Category Archives: queer

kit yan’s letter to HRC

this reminds me of the time a friend and i sat in a queer—err excuse me, glbt with a q following it on the next line—disability caucus meeting this summer. the group invited a HRC person to speak and when we asked why HRC had been invited, we were stared at. then when we spoke up against the group simply focusing on marriage advocacy with so much work to be done, they thought we were stupid southerners who were against gay marriage because of ignorance or overexposure to too much homophobia. needless to say, i left the meeting early, never having been talked down to so much. 

kit yan, from the good asian drivers spoken word duo:

you’re a force with responsibility
so listen, think, then act
you’re an icon of equality
so remember the colors of the community you stand for
you’re the face that the devil trusts
but you’ve become its reflection
hear us, please.
unfortunately we can not wait for you
we’ll be here when you return,
but we cannot wait for you
in the meantime, we’ll fight for ourselves…
-kit yan at 2:10

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Filed under community, links, organizing, queer

for teish cannon

last week we mourned the passing of duanna johnson. a few days later, another trans woman of color has been killed. this wednesday thursday is trangender day of remembrance, i hope you will remember our lost and speak out.

even after death
they stuff our bodies into boxes
ironing out the creases of our complexities
they use blades, fists
violence
institutions
and blood-tinged spit
to fold us into the faceless other
the soulless

even after death,
they refuse to recognize our names,
our genders, our loved ones.

even after death.
have you no respect?

no i don’t expect anything from you
i know better than that
but if not for who we are
if not for our communities
if not for the mourning families,
at least for the dead?

at least for the dead?
who, with your mocking
your open hatred
your silence,
have taken part in killing?

have you no damn respect?

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Filed under queer, violence, woc, writing/poetry

an open letter

Dear Wheelchair Dancer,

Hey sister— thanks for your blog post on the elections, racism, prop 8. I’ve been in such a funny place lately after all of this and your writing really helped me in naming why.

Sylvia posted a tweet the other day about wanting to wrap Obama in bubble wrap, Teflon, a condom, Fort Knox— anything— to keep him safe until January 20th. That’s kind of how I feel about my emotions. And I hate to sound cliché here, but also my hope. My head knows what this election means and what this election does not mean but I still want scream Yes We Can!, rock my Obama shirt in classes full of Republicans, and, well, just bask in the symbolism of it. I want to believe in what everyone else believes in for more than one night, even if a lot of it is compartmentalizing what I know and not thinking about things folks like Moya and so many others are sayin’. So I close my door, download all the free mixtapes people are producing for Obama, and bullshit around happily.

But then it changes, right? At least it did for me, couldn’t even last a week. I read a message from VivirLatino about another mass ICE raid where over 100 people are rounded up in Florida and separated from their families. I hear white racist gay folks getting time on the tv and then blame Prop 8 on communities of color! I get an email from someone I really care about saying someone she knows was being beaten to death from what seems like a hate crime. With tears in my eyes I read of Duanna Johnson’s death and then see talk show radio hosts trying to leave comments on my blog saying they’re advocates while simultaneously disrespecting who she was. All these things tear me right from that cloudy good place. These things come at me like a million lightening bolts, reminding me of all the work that needs to be done and more importantly, who will be the ones doing this work.

It will be us. We will do it cause there isn’t anyone else but us, the people, la gente. So like our dear friend asks in her blog— as organizers, as artists, as community-builders, as dreamers, how can we learn from his campaign? How can we get the folks on the ground, many who weren’t believers in power of people before, to keep dreaming and ready to pick up other tools? How do we stay focused? Clear-headed? How do we build this bigger than non-profits, projects, campaigning?

And what about when the evil, the hate, the bondage is internal— How do we combat these things when they come in the form of our communities, people we love? I mean I didn’t truly understand what racism and white privilege really meant until I got involved in social movements, you know? Is it possible to take these conversations happening post-Prop 8 and turn them into something that lasts? Will there be room to sew close our open wounds, our mistrust? And is it even worth it, trying to work it out with gays and lesbians who will always choose marriage, gentrification, assimilation and capital building as priorities, when so many fellow queers are homeless, forgotten, oppressed, closeted, beaten, denied their humanity?

I’m really hoping you have some answers, that someone has answers. In the meantime, thanks for being who you are, for our gchats, for the love…

In solidarity and w/ love,
cripchick

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Filed under activism, community, homophobia/heterosexism, internal change, organizing, queer, violence, woc

for duanna johnson

a picture of duanna johnson

sister, i am angry
furious at your death
upset with my own foolishness in celebrating him
while you die in the streets

with beatings, with violence left on your beautiful brown skin
with the names, the silence, the mainstream media lies
they refuse to let us ever forget that
guns penetrating our backs, we are always standing at the cliff of our own mortality

sister, i am in mourning
lighting a candle, i read this poem into the glimmering light
my poem is a prayer for you,
for the others i will never have the opportunity of knowing, and for the friends who mourn your death today
we will not forget. we will speak your name.

you said no!, you would not let police brutality and violence against transgender women of color fade into an invisible cloud of silence
you said no…
and now you are gone.

you are gone
but we will not forget.
the anger, the connection, the injustice just cuts too deep.
instead we will carry your name on our tongue
your bravery in our own ribcage
your memory in our work
we will wear red everyday
remembering you
and countless of others

we will not forget, sister.

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Filed under queer, race, violence, woc

re: a letter around anger and bravery

dear zach:

love, thank you for your letter to me. in these last few weeks, i have found that having these open conversations about our bodies and our experiences with authority and capitalist industrial complexes [systems of prisons, schools, non-profit organizations that are about making money] have been completely liberating in how i view myself and how i am able to interact with others. i love you and am so thankful for your words, your honesty about wrestling with everything, your power.

i feel like talking about our bodies is what made intersectionality “real” for me Continue reading

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Filed under community, disability, queer, woc, writing/poetry

recap on the weekend

I feel hopeless when I’m supposed to be speaking on sexual consciousness but am feeling disconnected from my own body because I don’t look white, skinny, or able-bodied like the masses of queer people there

I feel like I’m misleading people and betraying my own when I talk about disability in a cross-disability intersectional framework and the only visual image people are getting is that disability=mobility because the only disabled people presenting (including myself) are wheelchair users

I feel home when I fly into North Carolina and am surrounded by bodies of all sizes, shapes and colors— my, how one can miss this love/hate relationship with the South is surprising

Like this weekend, I sometimes feel invisible

Like this weekend, I sometimes feel like I talk about disability too much, but this is hard to balance when I feel like I am brought somewhere to only talk about disability

Like this weekend, I am unsure what the future holds or what community actually looks like for me

Here’s to friends that remind me why I am in this, the spirit of community, and those disabled people and allies who through all this, made the sessions and trip worthwhile.

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Filed under ableism, activism, community, disability, queer, queer issues/culture

Oh no! Queer and Disabled… All At the Same Time!!?!

An article on queerness and disability came out this week titled Double Outsiders. When I think of disability and sexuality I think firstly of the exclusion we face in both circles and then the tabooness of it all. This article really reminded me of how many of our people are living in group homes and institutions and how their sexuality (and freedom in general) is so unbelievably oppressed. How is it that it’s almost 2008 and in many ways we haven’t come very far? I guess I can’t be surprised…it’s not like I’ve told my parents or home health nurses either..:

“Dating for people with developmental delays can be difficult, whatever their sexual preference. Even if two people are interested in each other, it can take months just to set up a meeting among guardians and caregivers — sometimes as many as a half-dozen people — who must sign off before anybody even thinks about heading to a movie or a restaurant.

Leslie Falanga tried to help her brother, Andrew, arrange a date with a man he met at the support group. Because neither man could drive, transportation was an obstacle. And with house rules that prohibit closed bedroom doors, privacy was not an option.

So Falanga dropped her brother off at the other man’s group home. It was a junior high-style first date, with bright lights and hovering chaperones. When it was time to say good night, a staff member drove Andrew home.

And the relationship “really didn’t continue,” Falanga said. The logistics were just too difficult.” –Double Outsiders

There are so many articles about how lonely disabled people are, how frusterating is it that most would never to connect it to conditions like this.  

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Filed under disability, queer, sexuality