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.

 

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Refining Tunes/Tools.

Letting go of the pacifiers and tools we have developed to survive is a daily challenge.  How does one move forward when the very things that once propelled you through  your darkest moments are now hindering you?    images-1

Music is a big part of my self care practices. I have songs for everything.This summer I deleted most of the gospel music from my music library.  When I get really emo and home sick, missing my mother in particular, I fiend for my gospel hits. My mother put me on to Fred Hammond and my old soul gravitated towards Shirley Cesar and Betty Griffin Keller when I was teenager.  I think I love gospel music for the same reasons I love rap music, it is fantasy, myths, truths,  and reflections of the black experience wrapped in the drama and creativity that happens when Africans make music.  I think some call it soul. They both  weave stories of our lives with a boldness that   speaks to the core of what it means to be human. images

On the flip side I can only listen to but so much of both gospel and rap music because with those reflections come the legacy of violence, trauma , self hate, and all the other isms that color our experience as Africans in Amerikkka.  The music I’ve used to get through in the past can perpetuate the same things I’m working daily to unlearn and resist.

imagesMy use of gospel music as a coping mechanism and false sense of security was blocking my ability to develop sustainable tools for dealing with reality.  The tools that are instrumental to this thing called liberation. Its difficult to take the meat and leave the bones in any situation. There are still many songs both rap and gospel that I will use as tools of survival and inspiration but every now and than you gotta  clean house and reduce some harm.

Its a difficult tightrope I walk every time I click through my iPod.  Music is powerful it can indoctrinate you with your oppressors propaganda while showering you with the strength needed to step back from the myths again and again.

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Let Our Love

Nestled in the glow of our brown tones side by side,  Her curls ticked my nose, the softness of her cheeks warm my body. With her fists she gently beats on my chest and whispers “I just don’t want to be here anymore.”Had to pull her closer as my body silently rang back… “Me neither.”

I’ve held too many people as they weep for their lives. Thirsty for a reason to stay. Silently screaming. Floating on smiles saying “I’m fine” while everything within wants to die.

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If you didn’t hear me  before please hear me now. We need you. Please love please don’t go!  Let’s make our love everything we need to survive.

Let’s love like we’re our own life rafts
built to survive the moments when the waves of sadness come crashing down. Just Let our love. Even when the weight of the world shallows our breaths and bends our backs into prayers and depression. We will find the strength to stand again through the doors unlocked by the moans of our sex magic. Let our love as our bodies collide, sing, and stir divinity together.

Let’s love like we’re our own foundation rooted in the beauty sparked
when our minds touch. My body aches to hear you speak in the moments when we merge. Let our love be our favorite melody in the key of healing. Soothing Restoring Creativity. Please don’t rob me of the freedom I feel when you sing to me. Just let our love carry us like the clever sting of a good read with the power of sharp words.

Love, please hear me now. I need you to survive.
I’ve held too many people as they weep for their lives. Thirsty for a reason to stay. Silently screaming. Floating on smiles saying “I’m fine”  while everything within wants to die.  Love please don’t go. Let’s be everything we need to survive.

write it

when your’re tired of feeling it write it, when you can’t explain it  write it, when it just won’t let go… when you just can’t wait for the next time ….write it.. though they refuse to acknowledge, to comprend ,the power, the beauty, the humility…write it…..write towards freedom through each emotion with all the emotion you can gather…write it

writing about writing

Sometimes I write about art and writing to get the creative juices flowing. Often I’m penning a pep talk to myself  and before I know it, my rambling is an ok piece on its on.

Art

Why because I am alive

Art is always happening

Songs inspired by pain

Painting with a love muse

you keep fighting  cause there’s a fight

And the sidelines are boring and irresponsible…

If they exist at all

We’re all in this together

Whether we like it or not

 

You must write

Everyday you soak in life

write it out on a page

Let the paper swallow your sorry

Let the ink splatter your joy across the page

Who cares if they get it

Who knows who will ever read it

Its for my sanity

It must be said

Holding it all in is slow gentle death

Like stomach cancer

I want to die but must live

I will write our way to freedom

 

When you’re an artist art doesn’t necessarily fall out of you

Easier than any other person

When you’re an artist

Art is a song you can’t turn off

It cries out to you begging pleading demanding

To be sung through you

Its up to you to decide to listen

To practice

to pursue

to risk

listen

To remain an open vessel through which it manifests

Again and again

Whether your listening or not the music is always playing

Poetry is in the air

Lyrics are always flowing

dive in

dirtyartboi -2013

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