Cherry picking and i hate really fucking hate repeating myself
February 25, 2017
I’m honestly already too tired for this post. So its going to be super brief. I had a short discussion with Trudy and Riley (yesterday? day before? idk) about how ppl plagiarize certain parts of our past works while ignoring parts of our current stuff and also cherry picking the past stuff to suit their needs.
But the cherry picking is always… so very telling. Because it isn’t just that ppl pick what is convenient at a given moment but that entire trees have been left to rot while others are picked clean.
And we notice. We do.
For my part, the least ‘popular’ parts of my writing, the ideas/blog posts/whatever that get the least amount of circulation are the things that matter the most to me. They are also, unfortunately, the things that I have the least ability (and right) to speak on. Namely: twoc and intimate partner violence, sex work, incarceration, and hiv.
I spent one year (a few years back) trying my best to draw attention to the role that IPV plays in the violence that twoc experience (particularly as concerns the ever-alarming high deaths of twoc deaths globally – mostly Black and Latina). Sex work and IPV are, essentially, the two main factors driving violent deaths and an unknown number of non-fatal violent experiences. Tied into this is the high rates of HIV and incarceration.
Given that I’m in canada and my close proximity to the US, this means that I’m also primarily talking about Black trans women. Look at the most recent trans survey. Wasn’t it something like 1 in 5 Black trans women are living with HIV? Black trans women had the highest rates of incarceration.
It goes on and on.
I am not a Black trans woman. I have also not been a sex worker. I don’t have HIV. I have never been incarcerated. I have never experienced intimate partner violence.
In the ‘discussion’ about the things I think are most important, my role is to STFU and listen. That’s what I’m trying to do.
Sure. There’s more to be done re: gender and colonialism. But honestly? Even I know, as a philosopher, that sometimes you have to pause to actually improve material conditions before you can theorize the next step. So I’m waiting for some direction.
A few years ago I organized my one (and most likely only) ‘community’ event. I looked around and saw a lot of light skinned girls like me and not enough Black girls, given what we were trying to accomplish. Beyond how exhausting the experience was, even then I knew that girls like me shouldn’t be ‘in charge’ of anything. All of which ended up being compounded by a series of unfortunate miscommunications that led me to be the moderator of a poc-only discussion. I was one of the lightest ppl in the room. I should not ever be front and centre of a room like that. I didn’t want to be.
The point I’m trying to make is that this was the moment I realized that sometimes the contribution I’d have to make, based on who I was and my relative privilege was to not be present. My absence would be one way I’d ‘participate’ in the cause. In the movement.
Sometimes my presence would harm more than my absence.
This is one of those times.
Some might think:
Wait. But nina/b./whatever, you’re a great writer, ppl listen to you, why not use your platform to bring attention to these issues….
I don’t actually understand why ppl think this works. Or wait, I do. Whatever. You can’t make space by taking up space. If I’m somewhere I don’t belong, that means I’m taking up the space of someone who does. If I try to shine a light, I highlight myself and pull attention away from those who need it. I don’t matter in this. I’m not important. If I speak, who doesn’t get heard?
I have eyes. I have ears. I pay attention.
I notice who the ‘leaders’ of the ~movement~ are. I see what their priorities are. I see how some of my favourite people (*cough*erica*cough*) are bullied into social death. I see how others who should be leaders and celebrated are languishing in poverty and loneliness.
I don’t really talk about much trans/gender shit anymore bc I don’t have much to say that I haven’t said already. And the stuff I current care about, it isn’t my place to talk about.
My trans ‘activism’ is a quiet activism (as in: I send what extra money I have to Black trans ppl who need it).
Its funny though, how a few years ago few people wanted to talk about IPV and twoc. And… well, few people (beyond the usual) are talking about it now. Between this and seeing one of my fav ppl get bullied right out of it all? I have no stomach for the ‘community’. May never have again.