Faithful Image Has Moved!

2011 September 22

If you read my previous entry, you know that WordPress is hosting a sexist, cissexist hate blog that has provided a platform for people to plan to physically harm trans women. Because I do not want a business so devoid of character to use my blog to generate advertising revenue, I have decided to move Faithful Image to Dreamwidth, which has the advantage of being ad-free, even without a subscription.

If you have included Faithful Image in your blogroll, please update the link to reflect its new location. If you would like to contribute to future discussions on Faithful Image, please read the blog’s new profile, including the updated policy, and keep me accountable if I fail to keep up my end of the agreement.

The Blog’s New Location
The Blog’s New RSS Feed

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Most Recent Thoughts on SlutWalk Chicago

2011 May 27

On May 17th you, dear readers, sent me a message, perhaps without ever meaning to. After I posted my open letter to SlutWalk Chicago my blog received more hits within an eight-hour period than it had on any entire day prior to the 17th. The letter is currently the most visited page of my blog. This is so despite the fact I wrote the letter with a sense of urgency and did not spend as much time proofreading it as I would have liked to. I can only conclude that the matter of inclusion at SlutWalk is a matter important to many of you. Because I feel that what has become apparent regarding SlutWalk since the 17th is more significant than anything I included in my letter, I suspect you will want to know what I now know.

Shortly after I sent my open letter to SlutWalk Chicago I wrote another letter, this one private, to a member of SlutWalk’s organizational board in the belief that she would be interested in dialogue. In this letter I did the following:

  1. I told the organizer that in view of a variety of circumstances, some of them unique to present-day Chicago, SlutWalk Chicago has an obligation to be conscious of the ways in which different communities view the Chicago Police Department.
  2. I expressed an interest in discussing my concerns in a forum, so long as it were possible for me to participate without appearing to endorse SlutWalk.
  3. I said that it appeared to me as though SlutWalk’s organizers were a small group of self-appointed people appointing others to leadership positions in an entirely top-down manner.
  4. I explained why the language then (and currently) on SlutWalk Chicago’s home page and in its mission statement is not trans-inclusive, and I offered concrete suggestions on how to make it so.

What has been SlutWalk Chicago’s response? As some of you already know, May 17th was also the date when SlutWalk Chicago decided to make a blog post entitled “SlutWalk Chicago on Inclusivity, Diversity”. Since then Jessica Skolnik, a member of the organizational board (who is not the person I wrote to on the 17th), has made a related blog post entitled “About being an ally, privilege, marginalization, naming, and SlutWalk’s place in feminist activism”. Because no one in SlutWalk Chicago has yet acknowledged its critics by name, there is no way of knowing for sure whom they were responding to. (What the fuck, SlutWalk Chicago? Even SlutWalk Toronto, in its massive fail, had the decency to mention Aura Blogando by name.) In any case, SlutWalk Chicago has talked the talk, but what has it done so far to walk the walk? In a word, nothing. I will use the remainder of this post to expand on some of the problems I currently have.

1. Apart from the forum SlutWalk Chicago might hold after the march the organization has not announced any opportunities for dialogue concerning oppressed groups’ relation to the police.

When I read people’s concerns regarding the SlutWalk movement, I feel that it is only a matter of time before they mention the police. TJ’s friend notes, “Most women still do not report sexual assaults to the police.” Aura Blogando questioned the idea of inviting a police officer to speak about safety to begin with. While critical of many of the other points Aura makes, Little Red Henski says this about one of the aims of SlutWalk Toronto:

OK, so SlutWalk organizers are really bummed they can’t think of the police as friends anymore and they really want to work with them to repair their relationship. I’m with Blogando on this 100%. Boo fucking hoo. Granted, I don’t know what the police in Canada are like. I hear things are better up there in a lot of ways. It could be that Toronto police aren’t a repressive internal military force designed to violently preserve what is itself a violent racial and economic order. I’m inclined to think they’re more or less the same as police in the US; but, if they aren’t, SlutWalk organizers need a reality check before crossing the border and telling us how to be free. Their failure to deal with the police as an institution is damning evidence that the organizers are inadvertently reifying white supremacy.

When it comes to the police, is Chicago in any way exceptional? Marginalized people have plenty of reasons to be concerned about the Chicago Police Department. I cannot hope to give an exhaustive list of the reasons here, but I hope this non-representative sampling will give my readers some idea of the threat oppressed folks face:

Despite this marginalized people have not had the opportunity to express their concerns regarding the Chicago Police Department to SlutWalk Chicago in a public forum. This cannot be attributed to a failure to consider police presence or involvement on the part of the organizational board. In a registration form SlutWalk Chicago tells prospective volunteers, “Your job will be to keep people out of the street, keep crowds from getting unruly, and generally encourage enthusiasm! Police will be on hand to assist with these tasks, so you will not be responsible for any sort of physical intervention in the unlikely event that such an action is required.” It looks as though SlutWalk Chicago will be very welcoming to anyone who has enough privilege to equate the police with safety.

2. SlutWalk Chicago does not use trans-inclusive language.

When I wrote to SlutWalk Chicago, I figured that the organization would do what so many other social justice organizations have done: Modify its words while doing little to back them. As it turns out, the organization has not even done that much. In this matter I feel conflicted. On the one hand, SlutWalk Chicago has failed to make a minimal effort to help trans people feel included. On the other hand, it has avoided making trans people tokens. While I try to resolve my inner turmoil, I would like to note that there is a preferable way to go about avoiding the tokenization of trans people: Include us both in word and in deed.

3. The only dialogue SlutWalk Chicago is having with various communities is limited and on SlutWalk Chicago’s own terms.

The above might not be so problematic if SlutWalk Chicago were flexible. However, in the ten days that have followed the letter I sent on the 17th the SlutWalk Chicago organizers have not bothered to correct my view that all major decisions regarding SlutWalk are made by an unelected board. Skolnik might have hoped to quell this concern when she wrote, “We need and value your input! There are only five of us on the organizing team, and we in no way want to be the figureheads of a movement (what kind of egalitarian movement has figureheads, anyway? We’re all leaders!)” But how can there be a community-based dialogue regarding marginalized people’s concerns if not so much as a forum will be held until after the march? And what incentive will there be for the board to start taking oppressed folks’ concerns to heart, if we have neither voting power nor access to the board’s deliberations? If “we’re all leaders”, why do so many people who were initially interested in participating in SlutWalk now feel alienated by the board and its process?

While SlutWalk Chicago’s organizational board may have in some important sense the right to organize in an undemocratic fashion, if it wants to, it is rather disingenuous to do this while claiming that it wants our “input” and “does not endorse tokenizing minorities”. I find it telling that SlutWalk Chicago has told the readers of its May 17th post that it is “making SlutWalk Chicago an inclusive event” by making its words accessible to marginalized people (as by “putting together a Spanish language flyer”) but without telling marginalized people how we can overcome barriers to contact them or have influence over the decision-making process. Currently it does not appear that SlutWalk Chicago will be a march for people who believe in grassroots organizing.

I hope that in my posts I help my readers become aware of not only my views on SlutWalk but also the views of many other people throughout the world. To that end I will close by linking to other recent posts about SlutWalk:

“SlutWalk, Rape, White Supremacy”—The Chicago activist who gives us The Body Electric shares hir thoughts.

“Slutwalks v. Ho Strolls”

“SlutWalk: To march or not to march”

“We’re Sluts, Not Feminists. Wherein my relationship with SlutWalk gets rocky.”


Solidarity

2011 February 21

Last updated on 2011 Mar. 28.

Support the people's revolution

“Pernicious talk that Arabs do not want democracy has been exposed as the big lie it is.”—Jaswant Singh, writing for Al Jazeera English

News Stories about Women:

11/03/26: Libyan Woman Struggles to Tell Media of Her Rape
11/03/02: Arab Feminism
11/02/19: Women of the Revolution

Other Related Links:

The Libyan Youth Movement
Rare public protest quashed in Syria
Region in Turmoil (Al Jazeera Overview)
Rolling Rebellions (Democracy Now! Feed)

If you know of relevant links, please share them in a comment, and I will edit this post to add them.


King on the White Moderate

2011 January 17

One of the quotes that inspires me most as a blogger is one attributed to Mother Jones: “My business is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” On this day when the US federal government observes the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought I would share a quote from the civil rights leader that is not likely to be among the quotes we hear on mainstream radio and television throughout the day. Though its connection to feminism and queer liberation may not be immediately apparent, I believe the quote is much in the spirit of afflicting the comfortable:

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.


Brief Post on the Allegations Against Julian Assange

2010 December 18

Yesterday The Guardian published “the full allegations against Julian Assange”:

10 Days in Sweden

Because I want to give Assange’s “supporters” (as The Guardian refers to them) time to consider the allegations in all their detail, I will not write about blog posts or comments prior to the 17th. (However, if anyone feels inclined to comment on what others have been saying, you are welcome to do so here.) For now I will just say this: If the allegations are true, both women are survivors of rape, and if US state laws say otherwise, then in regards to rape US state laws are inadequate.


Opening Words

2010 September 1

There are many queer women with blogs. I just happen to be the only one who has this blog.

Being a woman, I will use this blog to write about my experiences as a woman. Being queer, I will use this blog to write about my experiences as a woman who is attracted to people other than men. In accordance with who I am I will write about my desire for women’s liberation (I’m a feminist) and queer liberation. I will also detail my love of women’s culture and queer culture, writing everything from analysis to praise of movies I enjoy.

Though my primary purpose is to write about being a queer woman, I cannot be reduced to a single adjective and a single noun. So I will also describe what it’s like to be transsexual, disabled, and working class. Some people have tried to convince me that talk of this sort is a distraction from women’s issue, but I’ve noticed that society expects women to step aside and let the men talk about issues related to trans status, disability, and class. For this reason I see speaking out on these matters to be not only part of the struggles for transsexual, disabled, and working class equality but also an act of feminist resistance.

This is the place where I will share my thoughts, unrestrained. Welcome.