Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival

Better known as MWMF or MichFest and honestly, I’d never heard of it until this year though apparently its been happening every August since 1976. When I read the website it sounded super rad and positive, and I really wish that I could be excited about it, but MWMF has a transmisogynistic attendance policy, only “womyn-born-womyn” are allowed to attend. Women-only spaces are important, just like POC-only spaces, queer-only spaces, and trans-only spaces, but trans* women ARE women and have every right to be in women only spaces, this is non-negotiable.

Its really frustrating when people who I should feel some sense of allyship towards (in that we are fighting some of the same oppressions) also manage to  turn right around and be oppressive dickwads towards another oppressed group whose liberation I am also struggling for. Feminism is really important to me, and I don’t want to give up on it. The feminist movement is fucking important because being a woman/being perceived as female is undeniably a position of disprivilege, but I cannot ignore that it has a legacy of racism, classism and transphobia/transmisogyny. So if I am not going to give up on feminism I feel like I have a responsibility to critique it and its proponents when they fuck up, which seems to be pretty much always when it comes to radfems and trans* issues. I feel like, for me this is especially important, because as a FAAB person I am in a position of privilege when dealing with feminists that trans* women most decidedly are not, since they are the most frequent target of transphobic feminist rhetoric.

So, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, you fucked up. Big time. You are still, currently,  fucking up. Cut the bullshit, and quit being cissexist assholes. I think that the only reason I’m not screaming mad over this is because festivals and gatherings and such aren’t really something I’m interested in and just generally lie beyond the sphere of things I care about.


A Binder in Review

So I ordered a binder from this site a few weeks ago and it arrived a little bit ago while I was out of town. Anyway, I guess I wanted to talk a little bit about it because I’ve been pretty satisfied with it (and because I seem to be chronically unable to finish any of the other posts that are wasting away in my drafts folder).

Its official name is “2nd Generation Jersey Mesh Short Binder”. Its not a binder that you have to pull over like a lot of other ones, this one has velcro on the side under one arm so that you can get it on and off easily and so that you can adjust the tightness. So far the only other method of binding I’ve experimented with is a 6 in ace bandage, which is very effective, but also not very comfortable and, according to the internet, can be hazardous to one’s health. The binder, I’m happy to report makes me at least as flat chested as the ace bandage method (if not flatter) but doesn’t stifle my breathing in any way and is, overall, much more comfortable. The only thing I regret is accidentally ordering it in black instead of white because it shows through lighter or thinner clothing a little bit, but this is easily remedied by wearing an undershirt over it. In general, I’m very happy with it and it makes my chest quite flat (though my success may be due in some regard to the fact that I’m a fairly small person with a fairly small chest to begin with). The only thing I really have to worry about is making sure that the straps don’t show.

So, in short, I’d give it 5 stars for comfort ( its not too hot and its easy to breathe in), 3 and 1/2 stars for ease of concealment (its probably less noticeable if you buy it in white) and 4 stars for flatness of chest.

Searching For My Gender

So I’ve said before that one of the reasons I am writing this blog is because I feel like there need to be more widely available accounts of non-binary trans experiences. Well, the other reason I’m writing this blog is because I don’t actually know what exactly my gender identity is, non-binary trans* is as specific as I can really be at present. I hope, that by writing this blog I can work through my mental processes and figure out how exactly Ido feel about my gender (I’m quite good at talking about how I don’t identify). I know that I am not male, female, a mixture of both or anywhere in between.

I feel like I am probably either third gender or agendered, but the problem I run into with third gender (and to some extent with agender) is that I don’t really know what a gender expression would look like for third gender (or for agender, what a total lack of gender would look like) and that makes me feel trapped. The thing is, I can only draw from my knowledge and experience with gender all of which is contained within the parameters of the male to female spectrum, which I know I definitely am not on. How do you create a gender expression, or lack there of, from scratch? (I do not want to draw from a spectrum I don’t identify with), I don’t think its possible.

As far as agender goes, gender neutrality, which is what I would be going for is usually achieved it seems through androgyny which is not agendered, but rather a mix of male and female. Why would i define or present my genderlessness in binary terms? That just seems so frustrating.

I’m looking for an empty space to create my gender free from the influence of the gender binary/male-female spectrum, but I feel so trapped by it and I don’t know how to get out. I’ve been told you can only experience freedom from the position of freedom, thing is, I still have find my way there first, and sometimes I’m not even sure it exists, this freedom, this empty space the dominant culture just seems so crowded with binary gendered messaging, its really overwhelming sometimes.

Sorry this post is sorta rambly and disjointed, but seeing as my gender is “in progress” that’s pretty  much how my thoughts on the matter are: rambly and disjointed.


Every time I see an article about the murder of another trans* woman I feel this terrible dread. Not in relation to my own safety, as I am not a trans woman, but for the people in my life who are trans feminine. These people are very important to me and frankly, sometimes I’m scared as shit that something is going to happen to them. As far as being trans* goes, it is probably most dangerous to be a trans woman/on the trans feminine spectrum. Knowing the statistics, knowing the life expectancy for trans* people in this country, and knowing that trans women bear the brunt of the violence directed at trans* people makes me very aware of just how dangerous it is for the people I care about to just be themselves.  I see those articles and I feel like the only thing separating the people in my life from the women in those article is luck (and white privilege), and that’s terrifying (and also evidence of just one more way that our society is incredibly racist).

Five trans* women of color have died this year, that’s an average of one a month. What the fuck is wrong with this country? I shouldn’t have to be crossing my fingers hoping that some of my closest friends make it to their next birthdays.

In Defense of Revolutionary Violence

My Thoughts: The lifestyle of the first world is maintained by violence that is exported to the third world. To claim a pacifist stance is naïve , you’re just letting someone else, somewhere else be violent on your behalf to ensure that you have gas to put in your car every day , buy clothes at affordable prices (child sweatshop labor), have a diamond engagement ring (child soldiers and child labor) and have a fancy new iphone. It is also a stance that comes from a position of privilege (white privilege, male privilege, cis privilege). People of color, women and trans* people are targeted by institutionalized violence as well as violence directed at them by individuals in a way that white people, men and cisgendered people are not. Survival as an oppressed person in this country may depend on being willing and able to defend one’s self, violently if necessary, because unwillingness or inability probably means death.

On exported and implied violence

Star Non-violent Civil Disobedience (Wars)

Also, to put violence in a different context, do you eat meat?


In Defense of Revolutionary Violence

from DIYbandits

Before we get into the main points of this article we think it is best you understand two key questions:

1. What is revolutionary violence?
2. Who is revolutionary violence being defended from?

When trying to define revolutionary violence many descriptions can and have been used. For this particular situation we will use the following: Revolutionary violence is violence targeted at an oppressor (or a system that supports the oppressor) with the goals of liberating a group of people. Furthermore revolutionary violence is violence not sponsored, sanctioned or carried out by the state. Revolutionary violence is more often than not carried out by members of the civilian population often using methods of (but not limited to) guerrilla warfare. Revolutionary guerrilla warfare only targets the oppressor and never uses indiscreet, random violence against the general population (unlike the state).

Revolutionary violence needs to be defended from many organizations and people such as the state, a dictator or an invading army. But for this particular case we will be defending it from strict pacifist and close minded, so called progressives within the anti-capitalist and liberation movements who condemn acts of revolutionary violence on the grounds that it is morally wrong, inferior or counter productive.

Now that you understand what revolutionary violence is and who we are defending it from let us make one last thing clear. It must be understood that any struggle which seeks to liberate people from capitalism and U.S. imperialism will not succeed without the use of revolutionary violence at some point. In such a struggle we will be standing up to a super power. A power that has thousands of armed sectors which are trained and ready to act against us in order to maintain the states position of domination. As soon as the U.S. government feels any substantial threat to its position of capitalist dominance at home or its racist imperialism abroad it will react with repression and violence of its own. It will not hesitate at the idea of infiltration, sabotage, murder or outright war (for some examples of this within the U.S. itself see what happened to the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, the Black Liberation Army, the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Industrial Workers of the World to name a few). There is no chance that the government will hand over its power to a more revolutionary structure peacefully. The state will never willingly hand over its power so it will have to be taken from them using a variety of tactics which will have to include revolutionary violence.

It is important when analyzing or choosing tactics to understand that violence already exist in the world and is a completely unavoidable part of the current political system. But perhaps even more important is the unavoidable existence of violence as an integral part of the entire social system that shapes your daily life. The current social system is one of great privilege for white people (especially the middle class and higher ups). White people have received and maintained this privilege through the state and its violent methods that target people of color and other minorities with much more aggression. That is why the vast majority of pacifist are white people-the state has set up a racist system that socially guarantees more safety for white people. The need for a more militant self defense and action is far less urgent amongst whites as is the need to struggle for liberation and acceptance into the statuesque (because generally speaking whites are already in the statuesque.)

For any pacifist to denounce militancy and only encourage nonviolence to people who belong to a targeted, less privileged social class is a racist concept. It is much easier for whites to stand on a step stool of social safety (with all its assured privilege) and say pacifism is the way to go. Nonviolence only helps to promote and maintain this racist, social system by discouraging people (especially of color) from truly challenging its existence. You must also stop and wonder if one reason why many white pacifist denounce violent tactics amongst oppressed people (especially minorities) is because it threatens the privileged position of power and safety that most whites don’t want to give up. White pacifist who claim the be struggling for liberation often feel uncomfortable with militant actions within the social system because they seek to destroy the very foundation upon which their privileged position rest. Imagine loosing (or better yet giving up) an entire social system that has been set up entirely to benefit yourself. To whites the collapse of our socially constructed worldview is unsettling; especially to pacifist who take more advantage of it. That’s why armed revolutionaries are so often viewed as bad or a threat to pacifist rather than liberators.

By discrediting revolutionary violence pacifist provide yet another obstacle for the entire liberation movement. Overall nonviolence protects racist, state systems that create white supremacy through out the world. Once so called progressive whites begin to reject their social privileges they will be better able to understand why revolutionary violence is an often preferred tactic among so many oppressed people of this world.

Nonviolence is also sexist for its strong companionship with patriarchy which gives more power to straight men than to women and gays and transgender peoples. Many pacifist (and reformist feminists) accuse militant activist of being sexist and non-inclusive to women (in individual cases this can be true but not as an all across the board statement as it is often used.) In fact such a view is the sexist one. It goes along with patriarchal thinking by spreading the idea that woman can not take part in violent activism and must remain in their prescribed roles as a generally pacified (or defenseless) people. Do pacifist really expect nonviolence to free women from patriarchy? What liberation can women hope for if the struggle doesn’t include the basic idea that women are able to defend themselves? Pacifism suggest that women should step aside and wait on protection from a larger, sexist social structure instead of being prepared to protect themselves. Besides we can take one quick look to see that as a whole the current social structure doesn’t really have a big interest in protecting woman (especially those of color.)

A woman can fight off a male attacker by herself. It isn’t a matter of who’s physically stronger-it is a question of training. This mixture of patriarchy and a general acceptance of nonviolence is what has created so many support groups and systems for women who have been raped, attacked or abused. At first glance this might seem rather good but if we take a closer look we will see such systems create the idea in society that women should accept their role as the victim from the get go. It implies that women should submit to assailants with hopes of preventing any further violence. In reality submitting will only contribute to future violence against others. Their is a rather large number of organizations that aim to support women after they fall victims to acts of patriarchy but it is sad how few are focusing on helping women to be prepared for and prevent such acts. It is the nonviolent, patriarchal mentality that suggest a women who is being abused by a male partner should give up what she has, move out of her home and find someplace new and completely start over instead of forming a group ( preferably of women) to confront the man, kick his ass and force him to leave.

The idea that militancy is male dominated and that violent revolution excludes women, queers and trans people is ridiculous. Fighting back has never overlooked such people. What has been overlooked is the woman martyrs of the Palestinian Intifada, Nigerian women occupying and sabotaging petroleum plants, the thousands of women guerrillas who fought in the Viet Cong, The Mujeres Creando anarcha-feminist in Bolivia, the queer and gender warriors who rioted at Stonewall and all the women leaders in the Black Panthers, native resistance movements, the Weather Underground, the Zapatistas, the Symbionese Liberation Army and many other guerrilla groups. Patriarchy clearly creates one sided male violence through out our society. Supporters of nonviolence only encourage us not to disturb this patriarchal social system which (like racism) is maintained with help from the state.

Many pacifist would also argue against revolutionary violence in favor of education on the liberation struggle. While education is important in moving forward towards liberation pacifists have placed way too much emphasis on it. The media is controlled by the state (which is racist, sexist and capitalist) and the liberation movement can never come close to competing with the state when it comes to media power. The state has far superior resources and funds and will easily crush any media campaign waged by revolutionaries. We must understand that the government has us beaten when it comes to media and not over focus our energy there.

A flyer, article or poster might catch the average citizens attention for a moment and even cause them to think about it’s meaning for a bit. But can we really expect it to turn the majority of society into revolutionaries-I doubt it. But on the other hand if society witnesses acts of revolutionary violence directed against the state they can not as easily walk away from it. Unlike reading a flyer; if society sees revolutionaries fighting directly for their freedom they can not simply blow it off as fantasy. They are forced to confront the reality of the situation and hands on action would be more likely to convince people than mere words on a piece of paper. This is not to say that their should be no attempt to educate society about liberation. Education is important but it would be much easier to educate society about the particular acts of revolutionary violence occurring and why they should support them rather than educating them about general liberation and hope they agree with you about it and hopefully support it. It would be much easier to win a violent revolution than it would be to win the hearts and minds of an entire society or country.

Nonviolence contributes to many dynamics of the racist and sexist social system that in turn contributes to maintaining and empowering capitalism, the state and its wide scale oppression. We are not suggesting that revolutionary violence replace pacifism (or any other form of resistance) but rather it be accepted as one part of a large process toward our total liberation. As a movement we will be unable to fight and win in the future if we do not begin to understand, accept and use revolutionary violence in the present.


Trans Woman Dies in a Fire, NY Times Writes Demeaning and Exploitative Article

So, there’s this: Woman Dies in Brooklyn Fire That is Deemed Suspicious.

And just in case you couldn’t tell what’s wrong with the above article: NY Times Trans Exploitation Completely Unacceptable.

In short, the NY times, instead of focusing on the tragedy of the early death of a young woman, turns her into a sex object saying she was “curvaceous,” that she “drew admiring glances” in her “gritty Brooklyn neighborhood,” that she “was known to invite men for visits to her apartment”. The article then proceeds to  use her death as an excuse to talk almost exclusively about her trans-ness, but solely in a demeaning and exploitative way, picking over her life and belongings sate some weird cissexist curiosity about people perceived as “deviant” by the mainstream.

The article by the NY Times is misogynistic, exploitative, dehumanizing, transphobic, and cissexist. It contains offensive implications about trans* people, women and sex workers as well as repeatedly implying that Lorena Escalera was not a “real” woman. GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) reached out to the NY Times and informed them that the article was highly offensive and insulting, the NY Times issued a statement full of rationalizations and excuses and refused to retract the article.

(From the GLAAD website: NY Times Does Not Retract Dehumanizing Coverage of Trans Woman Who Died in Fire)

Lorena Escalera was a talented model and performer and by all accounts a very sweet person, she deserved more than the callousness and insensitivity shown by the writers at the NY Times.