06/22/2012

edit: i went to two parties (one awkward, one awesome), danced myself DRIPPING IN SWEAT, and i didn’t drink at all. yeah yeah yeah! and i talked to excruciatingly cute people, and hey, it’s totally great to ride one’s bike home at 3:30 in the morning, yo! it makes me sad/happy to be excited that i was able to be social in a large group of people without drinking or going home upset :/

getting ready for a party:

  • goddamn adult acne (27, i turn 27 on sunday. fuck and still all this cystic acne shit on my jaw)
  • oh no what if i get overwhelmed by the crowd. RD+too many people=panic panic panic?
  • drinking? i might be too exhausted for drinking.
  • taking my sweety to a show with me tomorrow, where he will meet a bunch of other rad folks. oh god the overlapping of social circles when dating someone long-termish, it is terrifying.
  • ++: being a gender-deevs transcmasculine person, not always getting seen as a dude-identified person. people doubletaking when they see he and i being affectionate in public, because what’s that dyke doing with that dude?!
  • well, cis: gender ain’t sexuality. y’know? well, you should.
  • Paul Baribeau, I fucking love you, as usual.
  • ughhhhhh people.

I just wanna put some sparkle fingers up in here:

I find nothing inherently romantic about marriage. I see marriage (and really any sort of commitment stated formally or otherwise) as a container for romance and companionship. It sets the stage for love & companionship to happen. It is scaffolding for repeated and sustainable feelings and acts of love and care. Marriage is not love. Just as a stage is not a play. Historically love and marriage were combined in cultural narratives (fairytales) to sugarcoat the financial, status-driven approach to marriage which was the norm in so many cultures worldwide.
The conflation of love and marriage old and broken. It uses the individually defined (and socially undefined) mantle of “love” to mask the very real legal and societal benefits being married affords certain citizens.

from here, emphasis mine.

Here are some of my thoughts about marriage. Oh yes, but can I clarify, cos I detest poly-evangelists about as much as I do evangelical christian fundamentalists–I do not believe that non-monogamy or polyamory are the end-all be-all of romantic/sexual relationships, and I utterly respect folks’ choices to be monogs, and still believe their relationships to be rad/radical–and theirs, to do with what they please. Respecting one another’s agency is the best!

remedy!

06/15/2012

note: this is NOT medical advice. you should do lots of reading about herbs and make educated decisions about how to use them by learning from more experienced herbalists and doing lots of research. have you read these zines? they’re really good places to start, but there’s always more to learn! my housemate/i harvest most of the following herbs from our garden, gardens of friends, and from nearby woods. when i harvest in the woods/forest, i go through a really deliberate and intentional process to make sure we are leaving the eco-system as intact as possible. i highly recommend going on herb walks after storms so you can collect windfall branches. you may not find what you’re looking for, but you will find what the forest wants to share with you and its other visitors. i am grateful for my herbalism mentor, T., for sharing their knowledge and experience (20+ years!) with me. -RD

making a tiny herbal first aid kit for a friend:

  • anti-sangxiety tea (sad-angry-anxiety): lemon balm, oatstraw*, peppermint, chamomile**. useful for replenishing minerals, calmative, anti-insomnia, general nervine. also fucking delicious.
  • devils’ club tincture: mild stimulant/neural adaptagen. also good for regulating blood sugar and stimulating immune function. i like to take this when i’m in stressful situations where i need my wits about me, when i think i’ve been exposed to somebody’s communicable illness (yo, P!).
  • lavender/rosemary/calendula tincture: good for aromatherapy (stress headaches, what!), cleaning yer face/pits/etc with a bandana while travelling, placing on a bandage/piece of gauze and sticking it over a mild burn to aid healing/prevent infection/sooth inflammation. i use it like a commercial hand sanitizer when i have no other access to handwashing facilities, although the alcohol proof in my tinctures isn’t quite strong enough to be as effective as commercial preparations (which are 65% or more, i think)–and of course alcohol sanitizers are not as effective as soap/water/adequate scrubbing, especially when used to prevent spread of things like noro virus (aka “stomach ‘flu'”). this combo-tincture is also useful as a topical anti-fungal. i’ve had good luck using it to rid myself of tinea versicolor, or what i like to call “sweaty bike punk spots”, combined with a similar salve.
  • oregon grape tincture:  contains a number of medicinal compounds that are anti-microbial, antibiotic, and bitter (to me, it tastes a lot like dandelion sap!). used similar to antibiotics/anti-fungals for cold, flu, etc. also good when combined with herbs like fennel for food poisoning. the theory is that the berberine causes the body to produce more of the healthy mucus membranes. cool, eh?!
  • epsom salts: okay, so epsom salts are not an herb, but they are incredibly useful for easing the soreness out of injured/stressed out bodies, and in a small quantity can be an effective remedy for constipation (be careful, tho!).
  • various bandages, gauze, etc. alcohol hand wipes and gloves, too, cos you never know!

other stuff i’d like to include:

  • T.’s miracle salve (calendula, self-heal, sage, beeswax, comfrey, st. johns’ wort, olive oil, etc): useful for burns, scrapes, rashes, closed cuts, bruises, etc. my friend makes this from a meadow that he hikes to every summer or so. it’s the best!
  • milky oat* tincture: nervine tonic. (in my experience) balances the nervous system, making those unnecessary PTSD-induced fight-or-flight days and nights a thing of the past.
  • parrotsbeak tincture: nervine, mild calmative and anti-spasmodic. i’ve used it for easing panic/anxiety attacks (in the moment, vs. long-term) and easing muscle spasms, including menstrual cramps and shoulder/back spasms. hell yeah!
  • cottonwood bud tincture: this stuff is miraculous. anti-inflammatory, soothing anti-microbial. i got to harvest cottonwood bud with T. early this spring. we use it for treating sore throats because it coats the throat with resin! do not mix in water, cos it’s a resin! use a high% of alcohol to extract the orange-y resin from the buds. i’m still getting to know this herb and have heard it is also highly effective in salve form.
  • stinging nettle leaf (dried or in vinegar): nettles are pretty incredible plants, and one of my favorites, in part because they’re so changeable! the medicinal qualities of nettles vary based on their preparation form. some indigenous use (or have used) nettles as a pain remedy by flogging the affected area. hypotheses about how this works vary, but the basic idea is to overwhelm pain receptors in the neural network. cool, right?! nettles are also a neural adaptagen and very high in minerals, making them an ideal partner to herbs like oatstraw and lemon balm. i used to include nettle in the sanger tea, but i don’t have any more in my stock. the young plants are super delicious, whereas the older plants (~ after flowers begin to form) have fibers in the leaves that can upset the urinary tract–so only eat young plants, okay? one of my favorite uses for fresh nettle leaves when i was living next to a wooded area where they grew was to make a hangover tea, or steam them and use the broth as a soup base and eat the steamed greens like kale. yum! i could go on and on about this plant.
  • cayenne: this is an herb i want to get to know better before touting its amazing properties, but some general uses of cayenne are as a warming herb (including sprinkling a little in one’s shoes/mittens to increase circulation during exposure to extreme cold!), an anti-inflammatory, and a styptic. the anti-inflammatory applications i’m familiar with include just ingesting it alongside meals as a pleasant anti-inflammatory addition to the diet. as a styptic, some people apply it topically to stop bleeding and ease pain. i’d like to experiment with this, as well as the warming-the-toes application! whatever the case, cayenne is delicious.

*avena sativa (aka oatraw, milky oat, etc) may be contraindicated for folks with an intolerance to oats/wheat, many oat crops are contaminated with wheat.

*chamomile may be contraindicated for folks who are allergic to ragweed or papaya (they’re related), but i also know folks who drink chamomile tisanes with no issue. i suspect it has to do with how strong your allergy is, so be careful if you or your pal are prone to anaphylaxis! also recently learned it is contraindicated for pregnant folks as it can induce uterine contractions (i.e. miscarriage). lastly, i would not recommend ingesting large doses of chamomile while taking other blood-thinning herbs or medications–during some of my really bad chronic pain/injury-healing time i was taking large doses of ibuprofen/chamomile at the same time and noticed i had started to break capillaries on my thighs really easily, kind of worrisome until i figured out the cause!

06/14/2012

White privilege is white cisgender radical feminists being more concerned about serial killers  and porn than about the violence of the prison-industrial complex and the police state.

I hate using the word radscum, but sometimes if the shoe fits, I’m gonna throw it back atcha.

apropos of: arguing about feminisms on the internet (comic to follow) with what has felt like a voice from back in time! <<insert spooky theremin howl here.

from the team (spoiler alert: just me) who brought you yelling your white privilege is showing! as a means of shutting down racist fucks. (haven’t done this yet, but i’m gonna if i gotta)

06/13/2012

i dreamt that we were anarchist terrorists, or at least that was what the government had decided we were, all over a few dollars missing from the till. i walked out on my job at the Homo Despot with a few rolls of quarters and dimes and suddenly i was on America’s Most Wanted. but no one watched TV anymore, because there were screens everywhere, even in their pockets. we all had a little tag that was supposed to be what we used to pay for things, but it also ended up being a tracking device, and when i trespassed against the corporation i was on the police state’s shitlist, for sure. i kept trying to tamper with my tag so that i would be able to go places without being noticed and apprehended, but i could never be sure what doorways were traps and so i had to stay outside a lot.  at one point we had kidnapped someone (who went with us willingly, but what could they understand of that?) and we were on a ferry, agents all around us in dangerous black trenchcoats (we had our hoodies, army of the young with our found object lives), hands on guns in holsters while all i had was my pen and paper burning a hole in my back pocket. the space needle somehow ejaculated itself from its skyline roost onto the top of the ferry and somehow that was supposed to either save us or stop us, i couldn’t tell which. we escaped by crawling into its belly and changing into brightly printed mumus, hidden in the bedroom of my lover’s father, who was out for some sort of errand and expected to meet his son’s lover, but not this way. needless to say, he was a little bit upset that we were all wearing his clothes when he returned, and there was a debate over whether or not we were welcome for lunch, or the corresponding tea and cookies afterwards. such is the price of freedom sometimes.

Hungry

06/11/2012

I’ve been trying for a few weeks to write about alienation from my father/his family, comfort food, and my own nostalgic longings, with only some luck. Fathers’ day is coming up, I guess? So I hear. I guess it makes sense that this feeling has been growing as it approaches.

It’s troublingly easy for outsiders to essentialize cutlures down to their food and language, but food and language was what I got of our family’s Mexican roots, along with a complex history of colonialism/assimilation and a darker complexion than my Mormon cousins, who stared at us at family reunions like we were aliens for not sharing their Wonder Bread pigmention, cornsilk hair* and blue-gray eyes. There was no question of whose offspring we were, everybody knew the story of our pariah arm of the family. “[My grandfather] went on his mission and came back with a señorita!” (Little pitchers have big ears, yo.)

This year for my birthday (in a few weeks) I think I just want to eat spicy food, cry, practice my Spanish while struggling not to be embarrassed, and tell stories. We’ll see how that works out.

Draft below, definitely not the last–this one needs to stew for a few before I can pick it up again, I think. Needs more prose on the process of nixtamalization, for sure. So fascinating, and such a useful metaphor!

Nixtamal: Spoon of the Comfort Eater

i have a confession to make:
even while food fanatics seek to reform its production and consumption
there is nothing that makes me happier
than the smell of corn.
not that corn that comes in a can or half-mildewed ears from the supermarket,
not even the sweet kernels encased in ice that we put on black eyes and bruises as kids
but those kernels that have been reborn better thru nixtamilization.
ground for maisena, tortillas de maise, tamales–or left whole for posole and menudo.
sometimes hominy just sounds like a bad pun for home.
today as my posole simmers on the stove,
i call up your voice, tia, and i miss you.
i must have been 7 or 8 the year we visited you in Alaska,
everything outside your door dazzling and snowbound,
i could have made snow angels until my fingers froze off.
“posole,” you explained the aroma simmering over your kitchen, and rationed me a bowl.
although as a Mormon, you’ve probably never been hungover,
you advised me that i would eat posole someday when i was,
that it would cauterize colds, broken hearts, and hangovers.
i tucked your advice down in the suitcase when we left, next to the other gifts,
but it wasn’t until my 20s that i found it–
heartsick, sad, and lonely, that winter my makeshift family broke open again
only to reveal that no one is safe enough to ever be counted upon.
in my bag, like any runaway, i still had my spoon.
outside the taqueria in the rain, i felt silly hesitating,
i could not bring myself to step inside those heated walls.
my face swollen with sobbing and sickness,
i thought of the steaming dish you set before me those years ago,
and i went in.
i could speak no spanish as i ordered, tho i asked as politely as mama had taught me for a bowl
and sat down salivating, waiting for my number to be called.
i still get tripped up on pronunciation and grammar, too embarrassed to speak
words lost in the fire that destroyed what bound us together
for what feels like a lifetime, and a lifetime ago–
until i am alone, reading Neruda aloud to myself because a language can sound like family,
and i am lonely sometimes.
my face drained sorrow in slick wet streams as i snuffled into my hanky between mouthfulls
glasses fogged up and eyes not dry–
i must have looked a fool to be so glad over a bowl of soup adorned with lime and cilantro
flavors alight in the dark tunnel of my glistening mouth.
but sometimes where the burning has been
becomes something more nourished
than was before.

-RD

*ironically, i guess? all the babies in our branch of the family tree are born with cornsilk white hair–but it falls out at ~10-18 months, and then grows darker and darker with every year, “like bodies shirking off colonization.”

06/11/2012

best search terms to ever lead someone to this blog:

pat califia “my boots” lick

it’s ok, you’re in real good (perverse) company all up in here.

Trigger warning for slutshaming and radscum. ’nuff said!

Recently I volunteered to perform at a Take Back the Night rally. A friend had invited me to a feminist book club that also includes an online presence on Facebook, and someone associated with TBTN had put up a call for performers. I’ve been thinking for a few years about wanting to create space specifically for survivors of violence to share our stories and let go of some of the shame that (for me, at least) sometimes accompanies surviving violence, and so I responded to the call with a few pieces. One of the organizers responded enthusiastically and said they’d be glad to have me perform, and gosh, it was really useful to have my pieces ahead of time for the ASL interpreters. ASL interpreters! I have been performing as a hearing person for over 10 years at this point, and I have never performed with an ASL interpreter, so I was excited by the chance.

Take Back the Night has its roots in the mid-1970s second wave feminist movement, as a direct action protest against sexual violence against women. At the same time that these actions were taking place, a woman-led effort to do away with pornography was also taking hold and became closely linked with TBTN. The era of the so-called Feminist Sex Wars is of particular interest to me as a feminist, a pervert*, and a trans person. Several of my favorite writers (Dorothy Allison, Gayle Rubin, and Pat Califia among them) have written fairly extensively about this era and the various witch hunts that ensued, from the exclusion of masculine-identified people from the women’s movement (Leslie Feinburg writes about this in Stone Butch Blues) to the rise of a pro-censorship and anti-pornography faction called Women Against Pornography (WAP), the vilification of the practice of BDSM and beyond.

To be honest with you, I knew all of this history when I volunteered to perform at the rally. But I also thought to myself, “RD, it’s 2012! We’re in [liberal West Coast port city]! We’re known for our sex-positivity! Besides, this rally is supposed to be about survivors, not about political analysis.” Well. I guess I was wrong.

The first speaker to take the mic was the college president, who seemed genuinely glad to be there and said that he “look[s] forward to the day we no longer have to have these rallies, because there is no more violence!” Unrealistic, maybe, but okay. Hopeful. I like hopeful.

Pass the mic, next speaker. My blood ran cold when they said that they were with WAP. It is 2012, right? I found myself frantically checking my wrist and looking around me to see if I was having a nightmare as the tirade was launched. The speech was fairly long and it felt a bit flailing, to be honest, but it certainly riled up the crowd. The first piece of rhetoric that I can recall was “If you can’t imagine pornography without sex, you’re fucked!” My friend W., who was also present, tells me that she noticed people wandering the room beforehand with stickers with the same troubling quotation on it, but I didn’t see or hear it until that moment. What?! As if fucked is the worst thing we could be? I like getting fucked. And I bet I’m not the only one in the audience who does. Next up was the tokenization of queers. The speaker continued, repeatedly checking “LGBT people,” seemingly without actually understanding that hey, we’re right over here, and we can speak for ourselves! It’s hard sometimes when being tokenized to not stand up and start yelling You don’t speak for me! in one’s big voice, but I held my ground. And then they came for the kinky ones, and began deriding “torture porn,” and spoke of being in tears upon seeing the bruises on models’ bodies. As an occasional sex worker and a person who likes bruises, likes bruising others–after all, it is the consent that makes all the difference, this was the last straw. I got up and left in an absolute quaking rage.

I don’t disagree that a significant amount of pornography is exploitive and symptomatic of a violent, misogynist society (not to mention racist, sexist, ableist, etc…class, we remember the terms kyriarchy and kyriarchical, right?) , but it’s just that, a symptom. Trying to do away with a symptom without getting to the root of the illness is simplistic, foolish, and likely to do more harm than good (Comstock Act, anyone?). I felt like the speaker was denying people their agency while making sweeping generalizations about “men” and “women” as somehow homogeneous groups, with men playing the part of the aggressor and women playing the part of the victim. This tactic denies peoples’ agency and erases people who live outside that binarism, and that’s just to start with. W. talks much more about why the arguments used were problematic here.

Overall, I was incredibly frustrated and disgusted. I spent a large portion of the day thinking about and discussing this happening with various friends who frequently act as support to me. I had really hoped to share part of my story as a survivor with others as a part of the healing process of removing shame from those experiences by bringing some of mine out into the open, telling our truths in a safe place, but it turns out the safe place was anything but safe.

Did I deserve to be sexually assaulted if I had had kinky sex with my abuser? Did my father assault me because he could see my perversion before even I knew about it? Are my experiences with violence still important/valid as a masculine-identified person? There are a lot of victim-blaming and slut-shaming narratives that start pounding in my temples when I’m feeling shitty, and I didn’t really need to hear those again. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy and a lot of time doing personal healing work for myself to put those questions down like an insurrection, so to speak. I know the answers to them now. But this event made them pop up and it’s gonna feel like whack-a-mole for a few days with the bad brain voice, I think. Ugh.

Anyhow. I think I’d like to organize a speak-out about sexual violence. No politicking about banning pornography or slutshaming about sexual preference allowed. It’s the consent makes all the difference.

ps. this was pretty much all I could think all day: 1982 called and it wants its shitty second-wave analysis back. just sayin’!

06/07/2012

Had the ~6 month after-the-break-up post-mortem coffee with A yesterday. When she got up to order something I almost stood up and walked out. Not because she’s terrible, but just because it felt like too much–being in the same room with her, listening to how her life has sped on. Like it does. That woman has nine and some lives, like a plethora of cats. Christ. Not like mine hasn’t done the same, of course. It just hurt. It was like sitting in a coffee shop with an open wound. It was nice to hear her voice, see her face, reacquaint ourselves, too.

On the other hand, when I got home I suddenly found myself realizing how much I’ve missed doing BDSM regularly, especially more intensive pain/humiliation/genderfuck stuff. It was like a door had opened, and my desire to do these things again walked back into the room and sat down with me. I curled up on the couch and wrote it all out. How long have I been holding off, telling myself I could “get by” without?

I have a deep discomfort with the broader kink “community” because it feels based in privilege and hierarchy, and I’m not willing to let go of my anti-authoritarian politic to enter it, but I also know that there are people right now who are doing work to decentralize kink and keep those communities accountable.

So that’s pretty well and good. But what I really want right now is a punching/caning scene* with so much shit-talking. Like, yesterday. Guess I should get my tools together and start using my words.

*lemme guess: do I know about Fetlife? Yes, thanks.

06/05/2012

Dear reader, like most folks these days, I’m pretty dubious of online petitions, but just in case I hope you’ll sign this, read this, and read the following. -RD

ps. oh, do you have money? neat! you could donate it here. being in prison is E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E.

 

PRESS RELEASE Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald & Leslie Feinberg 6-5-12

by FreeCece Mcdonald on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 6:49am ·

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 5, 2012

Leslie Feinberg Arrested in Solidarity with Chrishaun McDonald

Hundreds Take to Street in Protest

Contact: Katie Burgess, Executive Director, Trans Youth Support Network, transyouthsupportnetwork@gmail.com, (612) 363-7574; and Billy Navarro, Jr., MN Transgender Health Coalition, mntranspr@gmail.com, (612) 823-1152

Leslie Feinberg was arrested last night amidst hundreds of Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald supporters protesting outside of the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility. Feinberg is being held at the Public Safety Facility in downtown Minneapolis and is facing charges of property damage. The protest was held on the eve of McDonald’s transfer to the state prison system, where she will serve out a sentence of 41 months for defending herself against racist and transphobic attackers. Although McDonald initially faced two charges of second degree murder, earlier this month she accepted a plea agreement to a reduced charge of second degree manslaughter due to negligence.  Outraged supporters took to the streets, blocking traffic for over an hour in protest of the violent abuses McDonald has faced at the hands of our legal system.  Feinberg joined demonstrators in making noise loud enough to be heard within the facility McDonald is currently being held at, and marching through the streets in a show of love and solidarity with CeCe McDonald and with all incarcerated individuals.  Feinberg was the only person arrested, and is excited to draw more attention to McDonald’s story and to the prevalent racism and transphobia within the criminal system.

Feinberg has given the following statement:

Many people across the United States and around the world are watching, and history will record what happens on June 4, 2012.  CeCe McDonald survived a fascist hate crime; now she’s sentenced as she struggles to survive an ongoing state hate crime. As Martin Luther King Jr. reminded: “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

As a white, working-class, Jewish, transgender lesbian revolutionary I will not be silent as this injustice continues! I know from the lessons of histories what is means when the state—in a period of capitalist economic crisis—enacts apartheid passbook laws, bounds up and deports immigrant works, and gives a green light to e white supremacists, fascist attacks on Black peoples—from Sanford, Florida, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to a courtroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The prosecutor and the judge are upholding the intent of the infamous white supremacist Dred Scott ruling of 1857.

The same year Fredrick Douglass concluded: “Without struggle, there is no progress!”

CeCe McDonald is being sent to prison during the month of Juneteeth:  celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation—the formal Abolitionist of “legal” enslavement of peoples of African descent. The Emancipation Proclamation specifically spelled out the right of Black people to self-defense against racist violence.

Yet, the judge, the prosecutor, and the jailers are continuing the violent and bigoted hate crimes begun by the group of white supremacists who carried out a fascist attack on CeCe McDonald and her friends.

CeCe McDonald is being sent to prison in June—the month when the Stonewall Rebellion ignited in the streets of Greenwich Village in 1969. From the Compton’s Uprising to the Stonewall Rebellion, defense against oppression is a law of survival.

This is Pride month, and will be bringing the demand: “Free CeCe—now!” to the regional Pride march where I live. I believe many other individuals, groups, and contingents will thunder that demand in Pride marches and rallies all over the world—informing millions who take part, and millions more who support.

The prosecution hopes this struggle is over. But it is not over: Free CeCe—now! An injury to one is an injury to all! Come out against racist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and sexist wars at home and abroad!

Feinberg’s arrest is symptomatic of growing anger and frustration at the disproportionate targeting and abuse of young transgender women of color in our society.  The actions Feinberg took last night were in solidarity with McDonald and all prisoners to let them know they are not alone.  Feinberg is excited to garner attention to how McDonald is treated today as McDonald is transferred to the prison intake facility in St. Cloud, MN.

McDonald’s case does not reflect an isolated aberration in the functioning of the U.S. legal system, but rather business as usual within a society that has, for hundreds of years, profited from the incarceration and exploitation of people of color and trans/gender non-conforming people.  McDonald’s sentencing sends a very clear message to all those following her case across the country: transphobia and racism are alive and well, both in the violent verbal and physical attacks on trans youth of color in the night as well as in the legal system which makes surviving this violence a crime punishable by years of incarceration.  Nevertheless, we look forward to joining all of McDonald’s supporters in continuing to fight against these systems of power, for CeCe and for all transgender women of color targeted by the prison-industrial complex.

With love and rage,

The CeCe McDonald Support Committee

For more information on McDonald’s case, visit http://www.supportcece.wordpress.com.

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