“You are an AAPI. But you are not a model minority. You talk back. And, you are queer.”
And I am also a womyn, which matters a whole lot.
Lets set aside those dry, boring intellectual blog posts for a moment.
How do you get someone to ‘obey’ norms when she has never been considered a part of what is normative? Why would a person believe in institutionalized structures and settings when they hold her down? Why is it alright for a man to hog discussion but inappropriate for a woman to be strong in her convictions? There isn’t a space for these discussions in this so-called movement for ‘immigration reform,’ which looks increasingly like ‘pro-enforcement reform.’ This is my space, hence these statements.
I want to apologize to my readers for being literally absent for the past two months. In December, I unexpectedly got invited to a ‘United We DREAM’ conference (a coalition that has been trying to pass the DREAM Act for 100 years now), and decided to go since the National Immigration Law Center paid for the trip. Looking back on it, maybe that was not the best decision but at least I got to meet friends that I had not seen in person. At the meeting–quite unexpectedly–some members of the coalition railed to make my tiny circle of friends as one of the central communications pillars. I was left wondering why they would want an open-borders, cerebral Marxist-Foucauldian, radical queer womyn of color to have anything to do with building a ‘talking points’ sheet. The only explanation was that they were trying to quell dissent and get immigrant youth like me to conform to a certain way of doing things, a certain structure to abide to. Yes, I know – warning bells!
The red flags went up inside my head but we decided that maybe some good could come out of it especially as we were promised funding and support. Of course, I should have known at that point (and I subconsciously did) that no one in my life has lived up to their promises, and these people (who probably do have good intentions) would also fall short of expectations (that is the understatement of the century). But I am supposed to continue the fight for immigration reform and for my friends, right? There is a sense of loyalty to the cause, which is just one among the many causes I believe in so I trudged along.
Looking back, I keep wondering how and why my time has gone to ‘organizing an organization’ and baby-sitting people rather than actually organizing for the cause or even against measures like Prop 8 (a far more important issue to me)? It’s been a sheer waste of time and effort to listen-in on conference calls. Lets be really honest here. Coalition-building is quite annoying when one is a queer woman of color who has to deal with male egos in settings that have been traditionally male-dominated. I feel used, exploited and betrayed as we did the work assigned to us but then would not get reimbursed or any help from the ‘coalition.’ What I am trying to say is that our time would be better served by not being part of this coalition. And most importantly, I would get time to blog. In the meantime, I went to Los Angeles, met a great woman and started a relationship. Even though that may not have been a very clever move and she struggles to comprehend me, she at least provides some stability in my life.
And I need that stability. My house is in foreclosure, several friends are in deportation and even as I get into all law schools of my choice but cannot afford to go—people want me to play games and act along. If I was a [straight] [white] male, I am sure I would have time to pull out a checkerboard, but I wasn’t born with those privileges. In this world, when a queer woman of color like me is assertive, non-nonsense and straight-forward, a majority of people cannot comprehend it and don’t know how to deal with it due to their own internalized sexism and homophobia. That is when the B-I-T-C-H word is used to denote strong woman like me who refuse to ‘obey’ certain norms and ways of behavior that wreak of whiteness and male privilege. “I can’t believe she just said that!” And maybe in this case “I can’t believe she wrote that!” B-I-T-C-H!
I realize my limitations and my flaws. I am honest enough to make a listing of them and laugh about it too. I would take the B-I-T-C-H designation with pride. I am proud of being a ‘bitchy’ dyke of color. But I would never ‘sell-out’ or be institutionalized or conform to anything. I would rather take a bullet to my head.
So I apologize to my readers — You come first to me on this medium and always will. I know a lot of people–especially in the LGBT community–miss my writing. And I promise that I am going to now take the time to continue the unfulfilled stories and projects. Our stories, our narratives are of utmost importance to me and a space that I have not used recently to ‘act-out’ (pun-intended).
Happy Holi. Happy International Women’s Day.
(And every day should be our day so lets work on making that happen).