Archive for the ‘Our Stories’ Category

The Women’s Action Coalition marches in support of lesbian rights in the 1992 Gay Pride Parade.

Lesbophobia Past and Present

By ANN MONTAGUE

Lesbians resist and rebel against institutions and belief systems that oppress us. Starting as young girls we fight against the tyranny of pink. Today, the situation is worse than ever for all girls, as multi-million-dollar corporations become the enforcers of oppressive sex stereotyping.

Over the last 10 years, Disney has marketed over 26,000 “Princess” items. This has not only become the fastest growing brand for Disney, it is also the largest franchise in the world for girls ages two to six. The products are all about clothes, jewelry, makeup, and of course, being rescued by the prince.

Disney enforces oppressive gender norms for girls by idealizing the institution of monogamous heterosexual marriage (Cinderella, Little Mermaid, The Princess, and the Frog). Princesses can only be imagined as heterosexual and their greatest success can only be the fairy-tale wedding, which renders them as property.

At the same time, the proliferation of pink sends more messages to girls. Pink becomes more than a color, and academics have even created the word “pinkification,” which is defined as “teaching and reinforcing stereotypes that limit the way girls perceive themselves.”

Peggy Orenstein, the author of a recent book, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” asked a sales rep, “Is all this pink really necessary? There are other colors in the rainbow.” He laughed, “I guess girls are just born loving pink.” There are, of course, girls who rebel, turn their backs on imposed limitations, and shout, “Pink Stinks.”

As lesbians enter their teenage years, the struggle continues as it becomes clear that they are not even trusted to name their own experience.

A young Arab American lesbian did a Q and A interview about her first novel, which was a 2018 finalist in the Wishing Well Book Awards’ “Books For Teenagers” category. She was aghast and appalled when the interview was published. Everywhere that she had said the word “lesbian,” they had changed the word to “queer” in their quotations.

“I was rebranded,” she said. “I became the mythological ‘if the situation were right’ lesbian. Queer has become the ‘I am not going to rule anything out because I am an open-minded girl.’ It doesn’t carry the sting of ‘lesbian.’ The stigma of ‘lesbian.’ The boundaries of ‘lesbian.’ Lesbian is a solid ‘no.’”

She added that she would never have said that the androgynous lesbian character in her book was “presenting a gender,” as her interviewer had made up. “That unwillingness to bend is the very reason lesbians are targeted with insidious psychological warfare.”

Why did she (Julia Diana Robertson “Beyond The Screen Door”) have this strong reaction? It was not just that she was “misquoted,” and it was not aimed at those who choose to identify as queer. It was because lesbians of all ages are seeing themselves, as well as their history erased. This, of course, is nothing new, but after past years of struggle there is now an aggressive resurgence.

She was shocked that words she would never use to describe herself or the characters in her novel were put into her mouth. The interviewer admitted unapologetically what she had done; she was trying to “provide space for all LGBTQ women.” In doing that, however, she excluded Julia from her own story, and by extension, all lesbians.

Lesbian critical theory (more…)

 

A welcome to Jerimarie Liesegang our Anarchist comrade, mother of the Ct. Transgender Movement, and good friend.

Trans Homelessness: A History, Statistics and a Right to Adequate Housing

by Jerimarie Liesegang

“We used to sit around, just try to figure out when this harassment would come to an end. And we would always dream that one day it would come to an end. And we prayed and we looked for it. We wanted to be human beings.”
– Sylvia Rivera quoted in The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement, ed Glisson, Susan

“As far back as I can remember, my half sisters and brothers liberated themselves from this fucked up system that has been oppressing our gay sisters and brothers – by walking on the man’s land, defying the man’s law, and meeting the man face to face in his court of law. … They have been brainwashed by this fucked up system that has condemned us and by doctors that call us a disease and a bunch of freaks. … That transvestites and gay street people are always on the front lines and are ready to lay down their lives for the movement.”
-Sylvia Rivera, Come Out Vol 2, #8, pg 1 (1971)

“People experiencing homelessness face violations of a wide range of human rights. Access to safe and secure housing is one of the most basic human rights. However, homelessness is not just about housing. A person who is homeless may be facing violations of the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to education, the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to privacy, the right to social security, and the right to freedom from discrimination, the right to vote and many more.”
– Australian Human Rights Commission

A Story
“The following is a first person account of the last fifteen months of my friend Alice Johnston’s life, as if she may have told it. The events in this actually happened. – MFH.” Below is excerpted from the original version [Author]

ALICE (1)
By Monica F. Helms

… The time came when my roommate and I had to move out of our apartment and put our things in storage. We still had some weeks left on our unemployment, so that would help a little… When my roommate and I finished packing and moving everything into the storage unit, we shut the door and locked it. I had a strange feeling that I would never see my things again. People I helped in the past rejected helping me. The transgender community of Georgia turned their backs on me. I lost my job and had no prospects… The odd jobs I did couldn’t keep me in money, so I began doing something I never thought I would ever do. I started working at the bordello as a hooker… My personal relationships with the Madam began to deteriorate. One day, after a heated argument, she threw me out of the house… In December 2002, I realized I would soon become homeless for the first time in my life. The prospect of being homeless frightened me. “Why is this happening to me?” I asked myself. “I didn’t ask to be a transsexual. If I didn’t have a choice then why are people treating me so badly?” I felt truly alone. No place to go. No friends to turn to. No hope. Only despair. I can do many jobs, but no one will hire me because I’m a transsexual. Where can I turn to? The last chance I had was to see if a homeless shelter would take me. I began calling around to all the women’s shelters in Atlanta, but I had to be up front with them. Each time I told them that I was a pre-op transsexual they would tell me I wouldn’t be accepted in their facility. I called a few men’s shelters to see what they could tell me and they said they would accept me only if I presented as a man. They wanted me to deny my identity and lie to them and myself before I would be accepted. Even then, I could easily become a victim of rape or violence once they found out I was a transsexual. My options had run out. My friend gave me access to his computer one last time, so I put an automatic message on my Yahoo E-mail address. The message said, “I will soon become homeless and since homeless shelters won’t take in transsexuals, I’m a goner.” Where is my family? They have all abandoned me. Where are all my friends? What friends? The transgender community here in Georgia never wanted to help me. I didn’t fit their narrow viewpoint of what a transsexual is supposed to “properly” do to transition. Others who still say they’re my friends are either gone or in a situation no better than mine. Is this what I have left after all the things I’ve been through? Nothing? I was safer in Iraq during Desert Storm. At least I was treated better there. My car still worked, just barely. I have only one thing to do. Time for a road trip. After driving for 45 minutes I arrived at my destination, the Chattahoochee River. My jacket kept me from freezing. I could hear the water moving and the moonlight reflected off of the ripples. No one else would have dared to be out on a night like this. But, I had a plan, as I unwrapped the towel, I revealed my one last true friend, my trusty .357 Smith and Wesson. I felt its cold steel and its well-balanced weight in my hands. Out of everything I gave up in the last fifteen months, I could never part with my .357. Now, it has become my last piece of pleasure in my lonely, miserable life. “Why am I a transsexual?” I screamed. The trees dampened my voice. “Why am I a transsexual?” I whispered. I got no answers. Tears flowed from my eyes as I cocked the hammer. “All I wanted to do was to live my life as me.” My .357 seemed lighter somehow. “I didn’t ask for this life.” I lifted the gun. “I just wanted to live.” I felt the cold steel barrel pressing against my temple. “But, they wouldn’t let me.” My hand shook and I lowered the pistol. “This is what they wanted me to do.” I raised the .357 once more. “They’re getting their wish.” My finger tightened around the trigger. “They got what they wanted.” I pulled my finger back. “They got me . . . “

– On December 17, 2002, Alice was found along the Chattahoochee River, a .357 slug had shattered her skull. (more…)

Estimada Familia,

Everyday we remember our Trans siblings and transcestors who are no longer with us. On Trans Day of Remembrance, we continue to organize for Trans and Queer liberation and we continue to center the leadership of trans Latinx communities.

We will forever remember Roxsana Hernanadez, 33 year old Trans immigrant from Honduras that died in ICE custody. We will continue to demand #JusticeforRoxsana and all trans women of color that continue to be murdered across the world because of trans-misogyny and racism.

This year we have collaborated with Forward Together and artist Art Twink on a powerful art piece that you can download.

Click here to download this image

Our members are hosting several Trans Day of Remembrance events in California, Nevada, the East Coast and the Pacific Northwest. In Portland we are collaborating with Ori Galley, Sankofa Collective NW and Forward Together to bring us Trans Diaspora of Resilience, where black and brown trans and gender non-conforming migrants will perform and honor trans diasporic lives. TDoR art collection will be exhibited at Ori Gallery all week.

Facebook Event Page for Trans Day of Remembrance in Portland

Thank you for your continued support and please spread the word about donating to our work on Giving Tuesday, a national day to give to the causes you believe in, next Tuesday, Nov. 27th.

Click here to pledge to Donate now

Con amor y en solidaridad,

Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement

New Haven Rally & Speakout: Trans People #WontBeErased!
Public · Hosted by Party for Socialism and Liberation – CT and Party for Socialism and Liberation – PSL

Saturday October 27, 2018

1:00pm-2:30pm

WHEN: Saturday, October 27 @ 1pm
WHERE: downtown New Haven courthouse – 121 Elm St

WHAT: Join us for an emergency demonstration to show that New Haven says NO to the Trump administration’s efforts to legislate trans people out of existence!

A couple days ago, the New York Times exposed a plan by the Department of Health and Human Services to redefine gender as it pertains to Title IX protections in an unscientific and deeply transphobic manner. This threatens the safety of trans and intersex people, especially youth and students, and could strip our community both of protections from discrimination and of access to correct documentation.

Actions are taking place across the country – let’s show that Connecticut will not stay silent and will fight for trans rights!

Currently co-sponsored by:
ANSWER CT
Party for Socialism and Liberation – CT
New Haven Pride Center
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
Trans At Yale
Connecticut Bail Fund
Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF)
Trans Lifeline
Yale Young Democratic Socialists
CT Green Party
True Colors
Socialist Action CT

CO-SPONSORS WANTED! If your organization wants to cosponsor this event, please email ct@pslweb.org!

When I was very politically active in the LGBTQ rights movement and any legislation or action was being promoted by the group I would always ask “how does this impact the poorest among us?” What if anything will this new way do for them? Its fine and dandy that the middle class or the upper class will make out well but if all of the others (probably the majority) are not lifted then I want nothing to do with whatever is being promoted. I took that stand when the Lesbian and Gay community were fighting for “their” rights leaving the Trans and Bi community behind. I never believed them when they said, we will be back for you and knew that was BS. “No,” I said, “I will sit this out, I do not want my rights if all of our people can’t share with us what is common and decent for all.” Generally most of the folks were too tired after the fight against the conservative bigots to come back for others. (not excusing anyone) I can not pretend that I was anything other than working poor and found more in common with others in my class than with the upper classes.

I came across this quote by the great Black Gay Revolutionary James Baldwin today and wanted to share it.