Yesterday afternoon, I was trying to draft a pattern for some beadwork, but I just couldn’t figure it out with unlined paper and a pen, so I went over to my flatmate’s computer to print some graph paper. After creating some using the tables function on Microsoft Word, I hit the “quick print” button, and after several minutes of No Graph Paper Printing Out, the status on the printer said “Error”. After several tries at printing this one piece of paper, I finally gave up (after plenty of yelling alone at this uncooperative inanimate object with just one job), and posted this remark on my Facebook:
Within five minutes, there’s Alice Bailey, trying to tear a strip off my ass with the very first comment, claiming it came up in her feed from a mutual acquaintance before going off the handle about my criticisms of the third year of SlutWalk. Now, I’m a bit of a skeptic by default, but really? Of the two people who had clicked the like button, on a status with no comments, somehow I even doubt that either of them are mutual acquaintances. Especially after Ms. Bailey decided to violate my privacy and out me as a trans person to people who had previously never known my legal name prior to the moment she posted it — on someone else’s photos. And until tonight, I only knew about her posting on two photos, but she now admits to posting on three. But before I get to that, here’s some of what she posted on that thread, out of the clear blue sky, that had absolutely no relevance to my inability to print graph paper from my flatmate’s computer:
Right. So. Because one person doesn’t like things that I have expressed on my blog (PUH-LEAZE! It’s not like you’re the first!), in order to stop being unduly harassed by them now, it’s my responsibility to “adjust [my] privacy settings”. Written another way, it would sound like “It’s your fault I’m harassing/stalking you.” In other words, this is a thing called victim-blaming.
What was that? You say SlutWalk is supposed to be a grassroots movement taking direct action to call for an end to victim-blaming? Well I guess there must be some fine-print somewhere, where it is intentionally exclusive to the problem of white women being raped. While it is undoubtedly heinous and inexcusable whenever anyone of any gender or race is raped, this phenomenon is not exclusive to white women. Certainly, at least, the purpose of SlutWalk doesn’t seem to include the problem of one of their organizers stalking someone with a well-educated dissenting opinion, derived in part from intense passion for social justice and in part from direct relevant experience:
Here’s the thing about posting screenshots of anything: there are sensitive things such as private correspondence in which confidential information about a person is being shared with you with a reasonable expectation of privacy, and there are things that are just outright insensitive. One ought to feel legitimately concerned, either way, about what one shares with another human being that can be recorded as an image file or by some other means such as video. For example, I have been filmed several times without the opportunity to say no before I’ve already been recorded. I knew this was a risk I was assuming when, say, I stepped into the street with a message of dissent against what is clearly a hate group that receives funding from Catholic churches, and with this foresight in mind, I acted accordingly. Especially the past few times. Another example is when I voluntarily provided a 2-hour audio- and video-recorded statement last Summer concerning sexual abuse involving a boy who, at the time of the multiple incidents, was just three years old. Knowing that this may be used as evidence in court, in the event that the perpetrator ever faces a trial for what he had done to his own son, I acted accordingly and told the full truth of every detail I could remember, no matter how uncomfortable it made me as a survivor of incest myself. Another example is when I have received email correspondence from someone which contains deeply personal and highly sensitive information about them, which one would reasonably consider confidential. Knowing that this is that type of information, I act accordingly and keep it private.
But there are times when someone feels legitimately concerned only because they have something to hide from other people, which reveals criminal behaviour, malicious intent towards others, or a profound sense of bigotry. For example, I was arrested for shoplifting in 2002, but received no criminal record. If this information presented a risk to my safety, to the safety of anyone known to me, to my ability to maintain gainful employment, or to my reputation — and by extension, my ability to continue doing business — I might be concerned about this information getting out. This would be an especially exaggerated concern if I had also received a criminal record as a result. But what if I hadn’t been caught? What if it wasn’t shoplifting, but breaking and entering or battery and assault, and I hadn’t been caught? At what point am I reasonably expecting my confidentiality to be maintained, and at what threshold is coming forward with this kind of information actually an act of whistle-blowing? For example, last Summer, I blew the whistle on a former friend of mine who, as a member of the RCMP, had violated my confidentiality and that of several other people, without cause. He had also sexually harassed me and terminated contact with me rather than apologize — it turned out he was already under investigation by the time I blew the whistle on him, because he had been sexually harassing his female co-workers. And the man I mentioned above who had sexually abused his three-year-old? Not the RCMP officer, and when I found out who it was, I blew the whistle on him too. I couldn’t have made this shit up if I had been paid to do so.
What Ms. Bailey doesn’t seem to understand is that privacy isn’t a world of black and white. I felt a responsibility to blow the whistle on her for saying racist shit long before she ever became involved in SlutWalk, which is and has been racist in both concept and in leadership, with extra emphasis on the past two years (e.g., selective attention to criticism, contingent upon whether or not racial privilege is raised as a point of issue/concern; deciding not to even consider changing its name to be less immediately alienating to women of colour, but rather using a community forum to give the appearances of having enough of an excuse to not take this suggestion/criticism seriously by virtue of majority opinion). What a coincidence that Ms. Bailey has been involved in organizing it for the past two excessively controversial years. What Ms. Bailey also doesn’t seem to realize is that while composing my first two pieces of writing in regards to this year’s event, I didn’t even know she was involved in it again. It wouldn’t have made a difference either way, because the issue isn’t all about her. It’s about social justice.
Well, I thought what I had already said and asked had about covered it, and it was clear to me that Ms. Bailey simply isn’t willing to listen to criticism. I was already disinterested in trying to change her mind the moment I received her first correspondence with me this year, because it’s a lost cause and I know it. My efforts have been explicitly directed at re-educating everyone but the organizers—who have already been handed every possible opportunity to learn what their contributions to the problem are and to take part in resolution, but have chosen to maintain the problem anyway, thus making it several times worse (i.e., I feel confident that I can safely conclude that no matter whether I say “white-privilege-centring” or “white supremacist” or anything in between, the fact is that it is just plain racism). I went off to give myself a break by doing some basket-weaving. I was pleasantly surprised when I got there, both by receiving several gifts and by receiving many teachings from indigenous elder women. Those good feelings were reflected in abundance in the work I accomplished over the course of the two hours I spent there, which I can sincerely say is the best weaving I’ve done to date, and is worthy of the start of a cedar hat. But I digress. I came home after attending the last hour of a weekly pow wow (i.e., celebration and ceremony) to this bullshit:
She continues, going into a meandering narrative about a third party referring her to a status update I had posted a year ago, with which I had expressed sincere concern about a series of phone calls I had been receiving that were creeping me right the fuck out and which I suspected might have been her for no reason other than the sheer persistence of them. Then she continues by claiming victimhood several times. First by acknowledging feelings she states she had to “set aside” in order to encourage me to volunteer last year (which I wound up being unable to do, or my dissent on the racial privilege matter involved in SlutWalk would have taken the express route at the time). That would have been over a full year after our last face-to-face contact. Then by claiming that I’m being a big, bad, scary person, terrifying innumerable women whose paths I have never before crossed in my life, by sitting quietly in my current living arrangement and investing the energy in publishing several pieces of writing in relation to SlutWalk and its racial privilege problem (again, neither the only group I have confronted for similar reasons, nor even the latest).
It is at this point that I would humbly suggest to those women, in the event they do actually exist and genuinely feel that way about my writing in relation to SlutWalk, that they stay home on June 2nd, because if they are afraid of words on a screen published by someone whose identity is unknown to them, they are likely to shit their pants when they see me standing in silence nearby on that date. I cannot even begin to fathom how they would be made to feel if they had shaken hands with several of the surviving family members of the women who went missing on the Pickton farm, as I just did on Monday evening. Or if they had shaken hands with women who stood in 24-hour rotations for over 200 days, across the street from a desecrated burial ground within the boundaries of this city. Or if they had shaken hands with the man who, for the first time in 63 years, marched to the front doors of the provincial legislature, and performed a shaming ceremony by breaking his copper shield in defiance of the Crime Minister (who, coincidentally, is “skeptical” of the need for justice for missing and murdered indigenous women all across this nation). Or if they had shared a prayer, a rally, a meal, a potlatch, a ceremony, their own home, or any increment of their time at all with indigenous women who have survived an entire lifetime of racism after having the necessary strength to survive incarceration in residential schools, separation from their families and cultures, sexual abuse, and substance abuse, and yet still somehow find the inner peace required to simply let people disagree with them without making it into a personal issue like Ms. Bailey has with me. In other words, if they haven’t met me, and they are terrified by the unspoken words I have published online, I think they’d be liable to drop fucking dead if they were to meet some of my chosen family. I should think I’m doing all those women a favour by being the person to try to educate them on what’s racist about SlutWalk, rather than leave them to cluelessly continue to offend the warriors of these lands, who would not spare their feelings to tell them straight up what their experience in life has been like — strong indigenous women and men who would not be impressed in the slightest degree by the crocodile tears these women might shed if they hadn’t already died of a heart attack just from making eye contact. But I digress again.
Ms. Bailey follows up her second claim to victimhood by obliquely violating yet another person’s confidentiality (or perhaps that of several, but I am unable to tell), in an attempt to attribute to me some criminal matter involving battery and resulting in a court-ordered psych evaluation on the part of the alleged perpetrator—which she immediately claims makes me even scarier, even though I haven’t the faintest fucking clue what she’s even talking about, and she apparently thinks that I’m neither capable of it nor involved anyway. She tops this up with a heavy helping of White Whine, or, I Think You Accused All My Friends Of Being Racist Dumbfucks And That Made All Of Us Defensive So I, Ms. Bailey, Personally Stepped Up To Fight With You Instead Of Actually Listening For A Change, Because That Was Obviously Much More Offensive Than The Racism You Attribute To Our Collective Actions And Decisions. That, too, is followed by her accusing me of bullying people, while she minimizes the seriousness of the privacy violation she perpetrated against me as much as she possibly can in between. Irony is a river that runs deep in Ms. Bailey. And finally, while trying to convince me that a bunch of women who are terrified by words on a computer screen are “amazing”, and that I should want to be bestest best friends with all of them and never ever challenge their racial privilege even if everything they do is directly hurting so many people I have come to know as my chosen family (especially several indigenous women elders), Ms. Bailey reveals one of the most damning things she’s stated to date: that she thinks I’ve done all of this writing and fighting because I have a petty gripe with her that she believes motivates me to meddle in the lives of people who keep her around.
It is at this point that I will once again reiterate that I did not even know Ms. Bailey was involved in SlutWalk again this year until after I received her initial correspondence for the first time since I wrote last year to see how I could become a volunteer (with the unstated but explicit intent of bringing my dissent with me). I will also add that with the exception of written correspondence, Ms. Bailey and I have crossed paths a total of two times (that I know of) in two years in any face-to-face medium. The first occurrence was at a private rental of a public swimming pool. At the conclusion of the event, I had been changed into my street clothes and nibbling on complimentary snacks for approximately two to five minutes when a mutual acquaintance of ours caught my attention and we began talking. Approximately two minutes passed before Ms. Bailey inserted herself between us with her back facing towards me, not only interrupting my conversation with our mutual acquaintance but effectively shielding her from speaking to me or even being able to maintain eye contact. I thought it was incredibly rude and offensively arrogant, but I said nothing and simply went back to my home (just a few blocks away at the time). The next and last occurrence that I know of was at the tail-end of a massive rally for indigenous justice. I spotted Ms. Bailey and that same mutual acquaintance on the edge of a slowly decreasing crowd, and I moved a few feet closer so that when the opportunity arose, I might be able to wave and/or maybe say “It’s good to see you here.” I diverted my attention for a few minutes (back to the drumming and singing that was still taking place), and when I turned around again, both women were gone. I should think it is plainly obvious precisely who is more likely meddling in the lives of other people who maintain the other’s acquaintanceship, and that it is not me.
But I also want to answer this exaggerated narrative of the nature of my day-to-day struggle with dissociative identity disorder, as Ms. Bailey appears to have gained her understanding of it entirely from fiction films rather than, say, any instance in which I’ve directly written about it myself. Such as, say, several months after having told her all about it in my own words, straight to her face, multiple times, in as many distinctive ways as I could find a way (at the time) to express it, in the hopes of gaining some shared understanding. Something about this feels familiar — it’s almost like we’ve learned about her doing exactly this same selective attention thing in relation to, oh I don’t know, criticisms of the event she’s organizing? Despite how horrifically triggering Ms. Bailey has been and obviously continues to be for me, I actually never experienced a full-blown dissociative episode in her presence, or as she calls it, a “dissociative black-out identity”. Instead, I compartmentalized my emotions. Extremely. I started subjecting myself to masochistic double-standards as a result—showing her more respect than I show myself or allow her to show me, for instance. I distinctly remember explaining this to her in relation to my post-secondary education and her demands for my personal time, for instance, as I was in psychotherapy at the time and (though unbeknownst to her at the time) had just survived my final attempt at putting my life in the hands of a sadistic sexual predator in the hopes of disappearing. I told her that when I asserted a boundary around my time out of a legitimate need to use that time to invest in my education, and she continued to push rather aggressively for my time anyway, as if I had not just explicitly asserted this boundary the day before, she is triggering my past trauma. I explained to her that this, in turn, causes me to choose between lashing out at her to defend that boundary (which I did not want to do, because I respected her) and prioritizing her over my own needs (which I did not want to do, because I needed to learn to respect myself). I told her that the message I receive when she pushes the very boundaries I assert in my own self-defence, or what she is communicating to me through these actions is that when I say no, she hears yes; and when she says I love you, she behaves as though she hates me. This is triggering for me. This is just one example, but it is an important one, for this very conflict finally erupted in my lashing out at her and demanding that she leave me alone (which produced a distance between us that lasted for several months, but she attributed it to a completely unrelated issue at the time and held a grudge against me for it, exactly as she has done yet again). Once again, I say all this not because I have an axe to grind, but simply because I remember it that clearly. And I don’t say any of this with the reasonable expectation that Ms. Bailey herself will suddenly change her mind, but because if she is going to insist on what she has clearly been doing continuously since this all started, then other people (who may or may not be subject to her manipulation either currently or previously) are entitled to have the opportunity to learn from my experience with her.
When one continuously compartmentalizes their emotions, as is the very nature of my disorder, this causes several problems over the short term and in the long term as well. In the short term, unresolved conflicts such as the one described above begin precipitating in unexpected ways and sometimes in defensive behaviour. I have learned the most about this feature of my disorder over the past couple of years, than I have ever learned at any time prior in my life, and this is largely due to weekly psychotherapy that has been continuous for very nearly the past two years. But as much as I learn about my disorder, I still fall prey to it when I experience triggering events. I am always the first person who is victimized by my disorder, for it emerges directly as a defence mechanism for re-living a repetition of a past traumatic event or behavioural pattern in the present. As I am writing this, even, I have very recently fallen prey to it yet again. And when I am in that state — persistently emotionally dissociated (note: not at all the same thing as “blacking out” or experiencing a full-blown dissociative episode) — I say and do things that seem out of character, or like a magnification of some of my strongest characteristics. For instance, sometimes those things are unintentionally abrasive or impulsive and therefore quite rude. Sometimes they are inappropriate. And sometimes they even trigger other peoples’ past traumas: the triggered triggering someone else. These intense and short-lived bursts of emotion are dispersed somewhat randomly throughout long days marked by the complete absence of feelings or empathy, during which I rely on my ability to remember and reflect upon similar kinds of events and behaviours, as they arise with other people and even within myself, during times when I was able to empathize. For the most part, I can and do still crack jokes and treat people with decency and compassion. But sometimes, events and behaviours arise that trigger me again (after I’ve already been triggered enough to emotionally dissociate to begin with), and the only events and behaviours I can remember or reflect upon are the several most recent times I’ve felt very suddenly defensive for similar reasons (which usually, but not always, comes across as spontaneous hostility).
So basically what I’m getting at here is that there actually is a legitimate explanation for aggressive behaviour on my part, but this too is an example of Ms. Bailey paying selective attention to the things people say to her, or perhaps it is even an example of Ms. Bailey’s selective memory. I did a great deal of compartmentalizing while living with her. Dealing with all the emotions some months after she left (i.e., long-term complication) was equivalent leaving an abusive relationship of several months with an intimate partner — only she and I were not intimate partners, and this is largely (but not entirely) due to how triggering she was for me to be around. At the time, I was also struggling and losing myself in a relationship with a Chinese man, about whom I have also written to call out for oppressive behaviour that is relevant to the alleged intent of SlutWalk, in several different ways. The irony of Ms. Bailey failing to perceive that herself is not lost on me at all. Perhaps the saddest part of all is that that very piece of writing is the entire reason this blog exists in the first place. Once again, this blog is where I’ve explained the following, without knowing I would be dragged into this highly personal confrontation over the quality of Ms. Bailey’s axe:
This is a lesson for all white feminists involved in this year’s SlutWalk: stop trying to “save” women of colour any way you want to, without even consulting those women of colour first, without listening to them when they tell you what they actually need from you, all while ignoring them when they tell you they don’t want your help (i.e., the kind of help you’re so eager to “give” them). That’s called racism.
And another thing: racism is not a sexual preference.