After being in Minnesota for nineteen meetings, I was finally able to be at a Genderqueer Chicago meeting last night, and it made me so ecstatic that I could barely contain myself. So many sparkle fingers. I just kept repeating how happy I was to be there, to be with everyone — to finally be back. I also realized how much being at the meeting helps me to clarify my thoughts about the topics (and to introduce new ideas).
One of the unique aspects of Genderqueer Chicago is that there is a particular topic for each week. Even more than that, the topics are thought-provoking and specific. The blog also provides questions to aid in thinking about the topics, which always help me (whether I’m at the meeting or not).
When I’m in Minnesota, I do my best to keep up on GqC topics through the blog. The questions help me to form ideas, but there’s no substitute for actual conversation. At the meetings, though, I draw inspiration from what other people say. I figure out what I’m trying to say while I speak. I get support, encouragement, and understanding. People understand what sparkle fingers are (and I have so missed that).
Another thing about GqC that I have missed is that it is Genderqueer Chicago (not Transgender Chicago or Transsexual Chicago or something else). GqC is for gender-variant people and “anyone who wants to talk or think about gender or identity” — it’s not just primarily for trans men and/or trans women. I feel recognized in a way that is more complex than being a (trans) man.
Per Genderqueer Chicago policies, “Genderqueer Chicago will not publish any submission or comment deemed hate speech” (and per the working agreements, we try not to assume anything about anyone’s identities, and we have a way to work it out when something hurtful is said). Obviously, “hate speech” includes transphobic and homophobic language (as well as sexist and racist language), but it also includes language that is classist, ableist, ageist, fatphobic — in short, GqC is more aware (politically, socially) than many organizations I know.
I love Genderqueer Chicago — the organization, the space and community it creates, the friends I’ve made. When I lived in Chicago, GqC was one of the highlights of my week. Now that I’m in Minnesota, I especially miss GqC every Wednesday. Genderqueer Chicago has made an enormous impact on my life, and being back this week has only made me more certain of how important it is to me.