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

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Don’t Ask Me if I’m OK

Don’t ask me if I’m ok because I’m not.  I’m a black man in amerikkka who is hunted and misjudged daily. But this time of year in particular I’m a ball of emotions just trying to survive my wounds. I call this time of year the crying simgres-8eason. Fall to early winter all the holiday stuff stirs up a lot of family pain. There is a well of tears I still carry from being poor, black,trans,and queer. Sadness I can’t shake because my family is so distant from me physically and emotionally. Sadness, frustrations,and feelings of  failure cause I cant seem to find my way back to them (and I’m sure if they want me there anymore). Sadness I repress or work around most of the year. Then fall comes  and it rises to the surface all my conflicted feelings around feeling pushed out of black organizing spaces,my original faith, and family communities simply for living my truth overwhelms me.
For the past few years I’ve been trying to reconnect to family and childhood friends. 4x this year people said they wanted to meet up and reconnect then when the time came they disappeared stopped answering messages. I think they just couldn’t handle meimages-12eting the man I am today. That’s their choice I can’t force people to accept me or to want to be apart of my life but to get my hopes up again and leave me hanging was kinda devastating. I want to push those who have been chosen family and great friends away cause I feel the need for them and the absence of my blood peeps the most during this time. Fears of abandonment cause me to hide and make me hella grouchy.
Healing is a process and though I know I’ve come  far sometimes my wounds are ripped open again and I feel shame for feeling these pains. It’s hard watching so many people have children and I still have none. Every year the reality that I probably will never be able to have children with my DNA grows heavier. Makes me feel weak cursed and less than. Honestly I’m worried for my heart. I love children so much but now when i see families sometimes Jealousy, anger, and bitterness rises.
I have high functioning chronic depression and this time of year  the internal fight for my life intensifies. Daily searching for reasons not to give up . Don’t ask me if I’m OK cause imgres-9I’m not. Ask  me over for a home cooked meal or to giggle to cartoons. Take me to nature. Send an encouraging message from Time to time. Understand when I can’t find the strength to come to your family functions alone(but don’t stop inviting me). These are all things I do for people I care for when they allow me the opportunity. If you can’t do those things that’s cool too just don’t ask me if I’m OK when you see me. Just say hi.This maybe TMI for some but I’m just trying to get better by expressing the hardest things to express. I appreciate my chosen family and friends its just a hard time of year.

Think Be Do Forum Feature: Julian K. Glover

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This past fall we requested  submissions for the THINK BE DO Forum in response to Dirty Art Boi’s Naming the Myth Resisting the Myth.  Thanks to everyone who sent in a  submission however we are only able to select 4 to feature in the Forum. We will post  new pieces throughout May. 

 

We are excited to share our next guest piece for the THINK BE DO Forum by the very talented  Julian K. Glover. 12204605_10153347870557572_520458057_n

Julian K. Glover is an academic, activist, and performer who recently graduated from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs with an MPA and has degrees in speech communications, music and sociology. He has been published in the Harvard Kennedy School’s LGBTQ Policy Journal is currently pursuing a PhD in African American Studies from Northwestern University where he works with E. Patrick Johnson. He has also worked for several national progressive organizations including the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Center for American Progress in Washington DC.

 

Every breath a transwoman of color takes in an act of revolution”

Lourdes Ashley Hunter

I may not be a phenomenal woman, but I am an extraordinary queen!”

Tela La’Raine Love

You will stand with me at all of my intersections or none at all”

Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi

The nature of white supremacy relies on its ability to remain invisible. Blackness is ruthlessly and mercilessly interrogated while whiteness remains the default and thus, unchallenged. I have developed strategies to resist white supremacy after understanding the importance of centering the wisdom, experiences, knowledge and survival practices of trans people of color and specifically transwomen of color (TWOC).

While attending the 2015 National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference in Denver Colorado, I had an opportunity to attend a healing circle led by the National Director of the Transwomen of Color Collective (TWOCC) Lourdes Ashley Hunter. The purpose of this circle was to provide a collective space for transwomen of color to express their sorrows, trials, tribulations, triumphs and resilience in the face of the various systems of oppression that constantly expose the community to violence and death.

Though I was elated to attend the circle, I did not anticipate that the experience would be transformative for me. Witnessing TWOC speaking truth to power, engaging in collective healing and supporting one another in the face of a world that seeks to destroy them daily forced me to examine the various ways that I- as a cisgender person- was complicit in the subjugation and oppression of TWOC and the transgender and gender nonconforming community at large.

Not too longer after the healing circle and returning to the Midwest, I came to the conclusion that my liberation was dependent on the liberation of TWOC, the trans and gender nonconforming (GNC) community. Further, I realized that it was absolutely essential to not only center the trans (TWOC specifically) and GNC in our fight for liberation, but to demonstrate unconditional love, support and solidarity to that community as well. It is my belief that cisgender people who desire liberation will never achieve such a thing as long as we fail to love- physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally- the trans and GNC community.

Lest we forget that love is more than a discursive tool, but an action. We- as cisgender people who desire liberation- must learn how to love TWOC, the trans, and GNC community. We can do this by centering and highlighting their experiences while in protest of systemic oppression, critically listening to them and honoring their wisdom, making sure that they hold leadership positions in our organizations and allowing them to tell us exactly what we can do to improve their lives.

Too many times have I watched colleagues, family and friends who sincerely believe that they are being the best “ally” possible disavow and discount the analysis, wisdom, experiences and desires of those in the trans and GNC community. It is time for us (cisgender people) to acknowledge our cis-sexist privilege, humble ourselves and put our processed love of the trans and GNC community into action. It is through such actions that we can dismantle not just white supremacy, but also patriarchy, colonialism and even capitalism as well.

 

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

Chi City Rose

images-5I’m a small town back woods of NJ transplant almost 8 years strong here and the people of Chi City are beautiful. They remind me of Tupac’s metaphor of the rose who grew from concrete. Though the numbers are similar we are more than Chiraq. As I have traveled this country organizing between Cali, NOLA, NY, NJ and Now Chicago I’ve learned black folk and all oppressed people in the americas are facing the same systems no matter how small the town or wide the city. Even though the winters are crazy cold, this week I have been reminded of the power of the fire in young people’s bellies and how proud I am to say I currently struggle, love, and fight for black, queer, trans, and human liberation with the people of Chicago. ‪#‎DirtyArtBoi‬ ‪#‎ChiCityLove‬

Checkout Project Nia‘s  visual love letter to Chicago’s organizers.

 

Not Another Tape

Not Another Tape

Not Another Tape!
Not another state sanctioned assination
Not another black body to mourn.
There is a grieving happen all over this place.
This grief is for the pigmented ones…
our sister brother cousin ones
often suppressed, miseducated, envied yet hated ones
…it feels like a permeant state this grief.
How do you live when we always dying?
How you living … we crying?
To love under oppression is to be in a constant state of grief, lost, sadness, anger?
Fatha Baldwin named it a constant state of rage.

This rage is blazing in the bellies of us the tired ,fighting, resisting, ones
Yea you I feel you raging, you the fired up and ain’t taking it no more ones.
The old, young, wild, free, aa21b679dc31672cd48fe93ebb3de727bold, queer, conscious and laying your bodies on the gears, facing fear, protesting, yelling, campaigning, demanding, and building a better world, ones.
This rage is a flame burning in the hearts of weeping mothers who’ve buried children shot down by these systems.
There is a grieving happen all over this place.
This grief is for the pigmented ones…
our sister brother cousin ones.
Targeted by too many violent system ones.

This grief is radiating from all us.
The ones who hurt when people hurt.
Those who feel powerless to stop the assault on black, brown, poor, and anybody who refuses to bow to state violence.
There is a grieving happening all over this place accompanied by a battle cry.
One moment we’re crying the next fighting.
When you’re done crying how and why
on the backs of those tears
are what now …lets go… can’t stop now… . ‪#‎strugglecontinues‬ ‪#‎DiryArtBoi‬

 

 

Roses While We’re Here

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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.