August 2, 2014
Happy Birthday Marsha!: an Interview with Reina Gossett

helixqpn:

By Morgan M Page (Odofemi)

image

Making the rounds on your Facebook feed, Tumblr dash, or Twitter moment are hundreds of Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns asking for cash to fund art projects. I’m hard pressed to think of any that are nearly as exciting and groundbreaking as Reina Gossett and…

Thanks to Morgan Page for these brilliant questions!

August 2, 2014
Happy Birthday, Marsha!

janetmock:

My dear friend and sister reina gossett’s dream is to tell Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson’s story on the night of Stonewall. Please share, give and support this powerful short film!

Thanks for all the boosting, can’t wait to make this film a reality!

March 16, 2013
Naming Ourselves, Sharing Our Stories

This week was my first time having an entire blog dedicated to shit talking me because I wrote both to a press website and on my blog asking for the labor I put into making this new STAR zine materialize not be erased, especially because I had to deal with transphobic, ableist and racist violence while doing that work. The response to that has just been toxic and included this person saying:

I WENT TO A LIBRARY. WAAH.

Social Justice politics are sickening.

ON UNTORELLI’S “NEW” BOOK (BLAH BLAH BLAH, I CUT OUT ALL THE BORING SJ TALK -FA)

CITATION PRACTICES ARE NOTHING, ANARCHY ISN’T ABOUT WHO GETS “CRED” AND MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT IDENTITY. FUCK. Plagiarism; if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.

“Like seriously, Eric, Reina, y’all were presumably on the clock while you engaged in this spectacle, which would be a pretty admirable feat in unworking if I didn’t already think really poorly of you. Us “privileged” trolls usually can’t post on tumblr from our “jobs” if we even have them.”

AND THIS:

“If someone does something you don’t like, it’s much easier to write an entire diatribe calling them out publicly and get pats on the back from all your buddies than it ever would be to open a discourse. It’s also VERY hard to talk about oppression politics when you are literally an academic or an non-profit employee, so make sure to do it at every chance you get.”

——-

The assumption I made about these people were that we probably share community, and by community I mean people who believe in trans liberation, who believe that they are working for revolution and know that labor expectations are damaging, inhumane, capitalist, and extremely political.

I also assumed they read my blog because the material in their zine came from it.

I made those assumptions and then witnessed how outside these shared beliefs it is for them to do the responding they’ve done, play that anti-identity bullshit, and assume that having any job at a nonprofit means that all work you do on my blog & in my own research and everything is somehow a function of that job—- its just such harmful up absolutism.

I wrote, both directly to the press website as well as a thoughtful open letter to the press, about the kinds of politics that underpin the idea that its that’s okay to repost a blog without citing the source. After all, these folks that copied my blog posts, word for word -typos and all-, and didn’t think to even acknowledge me, but did think to acknowledge the other quotes in the essay with a citation.

Since then I’ve received anonymous hate mail and been non stop blog posts, I’d link but its really oppressive over there.

What I learned from this is apparently when a black trans woman names the process of erasure then that’s playing into “identity politics” and “call out culture” rather than actually naming how oppression can function even within movement space. This person has no idea what it means for me to have a job, what kind of work I do, and what I get paid for.

Asking for words to be attributed to the process and people who helped put mold them is not about cred. I’m not mad because someone reprinted the words of STAR and now they are cooler or realer than me. Libraries and other public institutions are huge sites of violence, sometimes you need degrees to get inside, other times you get clocked by security. I want more people to have access to all these materials. That’s why I put them on my blog!

It’s not about credit. It’s about acknowledging the labor that went into unearthing, collecting and archiving something. And in this case labor means exertion, production, time, pain, sacrifice, and creation.

So when these folks claim naming who I am, trans, black, policed, disabled, employed, hustler, as identity politics, and that we should not be doing identity politics; it’s just a way to acquit themselves of having to actually deal with oppression that it itself perpetuates.

It’s not anarchist to ignore race and gender, it’s anarchist to dissemble them. And you can’t do that by just going off on someone who names their experiences as identity politics and telling them to get to work.

Its wild to me that acknowledging the work of fellow thinkers/writers/researchers is anti-anarchist rather than solid loving movement building practice.

There is too much at stake not to name ourselves in the stories we pass down. because this is our time, this is our life.

March 13, 2013
On Untorelli’s “new” book

STREET TRANSVESTITE ACTION REVOLUTIONARIES:
survival, revolt, and queer antagonist struggle


Untorelli Press presents a compilation of historical documents, interviews, and critical analyses of STAR, a group of street queens in early 70s New York City who self-organized for survival and revolt. Contained within are pamphlets distributed by STAR, as well as interviews with and speeches by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Additionally, we are excited to include a critical essay by Ehn Nothing on STAR’s legacy, the enemies of queer insurrection, and the war against gender.

[For Reading][For Printing]

I just noticed Untorelli Press’ sylvia/star book and am glad that its compiled it and being distributed.  but it also raised concerns that i’ve been thinking about for a while now. 
i’m glad everyone is sharing this material, it certainly does not belong to me and it needs to be shared as part of sylvia and star’s legacy.
But i’m saddened when an anti-authoritarian press with a wider distribution reach (because of how oppression works) takes material that i worked hard for years to make accessible to the world and doesn’t credit the labor that went into gathering it.
I unearthed this material thru hustling my way into spaces that are historically unaccessible to black trans women.  Most recently when  I went to the New York Public Library to try and find STAR’s statement I was accosted coming out the bathroom and scrutinized by security. This isn’t something new, just part of living for me.  But that’s also part of the story of how the statement landed on the internet. 
 
So when black trans women like myself do a lot of the unearthing work but then a press never cites that labor but just shares a “new book”I say time out.  Especially when the people behind the book are trying to highlight the work of star and trans people of color as revolutionary precursors to themselves.  
I have to say something because this is racism, ableism, white supremacy and transphobia at work and enacted, within our movement space.  
This was labor and like the stories of marsha and sylvia, the labor i put into this isn’t even considered labor but something new exiting and revolutionary.  Why not just use your distro reach to link back to the people already doing that work? 
Again, i’m more than thrilled that the voices of trans revolutionaries are amplified and elevated but in that process do not erase the work of trans people of color that helped make your knowledge of star, sylvia and marsha possible, specifically black and latina trans women who did this as ways to connect with their own legacies of relationship and resistance.
still here,
reina
i originally uploaded that sylvia 1973 video after going thru the archives to find it: 
re-wrote and pasted the star statement (previously not on the internet) after going to the notoriously transphobic new york public library and dealing with their security guards:
edited and posted the sylvia radio show interview with officer pine during my ten year memorial post last year.

(via northnode)

February 22, 2013
NYU OCCUPATION: STREET TRANSVESTITES FOR GAY POWER STATEMENT

i found this document -the first statement released by STAR during the NYU gay liberation front occupation- at the new york public library in Arthur Bell’s papers.

for more context i wrote about it last year here for Sylvia Rivera’s ten year memorial blog

OCTOBER 1970

GAY POWER WHEN DO WE WANT IT? OR DO WE?

 

This is the question that is running through our minds.  Do you really want Gay Power or are you looking for a few laughs or maybe a little excitement.  We are not quite sure what you people really want.  IF you want Gay Liberation then you’re going to have to fight for it.  We don’t mean tomorrow or the next day, we are talking about today.  We can never possibly win by saying “wait for a better day” or “we’re not ready yet” If you’re ready to tell people that you want to be free, then your ready to fight.  And if your not ready then shut up and crawl back into your closets.  But let us ask you this, Can you realliy live in a closet? We cant.

 

So now the question is, do we want Gay Power or Pig Power.  We are willing to admit that we need pigs.  But we only need t hen for crime control. We do not need them to beat and harass our gay brothers and sisters.  The pigs are not helping the people who are being robbed on the streets and being murdered.  How can they when theyre to busy trying to bust a homosexual over the head.  Or theyre to busy trying to catch someone hustling so they can arrest t hem.  But they do give us an alternative.  All we have to do is commit sodomy with them and they’ll forget they were saw us.  Until next time that is.  So again we ask you, do you want pig power or gay power?  This is up to each and every one of you.

 

If you want gay power then youre going to have to fight for it.  And youre going to have to fight until you win.  Because (striked through) once you start youre not going to be able to stop because if you do youll lose everything.  You wont just lose this fight, but all the other fights all over the country.  All our brothers and sisters all over the world will return to their closets in shame.  So if you want to fight for your rights, then fight till the end.

 

We would also like to say that all we fought for at Weinstein Hall was lost when we left upon request of the pigs.  Chalk one up for the pigs, for they truly are carrying there victory flag.  And realize the next demonstration is going to be harder, because they now know that we scare easily.

 

You people run if you want to, but we’re tired of running.  We intend to fight for our rights until we get them.

 

                                    Street Transvestites

                                    For Gay Power

 

[images of trans symbols on bottom)

 

January 28, 2013
Captive Genders: Teach-In on Abolitionist Imaginings and Transgender Activism

Next week my brilliant sibling Che & I will be hosting a teach in at UPenn on our Captive Genders chapter “Abolitionist Imaginings” We’ll be highlighting the work of STAR, Kiyoshi Kuromyia & the ongoing legacy of trans activism.

Click here for more info! Hope to see you there!

January 18, 2013

“One of the things LFL (Lesbian Feminist Liberation) objected to during this time were the transvestites.  The way we saw it was, here is a man dressing up as a woman and wearing all the things that we are trying to break free of. We  found out there were plans to have a transvestite as part of the entertainment for the 1973 Gay Pride rally in Washington Square following the march and we decided to make a statement critical of transvestites…we decided to attack men who did it for profit -professional female impersonators and prostitutes.

we decided we were going to stand up on that stage and tell everybody what we thought.

We stayed up the whole night before the rally and typed up this little statement.  We thought it was very important.  You see, we were creating theory at the time.” 

Jean O’Leary, founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, later the first co-director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

“The transgender community was silenced because of a radical lesbian named Jean O’Leary, who felt that the transgender community was offensive to women because we liked to wear makeup and we liked to wear miniskirts.  

Excuse me!

It goes with the business that we’re in at the time! Because people fail to realize that -not trying to get off the story -everybody thinks that we want to be out on them street corners.  No we do not.  We don’t want to be out there sucking dick and getting fucked in the ass.  But that’s the only alternative that we have to survive because the laws do not give us the right to go and get a job the way we feel comfortable.  I do not want to go to work looking like a man when I know I am not a man” Sylvia Rivera

A case could be made that we should have included transvestites rights but I don’t think that gay people wanted to be identified with that.  We were trying to get away from that image.  And we were trying to get the bill passed.  So the transvestites were excluded from the bill and they never got reinstated.” Jean O’Leary

“I thought free loving was the thing, I found it doesn’t pay the rent…During the daytime they all call us fags and freaks.  At night I get even.  I freak on them.  I make them pay for all the insults they gave me.  I can have a nice conversation with them, give them words of wisdom.  But I’m getting back at them. My way.” Marsha P Johnson

January 14, 2013
In Case You Were Wondering What Ever Became Of STAR HOUSE

January 8, 2013
Marsha P Johnson Film Screening & New Member Orientation at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project next Thursday at 6PM!
Food & metrocards will be available as well as Spanish interpretation for the new member orientation. SRLP is located at 147 West 24th Street, 5th Floor.  Our building has an elevator.  For more on access information or to RSVP email reina@srlp.org

Marsha P Johnson Film Screening & New Member Orientation at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project next Thursday at 6PM!

Food & metrocards will be available as well as Spanish interpretation for the new member orientation. SRLP is located at 147 West 24th Street, 5th Floor.  Our building has an elevator.  For more on access information or to RSVP email reina@srlp.org

September 30, 2012

i was finally able to upload this beautifully shot video of SRLP’s teach in at Zucotti Park.  it starts at the 50 second mark with Kazembe Balagun, followed by Carlos Motta (who did translation), Pooja Gehi, myself, Naomi Clark & Jeannine Tang.

this was one of the first moments i felt part of trans & gender non conforming people taking up space at the park with our bodies and our legacies.  right now i’m wondering about how these creative tensions are held within different movement, artistic and personal relationships one year later. 

thanks to Jonah Groeneboer for filming and MPA for recording the audio!  thanks to everyone who came and held signs and translated and human microphoned, and filled wall street with the some of the best light its had since the Dutch came and built the wall.