Originally posted on Detention Watch Network: Monitoring & Challenging Immigration Detention, Immigration Enforcement & Deportation:

It’s an ugly truth:

The immigration system in our country holds tens of thousands of people behind bars every day, languishing for weeks, months and years as they wait for their cases to be resolved.

 Click on each image for larger version.


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Mind if I join you?

No, not at all!

There is plenty of room for more of us

Quietly living our lives

Eating, drinking, learning, thinking,

Mind if I sit here?

Of course I don’t mind.

Who could begrudge you

A place at the table?

Should I have said,

It depends–how much baggage will you bring

How much space will you take?

Should I have said,

How many friends will you bring

Loud, inconsiderate,

Thinking that because I live quietly, 

I don’t matter much?

Should I have said,

If I am considerate of you

You must be considerate of me?


In small life I left the table,

Made my anger obvious

Gave them a few awkward moments

Before enjoying themselves.

After all, it is not my table,

Only temporary space for me.

In large life I am the friend invited to the table

Given much space and new ways to live.

In large life my they are still waiting

For them to shut up, to go away,

Whether they are angry or not.

It is not their land, 

(But we can decide what to do with it.)

We need the space to survive,

(So we can make all the rules.)

Why is it so often like this?

Trying this thing where when I learn a new piece of politics that may be shifting my framework, I write it down.

So I’m reading this book by Shiri Eisner, and there’s a bit about how the word “bisexual” and bisexual movements are particularly conceptualized as transphobic, not that they aren’t but that they may be criticized as reinforcing the gender binary more often than “gay” or “lesbian” are.  That’s not really my experience, but perhaps because I follow so many trans women as intellectual leaders on queer politics, and have more queer and trans women as friends-with-shared-politics than masculine people; and I refuse to see that experience as so very unusual, because why should it be?

My experience is one of using the term “lesbian” for myself but always having to modify it, like saying “dyke” or “pandyke” or the specific “I’m attracted to cis and trans women” or even the long specific explanation of “I’m attracted to some people who are femme, feminist, and female-identified.”  Because I know very well how transphobic queer women’s communities can be, and not only white ones but queer women of color communities (ones that I’ve witnessed anyway), and I would rather be clumsy in explicitly distancing myself from that, then let the expectations stand.  So I don’t find myself worrying much in my daily life about bisexual cis people, or bisexual binary-identified people in general, being transphobic, whereas I worry a lot about what I would call “queer AFAB communities” because those are the groups that form though they may self describe as queer women’s communities.

That said, I do see a lot of this discourse elsewhere, and I do meet a lot of people who say that they are “pansexual”, sometimes because that’s the best term for them and sometimes because they want to explicitly not be transphobic as well, because “bisexual” is supposed to be inherently binary-reinforcing.  At the end of her first chapter, Shiri Eisner goes a lot into explaining where this idea comes from, rather than trying to deny it or trying to erase any actual transpobia by bisexual people.

So there’s this one quote that really struck home and told me something new:

“Another thought regarding the origin of those allegations is what Julia Serano calls the masculinism of the transgender movement, which I think comes into play on this issue as well.  Serano says, and I agree, that the transgender movement consistently prefers masculine-spectrum viewpoints and ideas, while marginalizing those of feminine-spectrum trans and genderqueer people.  Specifically regarding the issue of increased criticism toward the bi community and relative lack of criticism toward the lesbian community about transphobia, I think this is heavily influenced by the fact that the transgender movement is mainly controlled by trans men who emerged and were influenced by lesbian communities.  That is, the reason why they don’t criticize lesbians is that very often, these are their home communities.  However, criticizing bisexuals is very much in keeping with the often-present biphobia of many lesbian communities.” –Shiri Eisner, quoting herself

Bingo.  One of those pieces of critique that I may have known in experience, but now that it’s articulated, will make me think or say things a little differently.


Strategic thinking. I am looking for more of this.

Originally posted on Opine Season:


Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

Fun fact: white people’s feelings are magic. They can bring any conversation, meeting or movement to a halt. In a debate, they can outweigh even the most credible, concrete evidence. They can threaten someone’s job. They can even kill. White people’s feelings are one of this country’s most abundant natural resources and important exports.

Because of all this, any conversation about social justice, power, or history is going to naturally settle into orbit around white people’s feelings. And I get it: if we want to really do something about racism in this country, it’s white people who need to change the most, and it’s white people who often have the longest political/spiritual/emotional journey to undertake.

But when social justice education and/or media focuses solely on understanding racism through a white privilege framework, that can recreate the same oppressive structures we’re trying to destroy. When…

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Wow. I was asking myself whether the beginning was ableist, but then I saw the “affluenza” bit, which is really the reason for the sarcasm.

Originally posted on Our Legaci:


Dear Judge,

I know that Davontaye’s actions caused the deaths of four people. But please don’t give him life in prison. He suffers from Povertenza. You may not know about this condition but Povertenza is an illness that people from impoverished socio-economic backgrounds have.

Due to the inability to access quality education and employment, Davontaye’s development has been stifled. This leads to poor decision making and I would further argue that since his neighborhood sees so much death and destruction, that he may even suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in addition to Povertenza.

Judge, it is clear that Davontaye can not be held responsible for his actions. He needs rehabilitation, not prison. Prison would only worsen his mental condition. 



This defense obviously doesn’t work for black  and poor youth. Yet, news outlets are spiraling about 16 year-old  Ethan Couch who caused the deaths of 4 people by…

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In my own life I have an increasing number of opportunities to act as an ally to various groups or individuals, against oppression. I say “increasing”, because I find more as my learning grows, my personal strength grows or at least is tailored to certain sitautions, and I have more and deeper relationships with oppressed folks. This isn’t linear at all–in grade school, I had some very deep relationships where looking back I did a lot of supportive work of fellow students of color just as part of being friends, and I learned a lot from my friends. But I have more intentional and political relationships now, with friends and acquaintances. Right now I have deep relationships with several trans women, and women and queer people of color.  A good bit of what I do is when they’re not around, in situations where my personal privilege and tiredness sometimes cause me to disengage, but those relationships (past and present) keep a constant need to confront certain injustices on top of my general drive to push for fairness.

Things I confront in my life near-constantly are trans misogyny, racism and views that think America should be a world leader in how trade is done, and a military enforcer of the world’s peace.  All things I “benefit” from, as in benefit materially but become less whole, less human because of them (still trying to sort out what I mean by this).  And am learning how to notice and confront ableism, which is complicated as I have several invisible disabilities, have felt the sting of some kinds of ableism (and gratitude for access needs being met–and resentment when they aren’t even considered) but not others.  So this is mostly based on that. Read the rest of this entry »

There is enough in this world. There is enough food to feed the world. In the United States we have few who are starving and more who are malnourished, and we waste 40% of our food. I will always remember what I felt hearing of the grapes of wrath ripening and falling off the vine in waste while people shut out from the farm are starving, because the farmer can get no money from them–though I do not know when I first understood that it is still like that. Or when I understood that our country is stealing from so many others, then gives a tiny bit back in humanitarian aid, sometimes, to build up moral credit that just enough people believe.

There is medicine, there are hands who want to help. In the US we have many nurses who could be doctors but a stringent system of qualification that prevents them. And we have doctors with no time to listen–studies that show they don’t listen. And I lost a friend this year who had to get incomplete medical care from nonprofit programs instead of a government where people are throwing away lives like hers just because they’re Republican Congressmen. I can’t stand to watch it, or to fight and beg on their terms. People are so powerful when they reach out their hands to help each other, when they form the bonds of help and trust. I was offered money once by a man whose clothes I could see badly needed replacing. Perhaps I should have let him help me; I was ashamed to be making a scene over money that I could, in fact, afford. Instead I learned from him about reaching out to others once you see their sudden losses. I have friends who I worry about surviving, about escaping violence, about their health mental and physical, but whom I trust to be there for me, and there for each other or perfect strangers, anyway. I have to be picky about who I help and how and what it does to me but that is okay, because it is necessary.

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