Another post on why there is no such thing as misandry or reverse racism. But Purple People Eaters are real.

Purple-People-Eater1

Here’s what I want to say to all the men who call “misandry” when women dare hate men, or to white people who think there is such a think as “reverse racism”, or any other BS privileged person who wants to coerce oppressed or marginalized people into “we are all individuals” and “hate is so negative” or [fill in your own BS comment here]…

I want to give you an illustration of how this works, because explanations seem to not reach high enough on the hierarchy ladder to reach your ears…

Here it is.

You leave your house and a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater – one of that group that makes up most of the cops, most of the politicians, most of the business owners, most of the military, most of the bankers, most of the managers, etc. – in short, the people in power, the people with access to resources, the decision-makers – comes up to you, and grabs you very unpleasantly. You call for help, and a cop – a purple people eater, of course – comes up and says, “I don’t see a problem here”.

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Scared, and somewhat bruised, you get on a bus, where you are shoved around by all the purple people eaters, some actually touch you with their horns, or at least flash them – and get to work. Your boss – you got it, is a purple people eater, says that you are distracting everyone with your lack of purpleness, and therefore shut up when they harass you about it. And anyway, who are you to speak out? You are the lowest on the company hierarchy, so what if you get paid less, you must not be working hard enough. Stop complaining and get back to work.

Then you go to your purple people eater doctor to deal with your health, which is also affected by all the shoving, stress, poverty, and other results of NOT being a PPE – and doc says you are imagining it, or that’s how it is when you’re not purple, and gives you a pill created for PPE physiology that makes you pretty ill.

Then you go home (on the way several PPEs stare and you and say some stuff – no big deal, it’s not like they STABBED you with their horns! How do you know they didn’t mean it as a compliment?) and the PPE you live with (living with anyone who is NOT a PPE is freaky, and another reason for violence and discrimination), anyway – YOUR PPE, who had a bad day, punches you in the face.

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When you complain, you are told that it’s #NotAllPeopleEaters, and why are you acting like this is a social issue, just leave. Well, you make less then your PPE, and you have a family that you are the primary caregiver for, and your friend got KILLED after leaving a PPE, and you are also pretty fearful at this point, but at some point you do manage to leave, and you meet a new PPE who is so enamored of you, so you set up house. Only this PPE also eventually feels like its okay to stab you with their horn, that’s what horns are for, after all, and you shouldn’t be complaining.

You turn on the TV for some escapism, and all the cool PPEs are doing really awesome stuff. You feel bad, because people like you are primarily in the story to get poked by PPE horns, and they are all really happy about it, for some reason, and keep telling you and everyone how awesome it is to be the pokee, and here are all the things you can do to be a better poking target – there are creams, and clothes, and operations, and if you are not the perfect target, well – there is something seriously wrong with you anyway, and you aren’t important enough to be heard and if no one wants to poke you with their horn it is THEIR fault and why are you acting like they are responsible for the situation?

You head to meet your counselor through the obstacle course of PPEs who are calling out at you, touching you, following you home, describing in detail how they are going to stab you with their horn… And your counselor is really supportive, and comforts you, and even hugs, you, and then you relax, because this is a trust relationship. After your counselor pokes you, you feel like it must be your fault that you feel bad, because they are supposed to know what’s right and wrong, and how to behave, and have your best interest at heart.

Purple People Eater5

This goes on for years in various forms. You live with it (or not, but let’s assume you are still amongst us), and so you develop all kinds of mechanisms for dealing with PPEs. Sometimes that even requires that you adopt PPE mentalities, or rhetoric and politics that are in line with what PPEs are doing and saying – I mean, if the government wants to regulate those parts of your body that should have a horn but don’t, or that extra eye you insist on carrying around – there’s probably a good reason.

But deep down – do you trust purple people eaters? You probably love the PPEs in your life, maybe your are raising some little PPEs… There are a lot of reasons not to generalize. But maybe, just maybe, when you are walking down the street/picking a doctor/going to work/having a conversation while waiting in line at the bank… You’d really really really really rather that there be NO purple people eaters around you, at all. You probably want to socialize in settings they are not in, and promote people in business/politics/academia who are like you, because the next time you are framed only as the person to poke you might go on a murderous rampage.

Or simply see a PPE coming your way – and turn and head in the other direction. Yes, without waiting to see if THIS one will poke you or punch you in the face.

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Trans* Woman Told by National Insurance Psychiatrist: Go Work as a Prostitute

News from Israel, the ostensible LGBT paradise:

Psychiatrists sends trans woman to be a prostitute

D., a 24-year-old student, has reported that the shrink at the National Insurance (Social Security) office in Netanya recommended that she work in prostitution, saying “As a trans woman you can make a living as a prostitute, so I see no reason to give you a Social Security allowance”.

Some factoids: According to reported numbers, about 95% of trans* people in Israel have difficulty finding work, making them possibly the most discriminated populations in the labor market. National Insurance policy dictates that trans* people be classified as having a mental disorder – Gender Identity Disorder (GID) (according to the ICD; the DSM has removed GID from its list of disorders). This means that trans* people can receive living allowances under disability law rather than under unemployment laws.

According to D., the psychiatrist told her that living allowances are for the disabled, and that as long as she has the option of prostitution, she can make a living and therefore is not eligible.

The National Insurance Institute has responded that this their policy includes “sensitivity to special populations” and maintaining the dignity of all applicants, and that they are investigating the complaint.

The Revolution Is Here, Read All About It!

bi:notes for a bisexual revolutionI am part of a very radical, political, and informed bisexual community. I am proud of the people comprising this community, but as little as two or three years ago I didn’t even know they existed. If I pause to think about how I came to know these amazing revolutionary friends, and how I learned pretty much everything I know about bisexual politics, it’s fairly easy to pinpoint a handful of key people, who by reading them and engaging with them, I literally changed how I think: about myself, my gender and sexual identities, about community and politics, and about a million other things. One of these people is Shiri Eisner, whose book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution has just been published.

By reading Eisner online* (Facebook, Tumblr, and her Hebrew– and English-language blogs) and engaging in the same or similar political discussions (and, of course, with other persons active in radical politics as well), I was able to come to terms, for the first time, with ideas I was either blind to, ignorant of, or in total denial of their existence. I had never heard of bisexual erasure, for example, and I wasn’t troubled by it either, because my own bisexual identity was not important to me.

This new (to me) political discourse made me question myself – why was I willing to suppress my own identity? It isn’t as though I was against identity politics in principle, as I was an active feminist, a supporter of Palestinian liberation, an anti-racism and anti-colonialism activist, and more… What was it about bisexuality that was so easy to dismiss? And once I was aware of my own identity issues, how could I ignore the political aspects of accepting or denying my bisexuality? Was I not collaborating with a system that was oppressing me and others like me?

And as oppression is not my cup of tea… My perceptions had to change.

I can’t actually describe how momentous of a change this was for me. It was a watershed moment, a light bulb switching on, an epiphany… Pick your phrase, but I simply cannot overstate the significance, because this wasn’t just about bisexuality, it was a defining moment for me in understanding my own belief systems – that I have a radical rather than liberal political viewpoint, and that I had gained new critical lenses with which to examine all power relations. It led to a redefining of my feminism, my activism, my gender identity, my participation in other groups’ activism as an ally… It changed my life, and there is no going back. My activism has taken on an entirely different aspect, whether online or in “real life”, and as a result I have come to recognize that I have strength and influence I never imagined.

But what does this have to do with the book?

I don’t think my personal story is unique. I think there are many of us out there, people with non-normative sexual and gender identities, who find each other mostly online, and there share information and experiences and political ideas. I think we gather knowledge and awareness like berries, sometimes in abundance sometimes scraping from scarcity, but always searching and not necessarily knowing everything we might want to about developing ideas or even history, or just the state of things. Or simply getting information in a form or in an order we can digest. So sometimes we gain understanding, sometimes we don’t, it can be hit and miss, and there isn’t one central place in which we can start at the beginning (say, what is bisexuality, anyway?) and then move on to more advanced concepts and tools.

In my view, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution is the first time all this knowledge has been collected into one place, in a clear and coherent way, defining not only what bisexuality is and is not, but also the societal forces that influence attitudes towards bisexuals, and their consequences. What it has taken me a couple of painstaking years to learn and internalize, Eisner has brilliantly collated into a comprehensive, yet readable book, accompanied by her own unique analysis. While the book certainly deals with advanced concepts, it takes care to define them, and is geared to be an accessible and useful tool for both beginners and those more deeply involved in bisexual discourse.

So why should you read the book?

First of all, you are guaranteed to learn something new, or get a new perspective on familiar topics. For example, even the most basic question of how bisexuality is defined is not free from disagreement, controversy, and political significance, and the book’s explanations are very illuminating. And that is just the beginning – the book introduces many other concepts we should all know, from monosexism to bisexual erasure to gender subversion… Even familiar terms are explored in a way that uncovers their revolutionary potential and places them in contexts that are both surprising and revealing.

In addition, you will learn about issues surrounding bisexuality – such as how bisexuals are disproportionately and detrimentally affected in terms of health, finances, and sexual violence. The book also discusses how bisexuality and the bisexual struggle intersect with, and are influenced by, other oppressions and struggles (there are entire chapters on bisexuality and feminism, bi and trans, bisexuality and the homo-centric gay movement, and bisexuality and racialization).

Finally, you will also gain tools for understanding and dealing with some of the challenges and concepts presented – such as deconstructing common biphobic stereotypes and tropes (bisexuality doesn’t exist, bisexuals are just confused, bisexuals are really either gay or straight, bisexuals spread diseases, bisexuals are inherently unfaithful, and more).

Book Quote: Transgender and Bi and intertwining ideas

But perhaps what most appeals to me is that while Eisner certainly does instruct, the book in no way comes to excuse or to defend: Eisner is unapologetic and even aggressive in her insistence on the inherent legitimacy of bisexual identity and community, without seeking approval from any external source; moreover – in seeing the subversive and intrinsically revolutionary potential of bisexuality, as a challenging force to oppressive, binary, mono- and cis-sexist, hegemonic cultures.

I feel extremely validated by the very existence of this book. I like it very much when things I know, or believe in, or strive for, are put in writing and can be referenced. I like learning new things and being challenged to see things in new ways. And I feel very privileged to have been a part of the community Eisner uses as her point of reference and example in this very important document.

Oh! – and I am not recommending this book only to bisexuals and other non-monosexuals… My ardent wish would be for all “normative” (monosexuals and cisgender) people to read this book. Perhaps they would begin to become aware of how they contribute to the oppression of others, even if they are doing so in the most unintentional way.

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* Since that time, we have also met socially and have done activism together.

The bisexual umbrella


Cliteracy

I love when I discover new *stuff*. I certainly spend enough time just jumping from tab to new tab in my browser… If I spent this much time actually working my career might be in a different condition… (-;

But back on point: CLITERACY. How did we live without it till now????

Sophia Wallace is an American conceptual artist whose topics include queer representations and the of gendering of aesthetics. I really love her work and recommend spending an inordinate amount of time on her beautiful website.

But this post is all about Cliteracy, which can be found on her Tumblr:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Cliteracy Eye Chart

The Genderqueer Umbrella

100This is a translation of a post written by my friend Dan Veg in their Hebrew-language blog Parshedona. This is also my 100th post in Femina Invicta, and I was looking for a worthy topic… I’m glad Dan provided this post. It is incredibly important to me for both personal and political reasons, as my queer/feminist community has recently exploded in an unprecedented, and entirely unexpected rash of transphobia, directed in particular toward genderqueer persons, or anyone on the MTF scale who doesn’t entirely pass. 

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Lately, I’ve been hearing all kinds of different opinions by cisgender people about genderqueer identities, and what genderqueer means. So let’s make this clear: Genderqueer does not mean a “man in a dress”, it doesn’t mean “someone who objects to gender”, nor does it mean “a woman who wants male privilege without being trans*”. All these are mostly your own transphobic and binary assumptions.

Genderqueer-ness is an umbrella of gender identities, just like “man” and “woman” are gender identities. The genderqueer identity is not a single and constant identity, but rather a variety of non-normative identities, accompanied by a variety of practices, a variety of conceptions, and different experiences. I will try and offer some definitions of genderqueer identities that I’m familiar with, in order to – hopefully – enable some of you to let go of your dichotomous, queer-phobic perceptions.

But first, some important notes:

  • These definitions reflect the opinion of the author, and do not purport to represent anyone who does not identify with them.
  • The umbrella covers only those who identify with it.
  • A person’s gender identification does not necessarily reflect any particular gender practices or choice of pronouns. In order to know how to address a genderqueer person, ask her/him! To address or refer to a person in a way other than according to the preference they have indicated is a violent and transphobic act.
  • The umbrella is partial and dynamic, anyone is free to redefine for themselves their gender, gender practices, and so on.
  • Many genderqueers identify with more than one gender identity, so do not assume that because someone has identified in a certain way, that other identities are negated.
gender identification

Genderqueer:
A person who does not always identify completely as a man or as a woman, and identifies as genderqueer. In other words: someone whose gender does not conform to the dichotomous definitions of man/woman.

Queer:
A catch-all identity that describes anyone who deviates from heteronormativity. Under the genderqueer umbrella the term describes resistance to definitions or to identities that defy the gender binary.

Bigender:
A person who identifies with two genders simultaneously, or with the gender they were assigned at birth and another gender, and who identifies as bigender.

Gender Fluid:
A person who at different times identifies with different gender identities, or who sometimes defines themselves as a particular gender and at other times does not, and who identifies as gender fluid.

Genderless, A-Gender:
A person who does not identify as any gender category, or to whom the concept of gender is irrelevant, and who identifies as genderless.

Transgenderqueer:
A person who does not at all identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, but only partially identifies with other gender identities, or identifies as both genderqueer and transgender, sometimes with an emphasis on wanting to undergo physical changes, and who identifies as transgenderqueer.

Third Gender/Other Gendered:
A person whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, and identifies as third gender or other gendered.

Intergender:
A person who identifies as being somewhere on the continuum between two or more genders, and who identifies as intergender.

Gender Bender/Genderfuck:
A person who combines attributes of different genders, and who identifies as genderblender/genderfuck.

Additional genderqueer identities include: 
Genderqueer man, genderqueer woman, pangender, multigender, man-flexible, woman-flexible, femme, butch, girlfag, guydyke, and many more.

Rocking the Tel Aviv SlutWalk!

Oh. My. Holy. Crap.

On Friday, April 5th, the Tel Aviv SlutWalk took place and we totally rocked this city! I am so proud of all the hundreds of women who showed up and marched, of the organizers who put their hearts and souls into making it a success, of those who got up on stage and spoke to the crowds about their experiences with rape culture and victim blaming.

I was hoping for the best, but was cautiously optimistic. Rain was expected. There was another organization trying to appropriate the SlutWalk while basing their activities on blatant slut-shaming. Historically, anti-sexual violence marches do not attract huge crowds here. As a matter of fact… This was the largest march I’ve seen! We got good coverage on TV, radio, newspapers, news sites and blogs… So surprising, so gratifying! I’m really just brimming over :)

Photos and videos are still being assembled – here is one from YouTube:

Photo gallery – credits to Claudia Levin, Lihi Barnoy, Aviv Aharon, Shimon Hashanki