Body Political

(Originally published on Gender Splendor in Fall 2013)

My body is a political weapon. I’m not talking about just the fact my body is a transgender one either. I am a walking political billboard, by my own choice. I use my body, especially how I dress my body, as a statement every time I go out into public. I am a visibly queer and transgender person. While I dress rather gender non-conforming (since I am a non-binary person who prefers feminine clothing, heels, and extreme colors), there is something much more eye catching than that.

I wear a hoodie, covered in buttons and patches ranging from simple trans pride flags to loud exclamations of gender terrorist, the gender binary is a form of hierarchy and oppression, and your silence will not save you. From the moment I walk out the door of my grandmother’s house, I am setting out on the table who and what I am. I am THAT queer person who introduces themselves as queer almost before they give you their name.

This simple article of clothing has become an important part of me. I love being visible. I find empowerment in it. I love knowing that the moment I walk into a place, I automatically get the label of queer (or some form of it). Every day is some form of social experiment depending on where I go and it seems to be a bigger success than my topless NYC Pride statement (where everyone just thought I was a hairy lesbian. More planning needed for next year). If people are not staring at me, I am probably at a friend’s house. Everywhere I go, people stare and look.

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Orlando: Not the First, Not the Last

To help the survivors and the families of the victims, please look here: https://www.oneorlando.org/ and https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

On Sunday, June 12, 2016, 49 people were murdered. Another 53 were injured. The majority were LGBTQ Latinx people celebrating Latinx night at Pulse Nightclub. During Pride month. These people were targeted specifically, with the location having been scouted by the shooter. According to patrons, the shooter was also seen several times at the club and known for getting drunk and angry. He was also known for extreme racism and homophobia. This means the shooter knew that night there would be a large gathering of QPoC. This is not the first or the last time queer people (usually of color) have been targeted.

Before Orlando there was:

Compton Cafeteria Riots in San Francisco in August 1966.

Stonewall Police Raid in New York City on June 27-28, 1969.

The UpStairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans on June 24, 1973. 32 dead.

AIDS Crisis from the 1980s to 1990s. Thousands dead.

Otherside Lounge in Atlanta in February 1997.  5 injured.

Backstreet Café in Roanoke in September 2000. 1 dead. 7 injured.

Neighbors in Seattle on December 31, 2013. None injured.

Continue reading Orlando: Not the First, Not the Last