All posts by Mia Nikasimo

Storm [Poem by Mia Nikasimo]

Storm

The tremors vibrate through
This isn’t a storm. No wind.
Nothing just the door slam
Six door slams and I wonder

Why, why, why this thunder?
“You are not a woman,” as if
Your mess was all there was.
Why is my heart in my throat?

Six door slammed one after the
Other… Slam, slam, slam. And
More… slam, slam, slam like a
Bloody oversized metronom

Even the walls trembles each
Time the door is slammed then
A sudden pause followed by a
Slam, slam, slam. A headache

Emerges. my heart pounds mad
That’s what hatred causes aloud?
Then I remembered your words
“Get noise blocking headphones.

No one can handle such abuse…
The most foolhardy collapse…
You are no different. We all hurt.
You are no different, gorgeous… ”

Mia Nikasimo (c) December 2013

Garlands

Garlands

What response befits a company of douche-bags?
This is not about us. No, it so isn’t about us.
The uninvited attention from wayward wands.

Fighting voices fly upwards from the street nags
Below. What makes everyone think they know?
What makes you think you know these lands?

Those questions were mine these bands these flags
All mine. Every feisty voice rang out unburying me
A corpse hard to forget. Expectations & demands!

All hours of the day. Swishing swashing windbags?
No, just people. People like me. People like us.
Not female, not male, everyone else. No reprimands.

If being autistic, black and trans are only tags…
All it took was a diagnosis of FOP & com nonplus.
Often you bang on the wall fussing garlands…

African ebony black, Demur lacklutred no free shags.
I don’t do porno stretches sucking up to the fee
Egocentric humans what do you expect -the badlands?

No longer all this maddening fuss of pitted flags
And then all the labels hover stripped of pedigree
How many times do we need to take the bandstands?

Attachment issues assail us all. That’s the fuss…
Such disorder masking as order yet we decree
Suffering and smiling; all is just dreamy garlands.

Garlands? Yes, garlands. This body isn’t a demo-fag.
Trans bodies must exist bodies too no matter the goal
This isn’t elective female, male dom not of badlands

This landscape of garlands consolidates all culture tags
Murmurs warm their way in on me. What is this cree?
Trans bodies too must exist bodies too. Tlk 2 th hands!

Mia Nikasimo (c) September 2013

A Mother’s Story

Ricki Kgositau interviews Diana, a mother on coming to terms with her transgender son

A Mother’s Story* – “I started opening up to him and my child becoming relaxed no longer afraid of me, just like the old times. He always reminds me of the day I walked up to him and asked if he wanted a gender reassignment as I knew good Doctors who can help out. He says that question just swept him off his feet…”



Via Gender Dynamix

Have you finished?

Mia Nikasimo

Steam rolled daily in a this daily roller coaster called life

Not because of the natural essence of life, worthwhile…

Not because of the appeasing plea unique enlightenment

Not because of reproductive need, procreative futures

Because the cultural  on you demand it? Is that all this is?

Well, guess what? I’m not going to run along doing yours

If you can’t ask a favour when done say, “thank you, I don’t

Know where I’d be without you,” you fit out for size on me.

“That will keep you busy for the day,” you said & I go from

Partner, girlfriend, call it what you will to house maiden!”

I watch you in silence I watch you good I watch you learning

And fast too and aim. No harm meant. I can’t do you harm

Just to tell you this: “if you want to ask a favour ask it, ok!”

The steam of your impetuousness caught in your face. Good

As long as you know, “I’ve stuff to be getting on with too!”

As for marriage; sown in locked in kept in power scape home

As for procreative demands; foraging on capitalist wings far

As for all the culturally imposed stuff, call it entertainment…

And the steam rolling tryst I’ll just say this, I’m a person too

Next time meditate on this before you over do over do, ok?

Do you want a  slap? Over-indulged obese and loud, what?  Me?

But away away cowards never want their faced seen never.

Have you? Have you? Marking me for dead, have you finished?

 

 

 

Guys fucking guys…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lugardia kept us in limbo
Shackling us with sex in
Our see thru straitjackets

“You will marry the man
We choose for you,” said
My frantic father followed

By my mousey mother all
Silent, all compliant as
Ordained by masters of
old.

Lugardia for a colo-wife
Named us; unflatteringly
So. We still follow -such
frenetic waif; branded.

Then I came along stable.
Minding my own business,
Stable, in butch bliss, sort
of or worse.

Then came the turret:
“You’re a guy who fucks
Guys,” shouted a scared
man on the street;

“You are a woman like a
Man that gets any woman she wants! Don’t touch me, I’m not gay!”

He said paranoid as hell.
Nothing was said about
The birds & the bees not
Even bend over for one!

Balogun street is defiant
So are we supee butches!
What business of yours is
Who I bloody sleep with?

Get your head out of the
Sand of chaste civility.
Why do I walk a swagger
Wearing mens clothes?
Fuck off!

An empowered woman; As to, “guys fucking guys?” I’m no stooge of
Repression; y’all are
eternally imprisoned…
Mia Nikasimo (c) June ’09

#16Days: I am a Genderqueer Peculiarite.

500 years ago a formidable army descended on the university city of Sankore in Timbucktu. When they left the Peculiarites emerged from the spoils. The inhabitants viewed by the Spanish as a strange   skin colour,  their strange language (if it could be called that thought the Spanish conquistador), and their ways earned their land mass the place name , Peculium and it stuck.  Everything about Peculium, as far as the militaristic guests were concerned, had more than a hint of the peculiar, so they named the land mass.

In the time before I underwent a procedure,  I was prescribed natural estrogen by the famous Dr. Aramanda who made it his duty to protect me from the herd of insane soldiers who had come to town. Most trans were rounded up to be used as game like foxes during the hunt or paraded as a marker of wealth. The times were truly vile. They still are.

London felt delicious after dry dry frigging Bath. As soon as it got off the coach It felt like feeding. Most genderqueer peculiarites couldn’t help the urge to feed. That night was the ten thousandth birthday of a distant relative so “It” hadn’t a choice. Genderqueer peculiarites were a close knit folk like that. Although I came from Bath (at least that’s what we told ourselves to keep our real stories safe from the wanderings glances from our human food chain) the furtherest I ventured from the roman architectured city of my birth the closer I felt to the university of Sankore in Timbucktu some 500 years ago in the heart of deepest Africa.

My name is Tantoloun-Yin Misaki of the one million year old clan of the Misakis of Peculium. Most of the family lineage were lost to famine, war, pillage and plunder over the centuries that it was a wonder the name survived to this day.

“I am 5,000 years old this day and I know the ways of the world,” said Tantoloun as if “It” had cracked a joke in the vein of a seasoned standup comedian’s mould. “Imagine that,” mused Tantoloun as “It” pondered the food on display. It didn’t matter the strength of the gang thought Tantoloun as “It” took the Pasha boy in particular in. The boy’s struggle made Tantoloun’s hunt that more interesting.

Suddenly “It” is over come by a convulsive spasms that reminded “It” of the capitulation into the bloodlust that imprisoned peculiarites till this day. However that night was like most nights to the people of that area of London. “It,” the youth thought, “doesn’t deserve the privilege of walking the streets!” commanded a bevy of youths amusement starved and eager for a laugh or something to fill the empty time on their hands. Their raucous was such that Tantoloun’s Peculiarites form threatened to surface; to show itself for what it was but it held back somehow. Scaring the food off wasn’t an option. Tantoloun’s thirst was overpowering to the point that ordinarily nerves might have snapped but “it” was only a matter of time, decorum and a healthy degree of discretion.

Meanwhile every time Tantoloun spoke in the Avon and Somerset accent the gang of young adults vent berserk hooting and hurling insulting abuse:

“Foreigner, go back where you come from. Nobody speaks foreign here,” shouted a six three hulk of a boy from within the gang. Tantoloun’s sensitive eyesight was on him immediately. In spite of the boy’s height he couldn’t be more than 18 years on the face of the earth. The boy thought he knew all there was to know in life. Tantoloun smiled despite the growing rage brewing in “its” entire essence. “It” saw as much as sensed the boy’s fear long before the boy spoke those vile words. Cowardly, vain and insecure the boy joined a gang in order to seem less conspicuous but his build plotted against him. Apart from that there was also his high pitched voice that had an ultra femme ring to it making for an incongruity the boy himself was deeply ashamed of. To mask this the boy started smoking cigars to deepen his voice. An unhealthy habit for one so young. How he came by them was anyone’s guess but Tantoloun saw him steal them from the newsagent’s across the 17 storey high rise council building where the boy lived. Tantoloun laughed so heartily “it” inadvertently drew attention in spite of “itself.”

“Once I was male I became female with the help of Dr. Aramanda now because of your conquistador forebear I’m here,” said Tantoloun without seeming to say a word. Nobody in the gang heard “It” except the Pasha boy. “I was the young girl beaten they said for daring to suggest my kind existed long before the binary conflation that has enslaved all mankind in production line procreation since the beginning of time. “You have a choice,” said Pasha’s army, “become one of our whores and you won’t want for anything. Turn down this offer and we condemn you to a very slow and painful death.” I wouldn’t so I was sent down for something called, ‘corrective rape. I was beaten, raped and beaten again then tossed in a cell for the night. That night a mob of soldiers came. They took turns again. That night I felt the fangs sink in and I went into a coma. They were going to throw me into one of their mass graves when I flew away forever. After that I couldn’t be female or male I became a genderqueer Peculiarite and I have not looked back since.

Meanwhile some members of the gang were girls, one of whom walked with a bragadosio left-right tilt of her shoulders as she walked. She seemed intent on making sure that everyone in the world knew Tantoloun was a genderqueer Peculiarite. She walked fast pass Tantoloun and said out loud, “I’m not like that there. That there is a man!” but her swagger drew more attention than what could have been the sting of words. Other gang members around cackled, jeered and made merry at Tantolorun’s expense shouting, “you are a fucking foreigner. Go back where you came from,” at Tantolorun but “it” kept “its” head up. They were all so engrossed in the terror they assumed they were that they missed the Peculiarites’ peculiarities.

At that point something odd happened. A sudden chill descended. Tantoloun seemed swift as a flash of light as “It” swooped right up towards the juiciest of the gang members and Tantoloun’s eyes were as fearsome as that of the oldest Peculiarite in myth out for a snack. The buff boy’s realisation took the form of a fang bearing, blood sucking fiend bent on eliciting maximum fear while still keeping his prey oblivious. The boy-prey barely moved let alone understood what stood before him nor did he realise the act of wetting himself until it was too late to conceal. As Tantoloun came close the boy tried to scream but no voice came from him. He could have been dreaming but he could have sworn he hadn’t fallen asleep. Fearing imminent death -his- he put up what looked like a struggle to no avail. He found himself rooted to the spot as if by some magnetic force. Just then as he had glimpsed the futility of his efforts he gave up to the inevitable.

“I don’t blame any of you. Five thousand years ago, I became a genderqueer Peculiarite.

“In your language, that is, Peculiarites are synonymous with what you call, vampires. You had better watch out or I’d have you for a snack. Five thousand years ago I became a Peculiarite at the hands of one of Judas Pasha’s army the day Sankore fell. Did you know you are the last known descendant of the Spanish general? The news of the day had the news if you know where to look. That day Dr. Aramanda was shot and the world hadn’t known light since.

When I woke up everything was different. What I noticed was the deep craving to feed…

Mia Nikasimo (c) November 2012

Trans-homosexuality

The funniest things happen when you out yourself as a translesbian (i.e. a transsexual woman identified woman; a lesbian.) I, for one, am an African translesbian and I have a beautiful girlfriend who is virtually more African (if I may use this as an honorific) than I am and she’s a lesbian as far as being a lesbianism goes. Although all this is happening in Europe as I speak; African LGBTI is condemned to the underground while the “religiously righteous” seems to prefer repression to sex, sexuality and gender identity truths. Yes the strangest things still happen in the twenty first century. In Africa, for instance, as a translesbian, I will be so far underground the light of day will only emerge as a virtual spectre and how sad is that? All these stem from the deluded assumption that transphobia or homophobia is of African origin. Nothing can be further from the truth, according to Dr. Sylvia Tamale, the moral order (as applied in Ugandan Law) in its ascribed hatred and fear of transgender and gay people exposes its own selfishness. [1]

Some of this is still played out today in Europe, exported worldwide and with that is the knowledge that the fear and hatred apportioned to the civilising process which continues riding the wave of contemporary history today. It is no surprise that suddenly all the lesbians around you feel threatened by the unknown they assume that you present them with. It is something people do out of insecurity, paranoia and a scream out for approval. The question I would love a straight answer to is, who’s transphobic/homophobic now? The assumption that only female born women can be lesbian has a history as dated as humanity itself. Translesbianism is only one strand of womanhood and trans-homosexuality (i.e. transsexual and homosexuality), there are trans-gay-men (a strand of manhood) out there doing their thing on various platforms too: be they non op, pre op or post op and we date with as much diversity as the mainstream does.
What makes this area interesting? Well, translesbians unlike our lesbian allies are subjected to a sort of underhanded scrutiny by all as a result of absolutist conditioning. You can understand my shock when pre op, an acquaintance asked me if he could be honoured with a test run “fuck”. Worse he could not even imagine how offensive and demeaning his request was. I find that the wonder still prevails in a lurch, a sideways glance or a passing shout of abuse by a child, an adult or both, one aiding the other in learned prejudice. Everyone seems to want to see you naked to confirm their assumptions. When you are out for the night all eyes are on you and I’m not raising this subject in isolation as the situation above confirms. If this isn’t enough, I have also inadvertently had week long flings with women curious to know: vagina or hole? With a certain experience you instinctively become aware of your innate longings and act on them without the expectation that you are going to be anyone’s “science project”. Why are trans-homosexuals so threatening to the gay community especially when we are part of the same group? Why do people feel that they have to get into relationships with you because somehow they find out that you are transgender/transsexual? Is it merely their curiosity that goes into overdrive or is something else on a psychological level tossed in the mix?

Imagine going into a club and everyone just seems to be rearing for a fight. Understandably, you leave them to it. Engaging circumstances like these are counter-productive open traps waiting to ensnare you at the slightest opportunity. You measure their range and spar virtually as you blow them virtual kisses, or cyber smooch them, if you like and it ought to end there but it rarely does. Talk to those that are worth it, hug those that you love, and befriend accordingly. Those who are intent on picking a fight soon get the message that no matter how loud their voices get, more often than not what happens is that they expose their own fears, their hatred. Even the fear in their uncomfortable laughter sounds more jarring than anything a translesbian or trans-dyke and a trans-gay-man or a trans-fag could ever provoke; and wait for it: trans-femme, trans-androgynous or trans-butch, we are proud and we are here to stay not in competition but together.

Conversely, perhaps it is time we start thinking about lasting sexual orientation and gender identity freedom in Africa today rather than waiting for another European pill to bail us out or worse, the next century and half hence in which to mend our way, ourselves. The script of our future is ours to write, definitions ours to define and all that. Divided we fall, united we stand together as one.

[1] See Voices of Witness —Africa 2008, which can be viewed on the Integrity USA website under ‘other resources’.

 

Frisked by Frisker : A Transphobia Story

Dear Frisker,

So why the frisking, my darling frisker?
You size me up as I approach your citadel;
Your mind cannot withstand my masculine;
You frisk me as rough as I have ever experienced
How could you then question racist next door?

So why the frisking, my darling frisker?
Did you enjoy yourself while you were at it?
You were no better nor worse than the door hand
At G.A.Y that frisked me and then; “So sorry!”
I’m reminded, “birds of a feather flock together”.

So why the frisking, my darling frisker?
I didn’t see your tongue hanging out or anything.
You were not exactly feminine yourself; frisker?
Your eyes clouded over at the burn of intolerance
Your colleague’s bombastic banter unsettled you.

So why the frisking, my darling frisker?
Why me? Why on the day we sought to shine?
Black Pride was never supposed to be about death,
Was it? Think again, you could do better.
Or was it the influence of the master’s language?

Yours truly,

Frisked.

Fighting Oppression 1

Dear Nfifi,

Although I was deeply grateful to be part of the Height’s Collective albeit for such a short time during which I became aware of the good work the organisation does in terms of general activism: immigration, prostitution and other areas where the oppression of women persists. One question I really needed to ask you was, “given how you feel now, if I as a transwoman of African origin approached you for your advice, would you fling me to the dogs? It wouldn’t have been a first, according to Leslie Feinberg who likened transphobia to colonialism and illustrated the murders of “two spirited” people while Balboa & co (European colonialists) watched as depicted in a 1594 engraving by Theodor de Bry1.

 

To think most African’s in the Diaspora, some literate others illiterate, who think we no longer suffer the consequences of colonialism? Racism, transphobia (or what some call gender-phobia2) and sexism (both hetero and homo) to be sure. Decolonialism, which one would be sensible to view as your line of work still leaves a lot of unanswered questions around gender identity and sexual orientation which needs specific attention —the transgender perspective, to be precise which on the whole seem relegated to oblivion post-the-Stonewall- march against a heavy handed police force. Perhaps you are not aware of these pitfalls in your activism but I can’t escape their impacts. Black neo-colonialists pepper the entire black community where gender and sexual intolerance with the consequent gender colonialism is rife. I face them daily through acknowledging their subtle presences but this is not enough.

I was interested to see how the Height’s Collective at Tishken Town might be an outlet for transwomen of African origin which is important from where I stood. Little did I know that the ravings of a transphobe’s held such sway in and around the above mentioned collective until it hit me in the face in the person of Eulij? So traumatic was my experience of this open infraction that I felt a need for the first time to face up to the continuing gender colonialism that certain lesbian activists faced with transsexual women that choose atypical gender expressions harbour. The question that comes to mind is, “can one be assured that no more such eventualities will arise in the future of this ongoing hub of joint activism against the oppression of women?” I cannot confidently say no given your own unquestioning response to Eulij’s transphobic stance. Should it matter that after transition I choose to adopt a sexuality of choice? Why do ‘gender terrorists’3 think that they are well suited to the decolonisation of gender and sexuality by the same token while to all intent and purpose they purported to be fighting the good fight for ALL WOMEN?

As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, I cannot pretend that I am confident about the seduction of the old guard’s allies by proxy of activists so rooted in their ways that they miss the part they play in the perpetuation of oppressive ideologies around race, gender identity and sexualities perhaps unknowingly or deliberately. The example of a militant at work can be glimpsed in “Better Than Chocolate,”4 which depicted an angry butch who took it upon herself to gender terrorise a femme pre-op transwoman after a set in which she sang a song about being transgendered and insisted that she would not let the world forget her status as a “transgender person”. After her set, she was in the Ladies with Frances, her “genetic girl” girlfriend who left to pay the bills hot under the collar.

The Butch militant entered shortly afterwards, insults Judith Squires (the transgender woman) by calling her attention as if she were addressing a disgusting pet pig, and then goes on to address her in the following terms: “Sir… Shouldn’t you be in the men’s?” Although Judith tried to defend herself to no avail, at least she tried. The Militant, however, was insufferable. She attacks Judith passive victim with a bag of rubbish which she wielded like a baseball bat deliberately and accurately. As luck would have it, Judith is saved by Margie and her partner, Kim, who forced the Militant to see the error of her ways under Kim’s expert and effectively applied arm lock forcing the militant to retract her insults. In reality this response might only solve a fraction of the problem if it managed to scratch the surface at all since Judith Squires only represents the white, talented, and supported and “passing” side of transsexuality. What about the many transsexual women that did not have all those networks to secure their place in the world? Where do they go?

As a black or African transwoman, I was once asked to carry the mantle for other transwomen or those less willing to be seen to ‘rock the boat’ due to a lack of confidence by a member of my then local Victim Support. I was cautious with good reason. Even there and then before leaving my local housing office with which I was in dispute I saw it all over again. Although my complaint was about a clerical officer I wasn’t expecting both housing manager and an LGBT liaison officer to become just as hostile as the person I’d reported for less. On their way to the toilet they engaged in the usual transphobic banter outside the view of their co-participants with impunity. It didn’t even bother them that the victim support representative was still there in the building. Was I then expected to be overjoyed at such abusive treatment? I wondered when ‘equal opportunities’ became ‘only equal on transphobic terms’ as some public officials tend to deploy the policy depending on each other’s complicity to keep inequality for certain individuals alive!

Seeing similar attitudes on full display with non judgemental activists at the Height’s Collective was not entirely unexpected since human beings of all races, gender identities and sexualities have a common humanness with smidgens of prejudice which seemed to persist but that does not mean it should be allowed to do so unchallenged, does it? In other words, I’m saying that you Nfifi are only human but I do not think a person in your shoes should allow ‘dangerous activism’ as in a transphobe’s view to contaminate the good work you do? I thought I had better tell you this the way I’m doing because it is important that you know my opinion this way if no other avenue of getting it to you is available at present, I feel this will have to do.

A dependence on certain neurotic habits such as hatred oriented gossip, rumour mongering and outright abuse that certain African/black people still use to police themselves are dangerous tools for an activist to employ in the course of their duties. They may even hold extreme views concerning gender and sexuality as credible ways of socialising and freely sharing these with activists in subtle transphobic tittle-tattle which activist’s then reproduce in their work while unknowingly undermining their own effectiveness as social actors. This can be dangerous for ongoing or yet to be acknowledged types of engagement. Perhaps that’s the idea? The question is, how does such intolerance help us in our attempts to at stamping out oppression altogether? It will be sad if we turn out to be saying, if it does not concern us personally, it is alright to flaunt laws put in place to protect every one of us without exclusion.

Personally I am taken by Audre Lorde’s position on most of the questions I have raised here. ‘… Outside of rhetoric and proclamations of solidarity, there is no help, except ourselves’ 5 Asking someone else to do our activism for us is often problematic. These words leave me in no doubt that it is time the African LGB and especially “T” fought its own battle as of old? I’m grateful that the collective upholds the course of women but transgenderism (by which I mean transsexuals, intersexuals and genderqueer women) cannot be effectively supported without a genuine understanding of who we are. Being an activist by itself is not a prerequisite for understanding the transgender community and this more than anything else is the unique expertise I hoped I might have been able to share with other sisters with respect rather than firing off shots about who said what and when. It is a shame that this is all the Collective’s rigidity thinks activism amounts to in their adversarial mindset but it doesn’t have to be. What’s wrong with us working together?

Mia Nikasimo © February 2009

Transgender community as an African in the Diaspora

Violent suppression of initiatives we cannot understand or even deaths in the African Diaspora as well as the African LGBTI set us back for generations but worse still is the hypocrisy and corruption that blinds us to this fact. Why? When you kill a living being because of their gender identity or whatever reason, you rob yourself and the rest of the universe of a part of What Is. Because of our mundane human conditioning and ingrained religious intolerance we adopt self-righteous pedestals and snuff out the life force that is human diversity. We laugh at what we see as spectacles as we slowly die away ourselves as part of the essence of the universe. “Everyone dies sooner or later,” is something we dread hearing while knowing the truth of the statement.

When I think of the plight of the transgender community as an African in the Diaspora I’m reminded of all those little murders that happen daily in the name of propriety or why most of them happen in the western world. In Africa most transgender people are underground so nobody knows any better but as a friend argues it is no surprise. “If African transgender people were out they’d suffer the same plight as their sistren and brethren in the west,” and don’t we know it?

Even as I gather my thoughts in my head to write this piece, I can hear the whispered indifference of people who ought to know better as they willingly give in to learned bad behaviour in the name of “doing what’s best for you” as if that makes them better people. In fact they are no better than Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” when he drags Ikemefuna off to sacrificial slaughter. I do not mention this lightly. Okonkwo’s masculinist stance leads him to greatness but robs him of responsibility with regard to Ikemefuna’s death and eventually to his own exile for killing a clansman.

However in this context, Ikemefuna is no longer the little boy of the novel but a vision of the future -openness, courage and compassion. In this guise, he is the spirit of the transgender dead facing up to cultural traditions that exclude difference for nepotistic gains. This usage is not accidental as we live in post colonial or neo colonial times in terms of gender identity and the rules remain the same: conform or die! Exile for anyone is a type of death as some transgender people can attest and we do so in plain view daily: at home, abroad or overseas.

As a transgender person that also identifies as a lesbian, I’m constantly aware of the dangers of being out but some of us cannot help but be. In this sense then as beings, human beings, even in the company of allies we still face predictable and unpredictable danger within the global LGBTI not to mention back home in Africa. How many have died suspicious deaths globally so that “old western values” last? How many more suffer in silence boxed in by the subtlety of compulsory binary fixity? How many more of us must go underground for life’s sake? How many are displaced in dehumanising exile in far away lands that circumstances have hand picked for us?

The temptation here is to join forces with the gender debate rattling on in traditional Gender Studies academy and fix the players… Obiageli and Okonkwo’s other wives and their prescribed roles in that world cannot always be fixed. The consequences of such fixation stifles our evolution. Rather in those very communities and elsewhere, Ikemefuna must become more than the little boy but a sort of archetypal voice conferred for the remembrance of transgender victims of persecution alive or dead by allies as by foe. In other words, art and literature of peoples all over the world must speak out lest they accept their complicit roles to stifle diversity and equality. Hiding behind religious intolerance, tradition or fixed notions of “the way things are” or Western values is no longer an option.

I’m reminded of openness and courage in the face of impending deaths or hard worn longevity, I’m reminded of compassion exercised in the face of ostracisation because we dare to say, “for us, in the transgender community, there is more to being human than merely following the flow of constructed, possessive and or perceived sameness,”. I’m reminded of the loaded injustice of those in the medical profession whose training would rather they told a parents lies rather than admit to the ambiguity of a child’s gender and the parent that either leaves the fate of child and mother to societal indignation. I’m reminded of men who have leered at first sight only to take up “honour restoring” arms or “corrective rapes” to cover their own monstrous appetites.

A pitiful attempt to announce to the patriarchal world that they are not gay or women who take sides with their tyranny claiming, “I’m not a lesbian” or worst still, “That’s not a real woman. I should know!” I’m reminded of some members of the LGBTI whose selfish supremacist yearnings threaten the very ethos of activism. Their aim: to isolate, incite violence against and or exclude permanently all transgender people out of existence. But most of all, I’m reminded of the many transgender dead whose names, like Ikemefuna’s, are with me every waking day. Those whose lives made mine worth living in plain sight; those whose very deaths have changed and continue to change the judicial framework and will do so for those to come in future times.
Thank you all for paving the way for all of us!!!

 

Texting Poetry – 5: When……

 

When I look in the mirror

I see a beautiful woman

I see a woman’s woman

I see the reflection of a

Goddess looking back at me: Oshun, Oya, Moremi,

Mirror, mirror show me

The Great Goddess I feel,

Tara, saviour, me, I see.

 

When I look in the mirror

I don’t see impositions

I don’t kowtow for bread

I don’t disappear into thin

Air on hatred’s lashes. I

See a bodhisatsva’s flair. I

See tolerant compassion

Deeper than any surface

Glimpse -I see humanity.

 

When I look in the mirror

I feel empowered, free,

I feel loving kindness,

I feel purposeful prime -I,

Human consciousness so

Far and vast beyond the

Veneer of infrastructural

Daily dangled tokens. I’m

above empty platitudes.

 

When I look in the mirror

I see a beautiful woman

I see a woman’s woman

I see the reflection of a

Goddess looking back at me: Oshun, Oya, Moremi,

Mirror, mirror show me

The Great Goddess I feel,

Tara, saviour, me, I see…

 

 

Mia Nikasimo (c) July ’09

Texting Poetry – 4: Why?

Queering the game of life Via Queer and Present Danger

 

Because even you are Human,

Because you are my Sister,

Because you are my Brother,

Because, only if u allowed Yourself, we could be pals,

Because, in a past life, you

Were my mother,

Because, looking through Eons of the ether, you Were my father,

Because you’ve been all Creatures to arrive here,

Because we all Interconnected…

 

I’ll reach out to you all the

Same, you and I.

Why?

Because all creatures are bright and beautiful no matter their surface seas.

 

Mia Nikasimo (c) May 2009

Vagina, ‘Ipo’, ‘Isu’, ‘Ponpo’

Vagina – my thoughts on reading “Vagina Dialogue : A Date with Eve Ensler” by Korto Williams

Vagina! Interesting subject matter. However I can’t help cringing at the many metaphors brought to bear by Yoruba men. I am certain the abusages are not peculiar to those men but I’ve heard more than my fair share of slang … “Ipo,” “Isu,” “Okpokripo,” “Ponpo,” not to mention a straight Yoruba word as found in “obo” redolent in the art and culture of the Yoruba. The smile on my face however is from another time.   A remembered youthful time when curiosity exploded to life at every sound around me. And there was that time when someone wrote “oko x obo “ [penis to vagina or penis by vagina] on a piece of paper and stuck it to the wall with bits of *eba. Shamelessly when the adult saw it, I claimed responsibility for reasons I can no longer make sense of these days. However today I would be happy to wear a T-shirt with “obo x obo” (vagina to vagina or vagina by vagina etc.) boldly emblazoned across it on a packed high street market road of multi-cultural London. Imagine that. In my mind a celebration, as these words cascade endlessly and so we ought.

*Eba is a sticky cassava based dumpling like food – a staple of many Nigerians. It is sometimes be used as glue…

Mia Nikasimo (c) September 2012

Iwe-Ijer – Book of Witness

Below is is a selection of poems written as a 7 day diary of my life in Stratford [home of the recent London Olympics] London which I call the “Book of Witness”. Why Witness? Because my entire being is a witness to this part of my life 24 hours a day. This way I hope I can bring my experiences to the surface.

 

 

 

14/08/2012 14:10

A deep rage slithered across
Across his face as Baby emerged.
He looked ready for a fight
Arms akimbo legs planted firm.
Instead a proclamation booms
From his darkest deeps:
“I want him dead. I don’t care.
The outcome is worth it.
A bother again who must be
Stepped on. You do all the
Threatening and you label
Baby the “troublemaker”
Who doesn’t like peaceful
Co-existence even while your
Very mass is pitted against it?
“No expense spared,” Bulldog
Carries on. Not caring if Baby
Heard his poison or not;
Threatening. “Do it and I’ll pay
Handsomely,” said Bulldog
Standing by his sick beamer.
Timed-out phone sent flying
Everywhere in a plastic and
Metal explosions what Bulldog
Would like to do to Baby; Baby…
His girlfiend put him up to it.
Happily he joined others out
To spill Baby’s blood. For now, he
Tends his sick beamer; fuming…

14/08/2012 – Racket

Believe me I don’t play tennis.
The closest I came to it was in
Childhood. A bothersome tooth
Knocked out by an unlikely blow.
When I got this job I was over the
Moon. Then one day during lunch
I remember that same pain; ouch.
Another place another pain. I heard
Everything plus her resounding,
“I don’t cares” slaps dealt in her
Words all for a laugh. Four hours
Of it grew into forever or so it seemed.
My heart pounded I spoke in
Confidence off air in words
That became knives to my ears.
I lingered to catch word and away.
They trickled away fine as Gari.
No wonder I mistook it for lafun…
Why the racket? She can lie, that’s
Why I took to calling her the racket.
Alway a deal a big deal, a racket…

15/08/12 – How so far?

We’d really like to sack you but we won’t
Tell you that. We call you darling, darling;
Babes, babes; make eyes behind your back
And like “I didn’t have to tell them”
Throwaways; just like that…
You are ready deep down deciding
Something else: “You failed, you
Failed, you failed; you did”
Is what you said out loud.
Next week brace yourself.
By the time we’re finished
You’d be begging us to let you go
Instead we welcome you to work
As part of our team. Our insurance
Policy: make life working
With us hell on earth for you.
Already all our customers know
Your dirty secret, see?
We made sure they did,
We told them man!
We cannot lie to our
Customers for you!
So all week long they
Misgendered me with impunity
-Cis priviledge at its worse and
Me a tolerated mascot
Right out of the job under cover
Of failing myself not the race.
“We have our ways for
Getting rid of folk,”
Adele said, “we make things so
Hard you until you are
Begging on your knees:
Let me go, let me
Go like the child of two you are,” you said.
Death hold: “next week you are on the shop
Floor with me. We know you weren’t kept
From the word, “go!” Who said life Was easy?
The word sank in, “objectified!” no doubt all
None. Not even when you crack Tell dry jokes to
Cover your tracks. Always after getting caught
Red handed. Your smiles looked grim too…
Even when you asked me, “how so far?” I knew you chamellion…

The vague idea of mate-ship makes me wretch but that’s just me.

16/08/12 – Mate 1

The day before even as early as that you dealt me a blow.
“Good morning,” I said wishing you well, I thought.
“Good morning my son,” you said trying to unsettle me.
“Go get me some tomato,” said Simbi. No good morns today…
No, just a quiet lingering, “soup!” again without qualifier
Knocking my identity for all its worth; to her, nothing.
“Good morning,” I said to Amebo and her husband.
“Good morning,” waved Amebo but her husband obtuse
The following day dealt me another slap. “Good morning, mate,”
He said. I turned round, took the measure of him in and
Gave him a smile, “that’s Amebo’s job isn’t it?” They
Both looked shocked even their daughter looked peeved.

“I’m not your mate. A simple good morning would have done just fine!”

Mate 2

Still the next day. Got as early as to Wake up thinking, “hell, I’m
Late; I’m late!” waking up at 19:51 is late wind down not
Get up for that early morning Gburu-rush. Yes, Gburu. You
Heard right. I ought to have known getting up at 19:51 as I did.
To a parent encouraged child losing her voice shouting, odd.
She was shouting, “Man, man, man you banchud, man” and
My only worry wasn’t my agenda. I feared grow to be your mother:
Feral, sitting in front of your council flat looking for a patzis.
If only you knew half the story? Would you still take a bribe
To make your silly mother love you? I’m only on the door of
50 or is ageism the new outsider prize? Sorry I can’t be your mate.
If you want to know about me, ask me. I’d happily answer you.

I’m not your mate. A simple good evening would have done just fine.

17/08/12 -Contact

No alien abduction by green figured beings
It didn’t see it coming. It was so sudden in its
Arrival. Dumbstruct by its insistence I almost
Missed it. The certainty of the touch that I could not miss no matter how hard I tried;
no matter how thick my skin.
The contact of her hand on my breast was undeniable. She was
Coming out; I was on my way in to change having finished for the day.
A moment that took my breathe away -assailed me and remains still.
What was she looking for that she Must touch me so? Such curiousity As to leave me baffled. Or was
She just trying to convince herself via texture
Her hand on my breasts a moment to check me out check them out too. No mistaking it. I felt the contact for sure. Words fail me.
Was that electric or simple deserved offense? What?
“Have a lovely week and darling, she said and
away like a flash she vanished; but for the feeling: ever present…

18/08/2012 – The Moon

There’s something romantic about the moon
This morning. It is a fading face of a full moon.
It plants a kiss on the eyes in a soft morning sun
A first light rouge on heavenly cheeks plus dimples
The myth of wolves tyrannises the heart momently.
Nightfall and a full moon; daybreak and the dull boom
Of obsessive, “outsider outsider look look” yahoo-ing
Even a day off is no rest for the wicked who say
“look look it’s the nutter he’s dead inside,” with shot.
Nothing is seen nothing is heard but an unspoken gem:
“Thank you!” as Alhaja does say whether good or bad.
Wolves are surely about and a pathetic seduction reigns.
No fear just unconditional love. My love. Natures love
What happened to us absolute among animals as we have become?
Forever wish-wracked in humungus doubt & fear void
Yet constantly constantly in bondage in fixed abandon.
Fading moon remnants of a fuller sharper self until then
Yes, nightfall again and that distant call yaaaaahhhoooo!
Not female not male just a self enduring alone; outsider?
No an eternal party a rubbing of shoulders from yonder
Both neither and nevertheless a human being alive alive.
Arriving in fullest prowess at that ordained nightly hour
What mysterious cadence? Still there sat around the fire
Listen to wise echoes deep so skin deep my bones sing
Hello daylight hello fading full moon hello; goodbye…

19/08/2012 – Open-fare

“How did you know he isn’t a woman? asked a woman that night.
“Everyone knows that?” said a child’s weary wavering voice; scared.
The heat wave meant leaving windows open to catch the elusive breeze
You heard everything that night.
All night long it was open fare from far
From close these nightly fighting voices of authoritarian neighbours.
Everyone had axes to grind concerning what you were
Only to erase you 24 hours of hard slug
And their apperture honed focus burned into you
Via audio link up in the square behind the flat
Where the cloak of night Shrouded their identities fast.
Who do you report that to?
What’s the crime? Hate crime; transphobia;
Exclusion by reducing me to a pariah vocally.
Switch on the light of the bedroom
And the rest is open fare; open fare Jubilant like kids on speed.
Everyone came out with shared hatred in their hearts.
“Let’s see what it is,” said one voice.
“Then we’ll believe it is or not!”
Open fare loud voices goofy laughter.
So much more of the same rubbish.
They’d nothing else to talk about but what sex you are steeped their paranoia
Still as they were going to war over what you’ve got between your legs; again.

21/08/2012 – Attitude

Militant hairstyle was the first to strike
Dressed in black and black and ready
For a fight. From Aldgate she rubbled
All the way to Tottenham Court’s rouse
And continued ever more everytime
Some other passenger boarded the bus:
“He doesn’t look like a woman,” said
She billious as hell if someone hadn’t
Heard her rigid commandments shared.
To my ears a swamp of vector bees
Out for a kill. And she waited until the
Last moment blocking my way inclined
To narrowcast her way to making sure
Every being on mother earth knew the
Viral presence in their mist: men don’t
Be fooled he’s a man women don’t be
Fool he’s a man,” she cried for any ear
That would hear her poison proliferate.
She carried on in her possessed way
So ill she sounded yet trying to make
Me ill just because I wouldn’t take mine
For granted as other people do willy nilly
She was on the war path for sure and as
We got off as she scouted for other mongrels
To her course. There were many. Last stop.
Her last straw stood to attention like an arm
An extension of the bus stop. Incredilous!

Poems and Photo,  © Mia Nikasimo, August 2012

In Disturbia

I’ve got to break my mind in like a horse in disturbia.
Crazy as a hatter. What’s not to be crazy about…
Even children are given free reign to be indifferent
Poor things snagged up in viral hand me downs.
Philip Larkin thought so, “parents, they fuck you up…”
What do you think of it children? Anything? Anything?
In disturbia stuff happens. So said Rihanna when in
Disturbia she showed ways in dingy cellars of bodies.
I still wonder why you hate Rihanna? Why do you?
(No, I’m not saying Rihanna is transsexual, she isn’t.)
I still wonder why you hate transsexuals as you do though,
I still wonder why voices from outside these four walls
bring your malicious excesses uninvited but stangely amused,
I’m still wondering in disturbia where everyone partakes; nobody knows with a dead body dismembered on their doorsteps in rigor mortis where the errant body came from. “It was just, there!”
I still wonder why you hit me that first day, the second day and then hit me again for staying over.
In disturbia alkies take part too thinking they matter.
The pest pestering me took his lead yonder where
Two girls chatter in incessant: “he is, she isn’t” cadences.
Then came your opportunity: “You are a man, you are a man, you’ve got a dick, you are a man,” he pestered on and on. My attempts to foreclose fell short. He carried on. I got my phone out; dialed 9, 9, 9.
“So you are calling the police? I’m Anglo Nigerian, living in Jandon.
I will not spend a moment in custody, can’t one make a mistake?
You’ve got a dick, you are a man,” said the alkie mega loud.
“No, I’m not, I’m a woman. No, I don’t & if I did what is it to you?”
I said still in a state of shock! Tears, tears flow as I breakdown!
“You’re insane,” was all I could manage before flight.
“All Nigerians are crazy,” he shouted in my wake.
The two black girls silenced into cathartic embrace
As they took stock of what they’ve done, cowering.
In disturbia I hate that I love you so knowing you
Admitted you all out hated women like me.
Only in disturbia can you be asked by a girlfriend:
“why don’t you get it on with a guy?” she said. “They
All want you. Everytime we’re out their eyes lock on
You like you are the precious cargo they’re awaiting.
The banked up tears began to flow freely.
I, a lesbian, traumatised by her words; end depressed.
In disturbia even no response is a response. “Oh he’s
Sulking!” chipped in a couple as they pass by. What
Do you say to that on a head filled to bursting?
That is an uneasy laughing shop of jeers & pokes.
In disturbia it is assumed my body isn’t mine. I
Reclaim it mine, my only vessel to the island, “me!”
I will my own way carve out; mapped for the tour of duty.
Step away from the gap, step away from the gap, step away.
Even in disturbia we exist our gender identities:
Transgender, intersexes, transsexuals, transgenderists, trans everything, we’re all in disturbia loving only as we can in a hateful world.
We are the tabula rasa of our species, clean slates.
We can be anything in a quilted bag of identuties even queer is a cauldron called genderqueer & more.
We are called lazy, we are called crazy in disturbia.
Working the clubs of Stonewall old and new,
Working in the forces: army, navy, airforce & police;
Working the inland revenue for all we can,
Working pen on paper telling difficult stories,
Working, working every walk of life; we do our bit.
Like everyone else before you off in broad daylight.
There are “decent” folk in disturbia only we get crap
But somehow we are the only ones still smiling, in
Disturbia’s disturbing disorder with our scorching tears.

Mia Nikasimo (c) September 2011

On Being Transgender

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Mia Nikasimo. As a volunteer for Changing Attitudes at the Lambeth Conference I found myself in an opportune position to reflect from a translesbian (i.e. a transsexual woman who identifies as a lesbian not to be confused with above or beyond “lesbians,” or a transgender man) standpoint on the Anglican Communion and attempts to exclude the LGBTI.

I have purposely mentioned my trans status here because “transgender” as an umbrella term (for transsexual female, male, sister, brother, mothers, fathers any of the following might choose to cross dress, are intersexed, queer, kings, drag queens and more) can easily loose ones identity in the mix and because I can only share this reflection as a translesbian in the full awareness that some, like my LGBTI African brothers, sisters cannot. As the founder of an online support group call Transafro I aim to give voice to our various narratives Anglicans or otherwise, to promote, empower and raise consciousness in Africa, the Diaspora and allies.

Transgender, contrary to what is often believed to be the case, is not about sexual orientation. Rather it is about gender identity which, for instance, in the case of transsexuals (i.e. female or male), sexual orientation is something that gradually happens as birth sexuality goes through a sort of transformation and so on and so forth. Even some transsexual people do not fully understand this so I am not surprised that most members of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community do not understand the “T” or transgender enough to change their attitudes towards us never mind the wider Anglican Communion of Bishops which is why education, dialogue and reflection is important.

The consensus will always be that: WE DO EXIST, WE ARE TRANSGENDER AND WE ARE PROUD!!!

Primarily, in conjunction with some members of Changing Attitudes, this stance is saying that I am here, a transsexual woman and a lesbian of African origin (Nigerian, in my case) but also as a member of the wider lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here to reaffirm our identity in the face of attempts to erase our presence from the Anglican Communion. However, the organisation’s mission statement which states that we are: ‘working for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender affirmation in the Anglican Communion’ is well intentioned we need to be proactive in our efforts.

On reflection, I have found that one significant question in particular seemed to manage to escape our attention. Although we have raised the stakes immensely in changing the Bishops attitudes, what are we as attitude changers doing to bring the same rigour to bear on ourselves? Before we can change attitudes among the Bishops we have a lot of education, dialogue and reflection work to in our community (i.e. the LGBTI) especially with regard to bisexual (although I cannot speak for them I am aware that they have little or no representation) and transgender people. Simple definitions such as what is a transsexual woman/lesbian? still manage to confuse some lesbian and gay men who then amusingly or otherwise call a transwoman or a translesbian a gay man robbing her of her trans identity and or her sexual orientation simultaneously just for a laugh. Likewise, referring to a transgender/transsexual man as a woman denies him his status as a man. Attitudes within the Anglican Communion cannot be changed in an atmosphere of homophobia or transphobia because of deep rooted fear which is why there is a call for more education, dialogue and reflection.

Although my mother is an Anglican which meant I could easily have chosen Christianity I opted for Buddhism. This is not to say that Buddhists are without similar conditioning as the Anglicans but because it was a religion I chose with a full understanding of what I was doing. Rather than the impositions and guilt ridden disposition of the Anglican Communion towards gender identity (i.e. as a transsexual woman) and sexuality (i.e. as a lesbian) I left Christianity and became a Buddhist and found peace of mind albeit formative. With committed and concentrated practice of meditation I was more able to get on with my life.

This suited me. I read broadly about Buddhism finding solace in the stories of practitioners like Tenzin Palmo and Milarepa to mention just two. With meditation practise I also found a sort of peace of mind that meant I could let go of hatred, guilt and fear and approach the world from a position of compassion, love and understanding. I even wanted to become a Buddhist nun and spend the rest of my life in spiritual contemplation in a cave out in the wild somewhere but I quickly realised that that would be indulging my desire to escape it all. Somehow, the city became my cave practice based on Plato’s Cave allegory.

I began to see anew and in seeing saw the Anglican Communion and the human condition as both locked horns and wondered where all the compassion, love and understanding had gone. I followed the Anglican Communion as it observed its rituals I did mine with Buddhist ones evoking the essence of compassion, Tara and or the Boddhisattva of fearlessness, Amoghasiddhi and shared the experience at every opportunity in social engagement.

However, on a final note, I feel the service of the Bishops is not about celebrity or notoriety rather it is about the cultivation of the seeds of compassion, love and understanding in all the Anglican Communion and not just some. This must include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people too or the shepherd fails in his duty to all his flock of sheep. But this mantle is not for them to bear alone. We have our part to play in the affirmation of the LGBT without excluding the “T” as can happen and continues too.

Texting Poetry – 3: Fear !!

 

Fear!!

A driver fucked up with
Fear; he just started,
Today & all, the poor imp.
Happily, he brought into it
-A neighbourhood’s illness
They call you man, miss
All cower what will come?
So when he broke hard
Spilling me forward & then blaming my lack.
An explosion of laughter
‘Wait,’ commanded the
Terrified driver, ‘until we Reach the bus stop! You
A big man’ How
Convenient for you all!
More & more laughter
You said what? If you
Must, I’m a woman, get it
? The laughing witness;
Hypocrites all! What’s to
Fear? What’s to fear?Fear!
Mia Nikasimo (c) March 2009

Texting poetry – 2: Being…….

Being…

I am a being in the world,
I am a “who-woman” being, a sentient being
A spec of dust; a grain of
Sand or a tear drop!
My own little dot of Oceania. I know my duty.
I am a being in the world,
I am a who woman being,
Just like the lot of you;
A sweet breathe of air
‘s all! Why are you so
Incurably paranoid, peps?
Mia Nikasimo (c) May 2009

Texting poetry – 1: Ann Summers on a Sunday Afternoon

During 2009, I took to writing poetry on my mobile phone. Some I would send to my friend Sokari, some I would keep for myself.   Texting poetry is a selection of some of these poems written somewhere in London – at home, on the bus, on the go.

 

Ann summers on a Sunday afternoon. 

Looking for a bra
Looking for panties
With Olori in tow; toe?
We found a vibrator.
We tried it on for girth,Waow! We dreamed in one vocal voluminous voice. It’s joviality scored.
It blew our minds & that
Was just by handling it, Fingering its vibrating
Shaft and all. Admiring the green member…
£33.50 not bad, not at all.
Now, I know I want it even more, I’ve always Wanted a buzzard for my birthday; I can still dream!
Vibrating vision to hold.
For my next birthday, pls,
I want even more now!

Mia Nikasimo (c) March 2009

Prejudice…..

  Prejudice… Was that it or wasn’t it? Deception rides the tide Now again, it died of old Whatever it is when it is How it is wherever it took Place there’s only one Name to call it. Prejudice! An opinion based on Limited facts -…