Many of us understand sex and gender as categorically separate when envisioning trans women. How do we enforce transmisogyny through biological essentialist views of what we define as “sex” when imagining trans women? This storify examines how we enforce physical & ontological gender violence through non-consensual cisnormative separations of sex and gender. Sex is very much a gendered concept with its own colonial and violent baggage.
Note: This is a partial storify. Read the full version here
Over the weekend, #NotGoingtoBrazil and #NoVoyABrasilPorque became populist hotbeds of anger and frustration at the Brazilian government. While these hashtags are certainly reminiscent of #SochiProblems, the tweets are less focused on unfinished hotels and toilet troubles and more on the underlying political and infrastructural problems that have plagued this World Cup.
this is really powerful
First Aid Kit - “Stay Gold”
What if my hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won’t take me there?
Oh, I wish, for once, we’d stay gold
What if to love and be loved’s not enough?
What if I fall and can’t bear to get up?
Oh, I wish, for once, we’d stay gold
oh fuck he getting it
omg this is fucking adorable.
I just love watching lives through windows. I was strolling alone last week (on the way to a bookstore, on the way to a birthday house party), and skidded to a stop when I saw a woman framed, foggy in gauze drapes, putting on her makeup near a window, a television light dancing behind her. I stood and watched until a woman passing by looked at me, concerned (for herself). It just blows my mind every time to think of all of us, crammed into the world together, living such separate and similar lives.
This my speech that I did for CLPP!
realized that posting a transcript of the speech might be a good idea :)
I remember the first time I it really hit me that I would never bear children. It was six months into my transition and I was at a pizza parlor, waiting for my order. They were playing Fox News on the TV and some talking heads were blathering on about abortion restrictions. And the thought just came out of nowhere. I would never be able to birth a child. Sure, I could freeze some of my sperm and perhaps in some hazy future a child would be born with my genetic material but it would never come from me. I would never feel the baby’s first kick in my belly nor would I endure the pain of labor. And the thought filled me with sadness. I collapsed into a chair and just started to cry.
I’m sure the new hormones coursing through me had a lot to do with my strong emotional reaction, (this was not the first unexpected emotional outburst I had in those early months), but the question of family making is one that has stuck with me all of these years. What does it mean to build a family when you will probably never have children? What does it mean to build family when girls like me are being killed before their 30s? What does it mean to build family when elders are rare or unseen? What does it mean to build family in a world that constantly seeks to erase your history, your pain, your triumphs? What does it mean to build family where even in radical queer communities transmisogyny is rampant and unchecked? What does it mean to build family when desire is so hard to come by?
Lets not get it twisted. Trans women of color are the most beautiful and perfect of Goddess’s creatures. But desire for us is kept secret. You don’t build families with girls like us. You don’t take girls like us to meet your mother. You don’t take girls like us down the aisle. And this isn’t just cis men I’m talking about. Cis lesbians are just as quick to say that desire for trans women is strange (but strangely they don’t seem to feel the same way about trans men, because its all about vagina right?). Sexual agency, who is deemed desirable and who is deemed disposable are reproductive issues. Desire for girls like us can get us killed. We are at the same time hypervisible, hypersexual, and yet completely ignored when you cut the lights on. Desire does not exist in a vacuum and it is so crucial that we interrogate what kind of bodies we find attractive and what kind of bodies repulse us. It is important that we understand how desirability can lead to access and how lack of desirability or shame of desirability can lead to violence.
Violence against trans women of color is a reproductive issue. We are unable to build families because of state violence, because of we don’t have access to transition related care, because our economic opportunities are limited, because most girls like me are killed before they reach 25. Put simply, if trans women of color cannot reproduce because of the violence that we face, than it is a reproductive issue. If we cannot build the network of people and community that constitutes a family because of the transmisogyny we face, than it is a reproductive issue. If we cannot find people who will cherish us and desire us for who we are, than it is a reproductive issue. If we cannot survive, if cannot thrive, than it is a reproductive issue.
Audre Lorde says, “Poetry is not only a dream or a vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.” So it is in the spirit of that quote that I leave with you with this.
Dreams drifting down
Dreams drifting down my lover’s
Reaching across the bridge
Ancestors breathing up
For my baby unborn
For my sister living rough
For my auntie lost in the old days
For my mother struggling to get back home
Muerta pero viviendo aqui
En las lineas de my palma
I build for you
I live for you
There are days
Days where my underwear
Scratches the inside of my thighs
Days where my makeup
Burns the soft creases of my lips
Days where my hands shake
And nothing feels right
I remember to breathe
Feel the soft core
See the smooth veins cording over
I am alive
Girls like me only have one ending
And I am still shocked
My lover asks me
How does your story end today
I close my eyes
Surf beating on the shore
The smell of fresh turned earth
Sunlight on my cheek
Lips full of papaya
Surrounded by the family
We built together