FABOLOUS AGAINST NORMALITY
queer, (hard) femme, feminist, glitter addict, kinky, poly, cute, smile a whole lot (exspecially when I´m shy), adventorous, anxious, sometimes sad
white WTF trans*feminine sparkle pony
does not fit inside of the gender binary.
into radical politics
please call me out if i fuck up.
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<3 "Just a girl with a sharks heart" <3
My Name is Lilli.
I live in Berlin.
My peronal Blog.
Recently, trans bro Jack Halberstam wrote an article called You Are Triggering me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma. It is rife with crappy Monty Python references and historical inaccuracies. The main thrust of the article is that trigger warnings used by young people creates divisions within queer communities and keeps us from focusing on the real enemies. Jack goes on to say that trans women telling non-trans women to refrain from using the t-slur is censorship and play on politics of respectability and assimilation. That once upon a time in the 90s feminists and queers could take a joke and now one can’t do anything without being called out. The article reads like an adultist treatise that amounts to a glorified “kids these days”.
All through out the article is the unspoken assumption of community. Jack operates from the presumption that we all exist in the same community. That we all have the same stake in triggers, in racist/transmisogynist language and actions. Jack assumes that we all have the same level of vulnerability or assume the same amount of risk when the t-slur is thrown around. He labors under the neo-liberal delusion that everyone’s trauma is equal. He says that trigger warnings erode community but we were never in the same community to begin with.
I have only heard this line of reasoning from white cis queers, from white trans men and masculine folks. They want us to pipe down so that they can speak for us (us being trans women of color) and exploit our labor, our lives and our deaths so that they can justify their assimilation. Because if being a tenured professor isn’t assimilation, I don’t know what is. Folks like Jack don’t really care about community until someone tells them to stop and than suddenly they cry that we are all one community and why aren’t we talking about the real problems? Never mind the racist/transmisogynist behavior in the first place.
But people like Jack are the problem. Language and ideas are the basis for violence, both structural and interpersonal. The t-slur is used to dehumanize trans women, specifically trans women in the sex trades, and is justification for our murder. The caricatures of trans women in the media dehumanize us and justify our murder. The way Jack frames the problem as trans women being divisive by telling non-trans women to stop using the t-slur shifts the focus off the people who are actually being oppressive, namely Jack. People in power are never seen as divisive, its those in the bottom who tell them no.
Jack argues that trigger warnings put an overemphasis on individual safety and not systemic causes, but this isn’t a zero sum game. We can both be conscious of people’s needs for safety and be aware of systemic oppression. Trigger warnings also don’t stop the triggering material from existing. It gives a pause to mentally prepare oneself. And that warning can facilitate someone being able to have a deeper engagement with the material because they were prepared. Jack says that trigger warnings perpetrate this individualistic notion of trauma and leads to what is called “oppression Olympics”. But its only white queers who want to silence people of color and trans women who ever use this argument.
In the end, people who complain about trigger warnings or about not being able to say certain words are selfish. They care more about themselves than building community or trying to dismantle systems of oppression. Because you can’t build community with people whose neck is under your boot. You can’t dismantle oppression by doing the same exact things that oppressors do.