Laughter

I just thought I would share some uplifting moments I’ve had with this class even in the last days of stressing about getting the full 2,000 points. First, all of our last minute, somewhat desperate emails have been pretty awesome! I love reading all the creative ways we are getting points and the creative ways we are asking for them… I really enjoy all the advice people are giving and the support we are giving each other.

In the midst of coming up with all the ways I can get points, I can get pretty frustrated. It seems like I should be done with school already or at least that the end should be near, but as I look at the list it just gets overwhelming and feels like the end is way too far away. I had all these things I wanted to do in Ann Arbor before I left that now seem like they are getting cut short because I still have work left. What I’ve realized, though, is that I kind of enjoy that some of the final moments of undergrad are going to be doing the same things that I’ve done for four years – cramming in assignments at the last minute, spending hours and hours and coffee shops, and sitting with friends to keep company while doing work together. I’m trying to savor the moment and ignore the small amount of misery!

Finally, every once in a while, I look up from my computer and laugh. At least three times now, I’ve realized in the middle of writing that I am reflecting on reflecting.. sometimes reflecting on reflecting on reflecting. I just have to laugh. I don’t even realize how silly it kind of is when I do it, but then I announce it to my study partner and I can let go of the frustration and laugh at it all.

I hope you all are getting these small moments of joy when finishing up this semester! Good luck!

Asbestos KILLS

Did you know that ~125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace? According to the World Health Organization, 107,000+ people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma & asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure – in 2007, my father was one of those people.

If you only take away one thing from this post, let it be this – ASBESTOS KILLS.

The horrid truth is that all deaths and illnesses related to asbestos are entirely PREVENTABLE through an international ban on asbestos. The US & many other countries across the globe must STOP importing asbestos & pass legislation to BAN ASBESTOS. The US Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization, and the National Toxicology Program have all declared asbestos a proven human carcinogen – so why hasn’t it stopped being used?

The “near-magical properties” of asbestos, from its tensile strength to its ability to resist fire, heat, and acid, resulted in popular use and the development of a thriving asbestos industry.  Countries across the globe contributed to this industry for decades prior to the discovery of its detrimental health effects. Industrialized countries have used this inexpensive, naturally occurring, fibrous mineral for a wide array of products, including pipe and ceiling insulation, ship-building materials, brake shoes and pads, bricks, roofing, and flooring. The manufacturing, import and export, and use of asbestos in every day products continue despite publication of scientific evidence that proves the life-terminating effects of the material.

Safe exposure to asbestos does not exist, and there is a clear scientific consensus internationally that asbestos, in all its forms, and even at low doses, is a proven human carcinogen. When inhaled, asbestos fibers take the form of a very fine dust and proceed to penetrate deep inside of the lungs, gradually causing inflammation and fibrosis of the lung tissue or membrane and causing cancerous changes that may lead to a lung tumor. Fibers may also venture outside the pleural cavity and cause localized fibrosis, pleural plaques, or cancer of the pleura, mesothelioma.

According to the WHO, there is no threshold at which asbestos dust becomes dangerous to a person’s health, so exposure to any amount of asbestos can potentially lead to cancer. Twenty thousand asbestos fibers are relatively even smaller than five human hairs, so thousands of people are oblivious to the fact that they are exposed. The fibers can linger and alter bodily functions, like cell division, for a latency period of 20 years or more from the time of exposure, before symptoms of respiratory disease or asbestos-related cancer are even detected. Physicians have found extreme difficulty in treating most asbestos-related illnesses because most have no cure.

Even with its well-documented dangers, the process of banning asbestos across the world has been a slow struggle. A number of countries have already taken steps in the right direction and implemented a ban on the use, development, and import and export of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. However, some highly industrialized countries, including the United States, have only stopped using five of the six naturally occurring fibrous minerals of asbestos.

The legalized form of asbestos, Chrysotile, is a white mineral derived from the configuration of serpentine asbestos and accounts for more than ninety-five percent of the asbestos ever used around the world. The countries filled with Chrysotile defend their usage by titling it a “less hazardous and less carcinogenic” form of asbestos. The Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association claims on its website that the use of Chrysotile in manufacturing “is safe for the workers, environment, and the general public.” The scientific world, however, has provided sufficient evidence to support that all forms of asbestos, including Chrysotile, are carcinogenic, responsible for asbestos-related cancers, and cause death for thousands across the globe. An international ban on the use of asbestos is crucial because even though exposure limits could be technically achieved for “controlled use” of Chrysotile asbestos in the United States, the residual risks and environmental exposures to products in use or to waste remains too high to be acceptable.

The primary arguments against a worldwide ban on asbestos are essentially economic. An ad placed in The Times of India by India’s Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association claimed that asbestos cement products are “strong, durable, economical, energy efficient and eco-friendly.” They may possess these qualities, but since when did fibers being released in to the air and contaminating our environment as these materials weather, erode, break or are cut by saws and other power tools become considerably “eco-friendly?”

There are alternative materials to asbestos cement sheets and pipes that can provide this same strength and durability mentioned in the ad. Fibre cements, “a mix of cement and fibres which may be cellulose, polyproylene, polyvinyl alcohol or aramide fibres” could replace the asbestos cement, which accounts for ninety percent of the asbestos market today.  An alternative to any traditional use of asbestos exists. Substitute products may be more costly than asbestos, but many must consider that this cost is miniscule in comparison to the exorbitantly high cost to society of asbestos-related diseases. Journalists have tracked nearly $100 million in public and private money spent by groups in Canada, India, and Brazil since the mid-1980s to keep asbestos in commerce. Critics call the asbestos industry “unethical” and “almost criminal” and compare their strategy to the tobacco industry: “create doubt, contest litigation, and delay regulation.”

Countries feel that using asbestos benefits them economically, but in reality the effects are far-reaching: “using asbestos now will damage a country’s economy for more than 30 years by making future generations bear the responsibility for compensating victims and the financial burden of looking after them.”  For example, in Germany, the cost of meeting victims’ medical expenses and paying financial compensation to victims and their families has reached 290 million and will continue to escalate resulting in a much higher expense than if they used a safer substitute material. The use of asbestos financially cripples the economy of many countries, and the use of substitute materials will be less costly in the future and help save thousands of lives.

While the struggle to ban asbestos continues and awareness grows, temporary solutions must suffice. Foremost, awareness must be spread to people, especially workers, exposed to asbestos. One worker in India, Ravindra Mohite, shared his heart wrenching story on the blog of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization website (“‘India Through My Eyes’ – Ravindra’s Story”). He recalls that in his time working at various facilities with asbestos, “none of the workers were ever informed of the hazards of the material with which they worked.” He goes on to explain, “[we] noticed warning labels on the bags but company officials never explained the hazards nor outlined appropriate safety measures for handling asbestos.” Forty-one workers from the company, including Mohite, were diagnosed with Asbestos-related disorders, and one of these workers died almost immediately after diagnosis.

Notification to workers being exposed to asbestos is crucial, so that they may monitor themselves with medical surveillance and detect illnesses as early as possible. Monitoring is necessary even after an individual is no longer exposed because these diseases usually have a latency period of up to 30 or even 40 years.  With early detection of asbestos-related illnesses, treatment is much more efficient and results in a longer life expectancy. For example, in studies among patients whose mesothelioma was detected early on, the life expectancy ranges from two to five years, while the median life expectancy is four to eighteen months.

When my father was diagnosed with stage-four mesothelioma, the most progressive stage of the cancer, the doctors said the particles had been lingering in his system without any symptoms for 25 years and estimated he had one month to live. Ironically, while working and trying to make a living for himself, he was unknowingly exposed to a deadly material that was going to financially cost him more for treatment than what he was making at work, and eventually cost him his life. He went against the doctor’s estimate and fought with the cancer for seven years. In those seven years, he overcame surgeries, numerous chemotherapy sessions and lived his life in a constant struggle.

Asbestos-related cancer victims go on to die painful, brutal deaths.  In the last sixth months of my father’s life, similar to what many patients will endure, he could not eat, hardly slept, had a tube shoved up his nose, and suffered excessively as a result of exposure to this material. Exposure to asbestos did not only result in a physical and emotional struggle for my father, but for my whole family. Even if other members of my family, anyone my father influenced, or myself were not directly exposed to it, we all had to face the consequences of asbestos. Asbestos not only affects millions of its VICTIMS, but also billions of FAMILIES, FRIENDS, and COMMUNITIES around the WORLD.

To protect the health of all people in the world – industrial workers, construction workers, spouses and children, now and in generations to come – it is essential to spread awareness and ban asbestos universally. More than TWO MILLION TONS of this material are produced each YEAR, and according to the International Social Security Administration, figures for asbestos manufacture and use have begun to climb again. Asbestos lingers not only in the workplace, but also in the environment. In countries where asbestos is being used today, asbestos-contaminated dust accumulates in thousands of communities. Safer substitutes to replace this silent killer have already been implemented successfully in 52 countries.

The only realistic and sustainable answer to this pandemic is complete removal of asbestos worldwide. The primary influence on governments to ban asbestos comes from the voice of the public. Very rarely do people see a story on asbestos in the media, but when the public is educated and acts on the information, the greatest success is seen. The fate of hundreds relies on citizens to promote awareness and come together to demand all countries to ban the manufacture, trade and use of all types of asbestos and asbestos-containing products as soon as possible.

Ultimately, what’s worth more – an inexpensive material or our LIVES?

(*sources available upon request)

TOP 7 REASONS TO PREVENT ASBESTOS EXPOSURE: 7 Reasons for 7 Days 

(courtesy of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization – for more info visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org)

  1. Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen and there is NO safe level of exposure.
  2. Asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung and gastrointestinal cancers, and an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. The average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is six – twelve months.
  3. Asbestos diseases have a 10 – 50 year latency period from initial exposure to development of disease.
  4. Chrysotile asbestos accounts for nearly 95% of asbestos mined and exported today. The top five asbestos producing countries are Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Canada.
  5. 55 countries have banned asbestos, but the U.S. and Canada have NOT.
  6. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers die annually from exposure to asbestos. Asbestos has been mined and used in a broad range of products, materials, and applications including construction, insulation, shipyards, and many other industries.
  7. Asbestos fibers can be nearly 700 times smaller than human hair and are odorless, tasteless, indestructible fibers that can remain suspended in the air for seconds.

Hopwood Hysteria

Though it has been a month since I turned in my Hopwood submission, the fateful night still haunts me.

 

The fishbowl is normally crowded from the hours of 11pm and 1am. This is nothing new or out of the ordinary. If I were to make a sweeping generalization, I would say that most college students are at the peak of their productivity during these hours. So I dutifully worked in front of the obnoxiously large, yet entirely luxurious mac monitors. I printed my rough draft, all 25 pages. This is making a dent in my allotted printing pages for the semester. I sit down, and begin marking up the hard copy. Scribbling and crossing out entire paragraphs of what is supposed to be creative non-fiction. Midnight comes and goes and I stay strong. Done with the first edit. Now as I look through the pages, I realize that I must apply the changes. Interpreting my scratch marks and meticulously going through the word document. Looking down at the paper, then back up at the monitor and so on and so forth. I have since determined that while writing a shitty first draft is painful. Revising and applying the marks, is infinitely more painful. I constantly lose my place, delete the wrong sentence and move the paragraph into the wrong section. Each mistake more infuriating than the last. I prevail. First draft is revised and I am looking at the 27 inch screen with my revised work. I know that I am not done and I must go through this cycle once more. 2:28 am. When did that happen.

 

I print the manuscript a second time. 28 pages. This is getting rough. The students around me have thinned. Those that remain have slides of DNA helices displayed on their computer screens, but their heads are resting on their arms that are resting on the keyboards. They should just pack it in. No one will ever retain DNA sequencing after 1 am. I continue with the revising. I have burned through one green inked pen. I pull out my pink pen. Perhaps the color will give me hope, I am optimistic. Perhaps I am delusional. I continue with the revising. My work is decidedly slower. Sleep continues to close my eyelids and rock my head backwards. I must continue on with the editing. 6:47 am. I am done with the 2nd revision. Spellcheck time. It’s now 7:18.  There were many errors.  The Hopwood awards require that you print three copies of your manuscript. I check my margins and spacing and spelling 4 more times. 7:55. I print three copies of my thirty-three page manuscript. Ninety-nine pages. I receive an e-mail alerting me that I have used over half of my allotted printing pages. I send it to the trash. Walking over to the printers I see an older woman with heaps of papers and one of those coffee mugs that you can put pictures inside. There are images of babies in cribs and small children on tricycles. The mug is empty, she too has been here all night. I ask her what she is doing here. “Hopwoods,” she says. Her hands pushing at the sides of the stack of paper. “I thought that I would be able to submit some poetry, but I probably should have started before 1am.” I look at her stacks of paper. Three separate stacks of paper equivalent to mine. “You started tonight?” I ask her. “I had been brooding over this, but more or less. Yeah.” She responds. I stood there for a moment and then she sent a three whole punch through the stack of papers with a resounding thud. I gather my papers and muster a “good luck” to her in passing. She doesn’t look up as she responds “You too.” I hear the thud of the three hole punch as I sit back down in front of the computer.

 

I make my way to the Hopwood Room in Angell Hall. I turn in the manuscript, walk outside, stumble into my apartment, and sleep a deep sleep. I dream of paper cuts and rowdy commas.

More links

I hope you’ve all had a great spring break! Shame that we’re losing an hour tonight – well, technically, we’re not, but whatever. I’m reluctant to shift out of this (sort of) blissful holiday mode to get back into the swing of things but here’s my effort to force myself out of it.

After scouring the first few (reliable) pages of Google search results from a combination of key words, here are links to some of the works of the authors Ray mentioned in class. Click here for Eula Biss’ essays, here for the only David Shields essay I came across amongst a ton of book reviews, here for an essay by Maggie Nelson, and here and here for Bhanu Kapil’s writing.

Edit: Right after I posted this, I went back to the Capstone blog to see that the post wasn’t there. Of course it wasn’t because I’d tagged it in the Gateway blog. Apparently even my mind is stuck in the past. 🙁

Some background

I was meeting with an old professor earlier to talk about my project because he is really involved with community organizing stuff in Detroit, and he suggested I read this article called “Detroit Arcadia” by Rebecca Solnit. At first I didn’t see how it related much because it is so Detroit-focused, but after reading it in entirety, I realized that her conclusions about Detroit are really closely related to the information I want to get out of my project. It’s a pretty good read, and even though it’s focused on Detroit, it gives a good perspective on grassroots efforts in a place like Detroit, and the benefits they could bring compared to other projects that have been attempted there. I especially like this quote:  “The free-range chickens and Priuses are great, but they alone aren’t adequate tools for creating a truly different society and ecology. The future, at least the sustainable one, the one in which we will survive, isn’t going to be invented by people who are happily surrendering selective bits and pieces of environmentally unsound privilege. It’s going to be made by those who had all that taken away from them or never had it in the first place.”

Here is the link to that article: http://harpers.org/archive/2007/07/detroit-arcadia/6/

Another thing that might be helpful for understanding my topic is this article about social enterprise. It’s actually pretty basic and not super interesting, but is a good outline of what social enterprise is and where it is going. It also provides a more research-based, practical look at how social entrepreneurship can work.

There is that link: http://community-wealth.org/content/social-enterprise-portrait-field-0

Lastly, I am including an excerpt from Grace Lee Boggs book, The Next American Revolution. Again, this is a Detroit focused article, but it is an example of how people are thinking about local, community-based initiatives as a way to work towards building stronger communities.

If you really wanted, you could read her whole book, but for the sake of this class here is a little sample: http://www.thenation.com/article/160346/detroit-place-and-space-begin-anew

 

I look forward to reading about everyone else’s topics!

 

Required Readings

Here’s what I recommend you take a look at to get a better overview of my topic:

  • The executive summary of a study from the UK’s Government Office for Science that examines the changing nature of our identities due to the rise of online profiles and relationships. Solid research with intriguing scientific findings about this topic.
  • A recent blog post from the New York Times about online identities. I like how the bloggers structured this entry in question-and-answer format. It asks questions like “Are you the real you?” and “How Does Who You Are Online Affect How You Feel Offline?” They included outside resources too. Very informative piece!
  • An article from The Morning News that asks this question: “Who You Are and Who You Say You Are.” I think this gets to my interest: who do we think we are and who do we try to portray online?

I’m curious to hear about what you think of these resources. Did you find them to be helpful? What else can I post for you?

Reading resources for project

The three reading resources that are important in explaining gender fluidity, which is the focus of my project, are available in PDF format. One of the files is quite large as it is a compilation of 15 pages that were “scanned” with a phone app (thanks for the tip, Dana!). As such, I will be sending out the materials via a CTools message (if the attachment limit permits).

Below are my annotated bibliography for each reading to provide clearer context for the material:

How Sex Changed by Joanne Meyerowitz

Chapter 7 (“The Next Generation”) of the book How Sex Changed is particularly helpful in outlining the history of the transgender movement. This chapter discusses the change in acceptance of transgendered people in the US. In particular, it highlights the roles of doctors and scientists as contributors to both sides of the debate. While some surgeons were dedicated to performing sex-change surgeries, others were openly resistant to the procedure. The chapter also discusses the relationship between the transsexual movement and the feminist movement. It describes the tension between the movements as the feminist movement began actively excluding those who were not born with female genitalia but identified as women. Many feminists openly rejected the possibility of others they deemed “not women” as they believed that a man cannot possibly identify as a woman and understand the implications of being a woman. This chapter also discusses an interesting study conducted to show the changes brought about by sex-change surgeries. The study showed that, in general, “sex reassignment surgery confers no objective advantage in terms of social rehabilitation.” However, as the author of the book points out, this study uses measures of “advantage” in terms that favor “mobility, heterosexuality, and patients who avoided asking for help.” These criteria are telling of the pervasive biases of the time.

Situating ‘Fluidity’ (Trans) Gender Identification and the Regulation of Gender Diversity by Erin Calhoun Davis

This article focuses on the issues of gender as experienced by transgendered individuals. An interesting point that this article raises that is particularly pertinent to my project is the inherent restriction in assuming that gender fluidity necessarily means that there are no boundaries to gender diversity. Davis argues that although people can move in and out of different gender categories with more ease now, they are not unbounded within the categories. This can be seen in the gender performances that occur. For instance, some transgendered people who identify as male or female emphasize certain characteristics that are commonly associated with these genders so as to be more socially accepted as either a male or female. However, these individuals do not seek to actively eliminate their gendered history. Rather, they choose their gender presentations based on the social context in which they are involved. This, in a way, brings about a question as to whether or not gender fluidity necessarily implies complete freedom in gender expression or if it further restricts the freedom it seeks to promote.

Patterned Fluidities: (Re)Imagining the Relationship between Gender and Sexuality by Diane Richardson

This article explains pre-existing theories about the intersection (and often also the conflation) of gender and sexuality. The author lays out five main arguments that have been used: “naturalist approaches (principle of consistency), gender prioritized over sexuality, gender as an effect of sexuality, sexuality and gender as separate systems, [and] gender and sexuality elision.” In the article, the author proposes an analogy of the relationship between gender and sexuality to the relationship between the land and the sea. Specifically, she argues that the intersection of gender and sexuality changes depending on contexts influenced by situations, locations, and historical periods. This implies a gradation of change that can happen over time. The author also suggests a “patterned fluidity” in the relationship between gender and sexuality as a relationship that necessarily involves both predictability and unpredictability.

I hope these readings are helpful to you in understanding my project with regards to its historical background and the current debates that surround gender fluidity.

To understand my project, watch and read these:

These are the videos that inspired my project.

Joyas Voladoras

by Brian Doyle

Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmetcrests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles — anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures more than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.

The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It’s as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around in it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs, and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest mammal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.

Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.

So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end — not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in a thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.

Help with sources

My project explores gender fluidity and what it means to different people. While I am also interested in incorporating anonymity and making connections between it and expression of gender, I am honestly quite lost as to how I should bring it in right now. So my focus is mainly on gender identification that falls beyond the widely accepted binary of male and female. As of now, I am still scouring the library databases for good sources. I’ve found Kate Bornstein who wrote books about her own journey in defying gender norms. I have found a couple more mainstream articles but I’m really not sure if I can even use them anyhow besides using them as a way to gauge the general idea that “the public” has about the topic. So far, I have found a few contacts here at the university that I am looking forward to speaking to about this, but I would love to know if any of you knows someone who has good knowledge and/or experience and who would be willing to discuss this. Also, all recommendations for related readings are completely welcomed. If it helps, I am planning on creating a podcast, a supplemental text, and a photo collage, so I would love to look at works in other media as well.