First off, a very important step, IMO:
Make it Better Project
Columnist Dan Savage launched “It Gets Better,” a video message to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth that life gets better after high school. The Make It Better Project takes this one step further, giving youth the tools they need to make their lives better now.
We aren’t waiting until high school is over for our lives to get better… We are taking action now! Join us!
* It’s not just Brown and White – From one author comment:
I realized that there was a huge connection between my race, gender, and sexual orientation. That connection was primarily that I don’t fit into a binary in any of the three. And that as such, there is always someone who might tell me that I’m not really what I say I am, that I don’t belong with them, and that constant threat of potential community rejection ruled much of how I interacted with my community for most of my first years living as an adult (and to a degree since then).
It’s an interesting story, but understanding my multiracial experience is what led me to understand my gender experience and come out as trans (well, as genderqueer, trans came later). Contemplating the implications of how one person could see me as a person of color while someone else could see me as white — in the same room at the same time — was the jumping off point for considering how the same thing could happen around gender.
* Isn’t Oppression Bad and Calling it Out Good?
It’s true that in liberal circles with a general anti-oppression value, labels like racist, homophobe, or transphobe, can tarnish your reputation. But it’s clear that this tactic is more about reputation than reality. Those who buy into this world view will get up in arms about an accusation of oppressive behavior and turn the focus of the discussion from the inappropriate behavior to the “inappropriate” accusations they face…
I’m sorry, but being called transphobic, sexist, homophobic, racist, etc may hurt but it’s nothing like the impact that sexist, homophobic, racist, transphobic, etc behavior can have. The discomfort of being called out for oppressive behavior does not make up for the pain that behavior caused. Being called out for an ism is not about revenge, punishment, or public shaming. The purpose of calling someone out is to interrupt and change the behavior, and in the best case scenarios, become an opportunity for educating others to be more careful and aware of their behavior. That’s where the discussion needs to be, and that’s what we need to be doing more of.
* the misrepresentation of non binary trans people
I call his attitude ‘victim blaming’. I also call it ‘bullying.’ To deny someone recognition of their identity, and consequently a place in society is (in my opinion) quite horrid…
Reading the article one discover how in the late 1970s and early 1980s genderqueer individuals were still routinely incarcerated in psychatric hospitals for conditions they either probably never had, or were *symptomatic* of trying to live in a society that neither respected nor recognised ALL gender identities.) It is therefore no wonder that many genderqueer people became alienated as a result of cumulative traumatic stress…
Both articles state that the transgendered individuals in question are putting their lives in danger for the crime of being themselves, and imply that rather than living in a way that is appropriate to our gender identity, we should perhaps instead live in fear -ie CLOSETED. Grrr!
* So, Nonconsensual Labeling of Genderqueer people as “Cissexual Genderqueer” Needs to Go Away
When you are looking at a trans person who has not accessed transition or has not fully accessed transition, and who has a non-binary gender, you don’t really know how they relate to their body and sex and gender and whether they’re okay with their state of transition or lack thereof. I would rather err on the side of caution and deal with what people say and do before applying labels to their bodies that may fit very poorly.
My point is, that there’s a lot of territory between active hate groups (such as Focus on the Family) and people whose ignorance shapes their attitudes and behavior toward us more than active antipathy or hatred, but that ignorance itself is fueled and disseminated by hatred. That it perpetuates itself as common sense or received wisdom does not mean that institutionally, that this is anything but malicious. But when we address it, we are addressing people, and I think it’s useful to keep that in mind.
* Empathy and Kyriarchy
So what I say, what I want, what I ask is, when you find yourself in a position to empathize, watch where your empathy goes, who you empathize with. If you find yourself empathizing along the lines of power and oppression, rather than empathizing along the lines of marginalization, of understanding why that oppression and marginalization is wrong, whether or not it’s something you personally experience, ask yourself why?
Empathy, love, solidarity. Why is it so difficult to do these things?
Many of these terms were applied to us, created to define and limit us, to describe what our life courses are supposed to be…
And a lot of us push back against that, and push back hard. I know I want the ability to name myself, to describe myself, to break the cissexism that is constantly used to label me against my will, do define my life, my body, my gender, and myself on my own terms…
I think we can welcome others without demanding they have exactly the same politics, exactly the same words, exactly the same meanings for those words. Prescriptivism doesn’t help us, and it especially doesn’t help those who come to us looking for help and getting told they’re doing it wrong…
And I do not want to use what I’ve written to demand that everyone fall into line with my thinking. That’s one of the ways we have failed before, and doing it all over again won’t help anyone in the least.
* What I just told someone who didn’t match current autism stereotypes.
This means that people who get called autistic are an incredibly diverse group of people and that virtually nobody matches the conclusions. And yet those who either match the conclusions, think they match the conclusions, pretend they match the conclusions, or may or may not match but other people can force fit them to the conclusions — those people will get called more typical or more autistic. Even though they are neither.
So knowing all that I’m never surprised when people don’t match the conclusions. The conclusions come from generations of faulty observations, faulty logic, and faulty science. And then no matter what the conclusions are, people who match them or who think they match them or can be said to match them by others, suddenly start getting diagnosed more. It’s a disturbingly tangled thing and I wish more people noticed.
a l’allure garçonnière (via FWD/Forward)
* cultural appropriation: still refusing to see the truth — Flips over all-too-easily into questioning whether you are a member of said group, with any right to voice objections.
rather, it’s that images of models, of clothing catalogues, and of white girls in headdresses at concerts that attack and offend us: those of us who feel like these conversations are important to be having, that we have to ask these questions. i am fed up with it. fed up with seeing “Othered” cultures reduced to shitty stereotypes for uncritical (mostly) white people to buy into, as a product, and then to attack me when i ask them to think about what they are wearing, when i ask them why they choose to wear what they wear. is that such an offensive question? is it really us who are so hypersensitive and who take things “too seriously,” or is it you who just wants to refuse to think for two seconds?
my culture is not a trend. (via FWD/Forward)
* I recieved a flood of angry notes and messages after that last post, — Much more eloquent than I managed. Not only is there a truly nasty history here, it hurts and erases people now.
The act of cultural drag is still a problem. This is because systematic racism of Native American people still exists, and is overwhelmingly aggressive. We are still encountering it every day of our lives – in textbooks, at school, going shopping, using government facilities, interacting with the police, with health care systems, with our religious freedom, with the colour of our skin – we are met with derision and antagonism for our mere existence. With words used to keep us in our place. This is not ancient history, it is the every-day existence of a people who are still alive…
When you choose to dress up like one of us, you erase us. You transform a group of doctors, writers, trades people, teenagers, mothers, fathers, singers — individuals, into one absurd caricature unworthy of respect, identity – autonomy…
Many people want me to “get a real cause,” yet do not see the true aim of this one. By getting people to examine their biases, stereotypes, connotations and images of Native people, they may come to learn that there are individuals behind our “red skin” which you find so fascinating/ abhorrent.
* Internet. It’s Time To Talk.
I am talking about bullying. I am talking about vicious personal attacks and erasure. I am talking about communities which remain silent while this happens out of fear and dread. No one wants to be the one to speak up because the ones who speak become targets for the bullying too…
We must be able to identify bullying when we see it, and to call it out. Because this cannot be a productive community, a healthy community, when people are too terrified to speak…
The culture of fear which leaves our community unable to tackle bullying is the same culture which allows so many hateful things in this world to exist.