Why We Can’t F*ck In My Room

This is why I don’t let men into my room, into my sanctuary because to them my room is just a place to fuck. A place for me to make them feel good and tend to their needs and when they are gone that selfish and lustful energy lingers

Men don’t see my room as the place I spend my morning rituals getting dressed in or the place where I read to feed my mind and soul, they don’t see it as the pace where I come to cry when life is throwing fucking bullets at me; the hypocritical dudes, the racism, the sexism, the transphobia, hearing the news that yet another one of my black trans sisters were murdered.

I don’t want my space my place of refuge and peace interrupted by some dude that just wants to cum and go home. This is why I offer you my couch, my kitchen, my floor, the bathroom, because you can’t have my bed you can’t have my room. What a lecture right? I’m just complaining, ungrateful and angry black bitch.

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Beauty

We need to theorize the meaning of beauty in our lives so that we can educate for critical consciousness, talking through the issues: how we acquire and spend money, how we feel about beauty, what the place of beauty is in our lives when we lack material privilege and even basic resources for living, the meaning and significance of luxury, and the politics of envy.

-bell hooks

Brown Bronx Boy

Brown Bronx Boy

Brown Bronx Boy,

You held my face and whispered “ Carmen, I want to be inside of you, put me inside of you.”

There’s something spiritual that happens when you have sex with someone. I find it to be spiritual because there is no other more intimate physical connection other than a parent physically birthing a child. A transfer of my energy to you and yours to me. The mask was off.

Remember that? The Mask? You showed me the video of Maya Angelou reciting We Wear The Mask. At the end of the poem she cried and then you cried and told me about the mask you wore at school, in class, in your fraternity, with the white kids who just don’t get it. They see your pain and trauma and experience as debatable as a sport. Yes, I get exactly how that feels because just a month ago I wrote about that exact feeling I have of men.

One thing I appreciate about our friendship and one of the reasons I tolerate your occasional shitty moods is because through our interactions I learn a lot, without you even intentionally trying to teach me anything.

The way you stopped me from kissing you and held me in front of you and told me you wanted to admire my body and admire seeing me completely naked for the first time. My body something for me that is so often a source of shame and discontentment internally, was interesting to you something you were invested in seeing and intentionally about noting. My mask was off.

And what you told me about your body insecurities, your feelings of not being good enough resulting in you always wanting to have sex in the dark. I also wrote about the same need just a month ago.

But that’s the learning I’m talking about, I would have never imagined you would be body insecure. For me its obvious….I’m trans. But for you I didn’t even consider. I express to you when we are together the desire I have for your muscular arms and your full lips, the thickness of your neck and wideness of your face and how I love running my hands up and down your body and straddling you.

It makes me stop and say Brown Bronx Boy, who the fuck told you that you weren’t good enough, valuable enough………………was it your mom? The white girls at school? Your frat bros? Society? or a combination of all of it? It’s weird to watch you strive for these physical attributes of greatness when I think you’re already there. Boy, you are so fine I would fuck you, you’re so fine I already did fuck you.

I wonder if anyone woman, really anyone had ever showed you love and affirmation without the pretext of family, dating, a relationship, the promise of some sort of exchange for you. Showed you love and affirmation simply because you exist in this world and they believe your existence has meaning and purpose and value.

Once last week and again this week I saw the wolf in you. I know you are oblivious to exactly what that means. Remember how I told you I kind of thought men were trash and you agreed? It’s sort of related to that.

I’ve been spending months seriously questioning how I can be better and showing my love and gratitude for my friends and affirming their existence, my black and brown friends fem friends and woman friends, queer friends. “Strength and guidance all that I’m wishing for my friends” None of us get enough love and recognition for existing and through the pain and trauma achieving greatness.

Expressing my gratitude and affirmation has always been so difficult for me because I’ve developed this hard shell and exterior that doesn’t like to engage in emotion. But you already sort of know that because you called it out the last time we saw each other, you told me I pretend to be a tough girl.

And I also recognize my references to you as a kid or a boy because of your age or outwardly expressing my angst of your membership in fraternity or your enrollment into the army is all a deflection away from vulnerability. I don’t want to admit to myself my assumptions were wrong, or that you mentally and sexually stimulate me. It’s my way to mask my own insecurities about our friendship and about the sex we have. Perhaps I am also worried you’ll think it means something more that it does. It seems for you things always have to mean something. I don’t know why it’s within human nature to make things so complicated.

Dr. Brene Brown says we jump to conclusions in attempt to help the world make sense to us, things always have to make sense. The need for things to make sense comes from our fear our not being good enough which is in part because we have been socialized to fear vulnerability and view it as weak. However it takes an incredible amount of bravery to be vulnerable and lead through vulnerability.

This is me being intentionally about trying to show you and express to you how valuable and brilliant you are as a human being, as a latino man, as a person who cares about social equity. I care about you I value you and I am here for you.

Brown Bronx Boy Man you are a latin man from the Bronx and I am a black woman from Ohio. I see you. I support you. You can remove the mask with me.

Your friend,

Carmen Jane

“Strength and guidance, all that I’m wishing for my friends

Nobody makes it from my ends, I had to bust up the silence, you know you gotta stick by me, soon as you see the text reply me, I don’t wanna spend time fighting”- Drake

The Mask- Maya Angelou

We wear the mask that grins and lies.

It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes.

This debt we pay to human guile

With torn and bleeding hearts…

We smile and mouth the myriad subtleties.

Why should the world think otherwise

In counting all our tears and sighs.

Nay let them only see us while

We wear the mask.

We smile but oh my God

Our tears to thee from tortured souls arise

And we sing Oh Baby doll, now we sing…

The clay is vile beneath our feet

And long the mile

But let the world think otherwise.

We wear the mask.

When I think about myself

I almost laugh myself to death.

My life has been one great big joke!

A dance that’s walked a song that’s spoke.

I laugh so hard HA! HA! I almos’ choke

When I think about myself.

Seventy years in these folks’ world

The child I works for calls me girl

I say “HA! HA! HA! Yes ma’am!”

For workin’s sake

I’m too proud to bend and

Too poor to break

So…I laugh! Until my stomach ache

When I think about myself.

My folks can make me split my side

I laugh so hard, HA! HA! I nearly died

The tales they tell sound just like lying

They grow the fruit but eat the rind.

Hmm huh! I laugh uhuh huh huh…

Until I start to cry when I think about myself

And my folks and the children.

My fathers sit on benches,

Their flesh count every plank,

The slats leave dents of darkness

Deep in their withered flank.

And they gnarled like broken candles,

All waxed and burned profound.

They say, but sugar, it was our submission

that made your world go round.

There in those pleated faces

I see the auction block

The chains and slavery’s coffles

The whip and lash and stock.

My fathers speak in voices

That shred my fact and sound

They say, but sugar, it was our submission

that made your world go round.

They laugh to conceal their crying,

They shuffle through their dreams

They stepped ’n fetched a country

And wrote the blues in screams.

I understand their meaning,

It could an did derive

From living on the edge of death

They kept my race alive

By wearing the mask! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

12 Days of Christmas; 12 Radical Ways to support LGBTQ2S Youth Experiencing Homeless

This is a guide to provide you with 12 possible ways you can support an LGBTQ2S young person experiencing homelessness. In the exciting and blissful glow of this very commercial holiday season it’s important to remember there are still young people living without basic resources and these are 12 small and big ways you can help. It’s also important to keep in mind a number of these things on this list are simply band aids because homelessness is a systemic issue, there’s so much work that needs to be done to truly end homelessness amongst LGBTQ2S identified young people.

Day 1/ December 25th Extend the Invite! If you have a personal relationship with an LGBTQ2S young person consider inviting them over for dinner during the holidays. November through January is a critical time where many people especially LGBTQ2S young people are experiencing loneliness, displacement and sometimes hostile environments. Consider extending that invitation several times throughout the year.

Day 2/ December 26th Advocate! Find organizations like the True Colors Fund who are working on legislation as it relates to youth homelessness and ask how you can get involved. At the very least contact your local representatives and push for legislation that helps those experiencing homelessness.

Day 3/ December 27th Read the poem The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde while you use this quote, also by Audre Lorde, to guide you to the poem’s meaning, “For women poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of light of within which we can predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language then into idea, then into more tangible action.” It’s important to understand and value the voices of young LGBTQ2S (especially black) people as artists and how the those intersectional experiences have served as their inspiration to create ground breaking and revolutionary art that we all enjoy. Self expression and art is just as necessary and vital as housing and having a home. Art and stimulating the brain is important for mental health.

Day 4/ December 28th Employ! Hire LGBTQ2S homeless people at your company. If you are not in a position to hire, talk to Human Resources about possible internships, full time and part time positions currently or soon to be available. Gainful employment is a vital part of self-sustainability.

Day 5/ December 29th Use Those Pronouns! For 12 days every time you introduce yourself to a new person introduce yourself with your name and pronouns. Kind of awkward? That same awkwardness is what a great number of LGBTQ2S folks feel every time they’re misgendered or they’re forced to clarify their pronouns. Start by doing this for twelve days and slowly see if you can manage to weave this one task into your life on a regular basis as you meet new people.

Day 6/ December 30th Be Neutral! If you work or use a space that does not have a gender neutral restroom consider having a conversation with management or folks in charge about what having a gender neutral restroom in that space could look like and how it could benefit the community of people in that space.

Day 7/ December 31th Educate yourself; and read “Where Am I Going To Go? Intersectional Approaches to Ending LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada & the U.S.” by Alex Abramovich and Jama Shelton. This book will lace you with some of the direct stories, strategies, and actions that can end homelessness.

Day 8/ January 1st Open your Doors! Consider being a “Host Home”, Lighthouse Youth Services and Avenues for Homeless Youth both have Host Home Programs which match LGBTQ2S young adults experiencing housing instability with volunteers that are willing to open their homes and hearts while the young adult works towards self-sustainability. Try finding a similar program locally or even better partner with your community to develop one!

Day 9/ January 2nd Shop Til You Drop! Take an LGBTQ2S young person on a mini shopping spree! You may not have the agency or resources to end their experience with homelessness, but you can definitely affirm their existence and expression! Take them to pick up some of the necessary items they may need or want that allies may often take for granted or overlook. Give them the free reign to pick out the items they need/want.

Day 10/ January 3rd Change it! For many trans and gender non conforming folks their birth name isn’t always reflective of who they see themselves as and a legal name change can affirm their being and boost their confidence, but often this process can be timely and expensive for young LGBTQ2S people with minimal resources. You can offer to do two things 1) walk them through the process and 2) pay for their name change. Walking them through the process means you too have to learn the process of legal name changes, which gives you direct insight into the experience. And paying for the name change allows for that person to be able to save their funds for other immediate needs such as food, shelter, and other resources. How do you get the word out, you say? Post your offer on social media and or tell local service providers about what you would like to do.

Day 11/ January 4th Recognize! LGBTQ2S youth are diverse and may not celebrate popular holidays and traditions, particularly those who are negatively impacted by religious institutions. Be open to understanding and exploring other religious and secular celebrations that differ from your practices.

Day 12/ January 5th Visit The Cis Jungle! In your free time during the holiday season head over to thecisjungle.com, a blog that encapsulates the experiences of young black trans womanhood, by a black trans woman who has experienced homelessness. Look for other blogs and literature by LGBTQ2S young people who have experienced homelessness to broaden your views and understandings of these experiences straight from the source.

For Men Who Are Also Wolves

For men who are also wolves we blame you for our pain we blame you for our sorrow

You see the world as a commodity

Your thirst for domination kills and terrorizes

I understand you see my pain my existence my body as an object of your gleeful debates

To those men who colonize and sexualize my black body while you neglect your white wife

To those men who lay with my one of my sisters to only later violently seize the last breath from her body when your manhood is questioned

Men. Why do you inflict so much pain upon me? Why do you want to end my life? Starve me of love of desire? Why me?

A woman so undesirable so unloved so lonely I beg you to love me to see me.

You are the most selfish beings I know your desires above all else, the quest and hunger for your pleasure trumps anyone else’s pain, you bring great fear a looming evil but what else is there to expect you are men; you are wolves.

You have taken away my ability to feel

You reinforce and validate every fear I have

You have paralyzed my ability to produce to be creative

We are left disposable, I the most disposable of all women

I turn down the lights to hide my body and insecurities when I lay with you when I kiss you, when I am at my most vulnerable, the dark is your territory but it grants be the security I need to hide myself from you

I hate myself for wanting to please you

I am ashamed of my daily grooming rituals which I do to purposely appease and appeal to you

I loathe that your opinion your desire your input matters

I glow when you call me beautiful I cringe when you call me beautiful because I know beauty is a double edged sword filled with pain and an ever evolving finish line.

For the men who are also wolves I know my life is in your hands

To the violent men who reference me as a man

To the men who find me exclusively worthy of “friendship”

To the perverted men who follow me around the subway station in lust and sexual desire

To the younger but married Brazilian boy whose experiences are far removed from my own

To the blonde haired blue eyed Italian god who was so dreamy in every way imaginable his existence seemed like a distant fleeting fantasy; and that fleeting fantasy became a reality when he understood who I was or rather who he thought I was

To the white trans man who doesn’t understand my black girl attitude or politic

To the gay boys who say they know oppression but allow their eyes to glaze over in infatuation and praise of the plastic doll faced instagram girls of the world to later appropriate those curses of femininity at your leisure

To the man who years ago forcefully spread my legs and took my youth and inexperience as consent even though the words “no, not now” left my lips, only to later discard me as you discarded my humanity

To the smooth skinned deep chocolate black boy with the full lips, twisted hair and the experiences of a young black man in America which aged you into maturity; the man who mesmerizes me with intellectual conversations, who calls to check in on me, who recites my name so smoothly and understands the value of a black woman, why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see my desire for you?

And “H” I haven’t forgotten you, how could I? I know it’s easier to pretend I don’t exist, but I do wonder if you still think about me………….not in a way that’s disrespectful to the woman you love and whom loves you, but does the thought of the way things turned for you and I ever fill you with regret? Do you ever long to hear my voice again? Or am I a distant memory that you pray fades with each passing day. I am I as disposable to you as I am to the rest of the world?

To the young New York Latin boy whose face is painted with my lipstick and makeup as I sit straddling you staring at your face you ask me “what are you thinking? What’s going on in your mind?” I answer “just thinking…..” all the while feeling comfort, contentment, lust, desire and intrigue followed by an overwhelming fear and terror because somewhere inside of him is a wolf

For men who are also wolves………… to be a man is to be a wolf.

For Women Who are ‘difficult’ to love

you are a horse running alone

and he tries to tame you

compares you to an impossible highway

to a burning house

says you are blinding him

that he could never leave you

forget you

want anything but you

you dizzy him, you are unbearable

every woman before or after you

is doused in your name

you fill his mouth

his teeth ache with memory of taste

his body just a long shadow seeking yours

but you are always too intense

frightening in the way you want him

unashamed and sacrificial

he tells you that no man can live up to the one who

lives in your head

and you tried to change didn’t you?

closed your mouth more

tried to be softer

prettier

less volatile, less awake

but even when sleeping you could feel

him travelling away from you in his dreams

so what did you want to do, love

split his head open?

you can’t make homes out of human beings

someone should have already told you that

and if he wants to leave

then let him leave

you are terrifying

and strange and beautiful

something not everyone knows how to love.

_Warsan Shire