There are two very large and influential prison companies in the United States who are manipulating the system to make sure they have plenty of business: The GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). In the first part of this two-part series, I will explore The GEO Group’s influence peddling; next week, I will look at CCA.
If you have any doubt in your mind that improving society and lowering the number of prisoners in our country (normally considered a worthy social goal) is a threat to the prison industry business, all you need to do is to read about that concern in The GEO Group’s 2011 annual report:
In particular, the demand for our correctional and detention facilities and services and BI’s [a prison industry company Geo acquired in 2011] services could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws. For example, any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Similarly, reductions in crime rates could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. Immigration reform laws which are currently a focus for legislators and politicians at the federal, state and local level also could materially adversely impact us.
This is an industry that needs misery, long sentences, rounded-up undocumented immigrants and increasing crime to flourish. In order to keep the prison beds filled, The GEO Group and others have paid out millions of dollars to lobbyists, federal and state legislators, and governors to allow our immigration problem to go unsolved, to make sure that no drugs are decriminalized and that an ineffective War on Drugs continues, and to make certain that long term prison sentences, like California’s three-strikes-and-you’re-imprisoned-for-life laws, keep a steady flow of revenue and profits flowing to their shareholders. They are also hoping that our national drop in crime is just a temporary trend.
If you doubt the existence of evil, read that again.
(AKA “I should be doing homework but this really needs to be said and I didn’t stick it in my proposal because it felt like whining and I couldn’t find a proper place to put it but this has got to be out there somewhere.”)
It does. It really does.
It starts the very first time you realize you aren’t “normal,” and you turn to your first person and tell then that maybe, you know, if it’d be ok… Maybe they wouldn’t mind calling you Sam instead of Samantha? Or Joan instead of Joe? Or could they just use your initials, maybe? If it’s not too much trouble? And this person (whoever they are) thinks it’s a game. And they laugh, or they snicker, or they ask you why you would do such a thing. Because Joan is a girl name, and you’re not a girl. Why would you want to be one? So you apologize and laugh it off, but inside you’re not smiling.
And it happens again a couple of years later, when you find your way to the internet and make yourself an account in a kiddy forum and say you’re a boy. Your little display picture is a male anime character or another. And you grow to really like this community, until one day someone finds you out for one way or another. Maybe you were careless and let a friend see the site over your shoulder, and they joined. Maybe you started IMing with someone from the forum and they saw your display photo on your IM system, and it’s of a girl. Maybe you decided to go to a meet-up and everyone realizes you were lying. Because of course you are not who you say you are. So you apologize and laugh it off, and say you were just roleplaying. Or it was a joint account with a friend, and they left. Or you clicked the wrong gender when signing up and didn’t realize until people thought you were that gender and you kept it going because it was funny. But of course you can’t go back to the site now.
Again when you start dressing more androgynous, and when someone genders you the way you feel inside, your friends laugh and assure these people that you are not what you look like. That you really do have a dick. Would this stranger want to see it? ‘Cause they’ll pull it out for you if they have to. Hahaha, isn’t it funny that this person thought you were a girl? And you laugh and you apologize to this other person for looking misleading, but inside you are kicking yourself.
And then you come out. Hesitantly at first. You come out to a couple of close friends, and you say you may be genderqueer, and you don’t really know where you stand, but would they mind calling you “they?” And could they just call you Alex, or Cory, or Logan, which are all gender-neutral? And they say that maybe, I mean, it’s really hard, they’ve always known you as Alice and it’s going to be so super-hard to keep those pronouns straight. Hahahaha get it? Straight? Because you’re not straight if you want to be called Alex. You’re obviously gay or bi or something because straight people don’t switch genders. And you say it’s ok and you know it will take time and you don’t correct them even when they misgender you through the years and they call you the wrong thing in front of new friends or in front of your partners. And you apologize for picking such difficult pronouns and for putting them through this and asking them to switch over.
You apologize when you throw the gender ratios off in class and if only you were a girl you could be divided by gender and both groups would have the same amount of people. But, I mean. You don’t mind being with the girls, right? You understand them! Here, ehm, Rob. We promise we still think of you as a guy. But it will be so much easier if you just do us this favor and let us put you in the girls’ group. And you apologize for putting them through this.
You apologize for holding up the line at a gay club because the bouncers are convinced that your ID is a fake. And when you get out at the end of the night and they’re still there, you ask them why they thought it was fake, since it’s brand-spanking-new and you just got it, with the right name and gender, this past month. And they ask you if you’re trans. Oh, you are? Well, that explains it. It just didn’t look right, you know. The font is too thin.
You apologize when you wear a dress and grow your hair out and wear make-up and they still call you Andrew because it’s so hard for them because you will always be “he” to them.
You apologize for going into the right bathroom.
You apologize for mentioning that not all men have deep voices.
You apologize for knowing about periods.
You apologize for having a period.
You apologize for not having a period.
You apologize for being tall.
You apologize for being short.
You apologize for passing.
You apologize for being read.
You apologize for fucking existing and taking up space that you have no right to because you’re a filthy trans person and should just let cis people go ahead and walk all over you.
You apologize for wanting the same rights everybody else has.
And then? Then you have to apologize for not speaking up, because it’s not like cis people could have guessed that you were having issues with housing, or with pronouns, or with the bathroom, or with surgery, or with anything at all. Because you should be both unnoticed and a banner child. Because you should let everybody know you are here in case you make them uncomfortable, or in case they do something that’s fucked up and that screws you over. Because it’s not like you were supposed to see that. If they had only known you were there, they wouldn’t have done it. But oh my gods stop talking you’re always talking about how hard you have it why aren’t you just thankful about the stuff we’ve given you.
So you apologize for being.
Oh. Oh ow. That pushes pretty much all of my buttons all at once.
Among my male and female friends, there are a few who are of either a completely Uranian [transgender] or a bisexual disposition. I have found these individuals far above average in terms of intelligence, ability, sensitivity, and personal charm. I empathize deeply with them, for I know that their sufferings are of a larger and more complex sort than those of ordinary people.
It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals, is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life.
Emma Goldman, queer and trans positive in 1934. Eighty years later some in the feminist movement are still catching up … (via nothingisholy)
[serious trigger warning: very cissexist and transmisogynistic language]
In Gloria Steinem’s Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1995),there’s a brief five page essay on trans identities (224-228). It’s basically terrible. Let me quote a few parts:
Was it fair for women to face someone trained physically and culturally for forty years as a man? (226)
She argues that it’s a kind of “mutilation” and appeal to a gender binary:
In other words, transsexuals are paying an extreme tribute to the power of sex roles. In order to set their real human personalities free, they surgically mutilate their own bodies… (227)
She even goes as far as to suggest that valuable resources are being wasted on trans folk, in this weird, backwards way as if we are poor little victims:
Instead of serving more lifesaving but often less lucrative needs for their surgical and hormone-therapy skills, some physicians are aiding individuals who are desperately trying to conform to an unjust society. It’s a small group of successful physicians she [Janice Raymond] names ‘the transsexual empire’.
She cites Janice Raymond’sThe Transsexual Empire(1979) several times in this essay.
“Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class. The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.”
——President Obama in a statement on today’s vote
Thanks Obama. I know you’re trying. I worry, though, about what you mean when you say “middle class.” I am not middle class. My friends are not middle class. My people are not middle class.
We are Poor. That has become a dirty word, these days, but it is true. And I hope that there is room for us in your America, us tired, us poor, our huddled masses. We got here and still we yearn to breathe the freedom we were promised. We shuffled in beside the natives and the lot of us fell short of the moon at which we aimed.
This is a guest post by Redlark. Redlark is a white, lower-middle-class queer activist working a pink collar union gig in the Twin Cities. They are working with an amazing group of friends and allies of CeCe McDonald to get CeCe’s charges dropped and help her move back into her normal life.
Cece McDonald stood up to bigots and survived a hate crime. Now she’s in the county jail waiting to be tried for second degree murder.
This is a story about intersectionality – what happens when a young trans woman of color goes up against white supremacy, misogyny and transphobia. It’s a story about what happens when you have to fight for your life.
** It began last June, the night of the 5th, when Cece and her friends – all young, black and queer – decided that they wanted to walk to the grocery store.
The grocery store in question is in south Minneapolis just off Lake Street, the busy, polluted, vital artery running from the wealthy white neighborhoods by the lakes through blocks of working class, multiracial, immigrant businesses before it ends in upmarket gentrification at the river. The grocery store is between the police station and the the light rail in a historically contested neighborhood where communities meet, mix and sometimes contend: the older white working class who bought in during the seventies and eighties meets immigrants from Mexico, Somalia and Central America who came looking for work or for political refuge; Native people still under the gun of colonization; African-Americans who’ve lived in Minneapolis for generations or arrived from Chicago or New Orleans in the last few years; students, punks and radicals, mostly but not exclusively white, gentrifiers or born in the neighborhood.
To get to the store, the group had to walk past a dive bar called the Schooner.
Dean Schmitz and his friends were standing outside the Schooner’s side door. All were older – Dean was 47 – and all were white. When they saw CeCe and her friends walk by, they started yelling – “faggots” “chicks with dicks” “n*****s” – a litany of vile abuse targeted at a group of much younger strangers.
CeCe McDonald has a strong sense of justice – she decided to confront Dean and his friends. So she and her group walked toward the bar.
** Before we go any further, let’s talk about CeCe.
She’s 23, a college student in fashion design, a trans woman, Black, femme, very funny and widely known to be a generous person – a woman who housed and took care of her chosen family of younger queer and trans folks. Her friends call her Honee Bea.
CeCe is someone who fights for social change who even from jail has been urging her supporters to help other victims of white supremacy – including the family of Jaime Gonzalez, who was killed by the Texas police while he was at school.
She is someone who has faith in herself, in her community, in her values. “Love is inevitable and overcomes any and all things,” she writes.
CeCe and her friends are brave and tough, strong enough to walk around being visible in a world that attacks and criminalizes you if you’re young and African-American, and doubles the assault if you’re young and African-American and trans and femme.
You probably know – if you’re trans you definitely know – that trans women of color face incredible, staggering rates of violence and homicide. In most places it is essentially legal to discriminate against trans people in housing, employment and social services. As a result, trans people, especially trans women, are socially vulnerable in all kinds of ways – and vulnerable turns into “criminalized”, whether it’s because you can’t change your legal documents to match your gender or because you’re homeless and panhandling or because you’re doing sex work to make the rent…or because you have to fight to keep yourself safe
Trans people are ten to fifteen times more likely to have been incarcerated than cis people. Nearly half of all African-American trans people have spent time in the prison system.
Seventy percent of the GLBTQ people murdered in 2010 were people of color. Forty-four percent were trans women.
If you’re vulnerable, you have to wonder – will someone assault you? Will you survive? Will anyone help you? That’s a pretty heavy thing to carry around in the back of your mind every day.
*** CeCe and her friends knew the statistics, but they still dared to rebuke hatred when it spoke. They walked up the Dean Schmitz and his group, and CeCe told him that her crew would not tolerate hate speech.
But hatred hits back. One of Dean Schmitz’s friends told them, “I’ll take you bitches on,” and smashed her glass into Cece’s face, puncturing her cheek and badly lacerating her salivary gland.
There was a fight. Multiple people were involved. At the end, CeCe was on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Dean Schmitz was dead.
*** When the cops came, Cece was the only one they arrested. They took her to jail, withheld medical treatment, and sometime in the small hours got her to sign a confession. She recanted it as soon as she was able to do so.
Later, the medical examiner discovered a swastika tattoo on Dean Schmitz’s body.
*** Let’s talk about white supremacy, because this it haunts this case.
White supremacy is a system, and it runs on routine plus terror. The routine is the dull grind of discrimination – the stop-and-frisks of youth of color in the hope of finding something to get their fingerprints are in the system, the heavy policing in black neighborhoods and the heavy discipline in schools when kids of color are involved, the biased, expensive court system, the unspoken but obvious job discrimination and always, always the white supremacist narrative in mainstream culture saying that people of color deserve what they get.
And then there’s terror. Whether it’s the Jim Crow South or the modern North, it’s the knowledge that at any time you can be attacked, hurt, killed and no one will do anything. That your body, your life, your friends’ lives could always be on the line.
Terror keeps the machine humming. If you act up – if you talk back – anything might happen to you. *** An interesting thing about prosecutor Michael Freeman: in the last year, he’s dropped charges against three people who killed accidentally while fighting for their lives. But he’s leaning on CeCe to plead guilty, and he initially persuaded the court to set her bail at an outrageous $500,000 – as if CeCe, the injured survivor of a hate crime, was some kind of risk to her community.
The court system isn’t neutral.
If you haven’t been on the wrong end of the legal system, it’s very easy to assume that the courts will sort everything out. Privileged people – white people, middle class people, cis people – can grow up identifying with the court system and with the idea of “neutrality” – especially when articulate white men in nice suits are talking. Something happened, privileged folks think, and the courts will figure it out, they’ll assign blame correctly, someone will pay a debt to society, and all’s well that ends well.
Here is what really happens: CeCe is in jail. Visiting is severely restricted, so getting a trans activist in to see her so that her friends can find her a trans-friendly lawyer is difficult. That lawyer has to work for free, because CeCe doesn’t have enough money and neither do her friends, and all her support committee’s money is going for bail. It takes a month to get meaningful treatment for injuries from the night of the attack, so her cheek swells up with a lump the size of a golf ball. She gets put in solitary “for her own protection” – which means ‘because she’s trans’ – and the support committee has to organize call-ins to get her out.
In order for a prisoner to be able to call you, you have to pay a monthly charge to a phone security service, and her friends are struggling to get work. So money has to be found for that. And the trial date has been moved once. Every time a trial date is set, her support committee mobilizes people — thirty or forty people have taken vacation days or changed their schedules so they could show up. Will it be moved again?
It’s easier and cheaper for the court system when people plead guilty, and it results in a politically-useful higher conviction rate. In the United States, the number of plea-bargains has skyrocketed in the last two decades and the number of actual trials has gone way down.
This is how the courts get people to take a plea – prisoners get tired and worn and confused and low in spirits, so they plead guilty just for a little certainty and an end to the ordeal. And many, many of those are people of color. ***
This isn’t just about CeCe. It’s about the way young women are harassed and assaulted every day in every city. It’s about the way trans women are treated as disposable and the way black youth are criminalized. It’s about the constant social violence by which white supremacy, transphobia and misogyny are maintained.
And it’s about whose experience counts. When we believe CeCe, we’re saying that we hear trans women, we hear youth of color and we believe what they say about their own lives. We name racism, we name violence, we name prejudice – and we refuse them with all the strength we have.
*** We need to get the charges against CeCe dropped. There’s precedent, the prosecutor has the authority and a victory here would be a victory for so many people – for CeCe, for her community and friends, for youth of color and trans youth who face violence and hatred. To do this, we need to get Michael Freeman to listen. We need voices. We need media.
We need to make it clear to Michael Freeman that this case is visible – we aren’t going to forget about CeCe no matter how often the trial gets moved, and we aren’t going to forget about any miscarriage of justice, either.
You can call Michael Freeman at 612-348-5540, fax at 612-348-2042, and email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to remain polite but don’t be afraid to be assertive. Some key points to mention in your calls, emails, and faxes are: *Identify yourself as a supporter, friend, family member, or community member calling about Ms. Chrishaun McDonald’s case.
*Tell the County Attorney’s Office why you’re concerned: Ms. McDonald was the target of a hate crime, but she was singled out for aggressive prosecution after the attack.
*County Attorney Freeman has declined to press charges in cases like this at least three times already this year. Remind him that he has the power to drop the charges against Ms. McDonald.
Tell Freeman not to side with Ms. McDonald’s white supremacist attackers: drop the charges against Ms. McDonald.
BIENESTAR study shows high impact on Los Angeles area transgender women
A new report, funded by the Williams Institute, reveals high levels of reported harassment and assault of Latina transgender women by law enforcement agencies. The report, “Interactions of Latina Transgender Women with Law Enforcement,” is based on interviews with 220 Latina transgender women from the Los Angeles area.
Among the report’s key findings:
Two-thirds of participants reported verbal harassment by law enforcement.
Twenty-one percent reported physical assault by law enforcement.
Twenty-four percent reported sexual assault by law enforcement.
Of those lodging a report against the police, two-thirds stated that their report had been handled “poorly” or “very poorly”.
Almost 60% of those stopped by law enforcement in the previous year believed that this had occurred without their violating any law. Many reported being stopped while doing everyday things like “coming back from the grocery store” and “waiting for the bus”.
The vast majority (71%) described the police’s interactions with the transgender community in negative terms. Typical responses included comments that police were aggressive and disrespectful and sometimes used male terms or called them “it”.
As noted in the report, these negative interactions with law enforcement result in the underutilization of police services by Latina transgender women needing such services.
Fifty-five percent reported having been a victim of a crime by others.
Of these, only 56% actually reported the crime to the police.
Of those reporting crimes, 57% reported that they had been treated poorly (35%) or very poorly (22%) by the police when reporting the crime to them.
so i just finished reading fucking trans women by miranda bellwether and the whole thing has been a really empowering/inspiring/introspective/challenging/educational experience for me and has me full of thoughts and feelings.
there are about a million things it makes me want to write/think/talk about (and i probably will and i probably will read it again and have more stuff to think/talk/write about too). but right now there’s one thing i really want/need to write about:
i have often felt awkward/talked around the fact that i am really almost exclusively attracted to trans women/amab trans folx (i mean, it’s tons more complicated than that for sure, i’ve totally loved trans and cis people of all genders and the same goes for good sex, but i’m not talking about that now).
i definitely hint at it and have no problems talking about trans women as being sexy and also have no problem suggesting that 1) i feel bad about myself when i try to sleep with cis men as well as after i sleep with them, 2) i think trans men (and many other afab trans & genderqueer folx) are douches and want nothing to do with like 90% of them and 3) i feel really creeped out by the way cis women who are attracted to me often act like they have this certain type of entitlement to my body and only care that i’m this generic sensitive trans guy that has nothing to do with who i actually am and so i really feel cautious about sleeping with cis women. i guess you could easily do the math and deduce that that pretty much leaves trans women…
but the truth is, i’m not attracted to trans women because they are who is left over once you exclude all the insuffrable folx i do not wanna sleep with. i’m attracted to trans women because i think they are sexy and a big part of my thinking they are sexy is the ways in which they make me feel sexy. i feel comfortable and un-self-conscious when having sex with trans women in a way that i rarely feel with anyone else. when i have sex with trans women, i feel more like i’m sexually connecting with another person than just having sex.
i try to regularly give credit to trans women for being my heroes and sisters and teachers and lovers and crushes and friends and best friends and idols because they are. but then when i talk about who i prefer to sleep with and who i prefer to date, i always feel the need to be more evasive or shy away from the fact that i am really almost exclusively attracted to trans women because i worry that’s going to come off as really really creepy. i get so creeped out when it feels like someone is only attracted to me because i’m a trans guy and i get intensely worried that talking about how i like to date/fuck/fall in love with trans women will come off as being creepy.
miranda bellwether talks in fucking trans women, though, about this way that partners of trans women will talk around the fact that they are attracted to trans women or take a long time to get to saying that with all these conditions. and i realized i am guilty of doing that and i don’t want to. my attraction to trans women isn’t conditional. it’s not dirty. it’s not a fetish. it’s not like i’m just generically attracted to every trans woman ever just because she’s a trans woman with no regard to who she is. it does not reduce women to their bodies (i mean, i think trans womens’ bodies are beautiful, but i think all types of bodies are beautiful), it goes a lot deeper than bodies, it’s about who inspires me and makes me feel sexy and makes me want to be sexy and who i can have the kind of sex with that goes so deep that i feel it in my soul, not just my body.
so, yeah, trans women are sexy. i like to date trans women and have sex with trans women and crush on trans women and fall in love with trans women. thanks, miranda bellwether, for making me feel like it’s okay and even important to say that. it doesn’t make me creepy and maybe the idea that being attracted to trans women would make me a creep completely plays into the whole transmisogynistic thing where trans women are simultaneously and ridiculously totally hypersexualized and completely desexualized by society and i don’t wanna play into that… so… yeah
Reblogged because yes, trans women are sexy, and it means a lot when someone other than us says so in a non-skeezy way, because that kinda doesn’t happen much.
You are not oppressed, not really. Sure, not everything is perfectly equal, but we’re a lot better than 50-100 years ago, and I think that a lot of Tumblr Justice fucktards should put that in perspective.
So, I’d like you imagine an oppressive totalitarian state. You know, evil empire, stormtroopers, etc. Hitler by way of Kafka kind of thing.
Imagine in this state, there are a brutal secret police force empowered by the regime to basically do what the fuck ever they want. They can torture. They can murder. They can rape. They can stop and detain people at any time for any or no reason. They can suspend the basic protection of law. If they assault or kill someone during these stops, they are not answerable to the law as an ordinary citizen is.
This totalitarian police force will shoot unarmed school children in the back. They will unleash noxious chemical agents in the halls of a school. They will cover up the murder of a child by a political ally and informer. They will chase a child into his house and shoot him in front of his family. They will assault a twelve-year-old girl and then come to her school to arrest her later because she fought back. They will break into a house and shoot a little girl as she lies napping in her living room. They will shoot someone twenty-eight times and then charge them with attempted murder. They will shoot unarmed bystanders and then justify it by saying that someone in the crowd had a gun, whether it was true or not. They’ll torture and kill a chronically ill military veteran who annoys them by accidentally calling for help in the middle of the night, they’ll do it laughing and shouting insults.
They will go so far as to hog tie a man and torture him to death in front of his children, drowning him with a garden hose in response to his plea for water.
They fabricate evidence, fabricate crimes, cover-up their own crimes and those of their friends and supporters. Rarely are they forced to answer for their atrocities. Instead, the worst among them are praised for being “tough” and “getting the job done.” Their job, of course, is not to serve nor protect the citizens of this hypothetical state, but to keep them in line… to keep them scared, to keep them quiet, to keep them in their place.
Would you agree that the people living under this purely hypothetical regime are oppressed? I mean, that to me all sounds like textbook oppression. If anything, it sounds a bit over-the-top, right?
But of course, it’s not hypothetical. I’m talking about the United States of America. None of the examples I gave above are hypothetical. Most of them happened in the last 40 days. They all happened to people of color, most of them Black.
What do you want to call that, if not oppression?
what is this?
AE pwning silly heauxs again?
YES IT IS
IT’S SUPER:AE AND HER COMIC IS COMING SOON TO A COMIC STORE NEAR U
The Fox station in Orlando referring to a known Neo-Nazi organization as a “civil rights group” that was patrolling the streets of Sanford after the killing, “to protect people in case things get out of hand.”
A close friend of the gunman, George Zimmerman, hitting the TV circuit to defend Zimmerman’s possible use of a racial slur, falsely claiming that it was a name black people used “proudly” to describe themselves in some parts of the country.
For some reason, the Washington Blade’s editor KevinNaff ignored all of these outrageous incidents (and others) when he weighed in on Trayvon’s killing this week (based on our search of The Blade’s website, we think this is the first time Naff has written about the case). Naff instead criticized 29 national LGBT groups for speaking out against Trayvon’s killing. From our perspective, Naff’s is a misplaced screed that, more than anything, highlights the tone-deaf nature with which some LGBT leaders approach and understand issues of race.
LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress is, quite proudly, one of the national LGBT organizations and programs that “jumped on the Trayvon bandwagon last week,” as Naff put it in his post. Indeed, we signed a statement with 28 other LGBT groups that condemned the killing of Trayvon Martin, and expressed our sympathies to Trayvon’s family as well as our outrage that racial bias played a role in his killing.
At the heart of Naff’s editorial are questions about whether racial bias actually played a role in Trayvon’s killing. He states “there’s not much about this case that’s so crystal clear” in response to the section of the LGBT organizations’ statement that racial bias played a role in Trayvon’s killing.
Further, Naff also somehow choose to ignore press reports that describe the racial profiling that Zimmerman regularly engaged in, including warning his neighbors about the presence of young black men in the area. To us, it seems pretty obvious that Zimmerman followed Trayvon because Trayvon was black and not because he was somehow acting suspicious.
What’s more, Naff trivializes the parallels between racially motivated hate crimes and those perpetrated against LGBT people by suggesting that the spotlight on Trayvon somehow casts a shadow on LGBT victims of hate crimes. For example, Naff concludes his column with “…in the weeks since the Martin shooting, LGBT people have been attacked, shot and killed in the U.S. without a press release or peep of protest.”
This “us versus them” rhetoric implies that the LGBT victims are white, which couldn’t be farther from the truth considering that LGBT people of color are the victims of the most severe and deadly hate violence. What Naff fails to acknowledge is that our “hate crime martyrs” are overwhelming people of color, be they straight or LGBT. Among them are Brandon White, Deoni Jones, and Robert Champion, young queer people of color who were recently attacked and murdered simply because of who they were. It’s worth noting that Naff himself has yet to write about any of them despite his chiding about the lack of coverage of LGBT hate crimes in recent weeks.
We agree with Naff that many questions about the case remain unanswered, and that Florida’s ridiculous so-called “Stand Your Ground” law played a central role in the killing. At the same time, however, it is mind-boggling to us that Naff decided to use his position and power to lash out against those of us who signed the statement, while ignoring the fact that race-based hate crimes destroy the lives of both black and LGBT people. His attempt to pit homophobia and race-based oppressions against one another helps no one and further drives a wedge between the black and gay communities.
(Cross post from a blog I did for a class on LGBTQ oppression)
I’ve been avoiding writing about Agnes Torres Sulca for almost a month now. For those of you who don’t know, Agnes Torres was a Trans* activist in Puebla, Mexico who was found murdered on March 10. Her Twitter account is active until the day of her disappearance, with a link to an interview she did being the final post. Agnes was a psychologist, an activist, and an academic. She was one of the most prominent advocates for Queer people in Mexico, and Mexican authorities went from writing off her death as a crime of passion to stating that the motive behind her murder was the theft of her car, not hatred, not transphobia.
[Agnes Torres Sulca, a brown Mexican Transwoman with curly dark brown hair]
I didn’t want to write about this because I didn’t want to add to the perception that Trans* people, especially Trans* women, are all victims. I didn’t want to add to that narrative and that perspective, especially if other Trans* people are going to internalize it. There’s a strong belief that to be Trans* is to be completely powerless, to be dependent on some cisperson for support through our lives, and that’s shown in just about every representation of a Trans* person that I can think of. Every movie, almost every book, I think with the exception of Leslie Feinberg’s “Drag King Dreams”, has us crying to and leaning on some tolerant cisperson who sits by and listens.
The fact is that Trans* people are being killed and no one seems to care. We’re being killed directly, through knives and guns and fists, and we’re being killed indirectly, by being denied houses, medical care, and jobs. And sadly, that’s never far from my mind. The fact that almost half the names I read in online obituaries are Latin@ names, that half the bodies and faces shown during Trans* Day of Remembrance belong to someone who looks like me doesn’t help. And their ages, nineteen, twenty-three, twenty-five, twenty-eight, only add to the weight in my chest. It doesn’t look like people like me make it to thirty.
So here is the point at which, you, cispeople, are supposed to start doing something. One of our assignments in Peers for Pride was to interview people on being what being a good ally means, and I received several responses that were simply “Being there for my friend to talk to”. Let me make this abundantly clear: that is not being an ally, that merely is being a decent friend. If you want to be an ally to Trans* people, if you consider yourself an ally to Trans* people you’re going to have to start doing more than the bare minimum, because for us it comes down to a matter of life and death. You need to create spaces for us, to begin with. You need to give us a part in communities and in families. This is the first step. Trans* people need places to organize and places to create.
Those of you who organize, on any level, need to realize that Trans* people are not some abstraction, not some target population for another group or social worker, we are part of your community! We share your struggles against racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and we need voices in those spaces and those movements. And we need you to start using your voices to help us. We are strong, we are capable, but we are few and we are scattered, we need as much help with our struggle as we can get.
And to Trans* people: we need to unite. There is no other option. We need to fight for and work for one another, we need to work on loving one another, because without that we are simply a group of people who share marginalizations and medical histories. It is my sincere belief that Trans* people, all Trans* people, have a responsibility to create a Trans* community and to do everything they can to advance this community, because failure to do so will result in more deaths, more violence, and less hope.
And neither cispeople nor Trans*people should be allowed to forget those who have passed on. They are more than faces to be gawked at during a memorial service, or names to be read in a litany at Day of Remembrance, they are a part of our family, they were sisters, brothers, siblings, lovers, and they deserve at the very least the justice that every human being deserves. Never let us forget that, and never let us forget them.
[Black and white picture of Agnes Torres Sulca with her looking off-frame. The slogan “Justice for Agnes Toress Sulca!” is printed on the side]
With one hand, pull the shaft’s skin toward the base and wrap the fingers of this hand around the base to act as a cock ring. Using the other hand, rhythmically pick various points along the shaft of the penis and squeeze opposite sides of the penile shaft at these points, releasing pressure either immediately or after only a brief period of time.
Rub the penis between both palms, as if rubbing two sticks together to create fire. Be sure to use plenty of oil.
Glans Head Massage
Hold the penis in one hand with the head sticking up. Using the well-oiled palm of your other hand, slowly and sensitively massage the glans head. Reverse directions every once in a while.
With the penis resting on the woman’s stomach, take one hand and cup the testicles. Then glide the heel of the palm of the other hand up and down the underside of the penis.
Twist and Shout
Pull the skin of the penis toward the base with one hand. With the other hand, corkscrew the penis. This can be done with the thumb and first finger or with your entire grip.
Start with one hand lightly grasping the top of the penis. Then stroke the penis from the top, all the way to the bottom. When you hit the bottom, release the penis. Meanwhile, bring your other hand to the top of the penis and repeat.
Place both of your hands side by side against her shaft like a pair of bookends. Now push hard against her penis. Then lift your hands up and down.
Turn the head of her penis like you’re trying to open an oily doorknob. Now try turning the other way. Repeat. This stroke is sometimes improved by using the other hand to stretch the skin of the penis toward the base.
Bring your well lubricated hands down on her shaft. Some penises are so big they require both hands; if your partner’s doesn’t, then use the other hand to caress and lightly flutter her testicles, or tighten around the base of her shaft. If both hands fit along the length of the shaft then move them together, up and down, in the typical pumping motion. Pretend you’re holding a baseball bat and are about to score a grand slam. You can also vary the directions of your hands: one up, one down at the same time.
Start with one hand lightly grasping the bottom of the penis. Then stroke the penis from the bottom all the way to the top. When you hit the top, release the penis. Meanwhile, bring your other hand to the bottom of the penis and repeat.
Start with one hand lightly grasping the top of the penis. Then stroke the penis from the top all the way to the bottom, letting her penis “penetrate” into your fist on each stroke. Before the head of her penis pops out of your hand, bring the other hand up for the next penetration.
Make a ring with your thumb and forefinger and pump up and down with it. When you get to the top close the ring. Then make her squeeze her way in as you slide back down to the bottom.
Stroke only her shaft, ignoring her glans head. You will notice her glans head swelling and turning red. When it’s bright red, use Doorknob, Glans Head Massage, or Perpetual Penetration.
Take the penis in both hands, fingers lightly touching the sides of the shaft. Now flick the penis back and forth between your two hands by holding onto the loose skin of the shaft. Do this stroke for a while to allow tension to build.
Lightly and slowly run a finger up the underside of her penis. Ask her to tell you where the most sensitive spot is. Pinch, squeeze, nibble and tease that spot.
*as always man does not equal penis and penis doesn’t equal man
Anonymous asked: How is it that we are responsible again? How about the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of women who die every day, around the world, because of male supremacy? THAT is our concern. You are merely a fly, buzzing around the movement looking for its death. You are, by definition, anti-feminist. Anti-feminist, by definition, is anti-woman. Stop pretending.
My guess is you’re referring to my reblog of Telagentmess’s post titled “Dear Cis Rad-Fems,“
The original post, then places the blame squarely on the head of radical feminists for the deaths of a long list of trans women.
I reblogged the post in order to point out to my fellow trans people that these were Latina women (If you’ll see from my note at the bottom). However, and this is where I’m going to get in trouble with my fellow trans folk, I do NOT agree that these deaths are a direct result of radical feminism or things like the book The Transsexual Empire. And that was, I thought, inherent in my pointing out that these were largely women of Hispanic, Latin, and Spanish decent from Latin America. Instead we have things like machismo, conservative roman catholic culture, and the intersectionality of sex work that often contributes to the climate that makes it acceptable to violently murder these women.
So here is my assertion, it isn’t radical feminism that is to blame for those deaths. No. The blood is on the hands of ALL cis people, men and women. Men most often (but not always) commit these crimes and they are almost always brutal and terrifying in nature, but ALL cis people, regardless of culture, contribute to a world where it’s an OK thing to do. When we are complacent to the devaluation of a human life we’re contributing to a problem, but contributing to the wholesale devaluation of an entire class of women’s lives? I’d think that would be enough to make everyone feel a bit sick.
Oh, but I know what you’re about to say, you’re going to say:
How about the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of women who die every day, around the world, because of male supremacy? THAT is our concern.
This is true! And sexual and physical violence is a serious problem against ALL women, but especially to certain intersections of women: Women of colour are one of the most likely groups to be a victim sexual or physical violence. However, the likelihood of a trans woman of colour will be a victims of sexual violence, physical violence, attempted murder, and murder are at higher rates than ANY other demographic.
To me, that’s an issue worth caring about. I’ve been a victim of attempted murder, I’ve woken up in the hospital more than once. I’ve been victim to the machismo, rage, and power of men more than once. I’ve been a victim of sexual violence more than once and told it was my fault or been shamed out of reporting. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m one of the few who is still standing. To me, standing up and saying “Hey, we are dying at wildly fast rates and society says it’s ok.” is something that is very very close to my heart and I fight for those women.
Just as a cis woman of colour might fight for those in her communities who are punished and threatened by the patriarchy, just as she will likely fight her fight for other women of colour; I focus on trans women (trans women of colour most specifically) because that is a demographic that I belong to, and that means something to me. It’s a demographic that I have a relationship to, and can actually provide some first hand knowledge and help to. I still fight to end(read:smash) the patriarchy (and the kyriarchy) whether you believe I do or not, but I do it in my own way, fighting for the women I can do the most good for, and for the women in my community. (In addition to fighting for ALL women)
To be clear: The deaths of trans women are most often squarely at the hands of the patriarchy and MEN, BUT all cis people are complicit in these deaths by making it OK. All cis people have blood on their hands when they turn their backs and shrug as if it doesn’t matter.
But see, here is the interesting thing: You actually don’t seem to care! About any of that! It seems as if you’ve classified trans women as men (or perhaps as male) and as such we are the patriarchy in action. So our deaths are just another “male on male” violence to you, and not more violence against women. So the discussion was perhaps almost over before it started, though I’d hope that I’m wrong.
But ultimately, I actually don’t really care about a sect of radical feminism that defines me as a man, a tool of the patriarchy, and wouldn’t mourn my death as the death of a sister. I don’t really care about a sect of politics that would write off my experiences of violence and sexual violence, my experiences of attempted murder as, ‘not relevant’ or to create a hierarchy of “how bad” something can be by some standard even not every cis woman can meet.
It’s why you don’t really ever see me writing about the trans exclusionary radical feminists. Because I just don’t care. I’ve been asked to exclude myself from their version of the movement, and so I did. I have much more important work to do than to worry about what some radical feminists think of me or my sisters.
So, Ireally do wish you luck in your work to smash the patriarchy, and I hope the work you do at sexual, physical, and domestic abuse centers for women truly connects with people and you save lives, because I honestly care. I wish you no ill will, and I mourn every death the patriarchy (and kyriarchy) condones.
Finally, I’m sad you’ve come up with a definition of trans woman that somehow makes me and my sisters anti-feminist and anti-woman, but hey, that’s your precognitive. Thanks for the questions.
1. A statement of apology taking responsibility and accountability for the historical exclusion of transgender women, transfeminine, and trans female people from your health services. This statement should explain why this “women’s” health center chose to prioritize services to transgender men, transmasculine, and trans male people over transfeminine-identified people. This statement should be readily accessed from the CWHC website.
2. Rewriting each line of “women’s” to be “cisgender women’s” where intended and/or applicable on the CWHC website.
3. A comprehensive plan to include services for transgender women that includes public and transparent benchmarks that may be easily accessed from the CWHC website. Those services include:
a. Feminizing Hormone Replacement Therapy
b. Trans prostate examination
c. Fertility awareness and/or options for trans female people
d. Continual education on the particularities of trans female-spectrum health issues
Failure to comply with and/or address such a comprehensive plan will result in the changing of the name of Trans Greater Health Project into Transmasculine Greater Health Project.
Furthermore, we encourage more community development and ties among the transgender women’s, transfeminine, and trans female community. Employing transfeminine-spectrum people to your staff would be encouraged.
Lastly, we encourage anyone supporting the CWHC and/or the Trans Greater Health Project to unabashedly, critically, and courageously point out the disparities between their transgender health services at the current state it is in.
this is important, lets all take a moment to sign it.
Remember that thing I reblogged Majestic’s post about a few days ago? This is that thing and a (somewhat) concrete way to help; please do it.
In 1951, the Georgia state welfare director, making an argument for denying Aid to Dependent Children grants to mothers with more than one illegitimate child, noted that “Seventy percent of all mothers of more than one illegitimate child are Negro… . Some of them, finding themselves tied down to one child are not averse to adding others as a business proposition.”
The precise economic principle most grossly violated by these women was, according to many, that they were getting something (ADC) for nothing (another black baby). Entering into this scam made single black mothers into chiselers, determined to cheat the public with a bad sell. The fact that it was, overwhelmingly, a buyer’s market for black babies “proved the valuelessness of these children, despite their expense to the taxpaying public. White babies, of course, entered a healthy seller’s market, with up to ten couples competing for everyone one adoptable infant.
Spokespeople for this point of view believed that black unmarried mothers should pay dearly for the bad bargain they foisted on society, especially on white taxpayers. Governor Orville Faubus complained in 1959 that ,” By taxing the good people to pay for [ADC], we are putting a premium on illegitimacy never before known to the world.” Many felt that rather than paying for their sins, black women were being paid, by the ADC grants, an exchange that could encourage further sexual and fiscal irresponsibility.
Rickie Solinger, Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v. Wade (emphasis mine)
HOLY SHIT. I have never seen this broken down so simply and concisely before. I can’t believe I never saw it.
This is it!
This is why this argument about “babies for welfare checks” is still around, why it has such weight with so many white people, and why the fact that welfare benefits don’t increase NEARLY enough to cover the additional expenses of an additional child doesn’t sway their conviction that Black women on welfare are just “popping out more babies for more money.”
It doesn’t matter HOW MUCH money it is. It doesn’t matter that more white people are on public assistance. It doesn’t matter that having babies for a welfare check defies logic on every possible level. It doesn’t matter how many times you show them the math!
What matters is that Black women who have babies while on public assistance want SOMETHING (“our tax dollars”) for NOTHING (Black babies).
What matters is that Black babies are seen as worthless, because Black life is seen as worthless. And the white outrage is that not only are Black women going around giving birth to Black babies — which is bad enough — but now they want paid (ANY AMOUNT) for this garbage (BLACK LIVES), too?
when they obviously don’t mean people who are actually both women and trans.
This is one of those things that I find so infuriating, even though I’ve come to expect it as the rule.
When people say they provide space and/or services to people who are “women and trans” and they don’t include trans women, what they really mean is people who are either women or trans.
This is a perfect example of failing to account for the intersectionality of multiple identities and forms of oppression. While people often claim to serve both women and trans people, it’s at the intersection where people are both women and trans where those services most often fall flat.
At least when people say “womyn-born-womyn” they are being honest and upfront about their intentions to discriminate against trans women.