NEW Trans* & Gender Queer Support Group

Looking for camaraderie and support around gender identity and/or expression? Look no further! Ready, get set, GENDER! Every Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Q Center you too can meet with others who wish to explore the continuum of gender identity and expression through discussion, support of one another, and connection. This support group is facilitated by two master of social work students interning at the Q Center. Lor and Liz bring to the group years of experience in facilitation, community organizing, and expertise in gender and sexuality.

 

 

When: Tuesdays 12:30-1:30 p.m.—Starting January 21, 2014

Where: Q Center (HUB 315)

What: Trans* & Gender Queer Support Group

Why: Because we like you!

 


Creating a Safe Sex Space

Dear Queer, I’m interested in sex–particularly, “s**king and f**king.” It’s hard to find safe spaces in the area, though. What can *I* do to create a safe space for others to s**k and f**k?

I’m sorry for taking so long with this question, I was just really having a hard time trying to answer it. This is by no means my area of expertise, and I wanted to make sure I had something of value to get back to you with! Logistically speaking, I have no idea how you would go about creating your own space. However, I’ve been given a resource that I think you would find a lot of use in. The Center for Sex Positive Culture is “a nonprofit, membership-based community center” that aims “to inspire and assist volunteers to produce experiential events where members can explore their sexual interests in a physically and emotionally safe environment.” It caters to a lot of different sexual interests, from what I’ve seen on their website they are very conscious and respectful of interpersonal differences, and they put a HUGE stress on consent and safety (which are the two things I would have been talking about if I hadn’t found out about the CSPC). It looks like a pretty intense place and I don’t know if it would align with your interests but if what they offer isn’t up your alley they still do hold non-sexual socials that are open to anyone, are free, and exist to answer all of your questions. You can also email them at dropin@thecspc.org for more information. I wish I could give you something more concrete, but I think this organization is at the very least far better suited to answer any questions you have than I am, and I’m positive that you could make some really good connections there. Let me know if you have more questions, and good luck!


Winter Social Events!

Q Center Winter Dawg Daze Social

The Q Center is a fierce primarily student-run resource center dedicated to serving anyone with a gender or sexuality. Come by on Thursday, January 9th at 3:30 to learn more about the Q Center, eat sweets, meet new people, and play video games!

oSTEM Meeting

oSTEM is back and ready for our first meeting of the quarter! The point of this meeting is to welcome you into the new quarter and introduce yourself to the oSTEM community. So come around to say hi to new friends or greet old ones. There will be food!

When and Where: Thursday January 9th 4:30-5:30pm @ the Q Center***

oSTEM stands for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We aim to unite the LGBTQQIA students studying science, technology, engineering, and math to foster a strong professional and social network and to promote LGBTQQIA awareness within the academic and professional communities.

***- oSTEM’s meeting will be held along with the Q Center’s Social


Being Queer at UW

Do you feel comfortable being queer at UW? I’m just wondering because I visited this fall and I would love to go to an accepting college and escape what seems like the only homophobic area in California. Also, thanks so much for this blog, it really helps.

Honestly, I really do. It’s hard for me to tell if this is a product of luck or if this is the overall climate of the campus, but I have had an almost exclusively amazing experience being queer. At the beginning of my time here, I went to two different events hosted by the Q Center: an open house and a welcome luncheon. I’m a really shy person so it’s not like I necessarily thrived and immediately made a ton of friends BUT some of the first faces I saw on campus outside of my dorm were queer faces, and there were a lot of them. If you do come here, I really recommend hitting up the things we put on during Dawg Daze (a week long string of stuff on campus for newcomers to get used to the place and have fun and etc). We did some info sessions this year and within the space of three different hour long get-togethers we had organized new clubs, people had found common interests (there were a LOT of people into roller derby at the first one), etc., and it was really cool to watch everyone mesh and figure their stuff out.

I took advantage of natl. coming out day last year to make a big ol’ heartfelt post on Facebook about my queer identity, and though I was by no means “in the closet” it was the first time I was really articulating it to EVERYONE in my life, not just the people I’m very close to. I lived in the Honors community housing, which was really amazing for a lot of reasons, and even though I hadn’t really made any deep connections at that point, over thirty people from my floor liked the post and affirmed my identities and were so unbelievably supportive in the way that I needed it most: casually.

My worst experience was, ironically enough, in a class focused on oppressed groups and their representation in Hollywood. I had to do a group final project on heteronormativity and about half of my group was so overwhelmingly homophobic and transphobic it was a real challenge to get through the class. I regret not talking to my teacher about it because I know they would have done something (which I’m about to follow up on), but I did at least find solace in the other half of the group, who were incredibly supportive and kind. The group was really heavily polarized and it’s not something I want to experience again.

That said, one of the best experiences I’ve had here was this past quarter, in my Psych 101 class with Kevin King. I was definitely not the most committed person to the class; for the first half of the quarter I sat in the near back and texted my friends instead of actually paying attention to what he was teaching and what I could learn from it. There came a point where he did an activity where students would first click in that they were male or female and then participate in an onscreen poll. It made me incredibly uncomfortable, and I emailed him about it the second I had a chance. Not only did he respond immediately, empathetically,  and graciously, but he then worked with me over the course of a few emails to figure out how he could change the way he talked about certain things to make them more queer friendly.

In the end I got him to start using phrases like “assigned sex” and the like, and it significantly improved my experience in the class. I started sitting about four rows from the front, my grades shot up, I was getting more out of the class, etc. I later introduced myself to him in person and I began to make a point of it to approach him after class to talk about a few of the issues he touched on in a more intersectional lens, which doesn’t really get to happen in the context of a 101 class. It was a really incredible experience for me! From this all I can say is I highly recommend talking to a professor if something rubs you the wrong way, even if it’s a professor with 400+ students per lecture. It’s worth your time, and there’s a lot of support to be found on campus; luckily the support isn’t hard to find.

I’m glad that this blog has provided something for you, and I’m happy to help! Thank you for keeping up with it. If you end up choosing the UW, we’ll be lucky to have you.


Genderfluidity and Hormone Therapy

I was designated male at birth, but I identify significantly more often as feminine than masculine. I’ve been referring to myself as genderfluid, but I think I fall somewhere on the male-to-female trans spectrum. Is hormone therapy something to consider if I don’t know if I identify fully as a woman, but want a feminine body?

I’ll be honest with you, I really don’t know a lot about hormone therapy! I only know a handful of people who undergo/have undergone it and it’s never something I’ve very seriously considered by myself, so my knowledge on the specifics of it are little to none and I can’t really draw on that in responding to this. But I think the real question is, do you think the result of hormone therapy will be beneficial to you? Because just from this question and the way it was phrased, it feels like the answer is yes (but that’s up for you to decide!). You don’t need to identify within the gender binary to want the physical changes that come with certain trans-oriented medical treatments, just as looking a certain way will never qualify or justify your gender identify any more than you want/need it to.  Don’t hold yourself to the expectations that people have of those who undergo hormone therapy when your comfort and happiness is something that could be tremendously improved! There are some cool people over at Hall health that are way more qualified to talk to you about this in its specifics and in the actual process of making this massive transition, and I really encourage you to go talk to someone about it. I hope this helps and I’m sorry that I don’t have more to offer from my end on this. Good luck!


Am I Asexual?

I think I’m asexual but I’m not exactly sure. I do still have a sexuality, as in I want to date girls, but I don’t want anything sexual. Is this still asexual or is it another thing entirely?

I’m gonna go ahead and say that you PROBABLY rest within the realm of the asexual spectrum, just from what you’re giving me here, but I really don’t want you to just take that away from this response. Note the use of the term “spectrum” in addressing asexuality; I have a lot of problems with the way asexuality is talked about (half-heartedly) and taught (note: it isn’t), but one of the things that bother me most is the way that Sexual vs. Asexual are so heavily locked into opposing binaries. It’s just so inaccurate and pigeonholing and frustrating! Within the asexual community (and there’s a pretty strong one! check out the forums on asexuality.org), there are a few different terms thrown around to differentiate the flavors of being ace. Demisexual, greysexual, aromantic, etc. etc. Take from those what you will… I always feel like relying too heavily on words is dangerous when talking about something very intrinsic to your individuality, but there is definitely solace in seeing that this thing you feel is felt by others! One thing that a lot of people find very useful is discerning between sexual and romantic attraction and seeing how this plays out for people who AREN’T asexual. For example, someone who doesn’t have a very strong preference when it comes to hooking up with someone but only has interest in getting seriously involved with girls. With this in mind, it’s definitely a Thing for you to want to date girls but have no interest in becoming sexual with anyone. Asexuality in its simplest form is a person who does not experience sexual attraction; not a person who doesn’t date, not a person who has no libido, not even a person who doesn’t have sex! Just someone who does not experience sexual attraction, or even just experiences it in such low amounts that the lack thereof is noticeable. I really recommend checking out AVEN, there’s a lot of good discussions happening all the time and I think you’ll find you really are not alone in this one! Hope this helped!


Queer Sex Ed

Queer Sex Ed

Date & Time: December 3 | 6:00-7:30PM
Location: Savery 264
–Facebook event link–

 

Everything you wanted to know about queer sex but had no one to ask about it!

The Queer Student Commission has gathered a team of panelists who are experts in and extremely knowledgable about queer sex to answer any and all questions you may have about bodies, minds and the ways they can interact with each other in a nonheteronormative and noncisnormative context. Debunk all the myths you may have heard in high school or ask anything you’ve wanted to know about how bodies work.

The experts on our panel are Tobi Hill-Meyer, Seattle-based trans activist and educator, Allena Gabosch, director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture, Mac McGregor, trans activist and educator and City of Seattle LGBTQI Sensitivity Trainer, and Nik Fuentes, Babeland Sex Educator, and they will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

Note about accessibility: Please refrain from wearing scented products, as we want to keep the space as scent-free as possible. Savery 264 is wheelchair accessible via the southeast entrance and has elevators to the second floor. ASL interpretation available upon request. If you have any questions, contact Kristen Blackburn at asuwqsc@uw.edu


What if I Want to Bind?

I am a queer person with a vagina who has always thought of herself as cis. Lately I have been really wanting to buy a binder because I occasionally very much dislike the appearance and feel of my breasts. I don’t think of myself as anything but a woman and still don’t, but I’m a little confused by this. I know labels are something one has to choose for themselves but I am sort of struggling with identity because of this. Am I a cissexual who just doesn’t like my own boobs, or am I some type of genderqueer?

If you don’t think of yourself as anything but a woman, this question kind of answers itself. Breasts do not a woman make. There are plenty of cis women who don’t like having breasts, want smaller breasts, whatever. And discomfort with gendered parts of your body is not equivalent to genderqueerness, especially when from what I can tell you’re so comfortable with identifying yourself as a woman. There are some pretty great and very cheap binders on eBay that you can check out, like this or this. I’m pretty sure I own the second one, and it works really well. I have DDD breasts and with my binder on it looks like this:

So that’s pretty decent. Especially if it’s just something you want to test out without spending a ton of money. I don’t think you need to worry about your gender identity, but that’s up to you to think about. I hope this helped!


Testing the NonBinary Waters

Ive always known myself to be a cis girl, preferring she/her pronouns, grouping myself with girls, etc but Ive never really felt 100% girl??? Only very very recently have I started to consider the possibility of me being any other gender and I’ve started to personally consider myself as agender. I just feel it fits me better, but I’m so used to understanding myself as being a girl so I don’t want to go through telling everyone I know to refer to me by they/them pronouns only to find out that I am no longer comfortable with that identity. I just really dont know where to go to from here? Do I wait and think about it some more? Is there some way I can try out being agender?

First and foremost I just want to say that I 100% support anyone and everyone exploring the different shades of their own gender, whether you ultimately identify with what you were assigned at birth or not. I think it’s really productive, fosters empathy, and ultimately just leaves you more satisfied with yourself. That’s my two cents, both from my own experience and from observing my friends and peers. I think your last question is really powerful, and I just want to give you a short answer: yes.

You sending me this message makes me think that you’ve thought about it enough to just need a bit of affirmation. Exploring different or new aspects of your gender identity does not require you to dissociate from what you’ve affiliated with in the past. Pronouns are pretty powerful, and what I recommend more than anything is telling a handful of the people you’re closest to (maybe even who you talk to most) that you want to try new pronouns. I completely understand not wanting to commit yourself to something so vague and malleable, but I also want you to understand that it’s okay for something to feel right at one time and not feel right at another. This is something new that you’re exploring, and I don’t want you to restrict yourself because you’re nervous it won’t pan out. In terms of how you interact with others, language is what’s most important, in my opinion. If you ask a few people to refer to you with they/them, hold them to it (for the sake of you not being frustrated, I would hit up the most queer-literate friends you know first).

You don’t need to burn your dresses and start binding and cut your hair and whatever else is strongly associated with nonbinary identities to BE nonbinary. There’s no one way to be not cis, so I say just focus on what draws you to the idea of being agender, or even what not being a girl means to you. Personally, I associate myself very strongly with the idea of nonbinarism, and maybe even lean towards my own concept of masculinity, but my favorite outfit still involves a skirt and tights and I look damn good with the right eyeliner. It doesn’t make me less nb. Do whatever feels right in the moment, try to not ascribe behaviors and appearances to specific genders, and see how that feels. And don’t be afraid that what you’re doing and what you’re exploring won’t be what you want down the road, just grow with your understanding of gender and test the waters a little bit in regards to how you let people refer to you. I hope this helps, try to have fun with it, and good luck!