Gender Identity Hub

'Steven Universe' Creator Opens Up About Creating Gender-Fused Character, Stevonnie

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In the two seasons that Steven Universe has been airing on Cartoon Network, the show’s built up a solid base of fans who fell in love with the show for its strong, diverse cast of characters of color and various queer experiences. Steven’s three, alien guardians--collectively known as the Crystal Gems--raise him in a non-traditional family along with his father after his mother, another crystal gem, sacrifices herself to create the boy. A recurring plot device that runs through the show is the concept of gem fusion, a process where two gems fuse their bodies, minds, and identities to create a new, stronger person.



Alone Together,” one of the more interesting episodes of the series centers around Steven’s first experience fusing with someone else--his friend Connie. The fusion was a first for the show for a number of reasons. Steven, who’s half gem, had never fused before, let alone with another human. It also bears mentioning that Steven and Connie explicitly identify male and female when separated. Their fusion, Stevonnie, deepened the way that many fans understood some of its core characters, something that Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar was keenly aware of.

In an interview with io9 promoting the upcoming Steven Universe Guidebook, Sugar shared some of her deeper thoughts about Stevonnie’s creation and impact on the show.

“Stevonnie is an experience,” she explained. “The living relationship between Steven and Connie. What I love about Stevonnie is that we are working with a metaphor that is so complex and so specific but also really, really relatable, in the form of a character.”

“Stevonnie challenges gender norms as an individual, but also serves as a metaphor for all the terrifying firsts in a first relationship, and what it feels like to hit puberty and suddenly find yourself with the body of an adult, how quickly that happens, how it feels to have a new power over people, or to suddenly find yourself objectified, all for seemingly no reason since you’re still just you… and they are still just them, they’re Steven and Connie who you already know and relate to, and if you do you can feel, for this episode, what all of those feelings are like.

And they feel it too and that stays with them. I knew that was bound to be interesting to people, for at least one of all those reasons!”

Vox Takes You Inside the Experiences, Dreams and Doubts of A Transgender Woman: VIDEO

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Despite the successful, thought provoking stories of notable trans people like Janet Mock and Bruce Jenner, the everyday trans person faces a starkly different reality. Vox filmed a short vignette around trans woman Lily Carollo, 23, of Burbank, California who despite receiving familial support and having come to full terms with her identity, still finds herself facing everyday challenges and doubts.

Watch Carollo thoughtfully describe her experiences, dreams, doubts and fears using her love for Star Trek and The Beach Boys as a few examples, AFTER THE JUMP

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Continue reading "Vox Takes You Inside the Experiences, Dreams and Doubts of A Transgender Woman: VIDEO" »

'Mx' Could Become The First Gender-Neutral Honorific In The Oxford English Dictionary



Mx, a gender-neutral honorific sometimes used by transgender or genderfluid people, is being considered for the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Mx’s use in business has been on the upswing in the past two years. More and more organizations like banks, universities, and state mail services have begun to recognize the identifier after an increased use by their customers. 

“This is an example of how the English language adapts to people’s needs, with people using language in ways that suit them rather than letting language dictate identity to them,” explained Jonathan Dent, assistant editor of the OED.

According to Dent, Mx’s addition to the dictionary would be the first honorific addition in recent history. Mx, meant to convey gender non-conformity and fluidity rather than express transness, would be a significant step forward in advancing how the general public thinks of people outside of the binary. While many see the move as progressive, there are some who aren’t entirely supportive.

"I think that it's ugly. And whichever way you pronounce it as mix, mux or Mx it's going to sound inept and uncomfortable," explained Roland Sussex, Emeritus Professor of Applied Language Studies at University of Queensland. "The trouble is that you want something that is going to sound OK. And I'm afraid Mx looks like a half-blown scientific formula or expression of some kind. And mux, it just doesn't sound very nice."

Elton John And Michael Stipe Rally Behind Abused Trans Georgia Inmate Ashley Diamond: VIDEO


Elton John and Michael Stipe have issued a joint statement calling on the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) to provide safety and hormone therapy to transgender women housed in male prisons in the state, according to the Guardian.

Earlier this month it was reported that transgender inmate Ashley Diamond has been denied access to her hormones, assaulted and raped at least seven times by other inmates.

Diamond filed a lawsuit against the GDC in February after years of unsuccessfully trying to convince corrections officials to provide her proper medical treatment and protection.

Last week, the US Justice Department voiced support for Diamond, calling the state’s denial of hormone therapy for gender dysphoria “cruel and unusual punishment”.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has filed a federal lawsuit against the GDC on behalf of Diamond.

The statement by John and Stipe reads in part:

John_stipe“We applaud the US Department of Justice for supporting Ashley Diamond and the trans community in arguing that Georgia’s policy of denying transgender inmates their medically necessary hormone treatment is unconstitutional. But we must do more to end the culture of violence and discrimination surrounding gender identity and expression. We urge the state of Georgia to embrace desperately needed changes to their correctional system.”

Watch a SPLC report on Diamond, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Elton John And Michael Stipe Rally Behind Abused Trans Georgia Inmate Ashley Diamond: VIDEO" »

Steven Universe Continues To Be One of the Most Queer-Positive Cartoons On TV - WATCH


“Steven Universe” is a television show currently airing on Cartoon Network about a young boy Steven, his father, and his three alien humanoid guardians known as the Crystal Gems. On its surface “Steven Universe” continues in Cartoon Network’s long history of vibrant, whimsical children’s shows. Beneath that, though, “Steven Universe” has been doing some of the most interesting work towards including positive themes of gender and sexual queerness in current television.

Over the show’s two seasons its writers have repeatedly used the Gems ability to fuse with one another to explore the intricacies of physical and emotional identities. In a lighthearted episode entitled “Alone Together” Steven, who is half Gem, accidentally fuses with his female friend Connie and becomes a physically androgynous being whose sole focus is to find a banging dance party. Though Stevonnie presents physically as being predominantly female, the character’s gender is left undefined and Stevonnie the person is uniformly admired by everyone that they meet.


During this season’s past few story arcs “Steven Universe” has hammered home its usually subtle messages about accepting love in all forms in much more explicit ways. In this week season finale’s “Jail Break” we learn that Garnet, voiced flawlessly by Estelle, is actually a near permanent fusion of two separate Gems with a deep romantic love for one another. The significance of the plot twist may seem minor, but as Mey Valdivia Rude writes for Autostraddle messages like Garnet’s can be powerful for young audiences:

Steven“Representation is vitally important for children. Study after study and expert after expert says that when kids see people like them positively portrayed in the media they consume, they are positively impacted, and when they don’t see that same representation, it negatively affects not only them, but how others view and treat people like them.

Especially when we’re still developing, and especially when we are still discovering and exploring our genders and sexuality, it’s important for us to know that we’re not alone and that we have the possibility of a bright future. One way to do this is by creating fictional characters and narratives that show that bright future for people like that.”

Check out a clip of Garnet’s origin story here AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Steven Universe Continues To Be One of the Most Queer-Positive Cartoons On TV - WATCH" »

Europe's Top Human Rights Court Waives Sterilization Requirement in Turkish Trans Man’s Gender Reassignment

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against the government of Turkey on Tuesday in favor of a trans man who was denied the right to gender reassignment surgery unless he agreed to undergo sterilization reports Buzzfeed:


The case began in 2005, when a Turkish court ruled that a trans man identified in court documents as Y.Y. could not undergo gender reassignment surgery because he was not infertile, a requirement for gender reassignment under Turkish law. He went to court rather than submit to medical sterilization. A Turkish court ultimately allowed him to move forward with gender reassignment in 2013, but the ECHR still heard his original challenge and awarded him damages of 7,500 euros in damages for the years he was unable to access gender reassignment surgery.

“The respect due to the physical integrity of the concerned party would be in opposition to his having to undergo” sterilization, the court ruled in a unanimous decision, and therefore a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, the treaty on which the ECHR’s authority is based. “The resulting interference in the claimant’s rights with respect to his private life cannot thus be said to have been ‘necessary’ in a democratic society.”

However, the ruling only addresses sterilization requirements, and it does not address other barriers impeding trans people from gender reassignment surgery such as having psychiatric professionals sign off on requests. 


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