Cleveland Offically Protects TransFolk

Yesterday Cleveland, Ohio finally passed an ordinance including gender identity and expression in its city discrimination laws. This is excellent news and I would like to reach out a special thanks to everyone who helped us get this on the books (especially my friends at AskCleveland)!

Surprisingly, Cleveland is the last major Ohio city to include GIE in its city non-discrimination ordinance. Toledo passed one in 1998, Cincinnati in 2006 (originally 2004 but was repealed), Dayton (2007),  Columbus (2008), and more recently the college towns of Oxford, Bowling Green, and Yellow Springs.  The state of Ohio itself has a statewide ban on discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression brought by an executive order  from Governor Strickland in 2007 but it doesn’t cover many elements needed.

What’s interesting is that the arguably more “liberal” cities in the state, such as Columbus and Cleveland, have been the last to get on board. Its almost inconceivable how Cincinnati (my home town) and Dayton passed legislation before the northern cities. Perhaps more liberal areas take their rights for granted more easily, and simply forget to fight for more.

UPDATE 12/3/09

News story on Fox 8 acknowledges all protections were not covered in the new legislation. I am curious as to how long it will take to ammend.

No More Cincinnati GenderQueers

I have just found out that the radical, genderqueer activist organization I founded almost four years ago has reworded its description. What once described the group as “a radical queer group for all gender identities and sexualities, focusing on queer, trans, and genderqueer issues” now reads that it is a “queer social, support and activist group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied students focusing on gender issues.” In the year and a half I have been gone, GenderBloc has gone from being a genderqueer and trans focused, queer radical organization to a LGBTQ social activist group… and just like the rest of the movement gender has moved from the forefront to an afterthought.

I cried when I read it.

Now the current focus of the group is “LGBTQ rights, inclusion, and visibility” and that it discusses “topics of gender a lot particularly in regards [to] those people who have a non-normative gender identity such as transgender or genderqueer.” Well, at least they talk about gender “a lot.” They wouldn’t want to leave “those people” out. They need our money and our blood to power our movement machine. They need us to die on the front lines because they are too pretty to do it. They need us to stir their souls into knowing that there is more here than what we’ve all been told… but they’ll never tell anyone about it.

I realize that this is an honest attempt to make GenderBloc better. I realize this makes GenderBloc more packagable. I realize that some people feel queer isn’t good enough and need to separate us into an acronym. I realize that there aren’t hoards of genderqueers around Cincinnati so people think we don’t need help. And I’ve finally realized that GenderBloc isn’t my baby anymore…

Someone once said to me, “I love GenderBloc is because its a place to belong for people who have never belonged anywhere.” It was one of the best things anyone has ever said to me, and I’ll always have that.


Midwest Reality

The open house was packed. I fought my anxious impulse to disappear, reminding myself that now it wasn’t just my responsibility to be a visible, social-activist butterfly… it was my job. I wandered my way to the middle of the mass and into a conversation with two first-years: One from D.C. and one from Northern Kentucky, near my hometown of Cincinnati. The Kentucky student and I chatted briefly about the conservative environment and the contrast Oberlin had to offer.

“Really?” the D.C. student asked. “Cincinnati is conservative?”
I stopped, amazed at the concept of someone reading the ‘Nati as a liberal space.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t think it is…” said Kentucky, “Its a city, but its a more conservative city.”
I was even surprised at this implication that all cities were automatically full of the enlightened. “Its a red city.” I said, hoping to impart the severity I was feeling. “Blood red.”
D.C.’s eyes widened brightly. “Whoa, so you’ve actually met a real republican?”

I was tempted to ask what planet these people were from. I had no idea there were people who didn’t know any conservative people personally, let alone never officially met one. I think its best put in the words of my dad. “In this city, every person you see is likely to be one of them. Every face I see I can’t help thinking “You support everything I’m against… “”

I smiled at the optimistic first year. “Met a republican?” I laughed, “Honey, down there you can’t escape ’em.”
She laughed and I smiled. On the inside, part of me brightened at the idea that there are places out there that are, theoretically, so “liberal” conservatives won’t even show face. The rest of me sunk, once again reminded that the rest of the country has forgotten about us.

x-posted on Amplify

JAC McFaggin’ GenderFuck

My send off show with the Black Mondays.The show was themed as a GenderFuck in my honor, because the troupe members are amazing and I love them. The show was packed and a ton of fun.



Me and Big Gay MotherFuckin’ Al


My parents and sister


Backstage with Special K and La Femme Demanda before genderfucked “Rama Llama.” I made the skirts :)


My first performance in full femme drag. I got this dress at a thrift in highschool. My best friend had a matching one and we used to wear them to school.


Impromptu “Thriller” performance after the show. I think I make a better MJ in the skirt.

Once a Black Monday, always a Black Monday. I am sure I will have more performances with folks from the troupe. It’ll be hard not being in Cincinnati, not going to practices and seeing my 2nd family every week after 3 years of being in together… I’ll make it through, we all will. The troupe itself needs a break, all of us need a break I think. But not matter what we do, were we go, we’ll always be connected.

Ohio “Gay” Pride

Pride season has come, and gone. All queers going busily berserk for 30 days altogether: Always interesting.

I gave a speech for Cincinnati’s pride, skillfully skipping the middle chunk of it by losing my place on my homemade flashcards. Awesome. I am not real big on pride as an event, I’m actually bitter about it. I wish people would come out more than just one weekend a year. A handful of us are in the streets working our asses off to create space, always overworked and alone. Then, one day a year, the queers and allies come out to do what? Party and pretend nothing needs to change.  I said as much in my speech, but in a much nicer way. I tried to highlight Pride’s beginning as a activist movement. The twelve sober people listening seemed really into it.


Blurrily speaking at Cincinnati Pride rally

Cincy pride always looks so tiny in comparison to Columbus. Our dinky little get together isn’t anything to wow about, but people try. Columbus pride is massive and intense with thousands of people. Makes me wonder why, if there are so many of us, we have so little going for us .


Performing at Wall Street for Columbus Pride Royal Renegades show

Gender-Variant Shot – We’re All Clueless

Last week, two female presenting people, possibly transwomen or crossdressers, where attacked and robbed in Cincinnati. One was shot when the thief tried to take her purse. How did no one hear about this? (Myself included and I’m on the look out). Needless to say, it wasn’t headline news. But then again, maybe its better it wasn’t because the media did such a terrible job of covering the story. Wrong pronouns everywhere. “…Attacker shot one of the victims, who was dressed as a woman, while trying to steal HIS purse.”

If it is clear someone is presenting in one gender, why are people determined to get the pronoun wrong? People are determined to stick to their brain’s sex binary. To add insult to injury, the civic response to this is thing short of a sick-minded comedy hour.

“…if the shooter gets caught, he’ll probably only be charged with a “missed da weiner.””
“…don’t they know it’s a man under that skirt! Probably a big one too!”
“You don’t think that Shanequa and Shantay were out trying to make some extra money.” –Transphobic, racist and classist. Charming.
“What a drag!” – Ok this one is shitty, I know, but I have to appreciate the accurate queer-vocabulary.

There was another attack that same week in a Cincinnati suburb where a gay man was beaten on account of his sexual orientation. In response to this a huge protest has been organized by big name queer organizations. I’m not trying to hate on anyone, or show a lack of support for the survivor or those working to fight hate. All I’m saying is where’s the rally to protect the genderqueers? I realize people can’t rally around something they don’t know happened. Maybe we just need to open our scope a little wider, be on the look out a little more. Mainstream media isn’t going to do it for us. Its up to us to make sure everyone is protected and supported.

cross-posted at

What’s in a name?

I sat back in the bar’s long, church-pew booth and listened to the members of the drag troupe talk. One turned from the conversation.
“I had another one of those trans moments today.” she said in a heavy voice. “I got called a faggot.”
She isn’t trans, but she passes for male better than I do. I knew how she was feeling… the feeling that you’re less than a person.

The first time I was called a faggot it was screamed from an SUV as it appeared and then disappeared into the streets of Cincinnati. At first I felt a sense of accomplishment for passing, but it was quickly replaced by a familiar yet fresh fear. My hypervigilance spiked, followed by other my all too familiar traits of PTSD. My body filled with an ‘unsafe’ feeling as the injustice coated fear seeped into me. I looked over my shoulder as I walked away. I kept looking for five more days…

What makes a faggot a faggot? My friend is a girl but looks like a boy. I’m a boy who looks like a girl. If faggot is intended to mean homosexual, if only I could tell shouters just how accurate they are. I’m a guy who looks like girl who looks like a guy, who was born a girl, who fucks girls and boys and boys who were girls, and girls who were boys, and people who were never one or the other or anything at all… Is it hypocritical of me to argue or get upset? In my own, closed circles I call myself a fag, a tranniboy, and queer – all controversial words considered to be hate speech. Is our pain caused by the words or the malicious intention. Which is the one we need to remove? Does language have the power, or do we?

Transphobia’s on the Phone

It was my first night out in months. About an hour in, I found myself in my third activist related conversation. Suddenly I received a text message from an unfamiliar number.

“I sincerely hope you aren’t thinking you can pass as a man with that pink hair. You look like a dumb fucking lesbian.”

It was like getting punched in the dark.

My first reaction was to brush it off. I didn’t even know who this person was, so why should I care what they think? They’re just some cowardly, transphobic jerk. I was sure I should ignore it, but my defensive nature got the better of me. I finally came up with an empowered reply:

“I don’t care who you are or what you think. You clearly don’t understand genderfucking.”

The response message said it was from someone who’s phone had been “messed with” after leaving it on a table. I didn’t respond because I didn’t know if I believed it. Either way, I wasn’t going to find out who it was. There would be no chance for me to defend my place on the genderqueer spectrum, or discuss the oppression of gender norms, or assert my political position of gender non-conformity. It was over.

The rest of the night, I was determined to continue having a good time… but I couldn’t help thinking about it. I still can’t help thinking about it. I still feel scared and shaken, like I’ve been though a fight. Curiosity quickly paired with paranoia. Who would send me this? How did they get my number? How did they know how to get under my skin? Who can’t I trust?

I’ve decided to get over it. I’ve always known it was a matter of time before something like this happened. Its not like I’ve never been hassled before; in the bathroom, at the bar, in school, at parties… You’d think it wouldn’t bother me anymore.

I’m sticking with the attitude that this isn’t a big deal. I’m gonna make it not bother me. In the grand scheme of things, an offensive text is nothing. Really, I was lucky. I was lucky to get the anonymity of a text instead of face to face intimidation. I was lucky it wasn’t a punch in the stomach or an assault in the bathroom. I was lucky to walk away with only hurt feelings and shaken nerves. I was lucky to walk away at all.

cross-posted on

GIE Policy came through!

It happened!

The University of Cincinnati has officially included Gender Identity and Expression in it’s Non-Discrimination Policy. Now anyone who’s transgender, genderqueer, gender-variant, or queer is now protected from discrimination and hate crimes!

I started working on this project two years ago. Two years of working and finally we are all safe on campus. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the first printed draft. There in the middle of the paragraph read: Gender Identity and Expression.

I think I’m still in shock. After two years of working, I can’t believe this has actually happened. With this new policy we will be able to enact a residence hall policy, a gender neutral bathroom policy, locker rooms, IDs and registration and so much more. The preferred name format for university registration is going to come through in the next year and the residence hall work is already underway.

I’m so glad that I was able to be here when this happened and see the project to it’s completion.

Myself with fellow activists Jane and Kim after we got the news.

cross-posted on