My new video is a review of the book, “Dear Little Ones. Dissociative Identity Disorder for Young Alters”. It’s at https://youtu.be/UetqiBXvolk Trigger Warnings for video – mentions of child abuse, but no details.
Fan Fiction: MoonDevil
I’ve a new fanfic up on An Archive Of Our Own (AO3). It’s called, ”Time isn’t linear, and neither is my heartbeat.” The pairing is Moon Knight and Daredevil. The rating is Teen. You can read it here
I have added some personal notes at the end of most chapters, as someone who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder, to give a real-life addition to a piece of fiction.
Video review of Hear My Roar: A story of family violence
I review this great book up on my YouTube channel, Team Me, Team Us. There are Trigger Warnings for both the book and the video: Domestic Violence – no details. Head over to https://youtu.be/eFyRVkttnr4 to watch.
Moon Knight & Dissociative Identity Disorder
You can watch my review of Moon Knight in regards to Dissociative Identity Disorder on my channel: Team Me, Team Us. https://youtu.be/dHa6SYNWMZA It is my first ever youtube vid!
I talk about what the series gets right about D.I.D and what it gets catastrophically wrong (that list is longer!). I hope you enjoy it.
45+ IBPOC Marginalised Genders group
This Facebook group is a Reparations and Mutual Aid for Marginalised Genders who are Indigenous, Black or People of Colour, as well being over 45 years old. It’s the only one of it’s kind that I’ve heard of. Usually Old=white, and BIPOC=young. It’s beyond relief that the two parts can come together for once!
There are a few support initiatives for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (but very little in the U.K). There is more support for Older white people in the U.K. But I can only think of one other place that says they support Older people who are BIPOC folks and Queer (Opening Doors LGBT). They are not a Mutual Aid organisation. However, the two times I attended their group aimed at Older Black Queer people, I was subject to A LOT of Biphobia. The moderators of the group did nothing in both cases. Older Black and bisexual people exist at the axis of many different oppressions. We shouldn’t have to face even more when we are trying to access support.
P.S – I’ve also attended Opening Doors LGBT’s Trans and Nonbinary group, which is open to all ethnicities. I haven’t had any troubles in that group, even though I’m always the only Black person there.
Gender Questioning and Me
I wrote this zine almost 7 years ago. Some things have changed, but some things are sadly as rubbish as ever. I’m more confident in being Nonbinary, but the massive amounts of racism and other bigotries in Trans+ spaces are as bad as ever. This updated zine has more pics than before – most of which I took at London Trans Pride 2021. The zine also has a detailed resources section, with support groups, articles and shopping listings all by and for Trans+ Black people and People of Colour!
This zine is free, but I would love if you could put something in my tip jar: Paypal.me/ACrystalGem
Read the whole thing here
The opposite of Mercy
Trigger Warning: Physical and Sexual abuse, Child abuse, Torture, Victim Blaming
Cruelty is the opposite of Mercy; to have the power to hurt someone and choose to do so. It is not the same as being mean to someone. Here’s why…
Many times after I was sexually abused, the perpetrator blamed me for it. It seemed to be a way to make them feel better about hurting me – a type of victim blaming for simply being vulnerable around them, for being who I was in their vicinity. I was also blamed a lot for tempting men when nothing was happening, and all of that before I was even 8 years old. To blame a child for the actions of adults is cruelty.
As an adult I found a different kind of cruelty that happened when I was genuinely interested in being sexual with both Cis and Trans men. The men would often appear nervous at my enthusiasm, like they were assuming women and feminine people aren’t supposed to like sex, and so it they had to be tricked or forced into it. How could men conquer me when I was willing and ready for them? But many men don’t know what to do with that. And after the nerves would come the nasty comments – I must be a dirty slut who will screw anyone, or I must be a sex worker only looking to make some quick money. Some men cannot seem to be sexual without coercion, force and blame. An assertive, sex-positive woman or feminine person terrifies them. And blimey, men have often made me pay a high price for their fear.
Cruelty is knowing you’re hurting someone vulnerable, who depends on you for their lives or livelihood. This isn’t only where the victims are children, but the elderly, those with disabilities and sometimes even employees of the perpetrator. Cruelty is humiliating someone until they believe the perpetrator’s words and actions are justified – that the victim deserves the pain, so fighting back isn’t even an option for them.
Cruelty is the act of torture. Unlike the common depictions of torture in fiction, it is rarely about getting information. Victims of torture will say anything to make the perpetrator stop inflicting pain, so any information gained can’t be trusted anyway. Torture is not only done to prisoners of war either: it can be perpetrated by ordinary people in very strong positions of power. Torture is done to break the wills of the victim so the perpetrator doesn’t have to do anything further to carry on the terror.
Cruelty is threatening to hurt someone or something even more vulnerable, and sometimes carrying out those threats, so the victim will fall in line. Sometimes a perpetrator will eve encourage the victim to care about a pet, younger sibling, or even a doll, and then threaten to hurt that thing. I remember a few times where my little brother was asleep in the same room when my dad and his friend hurt me. The only thing circling my head was, “I mustn’t wake the baby.” It was all a form of leverage.
Society can set up vulnerable people, making it harder to get help when they need it, and that in itself is a type of cruelty. Men are supposed to be “too strong” to be sexually or physically assaulted, so if it happens then they are perceived as “weak”. Women aren’t supposed to be able to physically or sexually assault others, so their victims are rarely believed. Black women in particular are supposed to always be ‘resilient’ so they can shrug off the pain others inflict on them, and if they cannot then they’re silenced – the list goes on. Victim blaming and victim denial are acts of cruelty because it hurts and shames people who have already survived a traumatic event. Heaping pain upon more pain for the perpetrator’s pleasure and society’s reassurance is cruel in the extreme.
Handbook: Black folks supporting other Black folks
I have made a handbook for Black people who want to better support other Black people. We are not a monolith: some of us need more help than others, and some of us need very different kinds of help. This handbook is a conversation starter – some ideas to consider if you want to ensure ALL Black Lives Matter, not just the ones currently trending. A Trans and disabled Black person is going to have different needs than a young cisgender Black person living in a predominately Whyte country. We Black people are all individuals and our identities don’t stop after others see the colour of our skin. Included in the handbook is a list of resources for more information on each of the points.
This handbook is also useful for Whyte people and Non-Black Indigenous people or Non-Black People of Colour. I hope you can learn about the complexities of living as a Black person, and all the battles we have to fight on multiple fronts. I hope you can gain an increase in empathy and understanding, because we need as much help as we can get.
Please share widely, and please send something my way if you gained some education: Paypal.me/ACrystalGem
Zine: Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
A few resources for adult Survivors, mostly in the UK.
For Survivors of non-recent abuse https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/non-recent-abuse/
Support Line https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/child-abuse-survivors/
Male Survivors https://survivorsnetwork.org.uk/get-help/male-survivors/ and https://survivorsgateway.london/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/SurvivorsUK-Gateway-Resource-web.pdf
Worldwide resources (use at your own risk, as some are less helpful than others) https://oneinfour.org.uk/useful-links/
Article about Black male Survivors in the UK, and how they’re constantly let down: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48118278
How to ask marginalised people to participate in your project or event.
My Tip Jar: http://Paypal.me/ACrystalGem
I’ve been an activist since 1995. Whether its for bisexuality, fat liberation, Black lives, disability, homelessness, nonbinary or for survivors of CSA, it’s something very important to me. However in all these decades a big issue have been other (usually white) people and organisations asking for help. I’ve been asked to give a speech at the start of Totnes Pride, address a room full of nursing students in East London, give a presentation to the police and much more. I’ve also been asked by students and researchers to pass on details of their studies to “hard to reach” groups (there’s actually no such thing as hard-to-reach people, but only those seen as not worth the effort to reach).
I’m usually fine with requests if I’ve been given decent notice, and if the request is politely and sensitively worded. But that rarely happens. What’s very common is this:
Hi, I’m in charge of X event, and I just realised there are no X marginalised/oppressed groups speaking. Please can you fill the gap? It’s short notice, but can you let me know by tomorrow if you can do this? The event is taking place at the upstairs room of a pub – first drink will be on me!
I’m a student at X University, finishing off my high-level research piece on X. I now notice there aren’t any X-minority/marginalised people in this study I’ve been doing for (long-ass piece of time). Can you pass on details of my research to your followers?
As I’m a student, I can’t compensate anyone for taking part.
Why are these problematic?
The first example assumes I drink, and am able or willing to climb a flight of stairs to get to the event. It shows a lack of awareness that I have a life of my own, and will drop everything at a moment’s notice. It’s also incredibly insulting – they obviously don’t care about the work I do or who I am, but they need someone to tick their diversity box. The final nail in the coffin is the lack of any payment. I’ve participated at events before for free, where the organisers have a track record of supporting marginalised people, or where the organisers are grassroots activists who are just as broke as I am. I once turned down a request to speak at a major London University, when I was told they couldn’t pay me, as they had already spent their funding on alcohol for the reception!
The second example shows that the student hasn’t given a single thought about who makes up their research – there’s probably a deadline coming up, and they know their supervisor/teacher is going to spot a blizzard in their test subjects. This example also shows a lack of respect of people who already have a difficult life in an awful society. Some students and educational researchers aren’t allowed or able to give cash, but there are other ways to help those who are helping you. This doesn’t count when I’m asked by corporate and government researchers. As someone once said, “F*ck you. Pay me!”
Some better examples of how to ask marginalised people to participate.
Example 3 (Events):
Dear (Recipient’s name)
I’m (name) from (group/charity). I’m in charge of (upcoming event that DOESN’T take place in few days time) We met at (event) AND/OR I’ve been (following your social media account/ work you’ve been doing) for (x amount of time). I’ve shared your (posts/lists of resources) with others who may benefit from them OR interacted with your posts/work and found them interesting/challenging. It’s because of this that I would like to invite you to (take part in/be on a panel/lead a discussion on) X subject at our event. Your work and experiences are valued by (group/charity) and we want to reflect that in this event.
I realise this current climate may be difficult for you, but I would appreciate if you would give my participation request some consideration. We have funds available OR are currently crowdfunding) so everyone who takes part can be paid/have their expenses met/are not out of pocket. If you need a carer or assistant to be with you, they will also be included. We are also working to ensure disability requirements will be in place both for our speakers and our attendees.
If you agree to take part, you would be asked to do so for (x amount of time). There will be water and light refreshments available, and there will be a quiet room/separate space if you need to take medications or just decompress afterward.
Please let me know if you have any questions/concerns/additional requirements.
(Contact number/textphone and email)
Example 4 (Research):
Dear (Recipient’s name)
I’m (name) from (educational establishment). I’m studying (subject name and level) because (your aim for the piece of research/what you hope to achieve with it). My Supervisor/Main teacher is (their name and title if applicable).
We met at (event) AND/OR I’ve been (following your social media account/ work you’ve been doing) for (x amount of time). I’ve shared your (posts/lists of resources with others who may benefit from them) OR (interacted with your posts/resources/work and found them interesting/challenging)
I realise this current climate may be difficult for you, and that you may receive many requests for research assistance, but I would appreciate if you would give my request some thought. As I’m at the START of my (piece of study), I want to undertake it with inclusion and ethical considerations firmly in place. I want to ensure everyone’s voices and experiences are heard. I would appreciate if you could pass on this (link to research questionnaire/information flyer/request I’ve worded in attachment) on to members of your group/your next social media post.
BONUS POINT I can provide questions in (X languages) if required.
I am unable to offer monetary compensation for taking part in this research, however I do can give some free (printing/photocopying/access to usually paywalled library sites or journals) that all participants can use.
As a thank you for taking part in this study, every participant will receive a voucher for X sum of money that can be used in X amount of places/supermarkets/essential outlets.
Please let me know if you have any questions/concerns/additional requirements.
(Your Contact number/textphone and email)
(Supervisor’s contact number/textphone and email)
Example 3 shows that some thought has gone into the request. It acknowledges that marginalised people should be compensated for their knowledge, time and energy. It takes into account that many marginalised people will have multiple oppressions, and physical and mental disability or Neuro diversity is a common one. It sets out exactly what is expected, so I can manage my energy levels (spoons), that I may need a friend or carer to be with me, and that what I have to say is important. Sometimes just having my travel expenses covered will be incentive enough for me to participate in an event, especially if they are a shoestring group.
Example 4 shows that the researcher is taking ethics seriously. It shows that although they may not have money, they have other resources that would be very welcome to marginalised participants. Free photocopying is like a gift from God! Most importantly to me however, is the timing. I’ve received countless requests from students who are in a last-minute dash to finish their research, and who never gave people like me a single thought. Marginalised people are not a handy addition or a footnote – we should be in your research from the very start. This example shows that I will be respected by the student, and that my experiences and knowledge are important to them.
So to end, stop treating marginalised people like trash. We are over-studied and under-funded. You have the power to change that.