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“The Center Cannot Hold– Things Fall Apart”: Trayvon Martin and Story-Telling

“The Center Cannot Hold– Things Fall Apart”: Trayvon Martin and Story-Telling

Author: TT Jax

March 28, 2012

As many queer writers know, story-telling is a powerful tool to place ourselves and our communities in the world, whether the world wants to hear our stories or not. With a fresh sense of urgency in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, sites are calling for personal tellings in a forceful effort to let often unheard voices be heard.

Shanelle Matthews guest-posted an article on Racialicious“The Devaluation of Black Life”. Matthews connects the murder of Trayvon Martin to the slayings of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and Emmett Hill, as well as to the present and historical treatment of pregnant African American women and babies as a general devaluation of Black Life. Matthews participates in the Black Women Birthing Justice Collective, intended to “educate women to advocate for themselves, to document birth stories and to raise awareness about birthing alternatives. We aim to challenge medical violence, rebuild women’s confidence in giving birth naturally and decrease disproportionate maternal mortality.”

BWBJC, along with the Atlanta-based Black Women Birthing Resistance, is requesting African American birth stories.

In a similar vein, “I Could Be Trayvon Martin, a Tumblr-site, is holding space for people to share their stories of racial profiling and violence.

Teju Cole examines racism and story telling in the White Savior Industrial Complex, in response to the Kony 2012 Invisible Children video.

Transgender people are requested to share video stories that do not centralize transition or surgery, but instead focus on full personhood as well as intersectional isms at the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s I Am: TranspeopleSpeak.Org.

Meanwhile Morty Diamond’s newly invigorated Bodies of Work magazine feverishly features the stories of transgender artists and writers.


Additional queer stories are getting ready for a telling this April:

April 3rdTC Tolbert and Juliana Spahr step forward to speak to self and universal tending at Belladonna Collaborative‘s Poem.Planet.Body.Need.NYC, 7 pm, at Dixon Place Lounge. $6 to listen, $4 for a commemorative chaplet.

Sister Spit is coming! April 11th, at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle. 20 bucks, show at 8 pm; tickets can be ordered hereMichelle TeaDorothy AllisonBrontez PurnellKit YanErin MarkeyCassie J SnyderDavid Schmader, and Rebecca Brown.

Again in NYC, April 15, 6-8 pm, this time at the Cornelia Street CafeThe Mom Egg is celebrating its 10th anniversary issue, The Body, with contributor readings. The powerful poetess JP Morgan, 2011 LLF Fellow in Poetry and co-founder of Women Writer’s in Bloom, will be there.

 This one I might actually be able to get to: Recto Verso: an Independent Press Expo is a day event, a “one-of-a-kind” indie book fair from 10am -4 pm. First 20 people there get a free APRIL totebag. (I am getting a free tote bag, so if you’re going, go slowly.) Stories told throughout the event in the Hugo House Theater, Seattle.


And now for something completely different, and just in time for spring: some beautifully twisted bunny boy paintings, by Andrej Dubravsky. (Listen, I had to stick some bunny ears somewhere. Apparently, he did, too. It’s been a hell of a couple weeks.)

TT Jax photo

About: TT Jax

TT Jax is a parent, partner, multi-media artist, and writer currently living in the Pacific Northwest by way of 28 years in the deep South. Jax writes the column Special Topics for, blogs for Original Plumbing, and co-edits Fresh Meat, a forthcoming anthology on trans and queer in-community violence. His writing has appeared in a number of literary journals and magazines, including The Mom Egg, Hip Mama, Underground Voices, <kill author, and Mudluscious. Several of his poems are forthcoming in Troubling the Line: : An Anthology of Trans & Genderqueer Poetry & Poetics . Slowly but tenaciously, Jax will complete a hybrid memoir-play about his teenage nuthouse years. Meanwhile he blogs at

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