Trans activist Bamby Salcedo on the mic surrounded by Trans WOC with fists up.

For those whose bodies are dangerous

For trans women of color who are living in their truth,

For women who choose to wear hijab

For young mothers finishing up school while raising their kids,

For queer youth who know their rights in the face of a system that is killing them,

For women on government assistance who find joy in the news of pregnancy,

For black folks who dare to survive in the face of joblessness and divestment by selling loosies or turning tricks,

For undocumented women who dare to have children,

For those on the dance floor with a cane and those too sick to be out,

For those who dare to separate sexual pleasure and reproduction,

For femmes who wear femininity with pride:

Your bodies, our bodies, are dangerous.

Your bodies are dangerous to the status quo. Your bodies bust through the armor of the gender binary and the patriarchy. Your bodies fuck up neoliberalism. Your bodies are ending white supremacy and heteropatriarchy. Your bodies are evidence that the colonial project has failed; you are here despite it all. We are here despite it all.

For this our people are killed. Over and over and over. Killed by abusive partners. Killed for wearing hijab. Killed for wearing a hoodie. Killed for being mentally ill. Killed by the cops in cars, on public transit, at home. Killed for existing. Killed for surviving.

And then there’s the ways they kill us slowly. Another “random” search and pat-down at the airport. Another stop and frisk. Another near heart attack when ICE trucks are parked at the community clinic. Another eon of suffering for every minute longer than normal a black child takes to come home, another pit at the bottom of the stomach determining when funny a look could turn into a beat-down.

We were never meant to survive, Lorde knows.

And yet we are here. And yet we thrive. And yet those with power over us want to take pieces of our ceremonies, our religious practices, our artifacts, the ways we dress, our music, the ways we dance.

For those whose bodies are dangerous, I’m here to tell you that the life in your body, your life, matters. That it is in the interest of the betterment of the human condition that you live. That despite what is of interest to the media, your names matter while your hearts are still beating. I’m here to tell you that you are the most beautiful creatures to walk this earth. That even though the world wants to kill you, so many of us are out here fighting for your life.

Your bodies are how the revolution begins.

Header image credit: The Advocate

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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