COMMUNITY VOICES | Fifty Shades of Gender begins to go into production

Fifty Shades of Gender is a project that I have been personally coordinating since around April of 2013. It’s been started as a documentary project focused on telling the stories and experiences of the transgender struggle from the perspectives of transgender individuals directed by a transgender identified person. The goals of this project include “looking at the fine points of the gender binary and questioning if these gender definitions are too rigid for us to all be living in. We aim to identify other gender identities, the struggles that we go through trying to fit into these binaries or beyond them, and what we can do to break down the boxes of simply male and female” “I really just want people to be educated about gender and trans* issues and learn how to treat us with respect and human dignity.  Raising awareness is the first step to changing things.” Says gender-queer identified participant, Ollie Schminkey.There will be discussions throughout the project on how our society currently defines gender from the day that we are born, the role of patriarchy, and the intersection of various other identities that are affected in relation to our assigned gender and personal gender identities. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | All voices are heard at OUTspoken’s first Queer Open Mic event.

The Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis was packed full of nearly a hundred queer identified individuals and allies on Wednesday, October 9th 2013. Nikolas Martell, wearing a shiny purple bandeau with matching green hotpants and black high heels, and Paul Canada with a shiny red robe and a pearl necklace walked to the stage to host the kick off to the first ever OUTspoken Queer Open Mic event. “We want this to be an inclusive space, respect that please.” Says Martell. OUTspoken was started by Martell and Canada as an idea for an inclusive art space for queer identified individuals in the Twin Cities Area “Queer artists in the Twin Cities have needed this space for a really long time.” Says Renee Schminkey, the featured artist for the night’s event. The idea began when Martell and Canada were talking about ways they could “improve the community, bring the community together and find space for new voices.” One day Canada sent Martell a text message: ‘Queer open mic?’ to which Martell simply replied ‘Yes.’ and from there OUTspoken began to form together. Continue Reading