And after all these years, the trans community is still at the back of the bus. I despise that. I’m hurt and get depressed a lot about it. But I will not give up because I won’t give the mainstream gay organizations the satisfaction of keeping us down. If we give up, they win. And we can’t allow them to win. The reason we, right now, as a trans community, don’t have the rights they have is that we allowed them to speak for us for so many damn years, and we bought everything they said to us: “Oh, let us pass our bill, then we’ll come for you.”
Yeah, come for me. Thirty-two years later and they’re still coming for me. And what have we got? Here, where it all started, trans people have got nothing. We can no longer let people like the Empire State Pride Agenda, the HRC in Washington, speak for us. And it really hurts me that some gay people don’t even know what we gave for their movement.
Sylvia Rivera in Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Binary (via queeraztlan)
let me remind you,
when you do this, you are attempting to gain privilege by removing yourself from the negative associations…
Yeah. It even kind of goes around in circles. With everyone at the bottom of the heap being glad they’re not each other. :-(
There are actually a lot of similar dynamics we’ve noticed in the autistic community and in the plural community. We’ve tried to write about this a couple of times, but it always seems to dead-end because AAJDGDFG BRAIN BARF, when you realize you’re trying to get out thoughts and feelings that have been stuffed inside you for over ten years, needling at you constantly, And you don’t know how to write about that huge amount of material, that huge number of observations you’ve made, dynamics and interactions between literally hundreds of people or systems, without either getting buried under an impossible task or just exploding with frustrated rage.
Anyway… like people have mentioned, in the autistic community, and in the broader disability community, it seems like too many people are out to prove they’re Not A Retard and pointing out people who can be safely thrown under the bus as “retards”. Too many people don’t question whether there is a problem with the concept of “retards” in the first place, or the idea that it’s the worst thing you can possibly be, and don’t do anything to protect or defend people whom they consider “retards.” One of the reasons why we don’t really feel like we’re part of the plural community nowadays is because there are a lot of people out there who do *really similar* stuff.
Except with them, it’s like “delusional” is the worst thing you can possibly be, and they’re out to grab the people they think are “really delusional” in order to throw them under the bus in their own bid for acceptance. They start out their explanations of themselves with “This is not schizophrenia, this is not psychosis,” and then don’t do anything to challenge the hate for people considered schizophrenic and psychotic. The only thing that matters to them is proving that whatever those things are, *they’re not it.*
This is also why we feel awkward as fuck when we run into someone in the community who may *genuinely* be delusional. I’m not talking about people just “believing weird things” about themselves, or having unusual subjective experiences. I’m talking about people who have demonstrably false non-subjective beliefs, fears and paranoias that they can’t control. We may disagree with modern psychiatry in many cases about what’s best for people experiencing delusions, but they defintely are a real thing. I mean, we’ve seen people in our birth family experience them. And it was not something they “chose” because they “sucked and were stupid” or because they were “too obsessed with fantasy” or whatever. It was far more complex than that.
But anyway, the long and the short of it is that when we do genuinely run into people like that, it feels like we’re being pushed to throw them under the bus, or to hold them up as an example of This Is Not Plurality. Which is, actually, bullshit. It is possible to be both delusional and genuinely plural, or for specific people in a system to experience delusions while others don’t. And the fact that this is possible does not instantly make it so that everything trolls and snarkers have ever said about plurals being delusional losers obsessed with fantasy is true and can’t be contested. It just means we can have the same range of experiences as any other person out there. But it seems that there are a lot of people who assume, without question, that it *does,* so they must instantly rush to distance themselves from People Who Are Just Delusional And Not Plural.
And about the thing where it goes around in circles, with everyone at the bottom of the heap being glad they’re not each other… people regarded as delusional, for any reason, whether they’re being called schizophrenic or manic or depressive with psychotic features or delirious or “just stupid,” are very often down near the bottom of that heap in the disability community, along with people regarded as “retards.” Even within the psychiatric disability subset. People will say things like “I may have depression and severe anxiety but at least I’m not DELUSIONAL.”
Incidentally, this is also one of the reasons why we get so irritated when we see people taking their entire idea of multiplicity from Tumblr, without knowing where the community has been in the past, because the currently popular theory to explain our existence in mainstream psychiatry— which mostly no longer takes dissociative disorders seriously after all the scandals in the 90s, and cautions therapists against “fascination with alters” and insists that “alter personalities are not persons”— is “delusional separateness.” That we were all traumatized as kids and used our dissociative abilities to make believe that the trauma was happening to someone else or that we were somewhere else while it was going on, and the goal of our therapy is to make us “understand” that all of that is just made-up bullshit, a coping mechanism that’s outlived its usefulness, that there are no other people and no places inside and never were, just one delusional person who needs to face the truth now. This can also involve (and we’ve heard this from a number of systems who experienced it personally) giving plurals antipsychotics to “make the voices stop,” because some doctors apparently no longer distinguish between internal communication, which a lot of systems perceive as being like thoughts spoken aloud inside their head, and auditory hallucinations. (Although some people with auditory hallucinations actually deal with them successfully by talking back to the voices, but that’s neither here nor there, right now.)
So yeah. Seeing people try to deal with trolls by finding other people to throw under the bus. It’s disturbing and depressing, no matter what community you’re in. We still continue to think that the best defense against people who insist you can’t exist is research— finding proof that people like you have existed and been described in the past. Not offering up someone else to them in your place with the insinuation that here, you can have this one, THEY’RE the one who really is like everything you’re describing, and deserving of your scorn. (And knowing that some of the “crazy multiples” and “crazy soulbonders” stories that go around in certain communities are actually hoaxes invented by stalkers and trolls doesn’t help.)
We’re not condemning anyone who may have done this out of fear and panic, by the way. In fact, we think nowadays that the *most difficult* thing about any form of self-advocacy may possibly be resisting the urge to find other people to condemn and throw under the bus, or ‘police’ your entire community to make sure no one can get away with saying anything that you disagree with, to make sure everyone stays ‘on message.’ Calling people on things you disagree with is fine, sometimes necessary, but you cannot prevent everyone everywhere from holding opinions you disagree with (and may even be honestly, genuinely destructive), no matter how hard you try.
I mean, there’s a post we keep trying to finish, about an “activism project” we got into that ended up as a complete disaster, and how in almost all the self-advocacy projects for plurals we’ve been in, near or around, people inevitably seemed to think they had to make a big statement of “why we are not delusional”— and sometimes we had a hand in this too. But the way we see it nowadays, anyone who’s ever had a psychiatric label put on them is automatically part of an oppressed group of people, whether they were delusional or not, whether their differences caused them any distress or not. And that challenging the dominant culture’s ideas of “OMG SCARY CRAZIES” might actually be a better use of time and energy, in at least some cases, than trying to advocate for plurals and *only* plurals, and doing so at least in part by trying to find people to push down and insist “We’re not like them, and this is why we deserve to be taken seriously!”
-Tamsin and Riel
This, so much. I really don’t think that it’s necessarily a good idea to engage in the sort of activism that simply sits there and says, ‘We’re not crazy!’ I think that’s a bit more counterproductive. ‘Look, these people are HORRIBLE but you should listen to us because WE’RE NOT LIKE THOSE SYSTEMS.’ That just results in a lot of finger-pointing and turf wars that go absolutely nowhere. In order to defend the existence of natural plurality, you DON’T need to attack DID-based systems. You DON’T need to attack people who DO experience things like hallucinations. Focus on who you are, and explain your experience from a standpoint that explains who you are, and focusses on your own thought processes, and historical mentions of plurality.
We do still see ourselves as being part of the plural community, insofar as we identify as plural and want to continue advocating for the idea that plurality isn’t inherently bad just because it’s different.
New public blog post!
Some autistic people have talked about communication ‘underneath’ words. I think of it as being ‘interverbal’, being between words and underneath them, rather than being driven by words. They don’t specifically see words as the natural medium of thought, but imperfect explanatory devices to describe a concept that exists in their minds. At least that’s what I glean from it; my interpretation of it might be flawed, as my own experience is quite different. (If you tend to have that sort of thought pattern, correct me if you’d like?)
Accessibility isn’t just about ramps.
It’s not just about wheelchairs or parking spaces or elevators.
It’s also about no balloons somewhere where someone may have a very severe airborne latex allergy.
It’s about having a comfortable environment that isn’t threatening.
It’s about a group of autistic people going out to dinner and discussion without having a band playing too loud right next to the door that sends a lot of the people out on sensory overload.
A quiet room was requested. I’m pretty sure it was specified that we would be having discussion. I’m also pretty sure that the restaurant manager blatantly ignoring complaints about the noise, claiming to give us a quiet room that was obviously not quiet, especially with a group of sensory-sensitive people qualifies as discrimination and possibly even a violation of ADA.
I was one of the people who had to leave. THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENED.
And you guys explained ahead of time that it was a sensory-sensitive group? Cos if so, yeah, I would raise bloody hell.
I’m not the one who talked ahead of time, but I think so.
I’d raise bloody hell then.
I’m going to check with the person who did the initial talk first, but… yeah, he’s going to need a VERY good reason that we shouldn’t raise hell WITH NAMES or else that’s going to happen.
Seconded, so much. What that restaurant did last night was unacceptable.
One of the more loathsome statements made is, “This isn’t a safe place, it’s a public space” or any variation of the like.
This is a particularly disgusting comment because it is used to justify bullying. You were attacked? Well, were you in public? Yes? Then, that’s what you get. If someone came out and said this to you after being physically attacked, they would be considered a monster. Yet, this exact statement is being made about people who are being mentally and emotionally attacked.
From a safety perspective, it is important to know who can get to you and who can not. Yes, a public space isn’t the best place to designate as safe. The question is, why shouldn’t it be? Why is it acceptable to not expect safety if you’re in public? When I leave my home and walk down the street, I expect not to be physically attacked. Sure, I am going to take measures to help make myself a little safer. Still, I expect to not be attacked. We live in a society and part of living in a society is not attacking people. That is a given. No one should ever have to say that out loud.
The questions here are, When did “Public” turn into “No ethics?” When did “Being in public” (or on a public web site) mean that you must take abuse and never want a moment of safety?
Is safety to much to ask for? For anyone?
The thing that is so sickening about people that point to “Public” as reasoning, is that they are standing with the bully. They themselves, are making bullying okay and therefore, are being a bully as well.
When an innocent person is attacked, we should all cry foul. There should never be a single moment when someone says, “Yes but where were they?” Yes, we should all take measures to protect ourselves because there ARE bullies out there. But no, asking for safety, EVEN IN PUBLIC, is not to much to ask for.
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of this, when we begin thinking that we would “deserve what we got” if we were more open about ourselves and our life because there are so many bullies out there who go around deliberately searching for people to shit on, and we happen to be in several categories of person that these kinds of people think they can shit on with zero consequences. Not just the obvious one, either.