IS THIS SPACE WOMEN RUN? IS IT QUEER FRIENDLY?

Since initiating events for LADY ART NYC, an intersectional collective I run, I've been on the hunt for women  or queer run spaces. I  don't know if you are aware, but these two seemingly simple restrictions on where to book events are actually REALLY REALLY DIFFICULT.

An intersectional feminist group wants to support intersectional spaces, and we are having a really difficult time finding those spaces.

New York City is one of the queerest places in the United States, but a lot of queer run spaces are owned and dominated by cis white men. Intersectionality is of course open to collaborating with cis white men, but like where are all the women, POC, and queer run spaces for the disenfranchised at? WE NEED YOU, COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE.

If you are or you know of an intersectional space (woman, queer, or POC owned) please fill out this google form!

There is beauty in numbers- it can bring terror

In the last 24 hours I strung through a roller coaster of emotions.

1) Fury that Josh Hartnett didn't properly make out with a man in Penny Dreadful. Why? Because every sex scene between cis woman and cis man in PD fuck like animals and there is SO MUCH TONGUE with believable body language. We need more believable queers in Media and they need to be all the genders, not just lesbians.

2) Exhaustion because my period came, yet elated to try my Thinx panties (that I forgot to wear this morning) and to read this cover story on NEWSWEEK about, you guess it, MENstruation.

3) Disappointment that the NY Primary is rigged. So many of us showed up to vote to only find out our names weren't listed in the area we were registered for. I don't understand why we still need delegates in NY, but that is for another conversation.

4) Horrified that someone I know, who I have hugged, who would come over to hang out, who always seemed so sweet is a serial rapist. This instills the "mild rape fear" that encapsulates a woman's thoughts while she walks alone. This is the "mild rape fear" of a man greeting a woman at the bar, who can you trust when a friend's friend rapes you? Who do you turn to? The rape crisis center is a joke, the police will imply it is your fault. Even going as far to say, "Oh come on, you were drunk. Are you sure you didn't send the wrong signals?". As far as I know the words NO, OW, STOP, and SOBBING or SCREAMING are not signals of heightened sexual approval for commencing orgasm. 

What do you do when you are raped? - talk to someone. Get someone to be with you every step of the way. Have them with you when you speak to the police, have them with you when you go to the hospital, have them with you every step of the way. They are your strength, they are your guardian, they are the one who will carry you through the next several years of recuperation. You just experienced a traumatic event, don't be afraid to cry, don't be afraid to seek out a therapist, and don't be afraid to tell others, especially women. Talk to women, talk to trans*, and when you are ready talk to men. 

We need to talk to men about this. Your cousin, your brother, your best friend, your boyfriend, your friends, your friend's friends tell them what rape is. Tell them how horrific it is. Make them understand and encourage them to talk about rape with each other. Toxic masculinity has spread through cis men communities and has instilled rape culture into our every day. We need to break down the barriers "MANHOOD" and open up to "PERSONHOOD".

WAYS TO HELP:

Bring cis men to feminist events like FVCK RAPE CULTURE, Femmequerade Ball, TRAPPED Film Screening. Share impactful articles with cis men by cis men "Man Up" by Deandre, "5 Common Behaviors Cis Men May Not Realize Are Abusive"  by Jamie Utt

"Cis men are welcome to attend but encouraged to simply listen"

"simply listen" as in.... STFU?

It took a lot of time and a lot of dialogue to work through why this phrasing is unwelcoming. At first I didn't want to believe it... why would me all loving feminist community shed a light of discrimination?

There seems to be a lot of tension in the feminist community regarding cis men stemming from ignorance...on both sides. HOW? The patriarchy has constructed systematic suppression, this is a battle that feminists, LBGTQA, and disenfranchised people have been battling forever. Our civil liberties and body autonomy is vital to living a full life of choice and equality. Our societies gender construction established a gender binary, (i.e. woman, man) which grown into encompassing a spectrum of gender identities. A primary example of this is creating an equal playing field for the trans community by adjusting the binary to be inclusive of diverse gender associations. This is why CIS is used to prevalently in feminist and queer affiliated texts, events, and establishments. 

Cis gender:  "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity"

This also expands further to cis het, cis sexual assumption, cis normaltivity... cis does lack inclusion on intersex bodies, so cis in not a perfect non binary solution but it is a great start on working towards accepting a wider array of gender.Of douse with the goodness of expanding also comes the badness. Cismen is used heavily in the feminist and queer communities and a key identifier to our suppressors. Many events include a disclaimer pertaining to cis men, either a higher charge for an event or a formulaic sentence that tells cis men to not blather/their opinion doesn't matter pertaining to this topic. This is very problematic. HOW & WHY?

Globally our demographic is diverse, our experiences are unique, and the only way to reverse the stigma is to share, share away! There are plenty of people in the closet, in uncertain discovery mode, or transitioning into self-awareness. Alienating terms or phrasing shut down that discovery, in that transition mode and to lessen the reach of sharing by using unwelcoming phrasing towards a specific demographic is detrimental to openness. We really need to be more carful as a community to include and welcome everyone, you never know what could be ally feels shunned before they can even imagine stepping into a new community.