Archives for category: Intersectional

Someone with a reasonably loud internet-voice had recently said a good bit about social activism, most notably that it is a hobby which doesn’t really have any impact (except in certain rare cases) on the world at large. That within this hobby we have our own little subculture, which has its own little hierarchies and privileges and again, doesn’t really change anything in the world at large, and while it’s a fine hobby, we really need to be honest with ourselves about it just being a hobby.

There is almost nothing in there I can disagree with. This is certainly not a ‘job’ or ‘career’ for me, my career is my writing. And social justice advocacy certainly does have a significant echo chamber effect which is hard to overcome. And as cathartic and fulfilling as #killallmen, #solidarityisforwhitepeople or #fuckcispeople may be, I haven’t seen anything actually come of them in the wider world.

Ilna couldchange the world; she was doing so to the best of her considerable ability. But she couldn’t change it all, and she couldn’t change it all at once.

-Queen of Demons, by David Drake

When I come out of the social justice advocacy echo chamber, I talk about stuff with my partner and our friends. My partner isn’t involved in social advocacy. He’s a gamer. He streams video games on Twitch as Abbadonsin. He’s not going to be challenging Yogscast or Machinima any time soon, but he’s got a loyal, if small, following. Mostly made up of 13-24 year old gamer boys. Gamer boys who listen when we talk about trans rights or rape culture. Who now understand why they shouldn’t use ‘it’ when talking about trans people and who understand why consent matters and the importance of “yes means yes.”

I’ve helped Michael answer questions when these guys have asked things like “Is it ever okay to have sex when you or your partner is drunk?” (My answer: If you discussed and agreed to having sex before you started drinking, I don’t see a problem with it, but not if either of you show signs of alcohol poisoning.)

These are boys and young men, who because they have heard Michael and I talk about social advocacy, got interested starting asking questions, and are now that much less likely to turn into abusers and rapists. That much less likely to intentionally or unintentionally bully, shame or denigrate the trans people they meet. Because someone they respect understands enough about social advocacy, rape culture to know better, and trans 101, and passed that knowledge on to them.

I am a writer. I don’t expect to ever reach the level of Mercedes Lackey, much less J.K Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien (yes, I’m a geek, and I write fantasy. Deal with it.) But my stories do tackle issues related to social advocacy. And when I tell my children a fairy tale of a trans man who knew from the time he was a child that he was born in the wrong body – well my kids will now have empathy for children in their classes who are trans and know that if they ever feel like they are in the wrong body, they can come to me and I will accept and understand. I am currently working on a collection of similar fairytales addressing as many issues as I can include, which will be released as an ebook under creative commons attribution.i

And if it hadn’t been for the trans advocates who through their writing and their willingness to interact and answer my questions and critique my stories and my writings, I wouldn’t have bee able to share that story with my children.

I am a daughter of the Appalachians. I am truly at home only within these mountains. But I know the truth. The mountains are shaped by the seas and the winds. By the steady, day-to-day erosion, one bit of dirt or piece of gravel at a time, caused by the ceaseless, tireless assault of wave and wind on cliff and height.

My advocacy will never change the world. I will never stand in front of the Washington Monument and give a speech before a million man march, I will not end world hunger, and the part I can play in stopping the judicial murder of women, and LGBT folk in other parts of the world is miniscule. But that does not absolve me of my responsibility. The responsibility to be that wave, pounding against the cliffs. That wind, slowly shaping mountains. The change that happens, each day, in such tiny, miniscule ways no one else will ever know about them. Often I will never know about them.

But they still happen. Everyday. As long as I remember to take my advocacy outside of the echo chamber, and spread what I learn there through the people I meet. And those changes – the changes I make, the changes you make, he changes all of us make, can reshape the world.

And for those interested in a faster approach to changing the world, try organizing. It’s worked before.

 

i If anyone would be interested in contributing to this collection, please let me know There are some issues I want to include but am not comfortable writing about, and I’d like to see other voices and other perspectives included regardless.

 

Folks, life has beat the crap out of me lately and I had largely disappeared off the ‘net due to mental overload and loss of the ability to give a fuck. Luckily, I regained my feet just in time to meet the tidal wave of SCOTUS related news which is this week in activism. I’ll try to resume regular posting next week. Usually I try to take a couple of days and several revisions before putting up a post like this, but right now timing and topical counts. Apologies for any typos or errors.

It has been an amazing and horrid week in SCOTUSLand. Rarely do simultaneously want to jump for joy and break down weeping. Lady Justice, where the hell were you Tuesday? Certainly not in chambers.

Alright, anyone who isn’t living under a rock has heard about the so-called ‘big news’ of the week. The Supreme Court has struck down part of DOMA (After DOMA Fact Sheet) and dismissed the case on Proposition 8, both of which are major wins for LGBT rights. Personally I wonder just how much bile Scalia had to swallow in siding with the majority on Prop8 (here’s some legalese on why the Prop8 decision isn’t actually about SSM – I am not endorsing this guys conclusions, per se, but he has his facts in order).

The sadly-less heralded news came on Tuesday. NAACP, wake up and remember that you are not irrelevant! The media blitz from the overturning of the Voters’ Rights Act should have rivaled the celebrations today, instead SCOTUSLand’s butching of voter rights has passed relatively quietly.

For anyone who has not been following the VRA case, here’s the gist:

Last year, Texas tried to redraw their voting districts in such a way as to deliberately hurt PoC. This redrawing was done by white members of the Texas legislature in secret from their black and latino colleagues. Basically, here’s what happened: the white guys looked at the voting districts and said “This district is a majority PoC, which means they won’t vote the way we want them too, so we’re going to change the borders of the district to remove some PoC and add some white folks, this way the PoC won’t have a majority any more. This other district has a majority white folks, we’ll leave that alone.”

Well, understandably PoC and their allies weren’t to happy about this. They challenged the redistricting under the voter’s rights act, which among other things, said that states with a history of severe and institutional racism and voter manipulation had to run changes in voting laws past the Federal government to insure that any changes they made weren’t going to infringe the voting rights of PoC.

The Feds took a look at Texas’ new-and-improved voting districts and said, “What are trying to pull here? This is blatant racism and you aren’t allowed to pull that crap!” And the old districts stayed. But Texas didn’t like being told what to do (who does?) and sued the Feds for the right to set any voting laws they want, no matter who got hurt.

Yesterday, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Texas, and less than two hours after the ruling was handed down, Texas Attorney General said the redistricting and associated voter ID law might go into effect immediately.

And the reason SCOTUS tossed out the VRA? Because everyone has the right to vote now, and racism is gone in America, so it wasn’t needed any more.

As Justice Ginsburg says in the dissent: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

For fairly obvious reasons, white LGBT folks are a bit happier with SCOTUS today than straight PoC. For LGBT people of color, well sadly the DOMA and Prop8 don’t apply if you live in any of the states that were covered by the VRA, because none of those states have marriage equality, so you can’t get married and they can now fuck with your voting rights. Yay for the puff pastry of oppressions.

Yeah, I’m snarky today. It’s keeping me somewhat sane in the face of this insanity.

In a somewhat related note (very related to intersectionality, somewhat related to SCOTUSLand), last night Texas Senator Wendy Davis pulled a marathon filibuster* that prevented the passage of a bill which would have shut down 80% of abortion clinics in Texas and outlaw abortion after 20 weeks (SB5 Primer) Wendy Davis is one of the Texas senators whose district would have been redrawn before the November elections, meaning she likely wouldn’t have been elected and standing on the Texas Senate floor to pull off her feat of awesome if that redistricting had gone through.

*One source claimed she spent most of the 10+ hour filibuster reading the stories of women whose lives would be negatively impacted by the bill. Sorry I lost the link for that one.