Lets Make the Violence Stop!
I usually don’t read comments on buzzfeed but my friend Dean’s interview was on it and I wanted to check out the brilliant insights he’s interview inspired. Here’s some of my thoughts about the push back the interview got.
When a handful of white trans women with access to billions of dollars try to make trans ppl -who’ll be POC & poor- weapons of war I realize anything possible.
Except for these white trans women to realize that actually the most pressing needs for our community is getting *out* of deadly institutions like prisons, police, jail, detention centers, bad homeless shelters, forced hospitalizations, as well as access to healthcare, meaningful employment, homes.
Trans people, and I’m talking about my sisters and siblings, are already in extremely dangerous job situations why on earth would we need another one? Why on earth would we want to join the forces of colonialism and conquest at home and abroad?
As Kenyon said in his 2011 huffpost piece A Military Job Is Not Economic Justice
Yes, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a victory — of sorts — significant when it comes to moving towards eliminating discrimination and advancing equality for LGBT individuals. But military service is not economic justice, and it is immoral that the military is the nation’s de facto jobs program for young, poor, Black and working-class people.
Even while we may applaud the repeal of a discriminatory policy, we have to be clear: militarism and war profiteering do not serve the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people, or poor people, or people of color…
Furthermore there are poor people as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people beyond U.S. shores, who have been killed, traumatized, or disabled as a direct result of recent US-led wars or who have become vulnerable targets to backlashes to US policies and actions.
Yes “our gays” should have the “right” to serve openly in the military rather than labor under discriminatory rules — but we stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the globe. We do not condone violence against them or their home countries. We support real economic justice.
I don’t want to be a force of military violence against other poor people of color who are trans, I want liberation. So I say no to this outrageous campaign and I hope you’ll join me in the movement for a trans liberation that is inextricably linked to ending all other forms of oppression!
from SRLP on Chelsea Manning, the realities trans & gnc people have to navigate daily while incarcerated and how we can support people on the inside!
photo by the esteemed Chris (Your Pants) Vargas. capturing my best side in my newly acquired mansion while on tour with the always amazing Eric A Stanley & Ryan Conrad at Wesleyan for Imagining Queer Justice gathering.
yes honey, and i’m gonna burn your house down!
Giving my springtime warm weather gender dysphoria a run for its money with some transfabulous attire!
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.
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 email@example.com
Come support an amazing organization!! And help organize our 10 year anniversary! This is a great opportunity for folks who want to learn how to help generate resources for a progressive organization that increases the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming.
Plus we’d get to hang out and talk about GENDER FABULOUS FALL FASHION, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, China Mieville, Octavia Butler and other science fiction amazingness. (optional but strongly suggested).
its incredible to see how many people reblog the Sylvia Rivera video and how many feel so strongly about her words!
someone recently reblogged the video with commentary and it made me realize that folks who haven’t been following my blog might not have seen the many Sylvia Rivera/STAR related work that i’ve posted over the past year. so i decided to repost the Sylvia Rivera Ten Year Memorial. please share if the spirit moves you!
The spirit was gone from her body
Forever had always been inside
That shell had always been intertwined
And now were disintwined
It’s hard to understand
I am pursued by questions of historical process, of historical responsibility, questions of historical consciousness & ignorance & what these have to do with power.
Historical amnesia is starvation of the imagination; nostalgia is the imagination’s sugar rush, leaving depression and emptiness in its wake. Breaking silences, telling our tales, is not enough. We can value that process –and the courage it may require –without believing that it is an end in itself. Historical responsibility has, after all, to do with action –where we place the weight of our existences on the line, cast our lot with others, move from an individual consciousness to a collective one.
(photo by Randy Wicker. text from Antony Hegarty’s the Spirit Was, Adrienne Rich’s Resisting Amnesia. )