Friday, July 2, 2010

New Call for Submissions: Personal Reflections on Gender

The original Hackgender call for submissions lasted one week and was intended as the start of an urgent conversation on gender.

This archive is an extension of that project, intended as an ongoing space for archiving both new and old thoughts on gender. We are now accepting submissions in all digital forms: text, photos, art, comics, blogs, video and more.

July: Personal Reflections Call for Work

In July, we are seeking work to extend one of the popular themes that emerged from the original call: personal reflections on gender identity. What are your thoughts on gender in regards to yourself? Your identity? Your sexual orientation? Your desires? Your community?

All submissions will be archived on, linked to your own blog or page if applicable, and announced through the Hackgender twitter account with the #hackgender hashtag.

Work can be submitted through the contribution form: if you have a project that cannot be submitted through that form or require assistance, email us at info -at-

July's call starts July 1st at 12:01am EST and ends July 31st at 11:59pm EST.

After this time, works on this topic will still be accepted but the call for submissions will move on to a new area and new personal reflections will no longer be featured or announced on twitter.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gender, Aging – a memory

Submitted by Magenta

I have begun to do something that I wanted to do 55 years ago. I’ve started to shave - my face. I remember watching my father when I was about 4 or 5, and wanted to know when I would get to shave, when would I grow a penis like his. I don’t remember his reply, but it made it clear that no such things would happen.

I was never the classic tomboy, wearing jeans and playing baseball. I read all the time and wanted to be indoors. But I certainly wasn’t the typical girl of the time; I had no interest in clothes or talking to other girls, playing girls games. I liked to cook, but since my dad cooked on Sunday, and my younger brother also liked to cook, it seemed a human trait, not gendered. I did very little housework, just chores that seemed like make-work – the rug looks perfectly clean, why vacuum it again, I did that last week. Since my brother had chores as well, some of them worse than mine, again, it seemed like something everyone did, not gendered. I don’t think I read any gender into being allotted certain chores rather than others. So my sense of gender was somewhat more fluid than others of my age.

When the hormones kicked in around age 14, I was attracted to girls as well as boys. I was attracted to people, not really knowing much about the physical possibilities of sex. The book my mom gave me explained menstruation and babies and all, and the father puts this special part of him in the mother. But never why. My mom said because it feels good and it make you feel close, but having someone put something in me sounded gross at 9. The hormones gave me urges but no ideas or techniques. So I liked the idea of being close to another person, but no idea of what to do.

I had been nicknamed “it” in junior high, partly because I didn’t sit with either the girls or the boys in the lunchroom, only by myself with a book. I was terminally shy. I ended up with boys the first few times because I had no idea how to start, and they did, or pretended well enough to fool me. This was not intercourse, because this was the other 60’s, the suburban 60’s, when a teenage girl getting pregnant was still the WORST POSSIBLE THING that could happen to her. This meant I learned lots of ways to get myself off, and had about 3 years to learn about my body’s reactions before I had intercourse with a male.

Meanwhile, flipping though a psychopathology textbook in a bookstore, I found a chapter on sexual pathologies. There I learned the word “lesbian”, and said it was more difficult to spot them because it wasn’t unusual for perfectly normal women to hold hands with each other, and even kiss and hug. Women were more affectionate than men. Hard to spot – no kidding. I didn’t find one for years, despite living mostly in large cities. But I didn’t go to bars, and that was the only gathering place in those days.

It took me to my mid-twenties that I had my first real sexual experience with another woman. By then, I’d learned the word bi-sexual, and claimed it for my own. I was attracted to both women and men, no matter what actually happened to me in bed. Males were still easier; heck it was difficult to avoid them. I never wanted children, nor conventional marriage. I was lucky to become sexual active at a time when the pill and penicillin made sex safer than any other time in history, before or since.

All along, I wasn’t sure I was really a woman. I have strong secondary sex characteristics – big boobs and hips, round face, little body hair - I’m short. I used to wear my hair long, partly because I hate getting it cut. While I look very female, it doesn’t match my interior experience. Dresses felt like drag, so I seldom wore them, except for absolutely necessary occasions – job interviews, formal weddings and funerals and so on. These days, even that isn’t usually necessary. Jeans and t-shirts are my uniform, and I like it that way. I don’t wear cosmetics, and I don’t like the color pink. I hate high heels and bras.

So now I’m getting old. I’m noticing all the sexual traits are blurring. Age may bring wisdom, as well as end of periods, cramps, PMS, and the possibilities and risks of childbearing. I don’t want a beard – I like the clean-shaven look. But watching older people, I notice that the faces blur into one gender – old. “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” was on TV last night. Terence Stamp is amazing; give him long hair and dresses, and he looks like a women. And I’m noticing that among people I know. Gender becomes more fluid, changeable, ambiguous.

I feel more comfortable now that my periods have stopped. I am used to the organs I have, they aren’t the shock they sometimes were at 15 or 20. Back then, when I was most dissatisfied with being biologically female, it was next to impossible to transition FTM. I asked a psychiatrist about it, and he (of course he) said I’d feel better about myself once I was married and had a few kids. RIGHT. But I was terrified of surgery, any surgery. I didn’t know of any other options, like hormones. There might not have been any options for me, besides learn to live with it.

So now age is performing its own genderblurring on me. I wonder what it will be like at 70, 80, 90. I’ll wear jeans and sturdy shoes. I’ll cuddle whoever I’m attracted to. I’ll keep the short hair, because it’s easy. And unless I really get enough hair for a proper beard, I’ll shave my chin.

On Being A "Boy"

Submitted by Zeitgeist

This year has been such a tremendous time of self discovery for me, and I wanted to write this post on how I came to the identity that most fits for me, that of a genderqueer “boy.”


This time last year most people would have seen me as a very masculine woman, and I wasn't really letting them think any differently. Sure, I already knew differently by then. I mean, I was the kid who went by the name D all through high school just because they most certainly knew they weren't a woman. Or female. But, the reason I mention that is because people that see me now mostly view me as a feminine man, and I wanted to say how all of this has affected me.

When I first started my transition I knew that for the most part it was because I wanted to be viewed as male. I also sorta assumed this meant that I was or should be a man.

However, from the very beginning I saw myself not fitting in with other trans men. I never really viewed myself as masculine. In fact, I don't view myself as feminine either, even though people have often times given me both of these labels. When I began to become more comfortable with where I was going with my gender though, I immediately was ridiculed by some of my trans friends as being too “feminine.” This isn't to say that all of them felt that way, but I could see how I definitely at least confused a lot of people. I have been in group therapy sessions for trans people before where others honestly thought I was a trans woman. And all of this sorta started confusing me.

It took me a long time to see it, but I was letting it confuse me because although I view my body as undoubtedly male, I really have never been a man. It wasn't because I think that men can't be “feminine” or whatever, because to be honest, I think feminine men are VERY attractive, but even as people labeled me as “feminine” I just didn't view myself that way.

Around this time I knew a lot of people that identified as genderqueer. I was really intrigued by this idea, and I asked one of my friends what they meant by it. They explained to me how to them it meant that they didn't want to identify as a man or a woman, but also not as masculine or feminine. Or in between any of that. From then on I knew that was how I would identify, because it sounded so much like what I had been dealing with.

However, there were some other genderqueer people that seemed to think if I wanted to transition to look male then I couldn't possibly be genderqueer. It seemed like I was hitting the same wall again where if I was one thing, I couldn't be another. They all seemed to want to have bodies that said “hey look i'm not male or female” and although I thought about that option for myself for a while, it most certainly didn't fit. I was still male. I was still genderqueer. I needed to find a way to explain that.

And that goes into why I am a boy.

You see, I did a lot of babysitting in my teenage years. And I noticed something about kids (both boys and girls.) They oftentimes do things that if they did them in just 10 years more time would be considered genderbending. They don't ever question these things. They are comfortable with their bodies, but haven't found a place in the gender binary yet. They are very playful with their genders. I love it.

I'm a male who is also playful with their gender. I don't have to be a man. I can be a boy. I can do those gender ambiguous things and not think anything of them. I don't want my sense of gender to enter the grown-up's world of you have to be one or the other. Man or Woman. Feminine or Masculine.

I'm starting T in just a few weeks and right now I couldn't be happier. It seems to me I'm just moving more and more towards being as much of myself as possible. And I know lots of people don't understand it, but I also know it's what's right for me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hack Gender Web Space

The Hackgender project website is up at: All submissions hosted on individual websites can be found there, but new posts from contributors without their own space will continue to be added to this blog. Pieces are being grouped and regrouped as they emerge.

So far, submissions include:

Physical Bodies

Thoughts on a Pink Bathing Suit: Hacking Fat Gender and Considering Femme

Submitted by Marianne Kirby

Dear Gok...A Letter From a Fauxmo

Submitted by Quiet Riot Girl

Toon Temptation

Submitted by ChicaLolita

We Need to Talk About Bumming

Submitted by Quiet Riot Girl


Playing with my Gender Presentation Preferences

Submitted by Rosemary

Today I Am

Submitted by MonMouth

Searching for Feminine Subjectivity

Submitted by Sian and Crooked Rib

Virtual Bodies

The Female Avatar

Submitted by Alina Padilla-Miller

My Gender is...

Submitted by Genderqueer Hackers

Literary Crossdressing

Submitted by John Murray

Gaming and Gender

Just Don't Die

Submitted by Katie Chico

Personal Reflections

Gender and Silence

Submitted by Ithiliana

Learning in Progress

Submitted by Robin Rudd

Twitter Talk

Hackgender Twapper Keeper

All tagged conversations will be saved as part of the project.

Monday, May 31, 2010

"My Gender Is..."

Submitted by Genderqueer Hackers

"My Gender Is" is an automated tool that culls public Tweets, Facebook Status Updates and recently added search results for the prompt "my gender is" and presents some of the many responses. The scale of the text is used to represent recency, and the colors, pink and blue, randomly assigned, are those traditionally associated with gender.

Social media provides a vast medium for us to stream our lives and publicly hash out our internal deliberations. When taken in aggregate these broadcasts often become overwhelming, details lost in noise. The aim of this project is much like a photograph, a static snapshot of a moment in time --- a cross-section of the myriad emotions surrounding gender for a split-second. Anonymized and presented out of their original context, the floating words leave a viewer to distill and connect through their own lens and experience of gender.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hack Gender: Call for Digital Works

**The call for submissions is now closed! Watch this space and the Hackgender Twitter account for our next project!**

A week ago, some people would have told you it was impossible to write a book in a week—or, if such a thing were possible, it wouldn’t be a book worth reading. But this last week, May 21-28, Hacking the Academy happened and with it rose exciting possibilities for urgent and collaborative online discourse. Hack Gender is a response to that potential but with a different framework: while a few submissions to Hacking the Academy touched on the questions of gender in academia, they didn't address the topic head-on. With questions of gender and sexuality a "hot topic" and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on the political forefront this week, it seems to be a perfect time to have a discussion. How do we reconsider gender in a digital age, where identities of all kinds are moving into open space--and, at times, being pushed back into the closet? In a age of new media with so many forums for expression, what is the state of gender identity and where are we transitioning to? Possible topics include but are certainly not limited to: gender identity, gender in the workplace, transgender, cisgender, pangender, bigender, gender and art, gender and the body (virtual, physical, race), and gender in the classroom.

Here's how to contribute:

To submit, either:

Post your work and then put the title and link up on Twitter with the hash tag #hackgender by June 5th at midnight.


Send your work to hackgender (at) and we'll add it to this blog space with your name and announce your work from the hackgender Twitter account.


We'll link all submissions from and build the site throughout the week. When the first version of the site goes live, it will be posted to Twitter.

This project is co-moderated by J.J. Pionke and Anastasia Salter. We are in no way affiliated with Hacking the Academy. We do not at this time have any print publishers for this project: however, we hope it will emerge into a valuable conversation and online resource.