Saturday, June 27, 2009

Using our Anger

My partner is now in a similar position to the one I as formally in. For part of her job she has to stay up-to-date on all the queer, gay, and msm/wsw outputs on our issues. This makes me extraordinarily jealous because even though my ob should require me to stay in constant contact with queer news I often find myself failing behind. However, I recently had some extra time to catch up on blog reading and I found a (very very old) post over at Questioning Transphobia.

Now, I'm not part of the bilerico community although I have certainly used their news items and comments to find more and fascinating news and people. And I have great admiration for bil's activism around Taysia Elzy's awful murder. I have also seen his site used as a way to showcase an amazing group of queer activists, writers, and community members talking about their identities. So in writing this blog I'm not debating the situation, I just want to focus on one exchange of comments.

"Nick" a bilerico commenter wrote about the "expression of complete frustration, exhausted rage" that was expressed and how that rage "can be an inspiring" tool for social change. "Energizing and comforting". To which many commenters hauled out the old non-violence line about how "true social change" is non-violent. And it can be. The movements of classic non-violent resistance are a wonderful teaching tool on the multiple ways that change can be made. However, for every non-violent movement that was successful (or even unsuccessful) there were other movements happening simultaneously. Movements that worked within stems of oppression, movements that resisted with violence, movements that focused more on artistic expression as resistance...US schools end to teach our history as being succinct, boxed, and compact. But none of these movements for change existed one-dimensionally. The struggle for gender equality (which I see transgender rights as an integral part of) can not be boxed into "this will happen non-violently" as we are coming from too many different places for one rule to unite us.

Nick went on to quote from David Wojnarowicz's Close to the Knives, and I feel that this quote perfectly respects the occasional feelings of so many people I love and respect.

"And I am carrying this rage like a blood filled egg and there's a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action an that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I'm waking up more and more from daydreams...and all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release".

When I was a junior in college I attended a summer anti-oppression program directly related to environmentalism. We played a game called "the wind is blowing" where everyone stood in a circle and ram to take someone else's spot should the saying be true for them. One man said "The wind is blowing anyone who believes violence can be a form of resistance". And I stood for a second while everyone else ran. I don't think violence is good. And I don't think it creates justice or equality. But I have been in a bathroom and been hit and pushed for my identity, and I have heard too many stories from my friends about their abuse at the hands of authority members to truly rule out violence as an option. So that day, back in the summer of my junior year, I decided that I do support violent actions for change. Because I can not tell anyone else how to survive, and that is ultimately what so many of us are still fighting for - survival.