Merf. Thinking is Hard.

Jha can has random thoughtz about tapirs, kitties, comics, pretty people, social justice, things in general.

 

Posts tagged trans*

thespiritwas:

crunkfeministcollective:

Happy Birthday Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson!

Guest Post by Reina Gossett

A picture of a smiling, decadently beautiful flower arrangement hat wearing Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson

Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson

A few months ago I took the PATH train to Hoboken with my artistic collaborator Sasha Wortzel to interview Randy Wicker for a film we are making about Sylvia Rivera.  Randy is one of the few surviving members of Mattachine Society, an early queer radical organizing group in the US. Randy’s apartment is an archival space containing vital history, some shared visually through the photographs on Randy’s refrigerator door, other pieces held in the clothes adorning the wall, but most of it Randy passes to you through stories.  Randy befriended both Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and having lived with both them for a total of 14 years Randy has a wealth of stories to share.

 When I think about how Randy shares history through storytelling, I am reminded of the many trans people who would be have been elders not alive today.  I think about the stories they might be telling today and in particular,  I wish to hear stories directly from people like Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson, a revolutionary who was amongst the first to fight back against the racist & homophobic police at Stonewall.

 After occupying Weinstein Hall at New York University for nearly a week in response to their homophobic policies, Marsha helped form STAR: Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Marsha also traded sex for money and organized with other people in the sex trade in New York City’s Times Square &  West Village. She galvanized people from inside jails and prisons, as well as created home for them in the form of STAR House in Manhattan’s Lower East Side even after her husband was murdered by an off duty NYPD officer.  She was an incredible performer, touring with the performance group Hot Peaches. She saved Sylvia Rivera’s life numerous times. As an HIV positive person, she organized AIDS vigils, navigated mental illness, and was a mother to a generation of trans and gender nonconforming people in New York City.  She was also one the many Black trans people to be found dead, in her case, in the Hudson River after Gay Pride in 1992.

Marsha P Johnson holds part of a banner in a street action.

Marsha on the Move

 Marsha’s story forces me to confront the physical violence that stops some trans women from ever becoming elders. This historical violence elevates some lives, names them as important to know through their tragic deaths while erasing the lives & legacies of others.

 Whether it knows it or not, the current LGBT movement owes a huge debt to this hirstory created by a long legacy of people who identified as drag queens, drag kings, transvestites, cross dressers, genderqueer and those who move between and evolve their language for their gender identity and gender expression in ways that are confrontational, provocative and humor filled.

 Since the early days following Stonewall LGBT organizations like the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) and Lesbian Feminist Liberation began championing the assimilation imperative, believing that if the law -in their case the anti-discrimination bill Intro 475- said good things about gays and lesbians then they would be free.  The effects of this strategy were felt most violently by the people who couldn’t or wouldn’t assimilate into the white professional gay image of  these organizations.  In an interview with Bob Kohler, Marsha described her experience going to one of GAA’s meetings:

   I went to GAA one time and everybody turned around and looked…they weren’t friendly at all.  It’s just typical.  They’re not used to seeing transvestites in female attire…When they see me or Sylvia come in, they just turn around and they look hard.

The assimilation imperative became so overwhelming that trans people were kicked off the protected identities list in the anti-discrimination bill in hopes that it would pass New York City Council more quickly.  As Sylvia put it in an 1992 interview with Randy Wicker on the Christopher Street Pier, Marsha P Johnson, Bubbles Rose Marie, and other street queens catalyzed the movement for gay liberation only to be violently kicked out & exiled “when drag queens were no longer needed in the movement!” This violence continues today through the historical erasure of the  many contributions of Sylvia & Marsha, sex workers, homeless people, people of color and poor trans people from the riots at Stonewall.

 Today the LGBT equality movement functions as the primary vehicle for assimilation, the container into which we are supposed to pour all of our energy & resources.  And to what end? Narrow demands such as entry into a military that generate profits through waging war and killing people via the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the fortifying of prison systems through the Matthew Shepard & James Bryd Jr. Acts   do not mean that the police, courts, and prisons will never protect us.  Until recently these groups were widely understood to be our most significant predators, designed to control our lives and deliver our deaths.

 As many of us have pointed out, equality demands that we don’t intervene on neo-liberal economic policies like gentrification of people of color neighborhoods. These policies haven’t stopped racism, ableism, or sexism in the workforce nor have they prevented the targeting of black trans women for extinction.  They don’t stop the immigration system from making some lives nearly impossible nor do they end the ongoing occupation of indigenous land in the US.  These are not systems we should be demanding to be allowed to join.

One of the most insidious aspects of the assimilation imperative is its ability to shut down alternate visions of how communities can support themselves and work towards liberation, whether through abolishing the prison industrial complex or starting a recreation center, these strategies have been eclipsed by the resources and scope of the LGBT equality movement.

 In contrast to the equality movement assimilation strategies, Marsha P Johnson laid out a clear freedom dream during her interview “RAPPING WITH A STREET TRANSVESTITE REVOLUTIONARY” with Bob Kohler.  She told Bob:

   STAR is a very revolutionary group.  We believe in picking up the gun, starting a revolution if necessary.  Our main goal is to see gay people liberated and free…We’d like to see our gay brothers and sisters out of jail and on the streets again.  There are a lot of gay transvestites who have been in jail for no reason at all, and the reason why they don’t get out is they can’t get a lawyer or bail.

 Marsha also had concrete strategies to achieve those goals:

  I would like to see STAR with a big bank account like we had before, and I’d like to see that STAR home again…We’re going to be doing STAR dances, open a new STAR home, a STAR telephone, 24 hours a day, a STAR recreation center.  But this is after our bank account is pretty well together.  And plus we’re going to have a bail fun for every transvestite that’s arrested, to see they get out on bail, and see if we can get a STAR lawyer to help transvestites in court.

 The GOOD NEWS is the freedom dream STAR, Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Bubbles Rose Marie, Andorra and Bambi laid out is alive and well, especially around ending the criminalization of trans and gender non conforming people of color.

Yesterday while many were celebrating the Supreme Courts decision on DOMA, Queerocracy gathered where Marsha P Johnson helped kick off to the Stonewall Rebellion to speak out against HIV Criminalization, an issue that affects many communities left behind by the mainstream equality movement.

Marsha P Johnson holding a sign that reads "STAR PEOPLE ARE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE"

“STAR PEOPLE ARE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE”

 Today in the shadow of the equality movement many of us strive to hold Marsha’s bold desire to end isolation of incarcerated trans and gender non conforming people.  Miss Major, a trans elder who took part in the Stonewall rebellion who continues Marsha’s legacy through her work with the Transgender Intersex Justice Project.  The Lorena Borjas Fund, founded by Lorena Borjas works to address the problem Marsha P Johnson named of not being able to get out of jail because you can’t afford bail or a lawyer.  FIERCE, Streetwise and Safe as well as Queers for Economic Justice organize with low income LGBTQ people who are navigating poverty, homelessness and policing to fight back and build strong communities.  The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides free legal services, a prison pen pal postcard project, the In Solidarity newsletter in an attempt to meet Marsha P Johnson’s vision.

 Tomorrow Trans Justice of the Audre Lorde Project will host the annual 9th Trans Day of Action, where TGNC People of Color and allies will take on the streets of New York City once again and demand justice and to let the world know that the Stonewall rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for justice and raising our voices until we are heard.

 We do this work in order to fight back against transphobia, colonization racism, ableism, xenophobia and homophobia.  We do this work to build strong communities and support each other.  We do this work with Marsha’s spirit to build an even strong self determination movement that we can all make home.

 Reina Gossett joined the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in July of 2010 as the membership coordinator.  Along with Gabriel Foster she will staff the newly created Movement Building Team, working to develop SRLP’s membership and community organizing work.  She believes creativity & imagination are crucial for growing strong communities and practicing self determination.  She also loves making collages, watching re-runs of Battlestar Galatactica and reading anything illustrated by Diane & Leo Dillon.

Happy Birthday Marsha P Johnson! thanks to the CFC for letting me share my love for all things Marsha Pay it No Mind Johnson!

(via telegantmess)

fromonesurvivortoanother:

attacking trans women for “reinforcing the gender binary” is like saying poor people cause poverty.

who really has the cultural and social power to influence gender expectations? cisgender white men and women. 

when was the last time a trans woman enacted legislation against cis women? never. when was the last time a trans woman murdered a cis woman because they were cis? never.

when was the last time a trans woman gained public notoriety without constant harassment and misgendering? how are we supposedly “influencing” this binary when we struggle just to have people believe we are actually women? if anything, we are queering the fuck out of your binary. we are constantly morphing it and pointing out grey areas by simply existing. 

what about cultures where gender identity is less binary than in the West? where men are “feminine”, and women act “masculine”? what about cultures which have third genders, genderqueer variants, reincarnation, two-spirit, past lives, and other religious forms of being transgender? 

why are we not questioning why trans women feel obligated or required to participate in the binary, lest they face violence, imprisonment, or harassment? what about trans women who never seek medical procedures, or genderqueer trans women? 

and why do trans men get to go to “women’s colleges” when they identify as men? why are we not examining the patriarchal power dynamics behind men stealing resources from women’s spaces?

yeah, radfems are full of shit.

WE’RE A MOVEMENT, NOT A MARKET

silverspeakers:

What would Pride look like without corporate America’s stamp of approval?

With professional athletes coming out, gay characters popping up on mainstream TV shows, and a president vocalizing support for same-sex marriage, it looks like we’ve entered an era of unprecedented acceptance and equality. I hate to be the dark stormy raincloud rumbling over your gay Pride parade, but lez be real: we are no longer participating in a progressive or inclusive moment. The reality is the gay community has become one of the worst offenders in keeping health, safety, and social acceptance exclusive to those deemed worthy. 

Boston’s first Pride demonstration in 1970 was a group of 20 protestors who marched from Cambridge to an anti-Vietnam War rally on the Common, adding queer voices to the many others protesting the endless war. Cut to present day Boston: weapons manufacturers, military organizations, cops, and corporations fly rainbow and American flags to praise diversity, tolerance, and above all, the gay consumer.  

It’s not hard to understand why flag-toting military folks and big banks aren’t exactly at the heart of queer liberation, but what’s the harm in these groups showing their support at Pride? 

A business sticking a rainbow on their logo is known as “pinkwashing,” the common strategy of coming out in support of gay rights to distract from all the other fucked up practices a business has. For example, Human Rights Campaign (HRC, the blue and yellow equal sign, AKA the 1% of gay people) gives Nike, Apple, and Bank of America high ratings in their guide to gay-friendly businesses. But each of these companies engage in questionably legal and undeniably unethical business practices including running sweatshops, underpaying their workers, and foreclosing on people’s homes. When we praise these businesses for their rainbow flags, we turn a blind eye to their true colors and commit to a status quo of cultural and economic violence and inequality.  

You might notice that gay people featured in advertisements and mainstream media all fit a similar profile: they are usually clean-cut, fit white men. They might be making eyes at another dude, but look, they are red-blooded, handsome American men! Is that the only profile the American public will accept for gay people? This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but queer people are as diverse, complicated, and messy as straight people. We come in every race, gender, size, class, and ability, and some of us claim more than one “minority” identity. We also face all the challenges straight people face, and then some – including mental illness, domestic violence, and sexual assault. The LGBTQ community is really a collection of communities. Holding up the marginalized-no-more white man image of what a gay person should be makes LGBTQ communities as racist, sexist, classist, and exclusionary as any mainstream group. 

But we have so many “allies” who want so badly for us to believe in these illusions. Gay millionaire celebrities like Dan Savage embrace corporate partnerships and proclaim “it gets better!” But that’s not true. 

It gets better for white, cisgender gay people like Savage whose class privilege grants access to healthcare, education, and the security of gayborhood communities. But for transgender people, gender-non-conforming people, queer people of color, and homeless youth, gay culture’s celebration of corporate sponsorship assures that it gets harder. It gets violent, it gets gentrified, it gets more difficult to survive. 

Queer and trans* youth take some of the hardest hits from gay culture. Because so many queer young people face rejection from their families, they end up homeless, and many are forced to turn to sex work, selling drugs, and hustling just to survive. “Gay-friendly” businesses are just as eager to call the cops on loitering youth as they are to sell expensive products to yuppies, gay or straight. And every one of us who’s been harassed or assaulted by a cop knows that police presence makes the streets more dangerous for many. 

You don’t have to have radical politics to see how Pride’s corporate sponsorships hurt LGBTQ people of all ages. We as queer people suffer disproportionately from addiction and substance abuse. Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are deeply embedded in the culture of gay bars and social events, and are also frequently used as a coping mechanism for the discrimination and violence LGBTQ people face. Naturally, booze and cigarette companies sponsor every city’s Pride celebrations, guaranteeing many queers’ lifelong dependency on their products. How do we expect queer youth who face bullying, family rejection, job discrimination, and violence to rise up against these factors to live long, healthy lives if we celebrate companies who don’t give a fuck about them?  

These days, the events at Stonewall get watered down and whitewashed, but the truth is it was a riot led by transgender women of color in response to frequent police raids, profiling, and violence. When the AIDS epidemic struck our communities in the 1980s, we watched hundreds of thousands of people die while the government remained silent. The radical activism that sprung up in response to this systemic, state-sanctioned violence was true cause for pride and celebration of our lives. 

Our values aren’t defined by those with wealth. Our pride isn’t legitimized by corporate sponsorships. This isn’t a parade for straight people or white culture, even though we elected Mayor Menino to honor as Grand Marshal. So what does Pride look like without these corporations and politicians’ stamp of approval? What does it look like when it’s all the beauty and messiness of all LGBTQ people? 

We have so much to celebrate, especially our struggle and revolt against everything Gay Corporate America wants us to be. We should indeed be filling the streets en masse, with our bodies black and brown and white, fat and skinny, young and old, American-born and undocumented, crippled and able-bodied – we should be celebrating our sexualities, our genders, our sex lives and commitment to keeping them consensual and safe. We should be shouting – not for marriage, but for EVERY individual’s right to access healthcare, education, and housing, regardless of their class, race, or marital status. 

Sometimes the greatest act of self-love is honoring your rage. The true spirit of Pride lives in protest – where we care enough about ourselves and other communities to stand up and tell pinkwashing corporations and politicians, we’re not buying it. If you show up to Pride, don’t show up as a consumer – show up as the complex person you are. Show up to celebrate what you share with others in your communities and show up to embrace what feels unique to yourself. Only then can you guarantee, however you celebrate your pride, you will be fucking fierce doing so.  

Originally published June 7, 2013 in The Media Issue #6

(via eshusplayground)

chisagi:


Argentina JUST PASSED a groundbreaking gender identity bill!!!
From now on, people will be able to change the name and gender on their ID without needing psychiatric permission or any body modifications. Furthermore, anyone who does want hormones or surgery will be able to access them for free through the public and private health system.
It was passed unanimously today by the Senate
UNANIMOUSLY

Argentina is just getting more awesome by the year. Countries that aren’t Argentina need to take note.

chisagi:

Argentina JUST PASSED a groundbreaking gender identity bill!!!

From now on, people will be able to change the name and gender on their ID without needing psychiatric permission or any body modifications. Furthermore, anyone who does want hormones or surgery will be able to access them for free through the public and private health system.

It was passed unanimously today by the Senate

UNANIMOUSLY

Argentina is just getting more awesome by the year. Countries that aren’t Argentina need to take note.

(Source: genderqueer, via opia-apito-deactivated20140223)

gay-mo:

The child I babysit sometimes is 5 years old. Last time I went to take care of him I noticed he has this awesome painting of the moon in his bedroom. He told me his mothers friend painted it. After he told me the artists name he then explained to me “She used to be a boy but she didn’t feel good so now she just takes medicine and it helps her to be a girl. She feels better” 

It’s literally that easy to explain it to kids. 

(via moniquill)

titotibok:

amydentata:

blackdahliaparton:

dizzzynoodles:

miss-sakamoto:

This is basically how it happens

actually a legit gender thing that video games helped me with

FInal Fantasy VII tho

AD&D 2nd Edition, played a female character every time. Super Street Fighter 2, all about Chun-Li and Cammy. That was how I survived.

Harvest Moon series…I got to marry women and grow a family together :D

titotibok:

amydentata:

blackdahliaparton:

dizzzynoodles:

miss-sakamoto:

This is basically how it happens

actually a legit gender thing that video games helped me with

FInal Fantasy VII tho

AD&D 2nd Edition, played a female character every time. Super Street Fighter 2, all about Chun-Li and Cammy. That was how I survived.

Harvest Moon series…I got to marry women and grow a family together :D

(Source: , via titotibak)

brandnewjones:

dreamsofamadgirl:

thenarius:

Ongoing on Twitter right now, people are tweeting their negative experiences with doctors and other “authorities” in the medical profession when it comes to transgender issues.
There is a LOT of this. 
Everyone should go read up on this because it is a HUGE deal. Trans people seeking treatment do so because they NEED that treatment, and having it denied, or being HUMILIATED and de-humanized while seeking or receiving treatment takes a very large toll on our psyches. The psyches of a group of people with a 50% attempted suicide rate, and who are several orders of magnitude likelier to be killed than the average person. And no, it’s not getting better, because the homicide rate for transgender individuals increased by 20% last year.

Was sent to a Christian therapist and told that it’s sinful and I had to change #transdocfail
(I actually convinced him later that it was ok.  At least he was willing to learn.)

You’d think that “First do no harm” thing actually meant some shit. smh

brandnewjones:

dreamsofamadgirl:

thenarius:

Ongoing on Twitter right now, people are tweeting their negative experiences with doctors and other “authorities” in the medical profession when it comes to transgender issues.

There is a LOT of this. 

Everyone should go read up on this because it is a HUGE deal. Trans people seeking treatment do so because they NEED that treatment, and having it denied, or being HUMILIATED and de-humanized while seeking or receiving treatment takes a very large toll on our psyches. The psyches of a group of people with a 50% attempted suicide rate, and who are several orders of magnitude likelier to be killed than the average person. And no, it’s not getting better, because the homicide rate for transgender individuals increased by 20% last year.

Was sent to a Christian therapist and told that it’s sinful and I had to change #transdocfail

(I actually convinced him later that it was ok.  At least he was willing to learn.)

You’d think that “First do no harm” thing actually meant some shit. smh

(via fromonesurvivortoanother)

Andy Marra, The Beautiful Daughter: How My Korean Mother Gave Me the Courage to Transition

such a beautiful story. as a queer person, waiting is filled with anxiety about what to say, how much of myself and my life would i be able to reveal? the fear of rejection is so huge, but i also desperately want my family to know me, my life, my trials, my triumphs.

i just want to look into someone’s eyes and see myself, feel like i look like someone, like i can see where i came from. i want to know if i am an oppa or hyung.

i want to know if i had a name.

i have heard all the stories, all the possibilities from bad to good that can happen when you find your birth family. but this…this is the best. the absolute best.

(via glittergeek)

(via opia-apito-deactivated20140223)

:

“Mother,” I slowly repeated in Korean. “I am not a boy. I am a girl. I am transgender.” My face reddened, and tears blurred my vision. I braced myself for her rejection and the end to a relationship that had only begun.

Silence again filled the room. I searched my mother’s eyes for any signs of shock, disgust or sadness. But a serene expression lined her face as she sat with ease on the couch. I started to worry that my words had been lost in translation. Then my mother began to speak.

“Mommy knew,” she said calmly through my friend, who looked just as dumbfounded as I was by her response. “I was waiting for you to tell me.”

“What? How?”

“Birth dream,” my mother replied. In Korea some pregnant women still believe that dreams offer a hint about the gender of their unborn child. “I had dreams for each of your siblings, but I had no dream for you. Your gender was always a mystery to me.”

I wanted to reply but didn’t know where to begin. My mother instead continued to speak for both of us. “Hyun-gi,” she said, stroking my head. “You are beautiful and precious. I thought I gave birth to a son, but it is OK. I have a daughter instead.”

eateroftrees:

fivelettered:

eateroftrees:

“Try to avoid drinking lots of water before leaving the house” (re: trying to go without using gendered bathrooms for a month)

CLEARLY YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SPIRONOLACTONE.

Really though the fact that one of the most common antiandrogens is adiureticis extremely significant to what trans people have to deal with wrt bathrooms.

It’s not “You can’t use most public bathrooms”, it’s “You can’t use most public bathrooms and you have to pee every ten minutes.”

WHOA. WAIT. SPIRO MAKES YOU HAVE TO PEE ALL THE TIME?

THIS SOLVES A LOT. holy shit. i pee all the time and i’m only on 25mg.

Yeah pretty much.

For comparison, I’m on 300mg.

The ten minutes thing isn’t an exaggeration (although as I said elsewhere, there periods where its every ten minutes but also periods where I go longer, it’s not every ten minutes 24/7)

(Source: thenameoftheworms, via thenameoftheworms)