Chicago Trans Liberation March

This past Friday I supported the Trans Liberation March Chicago. I read BTGNC list of demands and gave a speech about trans liberation. Here is a video of the march and the full text of my speech is below.

Trans Liberation Speech17103407_1927202584182783_1155758211698881018_n

3/3/2017

Hello beautiful people my name is Xavier most people call me X and you can find me online as  dirtyartboi.  I wanted to take a moment…

A moment for those who walk around, between, and above genders. A moment of silence for innocent blood shed simply for being who you are. This moment is for those of us who’s ability to be true to self is a matter of life and death. For those of us who know  life is more than the need to check male or female. To those who walk among you with love, pride, and respect though our contribution to the spectrum of humanity is often misunderstood, neglected, and abused. Thank you to all the family and allies who’s love, pride and respect doesn’t depend on our ability to fit into societies’ boxes. Much gratitude to those who made the path a bit easier for me and much appreciation to the ancestors who still hold us up today.

I want to share a few of my thoughts about Liberation because  too often ideas about trans rights and trans liberation don’t include my experience as black trans queer black man.  

My liberation is not Marriage Equality There are many privileges 17155282_1927203767515998_6222986021861960918_nbuilt 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. It doesn’t get ton the root of why black trans tgnc people continue to suffer from the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and hate motivated violence.

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.  My liberation doesn’t support xenophobia Islamophibia and the demonizing and detaining of refugees and immigrants this current administration is reviving.  We have to build a new society. stop pretending like the ship 17103319_1927200360849672_1032785269679509848_nisn’t sinking and we have to 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. I am not surprised by the recent resurgence  of white christian nationalism and xenophbia  that Trump road to office.  This has always been apart of the DNA of American culture. My people have been at war with these types of people for 100’s of years and I refuse to have the nuance of my struggle as trans and queer person be dismissed and left out of our visions of black liberation and the liberation of all oppressed people across the world.

My liberation is not Money or participating in capitalism, assimilation, or the so called american dream. My choice to transition medically isn’t about blending in and proving I can be someone else’s definition of normal. Many of the issues I face are driven by the disastrous impact of capitalism and classism in this country. Aka fuck your dirty notes and fiat currency. Fuck working for those who hate us in order to survive. My liberation means the end to having to give the majority of our physical and creative energy working in institutions that are designed to exploit our labor and pin us against each other.

My liberation is not Equality or having enough privilege to assimilate into white supremacist power structures and binaries.  Unlike too many celebrity and stays quo chasing people the goal of my transition and gender expression is not to find a place amongst wealthy elites. I don’t want to be equal to 17098595_1927202397516135_7469735253154061769_nwhite 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 and funded by the dirty american dollar. Equity to equality is is essential to trans liberation.

As for this current round of anti trans legislation and the bathroom conversation.  

The way they are framing this conversation is backwards. If people only understood how hard it is to go to a public restroom as a trans or non binary person. No matter how well you do or don’t ‘pass’ it can be full of anxiety, fear, and panic. I always feel unsafe in public restrooms. I try not to use public restrooms and plan my day around where its safe for me to pee still. I stop by my office when I’m doing things in that neighborhood just so I can use a safe single stall restroom all the time. Many of us have been harassed and beaten in restrooms. I’ve been chased out of public restrooms when I was still trying to pass as a woman and if I use a women’s restroom today someone will probably call the cops on me. I’m not a student but I work with students and and faculty on campuses all the time. Which restroom is safe for me on campus?

So they won’t enforce the law the way Obama did. There are practical things you can do where you have influence to resist how this current administration is choosing to enforce this law. There are other ways you can resist this administrations attempts at scapegoating and demonizing trans and non gender conforming people. Will you support a person when you see them being harassed for being a trans and non binary while walking down the street or sitting on the train? What have you done to make your public schools, workplaces, and public restrooms more inclusive and safe for all genders?

Barriers to finding work because of gender is what impacts our safety and ability to survive in this society just as much if not more than being harassed in restrooms. What’s the point of being safe in the restroom as a student if when you graduate you can’t find a job because another piece of legislation says a person can deny another person access to services and goods because of their gender and sexuality? What are you doing to fight the 30 pieces of anti LGBT legislation that are  using the smoke screen of religious liberty to justify a new form of legalized discrimination? Are you the children of those who fought and died for access to public spaces and employment going to sit by and let this society continue to deny access to us because of our gender identities?

This isn’t just about the safety of students in restrooms this about our right to NOT fit easily into boxes labeled male or female and to walk through this world with dignity while doing it. This is about our humanity. It’s about our right to express ourselves as freely in public spaces along side anyone else without fearing for our safety.It’s about fair access to the same spaces we help build and pay taxes to maintain. Our differences in gender identity and expressions doesn’t mean we are deviant and we will not continue to be dehumanized,denied access,criminalized, and killed without a fight.

Black Trans Lives Matter. My life matters. The lives of my sisters being ripped away too soon in these streets matter. My often d17022494_1927200357516339_287257540069699445_nemonized, overlooked and mis judged masculine  brothers and sisters 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. We are  beautiful and powerful amongst the many complicated faces of this thing called humanity. Peace blessings and All Power to the People!

More Photos From the March 

#dirtyartboi #TransUpFront #TransLiberation #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #Chicago

Advertisements

A Shark Tale

Having to cut myself in order to be free very conflicting. 

Insanity according to my mother.

Being called she when you’re really mostly he

An insanely isolating pain. 

Surviving in an a vessel that doesn’t fully express you

is a deep slow gnawing at the soul, weighting down the mind type pain.

Feeling foreign in the only body you have ever known,

walking around fully invisible like he they refuse to see in she,

living between pink or blue 

constantly being punished and dismissed for giving zero fucks about pink or blue.

Can leave some thirsty for a dip in the shark tank 

dreaming for the relief of the shark’s bite.

To tare down to rebuild is as old as time.

This taring is a mending.

A racing towards death for rebirth.

Chest flexes in the mirror like a 30 year old teenage boi.

Long deep scars stare back at me, invoking my wild shark tale.

For leaning into her mouth  and surviving the

assault of the shark’s teeth some have called me brave. 

More like desperate. I felt so fucking desperate. 

Out of desperation I jumped into shark infested waters.

Out of desperation my body chose the surgeon’s knife, 

increasing the chasm between my mother and I,

becoming a stranger to my brothers,

and more of a mystery to lovers.

I wont justify my body or defend my choices.

Their eyes whisper Insanity

at the sight of my transgressive temple

I don’t have the words to explain

why I rather a scar than a breast

my insides cringe at the thought of  explaining my body

every time I have sex

I wont justify my body

How do I say I’m a man when the thought of you makes my pussy drip?

How do I explain to them that I am they, him and her but prefer he most of the time?

Their eyes whisper Insanity at the sight of my transgressive temple.

Next comes ignorant questions painting me into narrow boxes marked exotic, oddities, and experiments.

The tooth of a shark scraped my chest.

 I left my breasts behind on a surgeon’s table in Florida

He ripped away a complicated part of me

Pain like never before. 

Freedom.

Release.

I am healing.

Like never before.

They were ripped away so on paper I could be re gendered

When I  left them behind did I ditch the binary mythology or cosign it?

Today the M in place of the F is a new Mis gendering.

Did I reject my body or this society?

Did I dismiss, embrace, or redefine myself?

What else did I leave on the surgeon’s table?

What do I have besides just another cliché ass shark tale ?

ScarsAndAll

Roses While We’re Here

12274204_10100188583489524_2562083108736285401_n

I think The Transgender Day of Remembrance is important but I don’t want to mourn today. I’m tired of crying, grieving, and worrying. My spirit is tired of worrying for the safety of my people as we walk down the street. I live in constant state of worry that the next post or call will be about someone even closer to me than the last.

I think TDOR is important but I don’t want to mourn today. I want to celebrate. These days trans people are taking up space like never before. Taking charge of organizations and movements, fighting the oppression that targets and kills us while creating spaces to just be our beautiful selves. We are witnessing a shift in our overall tolerance for the violence against our bodies and the transphobia and transmisogyny which perpetrates it. Young people and trans women of color especially have been ripping through their local communities and college campuses telling their stories of survival and self determination. They are blazing a trail of social change across this country, protesting against the many layers of oppression impacting all our lives.

More than ever today I want to celebrate my brothers, bois, and genderqueer friends. With the much needed focus on the violence and murder of TWOC its easy to feel invisible. Too often the face of transgender anything is only trans feminine. The politics of “passing”, sexism, and patriarchy tend to pigeon hole trans masculine and NGC people. Non gender conforming and trans masculine people exist and need love support and appreciation for the actions we take for our collective liberation as well.

Trans masculine people have been unapologetically living out loud celebrating the spectrum of identity and expression that exists among us in new empowering ways. I want yall to know I see you bois, transmen, MOC, and non binary peeps we appreciate the perspective and passion you bring to the community. I see you behind the scenes of protests, events, vigils and potlucks. Resisting the postures and trappings of sexism, misogyny, and the patriarchy while loving yourself and others in revolutionary ways. While others are talking about allyship and solidarity I am proud to say I know many brothers who are living it. Together we all bring a spectrum of resiliency, creativity, and love to society.

We have lost too many this year and seem to constantly have reasons to shed tears but as we dry those tears lets remember the laughter and victories too. As we continue to #sayhername, scream #blacklivesmatter, and demand justice for TWOC lets remember Bois, trans men, genderqueers, and non binary people need your love and advocacy too. Lets just celebrate all of us today cause we still here , we real powerful, and we real cute too.

 

Politics of Trans Liberation

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.

imgres-9

               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.

imgres-10

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.

Interested in bringing Xavier MaatRa aka DirtyArtBoi to your College or Organization?

Complete this online quote & request form.

Send emails to dabofconsulting@gmail.com.

 Visit http://www.dabofconsulting.co/home.html for More info about workshop topics.

 

My Macho

Macho is a  performance

masculinity one part of my essence

the expression of  a spirit

still figuring out what it means to love himself

in a world taught to hate him

the referee in the battle between the man they think they see

and who they tell him he should be

My macho

is queeny and queer

my sensitivity an asset that keeps me in the crosshairs

my masculinity is the creativity of unbridled love

trapped in this body of politic

a transgressive African vessel

who’s beauty though hyper-sexualized, misinterpreted, and often commodified,

was designed to parent humanity

My macho

He thinks he’s tough

mostly strong for others more than himself

mostly angry and stifled

in this place that values the pursuit of money green wealth over

love and knowledge of self

My macho is a womanist

he knows the temptation of

a posture of manhood maintained by the tears and pain of womyn

and the cultural demands to perform it down the road to easy wealth

My macho

wouldn’t be worth living without the love of womyn

who would be a clueless incomplete shell

without the power of the feminine force

My macho

is a survivor who often wonders why he is still here

mostly strong for others mostly angry and stifled

by a society who reads criminal across his face