Today I finished my last exam for my first semester of law school. It was intense. I mean, an entire semester of law school. I learned a lot about myself in the process. And that disgusting and wholly racist anti-sex work bill is now law which is even grosser than I could imagine. A lot of tears came out of that process, beginning in January of this year. I am hoping to start on a new project for 2015. My beautiful friend has talked about non-violent communication and I am interested in learning more about that method of communication. From what I’ve heard about it so far, it sounds useful in a law school context, especially for my dispute resolution classes I will have next term.
Aside from being done my exams and all, I cried today, but not for reasons that you imagine.
I was crossing the main intersection before the bridge on my walk home. It is a busy intersection. Right downtown. I didn’t even try to hide my tears. I am tired of crying. Hiding my tears. This time I didn’t even give a fuck who saw me crying or what they thought of me. Maybe they saw the crazy Indian woman walking across the road with messy hair under a red toque (so Canadian) in zebra-like print tights. I don’t fuckin care.
My mom was telling me about Lain and his schooling. He is four and in junior kindergarten. I miss him dearly. So I try to call home and talk to him… almost every day. He doesn’t talk much on the phone but it still is nice to hear his voice and hear him get excited about whatever is on his mind at moment. Legos. Trains. Zoey (his cat). His snacks.
On the day before my first exam, Lain said “Chase is on the case!” in the most delighted voice. Then immediately said “see ya!” He is always on the go. Plus it was so nice to hear his voice. I immediately got out of bed, filled with energy. I asked mom to have Lain say hello to me tomorrow (today) before my last exam because I like hearing his voice before my exams. It reminds me why I am here: for him, for other young Indigenous peoples, for future Indigenous peoples.
It’s tough being alone out here. I mean, I have a great group of friends, but nothing compares to being surrounded by your family.
After I had lunch with a friend, I started walking home. That was when I decided to call my mom. I asked my mom how Lain was: Did he go to school? This morning he said he “didn’t decide yet” if he was going to school today. He sounded down. He definitely wasn’t “Chase is on the case” today. Then again, he isn’t a morning person (funny for a four year old). So I asked my mom how school was for him. My mom disclosed to me that he was having a hard time at school, that there were a group of boys bugging him and calling him a “girl” for his long hair. I immediately started to tear up and grow angry.
I knew this was going to happen to him. I just fuckin knew it.
He wears his hair in long beautiful braids. Sometimes strangers think Lain is a girl. Hello hetero/cisnormativity! You can fuck right off.
The thing that gets me the most is that, here I am in law school and you know, you think people would be somewhat enlightened or at least progressed past their racist bullshit but they aren’t…
If you are Native, be careful about talking about your lived experiences. And just because you think you are Aboriginal, don’t think you can run your mouth (this last one was actually stated to me directly in written form).
There have been times in class, out of class, in the law school building at times where I overhear or I am apart of conversations that actually are hugely problematic.
I don’t say anything. I can’t say anything. I didn’t feel safe enough to call people out on their bullshit. The only time that I did call someone out on their whorephobic bullshit was when I was the only one in the room at that time.
Let me just say something real quick about this: It’s okay to hate sex work really. It’s okay. Nobody will hate you. You won’t go to hell for hating sex work(ers). Sometimes even sex workers hate their work. But it’s not okay to spew misogynistic vitriol just because someone takes their clothes off for a living and touches other people while naked or lets other people touch them. If you boil it down to the basic argument that is being made, that’s all that whorephobia is… misogyny/transmisogyny. If the argument is that the majority of sex workers are women and that’s why the industry should be abolished, then you have to get rid of sex workers before you can save the women. I mean all the women who are willing to be saved…the repentant whore, the “good” women. But strippers? Disgusting. Porn stars? Disgusting. Sex workers? Disgusting. Get rid of them at all cost and any costs! Disgusting. Disgusting. Disgusting. Can we just stop being (trans)misogynistic already with this anti-sex work bullshit? Kthnxbai.
So, back to my nephew, a four year old, being called a girl because he wears his hairs in braids. Some will say, “Oh it’s just kids being kids” or sometimes the more gentler one, “that’s bullying!” While yes it is bullying, this whole discussion around bullying needs to be more nuanced than that.
Bullying is sometimes the site for racist, (trans)misogynistic bullshit. Who cares if he was a girl? Or wanted to be a girl? Who cares if he has long hair? Who the fuck cares! A lot of young Indigenous children have long hair. Our hair is our identity. And in case you didn’t know, those who told their experiences while in residential school note that they were forced to have their hair cut short. So, wearing our hair long, it’s us, it’s apart of indigeneity.
I know they are kids but I know it will get worse. It will get worse as they grow older. The anti-indigenous racism will not only come from your peers but also your teachers. I know this because I still experience it while I am in law school. This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced anti-indigenous racism within the context of my education and I know it won’t be my last. But I hope one day that it won’t be a reality for my nephew.