My Body, My Blood

by Let's Fight!

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about

“My Body, My Blood” is my most personal and political album yet; it focuses not only on my specific narrative of transitioning as a transfeminine, non-binary person but also on much broader (trans)gender-related topics such as violent resistance against transmisogyny, trans representation/visibility in the media, and the decolonization of transness as well as gender in general.

As with every other album that I have released online over the years, this album is available to download for free, with an option to pay whatever you want. Any money that I receive from Bandcamp purchases for this album will be directly donated to trans women and transfeminine people in need or to charity organizations dedicated to helping the trans community.

credits

released May 20, 2016

All music has been arranged by me, Matt Margo.

Cover art has been provided by Sara June Woods. More of Sara’s work can be found at moonbears.biz.

“My Body” features audio from Alok Vaid-Menon’s 2015 video interview “The Pain & Empowerment of Choosing Your Own Gender.”

“Before Anything” features audio from CeCe McDonald’s 2014 video interview “Putting the ‘T’ in LGBT.”

“Lives Lost” features audio from Brandon “Lil B” McCartney’s 2015 television appearance on MSNBC.

“To Exist” features audio of Joshua Jennifer Espinoza reading her poem “wind poem.” More of Jennifer’s work can be found at joshuajenniferespinoza.com.

“My Blood” features audio from Leslie Feinberg’s 2007 lecture “Beyond Pink or Blue: The Transgender Movement, Yesterday, Today and the Future.” It also concludes with audio from a Facebook video clip of a young woman firing a handgun into a lake. In the video clip, the words “MY BLOOD” are visible on the back of the young woman’s shirt.

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Track Name: My Body
“I think that there’s this hierarchy that gets drawn between queer femininities or like, trans femininities as being somehow inferior or less legitimate than ‘womanhood,’ because we’re always seen as sort of ‘impostering’ to be women. I feel like the way I understand my gender is that I am both a man and a woman and neither a man nor a woman. I’m outside of these entire categories. I think they see me and they see me as a failure. The very core of misogyny against trans people, or transmisogyny, is that we’re always masquerading as something we’re not, that we always just put on this dress to trick someone, and so therefore we are always seen as worthy of our violence. That’s why people don’t stand up for us. It’s kind of like, ‘You chose to be that way, you have to take the brunt of it...’ The world I’m fighting for is where we stop making assumptions around everything, where we allow people to self-narrate their bodies. I think that’s a profoundly radical act, because we exist in a western colonial system that’s invested in creating norms about every single thing, rather than actually recognizing none of us fit into norms. My politics is: ‘I am me. I am Alok, and Alok exists outside of your colonial, white supremacist, heteronormative gender binary.’ I don’t have to be a woman or a man to be coherent, and I think that threatens so much of the fabric of this society. I wasn’t born in the wrong body, I was born in the wrong world. I see my hair as part of my femininity. If I have a beard and lipstick, that’s part of who I am. Why do we always put the onus on people to change their bodies and the onus on people to prove or authenticate themselves to other people, versus have society shift their norms? What I’m fighting for in a world is that we can just say, ‘You know what, my body is on my own terms.’ I think what’s also frustrating is that we ask trans people to have all the answers. How the hell am I supposed to have all the answers when I grew up in a world that erased my existence? I’m still figuring it out. But I have people in my life, I have lovers in my life, I have friends in my life who are willing to work through that with me, and that’s been the most liberating part about becoming politically active.”
— Alok Vaid-Menon
Track Name: Before Anything
“Let us live, let us explore, let us, you know, be able to live within our bodies and be comfortable and not have to deal with, you know, transmisogyny and discrimination and hypersexualization of our bodies every day, you know what I’m saying? Like, I’m a woman, before I’m anything, and, you know, respect that, you know what I’m saying? Like, don’t just assume things because you see this body, you know, ‘cause I’m more than just my body. I’m a worker, I’m an activist, you know what I’m saying? I’m a student, I’m a friend, I’m a sister, I’m a daughter, I’m a granddaughter, you know what I’m saying? Like, once people kind of attach those things back to me, then they can understand why it’s so hard and, you know, why I struggle and why we struggle.”
— CeCe McDonald
Track Name: Lives Lost
“Having empathy, you know, we need a lot more empathy—and protect transgender people and also homosexual and gay people, which is a big thing that a lot of people aren’t really fighting for. I wanted to definitely be the first to say that too, ‘cause a lot of transgender people are losing their lives, and that’s something that people won’t talk about.”
— Brandon “Lil B” McCartney
Track Name: To Exist
“i am saying i
and walking up some hillside
where my body becomes wind
and i love wind and i am so happy and sad.
i would live another year if for no other reason
than to feel it again.
i believe in ritual.
i listen to myself in the car with the window
halfway down. i imagine i’d fly out
and tumble down the road like a scrap of trash.
i’d be the cutest piece of trash in this city.
instead i wash my hands and train my voice
to sound like soft gusts against cold glass.
i push a lawnmower over my chin.
i paint my face with white and red and white
and more white.
i draw black lines to highlight separation.
i pull my body inside out and fall in love
with the feeling of not dying.
all this labor is like some kind of prayer
to prove i deserve to exist in these spaces
to prove i deserve to exist in space
to prove i deserve to exist.”
— Joshua Jennifer Espinoza
Track Name: My Blood
“It was a hot June night, and the police did what they did: they came in for their payoffs, they came in to raid the bars. They took the drag queens and dunked their heads in buckets of water and smeared their makeup on their faces and reminded them that the sentencing could be carried out that night in the backseat of a police cruiser or on the cold cement floor of a precinct cell and baited them for being limp-wristed sissies. And basically what happened, by most reports, is that someone who the crowd identified as being a butch lesbian was being dragged out by the police, and she fought. She fought back and struggled and they tried to get her from the bar into the police cruiser and she like, got her feet up against the car and wouldn’t get in and was kicking and got away and got back into the bar. And the police went back in and dragged her out and she fought again and some of the drag queens said to the crowd, ‘Do something!’ And of course, who started it? Who led it? Those who had the least to lose and the most to gain from fighting back. It was mostly the homeless youth who were transgender and gay and lesbian. They were mostly black and Latina and white. Some of them had lived homeless on the streets of New York as transgender youth since they were ten, eleven, twelve years old, they knew all about what it meant to be arrested. They still bore the wounds, their bodies and their psyches and their personhood. And they began rocking the police van. They said to the cops, “You can’t take our friends away, we’re not gonna let you!” And they took their precious pocket change—people who hadn’t eaten that day, they took their pocket change and threw it at the police. They said, “You want your payoffs? Here’s your payoffs!” And they found bottle caps and bottles and stones, and the police began to retreat—the police who were so well-armed and so aggressive began to retreat back into the very bar they had raided, because the youth that night taught the police that a stiletto high heel in the hands of an enraged transgender youth is a formidable weapon against police repression.”
— Leslie Feinberg