Why I feel so strongly about prepping: Part 1, Protection

Good morning,

This is a reflection post that will be going over my thoughts, feelings, and concerns that validate my vigilance about prepping.  There’s many a reason why this queer canary in the coal mine is sounding the alarm.  I’m not Chicken Little squawking that the sky is falling. I’m more like a Raven articulating the very real threat we must prepare for. These are not just  “what-if” scenarios.  These are things that are happening right now in the present and some that have a high chance of happening in the future.

First and foremost, what I mentioned in my introduction post about being transgender.

I need to make clear of the very real facts about the danger Trans people face.

Fact: The majority of the victims of hate
violence homicides (72%) in 2013 were
transgender women.

FACT: Transgender people were more likely
to experience police violence and physical
violence from law enforcement.

FACT: Transgender people of color were more
likely(6 times more likely) to experience police violence.

FACT: Transgender women were more
likely to experience sexual violence

IN 2015, AT LEAST 21 TRANSGENDER PEOPLE HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF FATAL VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES, MORE KILLINGS OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE THAN ANY OTHER YEAR ON RECORD

Rates of suicide for transgender youth and adults is astronomically high.

It’s extraordinarily dangerous being who you are as a LGBTQ person in America:

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), current data suggests that 20-25% of lesbian and gay people experience hate crimes within their lifetimes.

Most attacks on LGBT people are from strangers

LGBT people are more likely to be attacked by people they don’t know. 56.78% of respondents to the NCAVP survey said that the violence they’d experienced came from an unknown offender.

Police don’t respond to anti-LGBT violence properly

Police response to anti-LGBT violence is extremely uneven, with a majority of respondents saying that law enforcement was “hostile” or “indifferent” to their claims of violence. That’s why nearly half of victims didn’t even bother to report their attacks to police in the first place. And even when they did, only a tiny sliver classified the reported attack as one of bias.

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Sir Isaac Newton: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Since there have been more visibility for trans people and more acceptance, there has been a surge in backlash and violence against us.

Nearly a fifth of the 5,462 so-called single-bias hate crimes reported to the F.B.I. in 2014 were because of the target’s sexual orientation, or, in some cases, their perceived orientation.

Ironically, part of the reason for violence against L.G.B.T. people might have to do with a more accepting attitude toward gays and lesbians in recent decades, say people who study hate crimes.

As the majority of society becomes more tolerant of L.G.B.T. people, some of those who are opposed to them become more radical, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Since the election there have been:

1,094 Bias-Related Incidents

I saw a FB post a few days after the election from a progressive friend who snarkily made the comment of how they better go out and buy a gun.  They weren’t being serious and were I think poking fun at how many conservatives ran out and spent boatloads of money on firearms because of the 2008, and 2012 election.  This person is not trans, person of color, poor, or queer, or disabled.

Just this morning, I read about  Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a Transgender 2 spirit woman, who was an active community member for the group Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies, was murdered.  She is the first known transgender homicide in South Dakota, and the 2nd transwoman to be murdered in 2017.

It suddenly dawned on me how much privilege is in the gun debate. People like that progressive friend above, do not have to worry about the kind of violence I have to worry about, and they are able to trust the police.

I’m all for peace, love, and nonviolence. But I think it’s foolish and frankly an act of violence to not protect yourself in any way that you can. Like, what are we expected to do? Ask nicely not to be killed? No. That’s not reality.  We need to protect ourselves. We need to learn how to shoot, how to handle guns and various weapons, we need to be able to protect ourselves 24/7.   The fact that over half of the violence that happens to LGBT people are from strangers should cause alarm. I don’t want to just be minding my own business going about my day only to be murdered by a complete stranger—my life stolen before my time. Not without a fight.

As the data shows, we cannot rely on the police, we cannot rely on the government, and solely on allies. We have to depend on ourselves and each other.

As a transgender person, it is an act of self love that I  give myself a Testosterone shot in my leg every week.  I also firmly believe that it is an act of self love to learn how to protect myself to ensure  self-preservation.

On my journey to self-reliance and being a prepper I am going to take up arms and learn how to shoot. I plan on saving up for an air-soft gun to practice with for awhile first. I will also learn how to use other weapons as well as my body as it’s own weapon.

I understand that this is a pretty loaded (no pun intended) post and some may not agree with my stance or politics. I hope we can find the common ground of wanting to live and survive.

Thanks for reading,

Ravn Thor

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”  bell hooks

Strategizing and Planning

Greetings,

If you were to log onto the internet and look up “Prepper” and “Prepping,” you’d be completely swamped with endless links to blogs, website stores, and beyond.  It can get a little overwhelming, and I’m certainly overwhelmed.  One thing I noticed at many of these blogs is that the preppers would say that you need to prep for what you need specifically.  Prepping in Utah would look different than say prepping in Alaska.  Different geographical locations have different climates and therefore different needs to prepare for.  And also when looking at this through an intersectional lens, different identities and bodies have very specific needs on top of the basic necessities (which to people like us are basic necessities too).

After spending a couple weeks skimming and scouring the many tubes of the interwebs I decided to go to my local bookstore and see if I could find a form of tangible media.  I picked up a copy of Backwoods Home magazine because it had the perfect article for someone in my situation:  a very concise guide of beginning prepping and prepping on a budget.

In the article, Prioritizing Preparedness when Money is Tight, Patrice Lewis points out that there is so much more to being prepared than storing away a few 5 gallon buckets of beans.  The writer breaks it down to their analogy of a three-legged stool: Supplies, Skills/knowledge, and community.  Each leg of the stool is equally important—with out one the whole stool will fall apart!  This really spoke to me and reminded me of the Feminist Ethics of Care which involve the 3 C’s: Community, Communication, and Collaboration.

In a previous issue of (#133 Backwoods Home), Lewis wrote about what they call:

The Core Area’s of Preparedness

  • Food
  • Water
  • Heat/Shelter
  • Lighting
  • Medical
  • Sanitation
  • Protection

There are more to it than that but this is a nice template to work from.  This list is the kind of template to look at when it comes to the supplies side of the prepping stool.  Lewis also warns about focusing too much on supplies because then that could neglect the other legs of the stool:

“Beginning preppers, faced with a plethora of competing information can quickly reach circuit overload. They freak and conclude the only way to solve the problem is to go out and buy stuff,”(Lewis 15).  Oh man, did this speak to me! This is exactly where I was sitting at the other day.  Lewis gives the reader two ‘secret weapons’ to combat this kind of overload: A Wish List and a Master Plan.

 

I’ve been putting together a wish list on a private list on Amazon.com.  The sky is the limit when it comes to the wish list. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

I’m making a wishlist full of supplies needed and also a wishlist for skills/knowledge I wish to learn.

When it comes to having a Master Plan I realized that I need to have more than one plan.

  • Prepping for present needs
  • Prepping for natural disasters (72hr prep)
  • Prepping for future
  • Bug Out Bag
  • Get Out Of Dodge Bag

Skills I want to learn

  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Hunting
  • Gardening in cold climates/hydroponics
  • Food preservation/fermenting/canning/dehydrating
  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • Foraging
  • Falconry
  • Fishing
  • Shooting
  • Archery
  • Knife Throwing
  • Martial Arts/Self-defense
  • Map reading/drawing
  • Star navigation
  • Rough Shelter building
  • Basic First Aid
  • Tracking

This list will continue to grow.

I was feeling discouraged earlier because I don’t have all the financial means to prep the way I want. However, after reading that Backwoods Home article, I feel more empowered. There are so many ways of preparing. I’m smart and capable of figuring things out. Just because I don’t have the means to buy the biggest gun, best water filtration system, or off the grid underground bunker, doesn’t mean that I can’t survive just as good, if not better. Learning self-reliant skills are vital in the times we are living in now. I have all the information I need at my fingertips thanks to the internet and an incredible resource at the community library.  I definitely plan on learning more basic HandyMan skills.  Job insecurity due to where I live, discrimination, and also my health issues make it extremely difficult to work a ‘normal’ person job.  For the last couple years I’ve been making up for that by doing odd-jobs for friends/family and other folks in the community.  I’ve painted fences, mowed lawns, fixed shingles, and this winter I’m shoveling snow.  I’d like to learn more fix-it skills so that I can be the go-to guy around here, and that means more money for groceries and prepping.

I was thinking that what I really want to get out of all of this is to be fully self-sufficient and reliant.  I want my backyard to be my grocery store and pharmacy. I want to be able to grow and make things myself, not so much as depend on going out and buying everything. I want to craft it. If I know how to do it then I will never run out of what I need because I will always find a way.

I will go more in depth in a later post about my planning and strategies.

Until then!

Ravn Thor

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

 

 

Tying up loose ends–Getting documents in order.

Good afternoon,

For this particular post, I urge that time is of the essence.  After the next two weeks getting these ducks in a row may be much more difficult depending where you live.

For trans-folks it is essential to get your legal identification documents completed with your name change, and gender marker change on the following documents:

  • Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security
  • Passport

It varies state by state on how to do this and you can find your state here.

It took me a long time to finally get my gender-marker changed on my drivers license and social security.  The reason this hit so many bumps is because the only doctor in the state where I live who treats patients like me had his nurses write the gender-marker change letter.  This took about three different re-writes and caused much unnecessary stress. Depending on where you are, the DMV and SS have very specific sentences that need to be in these letters. The anxiety and stress behind all this was because it was hard to know whether or not the next person I interact with to get my drivers license and social security card gender marker changed would be accepting or neutral.  I’ve heard too many horror stories from my trans friends of being humiliated at the DMV or SS office. Anyway, here is a link for information about Social Security Gender Marker Change.

I need to change my Passport and Birth Certificate. I hope to get that done before the 20th.

Legal Documents to consider for Cis LGBQ folks

For those who are Cis(not-trans) and in the LGBQ(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer) alphabet there are some risks to certain rights that were gained from the previous administration that can very well be dissolved or revoked such as marriages.  I’m an activist and I fully support writing letters to politicians and making phone calls and forming demonstrations and all that jazz.  That is certainly part of it. However, this post(and blog for that matter) is more about how to survive in the meantime.

Off the top of my head I can think of two legal options to protect yourself and your family.

The first one is for both of you to give each other power of attorney. From the link:

“In critical situations, a hospital may only allow family members to visit a patient. If you and your partner aren’t married in the eyes of the law, will your access to your partner be restricted? Will doctors defer to the opinions and wishes of your partner’s parents?

If you are an LGBT couple or an unmarried hetero couple, you should consider creating a living will and healthcare power of attorney document naming your partner as your attorney-in-fact or healthcare proxy. This legal document helps ensure your partner can be involved in your medical treatment if you’ve been incapacitated and are unable to communicate.”

Here is another guide for legal planning for same-sex couples.

This is something I’ve been meaning to do with my significant other.  I also believe that if one is Asexual or someone who is not  in a committed relationship that during these times it could be vital to have one of your chosen family have your back legally.  Do you want someone you trust to help you during a crisis or do you want to be turned over to the State to make those decisions? That can be pretty scary when the State does not recognize our basic human rights.

The other option that I can think of is something that many gay couples had done before for legal protection.  It may sound strange but adoption is an option.  I’m not talking about adopting children.  I mean a partner adopting their partner.  Yeah, I know, that’s odd, but honestly I find this to be a brilliant idea to use when we live in a society that opposes marriage and the same legal protections that Hetero couples have from us.  It is something to consider if it comes to that.  Here’s another story about it.

Anyway, I hope to get these loose ends tied up for myself.  Good luck, comrades.

“Nobody’s going to save you. No one’s going to cut you down, cut the thorns thick around you. No one’s going to storm the castle walls nor kiss awake your birth, climb down your hair, nor mount you onto the white steed. There is no one who will feed the yearning. Face it. You will have to do, do it yourself.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Introduction–SHTF

Greetings,

I’m not a stereotypical prepper.  In fact, the thing with stereotypes is that they don’t tell the whole story. People prepare for many different reasons—good reasons.  Ask yourself, could you survive a natural disaster?  What would you do if a blizzard hit so hard you were completely snowed in with the power completely out and sub-zero temperatures outside so you couldn’t go for help? Do you have enough food, potable water, a way to go to the bathroom (if water is froze and you can’t flush), and a way to keep warm?  This is just one scenario.  FEMA recommends a supply kit to sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours. On average it takes about 72 hours for relief to arrive during any kind of disaster.

Since around the early 2010s there have been plenty of pop cultural references and tv shows surrounding preppers and prep culture.  Majority of those representations only show the most fringe because the more extreme of a representation you can get on the ariwaves the better the ratings.

When it comes to politics and identities within the Prepper-Sphere, I’ve had a difficult time seeing myself. They dominantly tend to be white, middle-to-upper middle class, hetero, and cis.  The scenarios many of these folks prepare for are either the rational natural disaster or way far out  full-blown radical conspiracy theory territory to an almost science fiction/biblical end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-fall-of-society-collapse narrative.

Some folks are able to afford to spend thousands of dollars on gear, guns, food, land, and renewable energy resources. There are a wealthy few that even spend exuberant amounts of coin to build luxurious underground end-of-the-world bunkers.

Here is where this blog and myself are different.

I’m not preparing for only a potential natural disaster (such as an extreme blizzard that we encountered a couple weeks ago) and I’m not prepping for a highly unlikely end-of-the-world scenario.  I will, however, say that such scenarios are pretty fun to read!

What I am preparing for is that for someone like me—a bipolar mixed-race transman—is the present and up-coming presidency.  As a transman with bipolar disorder having access to health care is life or death.  Love it or hate it, the affordable care act saved my life. Recently the senate majority voted to repeal Obamacare and this terrifies  me. I also live in a state that has medicaid and medicare on the chopping block–putting the elderly, children, single-parents, minorities, and the disabled in very grave danger.

I guess you could say that this is an intersectional prepper blog.

What I’m preparing for is the inevitability of losing my  health-care.  After all, we are only an illness or accident away from literally losing everything.  I’ve been struggling with finding a steady source of income, and the threat of homelessness looms every so often.

What I’m preparing for is for the immediate present—For someone like me, the Apocalypse is already here. It may not be in the form of an alien invasion, or zombie uprising, or biblical revelation—but it is in the form of ignorance validated as fact, as media being controlled by corporations spreading propaganda, politician’s bought out by big money, as the environment being irreversibly destroyed, as working 2 or 3 jobs just to pay rent and buy ramen, as being unable to have healthcare, as being targeted by emboldened bigots who feel it justified to deny human rights to others that are unlike them, as an entire generation saddled with astronomical debt, and more. I am wanting to learn how to prepare. I am going to better learn how to grow and preserve food, how to heal with homemade remedies, How to save money and be self-sufficient, be prepared if an accident or illness causes us to lose our home, learn self-defense against violent ignorance, take care of my body so that it will not fall sick, learn folk remedies and herbal healing methods so that when I lose my health-care I will be able to rely on myself.

Regardless of ones politics—what all of us Preppers have in common is our desire for self-preservation and protecting our families.  I may not see eye-to-eye with other preppers and their politics, but I respect their tenacity and wisdom when it comes to surviving.  We may all be preparing for different scenarios—some may happen sooner than others and some may never happen at all—but we all want to live.

I hope that my blog can empower other queer folk to prepare themselves during this dark time. I also hope that my blog can bridge an understanding with other Preppers so that we can each share with one another tips and knowledge on how to best survive our own apocalypses—whatever and whenever they may be.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”  Audre Lorde, 1988