Hot reads


The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History
by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja

Sudan’s Unfinished Democracy:
The Promise and Betrayal of a People’s Revolution
by Raga Makawi, Willow Berridge, Justin Lynch & Alex de Waal

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine
by Rashid Khalidi

For Healing & Realistic Optimism:
Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey
Black Liturgies by Cole Arthur Riley
How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division by Elif Shafak
Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone

General Non-Fiction
Conjunctural Mapping of People’s Park by Gregory Woolston & Katharyne Mitchell
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
Down To Earth by Bruno Latour
Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta
In The Wake by Christina Sharpe
Seeing like a State by James C. Scott
Pollution is Colonialism by Max Liboiron
Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici
How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley
Mutual Aid by Dean Spade
Inflamed by Rupa Marya & Raj Patel
Red Skin, White Masks by Glen Coulthard
From Urbanization to Cities by Murray Bookchin
Recollections of My Life as a Woman by Diane Di Prima
Anarchist Popular Power by Troy Andreas Araiza Kokinis
Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War by Lisa Brooks
Whites, Jews, and Us by Houria Bouteldja
The Ghetto Fights: Warsaw 1941-43 by Marek Edelmann
Urban Indigenous Youth Reframing Two-Spirit by Marie Laing
Conflict is Not Abuse by Sarah Schulman

Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Blue Clerk by Dionne Brand
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
Noor by Nnedi Okorafor
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
The World We Make (a sequel) by N.K. Jemisin
Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H.

Speculative / Historical Fiction:
Everything for Everyone by M.E. O’Brien & Eman Abdelhadi
Begin the World Over by Kung Li Sun
Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
The Fa**ots & Their Friends Between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell

Why practice consent?

We might broadly define consent as a wholehearted and mutual ongoing agreement between parties and/or individuals towards a common goal. Consent lies at the crux of radical imaginings: both anarchist and communist. Practicing consent is all the more important since we did not consent to Capitalism. We did not consent to wars that murder thousands upon thousands of people. We did not consent to the erection of buildings that cage us. We did not consent to the devastation of non-human life as other greed-mad humans poison our home. We must maximize consent where and how we can, whenever possible. In a world of non-consent, consent becomes radical.

But what is consent? We often hear about consent in terms of sexual praxis. Consent is saying “yes,” asking/waiting for the emphatic “yes,” and listening to “no.” It is practicing boundaries, both towards oneself and other(s). However, consent is more than that. Consent is an ongoing and nuanced conversation. Consent can be ephemeral and allows itself to be invoked, revoked and tailored to complex, evolving situations. Consent is a conversation and demands a dialectic. Consent challenges us to lay our desires bare at the feet of our lover(s) and comrade(s) while centering their desires with our own.

It is strange we live in a world in which most would hesitate to take someone else’s property yet many do not hesitate to violate the sexual or relational consent of another. It is particularly important we practice consent with lovers given the wounded, imbalanced nature of our existence under Capitalism. Intimate partner violence and sexual assault are microcosmic versions of colonialist violence, and they are common– perhaps especially so within radical communities. 

Consent may best be defined as a harmonious understanding between all parties involved. Some things we can do to be better at consensual, harmonious engagement include:

  • Being honest about our own desires and limits,
  • Sticking to our own boundaries,
  • Honestly acknowledging the boundaries of others,
  • Sticking to their boundaries,
  • Thinking about things in advance,
  • Predicting changes in boundaries when possible,
  • Asking for continuous feedback,
  • Giving continuous feedback,
  • Being open and enthusiastic about receiving feedback!

Consent is at heart, an extension and elaboration of active participation, free association and mutual aid, and provides a model of engagement that can be applied to all social relations. Practicing consent does not prevent the possibility of doing harm– rather it allows us to reduce harm, understand the harm we might do, and learn from it, in order to become better lovers, friends and comrades. We can practice these principles anywhere, anytime– not just with lovers. Consent and its practice allows us to reverberate within pleasurable, harmonious and truly revolutionary moments, rather than to become trapped within our individual mental prisons. Consent dares us to imagine affinities that encompass yet surpass sex. The revolutionary possibilities are endless. Consent is merely the beginning.

Gender spectrum

There are many genders around the world beyond the stereotypical two. Below is a non-exhaustive list of just some of the diverse genders you can find on Earth that defy the lie that gender is binary:

  • The five genders of Burgis society in Indonesia. Burgis society continues to recognize its five traditional genders—makkunrai, oroané, calabai, calalai, and bissu. Bissu are regarded as a gender of spiritual practitioners believed to have the ability to harness the powers of other genders, while Calabai and Calalai somewhat resemble the Western concepts of transwomen and transmen.
  • The muxes gender of Oaxaca Valley, Mexico. Muxes (pronounced “mu-shay”) are still recognized as a traditional, ancestral gender in Zapotec Culture in Mesoamerica. This gender is often associated with pageantry, and it is considered lucky to have one in the family. 
  • The femminielli of Italy. An ancient gender that can be traced back roughly 2 millennia, associated with luck. Featured in Renaissance paintings.
  • The hijra gender of Old India. A surviving traditional gender in India. Gained legal recognition in Pakistan in 2009, Bangladesh in 2013, and in India in 2014. Problematically called a “3rd Gender” by mainstream media—this term being problematic because it implies there are only 3 genders. According to researcher Gopi Shankar, there were over 20 distinct genders in India prior to British colonization.
  • Isangoma in Zulu culture. Recognized as a spiritual gender, their gender identity shifts depending the ancestor they are working with. They often serve a social role as healers.
  • Burrnesha in Albania. The burrnesha gender might be compared to (but doesn’t neatly fit into the categories of) “asexual” and “transman.”
  • Two-Spirit gender on Turtle Island (North America). Two-Spirit (2SQ) refers to Indigenous people of a variety of genders outside of the imperial binary. A person might identity as two spirit, as well as other gender identities specific to their tribe. Early European settlers on Turtle Island documented over 80 tribal nations with genders unknown to them. Many Indigenous groups were later forced to give up their traditional genders as part of negotiations with the U.S. government or risk further land loss and harm, as explored in the research of Mark Rifkin. Many colonial projects operate through what has been called “gender theft” by 2SQ poet Joshua Whitehead (Oji-Cree), in which colonizers steal 3rd, 4th, 5th, and fluid genders from Indigenous groups.
  • 5,000-year-old transgender burial site found in Czech Republic in 2011. Genders that defy the imperial binary have been around since time immemorial! There is currently a movement in archeology to identify remains based on gender signifiers associated with the body rather than modern imperial ways of conflating sex with gender. 

Acknowledging without appropriating. It is important to know about genders of cultures outside of our own so we can avoid the harm of erasing them. But also, two-spirit activists including Michelle Cameron (Dakelh) and Joshua Whitehead (Oji-Cree) have pushed back against settler attempts at gender appropriation, reminding us that it’s important to avoid claiming to be a gender that isn’t part of our own culture—this can cause harm to that culture. 

Rebuilding gender diversity. If your culture’s many genders have been dismantled, you can become part of the movement to rebuild gender diversity—both by authentically expressing yourself and by supporting others in their gender expression. Gender diversity is like a phoenix—no matter how hard the empire tries to destroy it, our ways of knowing and expressing the truth of who we are will always rise from the ashes.

Introduction to the 2024 Organizer

You hold in your hands a tool you can use to fight homogenization and hopelessness. We invite you to take your eyes off the screen and plan stuff you care about with people you love. Capitalism breeds economic misery and wrecks the Earth while we get nothing — plastic, lonely, meaningless cubbyholes. 

And yet folks are pushing back everywhere — not doing what we’re supposed to do. Operating outside the gatekeepers of the status quo, we are thinking new thoughts and creating events, spaces and lives off the grid organized around pleasure, beauty and cooperation. In this year of 24 hour hype about elections, it’s easy to forget what’s in front of us. We all vote with our actions every day — no administrative body counts the vote. Welcome to the underground — outside the institutions and non-profits. Rather than management and centralization, we prefer a collective grab bag that is passionate, artistic and wild. Our hand-drawn homemade medium is the message — a world where every day is different and not wasted. Disorganized yet united around giving a shit and never being bored or isolated. 

The historical dates we include can help connect us with struggles from the past to give us inspiration and perspective. It’s up to us to create this year’s action that echo for the next seven generations. Even though the system can seem unstoppable and permanent, empires always crumble eventually. When people organize, we can win.  You can use the contact list in the back to get outside your bubble and build community. Use the blank pages as a launching point for your dreams and for art. Make your own zine, organize a festival, plant a garden; start a band, share food, squat land, riot, be happy, be free. 

This is the 29th time we amused ourselves by publishing the Slingshot Organizer. Its sales raise funds to print the radical, independent Slingshot newspaper. We distribute the newspaper for free everywhere in the US, often at the places listed in the radical contact list. Having a physical document like the paper and this book seeks to nurture a community of freaks and co-conspirators. Let us know if you can be a local newspaper distributor in your area. All the content for both the paper and this organizer are made by people like you. Let’s create news and realities that are overlooked and marginalized in the mainstream press where people can feel as well as resist. Thanks to the volunteers who created this year’s organizer: Aaron, Alex, Ameilia, Amy, Ana, Anka, Antonio, Ash, Becky, Chloe, Christy, Danger, Danny, Elke, Ellie, Emily, Fern, Finn, Gale, Giz, Helia, Henry, Imani, Ingrid, Isabella, Jacob, Jayme, Jasmine, Jax, jesse, Jhesù, Josh, Karly, Kate, Katie, Kei, Lew, Lola, Lukas, Madi, Marie, Matteo, Nadja, Nat, Rachelle, Ren, Robert, Robin, Safear, Sarah, Sirkka, Sidney, Skye, Sophia, Stone, Sunny, Tessa, Tracey & those we forgot.

Slingshot Collective

A project of Long Haul

Physical office at least until mid-2024*: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley

* our landlord is threatening to tear down our building – check back for details

Mail: PO box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703

510-540-0751 •

@slingshotnews • @slingshotcollective

Printed in Berkeley, CA on recycled paper


All volunteer collective – no bosses, no workers, no pay.

Tips on writing to pen pals behind the prison walls

Support for people in prison ranges from books-to-prisoners projects that mail free books to individually becoming pen-pals with a person in prison. Some people focus on political prisoners while others see the entire prison-industrial complex as illegitimate and criticize the way that it targets marginalized communities. A key way we can support people inside is by communicating with them. In an email-dominated world, writing an old-fashioned letter on paper can be surprisingly rewarding for you as well as an incarcerated person. Here are some tips.

• When writing to people in prison, you have to put their prisoner (DIN) number on the first line of the mailing address to get it through.

• Make sure to put a return address on your letter. If you are writing to a prisoner you don’t know, it may be best to use a PO box or other address that doesn’t disclose where you live.

• If you’re writing to an incarcerated person, keep in mind that the prison officials or other authorities may read your letter. Don’t discuss anything sensitive. If the person is waiting for trial or sentencing (or on appeal), it may be better not to discuss the details of their case.

• Prisons prohibit mailing items like books, food, money, etc. Ask your pen-pal for the rules.

• Don’t make promises you can’t keep like offering to find a lawyer to take their case, sending them money or expensive items, offering them housing on release, organizing a support campaign, etc.— being let down when you’re locked up can be especially devastating. Be clear about your intentions. If you’re not looking for a romantic relationship, it can be helpful to all involved to say so right off. It’s also important to stay consistent if you commit to writing to a pen-pal. For you, this may be a simple correspondence, but for a person in prison, this level of contact can be a big deal. 

• While the state locking people up is shitty, it doesn’t follow that all people in prison are angels. They are people just like everyone else, and some of them are flawed or can be manipulative. Use reasonable caution and treat them like you would another pen-pal.

• Be careful about accepting collect phone calls from jail — prison collect calls are usually absurdly expensive.

• Many prisons across the country now use a specialized email system called Jpay. You can set up a free account at or using the Jpay app. Unfortunately, prisons exploit people inside and outside by charging “stamps” to send Jpay emails. They’re about 7 cents per stamp, and you can gift stamps to your pen-pal. As always, these emails are monitored, so be careful what you write. 

Know your rights – tips for dealing with the police

These suggestions from the National Lawyers Guild “Know Your Rights” guide summarize the rules to which the police are theoretically subject. However be careful: the police, the courts, and the government can and do ignore these rules when they feel like it. Sometimes, police retaliate against people for exercising their rights. These tips may help you later on in court, and sometimes they won’t. But even though the state can’t be counted on to follow its own laws, it still may be helpful to know what these laws are so you can shame particular state agents or deal with particular situations. Always use your best judgment — if you aren’t doing anything wrong, there may be no reason to be excessively paranoid or escalate a potentially innocent and brief encounter with a police officer who is just saying “hi” into an ugly situation by acting suspicious and refusing to say “hi” back. The point is to avoid giving information. 

Providing this information isn’t intended to scare you into inactivity or make you paranoid. Even in the current context, the vast majority of radical projects proceed with no interference from the police. The police hassle and arrest people because they hope that such repression will frighten the population into submission. We can take reasonable precautions while continuing the fight for liberation. 

Never Talk to the Police

Anything you say to an FBI agent or cop may be used against you and other people — even if the questions seem routine or harmless. You don’t have to talk to FBI agents, police or investigators on the street, if you’ve been arrested, or if you’re in jail. (Exceptions: Your name, date of birth and address are known as “Booking questions” which are not included in your right to remain silent. Also, in some states you can get an additional minor charge for refusing to identify yourself after a police stop based on reasonable suspicion). Only a judge has the authority to order you to answer questions. Many activists have refused to answer questions, even when ordered by a judge or grand jury, and subsequently served jail time to avoid implicating others. It is common for the FBI to threaten to serve you with a grand jury subpoena unless you talk to them. Don’t be intimidated. This is frequently an empty threat, and if they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. If you do receive a subpoena, call a lawyer right away.

Once you’ve been stopped or arrested, don’t try to engage cops in a dialogue or respond to accusations. If you are nervous about simply refusing to talk, you may find it easier to tell them to contact your lawyer. Once a lawyer is involved, the police sometimes back off. Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer. Don’t lie to the police or give a false name— lying to the police is a crime. However, the police are allowed to lie to you — don’t believe what they say. If you’ve been arrested, don’t talk about anything sensitive in police cars, jail cells or to other inmates — you are probably being recorded.

What To Do About Police Harassment On The Street

If the police stop you on the street, ask, “Am I free to go?” If yes, walk away. If not, you are being detained but this does not necessarily mean you will be arrested. Ask, “Can you explain why you are detaining me?” To stop you, cops must have specific reasons to suspect you of involvement in a specific crime. Police are entitled to pat you down during a detention. If the police try to further search you, your car, or your home, say repeatedly that you do not consent to the search, but do not physically resist. 

What To Do If Police Visit Your Home

You do not have to let the FBI or police into your home or office unless they have a search warrant. If they have an arrest warrant you may limit entry if the person surrenders outside. In either case, ask to inspect the warrant. It must specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. You do not have to tell them anything other than your name and address. Tell the police that you can not consent to the search unless it is also inspected by a lawyer. If the officers ask you to give them documents, your computer, do not consent to them taking it. However physically trying to block them from searching or seizing items may escalate the situation. You have a right to observe what they do. You should take written notes of their names and what they do. Have friends act as witnesses. 

What To Do If Police Stop You In Your Car

If you are driving a car, you must show police your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search or answer questions. Keep your hands where the police can see them and refuse to consent (agree) to a search. Police may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions. 

What To Do If You Are Arrested

Repeatedly tell the police “I am going to remain silent, I would like to see my lawyer.” If you suffer police abuse while detained or arrested, try to remember the officer’s badge number and/or name. You have the right to ask the officer to identify himself. Write down everything as soon as you can and try to find witnesses. If you are injured, see a doctor and take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible.

Searches at International Borders

Your property (including data on laptops) can be searched and seized at border crossings without a warrant. Do not take any data you would like to keep private across the border. If you have to travel with electronic data encrypt it before crossing and make an encrypted back up of any data before crossing in case your computer or phone is seized. 

Police Hassles: What If You Are Not A Citizen?

In most cases, you have the right to a hearing with an immigration judge before you can be deported. If you voluntarily give up this right or take voluntary departure, you could be deported without a hearing and you may never be able to enter the US legally again or ever get legal immigration status. Do not talk to the ICE, even on the phone, or sign any papers before talking to an immigration lawyer. Unless you are seeking entry into the country, you do not have to reveal your immigration status to any government official. If you are arrested in the US, you have the right to call your consulate or have the police inform the consulate of your arrest. Your consul may help you find a lawyer. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.

Police Hassles: What If You Are Under 18 Years Old?

Don’t talk to the police — minors also have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to talk to cops or school officials. Public school students have the right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings and publishing independent newspapers as long as these activities do not disrupt classes. You have the right to a hearing with your parents and an attorney present before you are suspended or expelled. Students can have their backpacks and lockers searched by school officials without a warrant. Do not consent to any search, but do not physically resist. 

Common Sense Activist Security Measures

Don’t speculate on or circulate rumors about protest actions or potentially illegal acts. Assume you are under surveillance if you are organizing mass direct action, anything illegal, or even legal stuff. Resist police disruption tactics by checking out the authenticity of any potentially disturbing letter, rumor, phone call, or other form of communication before acting on it. Ask the supposed source if she or he is responsible. Deal openly and honestly with the differences in our movements (race, gender, class, age religion, sexual orientation, etc.) before the police can exploit them. Don’t try to expose a suspected agent or informer without solid proof. Purges based on mere suspicion only help the police create distrust and paranoia. It generally works better to criticize what a disruptive person says and does without speculating as to why.

People who brag about, recklessly propose, or ask for unnecessary information about underground groups or illegal activities may be undercover police but even if they are not, they are a severe danger to the movement. The police may send infiltrators/provocateurs posing as activists to entrap people on conspiracy charges of planning illegal acts. You can be guilty of conspiracy just for agreeing with one other person to commit a crime even if you never go through with it — all that is required is an agreement to do something illegal and a single “overt act” in furtherance of the agreement, which can be a legal act like going to a store. It is reasonable to be suspicious of people in the scene who pressure us, manipulate us, offer to give us money or weapons, or make us feel like we aren’t cool if we don’t feel comfortable with a particular tactic, no matter why they do these things. Responsible activists considering risky actions will want to respect other people’s boundaries and limits and won’t want to pressure you into doing things you’re not ready for. Doing so is coercive and disrespectful — hardly a good basis on which to build a new society or an effective action.

Keep in mind that activists who spend all their time worrying about security measures and police surveillance will end up totally isolated and ineffective because they won’t be able to welcome new folks who want to join the struggle. We have to be aware of the possibility of police surveillance while maintaining our commitment to acting openly and publicly. Smashing the system is going to require mass action as well as secretive covert actions by a tiny clique of your trusted friends.

More info contact the National Lawyers Guild: 415 285-5067 or 212 679-5100; read The War at Home by Brian Glick or Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill

Don’t forget parents

Making radical spaces and communities as inclusive as possible is an ongoing project that can take many forms. Here are some tips on making it easier for people who become parents to stay involved, or to at least stay in touch with their non-parent friends:

1. If you want to see your parent friend, offer to meet them at a playground, not at a cafe. Make some coffee and bring it to the playground. Parents spend endless hours at playgrounds with their kids, mostly alone or with other parents. You might think your new parent friend is too busy to see you, but they have plenty of time so long as you meet them halfway.

2. You can start your dinner, party or meeting at 6 pm not 8 pm. Parents hear an 8 pm start time as “I’m not invited” because many have to do kid-bedtime around then.

3. You can offer to go to a parent’s house rather than making them come to you. You may have less stuff to pack up and less transportation issues. Just because you visit a parent at their house doesn’t mean they are expecting you to take care of their kids. Parents like having adult interactions even when it is harder to get out.

4. If you’re serving food, make sure there’s something the kids will eat. It’s best to ask the parents what the kiddo is eating that week (it tends to change often).

5. You can make the extra effort to provide reliable childcare at bookfairs, meetings and events. The key is making it reliable so parents can trust the childcare — it starts on-time, the kids don’t escape. Childcare is skilled hard work not an afterthought, so it helps if you have toys, art supplies, games and a safe and clean space.

6. Protests can have a parent / kids bloc to make it more fun and inclusive. If there isn’t one, parents may find it easier to go to a march if non-parent friends come along.

7. It is okay to be more interested in hanging out with your parent friend than their kid. It is okay if you would prefer to talk about something other than diapers, naps and birthday parties. It might even help the quality of conversation to say so right up front. Your parent friend is unlikely to be offended if you don’t relate to kids, don’t want to have a kid yourself, or find kids and parenting boring. The parent knows better than you that sometimes kids and parenting are fucking boring.

8. On the other hand, kids and parenting have something to teach us about the human condition. If you’re not going to be a parent, you can still hang out with friends’ kids from time to time. Kids needs lots of adults in their lives to listen to, inspire and love them, not just biological or adoptive parents. Kids also have the same needs for respectful attention as big people.

Don’t panic gender is a social construct

This culture is wedded to binaries: good/evil, left/right, with us/against us, make your choice. And this society wants things to stay in whatever either/or box they get put into, we don’t like mixes or gray areas. Gender and sex is one place where ambiguity is particularly not tolerated; parents, doctors, and the State all want to know your sex and gender, preferably at birth. Further, having ambiguous gender or transitioning from one perceived gender to another can cause some people to react violently. In most places, transgender people are not protected from discrimination.

In this society, this is the usual scenario: a baby is born and one of the very first things done is sexing the child. Everyone wants to know—boy or girl?

Some folks don’t like this binary from the start; their genitals don’t seem to match either male or female completely. These folks are called intersexed. Unfortunately, because of the anxiety of doctors, parents, or society around sex/gender, panic ensues and intersexed individuals are more often than not subjected to surgeries they do not need and may not want, and which can be damaging to a pleasurable adult sexuality. 

More often, we are born with genitals that do look like either male or female and so we are assigned a gender at birth to match either “boy” or “girl.” For some, the sex they are assigned at birth does not match the gender they feel inside. They are girls in male bodies and boys in female bodies or somewhere in between, because not all trans folks see themselves as being one or the other, but rather on a continuum of gender.

The main thing to remember about trans folk is that they are people just like everyone else. Having respect for what pronouns trans folk want to use is a good start. For instance, FTMs (Female-to-Male) usually want to be called he or him. MTFs (Male-to-Female) prefer to be referred to as she or her. And some trans folks use they/them, ze or hir, or make up pronouns to fit them. These can be hard to get used to, particularly when someone is transitioning, but trying to use their preferred pronoun is only respectful. It is true that some trans folk don’t “pass,” but gender is not about what you see from the outside, but what the person feels inside. Transwomen and transmen struggle enough with their own body dysphoria and internalized transphobia that getting called out on their looks can be devastating. So if you see someone who might be trans, don’t ask them in front of a bunch of people; in fact, don’t ask at all. If they want you to know, if it is relevant to your relationship, they will let you know. This can also be an issue of safety for a trans person. Violence against trans folk is frequent and often deadly, so outing a trans person is never a good idea.

Another huge issue is bathrooms, and for trans folk using the “wrong” bathroom can get them beat up or worse. Until gender neutral bathrooms are the norm, chances are that you will see an ambiguously gendered person use a bathroom now and again. DON’T PANIC! Adults usually know what bathrooms to use, and being trans does not alter this ability. Not panicking just might keep someone from getting beaten, and since a lot of violence against trans folk is perpetuated by police and other authority figures, alertingthem is not wise either. (Not that anyone would ever call cops anyway, right?)

Increasingly, trans identity is being seen as an individual matter: who we are is our business and not the prerogative of doctors or the larger society. No matter how comfortable we are in our bodies, trans or not, we are all affected by binary gender roles, though this is most blatant and violent with transgenders. Gay men, no matter how butch; femmy men, no matter how straight; butch women, straight and lesbians; nerdy guys, the list goes on of people oppressed or confined by binary gender norms. Trans folk cross these gendered lines and forge a way beyond just this or that, man or woman, male or female. By listening to and celebrating trans folk, we too can free ourselves from the yoke of conforming to roles we may not want.

Some books on transgender issues:

-Beyond the Gender Binary—Alok V Menon

-Trans Liberation: Beyond pink or Blue—Leslie Feinberg

-Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us—Kate Bornstein

-Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism—Patrick Califia

-The Testosterone Files—Max Wolf Valerio

-Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender Conformity—Mattilda ed.

Tips for subversive sex

In this political and historical climate, great sex can be a subversive, expansive, and radical mode of dismantling socializations and creating alternatives to mainstream drone culture. More and more, the Christian right’s morals are seeping into the larger culture. This nauseating wave of puritanism and conservative values hangs in the air, like the stale salty grease cloud you smell when passing a McDonald’s. Subtle, toxic, bland, unhealthy, normative. 

Comfort in one’s skin and sexuality, consent, and self-care are an essential backdrop. There is no way to have freeing sex without actively checking in with all partners about emotional and physical comfort and openness. If folks are shutting down, disassociating, or not that into it, then how the fuck can it be any good? Knowing what one wants is not easy, as we are taught very boring and limited sexualities in this culture. Part of what can make sex so revolutionary is discovering what we like and pushing ourselves (consensually of course) to and beyond our limits. 

Role Switching

Many of us get stuck in sex roles or sex acts — butch or femme or active or passive or daddy or slave. Switching up roles is exactly as it sounds; allowing oneself the opportunity to receive when previously being the provider; taking turns sucking and being sucked, biting and being bitten, slapping and being slapped, holding and being held, fucking and being fucked. 


Sex can be a stage to play with the fluidity of gender and go beyond binary-gender or sex determined by gendered bodies. This may mean re-learning how to have sex and switching your focus away from genitals and genital contact. There is so much to play with and destroy, pervert, let go of, re-name. It is respectful and sexy as hell to ask people what they call their body parts and how they want them touched. When opening-up what we consider erogenous zones, more conversations about re-imagining bodies, gender, society may become possible. This can mean less focus on genitals and orgasms and more focus on nerve endings and what turns them on, and what works on an emotional level for a person. Expansion, re-defining and being aware of people’s boundaries are key in this realm and essential to sex.

Laughter and sounds

Try laughing during sex. It can be diverse; from a coy giggle, to a belly laugh, to laughing at oneself at an awkward moment or just as a way to communicate joy. Laughter is contagious and can put folks more at ease. One may laugh solo or in unison sex partners. Laughing can help relieve tension – so you don’t get get so caught up in your “performance”. Doing sex is goofy and silly and in fact hilarious. There is a myth that we should act a certain way during sex: virile, coquettish, animalistic, blasé, submissive, dominant, alluring etc. Laughing helps hush those “you should be ____” voices. Noise in general during sex is a fabulous added layer to events. Sounds can act as a reflection of what is going on and also act as a release for the sensations we are feeling; crying, screaming, moaning, gasping are all marvelous additions to this sex symphony. Laughing enhances the intimacy and the experience in general.

Role Play

Adding some drama to the scenario can provide many things: lessen other social/psycho/dramas that folks tend to drum up when the issue of sex arises, keep things interesting and creative, help explore different identities, help approach taboo subject matter, and healing from past traumas. Role-play can be a great way to challenge one’s rigidities and discover hidden kinks in a safe context. 

This can include working up characters in a setting with a plot. It can get intricate with scripts or songs, drag, props or outfits, even a dance routine. Here is where many taboos can be explored. The more the merrier, sillier, nastier. These games could challenge political and social norms in positive and smarty-pantsed ways. Role-play scenarios set up safe consensual spaces for folks to go there consciously, critically, humbly and with an open mind. The important thing here is that everyone is okay with where the story goes. Why should remarkable people have boring sex?

Resources to guide your choice

Everyone deserves access to abortion care when and where they need it — without judgment, stigma, or shame. Because of abortion stigma and the ongoing threat to abortion access, it is difficult to find reliable and clear information on abortion, a common medical medical process that one in four individuals will have. There is no “right” or “wrong” reason to choose to have an abortion and it’s okay to have several. You are trusted with understanding your life and your needs. 

“An unintended pregnancy is not a weakness or a moral failing but an inevitable occurrence in a society hell-bent on keeping you as vulnerable and unprotected as possible. You didn’t fuck up. You’re not irresponsible. You don’t need to bear any ‘consequences’ or be punished.” — Hannah Matthews (@hannahmsays)

These resources can help you get started determining what type of abortion might work best for you, where to find an appointment, and organizations that can support with appointment costs or practical support for travel if you need to leave your home state to receive care. 

Types of Abortion

Medication Abortion: Mifepristone, a pill, is usually taken with an abortion provider while at the clinic, while Misoprostol, another type of pill, is taken 24-48 hours later inside your own home — or, Misoprostol pills can be taken on their own in a higher dosage. 

Procedural Abortion: In pregnancies less than ~14 weeks, a pregnancy can be removed through dilation, opening the cervix, and suction to remove the pregnancy, in a process called vacuum aspiration. In pregnancies between 14-24 weeks, the procedure is called Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) where similarly to a vacuum aspiration, the cervix is dilated—often using laminaria (medical grade seaweed), a dilation tool, and/or Misoprostol—and the pregnancy is removed through suction. (See

Self-Managed Abortion (SMA): The process of inducing an abortion on one’s own, usually without medical supervision or guidance from a doctor. 

Abortion Access

(How to Find Available Appointments or Receive Medication Abortion Pills By Mail)

  • I Need An A (
  • Plan C (

Abortion Funds (Financial & Practical Assistance)

  • National Network of Abortion Funds (
  • National Abortion Federation Hotline (1-800-772-9100)
  • Indigenous Women Rising (
  • Jane’s Due Process | For minors living in Texas (call or text 1-866-999-5263)

Legal Resources

  • Repro Legal Hotline (

Other Resources

  • Abortion On Our Own Terms | Self-managing abortion with pills (
  • M+A Hotline | Clinicians with information & support about self-managing an abortion or miscarriage (
  • We Testify | Abortion 101 (
  • We Testify | Abortion Storytellers (
  • SisterSong | Reproductive Justice (
  • All Options Talk Line | Peer-based counseling & support (