Position of Guilt: Black Hot Allostatic Load

originally posted: February 29, 2024
darling, you feel heavy because you are too full of truth. open your mouth more. let the truth exist somewhere other than inside your body. -Della Hicks-Wilson

I’ve been trying to write these stories for two weeks. Despite the fact that I’ve told these stories so many times at this point, the act of committing them in this way, of trying to pull as much detail out into the light as I can without losing the plot and having the stories just become a pointless trauma dump, is exhausting and destroys what little energy my body maintains. I’m too disabled for this. I’m too traumatized for this. I want to give up doing this shit and go to sleep and hope that when I wake up, things will be better.

But things don’t get better unless we put forth the work to change them. We don’t get to hope that someone will come along and save us or make sure everything will be alright, because most often, there won’t be. The best we can do is make sure that we can be the person who’s there for the next person, to break that cycle of surviving alone.

I want to stress the fact that I’m lucky. Even with all the horrible shit I’ve gone through, I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’ve still been able to maintain a handful of people who were able to take care of me and help me through these events. I wasn’t trapped in a place where there were only a handful of trans folks and that was it. I had at least a little bit of support, even if the results of these stories left me with such severe social anxiety and panic attacks that I often still can’t go places alone anymore, left me largely isolated from my communities and occasionally so catatonically depressed that all I did was work and sleep, I’m one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to face it completely alone.

I want you to keep that in mind as you read these stories.

There are so many marginalized folks who haven’t been as lucky as I have. There are folks with darker skin than mine, who are more disabled than I am, who are financially worse off than I am.   There are folks more alone than I am. There are stories we don’t hear until they’re dead, leaving us to mourn over losing another sibling – leaving us to get mad that things are like this and go back to the same old patterns because we’re too fucking afraid to do better, to be one of the ones to push for change. We’re already so tired of dealing with all this, why do the victims have to change the problem? Because nobody else will, because they don’t care about us.

I’m tired of seeing us die at the hands of our own communities because we were too scared that we would be next.

~~~

TW; racism, transmisogynoir, abuse, sexual violence, sexual assault

I’m going to tell three stories. The point of telling these stories is: I don’t want the same thing to happen to other Black AMABs (Assigned Male At Birth), whether cis or trans, because society racializes us as their idea of ‘Black Men’ due to racism and transmisogynoir.

Additional context: I’ve been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed multiple times in my life, both pre and post transition. That isn’t what I’m going to talk about today, but informs what I’m going to speak about. I’d also recommend taking the time to read the short essay Hot Allostatic Load by Porpentine either before or after reading this, but it’s not strictly required to understand.

What I am going to speak about, publicly, is dangerous for me to do both as a Black AMAB and as a transfemme, and I want to clarify that I am only using the designation AMAB as it relates to the racialization that we experience. No matter how feminine I present, no matter how ‘completely’ I transition, I don’t get to leave behind the way that society racialized me as a ‘Black Man’, even as I add the racialization of being a ‘Black Woman’ to that.

To be Black and Transgender is to know the full weight of white supremacy. It extracts its toll and there is no ‘escape’ from one racialization to the other, but only an additive. I don’t get to stop being a ‘Violent, Intimidating Black Man’, I just get to add being a ‘Domineering, Angry Black Woman’ at the same time. Despite what many think, being in multiple categories does not have a ‘canceling out’ effect, it just means you deal with the consequences of those categories simultaneously.

Growing up in Montana, a 90% white state, all I’d hear about Black men outside of my family from the white folks around me was that if they weren’t celebrity athletes, currently in good graces, they were all criminals and rapists. When I learned about Emmett Till as a kid and how common of a threat it was to Black AMABs, it became one of my biggest fears due to the racism I had already experienced as a child. This knowledge came with the understanding that all I had to do in a state this white was exist slightly wrong around someone having a bit of a bad day, and it could be fatal.

As a Black AMAB, I’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault or consent violations three times in my life. Once pre-transition as a teenager, twice as an adult transfemme. In both of the latter cases, I believed them and was trying to figure out how to change to prevent harming anyone else, until I was given evidence that they were explicitly lying after weeks of only being told vague details of “what I had done”. However, I still don’t have full info on the last incident of what I was actually accused of doing, and likely never will. However, I’m putting forth as much information as I can provide.

The first time it happened, as a teen back in Montana, I had been flirting with a white girl who had a boyfriend. We met up and made out. Her boyfriend found out about it later on, and as a result she started telling everyone I had forced myself on her in an attempt to save her relationship. I was “lucky” in that I had taken photos of her very willingly kissing me, to be “cute” with each other, that I had texts where we had made plans, discussed in detail what we wanted to do with each other. If I hadn’t had that evidence? I would’ve had no way to save myself. To find any kind of justice about it.

In 2022, I had two formerly long distance partners (D and F) move in with me, and a third partner (R) visiting daily because she was dating all three of us. It was.. Rough. One of the partners was very traumatized, mentally ill, and needed professional care we all couldn’t give and that they couldn’t access otherwise. The situation reached a point that F wanted out.

F was a compulsive liar and both aware of and admitted this (fig 1), but he had never lied to me in a way I’d been able to catch, and so I trusted him in regards to our interactions. I didn’t consider that while he wouldn’t lie to me, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t lie about me or us to other people. That lack of consideration was a mistake.

a text from F containing the following text:idk if i've told you this or if it's been obvious from the everything abt me growing up, but I developed some nasty habits for compulsive lying for attention. i've been working on it for years, but there's usually still a pull to do it that i have to actively work against. that's not there with you. and it wasn't, from the moment i met you, which is wild bc i thought you were *so* cool, which usually leads to even more of that urge to lie. but it's not there. i want to emphasize that, i have not lied to you, like, at all. which is really fucking weird for me. idk why this felt so important to include in all this, but i think it's an important factor to me in how i love you. anyways, i love you both so much more than i could- screenshot ends there.
(Figure 1. A text from F on being a compulsive liar)

F decided the easiest way to get out with no strings or obligations on his side, so that he could move in with R, was to accuse me of a consent violation. At the time in question, F and I had been messing around in the kitchen, which he had initiated, and I asked him if he wanted to go back to his room to continue. He replied “If you’d like”, which was a phrase I had regularly used to mean “I’m good to continue if you are, but if you want to stop that’s fine too” as I’m gray-asexual and largely ambivalent towards sex.

We go back to F’s room, and I continue to check in regularly (“would you like to take off your boxers for me?”, etc.) and shortly after we start to have sex, D storms out of his room to grab something from the kitchen and returns to his room and slams the door, after which F says “I can’t keep doing this”. At some point during all that a consent violation happened according to F and R. I was told my interpretation of the phrase “If you’d like” as consent was incorrect which made the escalation of our interaction a consent violation despite me checking in regularly both before and after that point. The aftermath of this incident led to roughly a week of F staying with R that ended in D physically threatening both of them when they came back. Both F and D moved out.

Over time, F and R escalated by claiming that our relationship had not just one consent violation (as described in the previous paragraph), but that I was a serial rapist and abuser, despite the fact that I had ample and consistent proof to the contrary. (fig 2, 3, 4, 5. I have additional examples, such as recordings of conversations, but I’m keeping it abbreviated to these examples) They spread these claims both within our friend groups, social groups, and within our shared professional groups (I worked with R) until I was almost fully socially isolated outside of my remaining partners.

a screenshot of a conversation between F and Anonsee. The text is as follows: Text from F ending in: "question honestly, I managed to trigger myself." Text from Anonsee that reads: Also like. In general the only things i'm gonna have an issue with you sharing are things that are explicitly meant to be for me - whether that's because I asked for them, or because you told me they were - and that's less a factor of control of you and more because Mine ~~ignore that i'm a leftist here lmaoooo~~ but beyond that, any control of you, your body, what you post, etc. is only what you grant me, and can be revoked at any time. I cherish the control you do entrust to me, and understand it is completely at your discretion - if I overstep it, you are well within your rights to revoke it or to do what you want anyway.
(Figure 2. Examples of general behavior with F, selected from a larger compilation)
A series of texts between F and Anonsee. Text 1, F: I know I just. aaaaaaaa Text 2. Anonsee: I know. I'm just reminding you, my love (sparkle heart emoji) I love you so very very much my little bee Text from F, it has been heart reacted: I love you too. Thank you. Texts from Anonsee: Of course. You've done the same for me many times over my darling, though I'd remind you not matter what (sparkle heart emoji). Also, you know your limits, boundaries, and needs better than anyone else. If you say you can't do a thing, I know that you can't do the thing. You don't need to apologize for it. I love you so very much, and I'm just worried and wish I could do more.
(Figure 3. Examples of general behavior with F, selected from a larger compilation)
A screenshot of texts from Anonsee to F. They read as follows: Also text reminder: it is perfectly fine to say no, whether you *can't* or you *don't want to*. You aren't required to, and shouldn't, cause yourself harm to take care of me. I'm never going to be upset *with you* for not being able/wanting to do a thing, and if I'm upset in general about not being able to do a thing, sometimes I just got to feel my feelings and get them out the way, and it is *never* directed at you my love. I love you so very much, and I know how hard it is at times. But I hope you feel comfy saying no when you need to in the future. Followed by a 26 second voice message repeating the message but in Anonsee's voice.
(Figure 4. Examples of general behavior with F, selected from a larger compilation)
A screenshot of a text from Anonsee to F. It reads as follows: Also want to say quick that at no point have I thought that your love can be bought. Like. Ye I have disability-based issues regarding *my own* worth and what i'm able to provide to others, but at no point has that *ever* translated to believing that your love for me could, or should, be bought. The things I give people are because I think they would like them, and because I love them. Also re: less affection - you've been hella stressed lately. if there is something more/else than that, I trust you to tell me when you're comfortable/able. I've expressed my needs and issues about attention/affection (which wasn't just you), but beyond that? I trust you. I will always trust you, my precious F(rest of name redacted)
(Figure 5. Examples of general behavior with F, selected from a larger compilation)

I’d like to note that I fully believed both F and R when I was given this information. I assumed that they were telling the truth and was distraught. I went back through all my actions, all my recorded contact with them, and all the conversations I could recall. I found no evidence of their claims and turned to others to do the same. To scrub through my history with them and many did. I didn’t want to hurt anyone ever again, I wanted to see my blind spots. But nobody out of about a half dozen people found anything to indicate evidence to their claims.

They all went in with the assumption that they’d find something to explain how “abusive” F and R were claiming I was, only for all of them to come back with “Anonsee, there’s nothing abusive here. You might not have been a great partner, but there’s nothing abusive at all.” Anyone willing to look through the entirety of all that documentation I had did believed I was innocent, but 95% cut me off without asking me directly or interacting with me at all. I purposely compiled all of it so anybody who wanted to question me, F, R, or just the whole situation could easily get answers. Almost nobody even came to me. I just found myself yelled at, removed from communities that I helped build, and socially ostracized in communities that were vital to my mental health. Any information about how they lied about me came from secondhand sources and again, I have no way of knowing everything they’ve said about me.

One certainty I have though is that even further after the fallout of this, I found out that they’ve been discussing wanting to lynch me on twitter based on their own lies, a position that, to my knowledge, hasn’t changed.

Over the course of summer 2022 and on, I become more involved in the DC local trans community to try and find some semblance of the friendship and belonging I had lost. Honestly, for months, it was amazing. I’ve always been an extrovert, and I found a lot of meaning in being able to go to the plethora of trans and queer events in the DC area, make connections, and explore more of who I actually was rather than continually being forced to define myself in a reactive fashion.

I lost my job that September and threw myself into community organizing/event hosting while job searching as a result. Being surrounded by other trans folks almost constantly and actually being able to partake in trans joy regularly, being able to suddenly exist in a world where I wasn’t as much of ‘the odd one out’ – yes, I was still Black in several majority white queer spaces, still disabled and using a mobility aid when most others didn’t, but I was able to find connection, able to feel desired, able to exist fully in a reality where even if things weren’t great financially, I wasn’t alone.

The DC trans community is functionally racially segregated. I don’t know if this is a recent development, or if it’s always been this way. But unless an event specifies its for BIPOC or BIPOC-focused, most queer events in DC end up being 70% or more white despite DC itself being an almost 50% Black city.

This, unfortunately, leads to some heavy replication of systemic white supremacist dynamics, even in spaces with folks that self-describe as “Anti-Racist”, “Abolitionist”, “Anarchist”, or otherwise left-leaning. Despite spaces, groups, and events saying they’re intersectional, often I’d find myself attending meetings ostensibly meant to benefit the entire trans community and finding I was the only non-white person in attendance. Efforts to push against this dynamic and open up the greater community to have more BIPOC engagement, to make existing spaces actually safe and welcoming for BIPOC trans folks, largely stalled out and led to more focus on, again, segregated events. They claimed titles they did no work to earn and actively stifled my efforts to fulfill their empty promises.

In late 2022, I started organizing a “Trans Night” at As You Are, the local queer bar and cafe that had functionally become my home away from home over the past several months of unemployment, to try and provide a similar space to the local “Dyke Night”, but focusing explicitly on trans folks. For the first couple months, I acted as a “host” for the event – spending all but the last hour of the event focusing on helping newer and nervous trans folks find groups to chat and make friends with, checking in on people, and trying to help things run smoothly.

In early January 2023, the owners of As You Are talk to me about wanting to swap the format of the event to be more in line with the format dyke night, where the only host is the bartender, so that I can actually take part in the entire event instead of “working” it for free every week as I had been. Because of my own anxieties, I checked in both initially and a couple times in the following weeks about whether I had “done anything” to prompt the change, or whether there was anything I needed to personally change or adjust. They both repeatedly assure me I hadn’t done anything, and that I don’t need to behave any differently or do anything.

Around this same time, I also had a falling out with one of the local trans community leaders. There wasn’t anything particularly notable about this at the time; it wasn’t a big blow-up, they said they wanted to focus more on their closer friendships at the moment, and I agreed. A couple weeks later I sent a follow-up text, specifically stating that I wasn’t expecting or asking for it to change anything, but wanted to communicate how I was feeling about the initial conversations since we had to continue existing in similar spaces as organizers.

I received no response initially, but about two weeks later I received a message from the owners of As You Are, while I was out of town visiting a partner. The message read “Due to several parties coming to us with harm caused by you acting outside AYAs consent policy we have decided to ban you from the space, effective immediately.”

I was extremely confused, as since the events of my last story, I’ve been exceedingly conscientious of how I behave when interacting and flirting with people, including asking for permission before any type of physical contact besides with friends and lovers that I’ve established the lack of need to ask with, and I couldn’t think of any situations I’ve been in that would raise to this level of severity, much less multiple.

I arranged a meeting with the owners in person, along with two supporting friends, and the conversation is terse and largely cyclical. They inform me “we’re not going to tell you who you harmed”, “we’re not going to tell you how you harmed them”, “we’re not going to tell you how to prevent it from happening again or harming others”, and “we can see how you could do everything right and still end up here.” While I understand, to some degree, not naming names and giving certain key details for fear of retaliation: how am I meant to fix my behavior and not hurt others if I am given absolutely nothing to work with. Not even a suggestion that they could extrapolate despite having all the knowledge of the situation in question.

I check in with and give the few details I have to friends I’ve been with, regular flirtationships, anyone I know who I’ve messed around with and have contact info for, trying to figure out if I’ve been doing something that I’ve just been missing as being ‘wrong’. I’m generally met with confusion because their experience with me was that I was constantly checking in and asking for permission to do things, and they aren’t sure of any behavior that they had experienced or witnessed from me that would qualify either.

As all of this is going on, I also get informed by the moderator of a different space, who had spoken to the owners of As You Are on their own, that these issues were “tied to removing you as trans night host” despite them repeatedly telling me otherwise, as well as the owners telling me that all the “multiple complaints” had come forward in the two weeks prior to texting me. A few days later, the same mod informs me that I’m being banned from that space as well because of an unnamed person coming to them with additional accusations about me.

The slight details the moderator gives me, that the person had consented to having sex with me, but explicitly didn’t consent to certain sex acts happening that apparently occurred anyway, that we had negotiated ahead of time and that I then ignored the limits outlined in the negotiation? Don’t align with any of the times I had sex with someone since joining the local community, and I can’t think of any person or situation that fits the minor information given, especially as my bottom dysphoria means that I rarely have “actual” sex versus engaging in kink or foreplay focusing on my partner.

I’m additionally told that multiple people including the owners of As You Are have said they’ve “tried talking to me about it” but the only talks that I’m aware of that have happened, apart from one conversation with the leader I fell out with, were when people I had made out with or messed around with prior came to me and told me they weren’t interested in doing more (whether because they only wanted it to be a one night thing, their situation changed, or other scenarios). In each of those conversations, I had repeatedly reassured the people who came to me that I didn’t have any expectations for them to maintain anything with me, that I was completely fine with us not doing anything else going forward, and thanking them for letting me know their interest had changed so I could adjust appropriately.

In the one conversation with the leader, a few months prior, it had primarily been a conversation about the differences in how “public” we are about our behavior – how while she may at most make out with a date in public occasionally, I would often be flitting between people at events and very visible in the way I was willing to give and receive affection. She informed me that some people found that visibility in poor taste or were uncomfortable with it, which I acknowledged but felt was an unfair standard given how often others did similarly, but “stood out less” as people.

Afterwards, I reached out to someone I trusted from the community, friends with the leader, to act as a general mediator, and we had long, multi-day text conversations with each other to try and address the issues.

These attempts go poorly.

They refuse to give me actual info of what I had done as well beyond vagaries such as “people felt intimidated by how you tower over them” (I’m 6’2” and often wear heels, but I also have spinal damage and use a cane as a mobility aid), “people felt like they couldn’t say ‘no’ when you asked them things because of your social capital” (I was an unemployed, disabled, Black transfemme who had been in the community less than a year), and “they were afraid if they turned you down you’d accuse them of racism.” They referred me to a new document that As You Are and members of the community had put together on consent, and I had already been doing everything on the list prior to this incident. Which, again, was confirmed to me by those I had previously interacted with.

A screenshot of a text longer than the phone's display from the mediator to Anonsee. It reads as follows: You talk often about being one of the few Black people in a certain space, but there are MANY others both in AYA and in other venues, and imho it would behoove you to seek them out, study their vibes, and gently try to stoke up some genuine friendships. Don't worry about being "black enough" - they will know you by the way you behave and the vibes you give off. in general, spend more time listening, watching people's body language, asking (non-invasive) questions instead of making statements (especially of a sexual/romantic nature), including about people who are not present. Assume that people (white people especially) are about 40-60% more "prudish" than you may otherwise tend to believe. It is true that you as a racialized trans feminine person will always be less likely to be given "the benefit of the doubt" by white people and by AFAB people especially. This SUCKS and it's not fair but it's the way things are. You must move at the speed of trust, screenshot ends.
(Figure 6. Example of portions of the conversation with mediator)

Additionally, the mediator predicated my access to “Restorative Justice” to addressing things with the exes from the prior story, who at this point had already escalated to discussing wanting to lynch me, and of which I made the mediator aware. Their response was that I needed to “put myself into the shoes of a trauma survivor”, despite them being aware that I had been both sexually assaulted and sexually harassed, along with other forms of trauma. Conversation broke down quickly after this.

At this point, I’ve run out of savings and other ways to survive without crowdfunding, and multiple other unemployed and otherwise housing insecure trans folks that live with me are relying on me to be able to pay the bills. To this point I’ve been relying largely on the community to be able to access my medications due to not having health insurance anymore but also somehow not qualifying for state insurance.

I put up a mutual aid post on twitter, and soon after get a message informing me that one of the people who had accused me (additional info regarding her here), a friends with benefits of the leader I had a falling out with, was messaging people that shared my mutual aid post to tell them how abusive I am, and how I had “assaulted her and strangled her without her consent”. (Fig 7) This is how I learn one of the things I’m being accused of, and that it’s not even a misunderstanding or me forgetting something that had happened, but instead her just wholesale lying about me.

A screenshot of messages saying the following: The evening of August 6, 2022 they choked me unconscious against their car without my consent on the street 2 blocks down from As You Are. In fairness, that specific event wasn't especially terrible, but they're banned from AYA on account of that and other, arguably worse things that people requested privacy on.
(Figure 7, her claiming I strangled her without her consent)

Over time, I learned more bits and pieces about what had happened. I found out that a different Black transfemme felt that if she had spoken up for me, her housing would have been threatened because she lived with one of the people involved. I find out the doll from the last paragraph has not only posted a second, different story about what she claimed happened (fig 8), but later on that she had related to a different person’s tale of sexual violence by “a black ‘nonbinary’ male engaging in obviously male behavior”, stating how she’s “certainly not far right” but “the bit abt society’s unwillingness to visit judgement upon an NB/minority sex pest is uncomfortably relatable”. (fig 9 and fig 10)

A screenshot of a post, text follows: CW breaches of consent I've seen Deadname misrepresenting the accusations against them on here, so I thought I should shed some light. Deadname is a known abuser with a track record of violating multiple people's consent, my own included. On the evening of August 6th, 2022, I went on a date with them after posting an ad on Lex. We are dinner at a local bar, made small talk and discussed our kinks, and left to go somewhere private. Once we reached their car, they pinned me to it by my throat (which I was fine with, we had discussed breath play) and proceeded to choke me to unconsciousness. I came to in the gutter surrounded by my scattered belongings. At the time, I wrote it off as a mistake anda risk inherent to breathplay, and even spent the rest of the evening with them. It felt a bit icky, and there wasn't another date, but that was all. However, when multiple people mentioned to me that Deadname displayed a pattern of similarly careless behavior with the consent of others in the community, I began to recontextualize things. I haven't said anything publicly about this before now because it didn't seem worth the trouble, but since I've seen people reposting incorrect info + I'm getting blocked by people close to them, I figured I should say something. Online, they consistently claim that their transgressions, and the consequences in the community, are targeted attacks victimizing them. This is DARVO, and their disregard for consent is known well enough in their community that they're banned from several community spaces. In my specific case, they directly misrepresented what happened, claiming that they stayed within established boundaries, exaggerating my accusation, and asserting that my decision to speak to community leaders about the matter was influenced by racial animosity. I'm not trying to start a mob or get anyone "cancelled" but after seeing such blatant inaccuracies spread here on bsky, I really didn't feel comfortable keeping quiet any longer.
(Figure 8, post in which they state they consented to me doing breath play with them. Deadname has been redacted, left larger for readability of the screenshotted image)
A screenshot of a quote-post. It reads: the bit abt society's unwillingness to visit judgement upon an NB/minority sex pest is uncomfortably relatable. I'm certainly not far-right, but this kind of type-2 error is a particular weakness that needs to be addressed if we're expected to adopt new systems of accountability.
(Figure 9, screenshot of general racism related to me)
Part of the post quoted by the prior image. It reads: >Rebound with anoter woman, be her housewife for 2 years, get married again. Get FFS and BA, start passing, experience a lot of "queer culture" and find it increasingly disturbing. >live in poor neighborhood. the men are extremely grossly sexual towards me. I cannot understand how or why poverty would cause this behavior. >two of my friends get raped by the same black "nonbinary" male. no one addresses it or reports it. Won't even acknowledge this is obviously male behavior. >take mushrooms, have a vision of society walking off a cliff because everyone is too polite to deliver the harsh judgement essential for the maintenance of civilization. >become far-right, get divorced from SJW second wife, get kicked out, no job or money.
(Figure 10, screenshot of post she quoted)

As of writing, I still don’t know what else I’ve been accused of. I can’t even accurately say if any of it is true or false because I still don’t know who I hurt or how I hurt them. Once again I believed them. I believed both this and the prior story until I was given enough evidence to prove that people were lying for their benefit and at my expense. Both times I primarily wanted to avoid doing anything to hurt anyone else. As a survivor of sexual violence/abuse who had people tell me not to do anything about it, I didn’t want to replicate that dynamic and harm to someone. I do not want to continue the cycle of violence I have fallen victim to before.

It wasn’t until after all of the final story happened that I finally got around to reading Hot Allostatic Load, taking screenshots of paragraphs that, blow for blow, felt like what had happened to me, and all I could think the whole time was how I wished I had read it sooner because it might’ve meant I could’ve handled this trauma better. I could’ve been more prepared. As a Black AMAB, I had been told and reminded of Emmett Till most of my life. As a transfemme, I didn’t have that. Even if I couldn’t prevent it, I could’ve found some cold comfort in knowing that this is just something that happens to people like us. There is comfort in knowing that you’re not being uniquely targeted. It’s still painful knowing your community is being hurt, but it’s less painful thinking you’re alone in your experience.

For Black folks, you “Get Emmett Till’d”. For transfemmes, you “get HAL’d”. If you’re a Black transfemme? Good Fucking Luck.

When you’re marginalized, there are systemic, cultural ways that you get oppressed. That even if someone isn’t actively aware they’re acting out when they do it, or they think they’d never do it to another marginalized person; they still tell the same story, a thousand different ways, and have them all be the same horror show filtered through different lenses.

Almost every transfemme I know who’s done more than basic forays into being a community top or Domme has had some level of HAL or attempted HAL happen to them and are terrified to talk about it publicly for fear of it happening to them again. I’m the only doll I know of outside of the original Hot Allostatic Load author, Porpentine, who’s talked about the things that happened to them publicly, but with the amount of dolls who’ve told me similar stories in private, it can’t be that every transfemme Domme/top is just inherently “abusive”, or “predatory”, etc.

I know there are cases of abuse, etc. with well documented, public, receipts and I’m not saying that those are false. At first blush even I thought I was guilty. But how does almost every doll I know who hasn’t been aggressively monogamous or discretionary in their partner seeking, and is a Domme or top, seem to have such similar experiences?

While the original focus of HAL is on transfemmes, and my stories focus on Black AMABs, I honestly feel like they come from the same roots within a white supremacist expectation to be able to quash other/further marginalized folks at a moment’s need; to offer them up as sacrifices, as scapegoats, in the same way but with different lenses.

There’s a long, long history of Black AMABs being falsely accused of raping white woman. There’s also a long history of rape being used for the social control and punishment of women and gender minorities, especially racially marginalized ones. Both of these things are true, and both of these things need to be able to be addressed. It needs to be done in an actually restorative, transformative framework where the options aren’t “nothing gets done and there are more victims”, “mob justice”, “perpetuating racism”, or “victim gets harmed further.”

Currently we encourage none of this to be talked about or addressed. I don’t have a solution through an abolitionist context beyond communities working together to both heal harms caused in multiple ways (which I talked about here as well), and ensure it doesn’t happen again, but I also want there to be a precedent for both Black and Transfemme people to speak about these issues without it being seen as harmful or dangerous.

When we don’t speak of the injustices done to us, we allow it to happen to the next person that didn’t know it might happen. I’ve been told “yeah, that’s a thing white people do” by other Black folks so many times in the past year in relation to my last story. I had to say it to someone else for the first time last year as well. So many of the things that Black folks don’t, feel we can’t, speak about – to protect others from it happening – are because it could be dangerous for us. Because it could be used to harm us.

We know the ways white society moves, we learn the dance it uses to subjugate us, through suffering. We take our oral histories and tell them as warnings when we can to those we trust, in spaces we deem safe; but what about those who are isolated from that kind of support? How can we save them from the oppressions we experienced if we don’t speak out so they can hear it, regardless of the danger?

The stories I’ve told here and elsewhere will be used against me eventually. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”. Many other stories have been used against me before that were a result of me trying to better a harmful space (my former workplace), so I know for a fact the stories I’ve shared here are no different. These are the kinds of stories that, as Black folks, only get to be told after we’re killed, because otherwise it can be used as affirmation of being “a bad one”, to discount our voices.

As Black folks, cis or trans, we start from a position of defense and guilt a larger society predicated on whiteness. Because when we tell these stories, the default is to believe the white voices, and for us to be perfect and unassailable in order to survive. “Guilty until proven innocent” is yet another right we are not extended, especially in social contexts. When white people are claiming to be victims it is easy to think you’re just ‘believing victims’ when you take their word at face value, rather than allowing them to use their systemic power to punish a Black person. Victims do need to be believed, but not blindly.

“Yeah, white people do that.”

We need to be able to tell our stories, to have a voice, to be safe, so that we can help those that come after us. So that even one less Black person has to suffer, so that Black pain can be an ending not a cycle.  Black folks deserve to speak about our suffering, and we deserve to be heard and supported. We shouldn’t have to be perfect at all times in order to be respected, to be believed, to be seen for who we are. As those I mentioned in my first story said, “You might not have been a great partner, but there’s nothing abusive”. Closeness to perfection should not be a currency Black people are forced to use.

We deserve to express Black anger, Black desire, Black grief; we deserve to be flawed, growing, we deserve to be human, not just an idol in the hopes there will be justice in our deaths. Fuck “giving us our flowers while we’re still here”, let us tell our stories and find justice while we still here.

~~~

As a final note, I also want to acknowledge the privilege I have due to being very light skinned, because even if the things I’ve gone through are horrifying, anyone darker than me has the potential for it to be much worse, especially if they get pushback for speaking up on what’s happened to them. Again, I’m one of the lucky ones, and while that makes it “safer” for me to speak up, we need to acknowledge those who legitimately can’t tell their stories as well.

 

 

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