I’m sorry to those of you who have a history of sexual assault and this past week (2 weeks? 2 years??) has been difficult. I know I have been struggling quite a bit. Most of us have stories.
I see you.
I believe you. ❤️
Please – let’s call senators and demand that they allow time for the FBI to conduct an investigation into the allegations, as Dr. Ford requested, before rushing into a vote on a lifetime appointment. The entire Kavanaugh circus has been a startling string of lies. The latest defense being thrown around is maybe there WAS a sexual assault, but it was by someone who LOOKED like Kavanaugh – it wasn’t him. THIS in defense of a man who belonged to a frat at Yale who’s motto was “no means yes, and yes means anal.” 😡. The next thing they’re going to say is – if there was alcohol at the party, and Dr. Ford may have been drunk, how does she remember…? 🙄. There are SO many clues pointing to the fact that Kavanaugh is just a scummy individual – why the rush? (We all know the answer to that one).
Among many of the reasons we need to stop Kavanaugh is perjury. If we can’t hold the highest judicial position in the country to follow the basic rules of law, what the hell are we doing??
Call 202-804-8191 and demand a delay on the vote, or just a no vote outright. There is too much going on with this man for him to be considered a viable candidate for Supreme Court Justice. Thanks. ❤️
Raise your hand if you miss having a REAL president….😢
While the head of the NRA speaks at the CPAC convention and says “socialist!” a thousand times to scare the shit out of conservatives, businesses are beginning to sever ties to the NRA – so far, Bank of Omaha and three car rental companies (Enterprise, Alamo, and National – same parent company). Consider thanking/supporting these companies with your words and/or dollars. An incomplete list of NRA supporters can be found at this link, and will be updated through that site:
* The “let’s put guns in the hands of teachers” idea is a distraction and will not happen. This administration is using the deaths of children to further divide the country. Stay focused on getting 45 and all of his buddies out, and getting our country back in November. ❤️
As mentioned Wednesday, consider supporting the Parkland students’ gofundme to organize marches (leftover will be donated to victims’ funds):
Today our hearts are still heavy after yet another mass shooting in a school in Parkdale, FL. We turn our actions to those families and the families of future victims if we continue to do nothing.
1. Call Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and ask them how many more children have to die before they will lead their pro life party to any sort of sensible reform on gun ownership. Ask them about The UK, Germany, Australia and Japan (see comments for literature on their approaches to gun violence). Ask them why they continue to take money from the NRA. And tell them you won’t stop until they’re voted OUT.
3. Consider making a donation to the National Association of Social Workers. Social Workers and counselors will be on the front lines of dealing with the trauma people have experienced and need our support. There are more victims than just the ones who lost their lives.
4. Compassion fatigue and secondary trauma are real. They happen when support people start to feel the impact of the trauma of those they are supporting. This could be in the form of depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, sadness etc. If you’re feeling this way, please reach out to get some professional help. We need you here with us and healthy.
5. While you’re at it–call congress and let them know that this disgusting shooting will be a force in our movement, but it will NOT distract us from the other atrocities of this administration. We still need a clean dream act. Let them know you expect it to be prioritized along with gun violence legislation.
As always, we’re happy and proud of you and are a place for everyone to be heard, respected, and protected.
For those of you off of work/school because of the weather–stay warm. For those of you who aren’t–stay safe!
If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you know that America has been making some history. Mirai Nagasu is the first US woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics. Chris Madzder is the first American to win a medal in the Luge (silver). And our VP decided to sit during the opening ceremony portion dedicated to the unification of North and South Korea…yep that’s right–an American Vice President decided to use a national anthem as a means to protest what he considers to be unfair and disagreeable conditions and practices. Let that sink in for a second…
We’ve got some good stuff for you today–including our next installment of our Black History Month education series–which can be found here:
Click the link above, scroll down and enter your email address. You’ll have FAM updates and actions wherever you go!
1. WE STILL NEED A DREAM ACT. Call Congress and force them to hold the President and administration accountable to campaign promises. No human being is illegal, and the very inception of our nation included “illegal immigration”–which Republicans seem to forget.
2. With Valentines Day just around the corner, take a moment to send a ray of sunshine to a sick child. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is looking for folks to send some V-Day love to the children in their care. You can do so here:
3. Randy Bryce–who is challenging Paul Ryan for his seat in the House of Representatives is on an all out blitz to flip as many seats blue as he can throughout the country. Make a contribution if you can, or share his message if you can’t–he has a real shot at winning this seat and helping the wave of blue crash over DC.
Make sure to subscribe with your email to always be kept in the loop (scroll down to the bottom of the page)
Actions and Info:
1. WE STILL NEED A CLEAN DREAM ACT. Besides being a campaign promise of the current administration, the right thing to do is protect DREAMers and build a path to citizenship. While it was appreciated that Rep. Pelosi held the house floor for 8 hours this week to demand a vote on an immigration bill, our elected officials need to hear from us. We should be making this call every day.
2. This month’s Shawarma Law will be taking place this Saturday at 4:00pm at La Pita in Dearborn. Fresh off their TV debut via The Opposition on Comedy Central, theres never been a better time to submit to Shawarma law!
4. This second government shut down was another display of garbage GOP politics. Call Paul Ryan’s office and ask him why he continues to let 45 break campaign promises? Why won’t he hold the line on strong values?
Josephine Baker was a Black dancer and singer from Missouri who moved to France, where she became a popular entertainer, becoming the first Black person to star in a major motion picture, ZouZou.
Less commonly known, was her work as an agent with the French Resistance.
During the beginning of WWII, Baker used her fame and charm to collect whatever information she could from high ranking foreign bureaucrats and officials she met at parties and passed it on to French intelligence.
Once Germany invaded France, Baker returned to her home in South France where she housed people working with the Free French Forces, supplying them with visas. As an entertainer, Baker was able to freely move throughout Europe without raising suspicion, and she took advantage of this ability to collect and pass information on to England.
In 1941, she traveled to North Africa, where she set up a base in Morocco. From there, she toured Spain, pinning notes with information inside her underwear.
Post-war, Baker worked tirelessly in support of civil rights in the US by capitalizing on her fame to write articles on segregation and give talks at universities. Baker refused to perform for segregated audiences, and her insistence on mixed audiences paved the way to the integration of live entertainment shows in Las Vegas. Baker received death threats from the Ku Klux Klan for this, but did not allow them to intimidate her or slow her work.
Baker died in 1975 of a cerebral hemorrhage at 68. She was the only American-born woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral.
Baker received the Croix de guerre, the Rosette de la Résistance, and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur for her work with the resistance.
Today is Wednesday, February 7, 2018. As you can see by our graphic – it is National Day of Action for a Dream Act Now. DACA is set to expire by March 5 (a random deadline decided upon by 45, which literally does not need to be enforced, yet 45 says he will enforce it because he wants his beloved wall…). Call your MoC and demand a plan for our Dreamers, along with a clean, accessible path to citizenship for future immigrants.
Dems picked up a HUGELY red seat in the state legislature yesterday! The tide continues to turn! 😁
We will continue to highlight special elections, but will especially be calling on you to assist with tight races across the countries as we work to regain control of Congress. Keep an eye out for opportunities to call, write, and donate. ❤️
Your FAM admins are meeting this weekend to discuss our progress and plans for the next month and 2018. We will update you early next week. 😊
We’ll see what happens this week with regard to another shut down.
I’m not even going to talk about the stupid parade….🙄😡. Hopefully he’ll be long gone by then, and it will be a moot point. Speaking of which, Mueller is not our fairy godmother. I hope, with all of my heart, that justice will prevail and 45 and his entire band of merry men (and women – I’m looking at YOU, Kellyanne…) are rounded up and get the punishment they deserve (whatever that looks like). But, we have no idea IF and WHEN that is going to happen, so we need to keep pushing FORWARD, as if we are stuck with this asshat for another 3-7 years. We need to mitigate the damage he is doing to our country, our people, our economy, and our environment. Once he is (eventually) gone, we need to fight to make sure this NEVER happens again. I want my sleep back. I want my anxiety levels back to normal. I want a full night’s sleep without restlessness and nightmares. I want to be able to trust my government. Our fight will continue once he is gone, to right our ship and make it ironclad against future attacks on our democracy. Pace yourselves. We’ve got a ways to go yet. ❤️
As always, we appreciate you. Please keep fighting – break out of your comfort zones and push yourself a little farther than you have before. Be bold!
As I chatted with the other admins last night, wondering what we should highlight (lowlight?) today, we realized there is SO MUCH horrible shit going on that we didn’t know where to start. We realize that y’all are keeping up with the news, and you don’t need to be hammered over the head again with it. So, here’s some perspective:
* As mentioned in a previous post, things are going to get worse before they get better. As the handcuffs tighten around 45’s neck, he is not going to go quietly. He is doing everything he can to discredit Mueller and the investigation. And congress is letting him. I’m baffled.
But, Mueller is a consummate professional. He can handle this. (“Yeah, but what if they fire him?” We will revolt. That will be a constitutional crisis – direct violation of our checks and balances that the founding fathers put in place to keep one person/party from gaining too much power).
* Nunes Memo – it’s going to get released – despite many groups, including the DOJ trying to keep it confidential. Nunes is 45’s lap dog, and 45 is grinning and clapping like a 2 year old in front of birthday cake. He can’t WAIT to release it. So, prepare for the fallout from that. (There is a lot of confusion over what the hell this “memo” is – here’s some info: https://www.justsecurity.org/51630/five-questions-nunes-memo-answer/) Kristen Vandoorn Myers thank you for the link! 😊
* Russian sanctions: the ENTIRE congress, House and Senate, save five, voted to impose additional sanctions on Russia (just like the ones we (didn’t) already impose last summer). 45 said “nope.” So, again, thumbing his nose at the Constitution. Call everyone you can think of to demand enforcement of the sanctions THEY voted on.
*MSU is installing John Engler (!!!) as interim president after Lou Anna K. Simon resigned. Feel free to contact the board of trustees to express how you feel about this. Vested interest or not, MSU is a public, taxpayer-supported university. We are ALL invested.
Do we have any good news out there? Of COURSE we do!! ❤️
Join us next Saturday, February 10 at 4 pm at La Pita for the next Shawarma Law Enforcement meeting at La Pita in Dearborn. Here’s a link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1441668395955439/?ti=icl If you missed Zahra Ayoub on Comedy Central last week, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyVLoDv_EIQ We will get through this. Our country will survive. We will emerge more unified and stronger than ever before. We will realize that our process is not perfect and changes need to made to prevent this authoritarian crisis from ever happening again. We will get back on our feet. Take names. Take action. Don’t forget. Move FORWARD.
We are so grateful to have you with us this week–and we’ve got some work to do.
Before we get started, a few quick reminders: When posting to the group, lonely links will be declined. A lonely link is a post that just contains a link, no commentary or background from the poster or reasons why it is being shared. We delete these because they give the page a spammy feel and they are almost unsearchable. Secondly, on that topic, please SEARCH the page before posting. This prevents splintered conversation and keeps the page clean of repeated information. Lastly, check your PMs–moderators will send messages there if your post needs attention or changes. Note that we don’t always send PMs for lonely links or duplicate posts because we get so many. If a post of yours is not approved, it is more than likely in one of those two categories.
Now, onto action!
1. According to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Congress is planning some sort of vote to ban abortion at 20 weeks. We know this is nothing more than a veiled attempted to control women, especially poor women and women of color, from making choices about their own bodies, and sexual health.
We need to call Republican senators and let them know there are more things to be worried about like DREAMers, homeless veterans, and police brutality.
If you like, you can also add your name to the Senator’s petition against the bill.
2. WE MUST DEMAND A CLEAN DREAM ACT. Now the current administration is going back on their word that they originally went back on after promising it during the election season (who else is dizzy?) and is making all kinds of nonsensical demands. This is all just a delay tactic while ICE thugs round up more parents and grandparents and send them back to countries where they would surely meet a terrible fate.
Call the senate switch board and DEMAND a DREAMER bill today. We cannot wait any longer, we’ve already waited too long. Remind Republicans that their president promised a path to citizenship during the election cycle. They can’t be a pro-life party unless they care about all children, not just the unborn ones.
3. As we continue to be shocked at the level of complacency and enabling happening within USA Gymnastic, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University–we must know that other organizations out there have these same issues that have yet to be brought to light.
If you are a current college student, an alumni of a college, or anyone in between, call your Alma Mater and ask them what their policy is for handling reports of sexual assault or rape.
Let’s force some of these schools to fix what’s wrong and prevent a Larry Nassar situation before it starts.
Also, if you are a survivor or rape, sexual assault or abuse, and you need resources, please reach out to any of our admins or moderators for a completely confidential conversation. We are here to help!
As always, we are proud of have you with us. Each day brings us closer to realizing freedom, equity and safety for all people.
On this week’s Social Justice installment, we’re going to discuss Trans issues. We’re going to touch a bit on the Transgender community and some of the ways they are marginalized by cisgender folks.
Let’s start with a few definitions:
Gender: A social construct that allows individuals to make logical assumptions about someone based on cues such as appearance, mannerisms, presentation, clothing, speech patterns, name, and other cues. Often, this is “assigned” to an infant at birth based on their genitalia (when those genitalia are unambiguous). On an individual level, gender is an emotional, mental, and social state that is influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, society, neurochemistry, upbringing, exposure to media and academia, as well as other nonspecific factors. Often, this term is conflated with ‘sex‘ as a way to differentiate “how someone feels” from their genitalia. However, genitalia, chromosomes, and assigned birth gender have no scientifically provable bearing on one’s gender. Only people have a gender; genitals, objects, actions, media, and other such items are not gendered. Society may at large may associate them with a particular gender, however these associations are a function of a strong bias towards binary gender, and to a greater degree, gender essentialism. Gender Presentation: How any individual represents their gender through mannerisms, appearance, name, and other nonspecific factors. Gender Binary: The concept that only two genders exist, male and female, and that all other genders are invalid, made up, fake, or some other similar term. Gender Essentialism: The practice or idea of boiling down an individual to so-called “essential” qualities associated with the gender they are, or present as. Examples include reducing an individual to their genitalia or secondary sex characteristics, to a biological function (such as pregnancy/birth or menstruation), to a societal role (housewife/homemaker, breadwinner, think 1950s americana), or to another lesser quality to remove the complexity and abstraction of the individual. This is harmful not only in trans discourse, but also in feminist discourse in that it is often sexist as well as cissexist.
Transgender or Trans: (adjective) Transgender is an umbrella term for anyone who is not the gender doctors assigned when they were born. This includes binary and non-binary genders and identities as well. This is an adjective (not a noun) and should never use the -ed or -ism suffix. While you may see trans folks refer to themselves as “a tran” or “a trans” or “the trans” colloquially (and often in jest), much like with racially-charged language be sure to avoid mimicking the usage of the trans community as a cis individual. Generally one should refer to binary trans folks as “trans men” or “trans women” as the term “trans” is an adjective, similar to blonde, white, fat, disabled, or neurotypical. Specifically, using the terms “transman” and “transwoman” (note the lack of space) implies that these individuals are fundamentally “not” members of their gender, by creating a fully new term rather than applying an adjective to said gender.
Non-Binary: (adjective) Sometimes shortened to NB, or enby. This is an umbrella term for folks whose gender doesn’t exist within the gender binary. They aren’t “men” or “women,” but often have identities such as agender, gender-fluid, etc. If you think of gender less as a binary and more as a big ball of wibbly wobbly gendery-bendery stuff,* then non-binary folks are somewhere in said ball. Sometimes this term is shortened to NB, or “enby” by members of the community.**
Cisgender: (adjective) Anyone who is the gender they were assigned at birth. Also referred to as “cis <insert gender here>” such as cis man or cis woman. Borrowed from latin, where it is the opposite of the prefix “trans”. This word follows the same grammatical rules as transgender, and should never have the -ism, or -ed suffix attached.
AMAB/AFAB: Abbreviation for “assigned male at birth” or “assigned female at birth”; this is an abbreviation often used by/around trans people to avoid harmful or misgendering language such as “born <insert different gender here>” or “<insert different gender here>-bodied”.
Deadname: A trans person’s deadname is the name they were assigned before their gender became known. It is incredibly problematic to use this name, or to ask about it. Using it suggests that you don’t respect a person’s declaration of their authentic selves, and also runs the risk of potentially outting them.
Misgendering: The act of referring to someone using terms, implications, imagery, or other communication that expresses or implies that they are a different gender than they are, or are not genuine about their identity. While it may be easier to understand this as “a different gender than they *say* they are” that language implies that an individual’s gender is invalid and based only on that individual’s opinion and that they do not have the agency to know their own gender moreso than society (or simply another individual). While this can be as simple as using the incorrect pronouns, it can also be less obviously done via explicitly avoiding using a gendered or genderless pronoun to indicate a trans individual, preferring to use their name (or worse, their deadname) even when it is grammatically awkward or conversationally inappropriate.
Dysphoria: This is the distress a trans person experiences as a result of the gender they were assigned at birth. Not all trans folks experience dysphoria, and for those who do, the degree to which they experience it may vary. Historically ‘gender dysphoria’ was the medical term for the condition of being transgender, much like how homosexuality was considered a mental illness in the socially unaware days of yesteryear. As of the release of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (or DSM-5 for short), this is no longer the case.
Intersex: Intersex refers to a person who has a body that does not fit society’s binary definitions of male and female. This includes variance in chromosomes, hormones, secondary sex characteristics and sexual and reproductive anatomy (sometimes referred to as “ambiguous genitals” at birth).
Cissexism: The discrimination of the dominant group (cis folks) against the oppressed group (trans folks) based on the quality of being trans, or having one or more qualities associated with trans folks, or the assertion/implication that trans folks are inferior to cis folks.
Folks: An easy-to-use genderless reference to a group of individuals. Sometimes used in text as “folx” in the LGBT community to be more inclusive, and as a nod to the role of the internet and social media in modern LGBT culture.
TERF: “TERF” is an abbreviation for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. TERFs are a hate group and are known for doxxing (tracking down and publishing private information about), harassing, and excluding trans folks from spaces (including LGBT spaces). For more information, check out: Cathy Brennan is a Fake Goth. Originally coined by trans activist and historian Katarina Rose around 2008 as “Trans Exterminatory Radical Feminist” in an effort to describe a subset of radical feminists who, under the guise of “gender critical” arguments, seek to exclude trans women from feminist and female-only spaces, and to a greater extent, to eliminate the acceptance of trans women as women entirely. Over time, TERFs have (largely successfully) rebranded as “exclusionary” but given their stated goals, this term is not entirely accurate.
Still with me? That was a whole lot of definitions, and they may be hard to remember, but it gets easier, I promise!
The problem of transphobia or transantagonism, like sexism, racism, ableism, or classism, is a systemic one. Under the theory of intersectionality, first coined by feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, various oppressions can not be understood independently of each other. You can’t separate the oppressions of being a woman, a person of color, of being poor or being trans. They’re intertwined and they act on each other frequently compounding the trauma and oppression and magnifying it. For transgender folk, this manifests in the way stigma and transphobia drive other oppressions like class and gender.
Transgender folk are more likely to experience family rejection and homelessness. The 2015 Transgender Survey asked respondents a series of questions relating to their immediate family’s support of their gender. They found that of respondents who were out to their immediate families:
10% reported a family member was violent toward them because of their transgender status.
8% were kicked out of their homes
10% ran away from home
Trans folks experienced considerably higher rates of psychological distress as a result of the social stigma and rejection by their families.
40% of transgender folks who responded to the survey have attempted suicide in their lifetime, compared to 4.6% of the US population as a whole.
Homelessness was a struggle for many of the respondents
30% experienced homelessness at some point in their lives
12% experienced homelessness in 2015 because of being transgender
of that 12%, 26% avoided staying in a shelter because of fears of being mistreated as a transgender person.
of those who did stay in shelters, 70% reported harassment, physical and sexual assault, or being kicked out because of being transgender.
Transgender folks are more likely to be victims of violence or harassment:
46% of respondents experienced verbal harassment in the year predating the survey (2015)
9% of respondents reported being physically attacked for being transgender in 2015
47% of respondents were sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime
54% experienced some form of intimate partner violence.
Transgender folks are often discriminated against when attempting to simply exist in public. 31% of respondents to the survey experienced some form of mistreatment while in a place of public accomodation:
Should Republicans have their way and manage to completely defund Medicaid and Planned Parenthood, trans folk stand to suffer as well — low income trans folk, just like cis women, rely on Planned Parenthood for reproductive health. In many states, Planned Parenthood is the only option trans folk have for access to hormone replacement therapy and other trans related healthcare. Many trans folks avoid seeing doctors for fear of being mistreated as a trans person, or because they could not afford too.
So what can we do to support our trans siblings?
I’m so glad you asked!
The most important thing we can do for our trans siblings is listen.
When our trans siblings tell us that our pink pussy hats hurt them, we need to take them off.
When our trans siblings tell us that our insistence on associating genitalia with femininity excludes them, we need to find new symbols.
When our trans siblings tell us to use their pronouns, we need to do it without question.
When our children and loved ones tell us they are transgender, we need to support them.
**There is some controversy as to whether or not it is appropriate for cis folk to use the term enby. While the term is generally accepted by the non-binary community, it is vital to always respect individuals and their choice of terms when referring to them.
I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Bronwyn Sperling, Ian Pinsker, Alaura Mae, and Tawny for their significant contributions to this piece.
If you are trans and living in the United States or Canada, the Trans Lifeline was created by trans folk for other trans folk. They are a free, 24 hour hotline that can be reached at (US) 877-565-8860, or (Canada) 877-330-6366. You matter, and you are loved.