Toi

Toi
the philosophactivist

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Afro-Genderqueer at the Austin African American Book Festival Showcase

Here's the audio and transcript for Saturday's Austin African American Book Festival Showcase. I'm excited and, at least, less nervous than I was about tabling and talking about my books there. This is bigger than me, I have to remind myself. And there will be at least one other QTPOC writer and some 'allies' present. I won't be alone.

Here's the audio:
https://soundcloud.com/toi-s-1/aabookfestival2014audio

Transcript:

"Well, hello hello...

I'm Toi Scott, author of Notes from an Afro-Genderqueer 1 and 2 and Philosophactivism volume 1 and 2.

So, a little bit about the Afro-Genderqueer moniker...
Being black and queer are two defining identities that heavily influence my perspective. These identities affect how I move in this world. I struggle for visibility as Trans* and genderqueer or gender non-conforming in communities of color and as black in the LGBT/Queer community and as someone who is deeply spiritual and someone who connects with nature-based spirituality  and the spirituality of my ancestors. Essentially, every identity is the antithesis of who we've been socialized to believe should have value in this society.
I should not exist. People like me are not meant to survive. Using "Afro-Genderqueer" is my way of establishing visibility and asserting what I'm about. Who I am in these spaces and at the intersection of marginalized identities.

Though I write from a black, queer perspective- giving voice to those intersections- I also write across issues. Giving voice to common struggles like economic injustice, environmental injustice and racism, food injustice and apartheid, and the struggle to be heard and to be all of our identities- as Audre Lorde ( a black lesbian poet and author) wrote frequently about.

History is also very important in my work. In all my writings I focus on helping folks to see the history of our many struggles- the historical context. Especially institutional and structural racism and the way it affects many aspects of our lives from employment to access to food to clean air and water, healthcare and even our perceptions of Self and the many manifestations of internalized oppression (such as internalized racism, internalized sexism and internalized homophobia).

Solutions are extremely important. We can find a lot of what's wrong in this world- or with our communities in the media, online and in print. We don't need help determining our oppression or that we're oppressed- or what they call that 'foot on our neck', am I right?

We usually have an idea of who our oppressors are even if we don't understand the history (or have an analysis) behind why we're oppressed. Through my work I try not only to talk about the history of our oppression and why we are where we are now- but also to give people a sense of their power and help people to see that not only are we powerful inherently, but that there are ways to do something about the situation we're in.

Many times it starts with education and even skillsharing before action. Awareness and then organizing with folks who see a common problem. Hopefully, we're organizing toward the eradication of the actual root of that problem. We can pick leaves and branches all day long, but we have to get to the root of our crises. This is why organizing across issues is so important, though we may have different end goals- it's all about civil rights. Rights to access. Equity. The right to have our basic needs met. We all want to be happy and not suffer and struggle to survive. We all want to be heard and acknowledged and not just for our struggle.

Philosophactivism...
Being a philosophactivist is about looking at these issues, this oppression, with deep insight and then strategizing to do something about it- taking action.

The most important thing is this- I'm not the first to say any of this. I stand on the shoulders of many organizers and activists, foremothers, ancestors who didn't have these labels of 'organizer' and 'activist'. Ancestors who saw organizing, spirituality and art as one and the same. It's the same message- but just now embodied in this black, queer, anti-authoritarian...dapper...2014 package, if you will."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014

Hey, hey folks,

A lot's been going on this year and we're only halfway through. I've traveled almost every month this Spring and last winter. I dealt with a serious 'flare' in my lupus conditions throughout these same months. I doubted...I questioned...I raged...and then I found peace and clarity. A mentor recently told me that the tools are in the struggle. Somewhere in all that darkness is light. And in the past few months I've been finding balance in my perceptions of them both. I've been reflecting about my writing my organizing and my healing and how I choose to write about this trinity springing from the same root.

I said that 2014 would be a year of education for me and it has been. I've gone to the Trans* Leadership Summit, the Black Trans Advocacy Conference, allgo's QTPOC activist/organizer retreat, a permaculture design course, an Undoing Racism Training. Not to mention the hundreds of conversations I've been a part of with friends and created family, and community members- all skillshares in their own right. Realizing how fortunate I've been to be a part of so many conversations and trainings and conferences, I began to ask myself what my responsibility was to our communities and to those who couldn't be present at those tables or on those couches. It's our responsibility as people who are privileged to inhabit/bear witness in those spaces to report back. I do this through my writing. It's what I like to call neo-griot style. It's news, stories, fables, sometimes part workshop or history class but always bent on informing folks and giving people a sense of their power through this information. There's enough out there to keep us feeling disempowered. 

What are the ways that we can continue to awaken our People and provide real ways that we can thrive and get out of survival mode? Where is the pending revolution that the survival programs of the 60s and 70s were to lead to? 

I'm on a journey to heal and to figure out ways to sustain myself that are in line with my values.  Namely, continuing on my Path, being committed to personal and community healing, spiritual growth and inner transformation, respecting and sustaining the land and planet, and honoring our ancestors. 

Writing is a part of this healing. My writing is the journey. I am in the process of writing a number of books and zines. I just finished Philosophactivism 2: The queerbomb edition. You can get it here. I am also working on  Resistencia: Sangre. You might remember me going  to do preliminary research for a couple weeks last fall. Well, I got an artist residency at Patio Taller in Carolina, Puerto Rico and I'm moving to the island indefinitely to do research, full-time writing, and some much needed healing. 

Here's the video I sent Patio Taller about the work I will do:


video

I actually just purchased my one way ticket to Puerto Rico yesterday and I'm leaving the second week of August. I'm so excited. So, so excited to research suppressed histories of ancestors, revolutionaries, revolts and rebellions. Our legacy.

I have 7 whole weeks to fundraise for the first 6 months that I'm there (housing, food, medication). I've set up a co-visionary page where you can contribute to community supported artivism by:

1.subscribing to the AfroVisionary e- book club

2. contributing as a sustainer

3. coordinating/providing space for one of the workshops.

4. Donating directly through paypal (message me for information)


Every dollar of every sale, subscription and workshop is going to go toward my $5,000 goal.

Please support QPOC-centered art and visionary organizing. Like Audre Lorde said- art is not a luxury. This book I'm writing and the workshops that come out of it are all about healing and liberation for our communities. I will document queerness, healing, the African Diaspora, Taino history, radical organizing of current day activists and their predecessors, and there will be discussion about sustainability in our communities and the eradication of systemic oppression.

Please consider buying a book, subscribing to the AGQ book club, contributing as a sustainer, or coordinating/providing space for one of the workshops.

Find out how to support here:
http://www.afrogenderqueer.com/resistencia#!covisionaries/c1izm


You can also buy from here:
etsy.com/shop/afrogenderqueer

**a note on why I'm moving toward selling only e-books-
1)Shipping can be costly and I want to keep things affordable,
2) Most importantly- some of my books are 100+ pages long and I want to be environmentally conscious, as a person who is trying to live my values.What does it look like for me to be contributing to deforestation while claiming to be all about sustainability in our communities and doing workshops on environmentalism and permaculture?


Thank you so much for all those who have supported and for those who continue to support!

AGQ