"As a proud black trans woman, I was not going to allow the system to delegitimize & hypersexualize & take my identity away from me."
"As a proud black trans woman, I was not going to allow the system to delegitimize & hypersexualize & take my identity away from me."
Sparked by a number of posts discussing the intersections of femme and disability (specifically this post) and the mods living these intersections we have rallied to create a space specifically for disabled and chronically ill femmes. We hope to bring you thoughtful thoughts, smart reads, makeup tips, comfy style advice, diy clothing mods, and greater visibility for Chronic Femmes of all kinds.
Chronic Femmes is run by and for fabulous femme babes who have chronic illnesses/disabilities, so please be mindful that our terminology use, content, and discussions will center queer/trans disabled/sick ppl, and may not be appropriate for your engagement and use. Anyone is welcome to follow and interact, but please keep in mind disabled/sick femmes rule this space, and behave accordingly.
(and with that in mind, the day may come when all of the mods are out of spoons at once, so please be patient with us if it takes us a while to interact/respond)
We are currently working to get the queue up and running and full of some fab disabled/chronically ill femmes, but it is slow work and we encourage y’all to submit your selfies and stuff!! (Or ask questions or make requests/tell us what kinds of things you’d like to see on this blog, CH’YEAH)
Additionally, since the mods are all white, we’d like to extend an invitation to any chronic femme poc who would be interested in helping us moderate this space.
Please Follow, Signal Boost, and Submit!
do you know the history of american indian compulsory boarding schools? i like this as an intro, which is interestingly directly tied to the origin/etymology of the word “racism.”
and a reminder, because i feel like i’m rubbing up against this a lot lately: the U$A is built on indigenous land, indigenous blood, and indigenous assimilation. racism in america is absolutely rooted in acts against indigenous people (and grew alongside the slavery of african people and colonialist acts against many other peoples in global racist capitalism), but anti-indigenous racism seems to often be erased — not only by dominant racist culture, but also by well-meaning and often awesome social justice organizers and political activists in deeming other forms of racism to be more relevant or important. how are we complicit in this erasure? how can we endeavor toward accountability instead?
Do you like zines? How about feminism? Because second annual NYC Feminist Zine Fest is coming up! Mark your calenders for March 1st at 1-6pm. This time we will be at Barnard College in uptown Manhattan, 3009 Broadway in the James Room on the 4th floor of Barnard Hall.
We will be opening the call for tablers very soon, so if you’re a zinester or artist interested in sharing your work, keep an eye on our website (http://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/) for updates. We also need volunteers to help the day run smoothly so if you think that sounds like you (or you have questions in general), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I’m working on a new zine that’s for POC, by POC.
I’m tired of the fact that I’m a black woman in hardcore either being mocked and trivialized or completely erased so I’m creating this.
Stories, photos, rants, and essays are all accepted submissions.
If you’d like to submit something just email it to email@example.com with Greyscale as the subject.
(Please signal boost!)
Reading this paper, Intersections: The Simultaneity of Race, Gender and Class in Organization Studies by Evangelina Holvino (originally published by the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management), this quote stood up:
As early as 1974 the Combahee River Collective recognized that the struggle of Black women was a uniﬁed struggle against race, gender and class inequality articulated in ‘A black feminist statement’:
[W]e are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking … we see Black feminism as the logical political movement to combat the manifold and simultaneous oppressions that all women of color face.
But, as Sandoval documents, a hegemonic feminist theory based on the experience of white women had developed. This theory, liberal feminism, suppressed, intentionally or not, the theorizing and practice of women of colour and the recognition of the contributions of ‘an original, eccentric and coalitional cohort of U.S. feminists of color’. One outcome of both ‘ﬁrst wave’ US feminisms in the 19th century and the ‘second wave’ women’s movement, which grew during the 1970s and 1980s, was that women of colour were rendered invisible and their concerns and experiences were disappeared.[…]
Important differences between white women and women of colour’s theories emerged, which led to different paths in the theorizing and practice of gender at the intersection of race and class. The scholarship documenting these differences is extensive, particularly from Black and Chicana feminists. While some, in particular socialist feminists, tried to respond to this critique, the white feminist movement overall failed to successfully address it. This failure, in turn, overdetermined the lack of attention to the intersections of race, class and gender in organizational theory and research, even when feminist analyses have been deployed, for most of these analyses were drawn from white women’s feminist theorizing.
And I believe these few paragraphs succinctly synthesize why Black feminism and womanism and other Feminisms of Color do not come in “waves”. They are, in most cases, divergent and oppositional to them. So, while white feminist history has been written as “waves”, feminisms of color emerged as a number of forces that had to stand in opposition to both these “waves” that were erasing and exclusionary and the pull of white supremacist, heteronormative, cissupremacist capitalism. The paper also contextualizes a number of issues in regards to WoC’s relationship to labor and white feminist demands around careers and inclusion in the market.
I do wish the author had not glossed over the misogyny experienced by WoC within communities of color, though. This is a dynamic I often see reproduced in social media and other environments related to media production as well (tumblr, blogs, etc). Namely, when WoC create a space for self actualization or self empowerment, they sometimes become targets of men of color who seek to delegitimize their work but do not necessarily go after white men with the same degree of virulence. Moreover, I’ve seen the work of intellectual Black women and other WoC disqualified by men of color who later on have nothing but praise for the intellectual production of white men and women. Yet, in spite of this minor critique I have, I did find myself nodding in agreement with the author here:
Others have referred to this unique perspective of women of colour as a third gender category, multiple consciousness, triple jeopardy, oppositional consciousness, mestiza and borderlands, a bridge, a crossroads and interstitial feminism. I liken this position to a kind of belonging and not belonging, a ‘both/and’ orientation that allows women of colour to be members of a particular group (of colour, women) and at the same time stand apart from it as the ‘outsider within’. Hurtado calls it a shifting consciousness […], the ability of many women of colour to shift from one group’s perception of social reality to another and at times, to be able simultaneously to perceive multiple social realities without losing their sense of self-coherence. This position, in turn, creates a specific relationship to knowledge and knowledge production. It is informed by knowledge that expresses and validates oppression, while, at the same time, it also documents and encourages resistance to oppression. This places women of colour in a unique position to document ‘the maneuvers necessary to obtain and generate knowledge: [a] unique knowledge that can be gleaned from the interstices of multiple and stigmatized social identities’. Theory itself comes to be questioned, partly as a challenge to the apparatus and institutions of theory-making that silence the perspective of women of colour and partly as a way of connecting to their communities of origin, which are in many instances working class and non-academic. Feminist writing by women of colour is different in style and content. For example, there is a mixing of different genres such as poetry, critical essays, short stories, letters, memoirs, and the production of knowledge itself is less tied to the academy. The call is to create theory that uses ‘race, class, gender, and ethnicity as categories of analysis, theories that cross borders [and] blur boundaries — new kinds of theories with new theorizing methods’.
I believe this paragraph, right here, puts the finger exactly on the issue I’ve been talking about for the past few weeks (and even before when I was derided for not using “simpler” words or ideas); specifically, the above highlights some of the reasons for the systematic erasure and lack of recognition for the intellectual productions of Women of Color. As I stated before, it’s not that there aren’t any “feminist intellectuals”, it’s that this hegemonic definition of “intellectual” needs to be questioned, unpacked and, I’d dare say, dismantled. There is as much intellectual work in writing a paper like the one I am quoting here as there is in writing a short poem for one’s blog. After thinking this topic for weeks, I now reject the premise entirely: the question is not “where are the feminist intellectuals”. The question is “why does white feminism continue rejecting our knowledge production and hegemonizing the very definition of what it means to be an intellectual”.
Recently, I asked activist/all around badass Cecilia Gentili if she had any recommendations for electrolysis, and she she told me she DID, and boy did she ever.
She recommended a school of electrolysis out in Queens. Have you ever had your hair cut at a cosmetology school,…
The folks over at transhousingnetwork asked me to write something about how to be a good roommmate to someone living with HIV, so I did!
As has previously been noted on this blog, I am a trans woman who has been living with HIV/AIDS for eight years, which puts be somewhere…
Dear Hoax Zine readers, contributors, distros etc. —
I am writing this statement in an attempt to demonstrate accountability and transparency. Due to a series of very intense and highly personal unexpected life stresses, I have recently been unable to dedicate as much time to Hoax Zine as I wish was possible. I would prefer not to publicly disclose most of these circumstances, however I am open to one on one discussion.
Hoax Zine is an entirely DIY project, a project that takes a significant amount of time to manage. Between the two of us, we spend approximately 40 to 45 hours per week, every week, editing multiple rounds of submissions, promoting the project and reaching out to potential contributors, managing our etsy shop, going to the post office, formatting all 65 - 80 pages of each issue, printing and assembling the physical zine, etc. These tasks require both manual, emotional, and intellectual labor. Neither of us make a cent off of this project; to the contrary, we have both invested personal money into purchasing an expensive printer and other printing supplies. Our reason for this is that we have been eager to keep the cost of Hoax Zine as low as possible so that it remains affordable and accessible.
sari has been conducting the vast majority of Hoax Zine related tasks for the past year and a half. As we move forward and begin to plan for Hoax #10 and Hoax #11, I have to be honest about the amount of time and energy that I can realistically continue to invest into this project. I am about to enter my last semester of graduate school, where I am working a twenty one hour per week unpaid internship in order to obtain licensure to become a social worker. For this and other reasons, it is unlikely that I will have significantly more time or energy to invest into this project for a unforeseeable period.
After ample reflection and talking with sari (my co-editor and my best friend), I have chosen to remain active with this project. The continuation of Hoax Zine remains a crucial priority in my life. I believe in the critical importance of print media in an era of blogs that are proliferated via corporate media. I, personally, have learned and grown so much throughout the past nearly five years of conducting this project; Hoax Zine has been critical in pushing me to become an intersectional critical thinker who can reflect upon the many nuances of social justice work. I feel immensely grateful to have befriended so many brilliant, beautiful people at zinefests, via the editing process etc. Additionally, the mission of Hoax Zine remains a collective one and we both feel that it would be impossible to continue the project individually, without the support and input of the other person. However, it has become strikingly apparent that I need to continue to take a major step back from Hoax Zine. This is absolutely essential for both my physical and emotional health.
sari is going to continuing to take on the brunt of the work for an indefinite period. I ask that readers / distros / contributors remain patient and compassionate if responses to inquires are slow, if packages are mailed late, if there are miscommunications with emails etc. Please remember that one person is doing the work that, in the past, was taken on by both of us (in addition to close friends who would assist with the manual labor of physically assembling Hoax Zine when we lived together a couple years ago in a collective house). If you believe in this project and would like to be of assistance, I ask that you promote Hoax Zine (our etsy shop, our call for submissions for Hoax #10 - feminisms and embodiments, and our call for submissions for Hoax #11 - feminisms and strategy) via any /all social media. At a point in the future, we might host a Hoax Zine assembling party at my family’s residence in New York City, and we would both be appreciative of anybody who could attend that. As we posted earlier, Hoax Zine is facing major losses and we would be immensely appreciative of donations paypaled to hoaxzine at gmail dot com, or of purchases made on our etsy shop. Additionally, any submissions to Hoax #10 and Hoax #11 would be greatly appreciated.
I am greatly sorry that it has taken so long for me to release this statement, as it is truly unfair that sari has been shouldering the burden of Hoax Zine for so long whereas I have remained (mostly) silent. Thank you for understanding. Community, I love you.
We are totally ecstatic to announce that the topic for Hoax #11 will be feminisms and STRATEGY.
We will be continuing to take submissions for Hoax #10 - Feminisms and Embodiments until June 30th. However, in order to save us both badly-needed time due to our very hectic personal lives, we have decided to begin taking submissions for the upcoming two issues simultaneously.
We are eager for feminists of all backgrounds and genders to submit to both Hoax #10 and Hoax #11! We ask that you read the following three links before you submit: mission statement, core values, and goals, general hoax faqs, submission faqs. potential ideas for material on the topic of strategy include, but are not limited to,:
Goals: How we aim to act & who we want to become; Thinking about the future of feminism; Short term vs. long term planning; What we would ideally like to see in our feminist movements
Community Organizing: Indigenous organizing (working within communities) in comparison to non-profit & legislative organizing; Methods in which we attempt to gauge change (grant cycles, report cards, the DSM, journaling, etc.); Theoretical approaches to community organizing; Observing noticeable differences in our communities; Colonization & gentrification; Working within collective structures; Community organizing as as social justice buzzword; Community organizing as an academic discipline
Legislation: The pros & cons of legislative reform; Critiques of the professionalism of activism and the non-profit industrial complex; Does “radical” always mean a rejection of legislative reform?; Obtaining legal aid; Social factors that impact our relationship to police; When & if can the master’s tools be used to fuck with the master’s house; The process of grant writing and obtaining funding for specific projects; How receiving money for feminist organizing may prevent burnout
Relationships: Strategies to make relationships more equitable and less hierarchical; Discussing feminism & anti-oppression issues with people who don’t “get it”; Engaging with loved ones who are struggling; How to make feminism more “inclusive” & accommodate people of various identities & lived experiences; Peer support & mutual aid; Strategies to foster healthy community; Strategies to deal with grief, loss,& trauma; Bringing gaps
Sex and Sexuality: “Queering” our sexual relationships; Strategies of setting boundaries and enacting holistic consent; Strategies of enacting healthy “sex positivity”; The development of a materialist feminist lens for discussing sex work; Developing healthy & lasting means of healing from sexual trauma; Asexuality, abstinence, celibacy, & other separations from compulsory sexual interactions; Building queer platonic relationships in the age of online dating; Strategies to discuss HIV/AIDS & STIs in non-shaming ways
History: Feminist strategies that have been (in)effective; When and how to reinvent the wheel; Racism in the feminist movement; “Women’s only” spaces as a feminist strategy / Is it possible to create gender-segregated spaces that are actually inclusive?; Personal reflections
Education: Feminist parenting; Feminism as an academic discipline & the academic industrial complex; The relationship between theory and praxis; “Teaching” feminism to young people; Cross-generational feminist dialogue; How to turn mistakes into learning moments & undo “call out culture”; The pros & cons of identity-based caucusing in undoing racism, sexism, etc.
Visibility / Communication / Media: Strategies to effectively use social media; Zines versus blogs; Self-expression (or lack thereof) & its relation to feminism, queerness, zine making, etc; Changing nature of information-sharing as it relates to feminism; How the media changes perception of time & social justice work; Personal exposure & secrecy; How to create inclusive feminist terminologies
Accessibility: Reaching out to feminists who are geographically isolated; Addressing classism within feminism & how poverty impacts accessibility; Addressing dis/ability and making feminist spaces more physically accessible; The establishment of sober spaces & strategies for sober people to feel safer in drinking spaces; How to establish “safer spaces” in general
DIY Tutorials: Crafting; Sex toys; Menstrual products for people who bleed; Developing workshops
We also need lots of artwork that will format properly as background designs — this means fitting properly into a vertical 5.5 x 8.5 page and contrasting well in grey scale. We would strongly prefer art that does not just portray thin / white / cis / able-bodied people.
Additionally, please note that Hoax is currently experiencing losses due to a flood. We are kindly asking for donations to help cover the expenses of these damages. The best ways to support us are to donate via paypal (hoaxzine at gmail dot com), purchase any of our zines via our Etsy shop, and reblog these posts!
Please aim to send us yr amazing material to hoaxzine (at) gmail (dot) com by JUNE 30TH, 2014. If you are interested, feel free to e-mail us yr ideas for topics & artwork! As always, we are willing to work with you during any and every stage of the writing process. The sooner you send us yr work and ideas, the better!
Thank you so much to every contributor, reader, & supporter of this zine! We are looking forward to seeing yr work!
Please re-blog to spread the word!
rachel & sari
[img: several cases of paper, a printer, assorted boxes, and a blanket piled on top of a couch.]
Hoax is currently facing major losses due to a flood! We are kindly asking for donations to help cover these damages. You can support us by paypaling a small donation to hoaxzine (at) gmail (dot) com or purchasing any of our zines via our etsy shop.
The vast majority of our supplies for Hoax are kept in sari’s basement. Unfortunately, a pipe broke over the weekend and the basement flooded.
We have invested 4 and a half years of “profit” into purchasing an expensive printer and other printing supplies. Our reason for this investment was that we have been eager to keep the cost of Hoax as low as possible so that the project remains affordable and thus accessible. Over the summer, we learned that we would no longer have access to our former printing source. We literally went broke to make long-term printing arrangements. By purchasing a printer, we were able to keep the price of this issue at $3US (+ shipping) just like all previous issues. Accessibility (both in content and pricing) is one of our primary concerns with this gigantic zine, andwe as individuals put up our own money to purchase a printer and printing supplies. We also purchase paper, toner, and other vital items in bulk up front to help cut down on costs, and losing what we have purchased means needing more time and funding to be able to obtain these necessities again.
We are currently unsure what the damages and losses of this flood are. Because Hoax Zine is a DIY project and neither of us acquire profit, we do not have insurance on our printer or our printing supplies. We are therefore reaching out for our community for support. We are not going to crowdsource via a kickstarter or gofundme campaign. However, if you are in a position to do so, we highly encourage you to donate money to help us recover from our losses via PayPal (hoaxzine at gmail dot com). You can also support us by re-blogging / tweeting this message or purchasing our zines at our etsy shop.
Thank you so much.
sari and rachel
Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde (Essence Magazine, 1984)
JB: One of the dangers of being a Black American is being schizophrenic, and I mean ‘schizophrenic’ in the most literal sense. To be a Black American is in some ways to be born with the desire to be white. It’s a part of the price you pay for being born here, and it affects every Black person. We can go back to Vietnam, we can go back to Korea. We can go back for that matter to the First World War. We can go back to W.E.B. Du Bois – an honorable and beautiful man – who campaigned to persuade Black people to fight in the First World War, saying that if we fight in this war to save this country, our right to citizenship can never, never again be questioned – and who can blame him? He really meant it, and if I’d been there at that moment I would have said so too perhaps. Du Bois believed in the American dream. So did Martin. So did Malcolm. So do I. So do you. That’s why we’re sitting here.
AL: I don’t, honey. I’m sorry, I just can’t let that go past. Deep, deep, deep down I know that dream was never mine. And I wept and I cried and I fought and I stormed, but I just knew it. I was Black. I was female. And I was out – out – by any construct wherever the power lay. So if I had to claw myself insane, if I lived I was going to have to do it alone. Nobody was dreaming about me. Nobody was even studying me except as something to wipe out.
JB: You are saying you do not exist in the American dream except as a nightmare.
AL: That’s right. And I knew it every time I opened Jet, too. I knew that every time I opened a Kotex box. I knew that every time I went to school. I knew that every time I opened a prayer book. I knew it, I just knew it.
JB: It is difficult to be born in a place where you are despised and also promised that with endeavor – with this, with that, you know – you can accomplish the impossible. You’re trying to deal with the man, the woman, the child – the child of whichever sex – and he or she and your man or your woman has got to deal with the 24-hour-a-day facts of life in this country. We’re not going to fly off someplace else, you know, we’d better get through whatever that day is and still have each other and still raise children – somehow manage all of that. And this is 24 hours of every day, and you’re surrounded by all of the paraphernalia of safety: If you can strike this bargain here. If you can make sure your armpits are odorless. Curl your hair. Be impeccable. Be all the things that the American public says you should do, right? And you do all those things – and nothing happens really. And what is much worse than that, nothing happens to your child either.
AL: Even worse than the nightmare is the blank. And Black women are the blank. I don’t want to break all this down, then have to stop at the wall of male/female division. When we admit and deal with difference; when we deal with the deep bitterness; when we deal with the horror of even our different nightmares; when we turn them and look at them, it’s like looking at death: hard but possible. If you look at it directly without embracing it, then there is much less that you can ever be made to fear.
JB: I agree.
AL: Well, in the same way when we look at our differences and not allow ourselves to be divided, when we own them and are not divided by them, that is when we will be able to move on. But we haven’t reached square one yet.
JB: I’m not sure of that. I think the Black sense of male and female is much more sophisticated than the western idea. I think that Black men and women are much less easily thrown by the question of gender or sexual preference – all that jazz. At least that is true of my experience.
AL: Yea, but let’s remove ourselves from merely a reactive position – i.e., Black men and women reacting to what’s out there. While we are reacting to what’s out there, we’re also dealing between ourselves – and between ourselves there are power differences that come down…
JB: Oh, yes…
AL: Truly dealing with how we live, recognizing each other’s differences, is something that hasn’t happened…
JB: Differences and samenesses.
AL: Differences and samenesses. But in a crunch, when all our asses are in the sling, it looks like it is easier to deal with the samenesses. When we deal with sameness only, we develop weapons that we use against each other when the differences become apparent. And we wipe each other out – Black men and women can wipe each other out – far more effectively than outsiders do.
JB: That’s true enough.
AL: And our blood is high, our furies are up. I mean, it’s what Black women do to each other, Black men do to each other, and Black people do to each other. We are in the business of wiping each other out in one way or the other – and essentially doing our enemy’s work.
JB: That’s quite true.
AL: We need to acknowledge those power differences between us and see where they lead us. An enormous amount of energy is being taken up with either denying the power differences between Black men and women or fighting over power differences between Black men and women or killing each other off behind them. I’m talking about Black women’s blood flowing in the streets – and how do we get a 14-year-old boy to know I am not the legitimate target of his fury? The boot is on both of our necks. Let’s talk about getting it off. My blood will not wash out your horror. That’s what I’m interested in getting across to adolescent Black boys.
There are little Black girl children having babies. But this is not an immaculate conception, so we’ve got little Black boys who are making babies, too. We have little Black children making little Black children. I want to deal with that so our kids will not have to repeat that waste of themselves.
JB: I hear you – but let me backtrack, for better or worse. You know, for whatever reason and whether it’s wrong or right, for generations men have come into the world, either instinctively knowing or believing or being taught that since they were men they in one way or another had to be responsible for the women and children, which means the universe.
JB: I don’t think there’s any way around that.
AL: Any way around that now?
JB: I don’t think there’s any way around that fact.
AL: If we can put people on the moon and we can blow this whole planet up, if we can consider digging 18 inches of radioactive dirt off of the Bikini atolls and somehow finding something to do with it – if we can do that, we as Black cultural workers can somehow begin to turn that stuff around – because there’s nobody anymore buying ‘cave politics’ – ‘Kill the mammoth or else the species is extinct.’ We have moved beyond that. Those little scrubby-ass kids in the sixth grade – I want those Black kids to know that brute force is not a legitimate way of dealing across sex difference. I want to set up some different paradigms.
JB: Yea, but there’s a real difference between the way a man looks at the world…
AL: Yes, yes…
JB: And the way a woman looks at the world. A woman does know much more than a man.
AL: And why? For the same reason Black people know what white people are thinking: because we had to do it for our survival…
JB: All right, all right…
AL: We’re finished being bridges. Don’t you see? It’s not Black women who are shedding Black men’s blood on the street – yet. We’re not cleaving your head open with axes. We’re not shooting you down. We’re saying, “Listen, what’s going on between us is related to what’s going on between us and other people,” but we have to solve our own shit at the same time as we’re protecting our Black asses, because if we don’t, we are wasting energy that we need for joint survival.
JB: I’m not even disagreeing – but if you put the argument in that way, you see, a man has a certain story to tell, too, just because he is a man…
AL: Yes, yes, and it’s vital that I be alive and able to listen to it.
JB: Yes. Because we are the only hope we have. A family quarrel is one thing; a public quarrel is another. And you and I, you know – in the kitchen, with the kids, with each other or in bed – we have a lot to deal with, with each other, but we’ve got to know what we’re dealing with. And there is no way around it. There is no way around it. I’m a man. I am not a woman.
AL: That’s right, that’s right.
JB: No one will turn me into a woman. You’re a woman and you’re not a man. No one will turn you into a man. And we are indispensable for each other, and the children depend on us both.
AL: It’s vital for me to be able to listen to you, to hear what is it that defines you and for you to listen to me, to hear what is it that defines me – because so long as we are operating in that old pattern, it doesn’t serve anybody, and it certainly hasn’t served us.
JB: I know that. What I really think is that neither of us has anything to prove, at least not in the same way, if we weren’t in the North American wilderness. And the inevitable dissension between brother and sister, between man and woman – let’s face it, all those relations which are rooted in love also are involved in this quarrel. Because our real responsibility is to endlessly redefine each other. I cannot live without you, and you cannot live without me – and the children can’t live without us.
AL: But we have to define ourselves for each other. We have to redefine ourselves for each other because no matter what the underpinnings of the distortion are, the fact remains that we have absorbed it. We have all absorbed this sickness and ideas in the same way we absorbed racism. It’s vital that we deal constantly with racism, and with white racism among Black people – that we recognize this as a legitimate area of inquiry. We must also examine the ways that we have absorbed sexism and heterosexism. These are the norms in this dragon we have been born into – and we need to examine these distortions with the same kind of openness and dedication that we examine racism…
JB: You use the word ‘racism’…
AL: The hatred of Black, or color…
JB: - but beneath the word ‘racism’ sleeps the word ‘safety.’ Why is it important to be white or Black?
AL: Why is it important to be a man rather than a woman?
JB: In both cases, it is assumed that it is safer to be white than to be Black. And it’s assumed that it is safer to be a man than to be a woman. These are both masculine assumptions. But those are the assumptions that we’re trying to overcome or to confront…
AL: To confront, yeah. The vulnerability that lies behind those masculine assumptions is different for me and you, and we must begin to look at that…
JB: Yes, yes…
AL: And the fury that is engendered in the denial of that vulnerability – we have to break through it because there are children growing up believe that it is legitimate to shed female blood, right? I have to break through it because those boys really think that the sign of their masculinity is impregnating a sixth grader. I have to break through it because of that little sixth-grade girl who believes that the only thing in life she has is what lies between her legs…
JB: Yeah, but we’re not talking now about men and women. We’re talking about a particular society. We’re talking about a particular time and place. You were talking about the shedding of Black blood in the streets, but I don’t understand –
AL: Okay, the cops are killing the men and the men are killing the women. I’m talking about rape. I’m talking about murder.
JB: I’m not disagreeing with you, but I do think you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m not trying to get the Black man off the hook – or Black women, for that matter – but I am talking about the kingdom in which we live.
AL: Yes, I absolutely agree; the kingdom in which these distortions occur has to be changed.
JB: Something happens to the man who beats up a lady. Something happens to the man who beats up his grandmother. Something happens to the junkie. I know that very well. I walked the streets of Harlem; I grew up there, right? Now you know it is not the Black cat’s fault who sees me and tries to mug me. I got to know that. It’s his responsibility but it’s not his fault. That’s a nuance. UI got to know that it’s not him who is my enemy even when he beats up his grandmother. His grandmother has got to know. I’m trying to say one’s got to see what drove both of us into those streets. We be both from the same track. Do you see what I mean? I’ve come home myself, you know, wanting to beat up anything in sight- but Audre, Audre…
AL: I’m here, I’m here…
JB: I agree with you. I see exactly what you mean and it hurts me at least as much as it hurts you. But how to maneuver oneself past this point – how not to lose him or her who may be in what is in effect occupied territory. That is really what the Black situation is in this country. For the ghetto, all that is lacking is barbed wire, and when you pen people up like animals, the intention is to debase them and you have debased them.
AL: Jimmy, we don’t have an argument
JB: I know we don’t.
AL: But what we do have is a real disagreement about your responsibility not just to me but to my son and to our boys. Your responsibility to him is to get across to him in a way that I never will be able to because he did not come out of my body and has another relationship to me. Your relationship to him as his farther is to tell him I’m not a fit target for his fury.
JB: Okay, okay…
AL: It’s so entrenched in him that it’s part of him as much as his Blackness is.
JB: All right, all right…
AL: I can’t do it. You have to.
JB: All right, I accept – the challenge is there in any case. It never occurred to me that it would be otherwise. That’s absolutely true. I simply want to locate where the danger is…
AL: Yeah, we’re at war…
JB: We are behind the gates of a kingdom which is determined to destroy us.
AL: Yes, exactly so. And I’m interested in seeing that we do not accept terms that will help us destroy each other. And I think one of the ways in which we destroy each other is by being programmed to knee-jerk on our differences. Knee-jerk on sex. Knee-jerk on sexuality…
JB: I don’t quite know what to do about it, but I agree with you. And I understand exactly what you mean. You’re quite right. We get confused with genders – you know, what the western notion of woman is, which is not necessarily what a woman is at all. It’s certainly not the African notion of what a woman is. Or even the European notion of what a woman is. And there’s certainly not standard of masculinity in this country which anybody can respect. Part of the horror of being a Black American is being trapped into being an imitation of an imitation.
AL: I can’t tell you what I wished you would be doing. I can’t redefine masculinity. I can’t redefine Black masculinity certainly. I am in the business of redefining Black womanness. You are in the business of redefining Black masculinity. And I’m saying, ‘Hey, please go on doing it,’ because I don’t know how much longer I can hold this fort, and I really feel that Black women are holding it and we’re beginning to hold it in ways that are making this dialogue less possible.
JB: Really? Why do you say that? I don’t feel that at all. It seems to me you’re blaming the Black man for the trap he’s in.
AL: I’m not blaming the Black man; I’m saying don’t shed my blood. I’m not blaming the Black man. I’m saying if my blood is being shed, at some point I’m gonna have a legitimate reason to take up a knife and cut your damn head off, and I’m not trying to do it.
JB: If you drive a man mad, you’ll turn him into a beast – it has nothing to do with his color.
AL: If you drive a woman insane, she will react like a beast too. There is a larger structure, a society with which we are in total and absolute war. We live in the mouth of a dragon, and we must be able to use each other’s forces to fight it together, because we need each other. I am saying that in our joint battle we have also developed some very real weapons, and when we turn them against each other they are even more bloody, because we know each other in a particular way. When we turn those weapons against each other, the bloodshed is terrible. Even worse, we are doing this in a structure where we are already embattled. I am not denying that. It is a family discussion I’m having now. I’m not laying blame. I do not blame Black men for what they are. I’m asking them to move beyond. I do not blame Black men; what I’m saying is, we have to take a new look at the ways in which we fight our joint oppression because if we don’t, we’re gonna be blowing each other up. We have to begin to redefine the terms of what woman is, what man is, how we relate to each other.
JB: But that demands redefining the terms of the western world…
AL: And both of us have to do it; both of us have to do it…
JB: But you don’t realize that in this republic the only real crime is to be a Black man?
AL: No, I don’t realize that. I realize the only crime is to be Black. I realize the only crime is to be Black, and that includes me too.
JB: A Black man has a prick, they hack it off. A Black man is a ****** when he tries to be a model for his children and he tries to protect his women. That is a principal crime in this republic. And every Black man knows it. And every Black woman pays for it. And every Black child. How can you be so sentimental as to blame the Black man for a situation which has nothing to do with him?
AL: You still haven’t come past blame. I’m not interested in blame, I’m interested in changing…
JB: May I tell you something? May I tell you something? I might be wrong or right.
AL: I don’t know – tell me.
JB: Do you know what happens to a man-?
AL: How can I know what happens to a man?
JB: Do you know what happens to a man when he’s ashamed of himself when he can’t find a job? When his socks stink? When he can’t protect anybody? When he can’t do anything? Do you know what happens to a man when he can’t face his children because he’s ashamed of himself? It’s not like being a woman…
AL: No, that’s right. Do you know what happens to a woman who gives birth, who puts that child out there and has to go out and hook to feed it? Do you know what happens to a woman who goes crazy and beats her kids across the room because she’s so full of frustration and anger? Do you know what that is? Do you know what happens to a lesbian who sees her woman and her child beaten on the street while six other guys are holding her? Do you know what that feels like?
AL: Well then, in the same way you know how a woman feels, I know how a man feels, because it comes down to human beings being frustrated and distorted because we can’t protect the people we love. So now let’s start –
JB: All right, okay…
AL: - let’s start with that and deal.
Essence Magazine, 1984
Hey guys, it’s that time again, wherein I bug fellow tumblr sex workers to contribute to Tits and Sass. Wanna write a review of Rebecca Woodard’s new memoir on Spitzergate and being forced to work undercover, turning her escorting earnings over to the city of New York? (Or a review of any sex…
[photo description: image of Askari González and Lexi Adsit. two trans latinas looking off to their right with big smiles on their face, wind blowing through their hair. The background is a café with a glare on the front glass showing other buildings.]
Note: We are working on French and Spanish translations of this document, and seeking volunteers to translate into other languages. Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Trans Women of Color Network Gathering
@ Allied Media Conference 2014, Detroit, MI, June 19th, 2014
Call for Participation/Submissions
We know that trans women of color are magical, powerful, skilled and wise, yet there is still no international network joining us together to address the struggles we face. This network gathering seeks to change that. We are looking for people and organizations willing to…
- lead workshops and skillshares
- give short talks
- facilitate discussions
- lead visionary exercises
…to work towards building an international network of trans women of color! This will include discussions online and in your home town in the months leading up to the gathering where people can work towards a shared vision and goals statement for the network for participants to agree on.
We encourage submissions that are media-focused such as:
- Blogging Against Borders
- Social Media to Connect Us
- Theatre of the Oppressed
- Fashion Politics and Wearable Electronics
- Community Building through Performance
…although we welcome submissions of any topic relating to Trans Women of Color!
The format and content is being left purposefully open, since we want the content to be driven by the people who can attend. More than anything, this network gathering is about creating space for us to build bridges and make connections. The organizers do not want it to be just about what we are interested in. However, we do think that having a day to centre the people who need it the most is a great way to start. This means, we want proposals about ways of using media and technology in campaigns about sex work, violence, incarceration / prison abolition, health services, employment, immigration, rural experiences, disability, decolonization and more. The organizers of this network gathering are committed to creating accessible space by fundraising for travel costs, ASL interpretation and language translations as people indicate they are needed. This network gathering will have a safety team and safety plan to demonstrate, in a visionary way, the world we want to see. The emotional and physical safety of participants will be a central concern in our organizing.
Ways to submit: Apply through this Google form by Sunday, April 13th.
Please indicate if you need support for travel funding or if you work with an organization that can fund your travel. We will be fundraising and will be able to provide some travel support, but we are not sure how much yet. We are also looking for people interested in joining the coordinator team and helping to raise funds.
Hoax #10 - Feminisms and Embodiments is taking submissions until March 31st, 2014! We ask that you read the following three links before you submit: mission statement, core values, and goals, general hoax faqs, submission faqs.
For this issue, the vast majority of submissions we have received have been memoirs about the embodiment of gender, particularly from cis women and people on the trans masculine spectrum, as well as various forms of poetry. Although we are open to all types of submissions and believe that all experiences are valid / worthy of expressing, we strive to publish material that is stylistically and substantially diverse. We are particularly eager to receive essays (rather than poetry — we enjoy poetry, however it can be excessively difficult to format) on the following topics (and more):
Sex and sexuality: sex work; the impact of sexuality upon one’s relationships; sexual embodiment
Incarceration: the prison industrial complex; physical freedom and embodiment
Science: scientific narratives influence our understanding of morality and “truths”; ways in which science reaffirms scripts of kyriarchy and embodiment
History / culture: mapping how former embodiments affect the present & the future; preservation of traditions & shared traits
Dis/ability: intersections of race, gender, class, and disability; illnesses & how they impact one’s daily life depending on how visible they are to others
If you have other ideas for a piece you would like to write, go ahead! We suggest emailing us with your ideas — we are always happy to work with you at any stage of the writing process.
We also need lots of artwork that will format properly as background designs — this means fitting properly into a vertical 5.5 x 8.5 page and contrasting well in grey scale. We would strongly prefer art that does not just portray thin / white / cis / able-bodied people.
rachel & sari
PS. We are two white female-assigned at birth (FAAB) individuals who identify as a cis woman and a non-binary person, respectively. We would like individuals of similar qualifiers to know that Hoax is absolutely not interested in printing FAAB vaginal-centered or -inspired art. Quite frankly, we find it cissexist and trite, and we are not interested in propping up or reinforcing the tired “vulva art = feminist” mindset that many white FAAB feminists hold.
PPS. Please re-blog.