This was the pilot episode of my podcast, after recording we decided to go with “trans cabal online” instead and i did manage to fix my audio issues so future episodes should sound better
Let me start off by saying that I believe that transgender people are just as capable and just as able to meet the military standards as cis people and in a lot of areas we would excel and exceed cis people.
My argument is not based on skill. Also i’d like to add that I know Dean Spade is a douchebag and i don’t argue against that.
Next I want you to read what I write very carefully because if you become reactionary about this article and you haven’t actually read the words i’m just going to tell you to go fuck yourself. Disagree with me, thats fine but for fuck sake read all of what I write first. Argue based on what I wrote not what your brain put there.
I also don’t think transgender americans are any less or more patriotic than cisgender americans.
I also don’t think we should be denied the right to serve our country. In the long run.
I do however think that focusing on military inclusiveness right now is a bad tactical move for us for multiple reasons.
One, the fact that targeting an oppressed group like us for recruiting into the armed services is fairly exploitative considering how hard it is for a lot of us to find employment, instead of say solving the civilian employment issues we face you want to add even more economic coercion and bad choices to an already oppressed people. The day all trans people have the same employment opportunities cis people have in the civilian world is the day I will fight for transgender inclusion in the US Armed services.
That being said any trans person who winds up economically coerced into service does not deserve any scorn for this, doing what you must to survive is no dishonor. Nor will I try to tell any trans person not to join the military if they allow this. Those of you who might join because they lack any real opportunities elsewhere deserve our compassion and respect, they took a tough situation and tried to make the best of it. Your service is honorable in my eyes.
I also have empathy for service members who are still closeted with their trans status, I was one of those people myself for some time and they deserve every ounce of compassion for living through that hell.
My fight is not with you, nor the other people on the extreme edges of marginalization who don’t see any other way out. Do what you must to survive and feel no shame in doing so. I sure didnt feel any.
My fight is with the military industrial complex that seeks to exploit our marginalization to put warm bodies in front of enemy fire. The most marginalized among us are trans women of color and that is who is most likely to be affected by this. Racism intersecting with transphobia makes life as a trans POC very very dangerous and the Army by comparison will seem safer by orders of magnitude. A guaranteed paycheck, free medical care, housing, clothing ,food, and training all are attractive offers to any people who don’t have many civilian opportunities due to discrimination.
Think about who is funding this initiative, a white wealthy trans woman, is putting her millions she made into encouraging poor trans women of color to join the armed services. All the while she only came out long after she had made her money and gained power for herself. Her initiative is coming from a place of privilege.
Does that seem right to you?
yes she has done other good things for transgender people, but that doesn’t make everything she does right.
What focusing on this will do is not lead to more transgender rights but less, most Americans think that trans discrimination is already against the law, Gay INC. worked to make sure we were not included in those new laws. Yet most people believe we are already protected by law. 90% of Americans believe trans discrimination is already illegal.
Ninety fucking percent.
My own mother believed this was the case until 2 weeks ago when we argued about transgender rights on the phone. She also loves dan savage.
Adding this will in the eyes of cis people be “equality”
They will point to that and say “see we included you stop asking for special treatment”, this will be the end of the road for us in the eyes of cis people.
“You can be in the army and you can get gay married what more do you want?” is what they will say and we all know this.
It will turn into another method to silence and oppress transgender people in the US, it is only a token effort meant to silence the voices of the oppressed so they can be fed into the war machine without protest. it creates the appearance of progress without actually addressing the massive social ills we face.
Because once you have completed your service (if you even survive) you get a GI bill you won’t be able to use, you won’t be able to use it because it requires you to pay the college costs up front and then the military reimburses you after you pass the course. That’s right, you have to already be able to afford college to get college from the military.
Now some people might say “well you can take classes while you are in the military it says so on the pamphlet”
Ok, yes that’s technically true you can, but it requires your commanders approval and you have to re-enlist for the option. This is a reward commanders hand out very rarely and only to the biggest ass kissers. Chances are you aren’t getting any college in while you’re enlisted.
So that GI benefit is practically useless to people who came from poverty. There is a reason why most people never use this benefit, and it isn’t a lack of desire for higher education.
Another point I would like to make is the fact that the oppression axes we face will continue to follow us inside of the military, racism, sexism, homophobia and other bigotry run rampant and unchecked. In fact they are encouraged on an institutional level.
The racism was painfully obvious, all you had to do was look at the chain of command photos of most units.
Most of the NCO’s were people of color and most of the officers were white, whites were encouraged to attend OCS (officer candidate school) and mentored more often than POC soldiers while often given time off to take night classes to meet OCS requirements. POC soldiers were encouraged to take the NCO route, while being discouraged from taking higher education on their own time and dime, all while the army proclaims diversity. Good enough to hold a gun for uncle sam but not good enough to be an officer giving orders. Fucking disgusting.
The officer corp has its roots in the US’s white landed gentry class and still strongly echoes these roots today. I don’t often talk about racism because i’m not a person of color and i don’t want to appropriate or put my foot in my mouth, the racism in the Army was so painfully obvious it slapped you in the face regardless of who you are so i’m speaking about what I saw.
Sexism ran rampant also, so painfully obvious it slapped you in the face. Women either had to act like the stereotypical male or they were treated as less than human. God forbid you are a woman in the army with a healthy sex drive too, because if you were liberated about your own sexuality you were less than human too. Lots of slut shaming on against women, while pushing the men to fuck everything that walks whether they want to fuck or not.
Homophobia was so thick you could cut it with a knife, repealing DADT didn’t change the culture, it just changed a law. When I was in i had NCO’s and officers tell me that if DADT was ever repealed they would do their utmost to drive out homosexuals from their unit, and most people seemed to back them up vocally.
Other forms of bigotry ran rampant also, ableism is institutionally acceptable and the stigma for mental illness is so strong human beings in pain will refuse treatment because they fear the harm it will do to their careers often causing themselves more long term harm in the process.
So when you join the military you are not leaving your oppression behind, you are bringing it with you and putting it in a microcosm. And when you leave you will likely wind up right back where you started, plus with a good chance of having PTSD or some other untreated mental illness. Oh and chances are you are going to face the same kind of violence inside the military as you would have in the civilian world, the military already has a rape and assault problem against cis women thats near epidemic levels, with trans women it would turn into a blood bath and i can’t even imagine the horrors trans women of color would face.
Oh and you still won’t have any civil rights when you get out.
You still won’t be able to use public restrooms.
Jobs still won’t hire you because you are trans.
You are still going to be the butt of every joke.
You still risk being murdered and raped, your veteran status will not protect you from racism or transphobia.
Bigots don’t ask for your fucking DD214 (discharge papers) before they beat you to death.
Activism isn’t a zero sum game but strategy is a real thing and putting military inclusiveness before civilian protections and opportunities are acquired will only hurt us as a movement. We need housing and employment protections , we need healthcare equality, we need protections for trans youth. We need social changes to occur. We need to end white supremacy and cis supremacy first.
What we don’t need us the US government using us as weapons of war while they deny us our civil rights.
So no i don’t think we should be focusing our energy on getting transgender people in the military in the US right now. Perhaps when we solve basic equality in the civilian world and when our military is no longer the worlds bully, then perhaps. Until then i don’t want to see transgender people dying for a country that denies them the right to use public restrooms and won’t even acknowledge the fact we exist in a lot of places.
Commander X made the announcement that he was disbanding the PLF and leaving activism and anonymity behind him. When he made this announcement on twitter I was shocked, and a bit worried. But reading the indybay article I realized that while Commander X is invincible, Chris Doyon was human just like the rest of us. I know all too well the pressures of being “invincible” and the psychological and physical toll it can take.
Chris has paid a heavy price for being a man of conscience and a man of integrity, he can no longer return to his country, or see his family or friends. Some of you might want to debate me on the character of this man and to you I say this.
I have never met anyone besides Chris who acted as a leader and was still able to hold himself to the same rules as everyone else under him. I once even saw him ban himself from his own twitter account because he broke a rule he created.
He is what I looked up to in Anonymous, the ideal made flesh. In my opinion if more Anons…no if more human beings were like Chris the world would be a better place.
Chris is one of the most kind and understanding cisgendered people I have met, a person who has compassion for all living things, animal and human. To him all suffering matters. He understands oppression and bigotry and he always did what he could to fight it. He would always stick up for me when others in our mutual circles would call me slurs or attempt to dehumanize me.
I actually cried when i wrote that last paragraph.
It’s entirely unfair for him to be branded as a criminal , a man whose empathy drove him to sacrifice everything in his life to make the world a better place. If exceeding the minimum standards of decent human being makes you an outlaw and an outcast I do not want to be accepted by that society, I would take pride in being reviled by it. And I often do. As did he.
I first met him through Ryan Ackroyd (AKA kayla) and we worked on op tunisia together, he and Ryan were instrumental in sparking and assisting the peaceful revolution in tunisia ( i can’t get into details so take me at my word please) and I was proud to have been a part of that. Chris helped liberate an entire nation from oppression, and while tunisia of course still has its own problems now they have a path forward to solve them.
We became fast friends and stayed in contact through various communication channels, mostly to keep in touch or to find out how his day was going. I learned a lot from him, while our conversations were not often verbose, they are heavy with meaning and impact.
He may have given up activism (for very understandable reasons) but to me Commander X will never die, Commander X is an idea now, a meme. A symbol with power and meaning, something that will live beyond Chris and echo into history. As Jake Davis once said, you cannot arrest an idea, and to expand on that, you cannot kill an idea either. Commander X is a symbol of hope and compassion to me and one of strength and determination.
If you ever wonder what inspires me to push forward with my activism through all the hell and all the shit day after day, it was Chris, under the banner of Commander X.
Chris has decided to go back into robotics and is recreating the Machine Life & Artificial Intelligence Foundation, I highly recommend we follow his new account @M0RPHE0US and support his efforts as he once supported ours. Please though, if you do this respect his wishes, no politics or activism. I have followed his account and I will respect his desires. I will be happy to be there for him in this. Show him you are his true friend and support his new mission.
Though the man behind the mask has moved on to new projects and new chapters of life, he is my friend and I will be there for him.
So, goodbye Commander X.
Hello Chris Doyon, my friend.
With all the love I can bear to hold.
First of all I am writing this on my personal blog and not queereka because the hashtag i made (#fuckcispeople) was not an organized effort of queereka or the skepchick network. It was an organic expression of frustration that took on a life of its own.
This article i feel gives a fairly good breakdown of the event timelines, as well as adding some of the legitimate and non legitimate criticisms of the hashtag, showing the varying reactions across the board.
Lets cover the criticism I felt had the most weight to it.
This one i feel is a legitimate point, it is easier for me as a white person to say that and I do not experience racial discrimination, I have white privilege. I understand as much as i’m able to that people of color have struggles I do not. Dr. Ziegler’s point made me pause and consider if what I had created was silencing people of color, I can’t speak for people of color but if anyone feels like they were silenced by this I deeply apologize and I accept full responsibility.
Now on to the non legitimate.
Paris Lees, you do not speak for me. You do not speak for any transgender person but yourself. Stop acting like you are an authority over other transgender people especially while you apologize for the righteous anger of the oppressed to our oppressors you whining sniveling traitor. You are one of those brand name trans bloggers I despise with the force of a thousand suns so for the love of god shut the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit about your ass kissing Gay Inc. for scraps at the table. I’m sure you have had your fair share of discrimination and painful life experiences but that does not give you the right to apologize for my anger or the anger of anyone who used that hashtag. Had you simply said “i choose not to participate but i understand the anger” it would be one thing. But you didn’t.
“It makes me really sad because I can vividly remember a period of my life when I hated the world and would have jumped on a hashtag like this. Being abused in the street can do that to you. This anger is very real and I think that non-trans people need to take this into account before they condemn people using this hashtag, whether they agree with it or not”.
So in other words, your life isn’t bad anymore therefore you can’t fucking see how bad it is for others anymore so you will decry those who suffer. Yeah you see why the only word for this woman is traitor.
What do I even say to this horseshit? You are in the same category as Paris, a whining sniveling traitor who thinks she speaks for others all while ironically making a post saying people who made the tag don’t speak for her, go ahead and read that garbage if you want but.
tl;dr = I don’t like thing therefore all trans people shouldn’t like thing. How dare you think of liking thing.
Keep kissing the kyriarchy’s ass honey i’m sure they will let you have a few table scraps you annoying shit.
A few annoying sycophants repeated their talking points but they aren’t worth covering imho.
This is what Gay Inc. Wants all trans people to be.
There were TERF’s attempting to troll the hashtag but we were pretty effective in drowning them out. Nice try bug but no cigar. You cant silence organic memetic anger like that. Try doxing me harder next time perhaps people might give a shit then 😉
Next up is the reaction from cis people.
This part was pretty hilarious.
Bunch of mad cis folks claiming that I was being too angry, and others were too angry and why didn’t we make a nicer hashtag to spread the same message. Basically a whole shitload of tone policing.
The hashtag #fucktransphobes was attempted by others. It did not go viral. It did not get attention. It went nowhere. You failed. You proved me right by your very actions.
This i think is really good reply to the tone policing.
To further drive the fact that they were totally 100% fucking wrong I decided to put the matter to the test.
Today I used a hashtag called #stoptranserasure
Those are the sum total of all posts containing the hashtag since i used it.
One cis person *still fucking complaining about it*
I made the point very clear in my posts what it was about. It should have gone just as viral had the concern trolls been even close to right.
And for the final nail in the coffin here is this exchange
Now lets go on to the real messages of the tags. The raw stories and pain people shared. This is by no means comprehensive but i think it shows a good sample of the messages shared.
Yeah. This is what that sniveling traitor and Gay Inc. was apologizing for.
Nice doesn’t fucking work. It is only by direct opposition to the status quo that LGBT rights have gotten where they are today, but most of you dont know that due to the pinkwashing, ciswashing and whitewashing of LGBT history.
Here is a good post from reddit (yes reddit is shit but sometimes you find a diamond) about how radical confrontation of the status quo is what got us where we are today.
(Screenshot because i dont want to give those fucksticks pageviews.)
So as you can see assimilationism does not work, it never has and it never will.
We are trans*, we are different than the cishets and we should be proud of that. So much LGBT history was sparked by radical trans* people pushing the envelope, stonewall for example was sparked by a trans woman of color and that was a *riot* that created the LGBT movement we have today.
If this is the “nice acceptable approach” , if this is the “Professor X style” of activism count me the fuck out.
I’m not advocating violence here, in fact I’m a strict pacifist, but radical expressions of anger not only have their place they are the spearhead of our movement. We can create radical non violent expressions of rage to accomplish our goals. Like hashtags.
Overall I feel the result was good, a lot of discussions happened and a lot of privileged peoples fragile egos got bruised, and thats a good thing. By pushing the envelope we create a wider range of what is accepted. And we need that since Gay Inc. has been throwing us under a bus since stonewall, they have been stealing our talent, momentum and energy since day fucking one and I for one will not let that pass.
I have reclaimed this domain and am now using it for my benefit.
I am Laurelai.
I am a transgender sex worker.
I am a transgender and sex worker rights activist.
I am a sex positive intersectional feminist.
And I will not be silenced.