From the femme herbal transition of The Transgender Herb Garden, we are now transitioning (hehe wink wink) towards Hot Rods, a zine of health resources for “For Folks assigned a Female sex at birth who have strayed from that path” in Oregon. The zine was made by Gender Machine Works, a direct action group serving “female assigned, gender-variant” (or FAGV) people based in Portland, Oregon, and was published in 2002. This is the only zine we have in our digital collection made by Gender Machine Works.
Despite being written with a very specific audience in mind (FAGV people in Portland in 2002), this zine has a lot of incredibly useful, effectively timeless, information. This includes the effects of hormonal testosterone on the body, their information on routine healthcare procedures for AFAB individuals, how to check for breast cancer and do hormone injections safely, safe sex tips, and a wealth of other important knowledge for not just physical, but mental female assigned, gender-variant health.
From a use standpoint, the only downside is that a lot of the information they give is very area-specific and probably outdated. However, looking at it from a historical lens, it gives a lot of information about doctors, groups, and resources that may not be well-documented, making this zine a really important record in Portland queer history. They are also supportive of a multitude of gender identities and are incredibly open to a multitude of viewpoints regarding transitioning.
In a world where transgender healthcare rights are being taken away right in front of us, we feel it’s incredibly important to come together as a community, and know that despite everything we can support each other and find the cracks in the systems restricting us from getting essential care. We feel that this zine is a great example of the queer community doing just that.
Kit Gorton is a current intern at QZAP and graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in library science and English, with focuses on archives and media studies. A rather queer Hobbit, Kit is most often seen collecting things (such as leaves, rocks, books and the like) or doting on their cat, Good Omens Written in Collaboration by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett.