Barefoot On Stone

Guest post by Milton Goosby 


The “black queer” cannot claim an ontology outside of blackness….
The “black queer,” then, is a catachresis. The problem I am laying out here is not merely the impossibility of folding the black queer into humanity (humanism) or the ‘community’ of objects (internal exclusion), but whether the injury directed at this being is registered as anti-blackness at all. The prevailing problem is that the injury sustaining this catachresis is so incomprehensible that it is doubly erased, and this is what I will call

‘onticide.’
– Calvin Warren

Onticide

Afro-pessimism, Queer Theory and Ethics

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I am a nonmonogamous, enby, queer black fugitive. Love and acceptance, as it has been taught from a colonized perspective, damn sure don’t love and accept me.
Accepting my queerness has taken all my adult life. Being accepted is a work in progress. I don’t fit within the greater LGBT community with ease.
I have passing privilege, am male presenting, older. I also have two biracial children with my white, transmasculine, nonbinary nesting partner. As neither of us pass we are coded as a straight, albeit strange couple. We have to orbit the nebulous prefixation that has bound the gay community into particulars.
Daily shedding the sickly skin of misogynoir, battling to use the perception of my masculinity and the privilege it affords to provide space for my newfound non-men, NB and transguy comrades, I have effectively alienated myself from most of my long time friends.
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Bodies, Space, and Spectrum IV (unfiltered)

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This was expected, still I worried over the idea of losing that acceptance once I decided to be more public about being queer. I worried about the silence from my family turning to ostracization. I worried that excising pieces of myself meant the whole of me sliding into Oblivion.
I discovered that my various intersections all ran amok of what is acceptable.
Unspoken hierarchies became clear. I discovered that my relationship status along with my presentation was subject to scrutiny. I understand and agree wholeheartedly, considering our perilous relationship with Eurocentric settler Socialism and state violence.
We speak on it through social media daily. The multitude sings to keep the fire going.
I continue to do the work, putting all my energies into writing missives that will stoke these radical fires already burning. Not tossing my relationship around as if it, in itself, is an act of resistance.
Blessings to the myriad, majestic, multitude of bodies that push at the boundaries of queerness.
Gender, like love as we know it, is a spector of colonial settler politics.
Disidentifying with the stereotypes that have been used to ground white male fears about black super masculinity has made me even more vulnerable to the fractitious machinations that are currently rooted in capitalism. Side note, I gladly revel in the strength of my ancestors. My presentation has not changed all that much throughout my life Revelations.
While dodging the hunt at each turn, I have also learned to glide, strut, stay sexy, speak what I know, shut up and listen, love the multitude, be unapologetic about my stance.
I seek to distangle the self from colonized gender perspectives. A spiritual and psychological reformation that will allow me to reconnect with the ancestral norms that Eurocentric supremacy has effectively erased.
Black queerness for me means a heightened state of awareness. I’m not a placeholder for fetishes, affirmation of the merits of how well I can integrate into society.
This society was not built to accommodate or contain me. My very potential is a threat.
Blackness as negation of whiteness. Queer outside the bounds of acceptable or easily categorized blackness.
And I’m good with that.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Milton Goosby is a queer, pansexual, self gender disavowing author, parent and partner.
He loves unabashedly, is a sometime gamer who enjoys hard sci-fi and being black af. You can often catch him online, walking his two toddlers up to the local Bodega for snacks and Redbox or waxing philosophical.

Keep up with Milton’s work via his public Facebook page or his blog Confessions of an Urban Shaman.
You can become a patron or make a one time contribution via PayPal.

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When We Aren’t Socially Acceptable Disabled People Anymore

Our American white colonizer culture loves a plucky underdog story. We swoon over stoic suffering. We adore an inspiring boot strap story about a person who overcomes great adversity to succeed in an emotionally satisfying mainstream way. 

But what happens when our suffering isn’t sexy and silent? When we aren’t productive “enough”? What happens when we aren’t getting better? When we struggle, flailing, desperate for some sort of support? What happens when we don’t know how to reach out or build the “right” sort of connection? 

I’m far from the first person to ask these questions. 

As disabled people we are given both more room to be imperfect, and listened to more intently, the more intersections of privilege we hold. That means that I get more room and grace from the abled people around me than my disabled peers who carry intersections of oppression I do not. It should be common knowledge that IBPOC, especially black non-men are given no room in our dominant white culture to be human, to struggle. This lack of acknowledgement doesn’t end or magically disappear with the disability community. We are not absolved of our racism or anti-blackness because of our, or their, proximity to disability.  This is something that we white disabled people should never forget or gloss over. 

How does this cultural expectation for graceful silent suffering impact me personally? It’s isolating. 

I don’t know who or how to talk to people anymore. I lack a conversational template for reaching out to casual friends. When my social role seems to be support person or advice giver as far as I can tell most of the time? When everyone misgenders me as older woman, team mom if you will, and we all know what moms are for. How to talk to people when all I have is sadness and negative self image to talk about? who wants that? who can I subject to the pain of standing next to me while I drag them down. 

Even knowing that isn’t an accurate assessment of the situation, how to undo a lifetime of being told that my expression of feelings or discomfort were an undue burden on the people around me, exhausting, vampiric, a sign of my inherent weakness? 

I don’t really have an answer. I know I am struggling. I know I have said all this before. I know it is difficult for me to let my guard down and let people in, that it is equally hard for me to feel worthy of or safe with letting others see or carry any of my pain. I know that it is my normal to feel like this in the winter when I’m so sick and not even able to go out for errands, as my already small life shrinks further. 

But I also know that if I can’t do it for myself, my children, nesting partner, and beloved connections do not deserve to be solely taxed by my emotional luggage when I’m unable to carry it on my own anymore. 

That means learning to feel more safe with vulnerability, I think…or something like that. It means…It means continuing to dismantle the internalized ableism in my head that tells me that I am not worthy of life or love if I am not able to be productive. It means pushing myself to keep struggling at growing and being even when I want to curl up in a ball forever. 

It means I deserve to live. 

It means you do too. 

Still Sorta Reeling

or survival in a universe where we are officially told not to exist in a million different ways

I’m not sure what to say anymore honestly. We work really hard to make ends meet. America keeps doing what it has always done and stomping on anyone and everyone it can. 

I have a lot of nightmares now about what will happen to my family if the government keeps rolling back civil rights. 

I am constantly in a near panic cycle of can’t-must. I can’t do this thing that I must do for us to have more room to breathe, to thrive as the neoliberal illusion of our democracy burns around us. 

I have so many ideas for great blog topics then open the app to stare blankly at the screen. My brain anxiety screaming frantically as it tries to parse all the layers of constant survival math and if then scenarios running in my head at any given moment into something interesting, witty, and just self effacing enough for mass media consumption. 

But it can’t do that so I close the app and go back to different work, Doula school work or commission knitting. This cycle repeats itself at least once a day. 

But then Trump banned some words and phrases, one being transgender. Now I as much as anyone recognize how disturbing and upsetting it is that phrases like science based or evidence based to be banned. It is not nice for the middle class illusion of democracy to have the president going around banning science words. It stinks of the sort of overt oppression that IBPOC and perhaps especially multiply marginalized IBPOC have been experiencing all along. 

Neo-liberal response to this has mostly been hand wringing and the adult equivalent of stomping their feet and insisting that they can say what they want. Shouting Transgender, like a battle call, like we are academic and not actual people who just told again, officially, that we shouldn’t exist. 

But let me just say that shouting Transgender does nothing to protect our most vulnerable trans family. It does nothing to protect black trans women from being murdered. It does nothing to protect trans and gender non-conforming IBPOC from systemic and interpersonal violence and oppression. It does nothing to insulate multiply marginalized trans people from the sort of silencing, erasure, medical, and social neglect that often results in our slower deaths. 

If you want to put your money where your mouth is, give generously to trans IBPOC, to multiply marginalized trans people. Not because they are cool, or fun, or sexy to you; not because they make you feel good about yourself or agree with you but because they and we have just as much a right to live as more than a banned academic concept, as you do. 

Happy Queer Holidays

A History –

Christmas morning 1984: I snuck into the living room in the middle of the night. The lights from the tree seemed like a gentle hug as I surveyed the presents clustered around it. Teddy Bears and bikes twinkled merrily under the lights. No pink I noticed, and breathe an internal sigh of relief. Hopefully I would only get one or two unwanted Barbies that year. 

Christmas morning 1990: My face fell immediately upon opening the present in my lap. Underneath the delicate tissue paper and shiney silver wrapping paper is a universe of pink and teal discomfort. There was  Teen Spirit deodorant, hair gel, hair spray, lip gloss, and other small pieces of feminine coded frippary. I looked up in bafflement at my dad. My step mother smiled a tight lipped smile at me whispering “We thought you might be better at…if you had more tools” as she gestured vaguely at her body. Shame and confusion writhed over me as I peeked at the comfortable and beloved Who Framed Roger Rabbit sweatshirt I was wearing. What was wrong with me anyway? 

Christmas morning 2005: My semi estranged husband had created a beautiful winter wonderland with every day items laying around the house. We both awkwardly hyper focused on our babies and their magical experience of Christmas. I was sad but also relieved that no one was trying to force glittery baubles and pretty blouses on me or reflecting tearfully on what a lovely wife/daughter/sister I was. New words were darting in and out of my awareness nervously: transgender, genderqueer. I wasn’t sure how  yet but I knew my entire universe was shifting.  

Christmas morning 2007: My girlfriend and I cuddled on the couch while our children opened presents. She gave me gifts that didn’t leave me feeling ashamed and confused. I felt like I might actually really exist for the first time in my thirty some odd years of life. 

Christmas morning 2010: I was a single parent, certain that I was not compatible with humanity in any meaningful way. “not fit for human consumption” I joked. But I knew myself and I was happy with the person I was becoming. I was confident and content for the first time in my life. Though I believed I was beyond love, I had language to define my reality more clearly. It was a blessing I never expected.  I watched my sons open presents joyfully. life was good. 

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Christmas morning 2015: such a full and surprisingly wonderful morning. Beyond all expectations I had met a lover and friend who really sees and embraces all of me. Together we have been able to build a fundamentally healthy and nourishing relationship dynamic. My chronic illness had relatively recently forced me to quit working outside our home. There were many challenges ahead of us. It will be hard, but that day we watched our four oldest children open presents as they laughed and fussed over the new baby. Life was great. 

Christmas morning 2017, A prediction: The last two years have been hard, the last year has been the hardest. My nesting partner and I are worn down in a lot of ways. Our meager social network and resources have been stripped further down outside of a deeply appreciated online community that we have deep love and gratitude for. I have in my partners and online community, people who really see and wholeheartedly want every part of me, for the first time in my life. Something strong and fragile, uncoils in my chest. Perhaps I am fit for human consumption after all. The presents are small and few but the love is very real. My nesting partner is hopefully preparing to visit our/his oldest daughter in Texas. Our holiday, whether celebrated on the solstice or X-mas is an honoring of us all as individuals and a family. Life flows on. 

 Life is magic. Life is hard. Life is my Blessing. 

Happy holidays for all my beautiful, sad, joyous, struggling, celebrating humans!


<< This post is part of the Renaissance holiday blog roll! Find out what it’s all about here.>>

A handy list of everyone’s dates is posted in there, make sure to check
it out!


It’s my Birthday

And other random bits and bobs 

Today I turn forty. For the length of my thirties I always expected to some day develop some anxiety about aging but so far that hasn’t happened. I find myself happier with and in myself every year, though my body becomes exponentially weaker and more tired every day, though illness and otherness are perpetually isolating it seems.

In a surprising twist for me this year I had some good luck and will be able to take advantage of a scholarship for an online Doula class via DTI. They have scholarships available for both trans and IBPOC birthworkers. I have been passionate about people having the best possible birth outcome and post partum period for near 15 years. Now, thankfully I get to learn how to support that passion professionally, hopefully helping many marginalized and at risk families and helping my own family thrive. So many things could go wrong but for now I am going to go ahead and feel some hope that between my writing, my commissioned knitting, and Doula services that perhaps my family and others may thrive. 

That’s the dream right? 

But for now we are broke and I feel mildly bummed out that no one really seems to care that it’s my birthday (even though I know I am an adult and adults just don’t get fussed over on their birthday). This is something I seem to go through every year, even though I know it is silly and probably pointless. 

I’m taking the weekend off for my birthday. Monday I will have things to knit and things to write. Life will go on just fine, maybe even a little better maybe. 

That is definitely the dream. 🙂 

Poverty Math

Talking about this gives me anxiety but being poor is not a shameful state, it’s not a moral weakness, it’s not an indication of personal failure…so I am going to talk about it anyway. 
My brain is caught in a loop right now, 60% percent running life numbers that don’t quite add up. This started this time because I have another infected tooth, right now during the holidays. So it goes like this…

I need this tooth pulled, which will cost me minimum 100 dollars. We will be able to pay for that next pay day, in two weeks. Also there is something wrong with my ear, it’s hurt for weeks, there is swelling, maybe fluid, it may be another sebaceous abscess. My immune system is so tanked these days, I get other secondary illnesses more easily. I need to go to the doctor for that as well. If I go to the er I will need an extra 20 for antibiotics for that…I’d probably need another 100 to be able to go to urgent care instead, for copays. 

Until then I’m just gonna have to take to much ibuprofen and hope I’m not damaging my liver irreparably. 

Spending money on medical stuff in midnovember will push back holiday shopping for the kids until the mid December paycheck and limit is to 150-200 spending for 5 children. Ahhhhhh 

I have three pending commissions, that will be another 150-200 dollars. Will we have the money for groceries next week? It’s gonna be another tight week. If can I can make 2-6 more commissions by Xmas it will help us with groceries and allow us to buy a small something for each one of the kids. That will exhaust me but we will survive. I have been having difficulty writing often enough so that is a missed payment opportunity. I wish my body would just give me a break. I need to be able to do both. Milton is writing a ton, but he never gets paid as often as I do for it, no matter how beautiful and powerful his writing is. If only I could make sure that would happen. Is that what we really need to get by? I better do the math again. 

We will have to wait to go to the dentist for two weeks…

…Around and around I go. 

We work hard to take care of our family with the limitations and resources we have but it never seems enough. It can be deeply exhausting, frustrating, and hopeless feeling. We keep going and we always make it, though to often it is just barely so. One way or another my brain has been semi permanently turned into a bad math hamster, rerunning and rerunning those numbers. I’m always hoping we missed something that will help, that will make a lasting difference to our well being. Sometimes that even happens, sometimes we find something, make an opportunity happen that helps. 
Sometimes. 
Fingers crossed

The Long Way ‘Round

Thirteen years ago, drenched in pregnancy hormones on an otherwise inconsequential hike, I realized I was transgender. It took me months to even be able to say the word out loud, longer to begin to tackle what, and how I would live that. 

For two years I tried to figure out what that gender place meant to me, what my identity was in the terms of the language of the time, what my transition would look like. I had so much internalized transphobia, the vanity of relative youth, and a partner who was having trouble dealing with her own unrealized covert transphobia in a few different ways. 

Eventually, after a very tense or tearful exchange at the peak of my physical dysphoria, in which she told me she was afraid of the health risks of my taking testosterone, I decided not to transition, basically, though I refused to acknowledge to myself that was what my choice meant. There were a lot of reasons I made that choice, fear, lack of sincere support, lack of ideal results, distrust in doctors, survivor/ptsd fear of surgery/anesthesia, internalized transphobia, and non binary transition being unavailable in my experience, were all big parts of that decision. 

But even a bad decision can offer a brief repose and having made any decision, there was a certain amount of relief. My instant relief also allowed me to wield my tendency for being hyper focused, in order to figuratively box up my trans status and get on with living whatever life I could. I told myself it didn’t really matter as long as my friends and loved ones knew I was not a girl. Maybe on some level, for a time, that was even true. 

When my girlfriend and I broke up later, finding myself a single parent with an office job at a very large company, I slowly put my gender even further back in the closet…I didn’t mean to do that, in fact I would have and did rationalize it many different ways if I was asked about the presentation change. None the less, I slowly shifted my gender presentation to a more socially acceptable geeky manic pixie dream girl style femme. It happened slowly over time, my work pursuit of a dangled promotion that would never come to fruition. To cope ai was almost entirely disassociated from my body during the time. I even went so far as to only own a full length mirror in which I could not see my body and head in it at the same time. 

If I was asked, while I still used the terms transgender and nonbinary transmasculine, I rarely discussed with anyone what that meant to me, only explained in cis palatable terms, and had very few healthy or protective boundaries around that identity.

It was fine I, I would repeat indefinitely. What boy wouldn’t want to have such a great rack? *bemused sigh* 

Then when my health had deteriorated so far that I had to quit that job, I suddenly found myself again, the master of my own gender identity and expression. Slowly as I started talking to people more about what being nonbinary transmasculine meant to me, my gender presentation and gender feels started sliding slowly and quickly back to where they had been so many years ago. 

So here I sit, yet again desperate to start hormones and have nonbinary top surgery, finally unafraid, feeling profoundly sad about wasting so many years of my life trying to maintain familial, romantic, and friendship relationships with people that have been burned away by time, ableism, my poor health, my anxiety, my autistic difficulty reaching out, and covert racism directed at my family. 

I remember how afraid I was that I would never be deserving of love, that no one would ever see me past everything that makes me different than them.  I wish I could have told my then self about my now self, about all the loving community I have found, how much confidence and self love I have grown, how complex and expansive my chosen family and love network has become. 

I wish I could tell my past self that I was not and am not a failure, a waste, or a “freak”. Knowing it now may not undo this seemingly wasted decade of transition pause, and it may not soothe the panic in my heart right now, it certainly doesn’t silence the constant list in my head of physical transition bullet points I will never be able to afford

~

• a wardrobe that actually fits and allows me to feel confident and comfortable in my skin

• nonbinary symbol tattoo in nonbinary flag colors

• trans symbol tattoo in rainbow colors

• low – medium dose T

• top surgery or radical reduction – no nipples or entire nipple and areola saving

~

It won’t muffle the desperation and despair  that not having access to these things causes, but it isn’t actually less than nothing either. 

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I have grown as a nonbinary man. I have grown as a human. It isn’t enough but it is something, and something will just have to do for today.