They knew she would die a few days ago when her brain activity stopped, after being in a coma, after the heart attack brought on by asthma, four months after the birth of her son.
But after, more than anything else, the brutal murder of her father Eric Garner by the NYPD.
His death has been the hardest for me – maybe because NYC, maybe because he was the father of six like my dad was, maybe because there’s a million sweet men selling loosies or cutting some corners at a bodega; they’re the guys who keep NYC running, you know? All of those guys. The ones who let you hang out because you’ve gotten jumpy with some drunk mofo yelling shit at you on the street.
& Just fuck it all that she lost him, and that she lost him like that. No one has to wonder why she poured her heart into activism after that.
What do we do now? How do you respond to such a beautiful, loyal daughter’s call to arms? Maybe we can do something about the high mortality rate of black mothers. Maybe we keep calling for an end to the lawful murder of black people by those who are supposed to serve & protect.
Maybe we do something, dammit, something big and real and full of that heart of hers that felt so much and loved so much and hurt so much it broke.
Ben Barres was a personal hero of mine. He was the person who convinced me, by words and deeds, that trans people are an important tool in the feminist toolkit, precisely because they have lived aware of gender on both sides of the (binary) fence.
He studied glial cells in a search for a cure – or more understanding – of diseases like Parkinson’s & Alzhimer’s. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – which sadly & famously is a cruel & fast cancer – he made sure anyone who needed one got a letter of recommendation.
Brenda Tracy is an incredibly gifted, heartfelt speaker who talks to men about the gang rape she experienced. A local group, Voices of Men, invited her to do seven events in NE Wisconsin. My wife Rachel Crowl made this video of her visit.
A huge thanks to the students of MARS, a group I helped create, for organizing her evening at Lawrence. I am regularly happily astonished by how dedicated younger men are to stopping violence against women and wanting to be the kind of men who step into the kinds of men who take women for granted.
Liberal snowflakes ask white folks not to use the N word. Students object to “scholars” who come to campuses to promote white supremacy, transphobia, and homophobia. Trans and GNC people want correct pronouns used for themselves.
And yet, none of this was censorship. Cultural battlegrounds, yes. Not censorship.
It does matter why these were chosen and speaks to the increasing stupidification of US politics and the hateful, anti intellectual, anti science, anti humanitarian impulses of our current WH.
But the point I want to make is this: this is actual censorship. When a government agency “recommends” words to use and not use, when they restrict how reports are written, when any population is singled out to be disappeared via language, you’re dealing with actual censorship.
So Doug Jones won, which is the least of what should have happened, but what didn’t happen is that white folks are still not getting it – not in the way they vote, and not in a lot of reactions on Facebook.
One friend posted a celebration of the black women who made this happen only to be reprimanded by a white man who wanted to celebrate everyone. #alllivesmatter much?
There’s a lot of “thank you, Alabama!” when it was really the black voting population who need to be thanked.
Because this guy wasn’t just racist, he was sexist and abusive and tranphobic and homophobic and didn’t understand or honor the separation of church and state.
We can thank the Dems. We can be thankful to Doug Jones, and for Doug Jones and his commitment to civil rights.
But to me, I can’t help but feel that black voters came out to honor the memory and secure that much more justice for those four little girls.
And for me, to excoriate racist Jeff Sessions, who left this seat empty when he joined the WH.
So yes, it’s a giant win because Dems never win in Alabama, and one did tonight. But really, my fellow white folks, let’s please honor the black people – and especially the black women – who we owe this to. And let’s listen to them a lot more often, and a lot harder, and remind our local and state and national Dems that over and over again black voters get it right and white voters often do not and we need to learn from that. Because the Dems aren’t going to turn this around until we trust black voters and black intellectuals and black pundits and theorists and writers and even, yes, black celebrities.
Because I am just goddamned tired of you ignoring the truth of every damn election in this country.
This year, because US politics have become so acrimonious, we decided to bring back The December Project – the brainchild of Jenny Boylan, who understood how many of us are lonely and hurting during the holiday season.
Privately and locally, Dylan Scholinski and I have both continued to make ourselves available to trans community folks who need someone to talk to, even if it’s just someone to say “Merry Christmas” or to listen.
So here’s how it works: you email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dylan (email@example.com) with a little bit about yourself and we will write you back and arrange a time to call and talk.
We do this because we do.
No one is making any money.
Your information will remain with us. Everything you say to us is confidential.
We are not trained counselors. We are just friendly people who like to meet new people and to listen and who will judge nothing about you – not your identity, your sexuality, or anything else.
If you are suicidal, we ask instead that you call a suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255.
Trans LifeLine is of course also always available (& we are so thankful for them): 877-565-8860.