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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Time Event
12:36a
Various people, like zvi and copracat are now telling mehere that I have no right to describe what my own feelings and triggers are, that my reaction to the accusation of racism is the reaction of any white person to being told that they have committed a racist act. And that I should just suck it up.

And they may have a point.

However, I have spent my entire adult life as a transwoman having cis-gendered people tell me what I should feel and indeed what I do feel; I have to struggle everyday with internalized transphobia that this has imposed on me. This remains true even at my advanced age and considerable articulacy. Yet I manage, and one of the ways I manage is constant close analysis of my own feelings and own emotions, which you have just entirely disrespected on the basis of a general perspective that ignores all the intersectionalities of actual white people's actual identity.

So, right now, I am calling you out for the deep cis-gendered privilege implicit in your remark. This is not a debating point. I respect that position of the one or two transfolk in this part of the debate and their respect for other opinions.

I also live with mild and high-functioning clinical depression, so accurate self-monitoring is an important survival strategy for me. Again, I do not claim to get everything right, but I object to being told that other people know my triggers better than I do.
1:23p
In the matter of AppropriationGate, RaceFail 09 or the Cultural Appropriation Debate of DOOM Part 2
Jane Carnell has said sensibly and helpfully that this is generating more heat than light and that it is sensible to walk away from it. I feel that it has become a discussion devoted to making some people feel good and others less good than a discussion of ways to move forward. I came to it in order to try and minimize harm and maximize dialogue; I have ended up by becoming a part of the problem, a part of the hurt, and possibly a part of the harm. I do not think that there is anything further I can usefully contribute, and so I will take a vow of silence for the rest of the debate and only monitor the bits of it that come directly my way.

What else will I do? I will try to be at least as, and preferably more, inclusive in the range of characters included in my fiction and, if I borrow material from cultures which are not part of my heritage, to do so with some attention and sensitivity. I will pay even greater attention than I already did to what my POC friends, allies and acquaintances say about my unconscious assumptions of white privilege.

I will try not to confuse taking a posture for self therapy, self praise or self promotion with actual politics; I will try not to make it all about me.

However, I shall also look after myself and walk away more from triggers; I will weigh what is said to me against experience and logic and not regard myself as debarred from asking awkward questions; I will go on trying to understand people's ideas and behaviours in a context that units all their identities and all of their experiences and try not to rush to judgement on who they are and why.

And will expect the same from others.

A very little time later However, if people attack me over stuff I have already said, I will come out of silence to defend myself, because I am not completely daft.

Somewhat later still If people I don't know have been attacking me, I would really appreciate it if I could be linked to their criticisms. I need to learn stuff.

Later yet again I can normally engage in all sorts of discussions without being triggered,, but the specific trope of other people telling me that they, intrinsically, know what is going on in the back of my skull better than I do turns out to be a major issue for me.

It's not so much that it is liable to make me depressed, though; it is that, because I suffer from clinical depression, as well as because I am trans, it is a sore point.I am sure that none of the people who have commented in various places about my withdrawal from the debate meant to come across as me not having the guts to take criticism; what I was concerned about was that I would further lose my temper and stop being useful to trying to quieten things down.

Oh, and I really don't see myself as even in the third rank of post-war feminists involved in popular culture, though an embarrassed thanks to whoever said that; I am but an humble foot-soldier. Who gets things wrong.

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