Some November readings

My November readings were a bit all over the place, but I can promise you, I read a lot of good stuff and had trouble narrowing this list down to something manageable. I tried to group this by themes and gave up, so we go in this order – from identity politics to the amazing Marsha P. Johnson, and everything in between, from the harms of identity policing to the dangers of white saviors. Hard, but good reads.



Not all politics is identity politics


“Where the politics of identity divides, the politics of solidarity finds collective purpose across the fissures of race or gender, sexuality or religion, culture or nation. But it is the politics of solidarity that has crumbled over the past two decades as radical movements have declined. For many today, the only form of collective politics that seem possible is that rooted in identity.”



To the 53% and beyond…


“We gave you the answers to your questions years ago. We cannot save you. You worked too hard to undermine our voices. Your silence in the face of our abuses quieted our voices of solidarity. We are untrustworthy voices of our oppression, a trust you worked to undermine. So now you need to save yourselves.”



I was a Trans TERF


“I’ve understood that I deserve safety. But more importantly, I’ve understood that lots of people deserve safety who don’t get it.”



Interrogating the Whiteness of the Asexual Community


“And once a space is dominated by whiteness, it frequently become self-containing. Whiteness itself seems to always operate in self-containing ways that exclude and erase the experiences of people of color. As such, those who are asexual today may continue to see asexuality as an identity largely for white people tomorrow (whether consciously or unconsciously), and the cycle may continue to loop as new ace people gain access to the identity.”



The whiteness of ‘coming out’: Culture and identity in the disclosure narrative


“Mainstream queer narratives are often shaped by gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk’s edict to “burst down those closet doors once and for all”. Ideas of visibility and the closet have largely been shaped by white America and the gay liberation movement of the 1970s.


Refusing to subscribe to this narrative gives us space to connect with our gender, our culture and our sexuality on our own terms.”



Patients and Providers: The Mental Health Provider’s Role


“I use this example not to minimize the kind of pain and suffering that dysphoria causes, but to make the case that patients should not be set up to compete with each other based on who is more convincing at communicating their distress. In addition, a person’s gender story and awareness are not without context, including cultural and familial norms and the level of safety in exploring, expressing, or acknowledging (even to oneself) a gender that differed from expectations.”



Learning to Save Ourselves


“Books, television and film have ingrained audiences with the belief that a white person, often a man, will swoop in and, being a man of “principle,” save the day. I had forgotten how much Atticus Finch fits into (and perhaps is one of the early examples of) this trope. He is a strong, idealistic figure and, because he values the black community of Maycomb, he somehow proves to the reader that the black community of Maycomb is worth valuing. His approval of the novel’s “clean-living” black people somehow makes their lives worthwhile, when they weren’t before.”



Power to the People: Exploring Martha P. Johnson’s Queer Liberation


“I’ve been looking at that photo a lot recently. Every time I hear about another murdered trans woman of color (at least a dozen times this year already), I pull it up. Every time I see a new homage to Marsha P.—a documentary, a short film, a paean to her presence at the Stonewall riots—I look at it again. I’m trying to see how we got here, to a place where we can memorialize Johnson as the “Saint of Christopher Street” yet ignore the consistent violence that her trans daughters and granddaughters still face. How we can fetishize Johnson’s presence at Stonewall, yet ignore the demands she made of the queer community and the world at large.”


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