May white feminism stay and die in 2017. They have really outdone themselves. My newsfeed curation is constantly being managed by my trigger-happy fingers that have turned ‘unfollow’ into a reflex reaction. Yet, I can be laughing uproariously at some delicious
Violence is so normalized that we often don't even recognize sexual abuses in the moment.[TW/CW: discussion of sexual violence.] I recently realized that sex is unhealthy for me. Not sex in theory. No, of course not. Sex is healthy for our bodies and even our hearts and minds.When I say that sex is unhealthy for me, I mean the kind of sex that I have experienced — an experience that I share with many women, femmes, and bottoms. The sex where my needs are neglected and my boundaries are ignored in favor of whatever desires my partner may have. Not everyone experiences sex and the things surrounding it in the same way, for various reasons. Some of those reasons might include gender cultivation, (a)sexuality, choice of sexual expression, knowledge of self/knowledge one's own (a)sexuality, or relationship with one's own body. Some of those reasons might include how certain body types are deemed "normal" and acceptable while others are only ever fetishized or demonized. Some of those reasons might include the fact certain folks are told that they should be grateful that anyone would even be willing to look at them, let alone touch or love them, while others are expected to always be available for sexual contact. Some of those reasons might include the fact that some people are afforded certain permissions to make decisions about their sex and love life without being eternally scrutinized, while others are nearly always assumed to be sexually irresponsible. Some of those reasons might include past or current trauma and abuse. And a host of other reasons not mentioned here, or reasons that you or I have never even considered because they're not a factor in our personal story. I'm not straight. I'm just an asexual with a libido—infrequent as it may be—and a preference for masculine aesthetic and certain genitalia. Most of the sex that I have had is what we would consider to be “straight” sex, and I am fairly certain that I would enjoy the act more and have a healthier relationship with it if more sexual partners were willing to make the experience comfortable and safe for me. Instead, men seem to want to make sex as uncomfortable and painful as possible for their partners, whether consciously or unconsciously, regardless of whether or not that is what we want. Many men seem to judge their sexual partners abilities the same way that they gauge how much we love them and how deep our loyalty goes — by how much pain we can endure. I say this based on my personal experience, as well as the experiences of many of the people around me who have been gracious and trusting enough to share with me their testimony. Many of us have been conditioned to measure ourselves in the same way, using our ability to endure pain as a barometer for our worth.
The conversation about erasure in the Latinx community cannot be centered on white Latinx voices.By Mariana Viera Latina magazine recently published an article titled “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Question My Latina Culture.” The piece details the frustrations of Alexis, a U.S. born-Latina woman who feels that her light skin robs her of Latinx authenticity in the eyes of the Latinx community. She claims that white Americans exoticize and tokenize her, while other Latinxs see her as “just una blanca.” In a world where white Latinxs are already overrepresented in Latinx media and white Latinx voices are magnified at the cost of black and brown Latinxs, Alexis feels it is critical that her “struggles” as a white Latina woman be given a major platform. She begins, “What you don’t understand about being a light-skinned Latina is that my ‘legitimacy’ is always being questioned by both sides.” In some ways, white Latinxs’ frustrations with having their identity “denied” do speak to an important issue. There is such a thing as white Latinxs. Latin America is not a racial monolith, and there needs to be discussion around that. It is not the racially homogenous, post-race society that people like to imagine it as (nobody knows this better than black and indigenous Latinxs). But if there is a proper way to discuss this issue from the perspective of a white Latinx, this isn’t it. For reasons beyond the scope of this piece, mixing between black, indigenous, and white groups did occur in Latin American countries more than in the United States. But by no means did this result in the expiration of a racial hierarchy that continues to place white Latinxs like Alexis at the very top and black and indigenous Latinxs at the very bottom. “Latinx” is not a race, and Latinxs are not a unified group. White Latinxs exist. Indigenous Latinxs exist. Black Latinxs exist. The racial makeup of countries like Brazil, which has one of the largest afro-descendant populations in the world, and Argentina, a 90% white country, speak to this reality. At one point, the article boldly remonstrates, “When people give me a skeptical look when I say ‘person of color’ or puertorriqueña in reference to myself I want to be able to hand them a pre-made list of all the things I know and do that ensure my acceptance into this culture — my culture.” Alexis can claim Latinxness, but she is gravely mistaken in her claim to a “person of color” identity. To equate being Latinx with being a person of color is to erase the centuries-long, unabated violent oppression experienced by black and indigenous people at the hands of white Latinxs in Latin America.
I feel that it’s my duty to use my experience to create a better world for queer and trans youth.[TW: discussions about abuse and drug and alcohol usage] This December marks an important achievement in my transition! After 17 years of waiting, I’ll be undergoing my orchiectomy. This surgery, the first and potentially only genital surgery I’ll have, is something I’ve wanted since I was a scrawny little brown boy. In honor of something this big, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences in my childhood and teenage years. Specifically, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have been a queer and trans person in a Latinx family. Growing up in a Latin household, simply being sexually attracted to men (something that I’ve known since kindergarten) was not something that was even entertained as a thought, let alone being a boy who know she’s really a girl. Latinx culture strongly emphasizes masculinity and heterosexuality as being the most important qualities that a person assigned male at birth should have. This often comes in the form of toxic masculinity and abuse for people who don’t appear to comply with this picture of manhood. This strangles the life out of trans women and queer boys, emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes literally. In my family, there was such a strong emphasis on heterosexuality and masculinity. Uncles and cousins emphasized and tried to drill into my head their macho ideas of manhood. I had to act like a boy but being around mostly women — in their eyes — had made me soft. So what they did was send me to be with men in my family to toughen me up and make me a man. Needless to say, they didn’t make a man out of me and I wasn’t comfortable or happy with these attempts to make me one at all. I had to perform masculinity for them, because the idea of me being feminine, enjoying feminine things, and rejecting masculinity were so unconscionable that they weren’t options for me. The emphasis that was placed on me to look (sexually) at women, even as a child, was symbolic of how unconscionable it was to be any sort of queer. I’d known, by kindergarten, that I was sexually attracted to men. Simply to look at a man made my heart flutter and my body tingle, but I could never describe these feelings to anyone.
Related: DON’T BE A TERF: TRANSMISOGYNY 101
We have to deconstruct what we have been taught about the gender binary, and that is why non-binary visibility is pivotal in the fight for both transgender and non-binary rights. In 2014, TIME magazine, dubbed the year, ‘The Transgender Tipping Point’.