Genderqueer Chicago (GqC) is actually one of the reasons why I moved to Chicago in the first place — I’d found their blog last spring, and the prospect of being involved with such a group was incredibly exciting. And now, they’re one of the biggest reasons why I am having such a hard time with the idea of leaving Chicago. Today is my last Genderqueer Chicago meeting.
I owe GqC so much. GqC helped me through a fairly smooth transition into living in Chicago — a ready-made community and social group. I never thought I’d make friends so quickly. I’d been worried about the fact that I only knew my roommates, but I soon had an active social life. I’ve met such amazing people through GqC; I feel so lucky to be part of it. And that they’re mostly queer, genderqueer, and/or trans-identified has been fabulous. It’s been really the first time I’ve had a trans community — actually, nearly all of the people I know in Chicago are genderqueer, trans, or otherwise non-cis-identified — and it’s such an amazing experience.
When I’d first moved to Chicago, I was stressing to a friend who lived elsewhere about how I was feeling as though I was compromising myself in a way that felt really uncomfortable — trying to fit in in a way that was very closeting. They suggested (well, almost more of an order, but in a concerned, caring kind of way) that I find queer community that would support me for who I am, and Genderqueer Chicago has done just that — accepted me without judgment or reservations.
GqC has also been hugely important in my own trans/gender journey. My first GqC meeting was the first time I’d ever actually, vocally, introduced myself as Ryan. Having people view me as Ryan, a transmasculine person, and not by my former name and as a girl, has been so good for me. GqC, along with TJLP, has really opened up a whole new world for me — a world of infinite gender possibilities. All of a sudden, I had people who understood me — a community of people I could meet with in person. They listened to my stress, my worries, my fears and anger; they celebrated my triumphs with me. They’ve helped me through difficult situations and decisions. They’ve given me a safe space in which to explore my gender and who I am.
On GqC’s blog is the following statement: “Genderqueer Chicago is an inclusive community, and anyone wishing to take part is considered family.” I have found that statement to be completely true. I’ve been part of GqC for less than a year, and it has still become a sort of family. Weekly GqC meetings have been some of the highlights of my weeks — since my first meeting, I’ve only missed a few meetings and then only because I was out of town. GqC has given me so much, and I owe them all more than I can say.
My love and hugs (when consensual) to my GqC family always.