A letter concerning Endless Gaycation 2013

This letter was written in late October 2013, following a call out surrounding two workshops I cofacilitated during Endless Gaycation 2013. It was originally published to the EG facebook event page and emailed to individuals involved.  Looking back on it, I am not only grateful for the opportunity to grow, especially in my facilitation and solidarity skills, but also for the many folks that loved and supported my efforts as such. For the folks who called me out, I want to say thank you for showing me as much respect as you did.I’m posting the letter here for a number of reasons including: ease of accessibility, to encourage transparency in folks have been called out and maybe haven’t had the support system I greatly benefit from, as a way of publicly owning my own faults and my efforts at trying to improve them. Thanks for listening.

Cordelia Nailong
March 2014

Hi Y’all,

This is a letter to everyone who attended the workshops that I, Cordelia Nailong, facilitated during Endless Gaycation 2013.

First, thank you all for having the interest and taking the time & energy to attend either Transmisogyny & Femmephobia and/or Trans*Witches/Trans*Magick workshop(s). Your attendance was likely to learn and expand, while all the while being safe and supported. I realize that this was not the case for many who attended. In fact, the workshops resulted in upset, trauma, and maybe even rage.

In short, I fucked up.

Not only was I a poor facilitator, I facilitated in a manner that wasn’t consistent with my core values.

I was oppressive, overly dismissive, and not in the receptive mood I should have been in. I wasn’t coming from an inner abundant kindness nor was I making space for all voices to be heard and mediating between those voices to weave the commonalities of members of the group together. I was ill prepared and it showed.

In the two workshops, I enacted whiteness by dismissing others’ concerns, overly personalizing, refusing to listen, getting defensive, and inappropriately redirecting on multiple occasions to places where only certain kinds of discourse was allowed.

I fucked up with regards to the Transmisogyny workshop:

  • I failed to recognize that my foundation was unsteady in the way that I generally rely on the dynamic of a cofacilitator to support and check me. In trying to accommodate the interest that Beyond Coercion receives, I betrayed the purpose of the workshop.
  • I didn’t acknowledge white supremacy and I inappropriately silenced the people of color in the worskshop especially through redirecting back to the limited scope I perceived the subject at hand to be.
  • I was not encouraging of, and at times downright dismissed an intersectional dialogue between different axes of oppression. I failed to recognize that folks process oppression in different ways.

I fucked up during the Trans* Magick workshop:

  •  I was not as ready to facilitate this workshop as I thought. Not only did I fail to properly hold a container together, I also was not in check with myself as to my own overwhelmed state of mind.
  •  I shutdown when the masculine and feminine universe energy comment was made due to my own unprocessed shame-trauma around being othered in binary systems of thought.
  •  In my defensiveness, I reacted very poorly. As someone who had to pass in upper-middle class white society in New Orleans, I still carry a legacy of using civility as a weapon which carried through in my defensiveness.
  • I struggle a lot with and try to maintain a lot of integrity in being against cultural appropriation in the many forms it takes. I inappropriately attempted to defend that integrity and in so doing was a telling example of white supremacy.
  • Furthermore, I used inappropriate language without making space for anything but my ego. I was overbearing and traumatizing in a space that should have been neither.
  • If anyone has further concerns about my practice, I am happy to discuss what my relationships to the spirits are and what critical frameworks around that should be.

In both workshops, I abused the trust and power given to me by the attendees. These are reflections from me personally about this abuse. After the workshops, I recognized my own actions and removed myself from most of Endless Gaycation out of my own coping process and not wanting to trigger anyone. By doing so I, unfortunately, made myself unavailable for those that would have liked to talk out their concerns, particularly those who had to leave New Orleans after the weekend. 

As a survival strategy, I’m really good at fronting a perfect image. These workshops have exposed my flaws, my trauma, and my growing edge.

Owning what I’ve done with inner-love is an antidote to the poison of self-hate that I am working out of myself, especially the idea that if I let my mistakes/my humanity show, then I’ll suddenly become unworthy of love and community support. 

Claiming our fuckups and having the care to call someone out by letting them really know how they fucked up is important for everyone’s growth.
I’m glad to be a part of this hard process.

I’m hoping that through this claiming, that this is a way for myself and folks around me to strengthen and heal.

I want to thank everyone who attended for taking the time and energy to process the workshop and its aftermath. Thank you for taking the time and energy to call me out despite the abuse I perpetuated. I’m sorry for having made all this necessary in the first place.

If any folks have other specific feedback, I would love to talk about it.

Thanks for listening and in advance for any feedback I receive.
Cordelia Nailong
Written October 2013

Beyond Coercion: Talking Transmisogyny & Femmephobia: a workshop by Cordelia Nailong and Ace Falcor

Beyond Coercion: Talking Transmisogyny and Femmephobia is an informal discussion of transmisogyny in queer communities. Transmisogyny is a term used to describe how sexism — the assumption that maleness and masculinity are superior to femaleness and femininity — is applied to trans* women as an enforcement component of traditional patriarchal assumptions. This sort of discrimination can be seen when a trans* woman is ridiculed or otherwise sanctioned/assaulted for expressing her femaleness or femininity. This can also be seen in ways in which we differentially treat or promote feminine expressions of gender and masculine expressions of gender. In cis contexts, femmephobia is sometimes used to describe these assumptions and behavior.

The workshop is not a lecture or presentation, rather, it is an open dialogue for people to come share honestly about their experiences and feelings without fear of judgement or backlash and to talk about possible solutions to combatingtransmisogyny in our daily lives. It is open to everyone, all gender identities and sexualities, because we believe that we all have a responsibility to work towards eradicating transmisogyny within queer communities.

Suggested reading —  * This is not an endorsement of any specific viewpoint in these articles and blogs– just background info, opinions and experiences from a wide variety of people.  * However, we strongly recommend at least reading the 1-page primer, just so we all understand the very basic concepts and language.

BOOK –  Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano

PRIMER –  one-page description and definition of trans-misogyny by Julia Serano http://www.juliaserano.com/av/TransmisogynyPrimer-Serano.pdf

ARTICLES –

“Enough With: ‘I Date Women and Trans Men'”

http://feministing.com/2012/06/28/enough-with-i-date-women-and-trans-men/

and its follow-up article at

http://feministing.com/2012/07/09/follow-up-re-i-date-women-and-trans-men-cisnormativity-essentialism-socialization/

Dean Spade’s “Mutilating Gender”

http://www.makezine.enoughenough.org/mutilate.html Summary and review blog post of Mutilating Gender:

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2003/05/01/mutilating-gender/

“Beyond Inclusion”

http://takesupspace.wordpress.com/beyond-inclusion/

“Transmisogyny is misogyny to all women: an open letter to cis feminists”

http://tranarchism.com/2011/03/16/guest-post-transmisogyny-is-misogyny-against-all-women/

Tobi Hill-Meyer’s “What transmisogyny looks like”

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/03/what_transmisogyny_looks_like.php

Intersections:

http://sunnydrake.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/boy-tits-in-the-locker-room/

Getting with Girls like Us: a radical guide to dating Trans* women for ciswomen

http://www.autostraddle.com/getting-with-girls-like-us-a-radical-guide-to-dating-trans-women-for-cis-women-160269/

Transcentrism

http://www.dyssonance.com/transness-102-in-progress/

 

BLOGS –
questioningtransphobia.com

genderbitch.wordpress.com

youreatransmisogynistwhen.tumblr.com

stfutransmisogynisttransfolks.tumblr.com

nodesignation.com

dyssonance.com/

takesupspace.wordpress.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/HandbasketMedia