Femme FATale

remember a lot, heal a bit

i read leo’s post last night about feeling a little bit stuck post-election, not knowing what to say or write next, and found myself tearing up in agreement. i think what leo is articulating so honestly in this post is what a lot of us are feeling right now – happiness and shock over barack obama’s win and then disbelief and anger over all that’s happened since. and i’m trying to move past the prop 8 stuff, but calling out the scapegoating by queers on people of color has me tethered to it tighter than ever. my stomach lurches every time i hear someone else mention those reports of queers protesting, slinging slurs at black folks in the midst. and it hasn’t stopped with those early stories. the advocate, one of our most renowned glbt (i will *not* use “queer” to describe the advocate. ever.) has the most truly offensive cover one could imagine right now. “gay is the new black?” really, advocate? are you going to play this appropriation game? are you really going to further pit queers and black folks (as well as other communities of color) against one another by making *this* the slogan of the gay marriage debate? the subtitle of “the new civil rights struggle” does little to soften the message; in fact, it feels unclear to me whether or not we’re supposed to interpret gay rights as the “new civil rights struggle” or the growing tension between queers and people of color. when did it ever become a good idea to compare and contrast oppressions across difference?

i am awe-struck by what we are witnessing and have never felt more detached from my community as a result. earlier in the week i wrote about what is at risk in focusing only on homonormative issues like marriage and ignoring others, citing the murder of duanna johnson as the worst kind of example of this. last friday, another transwoman of color was murdered in syracuse, new york, teish cannon. that’s two transwomen in barely two weeks. my brain can barely process it, let alone my heart.  racialicious noted in a post this week there was an increase in racially motivated hate crimes during and post-election season, as well. we are funneling so much energy and money into having the right to marry, but so many of us are overlooking physical violence and death. what are we in the midst of here? despite a win in the white house, the aftermath is terribly frightening to me.

today is transgender day of remembrance and i’m going to attend services to remember those whose lives have been cut short because they’ve dared to be themselves. i’m going to go and remember duanna johnson, teish cannon, 15-year-old lawrence king, and the other 26 named and the however many who are unknown and unaccounted for. in this space, with fellow queers and allies, i’m going to try and feel like part of a community again. one that is able to think across sexuality, gender, and race to realize how these oppressions operate in tandem with one another; they are not separate to the point of dividing us so starkly. i’m going to hope to feel part of a queer community that is capable of wanting equal rights, including marriage rights, for everyone and simultaneously challenging what it means to make our relationships and our love “normal.” what’s at risk when we strive for this? who and what goes unnoticed?

today is a day for those we’ve lost, to remember them, and their place in or queer communities, or queer families. it’s also a day to heal a bit, soak up some love and strength, and figure out how we manage to move forward, fix this terrible rift we’ve caused, all while honoring the memory of queers who have lost their lives so violently in fighting this fight to just be.


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I’m remembering my trans siblings with you, sistah… and I hadn’t seen that Advocate cover yet – in fact, I always kinda ignore them…. but they have to be kidding, right? Are they trying to cause a bigger schism? I say, let the actual queers unite and start a revolution – all those LGers who care more about their wallets and their maybe-someday-in-the-future kiddies… well, it’s time they weren’t in charge anymore…


Comment by trailerparkqueer

[…] remember a lot, heal a bit […]

Pingback by Shared Items - November 21, 2008

Thanks for this post. I’ve been blogging about Prop 8 a lot, ’cause its passage has emotionally affected me a lot more than I thought it would, given that I’m a polyamorous malcontent who’s not terribly interested in getting married. It’s certainly a civil rights issue, not “THE” civil rights issue, nor “The last great” civil rights issue as the Advocate cover claims (hello? what about immigrants’ rights? fat acceptance? the continued exploitation of workers in a globalized economy, etc?) I will say that I found myself feeling like a second-class citizen on Wednesday, November 5th, deeply, in my bones. But the dialogue needs to hold the complexity that the struggle for same-gender marriage is both like and not like the African American Civil Rights movement. For me, a white, college educated woman in 2008, the stakes are very different than they were for a poor or working class African American in the 1950s or 1960s, and the stakes are different still for people of color now, who face deadly and soul-crushing racism, even if there are particular civil liberties that are now (more or less) protected. In the game of pitting oppressions against each other, we fail to acknowledge the similarites that should bind us together as allies, and we also fail to articulate the differences that should be cause for nuanced analysis rather than antagonism.

Comment by bree

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