Dear Jo

by Mary Lambert

supported by
Jeannie
Jeannie thumbnail
Jeannie Why do I love this? Because I am a human who loves other humans and this brings me such a feeling of hope and love that the world will wake up and we will all just love each other for who we are. ♥ If one of us deserves it, we all deserve it. Hope Jo, gets the message in this song and brings her magic back again but if not this holds enough magic on it's own to change the world, for the better.
/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $1 USD  or more

     

  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 5 Mary Lambert releases available on Bandcamp and save 15%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Dear Jo, Grief Creature, Bold., late night piano demo, and letters don't talk. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

      $19.55 USD or more (15% OFF)

     

about

Dear Jo,

For someone who imagined such a staggeringly beautiful world of magic, the limits of your imagination when it comes to humankind are heartbreaking. For trans women and those of us who support them, your views aren’t just hurtful--they're dangerous. You are eloquent and articulate in your convictions, but your arguments are based in fear and they hurt people. You should know better than anyone the power of language, the spellbinding marvel of the perfect phrase, of finding the right combination of words to say exactly what you mean, to change the way people see what is possible in this world just by putting pen to paper.

Over the last year, you have done a masterful job of creating a palatable narrative to cloak transphobia. The arguments, articles, and rhetoric you promote may occasionally draw from the world of science, but they fail to account for the vast realities of our world and what might lie beyond our current understanding. Biological essentialism is transphobia because it doesn’t recognize people as they want and deserve to be seen. Dismissing self identification in regards to one’s gender is eerily similar to conservatives who argued that gay couples wanting to legally marry were infringing upon the sanctity of marriage. All we wanted was to be included. Wielding your influence as if people’s lives weren’t at stake, as if it were just civil discourse, is irresponsible. It is not simply a difference of opinion when you are arguing against the legitimacy and safety of marginalized people.

And I know that you understand women to be threatened and marginalized. That you want to protect them from undue harm, to anticipate the threats that might be waiting around the corner. I'm with you. But what threatens trans women threatens all women. The specter of misogyny is indiscriminate; it is not concerned with chromosomes or transition or medical diagnosis. Just this week, a memo from the United States Housing and Urban Development department, which is pursuing a policy that would force trans women into men's homeless shelters, leaked to the media. It instructs shelter employees to look for the physical characteristics that might reveal a person to be a trans woman: “factors such as height, the presence (but not the absence) of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics which, when considered together, are indicative of a person’s biological sex." This policing of women's bodies, surveilling and monitoring them, humiliating them when they seek refuge during a global pandemic, is the result of the kind of biological definitions of womanhood you argue for.

When you advocate for trans exclusionary beliefs, is there any part of you that thinks about the people you might hurt? About people who are scared to death to live their authentic lives? People who have been rejected by their families, by their churches, by their communities, who have felt alone their whole lives? People who grew up reading your books as a source of comfort, as a template for chosen family, as a north star to finding themselves?

I know you don’t think you’re hurting anyone by saying these things; I know you think that you are defending women and lesbians and protecting children from harm and receiving undue backlash as merely a consequence for speaking the truth. You are skeptical of the social constructs of masculinity and femininity and the sexism of hetero-normative gender roles. You believe that patriarchal systems of oppression hurt women disproportionately. And I believe that you also know and love trans people. And I know you are devastated that we are saying such harsh things about you. I want to level with you, because I see your heart. I used to think that if we could collectively redefine the binary so that trans people might be able to see themselves as just a different kind of woman or a different kind of man, then they wouldn’t need hormones or surgery; a galaxy of gender expression would be accepted and normal. But the issue with a concept like gender utopia is that it doesn’t take into account people’s lived realities, and the way the world exists as it is, right now. Everyone is doing what they can to survive. If you truly love trans people, listen to them.

Your stories shaped my world, and you as a figure, as a creator, as a person, have been a personal model of persistence and strength. When I was coming to grips with the horrors of my early childhood, I buried myself in the covers with a flashlight and devoured page after page of your brilliance. You saved my life. There were times I wanted so badly to die, but I couldn't because part of me needed to know what happened in the next Harry Potter. But it's not just me. Those stories mean so much to the queer community. You are so important to us. You have been--for some of us, through our entire lives--the bellwether of what's possible. You taught us to have the courage to face what's ahead of us even when we might not understand it, even if it feels insurmountable. If you were to tell us that you see trans women as the women they are, you would, in an instant, make the world a warmer and brighter place for them, make their future seem possible, and create a space for us to come together, as women, to steel ourselves as allies and prepare ourselves for what's to come. You could, as easily as you breathe, change the world for us again. It would be like magic.

Love,
Mary, a Hufflepuff

lyrics

Magic and bravery
courage and castles
page after page
I believed I could stay
page after page
found a home in the words
that you wrote

Oh, Jo
Do you know what you have done?
Oh, Jo
Do you know what you are fighting for?
Oh, Jo
Do you know what?
You've broken my heart

Invention, a lifeline
friendship and family
page after page
I believed I could stay
page after page
found a home in the words
that you wrote

Oh, Jo
Do you know what you have done?
Oh, Jo
Do you know what you are fighting for?
Oh, Jo
Do you know what?
You've broken my heart

credits

released July 24, 2020

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Mary Lambert Seattle, Washington

Mary Lambert is a Seattle-based Singer-Songwriter and is best known for her earnest, soulful vocals and lyrics in Macklemore's 2-time Grammy nominated and triple platinum gay rights anthem, "Same Love". She signed to Capitol Records for 3 years, but ultimately remained independent. Self-produced Grief Creature is her latest release. ... more

contact / help

Contact Mary Lambert

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this track or account

Mary Lambert recommends:

If you like Mary Lambert, you may also like: