foreign

In honor of Coming Out Day, I’m sharing a poem I’ve written last year.

I’m a queer, nonbinary, Jamaican American.


1990, my dad left the sun and sand of Jamaica
to the wintery dystopian wonderland that is New York City.
My mother wanted to follow suit, kept saying
“Mi wan farin pickney.”
but my dad, who was still lost on
how to get from place to place in this new world
said “Please wait.”

1992, mom found a way to New York City,
different from the hustle
and bustle from downtown Kingston.
Her and my dad felt like it was perfect to have
farin pickney because they had apartment
and all the love to share.

1993, I was born on a fall night.
“Tamika Samantha Barnett” they named me.
Birth certificate place made a mistake,
J instead of T
But my parents didn’t care, they said that the
new government name reminded me of home.
Jamika with parents from Jamaica,
they kept it.
And it stuck.

Fast forward to 2015 where,
my Jamaican- American ass with a dash of Cuban
still feels damn foreign.
My parents didn’t expect their foreign child
to feel foreign in the land that ze was born into.
They tried to avoid that shit,
but it’s difficult when you’re in a land that was
built upon white supremacy,
where even our Afro-Caribbean asses can’t see
representation in ads and TV shows.
Where we can hear Beres Hammond and Notorious B.I.G
on White Plains Road and still know that most of
us are confused as shit to figure out where we belong.
Jamaicans. Americans. Dominicans. Puerto Ricans.
All of these people are told to go back to their country.
I was told to go back to my country, but America IS my country.
My parents left Kingston, Jamaica in a kinda bougie area to give
birth to me and my little brother in the Bronx in an area
filled with similar populations of people and their foreign children.

My parents are starting to have constant conversations
about moving back home because America is just getting to them.
They still have “home” outside this world that wasn’t meant for people
like them.
Black. Poor. Struggling. Foreign.
My ass wishes that I could follow suit.
But how can I?
I’m a foreign child to two foreign naturalized
citizens of the wonderful United States of America.
They can always go back and feel at peace, feel at home,
but I know that I never will because I know even surrounded
by family speaking Patois on a hot tropical night,
I’m foreign to them too.

Where does that leave me?
I don’t know, I truly don’t know.
Every day when I watch the news, I feel more
and more disconnected to the country that I was born in.
Hearing about how my people are getting shot and killed
how because of the color of our skin, we asked for it,
we’re limited to welfare queens and “thugs” (because calling us
niggers ain’t allowed anymore)
Where our bodies are hypersexualized for being black and
that I should be happy that creepy white men want to fuck me
because I have a chocolate pussy.
Yet, yet, I am not seen beyond that.
Less so because I am fat and from a working class area
with a job.
I obviously only got my job because of affirmative action,
even though that benefits white women so much more.
I feel more and more foreign in the place that I have called home
for almost 22 damn years of my life.

I feel foreign because I am black, because I’m queer, because I’m a trans person who was assigned female at birth but not a man, because I’m polyamorous, because I am loud and voice my anger at how society has been treating me and my fellow black siblings, because I REFUSE to submit to the eurocentric ideals of beauty because I did that before and it messed me up. Messed us up.

I will never belong,
I will never belong anywhere.

When my mother told my father
she wanted a foreign child, she
didn’t expect their child to be a
foreigner in theirr own birth place.
They wanted a better opportunity
a  better place to thrive and grow.
This country has allowed their child
to see the world in a different place.
I wonder what would’ve happened if I was born in Jamaica,
would I still feel this way because of my queerness, because of my transness?
Yes.
Would I ever belong?
No.

I am foreign. No matter where I go.

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Teach Me How to Poly(am) (1)

Are you non-monogamous, polyamorous, or even monogamous and have some questions? Need some tips on how to deal with certain issues? Curious to hear this from the point of view of an angry, working class, genderfluid, Black babe?

Look no further! My advice column is debuting this month, but to get this going, I need something. What could that be? QUESTIONS. From who? YOU.

If you would like a question of yours to be answered (weekly), please email me at mickeyvalentinetee@gmail.com with the question and the initials you would like used.

Love and Light

Passionate, Not Angry.

angry-ballsMy passion is always mistaken for anger. Always.

I have been doing activism online for a couple of years now and even before this happened, the first thing I would constantly hear from people is “Mickey why are you so angry?” when talking about a topic.

But here’s the thing, I wasn’t angry. I know what my particular anger looks like. It looks like something that is different than the passion I have for activism. Constantly, I catch myself having to explain that.

Recently, I  have been recently thinking about folks who have said I’m “too angry” when I haven’t been angry for weeks. I’ve been thinking about folks who will gladly tell me that my lack of chill is what makes me wonderful and then tell me to go to anger management the next day. The constant question of “What do you want from me?” becomes a broken record.

And guess what? I’m tired of it.

There are a few things I want people to know. This is for the people that constantly dismiss my anger. This is for the people who mistake my passion for anger and never try to talk to me about it. This is for the people that constantly make assumptions.

Read these statements. Because this is one way of understanding me a bit more.

Just because I am a dark skinned Black person, doesn’t mean folks have the right to assume that my passion is anger. Because of my borderline personality disorder and just my personality overall, I do feel ways in extremes. This ranges from joy to sadness to anger. However, being the person I am (as well as being autistic), I am extremely passionate about so much things. Very much so that folks assume that it might actually be anger, when it actually just stems from wanting to help so much in so little time.  People are scared. But here is the thing, people will constantly assume the passion of a Black person, especially of a dark skinned one stems from anger. Whenever this discussion comes up, I notice that my light skinned peers and white folks are less likely to be told that they’re too angry and more likely told that their anger is valid. What makes me different? Is it because I’m too dark? Is it because I’m too loud? Is it because I get really passionate over seeing people I love hurt or seeing the destruction of society? We’re all expressing the same things in a passionate manner but people get intimidated by me.

Even if I have anger, I still have the right to be angry. This ~positivity~ culture that we live in try to make it seem like people have to be void of all the negative emotions that are part of who we are. I am a survivor of various forms of trauma, I live in a world that doesn’t want me to survive and thrive, you best believe I get angry. But my anger is expressed through writing articles, it’s expressed through yelling into my pillow, it’s expressed through crying. I will say that not all of the anger I have is completely healthy, but neither is the anger of people who constantly belittle it. When I choose to be passive for my survival, it is not good enough. When I express the anger I do have, I am horrible for it. I will say that I  can be angry, but I am not naturally like that. I will never deny my right to be angry.

No matter my emotion, it is never useless. This goes for both my passion and my anger. There is this particular trope of having Black femmes consistently be jolly, strong, and be able to lift the entire world into their hands with a big smile but that’s never the case. We experience shit happen to us that we should never have to experience. We have seen bodies of Black folks posted all over Facebook without trigger warnings. Often, we sometimes have the constant urge to give the fuck up and who can blame us? Many times when we do experience justifiable anger, we are dismissed as bitter. Bonus points if you’re a dark skinned femme, in which you get more heat. I am not “bitter”, but I am passionate or angry. I have every right to be when everyone is giving you shit for expressing your feelings in ways they assume is too ~assertive~.  Our emotions are valid. My emotions are valid. Stop dismissing them because I don’t act or look a certain way.

I have given up on explaining this to people. Instead, I wrote this as a way to compile the thoughts I have had for a while. In life, there will always be people that don’t understand you. That doesn’t make you a bad person, that just means like everyone else on this earth, you are a complex individual.

Then there is the issue of people not trying to understand your feelings and why you feel them in a certain way. I have BPD, so sometimes I do go into severe rage. But does that mean I didn’t have a right to be angry? Does this automatically mean my passionate moments are now angry moments?

Stop mistaking my passion for anger. And if I am angry, affirm it and help me. I deserve to not be happy all the time.

Guess Who Got a Workshop Approved?

It’s me! Disability_symbols_16 (1)

I will be piloting a workshop centered around disability justice at the New England Queer and Trans People of Color conference in my place of residence, which is New York City.

As someone who is disabled and tries to practice social justice  education through a non oppressive lens, I do notice that queer spaces tend to ignore ableism as a legitimate issue and that also leads for more  leeway when it comes to unpacking and calling out ableist behaviors.

I do want to challenge folks, especially queer and trans folks of colors to discuss ableism in these spaces. There are a few things I will be challenging in these spaces, ranging from desirability politics to seeing things through the eyes of me, a disabled Black person. Also I will be discussing the importance of talking about addicts in a way that isn’t patronizing or demeaning. Hopefully it is through these discussions, we are capable of progressing and discussing ways of making queer and trans spaces more accessible.

Hope I see y’all there.

 

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Hey lovelies! I wil be a panelist for this particular event at Pace University on the eleventh of March. If you can make it, please do. If not, promote the shit out of this. This is so important to talk about (kink and polyamory).

How to Have Sex with a Trans/NB Person Without Being Gross

***Terms to know before reading this article***

Cisgender : A gender that aligns with the gender you were assigned with at birth.  When the doctor slapped your booty and said “It’s a ______”, you were content with that. Even if you questioned it, it always came back to you being okay with being a ______.

Transgender:  A gender you weren’t assigned with at birth. When the doctor slapped your booty and said “It’s a ______”, you were not content with that. This could’ve been in childhood or even much older. Either way, your gender is valid.

Nonbinary: Deviates from the binary (man/woman). Example, I am agender. I identify as nonbinary. I also identify as trans. Some folks who are nonbinary identify as trans. However, not everyone is me.

***

Content Note : Mention of consent violations, discussions of sex, discussions of dysphoria.

Sex is a complicated thing.

lighted-canopy

Credit : pinterest

Every single thing about it. Finding out about stuff you like, meeting people that you can vibe with in a sexual way, and even finding specific toys that make you feel good is a very complicated thing. This factor increases even more when you’re nonbinary or transgender.

I started having sex when I was confused about my gender identity but could not put a word around it. Around that time, I was still learning about myself and called myself  a cisgender woman even though I knew that didn’t make me really comfortable.

Fast forward a year later.

I realized that nonbinary was the term I wanted to use. I stopped using “she” pronouns for the comfort of cisgender people and used “they” pronouns because I was definitely more comfortable with that. I told people to stop calling me a woman and to start using more gender inclusive words to describe me. I did also realize this complicated my sex life. People would want to get in bed with, see body parts usually associated with  “women” & then continue to she bomb me. When I would tell potential sexual partners I was not a woman, they would claim to be okay with it and then ask questions about if I was really not a woman.

Often, the people that would affirm my gender, were not cisgender people. They were other trans and nonbinary folks that were tired of dealing with the bullshit that came with it. Many times, trans and nonbinary people are forced to cater to the needs and wants of cisgender people, inside and outside of the figurative bedroom. They are forced to deal with frequent misgendering, despite having conversations about what they like being called.

As someone who is open about sexual experiences and is nonbinary, I definitely know how wonderful and beautiful consensual gender affirming sex can be. For a lot of trans and nonbinary folks who are sexually active, sex with someone who validates their identity can  make someone’s day (or night).

This post is dedicated to the trans and nonbinary folks who have given up on ever having the sex they deserve. But it also dedicated to cis people who might at some point meet a trans person and decide they might want to get busy.

Either way, here are four things you can have sex with who is someone who is nonbinary or trans without being gross.

Ask them what they like to call their genitals : I recently facilitated a workshop that was a general overview about sexual education through a queer, trans and feminist lens. One of the things I mentioned before doing this workshop was that while I use terms like “people with vaginas” and “people with penises” for educational purposes, I do acknowledge and respect that people have different names for their genitals. I even have different names that I have related to my genitals.  Ask this question. First of all, for sex to be gender affirming, you need to call someone’s genitals during dirty talk what they are most comfortable with. If someone with a vagina rather call their clitoris a dick, don’t call their dick a clitoris. If someone with a penis rather call her penis a girlcock, then for the love of god, don’t call it a penis. Second of all, it’s just common courtesy. When you’re cis and sleep with another cis person, you might have conversations around genitals as well. It is not different when you talk to a trans or nonbinary person about it. The only difference is that while certain terms might disgust your potential sexual partner if they are cis, certain terms might be a massive trigger for a trans or nonbinary person.

If they tell you a certain body part gives them dysphoria and they don’t want you to touch it, DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT:  Personally, I love being touched all over. Even during my periods of gender dysphoria, I want to still be touched at the parts causing me dysphoria. However, everyone is different and that’s what makes ever sexual encounter unique and different. If a trans or nonbinary person feels uncomfortable with being touched in a certain area regardless of reason, don’t touch them there. If you continue to pressure a trans or nonbinary person to the point of coercion, they definitely did not consent to that, even there was a “yes” involved.

Affirm the shit out of them in bed : Terms of what someone likes being called in bed should be discussed regardless. However, the importance of this intensifies when you’re a trans or nonbinary person. What someone is called while in bed can be the difference between a glorious sexual experience and a triggering sexual experience for the person you’re sleeping with. The best thing to do is to ask before sex, even if it’s a couple of questions and then check in during a sexual encounter.  For example, I know that being called “Sir” or my name  in bed is much more affirming to my gender than being called “Mistress” or “Ma’am”. If you fuck up with terms, apologize and check in with the person. However, never make the apology about you. That will end up forcing the person to be sympathetic towards you, despite not being the one with possible hurt feelings.

Don’t reduce a trans or nonbinary to their genitals: I will refer back to the first point, where I said ask what they CALL their genitals but that does not give you consent to center sex around them. Even though you should ask questions about someone’s genitals for affirming purposes, just reducing someone to them is not okay. Seeing someone only for what they have underneath clothes is constantly something one has to deal with in public. While you are having sex with someone, constantly referring back to a certain body part, especially when they have dysphoria around that can make sex not a pleasurable experience at all. In fact, it can end up with more trauma and tears than anything.  If you ignore when someone discusses discomfort, you’re not trying to learn or affirm at all. You are only focusing on your pleasure and not the pleasure of the person that you’re sleeping with. Trans and nonbinary people are not sex toys. They are not experiments. They are human beings with feelings and they should be treated as such.

One of the things I realized about having sex while nonbinary, even when I’m at my pickiest, I still end up hooking up with folks that invalidate me because they’re ignorant.

They will constantly say “teach me!” without wanting to put in the effort to learn. Emotional labor ends up being an unwanted part of the sexual experience. Instead of pleasure, there is frequent frustration.

To the cis people with trans or nonbinary partners, who claim that it’s so hard to learn about the things we deal with everyday, this article is a great starter. Sleeping with a trans person doesn’t mean you are no longer transphobic. You are still problematic. Put in some work.