GUEST POST: Die Cis Scum

This is for TDoR.

Die cis scum.

It’s not ironic. It’s not cute. It is a threat.

How many people are murdered because they are cis? How many people are denied employment, housing, health services, turned away from shelters, refused aid, and are subjected to constant ridicule and abuse because they are cis?

If you are cis, do my tattoo and jacket make you feel uncomfortable? I can only hope so.

Right now, when I see a cis person in public, I worry. I tense and hold my breath and get ready to sprint away. You frighten me. This fear is entirely justified. I’ve already been sent to the hospital for the crime of walking down the sidewalk towards my home while visibly gender variant. I fully expect to be attacked again, severely. (The less severe attacks, the screams and threats and disapproval and hatred and thrust elbows and shoves, these are the givens. These are part of the cost I know I will be forced to pay if I wish to leave my house.)

Die cis scum. It is hostile. It’s aggression, on my part. It is a whisper of personal agency. When the cissexism and transphobia of this culture crush in, overwhelming and unstoppable, these three words are how I push back.

Would that I could push harder.

-A beloved friend who wishes to remain anonymous

ETA: I, Asher Bauer, did not write this post but I did personally give my friend the tattoo shown above, by hand, using a sewing needle and tattoo ink, and I support this message 100 percent.

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About Asher

Asher Bauer is fast becoming a fixture in the San Francisco kink community, and intends to stay that way. He has worked as a Queer Educator at LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation And Information Center), and since has taken his talents as an educator to a wider variety of audiences, teaching on subjects ranging from safer sex to BDSM to trans and queer identities. He is also one of the hosts and originators of Transmission, the new trans-centric party at the San Francisco Citadel, and Invasion, the Citadel's all-genders queer party. View all posts by Asher

37 responses to “GUEST POST: Die Cis Scum

  • Onyx

    I don’t know what to say, but this: I stand with you. Cis people frighten me. The murder of so many of us enrages me. We need to fight back.

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    I get that you’re fighting for your life. I get that its a war. I am not going to pretend to know how that feels, because I don’t. Not on that level. I understand the impulse to bash back. As a pacifist its something I have to fight in myself. Because I believe that violence only begets more violence. But I’m not trying to argue about it, because I’ve already been cut out of this argument. You’re not interested in sparing cis folks feelings or holding their hands and I get that. But this is a declaration that you’re not interested in alliance or coalition building either. And while that makes sense, logically, it doesn’t leave me anywhere to stand.

    I want to honor and support the trans community. I’m gonna do my best to do that. As a queer girl, I feel that my community is indebted to my trans brothers and sisters, and is owed much more than just our thanks. I understand that these are the folks whose bodies are on the line. That trans women of color especially are so doubly and triply marginalized as to constitute the front line of the struggle.

    But just as I wouldn’t want to hear all men or all women or all poc or all white folks condemned for what they are, I don’t want to hear a call for my own death. I don’t believe threats or violence create anything but more of the same. But I’m not running the same gauntlet that you are, so that’s not up to me to decide. I support your right to defend yourself, but must take my leave of a space that feels it appropriate to wish for my annihilation.

    Maybe its kind of like that moment in history when the black panthers appeared. It feels similar. I can understand the reasoning, but as a white person, it leaves me nowhere to stand. And that’s fine, bc its not about me. It doesn’t need me.

    But I’m glad that moment is over b/c although I am a white girl, I come from a mixed family. So the concept that a poc could not love me, and must needs call for my death b/c of the history of race in this country, is particularly painful. It would mean forgoing the love of members of my family and community. It would mean that my beautiful gf who absolutely does love me, could not.

    And maybe that’s where y’all are at. Maybe right now the fight is so intense, that there is no room for alliance. And that’s fine, as long as nobody you love is cis like me. I wish you luck, strength, joy, courage, and love. Stay strong and stay alive.

    • Gus

      Frankly, I find this argument exhausting and boring at the same time. I’m not shocked that a cis person would recenter this discussion back onto their own feelings and needs because, hey, that’s what privileged folks do.

      I’m cis, and I don’t think this tattoo/message calls for my death. It calls for the ending of cis scum. I’m just gonna, you know, try my best not to ever be scum. And if my best isn’t good enough, then honestly, fucking kill me. I love too many trans people to wanna be alive if I ever become cis scum.

      • trp

        That it only applies to “scum” is a peculiar interpretation. Certainly a valid one, and certainly one that would render the message itself morally justifiable to me. Just pointing out it isn’t necessarily the interpretation that would initially appear obvious.

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    oops, i meant to say something more like ‘to whom we owe much more than just our thanks’

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    @Gus. Wow you certainly dismissed my comments quickly. I felt I’d written a thoughtful and respectful comment communicating my own response to the post, and acknowledging the fact that as a cisgendered girl, I absolutely don’t have the right to dictate how the OP chooses to ‘pushes back’ .

    Your defense is laudable, inasmuch as you clearly wish to ally with the victims of hate crimes rather than those who perpetuate them. Yet your assertion that ‘this only applies to a portion of the group’ is both merely semantic, and misleading. Substitute in any name that refers to any group, Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, Chicano…etc, and the result is the same.

    I’ve learned so much from reading this site, yet I don’t feel I can continue to do so under the circumstances. My comments are likely to center my experience, they are in fact, mine, that’s why my name is right next to them. I feel I’ve expressed my own opinion while remaining respectful and supportive. I’ve expressed that I simply cannot support a call for my destruction, perhaps on that point I could be more clear. As a pacifist, I can’t support a call for the destruction of any group, or any human. That’s why I’ve respectfully registered my objection to this statement.

    • Asher

      This site is not pacifist. Absolutely 100 percent not. In fact it is anti-pacifist. As a survivor of violence I am utterly uncomfortable with pacifism and think it is an extremely privileged position.

      • trp

        Please elaborate on what you mean by anti-pacifism.

      • Asher

        I mean that not only do I not espouse the philosophy, I oppose it.

      • trp

        What do you suggest as alternative?

      • Asher

        To pacifism? Are you shitting me? Are you actually setting up pacifism as the pragmatic and practical default and asking me to defend my unwillingness to take it seriously?

      • Asher

        Look. You read this blog, presumably. I would hope that anyone reading this blog could see why I believe in self defense, bashing back, and revolutionary violence.

        How about you defend pacifism now and tell me where you are coming from.

      • trp

        I must admit that I haven’t read all of your blog but felt compelled to comment here nonetheless. In any case, “self defense, bashing back, and revolutionary violence” might not (yet) be an option for some individuals, and I suppose that’s where I am coming from. My behaviour doesn’t necessarily imply all-encompassing pacifist attitudes. So do you oppose a personal avoidance of violence too?

      • Asher

        No, I do not oppose a personal avoidance of violence. Where the fuck did I say that? I have a personal avoidance of violence. I have post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features, of course I avoid violence. I also carry weapons at all times, for those times when violence can’t be avoided.

    • Gus

      Yup, I sure did dismiss your comments quickly. They’re ridiculous comments, easily dismissed. I find privileged folks’ hurt feelings pretty easy to dismiss.

      Also, this: “Substitute in any name that refers to any group, Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, Chicano…etc, and the result is the same.” is blatantly untrue. You’re ignoring the dynamics of oppressed vs. oppressors. So someone saying “die black scum” is actually very different than “die white scum”, and it’s bullshit to say they’re the same.

      Furthermore, you’re derailing a conversation about how trans people survive with your “what about the cis peoples??” which is EXACTLY what men do in conversations about women and their survival. Frankly you had no space to talk here in the first place, regardless of how “respectful” (dismissive) your comment was.

  • Gus

    My alternative to pacifism is surviving but hey what do I know?

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    See, I didn’t think I was derailing. I thought I was stating respectful disagreement. I never said everyone has to agree with me, I also never suggested that anyone else has to be a pacifist. I merely said that I am. And as far as that goes, I don’t really think being a pacifist means you don’t defend yourself.

    I’m not trying to dismiss your comments, Asher, when I tell you that I’m a survivor of violence, poverty, physical and sexual abuse and neglect, and so are my siblings (there are 6 of us) and I (eldest) am a huge part of what got them through and I absolutely fought dirty to do it. I did whatever it took to get by. My position now is very different in comparison to the way I came up, so perhaps its fair to say that pacifism is something I can now afford. I absolutely fought back to keep my sibs safe, despite the fact that even as a child I hated violence. One doesn’t necessarily get to choose when in the middle of the war. Maybe that’s why you say that pacifism isn’t an option for you. That’s your call, I understand the logic of it. I support whatever you have to do to defend yourself and your loved ones, self-defense is truly not the same as perpetuating violence. At least, not in my mind.

    And you have a good point about the dynamics of oppression, Gus, when you point out that it is not an accurate analogy to sub in an oppressed group. You’re right, it would have to be a privileged group. So ‘white’ or ‘male’ or ‘christian’ or ‘western’.

    But the thing for me, is I wouldn’t support those messages either. ‘die white scum?’ ‘die male scum’? I can’t get behind those. Not now, not way back when.

    You also said, ‘you had no space to talk here’. And that’s the crux of the issue. Is there a space here to disagree? To argue? To ask questions? Or is anything other than complete and total agreement to be equated with derailing? Trans folk are fighting a war I cannot comprehend, just as I lived through shit you can’t ever understand, Gus. I don’t take that to mean that you don’t ever get to disagree with me about anything.

    I worked pretty hard trying to present my point without derailing the conversation, but maybe you’re right. I can (and will, knowing me) think on it, and really ask myself if I let my own butthurt intervene when its a question of survival. Maybe my ego got in my own way, and I’ve verbally dismissed the very real struggle that some folks in my community, folks I love and trust and call friends; are engaged in, and are fighting daily.

    I didn’t mean to do that, I don’t want to do that. If that’s what I’ve done here, I’m going to figure out how to not do that ever again. Because that’s violence too. My voice is loud, it had to be, way back when. I’m a small woman, and I was a small girl, but I got a great big mouth. If what I’ve said here makes anyone feel that I’ve dismissed the fight for survival that the community is undergoing, I apologize, loudly. That was never my intention. I read the news, I know its bad. I know people are dead and dying, and being disrespected and referred to by the wrong pronoun at their own fucking funerals. I’m so so sorry, for all of those losses. I would like to make use of my big ass mouth by loudly proclaiming solidarity, by loudly demanding justice, by loudly fighting back against transphobia. I can’t do that in a space where I have no right to speak at all.

    If the question is, do we do whatever we have to do to keep our trans community safe and whole? Then the answer is yes, absolutely. Immediately, no matter what it takes.

    • Asher

      Re-read the post. The entire point of the tattoo above was to make you feel uncomfortable.

      Mission. Accomplished.

      • voz

        Asher,
        When we first spoke, I thought you were triflin. After reading this, your stock went up a couple of points.

        There needs to be more talk about cis on trans violence, and this is where your male privilege (own it!) can do some good by saying the truths the primary targets of violence, twoc, can’t get away with.

        Props for more useful truths.
        -voz

  • a. g.

    gay… gay, the wind whispers….
    gay……..

  • Jimbo Riots

    wondering if you could comment on this page:

    http://rancom.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/die-cis-scum/

    I find it completely batshit that anyone can call themselves an anarchist and uphold bigotted, anti-trans ‘radical feminist’ positions.

    • Asher

      I find that page beneath me, honestly. I don’t publish comments on this blog which are made at that level and don’t have anything to say about that page except that it generated a few (not many) extra hits to my blog, so free publicity = whatever. There is almost no content to that post that doesn’t come from my and my friend’s blogs anyway.

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    @Jimbo Riots

    I’m a radical feminist, the author of that blog is batshit crazy. I got blind spots (as evidenced here) that person has tunnel vision.

    • Jimbo Riots

      @Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

      Thanks for that. I’ve often wondered if that persons (outright bigotted) views are the norm of within radical feminism. It’s good to know that that person is mocked generally.

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    I know its a million years later, and nobody will see this or notice except maybe you, Asher. I wasn’t doing my job. My job here is to listen and learn and accept criticism even if I don’t understand it. I fucked up, and I couldn’t or wouldn’t cop to it. I needed to recognize where and when its time to stfu and listen. I fucked up, and I’m sorry for that. I’m going to learn from it, and I’m going to do better.

  • Dana

    “Re-read the post. The entire point of the tattoo above was to make you feel uncomfortable.
    Mission. Accomplished.”

    Gotta love the cis-privilege displayed on here. Rachel. Sit down. Shut up.

    Asher, keep doing what you do.

    BASH FUCKING BACK.

    - Dee (cis-ally)

  • billy

    asher you are sooooo fabulous! i love your responses here, and i love your friend’s tattoo. anti-pacifist? hell yeah! and bored of hearing about how that makes privileged people feel? absolutely! much love, rage, and solidarity xxx

  • A True All Girl Experience: FUCK TRANSMISOGYNY | Maggie Mayhem Speaks

    [...] male/female fiction until it is pulled out of their cold dead fingers and there are revolutionaries who are prepared to accept those conditions and they are supported by a growing number of allies who are  willing to follow direction and aid [...]

  • Alexis

    After a particularly long week of cis bullshit this was welcome and needed. Thank you.

  • A True All Girl Experience: FUCK TRANSMISOGYNY

    [...] male/female fiction until it is pulled out of their cold dead fingers and there are revolutionaries who are prepared to accept those conditions and they are supported by a growing number of allies who are  willing to follow direction and aid [...]

  • RINGER

    DIE HIPPY SCUM

    • Asher

      Another comment that would be deleted as worthless except for the LOL factor. This person thinks left-wing right-wing dichotomous politics have any relevance at all to trans radical politics. Left wing, right wing, y’all are just cis to me.

  • Grk!

    Trouble is, not that many people even know what “cis” means. The message isn’t hitting the people who ought to be hit by it. Yet.

  • Keegan A

    I’m a cis ally, so on a reactionary level I want to speak out against this sort of thing, but I know in my heart that I’m in the minority and that most cis people are complete assholes to trans people, so more power to you.

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