— Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (“Putting the Feminine Back into Feminism,” pg 329)
In conjunction with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s tenth anniversary fundraiser, I’m writing profiles of folks whom SRLP is honoring, folks who work with the organization, folks who’ve made it what it is today. Here’s the first; a profile of Janet Mock. I hope you like it! You can also find this series of profiles on SRLP’s website, where you will also encounter all kinds of useful resources!
If you have the resources, I encourage you to donate. One of the good words for SRLP is “precious” and another is “real” and another is “serious.” If you’re in the metro New York area, why not come to the fundraiser? There’s a sliding scale for tickets, and no one is turned away. Janet and I have both heard from credible sources that it is the party.
Gender Anarky members Amazon and Catarina LePre restarted their hunger strike on October 5th after promised changes to trans women’s housing were not met by Warden Paramo and their case worker at the R. J. Donovan Correctional Facility. Warden Paramo and Amazon’s case worker promised to change the housing conditions of trans women in the facility after a number of days of hunger striking, but has not implemented any changes. In response, they have chosen to strike indefinitely until the changes have been implemented. In a recent communication from Amazon, she describes the situation:
“this time we are striking indefinitely, until this matter is resolved and i am no longer on single-cell status and cat and i are celled up. today [October 7th] is our third day without food, and we are only drinking two bottles of water a day. after food, we are going to stop drinking any water. they are monitoring our health daily, taking our vitals. so far we have lost ten pounds each, as of today. cat gets a lil woozy, but we are going thru with this…
…inform [prison officials] of our hunger strike, that it is for transgender housing, that my case worker is preventing me from celling up with cat, that initially the warden instructed her to do it, but she has been avoiding it because she is a feminist hater of trans inmates. this is the only reason she is discriminating against us… she has lied to us, giving us different reasons for delays that conflict. we know whats up. this is straight up discrimination… they don’t want to give us our transgender housing, where two girls can live together, while letting any two men live together who ask to. and now they are also retaliating because of our hunger strike, trying to punish us by ignoring us now and our hunger strike for protesting in the first place. so get at them like you need to…
this is a mental health prison, with special structured programs designed for inmates with long-term mental health therapy, and this problem with us is also aggravating our mental health status, making us decompensate, get depressed, suicidal, want to cut. this is our last resort next to doing something desperate…”
Amazon and Cat’s situation has never been more urgent. Continue to call Warden Paramo and act in solidarity with our comrades risking their lives to survive in a hellish institution of domination.
Call Warden Paramo the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility: (619) 661-6500
Demand that Eva Contreraz (C-45857)and Catarina LaPre (K-67313) be take off single-cell status and be allowed to share a cell. Demand that an end to the discriminatory housing policy against trans women in the correctional facility. Continue to call every day until you receive word that their demands have been met. The calling system may be confusing, but when in doubt dial 0 for the operator.
Gender Anarky has uncompromisingly attacked transphobic violence within the prison system, and have consistently called for directly attacking the systems of domination that the make living conditions of trans women, both inside and outside prison, a living hell. Attack the institutions that maintain the miserable system of gender in solidarity with Gender Anarky and the continuing hunger strike.
Write to Amazon and Cat:
Let them know you support their struggle against the the prison administration. They can be reached at:
Eva Contreraz C-45857
PO Box 799003 (C15-223)
San Diego, CA 92179-9003
Catarina LePre K-67313
PO Box 799003
San Diego, CA 92179-9003
for updates check back at genderanarky.wordpress.com
a note about calling: what i’ve been doing is pressing 3 at the first menu, then 5, and then 1 (i assume this is right, the person who answered said “warden’s office”). also, if you do that and you get a recorded message instead of a person, it is an answering machine (even though it doesn’t seem like one at first) — just wait for the end of the [very long] recording if you want to leave a message.
Italicized for emphasis.
And feminists want to believe they do nothing harmful?
of course a radscum would work for the prison-industrial complex.
Two trans women in a San Diego prison entered their second week of hunger strike over the weekend.
Amazon and Catarina, both trans women imprisoned at that Richard J. Donovan Correctional facility, have refused food since Sept. 21 in a strike “against the unfair treatment of trans women within [the prison],” according to a release from radical trans women’s collective Gender Anarky (of which both inmates are members).
Since both Amazon and Catarina are trans women in a men’s prison, the inmates have been held in isolated, single cells — despite having asked to share a cell with each other. It is not clear what convictions the two inmates are serving time for — Gender Anarky does not list its members’ crimes; to do so would be to use the logic of the prison system, which they fight against.
Transgender individuals are regularly put on single-cell status, or even moved into solitary confinement in the U.S. prison system.
This particular hunger strike is underpinned by a militant anti-prison stance. The release from the inmates’ collective calls for “directly attacking the systems of domination that make living conditions of trans women, both inside and outside prison, a living hell.”
Amazon and Catarina’s situation is not the first in recent months to bring attention to the treatment of trans individuals in the criminal justice system. Notably, CeCe McDonald, a trans woman in Minnesota, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after killing one of her attackers when she was assaulted by a group, one of whom smashed a glass in her face. At the time, Mother Jones noted that trans women accounted for 50 percent of LGBTQ hate-crime murder victims in 2009.
McDonald is being held at a male prison in Minnesota, where she can shower alone and has a single cell. According to a May report from MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Minnesota is currently incarcerating 10 trans inmates in a similar manner.
(Natasha Lennard, Salon)
I’m among a list of amazing trans leaders being honored by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) during its 10th anniversary celebration on November 8th in New York City.For me, there is no greater honor than to be recognized by an organization created by and for trans people which was established in the memory, work and legacy of one of my sheroes Sylvia Rivera.I urge you to share in this space of inspiring trans empowerment. Learn how to get your tickets (it’s on a sliding scale - no one is turned away!) and RSVP now for November 8th, 2012.MORE INFOEvent page: http://srlp.org/events/srlp10/
FB Invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/350004465083427/
Ticket info: http://srlp.org/get-involved/donate/srlp10tickets/
STONE BUTCH BLUES
Multi-media digital dedication
to Free CeCe McDonald!
I am dedicating the 20th-anniversary author edition of Stone Butch Blues to CeCe McDonald and the ever-growing struggle to free her.
I thank the small team of wonderful individuals who are helping me do the work required to publish my novel, without profit, under author copyright.
I expect to go to trial in Minneapolis in O
ctober—LGBTQ/+ History Month—on a charge resulting from my demonstration of solidarity with CeCe.
In the short weeks until then, I will be contacting photographers who made photographs of solidarity with the struggle of CeCe McDonald to free herself.
I will be sending out the permission form below. Please forgive me for what will be “form letters”—even to beloved friends/activists.
I can’t pay for photo use, but I do promise to show my respect for your labor, and your permission, in photo credits.
If you’ve made—or make—a photograph in solidarity with the struggle to free CeCe, please send me your photo/s and with a filled-out permission form via social media.
I’ll do my best to include as many photos as possible in the multi-media dedication to FREE CECE NOW!
PHOTO/VIDEO USE PERMISSION
Stone Butch Blues dedication & author introduction
Multi-media: photos/slide shows/videos
I ask your permission to include your photograph/video of support for CeCe McDonald in the 20th-anniversary author’s no-cost online/at-cost print edition of Stone Butch Blues—due to be released on May Day 2013.
I am unable to pay for photo/video use. But I will credit your photo/video with great care, if you can provide me with this information:
Today’s date: ______________________
Date photo made: ______________________
Location photo image:
Contact information (for my records ONLY!):
(use back of form if needed)"
— (via leslie-feinberg)
Essential reading for this post is “A brief history of white androgynous radical queerness.” I’ll wait.
The point of this post is to, in part, explain why I never bother dealing with [r]dfms myself and also why, as some people occasionally wonder, if [r]dfmnism can ever be reformed.
1. White patriarchy and [r]dfms
By making teh patriarchy being the fundamental axis of oppression all they do is re-enforce the *white* patriarchy as colonial tool used to subjugate people across the globe. (yes, [r]dfms, this means that you are actually complicit in the oppression of women of colour everywhere). This wikipedia article notes that early [r]dfms viewed the patriarchy as ‘transhistorical’ which is so absurd that, well, such a point shouldn’t need refuting. And I’m not really going to refute it. Especially not by pointing out the many, many, many non-white pre-colonial (and ocassionally still existent) non-patriarchical societies and civilizations that have existed. Because [r]dfms, for the most part, aren’t interested in facts or history.
[r]dfms consistently fail to see and understand how the patriarchy so currently omnipresent in the world is a result of white colonialism, a colonialism that they currently benefit from (as white people), perpetuate, and are complicit in. This particularly holds true when the few ‘race conscious’ ones decided to get on that white saviour horse and try to liberate those Black and/or Brown and/or Indigenous and/or Asian women in the third world from their savage men. In doing so, they fail to understand how their actions and theories always presuppose the primacy and supremacy of *white* patriarchy, thereby reifying and enforcing the very thing they claim to be against.
2. [r]dfms, transmisogyny, and white supremacy
The importance of point one as context for the transmisogynistic theories and veiws of [r]dfems cannot be stressed enough. The intertwinning of [r]dfmnism and colonialism is important and part of why they stay being white supremacist.
It goes further than that, of course.
While [r]dfms don’t believe in intersectionality (as if it were the easter bunny), my race cannot actually be separated from my gender. At all. Who I am is rooted in my culture. (I’m gonna be using white terms to describe myself in this discussion for the sake of convenience — do not turn around and use any of these words for me, I still and always only use bakla as my gender/sexual ID).
Being a trans feminine poc, who if forced to pick a white gender would probably transition to being a woman, I am one of the perennial targets of [r]dfms. One of their biggest bones of contention tends to be that I’d be appropriating the ‘woman’ identity.
But note how this always presupposes the default ‘white’ position. Having a white [r]dfm tell me that I’m appropriating their identity is ridiculous beyond belief. Because I’ll never be a white woman. Like. I’d be a Filipina. And the only people able to tell me whether or not I’m appropriating their IDs are other Filipinas. End of story.
Nonetheless, who I am is a product of my culture. So. When [r]dfems run around shouting that ‘men in dresses’ are disgusting and should be mandated out of existence, they are calling for nothing less than genocide of me and mine. Because it can never, ever be a neutral thing for a white mouth to say that me and my fellow trans feminine poc should simply cease existing. Moreover, as per point one, white people already tried this shit (and as your obvious example shows, stay trying to do this). And if you think you can do better than 400+ of colonization and missionaries and shit, you are wrong.
We were here before white people came and we’ll be here after white supremacy has been dismantled.
But really. [R]dfms are really part of a longer history of white colonialism, white supremacy, and genocidal tactics that have been going on for hundreds of years. Neither their claims nor their methods are unique (or, dare i say it, radical).
3. the consequences
Perhaps one of the biggest clues that [r]dfem rhetoric is inherently white supremacist, is gleaned from looking at the consequences of their actions and organizing.
The consequences of transhobia (particularly transmisogyny) are largely and most heavily felt and experienced by those trans people of colour. You’ve only needed to pay the slightest bit of attention to notice the many reports of Black trans women who’ve been violently attacked or murdered this year. And this doesn’t touch on the poverty, sex work, and seriously reduced access to the medical industrial complex (and if you think this comment is only about *transitioning*… well. no).
But going globally, the consequences are such that bakla in the Philippines went from being assistants to women who served as spiritual leaders, to be beauty parlor operators (if they are lucky) or sex workers (often for white tourist men). It is such that in Latin@ countries, trans women often face violent oppression (see the numerous refugees). That places like China have entirely forgotton or suppressed their long history of gender variance.
And all of this is the consequences of white patriarchy and its attendant binarism/gender roles. This is the result of the same system that white [r]dfems benefit from, perpetuate, and enforce (often in disgustingly violent ways).
It is neither accidental nor unintentional that the people suffering most from white [r]dfms are trans feminine people of colour. This is only to be expected from a white supremacist ideology.
4. conclusions and last thoughts
My hope with this post is simply to illuminate the larger historical context of colonialism under which [r]dfms operate. There are other ways, shocker, that you can understand their ideology as being inherently white supremacist.
But for me, it will always be the fact that their ideology of liberation is such that it would require the complete and utter genocide of all trans poc (as well as wholesale destruction of the cultures we belong to), really says it all. For the only way that women of colour anywhere could achieve white [r]dfm liberation would be to first, accept the white gender model and, the, to remove all Indigenous traces of their previous society.
tl;dr Any group that calls for the genocide or complete erasure of a group of poc is and always will be inherently white supremacist.
[as always, if I reblog something and you take issue with it, don’t take it to the blogger, take it to my ask box, where I’m happy to talk to you]
“Our lives begin to end the day
we become silent about things that matter.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.
Minnie Bruce and I are preparing to travel to Minneapolis tomorrow, for my Sept. 13 arraignment on a charge of 3rd-degree Gross Misdemeanor, at 8:30 am at the PSF 141, “Public Safety” Facility, 401 South Fourth Street.
For more information:
As defendant, I welcome parents and other caregivers bringing children of all ages, including infants and toddlers. I’ll bring crayons and drawing paper.
Please wear purple/buttons/t-shirts in solidarity with CeCe McDonald! I’ll be wearing the free CeCe t-shirt designed by artist/activist Ricardo Levins Morales.
I’ve made a sign in support of CeCe to take with me to court. If you make and post your own sign in support of CeCe McDonald and/or have already posted one online, send me a copy of the photo/credit/location via social media and I’ll do my best to include your solidarity in the multi-media dedication to CeCe.
Please check that morning for the assigned courtroom.
My thanks to lawyer Bruce Nestor and the
National Lawyers’ Guild for helping me
defend myself in the court of the 1%.
These words below are the only statement
I can make at this time:
As a revolutionary activist, journalist/author,
and proud member of the National Writers’ Union/UAW Local 1981—
I will not be silent!
STOP the WAR AGAINST
TRANS WOMEN of COLOR!
FREE CECE McDONALD NOW!
TO NATIVE NATIONS: MY GREETING of RESPECT
I send my greeting of respect to Indigenous Nations on the land now claimed as “Minnesota.” I vow to continue to defend your land and treaty rights, rights to sovereignty and self-determination, and defense of this planet that sustains all life. I am a proud neighbor of the Onondaga Nation.
As violent weapons of rule by the 1%, the police, prosecutors, judges and prison officials invoke “law.” I recall that in 1862, this racist injustice system proclaimed it “legal” to lynch 38 Dakota men in a mass execution in Mankato, after convicting the defendants of “war crimes” after 15-minute trials.
The Dakota people were forced to march into concentration camps,
and many were deported to reservations far from the land of their ancestors.
STOP DEPORTATIONS: NO WORKER IS ‘ILLEGAL’
I send my heartfelt solidarity to immigrants who are courageously defying apartheid passbook laws.
Stop racist apartheid laws, ICE immigrant-bashing,
detentions & deportations!
STOP BRUTAL POLICE OCCUPATIONS
In OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES!
End racist profiling, the school-to-prison pipeline ,
racist, mass incarceration, the Prison-Industrial Complex,
Aad prisons for profit!
FBI: HANDS OFF ACTIVISTS!
SOLIDARITY AGAINST STATE REPRESSION:
Support grand jury resistors
& Occupy Homes organizers!
FREE MICHAEL WILLIAMS NOW!
Solidarity with Muslims & Sikhs
in the U.S. and around the world!
STOP ENDLESS WARS for PROFIT!
Solidarity with Pakistani
in Sukkur who protested Pentagon drone attacks.
Those killer drones leave
from the same small airport
in Syracuse, N.Y., U.S. as the plane
that will take me to Minneapolis, M.N.
Bring all the troops home!
Disband private corporate armies!
Free Pfc. B. Manning!
Hands off Assange & Wikileaks!
JOBS, HOMES, FOOD, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION!
NOT PRISONS & PENTAGON WARS!
JAIL the real criminals: the 1%!
If you want to apply but don’t have time, send an email to let me know and we can arrange to receive your application after the deadline.
I think people don’t realize how actually dangerous this woman can be—she’s not important, I don’t think, or particularly influential, but she is unfailingly mean, poisonous, and scary. Outing a kid to their school is no small thing.
I know that I fuck around with Bug all the time, talking to her and so forth, but that’s something that I’m privileged to be able to do—I’m not going to get fired if I’m outed, because I’ve already been outed to pretty much everyone, and my school is (often) trans positive. If she were to commit libel against me, I have the ability to defend myself against the charge.
I don’t want to tell people how they should express their anger, or who they should talk to, but please be aware of what you’re doing when you engage with Brennan. And be careful! Make informed choices! This is a person with no sense of boundaries whatever.
they’re gonna find out about all those bank...
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