Leila Khaled’s Message from Amed/Diyarbakır to #OccupyGezi
“You have to stay in the square, in Taksim, until the government accepts your demands. Don’t leave it. [Stay] there with your peaceful demonstration, your peaceful strike, sit-in. And I call upon women to join it on a wide scale everywhere, in the squares in different cities, not only in Taksim. Long live the people’s struggle for their rights!” — Leila Khaled
Leila Khaled is a politburo member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She is currently in Amed/Diyarbakır for the First Middle East Women’s Conference. Video by Barış Yıldırım (aka Ozan Baran).
For all the “third world” racist sensationalizing that VICE does, this is quite the exception. It provides a wonderful contemporary look at the current politics in Palestine.
I think it would also be wise to actually take a sober and honest look at the major popular resistance groups along with the major armed ones and dig deeper to see why this is so. Picking out this or that to look at “the most hardcore” (or whatever) group tends to put you back into that camp of Western assholes who sensationalize other non-Eurocentric cultures.
Fuck you for perpetuating the use of derogatory language towards trans women.
Fuck you for saying the only difference between a drag queen and a trans woman is “$25,000 and a good surgeon”, but also contractually excluding then from being contestants on your show.
Fuck you for not considering or caring that a lot of people watch your show who will believe whatever you say about queer and trans people because they don’t actually know any outside of tv.
Fuck you for pretending you care about being a role model for queer youth, and then dehumanizing certain queer identities that you deem it appropriate to make fun of.
Fuck you for thinking you have the agency to spread such hate under the guise of a joke because you’re a gay male and a drag queen.
Fuck you for making it ok for your viewers to repeat the hateful things you say.
Fuck you for perpetuating transmisogyny in gay communities.
Fuck you for validating gay men across the country who think it’s cool to throw around the word tr***y as an insult to one’s appearance.
Fuck you for making anyone who’s ever invalidated a trans woman feel comfortable in that decision.
Fuck you for encouraging your cast and viewers to make hookers the punch line in many a joke.
Fuck you for only ever talking about sex workers in a negative light.
Fuck you for not trying to educate your viewers as to where drag came from, and paying homage to the hookers and trans women who paved the way in the ball community.
Fuck you for pandering to straight people and giving them license to use queer language.
Fuck you for having Dan Savage on your show and displaying him as a beacon of the gay community when he’s even a worse spokesperson for queers than you.
But basically, fuck you for being one of the most visible gay icons and acting as such a shitty representative for us and using your fame to perpetuate stereotypes that get people bullied and killed on a regular basis..
Laura was a fellow student and youth activist from the Univ. of Alabama at Tuscaloosa when we met. She was my comrade and friend.
Even though we had a small interaction, I remember our paths intersection toward our own queer liberations, watching her fall in love with a beautiful trans man, become a proud social worker, and chatting online and supporting each other as we lived in two Southern towns which were (hers more so than mine) inhospitable to folks like us.
To my knowledge, she was on her way back from celebrating two friends getting married. Her last post was that she caught the bouquet.
I awoke about a week ago to my usual morning ritual: 11 AM (I work during the evenings, ok?), make coffee, yoghurt and cereal (that day was red velvet cake-flavor I believe), and youtubes and facebooks in bed. And then I saw this video. With so many people, all of them not trans women, saying “yeah fuck that guy!”
My first reaction was in earnest. Yeah. This guy was a transphobe. This guy misgendered that trans woman and called her awful names. That trans woman was justified in physically resisting that man’s verbal assault.
I was angry. I’ve seen other trans women being beaten on youtube. I’ve seen other trans women being jailed, put in solitary confinement in a male housing unit, and grossly and inhumanely treated. I’ve heard of many, many trans women murdered all over the world. But this is not restorative justice. This isn’t a moment of celebration. This is anger, and it hurts everyone involved.
It hurts me because “tranny beats a dude” is sensationalist fodder for the cisgender white world. “A trans woman of color beats this white dude! How outrageous! It’s if this person isn’t even human!”
It hurts me because my “allies” and friends have point-blank celebrated it because it looks “radical” and justified without knowing at all what being misgendered and ridiculed on a daily basis is like.
It hurts me to be critical of this because I really don’t know what this woman was going through when she chose to lash out at this asshole. I don’t pretend to understand being a trans woman of color is like, but I know as a trans woman this does not help us out. Not the act, but the way it was published online and how the cissexual world restamps it not an act of resistance but one of ugly violence.
There are serious problems in this. How can restorative justice exist between two strangers in a subway tunnel? What is the use of violence as resistance? What do trans women do if we are threatened?
We need a better way to resist. And I’m not saying that it’s up to “the trannies” to keep our anger in check. I’m saying that it’s up to all of us: allies, assholes, and general public. We need more constructive justice. Justice that hits down to the bone that feels much deeper than a fist punch. One that resonates deeply and dismantles ideas, not just bodies.
So today I’m writing about my purpose of starting a blog.
The funny thing is, I’ve started and contributed to a lot of blogs, mainly for political activist groups, but I’ve never had “my own.” One of the problems of blogging is keeping up with fresh content, not always reposting things, and engaging with your audience. I live a busy life, but by starting this I will try to commit to posting at least every other day. I hope people will find it helpful.
So this site is still under construction, but you can check out my about me section to see what I’m all about, or browse over to the sex column to see my recommendations for body-positive, feminist, and queer porn.
Here is my statement of purpose:
1. This blog will be transfeminist. As a trans woman, my voice has been shunned, mocked, fetishized, and rendered invisible in the hetero cissexual world. In many “queer” spaces, I have been excluded, tokenized, and made to feel that I must struggle for a space to not feel overwhelmed by cissexual gay, lesbian, bisexual, and (both cis and trans) male privilege. That stops here.
2. This blog will be politically radical. It will openly be against oppression, capitalism, cissexism, racism, patriarchy, traditional sexism, oppositional sexism, heterosexism, and ableism. It will openly advocate socialism, equality, ecological balance, gender liberation, queer liberation, and feminism. It will celebrate a diversity of sexualities and bodies, neurovarience, different abilities, and gender non-conformity.
Aaa, I’m sure I forgot a few -isms but you get the point.
3. I will strive to be an ally. I will not speak for those who are oppressed differently from me. I will try to engage people in good faith, knowing that I may never understand someone else’s experiences, but that all our oppressions are ultimately interconnected to one another as human beings. I will strive to stand in solidarity with those I am not a part of. I expect the same of those around me who wish to build a better world.
4. I will respect a diversity of opinions but will not hesitate to censor hate speech, trolling, or otherwise dishonest forms of communication.
5. I ask that you send me a request if you’d like to feature on of my articles in full on your site. Otherwise, repost, share, like and link away!
6. I will not always write in list form and embolden words and be super serious. I’m going to try hard to be authentic, be myself, show humor and seriousness and fear and (sometimes) poor grammar.
I’m also probs gonna change the banner to something more positive when I get a chance. Like some fists in the air or somethin.