My flag was purchased by Spouse more than 2 years ago, along with a rainbow flag and a nonbinary one. It’s a full size lightweight nylon trans pride flag, with 2 brass rivets. It’s starting to fade, but my affection for it only grows.
This flag has been my cape through Pride celebrations, the J20 protests and the Women’s March on Washington, plus about a dozen street protests in Chicago. It waved proudly on a pole when Spouse took it to a beautiful trans rights protest. It hung on the end of my bunk when I was a counselor for trans kids at summer camp last summer, and adorned my co-counselor for a camp event.
It’s been washed once. It needed to be, especially after that long weekend in DC last year. Gently washing it didn’t remove the original fold lines, they’re still there along with a thousand new wrinkles – kind of like me.
This flag currently hangs in the east facing window in my summer apartment. I am working 800 miles from home this summer, in a tiny town where I know nobody. When I got to my little apartment it was crystal clear where the flag would go – proudly covering the place where the sun will come up each day. After what I’ve gone through hanging a pride flag in the window is a joy. It’s barely visible from the street, but I don’t care. I know it’s there, and when I wake up in the morning my flag glows with sunshine.
This weekend I am going to Pride in New York City, and the weekend after that I will protest in Washington DC. My fading but proud flag will ride my shoulders again, through that and all summer. As it, and I, become increasingly worn we will keep flying with pride.
CN: Addiction, mentions of overdose.
Bill SB 81 in Georgia has been proposed with the intention of making opioid pain medications less available in an attempt to fight opioid addiction in Georgia. It requires, among other things, that prescriptions for any Schedule II, III, IV, and V drugs have prescriptions limited to a five day supply at a time. People who use Schedule II medications to treat ADHD and related conditions quickly noticed that as written the law would require them to get a new prescription every five days for medications like Ritalin and Adderal. After reading the bill, it appears to me that this would also require people who use testosterone medications to get a new prescription every five days as well, since testosterone containing medications are Schedule III drugs.
These medications often already require the patient (or parent or caretaker) to carry a physical paper prescription into the pharmacy. The new regulations would require medical providers, patients, and pharmacies to do staggeringly more work and paperwork. Some of these medications are usually used for years or a lifetime, and certainly many patients would really struggle with getting to their doctor’s office and the pharmacy every week. Continue reading “Wide Ranging Impacts of Misguided Georgia Pharmacy Bill”
I mentioned in my Beginners Guide to Protesting that it’s a good idea to carry food and water to a protest. This is true, but it’s not really the whole story. There are more things that many people recommend having with you, especially as you get more serious in terms of how long you want to spend out at a protest or how much risk you are willing to take on. I’d like to share here a bit more about what I wear and bring currently to a protest march, and what I’m going to start doing in the future.
I want to be clear here that these are my own choices, and reflect my own risk tolerance. The risks you are willing to take on may be higher or lower than mine. Your financial means may be higher or lower than mine as well.
Continue reading “How I Prepare To Protest”
If you have never attended a protest before, doing so for the first time can be kind of daunting. I was lucky enough to start as a teenager, before I was afraid of much, but I definitely sympathize with those who find the idea intimidating. I wanted to put together some of my perspective as a regular participant in, though never leader of, mass protests.
A little about my experience: I have participated in both spontaneous and well planned protests. I have been in big mass marches like the Millennium March on Washington and in many small marches and protests. I have participated in one large-scale occupation, at the Wisconsin Capitol in 2011. Some protests I have been in have been unchallenged by police, while others (especially BLM protests) have been more adversarial, though I have never been in a situation where riot control tactics like tear gas have been used. I have taken one official training on civil disobedience, but have never been arrested. Yet.
In fact, for many people my experience may be exactly what you hope to gain – participation in protests without ending up in dangerous situations. That’s pretty reasonable. While movements sometimes need people who are willing to take more serious risks, they also need boots on the ground, bodies in the crowd, people willing to show up and be heard. Protesting is less dangerous than many people think, and it is absolutely possible to do it and protect yourself at the same time. Once you’re comfortable with the safer parts of protesting you may want to re-assess your risk tolerance and decide if you are willing to take on more risk for greater possible impact, but I want to encourage you to get out there for the first time.
Continue reading “A Beginners Guide to Protesting”
Back when the Brexit vote happened I saw a lot of people saying that they voted for Brexit but simultaneously claimed that they are not racist. They argued that their reasons for supporting leaving the European Union were other than xenophobia, and therefore they should not be held responsible for the racial consequences of the voting results. However, many of the arguments for Brexit were overtly racist, leaving the EU may have major ramifications on immigration, and hate crimes have skyrocketed since the vote.
When the effect of an action is increased power for a majority group and negative consequences for oppressed groups, it doesn’t matter what the purported reason for that action is. If your policy, action, or vote has racist, sexist, or ableist impacts then it doesn’t matter what your intention is – you are responsible for the oppressive impacts of that action. It doesn’t matter that pro-Brexit voters think of themselves as not being racist, they supported a racist action with racist impacts and that is what matters.
Tomorrow the United States will finally conclude a long election process. A Donald Trump presidency has the potential to be the most actively oppressive presidency in memory. A vote for Hillary Clinton is the only action that can have the effect of avoiding that future. Any other action – voting third party, refusing to vote, or writing in a candidate – has the effect of increasing the risk of an oppressive future. While Clinton’s policy positions and record may not match yours, or my, preferences perfectly, it is the EFFECT of our votes that matter. A third party vote, for example, may have the effect of putting into power a fascist demagogue no matter what the voter’s intention may be.
Furthermore, this same is true for elections for Senate, Congressional seats, and state and local elections. Our actions in this election matter only insofar as the effect they have. Certain votes will increase the likelihood of a seriously frightening future, while others decrease that risk. I will be voting on Tuesday with all of this in mind. I will vote to block a Donald Trump presidency, and to attempt to deny the GOP control of the Senate. I will vote in my state and local elections for a future that doesn’t uplift the extremists that Trump has emboldened.
Content Notes: Racism, sexism, alt-right politics
Chalked political messages on the sidewalks is against the rules at DePaul University, but that isn’t stopping the College Republicans. During the spring last year racist messages chalked on the Lincoln Park Chicago campus created such a toxic atmosphere that the school decided to ban political chalking from campus grounds. Many of those chalkings were supportive of Donald Trump’s campaign during the primary, and came after conflicts over racism on the University’s Facebook page and suggestions from the Black Student Union about ways to make campus safer for students of color.
Not long after that, at the end of a school year full of racial conflict and prejudice at DePaul University, the College Republicans group on campus invited hate-monger Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. His talk was met with protests in which students of color managed to break into the room and occupy the stage on which he was speaking. This lead to an angry mob of his followers heading out onto campus and violently attacking protesters. The president of the school, Father Dennis Holtschneider, handled this incredibly badly, basically blaming the students who protested Yiannopoulos and apologizing to the College Republicans group. The uproar in response to this letter likely contributed significantly to Holtschneider’s resignation soon thereafter. He is still president of the school, but DePaul is searching for his successor.
The school year ended with a noose hung at the entrance of the Sanctuary Hall Dormitory.
Continue reading “Back to School With a Battle of Chalk”
Not so long ago I said that North Carolina’s HB2 law lead to me to feel helpless.
I feel much less so today. After Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the that justice department is suing North Carolina over it’s HB2 law, I’m feeling much better. Not so much because of the lawsuit, but because her speech was a full throated support of transgender Americans like me. If you have not yet watched the speech, I recommend doing so. This video does have captions.
Just as the passing of the law itself left me feeling helpless, this speech brings back my hope. It reminds me that while there are a whole lot of people in my country who don’t think I, and my trans and nonbinary siblings, should exist in public, there are also many who back us. Lynch’s speech does not hold back in support of us, and shows that even people in power believe we have a right to the same things as anyone else.