A note about The Deviated Norm

This here is a low traffic blog on topics close to my heart. As such, comments and engagement on old posts are always welcome and will be responded to. Except! for comments on old posts telling me to lighten up, not take things so seriously, or let things go, 'cause that shit's just plain ironic. Those comments will get a suggestion to visit Derailing for Dummies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last Week

Last week, the two bills up for public hearing in Massachusetts (for the two relevant legislative bodies) addressing the discrimination of trans people in housing, jobs, and (as the right wing bigots love to flail about:) bathrooms, came up. In Massachusetts there are a handful of cities that protect trans people from discrimination. They include: Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and I believe Amherst (maybe another).

The courthouse in which the bill was being heard? Boston of course, after all it is the capital.

A funny (hah. hah. fucking hah.) thing happened though at the courthouse. With scores of trans rights activists (and just regular old Janes and Joes) running around and testifying on the discrimination they've faced because of being trans, a woman at the courthouse was thrown out of the women's bathroom.

Apparently after entering the bathroom, another woman at the courthouse ran out of the facility to get a state trooper. And that state trooper told her that if he ever saw in that bathroom again he'd arrest her.

What was this devious woman doing in there? Peeing while trans.

I know, it's not much of a punchline, what with the fact that people like to flip the fuck out because of this all the time. What with the fact that trans women are routinely harrassed when they go in the bathroom. What with the fact that women have been followed to the bathroom and threatened with bodily harm and murder, and when police show up, they SIDE WITH THE PERPETRATORS of violence.

I wasn't there (Bluejay was). I wonder if that woman had already given her testimony, I wonder if anyone spoke about what happened that day in the court. I mean: that was illegal wasn't it? She WAS in Boston wasn't she? Isn't that the whole point of the law that already exists in Boston?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not Perfect: More Tim Minchin

I've been listening to/searching out Tim's stuff now since Tuesday, and so far I've found multiple things I really like, and nothing that I dislike. And here's the problem: all the good stuff, it's really really good. So good that I would like to learn to play it/sing it. (I guess that isn't a problem). But (here comes the problem), I can't. I mean, I'm not a 31 year old married Australian. Other awesome artists with moving love songs and the like have the decency to make it either really specfiic, but clearly as "story", or super universal. Not Tim, oh no, Tim wants to make it all about him, him, him. Selfish bastard, I want to make it all about ME, ME, ME. But now I can't. So you'll just have to listen to "Not Perfect" by Tim Minchin as played by him instead of as played by me because he's a selfish jerk.

as always, as complete a transcript as I can make

There are just so many things to love about this song:
Every time I hear him sing about the "force created by the spin" of earth, it makes me wonder yet again at how crazily lucky it is that life even exists, let alone you and me*.
When he sings about Australia, you can tell that he really cares about his country and wants to see it get better, and seeing that reflected in his lyrics about the "locks to keep the baddies out" that are "mostly used to lock ourselves in" is just wonderful as well.
I think anyone who's grown up in our body-shaming culture can relate to the body verse, and at least for this person with depression: I really felt connected with the pressing need to try to protect people from myself.

Hmmm, maybe with a good U.S. related re-write of the country bit I could perform this myself. It might just be worth it.

*which has been helped along considerably by the fact that I am currently reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins wherein he talks briefly about all the exact little things that went into creating this planet that is suitable for carbon based life, of which there are a considerable number, (and that doesn't mean I think this was "designed" for us. As, uh, (thanks yingyang)someone whose name I can't remember Douglas Adams said, that'd be like a puddle looking at it's place in the world and saying "wow, I sure fit in this here puddle quite nicely, it must mean that it was MADE for me", which I think we can all get the humor of quite well without an explanation of).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You say "Funny" I Say "Beautiful"

I have found one of the best, most beautiful and moving love songs to ever grace the internet ("If I Didn't Have You" by Tim Minchin. I'm totally serious when I say that listening to it repeatedly for the transcription was hard because I kept almost tearing up.

Now, this is technically a "comedy" song. Or by "technically", I guess I mean that the singer is among other things a comedian and that the audience has reason to laugh periodically during it.

However, this is indeed an absolutely beautiful love song.

as always, click for as complete a transcript as I can make:

Some notes:
  • Tim Minchin apparently always performs barefoot, this indeed makes me happy.
  • Additionally, there are lyrics online for this that seem to indicate that there is a longer version. However, I am going to say that I feel the other version is decidedly less good. In the excised portions, he goes for, shall we say, "easier" laughs. Eh.
  • Greta Christina's Blog is the sole reason I saw this. Thanks Greta!

Everyone I've shown this to so far, has found this silly or funny. And I get it, I really do, the humorous aspects of it. But mostly when I watch it I think of living my life with someone I love. Knowing that the fact that we met and got together was a random chance, that any of a number of things could have gone entirely differently, and that our relationship, as all relationships, is a gamble.

My and Bluejay's getting together story isn't simple (though no one's really is): we met because his ex-girlfriend went to the same college as I did, and she in turn started dating someone who lived in my dorm, and that significant other of hers became friends with Bluejay, and she was invited to visit our college. I was in a (new) monogamous relationship with (the here-after named:) the estraNged*, and it would be a stretch to imply that I was immediately attracted to Bluejay, I was so wrapped up in being with the estraNged. Months later, after the estraNged and I decided to move to Boston (itself a haphazard choice) for the summer, ze had to just about drag me to the Dyke March here, which is where Bluejay and I re-met, and when Bluejay asked for my number, (and there were still further twists).

I tell this not just because I like to hear myself speak/see myself write (though that's true too), but also to illustrate how really truly much I appreciate the ability to find beauty in random chance love. Because I think that's honestly the case: that all love is a happy accident, making this song profoundly true, and sublimely beautiful to me for speaking that truth.

*This name was decided on jointly by us, thus making "estranged" actually, patently untrue

[Edited to fix bad coding]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quitting Work

Ever since I got my acceptance into the MSW program I've known that I had to quit work. At first I thought I'd tell them right away so they could have a while to find someone, but then it just never felt like the right time.

However, these past couple days have been truly stressfull, and last night I had a horrible anxiety dream where my boss was evil (she isn't), and I hated her (I don't) and she did something horrible (can't remember what) and I quit. This morning when I woke up I knew that I Needed to stop fucking around and actually do tell her that I'm leaving.

It went surprisingly well, especially with the anxiety that I'd been heaping upon it. Then I realized, leaving, what about this that made it so hard: I've never had to do this before. I mean sure, I've been working since I was legally old enough, but it's always had a clear ending in advance. The summers ended, I left town for college, the stipend was for X months, I left college for the rest of the world, rinse and repeat. So this is the first time that I've had to have a talk about it. It should have been obvious to me what the problem was, but being in it, I was unable to have the necessary distance.

I'm just glad my anxiety was misplaced.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An Open Letter to Sascha Baron Cohen

Mr. Cohen,

We need to have words. Namely we need to talk about this "humor" of yours. Mr. Cohen, I've heard somewhere that the humor in your movies is in showing the bigotry in seemingly otherwise nice individuals. That the point of Borat is to show hidden racism and the point of Bruno is to show hidden homophobia.

Mr. Cohen, give me 10 minutes and the internet and I promise I can show you all the bigotry you want. Here, an example: by Womanist Musings, an article about two separate cases of latino men who were attacked by otherwise "nice" people. One of them is dead. In both cases the perpetrators got off with a laughable sentence.
Perhaps if you're in the mood, you can scroll down to the comments where I talk about the recent case in Massachusetts where 4 queer friends were attacked by a group of men who screamed "die faggot" at them and beat and kicked one of them unconcious, and left another also with brain damage. In case you're wondering, the only man charged with the crime will never serve time because the judge decided to give him probation. Mr. Cohen, is that hilarious enough for you?

Or, in case those are too far removed, too distant for you, I can tell you about some things I know personally. I know personally that as a queer youth, I was subject to the most hilarious situation when I was basically told by a lady in a restaurant that my affectionate kiss of my partner was X-rated. We were told to not kiss in front of her kid. Perhaps you could put that in your next movie meant to show exactly how funny bigots are.
Or maybe, you'd like to talk to an acquaintance of mine who had the hilarious experience of having someone she thought of as a friend cross the street to get away from her. See, it was halloween, and she's black and she was dressed as a man. HILARIOUS huh? I mean, you can't MAKE SHIT LIKE THIS UP, it's just SOOO GOOD when you realize that people you know and thought of as friends apparently find your race terrifying.

So basically Mr. Cohen, if you want to show homophobia and racism, you actually don't need to get dressed up in characters. All you need to do to find hilarious bigotry is follow around someone who is actually a target of it. And if you want to show how bigoted other people are, you DEFINITELY don't need to do it in supposedly "funny" characters.

Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure I think bigotry is all that funny.

Maybe that's your problem.

The Deviant E

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hate Crimes

On Saturday I went to Pride with Bluejay. We marched with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Pride was fun, but at the same time somewhat unfullfilling. We walked past, people cheered: "Yay trannies!" or "Trans Rights!" etc. etc. But it's sort of hollow isn't it? The gay community in general isn't all that good about trans issues.
For an example, yesterday Bluejay called me up really pissed: a gay news feed that he reads had an article about a "gay couple" that "snookered" New York into marrying them, because they had a food stamp card that indicated one of them was female. Never minding that this woman was trans, that they used the wrong name to refer to her (and then put her preferred name in those fucking quotation marks of disrespect), or that her husband explicitly does not consider himself gay.

Anway, at Pride we're marching we're marching. We've got signs that say: "Support HB 1728 and S 1687" But how the hell do you make that into a chant? Are people at Pride even there to be educated? I sort of doubt that. I think Pride's supposed to be really feel good. But it's hard to feel good about marching when you realize that most people who see your signs aren't going to bother to remember to actually DO anything, they'll feel like they supported us just by cheering, as though cheering will make our community's homelessness and joblessness go away.

So, on the topic of protests/rallies that have actual purpose, I bring you: "On Thursday at 4 PM at the Boston Municipal Court (corner of Merrimac and New Chardon Streets), protestors will gather to denounce the lenient sentence imposed on convicted gay-basher Fabio Brandao. Join us in demanding that the legal system punish anti-gay violence." Facebook event with more information

I'll be going. See you there?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Grad School Essay

This is a cheaty McCheaterson post, since I spent 2 weeks crafting this for grad school, and not for this lovely blog. But I am very, very proud of it, and I do love the accolades, so I thought I'd post it here so that people outside of my editors (family and friends) and admittance office could see it.

“Why social work?” my father asked me.

I tried to address his skepticism by talking about all the career opportunities that exist for social workers, all the jobs I’ve wanted for which an M.S.W. is required. I told him that the idea has been in my mind since long before college, and that social justice is important to me.

I also tried to explain to him about my job now, how it doesn’t fulfill me or excite me. I want to show up to work and engage with the problems I see in the world around me; problems like sexism and classism, racism and homophobia. The job I want to be at is one working with those directly affected by these social ills, working with oppressed communities to fight their oppression. Instead I run a computer lab in an apartment complex.

The kids who use my lab are generally the ones whose families can’t afford to get computers for them. They aren’t bad kids, but like everyone else they’ve picked up homophobia and sexism and (internalized) racism from the people around them. I want to help them overcome these biases, but in order to do so, I have to hide social justice in pizza making and movie watching. I want to run cooperative workshops with them about domestic violence, safer sex, and fighting racism. Instead, I had to ask a kid to leave until we could talk about why he would call someone a “fag.”

I learned recently from my supervisor that one of the kids using the lab (“Peter”) isn’t a resident; he’s from the Section 8 housing nearby. Peter and the other kids like to skateboard on the property, even though it’s against the rules, and sometimes they cause damage with their skateboarding. When they were doing this a few weeks ago, someone in the office went out to tell them to stop, and Peter called her a “cunt,” a word much like “fag,” a word meant to hurt someone by using a fundamental part of their identity as the curse itself. In telling me the story later, my supervisor finished, saying, “If he comes back, let me know so that we can call the police and have him trespassed from the property.”

Peter is 14, Black, and lives in government-subsidized housing. My supervisor’s first reaction to him is to call the police. Never mind that he is a kid. Never mind that those who are labeled as criminals are more likely to start identifying themselves as such and behaving to match. Never mind that involvement with the police now is only more likely to start him down a path to more crimes and a life in and out of the legal system.

Last week my supervisor told me that every time Peter comes on the property and the police get called, he slips away before they get there: “It’s like he has a secret sense when they’re about to show up,” she says. She seems pleased when she tells me that one time the police caught him in the nearby grocery store’s parking lot.

I told my dad that I wonder where her priorities are. I wonder if she would respond this way if he was white. I wonder if she has always viewed the labeling of 14-year-olds as “criminal” as an unqualified good; if she truly doesn’t see the problematic aspects of our criminal justice system. I told my father that I’m worried that if I keep working there I’ll start seeing her reaction as reasonable, that I’ll stop seeing the humanity in others. I see becoming a social worker as an important step in finding a better response to Peter than “Let’s call the police.”

I know that obtaining an M.S.W. will make me better equipped intellectually and systemically to deal with these issues. There is power in knowledge, and there is power in power. As a computer lab coordinator, my voice is just one among many. Being a social worker gives an added gravitas, it confers a level of respect that is absent elsewhere. Becoming a social worker will give me more knowledge and lend me the authority to use it.

But that is an incomplete answer to “Why social work?” The complete answer includes the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.

“Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs.”

This statement speaks to me as a transgendered person.

There aren’t a lot of us. Or maybe they are. The research is spotty. Because for a very long time, trans populations were studied solely by male doctors, and they were only interested in trans women. Research into trans history shows that these doctors decided whether to let a trans woman into the program based on whether they thought she was attractive enough. When the people who held the keys to medical access decided whether someone deserved treatment by how attractive a woman she was, or by how well ze was able to function in a transphobic society pre-hormones or surgery, when some trans men were denied the right to transition unless they pretended to be straight, it kind of makes it hard to get a good read on our numbers.

Writing about my trans identity for people with a stake in my future is scary. What if I come across as too angry? Too strident? What if I sound scary? In Massachusetts, my employer and my landlord are legally allowed to fire me or refuse me tenancy based solely on my gender identity. Is it any surprise that I’m not out to my landlord or at work? Closeting myself takes a great emotional toll, but the thought of getting fired or not having a place to live is terrifying. Those are my choices: deny who I am or risk my job and my housing. My trans identity is invisible in the male clothes I wear—it isn’t abnormal in our society for female-bodied people to wear pants. But for so many in the trans community, this isn’t possible. If they wear the clothes that make them happy and healthy, they are immediately recognizable as the Other.

Like many other oppressed communities, the trans community experiences a disproportionate level of poverty and poor health. Finding employers who are willing to hire us and doctors who are willing and able to treat us is difficult. Recently I read (in an article by a well-meaning writer) that gender dysphoria is in the DSM IV as a protection to trans people. The writer apparently did not know that many in the trans community are opposed to the pathologizing of our lives and find that it doesn’t help us. If he had researched the situation, he would have learned that health insurance companies often use trans status as a reason to deny approval for medical treatments, and that trans people in the U.S. have to pay out of pocket for the exact same hormones and surgeries that are covered for others.

“Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs.”

We don’t need the type of “protection” the DSM offers. We need people who understand the Social Work Code of Ethics and listen first. We need allies in power, and we need trans social workers.

A couple of months ago, my partner (who is also trans) had a very frustrating and downright scary situation with his roommates, who were trying to extort money from him. We called Legal Aid multiple times to find out what our rights were and what options we had. We were anxious; we didn’t know if my partner’s trans identity would be mentioned in a legal setting, and we didn’t know what would happen if it was. After all, trans people are still unequal under the law here. I didn’t even feel comfortable bringing this up with Legal Aid, because I worried that the person on the other end of the line wouldn’t understand.

But one time we called, it was very different. The person answering the phone asked for our names, and then asked whether our preferred names were the same as our legal ones. He asked me about our pronouns (male for me; male, female, or both for my partner). He asked whether my partner’s status was being used against him. The guy who answered the phone was trans too, and he was working on getting everyone in the office to be aware and ask these questions. His being trans, and out, informed his work.

I can’t even begin to describe how much easier I slept that night, knowing that Legal Aid was trans-friendly. Knowing that they hired trans people. Not just trans people, but out trans people. Knowing that people there were responsive to our community – that not only would they not refuse to help us, but that someone there was excited to make the system accessible for us. Talking to him was the first time I truly felt we had an ally.

Why social work?

Because trans people need help, but also we need to be able to help ourselves. Because for trans people to have the ability to help ourselves, we need to be able to not just be the ones calling for help, we need to be the ones who get called. Because I want to be that person on the other end of the phone, to make someone else’s life a little less scary.

I don’t know the future, no one does, but I do know that being trans has shaped me. I hope that being trans makes me more aware of the needs of other communities, or at the very least, the need of others to have self-determination. While I will never experience being a person of color, Deaf, or having grown up in poverty, being trans has helped me realize even more keenly what I already believed. It is vital that I listen long and hard to others, that I not assume that my experience of the world is the most valid just because it is mine. As a feminist, as an anti-racist, as a trans person, the future that I look for is one where the intersections of oppression are understood and dismantled, so that everyone – regardless of socio-economic standing, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, or able-bodied status – is treated with respect and understanding. So that no one is left behind in the struggle for justice.

This is a very good time for me to point out, these are the words written by Me, the proprietor of this here blog, and as such, are not available for redistribution without citation. As in, don't try to steal any of this, mkay?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Or at least I'm going to try.

So good news: last week I found out (a week after applying) that I was accepted into the fall semester for the Social Work program I was excited about. I may be posting the absolutely brilliant essay which helped get me in very shortly. Ego? What ego?

Bad news: in the time I was away from blogging, bigotry has continued in the world. Damn. You'd think people would have the consideration to not do this shit while I can't write about/engage with it! (Or at all, *sigh* that'd be nice)

I saw the new Star Trek movie with my family a couple weeks back. It was very frustrating listening afterward to my mother talking about Uhura. (Spoilers ahead!!!)

My mom's totally a feminist (or, she definitely identifies as one, and she's generally pretty aware of sexism happening around her), but she totally bought into stupid sexist bullshit during the movie.

A brief explanation: Uhura is the SOLE female character of substance in the original television show and the current movie. In the movie, there are 4 females that even have lines (or it feels like it). They are, respectively: the mothers of Spock and Kirk, and Uhura and her roommate. Who, coincidentally, are also portrayed as the love/lust interests of Spock and Kirk (respectively).

Uhura being Spock's love interest actually had me happy, but at the same time, it's sort of frustrating the the only actually realized female character also needs to be reimagined as the +1 to Spock.

But whatever. The problem was, after the movie, my mother tried to argue that we were supposed to think/she thought that Uhura was therefore only allowed on the Starship Enterprise because she was sleeping with her professor/superior officer (Spock), and that the REASON in the movie that Spock told her that she was "the best," was because he said it in some sort of post-coital, pre-coital attempt to woo her or something.

REALLY Mom? Even though throughout the movie we are hit over the head about the extreme competence of Uhura? Even though there is a scene where the ACTUAL communications officer (who presumably has years of experience, and more training than Uhura) is by far less competent than she is? (Uhura, we learn, knows all the dialects of Romulan and Vulcan) Even though we see a scene where she intercepts Klingon (I believe) transmissions that are supposed to be far above her level and then translates them. And then uses that translation with Kirk to recognize a larger pattern?

We're supposed to think that she's just a "dumb bimbo" (not an actual quote), buying her way into Star Fleet by her wiles? I came away from it thinking none of that, thinking that the relationship was one primarily of equals (yes, he is her professor, but he is a very recent graduate himself, and she is about to become one). I didn't even CONSIDER a "dumb bimbo" situation. The only conceivable explanation to me was that Spock, being very intelligent (and logical, naturally) himself, would only ever be attracted to someone equally as intelligent and hard working.

Don't worry. Mom's all set now about how she ignored all the evidence to fall into sexist tropes. Love ya.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Not Giving In

The U.S. tortures.

And our President clearly doesn't care.

The Telegraph (a British paper) has reported on this recently, and Obama's press secretary laughed it off, basically saying that British papers are all tabloids, and you shouldn't trust what you read from them.

I need to do something, but everything I think of seems small and inconsequential, or it seems too big, too massive, impossible to do.

Last night, Bluejay reminded me about the Darfur refugees. Many of the women have been raped by the Darfur forces, and then fled across the border into Chad and were raped again by the Chadian ones. Once they have been raped, their families just discard them, as so much trash.

As Bluejay pointed out, it's not like we can boycott products from Chad. I need to do something, but everything I think of seems too small or too massive.

Recently a judge in the UK told a man that his attempted murder of his wife was "understandable." He stabbed her in the neck with a pair of scissors and pushed her down a flight of stairs.

People are dying and nothing is done. We all need to do something, but everything is either too big or too small.

Dr. Tiller was recently murdered, it was the direct result of the anti-choice movement's use of dehumanizing rhetoric, of pictures with him in a cross-hair graphic, of a "Tiller Watch," of the posting of the home addresses of doctors (who perform abortions) and lists which show the cross off names of other murdered doctors. Of them calling doctors "murderers" for helping to save a woman's life. President Obama has said that he was "shocked." How can one be shocked? Dr. Tiller was killed after years of death threats. How is this surprising?

Something must be done. I refuse to give in to the crushing weight of it all. I refuse to be helpless. I am making a committment here and now to spend an hour a week (frankly it's a pittance), every week making phone calls and writing letters to stop this type of madness. To petition my government to stand up and take notice.

Something must be done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ignorance is No Excuse

Someone at the Prop 8 protest/rally had a sign that at first glance I found really funny and touching. It said up top (paraphrase):

"Why are we still having to fight for this?"

And on the bottom was: "Women's Rights, Black Rights, Gay Rights"

But then I noticed the check marks next to "Women's Rights" and "Black Rights."

I know this will shock you, but the kid holding up the sign implying that sexism and racism don't exist anymore, was a white male.


After the protest I went up to talk to him about how his sign is really alienating, and more over false, and how the top was good, but implying that gays are way more oppressed is totally bullshit and does nothing to further gay rights.

I tried to not get angry, and I think I did a good job at that, though I wish I had been more on top of pointing out to him the LEGAL effects of racism and sexism (he said that he hadn't meant it to say that sexism and racism don't exist, just that they aren't legislated, which also isn't particularly true).

I was still fuming about it this morning when I got up.

As Teh Portly Dyke at Shakesville* said: Even if you could win the Oppression Olympics, all the prizes SUCK.

*as to the actual post, I haven't read it thoroughly, so in this particular instance this is not an endorsement

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cult of Perfection

The Washington Post has a congratulatory article written about a student who has never missed a day of school (from kindergarten through to high school).

The creepiest parts of it come at the end, where they laud her accomplishment of basically being "perfect" while anyone who has any experience in gender/psych studies knows that girls who have this strong a desire to be perfect also often suffer from severe eating disorders.

Yep, let's just feed this cult of perfection that tells women they if they can't be perfect they shouldn't even try. (Or, in this example: "Stef would say, 'If I don't get the A, my life is coming to an end.' ")

I honestly fear for this girl.

Prop 8 (and religiously related child abuse)

So, as many of you may have already heard (if you're U.S. based), Proposition 8 was upheld by the supreme court. Yay for voting on other people's rights. I'm excited to start legislating against olive eaters any day now.

However, since apparently they (the Supreme Court) didn't want a shit storm, they are not invalidating the marriages of the 18,000 couples who were married prior to the homophobic referendum passing.


Whatever. I'll be at the local rally/"angry queers get angry"-fest in Boston tonight. If you're in the area, think about stopping by. It'll be at Copley Square at 7.

I've been trying to write this past week, but everything is just too enormous, for instance: have you heard about the Minnesotan 13 year-old with cancer whose parents (and he) cited their religious beliefs to say he doesn't have cancer, as a reason for why he shouldn't go to a doctor? A judge ruled that not taking the kid in for chemo and radiation (which would give him a 90% chance of living) was tantamount to child abuse (because if they don't he has a 5% chance). The mother fled with the son after the court mandated appointment (which showed the tumor had grown since when he was first diagnosed, gee I wonder why), but turned herself in a couple days ago. It just makes me angry to see 13 year old kids dying because their parents are brainwashed idiots.

You want to kill yourself through refusing medical treatment? FINE! Just don't drag your kids down with you, assholes.

On the topic of religious inspired/related child abuse, the report on child abuse in Catholic run schools during the 1930s-1970s in Ireland just came out. I haven't read it, but have been lucky enough to get the gist from Bill Donohue (that's pure snark, some actual writing about it is at Shakesville), who frankly I couldn't hate any more right now. According to him, the "miscreants" and "delinquents" there shouldn't be complaining about "only" being groped and made to shiver themselves to sleep. See that isn't real child abuse, not like breaking people's limbs and rape. And if it isn't the most horrible thing we could imagine, clearly it isn't horrible. *eyeroll*

Indeed, Donohue does in fact call the abused children miscreants and delinquents. Way to stand up for the poor, beleaguered Catholic Church, Donohue. I mean it isn't like they knowingly shuffled around child abusers and had people in positions of power who would SPY ON THEM AS THEY SHOWERED. Not at all. Clearly, all this bad press for the Catholic Church is totally baseless.

Not to mention, I've heard that this isn't even the whole shebang, and that they will soon be putting out another VOLUME (in July, if memory serves)

So yeah, it's been a crappy little while.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


So a couple weeks ago I was cooking at work with the kids. It's something I do sometimes. A disturbing trend I see is that the girls are always helping me while the boys sit back and then whine and moan when they have to help clean up.

As we're frying something, a much older man walks by and says to the girls (since the boys were sitting elsewhere, while the girls watched how to actually do it) "Pay attention, you're going to need to know how to do this for your husband when you get married!"

(Keep in mind I'm at work, with kids, and this is a resident)

"Well I think it's good for everyone to know how to cook for themselves" I try to reasonably say while wanting to leap at the man's throat.

[Clearly affronted that I insulted his masculine prowess at being the best at everything] "Well of course I know how to cook for myself, I did too before my wife came along. We all know that men are great cooks, afterall we all know the best cooks are men."

"Hehe (ugh)... I bet your wife would disagree with that." (What the fuck! damned if you do cook and damned if you don't.... fuck this jackass)

After he got out of earshot I told the kids "that's not true" but I'm sure that message has already started its evil little passage into their hearts. These girls aren't even 10 and they're getting told by adult men all about their duties...

In the paper yesterday there was an opinion piece about a "horrible" mother. Apparently some girl didn't wear her underwear for her yearbook picture because she'd already learned that pantylines = unattractive and unattractive = utter disaster. He was talking all about how horrible the mother was for bringing her on television to talk about her shame of having the whole school see the photo, when what do you know, apparently the kid didn't sit "properly" enough for the writer's tastes. But what he said (I'm paraphrasing) was that "she didn't learn the lesson well enough the first time"...

And it hit me, in our society girls are supposed to be learning how to behave properly all the time. Someone could break into a girl's bedroom and do a fucking spotcheck on whether she was being appropriately feminine (is she drooling? is she snoring?) and I'd hardly be surprised.

Does he really think that she isn't constantly being reinforced with this bullshit? Why does he think that she thought pantylines were bad, she sprung fully formed from her mother's loins believing them to be evil????

So I say this: sexist old white men (and really sexists everywhere) I'm done with it all. I refuse to let you poison one more little kid's mind with your crap. Pick on someone your own size.


Sorry I haven't posted recently, once I finish working on my APPLICATION TO A SOCIAL WORK MASTERS PROGRAM!!! (YAY) I'll get right on back to being cranky and informative.

In the meantime, know this: I am writing the best damn essay about why I would be a kickass candidate for an MSW, and trans communities, and oppression EVER, and it WILL get me in to this program, if I have to bake cupcakes for everyone in Massachusetts to do it.

We return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Oh god, I hope so

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poly People: One of these things Does Not Belong (One of these things is Different, so obviously Wrong)

Argh argh argh.

I know I shouldn't read these types of threads, but I always do.

I am, of course, referring to Jezebel's recent thread about triads.

So, let's do a take down of some of this frustrating, saddening, and bigoted stuff. Shall we?

"Next thing you know, people will be marrying their dogs!"
No. No they won't. You know why? Consent. Say it with me "consent pitches my tent". That's right folks, dogs can't consent (novel concept, no?), adult people can. So: any number of adult people should be able to get married.

I think a lot of feminists in particular are iffy about polygamous marriage because of its generally misogynistic underpinnings.
So how do you feel about the misogynistic underpinnings of heterosexuality? I mean, the vast majority of straight relationships are pretty much steeped in the misogynistic culture which surrounds us. If you want to argue this, then you'd better be willing to outlaw all straight marriages too.

I'm perfectly content being narrow-minded with regard to polygamy (which is the form most of this would take if legalized).
There's really nothing to respond to here other than to say that I suppose it's refreshing that you're so open about your bigotry? Good for you?

Same here! I don't support it at all. I support gay marriage because I basically believe people are born gay. I don't believe people are born to be romantically committed to two or more individuals.

And it goes against my romantic tendencies of there being this one person in the world whom you are committed to above all others.

And it's hard enough for two people to stay married...I can't imagine how hard it must be for 3 people to do it.
So, if gay people weren't born gay, they shouldn't be able to marry their partners? This is a perfect example of why the meme "but we were born that way" makes no sense. You know what, I don't know if I was born queer and trans or not (or, more accurately, born with a definite predisposition towards these identities), but I think I should have equal legitimacy in my identity even if I wasn't. You know why? 'Cause there's nothing wrong with being queer and there's nothing wrong with being trans. When you say shit like that, it makes it seem like you're saying that "gay is bad, but it's not their fault". I've said it before, I'll say it again, religion is a choice, but nevertheless people of faith should be allowed to get married. Also choices: love for NASCAR and olives (uck!). Olive lovers still deserve that right. They even deserve the right to eat olives. If they really really want.

And this: "it goes against my tendencies" bullshit? I hate olives, you know what I do? I don't. eat. them. Pretty simple actually. Same trick works with abortion and gay marriage and polygamy. Don't want to do it? Then DON'T.

Ok. So multi-person marriage would be difficult. I guess everything that's difficult should be verboten. We should definitely get out there and stop letting people become Bio-Chem majors, I've heard it's tough shit. Hey, here's an idea, instead of telling other people "that sounds hard, you shouldn't be allowed to do it", maybe we could tell people "that sounds hard, I guess we'd better help you figure it out". Just a thought.

If this is their thing, fine, do your thing, but it just seems kind of...greedy to me.
Greedy? Yeah. I guess it is greedy to want visitation rights to your loved ones. I guess it is greedy to want to have legal recognition on owning a home with the people you love. Really, think of the single people! (no really, do! read: "Singled Out" for a super interesting look at the way that single people are stigmatized in our society, and put at a social and economic disadvantage) If you go through life wanting to pool your resources with a second person, you're just being greedy compared with all the people who are single and therefore can only use their own resources. Outlaw Marriage! Or, maybe we could extend various benefits to people using something other than marriage. Just saying.

My question back to you is, if you can establish all of these legal items and marriage is so controlling, why do individuals in polyamorous relationships need a piece of paper to tell them that they are "married"?
Why indeed! Why do straight people need pieces of paper telling them they are married? Why do white people need pieces of paper telling them they are married? Here's a thought, I'll take away your right to get married (or tell you it never existed in the first place) and then tell you that if you want the protections of marriage you have to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees and hundreds of hours crafting legal work arounds (and even then, perhaps your spouse will be deported because ze isn't a legal citizen), and then you can skip along "tra la la" through the fields and that'll make perfect sense.

So, based on your argument, if I wanted to marry a dog, I should be able to?
This again? Yawn.

There is nothing preventing someone who is in a polyamorous relationship from marrying ONE PERSON that they love and receiving tax breaks, etc.
Yeah. I guess if there were three people in a totally equal relationship, it'd feel really awesome if two of them got married and the third was left out to dry. That'd totally feel wonderful. Oh, and so would being the sole person who didn't have health insurance, or who was about to be kicked out of the country because you aren't considered a legal citizen, or who was barred from seeing your ailing partner in the hospital. I mean, I guess the other two could legally adopt the third, but that might be a little creepy. Maybe the triad could decide which two should marry based on who needs it the most! YAY! And then they'll have awesome practice for when they later have to choose between which of their kids they can afford to send to college (sorry Ephraim, but you're just not cost effective enough, Oswald's gonna go instead).

People can enter polyamorous relationships all they want - they just are not given the financial breaks given to married couples.
This is from someone who repeatedly states ze is for gay marriage. The irony, it burns!

The whole point of marriage is to dedicate yourself to one person.

If you wanna have more mates, then don't get married...

Also, one must consider the effects of legalizing a 2+ marriage. How would spousal benefits work? Insurance benefactors? Child custody?
Indeed. The whole point of marriage is to dedicate yourself to one person. If you want to have children, don't get married. 'Cause then you'd need to divide your love!!!!

And seriously, a "Think of the CHILDREN." Anita Bryant, is that you?

I'm just confused as to why polyamorous folks want to marry anyway, why they're interested.
Maybe you could actually ask one? Instead of saying they shouldn't be able to get married because you say so?

I always took marriage to be "this is the one person I'm happy with, the one person I'm willing to dedicate myself to" and those that cannot limit themselves to one person, well, marriage isn't their fit then.
Oh, perhaps you can tell that to people who remarry, clearly if they didn't get it right the first time, they shouldn't be allowed to try again.

I would argue that polygamous (no idea about polyamorous so I can't speak to that) marriages are damaging/harmful to society.
And *I* would argue that asshats who talk out of their ass/hat are harmful to society. Here, you can be my sample size of 1. What's your statistically representative sample?

If a person has made the choice to be polyamorous, they've made the choice to exclude themselves from a group marriage, as it is illegal.
And everything that is illegal should be illegal for evermore. And maybe everything that at one time was illegal should continue being illegal. Ooh, I know! Restrictive gender norms and party hats for everyone!

Gay people
Black people
People w/ disabilities
People in romantic relationships with > 1 people at a time

One of these things is not like the others.
Religious people
Tea drinkers
Old People
People in romantic relationships with > 1 person at a time

One of these things is not like the others. Guess how? One of them means you aren't allowed to marry a person you love. They are all a choice though. Funny that.

Ok. I'm getting to be a broken record. But they are driving me to it!

Tomorrow: "Meet a Poly Person"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nevermind what my life is actually like: In which I admit frustration with life

Last week one of the resident/patrons at my work decided to tell me that my life is easy.

Nevermind what my life is actually like.

Nevermind that he doesn't know a thing about my life outside of the fact that I run the computer lab.

He had decided (apparently) that I am young and therefore live at my parents' house. He had decided (apparently) that living at my parents would definitely be the easiest and most fun thing I could possibly do as (apparently) a twentyone year old (news to me that I'm 21!). He had decided (apparently) that my entire income isn't put towards rent and food and replacing wallets that are so old they are literally disintegrating and not much else. (PS, I got a new wallet today! Yay! I hope that my foodstamps will cover the caviar I'm planning for the occasion! /snark) He had decided (apparently) that since I am a young person I have perfect mobility (regardless of whether that's true or not). He had decided (apparently) that my biggest problem in life must be what to spends all the loads of cash I make from working in the computer lab.

Nevermind that I have depression which two weeks ago led to me honestly consider stabbing myself through the arm with a kitchen knife and did lead to me trying to strangle myself with an electrical cord. Nevermind that HUGE numbers of people my age face similar depression, and that we are told to ignore it and hope it'll go away, or that by talking about it we are thought to be attention grabbing.

The only thing I can imagine is that his life as a 20something white straight male in the '80s was apparently peachy keen. Good for him.

He apparently thinks that his experience as a twentysomething is universal. I guess being a white straight male in the '80s is pretty universal. Other than the part where he was a white straight male in the '80s as a twenty year old.
You know what? If you were a white straight male in the '80s, maybe it was. I don't know. Oh, other than that it totally wasn't. That there are hundreds of little aspects of who we are that intersect to make up our life experiences. Telling someone who you don't know that their life is so easy is the height of condescension.

There's a clear strain of ageism that runs through all this (and with many of my interactions with the older patrons). As though I couldn't see myself how life could be stressfull with a mortgage (not that he has one, he lives in a managed apartment building with rent, not mortgages, so far as I can figure). But apparently as a 40something guy, he magically does indeed know about mortgages. Oh and relationships. And everything there is to know about roommates. And definitely about being on government assistance.

I wonder does he know anything about heterosexism and homophobia? Does he know anything about struggling to keep existing in a world that tells him that almost his entire identity as a person is an abomination?

Maybe. I wouldn't presume to tell him what his life was like. Hah.

PS. While I wasn't intending to whine, I refuse to apologize that I did. If you don't like it, you can just bump it on down the road.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Joy

I know I know, there's been far too much posting of videos that are wonderful and bring a smile to people's faces?


(PS, this video is NSFW, the chorus is comprised primarily of "Fuck You"s, so go forth with headphones!)

(As usual click for)

Lyrics! (that I promise won't take you away from the page!)

Some notes:
The woman in the rainbow scarf, is apparently the mother of the person who put it all together!
A whole hell of a lot of people on that video were not just cute, but very hot.
I wish I knew just about everyone that was part of the video, 'cause it was so lovely and adorable. It almost makes me want to become some type of video-making person! (Almost)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Casual Racism

Being a white person, I am not on the receiving end of racism all that much (oh sure, if I'm in a masochistic enough mood to go to stormfront's website they're all about hatin' on the Jews, but I only did that for a class one semester, years ago... and believe me, I experience enough toxicity in my daily life, not to need an excuse to have nightmares). So that means that to be a good ally I have to try to be aware of what happens even when it doesn't affect me. I don't know how I'd grade myself. Probably a B or B- (some good ideas, but the effort needs work). This is of course, using grade inflation of the standard type at the various schools I've attended.

Some of the ways I try to be aware are by visiting blogs of people of color (PoC) and especially women of color (WoC), by paying attention when I hear racist shit around me (and calling it out whenever possible), by understanding that all people of color are NOT interchangeable, and just trying to listen when PoC talk about racism.

So, over the past week I noticed:

On the subway on a friday or thursday evening, two drunk white girls (with barely concealed alcohol) get on the train and sit on either side of a latino man. You know, rather than find two adjacent seats. They then harrassed him under the guise of being "friendly" and called him "Cheech". Up until then I wasn't sure about the racism (maybe they were just obnoxious drunks), but right when the "Cheech" reference happened I decided to ASAP offer him the seat next to mine/tell them to quit the racist shit. But I didn't get time to say/do anything, he got up and (oh-so-graciously, because clearly the wasn't the point of the harrassment all along /sarcasm) offered them the seat he was sitting in, and then they all got off at the next stop.
I'm upset that I didn't stand up earlier/at all, it's hard because public transit is such a weird space in general, but it certainly doesn't excuse it, I was thinking about what asses they were almost as soon as they got on the train, and their bullying was something I think all of us on the train should have dealt with.

On Saturday, at a team-related party, the one african american on the team was presented with an "award" that apparently for the first time in the 3 years she'd been there, didn't have to do with her afro. You'd think in a team environment, everyone would have more to say to her than "you have exotic hair," but apparently not until this year has that been true.

On Sunday, overheard at an IHOP a (latina) woman told her coworker about sneezing and having someone tell her to go back to Mexico. You know, 'cause that flu thing is totally being brought to the U.S. by Mexican immigrants. Oh wait, sorry? It's not? The disease vectors are privileged U.S. citizens on vacation? Do Tell.

Just (over)hearing these things happen was enough for me to feel stressed and on edge, I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have them directed at me. And even more, to have similar casual racisms directed at me on a never-ending basis. That I don't have to pay attention to shit like this every day is one of the basic symptoms/side effects of my privilege.

If I did, I'd probably spend my days screaming.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fix her Flux Capacitor!

Now for something that made me smile.

And for those who can't watch it right now (though I really suggest doing so), click for a Transcript!:

And look! he didn't need to resort to fucked up sexist insults or slurs(*cough cough Perez Hilton, and all you others, I'm looking at you cough cough*). Which as we all know aren't extra bad because they're extra mean, they're extra bad because they use a person's status in an oppressed group as the sole reason that the insult works.

Job Discrimination

This post is inspired by a Shakesville guest post "We Matter".

Have you heard of Diane Schroer? That's ok, the name doesn't immediately ring a bell for me either, but she is a trans woman who was hired by the Library of Congress to do analysis for them. The Library of Congress is now being ordered to pay her close to $500,000. Why? Because as soon as they found out that she was trans/transitioning, the person in charge of hiring rescinded the offer.

As wonderful as it is for her, it isn't really cause for celebration. In Massachusetts RIGHT NOW there is a bill being discussed that will legally protect all trans people in Massachusetts from job and housing discrimination*.
Meaning that it still doesn't exist, meaning that at this exact moment I could be fired at will for my gender identity.
Meaning that every day I go to work, I have to remind myself to carefully excise any trans specific language from my vocabulary.
Meaning that I have to willfully repress any desire to have people use the correct pronouns about me while at work.
Meaning that I worry if my clothes today, yesterday, tomorrow, will be considered gender inappropriate, and what the hell should I do if they try to require me to wear women's clothes?
Meaning that when I go to work, I struggle constantly in how to talk about my partner Bluejay, do I gender him? If so how?
Meaning that any passing remark at work about my living situation is fraught with potential blunders.
Meaning that when talking about roommate drama (which as some of you might remember is/was often tied up in trans issues), I feel worried about mentionting that much of it stems from transphobia.
Meaning that people who don't understand the constant stress of hiding my gender feel free nonetheless to tell me that "it's important to be honest in an interview. More than anything else, not being honest (about anything) puts up a red flag, makes the employer think: If this person isn't telling me the truth about this (and clearly there's something fishy here), what else is she hiding, and is she going to try to cover up her mistakes on the job instead of talking honestly about them?" thus implying that my gender is just one more lie/that my deliberate choice to hide my trans identity is taken haphazardly.
Meaning that I didn't get a job in my actual field, with full benefits, because I'm trans (oh sure, I don't know that for certain, but when the person literally in charge of hiring you says: "I really like you, I want you working here yesterday, I've already told the HR people to send you a formal offer, maybe you can start in 2 weeks" and you don't hear for months, and then find out that someone there just happened to know you were trans, and that she also just happened to be the person who told everyone she couldn't work with you, it's a pretty damn safe bet), thus leaving me in a part time job with no benefits, on public assistance, because actual professional jobs clearly aren't within my utterly bad, no good, reach.

Even though Diane Schroer was awarded this decsision, it isn't cause for celebration because in New Hampshire just recently, a bill for housing and job and hate crimes protections was voted down unanimously (even the bill's sponsors voted against it).
It isn't cause for celebration because even though Angie Zapata's killer is going to spend the rest of his life in jail, Duanna Johnson's murderer is on trial, and I still won't be surprised if he walks.
It isn't cause for celebration because of all the other trans victims (and survivors) of violence, who will not only never see justice, but have their memories distorted with false pronouns and misleadings names.

I'm happy for Diane Schroer. But I'm waiting for the day when trans people don't have to shop around for an accepting work environment (which are few and far between), closet themselves, or sue/fight for their rights. And let's face it, Ms. Schroer is an exception to the rule.

*If you're from Massachusetts, and you have time/care (which really, I hope you all DO care), please please click on the link and think about submitting written testimony (I will be, just as soon as I figure out what to write).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breaking News...

Agreeing with me is like agreeing with HITLER!!!

Everyone may commence pointing and laughing now.

But seriously, it's nice to know that our resident troll thinks I'm as charismatic and persuasive as Hitler. A little creepy yes, but I promise that I will be a benevolent dictator when I use my army of atheist sympathizers to take over Europe through violence. Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket so I can get started?

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Atheism

A small quibble when it comes to the definition of atheist: "a theory or belief that God does not exist" (OED). When I say I am an atheist I do not mean that I believe there are no gods.
I mean that I do not believe that there are gods.

See the slight difference?
I am an atheist in the same way I am an a-unicorn-ist. Both of them are purported to exist, but I view all claims about this with skepticism. I don't need to actively believe in their non-existence, because there is no evidence that I have to dismiss.

This is in contrast to people who believe that global warming/climate change doesn't exist. See, there is quite a bit of evidence that says that it does. As such, refusal to acknowledge this probability requires a degree of faith.

And therein lies the rub. In our society, it is considered completely normal to believe in all sorts of wacky things, provided a plurality of people also do, and the wacky things you believe were in fact codified X years ago as a religion (X varies, according to some people Mormonism is a dangerous cult, as is Scientology. Some others view Mormonism as a valid religion, while Scientology doesn't get the pass, since it's too young, etc.). But say you believe in unicorns and people tend to assume you are either: very young, being sarcastic, or rather unintelligent/naive. Yet, of the two, unicorns are clearly more benign. In most cultures that used to believe in them, they were considered signs of good fortune, and were generally considered non-violent. Compare this to the history of gods, who almost to an individual are considered jealous and violent. Run into a god in most mythologies, and your life will be quite possibly turned upside down in an unpleasant way.

As a person, I see no reason to believe that there are external, supernatural things that exist and control any aspect of the world around me. I do not believe in gods, in spirits, in ghosts, or in souls. I also don't believe that there is an afterlife or a unifying (supernatural) force in the world. As a person, I see no reason to believe in all of that (since there is no evidence to do so), and so I call myself an atheist.

The beauty of life (to me) is that I was born and have this short time to experience it. Hopefully I enjoy the majority of the time, and it is also my hope that I will be able to make those around me enjoy a majority of their time as well. At the end, whatever I did matters to those who remember. This life isn't a test, and it isn't a gift, it just is. And that makes me happy.

Miltary Fairy

My partner Bluejay and I were discussing the normalizing of heterosexuality in our culture, in response to some readings that he'd been doing. It got me to thinking about humor, and how subversive humor can be, if done right, and how utterly not funny it can be when done totally wrong.

For instance: Miltary Fairy from Monty Python


Monty Python was active in the early 1970s. That's more than 3 decades ago. Yet watching this today it still packs a similar punch.
Why? Because it takes the assumed heterosexuality of men, and specifically, explicitly military men, and turns it on its head. The company is doing "precision drilling," of the campiest sort. This joke wouldn't be funny if the assumption of heterosexuality weren't part of our culture, and if machismo wasn't tied so tightly to that expectation.

For an example of totally unsubversive gay "humor", feel free to see "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry". I certainly didn't, but surprisingly, feel no need to worry. After all, it has Adam Sandler, and the guy who plays the husband/father in King of Queens.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Square Butts

I hate this ad. I hate it so much, I'm not even going to link to it, but if you've been watching tv at all recently, you've seen it. It's for Burger King.

They have a spoof on Sir Mixalot's "Baby Got Back" song for a kid's meal ad.

Baby Got Back.

Kid's Meal Ad.

Song sexualizing women as objects?

Kid's Meal Ad.

Good job Burger King.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NOM Parody. They Just Keep Getting Better

Loki, each time I think that I have a favorite parody, someone makes an even better one.

Check it out

[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: There’s a storm gathering.
[Jason Lewis, Sex and the City]: That’s why there are these clouds behind me. They represent a storm that’s gathering.
[Lynne Stewart]: And it’s gathering fast.
[Alicia Silverstone, from Clueless]: (tearing) And I, am afraid… ‘Cause I have a fear of storms.
[Lance Bass, from *NSYNC]: I’m also afraid
[Liz Feldman, director and producer of this video]: And I am afra….wait did someone say that? Oh he did? My Bad.
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: Some who advocate for same sex marriage, take the issue far beyond, same sex marriage.
[Sophia Bush, from One Tree Hill]: Like, really far.
[Drew Droege]: They’re trying to force the issue into my life. And it’s just stupid
[Mike Hitchcock, from MADtv]: The storm is getting worser, and worser.
[Daniele Gathier, from MADtv]: Stop it storm.
[Alicia Silverstone, from Clueless]: Stop it storm!
[Mike Hitchcock, from MADtv]: STOP IT STORM
[Jason Lewis, Sex and the City]: I’m a California doctor, who must choose between my faith and my job. Because doctors hate gay marriage.
[Alicia Silverstone, from Clueless]: I’m a Massachusetts mother, helplessly standing by as the schools teach my children that Gay Marriage is OK. I also have an issue with their hot lunch program.
[Jay Lay]: I’m a Connecticut weatherman, and there’s a cold front coming in! And it’s gay people! ‘K they’re here, and we’re here, the Not Gay People. Ok. They ARE trying to get us, be careful, and wind chill will definitely be a factor, so bundle up.
[Erin Foley, from Almost Famous]: The storm is getting bigger.
[Daniele Gathier, from MADtv]: This storm is being caused by Gay marriage.
[George Takei, from Startrek]: That’s what’s up there, married gay people. And they’re doing all this!
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: Soon, gay people will start falling out of the sky.
[Lance Bass, from *NSYNC]: Onto our homes.
[Sophia Bush, from One Tree Hill]: Onto our churches.
[Lynne Stewart]: And onto our families.
[Jay Lay]: A downpour of gay people, threatening the way we live (falling gays)
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: And this gay rain army, won’t stop.
[Lynne Stewart]: They’ll come at us, marching
[Liz Feldman, director and producer of this video]: Not marching, more like a dance. They’ll dance at us
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: And it’ll be choreographed, it’ll be good
[Daniele Gathier, from MADtv]: But they won’t stop until all of us, AND our children, are gay married
[Mike Hitchcock, from MADtv]: I’m so angry!!!!
[Actually, no idea who, was it one of the earlier guys?]: The storm, is, coming (fake accent)
[Jane Lynch, from fucking everything]: But we have hope. People of every creed, race and color are coming together to build a giant umbrella of faith, morality, and righteousness. That will protect us from this gay, rain, army. And that’s not just a metaphor, we’re actually building um, an umbrella. So if you want to protect marriage, and if you have any experience building a giant umbrella, join us at www.giantgayrepellentumbrella.com

I'd love ya'll's opinion on which are the funniest bits, right now I'm leaning towards the weather-man.

Oh, anyone else love how the gay actors are just sprinkled around in there. As in, lots of straight allies. WOOOO go you straight allies, go!

Rectifying the Atheist Problem

So... I've been realizing that we have a small little problem on this here blog.

In order to fix the overly atheistic slant of this blog, I give you my side project: http://www.thedeviatednorm.blogpsot.com/

HaHA. Just kidding. Even though it says up at the top that I identify as an atheist (and then again in the little red atheist A on the right, and in the textbox at the bottom), I'm clearly not doing enough to shout it to the world.

I mean look:

In 22 posts: only TWO have been about my atheism. Damn, I'm losing grip on reality here, posting so much about gender and feminism, racism, and transphobia, and my life, and music, why straight culture makes no sense, and television. It's less than 10% of what I crankycrankypants about! What was I thinking? This should be angry atheist 24-7!

In order to TRULY rectify that, I give you "Dear God" by XTC.

Lyrics are on the actual video.

Now, now, some may say this means I wholly support their message. But I gotta say, every time I watch it, the end always irks me. The anger directed at god seems silly even. I hardly get pissed when the tooth fairy doesn't visit, do I? Why should they be so frustrated at a social construct not fixing the world. However, I do rather love that opening line:

Dear God, Hope you got the letter and I pray you can make it better down here. (I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer.)

It certainly would be nice to be able to ask to have the world get fixed and have it happen. Oh well, since there doesn't seem to be anyone who can do that, guess I'd better wade in myself and do it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Cure for the Blues

This song [Edit: Grace Kelly, by Mika /Edit] is the PERFECT pick me up. There are songs that I like, there are songs that I love, and then there are songs that I fervently wish I had been the one to write. Because they are just so damn good.

And because I love you, Lyrics!
[Mika Speaking/Voice Over]: I wanna talk to you

[Little Girl Voice Over]: The last time we talked Mr. Smith you reduced me to tears, I promise you it wont happen again

[Singing]: Do I attract you? Do I repulse you with my queasy smile? Am I too dirty?
Am I too flirty? Do I like what you like?
I could be wholesome, I could be loathsome, guess I'm a little bit shy. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me without making me try?
I try to be like Grace Kelly. But all her looks were too sad. So I try a little Freddie, mmm. I've gone identity mad!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you walk out the door!

[Little Girl Voice Over]: Getting angry doesn't solve anything

[Singing]: How can I help it? How can I help it? How can I help what you think? Hello my baby. Hello my baby. Putting my life on the brink. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you like yourself? Should I bend over? Should I look older just to be put on your shelf?
I try to be like Grace Kelly. But all her looks were too sad. So I try a little Freddie. I've gone identity mad!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta be green,gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Walk out the door!
Say what you want to satisfy yourself. But you only want what everybody else says you should want, you want!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Walk out the door!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like! Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? walk out the door!

[Little Girl Voice Over]: Humphry were leaving

[Mika Speaking]: KaCHING!

So yeah. This song is the cheerfullest, sunniest, "Fuck You" the world has ever seen. He wrote it because he was denied an opera role. Now it's his number 1 hit.

Angie Zapata was "deceptive", in other news, her killer's defense team can kiss my ass

Please Please Please. [Bit of a trigger warning] This is both one of the most upsetting and most important things you could do today. Go to the link here:


If you need me to repeat the link, I will. The defense is (of course) using the tired ol' "gay panic" routine, but now it's "trans panic" and the murderer was "duped". They have been refusing to use the correct name and pronouns when talking about her. Her family, being questioned on the stand, had to correct the lawyer every. single. time. That they should stand up to such bullying shouldn't be considered amazing and brave, but I nonetheless feel it is.

Because I spent part of the weekend with my relatives. Every single one of whom knows my gender identity. Not once could they manage to get my pronouns right (nor did they try, or correct themselves). The best they seemed to manage was to not use pronouns at all (when actively called on it). Today I told someone I that I didn't care anymore. But it was a lie. I care every fucking time, but since my entire life is one giant fuck-you to my identity, I feel defeated and beat down and unable to do anything.

But help is on the way. Because every time I read posts like this, every time I hear and read people say something, I get that much better at being able to stand up for myself and everyone else. Every time I read a hilarious troll stomping post (I swear this time it's not the same link), I'm that much more able to tell off creepy sexist patrons at my work.

Oh, so story from work: I'm sitting at my computer, as I do, when a patron/resident tells me the printer is out of paper. Which is frustrating 'cause we're damn near out. So I saunter on over to replace the paper. As I pass his chair he tells me "good girl," as though I'm a fucking puppy doing a trick or something. I tell him "I don't appreciate that and that's inappropriate. I'm changing this paper because it's my job, I get PAID to do it, I don't need you to tell me that I'm a 'good' anything." As he leaves he apologizes and tells me that he didn't mean to be rude. I tell him thanks, but it was rather patronizing.

As I was saying: every time I read feminists standing up for themselves, every time I read trans people standing up for themselves, I am that much more able to stand up for myself as well. Because telling someone off is a practiced skill, and the -isms of this world thrive on the fact that no one bothers to tell them off, so we never get practice, and by the time it's a Big. Fucking. Deal. we just don't know what to do.

So, stand up for yourself (and others, damnit!) today. It does the body good.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Ally Analogy

So. (This is all true)

Bluejay plays rugby. I have lots of rugby playing friends. I love all my rugby playing friends and Bluejay very much. But, I've never gone to a game, I don't actually know the rules, I've heard of a couple of the terms (apparently there are hookers and props involved, oh and scrums) but generally I just sort of don't really involve myself all that much with it. I don't have anything against rugby players, (geez folks, I'm dating one!), and I certainly think they're all great people (or at least, if they aren't, it has nothing to do with their rugby playing ways). I don't try to stop people from playing rugby, but I am aware that twisted ankles, and concussions can happen, so I'm sometimes nervous for Bluejay's health and safety on the field (oh, it's called a "pitch"? cool, I'm down with that), and when she comes home injured I try to help her out.

As a person who never goes to games, and doesn't actually know anything about the sport, am I a fan? Am I supporter of rugby?


Do I nevertheless treat rugby players with respect, and would be shocked if other people thought they were less than human? Do I support my partner's decision to be a rugby player?

You Betcha!

Now, imagine that rugby players were a highly stigmatized group. That lots of people actively thought they were less than human.

I (in this imaginary world) still support their right to play rugby (and consider my lover and friends real people). Does this continued belief in their humanity and their rights magically turn me into a fan or a supporter? (I'm confident in "No")

Now, let's replace "fan" and "supporter" with "ally".

How does this change anything?

If I don't go to the games, if I don't know the rules, I'm not a fan of rugby! Pretty dern simple. I'm still a good person, a nice person, a good friend, but I'm simply not a rugby supporter.

If I say you aren't an "ally" that doesn't mean I think you're evil. Just like I'm not evil for not being an active supporter/fan of Bluejay's rugby.

The difference is though, that rugby isn't hugely stigmatized, that coming home from games my friends don't get beat up or called names. If they did, I'd like to think that I'd go to games and walk back with them, to help protect them from a world and society that did this to them. And I'd like to think that by being at the games, by putting myself as a presence there, I'd learn the rules, and the terms. I would, in fact, become a supporter and a fan.

So. You aren't evil if you aren't an ally. But, with a little work, why not become one?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Losing Rights

Via Slap Upside the Head I found out today that in Alberta, Canada, trans people are losing rights that I can barely dream of. Apparently, not only do they have public health care, but they in fact (until recently) had sex reassignment surgery as public health care.

That's right. The surgeries/hormones that U.S. (trans) citizens can only get after jumping through hoops to "prove" to medical gatekeepers that our identities are really truly real, and which are then explicitly NOT covered by various insurance (with the excuses that it's "experimental" or "cosmetic") are not only provided there, but seemingly free of cost.

Or were.

It's hard to be appropriately angry because this is clearly a blow to trans people in Alberta, but at the same time I'm exceedingly jealous. The fact is, the surgeries and hormones used by trans people to have our bodies match what we think of as appropriate are a medical necessity. Don't believe me?

Ask me (or probably just about any other trans person you know) about the crippling depression that can come with not being able to have one's body look appropriate to yourself.

Should I tell you about a friend of mine who basically lived entirely in a binder, and because of it developed sores? Should I tell you about the days I could barely leave my room to go make myself breakfast (among other things), because I was too exhausted to try and pass while in my own house walking around in front of roommates? Or how about the time that I read an account of a breast cancer survivor (who got a double mastectomy because of it) and had a more-than-fleeting thought of "if I could just manage to get cancer!" Maybe I'll tell you about the number of times I've looked down and just wondered if it'd be possible to knock myself out and use a kitchen knife, and then had to remind myself that it wouldn't work and I'd quite possibly bleed to death.

Oh. I guess I just did.

So, those and many others are the reasons that we need our surgeries, our hormones, etc. And that's why knowing that I won't be able to afford mine anytime soon (the cost is in the thousands, of course, and as mentioned, not covered by health insurance) makes me even more depressed than I would be normally. And that's why it matters that Alberta, Canada is going to take this away from its trans citizens.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anti-Atheist Bigotry and Being an "Ally"

You are not an ally of trans people if you tell us that we need to be careful, be more aware of anti-trans bigotry, that we need to be less out, but have no idea who Angie Zapata is.

You are not an ally of queer people if you tell us that we need to be careful, be more aware of anti-queer bigotry, that we need to be less out, but haven't heard of the 11 year old Massachusetts boy who committed suicide less than a week ago, after months of homophobic bullying.

You are not an ally of atheists if you tell us that we need to be careful, be more aware of anti-atheist bigotry, that we need to be less out, but don't know about the various laws that say we can't even give testimony in court (in some U.S. states), don't know about what happens to out atheists in the military, and haven't even heard of the recent (2007) Gallup Poll which says that of all of these groups: Catholics, African-Americans, Jews, women, Latinos, Mormons, people married more than twice, people over the age of 72, homosexuals, and Atheists, that Atheists alone are the group that a majority of people in the U.S. would refuse to vote for, regardless of our qualifications (by the way, that list, it's in order of decreasing "electability").

You just aren't. Even if you're a family member of us. Even if you think of yourself as an "ally." Until you not only know about the various prejudices and dangers out there, but are plugged into our communities, until you can literally run circles around the knowledge that I have just bouncing around in my head (because yes, I DO pay attention to the way that my communities are stigmatized, and victimized, and implying otherwise if fucking patronizing as hell), then you can tell me fuck-all about how dangerous it can be out there.

Because this is the shortest fucking post I could write about the hatred out there for queers and trans people and atheists. That's right. At this moment, I could call up 10s, maybe hundreds more stories and factoids and statistics about MY communities. So don't tell me that I don't understand. Because I do.

This next bit is a nice little display of more anti-atheist bigotry put out by our friends the AiG.

Trigger Warning