Who Are You? A Survey of Queer Identity at ECC


Kip Kane

Finn Galloza (left), Yvonne Hamilton (center), and Jennifer McDonnell (right) converse in the Jobe Lounge on April 19th, 2023.

Vick Lukaszuk and Kip Kane

Twenty-five years ago, Kate Bornstein published “My Gender Workbook,” an exploration of the realm beyond the gender binary—or, as they like to call it, “through the wilds of gender.” In their efforts to map the uncharted territory of queer identity, Bornstein enlisted over 100 queer individuals to define themselves in 25 words or less.

The results of the survey are abstract, though nevertheless illuminating: one participant describes themselves as “a drag queen trapped in a man trapped in a woman’s body”; another, “a gentle societal mindf—”. Evidently, identity is something these respondents have put a lot of thought into. 


And what a shame it would be to leave minds like these at Elgin Community College untapped! So, in the interests of illustrating the range of queer existence at ECC, a loose replica of Bornstein’s poll was distributed to a portion of ECC’s queer populace. 

The topic of the questionnaire could be sensitive for some; as such, respondents were given the option to submit anonymously. In submissions where this was the case, respondents were provided with an alias, indicated in italics. 


“Pro tip: I’m based, you’re cringe; I’m queer, you’re gay; I’m gender, you’re not… and there’s nothing you can do about it.” – April Weirich (he/she/they/it)

“Disconnected from gender both mentally and socially. Love and attraction regardless of gender or sex.” – Ian Kamysz (they/he)

“#1 trophy boy wife pretty like a girl. Hypersexual degenerate. Boobs are just fun to accessorize. I wish they were detachable.” – Finn Galloza (he/they)

“I am a notebook full of poems, each with different styles. I am supposed to be art, but I am trapped in a body that isn’t mine.” – Soliloquy Schulz (they/them)

“Butch d[*]ke, Dad, wizard, werewolf even. I’m a lesbian but also I’m attracted to all trans people. My pronouns are whatever’s funniest and my gender is whatever makes the punchline land.” Dad-Wizard (he/they)

“Like a ship lost at sea from its original course in a squall finally finding the true bearing and sailing out of the storm.” – Shane Hall (she/her)

“I identify as a lesbian, I also love the term “woman loving woman” or simply wlw. I like to think that when I came out at 15, I really came out into the light that is my own identity. I wasn’t afraid anymore, I wasn’t full of shame whenever I liked another woman romantically. I let the light in.” – Sarah Winterroth (she/they)

“My gender is found amongst neon shades of eyeliner and a flurry of kooky earrings. I exist as an androgynous ball of black clothes and platform boots.” – Maddy Fraser (they/them)

“I am a message from the stars that is here to experience and be a being that lives in motions and excitement. I pursue how I may. And so should you.” – Jester Clown (they/them)

“An iridian trans man that loves fellow men. A music enthusiast, a force of patience in a sea of chaos. A self-assured fiery dude.” – Phillip Cole (he/him)

“Goth girlie, bat (animal), sunshine, the smell of fresh spring air, a wilting sunflower, gender-fluid with uncomfortably large boobies.” – Solstice Moncini (he/she/they)

“Stinky ferret boy, emo artist, malewife, double crossdresser, submissive switch, liminal space enthusiast transing my gender one cat boy at a time.” – Ezra Klekamp, sexuality is “whatever’s sexy” (he/they) 

“guy chilling in the void with a cheesecake and a comically large spoon” – Alex Economos (they/them)

“Questioning if attraction to exclusively garlic bread and ice cream counts as experiencing attraction.” – Garlic Bread (she/her)

“i’m not quite sure i can call myself a girl

for there’s a rock within my stomach

that sometimes surfaces with the word” – Parker Petronella (they/them)

“My gender has a mind of its own: sometimes it can feel like a nice day on the beach, sunny and bright, and other times it can feel like a mystery, waiting to be discovered.” – Sunny Beach (she/her)

“Who am I? It depends on who you ask.

My family: A shameful secret. A mentally ill girl. We must ignore her cries in the hopes she will learn to accept her place.

My peers: An enigma. Holds the appearance of a girl, yet insists is not one. Addressing her? him? them? correctly is a challenge.

My friends: Multifaceted. A kindred spirit.

Me: A dreamer. An explorer. A human. The universe reading its own code. Transcendent of the expectations of society. Focused on the truth of self.” – Charlie Djordjevic (he/him)

“Female bodied that has love for women. Beautiful and empowering. I am a cisgendered stud and feminist.” – Desirae Bonner (she/her)

“I am a person stuck in a body that doesn’t change. I wish I can shape shift my body so I can fit all genders. Where I can experience both fem, masc or just andro and show the beauties of gender.” – Kris Hannah (they/them) 

“I am every genre of song. Fantastical lyrics that you dance to in a field of flowers. A beat that empowers you to stomp through life. A somber note that allows you to feel less alone. I am whatever I feel.” – Songbird (he/she/they)

“I know I’m not a guy, and I comfortably identify with being a girl. It’s less about the label and more about being comfortable with myself. It’s made me love me more.” – Yvonne Hamilton (she/her)

“Spicy Italian” – Audry Ayala (she/her)

“Mushroom princess studying the dark arts of transing my gender. Anyone looks sexy in a sundress. Maybe lesbian, but I’m flexible.” – Jennifer McDonnell (she/her)

“It shifts. Usually I’m into pink, and glitter, and doing my makeup. But sometimes I wish I was a frat bro, or just some guy” – Just Some Guy (she/her)

“Man with a little bit of nah. I identify as a man, but within the gender binary, part of me lacks gender completely. I enjoy being feminine in a way that a cisgender man can be feminine.” Alex Kelleher, identifies as “gay, but women are ~hot~” (he/they)

“Queer nerd who’s just trying to blend masculinity and femininity. Also an aspiring Pokemon master…” – Dr. Kellen Bolt (he/they)

Throughout the countless generations of human existence, queer people have always been around. Though some may try and stamp them out, what will always prevail is the sense of community and creative strength queer people have fought for the right to maintain. These responses help paint a larger picture of how queer individuals express themselves across time and history. Human language has changed an infinite number of times, and so has the way queer people describe what they mean to themselves. No matter the era or the conflict they face, queer individuals will always find ways to let their voices be heard and stand strong beside one another through everything they experience.