Discussion Questions!

Still at the Back of the Bus – Discuss Questions:

1. According to Gan Sylvia Rivera “contextualized political praxis, informed by her life experiences, both resisted and provisionally while simultaneously resisting reductive definition”. What is your opinion on this statement after reading the article and from what we have learned throughout the course?

2. As I was reading the article by Gan I found the comparison of Rivera to Rosa Parks to be very interesting. Do you believe that Rivera acts during the Stonewall riots are in fact comparable to Rosa Parks and the boycott in Montgomery Alabama during the struggle against segregation?

3. After reading the article, I was very intrigued by Sylvia Rivera and being a transgender woman of Puerto Rican descent but did anyone else feel that Gan almost made it seem that Rivera was the beginning of the trans liberation movement? I may be wrong but I wanted to get other opinions of this as well. After reviewing the notes the Dewey lunch counter sit in took place prior to Rivera


Still at the Back of the Bus – Discuss Questions:


1. According to Gan Sylvia Rivera “contextualized political praxis, informed by her life experiences, both resisted and provisionally while simultaneously resisting reductive definition”. What is your opinion on this statement after reading the article and from what we have learned throughout the course?

2. As I was reading the article by Gan I found the comparison of Rivera to Rosa Parks to be very interesting. Do you believe that Rivera acts during the Stonewall riots are in fact comparable to Rosa Parks and the boycott in Montgomery Alabama during the struggle against segregation?

3. After reading the article, I was very intrigued by Sylvia Rivera and being a transgender woman of Puerto Rican descent but did anyone else feel that Gan almost made it seem that Rivera was the beginning of the trans liberation movement? I may be wrong but I wanted to get other opinions of this as well. After reviewing the notes the Dewey lunch counter sit in took place prior to Rivera.

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.”




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.



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.


Discussion Questions for Bassichis, Lee, and Spade, “Building an Abolitionist Trans and Queer Movement With Everything We’ve Got”

1. How do Bassichis, Lee, and Spade describe the “dramatic shift in priorities” within the LGBT movement- between the “official” gay rights agenda and the radical queer/trans transformative organizing- and how does it relate to their critique of marriage equality rights as a way to address inequalities?


2. What are some of the radical lineages, movements which challenge the United States exploitation of marginalized communities, that have “nurtured and guided” transformative branches of queer and trans organizing towards the liberation of intersectional identities?


3. What’s the difference bettween “trickle-down” equality politics and radical “justice” politics, and what is the argument for “trickle up” social change as a transfomative solution??


Such a good article!

Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP)



Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) has been a grass roots project from beginning to future. It was organized by hundreds of community members who’ve committed their time and energy to the organization over the past 21 years. In a city that is rapidly changing to cater to the one-percent at every level, CAMP is one of the last remaining truly punk venues in San Francisco. The project is in constant dialogue, continuously involved in a struggle of expression that plays out in a vibrant conversation down its length. Some of this dialogue includes protests against domestic violence, war and aggression, or is in support of transgender activism.

In 2012 a mural by artist Tanya Wischerath honoring trans women activists was just unveiled on Clarion Alley. The mural features images of youth activist Mia Tu Mutch, recently deceased community advocate Alexis Rivera, Janetta Louise-Johnson, and Tamara Ching.

 Wischerath inscribed this dedication on the wall beside the mural:

The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This incident was one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Although San Francisco continues to lead in the struggle for equal rights for the LGBTQI community, trans women are often left behind and in the fight for visibility. This mural is a dedication to the work of just a few trans activists out of many who have tirelessly committed themselves to paving the way for a more just, accepting, and righteous San Francisco.

“Painting this was humbling in all respects, and the work these women are doing and have been doing for a long time is bigger than one mural,” Wischerath told the Guardian in an email interview. The mural focuses on activists who are close to the Bay Area community for a more immediate feel, and was inspired by the fierce queens in Paris is Burning, a 1990 documentary of ball culture in New York.

I related this project back primarily to Jessi Gan’s piece, Still at the Back of the Bus. Sylvia Rivera, a combatant at the 1969 Stonewall Inn Riots, played a major role in sparking the contemporary lesbian and gay rights movement. Gan writes, “some formulations of queer and transgender politics assert the signal importance of visibility” (Gan 297). The stonewall riots are representative of trans people “opting to break the silence” in a way that challenges gender normativity. It is celebrated as queer and trans people “coming out” in a quest for “freedom.” The narrative of the Stonewall Riots and of Sylvia Rivera’s experiences as a trans person of color encourages questions relating to visibility and how that visibility is influenced by power and privilege. Tanya Wischerath’s mural is similar to the Stonewall riots in the sense that it gives a positive form of visibility to the transgender activists it celebrates. However, Rivera’s experiences show that queer/trans visibility “is not a simple binary; multiple kinds of visibilities, differentially situated in relation to power, intersect and overlap peoples lives” (Gan 297). Rivera’s story also shows that relations to power as well as location, influence queer/trans visibility. Institutions of power project gendered and racialized meanings onto people, which means that not all spaces will be accepting of various forms of identity.

SF Mural Arts Website


IGLYO-International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organization


Sylvia River’s 

Sylvia Rivera, a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and a persistent voice for the rights of people of color and low-income queer and trans people, SRLP started providing free legal help to trans New Yorkers in 2002. Since then, SRLP has used precedent-setting litigation, policy reform work, public education and direct services to address the myriad issues facing trans communities and provided help to thousands of people in crisis. SRLP’s work has changed the conversation about trans rights, putting poverty and racism at the center, and building awareness about the dangers trans people face in prisons, jails, immigration systems, foster care and homeless shelters.


IGLYO is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation. IGLYO is a network gathering LGBTQ youth and student organisations in Europe and beyond. It is run for and by young people.


Their Vision:

IGLYO’s vision is a world where we, young people in all our diversity, are able to express and define our own sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions without discrimination, violence or hatred. We work for a world where we can participate without limitation in our lives and communities, so we can rise to our full potential, enjoying respect, celebration and Positve Recognition.

Their Mission:

Run by young people, for young people, IGLYO is an international membership-based umbrella organisation that aims to empower and enable its Members to ensure representation of LGBTQ youth and student issues. IGLYO’s approach promotes cooperation and joint strategies, and often advocates on behalf of Members to international bodies, institutions and other organisations.

What I liked about this organiztion is that in 2007 IGLYO started publishing a quarterly periodical called IGLYO On… which provides thematic information for LGBTQ youth and students organisations in their fight for equality and justice.

The fact that IGLYO On is written by volunteers it enables young people across Europe to contribute their perspective to the LGBTQ movement. The publication is distributed to all member organisations and partners and is published online and in print four times a year.

Undertaken on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2009, the IGLYO memories project is an initiative to celebrate the organization’s unique and vibrant history of LGBTQ youth activism.



Discussion Questions: Reading 1) Shuttling Between Bodies & Borders/ Reading 2) Silhouettes of Defiance

1) In the reading Shuttling Between & Borders, Shakhsari discusses how the refugees from Iran are forced to have a SRSs in order to prevent homosexuality. The individuals are  able to receive a new birth certificate, passport, etc. My question is, if these individuals are forced to have a SRSs (even though some may not want to), what is the point of having these individuals change their sex if their still face with social harassment, job discrimination and violence ?


2) In the reading Silhouettes of Defiance, Gossett discusses relevance of the Stonewall riots in New York as well as discusses the major event of Compton’s Cafeteria Riot where violence was conducted by the police. Gosset mentions that there are no transgender or racialized bodies before or after Stonewall. Gosset say they are discarded in the process of legitimizing white homonormative history. The Compton’s Riot is a important event that is relevant to transgender to history. Will transgender history ever be relevant and will always be covered by the white homonormative history?


S.V.A (Stonewall Veterans Association)

For my presentation I am working off the reading we did for class which was by Che Gossett called Silhouettes of Defiance.  It basically covers a few of the historical sites of queer and transgender resistance.  Stonewall was an example of this resistance so I thought it was perfect to relate the reading to its main focus and choose the S.V.A.

The S.V.A is an association that’s sole purpose is to help all veterans that were involved in the stonewall riots of 1969.  None the less they help many others that are part of the LBGT community


Even though the Stonewall Rebellion took place in 1969 — not 1869 — the rebellion was not photographed or filmed by the media because they deemed it “unimportant”.  Unless a treasure trove of forgotten images is one day unearthed, there will be endless speculation of what exactly occurred during those five, inconsecutive, steamy nights and early morning hours.  We must preserve the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (“GLBT”) heritage we have before it is significantly and irrevocably lost!

The STONEWALL Veterans’ Association (“S.V.A.”) positively and proudly represents Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender (“GLBT”) history and culture.  The Executive Committee of the S.V.A. consists exclusively of actual participants in the historic 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.  The S.V.A. focuses our multi-dimensional and diverse organization as a viable group of Gay men, Lesbian women, Bi folks and Transgender people.  We strive for the facts and challenge the inaccuracies.

 The S.V.A. delivers the following:

 (1) education

 (2) community-building

 (3) support

(4) communication

 (5) outreach as our primary purposes.

 Therefore, to educate, for example, we provide, on a regular and reliable basis, unquestionably unique, invaluable and factual information to individuals, groups, public officials, organizations and institutions via various means including mailings, phone calls, promotions and guest speakers.  An expanded purpose under our rainbow umbrella of support consisits of homecare assistance, legal advice and financial support to help keep all of the actual Stonewall veterans active, healthy and united.


Ensure that the STONEWALL Vetrerans’ Association continues to be a significant, visible and activist force in the New York City area and far beyond.

Allocate funds to assist Veterans of the Stonewall Rebellion who are indigent and need financial assistance with shelter, medical care, utilities, food, transportation, etc.

Creation of a free or low-cost food/clothing collective for the needy in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (“GLBT”) communities.

Preserve our colorful and varied history by updating our archives consisting of videos and audio tapes and, of course, photographs and images of Stonewall Veterans and other notables of the GLBT communities.

Maintain a consistent, strong, persistent and unified voice in politics and the media.




The S.V.A. is registered with the State of New York Charities Bureau.


“Search” enter:  STONEWALL Veterans’ Association or S.V.A.


SVA relates so perfectly with the course during this time we are talking about history and resistance for queer and transgender. It was interesting for me to find the SVA and see how recent and long they have kept their association together they still have meetings today and are constantly trying to help support any LBGT members of their community.

I think this organization helps illustrate our course discussion very well.  It lets us take a view into something that I don’t know too much about and has really opened my eyes that even though there are so many organizations and events referring to the LQBT community there is still a long way to go with not only their rights but being heard.

For more information:




Discussion Questions for Richard M. Juang’s “Transgendering the Politics of Recognition”

1. Juang argues that discussions of transgender issues are kept separate from transphobia, heterosexism, racism, ethnocentrism and Eurocentrism, and that this misrepresents how oppressive forces intersect in practice.  While this is very true, do you think that the reason these issues are discussed separately is to target a single issue more directly in order to achieve direct solutions, such as specific laws and legislation?


2. The concept of “social death” was something we discussed in class in regards to Joss and Coleman Moody and their situations in Scotland.  Juang describes Tyra Hunter’s tragedy with the EMT as social death as well.  In what other areas and issues within our society does this term apply?  Do those areas intersect with these issues of racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. as well?


3. There was a very similar overwhelming feeling that crept over me while reading through this article to how I felt when watching the video in class with David Spade.  There are so many intersecting issues…what is the most logical place to start reformation?  




 The two most recent readings in class have been about a more radical form of trans* activism, that includes not only the plight of transgender individuals but anyone who doesn’t directly benefit or fit into the current system as it exists.

For my presentation I chose GATE or Global Actions for Trans* Equality. My reason for choosing GATE is not necessarily because I think it represents the all encompassing abolition movement discussed in Spade and Juang’s articles, but because it is the first tans* activism site to come up. I find this interesting because while GATE does operate on a grassroots level, work for the decriminalization of sex work, as well as feel excluded and unrepresented by the most prominent LGBT organizations their approach appears different. For example one of their goals include lobbying, which is much more trying to appeal to the system as it exists. GATE’s focus is predominately for trans* individuals and does not discuss the “subjection” of all individuals who do not fit the privileged white male identity.


– Believes that the respect and celebration of gender diversity is an integral part of a society that is based on the fulfilment of human rights.

– Aims to protect the Human Rights of trans* people worldwide.

– Works for the empowerment and self-determination of all trans* people and aims to increase the visibility and respect of all trans* people.

– Opposes the continued exotisation of trans* people and the persistent pathologisation of gender variance as a mental disorder.

– Works to combat the violence, discrimination and unequal treatment experienced by trans* people.

– Regional and international lobby on trans* issues

– Help build trans* movements and structures in all parts of the world

– Make critical knowledge and resources available to trans* activists”

GATE seems to have a heavy emphasis on the removal of trans* from the list of mental disorders. This was very interesting to me, because while we have touched on it it has not been a major discussion in the class as far as the necessity to remove trans* identification from the list. GATE argues that:

Trans* pathologization affects different communities in different ways, but its effects are always devastating. The diagnostic classification of trans* people as mentally disordered is, even today, a legal requirement in many countries to grant legal recognition of a gender identity when it varies from the sex assigned at birth. In many countries, the same classification is required in order to control trans* people’s access to gender affirming procedures (such as surgery and hormones) and to ensure, where possible, their coverage. Moreover, those diagnoses that pathologize us have been, and are still used, to promote and justify human rights violations, including forced institutionalization and treatment without consent (such as conversion therapies). The current identification of trans* existence as pathological affects negatively the realization of our right to health in different ways: in order to avoid the harm caused by pathologization many trans * people prefer to avoid accessing all forms of health care; additionally, trans* people’s real health needs are diminished or ignored in the context of a biomedical system obsessed with diagnosing, treating and “curing” our gender identity and expression. This dynamic is particularly damaging, for example, at the intersection of trans* pathologization and the HIV response.”

  GATE’s argument in this regard seems very relevant to many of the concerns discussed in our class thus far, especially the process that many trans* individuals must undergo in order to receive access to gender affirming procedures.In the beginning of Juang’s article he discusses the definition and desire to achieve justice within a liberal democracy, an idea we are somewhat sold as citizens. GATE has a similar desire for trans* individuals to be represented, and seems to operate as an organization to aid small grassroots communities in their goals by giving access to information and finding funding. To quote a press release by GATE:

“All around the world, trans* and intersex people face fierce discrimination, ceaseless violence and incalculable ridicule because of who we are. We also face barriers in pursuing education, obtaining health care and receiving fair treatment by police and other authorities,” said Justus Eisfeld, co-director of GATE. “While a small number of foundations and donors understand that trans* and intersex communities need support as we advocate for justice, most do not. We urge other donors to take up this opportunity to advance human rights and fund our movements.”  

Their reflection on the needs to remove the barriers that deny trans* individuals education, health care, and equal protection from police and authorities are relevant to Juang’s discussion of individuals such as S. and Tyra, both who were denied these privileges associated with citizenship. With further reading I discovered Susan Stryker to be on the international advisory board, who I believe we have all come to accept as a reliable source. At the same time I cannot help but think critically of the multicultural/global approach of activism, as discussed in Juang’s article, how can trans* rights be synonymous worldwide if the definition of trans* isn’t necessarily translatable itself? GATE does have representatives and advisors worldwide, so perhaps these differences are discussed and understood. I find the activism work of Spade to be a more revolutionary plight, as it focuses on all systems of oppression, and all individuals involved, and works at a local level trying to bring justice and alter systems as they exist here in America. At the same time the work of GATE to recognize the exclusion of trans* individuals from existing systems, and the dangers of labeling transgender as a mental disorder are relevant and important steps in the world of trans* activism as we have discussed and identified in the classroom, and unlike hate crime legislation, G.A.T.E focuses on raising the state of living for trans* people instead of being transfixed on their death.

Currently GATE is trying to advocate for the rights of Monica Jones, who was wrongfully accused of sex work and arrested and harassed by police.  ” Action is planned to show we won’t  tolerate systematic profiling and criminalization of transgender people of color and sex workers” To quote Monica:

Ms. Jones states, “I believe I was profiled as a sex worker because I am a transgender woman of color, and an activist. I am a student at ASU, and fear that these wrongful charges will affect my educational path. I am also afraid that if am sentenced, I will be placed in a men’s jail as a transgender woman, which would be very unsafe for me. Prison is an unsafe place for everyone, and especially trans people.

This is very relative to our discussions and readings that reference the systematic violence and exclusion that exists in the current situation. The intersectionality of race and gender is apparent in the situation of Ms.Jones as she is being persecuted for both. Thus I think it is more effective to rally for the complete reconstruction of systems as they currently exist to be inclusive of the issues that challenge every group not included in the idnetity the current systems where intended for.

Link to GATE :