Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Reader

Sorry for the abbreviated nature of the reader today, but I am working like crazy and ready to fall on my face, and thinking clearly has become a struggle.
There will be more coherent posting tomorrow, most likely. While you wait, read these, because you're worth it :D

-Muslims in America.: An actual scholarly article about the diversity of the American Muslim community and the general ignorance of non-Muslim Americans re: Islam.

-An article on Syrian lingerie and the possible social/class issues that could be discussed with this as the basis. WARNING: one of the images is slightly Not Work Safe.

-Professor, What If... on reconsidering Thanksgiving, part three.

- The Mental Toll of Being a Muslim in a Post-9-11 World: Has a great discussion about being an American Muslimah hijabi and the reactions she gets.

-The War on Christmas, signaled by Atheists suggesting you can be good without God

-Muxes at The Jaded Hippy. I love the smell of deflated stereotypes in the morning :D

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Little Geek Love

This video is what inspired the name of my post about glory and heroes.

I loved this show...

The Galaxy Rangers

No Guts, No Glory

I came across this at Alas, a quote from a gentleman who blogs at Instapundit, or Instaputz as some have termed him. Behold, Glenn Reynolds:

I feel a little sorry for Martin Luther King — his enormous accomplishments got less attention than they deserved because of the cult of Malcolm X, and now he’s being eclipsed by Barack Obama. Though I suppose he’d be perfectly okay with that.
Uh huh...

Jeff Fecke proceeds his own takedown:

Now, we can go on and on about the utter stupidity of Reynolds pretending that W.E.B. Du Bois and Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are now totally unimportant thanks to Obama’s victory; indeed, we can go further and note how insane it is that Reynolds would think Du Bois, Douglas, King, Malcolm X, Tubman, and the several million other African-Americans who worked for equality through our nation’s long and bitter racial history would see Obama’s victory as anything other than a positive outcome of their work.

I do agree with Jeff, although, I thought to take it one step further...

Reynolds' perspective makes sense when you account for the fact that a good deal of people who are recipients of social privilege tend to quest for nothing more than personal gain, or for the hero-worship that we tend to bestow on figures who represent fundamental social progress (See Betty Friedan and her repudiation of the feminist movement because she did not get enough attention). Even their participation in social justice is for the recognition they will get for what they do, so there is little understanding of someone who does something for the benefit of more than just themselves, of someone who knows that they may never see the end result of the work that they do, but they do it regardless because someone needs to lay the bricks so that the next generation can move forward a little further.

I would argue that some people can't see any reason to be a visible activist besides the "glory," which is a symptom of the tendency to white-wash history and try to show it without full context.

If all you can remember of the civil rights movement is the so-called "glory" that came with being Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then there are some serious gaps in your knowledge and understanding.

Granted, it was pointed out to me that the very nature of history and historical recollection is about selective editing, and therefore has gaps by definition. I don't entirely agree. I think it is possible to be honest about history to a point. We can never escape our own perspective, and objectivity is especially difficult in the arena of social movements and trends, but we are still able, and obligated, I think, to be as honest as possible when looking back.

The American practice of making shining and pure paragons of virtue out of our historical figures has been key in helping to promote the blindness of the privileged classes in this country. We forget that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, we forget that Helen Keller was a radical feminist and socialist, we forget that Woodrow Wilson was a racist SOB...etc. We want our heroes to be moral exemplars, and forget that they were only human. It only serves to obscure the historical context and reality not only of these people, but of our own time. If we cannot honestly look at the past as something more complex than simplistic children's stories, then how can we create comprehensive solutions for the present?

I would also argue that this heroification leads to the "glory" perspective, these people did the things they did to be heroes, to get the spotlight...and it distances us from our own abilities to affect change in our world. Most "heroes" were and are ordinary people doing what they see as needing to be done at the time. I'm pretty sure Harriet Tubman wasn't risking her life for attention sake, or for recognition of her "great accomplishments". Some have the chance to come in at a time when they can get a lot of attention, some are largely ignored until decades, sometimes centuries after their deaths. When the people who pushed for change are regarded as exemplars of society, "special" if you will, then we assimilate the idea that we can change nothing because we are just "normal" people, and forget that the world is changed by normal people who choose to make a stand.

I have always wanted to be one of those people who change the world. My aunt (who was more like my big sister growing up) has always said that I have an over-developed sense of justice, and a need to fix things that strike me as wrong just because they are wrong. When I was young, I not only wanted to be one of those activists we always read about, I wanted to be the Special kind, the ones that stand in front of crowds and cause a national uproar when they are arrested...I thrived on stories of heroes, and I wanted to be one. Not a comic book or cartoon hero, but a real live historical hero.
As I got older, I realized that being that public recognizable hero is only possible when the groundwork is laid, and that I couldn't just wait for the groundwork to come to me. So I started volunteering, writing, speaking, making a stand in my small high-school student way. After a few years of this, it hit me that I may never be that hero the way I initially envisioned it, but that I had a hand in making possible for one of those heroes to come forward. I am fine with putting a few bricks in the road so that the next group coming behind me can go just a bit further than I did.

When I see my twelve-year old sister taking apart the bullshit of the world designed to break her spirit and put her in her "place", and dismissing it like an annoying fly, I feel like a cape-wearing, swishy-haired, bona-fide super hero.

And that is enough for me :D

My Body IS NOT a "Public Health Concern"

It had to happen eventually.

Yes we are going there.

This is my Fat Acceptance post.

*Warning=Comments have been turned off.*

I'm going to put this right out, right now. According to the BMI, I am obese. However, the BMI is a crock. It does not account for body fat v. muscle density, and it is no real indicator of health. In fact, fat itself is not a catch-all indicator of health. So that it is clear where I am coming from with this, I am reproducing Kate Harding's ten points about health and obesity:

1. Weight itself is not a health problem, except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being underweight or so fat you’re immobilized). In fact, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events, and some studies have shown that fat can protect against “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Yeah, you read that right: even the goddamned diabetes. Now, I’m not saying we should all go out and get fat for our health (which we wouldn’t be able to do anyway, because no one knows how to make a naturally thin person fat any more than they know how to make a naturally fat person thin; see point 4), but I’m definitely saying obesity research is turning up surprising information all the time — much of which goes ignored by the media — and people who give a damn about critical thinking would be foolish to accept the party line on fat. Just because you’ve heard over and over and over that fat! kills! doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means that people in this culture really love saying it.

2. Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle do cause health problems, in people of all sizes. This is why it’s so fucking crucial to separate the concept of “obesity” from “eating crap and not exercising.” The two are simply not synonymous — not even close — and it’s not only incredibly offensive but dangerous for thin people to keep pretending that they are. There are thin people who eat crap and don’t exercise — and are thus putting their health at risk — and there are fat people who treat their bodies very well but remain fat. Really truly.

3. What’s more, those groups do not represent anomalies; no one has proven that fat people generally eat more or exercise less than thin people. Period. And believe me, they’ve tried. (Gina Kolata’s new book, Rethinking Thin, is an outstanding source for more on that point.)

4. Diets don’t work. No, really, not even if you don’t call them diets. If you want to tell me about how YOUR diet totally worked, do me a favor and wait until you’ve kept all the weight off for five years. Not one year, not four years, five years. And if you’ve kept it off for that long, congratulations. You’re literally a freak of nature.

5. Given that diets don’t work in the long-term for the vast, vast majority of people, even if obesity in and of itself were a health crisis, how the fuck would you propose we solve it?

6. Most fat people have already dieted repeatedly. And sadly, it’s likely that the dieting will cause them more health problems than the fat.

7. Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Fat people are human beings.

8. Even fat people who are unhealthy still deserve dignity and respect. Still human beings. See how that works?

9. In any case, shaming teh fatties for being “unhealthy” doesn’t fucking help. If shame made people thin, there wouldn’t be a fat person in this country, trust me. I wish I could remember who said this, ’cause it’s one of my favorite quotes of all time: “You cannot hate people for their own good.”

10. If you scratch an article on the obesity! crisis! you will almost always find a press release from a company that’s developing a weight loss drug — or from a “research group” that’s funded by such companies.

No, I don't want to hear "the other side" of this discussion. No one has any business critiquing the personal choices of others when the only person that will be impacted by those choices is the individual making them. Period, end of story. Even if you want to use the "public health concern" shit: For anyone who cries about "teh fatties are pushing up our health insurance! BAAAAAAAW!" In actuality, obese people are less likely to seek healthcare, especially preventative care, because of how they are treated by healthcare professionals. The spread of various health problems are more closely related (as in there actually being a causal link as opposed to mere correlation) to sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition, and occur fairly equally in people of ALL sizes (as stated in point#2 above) as opposed to infectious evil lazy fat people. So no, one person's body shape and how it came to be and why it is the way it is is not your concern, and it does not affect you in the least. If you feel a need to be so damn judgmental of someone else who is not affecting you then that says more about you, doesn't it.

I am a fairly healthy individual, I am a vegetarian, we eat organic, whole foods whenever possible, and I exercise as often as I can. I can do 60 sit-ups a day, I can walk from one end of my city to another, and I can dance for almost an hour straight with nothing more than a quick break for a drink of water. I also have ovarian cysts, and most likely have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is related to insulin resistance. Until I researched that and asked my doctors to look for it, I was consistently told that my health problems, be they heart issues, excess body hair in places like my chin, or even fucking bronchitis, could be attributed to my weight, despite what I told them about my eating and exercise habits.

So no, I will not sit and be shamed into being a "good fattie" who does not eat in public because it bothers other people, because I have a "moral obligation" to be ashamed of my physique. To quote The Rotund: Good and Bad Fatties do not exist. I eat because I am hungry, there is no morality to satisfying a basic human need.

ETA: I have opened comments, but since this topic tends to be more than a little contentious, be warned that I have a low tolerance for crap about this particular subject.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Your Intrepid Explorer Risks Eye and Sanity...

okay, I did a bad thing...

I went over to Glenn Sacks' blog, mainly because it is rude and fallacious to criticize someones position without actually knowing anything about their position. I am not going to link to it, simply because its not hard to find on your own, and because the last thing I need right now is a deluge of some of the people who read those blogs. I am not in the mood to heavily moderate comments to maintain a safe-space.

When I was there, I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, because as much as I have a serious problem with MRAs, there are inequalities that men face that I am against. I mainly disagree with the source of these inequalities, and the technique for solving them that most MRAs seem to advocate. They want to blame feminism, or feminists, which ends up turning into a fight against the very group of people with the history and experience to solve the inequalities they are being blamed for.

I only managed to really analyze one thing before the whole space started to really bother me, so I will make this a gradual thing. I will start with one, and if I can stomach spending more than a few minutes over there, I may do this again.

An ad that occurred right after the first article:
Discover how she has 'played' you. For the first time ever, a book that tells you exactly how manipulative and deceitful women win against their unsuspecting prey--and there's detailed information about what you can do about it. Read Roy Sheppard and Mary T Cleary's book "Venus: The Dark Side".
An alternate title for this book, when you follow the ad's url, is "That Bitch" (You cannot make this shit up.) It was changed because the authors wanted to reach as many people as possible with their message of "evil conniving" women who victimize "innocent" men. If Mr. Sacks and his movement are not interested in demonizing women, why have an ad for something so flagrantly anti-woman? ETA: Since it came up in the comments, when was the last time you saw a book about abusive men titled "That Asshole"? Even more than that, was it advertised on a site run by gender equality activists?

To be fair, many blog ad programs simply search keywords and post ads that match. We find that on feminists sites as well, a discussion of eating disorders or fat acceptance flanked by diet ads, a discussion of porn or sex-workers rights surrounded by ads for "free" porn sites, discussion of abortion rights bringing up ads for pro-life services. This is why a good deal of feminist bloggers have very limited ads, and tend to stick to ads that they can approve pre-posting. It is possible that this is what is happening here. Make of it what you will.

I am skeptical, mainly because all of the other ads seem directly applicable to the content of the blog.

I have heard a lot of excuses from MRA's about how they aren't anti-woman, they are just anti-feminist, or even how they aren't anti-feminist, just anti-radical misandrist feminists. I personally do not see that distinction being made here.

Keep an eye out for later posts examining the inner-workings of the MRA blogosphere...

Quick Hit: Gender games

One for the "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" file:


C'mon ladies, and girly-men, you always knew you had to leave the world domination stuff to the manly manly men, didn't you?

'Scuse me while I go barf.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Turkey Called Brotherhood

(yet another hat tip to Renee @ Womanist Musings)

This is pretty obnoxious.

Basic rundown: A pair of schools have a Thanksgiving tradition of dressing one kindergarten class up as indians and one as pilgrims. They have a parade and then go have a party together. This year, a parent who is actually native, protested this event, calling out the lie that children are being forced to believe, the lie of the peaceful coming together of white settlers with native tribes. She also protested the racist stereotypes being perpetuated by the "indian"costumes.

The thing that chaps my ass is all of these white people trying to claim that this is not offensive at ALL! That these are just CHILDREN! Enjoying a holiday TRADITION! I am so glad that these privileged asswipes can conveiniently forget that by TEACHING these children this tradition, they are continuing the myth of a benevolent white man vs the gentle savage. I really wish they would blow it right out of their asses. As the member of the group that benefits from the oppression of the other, YOU DON'T GET TO SAY WHAT IS OFFENSIVE TO THEM! This is Don't Be An Asshole 101 folks.

These white people wringing their hands about telling children the truth of their history reminds me somewhat of this clip:

I normally don't like South Park all that much, but every once in a while, they have a really good point. That IS how it actually happened. This idea that white people calmly showed brown people their "better ways" in the spirit of brotherhood and Christian Godliness is blatantly false, besides being obnoxious and racist as fuck.

And if we are really going to clutch our pearls and gasp about "THE CHILDREN," consider this: what about those native children, who learn their history from the perspective of people who think that it is okay to ignore the massive damage done to their people? They learn that their history doesn't matter, only the history of the white man matters. Renee says it very well:
It is further disgusting that children are being taught this falsehood as a method of maintaining white hegemony through the physical performance of revisionist history. The indoctrination of children with revisionist history is part of the way that racism passes from one generation to another.

Of course to a child this seems like a harmless tradition, they have no knowledge of history. They count on us as adults to be their guides and tell them the truth. This is an abdication of our responsibility to educate them.

Native culture has repeatedly been appropriated. We see it show up in the form of mascots for sporting teams as a normalized display. People seem to feel that it is their right to cheapen and demean the culture of another, while telling the oppressed community that they are being too sensitive.(go read her post Teaching The Young To Disrespect Indigenous Culture. I'll wait here)

The myth of the peaceful thanksgiving is regularly offered up in order to forget that the real beginning of this country was violent, painful and bloody. What happened to the native population of this hemisphere when Europeans came here was GENOCIDE. Nothing less.

We continue this heroification of the white people who came here and supposedly built this amazing civilization out of nothing, ignoring the rape, enslavement, murder, cannibalism and early germ warfare that made all of this possible.

These lands were not "discovered" by Europeans. You cannot "discover" a place where people are already living! Many of these colonies would not have survived if not for the work already done by tribes living there previously, if not for stealing from the tribes who were still there, if not for enslaving members of these tribes, if not for living off of the decomposing bodies of natives who were killed by epidemics spread from early European explorers, if not for slaughtering whole cultures.

Whole cultures, languages, ways of life are GONE, destroyed by this idea that God gave White people dominion over the Earth.

I will be using this day to teach my children about the cultures that were here already, about what happened to them, about what their lives are like now. I do not accept this white-washing of my history.

As a kid, I always wanted to do a Weddnesday Addams when confronted with this season:

Granted, a good deal of what occurs leading up to her soliloquy is offensive as hell, which is not surprising considering it is intended to show a white privileged man's perspective of the Thanksgiving myth.

In the end, I believe we have an obligation to be honest about our history. There is no excuse for ignorance, and no excuse for degrading displays of faux "brotherhood." These myths are dangerous, despite what some may think. They allow those of us who are granted white privilege to pat ourselves on the back and escape our responsibility to end oppressions that we benefit from. They create an environment where understanding of current effects that can be traced back to these event is impossible, because without honesty in regards to our history, we have no realistic idea of the true roots of injustice. These myths create an attitude that we white western people can still charge into whatever country we want and do whatever we please because we forget that we aren't the saviors of the goddamn world. They allow us to be blind to the personhood of others, and to the actual effect we have on the world. They allow us to continue to marginalize and oppress others simply for not being one of us.

National Day of Mourning for Indigenous People

(h/t to Womanist Musings)

Following are excerpts from a statement written by Mahtowin Munro (Lakota) and Moonanum James (Wampanoag), co-leaders of United American Indians of New England. Read the entire statement at

Mahtowin Munro


Mahtowin Munro

Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England have organized the National Day of Mourning observance in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Every year, hundreds of Native people and our supporters from all four directions join us. Every year, including this year, Native people from throughout the Americas will speak the truth about our history and about current issues and struggles we are involved in.

Why do hundreds of people stand out in the cold rather than sit home eating turkey and watching football? Do we have something against a harvest festival?

Moonanum James

Moonanum James

Of course not. But Thanksgiving in this country—and in particular in Plymouth—is much more than a harvest home festival. It is a celebration of pilgrim mythology.

According to this mythology, the pilgrims arrived, the Native people fed them and welcomed them, the Indians promptly faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.

The pilgrims are glorified and mythologized because the circumstances of the first English-speaking colony in Jamestown were frankly too ugly (for example, they turned to cannibalism to survive) to hold up as an effective national myth.

The pilgrims did not find an empty land any more than Columbus “discovered” anything. Every inch of this land is Indian land. The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland.

Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier

They came here as part of a commercial venture. They introduced sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and -gay bigotry, jails and the class system to these shores. One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod—before they even made it to Plymouth—was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions of corn and beans as they were able to carry.

They were no better than any other group of Europeans when it came to their treatment of the Indigenous peoples here. And, no, they did not even land at that sacred shrine called Plymouth Rock, a monument to racism and oppression which we are proud to say we buried in 1995.

The first official “Day of Thanksgiving” was proclaimed in 1637 by Governor Winthrop. He did so to celebrate the safe return of men from the Massachusetts Bay Colony who had gone to Mystic, Conn., to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot women, children and men.

About the only true thing in the whole mythology is that these pitiful European strangers would not have survived their first several years in “New England” were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What Native people got in return for this help was genocide, theft of our lands and never-ending repression. We are either treated as quaint relics from the past or are, to most people, virtually invisible.

When we dare to stand up for our rights, we are considered unreasonable. When we speak the truth about the history of the European invasion, we are often told to “go back where we came from.” Our roots are right here. They do not extend across any ocean.

National Day of Mourning began in 1970 when a Wampanoag man, Wamsutta Frank James, was asked to speak at a state dinner celebrating the 350th anniversary of the pilgrim landing. He refused to speak false words in praise of the white man for bringing civilization to us poor heathens. Native people from throughout the Americas came to Plymouth where they mourned their forebears who had been sold into slavery, burned alive, massacred, cheated and mistreated since the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620.

But the commemoration of National Day of Mourning goes far beyond the circumstances of 1970.

Can we give thanks as we remember Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who was framed up by the FBI and has been falsely imprisoned since 1976? Despite mountains of evidence exonerating Peltier and the proven misconduct of federal prosecutors and the FBI, Peltier has been denied a new trial.

To Native people, the case of Peltier is one more ordeal in a litany of wrongdoings committed by the U.S. government against us. While the media in New England present images of the “Pequot miracle” in Connecticut, the vast majority of Native people continue to live in the most abysmal poverty.

Can we give thanks for the fact that, on many reservations, unemployment rates surpass 50 percent? Our life expectancies are much lower, our infant mortality and teen suicide rates much higher than those of white Americans. Racist stereotypes of Native people, such as those perpetuated by the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and countless local and national sports teams, persist. Every single one of the more than 350 treaties that Native nations signed has been broken by the U.S. government. The bipartisan budget cuts have severely reduced educational opportunities for Native youth and the development of new housing on reservations, and have caused cause deadly cutbacks in healthcare and other necessary services.

Are we to give thanks for being treated as unwelcome in our own country?

When the descendants of the Aztec, Maya and Inca flee to the U.S., the descendants of the wash-ashore pilgrims term them “illegal aliens” and hunt them down.

We object to the “Pilgrim Progress” parade and to what goes on in Plymouth because they are making millions of tourist dollars every year from the false pilgrim mythology. That money is being made off the backs of our slaughtered Indigenous ancestors.

Increasing numbers of people are seeking alternatives to such holidays as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. They are coming to the conclusion that if we are ever to achieve some sense of community, we must first face the truth about the history of this country and the toll that history has taken on the lives of millions of Indigenous, Black, Latin@, Asian, and poor and working-class white people.

The myth of Thanksgiving, served up with dollops of European superiority and manifest destiny, just does not work for many people in this country. As Malcolm X once said about the African-American experience in America, “We did not land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.” Exactly.
Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The MRA Mirror

By Sunless Nick
originally posted at Shakesville

When MRA-types can be bothered to acknowledge rape as a problem at all, they inevitably claim false accusations of rape as a comparable problem, one that happens at least as often, and one that is—unlike rape, they claim—ignored and belittled. For the record, that is not true. But I thought I'd look through that MRA mirror and see what would happen if false rape accusations were really "taken as seriously" as rape.

First, of course, depending on where he lives, the falsely charged man might have to pay for a rape kit that could bolster his case. Naturally, it would likely never be relevant, because the false report case would probably never get to court, being summarily decided instead by lawyers or the police after they determine there to be no evidence that the woman lied. (And of course, there would be a legal presumption that she is truthful and he a rapist.)

But leaving that aside... There is also the fact that false accusations would benefit from widespread apologism, and accused men would suffer from victim-blaming.

For instance, if a victim of false rape accusation was really treated like a victim of rape, then the accused man would be held responsible for it. He'd be asked why he was alone with her. He'd be lectured on everything he coulda woulda shoulda done differently, then or otherwise. He'd have his whole history dissected, looking for other women he might have annoyed, thus justifying this woman's annoyance. He'd be asked if he agreed to the rumour, or secretly liked it? He'd be pressured to drop the whole thing because it was a mistake, not really a serious allegation, she's not really the lying type (heck, she might even be called plucky), and is it really worth ruining her life over this?

And that'd be from the people who believed him and claimed they were on his side.

Otherwise of course, he'd be called a liar (or even a sinister conspirator)—and were he ever to smile or date again, it could be advanced as proof of it. And he'd be called the male equivalents of slut, whore, tease, and bitch (or would, if the male equivalents of those words weren't compliments). And he'd be asked if he can really remember what happened, and is he sure she said yes?

There would be long earnest diatribes about how men could avoid being "deservedly" accused. (Not by just by disgruntled women either; the mainstream media would weigh in on the "MRAs false-accusation fallacy"). Of course they'd include disclaimers of how, "No man deserves to be falsely accused of rape, BUT"—before going on to explain how so many case of false accusation are indeed the man's fault, and how men should ensure that they don't happen.

For instance, it might be trotted out how women are hardwired for intimacy, security, and long-term commitment, and are you sure you didn't say or do anything that implied you were willing to marry and start a family with her? No? But you had sex, and that could have been construed as a promise for those things, so her anger at you breaking that promise is quite understandable really. Did you made it clear you were only interested in a casual hookup? Well why didn't you make it clearer?

Along the way, it might be compared to property crime... say identity theft. After all, we know the stories now; we're careful about letting information about slip into other people's hands, and we know how hard it is to prove the truth if false purchases are racked up in our name. So it's not much of a stretch to parallel that to false accusations and tarnished reputations, right?

There'd be PSAs on how parents can prevent their sons getting into situations where they might be accused of rape, with the women who might do it mysteriously disappeared from the narrative.

Men would be told to take false accusations as compliment—you know, you're so hot she'd say anything to make people think you'd been together—or maybe she thinks the accusation makes you sound more manly. At the same time, they'd be told the claim must be true because they're too old or ugly to have been with a woman any other way.

We'd read posts about how false accusations are sometimes necessary; this link needs an extra trigger warning.

Kobe Bryant, saying "I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter" would be a nationwide rallying call for how all men who deny committing rape are lying dogs.

We would read news stories about falsely accused men being punished for engaging in malicious gossip. We would read about judges who even if an accusation had been proved false, would say they wish they could jail the man anyway (oh, and they might ban him from using the words "false," "lie," and "sex" in his testimony).

False accusations would be the stuff of jokes, even onstage. Men would even be expected to take direct or veiled threats as jokes. False accusations would also routinely be evoked in adverstising and used as metaphors for wit or good presentation. And you would deemed humourless if you objected to any of this.

Even when utterly blatant, false accusations would frequently be ignored or disappeared.

Saying that a false accusation is never deserved would elicit controversy, while a woman who didn't make a false accusation against a man who annoyed her would be deemed worthy of praise for her accomplishment and self-control.

I think most MRAs would much rather see their causes ignored than taken as seriously as that.

Of course on this side of the mirror, I don't see anything like that leveled at men accused of rape—including those who are genuinely accused, tried, and convicted. But rape victims face all of it. So no, I don't find the problems all that comparable. It beggars my imagination that someone can seriously believe there are as many women who voluntarily put themselves through it for no reason as there are men who decide they can get away with rape.

But that's the trouble with mirrors: They don't show us the real world, but a back to front version of it. Maybe MRAs should try the window instead.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jim Quinn Rejects Germ Theory

Is it just me, or are homophobic bigots really reaching lately?

I mean, I get it. They are against science as a rule. Earth is 6000 years old, and dinosaur bones were planted by scientists with the help of Satan as a test of faith and for personal profit, and all other scientists are just one huge secret cabal (with all this "Global Warming" and "melting ice caps" stuff) out to take away their God-Given American Right to drive the biggest, ugliest gas-guzzler imaginable, thereby confirming their status as gigantic assholes.

But sex producing a virus?

Haven't heard that one before.

So funny that all I can do is stare:

"[G]ay marriage doesn't produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn't have -- or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their -- for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us."

He looks just like you!
I shall name him...Quinny.

The meme of "the Gay Plague?" It's dead, Jim.

HIV causes AIDS. It is a virus that can effect anyone that comes into contact with it in a communicable fashion, generally through body fluids. Examples: blood transfusions, infected needles, sex of ANY kind between ANY partners.

I would need to find some stats to back me up on this, but I'm pretty sure that the largest infected group of people in the US is young, straight African American women. But wait, thats science again...

Psssh, who needs proof?

World Health Organization decides the gold standard of scientific evidence is superfluous


Scientific evidence can now include “causal relationships” suggested in observational or epidemiological studies, animal and laboratory experiments, generally accepted authoritative information validated over time, and traditional knowledge and experiences of use. The acceptance of these alternative ways of knowing came after years of lobbying by the health foods and dietary supplement industry.(emphasis added)

Basically, because pesky science was getting in the way of profit margins, now there doesn't need to be scientific proof that certain foods or supplements help prevent disease, there just has to be a "credible" claim. Sandy at Junkfood Science breaks it down, and sums up:

In other words, this gives an NGO, such as a health food or supplement industry organization, the ability to can make any claim it chooses and say it’s substantiated.

Few consumers will realize when they see a health claim on the label of a food or supplement, purportedly supported by scientific evidence from the WHO, that the definition for scientific evidence has changed.

Why has this story not been widely reported in mainstream media or in professional publications reaching the scientific and medical communities? It would appear the input of scientists and doctors in health policies is not wanted, as the WHO and UN-FAO become influenced by things other than the best science.

We have enough issues with food science and knowing what is actually good, and what foods have an actual effect on health issues or are preventative, without having to worry about what scientific evidence actually consists of.

Monday Morning Fuck You

We seem to be having a problem. I regularly use google to search for this blog, to see what comes up. I don't mind people linking to the content here, or even reproducing part or all of the entries. I do have a problem with this being done without appropriate credit for the work being given.

Which brings me to the reason that I am writing this with only half a cup of coffee in my system.

When I Googled this morning, I got a hit from netRightNation which seems to be a hub for a bunch of conservative blogs. Five entries from my blog can be found there, just by searching for my blog title, but there is no visible credit, and I would rather not have my work or the work of my co-bloggers reproduced at that particular site.

I attempted to leave this comment:
Hello, this seems to be content from my website, but I see no attribution to me or any of my other contributors. I am curious how my content ended up here, and politely request that if my or the work of my co-bloggers is going to be reproduced, please give us appropriate credit, or remove our content.
Thank you.

However, their commenting system seems not to work. I was able to find no way of contacting their admin, and have officially lost my temper.


::grumbles off to kick someone::

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Narcissistic Fool Makes His Foolishness Apparent

Okay, I was gonna avoid this, simply because it has been talked about in quite a few places already, but, frankly, I'm bored. So I will be taking that out on all of you, and of course, on the poor victim of my scathing wit.

::cue evil laughter::

Anywho, there is this gentleman, a distinguished sort, who was working as a molecular biologist at UC Irvine, which is a state school. There is this lovely little law in California, Assembly Bill 1825, which mandates that state employees holding a supervisory position must take two hours of sexual harassment training every two years.

Well, he felt that this was quite wrong, and refused to take the training unless the university would issue an official document stating that he had never sexually harassed anyone. The university refused, and took away his supervisory duties due to non-compliance with the law.

Wait now...this is where the FUN starts!

He decides to write a scathing editorial for the LA Times about the sham of sexual harassment training, in which he desperately clutches his pearls about his precious academic rights and his tenured position and how it was brutally snatched away from him by, and I quote,
...a vocal political/cultural interest group promoting this silliness as part of a politically correct agenda that I don’t particularly agree with.


Hold on a minute...

There's that pesky "I'm so oppressed by the PC Thought Police!" thing again! Seriously, what is it with white privileged male "oppression"? That's right! I forgot, he is throwing a temper tantrum, not laying out substantive critique. Allow me to demonstrate, we can start with the above quote.

So, what "agenda" does he disagree with? The "agenda" that non-white/male/abled/straight /cis persons should be able to work in an environment free of harassment? Or the "agenda" of the state ensuring that supervisors receiving state funds know what the laws are and how to deal with situations that the laws are applicable to?


He disagrees with the "agenda" of:
...the state, acting through the university, is trying to coerce and bully me into doing something I find repugnant and offensive. I find it offensive not only because of the insinuations it carries and the potential stigma it implies, but also because I am being required to do it for political reasons.



He does know that these trainings are usually conducted seminar style, right? according to the initial article, he also could have taken the online version of the training, so that the only people who knew he had done so would be himself, and the bureaucrats who keep track of such things. That being understood, what stigma is he talking about exactly? What part of ALL state paid supervisors having to take this training did he miss? How does this create stigma again? Or is he suggesting that ALL state paid supervisors in the state of California are being accused of sexual harassment, since they ALL have to take this training?

That and there are a great many laws over the years have been offensive or violating, and people worked to change them, often times by violating the laws with full knowledge of the consequences.

As opposed to violating the laws and acting surprised that they didn't just accommodate you.

But then again, it is all about you, isn't it?
The imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor. The university has already nullified my right to supervise my laboratory and the students I teach. It has threatened my livelihood and, ultimately, my position at the university. This for failing to submit to mock training in sexual harassment, a requirement that was never a condition of my employment at the University of California 30 years ago, nor when I came to UCI 11 years ago.

So your academic freedom hinges on you being ignorant, willfully so, of the laws regarding equal treatment in your state? wha? Your rights as a tenured professor include the right to harass? of course the university nullified your responsibility, YOU FAILED to meet the requirements that would grant you those privileges. I don't get a driver's license just because I have never run anyone over in a car, you don't get to supervise people without full knowledge of the laws that must be respected while you do your job.

Also, Professor? As opposed to 30 years ago, women are now legally people, and you are legally obligated to treat them as such, because while you seem to have missed it, society EVOLVED around you.

I'm sorry to tell you this, Professor, but for all your whinging about your precious reputation and how being asked to do something that everyone else has to do too makes you look bad, and how "you don't have to take it if you don't wanna!", the only one ruining your reputation is you.

Instead of appearing principled, you appear to be a three year old, who has thrown themselves on the ground kicking, screaming and generally causing a scene in order to cover a guilty conscience. I have a much younger sister, sir. I know the whine of "No one EVER BELIEVES ME!" and that it is an indicator of guilt.

Grow up, cause in the real world, that shit don't fly.

Bush's Environmental Legacy

It's ironic that an administration that likes to quote Theodore Roosevelt as much as the Bush administration does would have spent 8 years actively undoing the protections of the National Park System that Teddy established. One key example here is the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. One of W.J. Clinton's final acts before leaving office was to extend protections to this nearly pristine wilderness, which was then the largest unlogged coastal temperate rainforest in the world. These protections were rolled back gradually when Bush 2.0 took office and since 2001 the Tongass has lost nearly 20% of it's old growth forest.
The Bush administration has been busy entrenching supporters in the EPA and The Federal Bureau of Land Management as well. According to the Washington Post, between March and November of 2008 the administration has made 20 political appointees in the Department of the Interior into career government bureaucrats protected from the 'whims' of the shifting political landscape. Simply put, agents of the Bush administration are being inserted into permanent positions to protect the interests of logging and mining industries in the Obama era. Still looking to make a buck for your friends at the cost of further rape of the earth, eh Georgie Boy?
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D) AZ, who is apparently under consideration for Secretary of the Interior, issued a letter on October 18, 2008 detailing many of Bush's sins against the land. This administration has ran roughshod over the Constitution, the people of several sovereign nations, and the planet. It's time for this reign of terror to end and to fade quietly into the annals of history.

Sunday reader time!

Its gonna be a quadruple espresso day...I can tell.
Okay! On to the readings!

-White People Think That People of Colour Have More Culture @Restructure! There isn't much I can say that the post doesn't say better. This is the first time I have read anything over there, but I think it will get added to the blogroll. Quote:
"White liberals* in North America often say things like, “White people have no culture.” For the overwhelming majority of white liberals, to be white is to be boring. Some white people even claim that they are “jealous” of people who are not white, as if non-white people have “culture” that white people do not, due to the sole fact they have a higher concentration of melanin in their skin, eyes, or hair.

Of course, the very definition of culture necessitates that white people have a culture." (emphasis in the original)

Go read it. I'll wait.

-Bjork turned 43 on Friday: For those of you who don't know me well, I am a pretty huge Bjork fan (plus we are both Scorpios. Woo-woo geek joy!!!) and the post I linked to has some great videos of hers as well as audio tracks. It also has a link to one of the issues she is active on at the moment, concerning environmentalism in Iceland.

-Quickhit: Lauredhel reports on some particularly egregious Aussie racism.

-Quickhit: Vatican "forgives" John Lennon. @Shakesville.

-Notorious Heterosexuals over at Pam's.
"If anyone wants to make the argument that no LGBT people should be allowed to marry because some go to circuit parties or some lose their temper when their rights are violated, I will reply with some of the most awful and vicious things heterosexuals have done and paint the speaker with the same brush.

I have had it.

If I am responsible for every gay faux pas, then every heterosexual is guilty of every awful act of every other heterosexual."

-Social institutionalization of heteronormative families: This article is written in very specific sociological language, but it is also very very good.
"It seems to me that as a society, we’d be better off supporting individuals and their decisions about the way they want to fashion their life commitments and relationships (sexual or otherwise), rather than catering to one specific template, and then blaming non-traditional families for their struggles that is actually created by their lack of support in our marriage-centric society."

-Trans Murder Apology @The Jaded Hippy about the tendency in some circles to blame transpeople for "getting themselves murdered" by "lying" about who they "really" are:
"It's not her words or her lack of words that creates this "lie", it is her very existence, and more importantly, his response to her existence. He is attracted to her, and by his definition she is not a "real" woman, but in fact a man. Thus he was attracted to a man, in his mind. If this is what he is in fact responding to, as I'm arguing, then his resulting rage is rooted in homophobia.

These responses from these men aren't about the T/I person. They are purely about themselves and their fear of what their attraction to a person with an intersex/trans history means in relation to their self identity as a heterosexual male."

(Edited to remove "feminist" upon clarification from the original author)

-God Angrily Clarifies "Don't Kill" Rule: Special press conference!
"I don't care how holy somebody claims to be," God said. "If a person tells you it's My will that they kill someone, they're wrong. Got it? I don't care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else's, ever again."

"I don't care what faith you are, everybody's been making this same mistake since the dawn of time," God said. "The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don't even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, 'Turn the other cheek,' but you've been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades."

Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: "Can't you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism... every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you're supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It's not that hard a concept to grasp."

"Why would you think I'd want anything else? Humans don't need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you've been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!" God said. "The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?"

"I'm talking to all of you, here!" continued God, His voice rising to a shout. "Do you hear Me? I don't want you to kill anybody. I'm against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don't kill each other anymore—ever! I'm fucking serious!"

Kaity's Hot Cocoa

Philadelphia may not be Buffalo, NY but we have our share of cold winters and this one has gotten cold rather quickly. The other night, in keeping with fine winter tradition, I decided to make one of my favorite winter comfort foods. Hot Cocoa, oh ambrosia.... sweet nectar of the chilly gods.

Kaity's Hot Cocoa

6oz milk
4oz half & half or cream
1.5 Tbsp quality cocoa
1.5 Tbsp sugar (I like to use Sugar in the Raw for the molassesy goodness, but any will do)
1 tsp chili pepper powder
1 big fun cheerful mug

Combine milk, cocoa, sugar and chili powder in a pan and heat; stirring regularly. When the powder is mostly dissolved into the milk add the half & half or cream. Keep stirring until hot and without clumps. Do not boil:)
Adjust chili powder to taste. Personally, I really like capsaicinoids (pepper's 'spicy' compounds) so I usually double the chili powder for myself. No worries for those that don't like spicy foods, the milk fat in the cocoa will help to eliminate a lot of the 'spiciness' anyway.

Pour into mug, pad back into living room and enjoy the spicy, sweet, chocolatey goodness.

There's a good reason why both the Mayan and Aztec cultures held cacao plants in high esteem.
We now know that cacao (chocolate) is a good source of antioxidants and theobromine an alkyloid with mood enhancing effects.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Americana Under Assault by Queer Special Forces


According to the new video being circulated by the AFA, yet another reactionary group on the religious wrong fringe, the queers have invaded quiet Eureka Springs, Arkansas and are using it as a forward operating base to expand our 'gay agenda' into the heartland of America. I came across this piece of news on Feministing. No longer content to remain in our liberal bastions of the Eastern Corridor and our beloved Left Coast, we are apparently aggressively attempting to undermine the very fabric of this ultra-conservative christian nation called 'Fly-over Land' or alternatively 'The United States of Jebus'.
I can almost see the AFA's collective nightmare of a sky-blue Blackhawk helicopter with Rainbow insignia inserting a Queer Agenda Special Operations A-team to taint the city's water supply with 'the gay'. In order to ensure total compliance of the local heteronormative population, the Special Operations A-team will be supported by the 1st Transvestite Air Assault Battalion led by Eddie Izzard looking fabulous.
Meanwhile, back in reality....
The only real gay agenda is basic civil rights for every person regardless of sexual or gender identity or lack thereof.

I Don't Think I'm Better Than You

Has anyone else come across this "women are morally superior to men" trope? I have heard it before, mainly in philosophy classes, but I came across it again in the Feministing Community, in an entry by Wendy_notsid about a book called Hating Women : America's Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex By Rabbi Schmuley Boteach. (Sorry, not linking to it.)

There was, of course, a lot of commentary in the book regarding the awful stereotypes presented of women in the popular media, how men are being groomed to view women, and the over-sexualization of young women in popular media and culture that I heartily agreed with, but there were passages of the book that annoyed me greatly, as a feminist and as a humanist in general. Not only was it his criticism of the feminist movement for concentrating too much on being like men and leaving behind their “natural feminine virtues” (I’m not taking this word for word), or his belief that women were respected more prior to the twentieth century (though that really got to me, but it’s a point to pick apart for another blog), but it was also his stressing of how men and women are not equal, but that women are superior beings.

I am sure that the Rabbi meant to help, seeing that he has daughters and seems to subscribe to certain beliefs that indicate that women are to be valued, which is a good thing. I take issue with what is intended to be valued from women, and how this is still limiting to us, as well as the implications for a feminist movement that were to be held to this standard. From the Feministing article:

...he stated the usual evidence of the so-called female superiority: more women do charitable work, more women attend religious services, women are more likely to be sympathetic to the troubles of others, more women excel academically… I know also that there is a belief in a number of Jewish denominations that women are the holier sex because we can bear children and are naturally more moral than men. Another idea is that man was God’s first try in creating a physical being in Its image, and that woman was God’s second, more successful, try.

The idea that any one group of people is morally superior to another is problematic.

First of all, it feeds into the exclusionary stereotype that follows liberation movements, and gives credence to those privileged whiners that are pissed that there is something in the world that doesn't include them. Seriously, why give them more ammo?

Second, it places more responsibility on the shoulders of women to behave "properly" and allows a pass for men to behave however they want with the excuse that they are just "naturally flawed." Women are already blamed for the violence and oppression they face, this just makes that idea even stronger.

Third, this can be used to silence those of us who still insist on pointing out inequality. If we can be placated with the head pat of being "morally superior" (which, by the way, doesn't prevent rape, murder, domestic violence, job discrimination, education discrimination, etc) then we don't need to be treated "like men" (translation: like people) because our needs aren't the same.

The false dichotomy of one group being better than the other prevents any real critical analysis of constructions of personhood and identity, and recreates double standards that are "impossible" to argue against.

Who wakes up and says, "I wish I could be oppressed too"?

I have been talking with my cousin lately. He is 15, and I have been trying to explain the mechanics of oppression, privilege and power to him in a way that doesn't make him think he is being accused of something. Frighteningly, I have had to debunk several ideas that he has picked up from Cthulhu-knows-where about how oppressed he is. After doing that, he said something really upsetting to me:

"I wish I had a struggle of my own, something to fight against."


The mind...she boggles.

Somewhere along the way, the idea that having a struggle, an oppression to fight against, was in somehow. Stylish. It got you "special rights." Either that, or the rapid loss of privileges was seen as a loss of rights.

The idea that white affluent western men are an oppressed minority is laughable. It is also a perspective that one encounters quite frequently in popular culture, and especially from so-called men's rights activists(MRAs).

Let me explain something about MRAs. These people are rarely concerned with actual rights or oppression. They are primarily concerned with maintaining the status quo, because the only way they can see the rights of men being violated is when women have those same rights.

They see rights, freedoms and opportunity as a zero-sum game, namely, if females are doing well, that means that males must be getting worse. This ties in to the problem with essentialist thinking. If one group is "naturally" better at something, but the other group is doing just as well as them in actuality, then the only way to maintain this false dichotomy, is to assume that something must be holding back the "naturally" better group.

These groups do little more than encourage the very gender essentialist notions that create the inequalities they like to scream about. They help create these structures, and then blame them on the groups that are actively trying to fight them.

They blame feminism for all of their problems, with no knowledge of what feminists and feminist groups actually do. They tend to be against any legislation that deals with domestic violence, any legislation that makes divorce easier for women, against taking the victim's side in rape cases, against women having the choice to abort or continue a pregnancy, generally against anything that doesn't include men regardless of whether they actually need it or not and tend to support using children in custody cases to control and/or threaten ex's, support rapists, and rape apologists, and generally blame women for all of their own personal failings.

They tend to spend a great deal of time spouting off inaccurate information to support the idea that a cabal of women, queers, racial minorities and evil radical feminists control everything, and may even be responsible for the fall of Western Civilization! As a result, they paint hapless white men as the unfortunate victims of an "anti-male" society that grinds them into submission under the boot heel of the Fascist PC Thought Police.

Let us examine some of this, shall we? Not too much, lest we scratch out our eyeballs in frustration.

As far as this idea of "politically correct" (scare quotes intended) as code for "uptight" or "restrictive," I don't see why it is so important to some people to be allowed to use words that create an othering effect of specific groups. One thing that must be put out there right now: complaining about being forced to be "PC" is, in essence, complaining that you can't be a racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic douchenozzle without there being consequences. I seriously don't see why treating other people like the people that they are is such a damn burden. In the US, one does have the freedom to say exactly what one wants to, however, the rest of us also have the freedom to tell you that you are being obnoxious and insulting. Attempting to shame people with the sneering at political correctness indicates that you would rather be able to hurt people because you like to. This would make you, at best, a bully, and at worst, someone incredibly dangerous.

The gentleman doth protest too much is something else I want to examine here. There is a huge discussion amongst these supposed rights activists about false allegations that lead "innocent" men to being dragged through the court system and possibly imprisoned. Yet false allegations "experts" tend to turn out to be nothing more than perpetrators who are finding ways for other perps to get away with beating and raping. There has even been evidence that false allegations are more likely to come from men:

Are Allegations of Sexual Abuse That Arise During Child Custody Disputes More Likely to Be False?

An Annotated Review of the Research

Bala, N. & Schuman, J. (2000). Allegations of sexual abuse when parents have separated.

Canadian Family Law Quarterly, 17, 191-241.

Canadian Family Law Judgments: Nicholas Bala and John Schuman, two Queen's University law professors, reviewed judges' written decisions in 196 cases between 1990 and 1998 where allegations of either physical or sexual abuse were raised in the context of parental separation. Only family law cases were considered; child protection and criminal decisions were excluded.

The study showed that the judges felt that only a third of unproven cases of child abuse stemming from custody battles involve someone deliberately lying in court. In these cases, the judges found that fathers were more likely to fabricate the accusations than mothers.

These people want to tilt at windmills to preserve their privileges to the detriment of those they consider to be lower than them. They couch their true desires in the language of empowerment, and attempt to cast themselves as some tragic victim.

There are inequalities in this world, some of which specifically effect men, and most are rooted in constructions of masculinity. To resolve those inequalities, deconstruction of gender essentialism must occur. There are people who do this, who truly work to make sure that people are seen as equal regardless of what is in their pants.

They are called feminists, and they are not your expectation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This is for the men and women and those in between and outside of that binary who have died because of ignorance and xenophobia. This is for the victims of transphobia. Remember the fallen, and work for a better world so that those we have lost will not have died in vain. Everybody is someone's child and queers are people too.

Shamelessly lifted from TransGriot.
Courtesy of Ethan St. Pierre, as of November 16, the list of people being memorialized for the 10th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday.

Kellie Telesford
Location: Thornton Heath, UK
Cause of Death: Strangled
Date of Death: November 21, 2007
Kellie was strangled to death with a scarf, by 18 year old Shanniel Hyatt, who then covered the body of 39-year-old Kellie Telesford with a white blanket - with the brown furry scarf used to choke her still bound tightly round her neck. Hyatt said he killer her after discovering she had a penis.

Brian McGlothin (Liked to dress in Women's clothes)
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Cause of Death: Shot in the head with an automatic rifle by Antonio Williams who is serving a six year sentence. Brian was 25 years old.
Date of Death: December 23, 2007

Gabriela Alejandra Albornoz
Location: Santiago, Chile
Cause of Death: Attacked and stabbed
Date of Death: December 28, 2007

Patrick Murphy (Found Dressed in Women's clothes)
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Cause of Death: Shot Several times in the head
Date of Death: January 8, 2008
Patrick was 39 years old.

Stacy Brown
Location: Baltimore, MD
Cause of Death: Shot in the head
Date of Death: January 8, 2008
Stacy was 30 years old.

Adolphus Simmons
Location: Charleston, SC
Cause of Death: Shot to Death (Aldophus was 18 yrs. old)
Date of Death: January 21, 2008

Fedra (a known transvestite)
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Cause of Death: Was found lying face up in a pool of blood,
cause of death was not reported.
Date of Death: January 22, 2008

Ashley Sweeney
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Cause of Death: Shot in the head
Date of Death: February 4, 2008
The age of Ashley Sweeney is unknown, she was only described as a young transgender woman in a press release.

Sanesha (Talib) Stewart
Location: Bronx, NY
Cause of Death: Stabbed to Death
Date of Death: February 10, 2008
Sanesha was 25 years old.

Lawrence King
Location: Oxnard, California
Cause of Death: Shot to death by a classmate because he liked to wear
women's clothes. (Lawrence King was 15 years old).
Date of Death: February 12, 2008

Simmie Williams Jr.

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Cause of Death: Shot to death, Simmie was found wearing women's clothing. (Simmie was 17 years old)
Date of Death: February 22, 2008

Luna (no last name reported)
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Cause of Death: Brutally beaten to death and tossed into a dumpster.
Date of Death: March 15, 2008

Lloyd Nixon
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Cause of Death:Repeatedly beat in the head with a brick.
Date of Death: April 16, 2008
Lloyd was 45 years old.

Felicia Melton-Smyth
Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Cause of Death: brutally stabbed to death by Francisco Javier Hollos, who said he killed her because she would not pay for sex. Felicia was an HIV activist on vacation from Wisconsin.
Date of Death: May 26, 2008

Silvana Berisha
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Cause of Death: Stabbed to Death
Date of Death: June 24, 2008

Ebony (Rodney) Whitaker
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Cause of Death:Shot (Ebony was 20 yrs. old)
Date of Death:July 1, 2008

Rosa Pazos
Location: Sevilla, Spain
Cause of Death: Was found in her apartment, she had been stabbed in the throat.
Date of Death: July 11, 2008

Juan Carlos Aucalle Coronel
Location: Lombardi, Italy
Cause of Death severely beaten causing fractures to the head and face before being run over by a car.
Date of Death July 14, 2008
Juan Carlos was 35 years old.

Angie Zapata
Location: Greeley, Colorado
Cause of Death: She was found in her home with two severe fractures in her skull.
Angie was murdered by 31 year old, Alan Ray Andrade. Angie was 18 years old.
Date of Death: July 17, 2008

Jaylynn L. Namauu

Location: Makiki Honolulu, Hawaii
Cause of Death: Stabbed to Death
Date of Death: July 17, 2008
Jaylynn was 35 years old.

Samantha Rangel Brandau
Location: Milan, Italy
Cause of Death: beaten, gang raped and stabbed numerous times before being left for dead.
Date of Death: July 29, 2008
Samantha was 30 years old.

Ruby Molina
Location: Sacramento, California
Cause of Death: Drowned
Date of Death: September 21, 2008
Ruby's naked body was found floating in the American river.
She was 22 years old.

Aimee Wilcoxson
Location: Aurora, Colorado
Cause of Death: undetermined (Police have yet to reveal cause)
Date of Death: November 3, 2008
Aimee was found dead in her bed. She was 34 years old.

Duanna Johnson
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Cause of Death: Shot
Date of Death: November 9, 2008
Duanna was found dead in the middle of the street. She was 42 years old.

Dilek Ince
Location: Ankara, Turkey
Cause of Death:Shot in the back of the head
Date of Death: November 11, 2008

Teish (Moses) Cannon
Location: Syracuse, New York
Cause of Death: Shot
Date of Death: November 14, 2008
Teish was 22 years old.

Cause of Death:executed for being transgender
Date of Death:2008, Month is Unknown
Video of Ali before she was executed:

*IMPORTANT NOTE FROM ETHAN - (In case I don't get the details posted in time) There were 2 other Iraqi transgender women who were executed at the same time as Ali. Please remember them at your TDoR event.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Hi Dori and assorted ne'erdowells,

Thanks for inviting me to come and contribute to your blog. I'll get some postings up over the next few days.


Monday, November 17, 2008

I Smell Toxicity and Plastic


I got an interesting memo at work recently. It was a general memo, intended for the entire team. It mentioned that "hygiene" was an issue and that some people stink and need to wear deodorant to work.

I have a problem with this.

I shower daily, I wear essential oils, I wash my clothing. I don't smell like anything other than how a person is supposed to smell, maybe even a bit better considering I don't eat meat. I have a real problem with our way of categorizing natural human smells as bad, especially when they are smells coming from a female.

Women are regularly subjected to the idea that we stink, especially our vaginas. We are sold items that are supposed to eliminate or cover that musky va-jay-jay scent. Even sexual aids that are sold to us ostensibly for "pleasure," are designed solely to make us smell better for our assumed male partner.

Scents tell us things, about emotions, about health, how we smell tells us if our bodies are functioning properly.

The products that we are sold to make us smell less human can be linked to significant health problems.

If given the choice between smelling like I should, not slathering on or inserting chemicals, and possibly offending people with my scent, or covering myself in caustic chemicals so as not to offend the delicate, brainwashed sensibilities of some random idiot and potentially giving myself a health problem in the process, I'd rather stink.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Post Racism" my shiny white behind

There has been some buzz lately that the election of an African American to the highest office in the land means the end of racism in America.





oh yeah, that's a good one. No seriously.

You see, in the REAL world where progressives function, we know this is not the case. One man does not a glass ceiling shatter. We have seen things like this stated before, like when Geraldine Ferraro was on the Mondale ticket, or even more recently, with the Clinton and Palin insanity this last election.

Every time something vaguely progressive happens, it is treated as though this one thing means all oppressions are now officially "out of style," it just isn't cool or with it to be a misogynist, racist fuckneck anymore.

That doesn't stop rising,
racially motivated crimes.
(Second and third graders chanting "Assassinate Obama!" for fucks sake?)

To think that it does is to apply a gloss over the realities that people live with, like the likelyhood of being murdered for not fitting gender norms particulary if one is a person of color.

Don't be fooled.

Power systems survive by duping the less powerful into thinking that one small inch forward is equivalent to a major achievement. Its a pat on the head to silence those of us who want to live our lives without oppression informing every move we make.

In the immortal words of Melissa McEwan, promise to keep working my teaspoon, even when my arms are tired.

Sunday Reader

In the best tradition of...well...pretty much all the blogs I read, and due to the Sunday's of double shifts I see marching into the future, I am starting a link roundup of interesting reading.

Wanda Sykes comes out!
@ Pam's House Blend

Action Item! Stop Bush from implementing regulations that will allow anti-choice health care providers to refuse to dispense medical care without consequences. Cara has a write up about the regulations over at Feministe.

Krista unpacks the "culture" argument in regards to gender and Islam over at Muslimah Media Watch.

Oh no you didn't! (Why it's not ok to support Prop 8, then hide behind the Constitution) in the Feministing Community.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 59 is up at abyss2hope.

A discussion of the gendered nature of cursing by Renee over at Womanist Musings (She also has a piece up in the Carnival Against Sexual Violence)

Cara has another post up at The Curvature entitled "Obama is Funny". It's included purely for this quote:
‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

Notes from the Den of Iniquity

Last night, while going to bed, my spouse and I had a discussion about how my sister tends to stomp every time she goes up the stairs.

Me: "I don't get it. I take pride in being able to move incredibly quietly for my size. Unless I'm angry. Then I want my footfalls to be like a portent of doom."

Spouse: "Baby, you are a portent of doom."


Welcome to another episode of "Just Not Getting It"

::A trigger warning is in effect for this post::

So, I was bored at work, as I so often am, and I ended up reading the New York Times online, as I so often do.

I came across this blog post by Judith Warner entitled “Pure Tyranny”. I had no idea what it would be about, but the title intrigued me. It turned out to be about how we view women’s sexuality and the cultural steps taken to preserve “purity” in women.

She brings up hymenoplasties in Europe, the Austrian man who kept his daughter locked in a basement for two and a half decades in order to rape her and produce children with her (using the excuse that he was a “moral” man who would protect her and make her a “good” woman), and Purity Balls here in the states in which men pledge to “cover” their daughters and protect their purity and girls pledge their virginities to their fathers until their fathers can pass that virginity off to their husbands. She correlates all of these things as a commentary on how controlling women’s bodies is a universal concept and that we as a culture have no right to fling self-righteous indignation at other cultures for doing so.

Needless to say, I appreciated the article, because she said something that I say regularly so articulately and boiled it down quite clearly, that just because we don’t have cultural expectations that oppress women that take the form of radical surgery for the illusion of virginity, we still do have the same warped principles about women’s sexuality that lead to such things. You know, people in glass houses, something about rocks…

Then I read the comments. (I always read the comments and I should damn well know better)

Most of them totally missed the point.

Either the comments were attacking “those backward brown people who are stuck in the middle ages” and smugly patting themselves on the back for being “so much more advanced!”(gag) or they were attacking her for implying that “fathers protecting their daughters is the same as incest” or they were simply attacking her, her feminism, her supposed desire for girls to be “slutty,” attacking feminism in general, touting the joys and benefits of patriarchy (one guy actually blamed the “backwardness” of places like the Middle East on the feminism and “girl power” of the west and how it is obvious that men should be protecting women) etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum

Herein lies my rage: Why is it that people get so damn offended by female sexuality? Why is it that people can’t see that this obsessive control that is exerted is only done so over women? It IS sexual and mental abuse to convince women of any age that their only value comes from their sex. It is abusive to suggest that women cannot and should not be allowed to make their own choices about their lives and bodies. We are not children, and we are not chattel. We are human beings, full and entire. We deserve the same consideration as any other human being.

Don’t even get me started on the assumed cultural superiority that we have here in the US where we assume that we are better cause we only call women who actually orgasm “whores” instead of killing them on even the suspicion of sexual "infidelity". The mentality is the same, no matter how it is expressed.

And why, on a blog post about women in general and perceived cultural superiority, do so many people jump to the conclusion that it is all about them? No thoughts for the women who are harmed by this, their mothers, sisters, daughters, themselves…no. it must be about attacking their religion because the author DARED to suggest that women having sovereignty over themselves and their bodies is a “God-given” right, or attacking their morals because pre-marital sex is EVIL…there is no connect with how these specific ideas and the long term effect they have is actually factually HURTING REAL PEOPLE!

Get some damn compassion people! If you don’t stop staring at that pool, people you love who happen to be women will be reduced to nothing more than echoes while you revel in your own reflection.