Creative Interventions.

 

Dean Spade’s essays, as well as the video clip discussions between Dean Spade and Reina Gossett create a vision and plan for a  “utopian” society. To me, many of their goals seemed out of reach and nearly impossible to achieve. The notion that prison systems and law-enforcement agencies should be completely abolished took me by surprise to say the least. If these institutions were brought down, what would be the punishment? Where would “dangerous” people go? As I read more and did some of my own researching, their tactic of “repairing” rather than “exiling” began to develop itself as a more concrete method.

The idea of being “Indisposable” is a constant theme throughout the discussions Spade and Gossett have. This simply put, means that everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality is “vital” to the community and to the world. Rather than exile people who have inflicted harm, their aim is to recover these vital individuals and create a space without the need for a formal prison system and police intervention. CREATIVE INTERVENTIONS, based out of Oakland, Ca. is a community program that aims to Shift the anti-violence movement away from individualized social services and criminalization towards community-based responses to violence. Creative Interventions provides tools, knowledge and PUTS THE POWER BACK IN THE INDIVIDUAL in preventing violence among many different communities. Creative interventions takes into account different realities and resources of each individual community and situation.

As recalled from the video’s, Gossett elaborates on the point that everyone should practice “ABOLITION” in everyday life. What abolition means is to prevent harm, intervenes upon and repairs harm that has been inflicted, and aims at transforming communities and relationships and stops harm and violence from passing down through generations. Practicing abolition in our daily lives will move us to a safer community and will lead us to a time when prisons and law enforcement agencies are no longer operating and inflicting harm.

Once the police are called situations shift dramatically. Gossett argues, alongside with Creative Interventions that those who are closest to you should be the ones intervening, not law enforcement or social services. Creative Interventions insists that friends and family that are closest to the individual inflicting harm have more power and impact than those (law enforcement) that are on the outside do to safely resolve the situation.

Spade laid out an important message when he claimed people look upon others as being disposable. Rather than want to help them, one usually thinks “make this get out of my sight, I don’t want to deal with this alone, I want the police to deal with this”. This is exactly what Creative Interventions is aiming to change. You do not have to go through this alone, this person is worth the time needed to heal and the police are not the ones who should be intervening, you are. You have  far more power and a greater impact in repairing this individual.

 

“Embracing the values of social justice and liberation, Creative Interventions is a space to re/envision solutions to domestic or intimate partner, sexual, family and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Creative Interventions assumes that the relationships, families and communities in which violence occurs are also the very locations for long-term change and transformation. It assumes that those most impacted by violence are the most motivated to challenge violence. It assumes that friends, family, and community know most intimately the conditions that lead to violence as well as the values and strengths which can lead to its transformation.”

http://www.creative-interventions.org

 

STOP (STORY TELLING & ORGANIZING PROJECT)

Hear and read stories from everyday people who have taken courageous and creative action to end violence. Stories range from ones from the point of view of the individual who inflicted harm and their willingness to participate in a recovery program, breaking cycles of abuse, why some rely on themselves and their community of friends before calling the police in a situation, creating and spreading the word about community outreach programs.

http://www.stopviolenceeveryday.org/

 

Creative Interventions ToolKit is guide to: help us figure out what steps we can take to address, reduce, end or even prevent violence—what we call violence intervention.

 

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Normal Life Discussion Questions

As Spade discusses in Chapter 1, during the Civil Rights movement there were laws that were passed to essentially “un-do” any sort of equality progress and  keep the status quo and re-enforce the current social system. Courts accomplished this in a few ways, namely by  “making affirmative action programs and school desegregation programs illegal because of their race consciousness. Another key tactic was creating a doctrine of anti-discrimination law that makes it almost impossible to prove discrimination.” How have current laws done the same to the transgender community to push back their rights and keep them underprivileged and robbed of “life chances”?

-How are they protected / supported from the obstacles and dangers they often face because of the imbalance? Protection from violence / sex work violence, policing, violence within prison?

 

How has the “official” gay and lesbian agenda reacted to the alternative approaches proposed by the critical queer and trans activists and organizations? Is there a need to create a balance between the two and propose new reforms that fit a broader and more collective population? Should they stay segregated because the gay and lesbian organizations have such a narrow framework and focus solely on sexual orientation? Should the prominent gay and lesbian organizations help and fight for support  of the queer and trans organizations or would they run the risk of loosing their large sponsors because their focus would then become so much broader? Are the big name sponsors willing to acknowledge the queer and trans communities and potentially fund them?

 

 

 

Bakla

As we have moved through readings and articles, we have learned of various relationships cultures share with the transgender community. Although the terms and definitions often times may overlap, they still maintain distinct details. In this way, we can look at what is regarded as filipino queerness, known as the “Bakla”. This term has particular perceived meanings, depending on what culture’s scope you are looking through.  The term “Bakla” is born from the marriage of two Tagalog words. The first, “babae” translated to english as “woman”, joins together with “lakaki”, translated as “man” to create “Bakla”. Filipino lore claims a bakla is one who posses both a male body and female heart. There are similar categories bakla spreads through and slightly different definitions of the word like hermaphrodite, transvestite, and homosexual but at the center of each variation are feminine-characteristics within a male and cross-dressing. The word represents a social category for Filipino’s. At times, some have used “Bakla” to represent Filipino “queerness” and “gay” to represent white queerness but by translating to homosexual, we loose the social implications the word bakla forces upon those who fall into its category. By being a bakla, the filipino culture places you into a specific social and economic rankings. Baklas are perceived to desire the macho man, and to do whatever it takes to get the desired subject. In this way, they have predispositions placed upon them. Their desires are dictated to them by people around them, not realized by one’s self. The Philippines have a booming prostitution industry and it is estimated that 80 percent of the population of working and lower class men have participated in sexual acts with a bakla. This caters directly to the bakla, and as a result, the bakla will prosper economically above the majority who live in poverty. Manalansan suggests “This is the social script of the bakla. In order to fulfill his inscribed roll, a bakla has to slave away at work in order to survive and get what he is told he should desire- the ‘straight’ macho man.” (Manalansan, 26) He goes on to claim the bakla, being woman must suffer  and “pseudo-woman”, their male identity, must pay.

The culture that is the bakla is just one of the many relationships a culture shares with their trans community. The bakla sheds light on a more public, yet less controversial trans community. In Manalansan’s article, he describes listening to a discussion between Ron and Rodel in which they make a point that I believe encompass’s the basis of the bakla. When Rodel asks Ron if he were going to attend the gay rights parade in New York, Ron simply replies “Why would I do that? Besides, why do people do that? What do they (these gay men) have to prove?” (Manalansan 31) The United States gay men are looked at as loud, obnoxious, referred to as a “carnival”. For the most part, the bakla community is more modest, they aren’t trying to “prove” anything. In the Philippines, they do not have to “come-out” to their friends and family as the queer community is accustomed to in the U.S. They refer to it more as an unveiling, they have been this way their whole life, they have known it, the people in their lives know it and for the most part accept it as well. Rather than feeling trapped until they voice exactly who they are, who they have been hiding they are in the United States, the bakla almost grows into their true selves. The lack of social criticism that is placed on being trans in the filipino culture emphasizes the way other cultures interact, respect and support the transgender population in their own cultures.

Fajardo’s essay further supports the acceptance and tolerance for transgender filipino’s. As she converses with male shipmates, she learns of their relationships with filipino “tomboys” and the love and respect the men feel for them. They were viewed simply as friends and loved ones, regardless of their trans identity. After reading these articles, I realized there are so many ways cultures deal with the population that lie outside of the “norm”,really any norm, whether it be gender, sexual orientation, or simply the way in which you decide to dress yourself, it fascinates me to see how one population can group people together and completely accept and respect them while another populations group the same people together and criticize their choices and preferences.

Introduction

Hi all!

I am very excited and anxious to see what comes from this class. Like I had said in our initial class meeting, I think what is going to be most rewarding for me personally is to be in an environment where I am able to ask questions on the touchy subject and receive answers and many educated opinions. I am relieved to hear that many of the students are ‘beginner” level, just as I am. I assume for the beginning of the semester I will be more quiet and more of a listener rather than a spreader, but I will gain my voice once I have the confidence in the knowledge. I look forward to a very rewarding and exciting semester.

-Erica Landuyt