Become a part of the Gender Book

The Gender BookThe Gender Book is an effort to try to bring together, in one resource, a discussion of the wide array of gender expressions and identities that fall under the transgender umbrella. It’s creators are holding a brainstorming session next Thursday evening, December 8, to get public input and allow the community at large to become a part of the project.

“We sort of just made the Gender Book out of a need that we felt,” says Mel Reiff Hill, one of the collaborators on the project, along with Boston Bostian and Jay Mays. Hill says that the creators of the Gender Book searched for resources to help them talk about gender, but were unable to find anything that met their needs. “I had a boyfriend who had to pay a therapist to attend training on gender so that he could get the care he needed,” says Hill “the resources just weren’t out there.”

“At the time we were all living in the same house and we had a writer and an artist and a fundraising person and an enteprenuer. All of us were under the transgender umbrella in one way or another and all of us had friends and lovers who are as well,” and thus the Gender Book was born.

Hill describes the brainstorming session as “an interactive community party.” “We’re the first to admit that we can’t represent everyone,” says Hill, recognizing the limitations of any author writing on such a diverse topic. “We’ll have surveys for people to fill out and snacks and coloring book versions for people to fill out”

The coloring book pages are the result of Hill’s process in illustrating the book. Hill first draws pages in pencil then outlines the drawings in pen and erases the pencil, finally scanning the drawing and coloring it by computer. “I presented a workshop with some high schoolers and I was showing one of them my binder of papers looking through it one of them saw the original pen drawings,” says Hill. “He was like ‘you should give these to high schoolers, they love coloring it’s very zen-like for them.’” Hill says that the coloring pages have proved a hit at subsequent workshops and a great way to open up conversations about gender.

The brainstorming session, coloring pages included, is next Thursday, December 8, at the Lawndale Art Center (4912 Main). Attendees are asked to RSVP through Facebook.

More information on the Gender Book is available through their website, TheGenderBook.com.

—  admin

Margie Phelps’ Speaks Out On Cordoba House, Illustrating Political Overlap

Margiephelps

Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church catch a lot of flack for their anti-gay, anti-America, anti-everything protests. The family shouldn’t be dismissed as simple right wing nuts, though, because their politics aren’t always so different than those found on the left.

Take, for example, Margie Phelps’ remarks about Cordoba House, the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” which she supports. “We say we’re the melting pot, we say you get the practice your faith according to your conscience with no restraint from the government, you have that liberty. Why, against that framework, would anybody be so un-American as to suggest that Muslim Americans cannot worship their God according to their conscience,” said Phelps, who argued Westboro’s case before the Supreme Court earlier this week. Similar arguments have been made by people on the left, like Keith Olbermann.

But of course Phelps, who’s Fred’s daughter, couldn’t resist getting in a low, decidedly discriminatory blow, telling Talking Points Memo, “Now [Islam is] a false religion, no question about that, but they don’t have to agree with me on that.”

As for the Supreme Court case, in which Westboro claims their First Amendment rights are being curtailed, Phelps said, “You’ve got 310 million saying ‘God Bless America.’ You’ve got 60 saying ‘God Curse America.’ That stinking First Amendment isn’t worth the paper it’s written on unless it protects those 60.”

If nothing else, the Westboro Church should show us that politics isn’t always black and white: people who are you rivals on one issue may be the closet ally on another.


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—  John Wright