Tag Archives: transphobia

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

CatchAFyah – Caribbean Feminist Network Call to Action

CatchAFyah has a Call to Action directed at CARICOM across the Caribbean  including organisations in Haiti  [Kouraj, SeroVie] Jamaica, [CVC COIN, Jamaican’s For Justice, Quality of Citizenship Jamaica,]  and Pan Caribbean – [CARIFLAGS,  Caribbean DAWN] denouncing recent transphobic and homophobic acts of violence in the region.  In Haiti two gay men were murdered following a religious anti-gay demonstration and a further 47 gay men were beaten in the past two weeks.

CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network is a collective of young, passionate Caribbean activists and organisations. We span the Caribbean, representing such nations as Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are farmers, social workers, artists, social entrepreneurs, counsellors, researchers, teachers and students. We believe in everyone’s right to a good life and everyone’s right to be.

CatchAFyah calls on African feminists on the continent and in the African Diaspora to join their Caribbean sisters and brothers to take a position on homophobic and transphobic violence by blogging tweeting sharing whatever  – you can  Sign on to the Call to Action here

Haiti: KOURAJ: “Be True to Yourself”

The evangelical churches responsible for driving homophobia in Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and the USA have begun a campaign of violence and hate in Haiti. On Friday, an all faith coalition of homophobic haters called [The Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations ] held an anti-gay protest in downtown Port-au-Prince.

Homosexuality is not criminalized in Haiti and although ostracized socially within Christian faith communities , LGBTI people are very much a part of the Voudou practicing community, who themselves are facing increased hostility from these same moral crusaders many who receive huge financial support from churches in the USA.

LGBT activists from Kouraj and Facsdis explained that whilst homophobia is rampant, it is not murderous and many activists are out to their families. Kouraj is working with lawyers from the Defenders if the Oppressed to draft anti-homophobia and anti-discrimination law and also to,push for an open dialogue on sexuality and fixed notions of gender.

With the rise of the religious haters what progress has been made is likely to be compromised and the possibility of murderous acts increased as two men were beaten to death during Fridays protest.

In response to ‘Anti-Gay” protests

#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’.

 

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

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

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

Pavilion: Transphobia – between the skin-head from Stoke & the dreadlocked sadist.

Pavilion a short story by Diriye Osman

Cat Power  “a hard-boiled, six-foot Somali tranny” works in a mental hospital in London  reminding me of the now closed  Friern Barnet Hospital.  I wonder how many Black and Queer folks passed through its green metal doors and etched their names on the dirty yellow walls.  Back to the story of Cat Power and the rest of her nursing crew with their fake names such as Holy Bible and Corinthians 12 – Nigerians mostly.  The crew ruled the wards not giving a shit about what the patients or probably the doctors thought. After all this was a mental hospital and if the patients were deemed unfit for socialising it’s hardly surprising if the medical staff chose at least to act mentally challenged.  Take the relationship between Riley [patient] and Zipporah [nurse]

He was an eighteen-year-old patient who doubled as Zipporah’s lapdog. They made for a surprisingly compatible duo. He was a rough skinhead from Stoke-on-Trent. She was a dreadlocked sadist who loved sycophants. He slobbered, she lengthened her leash.

Riley had a history of violence. He enjoyed “dancing with Snow White,” which muddled his head. He started mistaking his mother for the Treasury Department and tiefed from her ass like she was bricking blocks of gold. When she called the cops, he grabbed a knife and sliced her salami-pink face. The police busted him. But the devil danced in his eyes, which is a pretty way of saying he was Satan’s spawn. He pleaded insanity and landed here where Zipporah served as the perfect carer/drug-dealer, plying him with all the Xanax, Ativan and Valium he could need.  Forget “Snow White.” Boy was now big on Benzos.

But the fun ends as Cat  finds herself on the receiving end of Riley’s humiliating transphobia and sexual violence. She decides to take action in a very sweet revenge.

Using a mix of humour and irony, Diriye confronts the trope of the homophobic / transphobic muslim immigrant [Somali] whilst at the same time vividly exposes the insecurity and threat of violence which constantly lurks behind the cold yellow walls of the industrial medical complex.

 Read Pavilion here or alternatively for a richer experience, listen to Diriye read the story on Sound Cloud

 

* Diriye Osman is a Somali-born, British writer, artist and editor. His fiction and non-fiction has been published by ‘Time Out’, ‘Attitude’, ‘Prospect’ and ‘Kwani?’ He is currently the deputy editor of ‘SCARF’ Magazine and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is at work on a collection of short stories about gay and lesbian Somalis living in London and Nairobi.

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 -…

Nobody Knows My Gender

The anger is still in me. Pure rage at certain people for failing to understand diversity beyond their narrow subjective paradises at the expense of those they claim to support through their activism. I ought to have written these words after Oxford 2011. At the time I was still too raw to review myself never mind the conference. I was already certain that was a last based on the long looks post conference and that fleeting abused, “man!” an audial rape of progress. It felt as if I had inadvertently stumbled into a den of hostility. Collectively, they voiced their imposition, corrective angst without an inkling of who I was or am. Even then when I stepped forward racked with stage fright heavy with their unkind looks, questioning thoughts and horror, did he just kiss my neck, just to tell me that time was up? If those on that panel didn’t understand transgenderism what were they transmitting to the audience -tantalising transphobia? What chance would that august audience have of understanding the “ISM” let alone a notion of agency?
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Felt Up

Don’t do that in the name of helping me

You felt me up felt me up felt me up felt

That was the first time you felt me up

As I looked on you felt my upper arm up

Again! What happened to my boundaries?

Again! That was the second time again

How would you feel if someone felt up

Your sister so? Felt your sister up felt her
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“We do not hire faggots”

Transgender dreams

Via Gender Dynamix and Things I feel Strongly About

Transgender community face hate speech from Lesbian and Gay people.

Transphobia is not something that just happens because of heteronormativity. As we gradually make our way through the end of the first decade of the 21st century this much becomes clear; homonormativity is just as virulent as its sibling. A scenario between two South African activists -one a transsexual man and the other, a lesbian- during which the lesbian activist said, “once born a woman you will die a woman” and admits to saying so is typical of transphobic slur. The difference here is she admitted to casting the aspersion. Usually you are met with a barrage of denials which is symptomatic of bully cultures. The problem we face now is whether we like it or not, this is happing in our communities.

In the UK the situation is no better. Early this morning, I was mis-gendered by a gay man on a bus journey. I ignored his slight but he continued sucking up to his female friend. When I was about to get off he followed me and deliberately swung his bag striking my bottom and apologised. I let it go again, but I was furiously upset by these actions. At the height of his hypocrisy, even after apologising, he turned back to his female friend laughing out loud and said, ‘didn’t I tell you he‘s a man?’ and his transphobia was shamefully without doubt. I discovered from this experience is that its time we exposed the LGB’s rank double standards and advocate for proactive empowerment of the TI position in societies worldwide. A gay man or any other man groping a transsexual woman to gain the friendship of a straight woman suffers first from transphobia but also internalised homophobia and vice versa for a lesbian, heterosexual or bisexual woman who acts conversely. Sexuality, gender identity or any other identity and the inevitable phobia that occur are all pugnacious and must be fought against with equal commitment.

Statement my Gender Dynamix – Transgender community face hate speech from Lesbian and Gay people.

19 October 2010 Cape Town- Transgender people face an array of challenges in their lives ranging from discrimination to violence. Like Lesbian Gay and other minority people face torture, rape and abuse by outside communities and very often their own.

Over the last five years, transgender activists in Africa have made significant steps to create an understanding of the transgender community and one of the first approaches have been to sensitise the LGBTI sector. The impact has been felt but there is need to exert more effort in these ventures.There has been talk by Lesbian and Gay orginisations who pose themselves as LGBTI to adress the ignorance and gaps that exist between the “LGB” and the “TI” but the Transgender community continues to suffer predjudice at the hands of their Lesbian and Gay brothers and sisters.

There is a belief that the concept of Transgender is merely a form of homosexuality. Lesbian and Gay people most often feel disbelief about the identities of Transgender people and treat them with the same disregard that heteronormative people treat Lesbian and Gay people.

It is most shocking when a fellow activist from a LGBTI group puts on the mantle of oppression from a gender oppressive society and uses it in turn to scorn transgender people.
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Homo Nationalism

Whatever next? No racism, no sexism, no classism, no ageism, nothing that veers on the right or even remotely towards it? Surely the rhetoric of a paranoid community fearful of a breach in its security as homonationalism has become. Why? More often than not because they can and seemingly with impunity. Until Judith Butler’s rejection of an award for courage associated with Berlin Pride. Before this coup, nothing was said of homo nationalism, sexism, racism as if in all sincerity nothing of the sort existed.

Imagine for a moment that David Irving’s ‘…the holocaust did not happen…’ for a moment in this regard and you immediately discover a lapse in judgement somewhere. That’s as if one were saying that there was no evil in the world and so many religious pundits of whatever shade have given voice to this sort of whitewashing. At it’s starkest, I personally discovered this when, browsing Blacklooks -an online magazine- and discovered the item, “No HomoNationalism!” what Judith Butler had exposed was now gathering momentum. Sexual and gender identity minorities were fighting back. We were saying no to the presence and impacts of homo nationalism on our lives. For this reason Judith Butler’s action will always be commendable.
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Every 2nd day a transperson is reported murdered

From the Trans Murder Monitoring Project – The project does not as yet appear to include monitoring Africa.

A year ago, Transgender Europe (TGEU), the European advocacy organisation and network of trans organizations, published the first preliminary results of its worldwide Trans Murder Monitoring. By July 2009, the research team of TGEU had documented 121 reported homicides of trans persons from January 2008 to December 2008, and 83 from January 2009 to June 2009, claiming that every 3rd day the killing of a trans person is reported. Already at this first stage, it was clear that due to the lack of monitoring systems in almost all countries, the fact that there are no estimates of the unreported cases, as well as some challenges in collecting and reporting cases of murdered trans persons, the then published data provided only a rough glimpse of reality, the tip of the iceberg of actually murdered trans people. In a first research report, it was stated that the real situation is much worse and that over the last years an increase in reports of killed trans persons can be observed. This tendency has now been confirmed.

New data: 426 reported killings of trans people worldwide since 2008

The new Interim Update of July 2010 sadly confirms a tendency that was already observed a year ago and since then confirmed with every new update: the ongoing increase of reports of murdered trans people worldwide. Already in the first six months of 2010, 93 reported killings of trans people were documented, which means that every second day a homicide of a trans person is being reported. In total, this adds up to 426 reported killings of trans people in the last 2 ½ years. Cases have been reported in Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and North America. As in the previous years, most reported cases were from Central and South America. In total, 97 killings were reported in 13 Central and South American countries in 2008, 135 killings in 15 Central and South American Countries in 2009, and 77 killings in 10 Central and South American Countries in the first half of 2010. The reported homicides of trans people in Central and South America account for 77 % of the globally reported homicides of trans people since 2008. The starkest increase in reports is also to be found in Central and South America, e.g. in Brazil (2008: 59, 2009: 68, January-June 2010: 40), Guatemala (2008: 1, 2009: 13, January-June 2010: 14) and Mexico (2008: 4, 2009: 10, January-June 2010: 9). The interim update of the preliminary results also reveals that in the first six months of 2010, 7 homicides of trans people were reported in the US (2008: 17, 2009: 14), 5 in Europe (2008: 11, 2009: 17) and 4 in Asia (2008: 9, 2009: 8). Another finding of the interim update is that while Brazil has received special attention due to the elevated number of killings, the number of killings in other South and Central American countries like Venezuela, Honduras and in particular Guatemala is equally or even more worrying in view of the much smaller population sizes of these countries.

Transphobic Britain

How, given the history of the black community in Britain after centuries of slavery, do Black people explain the rampant transphobia that they accord black transgender/transsexual people? Indeed, how does anyone who has ever or still suffers oppression, whatever form it takes? These were the question that assailed me for the best part of ten months of living in a predominantly Black and immigrant part of London.

In this area, it seemed factual that a multicultural melting pot is a force for good. The question is, is it? It has existed until now and has continued whether you are made aware of the varying conflicts of raging heterosexualism, homosexist, which is less mentioned for fear of what the so called Gay Mafia might do, and internalised sexism despite all the other worries the impact on us all one way or the other: of racism, homophobia and the plethora of unmentioned isms or phobia beset us in this capitalist world.
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Christine Ehlers, Transphobia on trial

Christine Ehlers, who was fired as a sales assistant after her employers, Multinational steel retailer, Bohler Uddeholm Africa, found out she was going through a series of sex change procedures, is now taking them to the South African Labour Court. Constitutionally Speaking has an excellent commentary on the case which highlights the attempt to justify transphobia on the basis it makes people feel uncomfortable – that it is bad for the company’s image.

Christine is a transgendered person because she was born into the body of a man but realized that she was really a woman and is now altering her body to bring her body in line with her own deeply held view of her sexual status. She claims in court papers that she was fired as a sales representative for the company “on the grounds of her sexual status”. In the papers, she quotes from the findings of a disciplinary inquiry which justified her firing as follows:

“It was also determined in discussion with management that the position is distinctly for a male employee and the applicant (Ehlers) [has] already got distinct female features that create a difficult situation…. In the end, the employer has to protect its business and may demand a certain standard of acceptability from its representatives in relation to its customers. I find myself in a difficult situation in that the employee argues that she can still function in the exact same manner as she would have as a man. The employer argues, on the contrary, that it is an international concern that has to protect its image in the market in the metal industry, which is predominantly male-orientated……….Continue reading here

Update

On the 13th August, the South African Labour court ruled that Christine be reinstated and compensated

Radio Today Outspoken Congratulates Christine Elhers and her legal team, headed by Mr AC Schmidt for the landmark, precedent setting, decision by the Labour Court in South Africa, today Friday the 13th August 2010, to have her re-instated and compensated for her discriminatory, illegal dismissal by Bodler Uddeholm Africa, on the grounds that she is a Transwoman undergoing GRS “making customers feel uncomfortable” is too “temperamental due to hormones” (what a joke) and “they need a man to sell machinery parts”
The egalitarian Constitution of South Africa in “Living Implementation”

One paragraph on the IWD & the celebration of heteronormativity.

Last Monday was International Women of Colour Day. Today is International Women’s Day. A month and a day ago was African Feminist Homophobia Day. Friday will mark Beijing +15 Day where hundreds of women will manage to spend 10 days talking about women but render Lesbians, Queer, Trans and Intersex women invisible. Our existence denied by silence even though at least 10% of those attending fall into one or more of these. I wonder how they felt, silenced and made invisible amongst so many of their sistas. Somewhere there are intersection points but ………..

Trying to address heteronormativity in an African continental context – where do I begin ? In my dream I am climbing a huge mountain which gets higher and higher each step I take as I fumble and fall, over and over again. How do I reach the summit, tear away the layers of rigidity, negotiate the oh so narrow paths of defined sexuality, avoid being squashed by the the huge boulders of patriarchy?

In the dawn of day my dream fades
the mountain shrinks and I am no longer alone.
I bend the rules
untie the strings
reshape ideas
choose my identities
release my desires
break the circle
and unlock the vagina monologue.