SlutWalk: A Testimony By A Transgender Man

June 9, 2011 by clownyprincess

The below is a transcript of a speech given at Melbourne Slutwalk this year on the 28th May. This speech was given by a transgender man who was assigned female at birth and socialised as female before asserting his true identity as a man. He was raped both when society perceived him as female and after his transition. 

The amazing, powerful & wonderful testimony he gave as one of five awesome speeches prior to the march itself was considered by many to be the highlight of the event.  Even a nearby policeman was spotted crying as he listened to this story!

I am proud to know this man and call him my friend. He has given his permission to me to share his speech on tumblr. We encourage you all to reblog and share it further.

He has, however, asked that his name not be attached to this post.


(Trigger warning for discussion of rape and assault)

I just want to make it clear that I am here on behalf of myself only. I do not represent anyone but myself and my words are all my own. Public speaking is not something I’ve done before so please understand if I don’t seem confident in my speech as I never actually feel safe in public.

Firstly I’d like to state that I chose to speak today as a masculine voice because I think it’s important that all voices are heard. 

I speak as a transman, 

as someone who was socialized as female, 

as someone who accesses masculine privilege (amongst many other privileges), 

as a survivor of sexual-assault 

and 

as a survivor of victim-blaming.

I’d also like to state that my views of female socialization are incredibly strong throughout this speech and that I recognize that women are not the only people subject to sexual-assault.

This is a trigger warning:

I am going to be talking about sexual-assault that I have experienced. I will not be going into detail about the attacks but I am going to be using the word “rape” as it is very important to me to use it’s strength to keep myself strong.

I have been sexually assaulted both as a female and since finding myself, as a trans man. It has taken me years to stop blaming myself and sometimes I still find myself doing so. I struggle a lot with the fact that as a woman, I felt too unsafe to report my rape to authorities but somehow felt safer to do so as a transgender person. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I felt this way and I’d like to share some of my thoughts.

I never knew what it felt like to be a woman, even before I knew I was a man.

When I was still in the closet about my gender, I was taking all my pointers from society. I knew I had to reach someone’s expectation of femininity and tick someone’s box to be a “real female”. These boxes I thought I had to tick were as simple as past-fashioned stereo-types “girls have long hair”, “girls wear dresses” etc and as relatively complex (for a young teen) as “if my sexual partner is a female and I am a female then I have to identify as a lesbian…unless of course we invite a boy into the picture, which makes me bi”.

What I never realized when I was trying so hard to be female is that I was actually doing what far too many people do and not questioning WHY I had to do these things and who’s ideas or expectations I was attempting to live up to.

Since knowing that I am trans and learning more about my rights, since stepping away from being female, since stepping into the privilege of being read as male, I have been able to see SO clearly just how much I was blaming myself for everything. The guilt I had when I was trying to live as female was overwhelming and it makes me feel SO sick to my stomach to think that there are still people existing and living every day with this unwarranted guilt over their heads.

I’d spent far too many years blaming myself for my own rapes. For my state of intoxication at the time, for what I was wearing, for how I was behaving, for how I was dancing and who I was dancing with. For choosing to spend my last $20 on booze instead of a cab and therefore having to walk home. For not being physically strong enough to keep the rapists off me and for even leaving my home in the first place.

For hundreds of years, women have been socialized to feel responsible for everything. 

To feel responsible for everything negative. 

To feel negative for feeling.

There is so much self-doubt slammed into women by society that even if other people aren’t blaming them, survivors will be blaming themselves.

Within the last six months, I opened up to my mother about an assault I had lived through. Her initial reaction was something like “WHO DID THIS TO YOU? I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL THEM” but within what could not have been more than five minutes, her headspace had shifted to “When did this happen? Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Don’t I support you enough? I’m a terrible mother. How could I let this happen to you?”

We were two hysterical beings filled with rage, sitting in our pjs and bawling our eyes out. I wasn’t crying about my rape. I was crying that my mother was blaming herself.

After holding her and comforting her until she was able to hold herself, I was left feeling guilty. I felt guilty for making my mother cry. I felt guilty for not being able to support her more. I felt guiltY for not being able to convince her it wasn’t her fault. Then I felt cold. Why was I comforting someone else because they were upset that *I* was raped? Where was my comfort? Then another rush of guilt came. It was my fault my mother knew I’d been raped. It was my fault she was crying. It was horrible of me to want more comfort. I felt guilty for needing to be held.

I wish so much that years ago, someone had have told me that my rape was not my fault.

I URGE PEOPLE:

If anyone has ever been brave enough to share with you information about being assaulted. LET THEM KNOW IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT. If you are standing near someone who is OUT about being a SURVIVOR, tell them: IT IS NOT, WAS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE THEIR FAULT.

**

Since living as male, in queer and feminist communities as well as the huge world outside of my privileged bubble, I have had hardly anything aimed at me to feel that ANYTHING is my responsibility. I am sick of women’s voices being the only voices speaking up against rape. I am sick of SURVIVORS’ voices being the only voices speaking up against rape.

It is not the responsibility of survivors to educate everyone else on rape.

Same as it is not women’s responsibility to educate people on sexism; it is not the responsibility of People Of Colour to educate naive white people on racism. It is not the responsibility of people with different ability to educate people on Ableism. And it is not the responsibility of trans* people to educate cis people on trans* issues.

If you come from a place of privilege, it is your responsibility to recognize that, educate yourself and educate OTHERS.

I have walked down a dark main road, after midnight both as a woman and as a man. There is a REASON a lone woman will cross the street to AVOID me.

DUDES, MEN, MALES, FELLAS, GUYS: I can not say this enough, it is YOUR responsibility to educate yourself on rape. It is YOUR responsibility to educate your friends on rape. It is your responsibility, just for accessing your privilege, to use it the best way you can.

If you believe in women’s rights. If you believe in feminism. If you believe women and men should be equal. Then I dare you to doubt yourself, I dare you to strip yourself of all your safety, I dare you to wear clothes that society will scrutinize you for. Wear something that will get you attacked. THEN recognize that there is nothing a woman can wear that WON’T get her attacked.

I don’t know what else there is I feel I can say. I’m exhausted. Thank you so much for your time and thanks Clem for giving me the opportunity to speak today.

I’m going to leave this unfinished because this dialogue should only stop when rape stops.

Thanks.


Same old answer.

Reblogged from uryel March 6, 2011 by clownyprincess

wundagore:

Elliott just asked the Marvel panel about GLBTQ characters. They basically said “we already have gay characters” and “well you know we’d have to get a trans writer ‘cause we can’t write outside our own experience and it’s not like we could make an effort to hire a trans writer”. Uhg.

Sigh.


November 19, 2010 by clownyprincess

faketrain:


The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises  public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action  that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns  and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be  forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people  in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance  reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters,  parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a  chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those  of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence. (http://www.transgenderdor.org/)

Adelaide, South Australia - Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm at Light Square, Adelaide.
Brisbane, Queensland - A small and safe candle-lit gathering in Remembrance will be held Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 6pm at Paradise Park, in Highgate Hill.
Sydney, Australia - Will be Holding Transgender day of Remembrance services: 6:30pm Friday 19th November and 10am Saturday 20th November at Emanuel Synagogue, 7 Ocean Street, Woollahra, NSW 2025, Australia, by Dayenu (Sydney’s Jewish GLBTI group).
- Still Fierce will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, November 20 at 11.30am, and performances hosted by Regrette Etcetera from 6pm - both at 33 Wellington St, Sydney
These are the only Australian events I know about..
http://www.transgenderdor.org/ for a list of events around the world.

I should be at the Still Fierce event for at least a little while (I’m booked to do two burlesque shows at two different events that night!). At any rate, I encourage all trans-allies to come along. I may go to the Synagogue service too.

faketrain:

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence. (http://www.transgenderdor.org/)

Adelaide, South Australia - Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm at Light Square, Adelaide.

Brisbane, Queensland - A small and safe candle-lit gathering in Remembrance will be held Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 6pm at Paradise Park, in Highgate Hill.

Sydney, Australia - Will be Holding Transgender day of Remembrance services:
6:30pm Friday 19th November and 10am Saturday 20th November at Emanuel Synagogue, 7 Ocean Street, Woollahra, NSW 2025, Australia, by Dayenu (Sydney’s Jewish GLBTI group).

- Still Fierce will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, November 20 at 11.30am, and performances hosted by Regrette Etcetera from 6pm - both at 33 Wellington St, Sydney

These are the only Australian events I know about..

http://www.transgenderdor.org/ for a list of events around the world.

I should be at the Still Fierce event for at least a little while (I’m booked to do two burlesque shows at two different events that night!). At any rate, I encourage all trans-allies to come along. I may go to the Synagogue service too.


Reblogged from bludhavenbird November 16, 2010 by clownyprincess

I try to keep this blog focused on Harley Quinn, Joker & occasional ranty politics - well, this definitely falls into the ‘politics’ category so I think it’s appropriate.
It’s a really lovely and heartfelt personal testimony on a young man who is trans and how he identifies with Dick Grayson. 
I wish I had been this insightful and thoughtful when I was 16! DC - take note. This is your audience and this is what they are getting out of your work. Make sure you strive for inclusivity. 
the-boy-wonder:

-Warning: Extreme Comic Geek Content- When comics get brought up in a conversation, this question is inevitable.” So who’s your favorite superhero?” Spider-man? Nahh. Batman? As much as I talk about him (lol stfu Alex »;; )… he’s not!Actually, my favorite masked vigilante is Nightwing, aka Richard Grayson! :oAnd as many times as I tell people this, they never really get or know why. A lot of them automatically assume it’s because the animated series Teen Titans that ran back on Cartoon Network for a while was like my favorite cartoon for years. AND WHILE THIS IS TRUE… It really has nothing to do with my choice. In fact, when I look back, that show had a lot of poor representation when it came to Robin compared to what I’ve read now :’D Ahaha… I feel like a traitor.Nah, but Nightwing serves a lot as a sort of personal role model and guide, as stupid as it sounds. But, it really makes sense if you look at the character’s history! Look back alllll the way to Dick’s origins. The original boy wonder, his role in the comics and as a sidekick to Batman was completely solidified. I mean, everyone saw him pretty much in one way. The kid, the sidekick. Aid to the Dark Knight of Gotham. And that seemed to be fine with him, until he started entering his teenage years where everyone begins to discover who they are and become their own person.Entering the Teen Titans, Dick had always struggled to be free from the shadow of his former mentor. Even as the Titan’s leader, he was still Robin and one has to admit, when you hear ‘Robin’ you automatically think “Batman”. He couldn’t be his own man. Eventually he realized what he needed to do, so Dick cast away his old identity as the young squire to the Dark Knight, and stepped into his own spotlight as Nightwing! He still struggled though, and this change in his identity sparked a lot of altercations with Bruce, someone who’d supported and raised Dick almost all his life.Dick had a tough time losing the support of one of the most important people in his life and it led to a lot more trouble down the line, but it also did him some good I think, because now he had no one he had to impress. No one’s standards to meet but his own, which were just as rigorous if not more than Batman’s because Dick wanted to prove himself by serving his own city and eventually becoming his own man and hero.Now then you might ask what the hell that has to do with anything, but just look at it, and I think at least all my trans followers here will start getting it…See, while not completely on the same level, I can still relate to Nightwing’s character and history so much.With my situation as an ftm, for the first half of my life, I’d only been seen one way, and unfortunately it wasn’t as Batman’s sidekick. As a kid, I couldn’t do everything I wanted, I couldn’t roughhouse with my friends because I was a “girl”. I had to act differently, in the way that society sees and portrays girls as acting. Guh, so much hate. =A= This, while frustrating, didn’t really start bothering me until I was a little older and I starting realizing I couldn’t take this being who I was any longer, I couldn’t live my life the way I was. This is the point where I really began identifying with Dick’s character. Because you want things to change and you have a need to be seen as something completely different than what your peers, friends and family has known all your life.  I’ve also noticed that around the beginning of my transition was when I reaaally started loving comics. I think this it part of what makes them such an amazing art form. They can effect you emotionally and a lot of characters can influence readers as if they were real, living, breathing, people. This is what Nightwing’s done for me. As I began to struggle with figuring out who or whatever the hell I was, he was there to guide me through it all, and completely understand my problems.  Essentially, like him, I had to let go and say goodbye to a huge part of who I’d previously been, my gender. While part of me was ecstatic at shedding this identity, it was also sad and really terrifying. Because as much as I’d come to hate that part of me, it still had been me. Y’know? And it’s playing a huge role in who I’m becoming now and in the future. And then you have to come to terms with it, ” I’m no longer ____. “ and ” I’m becoming ____. “ I can also relate to how this has effected his personal relationships. Like with his adoptive father and mentor, Bruce. I mean, look. This had been someone Dick was trying to please and earn respect from for years! And suddenly, due to Dick’s new identity and wanting to become his own man, different views and other issues, his relationship with somebody really important to him had been obscured. My parents are completely supportive, but I still wonder daily if they’ll really ever accept me as their son, rather than the kid  who’s replaced their daughter. Much like how I’ve imagined Bruce has experienced in some way, with accepting the fact that the kid he’d become so reliant on being the contrast to his dark persona was leaving and becoming somebody much different. It’s hard to know when you’ve finally gained respect and recognition as the person you want people to see you rather than it be something their doing just to appease you, especially when it comes to parents. And on some level, you can help but think that you’ve disappointed them in some way. I know this is something I’d struggled with for a long time, and something Dick had struggled with a lot in his early years as Nightwing when it came to Batman.Richard Grayson’s come a long way though. Through all the years and all the struggles he’s had, he’s emerged completely as his own hero and identity. He’ll always be connected to his past as the original boy wonder to a lot of people, especially those close to him. But those who see him now, will know him as the hero of Bludhaven, Nightwing. And that’s what I want. Eventually, I just want to be seen the way I want to be seen, as just another guy. Currently, that’s a challenge, and it’s one I’m more than ready to face now, and a lot of the thanks for that goes to Dick. In so many ways he’s helped me more than any counselors or doctors have or will and so he’ll always be my favorite superhero no matter what.~~This suuuuper long and cheesy rambling brings me to a lot of the reason why I want to write comics. Amazing artists and writers are those who contributed to this incredible character and inspired me to keep on going no matter how hard it’s become. I want to do the same for people with my characters and stories. I want to be able to inspire people and give them strength as well, and if I can manage to do that for even just one person, I’ll have accomplished that goal.IN CONLCUSION: I SALUTE YOU, DICK GRAYSON! I have to apologize and commend anyone who actually made it through this long and pointless post. I’ll put more interesting stuff in the future, honest!

I try to keep this blog focused on Harley Quinn, Joker & occasional ranty politics - well, this definitely falls into the ‘politics’ category so I think it’s appropriate.

It’s a really lovely and heartfelt personal testimony on a young man who is trans and how he identifies with Dick Grayson. 

I wish I had been this insightful and thoughtful when I was 16! DC - take note. This is your audience and this is what they are getting out of your work. Make sure you strive for inclusivity. 

the-boy-wonder:

-Warning: Extreme Comic Geek Content-

 
When comics get brought up in a conversation, this question is inevitable.

” So who’s your favorite superhero?” 

Spider-man? Nahh. Batman? As much as I talk about him (lol stfu Alex »;; )… he’s not!

Actually, my favorite masked vigilante is Nightwing, aka Richard Grayson! :o

And as many times as I tell people this, they never really get or know why. A lot of them automatically assume it’s because the animated series Teen Titans that ran back on Cartoon Network for a while was like my favorite cartoon for years. AND WHILE THIS IS TRUE… It really has nothing to do with my choice. In fact, when I look back, that show had a lot of poor representation when it came to Robin compared to what I’ve read now :’D Ahaha… I feel like a traitor.

Nah, but Nightwing serves a lot as a sort of personal role model and guide, as stupid as it sounds. 

But, it really makes sense if you look at the character’s history! Look back alllll the way to Dick’s origins. The original boy wonder, his role in the comics and as a sidekick to Batman was completely solidified. I mean, everyone saw him pretty much in one way. The kid, the sidekick. Aid to the Dark Knight of Gotham. And that seemed to be fine with him, until he started entering his teenage years where everyone begins to discover who they are and become their own person.

Entering the Teen Titans, Dick had always struggled to be free from the shadow of his former mentor. Even as the Titan’s leader, he was still Robin and one has to admit, when you hear ‘Robin’ you automatically think “Batman”. He couldn’t be his own man. 

Eventually he realized what he needed to do, so Dick cast away his old identity as the young squire to the Dark Knight, and stepped into his own spotlight as Nightwing! He still struggled though, and this change in his identity sparked a lot of altercations with Bruce, someone who’d supported and raised Dick almost all his life.

Dick had a tough time losing the support of one of the most important people in his life and it led to a lot more trouble down the line, but it also did him some good I think, because now he had no one he had to impress. No one’s standards to meet but his own, which were just as rigorous if not more than Batman’s because Dick wanted to prove himself by serving his own city and eventually becoming his own man and hero.

Now then you might ask what the hell that has to do with anything, but just look at it, and I think at least all my trans followers here will start getting it…

See, while not completely on the same level, I can still relate to Nightwing’s character and history so much.

With my situation as an ftm, for the first half of my life, I’d only been seen one way, and unfortunately it wasn’t as Batman’s sidekick. As a kid, I couldn’t do everything I wanted, I couldn’t roughhouse with my friends because I was a “girl”. I had to act differently, in the way that society sees and portrays girls as acting. Guh, so much hate. =A= 

This, while frustrating, didn’t really start bothering me until I was a little older and I starting realizing I couldn’t take this being who I was any longer, I couldn’t live my life the way I was. This is the point where I really began identifying with Dick’s character. Because you want things to change and you have a need to be seen as something completely different than what your peers, friends and family has known all your life.

 I’ve also noticed that around the beginning of my transition was when I reaaally started loving comics. I think this it part of what makes them such an amazing art form. They can effect you emotionally and a lot of characters can influence readers as if they were real, living, breathing, people. This is what Nightwing’s done for me. As I began to struggle with figuring out who or whatever the hell I was, he was there to guide me through it all, and completely understand my problems. 

 Essentially, like him, I had to let go and say goodbye to a huge part of who I’d previously been, my gender. While part of me was ecstatic at shedding this identity, it was also sad and really terrifying. Because as much as I’d come to hate that part of me, it still had been me. Y’know? And it’s playing a huge role in who I’m becoming now and in the future. And then you have to come to terms with it, ” I’m no longer ____. “ and ” I’m becoming ____. “ 


I can also relate to how this has effected his personal relationships. Like with his adoptive father and mentor, Bruce. I mean, look. This had been someone Dick was trying to please and earn respect from for years! And suddenly, due to Dick’s new identity and wanting to become his own man, different views and other issues, his relationship with somebody really important to him had been obscured. 

My parents are completely supportive, but I still wonder daily if they’ll really ever accept me as their son, rather than the kid  who’s replaced their daughter. Much like how I’ve imagined Bruce has experienced in some way, with accepting the fact that the kid he’d become so reliant on being the contrast to his dark persona was leaving and becoming somebody much different. It’s hard to know when you’ve finally gained respect and recognition as the person you want people to see you rather than it be something their doing just to appease you, especially when it comes to parents. And on some level, you can help but think that you’ve disappointed them in some way. I know this is something I’d struggled with for a long time, and something Dick had struggled with a lot in his early years as Nightwing when it came to Batman.

Richard Grayson’s come a long way though. Through all the years and all the struggles he’s had, he’s emerged completely as his own hero and identity. He’ll always be connected to his past as the original boy wonder to a lot of people, especially those close to him. But those who see him now, will know him as the hero of Bludhaven, Nightwing. And that’s what I want. Eventually, I just want to be seen the way I want to be seen, as just another guy. Currently, that’s a challenge, and it’s one I’m more than ready to face now, and a lot of the thanks for that goes to Dick. In so many ways he’s helped me more than any counselors or doctors have or will and so he’ll always be my favorite superhero no matter what.

~~

This suuuuper long and cheesy rambling brings me to a lot of the reason why I want to write comics. Amazing artists and writers are those who contributed to this incredible character and inspired me to keep on going no matter how hard it’s become. I want to do the same for people with my characters and stories. I want to be able to inspire people and give them strength as well, and if I can manage to do that for even just one person, I’ll have accomplished that goal.

IN CONLCUSION: I SALUTE YOU, DICK GRAYSON! 

I have to apologize and commend anyone who actually made it through this long and pointless post. I’ll put more interesting stuff in the future, honest!



You need to read this now, whether cis or trans.

Reblogged from massmilitantpoetry November 10, 2010

cartographies:

Nearly half of living trans people–surviving trans people–have attempted suicide.
Nearly half of those of us who did not succeed in killing ourselves have tried.
Nearly a tenth of us will be murdered.  Nearly half of us will be raped.  Most of us will experience violence from loved ones and almost all of us will be denied homes and jobs.  This is not hyperbole.  These are the numbers as the world currently stands.  But the most devastating one, as far as I am concerned, is that first one.  Nearly half of the living have tried not to be.  That is:  let’s leave behind all the nearly.  More than half of us have tried to end our own lives and many of us have succeeded.  We are a heartbroken people.

This is not arbitrary.  This is not a mistake.  This is not for no reason.  This is because we live in a world that has systematically forced into us the falsehood that we are unworthy of the basic consideration of humanity.  This is because we–and we are a beautiful people, a powerful people, a beloved and phenomenal people–have been fed falsehood after falsehood until we were convinced that we were the problem, and not the campaign, from the institution on down to the individual, to erase, denigrate, break, and murder us.  This is the failure state of the communities we live in:  our families, our religious communities, our political leaders, our movements, our governments, our cultures.  This is us–trans people–as a people–being forced to carry the weight of an entire world’s failure.
If we are so desperate to escape this world–if we see no other alternative, or worse, loathe ourselves so very much–it is because our communities have failed us.  They can do better.  We can do better.  We deserve better.  We are not so full of self-hate because something is wrong with us.  We do not do such terrible violence to ourselves because that is what we deserve.  We do not abdicate the belief in our own inherent dignity and worth lightly or easily.  It is torn out of us, little by little, in daily, tiny murders.  And every time we cringe and scrape and apologize for breathing, for taking up space, for speaking, for loving, every time we ask for forgiveness just for being what we are, every time we internalize story after story about how we are dead to our loved ones, ask to be brutalized, need to expect that what we are will merit every door closed in our faces, we are participating little by little in our own suicides.

I am no longer interested in sweet words about this.  We convince ourselves we are the problem because we are taught to do so, and we are all taught this, minute by minute, even those of us who mostly don’t believe it.  We are reminded every hour how low and vile we are despite our best efforts.  If you have for an instant believed that you are unworthy of love, that you are wrong, that you are anything less than a person, it is very simply because your community has failed you.
When you have been told you are less than human–less than sacred–less than beautiful–your community has failed you.  When you believe it, it is because your community has failed you.  I do not intend to mince words.

If you are out there believing that you are less than other people–that you are unworthy–that those who love you are settling, or tolerating, or deserve your apology–that those you love are not lucky to have your love–your community has failed you.  Your family has failed you.  Your faith, if you have one, has failed you.  Your leaders have failed you.  If you or the people around you are using words that make you feel like a thing; if you are frightened to have basic bodily functions in public; if you talk about yourself like a disease, not a person; if you see nothing ahead in your old age but the bleakness of despair, isolation, and abuse; if your youth is a neverending desperation to get out and away to somewhere you cannot trust exists; if you are quietly taking your bag out from under the seat another has taken from you and moving on instead of asserting yourself; if you are telling yourself it is excusable for other people, even loved ones, not to afford you the basic respect of your own name; if you are believing this is the best you can do, they have let you down.
You deserve better.  Because you are not the problem.  You are not broken.  You are not worthless.  You are not a problem and you are not a mistake.

We talk a lot about principles and rights, but I am not talking about rights and don’t want to.  Rights are the purview of politics and I don’t want to talk politics.  I don’t want to talk analysis or discourse or theory.
I want to talk morals.  It is a moral issue that our community is full of despair and self-hatred and self-disgust.  It is not a matter of rights.  It is not a matter of laws or votes or commandments.  It is a moral issue.  It is a theological issue.  It is an issue of fundamental, basic human-ness.  And I think sometimes we, as a community, especially those of us so proud to be radicals, forget that sometimes we rush ahead of the community, the culture, the people to whom we are connected, and want to talk about our rights before we talk about what we deserve and why we deserve it.  We want to talk about protecting our own before we give each other reason to believe we are worth protecting.  We want to jump in with both feet and spread the word about what we ought to have in society without convincing our people that we are worthy of not just full participation in society, civil or social, but of love.  Of beauty.  Of truth.  Of basic humanity.  Of self-respect.

This is not about self-esteem.  This is not about self-help.  This is a moral issue.  This is an issue of the basic liturgy of human interaction–because it is our daily rituals that define the four corners of the world and the arches of the sky, it is our stories that tell us how to recognize our own faces, and we have been denied our place in the human liturgy for far too long and it is long past time to erupt up from the landscape that conceals us and demand, not just our rights, but the basic essential core of worth and decency that makes us people and therefore worthy of rights in the first place.  We have been denied this and we have been told we are the problem.  Those of us who are political, like me, hear often about ourselves as a cause.  Those of us who are academic, like me, hear often about ourselves as a concept.  But we have gotten ahead of ourselves because too many of us–leave alone everyone else, us!–have not heard about ourselves as people.  We have been excluded from our own landscape of story and ritual.  We have been ejected from our own moral universe.  We have been torn from our own regard.  And we are killing ourselves by degrees because of it.  At eight years old I put a kitchen knife to my chest and pushed, and it was only a miracle that caused me to falter and fail.  That eight year old child was not the problem.  I was not the problem.  A world that taught me that I had no place in it, that taught me to look away from my own holy truth and afford myself not even a scrap of the respect I agreed all other people merited, that taught me that nothing done to me could be wrong because my own moral universe did not include me–that world was and is the problem.

If for a moment in your life you have spent a breath or a thought hating yourself, looking on yourself with disgust and contempt, it is because people have let you down, and those people were wrong.  You deserve not to submit to them.  You were never the problem.  If for a moment you thought your family, your friends, your lovers, needed to compromise to love you, thought they could do better and have a real person instead, it is because your community has let you down, from the top to the bottom.
If our leaders cannot tell us this–if we as leaders cannot tell each other this–we are fundamentally and profoundly abdicating our responsibility to our people, who are crying out for justice.  If you run a church or a support group or a political faction or a newsletter or a website.  If you speak to our people in public, if you guide young people or those just discovering themselves, if you are entrusted with the responsibility to guide any of us, and you do not make it clear that we are whole, we are real, we are worthy, we are beautiful?  You are letting us down and you can do better.  You can do better than letting that lie go unchallenged.  Our people are hungry for the truth.  We are starving.  If you deny them that food, if you feed them garbage instead, it is on you.
This is not politics, or theory.  It is a moral issue.  We are under the arch of the same sky, and yet we are denied the sight of it, leave alone the hope that we might be virtuous enough to share in holding it up.

We are not the problem.  We are not broken.  We are not dirty.  Wrong is not our name.  We are not wrong.  It is long past time to recognize that though we may lose much from truth-telling, when it all burns away, everything that is left is true.
Do not trust me because some great Word is in me.  Trust yourself and the Word in you.  Trust that you are brim-full of truth.  Trust that there is a mighty and lie-less core within you that from birth has told you that you are full of what is good, and trust that the fact you cannot hear it ringing out over your landscape is because it has been buried by other people in a landfill of falsehood.
The fact that you can doubt the truth within yourself is because your community has let you down.  And we can do better.  We deserve better.  We are better than that.  We are not wrong.

I do not intend to mince words.  Whatever there is in you that tells you that you are not worth loving, not worth living, not worth fighting for:  burn it.  Burn it down and dig for the truth underneath.  Dig down through the ashes of all those lies until you hit bedrock and then, pushing off from it, rise up.  We walk in places much too dark and terrible to deny ourselves this.  In a world that sanctions and blockades our sources of spiritual nourishment, we carry too much already to weaken ourselves by collaborating with this enforced and unjust impoverishment.  We deserve to rise up, and, even if only in ourselves, nurture revolution.

We are real people, beautiful people, and we deserve families, communities, movements, and cultures that honor us.  I think we can have them.  I believe we can make them.  We are part of this human family, worthy, complete, pure, and mighty.  And we ought to be able to say this out loud and to ourselves until we know that it is true.

Welcome to church.


Reblogged from genderqueer September 6, 2010 by clownyprincess

genderqueer:

“Paps matter for trans men” (or anyone with the parts, for that matter)
Poster from Check It Out Guys, a campaign for trans men’s health.

 Awesome.

genderqueer:

“Paps matter for trans men” (or anyone with the parts, for that matter)

Poster from Check It Out Guys, a campaign for trans men’s health.

 Awesome.


"Some women have a penis…. some men don’t….. and the rest of the world is just going to have to get the fuck over it"

Reblogged from August 31, 2010 by clownyprincess

Julia Serano (via pansexualpride)