Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

~~~

Wow. Okay. Hi. So it sounds like you want a Genderplayful Marketplace to happen. Awesome.

I’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the letters, comments, tweets, likes, views, posts, and reblogs from the last 5 days. Ya’ll are phenomenal.

And videos are a lot to ask. I know. So far I’ve received four of them. I can work with that, but really, it would make a huge difference to our upcoming fundraising effort if we could bring in more. Also: all of the videos I’ve received so far appear to be from transmasculine crowd (trans men, butch/androgynous women). These are fantastic, and please keep them coming, but it would also mean a lot to the balance of the project if we could pull in some representing trans women, femmes (men, women, and so on), drag queens, and other genderfabulous faces.

So here’s where we get serious. If you’ve been thinking about making a short video of yourself explaining why this marketplace is important to you, go do it. Get it done. Go go go! Don’t worry too much about making it clean and perfect — I’ll be editing it down to chunks and weaving it together with other videos. You will be beautiful.

The best way to send them appears to be through Google Docs. Just log in, hit “Upload”, get it up there, and then hit “Share.” Share it with genderplayful@gmail.com.

For those who might be new to this conversation, here’s my overview of the project, complete with me sitting naked in a towel:

And here’s a small handful of the things people have written…

Why is a marketplace for androgynous clothing important? Because of people like me.

I want to be able to dress up, feel comfortable, feel like myself on a daily basis. I want to be able to have variety in my clothing styles besides just “jeans and a t-shirt” while mainting an androgynous image. I want suits and dresses and kilts and dress shirts that don’t accentuate the fact that I was born biologically female. I want to be able to find a place to buy and replace binders and packers of all varieties. I want a place where boots and shoes are bought and sold that fit my feet and don’t have a high heel.

To those trying to get this project off the ground, and turn this into a reality, I am grateful.

You’ve been to the department stores…

Here is an example of a genetic male androgyne shopping experience:

Go into any department store and look for clothes in the mens section, and you will find the following colors: beige, brown, gray, black, and navy blue. If you’re lucky you’ll find some red, forest greens, or maybe even a colorful Hawaiian shirt. The only place you’ll ever find a sense of color is in men’s dress shirts, but they all of the same cut, and usually are solids or pinstriped if you’re lucky – no scoop neck, V-neck, or something innovative and fun. If you want teal trousers or a paisley patterned shirt then you’re out of luck. Also, the men’s clothing isn’t fitted – it’s meant to fit baggy and not show off your figure. Fitted shirts or slacks are a rarity for men in department stores.

So you go shop in the women’s section and find the color and pattern you’ve been looking for. But the sizes aren’t big enough, the tail of the shirt is too short to tuck into your pants, the darts in the shirt are useless on your flat chest. The trousers would look cute on you, but don’t fit right around the hips, so you find a pair that does, but the pant cuffs are too short and barely cover your ankles.

I think there is a niche market for genderqueer fashion – the only other option I see is to break out my sewing machine and spend all of my free time making my own clothes, and I’m not that good at it anyway.

–Timi

Buying from our peers just feels better.

Where I get my stuff from matters to me. I like the idea of being able to dress the way I want to and buy from my community at the same time. I love the idea of a place where the genderqueer community could come together to swap second hands stuff that worked. I adore the idea of having a place to talk about how to make stuff fit or look cool with other people who get it. It would be fabulous to have a place where I could find people who made genderqueer stuff and support them in making my life a little bit easier.

I am also super excited about having a place where I could sell (or heck, give away) some of my funky femme clothes to my super beautiful funky femme brothers and sisters and siblings.

These are rocking my world, ya’ll. Keep the stories coming!

~ ~ ~

Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

As luck would have it, the two books I contributed to this year are being launched in the same week.  This is actually quite lucky because it means I can confuse everyone with it, and distract them from looking at one book with the other.

Here they are…

1) Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. (Get it.)

genderoutlaw This is a very powerful and important book, and you should buy it.  I say this not as a contributor, but as someone who’s been holding space in the gender-variance advocacy world, who knows that most of you are craving more exposure and information, and don’t know how to get it without coming across as clumsy.  THIS IS A GOOD BOOK.  It’s a patchwork collage of 52 voices, many of whom are hidden in daily life, but all of whom are well-spoken and have something powerful to say.

I’m honored to add that my piece is the End Note. It’s a brief meditation at the back of the book about where I see us, and where I think we’re going.  An excerpt:

We are five years old. Eighteen. Thirty-seven. Sixty. We are starting grad school, starting companies, starting families, and starting trends. We are serving coffee and signing paychecks, nursing the sick and teaching children, building technology, growing food, producing masterpieces, and changing laws. We are woven into this culture and we are finding each other. We are sharing our notes, strengthening our stories, reaching out for one another, and welcoming everyone in.

And when we wake up in five, ten, twenty-five years, we’ll find that the queer issues we’re fighting so hard for today have been trumped by an understanding of the fluidity of gender. We’ll have learned that masculinity and femininity are not mutually exclusive, and how satisfying it can feel to represent both at once, or neither…

Buy the book to read the rest, and the REST! ALL of the incredible essays, stories, poems, naked pictures (yes, naked pictures), cartoons, and conversations. I’m serious. You want this one. Go get it.

2) Coming & Crying

Edited by Melissa Gira Grant and Meaghan O’Connell. (Don’t get it.)

comingandcryingThis is the other book I’m in. You don’t need to read it.

The project itself, from a purely observational standpoint, is fascinating. Melissa Gira Grant and Meaghan O’Connell decided they wanted to have an intervention into publishing — especially published sex writing — and to bring more of the rich, raw, honest writing style that was surfacing on the internet (about sex) to the printed page. They used a service called Kickstarter to raise some money from the community before they gathered the writing, so they could self-publish it properly. Their goal was to raise $3,000. They raised $17,000. And now they’re starting their own media label.

(But just because the project is fascinating does not mean you have to buy the book.)

The book is erotica-meets-drama. It’s a book of sex stories with all the messy awkwardness and overanalysis left in. I wrote a story for it. It’s under my real name. It’s a very personal story. Let’s just accept right now that I’m never going to run for Senate.

If you are a member of my family, I strongly recommend that you (please) do not buy this book. If you have a purely professional relationship with me and would rather not feel weird the next time you see me, I also really don’t think you should buy it.

And if you’re anyone else, you know what? We’re in a recession. You need to buy groceries. Look! Shiny things! I think your grandmother is on fire. Don’t look at the book.

Also? It was a limited print run. They’re gonna sell out soon anyway. And who knows — they might not print any more. So you probably can’t get the book anyway. It wasn’t meant to be. No, you can’t see an excerpt. You never heard about this. Enjoy your day.

(Don’t get it.)

Love,
Sarah

Genderfork.com — a volunteer-run community expression blog about gender variance that I founded two years ago — has exploded. In a good way. We’re getting far more submissions than we know what to do with, and the comments have started overflowing into tangential discussions. It’s time to grow.

Last week, we put out a call to the community, asking who’d like to help advise us on the creation of open community forums. We figured 10 or 15 people might raise their hands right away. When 70 did, we closed down the invitation and marked the group as Full. (Yep. Definitely a need for forums.)

Kicking off that discussion this week, we asked everyone involved a bunch of questions about where they’re coming from, what their interests are, and what they’re most inclined to talk about in a community forum about gender variance. We also included a question about how Genderfork has affected their lives and their own identities so far.

The responses hit me hard. This is the kind of site that has a big but quiet impact. To hear people put that impact into clear terms was hugely helpful to me, and moving.

Here were some of them….

* * *

“The biggest thing Genderfork has done for me is give me permission to not fit. For a long time I’ve felt like expressing an alternate gender without being trans in some way detracted or disrespected the life experiences and narratives of trans people. Genderfork has helped me embrace a gender identity that isn’t cis and isn’t trans and is still completely valid. Genderfork has helped me to feel real.”

* * *

“Genderfork is great! It’s helped broaden my idea of gender and taught me about the different labels we put on ourselves and each other. It’s a supportive little community that is very kind. I’m very glad it’s here on the Internet or else I think I’d be totally lost.”

* * *

“Genderfork hasn’t helped me with my identity formation, per se, but it has been crucial in how I’ve grown to accept it. Without the blog, I’d still probably be closeted about my third gender and feeling quite bad about it.”

* * *

“The blog helped me an amazing amount. I used to be just very, very confused. I didn’t even think it was possible that I could have a problem with my gender! Then I found the blog (I wish I remembered how), and it helped me a lot to figure out that I can be very happy even if I don’t present the gender traits of my sex.”

* * *

“Genderfork helped me to realise that it was ok for me to not be a woman or a man. I think before I realised that I was unhappy sometimes living as a woman but that I didn’t think I would be able to transition and live as a man full time either. I think genderfork helped me see that those are not the only two options and encouraged me to explore who I am a little bit more (still exploring, still having great fun doing it).”

* * *

“Genderfork has been invaluable, not in the formation of my gender identity, but understanding how that identity was defined. I already knew how I felt, but it took seeing other people relate to that, then label it, for me to understand what it was. If it wasn’t for genderfork, I’d still have that general feeling of ‘wrongness’ when acting or dressing as my gender identity.”

* * *

“Genderfork (along with the nudging of some friends of mine) opened my eyes and really gave me a safe space to examine and explore my own identity. I intellectually grasped the social construct of the binary, but was blown away by how many of the quotes and profiles here especially hit home for me. Seeing all the different labels or refusals of labels that people came up with was extremely educating in terms of showing me how wide this community really is. Also, being able to have a space where i know there are answers to the questions that answered anywhere else, and seeing, below every submission and profile, a flood of “Me too!” is really empowering.”

* * *

“As far as gender identity construction is concerned…well, Genderfork took me as a very confused individual and left me as a very confused individual. But it a good way! Knowing that there are alternatives to the oh-so-constricting binary is definitely an improvement from where I was. I’m still working through a lot of things, but it really helps to know that there are like-minded people out there in the world, and maybe even closer to home than I originally thought.”

* * *

“It’s shown me there are others out there who are like me and yet entirely unlike me at the same time. It’s helped guide me toward the ways to outwardly express my inner identity.”

* * *

“I wouldn’t say Genderfork has helped me form my own identity as much as it has shown me how diverse other peoples’ genders can be. It’s also helped to show me that it’s not abnormal to have a non-binary gender identity.”

* * *

*gulp* Okay. We’ll keep walking.

A year ago, I wrote an open letter to Silicon Valley, asking people to stop and think about how they’re handling gender (and race, for that matter) in their community websites.  The short version is that if you’re requiring users to select their gender from a drop-down menu that has two options in it, you’re alienating some people. I didn’t offer alternative solutions at the time — it was just a request for everyone to think about it.

(Note: if you’re not clear on why gender is a complicated issue in data collection, please stop right now and go read that other post before continuing. This will make a lot more sense after you do so.)

After grappling with this problem on a few other projects, and talking about it in a session last week at She’s Geeky (I called it “My gender broke your drop-down menu…”), I’d like to now offer my suggested alternatives.

Alternatives to asking for a user’s gender in a required two-option drop-down menu…

Option 1: Make it Optional

Baby steps.  If the idea of getting fancy with your data collection method gives you nightmares, just remove the red asterisk.  Stop making it required! Most people will still answer the question, and those who don’t want to will select not to.  Put a plan in place for how to treat and account for those who don’t want to declare their genders, and you’re done.  It’s not the most celebratory or inclusive measure, but it is a very clean way to resolve a lot of problems.

Option 2: Don’t Ask At All

Instead of asking for gender, ask for what you actually want to know.

Is it what honorific should precede the person’s name?  Well, then gender’s not going to tell you if they’re a doctor or a reverend, is it? Give them a comprehensive list of options, and allow them to select none, if they wish. (And really, why do we use these again?  My preference is to drop them entirely.)

Is it what marketing you think they’ll respond best to?  Newsflash: not every woman likes baking, and not every man likes cars.  Ask them about their interests and market to them on that basis, instead.

Is gender not actually relevant at all, except that you think it makes for an interesting statistic? Meh. I’d like to convince you that you really shouldn’t touch it, but if I’m not going to win that argument, please see Option 1.

Option 3: Have a Third Option

Your drop-down menus can have more than two options.  Some people are trying three.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and here’s my current position:

  • “Other” is a poor choice for a third option.  Why? Because gender-nonconforming people are othered enough as it is.
  • A more useful choice would be “Decline to State” (or something similar) — then it’s not about non-conformity, it’s about privacy.
  • But taking this a bit further, I’d like to submit “It’s Complicated” for consideration as the new third option.  Most gender-nonconforming types will smile at you for it.  It tells them you understand.

I’ve seen some people try to implement a “lots of options” dropdown menu, but I don’t really recommend this route, for two reasons:

  1. What if someone looks at the list and doesn’t identify with any of the words?  You just alienated them much further than your male/female dropdown menu was doing before.
  2. What if someone identifies as more than one thing on the list?  Take, for example, a transsexual woman who is proud to identify as a woman.  Are you really going to make her choose between “trans” and “woman”?  Come on now.  That’s insulting.

If you change it from a drop-down menu (“pick only one”) to a checkbox menu (“select all that apply”), you solve issue #2, but you still have issue #1 to grapple with.  And let me tell you: if you think you can come up with a finite list of all the possible gender identities in the world, you’re wrong.

Option 4: Redesign the System

So you’re convinced that “male/female” is a deeply flawed data breakdown for the purpose of your website, but you want people to assert their identities, and you want them to get personal about it.  Okay, then!  Time to scrap the dropdowns and do something new.  Here are some ideas…

A “gender spectrum” slider bar. Take a look at how Blackbox Republic is structuring their sexual identity data:

blackbox

I could see a similar thing done with “masculine” and “feminine” at each end, and letting people self-identify.

Note: one huge problem with the spectrum model is that it’s too flat.  I believe there are people who have “a lot of gender” (i.e. dripping both masculinity and femininity all over the place) and “not a lot of gender” (i.e. minimizing signals of any gender whatsoever), and on the spectrum, they might look the same.  But that brings up my next idea, which is…

A second dropdown that asks how important gender is to them. Take a look at how OkCupid handles religion.  You get one dropdown menu for how you identify, and a second dropdown menu for how important it is to you.  For some people, their gender is a strongly identifying factor in their lives.  For others, it’s nearly irrelevant.  What if we just started asking that question?

okcupid-dropdown

You could also…

Get fancy and use Kreative Korp’s SGOSelect menu (or some variation on it), which basically says: if you have a traditional identity, you can use the simple form.  And if you want to get more specific, you can switch over to the Advanced form:

sgoselect… but it still runs into the “finite number of options” problem, even in the Advanced view.

And that brings me to my last suggestion, which so far seems to be my holy grail. I worked this out with my co-founder team at Boffery while we were strategizing the user interface… with some outside input from Kirrily Robert of Freebase:

An open-ended tagging field that suggests words as you type. I want to be able to define my gender as “female, androgynous, genderqueer.”  And I believe that if we were all encouraged to, we would come up with a great rich vocabulary that uniquely characterizes ourselves in all the ways a two-option gender set is trying to do, but failing at.  If the tagging system were set up to automatically suggest words as you typed, you could either loop in to what others are saying and be associated with that group, or create your own words and add them to the lexicon. The result would be a rich mix of groupable/categorizable labels (marketers: this is far more meaningful than what you’re currently working with), along with the ability for us to self-identify however we want.

I don’t have a picture for you ‘cuz it hasn’t been built yet.  But if anyone understands what I’m talking about and wants to test it out, let me know.

I want in.

Love,
Sarah

ETA: immediately after I posted this, a designer took a stab at the open-ended tagging field idea and sent me early concept mockups.  Check ’em out!

Hey Everyone,

So here’s the situation. I’m the founder of Genderfork.com, a community expression site about gender variance, and I’m out as “queer.”  I also live in the gayest neighborhood in San Francisco and I host two events: Queer Open Mic and Deviants Online, both of which serve sexual minorities and other beautiful creative weirdos.  I also sometimes speak about gender and sexuality.  It’s kind of a thing in my life.

But then again, in a lot of contexts, I talk about Non-Queer Stuff: I build websites, manage online communities, and try to be a good cell in the living, breathing organism that is Silicon Valley.  This whole Gender and Sexuality association seems to be prompting a lot of questions that I need to catch up on, though, so let’s dig in…

Q: OMG, I’m so sorry, I just referred to you as “female,” and you run that website, so that was probably a really stupid insensitive thing to say. Sorry. Sorry. What do you prefer?

A: I appreciate you trying to be sensitive, but female, woman, and she are fine for me, thanks. If you ever call me a lady or a chick, I’ll probably look at you like you’re smoking something, but that’ll be the end of it. I do identify as genderqueer, but as long as you don’t expect me to fit a stereotypically feminine mold, we can stick to what’s familiar. It’s cool.

Q: Okay, so is that probably true for everyone I meet who seems like you?

A: Nope. People can look similar from the outside but feel differently on the inside, so it’s bad form to assume these things.

Q: Got it. So when I don’t know how a person identifies, I should always ask?

A: The Easy Answer is “yes,” but I’m not going to give you that one right now, because I think you can handle the Real Answer. The Real Answer is that in a lot of situations, the most respectful thing you can do is not need to ask.

Outside of Queer World, we know a lot about people just because they fit the same story that we’re telling. If Jane gets pregnant, we can assume it was from her husband, and if it wasn’t there’s probably a scandal to gossip about. If we meet a man named John in a suit at a party, we can usually assume that John has a penis and that he likes girls with vaginas. There’s nothing wrong with these assumptions when everyone fits the story. They stop being okay, though, when some people don’t.

Inside Queer World, we try to stop assuming. We still do it (a lot — call it human nature), but we try to remember that the stories we’re making up about people are just stories, and we try very hard not to say them out loud until they’re confirmed. The most respectful way to get someone’s real story is to listen, not to ask. If you meet someone new, and you can’t tell what their gender, sexuality, or relationship story is is right away, ask yourself how much it really matters right that moment to know the truth. Find a way to sit with the idea that maybe, this identity is a personal matter that they don’t want to talk about right then. Find a way to be okay with that. We don’t get all of these answers from each other, either, and we’re okay with that.

Then again, if it’s genuinely relevant, or if the person in question is ready and willing to field questions, go ahead and ask. Just be prepared to accept whatever they tell you, even if it doesn’t quite make sense to you, and be very respectful about it all.

Q: Sorry. I shouldn’t be asking you these questions, I guess. Do you want me to stop?

A: Naw, you’re fine. I called this blog post “Frequently Asked Questions,” remember? Keep going. This is helpful to people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Just a few minutes ago on Twitter, I quoted a snippet of my phone conversation today with John T. Unger:

Me: “…so basically, I’m just going to get everybody to love everybody.”

John: “If anybody can do that, it’s you.”

Then, realizing how out of context that snippet was, I added some clarification:

By “everybody” I mean “queers, sex nerds, artists, deviants, geeks, and creative folks who dance to the beat of their own drum.”

Call me naive, but I really do believe that covers everybody, with lots of internal overlap.  But okay, yeah, I live in a bubble, and it’s worth defining what that bubble’s all about sometimes.  I also acknowledge that a whole lot of somebodies have stopped defining themselves in those ways, so I’m not gonna worry about them right now.

I want to tell you about the dreams in my head… about the things I’m most excited about, and the structures I’m looking at for how I can serve more people and make our lives more exciting.

One of them is a monthly discussion series I’m kicking off in December at the Center for Sex and Culture (San Francisco) called Deviants Online.  Here’s the press info for it:

Deviants Online
hosted by Sarah Dopp
with special guest Mollena Williams

Tuesday, December 8th, 6 – 8pm
Cost: $10-20 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds

The CSC is proud to announce this new monthly discussion workshop!

Deviants Online will explore the ever-changing “best practices” for social media: facebook, twitter, myspace, flickr, blogging, email, websites, and everything else.  How can we shine spotlights on what we care about without annoying our friends? What are smart ways to strengthen our relationships and broaden our networks? And how exactly do we get our (many) personal sides to co-exist with our professional life on the same Internet?

As queers, creatives, sex nerds, and other rebels, our lives depend heavily on our friends and extended communities.  Whether we’re looking for work opportunities, an audience, or an army of allies, we can all benefit from having a broader network built on trust and appreciation.

In this discussion workshop, we’ll explore what works and what doesn’t when it comes to representing ourselves online. The material will include a balanced mix of “how to think about it” and “how to do it,” and we’ll have plenty of time for questions. Whether you’ve just signed up for facebook or have been blogging for years, you’ll leave this workshop full of ideas on what you want to try next.

Deviants Online is hosted by Sarah Dopp, social media educator and founder of http://Genderfork.com.  It will also have a special guest co-facilitator, Mollena Williams!

For more information, please contact Sarah at [info at sarahdopp dot com].

I’ll have a real website up for it soon. (Promise.)

I also want to tell you that I’m partnering with Sarah Sloane of Equilibrium Consulting to make magical things happen. She’s helping me manage my consulting work (omigod i have a schedule now) and scheming exciting plans with me about how we can do more for those everybodies I mentioned above.

What’s really going on? We’re building a self-sustaining community of smart, creative, interesting people who work together (as clients, consultants, and co-conspirators) to make awesome things happen. I’m already in it… we’re already doing it… we just need to iron out a few more edges.

“…so basically, I’m just going to get everybody to love everybody.”

I’ll tell you more soon.

Love,
Sarah

ETA: The Deviants Online site is available here:  http://www.deviantsonline.com (YAY!)

genderfork-logo

Genderfork, a community art blog project I started a year and a half ago, has taken off. It’s running three posts a day, each one representing a different face or voice from the community, and has about 5,000 regular readers. From the outside, it seems like this would be an insane amount of work to maintain, but it’s turns out that it’s not, because I’m not doing the blogging — 10 passionate volunteers are. My job at this point is just to take care of them, and to continue making things better.

A bit about how we’ve set this up…

genderfork-blueeyes

  • Everybody who’s helping is doing so because they asked if they could. When I realized I needed help last December, I put out a post asking people to email me if they were interested. Since then, they’ve mostly just come knocking at my inbox without my asking.
  • Each volunteer has their own responsibilities, and their commitment can be met with less than two hours of work a week (this usually goes for me, too).
  • We separated the tasks of preparing blog posts from deciding when they should be published, so most of the volunteers can blog several weeks’ worth content in one sitting if they choose to.
  • Whenever one of us has a question or get stuck, we try to run our ideas past the rest of the volunteers to get feedback on it.  This has helped keep the vision for the site a collective agreement, and it creates a sense of shared responsibility — we’ve really become a team.  (We’ve also started accumulating a stack of silly inside jokes — the inevitable consequence of liking each other.)

genderfork-shineHere’s what’s on our technical toolbelt….

  • WordPress blogging software
  • A Google Groups mailing list so our volunteers can talk to each other
  • Several Google Docs set up for sharing submissions between volunteers and keeping them organized
  • Tweet Later for managing the content in our daily twitter feed

We’ve souped up our WordPress installation with the following uber-useful plugins:

  • Contact Form 7 for our submission forms
  • IntenseDebate for better conversations in the comments
  • Flickr Blog This to Draft to let photo curation volunteers blog directly from Flickr without it showing up on the site immediately
  • Role Manager to let me configure exactly what Contributor accounts have access to (i found this necessary for allowing volunteers to blog photos and videos)

And it’s going well. We know this because our community takes the time to tells us this over and over again, every single day.  Here’s a note we received anonymously last week:

“This blog is wonderful =). Who knows you could be saving peoples lives by doing this.

“I’ve read all the archives, and when i came to the photo of the person with long hair in a brown leather jacket, a strong serious face with a beard and quite obvious breasts, it finally occurred to me, ignore the fact that i am gender queer myself, “this isn’t an exemption to some rule, or people being different – it is people, we’re alive and living, this is who we are”. It is legitimate and beautiful, no different from anything else people do. Thank you because it has taken a long while to be able to feel like that.”

And here’s a handful of the direct messages people have sent us through our twitter account:

“YAY Genderfork! -this site has been one of several things that has enabled me to explore and affirm my gender. Thanks!”

“hi, i’m more than a little forked at the moment, so it’s good to see you around here”

“the tweets are great. Some of them were how I felt when I was 13 so it’s cool that peeps can now share that and not just bottle it up”

“i went clothes shopping yesterday and felt totally confident in both the men’s & women’s sections for the 1st time.”

“Such gorgeous people, such moving words.”

“thank you for existing.”

So that’s what we’re building right now. Neat, huh?

Stick around. There’s a lot more to come.

genderfork-sunlight

I recently spoke at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA about the “grey areas” of gender and sexuality. The event was sponsored by the school’s FMLA student organization (a feminist leadership group), and we called the presentation, “Sex, Queers, and Finding Home.”

I mixed up the talk by telling my own story, talking about Genderfork, performing some spoken word pieces about queer identity, and answering questions. Thanks to Sheik (one of my Genderfork volunteers), I have some pretty decent footage from the event, which I’m excited to share.  (This is also one of my first ever attempts at video editing, so forgive the amount of time it took me to get it to you.)

Here’s me answering some questions about where Genderfork came from and how it’s working…

More telling stories and answering questions…

And here’s a spoken word poem that (sort of) clarifies my sexual orientation:

More spoken word…

The last two pieces on the list are marked “not safe for work” because they talk about sex.  This means you probably shouldn’t play them loudly at your office.  It ALSO means that if you would rather I didn’t tell you about my sex life, you probably don’t want to watch them at all.  Family members and professional colleagues: I’ll let you make your own call here. I’m including them because they were relevant to the talk.

The night was a LOT of fun with a great audience that was so wonderfully engaged it was humbling. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

And speaking of which… if anyone else would like to lure me out to a microphone somewhere, please send me an email: info at sarahdopp dot com.

(note: if you don’t see two youtube videos embedded in this post, try reloading the page. thanks.)