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Trans Story Circle #2, February 12, 2020

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[Participants: Aneeq Ahmed, Juniper Alliston, Cori Elam, Bailey Garvin, Anna Lantry, Quincy Meyer, Catherine Raffin and Ray Wolf]

JUNIPER ALLISTON: Welcome everybody to Trans Gender Stories Circles Part Two, to be continued into spring term, but this is the last one for winter term. What we're going to do first is everyone is going to grab a paper-oh I should-hold on-I can read the exact prompt and not improv it. Okay, so, the topic for today is how do you experience gender, and this is open to interpretation and it can be abstract. It can be realistic. It can be truly whatever you want. Something cool about this is our coworker Kaiden is going to be making a zine out of these transcriptions and the illustrations could be a part of it. If you don't want it to be a part of it, that's totally fine. If you want to keep your drawing but you do want it to be in the zine we'll just take a picture and yeah, so we're 00:01:00going to take 15 minutes or so, that may be too long. I don't know, as much time as everyone needs. I'll just look around the room when everyone is looking up and confused and then I'll be like, okay, let's move on. But afterwards, we're going to go-we don't have to go in a circle. We can popcorn and whoever ends up going first or next or last or whatever, you're going to start with introducing yourself with names and pronouns and then basically what we're going to do is we're going to do a show and tell and we're going to explain our drawing and how we experience gender. We're going to go one at a time as well, just because on the recording it will be hard to transcribe if multiple people are talking at the same time. But, that doesn't mean that we can't form a conversation. We just 00:02:00have to wait for folks to finish. Okay, does everyone have a paper? Cool. Then again, I didn't bring pens. I apologize. I'm also just scatterbrained so I'm sure we probably have pens somewhere. Alas, we will survive. Also, these markers might suck.

RAY WOLF: Yeah, they do.

JA: I have no idea. We need to get new supplies really bad.

ANNA LANTRY: Part of the art is the journey.

JA: Yeah, if you have your own stuff, too.

CATHERINE RAFFIN: You guys can use them if you want. It's like felt tip-end type markers.

JA: Yeah, I was going to say we just have to make sure we don't get them in the box.

CR: You guys are totally welcome to use them.

[For about 20 minutes, participants worked on their drawings; the recording was 00:03:00edited to remove this non-conversational time.]

JA: OK. So, I'm not entirely sure how I wanna go about explaining mine. But, I think I'm just kinda gonna go for it. So, how do I experience gender? Open interpretation. Well, here's mine. Also, sorry, my name in Juniper, I use she/her pronouns. I'm a Peer Facilitator here at the Women and Gender Center, and one of the facilitators for this event. And I am so happy that all of y'all could come out tonight to share community.

Anyway, this is my drawing for how I experience gender. I started off with drawing a box and me in it, and the box is open. Because I'm like, "Holy shit, the box does not need to be closed. There should not be a box in the first place." And then as a result, my eyesight is turning into a firework because I'm like, "Hooooly shit, there doesn't need to be a box." Anyway, and then I drew my 00:04:00face, but I put everything in a different way. I don't know, a different position. Because...I don't know, sometimes I don't even know what my identity is, and I think that's OK because gender is a construct, and we kind of just are going for it, and living our lives and doing our own thing. And so, I feel like, I'm just kinda going through the motions really. And, I made a question mark that just says, "Who am I?" over and over and over again. And then I put my name, my full name, everywhere. Cause my full name was one of the first things that I truly decided for myself when it comes to my gender, besides like identifying as a trans woman.

And so - yeah, I don't know...I think, there's a lot of hardship that comes with 00:05:00transitioning for many folks. And I think, for me, that is a big part of how I experience gender cause towards the beginning of my transition at least, a lot of my experiences were specifically based on the viewpoints of folks around me. And I allowed those things and those thoughts to really penetrate me and define who I was for a really long time, because I didn't really know who I was. I just knew that I wasn't what I was assigned, way back in the day of birth. [laughs]

And - yeah, so, I think that a lot of my experiences have been me learning to love myself and kinda seeing myself for who I am, without taking into account the perspectives of others, when the only perspective that matters is my own. Yeah....so, that is how I experience gender. Who would like to go next?


ANEEQ AHMED: I can go next. My name is Aneeq, I also go by Kiran. My pronouns are they/them/theirs. I think I identify right now as non-binary and also as trans fem. My....drawing is this. Which.....I think my general state of being is kind of like a whirlwind or a vortex. So, my gender, I often experience in that way too. And I wrote next to...the stuff that it's a whirlwind of anxiety, joy, love, care, fear, hope, loss, grief, love again, change, energy and transformation. The clouds kind of represent all the states - my emotional 00:07:00states, that happen.

Yeah, I think it's just like really complicated for me to be in my gender. I have a lot of feelings of grief and loss and fear, that arise because of - like, my family is important to me, my cultural heritage is important to me, and sometimes it feels like I need to lose that to be trans and my gender. Because of just the way that my - I was culturally brought up, and also because of how I think, there's like a White narrative around how to be trans and gender non-conforming. And I don't fit into that, entirely. But I also wanted to note that at the same time, there's a lot of good things about my gender and gender 00:08:00expression. It has brought me closer to a lot of people, in really important powerful ways. And, into a lot of networks of care and support that I really value. So to me, it also looks like caring for others, because trans people only have trans people [laughs] to look after them, and we need to be there for each other. Yeah. So, yeah...I think, yeah - I experience my gender in different ways, and it's a process, it keeps changing. Yeah, that's I think all I have to say about that. Yeah, and it's also quite fun, I think, to be my gender. Yeah, being trans is fun.


JA: I love gender euphoria.

AA: Yeah.

JA: All right. Before we go to the next person, if anyone's interested, I just took a huge - dollop? Is that a word? Dollop of hummus? - with my cookie. It wasn't terrible. It was just like a very salty cookie. So, it wasn't amazing, but I'm not puking. Therefore, it's fine. [Laughter] In case anyone was interested in knowing. Anyway, who would like to go next?

BAILEY GARVIN: It's good to try new things.

JA: Huh?

BG: It's good to try new things.

JA: Absolutely.

RW: Go for it, that's why we have you June. [Laughing] I'm not gonna try.

JA: Who would like to go next?

ANNA LANTRY: I'll go. My name is Anna, she/her. The way I experience gender is pretty set. I've known who I was since I was three years old and that hasn't really changed. What does change for everybody is how people treat you because 00:10:00of that. I drew kind of an egg, not quite a circle, because it's not perfect and it's not so clear cut and then I drew a line, except it's not quite a line because, again, it's not so black and white. Things go back and forth with how you're being treated or how you think you're being treated or how you feel about yourself from day to day. I drew three different arrows: one of them's got an infinity, one of them has an ad lib, one of them has a question mark. These different events, or shifts, there can be several going on simultaneously, short and long-term. The timeline's not defined and it's unpredictable. It can you leave you feeling like you're in several centrifuges at once going in different directions and different speeds. On one side I drew the happy face and the flower, that could be like when you feel like you've been validated or affirmed by someone else or something that happened when you're going about your day or you just did your shot and you're feeling pretty good, except when you don't. 00:11:00Then, the "no" with the "blaaah," is not feeling good because the asshole at the gas station called you sir or you and your mom aren't talking right now, or hormones are wearing off, but you can't do your shot for another day because the doctor said so. yeah, it just kind of goes back and forth between the two at different intervals and it happens in several different ways at any point in your movement through time and something we all have to deal with. Everyone does, trans or not, but especially if your trans you're more aware of it because you can't hide from it. So, yeah.

JA: Thank you for sharing.

CR: I almost feel like we should be clapping or something after all of these. [Applause]

JA: I feel like we are artists giving our artist statements at like a gallery 00:12:00space. I mean, to be fair I'm an art student, so, I do have to do that. This is very reminiscent of that and I love it.

CR: That really does explain the detail on your drawing. Because when I saw your drawing, I was like damn [laughs].

JA: I like to do the most is the other thing.

CR: It's okay to be extra sometimes.

JA: The issue is that I'm extra all the time [laughter]. I don't know if that's necessarily an issue, though. I don't know.

AL: To each their own.

JA: Yes.

AL: I'm really musical but my hands are shit.

JA: Okay. We love being musical. Okay, anyway, sorry. Who would like to go next?

BAILEY GARVIN: I'll go. I'm Bailey. I go by he/him pronouns. I put the water just like a little bit tumultuous, not really sure exactly where they're going 00:13:00to go. Then this is more of my transformation into my bringing up the water, because I feel really connected to water. I feel much more stable in my gender identity and much more know who I am after many years of trying to figure it out and I thought of it like the roots are bringing water up in different ways going into the tree. This is how I feel like I am going towards the future with bringing my own colors and energy and bringing it into the community now.

JA: I love that.

BG: Art class was definitely my saving grace in high school, the only way I made it through high school. I don't feel like an artist, but art is very important to me.

JA: You just have to state, "I'm an artist," and then bam you're an artist. It's that simple.


BG: It's self-acceptance. [Applause]

JA: Thank you for sharing. Who would like to go next?

CORI ELAM: I can go. Hello, my name's Cory. I use they/them/theirs pronouns. Shameless plug: I am a leadership liaison for SOL: LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network. I'm not facilitating, but enjoying this space. Okay, I didn't put as much detail into this, but basically, I tried to recreate myself in cartoonish form. I identify as non-binary, trans masculine, but for me when I think about trans a lot of times people want to put you in a binary so bad. They want you to either you have to be fem or you have to masc or you have to be a man, or you 00:15:00have to be a woman. For me, I don't know, I just feel like I exist in the middle space and I like it there and I just chill and take up my own space. That's why I'm shrugging in the middle. I wrote on the bottom that I started testosterone this past year so loving a new body is different, is new and different, and it's also hard sometimes but I'm grateful for the process and trying to learn to be grateful towards myself and my body but also my gender, because I don't want to fall into this narrative that other people have that transgender is horrible or everything has to be hard all the time and practice loving myself and loving my gender and that sort of stuff. I wrote change is helping in a little testosterone bottle. My friend always teases me and says on shot day, oh are you going to go get your boy juice? So, I wrote that on the bottle with little hearts because I think that's really sweet.


JA: Thank you for sharing. [Applause] Would anyone else like to share? If not, we can just hang out.

RAY WOLF: I can go for it. When I drew this, I didn't really think about it. I don't usually think about what I draw, but it makes sense. I was not thinking about my gender identity right now. This is more like a before gender identity, so more or less my journey. It was really painful, that's why I think it's crying a lot. It's pretty and it's a little bit morbid but it be like that. But, I drew flowers and ferns because I feel like I've grown from all that pain and I'm a different person and it's better. It's more like, I don't know, it's 00:17:00beautiful. I really like ferns. At the same time, the eye is half open because I didn't really know what the fuck was going on until I don't know I was like sixteen. Really late. I didn't have any type of, no one told me that trans was a possibility, so it was yeah-I also drew that one because I've been invalidated so many times because I don't have the genitals that are expected, and it pisses me off, it just pisses me off. I have the genitals that I expected to have, you just don't have the mindset that you have to have, and that's it. There's not correct or incorrect genitals, there's just fucking genitals. The smoke for me 00:18:00is a symbol of a path to the future to see what it looks like. I don't really know yet. I just have to say I don't really empathize with this drawing. I don't feel really connected to it, which is good. I'm just like, I don't know. I draw a lot of morbid stuff. I don't know. It's what I know how to draw. I don't really feel connected to this anymore so it's cool. I like not being connected to this. Yeah, that's it. [Applause]

JA: Thank you for sharing. Alright, would anyone else like to share?

CATHERINE RAFFIN: Okay, hi my name's Catherine. I go by she/her pronouns. This 00:19:00is my drawing. I couldn't decide on what to draw, so I decided to draw multiple things. I don't really know where to start. I feel like a big part of it is that I don't really know what to draw because I don't really know what's going on in real life, which sounds like a poor way of phrasing it. It's just a lot of confusion, which is really the brain, I think embodies just the whole aura of it. It's so much confusion and a lot of frustration and it's very difficult to navigate through life, I guess, being transgender because it's like you have a lot of struggles with people that aren't in your community, but you also have so many struggles connecting with people in your community. I don't know if anyone 00:20:00else really had that. I'm seeing a lot of nodding, so I feel like it's just so weird how difficult that is, where I almost feel like we go through so much of the same stuff, but we don't really talk about the hard stuff that isn't stereotypically hard. Where it's we all know what it's like to get misgendered or something but there's more going on beneath that that we all experience that we can talk about. A lot of my own confusion came from that and I'm mainly just trying to find other people that I can connect with in that way. After that, I just drew other stuff that's been in my life that is associated with gender. I drew the little Reddit guy-do you guys use Reddit? Does anyone here use Reddit? [laughter]


CR: Alright. A lot of people use Reddit. I very recently got into it. I realized 00:21:00that transgender people on Reddit have a whole community that I had no clue about. How I got into it is that I actually went on a Tinder date with this girl, and I'm obviously not going to tell who she was, but she was transgender too. She used the term "egg" to refer to herself. Do you know what that is?

AL: Yeah.

CR: Yeah, because you drew an egg. I was like, is that the egg, like the term? Was that related?

AL: No.

CR: No, okay.

JA: What does egg mean?

AA: But it's cool that you made the association, I suppose. An egg is someone who is trans, but the veil hasn't been lifted yet. It's when they figure out that they're trans or when they decide to start doing something about it, it's like your egg got cracked.

RW: Huh, interesting.

CORI ELAM: I don't know how I feel about that.

CR: Who said that? Was that you?

CE: Yeah, that was me.

CR: I don't know how I feel about that?

CE: Yeah.

CR: Same. Because I found out about the egg metaphor from her and I thought that 00:22:00she was crazy. I did not understand what she was talking about. She's like, back when I was an egg. I was like, did you call yourself an egg like an insult? Like I was an egg, you know? Because I've heard that before, it's like you're being a total egg right now. But I was like, what? So, I found out about Reddit from her, because she was very into the internet and she talked my head off for it. Anyway, that's not as important. What's important is that then I went on to Reddit. I found out that there's a lot of stuff going on there that's really good, like trans timelines. If you guys want to follow that that's something that I follow that I like a lot. I think that it's very motivational. Then there are some that are not as great in my opinion that made me feel even more dysphoric just knowing that people are making jokes about the hardest parts of our lives instead of talking about them.

RW: Those are the farts.


CR: The farts?

RW: Yeah, instead of TERFs. They don't deserve even the TERF name. They're just farts.

CR: Oh, well, that's [giggles]. I'm referring to trans people themselves, though, if you know what I mean?

RW: There's trans people that can be farts, too.

CR: Are there?

RW: Yeah.

AL: Well, Reddit especially, it's like yeah there's a lot of people there. There's a lot of toxic people, too.

CR: That's valid.

RW: There's trans people that-

AL: They'll try to be helpful or supportive, then they'll just rip you to shreds in ways that they won't do on any other social media platform.

RW: They're just other trans people that invalidate others because they're not on hormones or they haven't had the surgery so they're less trans than someone that-which is bullshit.

CR: I've seen a lot of that on Tumblr. Not as much on Reddit, though.

JA: I've seen it on Tumblr, too.

RW: I've seen it everywhere.

CR: But Tumblr has everything. I remember Nazis on it, which I think is so ridiculous, I'm like-

JA: Tumblr is a fucking mess.

CR: Tumblr is, though.

JA: That's why I don't use it anymore.

RW: It's astounding.

CR: So is Reddit, though. I'm like everything's a mess now.


AL: Yep.

RW: Agreed.

CR: It was just such a weird thing to find out about that and it also gave me a lot of sense of community. I drew a skateboard, because recently I started skateboarding and that's a very gendered, not-gendered thing. They pretend that it's not, but it kind of is. It's almost all men that are doing it and then when you do skate and you're a girl you get cat-called if you're not in the right place. I haven't in Corvallis, but Eugene every time I would go out on a skateboard people would be like, ew, skatergirl. Just yelling it across the street at me. It was terrible. It made me super uncomfortable. Doesn't get that here though. Everyone's really supportive, even when you suck at it. So, that's great.

It's also a big part of dysphoria, because I want to play into the whole skater role and wear loose and baggy clothing but then it's like if you do that and you 00:25:00don't have a passing voice and people can't see your long hair because it's under a helmet or something and all they see is the baggy clothes, so they can't see your form and all they hear is your voice which is androgynous, masculine, whatever, or if you're going the other way, I guess feminine. The point is, is that it can be hard. I drew a centipede because centipedes are my favorite bugs and recently I came up with a good metaphor for them. Have any of you read or heard of this book called If I was your girl? No one? It's a young adult novel about a transgender girl and that's basically the gist of it. It's a stereotypical young adult novel but with a trans protagonist, which is awesome. It's written by a trans girl and all that. Sorry that I'm talking a lot. I feel like I'm talking a lot.

ALL: No.

JA: There's so few of us. We get the time and space to have our piece, so please 00:26:00use as much as you need to explain your piece.

CR: This is also my very first time going to a trans group thing. That is partially why I feel like I'm talking a lot, because I feel like there's a lot of stuff that I don't ever have a chance to talk to anyone about. Anyway, in that book there's this whole thing where the main girl, the protagonist, was saying that she's always been a girl. People are like, "Are you a boy?" She's like, "No, I'm a girl. I've always been a girl," even though it's pretty clear that what they're asking is, are you trans or not? That book is kind of cheesy, but it made me really realize that you are born the gender that you are, and I never liked the metaphor of turning into a butterfly because I'm like I was not a caterpillar before. I was not something entirely different. I didn't shelter 00:27:00myself and build a cocoon and then come out looking beautiful. It's just you are what you are when you're born. I think it as more like being a centipede, and this is a cheesy metaphor. I'm sorry that it's ridiculous.

RW: It's definitely better than the butterfly, in my opinion.

CR: Thank you. you haven't even heard it yet and you're on board. I love it.

RW: Yeah. I know. I totally agree.

CR: You're like, there's a centipede? Hell yeah [laughs]. It's a bad metaphor. But it's one that's used a lot, sadly.

RW: I know. I bet it's one created by a cis person.

CR: Probably.

RW: Probably. Because if you think about it it's transphobic.

CR: A little bit. Do cis people become butterflies then? That's my question. Or do they just stay caterpillars? Like what's the idea of it?

AL: Well, it's basically a genetic variation or birth defect. We're just doing what we got to do to be comfortable and live our best life around that.

CR: Being transgender?


AL: Yeah.

CR: I'm not so sure if I would call it a birth defect, though.

AL: Well, it's like, this is who you are. This is secondary.

CR: I guess.

AL: And in in some people there's that variation where it doesn't match up.

CR: Yeah. I don't know. I just feel like defect is a strong word. I don't know. I haven't even gotten to the rest of it yet. The centipede metaphor essentially is though...Back to the metaphor, is that I said that thing about centipedes and millipedes is that they are super similar but they're kind of different and I'm an etymology minor, so this is why I use the bugs as a stupid metaphor thing. I said that it was like being born a centipede but being raised as a millipede. People keep trying to feed you a vegetarian diet or whatever and it doesn't really work out. As you grow older you start to realize that you don't have as many leg segments as all your millipede friends. Everyone keeps saying that 00:29:00you're a millipede but you're like, I don't know. Something's a little bit different. Then you finally realize that you've been a centipede this whole time. You start hanging out with centipedes and doing centipede things. You never really change. You just grew. You got longer, and you got bigger and it made you realize who you are, but it never changed who you were. It may make you look different. You may get bigger and scarier as the centipede metaphor applies, but you're not getting, you're not changing your person like a butterfly is.

RW: Another metaphor similar to that one, is, you're born lefthanded and people try to raise you as right handed. Things don't really work out. You can't really do much, like you're not really functional and then people discover you're left-handed and they start treating you as left-handed and everything works out. And it's way easier for you to figure stuff out.


CR: Right. Exactly. Are you left-handed?

RW: Yeah, actually [laughs]. That's what's happened to me.

CR: Really? That's awesome. I mean, it's awesome that you discovered that you were not what people were trying...

RW: I mean, no, no, no. I knew I was left-handed, but they were like in Spain being left-handed was like [gasp] devil. So, they tried to teach me how to do stuff with my right hand, which caused me now... I can't cut stuff with scissors with my left hand. I don't know how to do that. I can only do it with my right hand, which makes no sense. Yeah, then I just started doing things with my left hand and like I'm...

CR: More useful.

RW: Actually.

CR: Nice. Good discovery.

JA: I really like that centipede metaphor. I'm going to use that.

CR: You're totally welcome to.

JA: I'm totally going to use that.

CR: ...steal parts of my collage.

JA: I will quote you.


RW: Just make a communal drawing about the centipede.

JA: Like a little comic. That could be fun.

RW: Like up on that wall.

CR: Get a centipede going.

RW: Why not?

JA: Yes. I love that.

RW: Yeah, me too.

JA: I think we should do that. Okay, next time we have one spring term, we're going to make an enormous centipede poster. Everyone will have a hand in working on it.

RW: Heck yeah.

JA: I'm a fan. Your impact.

CR: Yeah. If there's a centipede poster, I'm going to feel very impacted... impactful?-I left an impact [laughs].

ALL: Yes!

CR: My impact was a centipede poster. So, then I drew a La Croix, which, do you guys like seltzer?

ALL: [Some yes, some no.]

CR: I love it, and everyone makes jokes where it's like oh it's kind of the flavor or something, like La Croix takes like somebody made a soda next to a strawberry, or something like that.


JA: My favorite one that I've heard-sorry to interrupt.

CR: No, go ahead.

JA: My favorite one that I've heard is, it's seltzer water and someone across the street screams a fruit.

ALL: [Laughs].

JA: Fruit is screamed at, anyway, go on, sorry.

CR: Well, this happened very recently as I was having a conversation with one of my friends and she was telling me about this girl that she knew that is trans feminine and it's not exactly where, I don't really know how to describe this in the correct way, like ways that sounds good, but they're not entirely being like, ah, yes, I am a transgender woman. They're more like trying to be a non-binary but they don't necessarily use that terminology. I drew a La Croix because the story that she told me was that, so my friend told me this-this girl 00:33:00once described herself to me as a La Croix-flavored woman, no, a woman-flavored La Croix. Like, if there was a woman-flavored La Croix she would be it. That was one of the metaphors I think I did not like, if I'm going to be completely honest. If you said that to a cis person who was trying to understand gender and you're like I'm a woman-flavored La Croix, I would be like that's a terrible way to represent trans feminine people, in my opinion.

JA: It's funny.

CR: It's hilarious. It's so funny. But I'm like please don't go around town telling everybody this because I don't want this to be another thing that we're known for. But it's one of those things where I'm like I don't really know if it's mean for me to say that I don't think that it's a good way to describe yourself, because it's like who am I to limit what she describes herself as even though it's not what I think I am or what I think most trans fem people identify 00:34:00with, but it's like maybe I don't know. It's just like, I want to not care but it's hard to learn how to, it's almost like how to learn to be more accepting of your own community when you're in it. It's almost like internalized transphobia doesn't go anywhere and it's still something that you have to get over and I've been doing a really good job of it recently, like in the past year or so, because I've been seeing a therapist about it and stuff. That was just one of those times where I was like, do I think it's terrible? Yes. But I'm not going to say that she's not trans or that she doesn't get to be a woman or a trans woman or whatever she identifies as, because I really don't know because I don't know her personally. As a woman-flavored La Croix, she can identify as that, I guess. It's just a weird thing where I don't really understand it. Even though 00:35:00I'm trans there's still parts of being trans for other people that I don't understand. Then the bathroom signs. It's kind of generic. That is just like you know what's weird? Masking your voice when you go to the bathroom. Not talking to people. That's weird. Anyone else do that? Where it's just like you walk into the bathroom or did do that and somebody says, like, oh, nice pants. And you're just like, you don't say thanks. You're just kind of like [wave and nod] because you don't want to...

AL: That was the first thing I changed, personally. Because I didn't want that.

CR: Oh yeah?

AL: Mm-mm. That's my job now is helping other people do that.

CR: Oh really?

AL: Yep.

CR: That's a very rewarding job I feel like.

AL: It is. I have like 40 people. I get to do what I want. I sent notes to the IRS that are pretty hilarious. Because I don't have a boss to yell at me about it. It's pretty great.

CR: Nice. So, that kind of brings me to the end of my drawing. I have two people yelling about the binary and the spectrum. I did that because for a long time I 00:36:00was on the binary side, even though I was trans. which is again, me talking about internalized transphobia is that I was like, I don't understand it. You should just want to be a boy or a girl or identify as one or the other or maybe you can be neither, but neither is just being a third option. As I got older, and I meet more people, my mindset is definitely going towards more the spectrum and-I'm sorry, I completely forgot your name, but what was your name again?

AA: Aneeq.

CR: Aleeq?

AA: Aneeq.

CR: Aneeq?

AA: Yeah.

CR: Am I saying that right?

AA: Yeah.

CR: Aneeq, when you were talking, even, I was kind of like that's a new perspective that I've never heard before that kind of made me like the fact that I drew a spectrum because I was kind of like oh that's important to know that I'm changing into a growthful mindset, I guess. I know that it's hard to be 00:37:00like... I don't know, I feel like hearing from another trans person if I was non-binary that they used to think of gender as a binary it'd be kind of hard. So, I apologize if that's what it feels like, because I really don't mean it that way at all. It's really just my past, I guess. So, yeah, thank you for listening to my TED talk.

JA: Thank you for sharing.

ALL: [Laughs and claps].

JA: Speaking of the spectrum thing, I can't remember if it was a year or two years ago, probably in a Queer Studies class, I can't truly say, but something that became an important topic of discussion was how spectrum is almost an outdated term. It used to be binary and then spectrum was starting to be used as a description for gender experiences. The new one that I heard, I don't know if there's another name for it, but the way that it was described was a constellation. There's multiple spectrums. There's multiple points that never 00:38:00meet just because there's so many variations of how folks experience gender and stuff like that and experience sexuality. I thought that was super cool. I was like, wow. I don't know. something that I think is really cool, kind of related, it's really interesting being in a class and discussing outdated terms and stuff from like 15-20 years ago and then like experiencing a shift in language in the present day. That isn't really something that I've thought about until entering college and it's a wild thing too to experience and recognize is the language that we use eventually will probably be outdated to an extent and there will be other words to describe experiences.

AL: I've dealt with that because I get students from all different points of 00:39:00their transition. I'll get older transgender people that are like a decade post-op and they come in using terminology that's very different and it's like if someone described me that way I'd smack them. Like, I had this one older lady from Oklahoma who was like 15 years post-op, the voice was the only thing she ever did. She kept describing transgender people as transgenders or transsexuals and I had to be like you can describe yourself however you want but please don't call me that because to me that sounds like, it's like if I went up to a different part of Texas or Oklahoma and they were like, "Look at here son, it's one of them there transgenders."

JA: Oh my God. I do have a piece that I want to respond to that with, but first now that Quincy is here, I'm so sorry: please introduce yourself.

QUINCY MEYER: Hello, my name is Quincy. I use ze/hir/hirs pronouns and am 00:40:00arriving a little late because of a class that went until 6:00 but I'm happy to be here. Also, a conversation's been happening from what I've heard.

JA: Yeah, loads of fun conversations.

RW: I also haven't introduced myself. I forgot.

JA: Oh my God, okay, well please introduce yourself.

RW: I forget stuff. Hi, I'm Ray. I work here as a peer facilitator. I use he/him pronouns and that's it [laughs].

JA: Did you want to take part in the drawing aspect?

QM: Oh, yes. Please.

JA: Yeah, okay. Well, the paper's right there and then we have a bunch of markers. Do you need a hard surface?

QM: Yeah, that would be good.

RW: Here's okay, well, sorry. If you want to use this.

JA: Oh, a clipboard.

RW: I just call it that to be bombastic.

JA: So, with the transgenders thing, it's so interesting to me because I don't 00:41:00know, I have interacted with a lot of older folks, like, older, older folks, like 50s, who are not queeror trans, who are cishet folks, and I laugh every time just because I know that they mean it in the best way possible. They are not trying to be offensive. They are trying to be allies and understand things, but I've heard trans-ing so many times, instead of transitioning.

AA: Instead of transitioning?

JA: Trans-ing.

RW: Trans-ing?

JA: Yeah, I'm trans-ing [room laughs]. I think it's really sweet. I know that the terminology is wrong but they're trying and like...

RW: It doesn't sound offensive.

JA: Yeah, exactly. It doesn't sound offensive.

CR: I actually might use that now.

JA: Yeah.

CR: I'm just trans-ing.

JA: And the fact that they were two different people who do not know each other and had never interacted, or at least not that I know of, both used that term is 00:42:00so funny to me. I'm like how many other old, I mean, you don't have to be old. Also, they're not technically old because we describe old to be 90 years old.

AL: Right, 90. That's the cut off.

JA: So, they're young. Anyway.

AL: Mature young people.

JA: They're mature young people. It just makes me think how many other mature young folks out there use the word trans-ing to describe transitioning.

RW: I started trans-ing a year ago.

CR: I feel like that's something that would come off of Tumblr, I'm not going to lie. Some even young person being like I'm trans-ing right now and trans-ing became trending, you know?

JA: It reminds-like, now that you say it like that, you know how everyone says oh they're just vibing?

CR: Yeah [room laughs].

JA: I feel like they're just trans-ing.

CR: When you're vibing but you're trans.

JA: It's like transitioning plus transcending.

CR: Oh my God.


JA: I'm trans-ing right now.

QM: That's funny. There are some academics now in transgender studies who do use trans as a verb. It's a thing that's happening now. You have some queer scholars using queer as a verb and being like oh we're trans-ing this, we're putting it in a framework here.

JA: I have heard that.

QM: Yeah, I remember some people were talking about trans-ing Ursula from Disney and I was like what does that mean? Then I was like oh they're not saying that she's literally trans they're saying we're bringing in a trans framework to talk about this character and I was like that's fascinating.

JA: And like, I don't know that's so cool. Because we were just talking about spectrum versus constellation and how language is evolving and that's cool. I don't know because a lot of us don't necessarily understand that, but also this could be a norm like 5, 10 years from now that could be the language that seems 00:44:00to describe these experiences and frameworks and that's rad. It's really fun. I don't know, language: whack.

BG: I think something that you bring up is important to think about that; I think you had said it too, we have a small similarity but we all have different life experiences and different things that we're bringing to it so there is no trans this. We all have, are bringing in our authentic lives into the small part that is trans and sometimes the trans thing feels bigger, I mean in my life that's how it is. I can remember years ago where it was all I could think about and now it's like I hardly think about it. I only think about it when I'm in queer spaces or when I'm in binary spaces. But I think it is important to think 00:45:00about. I grew up with a lot of people who identified as transsexuals and mostly transsexual women and I was always like, I have this much in common with you. But then when I started to listen I was like well, I mean, you know, there's some... and I'm somebody who finds the silver lining in pretty much anything, so I was like okay I can make this happen. I can understand this. But for the longest time I was like oh yeah, I'm not that kind of person. Distancing myself. Then I'm like you know what, okay, let's bring some of that together and okay maybe I'm not so different from you and just reframing it. [Room agrees]

JA: Oh, my goodness.

RW: I just find it really interesting how our generation more or less every time that we hear transsexual we cringe really hard. I really like that.


JA: Hey it's an outdated term now.

RW: Yeah, it's like, it's not nice. It's just like I don't want to be pathologized. Like, don't call me a psychological term, thank you. But yet, it's really cool that more or less our generation, at least the trans people, some cis people too, cringe when they hear that.

JA: It's also like a regional thing. Because language shifts in different ways. One, globally, like there's different terms for different identities outside of, you know, anything. I don't want to get into all of that right now, but there are so many different terms and it's really interesting thinking about just in the United States like the amount of different terms that are used to describe either similar experiences or dissimilar experiences. I don't know. We have a 00:47:00lot of language. We have a big vocab. I'm trying to remember, there was this one thing that someone was telling me-what was it? It was like a two-dollar vocab word or a 25-cent vocab word. You know, I don't actually know how this is related at all. Nevermind [laughs]. I'm going to edit that out of the audio, later.

CR: Great story.

JA: Anyway, so... are you still drawing?

QM: I think I have enough that I can use it as a springboard.

JA: Cool. Would you like to share?

QM: Sure. Yeah, and we're-my understand we're doing this on like how we 00:48:00experience gender, right?

JA: Mm-hmm.

QM: Okay, so I guess some metaphors that I was thinking about was-and of course metaphors aren't perfect, but one that I've liked over time that may be becoming outdated even now, like the constellations thing, but also people are talking about gender as like a color wheel. You know, where different genders can blend into different shades, different place and people can be-this is somebody whose gender is more fluid. I kind of move around. Most of the time it seems like I move around between identifying as a woman some of the time, but then other times I feel like I move just to a lighter shade of that to being like going 00:49:00into that's not even a primary color anymore and then I become a more non-binary piece or some fluidity there. It could be like if say I don't know the gender woman was represented by the color blue, I would go between blue and green maybe, into yellow. That's one thing I've found helpful. Again, has its limitations because sometimes it's like where would agender go in this? Or, yeah, things like that. I also sometimes felt like my gender is a ship in an ocean and sort of stop by a few different islands sometimes and lots of the time 00:50:00it's just a big, fat question mark. A lot of the time. It was for a very long time for me simply, because I think the stories that we get about trans-ness and trans people don't really fit non-binary experiences like what I just described, so it's a lot of like, okay we're just going to ignore the other pieces here and just go with the assigned gender but that really... it's just like being on autopilot and then I finally figured out why the further I went into actually studying gender and getting more involved with non-binary people, in particular, especially over the time of being in grad school with my Master's. That was a 00:51:00big time. Yeah, just getting some more examples of variety that's out there and that's not all like the Caitlyn Jenner story or people like my grandmother, who happens to be an older trans woman, and her-bless her heart, she sometimes doesn't get it, but at least she's trying. Those are the kind of examples that I had for what trans experience was like. Then, figuring out that, oh there's more was a big deal and it was a gradual process and I think there wasn't really like a tipping point or realization in my experience, it was again a very gradual thing.


Lots of questions, the biggest one being like could identifying as non-binary just be about stereotypes and that's why I don't like... then I realized... I tell myself all the time that those stereotypes are fake and don't matter, you know, the, for lack of a better words, feeling is still there. I think that's not uncommon experience that people have of wondering like is it just a bad stereotype, or am I just a gender non-conforming person in the classical sense of just being, instead of identifying with the gender we're assigned at birth but just expressing themselves differently? I went through a phase where it seemed like it was that, but, yeah, but the further I went along and explored more, my ship, the metaphorical ship, I realized that that wasn't the best way 00:53:00to describe it and having all this vocabulary really helps, that we didn't have before, so I'm grateful for that or even like having more metaphors like the color wheel. That can be helpful or even just being like it's okay that it's a big question mark some of the time and yeah. I think that, that at least as far as the metaphors, kind of describes what my experience has been like thus far. I'm sure that there'll be more, as I go on, and again probably all of these maybe seem out of date. I don't know, maybe young people, when I'm an old person, will cringe. Who knows? [Laughs] We shall see. That could actually be a 00:54:00good problem, sometimes. It's been wild sometimes, but yeah. I think this point in history as we've been talking about, is a good time to have these conversations, so I'm grateful for that. Thanks for listening. [Room snaps]

JA: I'm going to check the time really quick-it's 6:36. Well, we finished the prompt, so if you all want to stick around longer until the even ends at 7:00 we can just hang out and talk and make more conversation. It's totally up to y'all. What are y'all feeling? [Pause] [Some laugh]


CR: We just need a topic.

JA: Cool. I got a topic. I am so excited for spring. Oh my God. My allergies are going to be so bad, but I'm so done with the cold. This is the first time I've worn a skirt all term just because it's been too cold and this sucks. We had a couple days of sun but also, I have to get up really early and it's freezing in the morning. I'm like okay, no fun clothes, but when spring comes, and the sun is out and it's actually warm and lighter out all day, I'm going to be at my prime. I'm very excited. So, I guess, that the topic could be multiple things. It could be do you have allergies? Because I do: pollen, wild. We don't have 00:56:00much of it in southern California because everything is dead all the time, but almost every single fucking tree on this campus flowers in the spring and I'm like oh my God, it's wild. So, if you have allergies, take care of yourself. That could be a topic. We could also talk about what our favorite season are and why? What does everyone-we also don't have to talk about the seasons at all. If someone else has a better topic, please I would love to hear it. [Two people start talking, people laugh]

AA: I do like the aesthetics of autumn. I'm not sure if I like being cold, but its aesthetically pleasing. Spring is fun because it's warm here and you can do things outside. I'm excited to go swimming in the river eventually.


CR: In the river?

AA: Yeah.

CR: There's a river here?

AA: Yeah. There's the Marys River at Avery Park and it kind of goes in a circle. Don't go to the Willamette River because that's polluted. But the Mary's River there's a good, really cool spot in Avery Park. There's a rope swing that you can jump off of...

RW: What?

AA: It's fun.

JA: I mean, I'm also a baby. I'm a big baby. I'm also just from southern California so I'm used to heat. The water is freezing regardless of the season, so if you do want to go swimming in the river just beware it's going to be cold.

AL: Duly noted. Yeah, Texas was always just fucking hot.

JA: Yeah, I can relate.

AL: I don't miss it.

JA: Well, welcome to the-

RW: The rain.

JA: Huh?

RW: The rain.

JA: Yeah, welcome to the rain. Welcome to the cold.

AL: The rain I'm okay with and the cold. But I do have a lot of dresses I can't wear until it gets a little bit warmer. It's most of what I wear when it's not 00:58:00cold. But then, like I said, I look forward to the Fall up here because my favorite season is deer season.

CR: You hunt?

AL: Yes. Speaking of activities where people look at you weird for being not the stereotype.

CR: Hunting?

AL: Yeah. Because it's all men and like you go to the range to practice or you go out there and they're like where's your husband?

CR: Right. I can understand that.

AL: It's like, I don't have one. I have a girlfriend.

QM: Oh yeah.

CR: Good on you, though, for staying with it, you know?

QM: Yeah. Break those stereotypes.

CR: Yeah. It's hard to go against them.

AL: That and eat animals that have been able to roam around more freely and not have to pay for meat.

RW: Shit, now that I think about it I grew up in a family of hunters. There was 00:59:00no women hunting. No women. Holy shit.

AL: I don't know. I feel very accomplished going from literally farm to table all on my own. And it tastes good.

QM: Nice.

RW: And I know, yeah-I'm pretty educated in the whole hunting thing. I just don't do it.

AL: It's not everyone's cup of tea, and that's fine. It's a lot of work.

RW: A lot of trauma from my childhood [laughs].

AL: A lot of work. A lot of blood and guts.

QM: Yeah, lots of that

CR: I feel like it's one of those things that I always wanted to learn but I don't have a good reason for it. I just want to learn when the apocalypse happens you know?

AL: That's what I'm saying, too. If the shit ever hits the fan, at least I know how to get a hold of my own food and I've got the tools to do it.

QM: Got to be prepared.

CR: Do you guys like Valentine's Day?

JA: To an extent.

RW: Like?

AA: Some years, more than others.


CR: Yeah, like. Do you enjoy?

JA: It's a day.

RW: It's just capitalism.

JA: It's a capitalist holiday.

CR: But every holiday is that.

RW: Christmas, Halloween.

QM: Oh yeah, everything.

RQ: It's everything. I hate it.

JA: But we can have fun. We're allowed to have fun, right?

CE: I'm totally on team pro Valentine's Day. I think it's so great. You get to spread love. It's literally a holiday for love.

RW: Just don't buy stuff.

CR: No, but you can buy these tiny-ass chocolates like for $1. Buy 10 of them and go give them out to 10 of your friends and you'll make their day.

RW: Or you can do origami hearts. You don't spend shit.

CR: Yeah, and people love it. It's so great. Because people love getting gifts on Valentine's Day and I feel like people just don't think about it.

AL: Like you can buy a good steak a day or two before and cook with your significant other if you have one and just don't go eat out like everybody else, because like, my God.

CR: Save money, and it tastes better. If you can cook, it tastes better.

RW: If you burn down the house.


QM: Right? Well it was funny, though. My parents are coming to visit on Friday and my dad was like we'll be in around dinnertime we should get something to eat. My mother's like we'll have to do fast casual because it's Valentine's Day. I was like, oh yeah. As you say, it's just another day to me. Again, I've never liked trying to go out on Valentine's Day. It can be fun once you've gone through all the planning and getting there and the long wait. But...

RW: Just do not support the capitalist system. Just do shit in your house. You don't have to wait.

BG: I just like to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show.

QM: No, that's fun.

AL: And every day is a good day to have steak.

JA: Once Valentine's Day is over, all of the chocolate is on sale.

CR: Yes, the day after.

JA: So, that is something.

CR: That's a holiday.

JA: The holiday is the day after Valentine's Day.


CR: They try to get rid of all the nice chocolates, its amazing. I'm glad that you're defending that.

JA: Absolutely. They got some good chocolate and when it's cheap, love that.

CR: Has anyone ever actually gotten a restaurant reservation, though? Are any of us bougie enough for that?

JA: I've never gone out on Valentine's Day.

RW: Like, we're still talking about Valentine's Day?

CR: Yeah, like exclusively on Valentine's Day, the stereotypical date night at like, I don't know where do people go? Outback?

RW: We just don't celebrate it in Spain.

CR: Huh?

RW: We don't celebrate it in Spain.

CR: Oh, you guys don't, really? Like not at all?

RW: It's like, yeah, another American capitalist holiday. We don't do that.

CR: Was it invented in America?

RW: Valentine's Day?

CR: Yeah.

RW: We don't do it in Spain.

AL: Yeah, it actually comes from-

RW: And if we don't do it in Spain we always blame America. I don't know why we do that.

QM: I think that-


RW: Halloween, like, I mean I guess these past few years it's been people are celebrating it, but definitely not at the level that people do it here. The first year I came I was like, wow. Wow. Literally everyone downtown is with a friggin' costume. That's insane. That's insane.

CR: It's amazing though, isn't it?

RW: There's free candy, I mean.

CR: God, I love holidays.

BG: But Halloween is good... I don't know if I want to use that word necessarily, but it's a very positive for most trans people because, it's a lot of times - well, from, mostly from friends of mine that identify as trans women, they found it much more of a place where they could start to play with gender in a safe way in families that are not letting them do that, you know? It's like what's that costume in your closet? Oh, that's from Halloween. You know? It's a 01:04:00safe thing.

QM: And I do, remember reading about the whole history with Halloween and gender nonconformity in all directions, that has been a very positive experience for a lot of trans people. It seems to be a long tradition to dress with Halloween in general, it tends to be a time when stuff like that can come out. It can be a really fun experience in that way, even though now, it may feel a bit capitalist right now, but I do-

JA: A bit [laughs].

QM: I understand that, yes. I do like that aspect of it. That's fun. Although I think it is a little different when you're female assigned, people tend to have 01:05:00a different reaction.

CR: What do you mean?

QM: Oh, because of how patriarchy works tends to be more of a threshold before people...like for instance, I never had to use Halloween as an excuse to wear a suit. I never had to do that. It never crossed anybody's mind that that's something I would have to do. In fact, there's even "women's clothing" that imitates a suit. So, there was never that sort of pressure. I think a lot of it comes out of, like a weird patriarchal way of viewing femininity, that if you are female assigned and you are doing something that's perceived as masculine, it's seen as like, "Oh, upgrade". Up to a certain point where it's like oh, not that, threatening, bad. That line can be very, very thin. It can be confusing. I 01:06:00know, this wasn't my experience, but I know from girls who were like real tomboys, even cis girls who were very tomboyish as children, if they continued doing that once puberty hit, that was supposed to be done. You were supposed to have this big transformation and be feminine and if you didn't do that, oh Lordy, Lord, Lord. It was bad.

AL: It's weird to think that all of this stems from outdated medical practices.

QM: That too.

AL: I don't like the term assigned so much as assumed, because the truth is your gender's not just what they saw when they looked between your legs. One, they get that wrong sometimes and, two, it's also well, there could be parts internally on the medical side of things. You could have both in some way and be intersex. Chromosomes, they never check those. There's so many different variations and there's so many other things. We're assuming who people are and 01:07:00who they're going to be their whole life based on a very one-dimensional medical assessment, when we have the technology and the means to do a lot better than that, and even then, it's not going to be a 100% right.

QM: Well, yeah, and I know a lot of cultures around the world have just gone without doing that and a lot of why there is pressure, like, to put a gender on a birth certificate is frankly a lot of legal stuff around old inheritance laws and all these kinds of things that we have now. There's so much variation. I actually have one of those with - chromosomally, and it was interesting.

AL: It's almost as bad as if surgeons didn't wash their hands because they didn't believe in germs. Or if you were having epileptic seizures they assumed it was the devil. It's that... like 200 years ago, when those practices were 01:08:00happening, were kind of either ways assuming that we're [inaudible], so it's, we've moved on from these other things, why not this one?

QM: Yeah, and I think that-

AL: It's bad science.

QM: And just... yeah, and I think it would be helpful to find ways to move on from that that are good for intersex people. Because when I've heard doctors talk about improvements in technology, they're like "Oh, we can just get better at predicting this". It's like oh, good Lord, stop trying to do that period. Don't. Because they think that they can somehow appease the intersex community by being like, "Oh, we can just predict this better and still go forward with surgeries on children". I'm sorry. no. That's not... no. No, no, no. That's not how any of this works. That's good for no one.


AL: And yeah, they've made recent discoveries that point to a much higher percentage of people that are transgender are intersex in some way. There's mosaic chromosomes where some of your cells are XY and some of them are XX. They didn't discover that until 2015.

[For about four minutes, one of the participants shares personal medical information that was edited out of the recording for privacy.]

JA: I'm thinking... I'm still on the Halloween train.

QM: Yes, let's get back on the Halloween train.

JA: I love Halloween. Halloween is such a queer and trans holiday. Every single person that I'm friends with and every single person that I've interacted with who identifies as queer trans loves Halloween. It's our holiday. Anyway, I remember with the whole safety thing, when I was in 10th grade I was out as gay. I was very comfortable with myself. My family was really accepting, which was really good. This is going to sound really edgy, but for Halloween I wanted to 01:10:00dress up as a demonic tooth fairy.

RW: Wow.

JA: Yeah, I know. But it was wild, because I wore a dress for the first time and I wore a wig and had long hair for the first time. The wig was blue. It was probably about that color, actually. That was the first time that I vaguely experimented with gender expression. It was one of those moments I was like, this is good. This is really good. I've had moments like that throughout my life. In high school that was probably one of the bigger ones in terms of like recognizing who I am and coming into my identity, which was the theme of the previous transgender story circles. I don't know. Halloween has a very special place in my heart.

QM: Yeah, Halloween is good.


JA: I do have some questions that I wanted to ask y'all really quick, before we end our event. First, I wanted to ask what y'all would be interested in having a discussion in like a topic about next time if you're interested in coming. What would you like to be a part of, I guess, so we can cater to the audience that we're reaching, because we want people to keep coming back and we want to continue doing this.

[At this point, the participants engage in a conversation for about 15 minutes in which they discuss various potential future topics such as people's experiences with changing their voice, mental health, internalized transphobia, and imposter syndrome as a trans person. During this post story circle time, the participants share personal information that was removed from the recording for privacy purposes.]