Sunday, April 8, 2012


I am tired of talking about 'whiteness', tired of responding to and negotiating it, being assaulted by it, being drained by it. Here's why, literally EVERYTHING that could be said about racism and white supremacy has already been said.  People of colour have been prolific in naming it, resisting it and educating about it in ways that sacrifice our mental, emotional and spiritual health - even in our decisions to walk to the store just in our bodies can end in racial profiling, rape or death.  We've written books, manifestos, made movies, films, art - if you can google and find the address of the nearest hipster hangout with wifi, I know you can learn in detail about the legacy and continuing effects of systemic racism.  And then, WE STILL take the time to educate,  our friends, our colleagues, our lovers about the violence we are subjected to and we need to deal with defensiveness, derailing, name calling (too many of us have been called psychotic), tone policing - we are asked to say it softly or not at all, to ease up, while still having to negotiate the ubiquitous experience of racism - from which we get no break. To ask us to stop talking about it is exercising a privilege we don't have - the privilege to stop thinking/feeling/living racism.  And because we do this, we don't get to talk about ourselves, don't get to talk about the dynamics between us as people of colour. I wanna talk about the connections/love/pain between Black communities and Latina communities, between East Asians and South Asians, between First Nations communities and Pacific Islanders - I want to talk about the ways we live those experiences as Afro-Latinas, as Indigienous Pacific Islanders - I want to talk and learn and build together as communities of colour.  If you believe that Black Men are all violent offenders, that every womyn in a Hijab is oppressed and you don't understand why people of colour are so angry, I'm done.  Read a book, use the Internet, look around, do some work. No more apologies, do something. If you make $250,000/yr, break it up into several people's salaries and hire some brilliant womyn of colour. Tell your old racist aunt who means well to stop talking. Stop mining diamonds, for the love of all life, stop wallowing in self pity and change the system that you benefit from every single day. Do it now. And do it daily.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

We Are Life

We womyn, we queers, we trans folks of colour will be the ones to lead this revolution. We the cash poor, the differently abled, the Global South, First Nations People - we are life.

They thought that if they killed our men that we would not continue. They thought that the revolution did not lie in us too. They left us behind, devalued our contributions, didn't even give us the dignity to acknowledge us strong in their narratives, named us as weak, as sissies, as violent, as 'crazy'.

As we worked tirelessly, our bodies raped, colonized, our stories and our majik co-opted, we endured. And we are here on the front lines, in their organizations, held into debt by their institutions, whether it be wage, education, health'care' and we resist.

We dare to wear glitter, and dare to worship god(dess), dare to teach, to learn, to search, to laugh, to love. We are miracles every last one of us. We have been stripped down to our core and what is left is vibrant, willful, creative spirits.

And I say to those upholding patriarchy, whiteness, sexist, heterosexist, economic supremacy -- are you scared, are you scared that behind these systems of advantage and your ill gotten gains, you are nothing? You are lacking in integrity and inventiveness, in soulfulness and resourcefulness. What have you traded your humanity for?

To be 'neutral', to be 'objective', to be the thing that is never named, but suffocates us all? You traded this for the richness of your difference, the varieties of your gender, ethnicity and sexuality. You traded love for towers held up fear, built up lies and surrounded yourselves in fun house mirrors.

We may not live forever, but we live richly, in our relationships, in our stories, sometimes only in our dreams. And we dream of a time where the world can be in technicolor, where no one is disposable, where life is a value and work is a negotiation and liberation is for free.

Instead you dream of nothing but grey skies and beige life.

I am so proud of us, proud our ancestry whose reverberations I feel now. Even if no one sees your actions, no one compensates you for your work, even if no one hears your voice and all the things you want to say (all things that we deserve), know that you are valuable regardless of whether anyone bears witness to you - to us.

Our energy and our spirits persist, the universe is grateful for your brilliant life force and this little brown queer, like a lot of others thank heavens for your presence and the life affirming solidarity that tells us that we are not alone.

I will keep resisting, we all will in our own way. We will fight even though we shouldn't have to, we will teach even though it is not our responsibility and we will be murdered even though there is more than enough to go around.

We are radical just for existing in everything that we are and all that we are not. And again I say, we are life.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I find comfort in knowing I shouldn’t take any of this rhetoric personally, because I understand that it isn’t about me. It is about the insecurity of people who are afraid of losing their ill gotten gains. Once I realized that, loving myself, loving other womyn, loving us when we are on social assistance, when we are sex workers, when we are trans womyn, when we are womyn of colour was easy - all these womyn are surviving and challenging the patriarchy with every single breath they take. That means I have so many examples of beauty, of resilience, of creatively navigating the system. Every time we organize, we love each other, we forgive each other, we heal other, every time we name this shit, we are a threat. Breathe, play, fuck, rest, resist sisters, we are beautiful threats.
- Kim Crosby

“They said, “You are a savage and dangerous woman.”
I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.”
― Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero”

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


What does silence look like.
What does remembering taste like.
What does loving feel like.

Feels like standing on the edge of a precipice, arms wide, eyes shut
Trusting, knowing that fear gives way into the endlessness of possibility.

My journey with my Blackness.
And again.
And again.

In the presence of a world that thrives on the absence of ourselves and the desire to sell selves, 
I learned as girl that I did not exist
I searched in critical eyes, fine printed text, swiftly moving images
For some sign that I had been there before
That we had been here before
Girls made of other-worldy browns, tightly wound spirals, thick black plaits with Technicolor bubbles in our hair
Girls who smell of islands, sweetness, blinding brightness lingering on us everywhere we pass


Black Girls
Brown Girls
Lost and found girls

My mama is 1/4 Venezualan Arawak and ¼ Dutch and half Indo-Trinidadian.
My granny was stolen at 6 by her father and brought to work for her father’s new family in Trinidad.
My Grandpa was 1 in a long line of indentured workers brought to Trinidad to build bridges away from Blackness. Brought after his family watched India ravaged by the British. Brought up in brashness, halfness, neither white nor blackness, remembering a world that once made space for his burnt sienna brown.

My father is Half Scottish White Plantation owner and half West African slave stock, bred in Dominica. My father’s mother did not have the choice, did not have any, many choices, but to have my father,
as my father’s father,
well everyone called him Massa.

Divided and conquered.
And I name it my Blackness because Blackness is the presence of all light, of all colours. And it was my Blackness that I ran from.
And now,
It is my Blackness that I run to
It is what surrounds me, what reconciles me, what makes me whole,

full. soft. full.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Community Members Unite to Save World’s Oldest LGBTQ Bookstore

Community Members Unite to Save World’s Oldest LGBTQ Bookstore

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    Media Contact: Michael Erickson
February 9, 2012                                               

TORONTO, ONTARIO (FEBRUARY 9, 2012) - For months, the future of Glad Day Bookshop was uncertain.  Now, a group of community members have pooled their funds to buy Glad Day Bookshop, ensuring that this piece of queer and trans history isn’t lost and that a new era of creativity, liberation and story can begin.

The current owner, John Scythes, has been shepherding Glad Day Bookshop for over 20 years.  Scythes is thrilled that a new generation of owners are committed to preserving the legacy that he and founder Jearld Moldenhauer have built at Glad Day Bookshop since 1970.

“I really didn’t want to see Glad Day close its doors – it has been, and continues to be, so important to so many people.” said Scythes.  “These new investors are full of energy and ideas, including ways to use new technologies.  They know that I am only a phone call away if they ever need anything and I wish them all the best!”

The group of investors is quite diverse in identity, including age.  At 23, Spencer Charles Smith is the youngest investor.  “Glad Day Bookshop was a crucial centre for the gay and lesbian liberation movement in Canada,” said Smith.  “I know I owe so much to the activists who came before me so I am investing my money and my time into Glad Day as a way to honour them and to give back to the queer community.”

The importance of story has been central to legitimizing and celebrating lesbian, gay, bi and trans identity and community.  Generations have fought against censorship, against being silenced and against annihilation.  This fight continues around the world today.  At a time when the big bookstores only offer ‘what sells’, a business like Glad Day Bookshop will continue to be committed to the stories we aren’t hearing about and the voices that the mainstream media and mega-bookstores don’t feel comfortable with.

“Arts and culture give our community wings.” said investor Rio Rodriguez. “With creativity and representation, our communities find healing, inspiration, education and celebration.”

Over the coming months, there will be a series of announcements as the new owners reveal their plans for revitalizing the bookshop and launching initiatives to build community, foster creativity, support local artists and honour the importance of pleasure and love in our world.

“Glad Day Bookshop still has the potential for being a cutting edge space to find queer resources, gather, have conversations and galvanize for our ongoing and future struggles.” said investor El-Farouk Khaki.

The group of investors includes:  Andy Wang, Doug Kerr, El-Farouk Khaki, Fatima Amarshi, Jonathan Kitchen, Kim Crosby, Lisa Gore , Marcus McCann, Mark Schaan, Michael Erickson, Michael Went, Nat Trembley, Rio Rodriguez, Scott Robins, Spencer Charles Smith, Tessa Duplessis and Troy Jackson.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Reverse Isms Don't Exist

This is why things are not equal and this is why you can't just tell people to get over it, do something about it, not be angry about it or treat everybody the same.

This is why reverse racism, sexism, heterophobia doesn't exist.

A member of a group with less power cannot affect a group with more power.

Similar parallels can be made with sexism, women as a whole do not have the ability to exercise power over men, but men do. Globally, men are in the most decision making positions.

Queer people don't have the ability to exercise power over straight people, they don't have decision making power, when queer people want rights, they have to appeal to the straight or straight acting dominant structure. Don't you think if Queer People could just band together and have all the rights that we wouldn't just do that? It's not that we haven't thought about it.

Differently abled people don't have the power to exercise dominion over 'Able-bodied' people. This is why so few places are accessible. It isn't an accident, able bodied people didn't think about different bodies, mothers with strollers, seniors, the chronically ill. And even though they would all like to have all places completely accessible to them and work hard to do so even while managing negotiating an oppressive world and violent institutions, they can't change everything because built into the system they have no power.

Poor people don't want to be cash-poor, cash-poor people don't want to hate rich people, cash-poor people are working really hard, just as hard and often harder than rich people, but capitalism requires that a lot of people be poor for it to function. This isn't an accident, it is intentional, it was designed that way to keep a few people really rich and dominating everyone else. And the biggest lie is that they say it is our fault, that the reason why we are in these positions is because we are lazy, sinful, angry, ugly. And then a lot of us believe it, we internalize it and the people in power believe it with ease because it helps them sleep at night after they have millions off of us. They dress up as us for Halloween, they make caricatures out of us, they buy our music and keep us out of their clubs. Lawd Jesus!

And it could all change if people who have power and privilege would give some up and stop arguing about how much you have. We learn this in kindergarten, if you cut me a quarter of the cake, keep 3/4's for yourself and then shit on it, don't be mad when I don't want to eat it or cry when I give it back. Yes it is different from not feeding me at all, but I ain't proud of you for acting right.

If we could actually acknowledge who was making decisions and the ways they got there, if we could start acknowledging and talking about what is really happening, if only 3 racist things happened to me in a day, I would consider racism dead.

When you suggest that it isn't hard or we aren't working hard enough or that everyone is equal or that we are being or not being fair, when we know for a fact and it is clear and self-evident that it is not equal, what is happening to us is violent and we are working our assess off every damn day to survive -  this is oppression in its finest. If you have privilege in this power structure and someone does you the service of telling you about it, be grateful that you found it, angry that it is happening, and committed to doing something about it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

T-Dot Renaissance Review

For those of you who weren't able to make it and for those who were part of the fabric woven in the space, here are some of the community musings on our most recent installation of T-Dot Renaissance.