QueerofGender (QofG) is a grassroots organization and online transnational visibility project dedicated to affirming and acknowledging the various genders and gender expressions within Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Founded by Toronto-based Lynx Sainte-Marie in 2014, QueerofGender celebrates the plethora of experiences we face as multi-issue folks whose experiences of gender do not fit so neatly within the rigid confines of the white, cis, hetero, patriarchal gender binary.
ELIXHER caught up with Lynx to help spread the word about this important resource and their fundraising campaign. (They are raising funds to pay their submitters and create a more sustainable QofG.) Share their campaign and consider investing in this groundbreaking platform — every bit counts. Here’s what Lynx had to say about why they created QofG and what readers can expect in the future.
ELIXHER: Tell us a little about yourself. Who is Lynx?
LYNX: I am a (dis)Abled/chronically ill, Jamaican-Canadian, non-binary gender, Afro|Goth Poet, and student. A year and so ago, after many years of silence and self discovery, I decided to embark on a journey of storytelling, unlearning and authenticity. I wanted to finally be true to my life as someone who is a survivor of various forms of abuse and neglect. Since then, I have been performing poetry, facilitating workshops and presenting on various panels around my experiences of gender, sexuality, (dis)Ability, anti-Blackness and survivorship. QueerofGender (QofG) is definitely a piece of this journey that has been a source of passion, creativity and healing for me.
ELIXHER: What is QueerofGender and what inspired you to create it?
LYNX: I first created QofG as a way to affirm my own gender as someone who is racialized and genderfluid. I wanted to create a place online where I could go to to see the stories of others, like myself, whose gender is outside of the mainstream “normal”; a gender that wasn’t celebrated and honored by society on a regular basis. I also wanted to give other racialized folks a chance to speak to the ways their gender identities and expressions relate to their various positions at the intersection. Now, QofGis growing into something more than that. It is now an organization that is dedicated to celebrating all of our stories of gender and contributing to the legacies of Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) on the web and beyond. We are the first and only site on the web that celebrates gender within these communities and have had the opportunity to publish the words of many of our community role models and mentors including folks like Janet Mock, Lourdes Ashley Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective and even ELIXHER’s own Kimberley McLeod. And in the future, we want to offer workshops and events that speak to our community members, particularly those sects of that are even further marginalized (i.e., trans* folks, femmes, (dis)abled persons, etc.).
ELIXHER: Who should submit to QueerofGender? Why?
LYNX: If you are a BIPOC who is LGBTTQQ2SIAP+-identified [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, queer, questioning, two-spirit, intersex, asexual, pansexual+], who wants to speak to their journey through gender, whether it be the intricate ways you express your gender or anything else, please send us your contributions. We are looking to centralize our voices in the face of systems like white supremacy and colonialism that tell us our lives are not valid and worthy of the spotlight. We are also looking to raise awareness of the various systems of oppression inside our community that continue to plague and separate us (i.e., transphobia, transmisogyny, ableism and femmephobia).
ELIXHER: Who should be reading QueerofGender? And why?
LYNX: We acknowledge that we have readers everywhere who seem to be just as excited as we are about this initiative and we love this! However, QofG is by us for us. The QofG crew is made up of multi-issue folks of color who are passionate about this project and celebrating our legacies as BIPOC. This site is a labor of love for our racialized family all over the world.
ELIXHER: What’s next for the site?
LYNX: We want QofG to continue to grow, not only online but off. So currently, we are trying to raise $6,500 for organizational startup costs, including money to pay our contributors. We believe our next step in creating safe(r) space online for our communities is contributing to their financial well-being. The words of BIPOC are precious and sacred. We still have ways to go before we reach our goal, but we are hopeful and thankful for all who have donated thus far.
ELIXHER: How can people support this important platform?
LYNX: Please support QofG by donating to our crowdfunder: youcaring.com/queerofgenderstartup. And follow us: Facebook: facebook.com/QofGdotcom; Twitter: @QueerofGender; Instagram: QueerofGender.