The Gender Forest is a project I started in 2021 as I started to explore my own gender identity and expression. This map helped me to lay out the different aspects of what makes up my gender-- and to see which other aspects of my identity and the culture I live in bump up against and shape those aspects. We all have a gender-- and my greatest hope for this project is that it encourages you, no matter how you describe your gender, to wander around a bit and explore what makes up your gender.
As you look through my forest map, this is the metaphorical landscape I used to help me make a distinction between which things felt dense, scarier, and like i might need a machette (or a good guide/therapist) to navigate, and which might be less steep and treacherous. And which other aspects of my identity (rock) or culture (rivers) were shaping my more organic, fluid gender space.
WHAT MAKES UP THE GENDER FOREST
The Culture Rivers-- Capitalism, White Supremacy and Patriarchy. Run through the gender forest. These, along with others-- are what feed the forest with water and nutrients-- carve the landscape-- and ultimately shape what is possible. Their current runs strong, and they carry poison. But they are changing, getting the filth cleaned out.
Mount race, class, body, etc.
The trails. These are paths I have wandered. On my own, with my beloved therapists, with my community. Below I have laid out some questions that make up these paths that i invite you to wander along-- on your own, with a trusted friend or with a trained gender affirming therapist.
TOOLS TO BRING WITH YOU
SOME HIKES (AKA REFLECTION PROMPTS) FOR YOU
These "hikes" are prompts, worksheets and questions for you to wander around with. Journal on them, talk about them with a trusted friend, therapist or family member. And most importantly, return to them! You'll be surprised to find how they might change over time.