Not 1 in 6 (Excerpt)

I’ve got a piece up on Patreon that I wrote last week in response to the Kavanaugh interview, by which I’m thoroughly disgusted.

When will we get to the point where we believe women?

They say “1 in 6,” but I don’t believe them. The numbers are much, much higher.

I believe that because almost no woman I know who has been raped has pressed charges. Maybe they went to therapy. Maybe they wrote about it. But none of them – zero – reported it or pressed charges.

When or if they talk about it one or two things is true: (1) they didn’t know it was rape at the time – and maybe even don’t while they’re talking about it, and (2) it had been years since it happened.

That’s why we believe her.

Because women all know the women who were groomed, the girls raped as children, the so-called slut in high school who was raped (which was, of course, what made her a slut, because that’s how this shit works), the woman who went to an interview before or after regular business hours, the woman who went to a male friend after being raped by a boyfriend, who was then also raped by the friend (or vice versa), the woman who told her dad and who was punished for it, the woman who.

Later in the piece, I talk about what it’s like to be a woman who has not been raped.

So let me make it clear to the doubters, for the men who don’t believe, for the men who think all rape is caused by boys who are “too drunk” to hear the word “no,” who think most men are good men who don’t communicate well, and that men want to protect their mothers and daughters and wives, and for the women who think it’s something other women are bringing on themselves: Not so fast. Rape is such a common experience of women that I have spent most of my life feeling categorically different from other women because I never was.

Let me repeat that: Not having been raped makes me feel like I’m not the same as other women. The only other thing that makes me feel categorically different from other women is the desire to have children (whether or not they have) because I never wanted my own.

Please call your senators and tell them to vote against this rapist.

On July 4th: #resist

I’ve been attending a daily rally against immigrant family separation and to abolish ICE. it’s a small gesture, but useful, and we gather outside of a local politician’s office.

Today is the 14th day.

I know I couldn’t be the only one who needed something a little less blindly patriotic to do, and since the 2nd Civil War failed to happen, I thought I’d do some digging and found this NYT article about all the various revolts and days of resistance that have happened on July 4th. 

Abolitionists resisted repeatedly on July 4th:

The most famous abolitionist July 4 protest took place in 1854, when (William Lloyd) Garrison mounted a platform adorned with an upside-down, black-bordered American flag and burned a copy of the Constitution. From the same stage that day, Henry David Thoreau declared that the moral failure of the United States affected even his ability to enjoy the outdoors, noting that “the remembrance of my country spoils my walk.”

Gay people resisted on July 4th, 1986, in response to Bowers v Hardwick, which upheld the criminalization of same sex sex acts.

Black people resisted on July 4th: not just that amazing Frederick Douglass speech but in 1970 with a Black Declaration of Independence, which read in part:

For creating, through Racism and bigotry, an unrelenting Economic Depression in the Black Community which wreaks havoc upon our men and disheartens our youth.

For denying to most of us equal access to the better Housing and Education of the land.

For having desecrated and torn down our humblest dwelling places, under the Pretense of Urban Renewal, without replacing them at costs which we can afford.

It is incredible. Read the whole thing. 

So yeah, I feel like I’m in a long line of people – and amongst many others today – who are not feeling it. Instead, I propose Celebrate Immigrants Day, because this country wouldn’t be shit without them.

 

To Friends & Family Who Voted for This

(Please feel free to adapt this to your own needs. As much as the Dems and the left are debating tactics and keeping each other focused and resisting, I think it’s also important to let people who voted for this travesty to understand the results of their vote. If you do use it, just give me some credit and maybe join me on Patreon.)

6/29/18

To you, my family members who voted for Trump:

I know you don’t love him. I have to hope against hope that you don’t and that you haven’t supported anything he’s done or stood for since the election.

But I have something to explain: we’re scared out here. I’m worried I’m going to lose my right to be married to my wife. I’m worried that some of my students or their parents are going to be deported. I am worried that women’s rights to birth control and abortion are going to be taken away.

I am worried about those children at the border who may not even know who their parents are, much less see them again. I know you think their parents came here illegally. They didn’t. They came here for amnesty. BUT EVEN IF THEY DID, the brutality can’t be something you stand for. Everyone wants a safe border. But not at that expense.

You know it’s hard for me not to notice that all of you are straight and white and most of you are male. And I just want you to think about that for a second: that maybe what was an unpleasant choice for you, that you held your nose to vote for this blowhard, is terrifying for me. I used to have to carry a copy of our marriage certificate and my wife’s legal name change with me everywhere just in case I had to prove that I was her wife. That I had that shred of heterosexual privilege was something. But I don’t want that again. I don’t want my queer friends who don’t have that to be denied again.

The rates of violence against us are through the roof. You don’t know because you don’t know. Someone dropped a bomb on the porch of a trans house in Philly and you probably didn’t hear about that either.

So here’s what I have to ask you: is this level of hate something you condone, or do you not see the connection between what this president says and does and what his followers are doing all over this country? Do you think brown people deserve this, or queer people, or trans people? I actually want to know.

Because here’s the thing: you may not think so, and you may think that those of us who have done nothing wrong are safe. But we’re not. Bigots tend to be kind of stupid and they think anyone who speaks Spanish, anyone who is black, anyone who is queer, lives up to the worst stereotypes of what they think we are, of what they fear we are.

I wish I could give you all a snapshot of my FB feed: of the college professors who are here on work visas or green cards who are worried about being able to stay; of the accomplished, legally transitioned trans women and men who are worried or seeking out any possible European connections they have “in case it gets too bad”; of the gay men and women who are scared both of the violence and of the loss of rights and are subsequently issuing calls to the community to get their legal documents in place again; of my Jewish friends who are starting to turn assets into cash “just in case”; and the worried parents with differently abled children who are watching the whole school system privatize in ways that leaves their kids out. I wish I could tell all of them not to be scared, not to worry, that it’s not going to be that bad, but I can’t. Because I’m scared to.

And here’s the thing: I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying to fight. I have to. But if I have to send my trans wife out of the country because I’m worried about her, I will.

I’m not writing to you today to blame you. Most of you, to be honest, are in New York and you didn’t actually do this. But I do need you to do something: I NEED YOU TO STAND UP TO YOUR FUCKING PARTY. Either just stay home this election day or don’t vote for Republicans. & I’m asking you to do that just to curb the people out there who think that the policies and rulings and legislation being promoted by this president are an excuse to cause violence to the rest of us.

That’s all.

Please just remember that the next time you vote, someone you love may have everything in the world at risk while you risk nothing. Vote for my rights, and my safety, and my well being, and not for some ideological “choice” between the lesser of two evils.

You need to denounce the homophobia, the white supremacy, the transphobia, the fear and hatred of immigrants, OUT LOUD, ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND TO YOUR FELLOW REPUBLICANS. I honestly believe you all are not part of this bullshit, but I don’t hear you saying it and the haters are out in force. We need you so much to help us live.

I don’t scare easy, and I’m scared. And I’m scared of the unchecked power of an evangelical Republican party who thinks America is only for people like you and not for people like me.

Love, Me.

Lee Snodgrass for WI State Senate #Snod4Senate

Lee Snodgrass is running for State Senate and here’s some things I know for sure: (a) she’s generally ferocious and does not back down, (b) she came out as a bisexual despite currently being in a het relationship because she thinks LGBTQ visibility and issues are important, and (c) she’s been endorsed by Emily’s List due to her commitment to women’s issues and gender equality.

Here’s some other stuff you may not know:

(d) Wisconsin is 2 Senate seats away from a Democratic majority. The Senate currently has 7 women and 8 men. But 7 WOMEN are running for state senate this year, which could give us a FEMALE MAJORITY.

(e) The upper house in Wisconsin has never had an LGBTQ identified candidate.

<< bisexual visibility intensifies >> Seriously.

All of which means there are two things you might be able to do:

If you’re not in Wisconsin, then please donate to her campaign. We desperately need to kick these Koch-funded shitheads to the curb, and believe me, Lee Snodgrass will gleefully enjoy telling Republicans to sit down for a while because Dems and woman and LGBTQ folks have got it well in hand. We need this win in Wisconsin.

Reform

Today was the day I taught the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which as you all know, is depressing af and a tragic moment in American history.

I teach it because I want to teach students about women and labor history and Frances Perkins – because she was the first woman to be part of a US Cabinet (FDR’s, of course) and because she made it her life’s mission not to find out what she wanted from life but to find out what life wanted from her. She’s one of my heroes along with her own hero Al Smith.

But today, after the umpteenth school shooting and so many people just wrecked with sadness and frustration and overall outrage exhaustion, it strikes me that the real lesson from Triangle is that we don’t have to do nothing.

We don’t have to just complain on Facebook.
We don’t have to convince our friends and families.
We have to decide that enough is enough and begin to dedicate ourselves to changing the world in a way that reality becomes more tolerable for everyone.

I don’t know what to do about guns but people in 1909 didn’t know what to do about sweatshops, and once those 146 women died, they figured out how to change shit. Here’s a short list of what they changed, which included, basically, extensive changes to the fire code, working conditions, child labor laws, legalization of union organizing, votes for women, and, um, the New Deal.

Just saying. There is hope, but you have to be it. I am not sure why we are not all out in the streets refusing to work for even another minute until reform happens and children stop dying. But I do know it will take organizing like that for any change to happen. As you go about your day and worry about dinner or your job or a promotion or your vacation, try to remember that 17 more families are on that long list of families mourning young people who don’t get to grow up. I really don’t understand why every parent in this country hasn’t pulled their kid out of school or stormed the PTA to get some movement on this thing.

Find a thing to do. Reform is possible, and sadly, it’s always more possible after a tragedy. Don’t let them die in vain.

Rest in Power Erica Garner

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.

Actual Censorship

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.

As if to provide a history lesson, the CDC has just been given a list of words NOT to use by HHS. They are:

  • vulnerable
  • entitlement
  • diversity
  • transgender
  • fetus
  • evidence-based
  • science-based

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.

Just to clarify.

Thank You Black Voters

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.

 

Election 2017: #theresistanceistrans

We are up to 7 Transgender Candidates Elected!

  1. Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Her adversary consistently misgendered her, but when asked how she felt about Bob, she said, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
  2. Andrea Jenkins of Minneapolis, Minnesota on the City Council is the first out trans black woman to be elected to public office.
  3. Phillipe Cunningham of Minneapolis, Minnesota on the City Council is the first out trans black man elected to a city council.
  4. Lisa Middleton was elected to the City Council in Palm Springs, California.
  5. Tyler Titus was elected to the Erie School Board in Pennsylvania.
  6. Gerri Cannon won a School Board seat in Somersworth, New Hampshire. She plans to run for a state rep seat.
  7. Stephe Koontz won a seat on Doraville, Georgia City Council – BY 6 VOTES.

BY 6 VOTES!! So please, never think yours doesn’t count, especially in local elections.