HEBRON, WEST BANK – On Saturday, Palestinians went to the polls in an election that is being closely watched by the Palestinian Authority and by the international community. The vote for municipal councils is seen as a precursor for parliamentary and presidential elections, even though Hamas is boycotting the vote. Hamas insists the elections, which have been delayed on numerous occasions since their originally scheduled date in 2010, should not take place before Palestinian reconciliation.
Meanwhile, in Hebron, an all-female slate – thought to be the first in the Arab world – is contesting seats for the West Bank’s most populous city. Headed by Maysoun Qawasfi, a mother of five children aged 7 through 20, she recruited ten other women – as young as 26 years old – to join her. An impressive speaker (in both Arabic and English), Qawasmi works a full-time job for the Palestinian news agency Wafa. She has invested a few thousands of dollars of her own money in the campaign, believing that women can make a difference, particularly in the religiously conservative city of Hebron.
On Thursday, the last official day of campaigning, I spent the day with Qawasmi in Hebron, a city burdened by Palestinian bureaucracy, and divided and constrained by Israeli occupation. Even as we spoke, Israeli military jets flew overhead. Qawasmi believes that the existing guard – the men – have failed to bring about the changes that Palestinians need, from jobs, to education, and an end to the occupation.
It’s unclear how well her “Women’s List” party will do. It consists of eleven candidates vying for spots on the 15-member council. By law, one-fifth of the seats must be reserved for women, and indeed many of the more official parties have women listed on their slates. Qawasmi’s independent party may not even get one seat. But she insists she is already a winner.
When I created my list of trans* douchebaggery to help educate and inform others about common trans* roles models and their bigotry, I got quite a few requests to make a list of influential trans* people - real role models, so to speak.
The following is an incomplete list of folks that I believe have proven to be reliable, non-oppressive members and advocates of the trans* community:
- Kate Bornstein
- Leslie Feinberg
- Stephen Ira
- Marsha P. Johnson
- Christine Jorgensen
- Isis King
- Jiz Lee
- Janet Mock
- Virginia Prince
- Sylvia Rivera
- Monica Roberts
- Ryan Sallans
- JD Samson
- Julia Serano
- Dean Spade
If a person I have listed has been proven to be problematic in some way, feel free to let me know (with sources, if possible). Also, if I am forgetting anyone that you think should be on this list, feel free to tell me someone who you feel should be here. To be added to this list, a person must identify under the trans* umbrella. (Please include their full name and why you think they should be added.)
Hopefully, I will have the post up by tomorrow night - including more folks and why they are a part of the list (i.e. achievements, activism, etc.)
Julia Serano is problematic in that she’s a white binary trans woman who does a very good job of analyzing oppressions which are within her personal experience … but also pretty much completely fails to consider any oppressions and intersectionalities outside her personal experience.
Her book Whipping Girl is an excellent analysis of the intersection of sexism and transphobia, but considers no other intersections whatsoever, and completely erases the existence of nonbinary and/or genderqueer trans people. She’s not an HBSer type as far as I’m aware, but her model of trans identities is pretty exclusively focused on the assumed norm of white binary trans people.
Overall, her work is something that I would feel comfortable pointing people to, but not without mentioning the caveats up front.
Actually, Seranno often says in Whipping Girl that nonbinary people are privileged in the community, and that “binarism” is the discrimination *against* binary identities
Johana Ramirez: Why she kicks ass
- She is spokesperson for Trans Organization Reinas de la Noche (OTRANS) in Guatemala and a leader of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People who presented a shadow report to the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2012.
- Ramirez spoke of the tragic situation for trans people in Guatemala in a press release, saying, “During 2011, we organized trans women have suffered a series of attacks against us, culminating in a climax of murder.” She continued, “The recent cases and those suffered over the past decade are accompanied by a string of discrimination (in public spaces such as health centers, schools, prisons, etc.), persecution, and extortion perpetrated mainly by security forces.”
- She spoke at “Light for rights – Guatemala and the world united against AIDS” public event.
- With OTRANS, she has plans for opening up a small clothing factory but still needs to come up with the funds, and has plans to become a fashion designer.
Indian activists belonging to various womens rights organisation hold placards during a protest demonstration staged in Bangalore condemning violence against women and transgender people.
The Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade yesterday.
Far too often, I’ve heard radical queers and feminists, in their hipster garb, talking their academic jargon about checking one’s privilege and being accountable, and in the same breath mocking poor people. It’s not always explicit. Actually, in social justice circles, it hardly ever is. Many of you know not to say words like ghetto or white trash, or at least I hope you do, because of its classist and racist implications, but that seems to be where the anti-classist work stops. So, let me help you.
- Every time you push your vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian diet on people, remember that your diet is a privilege that doesn’t make you superior or more of an environmentalist, food justice champion, animal lover or good human. I know you know about food deserts. Well, you don’t have to live in one to not be able to afford to have a restrictive diet.
- Furthermore, poor folks went green along ass time ago. I don’t get why you feel so special about your mason jars and bicycles. Oh good for you for taking the bus when you could’ve driven. Do you want a vegan gluten-free cookie?
- Yes, Wal-Mart is evil. So, is Urban Outfitters. Get over yourself. The only reason why Wal-Mart is singled out is because poor people shop there and it is easier to distance yourself from the problem. So, stop judging poor consumers who are just trying to feed and clothe their families, and start working to dismantle capitalism, or at least organize for workers’ rights (preferably in a non savior complex kinda way).
- Your shitty college dorm room, apartment or shared house, does not make you poor, neither does shopping at Good Will.
- There is a difference between being broke and poor, much like the difference between acute and chronic pain. Learn the difference.
- For those of you who do work with poor folks, you are not special, and you are not a savior. Like I said before, drop the savior routine. It makes a big difference when you take the cues from the communities you are serving. And, just because someone isn’t a college educated career activist, doesn’t mean they don’t know what is best for them and their communities. So, don’t be a condescending ass when people don’t talk like you, and practice some real nonjudgmental allyship.
- Pro tip: classy, trashy, hood, ghetto, dangerous/sketchy/seedy (in reference to poor PoC neighborhoods), white trash, etc are all really classist terms and hella racist too. Think about it, why do we specify that the trash is white? Because all other trash must be brown, right? If you don’t have a claim to these words, don’t use them.
Anyway, the examples could go on, and if anyone wants to add onto this, please do. I just don’t understand how a community that prides itself on fighting body-shaming and slut-shaming, could be so unequivocally class-shaming. In your own words, you better check your privilege.