Pig was one of the lovely facilitators at our Gender Workshop, which was ran as part of LGBT History Month '08.
1. Who are you?
I'm Pig, or at least that's what I go by in queer spaces
2. What does the your project do?
The team of facilitators mostly met at NUS LGBT conference in 2007 and started doing interactive workshops nationwide around the subject of gender, and then how 'trans' fits in with LGB issues.
3. What does 'trans' mean to you?
Both an umbrella term to encompass anyone who transgresses gender boundaries, and to me personally, it acknowledges the fact that i don't fit (and other people tell me I don't fit) into either side of binary gender (man or woman). I want to be taken seriously as my own invention, not going along with what other people feel more comfortable with.
4. What is the most important thing we can do to help combat transphobia?
Learn about the different sorts of trans people and respect everyone's individual identity.
5. What is your advice for someone who is questioning their gender identity?
Keep questioning, try different ones whenever it suits you. Don't feel guilty for it, and both never coming to a conclusion, and coming to a conclusion that is outside of 'male OR female' are both fine too.
6. What does the term 'queer' mean to you?
Anyone who is not heterosexual, heteronormative and cisgendered.
7. How do you define the term 'gender'?
Your sense of self in your head and heart, if you were the last person on earth. Basically whether your idea of yourself in your head and heart is male/female/masculine/feminine.
8. What role has political activism taken in your life as a transperson?
Unfortunately gender is one of only a few things I know enough about to really have a solid consistent view of, and so I have been part of the crew that got rid of Section 28 in 2003/4, I am on Pride London's 'trans' and 'LGBT youth' stakeholder group committees and I'm probably more of an activist every day I'm on the internet and seen out in public because that's where I influence people. I'm also a youth worker and I think it's important for children to see successful non-normatively-gendered adults, so I don't shy away from answering personal questions if it helps to remove people's prejudices.
9. Do you find that people are more accepting of trans people with a binary gender identity, compared with a non-binary gender identified person?
But of course! Especially if they pass.I think this is because at least transsexuals are trying to solve their medical problem and be just like everyone else, whereas people who feel and look outside of binary gender irritate, confuse and anger normative people who feel threatened firstly by something being different and not understandable easily, secondly because we threaten their identities if they are attracted to us, and thirdly because we have more guts and strength of character than them and they're intimidated and jealous that we are confident to display our individuality without shame.
10. What do you think the most important recent gain in trans politics have been?
As much as I hate to say it, for people changing from one binary gender to another, to be able to legally change their birth certificates and gain legal recognition in their new gender. It's nothing for me or others like me, and possibly it's even a step backwards, but hey.
11. How do you think trans activism will change in the coming years?
Push for non-binary social and legal acceptance, because we're not there yet. even though this will mean disrupting society.
12. How accepting do you find the wider LGB(T) community of non-binary trans people?
If they know what's in your pants and they fancy you, then as long as you keep your gob shut you're fine. They're as ignorant and threatened by us as everyone else is, so if you look *too* confusing you'll probably be allowed into LGBT space, but from experience and from the stories I've heard, you'll be on the fringes of the group because nobody knows how to act towards you.
13. What advice would you give to family and friends of transpeople?
Try your best to get over your own ignorance, assumptions, fear and prejudices and be supportive of your mate/kid/parent. They have enough to worry about initially at least, without them fearing your reaction to their real identity. Take it as a gift that they want you to know and understand who they really feel like, they care about and trust you that much. You mean the world to them, don't be a twat just because you're overcome with mixed feelings.
14. How obsessed do you find modern society on binary gender roles?
100%. Sure, men and women can both be nurses and engineers, but they still have to be MEN OR WOMEN!
15. What would a society look like with no fixed (binary) gender roles?
Beautiful, with a hell of a lot less stress for all concerned.
16. Any other advice?
If you want to join Trans Youth Network, look it up on Facebook.
If you want to join in trans-related discussions on forums for people up to the age of 25 years, join www.queeryouth.org.uk or www.gyuk.co.uk/forums
If you want to be on the Trans Youth Network (TYN) emailing list, contact moc.liamtoh|gipyreffej#moc.liamtoh|gipyreffej or gro.htuoysnart|ofni#gro.htuoysnart|ofni