TC Tolbert

Acknowledgement and Statement of Solidarity

Tucson (where I live) occupies the traditional territories of the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui peoples. Although it is a necessary first step, acknowledging that I live on occupied land does little to disrupt colonialism if I don’t go further in decolonizing not only my syllabus and my reading list but also my heart, my actions, and my mind (a lifelong process of re-education, attention, and love).

The following texts have been a major part of this learning and to these authors and editors, and so many others, I am deeply grateful.
When It Rains: Tohono O'odham and Pima Poetry, edited by Ofelia Zepeda
Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, edited by Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti
New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich
Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
• Joshua Whitehead: Why I’m Withdrawing From My Lambda Literary Award Nomination (also, Whitehead’s book of poems, full-metal indigiqueer is truly incredible)

In the last 25 years (I am currently 44), I have transitioned from closeted married straight lady (well, I don’t think anyone ever experienced me as a “lady” – I certainly didn’t, but you get the point) to proud southern dyke to outspoken genderqueer poet to middle-aged passing trans-genderqueer (I don’t identify with the words “man” or “trans-man” and yet I know I now experience levels of safety and respect I could hardly imagine before starting testosterone). While I’ve met with transphobia, homophobia, and misogyny throughout my life (and we certainly live in a society that is transphobic, homophobic, and misogynist), I also know that I have accrued a lifetime of benefits (and been protected from a lot of shit) simply by being a white person in a white-supremacist world. But again, acknowledgment is only the first step.

I want to make plain and re-affirm my commitments to a lifelong process of 1) understanding my various and intersecting identities, 2) taking responsibility for my participation in systems of oppression and fuckery 3) shifting my behavior to challenge/dismantle oppressive systems (including but not limited to white supremacist, cis-hetero-patriarchal capitalism and other systems that perpetuate racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of violence 4) working for equity and justice in my relationships (personal and professional), in the classroom, in my work in community, and in my writing (I think of this as what Congressman John Lewis calls “love in action” because, for me, belief in equity and justice comes from a deep, abiding love for humans, the planet and all of its inhabitants, and this mysterious experience of being alive).

I also want to lift-up and gather further networks of support for the following folks and organizations doing the on-the-ground work of equity and justice. Please join me in taking some time to learn about and make a contribution to one or more of these efforts. With heart and in solidarity. - tc

Mariposas Sin Fronteras - MSF provides solidarity to LGBTQ people in detention through visits, letters, bond fundraising, case support, advocacy and post-detention hospitality. To donate, go here.

Trans Lifeline - Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. To donate, go here.

The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project is the only organization in Arizona that provides free legal and social services to detained men, women, and children under threat of deportation. To donate, go here.

No More Deaths - The mission of No More Deaths is to end death and suffering in the Mexico–US borderlands through civil initiative: people of conscience working openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. To donate, go here.

Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of Black people, people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South. To donate, go here.

National Bail Out - We are reuniting families, creating a national community of leaders who have experienced incarceration, and working with groups across the country to transform harmful systems to keep our people safe and free. To donate, go here.