On Pride, Community and the Phoenix we call Identity

So, Pride.Stand with us

I spend the entire weekend immersed in New York City’s gay community. My self-appointed task was to paper the town with flyers advertising the newest Charter of the Pink Panthers Movement, and to celebrate the return of real queer community organizing to the city where it was founded by doing the only thing that could do it justice: patrol.
I started out on Saturday, in Washington Square Park, arguably the heart of Greenwich Village, with the 24th Annual NYC Dyke March. As I wandered around the “entrance” to the park, under the famous arch, I was moderately successful in my task. What I did notice, however, was the glaring division in demographics that colored my success.
Overwhelmingly, my flyers were taken most often by women of color, with black women taking them nearly 100% of the time, followed by Latina women who took them 80% of the time. White women only took my flyers if they were over the age of 30, I noticed, and then, only if they were of a certain ilk; the handful of white women who took my flyers were either dressed in leather, or other “activist” paraphernalia, like signs or handmade shirts with grassroots slogans on them, couple were disabled.

activifistWhite women were more likely to ignore me completely, avoiding eye contact(not that I make it much anyway)and using body language to distance themselves from me- all except the one soccer mom wearing a large #ImWithHer button who took a flyer, asked me if she could donate money at the website, tucked it into her pocket, and walked away.
It really is indicative of social activism. People of color, differently gendered people, disabled people… in other words, the marginalized inside the marginalized. These are the people willing to roll up their sleeves, willing to build community for themselves. And once again, white people were too shielded and blinded by their privilege to even listen to the message.
I continued my weekend after the march by patrolling at two Hell’s Kitchen gay bars, Boxers and Posh. I was rather impressed by the diversity, the crowd was very evenly mixed, with the salting of hetero girls you usually find. I started to really feel Pride taking over, and as I drove away from Hell’s Kitchen later, I noticed just how many rainbows, and other Pride accoutremants were visible, not just in the “gay neighborhood” of Chelsea, but all over the city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I took a quick trip back home for some necessaries, and headed back into the village for the Pride March. I set up a little camp, a couple of chairs, and a cooler of drinks and sandwiches, and prepared to give out the remainder of my flyers. The division continued, and I noticed that of the men I attempted to speak with, only the oldest even listened – some smiling as they remembered marching with the Pink Panther Patrols the first time around.12510415_962081903875692_5424140253830216892_n

This time, not even men of color would take flyers – unless they were older. Leather men looked at them in my hand, but wouldn’t take one, and young white men wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence.

Perhaps the “festivities” of Pride were too much of a cover for my attempts, but i’m noticing an alarming trend of assimilation within the Lesbian and Gay community(leaving off the more marginalized letters purposely)- where the chant is “don’t make waves, we are like everyone else” which builds a huge dividing wall between the “us” of the assimilationists and the “them” of the more marginalized parts of the queer community.

I walked away from this year’s Pride celebrations with a heavy heart; snipers on the roof of Stonewall, stubborn purposeful obliviousness, and privileged ignorance. Can we rebuild our community from the fragments it lays in? No. Can we build a new, stronger queer community? Absolutely.

-Faith Alana Alastair
VP, PPM Intl
Pres, PPM/NYC
Founder, Family Transcends

Advertisements

Why I Voted Today, At 36, In My First Primary Election

I have been a conscientious objector for many years. I refused to actively take part in our governmental system as an individual. I have many reasons for this, including a belief thatIMG_0088 the electoral college system of election in this country is corrupt, and does not accurately account for the desires of most of the citizens of this nation.

This election season, a man stood up and said much of what I have already believed these many years, about our very governing systems, our economy,  state of our nation in the greater global community, and about freedom and equality – two things that were imbued upon the defining document of this nation’s values.

Note: I’m not making excuses for our founding fathers’ problematic behaviors, but in my opinion, whether they practiced equality as we today believe it to be or not, they practiced equality as they believed it to be then… and many of our greatest leaders have understood that those behaviors were faulty and a product of societal pressures of the time, and changed our secular doctrines accordingly.

Informed_Opinion_1024x1024The man I’m talking about has a similar background to mine– something very, very new in this nation, and it inspired in me a feeling that perhaps /my/ interests could be addressed… but I’m not a sheep, and I do not blindly follow candidates based on what they tell me I should believe, or simply because they hail from my hometown.

This man has recognized with horror that this nation has strayed from the path our founding fathers carved out with blood.

rome

And we all know how that turned out.

We are as Rome was, cocky in our greatness, with the haves relegating the have-nots to their garbage piles. The rest of the world laughs at us, rolls their eyes at us and scoffs at us, and if we do not correct our course now, we will fall as it did.

 

We were once a a proud socialist nation, and you should not be afraid of the word. We were the shining dream  in the night. People came from other lands to find the “streets paved with gold“. We wrapped our arms around the embattled and gave them hot soup.

Ellis_3

Ellis Island Immigrants receiving a hot meal upon arriving.

In 1947, the conservative forces in our government went over the head of our president, and overrode a veto to pass a law allowing business to sweep aside unions within industry. This marked a turning point in the equality of this nation, and created a class divide that has only worsened as time has passed.

In seventy years we have seen this country go from being a prosperous, open, caring place for all who need refuge to a place that is haven only to the greedy and the predjudiced. Conservative politicians like hearkening back to “a better time“, but the better time wasn’t long ago. Yes, there were problems then, as now. There was racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia… but the economy was better, and there was a sense of can-do within this country.

IMG_0638

Now, we have all of those issues /and/ classism. We have barely functional poor, who don’t have much, but can at least feed their children. We have homeless, poor, hungry, destitute children, the number of which has not reduced since the Great Depression. And poverty, at one time something understood is now demonized to the point of creating an even lower underclass.

I have digressed, and will return to my original point. After all my years of conscientous objection, a man stood up and said “enough”. A man who is old enough to have seen with his own eyes how this country fell on it’s face.

Today, I voted in a primary election. A feeble attempt to elect the man who has my admiration and respect.

I still don’t believe the process matters… but just in case, I pressed the buttons. You should, also.

Don’t just vote, run…

Faith Alana Alastair

Big Cheese

On Armchair Activism; or, Get The Fuck Off The Couch

“Armchair warriors often fail And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales The lawyers clean up all details Since daddy had to lie…” ~Don Henley, “The End of The Innocence” I recently began organizing a rather intricate protest in Houston for transgender human rights. I’ve organized protests before, ones that were larger in scale, […]

Read more on Family Transcends News

Coming Out Day, 10.11.2015

Hi there. It’s #NationalComingOutDay here in the United States, so I thought I’d add my voice to the din, and maybe also talk a little bit about why it’s so important for those who can come to do so.

My name is Faith Alana Alastair. My preferred pronouns are xe/xir/xis, and my accepted pronouns extend to he/she/they.

11909822_10154069321659688_5383751_n

I’m a genderqueer/aporagender person, which means I Identify as outside the typical gender binary completely, but I’m not without gender.

12166320_10154198883299688_89084288_n

I classify my orientation as queer and lesbian, which breaks down into panromantic– which means I am capable of emotional relationships with anyone, gynesexual- which means I am most often sexual with people with vaginas and polysexual- which means that sometimes those rules change.

I am also polyfidelous(or polygamous) which means I’m capable of being in long-term committed relationships with more than one person at a time, but they must be serious relationships, though sex is not always a factor, as many of my relationships are strictly emotional.

11202994_1477174102594919_551494475_n

I am autistic, suffer with depression, seasonal affective disorder and social anxiety. I have lipedema, lymphedema, arthritis, neuropathy, and chronic pain; and I suffer from resulting complications from various surgeries.
These are parts of me. They make up who I am. It’s esssential for people like me who can come out to do so, to create a voice for people who cannot, especially youth.

I’ve come out. Will you?

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.” – Harvey Milk
When blood runs thin,

Faith Alana Alastair
F/P/CEO, Family Transcends
VP, The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement, Intl.

On the Transgender Community and its Internal Division

As some of you already know, I identify as genderqueer. It’s a term I’ve known since the 90’s, and claimed for myself in my mid-20’s (during the mid 2000’s). After spending twelve years believing I was a “trans-man”*, and supporting my partner at the time through the beginnings of his transition, I realized that I didn’t wish to change my body. At all, really.

Of course there are things I would change, I’m sure everyone wishes their ears didn’t stick out, or their hips were a little narrower, or whatever, but I liked my breasts, for all the damage I’d done to them binding with duct tape for so many years. I liked my genitals, too, once I figured out how they worked.

Read More at Family Transcends News

On gun related violence.

Another mass shooting’s occurred.

I made a joke on a friend’s page: “MOAR GUNZ. MURICA. Do I have right?” and her response aside from liking it, to let me know she understood my sarcasm, was “sigh.”

It made me check myself. I personally have a hard time due to autism relating to the issues of others when I haven’t been through it… except one place.

I lost a pregnancy this summer, so I don’t have any biological children yet, but I already know what it’s like to be a mother. I have thousands of children across the world. Teenagers and even adults who call me “mom”, “ma” and even “mommy”. My work in Family Transcends is just an extension of what I’ve always done – adopt people who need some love and guidance.

That’s slightly tangential.

I read a meme on facebook that said:

“We lost the war when we decided our right to own guns was more important than children’s lives.”

It struck me so hard, that when I checked myself this morning, I thought of it.

I cannot imagine gunning down children. CHILDREN. I cannot imagine why people would want to put those children in more danger. The other evening a man, a gun owner, drew and fired upon a kidnapper. Instead, he hit the victim IN THE HEAD, killing her. The kidnapper fled alive.

A more prudent move would have been noting the license plate number, description of the vehicle and people and calling the police. Of course, nowadays, it’s just as likely that the victim may have been killed by the police. But regardless, his aim must have been very poor… and he must have been very foolish.

Do not mistake my stance and position. We have the right to own arms, and to bear them in an organized militia. the Supreme Court decided those were separate sentences, and so the law is enforced that way. Okay. I’m a gun enthusiast. I own one handgun, and plan to own more. I would like a rifle or two. It’s my right to own these things.

I would not object to being taught properly how to use them and being licensed for it. I would not object to answering questions about my background, health and mental health. I have to answer these questions to license, register and insure my vehicle.

Gun enthusiasts are not to blame. Gun NUTS are to blame. These are the men and women, transgender and nonbinary people who think everyone should own a personal armory. These are the men and women, transgender and nonbinary people who walk into Walmart with an AK. These are the men and women, transgender and nonbinary people who think their right to own a weapon is more important than the life of their children.

It’s true.

Because those people are so intent on their right to own weapons, that the rest of the nut jobs out there can also own them – scott free.

I live in Louisiana, but I was not born nor raised here. In this state you can go to any walmart or sporting goods store and buy a gun. Any gun. No waiting period. No registry. No license.

I’m from the Northeast. New York City does not allow civilians to carry guns without a special carry permit(which is obtainable, if hard) and doesn’t allow them to own them without a gun license and proper registration for the weapon.

Upstate NY allows the exceptions of two well-maintained hunting rifles within specific models – those can be purchased without a license, but they still must be registered.

New Jersey’s laws are virtually the same.

I don’t find this unreasonable.

Why?
Because I don’t want to find out my kid was killed IN HIS SCHOOL.
Common sense gun laws, people. Please.

~Faith Alana Alastair
You all know the rest.