[TRIGGER WARNING for abuse, abuse and more abuse, of every kind and directed at just about everyone, including emotional abuse, manipulation, violence…]
Snipped because holy shit is this long. I actually hopped back and forth between posting this for a really long time but I ultimately decided that… this is really cathartic to read. I used to live with these people too, and I’m really glad that a couple of my abusers are getting called way the hell out.
While twiggy and jamie are hopefully the most egregious example there is, the queer punk scene is absolutely full of abusive people using these and other methods; so much so that while I was living with them it was hard for me to recognize jamie and twiggy as particularly violent, and in fact I wasn’t actually able to name my experiences with them as abuse until reading this account.
One time, I talked twiggy out of vandalizing a building used to give free meals to homeless people. Her justification was that the church was “preying on poor people” — while this is most likely true, and I’ve written a little bit on this very subject and hope to write more soon, I’ve also been in positions where hand-outs like this formed a crucial part of my diet. Twiggy, by contrast, had a three-bedroom apartment all to herself at the time that she got for free from a raffle or something while she went to college — it was a very uncomfortable position for me to be in, explaining this to her.
That isn’t to say I was completely blameless — there were times when I was more than willing to go along with her ideas or even when she or Jamie acted as a check to me. Unfortunately, many of these stories involve me doing illegal things (make no mistake — illegal things that are encouraged and normalized in this particular subculture) and so I’m not really comfortable discussing them on a public medium like tumblr. However, these conversations need to happen. Suffice to say that I no longer think that viewing all oppression as a monolith is productive, nor does it justify acts of violence or vandalism. (Not to say that neither thing is ever justified — I just think that it requires a level of nuance that twiggy and jamie and most punks sure as fuck don’t have.)
I’d like for this to be treated as something for people still involved with queer punk scenes to analyze carefully and understand their roles in, while taking conscious steps to address the fact that shit like this even happens and make sure it stops. I hope that many people will find glimpses of themselves in this form of “activism” and learn how it contributes to the active oppression of marginalized groups, particularly poor people, people of color, and religious minorities — and especially GSM folks within the latter two groups.
This is absolutely 100% indicative of many experiences I had while I considered myself a queer punk, that I firmly believe stem from a subculture of violence that relies on willful intersectional ignorance. This is a communal problem that will not be addressed by calling out two serial abusers — there are hundreds of jamies and twiggies, and many of them are people who have power and influence in these communities.
Fuck jamie and twiggy though, seriously.