No Space for Silence in Safety

While we acknowledge the cultural relevance of the Blatz show at 924 Gilman, we do so only while simultaneously recognizing and honoring the violent reality present that evening in a space with an empty claim to safety. The music scenes that celebrated this concert sadly omitted key aspects of the night’s events. In covering this show, we refuse to replicate dominant culture by centralizing the voice of dominant culture; instead we centralize the experience of our trans sister. Instead, we offer a brutal examination of the normalization of the trans brutality of a member of our community who was attacked after the show and abandoned by the silence of her peers. The survivor, after befriending a cis female at the show who was clandestinely part of a group of nazi skins on the lookout for a person to complete a violent initiation ritual, was followed from the venue, choked, punched, held to the ground and threatened with being taken by force to be further injured in another location. The survivor blacked out and managed to escape. She was subsequently denied reentry into Gilman on the basis of her distress, a tragic lack of connection with Gilman’s desire to be a “safe” space for marginalized people.

What is the experience of this trauma within the experience of dominant culture, which perpetuates attitudes that normalize, excuse, tolerate, and condone violence to queers?

This situation is just one instance of violence that pervades capitalist realities, that spills over into so–called safe spaces, often ignored. The violence is complex and comes from many intersecting facets in our daily lives of who we are, our choices and our privilege that each of us have.

The discussion needs to expand. It is important to not invalidate people’s rage, pain, anger, etc. that result from traumatic events or people’s feelings of lack of concern by communities, collectives, or other projects that oppose capitalism. The necessity lies in aiding each other in our personal survival (by protecting and defending our hearts and our heartfolx, giving people space/time/ resources to heal or reflect) and the attempt to make radical spaces and projects sustainable and as safe as possible.

This is not the end of this conversation in Slingshot, but a beginning.

Bashback appears to be actively recruiting and cracking skulls again, and the radical community’s frequent inattention to violence against trans/queer people makes its revival more relevant than ever. Loved one, dear one, dear heart, you belong here. We will make sure of it. Next time we don’t bash back, we shoot first.