Yaffa is a trans displaced Palestinian activist, engineer, death and birthing doula, peer support specialist, and artist. They are the Executive Director of Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity and recently released their book of poetry Blood Orange, raising funds for queer and trans Palestinian work.
In this episode, Yaffa reads a poem from Blood Orange, and we reflect on the cognitive dissonance of diaspora, wondering “which cut from your paycheck killed your cousin.” Yaffa discusses their work in peer support, and how we can find alternatives to an individualized, compartmentalized, escapist framing of self care, witnessing each other’s realities while removing the expectation to immediately change things.
They also explain how their work as a death doula informs their perspective on the importance of separating our understanding of death from tragedy. Death is a natural, transitional process, and isn’t in itself the tragedy of a genocide. Rather, the tragedy lies in the unjust ways in which death is forced upon people prematurely.
They talk about their work with MASGD and how using defining “Muslim” broadly by racialization rather than faith allows the organization to flexibly respond to the needs of various oppressed groups. They also discuss ethical funding models within a nonprofit structure, and how only taking funds without conditional strings attached can better equip an organization for quick mobilizations and shifts of focus, as demanded by the needs of a community.
We also talk about fruits (Yaffa oranges, watermelons as a Palestinian symbol, and more)!