onmyshore:
This is my opinion. I speak as an individual supporting Occupy Sydney and in solidarity with others worldwide. This is only one experience and I know many people all over world suffer far worse at the hands of police and other’s supposed to help. Last night I went to Martin Place and attended several working groups of Occupy Sydney. The camp had been raided Sunday pre-dawn by police who forcefully evicted peaceful protesters. Many people have been going back to Martin Place to talk, and continue the important conversation, and most importantly to be able to do this while present in a public space. During this time, while we discussed art and performance and the politics of a wiki, community outreach etc. about 3 or 4 duty police were ‘overseeing’ us, though were generally ignored (or jokingly referred to as the ‘police working group’). There were about 60 people from Occupy there, with many people walking past saying ‘you are doing a good job’ or ‘I support what you are doing’. It was positive and inclusive. I got there about 4pm and at about 9pm I decided to go home, and I think most did too. There were about 12 of us then. I saw no intention to make a ‘camp’ by anyone (except two ppl who are living homeless) and no-one had any camping gear. As I was saying goodbye, a few people in the group said they had made a soup and we talked about quickly eating before heading off. At this point, there were about 12 cops. About one for each of us. Keep in mind all we had done for 5 hours was be in groups and chat logistics, jokes, ideas and just catch up. The police informed us that we were not able to eat our food in a group as that would be considered ’camping’ and we would be given infringement notices and moved on. Just think about that for a second. 10-12 people, quickly eating soup, before heading separate ways home as decided, had suddenly been told we could not do that. We were no longer welcome in a public place. Suddenly the number of cops made dawning sense. We had a debate together for a while about what to do. As many people had been at work all day and it had been a nice day, the last thing we wanted was a petty confrontation with police over arbitrarily applied ‘by-laws’ (FYI the Lord Mayor of Sydney has said these by-laws, as signposted near the space, are essentially surpassed by the Local Government Act in NSW). A this point I was feeling very upset. Inside I was livid. Essentially, my decision, as a free citizen of Australia, to go home of my own free will had been taken away from me. The police had now given us a directive. It was no longer my decision to go home as my cat is sick and I feel tired. I now had to go home because if I didn’t, I would be fined and will have to have a police confrontation I neither invited nor deserved. I and another woman, decided to go and chat to the policeman in charge. We asked him, ‘if we were a group of ladies coming back from a performance at the Opera House and had stopped to get Maccas on the way and were eating it in a group here, would that be okay?’ He said, ‘yes’. This directive, only applies to ‘us’. He admitted that the order was ‘silly’ but that it came from top down and it is their job to do what they are told. We didn’t argue that point, but I know he saw the frustration and sadness on my face. He said, we were welcome to stay, ‘but not in a group’. We had ‘to disperse’. I asked ‘how far away from each other do we need to be’. He laughed, but then had to take a phone call. But I wasn’t laughing. This wasn’ funny. It was oppressive and horrible. A this point I actually started to shake and tear up. I was so embarrassed that my body was reacting to the presence of these police in a line in this way. To this sense of arbitrary ‘justice’. I was frustrated for my friends who had made food for all of us and their effort was suddenly against the law. During this time, a group of roller derby peeps skated by and around the place. Did you know skating is also against a by-law on the same sign as erected in Martin Place. The police did nothing. The issue really isn’t ‘enforcing’ any law or by-law (much like a parking ticket!!). The issue is stifling peaceful assembly. In my job in the public service I talk to police occasionally, if they need CCTV access for a court case, to help out if someone is being assaulted etc on our property. In my lifetime they have helped when I had my bike stolen, when my mother was being assaulted by someone who had broken into our house. I had a vision of the police as those who assist when things are wrong. Who help. That is slowly being eroded. That good experience. That respect. By how myself and others are being treated. Because we are being denied the right to peacefully assemble in public and talk about current ‘cancerous’ political and economic structures in this country. Or being able to talk at all. Or eat our dinner. Last night I was denied being able to make a choice about my own personal movements and body in a public place. How could anyone seriously think this is okay? People are being told they cannot come together to talk in a public place and police are being sent out to get rid of lawful citizens. How scared are the banks and our government that this this response has been ‘ordered’?  FYI. That fine could totally be challenged in court. Just saying.  

Rush of Sun: Occupy Sydney Day 10 – You are no longer the public. You are ‘them’

to the tamil refugee who comitted suicide in detention.

the views that lead to your death are not mine.

the things that kept you behind bars are not representative of me or any of the people i know.

I hope you have found the freedom you so richly deserve.

I do not know what rituals your culture carries out but I hope you are afforded a respectable and dignified burial.

your life, even though we’ve never met, has provided me with fire, and courage, and the will to keep fighting.

I hope that while i still breathe we see an end to the inhumane and indignified practices that kept you behind bars, despite committing no crime.

Australians are at heart compassionate people, and there are those among us who are absolutely horrified that you and others have found the need to take this step.

your culture is amongst the oldest and most beautiful i have come across. your stories are generations old and yet your language is almost wiped out through decades of genocide.

please be free.. please go to your final resting place knowing that you were cared for, loved and your death has not gone unnoticed.

I am deeply apologetic and pledge the rest of my life to make sure this is not allowed to continue.

this is what coming out looks like. – the first steps towards transmasculinity.

“everything is black and white except the choices I am making about the coloured boxes I could fit in” (Tom Dickins – Somewhere Under the Rainbow)

it has been almost a year since I was beaten and sexually assaulted as a drag king.. today I take the first steps to coming out as something far more authentic and representative..as part of the healing process. as part of being a part of the movemement for our rights.

a boy. 🙂

to myself, I haver admitted that my gender wasn’t the one I was born in for at least the last four and a half years.  I have felt increasingly uncomfortable in solely women’s spaces, feeling increasingly distant from other women, although still openly identifying as feminist (as i think is more than possible for gender diverse people to do)  felt as though I have far more in common with the men in my life than the women, although I have enjoyed incredible bonds with women and continue to do so and really hope that doesn’t change.

it has becoming incredibly incongruous, dissonant and discordant for me to continue to live the way I have been living biologically female but thinking,feeling, being in every sense of the word, male.   Yet coming out is filled with trepidation.  I’ve already experienced violence as a drag king,

which delayed my coming out even further, but in some ways solidified my decision.  If we are ever to combat transphobia, the first people we need to start with is ourselves – acknowledging the truth of who we are.  I began  with selectively explaining to a group of friends (some of whom i’m unfortunately no longer friends with) that I wanted to be called by a male name and use male pronouns. Today I made the first step of telling my best friend.  She reacted in a completely inappropriate way.  Even though I have felt completely and utterly bereft, I also feel vindicated. Vindicated in the sense that I know exactly who I am and what I am and expressing that is my right. I don’t understand her attitude, I am still the person she made friends with. In fact, I feel more whole and at peace than I ever did in my previous life.  Even though I know now this road is probably the hardest road I will ever travel, every step along the way will be worth it. The people I have that actually support me, support me for ever. unconditionally. And i am so grateful.

my name is Matthew.

I have not had hormones or surgery – but I want them.

I am still the person you love and have grown to love

I still write the same

fight the same

love the same

fuck (well, i haven’t really tried it as a boy yet, but i can assume it will be only slightly different) the same.

am essentially the same.

I am not afraid anymore

I am incredibly liberated and for the first time like a whole person.

if you’re confused, uncertain  or don’t know how to negotiate the new me. (which is really, to me, the old me, but new to all of you guys i realize)  just ask.  in fact, i almost expect you to ask and would be more offended if you assume shit.

Love..in all shapes and sizes

Matthew.