#NoHindutva

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We wanted to take a moment today, on the heels of India Day (‘Indian Independence Day’ on August 15) to acknowledge the violent and often glossed over history at the foundation of the Indian nation-state and continues to pervade India’s politics. The rise of Hindu Nationalist power over the past several decades has been fully contingent on the maintenance of caste-based violence, Islamophobia, and patriarchy. India today has become one of the world’s largest military powers, and complicit in the occupation of Kashmiri land as well as the channeling of military & financial power to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This, again, is related to India’s Islamophobic positioning as a ‘safe’ alternative to a ‘dangerous’ (read: Muslim) Pakistan. Viewing Gandhi and other figures central to India’s founding as ‘nonviolent’ totally erases histories and present-day realities of caste.

Indians in diaspora cannot understand our participation in oppression without an understanding of caste, and a subsequent commitment to challenging the normalization of casteism and Hindu Nationalism (Hindutva). Upper-caste Hindus in particular cannot narrate our histories as only ones of being ‘colonized’ people without understanding caste, religious violence, and militarism. 

DarkMatter (@DarkMatterRage)

audrelordeproject:

‘We Were Never Meant to Survive’:
A Statement on Police Violence, Hate Violence, and Anti-Black Racism
August 19, 2014

By TransJustice and the Safe OUTside the System Collective 
of The Audre Lorde Project 

“and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive”

- Audre Lorde 

In the past two months, we have been outraged and deeply saddened by the murders and brutalization of Trans women of color Tiffany Edwards, Zoraida Reyes, Mia Henderson, Kandy Hall, and Yaz’Min Shancez; the violence targeting cisgender (non-trans) women of color Renisha McBride, Ersula Ore, Stephanie Maldonado, Kathryn Johnston, and Marlene Pinnock;and the violent murders of cisgender Black men and men of color including Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin,to name only a few in a long list of hateful deaths that continues to grow.We are also deeply upset by the recent attack, and subsequent viral YouTube video, of a Black Trans Woman at the Franklin Avenue subway platform while countless people, including an MTA employee, refused to intervene and stop the violence.

What makes this even more infuriating is the fact that we know that we cannot even begin to name or know all of the people who have been victims to police, hate, racist and anti-black violence.

We send our love and support to all of the communities who are surviving and healing through these racist, transphobic and sexist attacks, and we are with you in spirit as we continue the struggle for justice. 

In light of all of these recent occurrences we especially want to acknowledge and commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of Islan Nettles, who was brutally beaten by community members across the street from a police precinct in Harlem, on August 17, 2013. We recognize that in the wake of all this violence it is a critical moment to move beyond political/racial/gender borders and consider how to build collective safety for all of our communities.  As the Audre Lorde Project, an organizing center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (LGBTSTGNC) People of Color (POC) we believe all bodies are valuable and that no one is expendable.  We believe that in order to build safety we must transform the root causes and conditions that contribute to and justify the senseless police violence, hate violence, racist, anti-immigrant and anti-black violence that persists against our communities. 

We are outraged that the accountability and justice that our communities deserve for these, and countless other instances of hate and police violence, have been consistently and without fail denied to our communities. We also want to name that the majority of the people who experience this hate and police violence are predominantly Black and Latin@ which is directly connected to heightened anti-Black and anti-Immigrant violence targeting our communities.  Hate violence and police violence are deeply rooted in a historical legacy of systemic racism, population control, homophobia, xenophobia (fear of all people of color and indigenous communities, particularly immigrants), and transphobia.  We believe police violence and hate violence are an extension of all systems of exploitation and slavery that have been used to criminalize our communities and police our right to gender/self determination, agency, and survival.   

As an organizing center for LGBTSTGNC POC in New York City, and in our greater movements for racial and economic freedom, we feel it is our responsibility and duty to make the connections between the murders of Black and Latin@ Trans women, the arrests and violations against LGBTQ youth of color, and the violent sexual and physical attacks against Trans men and women of color are an extension of the same conditions and systemic oppression.

These violent attacks lead to the brutalizing violence of (Non-Trans) men andwomen of color, and the detentions and deportations of immigrants of color. These systems were created and built under the false pretense of ‘protect and serve’ but instead are used to control and target our livelihood based on our race, physical ability, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, economic status and citizenship.    

The solutions to these acts of violence cannot be found within the very systems that are brutalizing and murdering our people. As Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non Conforming People of color, we are very aware that these systems were built to tear us down.  We are committed to and continue to heal, lift up, and organize against all forms of hate, communal and police violence, and genocide.  We know that we have the power, the resilience, and the strength to transform this culture of violence which regards our communities expendable, invisible, and dangerous.   

In the words of Audre Lorde, ‘We were never meant to survive.’  Our survival, our continued resilience, our continued efforts for social justice are direct threats and challenges to systemic oppressions. We must, at all costs, do whatever we can to lift up and protect one another in our interconnected struggles for liberation.

Please Join us on Saturday, August 23rd from 11:00am until 3:00pm in the LGBTQ Contingent for the ‘We Will Not go Back March and Rally’,which is being organized by the National Action Network and Eric Garner’s family. For more information, please check out the facebook page and the website below or contact Lee at FIERCE Lee@fiercenyc.org.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1512923178942814/ 

http://nationalactionnetwork.net/wewillnotgoback/

Also, join us for the 4th Annual Bed-Stuy Pride!

https://www.facebook.com/events/666641756739391/

On September 7th, 2014 the Safe OUTside the System collective of the Audre Lorde Project will hold the 4th Annual Bed-Stuy Pride to honor the history and resilience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non-Conforming (LGBTSTGNC) people of color communities in Central Brooklyn. We call on all LGBTSTGNC people of color and allies in Central Brooklyn to join us in visioning a safe Bed-Stuy rooted in community accountability 

We did an interview with the Asian American Writers Workshop! Check it out!

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#ITGETSBITTER
DARKMATTER 2014-2015 TOUR
CRYING IN A CITY NEAR YOU
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UPDATES:
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BOOKINGS:
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audrelordeproject:

Audre Lorde Project in solidarity with #Not1More march!

(via queerlibido)

helixqpn:

By Morgan M Page (Odofemi)

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Making the rounds on your Facebook feed, Tumblr dash, or Twitter moment are hundreds of Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns asking for cash to fund art projects. I’m hard pressed to think of any that are nearly as exciting and groundbreaking as Reina Gossett and…

ethiopienne:

Support Trans Women of Color Collective

TWOCC was established almost one year ago after the brutal murder of Islan Nettles, a black trans woman in New York City. Since then we have brought visibility to this case and uplifted the narratives of struggle and resilience from our communities. From our multiple appearances at conferences, to our various talks, and our numerous accountability sessions we have created a new space for trans women of color leadership in the movement.

We are an organizing collective, NOT a registered non-profit. We rely on grassroots fundraising to sustain the work. Trans women of color have historically — and continue to — put our bodies on the line for justice. The amount of unpaid emotional, physical, and psychological labor we do for our movements is astronomical. We are tired of the lip service that our allies give to trans women of color issues. We believe that the role of allies in our movement is to fund us so that we can do the work for ourselves! This is a fundraising campaign lead by allies to support our work. We need YOUR change, to make our own!

As an ally to the Trans Women of Color Collective I am helping this important group fundraise! They are a little over 50% of the way to their goal. Please join me in making a donation! As Lourdes Hunter one of the co-founders of the Trans Women of Color collective reminds us, “The revolution is not a reshare, it’s redistribution!”

(via queerlibido)

@DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter  @DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATIONI went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home. For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter 

@DarkMatterRage #TwitterPoetry: LOST IN (TRANS)LATION

I went home to my family of origin this past week and found every interaction seasoned with politics. I decided to write some short #TwitterPoetry to capture those every day moments of intimacy that often go unnoticed but mean so much for us as queers going home.

For more poetry and politics follow us on twitter 

Call for Submissions: New South Asian Queer Anthology

Spread the word! 

Calling all Queer and Trans* South Asians/Desis! The last anthology that shared our stories is over 20 years old. It’s time to bring our stories of love and laughter, pain and struggles, survival and existence to the forefront. 

SUBMIT! Visit southasianqueeranthology.wordpress.com. 
DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 15

Coming Home: Queer South Asians and the Politics of Family

The first time I went to a gay club the only other South Asian in the room came up to me and asked, “Do your parents know?” I didn’t need to ask, “About what?” I knew the answer — the way I know people. The way I knew who I was but didn’t know the language to explain it to my family. The way I know that there are so many of us who find ourselves lost in translation.

We proceeded to have a skill share right there at the bar about the best ways to explain our queerness to our parents.

This is not an isolated instance.

When queer South Asians together chances are we’re going to start speaking about our families of origin. We will talk about that disconnect: the queer communities we have built on our own and the…well…complete opposite we experience when we go back home. As activists we find ourselves in an even thornier place: navigating how to have conversations about our life work with families who would rather we just be making money. It’s really quite funny actually: how those known as a loud and unwavering voice at the rally fall back into the passive recipient of food and unsolicited advice when we are back home.

The more that I’ve built community with other queer (South) Asians, the more I’ve begin to think about how these conversations about blood family are actually part of our movement work. That impromptu skillshare at the bar, that discussion potluck (I mean crying session), and those daily phone calls with extended blood family are campaign strategies that we are engaging in. What we are trying to do is create new language and framework that actually make sense for our experiences.

The fixation on blood family in queer (South) Asian politics is not about us romanticizing heteronormative kinship and glossing over the routine violence we experience in these settings. Nor is it about us being duped by a conservative rhetoric of family values and suggesting that our families of origin should be the only site of our political work — for to do so would actively harm the broader based movements for racial and economic justice that we are a part of. This is about resisting a white queer logic of disposability and creating a possibility to develop alternative ways build relationships with our families of origin on our own terms. 

I want to suggest that our attachments to our blood families are not only sentimental, they are political. This sentimentality, this angst, this emotional labor is legitimate political work. Our turn toward our families of origin is part of a strategy of intimate organizing – a type of political work that often gets erased or dismissed by dominant white and masculine standards of queer visibility. In a political climate where radicalism is increasingly being attributed to individual activists developing individual political theory and finding individual liberation, our turn back to the blood family is a form of critique. It suggests a commitment to a type of collective liberation and a practice of solidarity where we refuse to allow our people to be disposable in our movement work.

* * *
It has taken me years for me to name the depths to which I subscribed to a white narrative of queer liberation. In one sense ‘coming out’ could signify the expression of my queerness. But on whose terms? Visibility for whom?

For me coming out was more about a physical act of departure – leaving South Asian spaces that I found to be too ‘traditional’ or too ‘conservative’ and becoming one of the only South Asians in queer community. Coming out meant judging my family of origin for just not understanding me. So, I sought validation from non-South Asians and found my political ‘home’ elsewhere.

In one telling of the story I ‘found’ my queerness and became an activist outside of my people. However, to subscribe to this story would be to relegate my family – and by extension, my people – into a space chiefly defined by its apathy and conservatism. White supremacy has long relied on such a trope: that immigrants and people of color are too ‘conservative’ and ‘too traditional.’

I bought into the story and defined my queerness and my politics always in contrast to my family of origin.

But what I soon learned is that as queer South Asians we navigate a complicated cultural landscape where we often are not afforded control of our own narratives. Our telling of personal violence often gets swallowed by white supremacy in the service of its racist and imperialist agenda. This is because the cultural logics that help maintain structural racism are stronger than our individual stories.

When my white peers would hear about the queerphobia I experienced from my people it would give power to a larger imperialist narrative that immigrants and people of color are traditional and conservative and therefore need to be educated or saved (read: occupied and exploited). My white peers would ask irrelevant questions like when my parents immigrated to this country and what access to education they had as if Western education and citizenship are necessary for queer politics. My white peers would ask me how fluent in English they were – as if access to English is at all correlated with queer violence. They would ask me why I was still in contact with them, why I didn’t just cut my connections.

What became evident is that my individual narratives could not pierce through the logics of orientalism which continue to find ways to position brown folks as ess developed than the Western world. What white queers don’t understand is that the entire mandate of racist assimilation in this country is about us being forced to give up our culture, tradition, and families. Assimilation has always been about us hating ourselves and feeling insecure in our bodies, families, and cultures. White folks do not understand how so many of us are not willing to leave our cultures for our queerness – how so many of us carry more complex identities than just our genders and sexualities.

It was only through building community with other queers South Asians and other queer communities of color that I began to find ways to narrate trauma in a way that felt more safe and authentic. In these communities we can name the intricacies of familial violence and not be judged for deciding to return. In these spaces I began to learn knowledge about diaspora and the history of South Asia. Collectively we began to recognize that our immigrant families are not just transphobic, they are also ‘colonized.’ I learned the ways in which colonialism in South Asia and white supremacy in the United States has always relied on regulating the genders and sexualities of my people. I learned the ways in which racism operates by enforcing and policing the gender binary and compulsory heterosexuality on communities of color. I recognized that my family is just as broken as I am but they never had the time and space to really process and heal from the violence of colonialism, the terror of Partition, the trauma of diaspora – let alone the English to articulate it to me.

Rather than blaming my own communities for our lack of queer South Asian visibility I began to realize that our diaspora responds to racism with heteronormativity. External threat engenders intimate violence. In the white telling of the story my family is just prejudiced. But in my telling of the story my people have been so forcibly disconnected from their culture and tradition that they cling desperately onto heteronormativity to maintain some semblance of self. In the white telling of the story my people are acting from a place of power and violence. In my telling of the story my people are acting from a place of hurt.

Trauma seeps through generations.

My experiences returning to South Asian spaces have allowed me to understand the ways in which white queer politics relies on the expression of liberation as an individual and not collective process. The narrative goes that we are supposed to ‘come out’ (read: leave our blood families) and participate in the ‘movement’ (read: public visibility) and join ‘alternative kinships’ (which are necessarily supposed to be more radical and more supportive than our families of origin). Both understandings of ‘queerness’ and ‘activism’ often rely on us leaving our cultural homes in order to participate in the ‘movement.’ We often witness a hierarchy of political work – with those who are doing the most ‘public’ (defined by standards of white supremacy) being upheld as leaders, while those of us  doing the slow and deliberate work of building within our own immigrant communities have our labor erased. What white queer politics neglect is that many of us have more complicated relationships with our blood families that make this ‘separation’ not only more difficult, but also contradictory to our anti-racism.

It’s not just that our families are prejudiced, it is that our families are powerful. It is that our families carry long histories of both trauma and resistance in their bones and that we refuse to dispose of them like this racist country.

For those of us who still have access to our families or communities of origin and can interact with them without fear of significant harm, I believe that it is important that we do this slow and intimate work of finding ways to translate our queerness. This work of coming to terms with our ‘queer’ and ‘(South) Asian’ identities cannot be the only site of our movement work (as is often the case). We must continue to mobilize in solidarity with other oppressed peoples and address prejudice within our own. Certainly we are all still trying to figure out the best strategies to do this work and to still remain safe and secure. Certainly we are going to fuck up. Certainly it’s some of the hardest work that we can do because often our validation relies on approval from the very people who may deny and abuse us. But this type of work feels important nonetheless to so many of us. And there is power and politics in that feeling. Like the same way so many of us know that we will invite our mothers to live with us when they get too old to care for themselves (regardless of what our queer communities might think).

Because when I think about the future, when I think about the world that I am fighting for…I know that I am not interested in being part of the revolution unless my mother will be right there beside me.
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