Rainbow Bloodstains

by: Q. 

I never knew
That the way I felt
Had a name

I just knew that
I had loved
Hers
&
Hims
And even a few
Theys

I just knew that
If the one I
Loved
Didn’t look like
A
Him
Then it needed to be
Quiet
Love

Lingering
Subtle
Touch
Love

Best friend
Sleepovers
Braid each other’s hair
And kiss napes of necks
Quickly
Love

The
Fear
Has always been
Palpable
For me

Coming out is
Terrifying
Even when you can
Love
“Normally”

“You’re just confused”

And I thought I might
Just
Stay
Quiet

But then after a day of
“Ally” activities of
Pride

I hear about
49
Heartbeats
Gone

49 lives
Taken

During
Their
Quiet
Pride

And I am wrecked.
And in such grief

I am outed.

The
Fear
Has always been
Palpable
For me

This
Fear
Will always be
Palpable
For me

Where is the resolution?
Where is the revelation?
Where is the revolution?

:: untitled ::

By: H. D. 

I wanted to talk about a major issue I have with the gender neutral bathroom debate Re: men using the opportunity to assault women. I’m troubled by a lot of what I’ve been reading. I’m sorry for every single girl among us who has felt like her story wasn’t truly heard, and for anyone who feels they didn’t get a chance at justice.

So it is bizarre and frankly a little frustrating that when it comes to rape, THIS is the line people are drawing in the sand as “too much risk”, THIS is the one incredibly rare scenario where people are speaking out in protest and actually advocating for the potential victims. I noticed there’s a distinct and surprising lack of the usual doubt, scrutiny, victim blaming and rape apologies and after a lot of thought and reading, I came to a troubling theory why: Obviously first and probably foremost, it’s because this is an easy cover for people to justify their transphobia and if there’s anything that makes ignorant people uncomfortable, it’s the thought of transgender people among them. (Don’t worry amigos. It used to be the same with openly homosexual people just a generation ago.) But secondly, and this is the one that really bothered me, it’s because it supports the comfortable narrative of what rape “is supposed to”[sic] look like: The menacing male villain in an act of random insanity or perversion preys upon a stranger-an innocent and sober girl with nothing questionable or sexual in her background who was just minding her business in the well lit place at the wrong time. Anything outside of that and they eat you alive. So these phantom rapist hypotheticals are not only perpetuating hate and prejudice against trans people, they’re furthering the stupid and enduring myth that what rape REALLY looks like is a dramatic and violent jack-in-the-box attack by a stranger in a public place. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen, because it does. But people are generally very quick to blame even a hypothetical woman if she’s raped outside those circumstances and when all of a sudden the usual allegations of the woman making it up, leading him on or dressing like a whore are gone, you have to wonder why. What changed?

Think about it: in all the posts I’ve seen regarding a cis male allegedly raping a woman who knows him, the responses are always predictably critical of the woman, scrutinizing her every move and motive, and generally the lucky rapist has more than a few Devil’s advocates on his side. They seem to ask questions not to glean insight or to hear her side, but to go down the “legitimate rape” checklist, seeing if her rape fits all the criteria before they even consider blaming her attacker. Well were you drunk? Didn’t you text him the night before? Well if you didn’t want to have sex, why was he in your bed? In the case of the hypothetical man pretending to be trans to rape a woman, the victim is nothing more than a crime scene who did all she could against an unprovoked madman. This is problematic because it removes all human elements from the victim and from the story, and frames the definition of rape to be an exclusively obvious act; an outright assault on an innocuous woman who, as a requirement, did literally NOTHING to perpetuate it and absolutely EVERYTHING short of death to stop it. If there’s any less effort on either part, then the rape is now out of the comfortable narrative and she is met with contempt and suspicion. It also dehumanizes the rapist, making it seem like the only men who rape are hulking, imposing, criminally minded cave men who one day snap on a random woman. This is important because it means the opposite traits prove he is NOT a rapist, and if he’s not a frothing, deviant, perverted, intimidating guy-if he was a clean cut youth minister, or a young handsome baseball player for instance-then he couldn’t be the bad guy could he?

Now, the cut and dry image of “legitimate” rape has become the only acceptable circumstances if you seek justice, and only qualified women may apply. Drunk? Your fault. In his apartment? Your fault. Have a lot of sex before? Your fault. Didn’t get his blood under your nails in the fight? Your fault. Took a shower after and messed up the rape kit? Your fault. Too scared to report him immediately? Your fault. Because thanks to the spread of the “respectable rape scenario”, all your classmates realize the boy from school you said hurt you so badly couldn’t possibly have done it-not when you willingly met him for drinks and even flirted with him over texts. Not when he plays rugby and has a beautiful girlfriend. Everyone saw your arm around him at that party. All of a sudden, your story has human elements to it-he’s not a mindless beast, and you’re no ingenue-and thus, it becomes a tall tale meant to stir up trouble for the young man. The “man pretends to be transgender woman to access bathroom and attack women” scenario is tilting at windmills in the worst way possible, because it’s obscuring the uncomfortable truth of what rape actually looks like with a ridiculously far fetched smear campaign against trans women- and that’s much more dangerous than a phantom bathroom assailant.

A man pretending to be a woman to sneak into a bathroom to rape an unsuspecting woman is not the enemy here. The culture that allows THAT to be the only type of rape that gets recognized or planned for is the enemy.
Look at the football player who assaults several women but is allowed to remain on the team because no one is paying 80 dollars a ticket to watch a woman receive justice.

What about the man who learns from media influence that a woman’s agency is just a lock on her vagina, and he can wear it down with the right combination of drinks, half truths and contrived lines to finally get past it. Who can she go to to for comfort when he finally forces himself inside her over half hearted protests and quiet resignation? Who will believe her when her story is so, so, far from the knife wielding stranger in the bathroom?
When a college fraternity brother drugs and rapes another student, the problem isn’t the act itself, vile and unforgivable as it is. The problem is that he’s surrounded by a culture where roofies and rape and coercion and women being used for sex are all punchlines, and a woman saying she was raped is met with disbelief, disgust, contempt, ridicule, and above all else, permanent skepticism. How can anyone ever be expected to stand up and say “my story has more to it than being overpowered in the bathroom by a stranger, but what this man did wasn’t right”, knowing that what will invariably be discussed is not the actions of the rapist, but her performance as a victim to make damn sure that she got as violated as she feels.

Forcing trans women to use the men’s bathroom is not keeping men OR rapists out of the women’s bathroom, it’s keeping WOMEN out of the women’s bathroom, and it’s perpetuating an ideal crime that invalidates other people’s stories. A woman’s safety, inclusion, and right to basic human dignity (Mystifyingly defended in the context of a public bathroom but not her own bedroom) does not come with ANY stipulations.

Abuse (in honor of Michael Brown)

By: Diamante Maya

Abuse, don’t you just hate that word
Abuse, the misuse of power, that invades our
Self-Respect, when we expect
To be stripped of a gift from God called self-esteem
You mean, we are worthy to be loved
We are not just pieces of dirt, doormats
To be stomped on, trampled on, that have no voice,
That have no hope
Well, what if we elope
Nope, not with the injustices of America, but
With a being that loves the Black community,
A being that calls us lovely
A being that died, so that we can rise
From this scum that’s coated our hearts time after time
We are meant to shine
And not believe those lines of lies injustice tries to convince us of
No, we will not believe that is love
People in the U.S. say they love us
We say show us
When do all of us say enough is enough
All this stuff that us been done to us
America, open your eyes
And see the demise
You’ve brought upon us
But don’t expect us to wait for you to see
Because you see, our God says we are free
Free from this disease called racial inequality
We will no longer be an object of your wrath
Physically, verbally, mentally, emotionally
We are free to be who God has called us to be
Not people stuck in captivity
No more innocent murders
No more police violence at our borders
We will non-violently fight
And peacefully exercise and defend our rights
If we don’t, we enable this behavior
And this country poorly reflects our Savior, unless we savor this moment
And break the chains
That cause darkness to rein
In the USA
We despise this death that has taken our breath away
And we say, NO MORE
For sur..ly goodness and mercy will follow us
ALL the days of our life
Despite the time lost
Jesus paid the cost
And we will be tossed no more
For we are more precious than silver and gold
Behold, the lamb of God
Calling us to embrace the grace and discover our place
No more disgrace, seeking His face,
We too can come taste and see
And declare with the Holy trinity
Like Dr. King
Let Freedom Ring!!
We sing it to the tops of the mountains and
Depths of the sea
Let Freedom Ring!
Jesus’ death on a tree
Allows us to be
Vessels, broken vessels
Of the most high God of the universe
Michael Brown’s life didn’t have to end in a hearse
It could have been defended by this verse
Let Freedom Ring!
Dr. King was being
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
So you can hear it
These many years later
Let Freedom Ring!
This freedom we speak of
Does not stop from God above
But extends to the ends of the earth
It’s worth our fight
On behalf of those that have been oppressed and pressed down
This misuse of power has showered abuse
Not only on whole races, but also whole places,
Whole nations, across generations
This verse we bring from Dr. King
Can cut the sting
Of abuse
So please choose with us to
Let Freedom Ring
We each have something to bring

Written 9/10/10 to address domestic violence
Adapted 8/17/14 to address racial injustice… spurred on by a prayer vigil after the events in Ferguson, Missouri involving the innocent death of Michael Brown.

Unsilent Blog Monthly Spotlights

The Unsilent blog will consider non-fiction narratives (in the form of poetry, prose, personal essay, memoir, etc) on any subject at any time.

Sometimes people like to plan ahead or have a theme/goal to work toward.  Somtimes courage needs a little heads up.  To that end, please peruse the loose schedule of spotlighted topics for each month throughout the year (if we’re missing any important themes please be sure to let us know)!

At the start of each month, we’ll post a call for narratives and list the themes spotlighted for that month.  Again, we will consider and publish non-fiction narratives on any theme or topic at any time; you don’t have to wait for the month.

JANUARY
• Codependency
• Slavery & Human Trafficking
• Psychological / Emotional Abuse

FEBRUARY
• Black Lives Matter
• Teen Dating Violence
• Intimate Partner Violence
• Bloodstories

MARCH
• Womyn’s Herstories
• Deaf Culture & Experience
• Self-care & Radical acts of Self Love

APRIL
• Autism Acceptance
• Arab-American Experience & Identity
• Child Abuse
• Sexual Assault

MAY
• Mental Health
• Lupus/Invisible Illnesses
• Asian-Pacific Experience & Identity
• Spiritual Abuse

JUNE
• LGBTQ PRIDE
• Belief/Faith stories of inclusion/exclusion
• Eating/Feeding Disorders

JULY
• Abilities/Disabilities Acceptance
• Migration Experiences
• Body Image
• Illness and/or Injury

AUGUST
• Survivor Stories
• Parenting & Child-Free Identities
• Community Violence

SEPTEMBER
• Latinx/Hispanic Experience & Identity
• Suicide
• Self-Harm

OCTOBER
• Cancer
• Domestic Violence
• Infant Loss & Miscarriage
• Bullying

NOVEMBER
• Police Brutality
• Racism
• Indigenous/Aboriginal/First Nations Experience & Identity
• PTSD

DECEMBER
• Family
• Trans* Experience & Identity
• Peace & Global Violence
• Grief & Loss

To sum up: please for sure do send in your truths.  Any time.  Any topic. As often as you need to.

don’t say a word

By: A. M. 

don’t tell me
to quiet down
because the sound of truth
makes you uncomfortable
rocks your foundation
allows doubt to trickle in
making you question
everything you thought you knew

don’t tell me
to lighten up
not be so sensitive
not take everything so personally
because this
is personal
it is me balling hands into fists
purging tears
coaxing myself back from the edge of
the hell you created
it is me picking up the pieces of
what you shattered
it is we working to change
what has always been
so this next generation of babies can
survive their adolescence
without being beaten
or shot
or twisted into darkness
by those protecting and serving
only themselves

don’t tell me
to smile ‘cause:
I’d be a whole lot prettier, baby
because when I do
when I let my joy shine
some see it as an invitation
as consent
as their cue to take
and to rape
because they were taught
always to prey
they were indoctrinated
to expect compliance
because they were trained
that nobody
tells them no

don’t tell me
not to get so involved
because the political is personal
when the agony of being present
being vulnerable
being conscious
rips through me
I don’t just imagine
I feel it
we are all connected
when another is hurting
my tears are flowing
I didn’t ask, to be an empath

don’t tell me
it was just a joke
because
I used to have the quickest wit
the sharpest blade of a tongue
I know what kind of truth lurks
behind every sarcastic remark
and laughing barb
That what we tear down most ferociously in others
is the very thing within ourselves
that we hate most

don’t tell me
to just get over it
that,
“boys will be boys”
“that’s just how men are”
“that’s just how the world is”
‘cause I refuse to believe we’re all
that helpless
that powerless to
become
unblind
uncalloused
unbound
I refuse to buy in to the notion
that violence
and greed
and lust
and complete and utter disregard for
the personhood of others
is a just natural state of being

don’t tell me
not to get so angry and impassioned
because angry doesn’t even begin to describe
the depth
and
breadth
of my rage mixed with sorrow
sack-cloth and ashes
my screams would
rend the very fabric of the universe
were I to unleash
this storm within me
uncensored

don’t tell me
to calm down
not to get so worked up

don’t tell me
how to feel
about a world
so upside down
so selfish
so misguided
that we have criminalized the destitute
the hungry
the orphaned
the refugees
the survivors

don’t tell me
anything
until you are right here
in the rank
in the filth
in the injustice
the grief
the pain
the margin
this nightmare

do not
say a word