current dispatches
previous dispatches


february 03 dispatches

02-27-03   dean: something cool

i just found something kinda interesting accidentally: a manual for women's organizations about dealing with trans inclusion. Have a look.

reply to this dispatch.

02-27-03   craig: reading assignments.

Thought I'd pass on some links, in lieu of a real post since my brain is fried and I'm a little bit drowning in procrastinated skool work. First, a good article from the observer about the role of Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz in driving the Bush administration's genocidal war plans (what we used to call "foreign policy.") Also, from this week's Voice, a look at police repression and violence at the recent NYC protests. Of course, what happened in New York was repeated in lots of other places, including San Francisco, where the cops also engaged in some always-fashionable gay bashing when Gay Shame activists protested Gavin Gruesome's visit to the GLBT Center. More recently, Bay Area activists are working to shut down military recruitment. Speaking of which, please visit the amazing AWOL magazine, part of a critical anti-racist organizing to halt military recruitment of poor youth of color.

And when thinking about the erosion of civil liberties in the u.s.--attacks which are certainly working in part to mobilize communities that have never felt under attack in u.s. domestic wars on the poor and people of color--let's remember Aziz Choudry's point that many communities in the u.s. have never enjoyed the civil liberties apparently guaranteed by our laws. While you're at the Colours of Resistance site, also take a look at Discovering a Different Space of Resistance by Helen Luu. Helen offers really important insights into white supremacy and solidarity within an anti-racist politics.

Okay, that should be enough homework to keep everyone busy. I expect full reports on my desk by tomorrow!

reply to this dispatch.

02-22-03   dean: another run-in at grand central station

Just a little excerpt from an interview I was doing this morning for Hermes Magazine at Wesleyan University.

Hermes: As an activist and lawyer living in New York City, you must be very aware of the government's crackdown on dissent, both post-September 11th and otherwise. (How) Has your life changed because of this restricted atmosphere?

Dean: ugh. It makes me sick. It’s so funny to be answering this today, zach, because of what happened to me last night. As you know, last year on Feb. 2 I protested the meetings of the world economic forum in NYC. After the protest, I was arrested in grand central for using a men’s room and spent 23 hours in jail along with 2 friends who tried to defend me. Of course, the arrest was based on false charges, and was a typical example of how when the police state strengthens like it is now, gender different people and other police targets (people of color, immigrants, homeless people, youth) will always be the first to get cracked down on. Anyway, last night Tara and I went to grand central to do some filming about my arrest for the video we’re making about bathrooms. We shot a little in the main hall and then went downstairs to shoot me talking in front of the bathroom where I was arrested. We hadn’t been shooting for 2 minutes when this cop walks up and is like “you have to have a permit to do that here.” And of course, I’m scared shitless because I’m still totally traumatized from being unexpectedly and violently arrested in that exact spot a year ago, and while he’s talking the camera is sorta pointing near him and he starts screaming at us about how its like we’re pointing a gun at him. that brings over more cops and a national guard guy and this dude is screaming at us about pointing a gun at him when we’ve done nothing of the sort. It was so intense to watch him intentionally escalate the situation—almost like he was itching for some action. I couldn’t believe that we 1) can’t film in public spaces and 2) were harassed so intensely by this dude. I know this barely scratches the surface of the war on dissent that’s going on (since many people are locked up because of it, have had their apartments and offices raided, have been trampled by police horses, etc) but it was just so poignant that we went there to try to make a political document about the police repression I’d undergone, and weren’t even aloud do that. It’s sick.

What I hate most, though, is when activists get co-opted by the bullshit of it. I hate it when I go to a protest and activists are policing each other—telling each other not to move cars or newspaper boxes into the road and stuff. At the WEF protests, the nypd had put out this warning that if you wore a bandana on your face they’d arrest you. So my friends and I brought bandanas and wore them, and all these other marchers would be like “take that off!” I think we have to all work carefully to not adopt the values of the new anti-protest crackdown. We need to not take on the job of the cops—if people want to throw bottles, unarrest people, move cars, damage property, or whatever, I say let them and join them if you want to. It’s going to take more than a good argument or a good turn out to convince a government that has done nothing but steal and kill since its inception to stop making war on all oppressed people. For some reading on this issue of how things go down at activist events, look at “Pacifism as Pathology” by Ward Churchill, and if you want, at “De-Coding Non-Violent Rhetoric” by me at

reply to this dispatch.

02-19-03   craig: love letter

Dear M_____,

It’s February and I’m in New York again. That first week the wind turned bitter but I went sentimental missing the month I’d spent biking through days and around hills in San Francisco talking for hours with old friends and making new ones dancing until our legs cramped. I think you’d really like it there. Here again I was hiding in books and under too many but not enough layers back on these streets. When the snow melts it leaves only a gray silt of salt behind, on streets and sidewalks and the bodies of cars and it looks like dust, like a quiet bomb has exploded. And this city is bombed out, the buildings with broken windows falling in on themselves, trash rotting in alleys behind the guys calling “smoke, smoke.” This city filled with broken people who say fuck it and fuck this city and keep living to say fuck you to the universe. Walking from the train through midtown a few weeks ago I remembered to lift my eyes like you always told me to and the glass and metal towers looked like fingers of bone cradling us, but we slip through.

Everything is about love these days. My friends are all falling in love, in romance but friendship too. I talked to Keith the other day and told him I loved him. Everyone’s talking about love, about love and politics, love as a way of doing politics. Feeling as a revolt against the numb days we’ve been birthed into, or maybe escaped into. Either way, I can’t sleep at all because I’m too awake sensing my body and all the ways it hurts and the aches that I didn’t used to notice that just passed through me like blinking my eyes but all over.

Saturday was amazing. Kaycee came into town and you must know how much I miss her. We woke early to organize snacks and we suited up in layers of clothes pinning on buttons and filling our pockets with stickers and markers but the cap on mine froze in place. On the library steps I saw the boy I met in jail last year, the one months later I bumped into on the train. We ran into lots of other folks, everyone’s eyes watery with cold but wide too with amazement—so many people, so many police, so many people. And we made friends with some kids who recognized the patch on my back which Boots in Seattle made: Lover/Fighter. We stuck together the rest of the day, them and Kaycee all down from farms and we called ourselves the Farmers Affinity Group and today I laughed to myself when I realized the acronym that makes.

Everyone’s talking about love and falling in love and I’m thinking about love, about how I love you, and about how I want to care for myself and the people I know and how being depressed or ovewhelmed or cynical has kept me too withdrawn for too long. Thinking about how I can’t give them that. I’m contemplating what Shane in Sydney wrote, something like “I’ve got a crush on revolution,” and thinking about what it means to try to be a lover and a fighter. Sometimes missing somebody feels sad, but sometimes that longing feels hopeful, a reaching towards that startles because for once you really know what you want. My politics are filled with a missing and longing that doesn’t seem melancholic, just restless, and eager. Wanting to love is wanting the day to never end so the feeling at the back of your neck will never fade, the feeling that the people surrounding you are real. They will go on and so you will too. I remember this essay by bell hooks where she writes, “Choosing love we also choose to live in community, and that means that we do not have to change by ourselves.”

We never made it to the rally but we rolled slowly off sidewalks into streets. My icy fingers were army green and dark red stained with ink from printing the stickers with Greg the night before. Under my bandana my hot breath steamed snot out my nose. Kaycee and I passed apples back and forth and our new friends had hummous and a radio in their bag so when we left the crowds for awhile to warm up we turned it on sitting in the deli which was filling up, people’s ears tilted towards the broadcast of speakers and numbers. Later our friends headed to the train and we wandered through Times Square and Kaycee was disappointed, she’d thought we would have really taken it over and there’d be dancing in the streets but the cops were too many and too aggressive. And then we arrived at Bryant Park just as some kids moved out onto forty-second street and we hurried to join them and they were dancing! I grinned hugely: Kaycee you said it and made it come true. And the swelling mass turned down fifth avenue and how could so many hundreds of people appear from nowhere? In the crowd we saw this man with these pretty glasses we’d met earlier, and we all said hi, smiled kindly, said are you okay? When the rows of cops came from either end and penned us in everyone sat down calmly, huddled close and it was scary for sure but we stayed there and I felt still and quiet even with the asphalt chilling through my pants.

I wish you’d been here M_____. There’s death in this city, but life too, if not the life we always know to recognize. I miss you and I know we’ll find each other again but by then this story will be old so I wanted to write now and try to let you know how we don’t feel beat down and I don’t know what’s next but I’ll get there I think. I know really these wars won’t end but we won’t end either, we go on and on. I almost never sleep but when I do I dream of you. I hope that you’re well. I miss you. I love you.


reply to this dispatch.

02-07-03   dean: brotherly arm-around-the-shoulder

just in case we forgot that as mean and shitty as some people are, there are so many rad supportive sweet adorable trannies out there waiting to back us all up. here's a note i got from one of them about my last post:


First of all, I saw you speak at Transecting the Academy, and my feelings are this: if I were you (intelligent, good looking, and incredibly well-spoken), I would not have so much as a moment of self-doubt.

But, since people have said similar things to me and since I'm not so simplistic as to really think that all of one's good qualities will ever be enough to prevent self-doubt, I just want to give you an electronic, brotherly arm-around-the-shoulder. I'm long-haired (relatively speaking – no butchy buzz for me), pre-op, no T'd, definitely-looking-like-a-girl, but I know what I am, and what I am is a boy, I don't give a shit what I look like. I know what I am and no one will ever tell me otherwise. I could be feeling a little faggy tomorrow and put on eyeliner or nail polish, which would make me more 'woman-like' to most, but I would know in my heart that I'm a boy. I say bravo to you for experimenting with femmy feelings, for not taking the T, and for doing whatever the fuck you want to do. The last thing any of us trans types need is to let ourselves get boxed in anywhere, even if it's in our non-biological gender. You know what you are. You have shown that you're not afraid to BE what you are, even if that means presenting in a less-typically-masculine way. I applaud you, Dean, and to hell with anyone who doesn't.

reply to this dispatch.

02-04-03   dean: talk at Transecting the Academy

I had a really good time at Brown on Saturday at the Transecting the Academy Conference. I want to tell you more, but I'm rushing, so I'll just put h

earlier dispatches