Thoughts from a Midwest GenderQueer

We sit down for a quick chat with gender and sexuality activist Jac Stringer.

We sit down for a quick chat with gender and sexuality activist Jac Stringer.

By Christopher Clevenger

Jac Stringer, gender and sexuality educator and activist
"(Genderqueer) is the most fluid. I think really it’s kind of whatever you make it. It’s kind of that identity autonomy." — Jac Stringer, gender and sexuality educator and activist (Photograph courtesy of Llyod Wolf)

Jac Stringer is one of the leading gender and sexuality educators in the Midwest. At 25, Stringer has had a huge impact on the LGBT community through his advocacy and activism. Currently working for Oberlin College as its LGBT community coordinator, Stringer also works as the director of the GenderQueer Coalition. Stringer originally attended Kent State as an art major, but he transferred to the University of Cincinnati where he graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor focusing on sexualities and gender studies. After blogging for years about trans issues for Advocates For Youth’s blog, “Amplify Your Voice,” Stringer started his own blog, “Midwest GenderQueer, the musings of a genderfucking femme boy.” In his free time, Stringer performs with a group called the Black Mondays, a drag king troupe in Cincinnati.

When did you first become involved with activism?

I really started doing real activist work my freshman year at Kent State. My academic work with queer stuff kind of melded with activist work, and I started working on queer activism and trans activism.

What does being genderqueer mean to you?

It is the most fluid. It is what you make it. That can be anyone who is more on the gender-conforming side. I’m a trans and have a completely unreadable gender. I think really it’s kind of whatever you make it. It’s kind of that identity autonomy.

When did you first realize you were genderqueer?

I came out directly to the trans community. I kind of got exposed to everything at once. I sort of tagged onto the term ‘genderqueer’ right as I came out. I guess a year or so after I came out as trans, I really started to own it more. I guess in two years, I really started to fuck with gender.

When did you first start blogging?

I started blogging with Advocate’s “Amplify Your Voice.” I’m on the Ohio Advocates team. They asked me to be a blogger for “Amplify,” and I had never actually blogged before. They do really great training. I love telling people what I think.

Why did you create your own blog?

I got really into blogging, and I didn’t think some of the things I wanted to cover fit in (with what I was already doing) so I created my own blog.

What is one of your goals?

To create an accessible inclusive community in the Midwest, creating an intricate network of supported and activist communities that are inclusive of queer and gender-variant people.

How do you feel you’ve affected the LGBT community?

I should focus on Ohio. Most of my work has been Midwest-focused. I would like to think that I’ve been just one of many wheels in a great working machine that’s working to make the Midwest a better place for people who are queer.

Who has influenced you the most?

Advocates For Youth has really helped me shape my craft. And then you just pick up things you can from conferences and things. That’s got to be one of the big elements where I get a lot of my information. There is no queer education system, so there was no one to teach me what I needed to know.

When you aren’t working on one of your projects, what do you do in your free time?

A hobby-turned-profession that I really love is performing. I started performing with my drag troupe in early 2006. I really got to access a group of gender nonconforming people. For the most part, it’s a really fun thing to do, and it lets me meet a lot of really cool people.

Is there anything else you really like to do?

I really like swinging on swing sets. It’s something I enjoy. There’s nothing better than a good swing set. I have two kitties. I travel a lot. That’s the nice thing about working at Oberlin. I’m essentially doing everything I did in Cincinnati but getting paid for it.

(This article originally appeared in the Winter 2009-10 print edition.)

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