I Hate Most of You, But I Still Wouldn’t Let Trump Kill You


Let me explain something to you, to all of you on the left. I hate the vast majority of you. I think your ideologies are stupid and that half the time you are acting as the oppressor. Every single leftist connected group and organization has does something actively horrible and oppressive, personally, to me over the last 28 years. But if Trump tries to oppress you, I still consider it my responsibility to try to stop it the best I can, because that’s what a real leader does.

I ain’t Mexican but if Trump comes for Mexican people I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let him come for the Mexican people I love, and if you don’t have anyone who fits that demographic that you love, maybe you are the problem.

I ain’t queer but if Trump comes for queer people, I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let him come for the queer people that I love and if  you don’t feel that way about people you claim to love, maybe you are part of the problem.

I ain’t black but if Trump comes for black people, I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and let him do that shit on my watch without any opposition. You don’t come for people I love without my fighting like hell for you.

I have people I love in every marginalized group in the leftist coalition and I have since I was a kid and we fucking look out for each other. He comes for one of us, he comes for all of us.

But even if I didn’t have people that I loved in these categories, even if I hadn’t experienced poverty and gender violence and oppression firsthand, I would still fight anyone who would seek to hurt other human beings because that is the right thing to do. It is just the right thing to do. Everything I have ever done in social justice has been for someone else. I did not benefit in any tangible way from starting FLIP. I alienated myself socially, professionally, and personally defending the marginalized. I have a list of actual physical beatings I have taken for other people and injuries I’ve endured defending the defenseless. I did this stuff while I was homeless, while I was sick, while I was myself being tortured and abused. I don’t do any of this shit for me or what I can get out of it and I sure as fuck don’t do it for my mental health. This is service, if you aren’t willing to do it, that’s fine. This isn’t for everyone and I respect that, but if you call yourself a leader then the first thing you need to learn is that it isn’t about you. If your work costs you nothing, I doubt it is as subversive as you think it is.


I don’t stand in solidarity with specific groups or ideologies. I don’t have particularly strong affinities for any of your parties or for the work that most of the left does. I’ve never had a home on the left, and the left has done almost as much to oppress me as the conservatives. I do my work in solidarity with the people and the children. If you can’t handle doing that, it’s not something I would brag about and it certainly isn’t a legitimate policy position for a movement to have.


And before you lecture me about self care, I don’t want to hear it. I’ve been going through a hell that none of you can even imagine over the last month and I have still managed to be strategic and thoughtful in my organizing. Let me tell you about some memories that I’ve been battling over the last month and half since Trump has been elected and you guys have been whining about the mourning you still have to while giving a fascist advanced warning of terrorist acts that you half-assedly planned. I’ll name just three, but there are more. 1) It turns out that my family has tried to kill me on four separate occasions all occurring before the age of 13, two of which happened when I was an infant. 2) When I was 9, I was so violently raped by my father as punishment for resisting his advances that I needed 6 stitches in my vagina. My own mother helped him cover it up. 3) I was trafficked as a child more than once , at least as early as 8.

I’ve been spending the last month and half processing all of that while listening you guys whine and complain and give privilege lectures, and you guys can’t even be bothered to properly plan things so that you don’t screw over the working class with your bullshit. So look, if you don’t want to stand in solidarity with all childhood trafficking victims, and everyone who has gone hungry and anyone who might be the target of state repression, then fine. Now you are corroborating with the oppression of others. And if you are doing that, frankly, I’m not terribly interested in your help or your opinion about anything.

Don’t you think it works to Trump’s interest if we are constantly doing this to each other? They are planning for us to do this and you are playing right into their hands. Divide and conquer is a very old strategy indeed. But you guys aren’t actually interested in doing anything to stop him are you? Because you live in a magical land where the consequences never affect you and where the working class will take all of the bullets for you anyway. You’ve lived there for so long that you can’t even properly plan basic safety tips for a protest during a Republican administration. We don’t need more “leaders” who put their own needs first. We don’t need more “leaders” who expect other people to act as their cannon fodder or pawns. That is not good leadership, that is childish. This is service. You are here to serve. If you are not here to serve then WE DON’T NEED YOU. You are no good to us until you get the ability to make decisions that will put other people’s needs first. Social justice is not a brand. It is not a t-shirt you put on or something you wear when it is convenient. Social justice is about liberating the actual people who aren’t free yet, and if you have the luxury to say, “I won’t be disciplined and thoughtful enough to do what is needed to free the most people that I can” or “I won’t be adult enough to put aside my own feelings for the good of others in the name of liberation” then I don’t know what form of imprisonment you’ve experienced but it was very different from the one I experienced.

When you are hungry, there is no room for error.

When they can and do torture you, there is no room for error.

When the consequence is death, there is no room for error.

When rape is a form of punishment, there is no room for error.

You sure as fuck don’t make mistakes because you are too lazy to plan if it means someone is going to kill you, what is even more monstrous is to make these mistakes on someone else’s behalf when the consequences don’t affect you. Do you know what it is like to be threatened with someone else’s pain and to offer to take the beating instead? I do.

My bottom line is this:  all this theoretical bullshit was fine when it was on your college campuses and no one was getting hurt. But if you become a reason that people might get hurt, even if it’s because you are incompetent instead of just straight evil, then you are right that we aren’t in solidarity with each other. Because I consider you part of the problem and you can either get your shit together or else you can find out just how fiercely I fight on behalf of the oppressed.

Here’s something I know about all of you, you hit like a bitch.



The Feminist Who Took His Name


Since entering my late twenties, my Facebook feed, and general social life has been inundated with a series of articles and questions shaming me for whatever it is that I am doing as a woman. And there is a difference between close friends asking about my life and random people I don’t know thinking my body and life is somehow public property. People keep asking me to justify my choices while I’m just trying to get some froyo and do my grocery shopping. And if it’s not enough that I have to justify to the people that don’t think my choices/ behavior/demeanor / attitude /intelligence are appropriately femininely, I have to justify them to the people who seem to think a gold star gets handed out every time you make some choice that defies gender stereotypes, authentically or no. So I’m a very bad feminist when I bake cookies, but if I do physics, I’m going to die alone or something. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t. So I was originally going to keep my mouth shut about one of the choices I didn’t want to have to talk about, but then articles telling me that I was letting my husband oppress me because I took his name kept popping up in my feed and being real seems to be the only way to ever to get people to stop asking prying questions.


So yes, I did take my husband’s last name when I got married. No it’s not because I don’t care about feminism.


The reason I took my husband’s last name is because I grew up in the kind of home where no one knows who your siblings are because you all have different last names, and the first day of school is always torturous because someone inevitably reveals that fact the minute your name is called, which is sort of like wearing a badge that says, “broken home” on it. The person whose name is listed on my birth certificate once held a gun to my head while I was an infant, so I could continue to bear the name of my very real oppressor or I could change it. So I did, at the end of college. But it never felt right, because it didn’t solve the problem of my feeling somehow separate from the people I called family because my last name happened to be different. So when I got a shot at a fresh start and a new name, I took it. I took it even though I read those articles and even though I’ve read a lot of feminist literature. Because for me, my last name has been a marker of oppression my entire life so I don’t have fond associations with it or a strong identity attached to it. It’s changed like six times in my life already because of re-marriages and such, whereas my husband feels extremely attached to his name.


The practical reality of the names is this: it actually really does make your life a lot more difficult to have a different name than the rest of your family, and when you marry you are creating a new family (and if you aren’t comfortable with that fact, know that the institution is not mandatory). Marriage itself has patriarchical roots, but most of us will do it anyway because we fall in love and because it has practical implications, like the fact that I can now visit my husband on his deathbed because I’m his wife and legally they can’t tell me no. Or the fact that we can’t be legally compelled to testify against each other when the inevitable purge happens.


You could just as easily take the women’s name, or if you are same sex, one side’s name, I don’t really care. Different cultures do it differently. And if hyphenating or making up a new name for your family works for you, that’s awesome, too, though I’ll ask you to consider what happens when two hyphens fall in love. This isn’t about my gender identity. My husband was attached to his name and I wanted to get rid of mine. So from the outside this looked like a very conventional and conservative choice, but it was rooted in several conscious decisions made between two free thinking people. We had long, thought out, adult conversations about it, like we do about all things because we are two smart and highly verbal people. If roles had been reversed, you’d talk about how progressive and cool my husband is (and believe me, he deserves it for a million other reasons).


Now some people keep their names for professional reasons and that’s cool, but I’ve already changed my names several times in life and I’ve found that people adjust. Plus that concern didn’t override the deep emotional concerns and practical concerns that have haunted me my whole life.


The point here is that institutions are fluid, relative and they mean whatever we decide they mean and in a pluralistic society, they will mean different things to different people at different times. My husband’s last name is not the symbol of oppression that my last name is because that’s how I’ve experienced the world. We should all come together and say, “sister, do you and I will back you to the end of hell and back” about literally every stupid thing we are going to get judged about. That would be true liberation and self actualization or at minimum it would cut down on the number of times people are rude and hurtful in social gatherings about things that are none of their business.


My name has changed. If for some reason, you don’t like using Mrs. Raffin, you may still call me Heather. Or the artist formally known as Ms. Charles. Oh Captain my captain is one I’ve always been fond of. Or Helessi which is obviously a combination of Khalessi and Heather. Whatever you are comfortable with.


I got married. I didn’t have a lobotomy.