Anonymous asked: can i twerk on you?
Haha, thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to pass. ;)
Anonymous asked: why would you being csigendered identifying be a problem?
Well, it was a female space. I know that if I was in a queer space, I probably wouldn’t care for allies in the room.
I was at an Asian Pacific American feminist tea gathering the other day, mostly to show solidarity. When I was invited to attend by one of the organizers, I was very hesitant to attend because I didn’t want to 1.) take up space and 2.) make any of the women there feel uncomfortable with my presence as a cisgender male identifying individual. But I eventually went anyway. At first, I just sat and listened, it was very interesting and disheartening to hear some of the people in the room speak about their experiences in both API and non-API, corporate, government, and nonprofit spaces, and even in their own women spaces.
But there was a point where I just couldn’t keep myself from speaking. One of the women said, “I don’t like to think that we’re trying to change anyone. I don’t want to change anyone. I think what we’re doing with feminism is having conversations with others who may or may not think like us so we can understand each other. We don’t have to agree.” I felt such an immense need to respond to her, regardless of whether or not it was out of place for me to vocalize myself in a space not designated for someone like me. So I said:
"I think we are trying to change the way people think. Feminism, social justice, queer and people of color movements, these aren’t about just understanding each other and talking. I am out there to shift the way people think, what they believe, and how we are treated. I don’t want them to understand me and then continue living and acting the way they have their entire lives. I want my cousin to be able to look at me, speak to me, and acknowledge my queerness and my humanity. And that requires that he changes the way he thinks, believes, and acts toward queer individuals."
"Movements are political by nature. Politics is an ideological struggle, where justice is determined by the victor. I’m not trying to struggle for the sake of conversation, I’m fighting to win. And I’m feminist because I love my sisters and want them to have access to everything. But I’m also a feminist because feminism and gender equity is central to queer liberation. I am a feminist because women must be unshackled, gender roles demolished, and patriarchy crumbled before queer and non-gender identifying individuals can be free. Feminism is about change. Movements are about change. We must change the people around us."
My words may have been out of place and maybe even hostile, but I think…I felt okay with what I said. It was authentic, and I don’t think anyone can have an honest conversation about movement building or isms without framing it within a political and ideological context. It is a struggle between different interpretations of justice. And I want to see justice that liberates my people from the oppressive beliefs, norms, and structures that plague our current paradigm.
Thought of the day - my ass looks great in these pants.
Is it weird that when I see photos of my friends from back home together, having fun, and living their lives, I grow envious? I’m not there…and suddenly, I feel like my presence never mattered. There and then gone. I’m jealous about nothing and at the same time everything. I have my own life, I have friends here, great friends. But when I see pictures and when I read status updates…I think, am I so easily replaceable? Yes. It seems our spots are filled as quickly as they are emptied.
Taking a quick breather from my work and thinking about the recent usage of Twitter as a form of activism, especially with the recent Asian American stuff. Here are my thoughts, I suppose:
At its core, advocacy comes in two forms, with various tactics: 1.) dismantle and 2.) reform. The most apparent form of API advocacy at the moment (according the recent usage of twitter) seems to be dismantle at all costs, regardless of who gets slaughtered in the process. This version of advocacy cuts through, tramples over, and further marginalizes those from our communities who cannot join the struggle. I’m not in a position to judge the way someone else struggles to live, but when the dust clears, when you have achieved your victory, will your community stand with you? Will they applaud you? Or will they be so far beneath the soles of your shoes that they can’t even see you?
You can represent yourself; you can represent a community; and you can represent a people - but your movement needs to align with the wants, needs, and desires of those you symbolize. Otherwise, you fight for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that, but do not claim to represent me or my people if you cannot stop long enough to listen to us. And I’ll tell you one thing, my people are not on Twitter. We do not need to agree because justice goes to the victor, but social justice is not just a fight, it is a lived experience. You call yourself a symbol of a people, burn those who seek a different path to the same end, and call that social justice. In social justice, the ends does not justify the means. There is no justice if our communities are lost in the process. Our movement should be angry because we love and are family. To quote Lilo and Stitch: “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.”