Trumped.

A gay male student of mine posted this to Facebook today. Trump’s rally was happening in downtown Appleton, just blocks from our campus. I thought it summarized really well what it’s like to be one of the kinds of people Trump hates, and all of this goes double/triple/ad infinitum for those who are of color, immigrants, etc.

This morning I had to keep the Trump rally in mind, even though I have the privilege of passing if I stay quiet, tone down any effeminate qualities I might exhibit on a daily basis. I kept in mind that going downtown near where the rally would be is unsafe and ill-advised today, but since I hadn’t planned to be downtown, it was a distant threat for me. However, upon getting to class this morning, things became very personal and uncomfortable for me even before the lecture started.

A few guys to my left were talking about the Trump rally and I ended up overhearing that they had gotten tickets for it. Curiously and perhaps stupidly, I listened in to what they were talking about. From what I understood, they didn’t necessarily support Trump or his proposed policies, but rather they just wanted to be there to see people get beat up and fights breaking out. Of course, as someone who was already keeping in mind the danger of downtown, I now felt uncomfortable in class, something I did not expect.

For anybody who does not fit the model of citizen Trump endorses and privileges, a world under Trump is not only insane, it’s dangerous and terrifying. As I noted this morning, you don’t just have to worry about policies: you have to worry about the even larger mass of people who just wish ill on someone else, just for their amusement and power over them. The guys in class probably didn’t wish ill on me for being gay or for my often very liberal views, but by hoping for violence at the Trump rally, they indirectly are wishing violence upon me. People who support Trump or people who just want to see the violence out in the world are indirectly supporting an environment in which many people who don’t fit Trump’s view of “a great America” have to fear daily harassment or assault, possibly for reasons they can’t even control.

This is not something that is easy to think about. However, if you are privileged enough to only have to consider this kind of violence because you’re reading this, please understand that for some people, this fear and terror is a reality every day already, but even more so if Trump ascends to power. All I ask is that you consider this.

Help Fund Stuff for Trans/GNC Youth

So here’s a cool idea: you donate money, even small amounts, and help pay for boxes of useful stuff to go to trans/GNC youth who need them, stuff like binders or bras, books on trans issues, stand to pee devices, and the like.

You can donate here – and you can even just donate to send a letter of support that will go in someone’s box.

Seems like a great idea. Here’s more from their IndieGoGo campaign:

The Problem:

Nearly ½ of trans persons have seriously considered suicide.* They’re also far more likely to attempt.

Collectively, gender-diverse and trans people are also far more likely to be victims of interpersonal violence.* The Trans Murder Monitoring Project reports 1,374 deaths since January 2008.

78% of gender non-conforming youth report “significant abuse at school.”*

It’s also a diversity issue.* Hispanic and Black youth who identify as transgender or gender diverse in any way are twice as likely to attempt suicide.

We want this to change. We believe we can play a role in that change, with you.

Our Solution:

We see access to the simplest things can be denied. We want to provide trans and gender-diverse youth with an easy means to get what they need– be it toiletries, clothing, or higher-end items like binders, binaried clothing, and bras.

Subscription boxes are a trending way of trying out new products, or getting access to things you need every so-often. We’d like to provide subscription boxes with pride items, books selected by the community around this project (see our “Community” header, later), binders, bras, clothing item of the binary the recipient wants, and other great items into a completely customizeable subscription box package.
Every box purchased by a sponsor gives one to a trans or non-binary spectrum youth.
This is the most important part of the project to us. Providing youth with access to items which they may need, and also providing them with a Letter of Encouragement (which will be handwritten and unique, and come in every youth box), is a small way of helping trans youth who might be in an un-supportive or financially strapped home.I know you– you’re asking how we can do this. The best way to help this project is to purchase something (for yourself or someone close to you) or to share the project!

Providers’ Day Mini Conference – Milwaukee 4/4

I’ll be doing a presentation at The Tool Shed for Milwaukee’s SHARE week, but I wanted to call your attention to a cool event that will be happening that’s for health providers. It’s one day, $100 (which includes lunch) and covers a huge array of material:

Session One: Talking About Senior Sex with Joan Price
Session Two: Making Your Practice Transgender Friendly with Ashley Altadonna and Hudson P.
Session Three: Compassionate Care for Kinky People with Sophia Chase
Session Four: Ready, Sexy, Able: Sex and Disability with Robin Mandell

Really, an awesome lineup for doctors, covering sex for seniors, trans people, kink, and disability. It’s a pretty amazing way for healthcare providers to gain valuable information on working with any/all of these types of clients.

Do forward this to your healthcare providers and encourage them to attend.

You can register here.

Teaching While Racist? A Clarification

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to clarify an issue that’s been brought up as a result of my having written Teaching While White.

The issue is #5, which states: “If you’re white, assume you’re racist.” I want to say, upfront, that it was #1 in my list until a colleague and friend told me that might keep people from reading the rest, and I thought she was right.Now I think it sometimes enables people to discount the rest of what I wrote.

So let me clarify: in feminism, as in critical race theory, we see systems. We see individuals living in, negotiating, confronting or going along with those systems. And the system in question is racism, or white supremacy, or whatever you want to call the state of affairs in the US that allows the kind of racism that Coates and a million others — Dr. King and Malcolm X, the Black Lives Matter activists, etc. — have documented. I don’t need or want to talk about that here.
That said, if you see that racism is still a pervasive part of American life, I’d agree with you.

What it isn’t, usually, is the kind of straight-up bigotry we’re used to identifying as racism.

It is a system which benefits white people. Period.

What’s in your heart toward black culture and black people – which are, mind you, two very different things, and white people generally find it easier to embrace the former than the latter – doesn’t really have anything to do with it. (A quick thank you to a colleague who objected to my piece politely by mentioning what was in his heart, here, as I would have never realized what needed clarification without him.) White people do need to examine what’s in their hearts when it comes to race, what’s in our minds. Only recently in reading a criticism of Coates’ portrayal of black masculinity did I think: not one black man I have ever known has ever fit that stereotype. Not even a little. That’s the kind of thing that’s there, the ideas we’ve all imbibed from media, from portrayals of blacks in movies, on the news, in literature. We have imbibed them because we don’t have much of a choice – the same way that we imbibe sexism, rape culture, and patriarchy. Unlike a lot of white people, I’ve known a lot of black men (and laugh all you want, but some of them are old and dear friends, ha).

So when I say, “if you’re white, you’re racist” I mean only to say that you have been raised to believe you are better or, at the very least, different than black people. I do. I know it. I own it. I try to work against it as much and as often as I can. As a white working class person, I became aware that the only difference between me and other working class people who are brown was my race, and that has benefitted me in insane ways that embarrass and humble me.

It’s just that. Not any kind of personal indictment, nothing of the kind. It’s only meant to let people know that unless you’re actively fighting against the system, you’re part of it, you’re upholding it and even enforcing it because that’s how it works. Johnson, who theorizes patriarchy, talks about it as a “path of least resistance” — and when it comes to white supremacy, that path of least resistance is being racist. It’s seeing weapons after looking at a black child’s face. It’s assuming black people can sustain more pain than whites. And even if you don’t believe these things actively, they change the way you are in the world and the way you deal with black and brown people. If you don’t want it to, then you have to do anti racist work – which all anti racists do in their own individual ways. And *even then* it’s still going to catch you out when you’re not paying attention.

So if you’re white and you’re not actively doing anti racist work, you’re racist. Not because you’re an asshole. Often it’s because of white privilege, which guards us from having to think about race at all. And honestly, it should piss you off that the system you live in encourages you to be a shitty human being without realizing it, that pulls the wool over your eyes for you, so much so that you can’t even recognize it for what it is.

“I Am Real” – Brynn Tannehill Being Awesome

Seattle: Trans Activist Danni Askini Is Running for Office

She’s running for an open seat in the Washington State House of Representatives, 43rd legislative district.

She’s 33, trans, and awesome. She’s the founder and director of the Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and would be the first openly trans person ever elected to the Washington State Legislature.

“It will send a really powerful message that extreme attacks in Olympia from ultra-conservative Republicans are not going to deter people from fighting for our shared values in the 43rd,” Askini says. “I think it would have a lot of meaning to the whole community.”

What she does need is your vote of support – financially. Backers are not convinced a trans person can run and win, so she needs donations from all of you – whatever you can manage.

I met Danni a long time ago now (and interviewed her a few years back) and she has consistently, overwhelmingly, earned my respect over the years.

A Message for Super Tuesday

Don't let Trump fool you: rightwing populism is the new normal

It might be tempting to view the political success of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as something uniquely American. But, argues Gary Younge, rightwing populism and scapegoating of society’s vulnerable is cropping up all across the west. This is what happens when big business has more power than governments

Posted by The Guardian on Wednesday, January 6, 2016