Words from Reina Gossett on mourning our history

"So often in our movement we rush to urgently respond to huge violences affecting our lives rather than create spaces that support us to feel, honor and recognize the power of grief.  In his essay “Mourning & Militancy” The AIDS activist Douglass Crimp, having worked to center mourning as a powerfully psychic and necessary force for queer people to experience, reflected on grief as misunderstood by many activist communities: “Public mourning rituals may of course have their own political force, but they nevertheless often seem, from an activist perspective, indulgent, sentimental, defeatist.”  So its within this context that I am really inspired by historical moments where people came together to hold ancestral & personal grief as a powerfully political act; make plain the connections between grief & state violence, diminishing circles of care, resource and isolation; resist silence & shame by honoring people who passed all the while deepening our own relationships and invested in our own living"  

" I wonder what a resurgence of actions connected & accountable to grief, the dead, the unborn, unknown and alive would do to our collective resiliency.  I imagine a shift in connection and accountability would create more space in our movements to hold more people, more levity, more magic, less isolation and less shame."


(from The Politics of Gender Self-Determination)

"If we ignore the way the legacy and history of trans and gender-non-conforming people being pushed out of and marginalized within queer and feminist movements shapes current trans and gender-non-conforming struggles, then we’re only getting part of the story and are perpetuating historical erasure, exile and isolation; we are perpetuating violence."

"An investment in biologically determined gender is an investment in identities that were violently imposed on our bodies in order to maintain capitalism, white supremacy and colonialism."


(from An Open Letter For Gender Self-Determination in Occupy Wallstreet)