Reclamation

I’m a queer as fuck tranny dyke.  While that label comes nowhere close to the nuances that make up my person, it’s about the simplest breakdown I can make.  I can only make sense of my gender and sexuality through the language of my oppressors.  I can only make sense of myself through reclamation.

I accept that femininity is oppressive, I accept that masculinity is oppressive…

However,

When I wear pink, or tight booty pants whose crotches are less than accommodating, or fairy wings, or cute shoes and scarves, when I cry, that’s not an attempt to buy into the classification that says I’m feminine.  It’s a big old FUCK YOU to the gender binary and all of those who would make me perform it.

I’ll not have lectures from cisfeminists who want to dictate the way I navigate the binary.  We’re all trying to survive the patriarchy and find our true selves burried under all of this toxic oppression.  That’s my struggle, I do it through reclamation.

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Reinventing the Wheel

In our organizations, we need to have a systematic way of figuring out what are the basic acceptable norms of behavior, and having a response to patriarchy that isn’t a one-size-fit-all response.

-Diary of a disparaged CNA

Years ago, my local anarchist scene had a community wide meeting on abuse and rape within the movement.  A good portion of the male leadership had been called out for abusive behavior that, in a few cases, involved sexual assault and rape.  There were accountability processes happening, there was disillusionment in said processes, there was anger, pain, a wide gamut of raw emotions.  Tensions ran very high, a number of people had to leave, some in tears.  It was a difficult meeting to have.

One thing that really stuck with me in that meeting was something one of the older members said.  She’d been around longer than most people in the room.  She said, “We keep reinventing the wheel on this shit.”  Every generation of activists seems to get blind-sided when someone gets raped.

I can remember my response when I first heard about it happening in my community.  I was shocked.  Aren’t we supposed to be better than that?  I’d taken it for granted that radicals were above that shit.  It lead to a lot of reflections in the way that I, personally, had perpetuated patriarchy.

There have been some attempts to develop models for community accountability, but they usually seem to be one-size-fits-all.  As the disparage CNA puts it:

With patriarchal behavior, there is a range of it. Some require more intense and sometimes, even violent responses. Others can be transformed. Often times,  patriarchal BEHAVIOR within the class, is also product of the contradictions of capitalism.

So, while we can’t assume one size fits all, we also need to stop reinventing the wheel.  Obviously the end goal is destroying patriarchy, but how can we do that if we don’t feel safe among comrades?