Tag Archives: queer

Post the Seventh 2 or On Social Capital and the Queer Community

Last Monday I helped organize a town hall about race, class and transmisogyny in queer performance in Austin. The weeks leading up to it were stressful and frustrating. We, as the organizers, were getting a lot of push back and critiques on how we were organizing the event. And often times, we were down right harassed and called names. It was hard for me to continually get updates from the Facebook event page with mostly negative responses.

But we pulled together and really carried each other through each moment. It was a very intense bonding experience and I have grown to appreciate these people in ways that are profound. I know I would not have been able to get through it if it were not for them.

Something that really struck me through this entire process was the amount of social capital involved in creating this event and in calling out the folks who were being fucked up. Social capital is loosely defined as the relationships and networks that people have that allow them to do certain things. Conversely, it talks about the way that the social networks that we have allow us to avoid doing certain things, like survival sex work etc. It also defines the ways in which certain folks have access to social capital and social support and what that access looks like. And in a lot of ways it talks about who gets a pass on certain kinds of behavior and who doesn’t.

Of course, we as organizers had access to social capital in order to organize this event and get people to show up. We definitely reached out to our friends and networks in order to mobilize folks to come and to speak. The fact that we were the organizers gave us a measure of power over how the event looked like and what was gonna go down.

However, on the Facebook page for the event, there were constant demands for transparency in the organizing team. Those folks with greater social capital in the community came for us about our accessibility, what our intentions for organizing this event were, and who we were. There were even calls to postpone our event so that full community accountability and participation could be achieved.

Don’t get me wrong; I think community accountability  transparency and participation is hella important. And in many ways, we as organizers strove to be all of those things. My issue, however, is that other organizations and events, and even the person who was posing most of these questions, are not being held to such a rigorous standard. Nobody was asking the organizers of Poo Poo Platter or Queerbomb to be fully transparent about their intentions, who their organizing team is, to ensure complete safety and community participation.

The other thing that was occurring was that the folks that we were calling out, the folks who had racist or otherwise fucked up elements in their performances, were being commended for their bravery. They were commended for the fact that they were present. And while I definitely recognize that it takes courage to show up to something you know is going to be uncomfortable and challenging, I can’t help but wonder how much of this adulation is actually deserved. When I step on someone’s toe, I don’t get a special award for apologizing or being present for someone else’s pain. This is just what decent human being do when they have harmed another. So why are they praised so highly for doing something that should just be expected?

The answer to this, I think, is their access to social capital. As prominent and well liked performers, they are going to have access to much more social capital then we have. As folks with more community power, they are going to be able to get away with much more than we would. Moreover, as mostly white or light-skinned folks, they are going to be seen in a more sympathetic light than we were.

The other thing too was that we were painted as divisive. We were the ones who were causing the trouble. While at the same time, it was the fucked up performances that started these conversations and isn’t that so great? The feats of intellectual acrobatics to hold both of those things is rather boggling. We are at the same time held as the source of the problem and the ones reacting to the problem.

I was also amazed that through this whole process I was, arguably, the most fiercely attacked of all of the organizers. Detractors were calling me out by name, saying how much of a liar I am, how I had an agenda against the folks we were calling out and how I should be removed from the organizing of this event because I am not a credible source of information. I was the only trans woman of color on the organizing committee and I got the most shit.

Over and over again, in the town hall, I heard white queers say, “If we don’t come together to have these conversations than nothing will change. If we stay segregated, nothing will change.” And it frustrated me because that again elides the fact that we are not on a level playing field. White and light skinned folks have greater access to all kinds of capital than people of color and dark skinned folks. Those in power will have more leeway and be able to dictate the terms of the conversation. We cannot come together to talk about these things without acknowledged the differences of access and power.

The biggest lesson that I learned through this whole process is that I cannot commit my energies to talking to white folks. I cannot focus on trying to change them because I can’t. And because it just creates more trauma for myself, for my partner and my community.

What I need to focus on is creating community with other queer people of color. Because in pouring my energy into that, I can begin to heal and start to form those networks that contribute to my survival and my flourishing.

Post the Eighty-Forth or For Cherríe

I am not

Your daughter

The apple that slipped

Through your brown

calloused mouth

Was never meant

For me

But I see


Within me

Our vision clouded

By the heartache

De nuestra Madre


¿Por que?

¿Por que?

¿Por que?”

Why did they


my Daughters?


With a body

That betrayed me

Mi india


My gender

@ odds

There is no factory setting

But they told me

I was built


And so

Do you


Yo sí sé

Que somos


Because who else

Could see


My queer brown (trans) woman


Post the Sixty-Eighth or Forced Silence/Forced Speech

My body is like the land

Lush and wild

Untamed and beautiful

The hairy expanse of my thighs

Mirroring the long rolling hills of forest

The smooth perkiness of my breasts

Reflecting the heartbreaking heights of mountains

The soft brownness of my skin

Matching the fecund loam of the earth.

My body was once untouched by the white man’s Rapaciousness

And then

They came with their guns

And their ships

And their Pox

They came with their Great White God

And their Great White Book

They came with their promise of “civilization” in one hand

The lash in the other

Civilization always seems just out of reach

The lash is always too close

 400 hundred years

And 1600 seasons later

She says

I don’t see race!

He replies

Will someone please think of the white Man!

And my head is pounding

 ‘Cause My body is still colonized

The land of my foremothers is still being desecrated

And I am still struggling to survive in a world

That hates all things


Pushing my way against the swiftly-moving river

Of violence and lack of resources

That somehow has managed to make itself invisible

They say that we’ve come a long way

That so many things have changed

That hope has come at last

But now I’m fighting for recognition of my oppression

On top of the oppression itself

And it’s like trying to scream

When your attacker is already at your throat

Like trying to escape a thousand tiny pinpricks

While your whole body chained to the ground

Like having rocks tied to your feet

Being thrown into the sea to drown

And never dying

Say something in Spanish for me

He demanded

As if the language of my people was a

Circus trick

  That I was required to perform at his request

As if my vocal chords were his to command

How’s this

Come mierda y muérete

Colonization is the stuff

Forced Silence/Forced Speech

Is made of.

Post the Sixty-Sixth or Why I am a Fierce Bitch

Every morning I paint my face

With three words stuck on repeat




Every day I pound the pavement

With three words stuck on repeat




My look is my life

And my walk keeps me safe

Because I know what happens to young brown

Trans women

If we are not being harassed


Or killed

Then our voices

And the narratives that we have written for ourselves

Are being ignored


Or invalidated

Whether I am at a queer party

Or walking home late at night

I need to be read

And read well

Perhaps that’s why I get so frustrated

When the brush doesn’t do precisely as I demand

I look in the mirror knowing

That to fuck up

Is to take a risk I can’t afford

Perhaps thats why my face

Is carefully sculpted into two expressions

“Don’t fuck with me”


“Really don’t fuck with me”

I look into the eyes of others knowing

That to show weakness

Is to invite death

They were surprised

When he told them that I was a sweetheart

He told me

I see you

And I am shocked

That anyone has the eyes

To truly see me

And what a blessing that is.

Every night I lay next to my lover

With three words stuck on repeat




Post the Sixty-Third or Feel Me

He said that I write

With a pen dipped in blood

But I wonder

Is it my blood

Or theirs?

I’m angry

That bring down whole buildings

kinda anger

That cut people up

kinda anger

Anger that starts in your belly

Works it way up into your heart

And out your eyes like lasers

kinda anger

Mountains move at this type anger

And whole societies are built

With this kinda anger

This is that anger that yo mama

Warned you about.

My hands are soaked in gore

From beating against this pavement

Trying to dig holes in concrete

With nothing but nails and fingertips

So that I can plant this precious seed

Of rebellion

Given to me as a gift from those

Mothers that came before.

Can you cultivate plants from stones?

The lines on my palms are cracked and hard

Callouses rising to meet the scabrous sandpaper of daily living

A physical reminder

Of memories and histories

That have not passed.

His death is as keenly felt today

As it was 50 years ago

Or yesterday.

The latest felled tree

In a long line of deforested land.

I will chain myself to my lover

And bomb the logger’s machines

And shoot down the lumberjack himself

Before they harm even a limb

I still worry that won’t be enough.

The conversation is the same every time

A corrupted MP3

On repeat for 400 years

Only now

We debate over it’s very existence

Does a colored queer actually rage

If there is anyone around to feel her?

Post the Seventeenth or Dismantling Power Part I

The past few weeks have been an intense lesson in power and how it manifests. In many ways, this lesson is much more intimate and closer to home than the other daily subtle lessons in power for reasons I will mention later. Two events stand out in my mind. This post will address the first, stay tuned for the next one.

The first was Pride. The Pride parade was itself fun. We had kick ass young people and amazing volunteers and staff there. We had a phoenix puppet and a banner and I was equipped with a bull horn. We marched, we chanted, we rabble roused. There are three reasons, however, why that morning was a lesson in power. The first was the spectators, the second was the corporate sponsors and the third was the lack of people of color. The Pride parade was originally intended to be a celebration of queerness. It was to fly in the face of all the heteronormative institutions. It was one huge middle finger to heteronormative and cisnormative society because it said that we would not conform. It said that we would live out loud and that we demanded acceptance and celebration of our identities. And it was filled with trannies, people of color and poor people. Back then there were no spectators and no corporate sponsors.

The fact that there are now straight and queer people watching from the sidelines is very telling. It tells me that for many of those people, whether consciously or unconsciously, the battle is already won. We have assimilated into mainstream hetero culture. It tells me that they have accepted the privilege of heteronormative culture. To them, Pride isn’t about rejecting heteronormativity and class privilege. To them it is about showing het culture that we are “just like them.” It is about acceptance through assimilation.

The fact that there were corporate floats and corporate sponsors and the fact that you have to pay to get into the parade (and festival) shows me that our community has been in many ways transformed into a commodity. We are a community to market to and because of that there is a media illusion that most queer, or rather gay, people are affluent. Again, Pride isn’t a celebration of our myriad identities but rather an event where corporations can sell shit to middle-upper class white folks. Pride has become the biggest symbol of queer assimilation.

Not only were there a preponderance of corporate sponsors but there was also a dearth of people of color. This speaks to me the most because it says that in many ways we have forgotten or failed to take into account the intersectionality of identity and we fail to stand in solidarity with people of color. The fact that there were very few people of color and organizations of color marching in the Parade highlights the fact that Pride is not about queer culture but rather about white heteronormative culture that includes gay people. It perpetuates the illusion that the only gay people that exist are white. By not be people of color inclusive Pride perpetuates racism and classism which in turn supports heteronormativity and queer and transphobia.

You might at this point be asking what this has to do with dismantling power and I would argue that if we are going to dismantle power, if we are going to make a world that is truly equitable for all we need to recognize the privilege of those sitting on the sidelines. The very fact that they can is indicative of the kind of privilege that runs rampant in the gay community. And it is that privilege that keeps the status quo in place and keeps progress from happening.

In the struggle for liberation, there can be no spectators.

Post the Seventh or On the Politics of Dating

Dating is a complicated and emotionally dangerous activity. It’s rife with uncertainty, vulnerability and anxiety. Its also a lot of fucking fun. The complicated mixture of anxiety and excitement, wonder and arousal can at times become addicting. And I love it.

Recently, I went on this date with this boy and it was rather lovely. We flirted, we talked and we drank coffee after which we than retired to a more intimate setting. It was good.  My favorite part of the date, however, was when he wanted to emphasize to me that he was interested in me not just because I was a woman with a penis but rather also because he was attracted to me as a person. He wanted to emphasize that my body was the least of it and that my personality was the most of it. My heart melted.

Because more often then not, guys who are interested in me are not interested in the fact that I’m first generation American. They are not interested in the fact that I go to school for Psychology and Philosophy. They aren’t interested in the fact that I live and breathe activism. All they are interested is in the fact that I’m a “chick with a dick”. All they want to know is how long my cock is and how big my tits are. They only care to make sure that I don’t tell a soul that they slept with someone as perverted and dirty as a tranny.

And quite frankly, I am sick and tired of being fetishized without my consent! Its one thing if we are in a scene and I have agreed to be objectified and you have agreed to objectify me. In fact, there are many situations in which that turns me on. But its frustrating when I can’t even tell someone I’m interested in them without them instantly being fixated on my cock. And do you know what the worst part is?

They don’t even know any better.

Because the society that we live in teaches us, practically since exiting the womb, that bodies that are not white, heterosexual or cisgender are strange, forgien and forbidden. We have been taught in myriad and sundry ways that those sorts of bodies are OTHER and that people who possess those bodies amount to only their bodies. In other words, those who possess OTHER bodies are not people. They are just things to be had and thrown away.

And people don’t even know that they are doing this because it seems normal. It doesn’t occur to them that they are OTHERING me or anyone else because that is what the status quo is. When oppression is normalized those who oppress can not see it. Not only did I not consent to being objectified but neither have they consented to objectify me. They just don’t know that they are doing it.

Which is why my heart burst open with joy when this boy said to me that he gets it. That he doesn’t want to objectify me. He wants to see me for me. He wants me to know it.

And that gives me hope.

Post the Fifth or On how some Words are still Offensive

I was at Epoch last night playing chess with a very good friend of mine. He was beating my ass soundly and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. However, as he was positioning his queen to put me in checkmate our game was intruded by two people, who I read as white gay men, bray “I saw a lazy tranny on the bike trail today!”. This was a start of a 15 minute conversation about “lazy trannys” and with each passing word I was getting angrier and angrier.

I felt unsafe and unwelcome. I felt angry. This is not only because they used an offensive word flippantly but also because of the erroneous assumption that transpeople need to put “proper” effort into their appearance in order to have their identities respected. Lets unpack these issues one at a time.

First, the use of a word with a history of being used to oppress others. Some of these words have been reclaimed by the community that they were first used to harm, for example queer. Queer used to be, and is sometimes still is, used to oppress and hurt those in the LGBTQQISA community. Many in that said community have reclaimed the word queer and use it to empower themselves and safely use it to refer to one another. However, that’s not to say that people outside of the community don’t use that word to harm anymore. Far from the opposite, it is often times used to harm.

The word tranny, however, has not yet been reclaimed by all of those who the word refers to. Some transpeople like it, some don’t. I happen to like it because like queer I feel that if we reclaim a word and refuse to let it harm us than we are taking that negative power out of the word and putting into it the power of pride.

I use the word tranny to refer to myself sometimes and I would feel comfortable with those in my community to refer to me as such. However, that doesn’t give permission for other people outside the community to use it and it never gives anyone permission to use it derogatorily. So when those gay boys were throwing around the word tranny they were being offensive not only because they were using it derogatorily (which already disqualifies them) but also because, as far as I could tell, they are not a part of the community.

This issue about whether one is in the community brings up another issue. For all I know they could be the staunchest trans* allies and were there planning a grassroots campaign to further trans* equality. The fact of the matter is that I don’t know. So when using words that can be derogatory its critical that you ask all individuals present whether or not it bothers them and refrain from saying it if it bothers even one person. This is especially true if one isn’t trans*. Obviously this is impractical in a public setting like Epoch so my final recommendation would be this.


Now if you are gonna whine at me and say, “But Mooorgan! If you can use it, why can’t I? Why are you restricting my free speech? Its not fair!”, then you better stop right there. You, in the theoretical cisgender individual sense, are a person with privilege because you are cisgender. You don’t have to worry about being beaten because you are wearing clothes that don’t match up with what society says is your gender. You don’t have to worry about not being hired because you are a “man in a dress”. You don’t have the “responsibility” to educate every person you meet about being trans. You don’t have to worry about romantic partners rejecting you because you have the “wrong” genitalia or have it be “expected” that you reveal your trans status to everyone you meet. So don’t come at me with this bullshit that its so hard to not say a word. Just don’t say it.Do I sound pissed? Its because I am.

The second thing to unpack here is this assumption that trans* identities should only be respected if they “pass” as the gender that they are perceived to be aiming towards. Passing in and of itself is a long complicated discussion but suffice to say that the assumption is that if you don’t pass than you are lazy and ugly and that you aren’t who you say you are. That if you don’t pass than you are just a “man in a dress” or just a “butch dyke”. That if you don’t pass, or even if you do pass, you aren’t a “real” man or a “real” woman.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with passing. If you can pass and want to pass than I encourage you to do so. However, don’t invalidate trans* identities if they don’t look the way they “should”.

Trans* don’t have an responsibility to look like what cissexist society tells them. They can look like whatever they want and they can transition however they want. And regardless of anything, they must be respected.

Your identity is real, regardless of what anyone or any society says.

Post the Second or Our First NSFW Post

She stood above me. All 170 pounds of strong muscle and black leather towering overhead. I was kneeling before her, my hands and arms bound together behind my back, my head down turned. She took her riding crop and placed it under my chin, forcing my face up towards her. I could see the contempt in her eyes. I could see the love.

I was unworthy for the honor. But she was so beautiful. Dark intense eyes framed by powerful lashes. A strong jaw and firm red lips. She was beautiful and I was unworthy. But I was grateful.

“You are a filthy fucking slut. A dirty little whore. A harlot with her legs spread so wide they would accept the Titanic. A strumpet with no shame. A hussie with nothing on her mind but the next cock. Do you know what I do to sluts like you?”

I said nothing.

The hit, when it came, was sure and swift. With her riding crop she struck me across the face, the stinging slap awakening parts below.

“When I ask a question I expect an answer, slut. Understood?” She said firmly.

“Yes mistress.”

“Good…” She purred, “I ask again. Do you know what I do to sluts like you?”

“You punish them, mistress.” I said softly, the color rising in my checks from excitement and shame. I was so dirty. Filthy, even. And I needed to be punished. I needed to be disciplined.

“That’s right. I punish them.” She replied, using her riding crop to slap me again.

She grabbed my hair and yanked me to standing, my eyes watering as follicles parted company from my scalp. I tried to turn my face away from hers but she yanked harder with a snarl, forcing me to look at her. I looked into those dark depths and quailed. I knew what was coming.

She leaned in, caressing my ear with her lips, her words. I shivered.

“What are you?” She whispered.

“A dirty slut.” I answered, my voice cracking with shame.

“What was that? What are you?

“A dirty slut.” I replied, trying to put force in my voice.

My ear burst into flame as she bit into the lobe. Hard. My knees buckled.

“What are you?”

“A dirty slut.” Trying and failing to exult in the words.

She growled and bit again. I would have collapsed but she held me up by the hair. Supported me with her strong body.

“You know what I want. What are you?”

“I’m a dirty slut.” I breathed, feeling the words finally wash over me as i embraced them. I was a dirty slut. And I loved it. I was filthy whore and I reveled in it. I was a depraved pervert and I felt power there. Such power.

She kissed my ear and I could feel the smile there.

She released my hair and shoved me back on the bed. She told me to roll onto my belly and giggled as I struggled to move with my hands and arms bound. I felt the riding crop caress my ass as she crooned, “How badly do you want me to punish you?”

“I need you to punish me mistress. I have been dirty and I need you to discipline me. Please, I need you to correct me. To punish me for my transgressions. Please punish me.” I replied, with an edge of desperation in my voice.

“Why do you need me to punish you, baby?” She asked as she gave my ass a light swat.

I moaned, replying “Because I’m a filthy slut.”

“Yes. You are.”

She hit me with the riding crop. Hard. I cried out in pain and she hit me again.

“Don’t make a sound.” She said as she began to methodically strike my ass, slowly at first but quickly gaining speed, frequency and force. All the while I was biting my lip to contain my moans and cries. The pain was exquisite.

And I was in heaven.

At some point she stopped and I let out a sigh of relief, my ass still smarting from the beating it took. She grabbed me by the rope binding my arm and flipped me over on to my back. She looked straight into my eyes and I didn’t look away.

“Good…” She said as she climbed on top of me, “I think you deserve a reward.” She leaned in close to my face and I could feel her hot breath on my skin. She smelled of lavender and sweat. She placed her head on the nape of my neck and ran her lips down to my collar bone. I shivered. She then ran her lips lightly up my chin to land on my lips.

She kissed me. Sweetly, gently. She kissed me with warmth and love. She kissed me with passion. She reached around to grab me by the back of my hair and pulled, exposing my neck. She bit into my neck. I jerked and bucked against her as she bit down more fiercely. She pushed herself up and placed her hands on my shoulders, pinning me down.

“Beg me to fuck you.” She commanded.

“Mistress, please fuck me. I need your cock. I can’t live without you fucking me. Please… I need it so bad.”

She slapped me. “You can do better than that.”

“I need your cock Mistress because I am a dirty slut. I need your cock to correct me, Mistress. I need your cock to assuage the heat in my horny cunt. Your cock is all I can think about. Your cock is all I need. Give it too me… Please…”

And she did.

I was in heaven.