7 Questions – Marilyn

Welcome Marilyn Roxie, our newest contributor to the 7 Questions project.  Marilyn has been promising me a submission via Twitter for a while, and delivered! Lots of great links in this one as Marilyn is involved or interested in several fascinating great projects. I’m particularly thrilled to meet yet another trans* person involved in music and look forward to myself exploring Marilyn’s explorations.

1) What’s your name?

Marilyn Roxie. Marilyn was my given name, and I chose Roxie for my last name when I was trying to come up with a pseudonym for my electronic music releases back in 2008. I had briefly considered changing my first name to something neutral or something considered a guy’s name, since I identify as male as well as genderqueer (for me my sex and gender identities don’t “match” according to expectations, but they match for me!), but I like Marilyn so much that I don’t want to change it and continue to be fine with this.

2) Who has been most supportive of your transition? If you haven’t started transition, who’s been most supportive of your gender expression, questioning or explorations?

I have not transitioned medically as of yet – I am considering chest surgery, while I am not planning on taking hormones. My parents, my boyfriend, many of the friends I have come out to, and the faculty of LGBT Studies and City College of San Francisco have been so supportive. I happened to be just becoming more comfortable with naming and describing my identity when I got together with my boyfriend, just had moved to San Francisco, and was starting college…I think the coalescence of these happenings were in some ways overwhelming, and in some ways affirming of a sort of new chapter in my life where I would be able to express myself more than I had previously imagined.

3) What do most enjoy about your life since beginning transition? That is, what are some of the things you love doing now, that you couldn’t do before? And if you’re not there yet, what about the possibility of transition excites you the most? What do you look forward to?

I felt rather lost sexually before I knew that there were ways to deal with aspects of my body that I didn’t quite like, or how to transform them into things that I wanted and that made me feel good about myself. Reading PoMoSexuals and Exhibitionism for the Shy and becoming aware of the existence of Good Vibes really helped me out with that.

I still struggle with how I feel about my appearance at times, but increasing messages and images in queer- and trans*-positive media have helped me become aware that, yes, it is possible to enjoy clothes and make-up that are considered androgynous-leaning-towards-feminine and identify in a way that may or may not be related to this expression! This seems like one of those things that should’ve been obvious to me, but wasn’t, but when it hit me…I feel more free to wear femme-ish clothes now that I have figured out what I have about my identity being genderqueer and male than I did when I wasn’t yet sure.

4) Who are your trans role models? or Who have you looked up to in the trans community? Who inspires you? Whether it’s someone you know, or someone you’ve admired from afar, this is your chance to give a shout out.

Kate Bornstein! My Gender Workbook (which is currently being revised, I can’t wait for that) was an incredibly positive and surprisingly fun initial step in being able to actually enjoy gender, while continuing to interrogate it as a concept, rather than feel miserable about it. Her words always cheer me up and make me think.

When I was first exploring my identity, I had a hard time finding anyone out there in the adult world who had a body in any way similar to mine and an identity like mine, so Jiz Lee, being out as genderqueer and in this line of work, has really helped me to feel more comfortable in this area.

As I mentioned, the LGBT Studies department at CCSF has been incredible. I would like to mention in particular the chair of the department (who has a new book out, Queer Monstrosities) Ardel Haefele-Thomas, who has taught the school’s first Transgender Lives, Art, and Culture class this spring 2012 semester. Ardel is the reason why I have ended up pursuing queer studies to the extent that I have – this is a professor who cares deeply about their field and about their students.

5) What change(s) would you most like to see in the world? This can be trans related, or not, but we’d love to know where your passion lies.

I would like to see people become less ashamed and afraid of discussing gender, sex, and sexuality openly, while respecting people’s individual choices and not prescribing the “best” or “only” way to be as, often, there is no single way of “being” a gender, sex, or having a sexuality, or even of understanding a given topic. I would also like to see less prescriptivism and bullying of other members of the community when it comes to discussion spaces that revolve around these topics, both online and off. By this, I don’t mean calling out someone when they are wrong or being mean (which is not at all a problem, and is necessary to ensure the safety of such spaces), but pushing fellow members into isolation over disagreement or mistakes, particularly when they are new and still have much to learn and explore. I have seen this happen with many newcomers to queer and trans* spaces and it saddens me.

6) What are you doing to make those changes happen?

I am getting an AA in LGBT Studies and will go on to university for Human Sexuality. I am particularly interested in making resources available in libraries or online, so I plan on combining this with my future work somehow, likely of a scholarly / teacherly bent, meanwhile doing my own personal work on http://genderqueerid.com/. I have interned at the amazing Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco doing library work and social media and plan to continue being involved with CSC however I can. Right now, I’m working with a friend on getting together an anthology of positive, uplifting trans*, non-binary, and genderqueer stories (fiction and non-fiction) – details forthcoming, and I will certainly be sending the call for submissions over here! I have tried to let patience and positivity guide my work as often as possible.

7) And finally, magical number 7, tell us something, anything, special and unique about you, your interests, your story. Never forget, gender is just one part of the larger project of becoming a fully authentic human being.

I have a pair of scars on my left hand that look like a period and an exclamation point, respectively, that I got from tearing my skin on a piece of a metal fence while running around my 1st grade playground. Despite my history of self-harm (which I just stopped a few months ago!), this is the only scar on my body that I can point to a particular event.

I love music. I try to listen to 3 or more albums a day that I’ve not previously heard before and I’d recently completed the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die book / list. I thought I was going to be a music critic before my major and prospective career path changed. I still run a music blog and will continue to personally be dedicated to the pursuit of hearing as much fabulous music as possible, regardless of what else is going on in my life for sure. Anyone on Last.fm is welcome to friend me or check out what I’ve been listening to!

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