April 27, 2009
Hey, everybody, generally my daily existence as a human being only comes here filtered through politics, but I thought y’all’d care that Thursday night through last night I was in the hospital w/ appendicitis. I’m far from fully recovered, but I am a lot better/no longer in imminent danger of death. I’m still catching up on my online stuff and school stuff…all my stuff really.
April 23, 2009
I am *so* glad that the jury understood that killing trans women is wrong, that killing individual trans women to threaten/do violence to the entire community is wrong, is *worse* than a non-bias murder, not more-acceptable.
That it took the jury only two hours makes my relief even greater. For once, it wasn’t (that) hard for people to acknowledge that we deserve to live our lives–that Angie Zapata deserved to live her life–to refute the message that crime was intended to send. In that this action holds Andrade in-some-way-accountable, in that it affirms Angie’s humanity after it had been so brutally stripped from her, and after the defense attorneys continued to deny it to her–I am clichéing with joy over the ruling. To be honest I didn’t really have that much faith in cis humanity. Well done.
What I’m iffy about is the repetition that this is “justice.” That ‘punishment’ and ‘retribution’ posthumously help Angie Zapata.
In the framework of the criminal legal system–and that’s the only framework we’ve got right now–this is ‘best’ outcome we can get, this is what “justice” is, what “justice” for Angie Zapata is. But I can’t help but have misgivings about a “solution” that supports the PIC (prison industrial complex), that rallies support among trans and queer people for an institution that routinely victimizes us, an institution we should be critiquing and finding alternatives for.
I mean, think if one of the components of his sentence was to have to apologize in person, individually, to all of her family, all of her friends, and (not individually, but a large number of small groups) the whole community affected state-/nation-/world-wide, and have to listen to everything they/we have to say. What if one of the components of his sentence was to help erect a building that would be a center for trans people, or to toil at making a monument for her–rather than building Wal-Mart’s (that victimize the poor, and trans folks are disproportionately poor), operating a call center for the GOP (ditto), and making military supplies (supporting the military’s trans exclusion, hypermasculinity-which-breeds-trans-misogyny, sexism, rape, violence, killing untold numbers of brown people all over the world, and supporting US imperialism)? What if we had a vision of justice that didn’t include getting excited about raping people you think ‘deserve’ it? A vision that doesn’t support the very institutionalized violence that victimizes trans people–particularly but not only trans women, particularly but not only of color?
What kind of “justice” furthers the very violence it attempts to punish?
EDIT: Also, WTF is this, Lurleen & Mirelle? …Thank you to the rest of the commenters for not taking the derail bait, (I mean, really, how bald can you really be about it?) but I think I’d’ve moderated that out.
EDIT #2: Apparently this was a person’s signature rather than the comment itself; my WTF was about suddenly-making-it-about-marriage.
April 9, 2009
The next time someone tries to start a discussion about whether transness is morally acceptable, I will ask:
Is it logically possible for you to choose to live in a world where choosing your own gender is universal law? (whether or not you’d actually choose to live in that world)
Yes, it is. Therefore, choosing your own gender is morally acceptable. 😛
I’ll even give you a more suitable-to-transphobic-logic maxim to formulate the categorical imperative: is it logically possible for you to choose to live in a world where transitioning is universal law? (whether or not you’d actually choose to live there)
Yes, it is. Hell, I kind of wish we lived in that world. Think about how many wars would be averted! Plus, so much less transphobia, homophobia, sexism… and we wouldn’t have jerkfaces like George Bush! Therefore, transitioning: morally acceptable.
Let’s try the other formulation of the categorical imperative:
Does transitioning treat anyone solely as a means to an end rather than simultaneously an end in hirself? No. Does choosing your own gender? Nope. Morally acceptable. We’re good.
Yeah, I know, Kant’s not so popular with feminists, anti-racists, and radicals, whatever.
“But Some Man Is Going to Sexually Assault Me/Young Girls If We Let Those People Use the Bathroom/Shelter/etc!”
April 4, 2009
There are more problems with this bathroom logic than I have any desire to suss out, other people point them out all the time (trans folks need bathrooms too–and need safe bathrooms too, trans women are easily distinguished from cis men (generally), a sign does not equal a lock and key, there have been protections in place in Minneapolis for over 25 years (16 years in Minnesota) and there’s not a single documented case of perpetrators trying to use those laws to aid them assaulting women in restrooms, and lastly, using the “wrong” restroom is perfectly legal already.). All these logics are also used to justify ejecting trans women from shelters and Michfest, and to justify violent prison placement.
But for all that this is so frequently taken up by radical feminists/as a feminist debate, the radical feminist insight that rape is committed by people you know, that you’re most likely to be sexually assaulted in your own home, or your friend’s home, far more than in a public bathroom–why doesn’t anyone pick up on that insight?
I mean, yeah, trans folks are already raising the spectre of stranger violence in this case, and that’s prolly relevant. But when you’re talking about hate violence/someone defined as expendable in the public discourse (and, no, if you think white cis women are so defined, go read what Focus on the Family has to say about the bathroom debate), that’s when you’re more likely to get hurt by someone you don’t know.
I’ve been physically/non-sexually assaulted by 5 strangers in the past year and a half, for context. I really can’t count how many people have groped me without my consent–strangers and “friends,” mostly but not entirely folks who saw me as trans–though as far as people who’ve perpetrated more serious sexual assault on me, they were both men I was close to, (one trans, one cis) and both in bedrooms. (there was one stranger who threatened to rape me, driving the other way in his car, as I was biking home (in Minneapolis), not really sure whether that’s “worse” or not.)
So I hope you can understand that I don’t mean to make light of the fear of stranger violence, including stranger sexual violence. It happens. But the overwhelming focus on it is not about protecting women, it’s about controlling women. It’s about keeping us scared inside the home where the actual sexual predators have easier access to us. I’m not going to explicate that here, it’s a central second-wave/lesbian-feminist/radical feminist insight–that is, the exact same group that takes all this bullshit they’ve spent thirty years trying to destroy and uses it against trans women because keeping us down is more important than liberation.
April 3, 2009
We all have the capacity for violence. Rape, and promoting rape, is not limited to cis straight men, to white men, to men of color, to men you don’t know, to men at all, to cis people, to straight people, to people who aren’t survivors, to people who aren’t your close friends, to people who don’t speak out against rape, to people who don’t volunteer on rape-crisis hotlines (that really sucked, by the way), or even to people who don’t write forwards to anti-rape anthologies, or who haven’t written songs against date rape and dedicated them to Sarah Palin.
Those last two categories are pretty specific, huh?
In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about this (trigger warning):
If it’s hard to see, here’s a basic rundown: a Katy Perry lookalike comes onstage to lip sync “I Kissed a Girl.” A few people make brief passes at her, then Margaret Cho, wearing a purple strap-on, and Amanda Palmer come up from opposite sides of the stage and trap “Perry” between them. Cho takes “Perry’s” hand, puts it on her strap-on, and *holds it there* while Perry looks anxious and uncomfortable and tries to remove her hand. Then Palmer touches her belly, “Perry” momentarily looks more uncomfortable, and then suddenly “gives in” and starts acting enthusiastic, making out with Palmer and pushing her butt back towards Cho. (You can see her facial expressions better in this video if it’s hard to see clearly.)
Just in case it wasn’t clear that this was a revenge fantasy rather than just a “oh she really wanted it it’s ok” fantasy (still rape promotion, but still)–A curtain goes up, and when it comes down, Cho is dressed as a minister/pastor/whatever, and “Perry” and Palmer are in wedding dresses… and “Perry” is bound hand and foot, with duct tape over her mouth. She tries to hobble away, and Palmer stops her, making an expression of overdone, false-looking bliss with a sinister undertone. (This part is somewhat more easily visible here) A “Fuck Prop 8” banner goes up and the crowd cheers.
There’s really not a lot more to say. I understand being angry about “I Kissed a Girl”–I’m none too pleased about it myself. (Not knowing my name, fine, I can work with that, but I’m your “experimental game”? … Excuse me?) The song is exploitative/exoticizing/fetishizing/objectifying whatever other words you want to use. Basically it’s gross, keep your hands off my sexuality. But resorting to dramatizing sexual violence as a revenge strategy? (Hell, revenge at all?) Not cool. And it’s not as though Cho could ever objectify or fetishize anyone. Nor Amanda Palmer.
At Women & Children First, one of two Chicago stops of the YMY! tour, there was a comment exhorting [straight/bi] men to stand up and say they’re not rapists, because otherwise all the women would assume they were. But standing up and speaking out doesn’t make you an ally/not a rapist. Not raping people makes you not a rapist. If you don’t think of yourself as a potential perpetrator of violence and consider carefully how to exist in the world as nonviolently as you can, you will perpetrate it. Violence, including but in no way limited to sexual violence, is the norm in this society, not the exception–though often it’s not quite as blatant as Cho and Palmer just put on display for us, or quite as clearly intentional.
X-posted to the Yes Means Yes! blog