Letter From the Editors
as i write this, my non-binary uterus is doing their dance, trying to decide if they are going to shed today or not. there are occasional pains, hints of maybe more pain coming. there is an all over softness and heavy feeling in my body. i feel within me a tension: a desire to befriend and lean in to this aspect of my somatic experience and a desire to let it go and get as far away as i possibly can.
it is really quite something to feel who you are inside and to have so many people, advertisements, books, websites, and other forms of social matter try to convince you that you are in fact not that, that you must be actually something else, a “woman”, and that this monthly blood proves it so. as many of the artists in this zine achingly express – it is like my body is betraying me. but, i have started to get curious lately. is it my body that is betraying me, or is it society that is betraying me?
how this zine emerged can be articulated through the words TC Tolbert uses to describe how troubling the line, a collection of trans & genderqueer poetics, began: “simply a search for other voices”. my own desire for an echo, for community, for intimacy with other people who have similar struggles with their body processes and an insistent colonial, racist, patriarchal paradigm that categorizes them according to their genitals instead of what they feel to be true about themselves. i am exhausted by this “secret bleeding”, this crushing dysphoria, this chronic invalidation, and through the call for submissions, was reaching for life-saving kinship.
i am honored to be in community with the folks who organized and contributed to this zine. i am humbled to be on the journey of self-love with my own cycle, knowing that i am learning how to hold all the complexities for myself. through this process of being sacred witness to the full spectrums of each person’s artistic sharing, i feel like i am actively reclaiming a part of myself that dies every single time someone misgenders me. i’m inexplicably grateful for the way other peoples’ generosity of sharing their own stories continues to help me heal. may this honest outpouring of art revive and sustain you. may it disturb cis-heteronormative fantasies about menstruation and embodiment. may this collection be a site of resistance and resilience for you too. and so it is.
fēnix grace | Co-Editor
I was 18 and dancing through a rite of passage when I attended my first women’s circle. Those assigned male at birth went out on the land and drummed around a fire, while those assigned female at birth played with clay and listened as each person in the circle shared. I absently shifted the clay in my hands, listening as these women talked about their wombs and bleeding, their childbirth, their male partners, listening and listening and dissociating little by little. I waited until the end of the council to start sobbing. Some women embraced me, telling me to let it out, that it was okay, but I didn’t feel closer to them by crying.
Thankfully, the next few years I sat in enough queer & trans circles to realize that I was probably crying because I was trans, and no woman in that circle was ready to see me that way. In queer & trans cricles, I found the sacred pieces of my own identities — outside woman, into the liminal spaces. It is in these queer & trans circles that I found new ways to honor my cycles — rituals of giving partners hormones injections, rituals of writing gender affirmations with my moon blood — rituals dedicated to self-love.
In this zine, we offer a window into our sacred circle. As editors, we have cried with these submissions, held them, witnessed them, felt them echo off places in our own hearts. And now, we offer them up to you, dear reader. Not for you to respond, not to fix or amend or apologize, but to witness.
Silen Wellington | Co-Editor
¹ Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson
² from “Just Being Me. Period” by Erin Phares