it’s been a long time…

well, not that long.

my cycle of going to work, being disrespected, misgendered all the time, and wage slavery is over. i’ve found a new job with some wonderful people.

it’s stressful. it takes a bit out of me. but it is so rewarding.

i work at a LGBTQ youth space doing resource advocacy – connecting folks to resources and building agency with street-based queer youth.

i feel like my politics have grown up a little bit. i have a job that fulfills immediate needs of powerful, yet very marginalized, folks. i’m able to stand in sisterhood, or at least work toward sisterhood, with other trans women. there is distinct power in our distinct oppressions. i feel in a position to help bring this beauty out of people.

at the same time i realize the limits of the non-profit industrial complex. i knew it when i came in to my job. and shit, so do my coworkers and supervisors. that’s why i’m still doing work in the mass and revolutionary movements. i feel like that’s going to be a struggle – finding balance between the brand of activism that pays me, that is all about a push and pull within the system, and the brand of activism that doesn’t pay, that seeks to overturn the system through building mass and revolutionary movements to start anew.

that being said, a few updates.

- nothing new with no more apologies. i’m kinda bummed, but i’ve had such a busy month. i want to start this up again and push forward.

- i’m “passing” more often as a cis woman. which is hella fucking weird. sometimes i’m like “omgz finally this is such a relief,” while other times i’m like “omgz gurl i’m trans.”

- there is some deeply entrenched transphobia, in particular transmisogyny, in a lot of trans women that i’ve met. it kills me. it reminds me of how colonized our minds are. i’m trying hard to figure out how to self care when i encounter it and how to slowly change the culture of that.

- i’ve been feeling very powerful and vulnerable at the same time. it’s definitely because of the work that i live and breathe now. i think the range of emotions are beautiful, but it reminds me to take care of myself better now. i want to look into yoga and getting back into acupuncture.

- lastly, i’m going to be updating some sections on my blog: the blogroll section, the soon-to-be gender and sex section, and i’m going to be starting to write more theory on marxism and queer lib. finally, i want to write more on what other awesome people do with awesome groups – particularly trans women (duh). wheeee!

shoot me a message if you want more things.

<3 lucinda

starting a “no more apologies” in chicago

Here is the website for No More Apologies Chicago

No More Apologies was a conference that started in Toronto this past January by several queer trans women to address the historical exclusion of transgender women from queer cis women spaces. Since then, Ottawa, Canada, has run one by the similar name. This is the first time, to my knowledge, it will be in the US.

When I heard about this conference only a few days before it was put on, I was wow’ed. This is such a central issue inside of queer spaces, and personally it makes me overjoyed to see trans women taking initiative to develop a social justice modeled conference to address our queer sexuality, desirability, and spaces.

There’s a few things that personally I want to make sure we adress in our community. Mind that I am in the process of reaching out to others to form a planning committee at this stage of the game.

1. It will address the intersection of racism and transmisogyny. For those of us that are white, we will seek allyship, responsibility, solidarity, and simply listen. It is essential to make space for POC trans women from day 1.

2. It will be not be trans-normative. All trans female, trans women, transfeminine folks, and people who experience transmisogyny are welcome and who create their own narratives and own paths about themselves, their bodies, and transitions. I do not want a hierarchy of trans women telling other transfeminine folks where to go or what to do in their lives / transitions / whatever.

3. It will be hella hella sexy. I want everyone to feel safe, comfortable, informed, included and happy. To me that’s the sexiest. So that includes:

  • Sex ed workshops!
  • Political discussion!
  • Caucuses!
  • Free barriers / contraceptives!
  • Community resource and sex ed guide for trans women (and our lovers!) including stuff on sex work, disability, and laws in the Chicago area!
  • Free food!
4. There will be hella sexy fundraisers! My personal dream is to get a trans women-focused drag king show on! Monthly events are a must!

Ok, that’s all I can think of for now. But the basic 101 of No More Apologies that I’d like to continue are that cis women and those in the trans female / transfeminine constellation will be able to go. Fundraisers and after party are fine for transmasculine folks and cis dudes to join!

Right now I’m looking at mid-October for the date of the conference. That gives the planning committee enough time to develop funds and resources for the event. I would LOVE to have a housing committee and possible stipend for travelers if we can, but first and formost is to cover the actual event.

It’d also be nice to have a keynote speaker. And perhaps a variety of workshops rather than just one on sex ed.

Ok, I think I may have spoken too much before the planning committee actually meets, but these are just my thoughts to get a center around the idea of this conference.

Post your thoughts below!

cwhc starts transfem focus groups

things have been going up and down.

i just got back from toronto where i attended the 2012 feminist porn awards. needless to say it was a fantastic experience and i’m super motivated to get more involved in ways of promoting feminist, queer, and trans-positive porn as a subversive activism. more on that later.

so the chicago women’s health center is putting together focus groups for transfeminine individuals. i’d encourage folks to get involved, even if you’re happy with services you already get or if you’re not interested in switching to to CWHC. our community needs more people to provide input, even if you’re frustrated or angry or just want to show up to be a part of the process. the call-in and appointment info is on the facebook event linked above.

i guess for me i’m happy about the movement. i’m sad this had to even occur – that unequal services were pitted against trans people of male/masculine and female/feminine shades.

that’s been the first reaction and the strongest – from trans men, some who i’ve known and some not, who i thought were my allies, telling me to quiet down, or that i’m just a shit-talker, or that CWHC has their heart in the right place so i have no reason to get angry.

i even read this little ditty on “call out culture.”

let’s fucking talk about call out culture.

there’s a difference when you’re using it as a tool, and an oppressed and marginalized person. there’s a difference between someone going off on your for misgendering you or using the wrong pronoun for the first time and institutionalized oppression. there’s a difference between talking about how transmisogynist this policy was to trans men and then have them flagrantly promote an institution as “trans inclusive” as it washes away the face of trans women at the same time – as it covers up the historical institutionalized schism between female assigned at birth people and transfeminine folks. no ego is to great to be called out for things that ought to be called out.

that said, and all in all, i am pleased with the movement. i am happy that things are on the move.

cwhc gives official apology

firstly, if you haven’t seen or signed the petition for real comprehensive trans healthcare at Chicago Women’s Health Center, please do so here

i’m happy to announce that yesterday the Trans Greater Access Program at CWHC made an official apology. read it here

i, for one, am 90% satisfied with the statement. TGAP did a good job in pointing out how their language and framing of services to trans people is misleading, how they are aware of the feminist health movement shunning trans women, and how their decision affected many and hurt many. they were just shy of being completely direct, just shy of saying “yes we should’ve made trans women part of our services we when started TGAP,” and just shy of stating that this was an example of transmisogyny.

seeing how difficult it is for non-profit institutions to even budge or take ownership of mistakes, i’d say this is pretty darn good and indicates how strong the push-back against transmisogyny has been the past few days since the petition started.

just to be clear. i’m happy to work with TGAP and CWHC, and i encourage other trans women / transfeminine folks to do so as well. i think it’ll take a while for me to really be comfortable and happy with them as an institution. i would really really like to see some trans women on the board or employed. currently i know of not a single transfeminine person who’s employed. (and it’s 2012 – but whatever, right?)

anyway, keep up the pressure. i know the author of the petition will be writing more about this struggle soon.

let’s make women’s health really equal ALL women’s health!

xoxo
lucinda

my response to the cwhc statement

You can read the full Chicago Women’s Health Center statement here

dear CWHC,

please own your transmisogyny. please be accountable to your exclusion of trans women. please be responsible for not providing equal access and equal care. this does not cut it:

“As an organization, we understand and respect this perspective and the realities of injustice and prejudice towards trans women that informs it. We value community feedback on our programs. Meeting the needs of the communities we serve is at the core of our mission.”

it’s clear to me that TGAP was started as a trans gynecological care initiative. it’s clear to me that trans women were not even on the horizon of interest in care until very recently. it’s clear to everyone who wants to know that the foundations of this project were directed at female-assigned at birth people.

if it was not, then you would’ve stated that it wasn’t. if it was truly to aim towards total trans inclusiveness, it would have prided itself on claiming trans women as sisters and boldly announced ideas and projects to get underway for transfeminine people. it would have invested itself in the same way to transfeminine health as you have done for transmasculine.

the disparities are quite obvious, and this effort to try and placate the situation will only prove for a more difficult relationship with the trans women and trans female community.

many respect your work. i most definitely do. no one is affronting that. i also will not waiver in front of or bow to any institution that claims itself having “trans access” when it only is accessible for transmasculine people.

this is not just about hormones. i for one will not cheer when we get our hormones. that is not the point.

the point is about historical exclusion. the point is about institutionalized transmisogyny. the point is about equal access and equal care.

if you want to provide trans gynecological services (which is great!) then offer trans prostate exams. if you wish to offer masculinizing hormone replacement therapy, then offer a feminizing program. if you wish to provide and talk about transmasculine and trans men’s fertility, then provide that as an integral step in your feminizing HRT program for transfeminine people and trans women.

it’s time to own up.

fiercely standing with my trans sisters,

lucinda sparks

women’s health and trans health

i find myself becoming nauseous. again. i’m tired and nauseous with those in my local women’s and transgender communities who gloss over, disregard, and/or intentionally exclude trans women and transfeminine issues. and for pathetic reasons at that.

i really like the chicago women’s health center (CWHC). i like the staff. i like the atmosphere. i like what they do. and yeah – i’m actually a client. but, really, i’m not a client for their Trans Greater Access Project (TGAP), and i’ll tell you why.

chicago women’s does not provide medical services, besides counseling, to trans women / transfeminine folks. i want to spell this out c-l-e-a-r-l-y so no one get’s frustrated that i’ve misinformed anyone.

TGAP provides the following things according to their website:
– Masculinizing hormone replacement therapy
– Trans gynecology
…and then the ones that they’ve had in place that can be like “well yeah this includes trans people”
– Counseling and Therapy
– Artificial Insemination (AI)

they do not provide feminizing hormone replacement therapy. they intend to start a pilot program for this “soon.” they’ve done the masculinizing hormone replacement therapy for one year now. AI and trans gynecology for transmasculine folks have existed longer at CWHC – so we can see that transfeminine exclusion isn’t entirely new.

but going to hormone replacement therapy, which is very important to many transgender people. why would they make such a decision to include transmasculine before transfeminine folks? the answer given to me from TGAP was, “they didn’t see a need for it [feminizing hormone replacement therapy] in the community.” really? like. really?

the specifics are: apparently (i have not confirmed this) transmasculine folks stopped being able to get hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for those without insurance before transfeminine folks at another local chicago clinic, howard brown. chicago women’s decided to step in and say there is a need for uninsured transmasculine folks who desire HRT. apparently there was a group of transgender (female / feminine and male / masculine) folks who got together with CWHC to assess the needs of the trans community.

chicago women’s, i call bullshit. there’s ALWAYS a need for HRT accessibility, and y’all know that. if this was an honest error of trying to assess needs then i call complicity in forgetting the deep wedge between cis women and trans women and the ugly legacy of transphobic “feminism.” how would you expect transfeminine people at-large to agree with serving transmasculine people and simply nodding at our exclusion (however temporary) at a women’s health center.

let’s just call it what it is, shall we? TGAP is female-assigned at birth health. trans health in the context of feminist health has meant transmasculine health.

so why am i getting in a tussle about this right now? because i’m so dreadfully torn between supporting transmasculine friends and the services that i DO enjoy at chicago women’s.

there’s a benefit coming up at the burlington (one of my fave bars when i used to live in logan square) for TGAP and, you’d never guess, all of the hosts for this fundraiser are masculine-identified! i’m expecting a low low low turnout from transfeminine people.

not only is it seriously tearing at my nerves that this fundraiser exists, but these organizers that i like and respect are brushing aside transfeminine folks just like CWHC softly covers up their exclusion of trans women from their trans services. the event has even been billed by one of the organizers as “a program promoting trans-affirming health care for everyone on the transgender spectrum.” THAT’S MESSED.

the burden of changing this b.s. is on women’s health centers, including the CWHC.

so far they haven’t taken any action besides my private call outs. maybe this will help.

transmisogynist cis women in queer spaces

fuck you. go home. get out of my space. get out of our space.

so last night i was attending a fun queer variety show of sorts. super hot performers, a significant amount of trans folk and genderfuckery galore.

my date and i actually came closer to the second half / end of the show, which is kind of a bummer, but anyway, we were standing around and really enjoying the hott performances, many of them drag pieces. i saw a few friends there and many other strangers i hadn’t recognized from the local queer dance party scene (but then again, it’s not like i go to all of them or whatever).

so there’s these two cis women, who appear to be together, hoopin and hollerin’ like the rest of the crowd at this (presumably) cis woman who was strippin down to a few tassels over her nipples and bright gold hotpants.

and then came a performer who appeared to be male-assigned at birth who identifies with female pronouns. i do not know much other than that, other than that she had body hair and a beard. super cute and hott and queer!!!

so when this hottie took off her wardrobe and covered her neither regions to a classy song, these two cis women in the front, who had just be laughing the whole time of the piece, were like “oh HELL no.” and just up and went to the back.

like. what the fuck, gals.

now. i’m not sure if i’d explicitly call this transmisogyny because i simply don’t know how this performer identifies. but i think it falls into that category with it being so genital-phobic and -centric to a male-assigned body who goes by feminine pronouns.

i’ve been leered at and talked behind my back before. let’s take the example of a queer dance party where i was slightly femmed up and went to a gender neutral bathroom.

apparently this cis woman didn’t get the memo attached at the sides of the walls saying “respect people’s genders” and such, because i clearly heard her talking about “that dude” who is using the “women’s bathroom.”

i should’ve gotten out and told her to go. to get the fuck out of there. to get out of my space. that she wasn’t a real queer, because we don’t do that to each other. that if she’s a lesbian or if she only celebrates female-assigned people a birth (cis women and transmasculine folks) to go fuck off because this fucking space is all inclusive and it’s people like her that keep trans women and transfeminine folks out of “queer” spaces.

but instead i glared at her. she looked away, ashamed. it kinda ruined my night, even though she shouldn’t have had that much power over me.

fuck that. i’m gonna get militant about this shit.