September 10, 2013
We don’t need no trans cops rolling down the worlds blocks

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!

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.

February 9, 2013

In typical anti-authoritative fashion I ignored the weather man’s warnings last night.  As soon as I got outside the blizzard swept me up into a technicolor otherland.  

January 24, 2013
Riding the elevator to creating change/creating chains success!

Riding the elevator to creating change/creating chains success!

January 8, 2013

My afternoon pick me up!  Warhol star Holly Woodlawn talking about her relationship with Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling, from the 2004 film”Superstar in a Housedress.”

December 5, 2012
Debating 'Gender Identity Disorder' and Justice for Trans People

My brilliant friend Chase Strangio wrote a really great piece in the Huffington Post on the underlying anti-mental illness/anti-crazy tone of the movement to get GID or GD out of the DSM, and the effects that has on low income, disabled and people of color who are TGNC!  Click the link to read!

December 3, 2012
APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder

“Mainstreaming, normality, being normal.  I understand how much everybody likes to fit into that mainstream gay and lesbian community.  You know, it used to be a wonderful thing to be avant-garde, to be different from the world.  I see us revert into a so-called liberated closet, because we, not we, yous of this mainstream community, wish be be married, wish for this status.  That’s all fine.  But you are forgetting your grass roots, you are forgetting your own individual identity.” Sylvia Rivera, 2001

On Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what will now be known as the DSM-V.  Moving away from Gender Identity Disorder, the new manual diagnoses transgender people with “Gender Dysphoria,” which describes the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.”

While many people are praising this as a movement towards acceptance and equality, i find this ruling really complicated. A lot of low income, trans people of color and incarcerated trans people rely on GID diagnosis in order to access Social Security benefits, housing and much needed medical care that would be “cosmetic” otherwise.  As the brilliant activist Kiara St James said: 

“i have been saying that trans women of color,were able to access housing/medical and even higher education! through the now obsolete dsm.it shows the great divide in our community,and i for one,find it sad.”

A divide that is very much along racial, class, disability lines.  Because its not just about access to care and benefits we need to survive, but there’s also an underlying current of anti-mental illness and the push back to not be described as “crazy” or mentally ill, rather than pushing back against the pathologizing process/medical system in general.

November 27, 2012

Staking Our Claim: Trans Women's Literature in the 21st Century from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Staking Our Claim: Trans Women’s Literature in the 21st Century

Check out the video for last month’s historic literary discussion featuring the brilliant writers  Ryka AokiRed DurkinImogen Binnie, and Donna Ostrowsky discussing their contributions to  The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard.  Thanks to Barnard Center for Research On (ALL) Women for making this happen!

October 23, 2012

Pay It No Mind - The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson

This beautiful documentary is now entirely online! Please PAY IT SOME MIND!

September 10, 2012
Kyra Kruz, who was recently murdered in Philadelphia, with my sibling Che Gossett. 
From Che:
"Kyra Kruz and I at Pride 2011, looking magical and fabulous! (She did everyone’s makeup and designed all the costumes for the parade theme). Her life was violently taken last week. Anguish and outrage about routinely learning of trans women of color who’s lives are prematurely ended by anti-trans violence, be it interpersonal or institutional. Honored to have known Kyra, to have laughed with her, briefly organized a sex worker support group with her, worked in queer and/or trans spaces with her, she brought so much brilliant light and love!"

Kyra Kruz, who was recently murdered in Philadelphia, with my sibling Che Gossett. 

From Che:

"Kyra Kruz and I at Pride 2011, looking magical and fabulous! (She did everyone’s makeup and designed all the costumes for the parade theme). Her life was violently taken last week. Anguish and outrage about routinely learning of trans women of color who’s lives are prematurely ended by anti-trans violence, be it interpersonal or institutional. Honored to have known Kyra, to have laughed with her, briefly organized a sex worker support group with her, worked in queer and/or trans spaces with her, she brought so much brilliant light and love!"