Digital Transgender Archive
Pushing the Envelope with GenderFlex
GenderFlex is a newsletter that was developed and published in the 1990s aimed towards the “polygenderous” person. GenderFlex covered anything and everything from topics to avoid during a dinner party and goings on about town, to serious considerations of religion, politics, and gender identity. At times the main body of the newsletter reads like a stream of consciousness journal, with many asides and commentary. While GenderFlex might step on some people’s toes, the authors reap the full emotional punch of using an informal, visceral style and achieve an at once brutally honest and touchingly vulnerable balance, with a heavy dose of comedic relief. This complex, authentic style allows GenderFlex to act as an outlet for frustration and community rebellion against 1990s cisnormativity.
GenderFlex’s creator, Billie Jean Jones, writes most of the publication’s material and is the originator of the newsletter’s distinctive style. Jones’ writing is innovative and does not shy away from using prototypic terms like “hym”, “sheem”, and “Dear Siblingss [sic]” instead of Brothers and Sisters to subvert the gender binary at every opportunity. Clearly these pieces keep their audience both entertained and on edge while the authors explore the uncharted terrains of gender nonconformity in the 90s.