In the “women’s communities,” transsexual existence is particularly threatening to white middle-class lesbian-feminists because it exposes not only the unrealiableness of the body as a source of their identities and politics, but also the fallacy of women’s universal experiences and oppressions. These valid criticisms against feminist identity politics have been made by women of color and working class women all along, and white middle-class women have traditionally dismissed them by arguing that they are patriarchal attempts to trivialize women’s oppression and bring down feminism as Dobkin did. The question of transsexual inclusion has pushed them to the position of having to defend the reliableness of such absurd body elements as chromosomes as the source of political affiliation as well as the universal differences between transsexual women and non-transsexual women, a nonsensical position fraught with many bizarre contradictions.
— Emi Koyama, Whose Feminism is it Anyway? [pdf]
I’ve thought a long time about what would be useful to the homeless. We need public toilets. Not filthy portapotties, but proper restrooms that are private and clean. We need safe places to sleep. Capsule hotels, which are found in Tokyo and some other places in the world, would be most excellent. The rooms should be very cheap, and I mean five bucks is too much. They should be subsidized, and there should be twice as many as there is a demand for them. They should be extremely secure, and you should be allowed to stay for as long as you want. We need showers. Safe, secure, single occupancy showers. Those are answers that would help people.
If cities want us off the streets, they should offer these alternatives. They would be cheap and easy.
Teen runaways who declare that they are without guardianship should not be treated as criminals, and should not be compelled to live a criminal life. They should be issued cards which confer the right to work upon them. Forget child labor laws. They have a perverse outcome, effectively forcing children to become prostitutes, drug dealers, and thieves. Emancipation should be an on-demand right for all children.
Get rid of laws which forbid sleep. Who are you kidding? Those laws contribute to the meth problem in this country. Those laws destroy lives.
You want to solve problems? Homeless people have problems, they are not the problem. Don’t treat them as something that needs a cure.
Laws don’t protect anyone. So many of us who believe that fair housing laws, and anti-discrimination laws, and civil-rights laws, and voting laws and so forth, guarantee our freedom. What an illusion. What a flight into fantasy.
Laws are no stronger than their enforcers. And the same people who pass those laws are the same people who are responsible for enforcing the law. And if the people then who enforce the law no longer decide to do so, the laws then are of no value and have no power. Ultimately then, fairness rests, and the fairness of treatment rests, not in laws, but in the activities of people and in the attitude and consciousness of people.
You cannot put your faith in a white man’s law, and the laws enforced by whites. It is a silly faith that we have then, in laws. And for people in the 1970’s, and ’80s and ’90s, to still rest their freedom on the basis of laws, when the very history itself shows us that this cannot be done, we must question their sanity and what they have learned from the study of their history.
Back there, one hundred years ago, there was a federal law protecting voting rights in the South. Does this all sound vaguely familiar? This didn’t begin with the Freedom Riders of the 1960’s, we had those back there in the 1860’s and ’70s as well.
Dr. Amos N. Wilson on African history and how laws haven’t solved the problem of race.