#YesYou, because unless you have been actively engaged in teaching men about rape culture and how to end it, you are not doing nearly enough.By Da’Shaun Harrison Very powerful men have been under scrutiny recently for their perpetuation of sexual violence against women, femmes, men and otherwise queer bodies. We have read disheartening testimonies from many accusers of some of Hollywood’s most esteemed actors and producers, like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. We have heard from brave women about their non-consensual interactions with politicians like Roy Moore and Al Franken. We have even read stories about acclaimed television journalists such as Matt Lauer. Each of these men have either not responded to the allegations made against them or, alternatively, have chosen to deny some or all of them. In more current news, however, we have heard allegations about respected men in the music industry and their sexual misconduct. A month ago, Russell Simmons’ first accuser came forward with her story. Since then, he has been accused by at least eight other women of sexual harassment and sexual assault. On December 14, Simmons posted a photo on Instagram where he responded to the allegations against him. Just like many of the other men who were accused, Simmons denied each allegation. However, his denial was more than just a simple statement made for optics and to protect his brand. Simmons’ response, which he linked to the hashtag #NotMe, is a blatant attempt at silencing the voices of women and men who have been courageous enough to share deeply personal traumas with the world through the hashtag #MeToo—a campaign started by Tarana Burke ten years ago. In his statement, he wrote “my intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. …It’s just a statement about my innocence.”
Being a Black poet is being stuck in this in-between, an inherently political place to be. TW/CW: mentions of homophobia and murder “In every human Beast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression,
Scientists and researchers have named several reasons for why Black men are seemingly targeted by prostate cancer. These reasons being genetics, environment, healthcare, and mistrust.By Da’Shaun Harrison I received the news the morning before Thanksgiving. It was around 1:30am that Wednesday when my mom walked downstairs, quiet and teary-eyed. I was lying on the couch watching Netflix, as I often do before I sleep. I looked over at her and waited, waited for her to share the news with me which led her to weep. She stared for a moment and then, immobile, she stood by a chair near me and stated, “Uncle Donald just passed.” My heart sank. I had just visited my Uncle Donald in the hospital earlier in the year. In August, to be exact. He had been diagnosed with Stage IV Prostate Cancer a little while before that, so I visited him knowing that it could be the last time I ever saw him. However, just a few days after visiting him, he was discharged from the hospital. I knew that this did not mean that his fight with cancer was over, but I was still not prepared to hear that he had died. I lost my maternal grandfather in March of 2010 to prostate cancer as well, I remember that day vividly, I begged my mom to allow me to skip school that morning because I did not want to miss a moment with my granddad. The family sat and laughed, cried, and conversed waiting on ‘that’ moment. And that afternoon, it came. Lying in his bed in Hospice Care, he took his last breath while I stood beside his bed—his hand in mine. My mom was there with me then, too. She had leaned over his bed and, just as she did this time when she delivered the news of Uncle Donald’s passing, she wept. I was only 13, maybe 14-years-old, then. Just days after receiving the news about my uncle’s death, my father informed me that my paternal grandfather had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer as well. My family is not unfamiliar with prostate cancer. However, what I did not know during my maternal grandfather’s battle is that many Black American families are not unfamiliar with prostate cancer. According to Prostate Cancer News Today, Black American men are known to have a 60 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer in comparison to white men, and their chances of dying of the disease are twice as high.
We cannot divorce transmisogyny from its roots in both transmisia and misogyny, nor can we ignore the ways in which the patriarchy significantly and tangibly impacts trans women.Time and time again cis folks, including cis women, will invalidate trans women’s womanhood by claiming we do not experience oppression under cisheteropatriarchy. Cis women, for example, will dismiss trans women’s concerns and lived experiences as “crying wolf” and re-center their experiences in all spaces as though they aren’t already saturated with cis experiences. To define womanhood as dependent on experiencing patriarchal oppression has many pitfalls, but in addition, this argument is simply false. Trans women do experience misogyny. In particular, trans women and femmes are hypervisible, fetishized, objectified, invalidated, and abused, facing a confluence of oppressions like transmisia and misogyny. In this, trans women face a specific intersection of these known as transmisogyny. And to disconnect transmisogyny and define other manifestations of misogyny as more “real” is in itself a form of gender-based violence. To assert that transmisogyny or any experience of trans womanhood is less than or isn’t as “real” is cissexist violence and is often weaponized to enact more violence. Although often erased or invalidated, all trans women experience misogyny. Trans women of all ages, all types of presentation/expression, and through all different stages of transitioning (or not transitioning) do in fact experience misogyny in addition to transmisia, often in the form of transmisogyny specifically. It’s in the way autonomy is stolen systemically such as by the medical-industrial complex in gatekeeping life-saving medical procedures or by the state in withholding access to social institutions through so-called “bathroom bills” or “bathroom laws”. It’s present interpersonally in cis people asking invasive and inappropriate questions or touching our bodies without consent to see if they are “real”. Even simply navigating life and existing often means trans women, including those who present more conventionally masculine, experience transmisogyny such as by being constantly misgendered.
Related: ON PUSSY HATS AND TRANSMISOGYNY