Posted in Blog, Pride Month 2021, Writing

Why It’s Time For White LGBT People To Stop Expecting Black Trans Women To Throw Bricks For Them

Every single year, the Pride discourse begins. What is acceptable to wear at Pride? What is acceptable to do at Pride? Who is acceptable at Pride? (As a bisexual, my invitation is fair weather, so, as always, my solidarity is with the Ace community who have it even worse than us) And of course, the inevitable debate about what Pride should be.

Is it a protest? Is it a celebration? Should we allow corporations to be represented, if it means we get to see Ariana Grande? Should police be allowed to attend? What about tories? It’s contentious, as all family gatherings are, but we get through it every year. The one other thing that also makes it through the year and resurfaces around summer time is the story of Marsha P Johnson.

For those who don’t know, Marsha P Johnson was one of the key figures in the fight for LGBT rights. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, the co founder of S.T.A.R with Sylvia Rivera and a leading activist in AIDS awareness, Marsha P Johnson was a trailblazer for LGBT rights in the United States, and threw the brick heard around the world at the Stonewall Riots.

Marsha’s story has been passed down through many generations of the LGBT community, and deservedly so, but every year, it becomes clearer that while some in our community enjoy lionising Marsha P Johnson, they are not ready to have a conversation about why the expectation is still on black women to do the heavy lifting when it comes to activism.

While I’m sure many do not have that expectation, it’s clear that some do. As seen in a tweet from British political party “Northern Independence Party” where they finished a thread on boycotting corporate sponsored Pride events with “Important to note that this isn’t advocating for black transgender women to throw bricks at the police. …Unless?”

This party‘s online support is heavily made up of white left leaning people, and the tweet was engaged with and supported by many white left leaning people, but are any of them willing to discuss the fact that a black woman, especially a black woman, even looking at a brick in a police officer’s presence is likely to face police brutality? While this may seem like a joke to comfortable, very online leftists, the violence faced by black women, particularly black trans women is not a joke.

Black people receive harsher sentences when charged with crimes, if they even make it out of a confrontation with a police officer alive. If Marsha threw that brick now, today, at London Pride, she would likely end up in hospital, and when she got out, Prison. They would make an example of her, they would humiliate her, because she was black, trans, and inconveniencing them.

We see white activists doing the same things that Marsha did all the time for causes like Extinction Rebellion, but they aren’t treated in the same way as many black activists, as we saw during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Middle class, affluent white people within the movement openly admit that they can afford arrest, because they’re likely to get away with a fine. They can stomach an arrest because it won’t effect their future. They can handle an arrest because they won’t be manhandled.

That is privilege. Marsha did not have that privilege but she took a risk, and thankfully, she was fortunate enough to come away with her life. That isn’t always a sure thing, and anyone who paid attention to the Black Lives Matter protests would know that, wouldn’t they? The whole point was that black people are treated differently to white people when the police are involved.

It’s easy to tweet about what a black trans woman did, or post a cute webcomic about it on Instagram. It’s easy to invoke her name, but I think a lot in our community need to ask themselves “Would I use my privilege as a white person to throw a brick for her?” If the answer is no, stop expecting it to be done for you.

Black trans women in particular are some of the most vulnerable in our community. Facing daily violence, threats and discrimination, along with some of the highest rates of murder in our community. Black women already have to be everything to everyone, everywhere. Black women began the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. Black women have been key parts of the fight for LGBT liberation, risking their lives over and over again, so is it really right for anyone to be asking them to do more?

This Pride month, I would like for white people within our community to ask what they can do, to repay the black women who threw the bricks for all of us. I don’t just mean putting up a graphic on Instagram or signing a petition. I mean real, genuine action. Speak to a black woman within our community, hear their stories and really listen. Volunteer at hotlines for at risk LGBT people (many are staffed by and serving black members of our community). Offer a black woman in our community a platform, offer real solidarity that doesn’t wear off when you get uncomfortable hearing her talk about white privilege. Stop thinking that adding our skin colour to the Pride flag is enough to defeat anti blackness in the LGBT community.

The black women of the LGBT community have heavy shoulders, because they have always been there for us, so this June, it’s time to live up to the example set by the elders of our community, who have previously stood in solidarity with black women and stop expecting them to throw bricks for you.

It’s time for our generation to grow up and protect those who have spent their lifetimes fighting for us, before it’s too late.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Virgin Vogue

Hola amigos,

You can now read my new collection, Virgin Vogue. I wanted to put together something to celebrate LGBT history and LGBT culture, to mark Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Besos, J x

img_4054

Virgin Vogue

-x-

Virgin Vogue
Don’t Think About Her
Margaret Thatcher Has An Inalienable Right To Shut The Fuck Up
A Song For Venus/Girls Like Us
Solidarity, Until It Gets Too Sapphic
Patrick Fucking Harvie
Brandon Teena
The Well Of Loneliness
Here’s To The Kids Who Wear Purple
Celebrate Your Life

-x-

Virgin Vogue

The pattern of the strobe,

followed the bass line,

mimicking the petrified pounding of my heart.

It didn’t have to be a big deal,

but it was me,

so,

of course it was.

I have a habit of rising from my watery grave,

staring up at the stars,

and inventing reasons to be anxious,

about the simplest things.

I scorched the Earth,

in sensible heels,

on my way to break out of the chains I put myself in.

I was going to be free,

in a very subdued sense,

presenting my secrets to the underground wonderland,

with my heart in my throat,

and my throat in the clutches of my dream girl.

I don’t come here often,

but I plan on making a habit of it.

-x-

Don’t Think About Her

I was lying in bed.

My hand was somewhere,

that I don’t like to talk about.

I was thinking about men.

The only wet thing in my bed,

was my face,

as I wept,

knowing I couldn’t think away the truth,

or the way I desperately wanted to think of her.

-x-

Margaret Thatcher Has An Inalienable Right To Shut The Fuck Up

British citizens have an inalienable right,

to flirt with the far right,

on boat rides,

big rallies,

and brightly lit stages.

An inalienable right,

to evade tax,

if your will lands in the right pockets.

An inalienable right to send the poor to war,

for oil,

and a special relationship,

to meet the curious and carefree eyes of civilian children,

with missiles.

We can go wild.

We have an inalienable right,

if we get into government,

to creep down the corridors,

of primaries and nurseries,

snatching up free school meals,

milk and pencils,

from the tiny hands and mouths,

who want to learn,

about their inalienable rights,

which will turn out not to be as rigid,

as those of the raptors,

that haunt the hallways,

looking for new ways to make the public pessimistic.

However,

as the prototype for the robot,

who ruled over us,

once said,

without the awkward dancing and meme potential of her successor,

that we British citizens,

in a free and fair society,

do not have an inalienable right to be gay.

Murder,

tax evasion,

stealing milk from kids,

and making friends with paedophiles is fine though 🙂

Margaret Thatcher has an inalienable right,

to shut the fuck up.

-x-

A Song For Venus/Girls Like Us

New York knows you.

Small stem,

to tepid titan,

coaxing the clouds,

from the sky,

and the stars to the sidewalk.

They gather,

gasping at your glow,

as you break free,

and breathe,

for the first time,

on your own terms.

Small smile,

small girl,

big dreams,

at the ball,

on the roof,

gazing at the gallant night,

that belongs to you.

Take the night.

Take the stars,

from the sidewalk,

decorate your darling face,

and walk,

walk,

walk,

to bloom,

in the blue of the morning light.

-x-

Solidarity, Until It Gets Too Sapphic

They lay their lips,

on our feminist features,

barely even a kiss,

but it’s enough to convince them,

that they’re solid in their solidarity.

Everybody says I’m a good girl,

until they notice I’ve been seen,

in Notting Hill,

a little too often,

a little late at night.

I make history,

just by falling in love,

but love is a triviality,

that blackens your image irredeemably,

apparently.

-x-

Patrick Fucking Harvie

I once heard Europe’s favourite bisexual,

(apart from myself,

obvs),

Mr Patrick Fucking Harvie,

King of the climate change debate,

well respected recycler,

and the only MSP that Donald Trump truly fears,

state,

(perhaps I am paraphrasing),

that it was time to be far less tolerant,

of intolerance.

It’s hard to disagree,

when you consider that nobody ever died,

from being told to stop calling someone a queer,

but we have lost too many of our family,

expired in an avalanche,

that built day by day.

Fag.

Queer.

Pervert.

Deviant.

Dyke.

Why does it have to be like this?

Why do we accept,

that our souls must be sacrificed,

for the sake of a homophobe’s freedom?

Why do we watch each generation,

falling as the hatred hurtles through the rainbow we wrap ourselves in?

How can we let another generation go through what we went through?

Patrick Fucking Harvie,

is both environmentally friendly,

and correct.

It is time,

to be less tolerant of intolerance,

because the kids deserve better than this.

-x-

Brandon Teena

Life tried to speak,

another existence,

decades of denial,

that decayed,

until he was standing,

saying his name,

under the starless sky,

hushed and hopeful,

that the world would echo back,

and suddenly,

the sky was so full of stars,

saying his name,

hushed and hopeful,

that he could hear them.

-x-

The Well Of Loneliness

My love for her,

was a natural,

God given state,

sent from the clouds that surrounded sunrises,

that we’d often watch,

our fingers finding each other,

in the camouflage of gentle grass,

meeting in the muted mellow moments of quiet,

when nobody could catch us,

capturing each other in a kiss.

She was bliss.

With her in my arms,

and on my mind,

the questions of my quest for fulfilment,

were finally forgotten,

and I could exist,

not divided,

divine and decidedly at peace,

knowing that I was born,

to kiss her,

full on the lips,

as a lover.

I tell you of her,

not out of joy,

dear reader,

or for the heartbreak of denying you,

(and me) a happy ending.

She is gone.

I have spent six months,

moping in the meadow,

swearing at the sunrise,

for not bringing her back when it visits.

Pouring through page after page,

of this book she recommended.

Of course,

it ended.

Whether we die,

or simply drift apart,

the gays shall always be buried.

I read The Well Of Loneliness,

to see if I could find a way,

to win back her heart,

but,

all I have is nonsensical notes,

and tear stained cheeks.

I suppose,

I’ll sail this ship alone.

-x-

Here’s To The Kids Who Wear Purple

You taught me to love,

showing me how to put familiar fondness

in the single fondant fancy I would find,

hiding in my lunch box,

alongside salad sandwiches,

that tasted of

Have a good day.”

Come home safe.”

You are the thing I have loved most,

in this wild, wide world.”

I watched you wash my clothes,

turning them from fashion to compassion,

sending me into the world each day,

wrapped in wishes that I would be wise and well,

sending me to sleep,

with stories,

soft pyjamas,

and a small nightlight made of the stars from the sky,

you always taught me was mine to aim for.

So,

why,

when I loved someone,

who loved me too,

the way you taught me,

with kindness,

selflessly,

more than I had ever loved anyone,

in this wild, wide world,

did you suddenly stop?

-x-

Celebrate Your Life

Don’t go.

That’s vague,

non committal enough to be comfortable,

but I hope you’ll see through it all,

understanding that when I am with you,

I am home.

I don’t know you.

That’s the truth,

maybe it makes this confusing,

but I hope we’ll have more summer days,

parading and praising each other,

here,

our home.

I miss them.

That’s strange to say,

but it’s true,

and I’d miss you,

though all of you are mysteries to me.

We have lost so much,

threatened by more loss every day,

so please,

come home,

and celebrate your life.

Please don’t go.

That’s a lot to ask,

it might not even be something you control.

When you bleed,

I am reeling,

my heart tied in knots,

because we are a part of each other’s pictures,

thrown together,

because people couldn’t understand us,

but we built ourselves a home.

I love you.

That’s all I have to offer you,

but if you take it,

or if you don’t,

I’ll fight for you.

Just make sure you come home,

every now and then,

so we can spend the summer days,

just living.

Celebrate your life,

celebrate what we have,

here,

built through the years,

by those who we lost,

and those who we have yet to meet.

Celebrate your life,

with me,

at home.

-x-


Read My Books

Hear My Music

Hear My Podcast

RECENT FREE CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Sad Girl’s Love Song
Drowning In Us
What Ever Happened To Baby Jen?

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Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Celebrate Your Life

Don’t go.

That’s vague,

non committal enough to be comfortable,

but I hope you’ll see through it all,

understanding that when I am with you,

I am home.

img_4886

I don’t know you.

That’s the truth,

maybe it makes this confusing,

but I hope we’ll have more summer days,

parading and praising each other,

here,

our home.

img_4887

I miss them.

That’s strange to say,

but it’s true,

and I’d miss you,

though all of you are mysteries to me.

We have lost so much,

threatened by more loss every day,

so please,

come home,

and celebrate your life.

img_4890

Please don’t go.

That’s a lot to ask,

it might not even be something you control.

When you bleed,

I am reeling,

my heart tied in knots,

because we are a part of each other’s pictures,

thrown together,

because people couldn’t understand us,

but we built ourselves a home.

img_4889

I love you.

That’s all I have to offer you,

but if you take it,

or if you don’t,

I’ll fight for you.

Just make sure you come home,

every now and then,

so we can spend the summer days,

just living.

img_4891

Celebrate your life,

celebrate what we have,

here,

built through the years,

by those who we lost,

and those who we have yet to meet.

Celebrate your life,

with me,

at home.


Read My Books

Hear My Music

Hear My Podcast

RECENT FREE CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Sad Girl’s Love Song
Drowning In Us
What Ever Happened To Baby Jen?

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Soundcloud
Instagram
Ask Jen

Facebook
Patreon

Tumblr
Amazon

Podcast
Spotify

YouTube
Email Me

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

New Patreon Content Available

Hola amigos,

Supporters of my Patreon and early release programme can now read my upcoming poetry collection, Virgin Vogue.

img_4054

Members can log in and read the collection, along with other benefits, here. 

Besos,

J x


Read My Books

Hear My Music

Hear My Podcast

RECENT FREE CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Sad Girl’s Love Song
Drowning In Us
What Ever Happened To Baby Jen?

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Soundcloud
Instagram
Ask Jen

Facebook
Patreon

Tumblr
Amazon

Podcast
Spotify

YouTube
Email Me