Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit to @greystorm at Unsplash.

Staying in an abusive relationship can seem unfathomable to someone who’s never felt like they woke up one day to discover they’d been living (…for how long?) in their own private hell.

We carry so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about abusers and victims, but the lines — and when they’re crossed — are hardly as clear-cut as they seem, or as they ought to be.

Those lines become even more difficult to distinguish when the abuse is more subtle, more cleverly disguised, more socially and societally overlooked than extreme and overt physical violence.

People don’t go to bed with a person they love, then wake up one morning and suddenly decide it’s a good day to start abusing them (whether physically, sexually, or mentally/emotionally). …


Image for post
Image for post
© Aaron Phoenix (aaronphnx.wordpress.com)

Are you feeling conflicted, uneasy, angry perhaps… betrayed, even, at the idea of voting for a problematic ass person whose views and values fundamentally contradict your own?

Are you tired of being gaslit and shamed into willfully “choosing” a leader who might not even care about you, let alone the issues you value — even if they say they do? Even when the record shows they never have, before now?

Does it feel unfair to be threatened with shouldering the blame for the inevitable consequences of “the other guy” if you don’t?

Oh.

Okay, I hear you; that’s rough.

So….

Now you can understand, then, how a lot of folks (such as, let’s say…. Black women, for one totally random example….)


Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit Aaron Phoenix

I get it. Some days are fucking hard.

When being thinkers and analyzers by nature is maybe more curse than blessing. When perhaps everything we fight for and believe in seems, by all logic and reasoning, impossible. When the evidentiary weight of that impossibility seems relentless and even foolish to ignore.

I get it. I’m not here to give you cheerful words that fly in the face of the dark realities we’re living in.

But please hear me out when I say to you that “This too shall pass”… literally, cliches aside. Today’s anxiety attack, Covid-19, the next election. …


“Are we ready to continue the conversation, for real this time?”

Image for post
Image for post
Source: UnratedStudio on Pixabay

Having been an “activist” arguably all of my adult life (which at 30, isn’t really all that long), and living even longer in the intersections between being Chicano, transgender, and queer, I’ve found myself countless times making the conversational case for my and others’ humanity — trying to convince straight people that being gay isn’t disgusting, to convince cisgender people that being trans isn’t a choice, to convince the “patriotic” that immigrants aren’t hellbent on destroying “their” country.

The conversations in which I’ve been met with the most resistance, by far, are those in which I’ve found myself trying to explain, to white people and fellow non-Black POC alike, not only the purpose and necessity of the movement for Black lives, but of the urgency and moral responsibility of our participation in it.


Image for post
Image for post

I cracked a joke last night to a dear friend, that “I can see how, in certain lighting, someone might look at me and hesitate on a pronoun.”

His response nailed it, and let me know that he “gets” it (both my advocacy, and my dry sense of humor):

“Yea, but you must be past the point where that still bothers you — right?”

Gurl, yes.
Wayyy past.

Listen…. I AM self-aware, y’all. Let’s not pretend to be naive here.
Let’s be truly, radically honest: The majority of decent, well meaning people I meet — including many of you reading this right now — find me, at least at first, confusing and contradicting. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo © Aaron Phoenix

“Do not mistake intersectionality for a buzzword. The real work lies IN the intersections.”

Make no mistake:

The world is most dangerous for Black Trans Women because they live at the intersection of society’s demand for heteronormative gender performance, and the disrespect for and systematic oppression of Black Women.

Fullstop.

We cannot protect trans lives without being also invested in the movement for Black lives, and specifically Black Women.

As long as Black Women continue to be demonized, marginalized, and portrayed as somehow both inferior and invincible, while the perception of femininity as weak persists among men — especially men of color — Black Trans Women will remain in the crosshairs of the two when they live authentically, especially in a society that continues to deem such authenticity a choice. …


“I promised I wouldn’t stay in the house this many days in a row.”

Image for post
Image for post
Photo ©Aaron Phoenix

Today, I got dressed to go out.

Nothing fancy —Just fresh air and errands,

Because I promised myself I wouldn’t stay in the house

too many days in a row.

It’s too easy to lose track.

(I lost a whole year, once.)

I changed my outfit six times.

The first, because it didn’t quite match.

The rest, because when I checked the mirror, my reflection hesitated.

“I just want to be low key enough to be left alone today.”

Some days,

The only far-fetched wish I…


Image for post
Image for post

All the things they say about parenting are true.

I am experiencing whole new emotions I didn’t know existed;

I am far more responsible than I ever predicted;

Dad Jokes are both involuntary and inevitable;

It is complex, and a little scary, and 100% worth it;

There really is no manual.

And neither being a ‘step’ parent nor being transgender negates any of the above.

It does add a few layers, though.

The weight of the social responsibility attached to coparenting a white, cisgender teen male is not lost on me — nor on his dad. We (like most self-aware and socially conscious 30+ adults) are still unpacking the many twisted ways this society’s norms around raising (and aggressively gendering) children affected us growing up— each in vastly different ways, but ultimately rooted in the same problematic misogynist societal sources. …


For some of us, it’s never really a choice.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo ©Aaron Phoenix

A September morning, North Carolina. Breakfast rush hour.

An old Confederate klan towne,

Frozen in time.

The public bathroom of a McDonald’s— the only establishment in town whose sign isn’t hand painted.

Home state of the original Bigot Bathroom Bill.

Backdrop to a brief portion of my middle school years.

And our last stop en route from the backyard of Pulse Orlando to the White House lawn.

The last time I was in this state,

I was in the earliest days of my transition.

Eight years ago,

Eight minutes,

surely made up of…


The only profit I stand to gain is hope.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo © Donna L. Davis

I never set out to be an activist.

I don’t get some type of life sustaining energy from being a buzzkill.

It don’t take a blind man to see that my community is in crisis.

I get a whiff of it every time I leave the house.

I didn’t sign up to be the community town crier of Sad Trans Statistics™️.

I‘m just out here fighting for my life and my sisters, the only ways I know how —

and somehow keep getting accused of activism.

When I talk about the worry and dangers of being a transgender, non-passing, visibly queer, invisibly disabled, mentally ill, cash-poor, displaced sex worker of…

About

Aaron Phoenix

...Can we talk? | Genderqueer Chicano Trans guy, activist, poet, artist. Tryna rip up the roots of misogyny & white supremacy that are suffocating all of us.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store