In non-blogosphere media (that is, media filtered through an organization), there are any number on the Being T documentary (whose names I don’t know)(h/t Monica), and the deceased Marsha P Johnson (who is rarely shown speaking for herself, almost always reduced to ‘activist and murder victim’) and Sylvia Rivera. Seriously.
I make this long, long list not because it’s exhaustive (it’s not, please comment if I forgot you), but in order to make it painfully obvious that there are lots and lots of trans women of color speaking, saying and doing important shit.
And if you’re white and that’s what you think of when you hear “trans woman of color” (etc), I’ll eat my shoes. My hat, too. Hell, if you could name 5 accomplishments by trans women of color I’ll be impressed. But not because they aren’t accomplishing them. Because they’re not being reported.
Media visibility for trans women of color (scanty as it is) goes to 1)objectifying portrayals of sex workers, and 2)murder/hate crime victims. The white trans community seems to have replicated this pattern–while Becoming a Black Man1 and Still Black may have achieved some popularity, and Whipping Girl has spread like wildfire, almost all of what I see reported in transnews and on the blogosphere at large that covers TWOC is focused almost exclusively on their victimhood, and the commentary limited to that & dissection of the fetishization.
Say it with me now: trans women of color are not objects. They are not (only) victims. They are not the people you can push the pity party onto when you’re tired of dealing with it yourself and want to be seen acting to change shit. Yes, they are at vastly greater risk of violence than the rest of us trans folks–and just because you bring that up when transphobic/trans misogynistic violence is being talked about does not make you a “good ally“. Their deaths do not define their existence. Yes, many are sex workers because of economic marginalization–and this does not define their lives. They are more than points in a power struggle between multiple groups of white trans activists and cis feminists.
As Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha writes in “The Femme Shark Manifesto”:
FEMMES ARE LEADERS IN TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS/ DEFENDING OUR QUEER AND TRANS OF COLOR COMMUNITIES.
WE USED OUR STILETTOS AS WEAPONS AT STONEWALL
WE WERE THE TRANS[ ]WOMEN WHO FOUGHT BACK AT THE COMPTON CAFETERIA
WE’RE THE GIRLS WHO STARE DOWN ASSHOLES STARING AT OUR LOVERS AND FRIENDS ON THE SUBWAY….
WE REMEMBER OUR DEAD- SAKIA GUNN, GWEN ARAUJO, AND MANY OTHER QUEER AND TRANS POC WHO DIED BECAUSE OF RACIST, HOMO/TRANSPHOBIC VIOLENCE. NOT AS A POLITICAL STATEMENT BUT AS WOMEN WE LOVED IN REAL LIFE WOMEN WHO COULD’VE BEEN US OR OUR LOVES.(link) (note–this piece is about queer femmes of color, not specifically trans ones. And you should read it.)
1: A rather (trans) misogynistic article at that–it does include trans women’s voices, but only as a means to further oppress them/erase their voices and further the subtextual point ‘black men have it worse than black women’. See also my performance piece, So Shut Up.
* * *
bolding is mine, because that is what I did in my hysterical post last night. - C
Though there are problems with Rowling’s depiction of both ends of the size spectrum, the Harry Potter series is generally successful in communicating that there are not defined relationships between weight and health, or weight and beauty. In general, Rowling treats both fatness and thinness as neutral adjectives that imply different things for different kinds of bodies. This is not a radical act, but for a writer with the audience of Rowling, it is a positive and a productive one.
Finding the information you need as a writer shouldn’t be a chore. Luckily, there are plenty of search engines out there that are designed to help you at any stage of the process, from coming up with great ideas to finding a publisher to get your work into print. Both writers still in college and those on their way to professional success will appreciate this list of useful search applications that are great from making writing a little easier and more efficient.
Find other writers, publishers and ways to market your work through these searchable databases and search engines.
Litscene: Use this search engine to search through thousands of writers and literary projects, and add your own as well.
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Publisher’s Catalogues: Try out this site to search through the catalogs and names of thousands of publishers.
Edit Red: Through this site you can showcase your own work and search through work by others, as well as find helpful FAQ’s on writing.
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An Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation after sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live. Kelly Williams-Bolar was sentenced by Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Tuesday and will begin serving her sentence immediately.
The jury deliberated for seven hours and the courtroom was packed as the sentence was handed down. She was convicted on two counts of tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with Williams Bolar’s father when they actually lived with her. The family lived in the housing projects in Akron, Ohio, and the father’s address was in nearby Copley Township.
Additionally, Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter are charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls. The court determined that sending their children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition.
When I read about this case, a few thoughts went through my mind. First, it’s clear that the court is trying to make Kelly Williams-Bolar into an example. Even the judge in the case, Patricia Cosgrove, said that her sentence was appropriate ”so that others who think they might defraud the school system perhaps will think twice.”
Secondly, it’s interesting how courts find it convenient to make someone into an example when they happen to be poor and black. I’d love to see how they prosecute wealthy white women who commit the same offense. Oh, I forgot: Most wealthy white women don’t have to send their kids to the schools located near the projects.
Third, I’m not sure why the court is treating this law-abiding mom like a thug who ran into a building with a shotgun and robbed the district of $30,000. Instead, they could simply subtract the amount it costs for her kids to go to the second school from the amount that would be spent for them to attend the first one. I’m sure the difference would still be substantial, since American educational apartheid dictates that schools in poorer neighborhoods are of significantly less quality than other schools. The racial divisions within American schools are nothing less than a blatant and consistent human rights violation and should certainly be treated as such.
A final interesting blow by Judge Cosgrove that reflects the experience of marginalized African Americans in the criminal justice system relates to Williams-Bolar’s quest to obtain a teaching degree. The single mother was in school studying to become a teacher so that she could create a better life for her girls. But that won’t happen for her family now, given that the judge has all but shut the door on her chance to fulfill her dream:
”Because of the felony conviction, you will not be allowed to get your teaching degree under Ohio law as it stands today,” the judge said. ”The court’s taking into consideration that is also a punishment that you will have to serve.”
This case is a textbook example of everything that remains racially wrong with America’s educational, economic and criminal justice systems. Let’s start from the top: Had Ms. Williams-Bolar been white, she likely would never have been prosecuted for this crime in the first place (I’d love for them to show me a white woman in that area who’s gone to jail for the same crime). She also is statistically not as likely to be living in a housing project with the need to break an unjust law in order to create a better life for her daughters. Being black is also correlated with the fact that Williams-Bolar likely didn’t have the resources to hire the kinds of attorneys who could get her out of this mess (since the average black family’s wealth is roughly 1/10 that of white families). Finally, economic inequality is impactful here because that’s the reason that Williams-Bolar’s school district likely has fewer resources than the school she chose for her kids. In other words, black people have been historically robbed of our economic opportunities, leading to a two-tiered reality that we are then imprisoned for attempting to alleviate. That, my friends, is American Racism 101.
This case is a textbook example of how racial-inequality created during slavery and Jim Crow continues to cripple our nation to this day. There is no logical reason on earth why this mother of two should be dehumanized by going to jail and be left permanently marginalized from future economic and educational opportunities. Even if you believe in the laws that keep poor kids trapped in underperforming schools, the idea that this woman should be sent to jail for demanding educational access is simply ridiculous.
For anyone who believes that we live in a post-racial world and who can sleep at night because they believe the lies of “meritocracy,” how can you argue that people earn what they are given when THIS is a clear example of how folks are afforded different privileges such as the quality of education. If, as many would argue, we live in a post-racial world where everyone is granted equal opportunity and that those in power “earned” it, then with this logic, shouldn’t every child be given the same quality of education? I don’t know how anyone could argue that we live in a “merit based society” when such divisions between the advantaged and the disadvantaged are so clear. Every child would be given the same quality of education and the same environment in which to learn, live, and thrive. Obviously, this is not the case and oh hey, systemic racism is REAL.
“Our governments are not honest. They do not openly declare war against Russia and proclaim the reasons. They are fighting the Russian people half-secretly and in the dark with the lie of democracy on their lips.”—Helen Keller, 1919, in a letter to a New York newspaper (Source: Lies My Teacher Told Me, Chapter 8: “Watching Big Brother”)
While my mind may not be up to code, my body and its ability level are. Though my fatness puts me outside the ideal, my body faces no barriers and brings me no unwanted attention based on my ability level. There are no spaces that I cannot access because of my form of movement. I do not receive stares or unwanted questions because of my disabilities. I do not have to worry about the content of my food and what ingredients might attack me. These are only a few of the experiences I can have without fear of retribution because of my able-bodied privilege.
I got awesome and terrible secrets just aching to be set free.
All I need is someone interested enough to ask the right questions :D
hey help me ruin my reputation by asking me horribly embarrassing and/or taboo questions that i will answer with gusto. really, i think there may be a few people who still have some minimum respect for me in cairo and that just cant be!
“While we’re at it, can we stop trivializing decency in discourse by labeling it ‘political correctness’? Avoiding discriminatory and hurtful language isn’t some partisan posture. It’s just a basic step in not being a dickhead. Characterizing black men as rapists of white women isn’t a daring rebellion against oppressive thought police, it’s just racist.”—
I’ve had to do a lot of creative decorating, because I’m broke as a joke. One inexpensive and easy method was putting up maps. I’m from Kansas and we live in Virginia, so we have a map of both states on the walls.
Another thing I’ve done was put Bitch covers up on my wall. I think Bitch’s covers are really pretty, and it’s an easy way to be like “HEY Y’ALL, FEMINIST HERE” to anyone who visits my house and doesn’t know my political orientation. Since I’m writing for Bitch pretty regularly now, this will probably be retired when I move.
Another relatively cheap way we’ve decorated is concert posters. Some concert posters are super-expensive, but sometimes there are some simple and inexpensive ones. And often, there are a lot of concert posters posted to bathroom stalls or elsewhere, which will be thrown away post-concert, so we grab them. We used to go to a LOT of jamband concerts, and there were some really gorgeous fan-made posters. Like the beer posters, they’re a good record of where we’ve been and what our interests are.
I don’t have it up right now, but I also have a kind of photo quilt of my friends - pictures of us printed out and tied together with yarn. That was a nice dorm decoration, and I might do it again when I move cross-country.
Our bathroom is pretty hilarious in terms of decor. It’s made up of old metal posters my fiance had had from high school - we have a Dave Mustaine and a James Hetfield poster right next to each other, which has gotten some appreciation from Metallica/Megadeth fans.
My place is kind of small - I spend 80% of my waking time in this one big room - so there’s no real design elements. But it’s very much ours - it looks like us, both individually and as a couple.
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”—Elie Wiesel (via thechocolatebrigade)
“We believe denying the request is in the best interest of Jennifer (Gellar) and all the students on the Uvalde campus,” Joe Barker, dean of admissions at STJC, said in a news release. SWTJC spokesman Willie Edwards said the issue was never a choice of whether Gellar, formerly John Brigman, could live in the school’s coed or women’s dormitories when the new semester gets underway Monday. Edwards also said the lifelong resident of Uvalde who served in the U.S. Navy will be restricted to use only one restroom at the college. “Due to privacy concerns, we cannot go into the reasons behind this decision,” Edwards said.
Gellar is taking the denial in stride, telling KSAT that “the dorm decision doesn’t bother me.” However, the bathroom restriction is (rightly) rubbing her the wrong way; “that may be a violation of my rights,” she explains. The 51-year-old student plans to circulate a petition to override the bathroom restriction and allow her the same rights as her fellow STJC students.
Like Pastthestorm I'm amazed that you wrote that piece on crazy as a slur. It very much crystallises my opinion on the matter, and is the sort of point by point analysis I was going for with the table.
Though these words can be used in contexts totally separate from their oppression, they are still used in the context of oppressing people and serve only to normalise the concept of 'crazy = bad'.
I actually found very little in the way of non-bigoted slurs, and the ones found here:
...are frequently problematic. It uses 'numbskull' instead of 'retarded', which is hardly a change considering the implications of one's 'skull' being 'numbed' by brain damage or mental illness. A decreased availability of alternatives, and of knowledge about these issues, were my reasons for doing it.
But yeah, stay awesome and I hope to read more of your stuff in the future :)
Hi there! Thank you so much for the kind comments - I loved that graphic, and I am honored that I had a part in influencing it!
Ableist language is very unpredictable, and sometimes it pops up places you wouldn’t expect it. It’s so thoroughly worked into our language that mentally ill = bad, stupid, terrible, etc that it’s just about impossible to counter all of them or scrub all ableist language from one’s vocabulary. I know mine is always a work in progress. Having a convenient list of alternatives, like your graphic or the very helpful link, is always helpful, particularly for writers (and in that last sentence there, I almost used “handy” instead of convenient - case in point!)
Anyway, thank you for the very nice message. I look forward to reading more of your work as well! :)
While surfing to and fro on the internets, I came across this brochure on the devastatingly high rate of sexual assault worldwide. It’s better than any anti-rape material I encountered in college - it takes rape seriously, focusing on its impact worldwide. It talks about assault on women in frank, well-sourced terms, as a whole, and the high rate of assault against men (whose rape is often minimized) and youths.
But there are a couple of problems I see immediately.
First, it’s binarist. Sexual assault survivors are referred to as only “men” and “women” - intersex & non binary trans people are erased.
Second, there’s the wording referred to in the title: “1 out of 3 women worldwide has experienced rape or sexual assault” and “Studies show that 5-10 percent of men report a history of childhood sexual abuse”. I’ve written about this before, but it is very grating to me when rapists are erased from rape. People don’t just experience sexual assault - they are sexually assaulted, someone sexually assaults them. People don’t just report childhood sexual abuse - someone sexually abuses children. People don’t just experience rape - they are raped, rapists rape them.
This happens when writing about rape in the third person - as for the first, survivors can write about their sexual assault however they please. But when writing about a rape that did not happen to the writer, or assault in general, there’s a tendency to write about rape in a way that it just happens, that there’s no actor, no actual person committing a crime. They focus on the evidence, on the victim or survivor, and that’s the kind of framing that leads to victim-blaming.
Wording discussions of rape as if they just happened to someone else makes it seem like a rare and out-of-place happening, rather than an epidemic that causes serious damage to individuals, communities, and societies that rapists create, one at a time. Rape culture and the cycle of abuse creates, perpetuates, and trains rapists, but ultimately rapists are responsible for rape - not the experience of being raped.
Hi RMJ, someone else reblogged your commentary on the Lighthouse's alternatives to "crazy" chart and I'm having a total fangirl moment... I probably link people to the Ableist Word Profile you wrote for "crazy" than I do anything else, ever. So thank you for writing it! I think you did a really good job, and it's been a tremendous resource for me. :)
Thank you so much! That’s one of my favorite pieces from 2010, so I greatly appreciate your spreading it around. :)
But, next week I’m basically going to have to choose between buying food and buying hormones, and while I am intending to choose food, it’d be really nice if I didn’t have to make this choice at all. So: If y’all wanna help, I’d dearly appreciate that. (If not, it’s cool.) Thanks.
Australia, Brazil, and now Sri Lanka is in dire, dire straits
325,000 people are displaced with the death toll at 27 and rising. Many have no access to clean water or food, with a fifth of the countries crops under water. The following agencies are currently providing direct aid to Sri Lanka, please consider donating.
“I was doing an interview with some paper from the South the other day, and they were like, ‘So you must be pretty excited about all this Slumdog Millionaire stuff”. And I was like yeah, I am, and I don’t know why. I had nothing to do with that movie, it’s just some people who look kind of like me in an Oscar-winning film. But I’m excited, to see people like me in a move. Then I thought about, and I thought, man, are white people just psyched all the time? Like, Back to the Future, that’s us! ET, that’s us! Titanic, that’s us! Every movie except Slumdog Millionaire and Boyz n the Hood, that’s us!”—Aziz Ansari in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel last year. Love him, can’t wait for new Parks and Rec next week.
And the most upsetting thing is that this will probably not have any reblogs. We matter too.
same thing happened when Mexico was under water—it wasn’t just total ignoring—it was a criminalization process—the “dirty” water was “infecting” the people who were now “dirty” and could “transport disease” if we aren’t careful to keep them all locked out of the US…I think the US sent some pitful amount of “economic support”—like 1 million dollars or something…
I am having to hire an accountant this month for reasons that are not awesome - I might have fucked my financial shit up over the last couple of years, and I need help fixing it, because I suck at forms.
What I’ve found while looking for an accountant is that accountants are not very well accultured to our Internet age. In my area:
-no acccountants have websites
-no one reviews their experiences with accountants on Yelp or other places
-accountants must be contacted through the phone; I cannot e-mail them.
This has exceeded my tax problems probably by several expensive months. Obviously, the tax problems are basically my fault. But inability to comparison shop or figure out which accountant looks like it’s affordable/can help me specifically makes me nervous about choosing one.
And I have a LOT of phone anxiety, so I do not want to call them, at all.
Ugh. It’s just making a shitty and anxiety-creating process even more shitty and anxiety-creating.
I am referring, of course, to the great pie-cake debate of January 2010.
I recommend checking the notes there for other folks’ input on the subject.
Oh god, are we still talking about this?
The answer is clearly PIE, people. Pie. STOP DOING FEMINISM WRONG WITH YOUR CAKE.
You all ignored MUFFINS?
Oh, COME ON. Muffins? Muffins? Next you people are going to want to talk danishes.
I just want to know why it is that FEMINISM is always the one that is always expected to recognize and promote each individual person’s favorite dessert treats. Why can’t we just focus on the ways that cake oppresses pie? Why do we have to bring all of these other, completely unrelated pastry “issues” into it? Isn’t bringing which sweet treats you enjoy into our strictly cake vs. pie disscussion REALLY just another form of oppression?
fuck what y’all are talking about. COBBLERS DON’T EVEN MATTER TO YOU, DO THEY?
Uh-huh. And meanwhile, in this whole self-righteous pastrycentric scene, you know which dessert gets its concerns completely ignored?
Yeah, keep patting yourselves on the back about what good allies you are to PASTRY. It’s not like our vulnerable ICE CREAM population is being LEFT ON THE KITCHEN TABLE AFTER WE GET HOME FROM THE GROCERY STORE and is MELTING.
Although, you know which dessert has always been a good ally to ice cream?
Fucking pie. A LA MODE, people. A. LA. MODE.
I feel that cheesecake is being unjustly overlooked. Frosting and filling are tools of the patriarchy.
Mohawks (the hairstyle) are named after the Mohawk tribe. I’ve read a little of the discussion (aka denial) going on and haven’t seen this disputed, yet. It is called “a mohawk”, because the people who first appropriated it named it after where they took it from. So, wearing a mohawk is pretty much appropriation, because you are taking a hairstyle from a disenfranchised people so you can look ~*~rebellious~*~.
Saying that it’s not appropriation because you took it from the punks is like people in 10 years saying that wearing headdresses isn’t appropriation because they’re copying the hipsters. Also, the little “war paint” thing that you’re copying from the New Wavers is asshole-ish too.
I used to wear a mohawk, over a decade ago. I’ve watched this debate unfolding with some interest on tumblr today because, if I have to be honest if I were describe a culture as “mine” it would have to include punk culture. Punks are my people!
But this debate today has made me realize two things. 1) I am old. And a lot of y’all are *really* young. 2) Mohawks are appropriative! Of course they are!
My mohawk didn’t look anything like an authentic one. Usually it was spiked. (Side note - if you live in a cold climate, bees wax is an excellent way to get curly hair to spike.) I can honestly tell you that the seventeen year old me never even made the connection to Native American culture. THIS IS THE PROBLEM! The Mohawk tribe exists! The fact that most people associate the word with a hairstyle worn by a mostly white subculture than with the culture it came from IS ERASING. That is so not punk rock.
When I wore a mohawk as a kid I was being an ignorant uneducated ass. I had plenty of other hairstyles as a punk rocker, everything from chelseas to liberty spikes. There are plenty of things to do with your damn hair that doesn’t take away from others.
Do y’all remember when I posted about this wheelchair a couple of days ago? Let me be clear: I don’t, strictly speaking, need a wheelchair. I can walk, although it wears me out. But a wheelchair would, I think, substantially improve my quality of life/ability to get around/etc, and a $200 one seems a reasonable goal to be working toward.
To that end, if anyone can spare any money to that purpose, I would be so, so grateful. Again: I don’t need this. If you have limited excess money and want to donate to anything, consider the Queensland floods, or Pakistan relief, or heck, a local charity.
but if you have anything you can kick my way, it would mean a lot. For one thing, having a chair would mean I could conceivably (assuming I was able to get hired -_-) work retail or something else that currently would require too much standing for me to be able to manage it. Which would make such a difference to my financial state, I can’t even tell you.
Again, I hate to do this. And I’m not expecting anyone to give money. But if you want to, that’d be lovely.
Her name is Paola and she’s a Latina trans woman. The department of labor for our state is screwing her out of money she needs to pay her rent and buy food and right now she’s in the process of getting a hearing to dispute their actions and get her back owed money.
The problem is her rent is coming due soon and she doesn’t know how many more rents will come due before this hearing. So she’s very likely going to get evicted, with no job and no family or friends who can take her in nearby so she really needs to avoid being evicted.
I know what it’s like to be living in your car homeless and this friend of mine doesn’t even have a car. And the shit she, as a twoc, will face will be guaranteed to be worse than what I did as a white trans woman with a car to live in.
So if you can reblog this far and wide and donate through my paypal so I can give her money for rent and stuff that would be awesome.