(If you are not black, tread very carefully in your comments. Don’t go looking for cookies, I’m all out)
Sometimes, the fight for social justice feels damn tiresome.
It’s frickin early in the morning as I write this and I have to decide if the cold weather (ah, Minnesota in the springtime) is too cold for escorting this morning. #livinglavidachronicpain
I’ve been sitting on this here link for days now, because it needs to be shared. The awesome folks at the much beleaguered EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, KY (follow them on Twitter to see just how much fuckshit they have to deal with EVERY DAY the clinic is open) have been giving out anonymous questionnaires to patients asking about what they go through to get into the clinic.
The results are fucking terrifying. These patients have had to contend with motherfuckers pushing against their car doors, shoving fetal snuff porn into their faces, being pushed, being physically blocked (hello there, violation of the FACE act), screamed at, and video taped. They reported feeling scared, threatened, HARASSED.
Now, EMW is collecting this info to use to try and get some sort of buffer zone in front of their clinic – not a big one, even 8 feet would do. And I support them in that struggle. I’m glad they’ve been collecting this info, because it gives me some actual numbers for this following rant:
Dear Former Chief Justice Antonin Scalia,
If only you were alive so you could see these numbers and watch the videos that the antis proudly post on YouTube. If only you could see that this protesters aren’t sweet old grannies just trying to peacefully offer pamphlets of lies. Hell the “grannies” sometimes are the most viscous and persistent people I’ve personally seen.
Then again, you probably wouldn’t have paid attention anyway. You sure didn’t when you were sitting in that seat in the Supreme Court.
May you continue to rot into pieces.
To everyone else alive enough to read these words,
THIS IS A THING THAT IS HAPPENING. Right now. Today. In the year of our Calendar 2016. Escorts battle with these antis, the patients battle with these antis, all in the name of some fucked up twisted interpretation of “freedom of speech”. This “freedom of speech” turns into harassment when someone says “No” and an anti continues anyway. You’d think it would be obvious.
But the patient can’t report them to the police. Not right then and there. And we can’t call the police on their behalf. Fuck, when we call the police for shit like crossing the property line/buffer zone/blocking the way, we mostly get nothing. NOTHING. They are useless.
We can’t fix this all by ourselves.
What can you do? If you have the time and spoons, why not call your local women’s clinic and see if they have escorts. Join us. If you don’t have those, then we need stronger harassment laws or to push our lawmakers to push the police to take these calls seriously while not forcing the patient to miss their appointment. There are violations of the FACE act and outright harassment that they can see, again, on YouTube. They call it “sidewalk counseling”, we should be calling it “evidence”.
This isn’t a free speech issue and it never was. This is (SPARTA!!) harassment. It needs to stop. It needs to be made clear that when you keep bugging someone after they’ve said “no”, you are committing a crime.
It needs to stop. Help us.
(Content note: I’m going to be using a racial slur here. A lot. And no, I will not be entertaining any bullshit discussions on whether it’s right or wrong or who can say it. Take that basic shit somewhere else)
(I’d say trans people, but let’s face it, most of the people behind these bathroom bills give much more of a fuck about trans women because ZOMG penis then for trans men. But the risks of assault and arrest for everyone is shitty.)
Thanks to encouragement by some groups for cis men to walk into the ladies room and show off their best helicopter dick, here is a short list of things conservative and TERFs think trans women want to do in the loo:
- Whip out their dicks
- Molest ‘real’ women and girls
- Get man cooties all over “women’s” spaces.
Here’s what trans women actually want to be able to do in the loo:
- What everyone else is doing.
And in case you’re unclear, that’s
- Wash hands
- Check hair
- Check makeup
- Check clothes
- Change a baby
- Accompany a little kid who needs to pee/poop
- Sit on a toilet seat and cry
And hey, because trans women are people too, let’s go for the not so savory things people do in the bathrooms:
- Snort coke
- Smoke weed
- Bone a stranger you just met at the club/bar
- Get into a hair pulling fight with some so-and-so taking up too much space at the mirror
- Drunkenly make new friends they’ll promptly forget
…And that’s all. That’s it. Not so scary, huh?
You know these people. They leave notes on cars like this one or this one. They approach and confront frauds using those placards to just get better parking. They’re doing it to help actual disabled people get the parking spot they deserve, if it wasn’t for these frauds.
Small problem: NO ONE ASKED THEM TO FUCKING TAKE ON THIS ROLE
There was no alien descending upon them to give them this mission. There was probably no Council of Actually Disabled people gracing them with a secret badge. I’m betting good money that they probably don’t even know a person who’s disabled, never mind one who would ask them to police their parking spots.
See, as I pointed out in my previous post about disabilities, there are way too many people who are just ignorant as fuck about what disabilities are, so when they see someone with a placard leaving their car under their own power (no wheelchair, walker, cane), obviously they are a fraud. And frauds need to be called out. No calling the police or the manager of the store to report them or anything useful, just write a nasty little note and leave it on their car to discover. Because writing nasty notes has always worked to make a fraud go “oh dear, I’ve been found out. Time to return this placard.”
Like welfare and SSI, the rate of fakers taking advantage of disabled parking is low. Low low. Very low. Look it the fuck up if you don’t believe me. So the likelihood of the Parking Spot Police actually catching a fraud is next to fucking impossible. All they’re doing is spoiling a person’s day who is probably having it hard enough. All they’re doing is trying to make themselves feel better, puff themselves up at the expense of someone who has a disability they can’t see.
All they’re doing is showing off their ignorance in the guise of trying to help “real disabled people”.
While never knowing what is going on with the so-called fraud.
People have these strange expectations of the disabled, that we much perform our disability for them to prove it. They have to see us struggle, they have to see that walker, that wheelchair, that child who can’t hold their head up and drools a little. They need to see it so they can feel sorry for us, feel better than us. “But the grace of God go I” and all that shit. So when they see someone who doesn’t “look disabled”, it angers them. That person looks fine. That person looks like a “normal” person. Fraud! Faker! Time to write a note and wait until they come out and demand proof (like who the fuck are you?). How can you feel sorry and superior to this person if you can’t see their brokeness?
Are you their doctor? Were you the person who signed off on allowing them that placard? No? Then, if you must patrol the disabled parking spaces, learn about invisible disabilities like EDS and fibro and Crohn’s and RA and a host of others. Learn the difference between good days and bad days. Stop demanding that people perform their disability for your viewing pleasure. Learn some fucking empathy.
I’ll be taking your badge, pen, and scrap paper now. You’re off the force.
Boy oh boy, that’s gonna pop up on someone’s search, and they’re gonna haaaaate reading this.
Alright, I realized I though I’d said something, when I actually didn’t so here goes:
For my allies and friends, yes, showing clips or pictures of black people dead by police hands might get someone you know to wake up and smell the racism, but for me, given how often it’s happened, it’s like sharing bits of snuff porn, like Faces of Black Death, except they’re all real.
“Here’s this large black woman slumped over on the ground, dead or dying due to police neglect”
“Here’s the body of that kid with the Skittles and Iced Tea”
“Watch this cop shoot this black man to death!”
What I’m asking for here is for people to keep in mind that for some of us, this is tiresome and (yup, gonna say it. Hold on to you hats) TRIGGERING. Gasp, I know, I used the terrible word that shows that I’m fragile snowflake that cannot handled Real Life.
You know, like I haven’t been bombarded with this photos for fucking YEARS already. I’ve had enough Real Life. I’ve had enough of our dead being used to “prove” that we’re being slain unfairly. Can you, just for a moment, try to empathize that maybe I…or we…have had enough Real Life, plxthanks. Too many people, too many thoughts of brothers and mothers and fathers and grandparents and sisters pop in my own mind. Too much Real Life will traumatize a motherfucker. Like college students who have had Real Life thrown into their faces before they step one foot onto campus, lives of poverty, assault, rape, physical abuse, raising siblings, holding down jobs of their own.
Have some fucking empathy.
At the very least, put the article or picture in a comment. Find an article that has a picture of the victim alive, so we can see them as a person, and not a hunk of dead dark flesh to gawk at.
(And yes, I do make use of my “Hide Post” button. That’s not the fucking point.)
So apparently it’s a thing to arrest or make life shit for people who film cops doing (or failing to do, or outright fucking up) their jobs.
I thought we were all on board with the whole “Filming cops on duty is legal” thing? I thought this has been a thing for, like, forever? Did anyone inform the cops? Did anyone inform the NYPD?
Here, let me help.
We should get signs, and put them on every locker, on every door in every bathroom stall, above every urinal in cop station, and pasted on the dashboard of every cop car. And that sign should say:
I’m just trying to help spread the word.
So, while I was at Skepticon, shit was going down in my own town. Black Lives Matter has been protesting in front of the 4th Precinct in reaction to the death of Jamar Clark by the police. Some of my local friends have been out there, helping out and being awesome or being awesome allies.
And then last night, shit got worse. Five people shot by cowardly agitators. They want to provoke their little race war so badly, provoke us to a response just so they can have their war as “self-defense”. They’re cowards and fuck an entire bowl of them.
I could get on a bus right now and be there. I could have been part of the response march. I could be there, supporting those victimized by the police after the shootings with mace and nonsense.
But, thanks to fibro and anxiety, I can’t. And that shit makes me feel helpless. No, I can’t walk in a march. No, I can’t be around huge groups of people, especially with the fear of violence with each breath.
And I feel, again, helpless.
See, back during Secular Women Work, myself and the ever awesome Trinity did a workshop about activism while disabled. There are things you can do, if you can’t do what is seen as standard “activism”. And I find myself trying to keep that in mind tonight.
I can retweet information.
I can put stories on blast.
I can write this post.
There are things I can do. There are things that you, if you sitting here looking at a cane or a wheelchair or your stack of meds or your whatever is keeping you keeping on, can do to help those on the ground. Got extra blankets? Or can get to a thrift shop to get cheap blankets/hats/gloves? Can you get them to an occupation? You don’t have to stay. Can’t get out of the house? Do you have a friend who can do this for you?
Have access to social media? Share these stories. Share announcements. Given how bullshit the media can be (looks at her local paper and sets it on fire. Passive voice my black ass), social media is where you can get what’s going on and spread the word.
And, most importantly, if it’s too much, you can break away. You can rest. This goes double if you CAN show up. Self-care is a very radical act. No one is any good when burnt out.