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.”
“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.