’t want to have a resource list that’s going to make things worse for the students who need their education environment to be more accepting.
- It’s a good idea for anyone who uses these resources to be aware of the fact that something may very well come up later and you will need to respond appropriately.
- Trans* people are not monolithic, and the conversations by and about trans* people have moved rapidly over the period of time that the discussion has been public and publishable. Older texts, while potentially revolutionary for their time (or even for the present) might contain words that are no longer considered acceptable. Newer texts may contain the same words, and they might be reclaimed or they might just be used by people who disagree on the usefulness of new terms or the offensiveness of old terms. In the same way it’s not a good idea to treat any work by authors of color as definitive representations of PoC or any work by a woman as a definitive representation of women, please don’t treat any single work or organization as the definitive resource on trans* issues.
“We walk down the streets of San Francisco past the rainbow saturated businesses with that flag that supposedly represents us flying high. We are on our way to see a trick, our friends on their way to pick up hormones, on their way to stay at a “trans and lgbtq youth friendly” shelter. We are told that here, things are different and in our bones we certainly know that they can be- but only if you have money.
Soap shops with rainbows, bars with “gay” themed drinks, clothes shops with “local” queer designed 70 dollars tee shirts.
Upper class “lgbt” culture. There are billboards with drinks alluding to the type of sex we might have, there is so much industry surrounding “being queer” it’s hard to keep up with what market has been penetrated last.
Apparently, this is mecca. How empty it is.
Capitalization of queer culture is in the wake of the anxieties of rich queers to assimilate into straight, bourgeois society. The only celebrated culture of queer then, is that of the capitalist queer.
Once a position goes to market and is adapted as a marketable social phenomenon , it automatically loses all of its teeth and is no longer a threat.
This is what happens when rich queers continue to assimilate- believing that if they too can marry, have a business and express romance in public that then they will be “free” of the subjugation of straight society- by becoming just like them.
Assimilation is queers and all other members of the not-straight society- attempting to emulate heteronormative relationship structures which are vital to the reproduction of capitalist society. Assimilation is death as all of capital is a total dispossession of all that harbors something like living.
As we find refuge in our small networks of solidarity it is in spite of the agonizing alienation we feel on a daily basis in this society. The extent of our existent within this world as queers has nothing to do with the marketability of our lifestyles and sex lives but is due to our exploitation. We hear of another friend beat up, murdered, things we hear from our queer community that reaches our ears through the grape vine that consists of panic and crawling skin.
We are constantly forced to submit to the whims of whoever
we can get resources from- whether it be a sugar daddy, non-profits, the bourgeoisie who open their hearts to us for a moment- we have learned how to hold our tongues, we have examined the ways that we are spoken to like insolent fuck ups by older, richer queers who, even with their stares seem to be saying “ Don’t you know things get better- so get with the fucking program kid.”
There are campaigns totally devoted to saving us- well-meaning college queers helping “homeless queer youth” get back on the right path. There is so much sympathy, pity and disdainful romanticization to go around it has become a market. This is our exposure- as the problems of the queer community or as the privately exploited. Beyond that we are petty annoyances or otherwise invisible. Aren’t we happy that we have so much exposure now?
Capitalist queers don’t see that in life under capital things cannot be better for some of us and never will be. Clearly there is a divide between the queers who have and the queers who have not.
To us they are not even queer- they too are our enemies.
What we are calling for is the total destruction of straight culture- the culture of capital and all the bourgeoisie queers who lap it up so pathetically.
We don’t want the dancing, the fucking, the partying to stop- lord knows we love a good dance party- but we want the dancing and partying and fucking and loving and bonding to be a top the grave of straight society, of the society that silences us.
What is destructive to straight society- we know can never be commodified and purged of rebellion. So we maintain our stance- as fierce fags, queers, dykes and trans girls and bois and gender queers and all the combination and in be tweens and those that negate it all at the same time.
We bid our time, striking here and there and fantasize of a world where all of the exploited of the world can come together and attack. We want to find you, comrade, if this too is what you want.
For the total destruction of Capital,
bad bitches who will fuck your shit up.”
Currently in production.
Kate Bornstein is a Queer & Pleasant Danger is an intimate portrait of an artist illuminating one of the most influential minds over the past three decades in gender theory. This film is not a biographical report on someone’s life or a linear story. It is a study of a human being and an exploration of form and content to reflect the complexities of Kate and her world. The film engages with Kate’s personal and public persona illuminating her multifaceted, sometimes contradictory and always charming personality, which has won the hearts of people worldwide and alienated others.
The film explores Kate’s artistic practice, her influences and the way she has created language, space, and permission for generations of people to live their lives.
The film looks at Kate’s life journey as a shape shifter, gender theorist, and means of surviving great depression while engaging with nature of art, community, being queer and transgender.
A kickstarter worth supporting.
Original Guardian infographic here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2012/may/08/gay-rights-united-states?CMP=twt_gu