Queer Things – Gay in America, Gender Fork, and Gender-Diverse Cultures

This critique of the book of photos “Gay in America” in light of its representations only of gay men is more broadly applicable to the LGBTTQQ2IAP community (for those wondering, all the letters stand for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirited, Intersex, Asexual, and Pansexual – I may have lost track of the ‘correct’ order!).

Of course, even a book that highlighted both gay men and women would only represent a corner of the queer universe, which include peoples of varying gender and sexual identities that don’t necessarily fall into simple categories like male/female and gay/straight. “I don’t know that any project would ever feel completely representative,” Perez told me. But a little more transparency would be nice. “The title has an ambiguity. You expect to see yourself in there, and you’re not.”

Gender Fork is an excellent website that offers photos and profiles of people challenging the gender binary. Read up for interest, or get yourself included through one of their many options for participating. Here are some of the quotes  and questions they have posted from their readers.

Today, I bound my breasts for the first time since getting them over a year ago. It’s simultaneously the queerest and most feminine I have ever felt.

I use whatever bathroom I want, usually the one without a line.

OK, your sibling has a child. What relation are you to this child if you are neither their uncle nor their aunt?

The more I spend time with children, the more I realize that my maternal nature has nothing to do with my gender. I now know that I can still be someone’s mother without sacrificing my masculinity. I like that freedom.

This map is full of examples of ‘gender-diverse’ cultures and societies around the world which might give some insight into possibilities apart from the limited women/men options of our own society.

On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders. Terms such as transgender and gay are strictly new constructs that assume three things: that there are only two sexes (male/female), as many as two sexualities (gay/straight), and only two genders (man/woman).

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