straight white southern baptist men of a certain age who are trying to show me they’re ‘accepting’ of ‘difference’ are kinda sweet and really awkward
there have been more of them in my life lately
they’re tryin’, and that does mean something to me
is worth it
good things clarified at the disability caucus at the AMC
better, more critical, and more honest independence begets better, more critical, and more honest interdepenence
it’s ok - and necessary - to pursue both (‘as individuals’ and 'as communities')
you don’t have to hate on or write off interdependence and weakness and vulnerability to retain independence as a value or goal
this thing where ‘interdependence’ gets used in fucked and coersive ways happens in several activist spaces
ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it
i dreamt last night of two places
one bright and warm
and one unreachable
i dreamt last night of two tongues
one so long and dry and
so nervous behind bright white canine teeth
beneath huge unblinking eyes and panted breaths
one so muscular and wet and
so eager to form sounds we both understand
to lap me up with a immanent worldessness
i shove my fingers into two mouths and
close my eyes as i feel two tongues wrap around me
so differently but so well
i dreamt last night of fingers in me, and of fear
i dreamt last night of broken glass; my own doing
too hastily cleaned
walking away i find that unnoticed shards
have deeply pressed into my foot and
must be carefully extracted to continue on
finally patient i sit and with my fingers
i squeeze my flesh to push out little slivers and
fat irregular disks
they leave me silently and with too little blood
stained pink where the light shines through
i can see my muscles and fat and skin
layered like tissue paper hiding something
terrible, but not unlovely
No safer spaces this year - Copenhagen Queerfestival
““Therefore we are not sure that everyone should feel safe at all times. Not every position is safe, while feeling safe as a queer is important at the festival, feeling safe as a white person might not be an exclusively good thing.””
read the full article. it is good, although I have some points of disagreement with it that I suspect are mainly semantic.
anyway, I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot lately. in the past few months I’ve seen the most fucked up behaviour from people claiming to feel unsafe: on closer questioning, what they’re actually talking about is feeling challenged, questioned, anxious, or insecure. safer spaces discourses that were originally meant to protect people from assault or abuse or the presence of an abuser are being used to exclude people because someone’s partner has a crush on them, or because they civilly disagreed once. I hope I don’t need to lay out why enforcing this kind of social isolation is abusive? when I’m talking about how people use their anxiety abusively to control the behaviour of others around them, this is the kind of shit I’m talking about.
I have also observed the “callout” being used in a similarly manipulative fashion, but it’s important to distinguish feeling challenged on your behaviour or preconceptions from feeling shitty because someone is using political point-scoring to give a veneer of respectability to a personal attack.
related: I’ve been thinking about how the culture of active consent has some yuck permutations. especially, there’s this idea that verbal consent for physical contact is A+ and everything else is a bit dodgy. firstly, I don’t actually know if I agree that it’s a reasonable expectation that everyone get explicit consent before making any form of physical contact. it seems kind of centred around the physically distant social norms of the Anglo-Saxon middle class. maybe feeling uncomfortable because someone pulls you into a hug and kisses your cheek has a fair component of culture clash? something to consider. secondly, I don’t know if I agree that consent is a good first principle with which to navigate all of life; it’s certainly always relevant, but I think there might be other factors that are more important in some contexts, like justice or harm or social inclusion. I am kind of uncomfortable with, say, the aforementioned unwanted cheek-kiss being distinguished from rape only in the degree of violation. thirdly, I disagree that verbal models of consent are inherently more navigable for the person who’s being asked for consent. to take a (for me) fairly trivial example, if someone asks me explicitly for a hug, I feel weird saying no. but if they raise their arms and look at me questioningly, it’s a lot easier to just ignore that if I don’t feel like a hug. it’s really really hard for a lot of people to say no to a direct request, and I’ve more than once seen pseudo-radical sleazebags use that reluctance to their advantage. many if not most social interactions in the world I live in are full of requests and acceptance and rejection that are entirely implicit. while it’s possible that this in itself is a culture that needs to change, that’s kind of irrelevant: it’s the reality many many people are operating within. when a request’s explicit, it can seem more necessary, more urgent, more selfish to refuse than its manifest content might indicate. there is no such thing as a form of communication with no latent meaning, anyway. I think a lot of discussion around consent is dishonest about this reality. I think this over-valuation of supposedly open communication, and a lack of examination of the actual purpose and effect of such communication, happens in a few other contexts as well. (I honestly think it’s often some weird unexamined Western Enlightenment Foucauldian-confession thing.)
of course, I’m not saying that verbal consent is wrong and everybody just needs to learn to read social cues: such a prescription has its own shortfalls (potential lack of clarity, cultural specificity of implicit cues, etc). I guess what I’m saying is what I always say: a rigid ethical rule or set of rules is a poor substitute for compassion, a reasonable degree of other-centredness, and an observant nature.
holy shit, yes
i’ve definitely had unpleasant experiences with activisty folks who know enough about the language of ‘consent’ to be really manipulative with it
that hasn’t happened to me in a while, which i think is mostly a combination of having enough male privilege that people are considerably less likely to try me like that than they would if i weren’t a dude, and also just growing up a bit and hanging out with older and somewhat more considerate people - but having that kind of interaction always made me feel kind of crazy and foolish and not-rad-enough, and it sucked, and i really like this analysis of the dynamic
and i definitely think there’s something to be said for how WASPy and middle-class this idealization of certain really specific types of verbal consent as the best or even only consent, and an indicator of an underlying cool rad queer feminist etc self-knowledge of one’s sexuality and body
it reminds me of this this thing i read in a class a couple of semesters ago, "getting beyond ‘it just happened’" from dilemmas of desire by deborah tolman - it’s from a study that was based on a series of in-depth interviews tolman conducted with a variety of teenage girls about their experiences with and attitudes towards sexuality and gender
and something that emerged in our discussion of it was that the girls of color whose narratives were analyzed in the book mostly couldn’t win; if they didn’t talk about their desires or experiences or consent in very specific ways that tolman, a white academic, could understand as ‘empowered’, it was assumed that they just didn’t really have that will or that pleasure or that ‘empowerment’ or that consent
sometimes in really blatantly racist ways; one of the girls interviewed recounts losing her virginity as interesting and awkward and kind of mediocre and weird (which i think is a pretty typical experience) and tolman goes on to claim that this girl’s her first time wasn’t all that great because she was latina and came from a culture of machismo, which is just a fucking gross and racist reading that totally ignores so much of what the kid actually said; and i think tolman mostly reads this subject’s experience in that way because she was brown and didn’t deploy certain keywords that middle-class feminists would recognize as indicating real empowerment or self-knowledge
and i definitely think that type of judgement connects with the way that a lot of the standard discourse around consent goes down, where a very, hmm, almost stylized and standardized set of verbal interactions is held as the best/sole basis for thinking about how to have respectful physical contactfrom browcatastrophe-deactivated2013
Tumblr is already bad at facilitating discussion but reblogging quotes is the worst. So, new post.
In response to this:
“Lucky, though, is different from privileged. I am not privileged. What I am is invisible. Being invisible is hard. Being invisible means having to attach a 101 explanation to every coming out. Being invisible means finding almost no examples of someone like you in popular media. Being invisible means not being anyone’s target market. Being invisible means being told that you shouldn’t label yourself, that you can’t know, that you’re limiting your potential. Being invisible means that any mention of your orientation at all is cause for celebration, even if that mention is negative or even downright incorrect. Being invisible means thinking yourself alone in the universe, damaged in some way you can’t understand, with no one to tell you otherwise unless you stumble upon one of a handful of resources available to you. Being invisible is not privilege.” - from Anne (via neutrois)
zincfingers said:Never said that invisibility didn’t suck. See my big long post for more on how invisibility and marginalization suck, especially if you’re young or culturally isolated. However, what this person does rhetorically that I find an issue with is presenting privilege as an absolute and not a relative measure. (“I am not privileged.”) Privileged with respect to whom? Privilege doesn’t just exist on its own. Situations like this are also complicated by the fact that invisibility is slightly different than what most people would describe as oppression. It’s sort of its own category of marginalization. In fact, if you’re invisible, you’re relatively less likely to face systematic violence or discrimination because not enough people know what the fuck you are in order to enact such things. So, invisibility is its own brand of suck, but in some ways it can result in relative privilege over other people on the same axis. I also tend to be skeptical (of claims of oppression) when invisibility is the primary negative consequence of someone’s identity. Don’t know if this is necessarily true in this case though. You can be invisible as a member of an oppressed group (do I even need to provide examples?) too.
Being invisible as a trans person passed for cis makes it possible for me to not have to constantly fear other people in nearly every space I go into. It grants me the ability to omit concerns about transphobia from nearly every situation I go into - as long as documentation or the desire to be open isn’t a part of it. I get to choose. That is a position of power. I still have internalized all kinds of shit, and it can all be revoked really fast, but that doesn’t frequently happen. I can disclose to access support when I need to. Being invisible as a gender-conforming single queer person means that people are often incredibly nice to me. The smiles are a strange experience from what I’d gotten used to earlier in life. It still takes me by surprise sometimes. If I, as a bisexual person, go on a date with a guy, the world somehow opens up for us in ways it never did before (if the guy is also trans and passes as cis, this feels really dramatic).
So I am immediately distrustful of any discussion focusing on how bad invisibility is. I experience invisibility daily, and while it’s frustrating at times, it is the least of my problems. The major problems come when I’m suddenly visible again.
reposting because i think this gets at a lot of what’s making me uncomfortable about the current claims going around that passing-privilege is catagorically not *really* privilege
also, that claim just intensely does not mesh with my life experience of passing and getting (sometimes complicatedly) privileged for it*
also: this EVERYONE HAS TO RECOGNIZE AND VALIDATE EVERY SINGLE IDENTITY OF MINE ALL THE TIME AND ANYTHING LESS IS OPPRESSION EQUIVALENT TO EVERY OTHER OPPRESSION AND CLAIMING OTHERWISE IS OPPRESSION OLYMPICS thing is silly and is reflective of a way of thinking about identity and politics and life that is -
- it wouldn’t be quite accurate or fair to call it white and wealthy and western, because i know plenty of people who engage in it who aren’t that specific combination of things**, but i definitely think this claim centers cultural forms frequently found in white western wealthy communities; and i think this way of thinking about and privileging identity grows out of a particular brand of white western middle-class neoliberal politics that’s trying to dress itself up as a universal measure of justice and social good as part of it’s often fucked-up and oppressive and imperialistic enactment of power
* and i’m saying this as a trans person who generally passes and cis thus has a significant - if also surely incomplete - amount of access to cis privilege in daily life; and a latino who quite often gets read as white and via that has a non-trivial degree of access to some types of the social power granted to white people; and as a queer and quietly effeminate dude who sometimes gets read as straight and sometimes knowingly enjoys the safety and space that misreading grants him, usually without angst or a sense of dissonance
** but also i know few to no non-western people who do this, and few to no people who were not at some point in their lives socialized as middle or upper class who do this, and the folks i know who do this are definitely generally white, so, that toofrom saltmarshhag-deactivated2013011
"genderqueer" adjective? noun? verb?
This post just reminded me to talk about something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while now. Its been swirling around in my head, but I’ve been hesistant to write it because I expect lively debate and I’m not sure whether or not I have the energy to respond right now. But it feels…
It’s funny, I actually just re-read Rocco Bulldagger’s The End of Genderqueer in its original zine format earlier today. And I just said I’d talk about “femmephobia” here, so here it goes.
As a trans woman who has a long, complicated history with genderqueer identities, there were times when I agreed with that essay almost in its entirety, and there have been times when I would have co-signed this post 100%.
But I can’t. Because a lot of this alleged “policing*” has to do with people who clearly experience the world as cis people and have no desire or no intention to change that laying claim to some sort of trans identity. There has been a long-standing issue with cis women who date trans men/male-masculine-spectrum people assuming some sort of ownership over both that object choice and of trans spaces and discussions going on about 15 years now. And it’s just become a reality that a lot of the same people who were told their “transsensual” identity was gross and fetishizing five years ago will now claim to be genderqueer femmes. I’ve seen it too many times as an escape-from-privilege/reality-check to shut down all critical discussion of it.
So I’m just unimpressed when someone like Bitch comes out claiming to be genderqueer because she’s queer, femme, and thinks a lot about and “fucks with” gender. And she’s far from the only person who goes straight to genderqueer because they’re “uncomfortable” being told that they are cis. Or maybe I’m just at the point of, okay, fine, but genderqueer means nothing to me.
I have to say I am left completely cold by all of the discourse around femme-as-genderqueer identity, even as someone who identified as a genderqueer femme off and on for years. I can’t take any more of the self-aggrandizing implication that only “queer femmes” are taking back parts of femininity and rejecting others based on their queer feminist utility. I can’t take any more of the myopic view that only “queer femmes” are devalued for our femininity, as though less-alt/hipster-leaning feminine LesBiQueer women who have no serious use for this identity don’t deal with the same thing (projected internalized misogyny) in masculine-dominated spaces. And I think it’s disturbing that genderqueer identity is given a lot more priority in certain queer circles than the conditions of facing the world as a gender non-conforming person.
These are just my immediate thoughts right now, perhaps I’ll have more organized things to say about the concept of “femmephobia” later.
* - when there is no power differential or the person being ‘policed’ is actually at an structural advantage in the discussion (as with heteroromantic asexuals laying claim to “queer”), I think “policing” is an inappropriate term.
really really smart stuff from graftversushost bolded
i, too, am unkeen on the privileging of ‘identifying as X’ as the sole/central basis for thinking about oppression in a lot of (too many) circles, as well as being irritated by how claims of ‘identity-policing’ can be used to unilaterally and bullshittily shut down discussions sometimes
even while i obvs recognize and have had active contact with, well, decades and decades and decades of academic and non-academic discussions of this stuff, and have seen very intimately how controlling access to various identities/labels/words can fuck people over in genuinely oppressive ways
identities are not innocent y’all - that’s why they matter
I’m jaded, to be honest, and I don’t think genderqueer identity is historically and culturally significant enough to assume good faith from everyone. I think Tumblr has exposed more than any other platform before it a certain middle-class tendency to seek out as many unique and special identities as possible rather than engage in an honest accounting of one’s life conditions and what actually matters. If we can’t have a critical examination of anything without allegations of “identity policing” we might as well just call it a day on all of these projects.
microaggression (street harrassment)
Every day when I walk to school, people in cars honk or whistle at me when they pass by. Sometimes they slow down to look at me. I have never met any of these people and they have no reason to honk at me except that I’m a girl walking alone. I have never once been honked at when I walk with my boyfriend.
(when I walk with any guy.)
Sometimes they tell me sexually explicit things they wanna to do me.
the fact that I never get harassed when I’m with a dude drives me up the wall. obvs there’s the underlying assumption that if I’m with a dude I belong to him and that’s way more of a consideration than my comfort walking alone, which is fucked. but the thing that actually does my head in is the way they’re hiding this dynamic from other guys. it means dudes never have to see the women they harass as real women, never see their friends or relatives or lovers as the target of this stuff — or if they don’t harass, they never have to acknowledge that it actually happens, not just once in a while, but like, every other time I leave the house. multiple times a day when I was a teenager or if I’m visibly upset, which is further proof if any were needed that it’s about targeting vulnerable women, not “hot” women — I was mostly not more conventionally attractive as a schoolgirl than I am now, and I’m not a pretty crier.
anyway, it makes me wonder what happens that I don’t see. probably a lot of things.
(Source: microaggressions)from browcatastrophe-deactivated2013
just got back from my first bus ride from work to my new place in grant park
i waited for the bus with my boyfriend
tired, i put my arm around his waist and rest my head on his chest while we stood though its inevitable lateness
further down the street we see a bus a bus coming and aren’t sure if it’s the right one, so he says “kiss me goodbye, just in case,” and i do because i want to
a van full of white fratboys slows to scream epithets at us for a solid thirty seconds, a block away from the first time anyone ever shouted ‘faggot’ at me, some two years ago; the bus driver is right behind them gets confused, and an older man in dark sunglasses and a panama hat gestures vigorously to her, not wanting some stupid kids to make him miss his ride to where ever
my boyfriend and i tell one another we love eachother, and i get on the bus, almost sit down behind the man in the straw hat but get embarrassed, sit down instead behind a dominican man talking in spanish to a friend from work about life and home
i think about this morning, when i took an easy half hour walk down memorial drive to my job
about half way there a black woman with very short hair in a red polo shirt and tattered cargo shorts had approached me, asking for money; i gave her the two dollars i had and went back to my walk
she called to me: “hey, are you family?” i told her i’m gay, if that’s what she meant, and she said, “yeah, yeah, you’re family, it’s good to see some of my people around here” - and i told her it is good, and i wished her luck, and she wished luck to me, and we parted ways
it is good
just finished emailing my mom about my legal name change and a panic-inducing financial crisis that has sprung upon me recently and dashed all my hopes of finishing school sans loans
two-sentence presenter bio for a youth studies conference
Many would claim that [mewmew] is a member of the ‘Millennials’ generation, which is variously envisioned as over-coddled, super-connected, happily conformist, and reticient to assimilate into normative adulthood. [mewmew] isn’t so sure about the truth or utility of any of these claims about his cohort, and would rather enage and deploy more complex narratives about youths and youthfulness using a variety of feminist, queer, and leftist frameworks.