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  • Disability Justice/Stonewall's Legacy, or:Love Mad Trans Black Women When They Are Alive and Dead, Let Their Revolutions Teach Your Resistance All the Time
  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna- Samarasinha (bio)

"I may be crazy, but that don't make me wrong."

—Marsha P. Johnson1

An excerpt, from "Three Crazy Queens":

2. Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson, August 24, 1945–July 6, 1992

The ADA says that places of employment are required to make "all reasonable accommodations."

When you're mad, you are not reasonable.

Your brain is the opposite of reason.

So who accommodates us?

Marsha, I stand in the New Museum twenty years after the brief window when we were both alive in the same city.

I used to visit the piers when queer kids of color like me fucked and lived in cardboard houses

There was still safety on the edges. [End Page 54] The city still left the edges aloneThe piers were not yet renovated into a dog parkIt was unsafe and wonderful

I read Transgender Warriors from the library alone in my bed and learned about you.

Now, I see the film Tourmaline made of you, Mya playing you, reading a poem in the club, "I could be loyal to the girls in the club not the cop on the beat . . ." cutting in with archival VHS of you going, "Oh yeah Stonewall! I did start that! And then well . . . I got lost in the music."

Lost in the music

is it ok to be disabledis it ok to be nuts

reasonable accommodationswhat if you do not hold Reason?

Marsha P Johnson was nutswould you be annoyed by her?She's in the hospital AGAIN?I care, I just have to have limits, you know?

who is crazy enoughto create and wear a flower crown every day when she has no houseto throw the first brickin a cops facedefy Reasondemand the unreasonablestart every moment of queer liberation that has allowed my life?

if Marsha was here/Marsha is heredo you knowhowto love her? [End Page 55]

Marsha would sayI wouldn't have made the revolution

if I wasn't Crazy

Love the Crazy queens in your midst                              Listen to them

Love yourself 2

Stonewall 50. I remember Stonewall 25. I was nineteen. I lived at Avenue B and East 2nd Street on New York's Lower East Side in a fifth floor walkup for $300 a month. I had a three way with three queerpunks from the Bay who'd hitchhiked to New York for the rebellion. There's a photo of me, shirtless, on the front cover of the anarchist Lower East Side newspaper The Shadow, standing on top of a mailbox dancing with one of them, at the anarchist night march without a permit where we stormed a fake abortion clinic.

I remember us running up a West Side Highway still full of porn and piers, trans and queer sex workers living houseless and making home together. I remember the fierce feeling of free I felt the first time I saw a ragged queer and trans march taking the street. I remember the promise of us, the promise that it could be all different.

I also remember what it was like, back then, to be a queer femme in a community that scoffed at femme and was often deeply transmisogynist, where the AFAB queers my age all wore the same uniform of shaved head, Docs, and white t shirt—but they weren't butch or femme, they were just "radical queers." I remember what it was like to be a young mixed brown femme still finding words for their survivor, a neurodivergent and Mad queer femme two decades away from having language for my complex PTSD and autism, a nonbinary femme without words for their nonbinaryness. Someone ashamed of her panic and deep depression, who was trying like hell to look normal and failing and mostly living and feeling very alone, seen as a femme who was "too much" and "annoying" by others my age. A nineteen-year-old brown anarchist femme getting in fights in the...


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