Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present the first official Fiona Apple song in over seven years. It’s a high quality true preview, not some video taken at some show, not some bootleg. Here’s the gorgeous Every Single Night, which proves easily that Fiona Apple is still oh so certainly on point and brilliant. It’s a quiet, lovely, and raw piece of music. The song will likely be on the upcoming June 19 album with a super long name. Are you ready for the name? Deep breath now… it’s titled “The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do”. WHEW!
It was just announced that CeCe McDonald, who was being charged with two counts of second-degree murder in an incident of self-defense, has just taken a plea-deal—second degree manslaughter with a recommended 41 month sentence. CeCe McDonald’s sentencing hearing will be in a month.
But Ms. McDonald isn’t the first young Black trans woman to be thrown in jail and aggressively prosecuted for surviving a violent attack on her life. Unfortunately, without real systematic change, she isn’t likely to be the last either.
It should be no secret that young trans women of color (TWOC) are being murdered at alarming rates. This is a social problem largely ignored by most people, including the media, the service/nonprofit sector and government. But this is something people in the affected communities can’t afford to ignore.
But attacks on the lives of TWOC don’t go without resistance, and when TWOC resist sometimes their attackers end up dead. This was the case with Ms. McDonald, but it was also the case last year with Akira Jackson, a Black trans woman currently serving a four-year sentence for “manslaughter” for stabbing her boyfriend in self-defense when he beat her with a baseball bat.
Jackson, a Detroit native, moved to the California Bay Area where she became an advocate for young TWOC. She was a Program Specialist from TLISH (Transgender Ladies Initiating Sisterhood), a transgender youth program where she spent her time counseling young women about housing, government assistance, and employment.
If Ms. McDonald and Ms. Jackson weren’t Black trans women it is likely that their cases might not have ended up differently. By being criminalized for their survival, these two women share something in common with many other women of color, including the New Jersey 4, a group of Black lesbian women who were attacked in the New York City’s West Village and later aggressively prosecuted for defending themselves. The attacker fully recovered, but the women were forced to serve time.
It’s a sad irony that we promote self-defense classes as a way of combating violence against women, yet many of the women of color, trans and cis alike, are currently imprisoned precisely because they fought back against violence in their homes and in the streets.
Too often trans and queer women of color survive violence in their homes and on the streets only to have the police, courts and prison-industrial complex come after them for having the audacity to survive in a world where, as Audre Lorde said in her poem “A Litany For Survival,” they “were never meant to survive.”
Please send a letter to CeCe while she is in jail. Let her know she has a huge amount of community support and that we are all here for her.
Public Safety Facility Chrishaun Reed McDonald #2011014667 401 South 4th Avenue Suite 100 Minneapolis, MN 55415
Inmates are not allowed to receive packages, including photographs. Packages will not be accepted and will be returned to the sender. Photographs will be removed from the envelope and returned to the inmate at the time of release. Please note that all letters sent to the jail are opened, read, and inspected by jail staff. Use good sense about what you say in your letter, and don’t write about anything that is likely to get you or anyone else in trouble with the cops.
You can also organize a letter writing party! If you live in the area, you don’t even have to worry about paying for postage-bring your letters to the drop box for at The Exchange (3405 Chicago Ave S, Mpls) and we will mail them for you.
“Is gender something people need to get? Is it something that can be quantified and assigned values and easily described? Cis people struggle to grasp what it means to be trans—not just nonbinary, but trans in general—and I’m not sure they really need to. The question for me isn’t whether people ‘understand’ gender, but whether they can be respectful about it, whether they can interact with people who are trans without treating us as something abnormal and broken and wrong. I don’t need people to ‘get’ being genderqueer to treat me with respect, to not misgender me, after all.”—Beyond the Binary: But What Does It All Mean? I Don’t Get It! (via biyuti)
I’m not shocked that Cece McDonald had to take a plea deal. Nor am I surprised that Marissa Alexander is facing serious jail time for protecting herself. Black women (cis or trans) are not allowed to defend themselves in our society. Think I’m exaggerating? Spend some time with the crime stats for black women. We’re far less likely to instigate violent confrontations, but we are far more likely to be the victims of violent attacks. And when we defend ourselves? We’re the ones who will go to jail for the crime of not being an easy victim.
Seriously. CeCe got attacked because she was trans.
i have really mixed feelings regarding this possibility; i want to honor markie, and take any opportunity to increase her influence, but i do not want to speak for markie, to silence their voice with my own, to misinterpret her or her memory. i am a male-bodied, male-identified queer who could never speak to the lived experience of any other person, let alone the incomparable life and style of someone i esteem as a true goddess. additionally, my own understanding of markie’s death and its “message” is, maybe, different from the general outrage and emotions that these events usually inspire. not that i’m not outraged (i am), not that i’m not emotional (um, hi), but for me, interpreting markie’s death means recognizing her agency, means contemplating her suicide as a defiant, freeing act, and not solely the result of desperation and depression. i believe this idea extrapolates beyond markie’s case, but these are my thoughts and opinions, and presenting on this could prove incredibly offensive.
what’s been happening on here today has really bummed me out. markie is dead, and no one can speak or think for her. markie is dead, and no one can know her better now than when she lived. markie is dead, and the dead are at our mercy. i have seen mark’s name and story used to legitimize violence and politics and vitriol and misguided tributes and hate. i think about markie every day; i think about markie uncontrollably; i am sure i annoy and depress those closest to me (i’m sorry matthew—i love you, matthew) because i can’t stop grieving—i am learning to sublimate the shock of grief to keep up appearances—i sicken myself.
i feel markie; i miss her, but i cannot know her. having connected with markie online years back, having been blessed enough to meet them in “real life”, talking with her online, by phone and by text, i saw her through tremendous growth and changes. i witnessed—we all witnessed: in this crazy, mixed-up metaphysical online space, we become close, we see each other’s lives and happenings—true wonder, beauty, and tragedies. as dear as she seemed every time she called me “sister”, as close as her reality felt, i knew nothing, NOTHING about markie. none of us did, none of us can. reflecting on the unknowable nature of and reasons for her death brought me a strange comfort when she was first gone. reflecting on her unknowable self now, i want to spit her name out of my mouth when i pray it. who am i to love her? who am i to say her name? who are you to assume anything about her? who are you to say how she feels—how she wouldfeel—
an incredible thing about markie is that she could annihilate you and your ridiculous opinions and make you feel like—no, make you realize you WERE the worst—while still communicating a selfless (and probably self-destructive) love and respect for your being. we had our arguments, we tried to tear each other apart, but we were also concerned with rebuilding and reforming in ways that were conscious-raising and mutually empowering. i respected and loved markie to the point of delusion: once she spoke about my voice being louder than hers, and i thought this was impossible. markie was a genius, markie’s words were whips. markie fucked you up—how could she be silenced? i know that markie was right, so i try to listen for her daily. that markie’s suicide was some ultimate, silencing act, is anathema to me. when i hear it, i hear an awful, laughing shriek, tear-filled, screaming, too loud to hear—too loud! when i hear her name from others’ throats, mispronounced, mistaken—i want to scratch it out—too loud to hear, so loud….
lez be real pals, i get really fucking bogged down sometimes. i have recently started to realize that having whimsical experiences and having heart connections with others are coping mechanisms form me and make me feel ‘spiritually rich’ as jessica would say. here are some examples of how i make myself feel better when shit feels hard. this list is really incomplete and will be very different for everyone, but maybe it will get your imagination flowing.
1. light sparklers and drink whiskey in the gnarled garry oaks on an eerie spring night with someone you love
2. bake a pie for someone or a group of people you really care about (preferably strawberry basil) and surprise them with it!
3. share food and love and words with others
3. don’t hang out with people if you don’t want to and try not to apologize for finding large group hangouts where only small talk is possible insufferable and shallow. invite only blanket forts are more my speed.
4. MAKE YOURSELF A BAKED DIP OF ANY KIND (you will never, ever regret this) and watch some fantasy movies (if you’ve never seen legend, start there)
5. dress up in fun outfits and go play outside. don’t be afraid of your imagination.
6. take pleasure in the beauty of nature and get as close to it as you can. i like to bird watch, or lie back and look at the clouds. i like to watch sunsets and splash in puddles and smell flowers.
7. adorn yourself with as many sparkly things as possible, take excessive vanity shots or just enjoy the way you look on your own
8. say the things that you are grateful for about yourself, your body, your loved ones out loud or write them down.
SPARKS NOTES: food, nature, love, rhinestones
“don’t be afraid of your imagination” and "don’t hang out with people if you don’t want to and try not to apologize for finding large group hangouts where only small talk is possible insufferable and shallow. invite only blanket forts are more my speed."
are so fucking important to me right now. And also like, crafting for myself feels really important right now. I love crafting for other people, but I think just taking the time to craft things for me right now feels awesome and whimsical and lovely.
Like today, I’m going to pick some lavender from outside, boil it in water with mint tea, make it into ice cubes, put the ice cubes in a bowl with hand towels, and then take a warm bath while the icy applying the lavender-mint hand towels to my face.
3D lips always look super effective and sophisticated! This is my simple tutorial of how I do a 3D lip! To create a look like this I would suggest using 3 lipsticks a light colour, a darker colour and a black or deep shade.
there is such an incredible amount of grief in my life and my communities right now
And I can’t stop having dreams about death and dying and this grief has practically destroyed me, put me in the hospital, torn apart everything in my world.
But somehow it’s also the greatest blessing I’ve ever been given.
And I’m only just starting to be able to see that. As much as this has all torn me down (is still tearing me down) I’m climbing out of that wreckage a different kind of person.
I don’t apologize for my existence so much anymore. I’m deeply invested in just being the most wonderfully repulsive bizarre ugly beautiful queeny honest conflicted hungry version of myself. My will to live rises and falls like a tide; sometimes it’s barely there at all, but it always comes flooding back up the shore, surprising me by winding it’s watery hands around my ankles and rooting me to the sandy earth. I’m admitting that I’m not okay, I’m allowing myself to ask for help, and I’m taking the help I need. I’m telling the people I love and admire that I love them, now. Not after they’re gone, or I’m gone, now.
This doesn’t mean everythings better. Or that the ~light at the end of the tunnel~ is in my line of vision. But I guess it’s just that grief is complicated, and it’s as beautiful as it is horrifying.