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I’ll never punish my daughter for saying no.
The first time it comes out of her mouth, I’ll smile gleefully. As she repeats “No! No! No!” I’ll laugh, overjoyed. At a young age, she’ll have mastered a wonderful skill. A skill I’m still trying to learn. I know I’ll have to teach her that she has to eat her vegetables, and she has to take a nap. But “No” is not wrong. It is not disobedience.
1. She will know her feelings are valid.
2. She will know that when I no longer guide her, she still has a right to refuse.
The first time a boy pulls her hair after she says no, and the teacher tells her “boys will be boys,” we will go to her together, and explain that my daughter’s body is not a public amenity. That boy isn’t teasing her because he likes her, he is harassing her because it is allowed. I will not reinforce that opinion. If my son can understand that “no means no” so can everyone else’s.
3. She owes no one her silence, her time, or her cooperation.
The first time she tells a teacher, “No, that is wrong,” and proceeds to correct his public school, biased rhetoric, I’ll revel in the fact that she knows her history; that she knows our history. The first time she tells me “No” with the purpose and authority that each adult is entitled, I will stop. I will apologize. I will listen.
4. She is entitled to her feelings and her space. I, even a a parent, have no right to violate them.
5. No one has a right to violate them.
The first time my mother questions why I won’t make her kiss my great aunt at Christmas, I’ll explain that her space isn’t mine to control. That she gains nothing but self doubt when she is forced into unwanted affection. I’ll explain that “no” is a complete sentence. When the rest of my family questions why she is not made to wear a dress to our reunion dinner. I will explain that her expression is her own. It provides no growth to force her into unnecessary and unwanted situation.
6. She is entitled to her expression.
When my daughter leaves my home, and learns that the world is not as open, caring, and supportive as her mother, she will be prepared. She will know that she can return if she wishes, that the real world can wait. She will not want to. She will not need to. I will have prepared her, as much as I can, for a world that will try to push her down at every turn.
7. She is her own person. She is complete as she is.
I will never punish my daughter for saying no. I want “No” to be a familiar friend. I never want her to feel that she cannot say it. She will know how to call on “No” whenever it is needed, or wanted.
Lessons I Will Teach, Because the World Will Not — Y.S. (via poetryinspiredbyyou)
That last post was in honor of the abortion doula training happening this coming weekend at the free space. abortion doulas now and forever! massive love to every one of you.
Anonymous said: What if you were aborted wouldn't it make u sad knowing that your mother paid someone to have u killed because u were an inconvenience.
1. Pregnancy isn’t just an “inconvenience” it is a ten month ordeal that affects you emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, and financially. It’s a fucking gigantic deal. Don’t you dare fucking call it an “inconvenience”.
It’s even worse for people that have other conditions that make it worse. For example, I have OCD which causes anxiety and depression to the point that I have to take medication for it. I also have irritable bowl syndrome which means my stomach hurts after every other meal at the least and at the most I’m suck on the toilet in severe pain for thirty minutes or more and end up puking just to make it stop.
If I got pregnant, I wouldn’t be able to take my antidepressants. And then my intestines would be under even more fucking pressure and stress. If I got pregnant, I would be in constant physical and mental/emotional pain, not even to mention the social and financial effects and the effects on my education.
To call pregnancy an “inconvenience” shows that you no NOTHING about pregnancy.
Get the fuck out of my face.
2. If I had been aborted would I be sad? No. What part of “nonexistence” don’t you get? How the fuck can one be sad if they don’t even exist? You make no fucking sense. How the fuck would I be sad if I didn’t exist? NONEXISTENCE, NO THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS, OR ANYTHING. I WOULDN’T FUCKING EXIST. NONEXISTENCE=I WOULDNT FUCKING BE ABLE TO GIVE A SHIT. Is that such a difficult concept.
I have huge feelings and I sometimes feel alienated when most people around me appear impervious. It bothers me. It took so long for me to see the misogyny in our culture and begin to cultivate this capacity for feeling. There are so many messages that say such things should be masked, which is like trying to subdue a superpower. For me breaking down and crying in public is the best way to fight the misogyny. Not going to hide a great power just to make other people comfortable.
excerpts from a blog post that helped me a lot today:
I particularly remember a time when Ezekiel was despondent, hurting, and feeling like transition was impossible after some interactions he had had out in the world. I tried to help, and he told me he was ready to throw in the towel and forget about it. I got very angry. I felt like I had been doing a lot of work and he was ready to throw that all away because of something someone said. That incident blew over, and things got better. The changes slowed down to a manageable pace eventually, and now we are almost never on that roller coaster.
I like viewing a lot of the work of transition through the concept of gender labor, which is “the work of bolstering someone’s gender authenticity, but it is also the work of co-producing someone’s gender irony, transgression, or exceptionality” (see this paper, p. 237). I did hours, days, weeks, and months of work helping Ezekiel to craft and inhabit the gender that he now lives. I still do that work each and every day. I lived between worlds with him, using two sets of names and pronouns for the months in which that was needed. I reinforced and bolstered his male identity when he felt it was weak or threatened. I talked him through dysphoria and despair.
All of this is real labor, and partners need support during that labor. Unfortunately our beloved partners may not be able to be that support, in part because of the heavy lifting they are doing. I am lucky in that Ezekiel and I came into this journey with years of good communication and close connection to fall back on. But even with that, at some low point during transition I felt alone, and wrote “I don’t think I knew how important Ezekiel’s support was for me in this process until I suddenly didn’t have access to him anymore.” (I got him back!)
We all have to navigate these challenging waters in our own way. I haven’t found other people whose experience of transition is the same as my own, but I have learned a lot by listening to other partners of trans* people. But those narratives are hard to find, and the glimpses that we get of trans* partners are usually about the devastating nature of the experience. That is not my experience of transition. I see it as hard, but not harder than other challenges my spouse and I have faced. I see it as initially shocking, but also exciting and wonderful. That’s me, and it may not be you. I think we all need more narratives from partners so that we can start to see the real diversity of experiences that exists out there. We need to hear from people that have been with their partners briefly, for a few years, for 10 years, for 20 years. We need to hear from people who identify as straight, queer, bi, lesbian, gay, or asexual. We need to hear from people with kids and people without kids. We need to hear from people that are married and people that are not. We need to hear from those with happy experiences and painful experiences. I know that that hearing more voices would have made a huge difference to me a year and a half ago.
i had a waterfall of thoughts and feelings after reading the new Queer Dads post, especially this part:
"Sometimes I wonder, who am I to have a kid? Shouldn’t I have thought about this before taking on that responsibility? (I did, but that’s not the point). I never want to see Jetpack even half as crazy as I feel sometimes. But no matter how much I struggle to shut it down, no matter how much therapy I attend or medication I put into myself, I can’t hide it all. That sad and twisted fucked up me is still in here. I can’t just cut it out. And it scares me that someday he’ll see that too, and he’ll resent me for it.
I don’t have any answers for that friend. I don’t have any hopeful closing paragraph for this litany of my own tragic faults. I can try my best, and I will probably fail.”
i thought about my own parents, and all the times i noticed their mental health struggles as i was growing up, and more and more since becoming an adult.
i never resent my parents for their mental health issues, some of which i share. but sometimes i get angry at them for trying to appear normal.
i think the premium that is placed on family life that is free from mental health struggles leads parents to go to extreme lengths to hide some of their more difficult realities from their kids. it can be things like disorders with special names, or the stress of living day to day.
i think the most violent moments of my childhood were ones where a caregiver was trying to shield me from something, because they wanted me to think that everything was just fine.
in fact, things are not just fine. the world is not just fine. i want all kids to know this. we were never really shielding them, anyway.
in contrast, some of the most loving moments of my childhood were moments where the honesty broke through. where an adult would cry and explain why. even if their voice sounded funny and i couldn’t completely understand them. i felt safer with the sense that they wanted me to see and understand some part of what was wrong.
i think the Queer Dads post begins a really important conversation, and i respect the courage to share what is most difficult. i want all kids to know what is not okay (in age-appropriate terms) and i wish my parents had talked to me more about their mental health struggles. but for now, i am grateful that they talked to me some about what was not fine in the world, and that i can experience my anxiety without feeling so alone with it. i now know that anxiety and depression and all mental health issues are political, and that i have others with me in struggle against the society that segregates, isolates, and enforces norms at the expense of health and wellbeing. on most days a bit of honesty and shared experience make a lot more things possible.