Or maybe we are lucky to have the privilege of learning and witnessing gods at work through women. If women are gods who are men that they would need our protection? I’m assuming there’s good intent behind this statement but there’s some chauvinism/sexism floating beneath the surface. We need to get better at affirming the divinity and power of women without falling back on boring gender roles rooted in women needing men’s protection. If it weren’t for womyn protecting me I don’t know who I would be. If it weren’t for women protecting women where would any of us be? This is not to say men shouldn’t or don’t protect women but protection shouldn’t be based on gender ijs. #DirtyArtBoi
In response to Ms Biko’s Call to action for Black Trans Lives….
Black Trans Lives Matter. My life matters. The lives of my sisters being ripped away too soon in these streets matter. My often demonized, overlooked and mis judged brothers matter. My non binary gender fluid peeps are essential as well. So grateful for those who lived these magical lives under the trans umbrella before me and helped me find the strength to live my truth and fight everyday with love of self no matter how much this world tries to dismiss and punish us for refusing to fit into their boxes. #blacktranslivesmatterand it feels so good to hear people say it! We don’t just matter we are beautiful! We are powerful amongst the many complicated elements of this thing called humanity. #TransliberationTuesday #dirtyartboi #FTM #trans #boi
Am I the only person frustrated with people who equate dignity and respect with black people in European style suites? If I need to dress like that for you to respect my manhood keep it moving. Miss me with your respectability and quit shoving your western aesthetics down our children’s throats. Enough with the memes comparing jeans and 3 piece suits. Decolonize your minds there are so many amazing ways to express yourself through fashion besides “wear a suit and tie now your a great guy”. Oh and bow ties are stupid. Yea I said it! If thats your preferred style cause you just like it do you. I don’t think everyone should dress the same nor do I think everyone’s style should meet my approval. However if your are associating goodness, masculinity, and good fashion narrowly in western white worshiping ways check yourself. This goes for my so called Dapper Bois too. Push deeper. Search out the many amazing designers creating fashions that aren’t rooted in the white gaze, British colonialism, or thirsty for conformity,assimilation, and “mobility”. Better yet create your own fashions. Its 2015 and we’re still telling our children put on massa’s clothes and you will be beautiful. http://www.theatlantic.com/…/where-did-business-sui…/260182/ #DirtyArtBoi
Below is a piece I prepared for Solidarity Summer School Panel on Trans Politics last month. The question was: What are your thoughts on oppression particularly against trans people of color and how to build a grassroots movement? Trying to skate away from tokenization and wanting to reframe conversations about oppression into freedom dreams I decided to share my ideas about trans liberation. I had 15 minutes to respond and chose to start with what trans liberation is not because there are so many people outside of my community defining the transgender experience in the media these days who I just disagree with. Then I shared a few ideas for building grassroots movements for trans liberation.
Politics of Trans Liberation
Solidarity Summary School, Thursday July 23, 2015, Chicago, Il
I enjoyed how Tiq Milan spoke of the current shifts in Trans politics…
“The scope of emotions, questions and challenges we face within our families is emblematic of the cultural shift that’s happening right now. We’re all being challenged to understand gender as a spectrum of possibilities that is determined by the individual not something rigidly defined on a binary axis. The transgender experience is being addressed within the LGBT movement and explored within the broader population as a means of understanding. For so long, a lot of the engagement with the trans community has been antagonistic and shaming yet now we are pushing ourselves culturally to reexamine gender identity and how it’s created or defined.”– Tiq Milan
While keeping that in mind and recognizing how we as trans and gender fluid people are continuing to suffer the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and hate motivated violence in the LGBTQ community. We have to remember that Trans Lib is more than employment, housing, safety, & respectability. Lets begin with what it is not before looking at some ideas for building grassroots movements for trans liberation.
Liberation is not…
Gender Conformity Conformity is boring and oppressive. Gender is too complex to fit into any of your boxes and its naive to think all trans people are seeking the same outward display of gender. Telling me how well I “pass” is not a compliment. What surgeries I’ve had or might be thinking about are none of your business. Nor should physical changes be used as badges of approval and social capital in our communities. My trans liberation includes non gender conforming and gender fluid expressions of humanity.
Marriage Equality There are many privileges built into marriage in america that all people should have access to if they so choose. However the way the fight for marriage has been waged is a backdoor fight for access to the status quo not a challenge to how problematic it is to tie privileges to an institution thats not for everyone. Marriage equality fails to address many of major issues in everyday people’s lives such as suffer the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and hate motivated violence.
Visibility Its time out for the type of representation in the media and arts that erases people of color, ignores or demonizes trans masculine people, waters down our diversity, complexity and beauty to make us palpable to our oppressors and in the efforts to keep hope alive for those who just want to assimilate to the status quo. No more” if you could just see how much we are just like you” narratives. I refuse to assimilate for you to respect my humanity.
Money or participating in capitalism, assimilation, the american dream, aka fuck your dirty notes and fiat currency.
Dominance or more guns, wars, cops, and imperialism. Our blood is constantly being shed and we are constantly punished for standing up for our so called civil rights. Its doubtful we will ever have the ability to manufacture or amass enough weapons to destroy our oppressors without killing the planet along the way. Liberation is not my ability to use violence to feel “safe”. I don’t want power by might but I will use might and any means necessary to protect myself and love ones.
Equality Or Equity I don’t want to be equal to white people, the so called average american, cis, hetero normative blah blah nor any other privileged person in society. I want to build new ways of relating to and valuing life thats not dripping with the blood of oppression.
Social Justice, my liberation is not progressive politics, liberalism,reformist politics, choosing between the lesser of two evils, or participation in any process that allows the U.S. government to masquerade as a civil society. We have to build a new society stop pretending like the ship isn’t sinking and scurrying for crumbles from capitalists tables while licking the wounds from the oppression that holds the table together. There is no such thing as justice in a corrupt society driven by profit over people.
Its difficult to untangle poor, black, trans, womanist, queer or any other aspect of myself and communities I’m tied to from my visions of liberation. One of my favorite writers and thinkers said this about liberation:
“We need Liberation, not this quasi-religious notion of sovereignty promoted by the Moors and other Black cults. Liberation means we create Systems and Institutions for our own governance and security while removing the oppressive authority of White Domination from our lives. Liberation requires us to dismantle oppressive Institutions and Systems, not just get out from under them and level them standing. Liberation spreads to all life, to all ecosystems, not just a defined, exclusive population, that’s what sovereignty is, the freedom of a selected and predefined population. “ Diallo Kenyatta
Here are a few of my ideas for to Building Grassroots Movements for Liberation.
Prioritize Supporting and Learning with Young People
Organizations, conferences, organizers and activist to really need to prioritize cultivating young people, creating spaces for them to, learn challenge, build, and support the world we are fighting for. Children aren’t just the future they are now and they are amazing. Our movements are weak and the work is futile without their insight and leadership.
More Coalitions That Aren’t driven by identity politics, good intentions of 501c3s, white saviors, and poverty pimping. Revolution, social change and require disciple. We have to know history and study strategy. We have to stop organizing in class based cliques, affinity groups and comfort zones. The people we are closest to yet irritate us the most, the people we share interests or privileges but choose to avoid cause in other ways we are so different, those are the people aka the masses,who we have to learn, organize and build with. Especially White people who love to go to POC orgs and communities to live and organize. Stop skating your responsibilities and go organize you father’s cousins and neighbors. For myself its the conservative christian family members who’s homo/transphobia cuts me like no other’s.
Less Reactionary Coalitions
We need to develop better processes to cultivate everyday working people and make spaces for the masses of people to lead their own struggles. People getting active is great but that activity growing out of dramatic moments makes sustainability challenging. Resistance to oppression has been present from the beginning of this country, there are plenty of books, movies, and veteran activists to share the art of successful organizing, we know how to win campaigns, spread info, develop leaders etc. We need more coalitions based on strategic targets, issues, and visions of liberation.
Get Really Serious About Funding Ourselves
We have to create and raise our own resources without strings attached in order to have independent sustainable grassroots movement. Revolution will not be funded or supported by capitalism or foundations. Call it co ops, social enterprise, hustling whatever. We need funds to fight capitalism a lot of the time. The rest of the time we should practice barter systems and other alternatives to fiat currency. Groups developing time banks and barter systems are slowly growing across the country.
Learn to Live Accountability
When the same intersections of oppression play through our bodies and actions we act like we have lost all our problem solving skills and ability to forgive. We need real commitments and opportunities to struggle through Accountability not just Proclaim it. Develop guidelines for relationship building and supporting each other to live the values and principles we love to proclaim but fall short of everyday. Falling short and hurting each other is apart of the human condition but we have lost to many groups campaigns, and people over internal conflict. Just because we are fighting the oppression doesn’t mean we are immune to perpetuating and profiting from it. We want to intellectualize and demonstrate all day for political ideas but run to our comfort zones, burnout, or drown in pain and trauma when we deceive or hurt each other. Learning how to have healthy relationships is essential to liberation.
Opportunities to Practice the Liberation
Strategizing, Visioning, dreaming, relationship building, art making and campaigns that push us towards and give us opportunities to practice the liberation we hope our children will live one day. Dancing, loving and laughing with each other is just as vital to grassroots movement-building as planning the next action.
When I finished the room, filled with mostly white people 30 and up, was tense for a few seconds before 1 of 2 people of color started crying and saying thank for articulating somethings they had been struggling with. A good part of the group shared some appreciation for my thoughts and then continued to ask me questions that defended the fight for marriage equality… go figure.
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Been trying to get my thoughts together about my frustrations with some recent protests and black progressives in general. Really don’t see a place for me on the Left, with liberals or progressives. Doesn’t mean we don’t agree on somethings or that you won’t see me trying to build with people who identify as such. However I must get better at not assuming our definitions of black liberation and methods for living it are aligned just because we share common language and love for the people. Nor will I shrink back from criticizing current trends, personalities, and groups whose tactics and politics I think distract from the many paths to liberation for the masses. This ain’t no preaching from the sidelines or social media activism. As a person who has been surviving in the heart of the Amerikkan Beast while trying to live my politics of love, resistance, and black liberation for half of my 3 short decades, I am very excited for the recent surge in political activism. I stand with everyone screaming we will not let you continue you to kill us without consequence. It fans my flames of love and resistance to see black people stand up and fight. The question is what are we fighting for and how are current tactics serving the masses of black people?
Black liberation will never come through the right Amerikkkan legislation. Fighting for progressive policy is harm reduction at best. A frustrating yet necessary survival tactic turned distraction and meal ticket for too many. Its often saps the energy of amazing minds and spirits who are needed to create something thats designed for our well being. We need something independent of capitalism and the myth of white supremacy. If we would just leave the American Dream and the trappings of this consumerist fame worshipping culture alone and believe in our capacity to build something beautiful together then we might begin to see some glimpses of liberation. There is so much freedom in our creativity our global impact on the arts and spirituality speaks to that. Could we turn that creative energy towards a livable black liberation politic for the masses?
This is where I want to begin my conversations about social change and freedom for black people in particular. Tired of reformist, lefty, progressive attempts at reforming and scrapping for pieces of these corrupt systems maintained by the blood of all types of people and the abuse of mother earth. Why are people so excited to create actions to disrupt american politics or to “challenge” whiteness? Are we so frustrated and ignorant of history that we have fallen into the traps of political theatre for white audiences. Just like its easy for white people to run to be active in POC neighborhoods away from the accountability with their white family members holding up and benefiting from racism. It’s also easier for people of color black people in this case to run to white spaces to hold protests instead of building bases of resistance and political education in the heart of our communities feeling the brunt of capitalism and the myth of white supremacy.
Activism and egos often go hand and hand. We get turnt up feeling that rush of protest and speaking truth to power then strategy gets lost in the commotion. Next thing we know we are running from protest to protest shouting at police and racism in these general ways that feel good in the moment but rarely lead to actual change in the conditions of the masses of our people. We run to case after case of murder, lynching, and people outraged that the system came to their door. We turn victims and grieving families into celebrities empathizing with their feelings of shock at how state violence has taken their loved ones. Often fear of feeling the direct impact of living under this state of war black people have been in since some of us were dragged her in chains is what drives our activism. So we seek to make the system a lil better, a lil more accountable, and we push for progress in hopes that it won’t come down on us too hard one day. In the mean time we work for a lil piece of this sour pie.
So tired of reformist, lefty, progressive attempts at reforming and scrapping for pieces of these corrupt systems maintained by the tears of our mothers. Why are people so excited to create actions to disrupt american politics or to “challenge” whiteness? Is it tied to long term strategies for practicing freedom together outside of the white gaze and the overlapping systems of oppression that feed global capitalistic domination thats also killing the planet? Or are we just trying to make things a lil better for the next generation while we enjoy our shot at fame, SUVs, sneakers, cars, addicting food like products and smartphones. If we would just leave the American Dream and the trappings of this consumerist fame worshipping culture alone and believe in our capacity to build something beautiful together then we might begin to see some glimpses of liberation. There is so much freedom in our creativity our global impact on the arts and spirituality speaks to that. Could we turn that creative energy towards a livable black liberation politic for the masses? This is where I want to begin my conversations about black liberation.
#dirtyartboi #politics #liberation #progressives