Genderqueer & Trans Fashion Zine


1


This zine is a compilation of genderqueer and trans people in the UMBC and local community showcasing their outfits, their identities, and what fashion means to them. To begin, I set up a poll with time slots for genderqueer and trans identifying people to sign up and model for this project. My original idea was to take photos of the volunteers and ask them only for their gender identities and pronouns. Through discussion with others, I decided to add an additional section where I would ask models, “What does fashion meant to you?”. I recorded each person’s response. This addition was essential and facilitated important conversations with each model.

 

Originally, I felt that the impact of the final product would be the most powerful. I quickly realized that the fashion shoots themselves turned out to be a wildly meaningful part of the process. Not only were genderqueer and trans folk able to showcase their unique and creative fashion choices, but they were able to feel beautiful along the way. The genderqueer and trans community often faces a variety of insecurities, anxieties, and sadness when deciding how to present themselves each day. Rather than focusing on the difficult aspects of fashion for genderqueer and trans people, these fashion shoots gave each model a positive platform to be themselves whether dramatic, silly, serious, or just plain happy. The photo shoots were able to foster feelings of positive energy as well as moments of affirmation for the genderqueer and trans individuals involved. I was even able to set up a second week of photo shoots to give a wider access to potential genderqueer and trans folk who couldn’t volunteer for the original photo shoot time slots. I want to continue to work on projects in the future where I showcase the beauty of this community.

 

Once completing each photo shoot, I uploaded the best pictures online and shared it with each individual model so they could have access to their photos. Next, I transcribed the recordings of what fashion meant to each model. I then printed out the most expressive photos of each model and printed the fashion quotes using a common font so it would feel familiar to the readers. I decided I would give each model one page including a few pieces of content: their photos, current names, pronouns, gender identities, and their responses to my question. I gave model Namy two pages because they volunteered for three separate photo shoots!

 

Using scissors and an x-acto knife I cut everything out, added water color to border the fashion quotes, and collaged each page together with mod podge. I added cute magazine cut outs of plants and other images to add a bit of pizazz on each page. Once they dried I used a marker to add some doodles. I wanted the zine to have a journal feel to it, a little messy with some imperfections (just like all of us!). I wrote out the intro and outro pages, mod podged them and waited for everything to be set. Once reviewing the final pages, I photocopied them to create a digital copy of the zine for two reasons: it could be posted online for free, easy access to the general public and be used as a template to make printed copies of the zine. The Women’s Center was helpful along the entire process. They used their resources and connections on campus to help spread the word about the zine to potential models. Once seeing the final digital copy the Women’s Center staff wanted to print copies of their own to be kept in the Center. They are also advocating to have printed copies of this zine put out for the official opening of the first Multi-Stall All-Gender Restroom at UMBC on May 28th, 2019. Here is more information:

Multi-Stall All-Gender Restroom Info


 

In the future, I would like to organize the photo shoots with an improved method. I received feedback from one of the volunteer models that they were expecting a confirmation email once they signed up for a slot. I hadn’t thought of this, but I will be sure to implicate confirmation emails it in later projects. At first, I wanted this zine to be more informationally rooted from accredited sources online, but then I realized the voices of the genderqueer and trans community already face adversity and these voices are essential to understanding the various ways we exist in this world. I think the quotes on each model’s page provides extremely important and comforting viewpoints. There has been some feedback from genderqueer and trans readers of the zine who said it provided them with positive feelings. My hope is that this will zine will benefit people of all gender identities. I will continue to use the voices of the genderqueer and trans community at the forefront of my projects. Here is a copy of the zine:

Fashion Zine 2019

As an activist, I want to reassure people that they’re capable of being an activist themselves. I want my work to encourage people and remind them that their voices are essential and have endless value. In relation to grassroots activism, it is evident that a lot of wonderful changes can start with the hard work of a few individuals. I am excited to see where this path of activism takes me and the incredible people I will meet along the way.


 

Colonization and Slavery Leads to Reproductive Sterilization

In the three year period from 1973 to 1976, 3,406 American Indian women were surgically sterilized (Staats 1976). Hysterectomies have occurred as young as eleven-years-old for American Indian girls (Carpio 2004). These non-consenting sterilizations of marginalized groups such as American Indian, African American, Mexican, and Puerto Rican women in America have been happening for years, but became well known in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s (Volscho 2010). Surgical sterilization, also known as tubal ligation, is when the fallopian tubes are cut, tied, or blocked in some way to permanently prevent pregnancy (Mayo Clinic 2018). For minority groups, especially African American and American Indian women, this is thought to occur through coercion (Shreffler et al. 2015). This pressured surgical sterilization of marginalized women originates from several corrupt ideologies such as racism, imperialism, capitalism, and patriarchy.

Racism in the Americas (specifically North America) stems from the colonization of the Americas by the Europeans who utilized African people as slaves and forced American Indians out of their land and homes so they could colonize and develop the land of America for themselves (Volscho 2010). African women, when forced into slavery, were also forced to “breed” to produce children who the Europeans could utilize as slaves in the future. The control that slave owners had over the reproduction of African women later led to the mentality that people had when forcing sterilization on African American women (Volscho 2010). There is also speculation that sterilization of African American women originates from images in the media, specifically the Jezebel image of women during slavery (Volscho 2010). This image of promiscuity links to the belief in sterilizers that these women are objects, not people, who need to be controlled. The sterilization of American Indian women stems from the American image of the women in media as Squaw, which is a derogative term insinuating “dirty, subservient, abused, alcoholic, and ugly” (Volscho 2010) women in need of sterilization so not to further contaminate the population in America. This image may have also developed from the Europeans belief that Native Americans were savages in need of taming and segregation from the civilized population. While racism is the main reason that marginalized women are sterilized, several of the aforementioned ideologies also play a role in the twisted reasons why women are coerced into sterilization. Capitalism, industrialization, and patriarchy has increased the interest in prevention of the “lower-class,” or the marginalized groups, from having children (Carpio 2004). Once again colonialism by Europeans of American Indians and enslavement of African people has a correlation with this need for control of American Indian and African American women’s fertility. Therefore, as a result of the colonization of the Americas and the enslavement and segregation of both African and American Indian people, the surgical sterilization of women has become a silent scourge on women of color.

As a result of many of the women being coerced into this permanent surgery, Dr. Connie Uri fought to protest the duress that American Indian women were under when pressured to undergo the sterilization. Dr. Uri brought a case to the attention of the 1976 General Accounting Office (GAO) and Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota where an American Indian woman, at the time 26-years-old and an alcoholic, was given a hysterectomy and sterilized, while the doctor told her she could get a womb transplant when she was ready to have children (Carpio 2004). The GAO reported that there was “no evidence of IHS [Indian Health Services] sterilizing Indians without a patient consent form on file” (Carpio 2004). Carpio points out that a consent form alone is not an adequate way to investigate this allegation; this investigation ignored the possibility of abuse or coercion of women into having this sterilization process (2004). The investigation only looked at documents and did not talk to staff or any of the sterilized women, so this investigation was most likely biased (Carpio 2004). Dr. Uri actually said in a radio interview that many women were medicated when given consent forms, many didn’t know that tubal ligation was irreversible, and many were afraid to argue with the doctor and were not advised on other birth control methods (KPFK 1974). Dr. Uri therefore organized a protest outside the hospital with the nurses, which eventually helped lead to more stringent laws regarding tubal ligation surgeries (KPFK 1974).

In conclusion, racism, which stemmed from the colonization of the Americas and enslavement of African and American Indian people, led to the reproductive surgical sterilization of marginalized women. Dr. Connie Uri helped to fight against this injustice by protesting the coercion of patient consent forms to perform this surgery. Ultimately, though sterilization of marginalized women still occurs (Reuters 2013), through the activism of Dr. Uri and the nurses of that hospital, there are more resources to help prevent coerced surgical sterilization from happening.

Works Cited

Carpio, M. (2004). The Lost Generation: American Indian Women and Sterilization Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/29768273.pdf?refreqid=excelsior:80c6f1b81cd21325444eeb758113dd4eb

Indians and medicine : Sterilization and genocide / Dr. Connie Uri ; interviewed by Jim Berland. (1974, September 25). Los Angeles, California: KPFK Pacifica Radio.

“Ligation Images.” Shutterstock, http://www.shutterstock.com/search/ligation.

Reuters. “California Bans Sterilization of Female Inmates Without Consent.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 9 July 2013, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/womens-health/california-bans-sterilization-female-inmates-without-consent-n212256.

Shreffler et al. (2015). Surgical sterilization, regret, and race: contemporary patterns. Social Science Research. 50, 31-45.

Staats, E.B. (1976). Report to Senator James Abourezk. Investigation of Allegations Concerning Indian Health Service. Released November 23. Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office.

“Tubal Ligation.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 Mar. 2018, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tubal-ligation/about/pac-20388360.

Volscho, T. W. (2010). Sterilization Racism and Pan-Ethnic Disparities of the Past Decade: The Continued Encroachment on Reproductive Rights. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/380293/pdf

Woman Noir: Black Women in Media

When coming up with an idea for my activist project I thought about what kinds of ideas and issues I am passionate about. Since we are in the age of technology I knew that I wanted to do a social media based project. I decided to focus on the image(s) of black women presented in popular media.

grid-cell-24743-1461617239-4 Continue reading

Activist Project: Am I An Activist?

In early March I attended the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. There I networked, learned how to utilize media in activist campaigns, and gained more knowledge about discourse. But was attending NYFLC activism? It didn’t feel like it. I had thought surrounding myself with activists would achieve something. I don’t know what that something was, but maybe that was enough? I doubted it.

tumblr_o40duyl6Ze1qlakguo1_540

(An inspiration to us all)

Anxiety and depression played a part in this mediocrity. I don’t have much energy and motivation is rare. However, my friend Xixi attended the conference with me. She also acted as my motivation, dragging, or inviting me, to events on campus in April. She mollified my anxiety so that I could have fun at the conference and at on-campus events.

Two of the events she took me to were held by the Women’s Center; “Telling Their Stories” and “Take Back the Night”. It was great to see women of color dance, sing, and recite poetry at “Telling Their Stories”. A large crowd gathered in the Commons for TBTN to hear the stories of survivors of sexual violence. Everyone was respectful; each moment, even in silence, felt sacred. It was a spiritual experience.

CgCVs42WEAE0Snb

(TBTN)

But what affected me the most was the march held later that evening for TBTN. I never expected that I would ever be holding up a sign while loudly chanting and marching around campus. But I did it, and it made me feel that, in a small way, I was doing activism. I’m not a loud person, but it was comforting to be in a group so that I wasn’t the only one yelling in public.

Holding up painted cardboard and screaming was the most powerful experience I have had on this journey towards activism. It wasn’t a part of my original plan, but I think that’s a good thing, as the activism happened naturally. Overall, I feel my project is successful; I’ve learned activism can be impactful at a micro level.

I discovered that I have it in me to be an activist even if it’s a struggle. I aim to participate more in the future, look out for more events, and become more comfortable with myself. This is a never ending project; I can never stop learning about feminism and activism.

 

When No One Is Looking

When No One Is Looking

WNOIL is about unrestrained expression. It is intended to give a voice to an issue that is silently felt and shared amongst women. Today we live in a culture that objectifies and sexualizes women daily. One main symptom of the internalization of these attitudes is self-monitoring. To put it simply, because we are taught that our bodies are objects to be viewed and consumed, women are often caught in the daily struggle of ensuring that the way we look, walk, talk, smell, eat or even sit is “up to par” with the expectations of others. Often we can be limited in what we do by the fear of judgment and criticism. Because of this WNOIL has been created. It is a safe space to showcase our talent, skill, passion. Our uniqueness. It is a space to be who we are When No One is Looking. Continue reading

#BLACKGIRLMAGIC

#BLACKGIRLMAGIC

For my activism project I did a PSA on cultural appropriation.  I had different African American women speak on why cultural appropriation is wrong and why it upset them I had three women of all different ages speak on the subject and I added dialogue in myself. I incorporated pictures of the Kardashians who have been the biggest culture vultures lately, stealing everything from hairstyles, clothes, to body parts. At the end of my video I pleaded with young girls to love them because not only do they have something that is desired by most women in this new age but they are beautiful no matter what. Black women are the most neglected and disrespected race of people in America we are called undesirable, ugly, ghetto, and blamed for the raising of thugs. When you put this kind of weight and negativity to a black woman then they begin to see themselves as just that. This causes a huge problem in self-esteem and self-love, which in turn can be very detrimental to a woman’s psyche. This PSA although a small PSA is just to inform the public what cultural appropriation is and inform them that contrary to what the media portrays it is unacceptable. During this project I really thought I was going to be able to make this like a high class video that a lot of youtubers can accomplish but I contacted a youtuber and she informed me you need lights, backgrounds and a camera that has really good pixelation  which would be quite costly for a project, next time I would definitely maybe try and find someone from the photography department who was a little skilled in videography and such things to perhaps work on the project with me so it wouldn’t be such a rough copy and could be more polished. What also didn’t work was I had intended there to be a discussion to go along with the PSA but because of how heated and the language used in the debate I decided to pull it. I would definitely have participators more aware that they are engaging in a discussion about school and can’t use such language to demonstrate their feelings. Also, I asked most people to just talk about what makes them upset about cultural appropriation which is a long list of things and people just went off on random tangents, next time I will have set questions to ask my interviewee’s as to prevent this from happening.  However, even though these glitches occurred I have definitely become more aware of my role on this planet as an activist. When seeing an injustice I now often question myself on what I can do to make it better, I didn’t know that so many things upset me until this project. Cultural appropriation is just one of many things that aren’t right in the world, transgender rights, our perpetuating rape culture, police brutality are all issues that need to be addressed and it’s going to take someone who is really passionate about them to stand up and do something I now use my Instagram and Facebook to speak out against these issues. I learned not only from this project but from this entire class that activism no matter how small can make a difference in the world.

To check out my PSA against culture appropriation you can Click Hereblack girl magic