R Conrad

Reteaching Gender and Sexuality: Queer/Trans Youth Speak Up

Filed By R Conrad | November 23, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: It Gets Better Project, LGBTQ Suicide, Put This On The Map, Reteaching Gender and Sexuality, youth suicide

Check out the fantastic short video by young queer and trans folks in Seattle from the Put This On the Map project. It does a really great job of calling out bullying as not the problem, but a symptom of larger systemic / institutional issues of homophobia, transphobia and all around hetero-supremacy.

Young folks in this video also throw a lil bit of sass at Dan Savage's "It Gets Better Project" and the overemphasis on gay marriage and over turning DADT in mainstream gay and lesbian politics.

from their website:

Our current project Reteaching Gender & Sexuality is a message about queer youth action and resilience. The video was generated to contribute additional queer/trans youth voices to the national conversations about queer/trans youth lives. Reteaching Gender & Sexuality intends to steer the conversation beyond the symptom of bullying, to consider systemic issues and deeper beliefs about gender and sexuality that impact queer youth. We invite you to share the video with your friends, family and networks...

for more about the project, the full length documentary, or to check out their resources, go to putthisonthemap.org!

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While I'm glad the video goes beyond "It Gets Better" into something more integrated, I'm also feeling like it does a big "queer, queer, queer" beyond-gender schtick which doesn't, for the most part, help a lot of trans youth. Personally, for myself, I reject anything which automatically equates being trans with queer. They may overlap, they do for some people, but they aren't intrinsically the same. And the reality is, a lot of queer-ID'd people marginalize trans women, the group with the worst bullying issues and highest suicide rate.

A lot of young people who have serious gender dysphoria hearing this will not comforted by it. I think, much like most of the "It Gets Better" videos, it makes trans issues and what's unique about them invisible. That said, I'm glad they're talking about "I want a good life and representation now... not when I move to the big city or get out of high school." That's really standing up for yourself, not just bare-bones survival.

@ gina - good thoughts regarding trans women! i know that this lil video isn't meant to function like the "it get's better project" where the intention is to speak down to young people, but was meant to be an educational advert for their larger project: Put This On the Map.

PTOtM seems to have a much larger focus including youth led trainings, a feature documentary, an educators retreat amongst other things. i'm interested to see how this project continues to grow and if it can do the things it seems to be trying to. thus far, its one of the best organizing efforts i've seen around the issue of queer and trans youth empowerment.

There's a lot I really like about this video. But naturally I need to bring up the parts I didn't like.

One is that, as Gina mentioned, it's about queer youth. And that's great! I understand that queer youth want to do away with labels, and don't want to be put into boxes for sexuality *or* gender.

There are those of us, and I imagine much younger versions than myself, who don't want to be "a boy, and a girl." I really only wanted to be a girl. And that's a legitimate need, even though it's sometimes presented as reactionary. You want what you want and you need what you need.

So I think Gina is right that this video would not be a comfort to those kids who really need to change sex, and for whom sexual dimorphism isn't a bad thing, but rather a line that truly exists and that they need to cross.

Otherwise, I totally love the attitude.

Wait. You didn't say "awesome" when describing the video. You feeling okay? *snickers*

I liked the criticisms of the concept of the closet. It's a model that applies less and less as time goes by.

I mostly agree agree with Gina and agree somewhat the message is needed. But in my experience at school while T students are trying to avoid unnecessary or unwanted attention queer id'd students bring it on with attitude.For the most part their message is right but their attitude and shock and awe tactics destroys it and only helps to reinforce negative stereotypes of both LGB's and T's.Even worse they do their damage and then either get kicked out or drop out.Actions speak louder than words.

So your advice is to stay in the closet and keep your mouth shut? As a transwoman I take offence to your suggestion that I shouldn't be out, proud and loud about who I am....

That's so weird because I was just thinking about moving to Seattle...ANYWAYS I'm so glad their telling young people to TAKE ACTION. At the very least, REPORT them phobes and haters to whoeva will listen. period.

Heady stuff. I love how it reminds us that all our sacred beliefs regarding what it is to be L or G or B or T are not a set of truths that gradually get revealed to the outside world, but just points in a journey. Our queer is not their queer.

The idea that we can tell kids what their lives will be like (It Gets Better) is ludicrous. If we're lucky enough to be around in say 25 years, we will barely recognize what queerness has become.

I,for one, am very happy that this project is out there. Having been involved for many years with queer youth and the LGBT community, it is refreshing to see that someone is tackling the "Re-education" isssue. Changing mind sets is one, but taking action in our own life is another. This video will be a welcomed tool to help teach queer youth how to help them educate their peers. It's a step in the right direction as far as I am concerned. Working together to alieviate prejudist mind sets is all part of a globale consciousness.