I have been asked by many folks what what happened in Seattle? I am now free to discuss the events that changed my life and had a level of self-loathing return, the likes I had not seen in 25 years when I first got sober. Many of you know that I travel to work in the summer to help find my education, and being a carpenter allows me to do so, but in the summer of 2010 I was able to be of help to my long time friend and logical family member Cath, AKA “My Person”. Cath had throat cancer and was on a wicked treatment plan of chemo and radiation, I was gifted with being able to spend the last three weeks with her during radiation so she could stay at home and not go to hospice.At this point Cath had not been able to speak for about 2.5 weeks and she had had a few very rough nights. Aug, 7th was my transitioning out day as her sister Nora had arrived and I was heading back to Cali for my last year of my Masters on Monday the 9th, with a short stop in seaview Wa. and the down 101 home. Or so I thought!
That Saturday the 7th, I headed out to meet Mitch, Louise, and Shelly at Vivace for coffee and then I was headed over to the Hotflash dance, to meet up with Julia, Lainey and Jack, I never made it to the dance. While on Broadway, enjoying a cup of the best coffee with Mitch, Louise and Shelly, I looked up and saw a parking ticket on my truck, and had the normal reaction, fuck, I said in my head, see I thought it was sunday as I was pretty exhausted at this point, What happens in the next 7 hours was life changing. I at this point was not sporting a goatee, was in Levis,white tee-shirt and motorcycle boots and was soft-packing. I got up from the table and walked over towards my truck and in doing so passed the parking enforcement officer (PEO) as I got about three to 5ft passed him I pivoted on my feet, looked at my friends and flipped a double bird, turned and headed towards my truck with no words or physical contact was made with the peo. As I arrived at my truck, got the ticket and turned the PEO was standing there learning towards me so much so I had to lean back, he waved his finger at me and said did you take a swing at me, I said no, well the a crime and I can call it in, I said again I did not take a swing at you and could you please take your finger out of my face. As I stood up straight he came up to about my shoulders, and again said that he could call it in , I again stated I had not swung at him. He walked off back in his original direction south on Broadway, I started to walk over to the pay ticket stand, when I hear him yell at me from about ten, you don’t need to do that, just put the ticket on your truck, I said I did not trust him and was going to pay and thought that was the end of it.
I put the sticker in my window and walk back to the table to finish my coffee and catch up with my friends. Both Louise and Shelly could see him down the street at the corner and said they thought he might be calling it in and did I want to go, I was like no I had not done anything, and they had my truck on record anyway. Next was the second smartest thing I ever did, the first was getting sober, the second was to say, just in case he was calling it in to ask Mitch to hold my knife. Now at this point it has been over 20 mins, many of us “pack and carry Knives” nothing illegal about either, both come into the story one because it was not on me the other because it was.
The next thing I know two SPD officers arrive and ask’s me to step over to the car which I do without any issue or question as now I am in their house, their rules. The tell me to sit on the front bumper of the squad car, and as I do so more officers arrive, in total about 14 officers arrive. The first officers ask’s me what happen, I describe as I did I above what happened, and they go talk to my friends and several other for witness statements, there are two officer standing in front of me, three on my right stating on the curb, and about six down talking with the PEO, plus the original two. The next thing that happens is the original officer come back states tha the PEO says I took a swing at him and he had duck or dogged not sure which, to which I made a fatal and human mistake, I made an empathic utterance,”I could see how he thought that” which is why I could not proceeded against SPD for first amendment rights violations later. The next thing that happened to me and everyone who had seen what happened is I was cuffed, patted down placed in the back of a squad car, all a first and arrested on misdemeanor assault charges. I was first taken to the 12th st. cop house on capital hill put in a small concrete room still hand cuffed, alone, and scared.Now before this I had been asked if I was female on Broadway, and I said yes as that is what my state id says as well, no this was not the teachable moment moment. and I am a female-bodied masculine queer who is read as male which besides the “packing’ is the real crime I was arrested for. I was aloud to pee at the station and this become important as well, both to show my co=operation and that two female offices nerve said anything about no where the concerned about my “pack”. I was asked to step out of the holding cell turn around and the uncuffed me, and said could use the rest room, I did not move before I asked if they need to go in with me, they said I could go in alone, when I came out I was holding my shirt up so they could see my belt, asked if they needed it, they said no, they did not see or react to anything that might have been viewed as contraband or a weapon. I was placed back in the solid concrete room hand cuffed and alone. The door opened about 20 mins later and a female office asked me to step out, asked if I was female which now was the third time and I said yes, I was then put in her car and we drove down to King County Jail where I was transferred in. Just when I thought it could not get worse, it does, The female office walks me up to about two feet in front of the counter where a male sheriff again ask’s me if I am female, again I say yes, a female sheriff comes from around the counter and the SPD officer leaves and the sheriff ask me to go with her, I do, as we take about 2-6 steps she to again ask’s me if I am female, again I say yes, she then ask’s if I feel comfortable in general population or do I want to be in isolation, the questioned puzzled me, and I said, I was fine in general population, I was then asked to turn right and go down a short hall with three stalls with curtains on the left, and a solid wall on the right, she then said I need to take my earrings out and get undressed, I was not all the way back in the stall I was at the front where if officers behind the desk looked down this short hall at an angle could see me, and she did not say to step back, I knew I was packing, and was already feeling the shame of being gender Queer, so I was very conscious about sliding my packer into my pant leg and rolling my pants up, I continued to undress until I was naked, she then saw my nipple piercings and said that they too had to come out, no one looks good under florescent lights, my glow in the white self did not either, no was the shame coming over me there naked, taking the bars out of my nipples feel anything more than my dehumanization. At this point I thought we were done, but the next few minutes would be the most humiliating, dehumanizing moments I have been through in my life, I was told to turn around bend over grab my checks and spread them! then given a red jump suit and put in holding. As I was put in holding another inmate said, “why are you putting a man in here” I they were not, I sat down on the cold metal bench, another inmate sat next to me drunk and asked if she could put here head in my lap, to which I polity said no, and be watch another inmate figured out how to call cath’s to talk with her sister Nora. This was another layer of shame for me was to add any stress to cath’s at this point in her recovery.By the grace of Spirit, Cath’s brother peter, was able to make it to a bonds place for the 950.00 bail and the paper work came just after I had been given my bracelet and 5 mins before I was to go to the 9th floor, un-like Oakland, you can not bail out on sunday, so I would have been there till possible monday cause we know folks get lost.
I also know folks here in Seattle who work on the police accountability board and in the Prison Abolition movement so sunday I made some calls. the first was to Sheri Day who I a long time fierce Black women activist and part of my logical family. I was given a trail date and I could not leave the state to return home until or even possible if the court though I was a flight risk. Sheri had me call folks she knew at the Seatte Defenders office, I was told to come in monday, and they like me and everyone else when I saw that I was attested for flipping the PEO off are in total “You have to be kidding me”, Now I like many of you know if you your are a POC you can be and have been lynch and or arrested for just living, I understand this intellectually and also know this to be a fact because I have witnessed it and I have been told this. next in line for being targeted for violence by the state and others are white gender self-determining folks like me. I secured representation on that monday, my case was to be heard thursday. Mitch went with me to court, where I was offered two years probation and a year of anger management, and again I was like what, my attorney went back, they counters with 1 year probation 6 months anger management, again we said, I was called in court and my lawyer said that she would be representing Ms. Sullivan and the the whole court room, as Tupac states :
“all eyes on me” the Judge he even looked up twice to make sure. My Attorny was able to set a date in oct., get my bail charge dismissed and I was allowed to return to cali until Oct.
I returned to classes, and went to therapy as i was a not doing well, but only could afford a short bit and relied on AA thinking the feeling would pass. In oct. my case was dismissed for “Proof issues” setting up my retaining of a lawyer to bring a first amendment case against the city, and the jail. Meanwhile I started to spiral down, isolating, short tempered, and trying to finish my MA. By the end of spring at graduation time, I was having a full PTSD melt down and was in therapy once a week. Many of you know I applied and got in a local PhD program that in the summer of 2011 began what was to be two year change that included three core facualty changes, and in the second year a complete program change in its purpose. This instability along with the ptsd was almost to much for me as I considered checking off.
It sounds dramatic, but the for those that do not know my whole story or my Phd work here is a brief connection to why this event in Seattle though harmful and dehumanizing to anyone, those of us that have spent our whole live as being the target of state, medical, social, and individual violence for being ourselves are extra vulnerable when the same structures of power put their Boot on us. I was 7 years old, already ad sexual abuse survivor for the pedophile up the street, when my pediatrician suggested to my mother I be taking to the UCLA GENDER IDENTITY RESEARCH CLINIC for Reparative therapy. Two of the most controversial and their where many at this clinic were Dr. Robert Stoller Director and Dr. Richard Green who wrote the book ” THe Sissy Boy Syndrome”, the study for this book was for young effeminate boys, so I was outsourced to a for Female Grad student now Doctor herself in private practice. I was forced in and out of therapy to “correct” my behavior and presentation until I left home at 18. That is the re-traumatization in short, the upcoming Dissertation/book will have more detail.
Anyway, it has been a long road back, lot’s of self-work, therapy and good friends who loved me back to a place of loving myself. Seattle June, 12th 2013. We know you do not seek justices in our justices system, and no compensation will ever be enough for what was taken, but what I could not see as I plug along in school, struggling to and fighting to get myself back was what this day would bring. I suited up, showed up and said NO you do not get to make us invisible. I was able to take my Dignity back, not through monetary means, though I can get a new lap to for the work ahead on comps and my dissertation, which is exactly what I need. I was able to see how to be an ally where I have the most legitimacy, I as a White Masculine person was able to seed plant in a room of other white folks in Power (The lead city investigator,a top Prosecutor, the head policy person for the Jail, a retires judge of 25 years on the bench and my Lawyer a civil right attorney for over 25years). I was able to talk about “what is a legitimate body? How does racism impact gender” I heard my lawyer say “Gender is between your ears and sex is between your legs and have the judge say wow that is really useful and simple way explaining the difference” What I won was our rights to ours and others dignity, not on the grand scale as we know it is a long fight, but in the hearts and minds of a few who then can teach a few. I was given my part of the collective struggle, and yes it almost broke me, but life is like that right. I was able through what my logical family, community,friends and professors use what I have been taught over the last three years and apply my love for theory into action. I am so grateful, for this chance to be able to final be free to talk about it, the legal process is not kind as we know, silence is one. Another,thing I learned during the Early years of Aids, was to thank people while they are here so THANK YOU! Stay Blessed I am