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Street Harassment / Thinking about Separatism

a diary-like entry

Forum: Forum
Date: 06/04/2000

So I was sitting outside of the office of the Lesbian Community Project today, waiting for someone to unlock the door so I can enter for the meeting. Then some guy waved hand from the other side of the street. I don't know why, but I smiled back. He came to my side, started trying to get my name, phone number and stuff. I told him my name but didn't give him my phone number. He then asked me to get into his car. I was gonna say "fuck off!" but I ended up saying something like "no thanks" or whatever. The guy did not look particular threatening, but he was really persistent and somehow convinced that the natural course of action was for me to give in and get into the car. It lasted until someone else showed up for the meeting - at which time he quickly drove away. All this time I was smiling and being nice and all, hoping someone would show up to rescue me.

What the fuck is this? Am I not a strong, confident, assertive, feminist, dyke? A Lesbian Avenger who isn't afraid of cops nor the Oregon Citizens Alliance? I'm so outspoken and all that when I'm with my friends, but why am I still playing this nice, quiet, submissive, exotic "Oriental" girl thing??

Aaaaaaagh!!!! So it taught me two things: (1) I'm still evolving, and (2) through working collectively, even a chickenshit like me can be brave.

Speaking of which - my friends and I founded the Women of Color Caucus for my Women's Studies Department which is doing really shitty job of confronting racism within its program. We call our caucus "Raging Exotics," and through it I felt very powerful. Until recently, I was feeling crazy because nobody assured me that the Department is really fucked up, so I assumed that it was my fault that I didn't feel "right" with what was happening. It was really impotant for me to be with other chicks of color who were struggling just the same way. Our new web site is located at (the site design was shamelessly stolen from this site).

Okay, so this caucus is like a sort of "separatism." Even though I am aware of problems associated with various kinds of separatism, including the lesbian separatism which was very eloquently criticized by Combahee River Collective decades ago, but I cannot help but see certain value to separatist spaces. I do not believe in all-encompassing "full-time" separatism, but I do believe that separatist spheres are very important for any group of people (regardless of how fluid boundaries are) marginalized in the society. I do take issues with people who cling to exclusive policies because of their own prejudice, but I do not agree that separatism has no use.

(Of course, some separatists believe that the kind of "separatist sphere" I'm talking about is not a real separatism. Whatever.)


some feminist journal is currently considering publishing my essay, "i hated being a girl," from my zine, "the transfeminist manifesto and other essays on transfeminism." stay tuned for updates.