Yesterday I posted a video showing what happens to women everyday as they walk down the street.
I think it was in March of 1969 when I went for my first appointment at the Center For Special Problems in San Francisco.
I had been out in public mostly with friends maybe half a dozen times prior to that day.
I got off the bus at the East Bay Terminal and walked over to Union Square. It was the first time I experienced all the catcalling as a woman. I was so excited, it was so different from the catcalling I had experience as a presumed gay androgynous person. The filth I had experienced before had always had a strong dose of verbal violence and threat.
When I got back to Berkeley and told some women, who lived in the collective, they rolled their eyes and said, You’re going to get tired of it really quickly.”
Part of being a politically aware hippie woman with a blossoming level of feminist awareness meant that what was fun the first few dozen times grew stupider and stupider with each passing incident.
After I was raped in 1974 I started studying the martial arts and learned to move with alertness and confidence, like a woman warrior. I dressed like a dyke and wore feminist t-shirts, a combination that armored me up when it came to the street bullshit.
Over the years the street harassment has become far more vicious and threatening. Hiphop culture has made thuggish behavior acceptable while the right wing has seriously pushed misogyny as part of the cultural wars.
I’m old and mostly travel by car, I live in suburbia and that sort of bullshit would have neighborhood watch up in arms. It has been some 15 years or so since I was last harassed. The last couple of incidents were rather threatening.
When one happened I was out early in the morning, power-walking and involved a gang of young black men. When I ignored them they whipped out the catcalls accusing me of being a man. One of those incidents where I would have felt a great deal safer with a handgun in my fanny pack.
Then a drunken Latino man grabbed me and groped me as I was coming home from the grocery store. My martial arts skills kicked in and I kicked him several time. Didn’t even drop my groceries.
We are coming up on the Day of Remembrance Ceremonies around the world. Some of the violence done to trans-women starts off as street harassment and escalates from there.
Lessons in how to deal with street harassment should be part of the counseling given women coming out as trans early in their transition. It could save their lives.
That and convincing sisters to do safer forms of sex work other than working the strets.
Some things you shouldn’t assume.
Don’t assume that just because I’m an old dyke I want to go to the Michigan Wymonz Muzack Festival. As much as I like the country I haven’t any desire to sleep on the ground when there are perfectly good beds to be had.
Besides which I pride myself in having really eclectic musical tastes and while I might well listen to some of the artists who play the MWMF there are many I have never heard of.
I also like to support local music and musicians.
I haven’t a clue as to local lesbian bars. My partner and I don’t drink.
I don’t do Pride Day. It is generally really freaking hot, parking is non-existent and I am usually at work. Besides I’m old and I’ve been there and done that… Way too many times.
I don’t know any trans-bars or local organizations/rap groups. I had SRS well over 40 years ago and every traumatic transition story is basically the same. Time to give young folks the pride of doing their part and being activists.
What’s a “genderqueer”? (Snark) We used to say people doing “genderqueer” were doing “Gender Fuck”. Back in the post-1960s people understood camp and detournement, today everyone is so freaking deadly serious and expect you to automatically know and use proper pronouns even when they made those pronouns up.
I’m a vanilla crunchy old hippie dyke. I think all the emphasis on gender is really retro and conservative. I don’t do BDSM… If it floats your boat… Whatever… I too have hobbies that some think are strange, like going to a gun range and shooting my 9mm.
Same sex marriage is more important to me now I am old than it used to be. I used to think it reactionary but I’ve seen how the powers that be fuck over unmarried people, particularly old folks when one partner dies.
I vote Democratic. I’m pretty much a working class Democrat. Don’t assume I embrace “identity politics”. I don’t. I think they are a curse that keeps people from supporting progressive politics.
I don’t like the police state. I think it is time to end the drug prohibition, in part because I think pot might help with the pain in my hands and other joints. I oppose most progressives on matters of gun control and think many of the roots of gun control are both racist and classist.
I believe in unions and I am skeptical of the efficacy of anti-discrimination laws in a world where workers have no real rights. In that sort of world anti-discrimination laws seem like a diversion.
I know it is trendy for progressives to be anti-Israel. I support Israel, I think it is the only real democracy in the Middle East, the only place in the region where women and LGBT people have any real rights. Besides Israel is one of our strongest and best allies.
Don’t assume I like pop music or give a rat’s ass about various divas. Or cable shows featuring TG-folks. I’ve never seen Orange is the New Black. Yes Laverne Cox is a great advocate for TS/TG folks but I could barely put up with “The L-Word” and prison dramas… Well there are way too many folks actually in prison and I doubt any dramas do them justice.
I’m an old hippie. I like roots music, interesting food. I work to be able to live. I don’t live to work and earn lots of money for my employer. I do art, play music and the like because I like doing it, not because I’m really good at it and can make lots of money.
I may be post-transsexual but I don’t own any high heels, I prefer athletic shoes and Birkenstocks. I don’t wear make-up and consider fashion a bore. Actually I consider fashion rather stupid, “Vogue on the outside, vague on the inside.”
I’m not a member of the Transgender Community… It came along long after I was post-transition. I have TS/TG friends. I support the rights but the drama and fighting gets to me. I think calling transsexuals who claim that label elitists is fucked up Everyone else gets to pick their own labels why not transsexuals?
While I’m at it transsexuals have the right to experience life after SRS as individuals and not according to the ideology of some committee made up of transgender authorities.
Stop assuming we are all the same. I’m working class, a hippie, a crunchy dyke. My experiences make me different than a middle class person who came in middle age after a marriage and fully developed career. We don’t have all that much in common.
By Don Hazen
October 25, 2014
As the editor of AlterNet for 20 years, I have read and seen the entire range of horrendous and growing problems we face as a society and a planet virtually every day. It is not just climate change, or ISIL, or Ferguson, or poverty and homelessness, or more misogynistic murdering of women, or the Democrats about to lose the Senate as Obama gets more unpopular. It is much, much more. Every day, it passes by before my eyes. At AlterNet, there are no issue silos—there is just the open faucet of depressing political information coming and going every hour of every day (with the occasional story of success and inspiration).
So I am sorry to share my deep-seated opinion, which should jibe with anyone who is paying attention. After decades of engagement in progressive politics and media, it is very clear to me: we progressives, liberals, common-sense people, are losing badly to the conservative business state, the tyranny of massively expanding tech companies, theocratic right-wing forces and pervasive militarism, home and abroad. By virtually every measure, things are getting worse. And things are trending much, much worse in ways we can easily measure, like inequality, climate, militarization of police forces, etc., and in ways that are more psychological and emotional.
Americans are very pessimistic: 76 percent of respondents in a Wall Street Journal poll did not feel confident that their children’s generation will have a better life than theirs. That’s up from 60 percent in 2007. Optimism for Americans peaked in 2001. The percentage of American adults who believe the country is on the wrong track jumped eight percentage points just this summer, to 71 percent, the WSJ poll found.
And Americans’ dark views of the future are rational, as their lives have become so much more difficult and depressing. People are working longer hours, working far past previous retirement age—if they can retire at all. Many Americans do not take vacations. And many Americans of all ages can’t find good jobs, or can only find low-paying and often part-time work, which causes their lifestyles to plummet. College graduates are burdened with heavy debt.
Younger generations know that the perhaps romantic notion of the American Dream, for most people, lies in the trash bin. Over the past 15 years there was more than a 50 percent increase in people thinking there is a lack of opportunity in America (it is now just about half of all Americans). And 59 percent of Americans believe the American Dream is impossible to achieve for most people.
In terms of inequality, the Huffington Post wrote: “more than 45 million people, or 14.5 percent of all Americans, lived below the poverty line last year, the Census Bureau reported.…The annual income threshold for being counted as living in poverty was $11,490 last year for a person and $23,550 for a family of four.”
Poverty is particularly dire for single mothers: A third of all families headed by single women were in poverty last year—that’s 15.6 million such households. The black poverty rate was 27.2 percent.… More than 11 million black Americans lived below the poverty level last year. About 42.5 percent of the households headed by single black women were in poverty. The Hispanic poverty rate was 23.5 percent.”
The Long March Toward Conservative Corporate Dominance