Queer, Gifted & Black

Sunday
Nov172013

Acting Like A Child

Ageism is a real system of oppression. The way that people over the age of 65 are targeted more specifically for certain kinds of fraud and violence related to long term care facilities and services and also the way that young people are manipulated and abused by adults. There is no doubt that age constructs a system of power. In some places, 18 has been determined as the age that you can be tried as an adult, 21 is the age that you can drink - the arbitrary passing of 'a year' grants certain social, economic and political power and over time it runs out until you are left with none.
The people who economically constructed Western civilization decidedly didn't make adequate systems to care for the elderly and the adults who currently benefit the most, also economically continue to maintain a system where people become 'disposable' at a certain age. 
I have also noticed that the generation that has benefited the most materially from capitalism also participates in agesim, namely in the ways that young people are blamed for many of societal ills generally. Youth is associated with 'folly' or not being hard working, being selfish or vain. And I really want to challenge that assumption. The young people I know are hustlers, despite being denied the right to pursue music or art or things that feed their spirit in favour for getting 'real jobs', they instead seek to do both, and are tired and overworked as a result of it. We have inherited more debt than has ever been imagined in the history of the world - I know more young people (under and around 30) who are in the negative $30,000 - $100,000 dollars, can't imagine how to have house much less how to have or support your children while working several jobs, engaging in activism, participating in community building through events, organizing and/or sharing information on social media and being chronically ill. 
And don't even get me started on all of the critiques on our use of social media. Over the internet I have been able to connect with all the people that capitalism tries to keep isolated through lack of accessible services and education. I get to connect with people who my own privilege as a hearing, seeing, English-Speaking cisgender person self distances me from. I have shared information and actions of solidarity with people around the world, as a queer little Black girl, I found love for the first time on the Internet. I am not suggesting that the web isn't fucked up, it is all part of real life and is fraught with the same systems of oppression and abuses that we experience in our physical relationships with each other, and yes the medium is intrinsically related to how we experience it. But this nostalgia for a time where people all said 'Hi' to each other was also a time where my Brown elders were having their houses egged by white supremacists in Vancouver, BC. So maybe we can stop acting like it is always the young people that are the ones who are fucking it up.
We inherited this culture and in many cases we are doing exactly what we are told, when capitalism deprived us from having loving relationships with you (we missed you) where we could have spent time with you and instead we were raised by hours of television that told us exactly the kind of people that we should be and that are valued.
I personally really love and trust younger people as a principle (obviously we have to negotiate our relationships with folks as individuals). I hope you exceed everything that has come before you. I want to tell you all the truth I can about how wonderful we were to each other and how fucked up we were to each other. I hope you can improve on everything that we have done, because the world is really hurting and few benefit at the expense of everyone else. I hope at 9 you will be way smarter than I ever was. You don't have to listen to me because I am your elder, my relative age has nothing to do with my kindness, compassion or wisdom. And while I should be respected you should be too. Disrespect is not warranted because someone is your boss, or your parent or any person in 'authority'. A degree, a gun, 20 years, or a collection of DNA does not give anyone the right to be violent, abusive, manipulative and be wary of any adult who suggests that is true. I trust that you know more about your surroundings and challenges than I do, so I will work really hard to ask a lot of questions, not be judgemental and understand your context as opposed to offering you advice that may have only been relevant in my time and my specific context. I believe that you are intelligent and capable and creative and there are some things you know more about than I do and vice versa. I understand that we are both human and we will both inevitably hurt each other, but I will always work to be accountable, to apologize to you when I am wrong and I hurt you BECAUSE AS ADULTS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE INCLUDING PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUNGER THAN US and also because I want you to also be accountable to me. When I say that someone is 'acting like a child' I will use it in a positive way or not at all, meaning someone is acting genuinely curious, creative, kind and careful because this is in fact what I have experience the most from children who are in loving homes regardless of access to money.
There was a recent study that I recall where they asked young children (5 - 8) to find as many different uses for a spoon as possible, and they found over 200 on average and then they asked again at 20 and on average they could only find 2. Children are unrestrained by restrictive rules, their imaginations ideally are boundless. I recognize that you are the ones who are most likely to imagine a world for us where we can be entirely free and living in respect and reverence of life and I am grateful to work with you and in solidarity with you.

 

Monday
Nov112013

Femme Worship & Why I Be Lovin Nick Cannon

I love the way that Nick Cannon declares his love for Mariah Carey. I just finished watching the Kevin Hart series The Real Husbands Of Hollywood. A show that focuses on the satirical relationships between several hilarious and brilliant comedic couples including Tisha Campbell-Martin (from Martin). And throughout the show, the ongoing joke is about him being 'Miss Mariah', but he never rejects it. He in fact embraces it openly. The first episode he even wears an apron that reads Mr. Mimi while he is barbecuing, he sets his alarm to go home at midnight to see Mariah after hanging out with the boys, he just loves himself some her!

Regardless of the ways that insecure people criticize his 'masculinity', he opens identifies as Mr. Mariah Carey. Why would we be mad? Why would we shame this man over and over again for loving this woman so deeply that he reaffirms it in every public encounter. 

This is so rare. And although I know nothing about their personal relationship, so often the image represented in corporate media, is that men don't love their partners, they think that they are annoying and they just put up with them. I have seen this 'joke' played out in sitcom after sitcom. And when masculine people love women a lot, it is always framed as a flaw, or a weakness like Steve Urkel before he became Stephan. 

What is being taught, if masculine people are shamed in much media when they express open loving, declarative possibly even submissive feeling for women? What is being taught if the 'cool' ways and the acceptable ways are to be less attached and attentive?

All these things must be practiced with consent. Grand gestures without consent can be invasive and frightening. When we love each other with clear permission in the ways that we each individually desire and negotiate, that is a beautiful thing.


Sunday
Oct062013

Musings On Healing

The medical industrial complex.

It is such a trip as I engage in this process of healing. It is a return to all the knowledge systems that are actually Indigenous to me as someone with South Asian, African and Indigineous heritages. And to watch the way that the White Able Bodied Capitalist Machine first decried all of our knowledge as 'voodoo' as 'pagan nonsense' as 'primitive' and now the most 'progressive of people rename and appropriate our sciences while simaltaneously othering and alienating us.

All the while, we are meant to practice this thing called western science, that from everything that we know has literally been founded on the destruction of the bodies of womyn and trans folks, Indigineous People and People Of Colour. From the founding of western science's modern gynecology with the forcible sterilization and removal of the uterus' of enslaved African Womyn to simply using a standard for treatment that is based on conceptions of what a 'normal body is'. Namely, euro-western, hearing, cisgender, heterosexual....

And we are shamed when we do engage our own practices. The yoga I practiced with my grandfather becomes 'new age' and the way we eat back home in Venezuala gets called 'macrobiotic'. And we stop being who we are, and they call us 'urban' as though we were grown from the concrete. 

And they buy all our homelands and they call it 'cottage country' or 'private beaches' and we can't go home and we can't even drink the water because it's flooded with all these chemicals that your science said would be good for us and our sciences said all along - that no they would not.

And you call it 'organic' when all that really means is that it is without your 'superior chemicals' and then we are judged for eating white bread, when it was your science that told us that we should do it in the first place.

Powerful reminders are all around us that we know more about our own individual bodies than anyone else and that is a valid type of science, based on our own lived and embodied inquiry. Our communities also practice significant and varied types of sciences, there isn't one type of science that is better than all the rest, there are just different kinds suited for different experiences and purpose. 

And if there was, it would not be funded by Monsanto, trust and believe.

#trustyourstruggle #trustyourbody#trustthosethatloveandrespectyou

Tuesday
Aug132013

Strange Sisters: Application FAQ’s

Strange Sisters: Application FAQ’s

 

With just under 1 week left to submit your applications, we wanted to share some answers to questions that we have been asked most often.

 

1. Who can apply for Strange Sisters?

This is a performance showcase for Queer Womyn & Trans* Folks. We are prioritizing the experiences and artists who identify as womyn.

 

In recognition of the fact that there are hundreds of different ways to express gender and that gender for some is a fluid journey, we include trans folks in the broadest sense of the term.

You may have had the experience of growing up as a tomboy and then identifying as ‘femme’. You may have been mis-assigned as male from birth and have always sought spaces where you can be affirmed and acknowledge for the womyn that you are. You may be intersex and identify as exactly intersex. You may use masculine pronouns but still identify as a womyn. You may be 2-Spirit, or hijra or any number of gender expressions that are neither male nor female, and this space welcomes you.

 

2. Do you welcome artists from outside of Canada?

Yes we do! We have a small budget for local and some international bus travel to Toronto. We welcome submissions from Montreal, Detroit, New York, DC and other areas surrounding Toronto.

 

3. What kind of art are you looking for?

We offer honorariums (payment) to all accepted artists including visual artists, performance artists and movement artists as some examples. Please ask us if you have specific questions!

 

4. Is ASL confirmed?

Yes it is and we welcome applications from Deaf artists, as we all as folks with varying experiences and abilities.

 

5. Is Buddies a wheelchair accessible space?

Yes it is.

 

6. Can I submit film/video art?

We are open to it! We will definitely consider it to see where and if it fits and is possible.

 

7. Can I submit more then one project?

Yes you can. 

8. Where is the application?

Here!

Friday
Aug092013

Femme Science & Community Based Research

So unbelievably thrilled to be sharing this with everyone. 

This is the 'Femme Science & Community Based Research prezi from the AMC and it abounds with a ton of femme wisdom that was shared in the workshop by the participants including strategies to negotiate institutional learning, how to nurture our intuition and so much more.

SO much special thanks to Eddie Ndopu & Chanelle LeLovely for all their work in creating this space.



http://prezi.com/bkpfroriyfuz/femme-science-community-based-research/