all the way to pony island

Sep 11
adventuresinblunderland:

the-middle-eastern-feminist:

Perfect example of how patriarchy uses racism and classism to prevent solidarity and create division between women.

"to prevent solidarity and create division between women." Can not stress enough.

adventuresinblunderland:

the-middle-eastern-feminist:

Perfect example of how patriarchy uses racism and classism to prevent solidarity and create division between women.

"to prevent solidarity and create division between women." Can not stress enough.

Aug 28

OK, TIME TO BLOW UP SOMEONE’S SPOT

partybottom:

PartyBottom will tell you about two experiences she had with HIV health providers today: Last night, PB was sent this highly filtered Facebook post:
———- ——- feeling drained 11 mins · Unbelievable that my program, which serves transwomen and men who have sex with men, is being threatened with boycott because one if my referral sources found out I go to fest. Deeply hurt and disappointed. Not sure how to process this. Tired of being in the closet about going to fest just to protect my damn job.

To clarify, PartyBottom is on professional terms with this person’s deal is that he very much “passes” as male, “performs” male in his daily life and work, and (I would venture to say) generally is perceived as male probably 98.8% of the time. He works at a center which, in their branding, and on their website, serves many HIV+ clients, including “trans women and men who have sex with men,” in one breath, a population that has historically been blurred together, often to the detriment of trans women’s ability to access services.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: the deal with this guy is that for two weeks a year, he goes by “she,” in order to go to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. And works with trans women and gay dudes the rest of the year.

Now, PartyBottom has gone on record as Officially Done With Caring About Michfest, but when it starts FUXXING WITH MY AIDS SERVICES, THAT’S WHEN I GET MAD, OK?

AND, TO CONTINUE: just the other day, I was in a meeting at the New York City Department of Health with this guy, a “community outreach session” designed to develop a public health campaign in New York around PrEP, the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, which has had much media coverage as of late (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

There are a million reasons why this “community outreach session” was not in fact a “community outreach session,” but instead just a dog-and-pony show so the DoH could say it did its due diligence by being in touch with the people or whatever, but those reasons are boring and typical: it was at 9am on a Monday morning, in some faceless office building in the financial district, with high security where you had to show ID (hello excluding many trans and undocumented people) and THERE WAS NO DAMN COFFEE — but that brings us to the meat of the thing, which really kind of went downhill from there, if you can believe it.

PS: PartyBottom, always the intrepid journalist, was one of two people in the room who were not affiliated with some kind of heavyweight professionalized organization, or historicized activist group.

(This is wrapping back around, trust me, stay with me here.)

The first panel of the morning was on “Populations That Have Traditionally Received HIV Outreach: Men Who Have Sex With Men, Men of Color, and Trans Women.

See above, insert frowny face. Even one cisgender women in the room who admittedly she only knew everything she knew about the transgender community from RuPaul’s Drag Race was like, Wait. I don’t get it. Why are we talking about trans women on this panel? They’re women. Moreover, PB would contest the claim that it is easy for trans women to find trans-specific information about HIV, especially around PrEP. In the initial research presented at the meeting, we learned that of all the PrEP campaigns designed so far in North America (about 50, if PB is not mistaken), two — TWO — are aimed at trans women.

As far as the discussion on men who have sex with men went, it was an extremely sophisticated and nuanced conversation. Many concrete suggestions were made: why not, for example, instead of translating pre-designed campaigns for English-speakers, hire people whose primary language is Spanish to design campaigns? Why not start thinking of HIV less as a binary (positive-versus-negative) and more of a continuum? (HIV undiagnosed, HIV diagnosed, HIV on meds, HIV undetectable, HIV negative, HIV negative and on PrEP, HIV status unknown, etc etc etc) which absolutely reflects more the reality HIV/AIDS in the US today? Why not, instead of talking about “safe” sex only in terms of condoms and seropositivity, we start talking about harm reduction sex, including the myriad ways people find mindful and careful ways to explore their sexuality in a world where HIV still exists, both with and without condoms and PrEP? What are the intersections of social justice and HIV — you know what really causes HIV? Not lack of condoms, not lack of access to PrEP: racism, sexism, poverty and homophobia, that’s what.

These are some serious thinkers, here in this room. People who are extremely careful with language.

And then, (sad trombone), it was tokenization time. “Well, we were going to invite this awesome trans woman to talk about PrEP, but she couldn’t make it, and then we tried to invite this other awesome trans woman to talk about HIV, but she couldn’t make it.” Since PB had been the only person to identify herself as both transgender and HIV+ in the room (THE MICHFEST DUDE HAD NOT) she was called upon to, were she so inclined, speak on behalf of ALL TRANS WOMEN’S CONCERNS RE: PrEP.

Fortunately, PB had been taking notes the whole time and is pretty good at public speaking ex tempore. I went up to the mic and gave a little speech on the fly, which, to be honest, could make up an entire other post (and probably will.) Unfortunately, THIS WHOLE DEBAUCLE WAS UNFORTUNATE, AND WENT ON TO BECOME MORE UNFORTUNATE.

Because the next panel, “Under-Represented Populations: Women and Undocumented People” started out with a big ole slap in the face. As the panel was introduced, it was made clear by the moderator that in this case we were talking about cisgender women. Then, a brief discussion ensued on the meaning of cisgender, since about half the people in this highly educated room had not heard of it. (Like, you know the guys from that Academy Award nominated documentary, How To Survive a Plague? One of those guys was there. It was that kind of crowd.

Then, the panel starts with a (white) woman, who started out her speech: “Yeah, well I guess I’m here to represent ALL WOMEN on this panel. I don’t know about all this cisgender stuff. I will tell you right now, I think that word is stupid. I don’t work with cisgender women, I just work with women. Period.”

Now, look. It is the opinion of PartyBottom, Inc., that the intergenerational language wars around contemporary trans discourse in the last six months have probably done more to alienate intergenerational communities and individual people from each other than to unite them, which is probably a bad thing; moreover, go ahead, call PartyBottom a tranny, a shemale, a he-she, a shim — whatever slur you can think of: it will probably hurt my feelings and I will be annoyed with you, but at the end of the day I know who and what I am and no one can take that away from me. Who I allow to call me what depends largely on context.

BUT (and this is a big but, since we’re talking about context) we were in a room full of people who were there to design communication, and thus had up until that point been extremely careful and nuanced about language. And I mean, in that atmosphere, where everyone is going as far out of their way as possible to not step on each others’ toes, it felt like a slap in the face to be told that naming a hegemonic group that has historically oppressed trans people is just “stupid.”

I raised my hand. I politely objected. I asked for the mic. She kept talking, and steamrolled over me. So I left.

I got up, and walked out of the room.

A couple of nice people came chasing after me, including a nice gay dude who said, (verbatim quote) “Don’t let her get you down, please come back in, girl, you just got hit with the stigma stick!” and another woman who was there on behalf of an organization of people of color with HIV and was equally annoyed with this woman’s tone, said to me, “Look, for one thing, that woman up there does not represent all women, and for another, you need to be in that room. Your voice needs to be in that room.”

You know who did not come out in a gesture of solidarity? MICHFEST TRANS DUDE, THAT’S WHO.

But I just couldn’t take it. I was hungry, I was tired, I was emotionally and intellectually exhausted. I went to the bathroom. I cried.

Then, I snuck out of the building, via the service elevator.

I guess this is why PartyBottom makes a better writer than an activist, huh?

I felt terrible afterward. Just another hysterical trans woman, storming out of the meeting in tears after one off-hand remark. Like I had not just let down myself, but all trans women with HIV.

As I understand it, later in the meeting there was some resolution around this stuff, and I was contacted later by the DoH and someone from TAG (the Treatment Action Group, historically a very very big deal in HIV research and treatment) so this story is still ongoing. More as it develops.

But the reason I tell it is to illustrate how trans women are systematically shut out of the process of decision-making around HIV prevention and education, and how, sometimes, trans men are complicit in this. ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY GO TO MICHFEST.

I don’t want this guy to lose his job. I don’t want his organization to suffer — they do good work. I want him to take some accountability, and to clean up his act, and to maybe stop supporting an ancient bastion of transmisogyny on his summer vacation. I mean, whatever.

BUT, REMEMBER: I told you this was the story of two HIV social worker stories. Remember, PartyBottom is about BYOPMA: Bring Your Own Positive Mental Attitude.

Today I went for some benefits counseling at the granddaddy of ‘em all, the most stately and centurion and (perhaps ill-managed, if you read the papers) HIV service org in New York. And, I waited two hours to see a counselor there. But it was SO WORTH IT.

First off, when the receptionist told me who I was going to be seeing, I was shocked. She’s still here??, I asked incredulously. After dealing with constant, unending turnover in HIV service nonprofits, it was so refreshing to walk into an org that has changed locations, and, five years later, retained the same awesome staff member.

And she was just so awesome. She has always been so awesome. Organizations can sometimes be fucked, but at the end of the day, organizations are just made up of people, and this particular worker is very, very good people.

I have a feeling — I don’t know this for sure, but I get the sense that she has been working there for well over 20 years. She knows her shit. I was asking about some health insurance questions (specifically, some creative ways to perhaps get around the Medicaid exclusion for trans surgery in New York — she didn’t blink an eye or skip a beat about this), and she had all the information I needed, (and then some) and was funny, charming, witty and humorous, all at exactly the right times and maintaining the exact right tone throughout the entire interaction.

I noticed she happened to have a copy of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves on her dest. As we left, I mentioned I needed to use the bathroom and she was like, Okay, the women’s room is kind of schlep — it’s way down the hall past the stairs to the right. We really are working on getting gender neutral facilities. I was like, oh, don’t worry, it’s no big deal — like, I don’t mind finding the bathroom on my own — but she was like, look, to some people it is a very big deal, with this tone in her voice that to me indicated 1) it sucks that women who come to GMHC, who often have mobility or breathing difficulties due to illnesses associated with HIV, have to make such a long walk to find the bathroom and 2) that she realizes that gender neutral restrooms are essential to serve a variety of transgender clients, not to mention families and all the other people that single-stall restrooms serve.

By-the-by, it came up very naturally in the conversation that she had been married to a man for a very long time, so, I’m guessing — and of course I could be off the mark here — she identifies as a straight, cisgender woman. POINT: solidarity is an act, a series of acts, a lifetime of choices and self-education, a deeply felt human compassion, NOT a button on your goddamn denim vest. Or, even really a matter of identity, when it comes right down to it.

The point is, She knows not only the theory of how the VAST, ENORMOUS HIV bureaucracy operates in New York, but how it plays out in practice. She knows all the ins and outs of everything, because this is work she has dedicated her life to. She was, frankly, the picture of competence.

When I am her age, she is who I want to be. God bless her.

WAAAAAAY TL;DR — When it comes to trans women and HIV, there are lots of young trans dudes out there who Totally Don’t Get It, and there are lots of people (straight people!) who have been around since this virus caught fire who do, and I am grateful to them every single day.

Aug 04
Jul 29
stackedlady:

I have never wanted to sign a change.org petition before

stackedlady:

I have never wanted to sign a change.org petition before

Jul 10

On Trigger Warnings and the Myth of Community

labrujamorgan:

Recently, trans bro Jack Halberstam wrote an article called You Are Triggering me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma. It is rife with crappy Monty Python references and historical inaccuracies. The main thrust of the article is that trigger warnings used by young people creates divisions within queer communities and keeps us from focusing on the real enemies. Jack goes on to say that trans women telling non-trans women to refrain from using the t-slur is censorship and play on politics of respectability and assimilation. That once upon a time in the 90s feminists and queers could take a joke and now one can’t do anything without being called out. The article reads like an adultist treatise that amounts to a glorified “kids these days”. 

All through out the article is the unspoken assumption of community. Jack operates from the presumption that we all exist in the same community. That we all have the same stake in triggers, in racist/transmisogynist language and actions. Jack assumes that we all have the same level of vulnerability or assume the same amount of risk when the t-slur is thrown around. He labors under the neo-liberal delusion that everyone’s trauma is equal. He says that trigger warnings erode community but we were never in the same community to begin with. 

I have only heard this line of reasoning from white cis queers, from white trans men and masculine folks. They want us to pipe down so that they can speak for us (us being trans women of color) and exploit our labor, our lives and our deaths so that they can justify their assimilation. Because if being a tenured professor isn’t assimilation, I don’t know what is. Folks like Jack don’t really care about community until someone tells them to stop and than suddenly they cry that we are all one community and why aren’t we talking about the real problems? Never mind the racist/transmisogynist behavior in the first place.  

But people like Jack are the problem. Language and ideas are the basis for violence, both structural and interpersonal. The t-slur is used to dehumanize trans women, specifically trans women in the sex trades, and is justification for our murder. The caricatures of trans women in the media dehumanize us and justify our murder. The way Jack frames the problem as trans women being divisive by telling non-trans women to stop using the t-slur shifts the focus off the people who are actually being oppressive, namely Jack. People in power are never seen as divisive, its those in the bottom who tell them no. 

Jack argues that trigger warnings put an overemphasis on individual safety and not systemic causes, but this isn’t a zero sum game. We can both be conscious of people’s needs for safety and be aware of systemic oppression. Trigger warnings also don’t stop the triggering material from existing. It gives a pause to mentally prepare oneself. And that warning can facilitate someone being able to have a deeper engagement with the material because they were prepared. Jack says that trigger warnings perpetrate this individualistic notion of trauma and leads to what is called “oppression Olympics”. But its only white queers who want to silence people of color and trans women who ever use this argument. 

In the end, people who complain about trigger warnings or about not being able to say certain words are selfish. They care more about themselves than building community or trying to dismantle systems of oppression. Because you can’t build community with people whose neck is under your boot. You can’t dismantle oppression by doing the same exact things that oppressors do. 

Jun 19
MOOLISA!!!

MOOLISA!!!

Jun 19
traaashhhhkat:

some chill positivity from a 1998 Sesame Street book about the letter F

traaashhhhkat:

some chill positivity from a 1998 Sesame Street book about the letter F

Jun 09
mtfbutches:

queensasha24:

This is the best

Every girl. Every woman. Regardless of parts… Is a daughter of Themyscira!

mtfbutches:

queensasha24:

This is the best

Every girl. Every woman. Regardless of parts… Is a daughter of Themyscira!

May 27

Anonymous said: Whilst I'm not exactly sure this is the appropriate place to ask, I just can't restrain my curiosity and I'm not sure where else I could ask- how could I get in touch with you as a hooker?

http://alexis-ts.com/

May 25

tomierevenge:

sick to death of trans men being considered magically exempt from criticisms of men as a whole as if they did not internalize the shit directed at men wrt how to see/treat women knowing that they are not women, but rather men. i know they did bc i was once one of them and had internalized such things and was also privy to the things trans men said around other men only and other trans men only. trans men are not a different breed of men wrt how they see/treat women, they are a different breed of men wrt how they are treated and seen as trans people. sick of pointing this out to people and being called transphobic, lmao