Pro-Choice Politics / Time-specific

Week 10 Follow-Up to Anti-Misogynist Action

This week’s highlights include duct tape pasties and a heaping serving of pro-life bullshit. Then there was gay-bashing and trans-misogyny. And an anti-oppressive Facebook group. Join it.

Friday

Well, I know I said I was going to take a one-week break, but why would I camp next to a lake when it’s too cold to swim in it? I’m speaking of course about a sudden change in the weather that brought about rain (it’s a rain forest here, what can I really say to that?) And I’d rather piss off some Catholics who harass women outside an abortion clinic, than get pissed on next to a lake. So, like last time, I responded by bringing out a newly assembled pair of duct tape pasties and my rain poncho (which is really a plastic bag I cut holes out of for my neck and arms). Not to have my spirits dampened by becoming dampened from head to toe, I also brought a clown nose and a tie (gotta look professional) with me. I arrived alone at the same time as a single pro-lifer, waited a few minutes and gave a lot of nods to passersby, and decided to strip before anyone else arrived. I got right down to a pair of what I call “manties” (this pair is covered in multiple colours of puzzle pieces complete with genitals and “Ohhh!” faces) and my pasties. As soon as my pro-choice companion arrived at the scene, the first words out of her mouth were “You’re ridiculous.” Mission Tacky As Fuck accomplished.

The Pro-Life (Bullshit) Posse

Soon after my companion arrived, approximately a dozen pro-lifers arrived in rapid succession. It quickly became apparent to me that they really have become desperate, and are now attempting to intimidate us by filming us from across the street (again) and striking up unwanted conversations that quickly derail into pseudo-semantics (e.g., “Stop misusing the word miscarriage!” or “You shouldn’t even think of using abortion as birth control!”) Either that or, like the last time they went too far and the rest of them showed up the following week, they have decided as a community that they need to start babysitting each other again to enforce some sort of half-assed attempt at self-policing. And how do they do that? But by trying to talk to me when I am clearly (and repeatedly) expressing that I’m not interested in speaking to them and repeatedly telling them to cease and desist (using as much profanity as I feel the situation requires). How else does a community police itself, but by badgering other people outside of it?

A pro-lifer walks up to me and says “We had a conversation about this”. But what they really mean is they tried to give me a sermon while I yelled at them repeatedly to shut the fuck up and stop talking to me.

But what they are really trying to do is push my friends and I to become as erratic, offensive, and irresponsible as they are. They aren’t going to win that fight. While I was repeatedly saying “I don’t want to talk to you. Stop talking to me. Shut the fuck up. Fuck off. Just walk away. I’m not interested,” they claimed that I “just don’t want to talk to them” because I “don’t want to hear the truth.” So the message I can take home from this is something to the effect of well, you know, if you are being harassed and express that the attention you are receiving is unwanted, that doesn’t matter, because the real priority is why you don’t want to be harassed. Y’know. Because it clearly couldn’t possibly be that I simply don’t want to talk to someone who isn’t listening to me no matter what I say, who has videotaped me and taken photos of me in order to intimidate me, who has threatened me and made me feel threatened, and who then stands by those who have shamed me, (sexually) harassed me, stood by and laughed while my safety was threatened right in front of them, and then blamed me for all of it. I think someone needs to become better acquainted with what the Criminal Code of Canada has to say on the matter, because it clearly states that no one is exempt. So as of the moment I’m writing this, I’m arranging to show up tomorrow with this section of the criminal code pinned to my back tomorrow.

Blatant Lies And Shifting Goalposts

So what was so important to these pro-life demonstrators today, that I personally have the opportunity to hear from them, no matter how many times (or ways) I tell them to cease and desist? How about one of them, who wasn’t even present while my friends were being grabbed or punched in the kidney last week, insisting that no one was even touched? And when the mother of one of those women showed up, she changed her story to “Well she was just trying to take her pamphlet back.” What she’s really saying is, if any one of my friends was assaulted by any one of hers, it was my friend’s fault. Because I’m so sure that punching someone in the kidney or grabbing someone by the arm is the correct, legal, and totally appropriate way to retrieve a piece of paper from their hands. Was the pamphlet printed in gold leaf? Or carved out of a golden tablet? If not, let it the fuck go. What does it really cost, and is it worth ten years in prison to get it back? Moving on — how about the same demonstrator telling passersby that pro-lifers don’t actually want women thrown in prisons and padded cells for abortions and miscarriages? This begs the question: why criminalize it if you don’t want severe reprimand to fall upon the women who access one illegally? Why compare it to murder (or genocide, fer fuck’s sake) if it shouldn’t be answered with a life sentence in prison or indefinite detention in an asylum?

The same demonstrator insisted repeatedly that what’s written on my sign (i.e., pro-lifers here told me and my friends that I’m disgusting and should be ashamed of myself, that I’m asking to be raped and deserve it) was the topic of a great big conversation between her and I, in which we resolved this issue. And that’s awfully hilarious, considering I repeatedly tell them to stop talking to me because I’m done listening. Or considering that I’ve never had such an extensive conversation (or any conversation at all!) with any of the pro-life demonstrators about the shit they’ve said to me and my friends. What I’m really hearing is “get over it because it’s inconvenient for me when you keep bringing it up.” But just like it’s my decision what my risk tolerance is (i.e., whether I want to talk to you or not is my decision to make, not yours), it’s my decision what my tolerance for slut-shaming and rape culture is. And I’ve set my tolerance at zero on both counts. She had the gall to say “I don’t understand why you’re so angry” after I had repeatedly told her to shut the fuck up and stop talking to me. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because you and your friends told me and my friends that I’m disgusting, should be ashamed of myself, deserve to be raped and am asking for it (all said knowing I have already been raped by multiple perpetrators)? Maybe because your friends have assaulted mine and then blamed them for it? Or maybe because you openly endorse ideologies I have zero tolerance for — such as slut-shaming, rape-victim-blaming, misogyny, and the desire to criminalize virtually any state of pregnancy that fails to be utterly perfect? I hope you assholes have finally caught on and are reading this by now. I really do.

Gawking, Shaming, And (More) Body-Policing

Today, these demonstrators were behaving as if they have never seen a mostly nude XX-chromosomal body before. I am skeptical of that, of course, because I’ve been mostly nude in front of them for ten fucking weeks in a row. The one who has been spitting daggers at me since the first week spent a majority of her time staring at me — and I mean really creepy staring, like a peeping Tom. I noticed because instead of simply rotating my sign, I decided to turn around to keep moving and try to prevent the low-back pain that seems to creep up on me when I stand relatively motionless. And while she was literally gawking at me rather excessively, another woman approached me and asked me what the point of being mostly nude is. What she’s really saying without saying it, though, is “Put some clothes on.” I told her the point is my body is an amusement park, not a territory for these people to police over. I told her that I should be able to stand around naked and not be ashamed of myself or in fear of what they think should happen to me. She told me I’m making a fool of myself. I wonder what gave it away first: the clown nose, perhaps? She also asked me if I’m nuts. I said I just might be. In retrospect, I don’t even see how my mental health status is relevant.

See, what none of these nerve-grating pontiffs know is that with the right key words, you can watch a man approaching 50 years of age at the time forcing his tongue deep into my exposed asshole. I have no shame about my body or anything I’ve done with it. I cannot make a fool of myself by standing around nearly nude across the street from an abortion clinic, to demonstrate bodily autonomy and demand respect for it and the ending of slut-shaming and rape culture all at the same time. I am not concerned about being embarrassed. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me for doing what I’m doing, and I’m prepared for the entire range of human expression at my carnal display. I’m not participating in a popularity contest or doing this for my ego or sexual gratification. I am doing it for justice, and that means that while I am on that corner in next-to-no-clothing, I am humble (and one who is humble cannot be humiliated — they have nothing to lose because they have already renounced it). I care that people think that I’m in charge of my own body, and that they ought to be in charge of their own too. I care that people think that I’m not telling them what to do with theirs, and that they ought to tell anyone who tries to tell them what to do with theirs to just piss off. And you know what? Gauging by the enormous amount of support I receive (from high fives, hand-shakes, fist-pumps, and hugs, to people who take the time to stand in solidarity while they tell me the details of their personal history with these demonstrators or what I am standing for), I think I’m doing something right.

Saturday

As soon as I took my clothes off, a man walked up behind me and said “If you’re so committed to your cause, why do you hide behind your clown costume?” I just yelled back “Hiding? I’m not wearing any fucking clothes, you idiot!” as he ran across the street like a proper coward. I immediately acknowledge that calling this guy an idiot (one who exhibits limited intellect) instead of calling him a coward (one who picks fights by walking up behind someone and running away as fast as possible) reflects internalized privilege and ableism, and I regret that I am not more immediately on top of myself for this. That’s the second time I’ve caught myself saying something ableist when I’ve been incited by an anti-abortion coward. I am going to do my best to stop myself from making a habit out of this, and my first step looks like this:

Section 264(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada pinned to my back — the part about harassment.

Today, we hung up our pro-choice banner, and created a laundry line of free condoms (of both types). We also had an enormous collection of stylised wooden signs, and actually ran out, because we had so many people come to join us in solidarity! At least half a dozen pro-lifers showed up, and spread themselves over two corners (but we had enough supporters present, we had them covered). I’ve begun to see this as a new tactic that is designed to spread everyone so thin that they can successfully hand out their pamphlets without simultaneously being held accountable for the horrible hatred they’ve been spewing into our streets. They’ve done this on Fridays too, when our numbers are so reduced that we can’t risk spreading ourselves across two corners, so we just let them occupy the more distant of the two and call it a sort-of win. If I could clone myself, I’d be in my tight and brights as tacky as fuck on both corners.

Gay-Bashing And Trans-Misogyny

The following man approached us and immediately began calling out my young, slender, white, able-bodied male friend, calling him a pansy and a faggot:

That’s what’s called bigotry. As a result of this photo going up on Facebook paired with a description of his bigotry, this man was identified and arrested within hours.

I stepped in between them with my back facing this man as soon as I realized what was going on. I repeatedly pointed to the piece of paper on my back, told him what it was, and suggested he read it. Facing my friend, who was clearly starting to lose control of himself while this man continued to antagonize him by telling him women hate “pansies” and “faggots” like him (in addition to trying to convince him he’s alone), I did everything I could to encourage him to stop responding. The man then directed his attention towards me, saying “Can you get any more gay?” to which I said “No, I actually can’t.” As my friend tried to turn away, the man said to me “Look at you and your fake tits!” I told him I’m flattered he thinks my tits are so awesome that they must be fake, but they are very much real. I held my sign just above my shoulder to prevent him from securing my friend’s eye contact, and he was spitting in my face as he said “If you touch me with that sign, I’ll bash your head in with it.” I yelled as loudly as possible for someone to give me a phone so I can call the police, and as I was talking to a 9-1-1 dispatcher, he walked away to take the bus downtown, spitting his hatred the entire way. When he got across the street, my friends took his picture with my camera, which we were able to show to police when they arrived within minutes.

My friend returned some time later, while I was still shaking from such a clear threat to my safety. And as we re-grouped and discussed how one doesn’t have to be a homosexual to be gay-bashed (just as I don’t have to be a transwoman to be subjected to trans-misogyny), we were joined by our friends from across the street, who had also being threatened at the same time by another man of towering stature. He had approached a woman who appeared to him to be isolated from the group, and began antagonizing her, claiming he had a degree in some sort of philosophy, and asking her if she really wanted to “get into it” with him, as if her sign was a personal invitation addressed to him. As he inched closer and closer to her, she called out for her boyfriend to stand next to her. He started to become enraged, shouting that they were trying to impose on his right to stand at the bus stop. As more of my friends joined them, he backed off. But he was taller and larger than all of them, and seemed to be there exclusively for the purpose of picking a fist fight with someone he knew wouldn’t be able to win — something at least one of my friends has been anticipating for weeks, especially since what happened during week five when I was very easily isolated and fully covered up.

What The Butt-Fuck, You Might Ask

As a group, we are beginning to believe with increasing confidence that the pro-lifers are actually recruiting these individuals to show up for the express purpose of fucking our shit up and trying to make us step over the line. I personally have no reason to believe that these are random strangers who just happened upon our demonstration and found it absolutely necessary to flip their shits in such a serious gesture of aggression and hostility, and actually believe that these individuals are friends and family of the pro-life demonstrators whose actions incited me (and continue to incite me) to counter-protest. It just seems impossible that a pronounced misogynist would happen upon a young man who can barely defend himself, holding a sign that simply says “trust women”, and be spontaneously incited to such extreme manifestations of aggression. It seems equally impossible that such a person who has heard about our demonstrations would actually seek us out on the day they know to expect us, since it takes a particular kind of coward to pick fights with defenceless people at the edges of a peaceful street demonstration — one who I think is unlikely to leave their home for fear of what might happen to them if they vocalize their ideology in a public space.

The problem with their tactic is that you can’t terrorize someone who has already survived facing their own death as many times as I have. You can push me to the wall and beat me with fists, but I’ll fight back with everything I’ve got. So go ahead and try, fuckers. See you next Friday.

20 thoughts on “Week 10 Follow-Up to Anti-Misogynist Action

  1. You know, I could understand it if you happened to randomly walk by Broadway and Commercial wearing everyday clothing and some dude just started hurling insults at you. As it stands, you plan to go down there every week hell-bent on confrontation. While I’m sure you have the best of intentions, it doesn’t look like you’re making any friends down there. You wear your words on your skin literally and wonder why people are antagonistic to you. You take offense to a certain subset of words (which is quite large compared to the average enlightened liberal) yet you have no problem hurling labels at people. You are quick to throw around words like “mysogynist”.

    They say the act of observing changes what you’re observing. I’ve seen these pro-lifers before and they don’t get in people’s faces or actively try to engage people in conversation. You’re going down there with the explicit intent on causing hated mayhem and you wonder why you get hatred thrown back in your face.

    • Wow, thank you so much for your insightful mansplanation. What would I ever do without a sexist pig coming out of the woodwork to tell me how I behave in a confrontational manner towards people I am not even talking to or securing eye contact with, because I was done listening to them when they told me I deserve to be raped, am asking for it, am disgusting, and should be ashamed of myself — all because I wrote a sign that said they slut-shamed a woman in a sundress and they need to go back to their fucking cave.

      And how brave of you to make sure I receive this message anonymously.

      • It wasn’t anonymously. It’s RaspberryJam here. You know, the horrible, god forbid, MAN who disagrees with you.

        I’m really not interested in defending the douchebag; I’m merely pointing out how your attitude in this whole endeavor (ie: going to the abortion clinic with a chip on your shoulder looking for fights) is what causes the backlash in the first place. You piss them off and then cry victim when you get it thrown back in your face. It has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter you’re arguing about or the race/sex/orientation of the people involved; it has everything to do with the lack of respect on both sides. By walking down there to protest the protesters while you’re pissed off, you’re basically stooping to their level.
        That’s all I want to say. They’re behaviour is a reflection of your own. I’m not gonna bother replying to anything else because you’ll find some way to attack my point of view without actually hearing it.

    • Summary of post: It’s okay if you’re a regressive, only liberals can incite stuff. Regressives aren’t inciting ANYTHING with stuff like, oh, say, “Fathers help your baby’s mother resist abortion”. Regressives can’t EVER create a chilly climate. Nope, it’s always those damned liberals’ fault.

      You fucking asshole. Harassment is illegal for a reason. You don’t just get to declare it okay.

      The guy in the picture made me have a fucking ANXIETY ATTACK. Would that have been made okay if I was basically naked? Would it have been okay for me to have been debilitated, forced to leave, rendered barely able to hold a fucking sign when I came back and for the rest of the goddamn day shaken up and on edge? I’d love to hear how counter-protesting against asshole regressives who are trying to stretch plausible deniability across the Grand Canyon for lack of an actual ARGUMENT to back up their bullshit justifies giving someone an anxiety attack. Go on. Do tell.

      • Neither of you has bothered to read what I typed. I have not and will never defend that guy’s actions. I’m merely trying to shine a light on your own behaviour. I’m not questioning or defending what happened. I am questioning your methods. I have read back through a few of these weekly follow-ups and It seems that you can’t get your point across without the situation devolving into hatred-fueled yelling matches. When you manage to provoke people into that level of anger, why are you surprised when they start to spew hateful speech?

        It takes two sides to argue and two sides to live with the consequences.

        • You are victim-blaming. I read every word of it, and that is what you did a year ago, and what you did yesterday.

          I asked you to take your bullshit victim-blaming attitude somewhere else, and yet you returned to provide further justification for it. GET LOST.

  2. Update:

    The man who gay-bashed my friend, then gay-bashed, trans-bashed, and threatened me with physical assault has been arrested, as a result of being recognized on Facebook from the photo my friends took of him when he had crossed the street to the Northeast corner of the intersection.

    That’s the sound of justice.

    Update on that update:

    The 9-1-1 call was never filed, and though I was explicitly told I would be asked to do a photo identification of the man, that hinged upon the filing of that 9-1-1 call.

    Thus, the sound of injustice.

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  5. I wish there was a “Love” button on this post. “Like” doesn’t begin to cover it. I am seriously considering building a shrine to you.

    The false equivalence is laughable. On one side, we have an inherently violent ideology, and people who are not above threatening violent assault, in some cases following through. On the other side, we have (apparently) magnificent tits, and people who stand up for the rights of women to bodily autonomy despite the harassment they know they will endure. RaspberryJam just sounds like typical abusive @$$hole, a common species of ape I am unfortunately all too familiar with: “It’s just awful for me when she makes me hit her.”

    A victim-blamer, exactly as you said.

    Rock the fuck on.

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  7. The most HaifischGeweint should have to deal with is your unwanted, oppressive, unintelligent comments of “no wonder you got harassed,” RaspberryJam. To which, of course, we all call you out on your weak suggestion.
    It doesn’t seem to appear HaifischGeweint cares about your opinion of whether she should have been ‘civil’ and set up meetings with pro-lifers.
    Maybe you should take your own advice, RaspberryJam, and meet HaifischGeweint, help out the real cause of social justice and ask to try another method or ‘mindset’ of protesting.
    Instead, you’re just trolling to add to the stress of a pro-choice and feminist demonstrator.

    If you don’t become part of the change you’d like to see on the side you see as fair and just,

    if you don’t commit to learning how to improve the protest by sharing your thoughts and hearing those of others,

    then you are perpetuating oppression.

    • Yup. Pretty simple formula:

      “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

      “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
      (Rather unfortunately, one of the pro-life sandwich boards features this quote.)

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