Article, Statement, Statements in Support

What matters now?

It matters that Pulse was an LGBT+ club.
It matters it was Pride.
It matters it was a Latinx night.
It matters the headliners were trans and of colour.
It matters that the shooter got an assault rifle so easily.
It matters that 53 people are injured.
It matters that 49 people are dead.

It matters the Christian right introduced 200 anti-LGBT+ bills in the 6 months before this.
It matters, the same week, someone bombed a Target restroom.*
It matters a white man brought weapons and explosives to another Pride event the same day.
It matters the media neglected to say it was a gay club for hours.
It matters the media suddenly remembered when the shooter turned out to be Muslim.
It matters we don’t know the shooter had any motivation beyond queerphobia.
It matters we do know he had a history of toxic masculinity and wife beating.
It matters this may be the 2nd or 3rd worst US mass shooting after Wounded Knee and very possibly Tulsa.
It matters that AMAB queers and their partners aren’t allowed to donate blood.
It matters that straights are highjacking the discourse, whether into “All Lives Matter,” or somehow into anti-selfie culture, stonewalling dissenting LGBT+ and queer voices at every turn.

What matters is that the lives and  deaths of queer people of colour don’t matter to them.

None of the people crying out about the queerphobia of Islamic extremism care about dead queers – much less dead queers of colour. Trump and his cronies have spent the past number of months talking about “building a wall” to keep out Latin@ people – just like those who were killed on Saturday. Disgusting and exhausting as the Sky News video was, Julia Hartley-Brewer was wholly astute when she said that, if people weren’t moved enough by the slaughtered children at Sandy Hook to do something about gun control, you can bet dollars to donuts that news of 49 Latinx queers isn’t going to affect any change at all. Rather, the media and pundits will continue to deflect, continue to divide and conquer. Yesterday, queers and above all trans women were dangerous threats to public (esp. bathroom) safety. Today, we are victims, held in binary opposition to Islam, for conservative political point-scoring. It suits white-centric, neocon queerphobic powers-that-be to imply that there are no queer Muslims, currently feeling sickened by someone who may or indeed very well may not have committed an atrocity in the name of their religion of peace, feeling frightened by yet another display of violent queerphobic oppression experienced, as per usual, by trans/femme queer people of colour first, and feeling dread in the face of reprisals enacted upon the homogenised orientalist Dutch cartoon image of Islam the media remain desperate as ever to portray.

These people have no understanding of what a space like a gay club can mean for we who are not yet out, or who are finding exactly who we are. The one secret girl in an all boy’s school, the club scene was where I first began to discover and negotiate my sexuality and gender. It was where I was first able to put on a dress, and hear nothing apart from “nice dress.”  It was where I gained enough of a community to feel safe enough in coming out to be prepared for the negative consequences. Everyone with power, taking advantage of the outpouring of grief since Saturday night would have liked nothing more than to see Pulse shut down and replaced with shops or high-end apartments. Some of them haven’t even bothered to mask their utter lack of sorrow in the face of queer deaths at all. I have spent enough time attending and, since last year, hosting Transgender Day of Remembrance to be aware of the wide margin between numbers of murdered queer people of colour and murdered white queers to know that the pronouns “we,” “us” and “our” in relation to white queer solidarity with the victims of Saturday’s attack are deflections of the whole truth: whichever way you look at this thing, people of colour are the primary victims, both in and outside of the club. We must not allow queerphobic racists to incite queer racism. The atrocity of Saturday night can hardly be said to be the work of a “lone gunman” in a society that promotes hatred and bigotry at the level of both public policy and social ostracisation of otherness every single day.

What matters is that we acknowledge our similarities, address our differences, support our most vulnerable first and respond from the grassroots. We cannot trust politicians or the media to respond morally, or to have our interests at heart; that is not their purpose. We must not simply stand, but act in support and solidarity of those lost and those who remain. We must fight the ideology of hatred that inspired the Orlando shooter, whom I shall continue not to name on social media, but we must also realise that it is very nearly the same hatred that inspires our politicians to make our lives harder for our genders and sexualities, our ethnicities and abilities. What matters is that 49 people with hopes, dreams, pasts and futures didn’t deserve to die for who they were, but they did. What matters is that we fight for a time when nobody will. Rest in Power to the victims of the Orlando shooting. Recover in Power to the survivors.

 

 

*debates are ongoing as to whether this was for transphobic, ideological reasons, or drug manufacture gone awry.
Please consider donating to the Muslims United For Victims of Pulse Shooting fundraiser.

Lexi Turner is a soon-to-graduate 3rd year Film student at King’s, who held positions on the iFemSoc committee as Events Organiser in 2013-2014 and Trans Rep in 2015-2016. Ze is available to message via the iFemSoc Facebook group or via hir personal Facebook.

If you want to write for us, come check out our Writing Topics Page. Or if you want to find more fantastic intersectional articles from us, go check out our Contents Page

 

Standard
current affairs, Statement, Statements in Support, Uncategorized

Letter In Solidarity with Isoc & our Muslim Community at King’s.

This letter is to state that King’s College London’s Intersectional Feminist Society stands in solidarity with our Muslim Community here at King’s following the abhorrent acts that occurred last Friday (04/03/2016). For those who are not fully aware, two white men approached the sisters manning an Islam Awareness Week stall and began verbally attacking them. This eventually escalated to physical threats of violence, and a fellow sister had her niqab (full-face veil) pulled off by one of the men.  For a complete run down on what happened, you can refer to the Roar article or refer to Issa Ruhani’s post on the KCL Islamic Society page. However it is key to note here that not only did security fail to act in protecting Muslim students, but that the University has falsely reported the event to put themselves in a better light, where they have argued that they intervened with what happened. What actually occurred was that it was left to a Muslim brother to place himself in between the sisters and the perpetrators. It was only when senior staff were called that that action was taken, i.e. calling the police

What this letter of solidarity would like to make clear is four things:
(1)  There is a growing atmosphere of aggressive Islamophobia, in not just this University and other educational institutions but across the nation. This attack is just one example of the climate of fear and oppression Muslim students have had to mitigate against and navigate while attending this University.
(2)  The University has proven itself to be racist and Islamophobic in its deployment of ‘safety’ and ‘security’ over the past months.
(3) Right now is the time for our wider student body to rally behind our Muslim community, specifically our Muslim women, and commit to obtaining justice for  what has happened.
(4) Combating racism and Islamophobia at this institution and in wider society is integral to an intersectional approach. We urge all other liberation societies to join us in condemning these events, pushing for a full inquiry, and supporting the Islamic Society during this time.

This attack is unfortunately not a new story for Muslim people in Britain. Already this year we have heard in the news countless examples of Muslim people – frequently Muslim women – being physically assaulted by predominantly white men. From this we can assume that countless more cases have occurred that have not reached national news. It is important to stress that this attack was an explicitly gendered form of Islamophobia,a growing reality for Muslim women here in the West. What we can say however is that at King’s, this event is a tipping point– thanks to the committed work of POC at King’s, and the fact that ISoc have a safe and protected space to organise, this event will not be pushed into obscurity. 

It is incredibly important that people reflect on how this response by the University and the security staff is racialised. This attack has come after countless events where an disproportionate amount of security has been repeatedly brought onto campus for peaceful protests, film screenings, and panel events. When our POC association held a peaceful protest to obtain a meeting regarding the BME attainment gap they were faced with a wall of security and police officers: a message clearly stating that the wider student body was to be protected from them. Yesterday female Muslim students were verbally and physically attacked, and security did not intervene. A clear message that Muslim students are not seen as individuals worth protecting in the same light.

At this moment in time King’s students, and various King’s societies, should be reflecting on this injustice and position themselves to be ready to support ISoc and our Muslim community in whatever call for action is voiced. This is especially  the case for white allies who need to show the University that when they fail to defend Muslim students, and later report falsehoods about what happened, that they will have the scrutiny of the whole student body on their hands.

Sincerely,
iFemSoc Committee.

Standard