It is a complete red herring for AFAB trans* people to claim that they’ve been called “tr***y” or “sh*****e”, because no one has ever seriously argued that AFAB trans* people are never, ever called these things. The argument is that the use of these terms against AFABs is incidental, whereas the use of these terms against AMAB trans* people is pervasive, systemic, and violent.
It is long past time that AFAB trans* people sat down and acknowledged that they are simply not subjected to anything which even remotely resembles the treatment of AMAB trans* people in Western society. Look at the numbers — even the most generally privileged AMABs (white, binary, passable) are murdered much more often than the least generally privileged AFABs (POC, nonbinary, nonpassing), and it’s flat out open season on the lives of less privileged AMABs.
“Poverty is not simply having no money — it is isolation, vulnerability, humiliation and mistrust. It is not being able to differentiate between employers and exploiters and abusers. It is contempt for the simplistic illusion of meritocracy — the idea that what we get is what we work for. It is knowing that your mother, with her arthritic joints and her maddening insomnia and her post-traumatic stress disordered heart, goes to work until two in the morning waiting tables for less than minimum wage, or pushes a janitor’s cart and cleans the shit-filled toilets of polished professionals. It is entering a room full of people and seeing not only individual people, but violent systems and stark divisions. It is the violence of untreated mental illness exacerbated by the fact that reality, from some vantage points, really does resemble a psychotic nightmare. It is the violence of abuse and assault which is ignored or minimized by police officers, social services, and courts of law. Poverty is conflict. And for poor kids lucky enough to have the chance to “move up,” it is the conflict between remaining oppressed or collaborating with the oppressor.”—
“Not being assaulted is not a privilege to be earned through the judicious application of personal safety strategies. A woman should be able to walk down the street at 4 in the morning in nothing but her socks, blind drunk, without being assaulted, and I, for one, am not going to do anything to imply that she is in any way responsible for her own assault if she fails to Adequately Protect Herself. Men aren’t helpless dick-driven maniacs who can’t help raping a vulnerable woman. It disrespects EVERYONE.”—
Sebastian’s Arrows: Letters and Mementos of Salvador Dali and Federico Garcia Lorca “Let us agree,” Federico Garcia Lorca wrote, “that one of man’s most beautiful postures is that of St. Sebastian.”“In my ‘Saint Sebastian’ I remember you,” Salvador Dali replied to Garcia Lorca, referring to the essay on aesthetics that Dali had just written, “… and sometimes I think he is you. Let’s see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you.” This exchange is but a glimpse into the complex relationship between two renowned and highly influential twentieth-century artists. On the centennial of Dali’s birth, Sebastian’s Arrows presents a never-before-published collection of their letters, lectures, and mementos. Written between 1925 and 1936, the letters and lectures bring to life a passionate friendship marked by a thoughtful dialogue on aesthetics and the constant interaction between poetry and painting. From their student days in Madrid’s Residencia de Estudiantes, where the two waged war against cultural “putrefaction” and mocked the sacred cows of Spanish art, Dali and Garcia Lorca exchanged thoughts on the act of creation, modernity, and the meaning of their art. The volume chronicles how in their poetic skirmishes they sharpened and shaped each other’s work—Garcia Lorca defending his verses of absence and elegy and his love of tradition while Dali argued for his theories of “Clarity” and “Holy Objectivity” and the unsettling logic of Surrealism. Christopher Maurer’s masterful prologue and selection of letters, texts, and images (many generously provided by the Fundacion Gala-Salvador Dali and Fundacion Federico Garcia Lorca), offer compelling and intimate insights into the lives and work of two iconic artists. The two men had a “tragic, passionate relationship,” Dali once wrote—a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian. (20041213) Get it right away!f! I love it!
*applause* It’s a fundamentally capitalist discourse, in a way, that we as activists have this responsibility to make ourselves productive, our worth is determined by our productivity, and any impedances to this productivity must be dealt with, and on our own time/with our own energy/with our own resources.
What gets me is that so many of the people I know who are really into, like… I’ve started calling it “self care evangelism” because I’m a bitch - defend their positions by being like “well self care is important because it’s CAPITALISTIC to not make room for self-care, because THE STATE and CAPITALISM are what push people to work themselves to exhaustion with no time for themselves!”
I mean yes capitalism and the state do that! It is a problem, though, when peoples’ response to that is, “WELL THEN MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF ANYWAY BECAUSE THAT’S GOOD SELF CARE!”
Just… okay, fine, I’ll do that when you do all my housework, homework, when you make sure my rent is paid, oh and my phone bills, they’re pretty high because of all the long-distance calls back home to where I’m supporting my family (sometimes financially) through crisis, you should probably also take that on, too.
THEN I will gladly buy myself some fucking bubble bath.
OR you could acknowledge that we as a “community” (and I use the term loosely because I have issues with that term too but w/e that’s another post) are responsible to some degree for one another and that we contribute to each other’s mental state and not just… fucking dismiss anyone who is having legit issues as “needing to do self-care” or “not doing enough self-care”, or protect abusers in the name of their “self-care”. Because my problems with self-care discourse go beyond the consumeristic nature of it - the “oh just go buy yourself some nice tea and take some time off work” - and have a lot to do with the collective disengagement inherent in expecting people to deal with things like being arrested, beaten, etc, etc on your own and if you don’t then you are a bad activist
It really puts the lie to the myth of the “activist community” when people thing of activist self-care in individualistic terms like that, is what I’m saying. I MEAN: NOT TO SAY THAT PEOPLE AREN’T ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN SHIT. BECAUSE WE ARE. But when someone withdraws from a group or particular campaign or whatever because of “burnout” - it’s because the group or campaign has failed them, in a way, too. We NEED to be able to keep each other going, as activists.
A term I am exploring is “community care” - I’d really like to start up some kind of community care group or collective, of folks who can help other folks in our vague “community” with stuff like running errands, doing chores, or just idk, hanging out so people don’t feel isolated or whatever.
*SO* glad this discussion is happening.
[TW: sexual harassment, rape culture]
I remember when I was 16 I used to volunteer at this nonprofit where sexual harassment of teenage girls was rampant—like, happening every other shift if not every shift—and common knowledge. And while everyone agreed that it was “bad,” the attitude was very much that NO structural changes needed to be made in response to it and that any stress caused by the harassment should just be dealt with through the victim’s “self-care.”
Looking back I’m completely floored. Like, why didn’t anyone make it so that I could opt out of working with older men (who were 99.99% of the perps but only ~40% of the people you were expected to interact with)?? Why didn’t the adults and teenage boys get taught how to support a co-worker who was dealing with a sexual harassment? Why were so many of them allowed to victim-blame or yell at us for our “complicity?” Why didn’t someone tell me how to recognize red flags or that I was allowed to assert boundaries? Why was it a rule that you were being “rude” to someone who crossed small boundaries and that you had to wait for something “big” (like an assault) to happen before the administration would support your decision to disengage? Why was an institutional violence being passed off as my individual problem?
I’m sure there are organizations that use the phrase “self-care” in ways that are legitimate. But mostly—at least on an institutional level—I think that the “self-care paradigm” is about—exactly—it’s about shirking collective responsibility, de-centering issues of oppression, and then putting the onus on the oppressed person to clean up the mess made by the organization as a whole.
“In life, I believe in being civilized and not committing acts of social violence to others – including discrimination, exclusion, and even gossip. I believe in nurturing others unfolding, whatever form that might take. But, for me, good art, like good sex is not “nice.” Art and theatre should be the forum where we, as women, as queers, and as people, are revealed to be mythic. Our lives and our emotional landscapes are expansive, contradictory and sadomasochistic. If you want things to be casual and polite, you can stay at home and watch a sit com.”—Nina Arsenault, interview with sexlifecanada.ca (2012)
If you had in this chair some of the people who developed quantum mechanics back in the 1920s or 1930s, and you said to them, ‘What is this stuff gonna DO for us?’ they’d say ‘Probably not much, we’re trying to understand molecules and atoms, very far from everyday life.’
But the fact that you have a cell phone, the fact that you have a personal computer, the fact that there’s wondrous medical technology that’s saving lives around the world today all relies on the integrated circuit, which comes from quantum mechanics.
Quantum mechanics are responsible for something like 35% of the Gross National Product. Which is just to say fundamental research at a given moment in time can have big implications when you allow it to mature.
Investing in basic science must be disconnected from traditional returns, and instead viewed as an investment in the intellectual capital of tomorrow. It’s hard to put a price tag on inspiration, and Goldman Sachs has yet to write an algorithm to predict the science of the future.
“We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that it is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.”—
(On why he let Willow cut all of her hair off)
Read more: Will Smith On Allowing Willow To Cut Her Hair: ‘She Has Got To Have Command Of Her Body’ | Necole Bitchie.com
- He raises a really great point. What would it mean to believe very early that my body was mine. That it’s not for anyone or for any particular purpose other than to be mine until I decide otherwise.
The thing that makes Martha Jones shine so much compared to other NewWho companions, to me at least, is how she was the only one to deal with her end-of-season menace without superpowers.
Rose took the power of the TARDIS, became a literal deux es machina and solved everything in five minutes flat.
Donna accidentally took on the brainpower of the Doctor and solved everything in five minutes flat.
Amy had the power to reboot the universe and solved the problem of the Doctor not existing in five minutes flat.
Jack was a highly-trained Time Agent, even before he became immortal.
Rory also dies a lot, was an Auton and retains the memories of 2,000+ years experience.
River Song is a highly-trained child-soldier Time Baby.
Unlike most other companions, Martha had no extra-special powers beyond her own awesomeness. Her achievement was IMHO greater than the ones above because she did it solely on her own merit. It may have still only been five minutes flat onscreen, but unlike Rose, Donna and Amy all basically snapping their fingers and saying “because I say so, that’s why!” her part in the Master’s downfall was an entire year in the making. While her task was made easier (and by ‘easier’, I mean ‘slightly less impossible’) by the perception filter and Jack’s vortex manipulator, she still spent a year telling stories in a hellish, decimated dystopia of a world. She had to give her entire species hope and faith and never lose her own, while never knowing if her family and the Doctor were even ALIVE, let alone how they were. FOR A YEAR. And this was after two months of racist, classist, misogynist humiliations at Farringham AND supporting the Doctor’s arse in 1969 as well. And she does it all in style, then leaves the Doctor wanting more (finally). This is why Martha Jones is Made Of Win And Awesome.
(Also, it’s notable that the only other New-Who companion who gets no super-upgrades and must be content with being a Badass Normal is Mickey Smith, the other black companion.)
Fuck yeah Martha Jones! I only wish they’d done more interesting things with her character than bolting an unrequited love subplot onto it.
No, you don’t have to have sex with anyone you don’t want to.
But that doesn’t mean your reasons for not wanting to have sex with certain people aren’t bigoted.
If you’ve preemptively decided that you don’t want to have sex with any black people ever (and you’ve singled out black people specifically), that’s your prerogative, but you are still a racist.
And if you’ve preemptively decided don’t want to have sex with any trans* people ever (and you’ve singled out trans* people specifically), that’s your prerogative, but you are still an anti-trans* cissexist.
Note the “any” and “ever”. The point is not to suggest that you’re obligated to sleep with a person that you don’t want to sleep with. The point is to say that, if you are automatically dismissing an entire group of people out of hand, you should at least consider the possibility that there is some underlying prejudice going on there.
“Slowly I began to understand fully that there was no place in academe for folks from working-class backgrounds who did not wish to leave the past behind. That was the price of the ticket. Poor students would be welcome at the best institutions of higher learning only if they were willing to surrender memory, to forget the past and claim the assimilated present as the only worthwhile and meaningful reality.”—
And if you don’t abide by this, you basically get the cold shoulder from academia. You have to fight to defend your work more than the average student because your perspective as a marginalized person is one that was meant for a study, a dissertation, or some other academic publication. It’s not so appealing when the subject of the study is giving you their perspective firsthand instead of having it pre-chewed and spoon-fed to you by someone who will never fully understand what you’ve been through because they’ve most likely never been there to begin with.
“self-care includes holding each other accountable because we are interconnected. loving ourselves includes learning how not to harm each other. Loving ourselves includes disrupting violent patterns in our homes and community-building spaces.”—alexis pauline gumbs, quoted by leah lakshmi piepzna-samarasinha in a transformative justice workshop at hampshire earlier this year. (via femmefilth)
Either it is wrong to misgender a trans people or it is not.
It is that simple.
There aren’t exceptions. Even if the particular trans person in question happens to be a really, really bad person. You don’t get some super extra-cool anti-sexual violence points for being oppressive towards them and saying they’ve lost their right to not be misgendered. You don’t get to try to shame me as not being sufficiently anti-sexual violence for not engaging oppressive behavior.
Either it’s wrong to misgender trans people or it’s not. Either it’s wrong or it’s not.
EITHER IT’S WRONG OR IT’S NOT.
You don’t get to say that it’s okay when you really dislike the person. Because it’s about more than just them. When you call a trans woman a man and go get the cops because she was in the woman’s bathroom, it’s not just about that particular trans woman.
It’s about the right of ALL trans women to live peaceful, safe lives. It’s about the right of ALL trans women to have their genders respected. It’s about ALL trans women’s right to not be branded a dangerous criminal just by existing, it’s about ALL trans women’s right to not be beaten and raped and killed because somebody thinks they “look like men” and because “looking like a man” while being a woman is such a dangerous fucking thing.
It’s either wrong to misgender trans women or it’s not.
Not because the small number of rapists who are inevitably among them, as they are inevitably among any group of people, are awesome and worth our defense and protection.
But because trans women as a whole ARE. They are worth defense, they are worth protection. And misgendering is an aspect of cissupremacy and transmisogyny that oppresses them all.
James had a kingsmill white bread complexion, he blushed slightly it seemed like someone had spread strawberry jam over his cheeks. His hair was the colour of custard that had been watered down severely like the nasty one they served back in primary school that I begged the lunch ladies not to let near my cake. I didn’t care that the cake may have been dry I didn’t want that shit near my cake.
One of the most important pieces of erased — not “lost” or “missing, but erased — history is that American labor unions strongly embraced racism in general and anti-Asian racism in particular.
Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, the American labor movement carried out a full-fledged campaign of domestic terrorism against Asian-Americans, organizing and carrying out a systematic campaign of violent riots with the objective of forcing Asian immigrants to leave the United States. The large Asian population of modern-day Portland is in fact a direct consequence of this campaign; many Asians fled to Portland because the large shipping companies there shielded them from union violence in order to protect trade relations with China and Japan.
On 14 May 1905, a group of sixty-seven San Francisco labor unions — chief among them the Sailor’s Union and the Building Trades Council — came together to found the Asiatic Exclusion League, an inter-union organization specifically dedicated to promoting anti-Asian racism through both social propaganda and political lobbying. Within three years, the Exclusion League had not only grown to nearly two hundred American labor unions, but also gone international by spawning a Canadian sister organization under the same name.
The League’s big moment came in the wake of the great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. With the combined influence of essentially every major union in town, the League was able to dictate systematic segregation as an integral part of the rebuilding of San Francisco. In particular, the League succeeded in forcing the San Francisco Board of Education to bar all Asian-American children from the city’s public schools, segregating them into a single “Oriental Public School”.
That school still exists to this day; it is the Gordon J. Lau Elementary School.
This in fact caused a major international incident between the United States and Japan, as the segregation of Japanese schoolchildren was a direct violation of a 1894 treaty. Only the direct intervention of President Roosevelt — the so-called “Gentlemen’s Agreement” of 1911 — prevented outright war. The Exclusion League was undeterred by this and continued to be a major force in American politics until the 1950s, at which point it slowly faded from history as American racism shifted from primarily targeting blacks and Asians to primarily targeting blacks and Latinos.
This was going to be a long post, but it really doesn’t need to be, because the thought I’m having is pretty simple:
I agree with Serano when she says that a major key to gender liberation is “work[ing] to empower femininity, in all its forms.” But I don’t think that a lot of us have given enough thought to what that means.
Cultural constructions of “femininity” involve much more than just clothing, or even personal dispositions. Loving, nurturing, befriending, fostering deep emotions and connections — these things are considered “feminine”, and therefore these things are relentlessly derided and demeaned by our patriarchal society. It’s all too easy to dismiss these things in favor of aggression, “badassery”, and other things that are typically coded “masculine”.
You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all dropped the ball on this one big time.
In our social context, empowering femininity doesn’t just mean empowering people who like dresses. It means empowering mothers. It means empowering caregivers and nurturers. It means refusing to see these people, and these things, as “lesser”, and instead uplifting them. It means not seeing ourselves as lesser when we help, support and love, just because these acts don’t appear “strong” in the eyes of patriarchy. It means recognizing that “strength” isn’t everything, and that sometimes “weakness” is not only okay but absolutely necessary.
Only once we’ve gotten that through our heads will we start to liberate our own selves and the people we love.
Am I making sense?
Oh god yes. Thank you for this. ♥
(Also, for the record, this is at least the third post you’ve made in the last couple days that I’ve wanted to say that to.)