HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!!
“Sylvia Rivera kicking ass on stage after some radfems & transphobes tried to refuse her the right to speak at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day rally. Said radfems then had their own march in part protesting trans participation in Pride. A precursor to today’s Dyke March.”
It is women like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson who started the Stonewall riots and queer liberation. 43 years later, trans women of color, the people who started the movement, are the people maligned and left behind by it.
In Sylvia’s words, “What the FUCK is wrong with you all?”
[[Trigger warning: suicide]]
Sylvia went home that night and attempted suicide.
Marsha Johnson came home and found her in time to save her life.
Sylvia left the movement after that day and didn’t come back for twenty years.
this is incredible, she is incredible, I highly recommend watching it
but I think the addendum re: the effect of this day on sylvia is really important
so often we valorise decontextualised moments of tough, articulate resistance and rage
and the suffering of the people who embodied them is not acknowledged, it’s uncomfortable, it’s not inspiring, we want them to stay tough and cool and stylish forever
which is particularly terrible when I think about how sylvia felt like that because of women like me — women who are now watching this video and feeling inspired and impressed and maybe a bit pleased with ourselves for finally having watched a speech by the famous and really cool to name-drop sylvia rivera
rebloggin for the true as fuck commentary (bolding mine)
n like, on one hand this moment is decontextualized as fuck, but on the other hand a lot of ppl try to hyper-contextualize it to make it “history” and a very specific historical moment, so we (cis women) can be like “oh so sad that’s how it was in the 1970s, radfems were so awful, but it was only the whole second-wave scene that was the problem, glad that’s over.”
Like have we forgotten the fact that Sylvia only died in 2002? And she died young, if she were still alive she wouldn’t even be 65 yet. I know hella older ppl in NYC who knew her personally, and hella “leaders” of the NYC queer scene pulled horrific shit on her constantly in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, like literally until the day she died (ppl from Empire State Pride agenda literally went to St. Vincents to beef with her on her death bed) Where are the video tapes/memorializing of that shit?
N now the Manhattan LGBT center on 13th st has a room dedicated to her memory, despite the fact that very center permanently banned her in 1995 for daring to suggest they should let homeless QTPOC sleep there in sub-zero weather.
N now there’s a whole homeless trans youth shelter on 36th st named after her, Sylvia’s Place, that kicked my TWOC friend out on the streets for testing positive for marijuana; failing to recognize how fucked up that is in a shelter named after a woman who struggled with addiction all her life, and was very vocal about the relationship between drug use and the stress of living under constant threats of violence.
N from the late 90s onward rich gays and lesbians openly fought against Sylvia to try to shut down 24/7 access to the piers that she n hella other QTPOC cruised and lived on bc they were bringing down the property values of their multi-million west village apartments.
N like 90% of the individual people who perpetuated fucked up violence against Sylvia are still alive and high-profile leaders in the NYC LGBT “community” today.
So like yes, good, remember the oppressive weight of our history of transmisogyny…but also remember that this shit specifically ain’t even history, it’s the current reality of the NYC queer/trans hierarchy today—like not even figuratively, literally the same people who pulled shit like this on Sylvia are still alive n well n all over NYC cutting the ribbons to the newest Sylvia Rivera memorial n eulogizing her like they never tried to fucking kill her themselves.
Incredible commentary all over this post
i know i reblogged this before, but check out all this on point commentary
"N now there’s a whole homeless trans youth shelter on 36th st named after her, Sylvia’s Place, that kicked my TWOC friend out on the streets for testing positive for marijuana; failing to recognize how fucked up that is in a shelter named after a woman who struggled with addiction all her life, and was very vocal about the relationship between drug use and the stress of living under constant threats of violence."
I lived at Sylvia’s place for two years. Two years. And many of the people who work and lived there are friends of mine to this day. I want to make it extremely clear that my own first person knowledge of the way the shelter operated ends in 2008, but I also worked there as a volunteer throughout last winter. However I want to make something else very clear. Sylvia’s Place, located on the ground floor of Metropolitan Community Church where Sylvia was a member of the clergy, does not and has not ever had the money to afford to drug test their clients. The shelter is not funded by the city/state/gov’t in any way and all funds that are used by the shelter are donated by private donors. Why does it not receive any gov’t funding? Several reasons, the most important being that Sylvia’s is a shelter for homeless and at-risk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender youth between the ages of 18-24. This would classify the housing arrangements as co-ed. Now you probably feel like that shouldn’t matter since programs like The Covenant House, The Ali Forney Center, and Street Works also offer co-ed housing. Here’s the reason, Sylvia’s place is one room. The ground floor of MCC is just one large space with a kitchen area, two bathrooms, a three stall shower room, and a food pantry. Their is an open space of about 15x20 or so feet (not an expert on the measurements, but it is not that big) and that is where the youth sleep. That is where I slept. On the floor. Why don’t they have better facilities? Because they don’t have the money. And if they did file for government funding, they’d have to decide which side of the LGBT community to house, AMAB or AFAB and they won’t do that because that is just FUBAR.
Also, trans women are the priority at Sylvia’s. Always have been, always will be. TWOC especially. The staff there are two WOC and a TWOC who also runs the HIV Testing clinic they have and also runs their drop in time. These three women are dedicated to making sure that poc, especially twoc, are safe and housed, not left on the streets of NYC. And when it comes to drugs, Sylvia’s has always practiced a policy of Harm Reduction. The only time a client would be denied entry while intoxicated would be when they could no longer control themselves and had become a danger to the other clients. Translation? If you are stoned off your ass, you will not be kicked out because most likely you are going to be vegging the fuck out chowing down on canned veggies (because thats usually the best thing they have unless LaDedra has used her own money/foodstamps to do groceries and then cooked dinner and then you are in for the best fucking food you’ve ever tasted in your life). However if you are drunk as fuck, and an angry drunk, and you start swinging at folks, you’re going to be booted out because you are now making what should be a safe space into a place where people are feeling like they could be in danger.
So this claim that a twoc was booted out after testing positive for marijuana strikes me as extremely false. Even the drug tests you can buy ffor $30 at duane reade have a $150+ processing fee, and Sylvia’s can’t afford that. They can’t afford new cots for the youth. They can barely afford what they currently provide, so how are they going to add extra shit?
Word to the wise, do a little research on a place before you condemn it off the words of a friend. Sylvia’s Place is a valuable resource for twoc in NYC who need a place to stay and have nowhere else to go. Spreading rumors like the one quoted above is not only sloppy, it’s dangerous and can be seen as an act of violence against twoc who need a safe place to be because they will then feel like the one place they thought they could go was taken away from them. Don’t you dare take one more place away from twoc. Especially if it’s the last place we have.
btw, Sylvia’s place has been around since 2006, so it’s not something “brand new” like the quoted commenter tried to make it seem.
reblogging for the added commentary
Aerial pictures of Iceland by Emmanuel Coupé
Fashionable Black Americans (circa 1940s)
(footage found in Prelinger’s open archive)
Dapper and Fashion Insight 101
Birchbox’s “How To: Take Your Own Measurements for a Suit”
Jenny Lynn Shimizu is a Japanese American actress, model and activist.
Born gangster and beautiful in San Jose, California June 16, 1967.
im sexually attracted to jenny shimizu
we share the same birthday its fate
this heartthrob, y’all.
SWOP-NYC continues to celebrate the lives of Black American sex workers with another round of incredible women. This list was inspired by this blog post by Tumblr user grrlyman. To read Part 1 of this series, click here.
Five more amazing women, starting with one you may not have known is open about her sex worker past.
Dr. Maya Angelou
Angelou’s classic book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was only the first in a series of seven memoirs. In the second book, “Gather Together In My Name,” Angelou reveals that she was a prostitute for a brief period of time in her teens. It was her boyfriend, an Episcopalian preacher, who introduced her to the work, though Angelou had previously earned money in the industry as a madame for two lesbian prostitutes and, later, as a table dancer.
When The Teen Talking Circle Project interviewed Angelou about these early experiences “that most people would judge as wrong,” she responded with her characteristic wit and compassion: “I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, ‘I never did anything wrong,’” she says to the interviewer. Indeed, Angelou’s brutally honest memoirs created a new paradigm for Black woman writers and shone a light on the racism, sexism, and poverty of 20th century America in a profoundly personal way.
Her other accomplishments are almost too numerous to list. In the fifties alone, “she toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, ‘Calypso Lady,’” according to her official website. She later worked as the editor of The Arab Observer in Cairo, taught college in Ghana, and organized with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of thirty bestselling books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and at the age of 85, she is still writing and campaigning.
As one of the best known and longest-working Black stars in the industry, Sinnamon Love has transformed what it means to find success as a porn star. She began working in the early 90’s as a divorced single mother who “merely wanted to provide for my family and finish college.” She describes her journey from a naïve teenager to an established feminist pornographer, fetish model, and dominatrix in this brilliant piece for Guernica magazine. Her commentary on race and pornography is sharp and incisive and her reflections on motherhood and domesticity as a Black sex working woman are just as fascinating. Love retired from performing after securing her place in the AVN hall of fame. She is now an advocate for sex education and autism awareness, a blogger and writer, and a radio host on Sex, Love, and Hip Hop.
Marsha P. Johnson
Johnson is one of three trans women sex workers of color responsible for kickstarting the modern-day LGBT rights movement at the Stonewall Inn. Along with her friends Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson fought back against the harassment and brutality of the NYPD by shattering the windshield of a police car that night in June 1969. A few years later, she and Rivera founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to feed and clothe the homeless drag queens and trans women of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. To fund their work, Johnson and Rivera did sex work on the streets so that the youth they sheltered wouldn’t have to. Her life— and suspiciously violent death at the 1992 Pride March— is chronicled in the recently released documentary “Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson.”
Like Sinnamon Love, India Morel first made a name for herself in porn. She came in at number 3 on Complex magazine’s list of the Top 50 Hottest Porn Stars of All Time, and she’s a multiple AVN-award nominee. Morel —sometimes known simply as India — parlayed her fame as an adult performer into a career in music. She released her solo album “Role Play” on her own label, Black Widow Entertainment and currently hosts Dollhouse Radio online. Morel’s memoir, “Infamous: Memories of a XXX Star” is currently available on her website, indiamorel.com. She’s also written an erotic novel and runs a blog discussing everything from viral videos to the HIV-related shutdown of the porn industry.
Janet Mock is fast becoming one of the best-known advocates for trans rights. She grew up in Hawaii, where she attended the University of Hawaii before moving to New York City to earn her MA in Journalism from NYU. Mock worked as an editor for People.com for five years before devoting her life to writing and activism. She has been honored by the Anti-Violence Project, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and serves on the board the Arcus Foundation, which her official biography calls, “a global organization advancing social justice and conservation issues.”
Her recently released memoir “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More” is a New York Times bestseller, and Mock is currently touring to promote the book. She discussed her experiences with survival sex work for the first time on her blog prior to the book’s release. “At 16 years old, I began trading sex for money. The money I earned I used to pay for the vital medical care my family couldn’t afford,” she begins. “This essay is not a confession. Neither is my book ‘Redefining Realness.’ I do not believe that having engaged in the sex trades or being a former sex worker is a confessional matter.” Mock goes on to explain the socio-economic impetuses that motivate many sex working trans girls of color. Providing options for youth in the sex trade is among the many issues she now advocates for.
Merle Oberon was the first Asian to be nominated for any Academy Award and the first (and to this day, only) Asian woman to be nominated in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category (for 1935’s, The Dark Angel).
February 25, 1870: America’s First Black Senator Is Sworn In
Hiram Rhodes Revels, the country’s first African American member of U.S. Congress, took his seat on this day in 1870, representing the state of Mississippi. Southern Democrats, who were for the most part supporters of segregation, tried to block his nomination.
Just before the Senate agreed to admit a black man to its ranks on February 25, Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts sized up the importance of the moment: “All men are created equal, says the great Declaration,” Sumner roared, “and now a great act attests this verity. Today we make the Declaration a reality…. The Declaration was only half established by Independence. The greatest duty remained behind. In assuring the equal rights of all we complete the work.”
Revel’s term lasted little more than a year. Hiram Rhodes Revels impressed many political observers with his oratorical gifts and moderate temperament.
Dive deeper into the story behind Revel’s election with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.
The New Yorker highlights Carl Van Vechten’s timeless photographs of the African American experience in Harlem.
Top: Zora Neale Hurston, 1940
Row two: L: Leontyne Price, 1953 R: Muriel Rahn, 1944.
Row three: L: Ethel Waters, 1940. R: Ella Fitzgerald, 1940
Bottom: Alvin Ailey, 1955
Photographs by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy of the Carl Van Vechten Trust/Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
But then, the truth was never really the point. Thin women don’t tell their fat friends ‘You’re not fat’ because they’re confused about the dictionary definition of the word, or their eyes are broken, or they were raised on planets where size 24 is the average for women. They don’t say it because it’s the truth. They say it because fat does not mean just fat in this culture. It can also mean any or all of the following:
Just plain icky
So when they say ‘You’re not fat,’ what they really mean is ‘You’re not a dozen nasty things I associate with the word fat.’ The size of your body is not what’s in question; a tape measure or a mirror could solve that dispute. What’s in question is your goodness, your lovability, your intelligence, your kindness, your attractiveness. And your friends, not surprisingly, are inclined to believe you get high marks in all those categories. Ergo, you couldn’t possibly be fat.
|—||Kate Harding (via shakethecobwebs)|
im pretty sure bromance is the perfect example of how embarrassingly fragile masculinity is. you know what a female bromance is called? a friendship
“Racism is not dead. It’s not. And that’s why this film is so important. To understand American society today, it starts with these kinds of stories, and the fact that they haven’t been dealt with yet. There’s work to be done. There are apologies that need to be sought and apologies that need to be offered. And that’s on a political level and a social level and an individual level and a communal level”