Saturday, August 2, 2008

Triggers: Angie, may you rest in peace with those who respect you

One of the phrases that google sends my way the most is "too fucking easy". It links to a post where I linked to someone's essay on how easy it is to kill a trans*person. My post is about both Sanesha Stewart and Cameron McWilliams; she was murdered for being trans* and sie was a possibly trans* child who killed hirself.

Since then, and I have been lax about reporting, Ebony Whitaker and Angie Zapata have both been brutally murdered for the great crime against humanity--being trans*.
Angie's killer, Allen Ray Andrade, is going to use the "trans panic" defense; aka, it tricked me and so I had to kill it.

Trans*people, especially trans*women of color who might be prostitutes, are not worthy of life. And when they touch you, the murderer, or worse--someone finds out they actually touched you, you have to destroy them.
You, murderer, can't just kill, not, you have to destroy them as much as possible.
Then, after they are dead and gone, you, all, have to dehumanize them and disrespect their very being.
You, the media, just have to use their old name; and if they changed it, you still call their real name an 'allius' or a 'nickname'.
You, the courts and police, just have to ignore the evidence and never bother searching for the killer. If you deign to look, you let him off with barely a slap. And everyone, and I mean just about everyone, ignores it; business as usual; no one of any real importance, no person, was killed or anything.

Fuck that noise.

Angie was 18. Eight-teen.
Why the fuck is someone so young in the morgue? Why is she in the ground, when she had just barely begun to live her life (not lifestyle).
She's barely more than a child...

And fuck everyone that says she should have known, shouldn't have been meeting folks off the internet, shouldn't have "deceived" him, shouldn't have led him on, shouldn't have worn that short skirt.
As I said in a LJ comm, the reason why we are told we have to disclose is cissexism. Obviously, one part if that is that if we don't disclose we could be attacked if they find out. We are "supposed" to disclose in a safe place where they can't murder us.

But the reason why we are attacked is because we "lied".
We duped.
We fooled.
We messed with your assumptions.
We are assumed to be cis* (and not intersexed).
I blame the entire concept of "we have to disclose" on cissexism.
The main reason we have to disclose is that the other person(s) assume that we are cissexual (as well as not intersexed).
Because they assumed we were a cissexual person, they assumed they knew what our genitals basically look like (and what they used to look like).
When they find out their assumption is wrong, it is suddenly our fault they assumed something incorrect.
Therefore, cis* privilege and cis*-centered thought says that we were lying/deceiving/fooling an innocent person and that we need to disclose to be "honest" with someone. (can you see my sneer at the word honest?)
It would be unthinkable to accuse a cis*guy of deceiving someone when they assumed he was
circumcised when he was actually not.
It's perfectly alright to have a preference for certain genital configurations. But it is your own fault if you forget to ask and find out your assumption was wrong.
And your hurt feelings are never an excuse to hurt someone else; a polite "no thanks, I'm more into xyz" would suffice.
In the perfect world no one would have to disclose; no one would assume you were cis*; everyone would, when negotiating sex and/or relationships, bring up their genital configuration as a matter of course.

I keep trying to put into words what Angie's death means.
What knowing another sister is gone forever feels like.
How I'm sure her friends and family already feel her loss.
I can't.
I'm no great poet.

But Angie, Ebony, Sanesha, Gwen, Brandon, Tyra, Robert, and all the people whose names we never knew, but nonetheless mourn, will be remembered.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Are you listening?

An open letter to cis feminists

Stop fucking up.*

I have complained numerous times that the feminist blogosphere, such as it is, has one main conversation about trans people, one that is returned to again and again and again - the political implications of our transitioning. Click here if you want yet another example of pointless bloody "analysis."

I don't CARE about whatever horrible thing some feminist has said anymore. I care that these discussions centre on cis concerns, even (maybe especially) allies respond mostly to the slurs, but rarely address the real issues.

Now, if you want to have those conversations, here's an idea. Subject yourself to the same kind of analysis. Honestly interrogate if and how you might have more or less privilege than trans people. And no, for the millionth time, trans women are not the fucking Patriarchy.

Or how bout this for an idea. Spend some actual time and energy on trans issues. Here is one thing you are barely talking about - the continual violence against transgendered people for being transgendered.

Blog about Angie Zapata. Blog about Ebony Whitaker. Blog about Sanesha Stewart (to name just three trans women murdered this year).

Try subjecting all that torturous analysis to something actually useful - how violence against trans people occurs. Try thinking about the fact that it is overwhelming trans women of colour being murdered. Try thinking about the intersections between race, transness, misogyny and sex work.

Try writing about the way that institutions collude with this violence - that medical professionals may willingly leave you to die, that police may not prosecute, that lawyers use "trans panic" as a defence to justify the death, and then to add insult to injury, the media effectively blames the dead person for their own deaths AND misgenders them.

And for fuck's sake, don't blame the fucking victims.


* if this doesn't apply to you, then it doesn't apply to you.

So far, a fair number of folks have linked or posted on this too.

I have to admit, I do sometimes focus on the concerns of cis*feminists. It is easier to spork the latest Trans Activist Privilege Checklist instead of writing on how insurance and hospitals refuse to treat us or, if they deign to look at us, give us subpar care. It does feel like it is easier (and cheaper) to change the minds of cis* feminists than cis* politicians.
I also don't like covering the latest deaths/beatings because a) its depressing (gods is it depressing) b) there are never any respectful, decent articles and c) they are never ending. You post on one death/beating and a few days later theres another.
I just can't deal with it; and I feel so wrong for not being able to since I'm not the one whose existence was destroyed.

(Disclaimer: if it don't apply to you, then it don't fucking apply)
I am getting so tired of trans* 101. I am so over "justify your existence to meee!!!"
I want to be able to have a post on TDoR without fucking cis*people stating or telling us they have issues with "transgender politics". I want to be able to x-post or read a trans*-related post on a "general" feminist or progressive forum or blog or LJ comm without rampant cissexism in the comments.
I would really like to go one month without any beatings or rapes or murders of trans*folk. Just one month where we are all considered human and worthy of respect.
Why the fuck do trans* folks have to justify our existence, have to prove that we and our gender identity deserve respect?
Why, when we point out that X cis*feminist has written and worked against us, are we told that we should "put that aside" because she has done "so much for [cis*]women"? Why do we have to bring it up, why can't we focus on the real issues.
Why do I have to have a disclaimer so that I don't hurt the feelings of some poor cis*person? Hellsbells, even if we do put up a disclaimer poor, put-upon, cis*folks will still get all butthurt.

Well, why the fuck can't you just listen? Just shut up and listen. That's what members of the privileged group are supposed to do. I shut up when sex workers talk, when people with disabilities talk, when people of color talk.
When trans* people talk, cis* folk are supposed to listen!
And no, I don't fucking care if you disagree with "trans politics" and therefore aren't cis*--only normal or FAB or whatever (though I do think you can go fuck a lead post).

There are no "trans agendas," no "transgender politics," no "trans lobby."
There is no reason for you to "deconstruct" transgender--the kyriarchy already does it with every murder.
The next time you laugh at a tranny joke, "is it a him or a her? no, it's a shim!" why don't you think about your reaction to a similarly dehumanizing joke about your oppressed group?
The next time you promote someone, a feminist even, who is unabashedly cissexist without mentioning it, why don't you think about how you'd feel if someone promoted a racist or a misogynist or a homophobe without acknowledging their bigotry?
Or is it differreent because they've empowerfulized you sooo much?!

I'm going to try to focus more on trans* issues, rather than cis* feminists' issues with trans*folk. I've actually made it so that I cannot read mAndrea's blog anymore. No really, I have a firefox add-on, leechblock, that lets you block certain sites. I've blocked mAndea's 24/7/365 and made it impossible to change the options. Her site is just inane and soul-crushing, her posts don't even make sense (illogical I might call them). It's like reading any other complete bigot; much of it is just plain wrong, but there are part that are just so horrible I lose all hope for humanity (trans*women want to be raped--she and KA are feminists?).
I hope more folks focus on the real issues instead of apologizing for cissexism or ignoring trans* issues entirely.

I actually have a set of posts planned, I have to finish reading Transgender History, on either/both trans* history and trans* (s)heroes and allies (possibly Sylvia Rivera, Reed Erikson, Magnus Hirschfeld, etc). I also have a post on monsters and monstrous beings/creatures (which is sorta related to being trans*--we are perceived/made to be inhuman monsters), but I either have to get the courage to post the current and very personal version or edit it.
I haven't posted much for a mixture of personal issues, busyness, and depression.
Currently, it looks like I'll be able to go to Camp Trans and I want to do a post about my experience there and another on trans* community(s).
*((((({insert} [more] {{{parenthesis}}} [here]))))))*

I want to write on growing up trans*. On navigating this cissexist world. I want to have the energy to look at my own internalized cissexism. I want to go over and add/edit my definitions post. I want to look at the REAL ID act and discuss how thats going to fuck us over; maybe help find loopholes or just tell other trans*folk what they are. I want to write a post about the intersections of my trans* and my queer identities, without worrying that someone is going to think that they are somehow the same or stemming from the other.
I can't do this when I focus on the hate of those who should be allies. I can't get up the energy when I'm so bogged down in feminist/progressive/liberal cissexism.
I want to do some posts/linkfarms on racism, ableism, sex worker's rights advocacy, etc. Maybe even try my hand at writing something from an ally's perspective or trying to look at the intersections a bit.
I doubt I'll ignore the topic completely, but I'm going to try to focus my trans* posts on actual trans* issues instead of someone else's castle in the clouds.