Intersectionality

march

I am watching the Women’s March on Washington and while I had learned about Intersectional Feminism previously, seeing how women’s lives overlap with race, religion, genders, abilities, histories (jail, being on welfare, etc.) and more, live right in front of me, is profound.

And then, as I am writing this, I see that intersectionality itself has been a controversial part of the Women’s March! Well, the organizers made it clear, to me at least, that intersectionality is a major part of the event.

It did not come without conflict, even causing white women to stay away from the March after they felt left out of the planning and implementation of the event.

These reactions reflect an ongoing debate about intersectional feminism — the idea that many women are members of other marginalized groups, which affects their experiences — that is bigger than the march. The issue has especially heated up since social media has democratized and made public conversations about issues affecting women.

“Intersectionality simply means that there are lots of different parts to our womanhood,” Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, explained. “And those parts — race, gender, sexuality, and religion, and ability — are not incidental or auxiliary. They matter politically.”

intersectional

So, reading about intersectionality in general and the March in particular, I am learning the history.

Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at both UCLA and Columbia, is credited with coining the term intersectionality. She did this in her 1989 paper “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics.”

Crenshaw also pointed out that she came up with intersectionality to address a specific legal problem: As she put it, “To capture the applicability of black feminism to anti-discrimination law.” An example she frequently cites in explaining the need for intersectionality is the 1976 case Degraffenreid v. General Motors, in which five black women sued General Motors for both race and gender discrimination.

I know that understanding where intersectionality comes from gives me context from which to pull.

I Am Intersectional, Too

I have written about how I collect descriptive labels. Interestingly, many, many decry labels and refuse to inhibit their identities with them. But, how does one eschew labels yet embrace intersectionality? Is that possible?

intersectional-identities1

I was raised completely different than who I am now. As a young girl, I learned the ways of the white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied and middle-class world. Yet  I am a super-fat mother & grandmother, a femme Dyke, Cubanx/Latinx (knowing virtually nothing about my culture), mentally ill, disabled, a-theist, sex worker, non-TERF feminist who loves a Muslim man and who learnt Spanish as an adult. I don’t know how I would figure out my intersections without all those labels… and the ones I forgot to list.

Watching the end of the March’s rally, I am incredibly happy to see the wide variety of women represented , many of whom do intersect with my identities.

I’m sure the arguments for and against the Women’s March on Washington are being formulated or written about even now, but I am extremely pleased… more than that… excited, energized, inspired… by the speakers, poets, musicians, singers and leaders who were on that stage today.

I wish I was there.

intersectional_feminist

Gender Socialization Reappears

Past Imperfect

It had been 30 years since I’d been in a relationship with a cis male until last year when my cub (who is 20 years younger than I am) and I began a cyber-relationship. He and I are in a BDSM relationship, my being Domme and he, my submissive.

I am an awesome Domme after 25 years as a submissive. I am able to dig deeply into a submissive’s mind and use the information to my Domme-ly benefit. I am also a Domme at my job, having no problem holding my role easily.

And now, my cublet and I are in a deep rift in the relationship, something I will write about another day, but one we seem to have committed to working on together.

Present Imperfect

We both had a really hard day yesterday, lots of tears, lots of texts and emails back and forth, some of which continued through the night on my end.

cry

Today, I could not stop crying despite both of us pledging love and working together last night and then sweet words in text this morning. I was a fucking mess. I couldn’t breathe, my heart hurt, I was really having a hard time.

From early morning, I wanted reassurance that everything was okay between us, but I fought hard not to text him at work. I lasted until 1pm, then asked, “Do you still love me?”

don_t_leave_me_plexure
artist, Plexure

After we talked on the phone and exchanged love-confirming texts, I sat back and looked at my feelings and behaviors. I was fucking disgusted with myself.

Future Imperfect

I am demonstrating total female socialization behaviors and being with a cisman somehow magically transformed me into a whimpering, begging, insecure, needy and, if I do say so, disgusting girl (definitely not a woman) needing validation from a MAN! From a man 20 years my junior, no less! Where the holy fuck was she hiding that she would smell a cisman’s sweat (even over the wires) and poof recreate the horrid female I thought I’d left behind after 35 years of therapy?

fix
From I’m Glad I’m a Boy, I’m Glad I’m a Girl

I am hoping that with the recognition, I will chill out and re-find my balance as a grown woman.

I am, however, looking for the hole that unevolved being crawled out of so I can shove her back in and seal up the lid.

Good lord, brainwashing sure does stick around.

woman-power

Bipolar Diary: The Rough Cut

I feel like cutting my tongue out. I swear someone is using a course-grit sandpaper, rubbing it over and over and over, while I sleep.

sandpaper

What’s sucky, too, is the Tardive Dyskinesia is doing overtime even while I am awake. Unless I am purposefully monitoring my tongue and jaw action, my tongue is scraping across my molars or my front teeth. Continuously.

Thank the Universe no one is noticing (probably because I am in the freakin’ house!), but even working on the phone, talking sexy, no one has noticed a difference. After a call longer than 30 minutes though, my jaw and tongue are sore (muscle sore) from trying to do two things at once: trying to keep getting the guy off and try not to make it sound like I am licking the phone. (Whereas upon reflection, that might not be such a bad idea.)

cell-bed
artists, Mrzyk-Moriceau

Wellbutrin

I am lost over what to do about the TD. I would need to cut down or quit the Wellbutrin and I feel so, so much better on it. The prospect of stopping it terrifies me. (And the TD might not go away after stopping the medication anyway!) I see the Psych in a week and will talk to him about it, but the decision is 100% mine about what to do: stay on it OR go off of it and try yet another medication that might cause TD even worse, and possibly permanent symptoms, than this.

Fuck, I hate dilemmas.

Bipolar Diary: This Isn’t Good for My Depression

I am horrified to learn I live in a country with so many bigots, xenophobes and hate-filled people that they would elect a crazy man to lead our country.

But, I refuse to give up.

i-am-scared
I am scared; I stand up

I Will Not Be Bullied

I don’t know what or how yet… and the only thing I can physically or financially do is write… but I will write until my fingers bleed trying to share, in words that have not already been said a million times, the impact of this Hitlerian President on those around me. And on me, a mentally ill Latinx on Obamacare, a femme Lesbian, an extremely pro-choice sex worker in love with a Muslim (who I am also terrified for).

civilrightsprotest

Time for the work to begin.

Election: Safeword!

I had a client, not on a call, gleefully tell me he went to see Trump speak tonight.

Now, this person has some kinks that would, to put it mildly, make Trump gag, so I was, to say the least, quite shocked.

But instead of questioning, “WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY?!?!”…

…I calmly suggested we leave politics out of our friendly chat.

“Unless,” I said smirking from this side of the computer, “We are going to sling some scat at the topic.”

It went over his head.

libertycrop

Sexual Hyperbole

The Porn Expectation

I am a Sex Worker. A Phone Sex Operator/Phone Sex Actress. After many years of watching very little porn, I am now watching it. A lot. Everything from vanilla straight sex to gay porn to hard-core BDSM.

I also have been watching real life people have sex for almost 40 years.

Truly, the difference is like night and day.

I consider porn to be sexual hyperbole;
the over-exaggeration of the images of sexual acts.

The Dream

Zoe Jaspers, a porn actress herself, writes in How To Spot a Fake Orgasm in Porn:

It’s not common for people to hear that pornstars sometimes fake their orgasms, but when you start to get tired after being ravaged for 5 hours straight, wouldn’t you fake an orgasm too? Nevertheless, it can be heart wrenching for a guy to hear that a girl he has a thing for, has been faking it for most of the sex sessions he’s had with her, due to the fact that not a lot of guys know when a woman fakes an orgasm or not.

Therefore, to help you guys keep an eye out when they’re next watching porn, or when they’re going to have their next encounter with a gorgeous lady, I’m going to spill the beans and tell how to spot a fake orgasm in pornos.

She shares these trade secrets (and elaborates in the article):

  • When she suddenly…arches her back
  • When she suddenly…grabs the guy’s head for no reason
  • When she suddenly…screams too loud
  • When she suddenly…wipes her forehead even though there isn’t a single (bead of) sweat on her (sic)
  • If the pornstar in your favourite movie goes from dry to wet within 15 seconds

Beautiful girl have orgazm

Oh-How-Accurate

I often feel men who watch more porn than have real life sex expect us to “perform” like these girls do on film. When I was a lot younger, still quite inexperienced sexually, I used to try and perform because I was embarrassed that I didn’t look/sound orgasmic.

I faked it.

A LOT.

How fucked up is that?

Once I started having sex with girls, I quickly learned all of us sound and look totally different when we orgasm. IF we orgasm at all. (Not everyone does and they should not be shamed for being inorgasmic. Pleasure does not always equal orgasm.)

I’m really glad to read this article Zoe Jaspers wrote because the information/disclosure really needed to come from within the industry. I hope her piece and this blog post can help soothe women’s/people’s concerns about not looking like a porn star when they orgasm.

(That we also do not look like the actors during the rest of the sex acts will be addressed separately.)

I refuse to fake it anymore. And I still don’t sound like a porn star when I cum.

orgasm

Checking My White Privilege

My inner-racist/classist/transphobic/homophobic

(etc.)

Disclosure:

Even though I am a fat Latinx who has mental illness, am physically disabled and a sex worker on the LGBTQI spectrum, I have a massive slew of inner (and outer) work still to do. I was raised in the American-Anglo world… the middle-class, English-speaking, able-bodied, white world… with white privilege.check-privilege-gif

I so want to be helpful in the various “causes” going on in our world, around the world.

I do not want to be hurtful.

Not here in my Navelgazing Writer blog.

Not in my Tumblr blog

And most especially, not in my life.

Where I know I still need work (and I acknowledge I surely have blind spots yet to be discovered):

(in no particular order)

#Black Lives Matter

I speak up for #BlackLivesMatter often, as often as I can in as many places as possible. I believe in the Movement with all my heart. I follow along, watching the debates between #AllLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter and even the dissention between the ranks about the Movement itself. I write about #BLM where I can, use the hashtags, engage family and friends and am seriously considering a #BLM tattoo. Yet it still isn’t remotely enough. I know that. I want to do something. Do something more. I keep looking for where I could be of more use. I will explore that here.

blm

Islamophobia

My boyfriend/lover/submissive (my fawn) is Muslim. I am struggling with Islam in ways that make me cringe and hold my head in utter confusion. As an atheist, all religions are confounding to me, but at the moment, Islam stands front and center of my inner conflict. Separating Islam from Muslims seems daunting, as much as separating Islam from cultural beliefs that are Islamic. I am just beginning to figure this stuff out.

words

Transphobia

I will write about this extensively, surely over a several year period, but it has to come out. My former partner of (then) 25 years, came out transgender, medically and surgically transitioning from female to male. From announcement to phalloplasty was a little over 3 years. About 6 months after the phalloplasty, we separated, then divorced. So very much to say about the myriad of emotions that transpired during our transition time together.

no-feminism

Internalized Homophobia

Even though I initially came out lesbian when I was 18-years old and then again when I was 25, dating only women… and being in (what I thought was) a long-term lovership/marriage (off and on) with a (then presenting) woman for 28 years, I know there are still stereotypes and -isms I need to look at and work through.

internalized-homophobia

Racism

This topic is so broad, it will take many different posts to work through. Even my own inner-Racism as a Latinx will need to be worked through. But the stereotypes of different races and cultures jump to the forefront of my mind when I least expect it… and that shit needs to stop.

sp-end-racism

Xenophobia

Interestingly, I don’t feel I have a lot of xenophobia, but I could be deluding myself and need to work on it as well. I just don’t have issues with migrants, immigrants or refugees. I’ve worked with migrant Hispanic women (at the Farmworker Association of Florida and at Planned Parenthood as well as in midwifery school in El Paso, Texas), but that is a specific group of folks, leaving hundreds of other cultures and countries still mentally untouched.

xenophobiawordcloud

Fetishizing

Ugh. This one is going to be fucking difficult to work with since I am a sex worker who often creates scenarios and writes pornographic stories that specifically fetishize men and women… both cis and trans. I struggle with the line between attraction and fetishizing in my own mind. I adore black and Asian men. Love “Big Black Cock” and speak and write about it a lot. What are my values and am I contributing to the degradation of oppressed people by having my own desires and, more specifically, fetishizing it in my job.

stopfetish

Reevaluating Law Enforcement

There have been police officers and Deputy Sheriffs in my family and friends since I was born. My disgusting police officer step-grandfather molested me (several times), in uniform once. My former partner was a Deputy Sheriff for 10 years of our relationship. I have been arrested and jailed twice, including being extradited back to San Diego, California from Orlando, Florida. Yet, my attitude towards law enforcement has generally remained one of a positive viewpoint.

And now, watching the videos of black men being killed for zero reason has jarred me into reevaluating my beliefs. And the really sucky part is until videos started being shown, I barely took notice of the mass of killings of black men, women and children. Even the mass incarceration of People of Color went over my head. I am horribly ashamed of this, but it’s the truth. This really, really is fucked up.

lawenforcement

Sex Workers

My sister was a dancer. I have several close friends and family members who were dancers as well. I am a Phone Sex Operator. One of my family members and I have discussed the inner confusion between feminism and sex work several times. I love what I do, but there are degrading moments that make me feel like I want to wash my mouth out with soap sometimes. Lots to think about.

whoissexworker

BDSM vs. Physical Abuse

I’ve been in the BDSM Scene since 1995, mostly as a submissive to my former partner Zack and now as a Domme in my sex work job. I consider myself somewhat of a pain slut, do bottom to others, have experimented with subbing to my fawn and much of my life is taken up in the Scene.

In 1990 or so, I wrote a piece in the San Diego Lesbian Press about how BDSM is nothing but a pretense for allowing/encouraging physical and mental abuse to vulnerable women (that was the angle; today I would say “people.”) For anyone following the Scene, this is a common argument and one I’ve considered (and reconsidered) over the years. There is ongoing inner discussion.

bdsmvsabusse

Visible Dis-Abilities/Challenges/Differences

I have mobility issues because of being fat (a separate obstacle all on its own) and having brittle bones. As I write, I can think of about 20 preconceived thoughts about physically challenged folks that need to be purged. And not just my own.

vendisabilities

Mental Health

I have Bipolar Disorder 1 with omnipresent hallucinations, more depression than (hypo)mania and have had other psychiatric issues (anxiety & agoraphobia) fluctuate over the years. I honestly think this will be the area where I have the fewest concerns to work with/through. Being in therapy since I was 18 and starting on medication not long after that, I left the stigmatizing beliefs behind long ago.

mental-health

Size-ism & Fat Phobia

This will, most assuredly, lead to the most emotional posts of all (that I can predict at the moment). Having been fat my whole life, a gastric bypass in 2001 that initially was awesome, but now 15 years later is fucking with my body’s health and continues fucking with my head. Once in the Fat Activist Movement and still believing in a fat positive outlook, I also believe much of today’s Fat Positive representatives are deluding themselves about the long-term effects of being fat. Lots and lots to say about this.

hangers

Cultural Appropriation

I was a Japanese Geisha Girl for Halloween growing up. I wore cornrows in the 70’s. I wore a medicine bag with crystals and sage around my neck in the mid-80’s. I did mendhi in the early 2000’s. I’ve participated in Blessingways over 30 years as a midwife. I’ve made flower crowns, worn harem pants and love Disney movies.

All of this before I learned what Cultural Appropriation was. It mortifies me seeing how disrespectful I was to so many people over the years. I look around and wonder what I am doing now that I’ll recognize in 5, 10, 15 years that will equally mortify me.

Know better, do better.

My Plan for Continued Inner Work

judgement2

I will continue reading articles, books and essays by people of different races, religions, cultures, socio-economic statuses, genders, abilities, sizes, etc. I will believe what they say even if what they say is different from what I know, what my experiences are and what I learned in school and/or in my white culture.

I will delve more into the histories of the people I am not familiar with, learning the things I did not learn in school. Actually, un-learning the things I learned in school.

However…

im-so-teribly-confused

Where I have an issue with exploring/learning on one’s own, is it requires some skills some/many people might not have or have access to:

  • Internet access
  • Ability to read
  • Ability to read English
  • Advanced English comprehension

I think there needs to be some alternative plans in place for those who need in-person learning/education of these social phenomena, especially when they are asked for.

Where I Struggle

strengh

Where I do struggle, however, is in how to learn from the communities and cultures themselves. I absolutely understand the reasoning behind not asking the oppressed to educate me/us about their issues/concerns/struggles. I do promise to do my best in educating myself, but the reality is, with some of the exploited/misunderstood/unheard people’s problems/concerns, I am clueless where to even begin.

And then the black holes. Even as I research, digging deeper and deeper into subjects, learning new words to Google and building on my knowledge, there are still going to be gaping black holes I won’t even see until someone points them out to me.

Are there whites that I should ask instead? Isn’t that similar to playing telephone, getting the information second-hand? Wouldn’t speaking to the actual source be more appropriate? Wouldn’t I learn more hearing it directly? I will keep looking for the answer to this puzzle.

bullshit-meter

If you see my bullshit, don’t hesitate to re-orient/correct/challenge me. (Without my expecting a lesson from you of any kind. I will be sure to research on my own and try again.)

I need to be more conscious. I promise to work on it every day.

if-it-doesnt