Storify: Harry Potter and Hogwarts

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Iron Spike set off the inspirational question:

@Iron_Spike: What the fuck would a Texan magic academy even LOOK like.

@AnaMardoll: No sex ed but everyone has a wand on campus-- oh wait. @andreagrimes @Iron_Spike

Which then led to this:

Why DOESN'T Hogwarts have sex ed? Beyond anything else, the students are BREWING LUST POTIONS. It's like Dumbledore WANTS everyone pregnant by 16, I swear to god.

A reboot in which Hermione successfully lobbies to put love spells on the Unforgivable Curse list. "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND CONSENT, RON" she screams when he defends his brothers' business. She dates Ginny instead.

Hermione runs a cis-centering "if men could get pregnant" campaign but Luna corrects her and they fix the verbiage. "Actually, Hermione, I'm a man today and I can get pregnant. At least I think I can. I've not tried yet, but I feel very strongly I can." OF COURSE Luna is genderfluid, I will die on this hill.

Ginny, of course, is staunchly pro-choice after that time she had her life force leached by a parasitic creature inhabiting her body. "What if mom hadn't had YOU," Ron demands like a trump card. "Every child a WANTED CHILD," Ginny retorts, going back to making posters.

Storify: Boring Stories

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On seeing yourself for the first time in the fiction you grew up with.

So, we need to talk about a trans + story thing. Sorry. Gotta get this off my chest. I saw a review this week of a story with a trans protagonist. And the review said, basically, "if the protagonist wasn't trans there would be nothing revolutionary here" like that was a bad thing.

Which right now is like saying "if you take the engine off this dirigible, it's not steampunk anymore" like yes your tautology is correct. Because, YEAH, it is revolutionary to be able to have "regular" stories with trans people in them.

I want a trans Harry Potter. I want a trans Lord of the Rings. I want a trans Hunger Games. I want trans REGULAR BORING THINGS. It is really unfair to act like trans stories only really get to exist if they're also ~innovative~ in ways that cis people approve of. "If you want stories with yourself in, you have to do 'em yourself, but also do them FIRST and BETTER or it shouldn't exist at all."

And I don't like how the review acted like writing a trans character was some kind of "cheat code" for praise and innovation. Like the (cis) reviewer was upset that the author had done something underhanded by glossing up an older tale with a trans character. (I actually do NOT think the tale was non-innovative but that's neither here or there for this rant.)

I'm currently working on a collection of stories that is EXPLICITLY "non-innovative" but with trans characters. Because, for fuck's sake, I really do WANT "regular" tales with me in them. I've been around long enough to earn that, gosh darn it.

Every reader is unique but for me there is a difference between Finely Crafted Gourmet reading and Comfort Food reading. What's my favorite book? That's... a hard one. I can't really answer it! Margaret Atwood's writing brought me to life when I was dead inside, but she's not who I reach for when I want a cozy snuggle read. Patricia C. Wrede often fills that role for me. Her books aren't High Literature and won't be taught in classes, but she warms my soul.

I don't want to write High Literature. I'm glad there are people who do! But it's not my thing. There are people who make AMAZING gourmet meals that take hours and thousands of ingredients and gold leaf and expensive spices. I make comfort meals for my family and me. Six ingredients and a casserole dish, but it fills you up and reminds you of good things.

Those are the sorts of stories I want to write. Comforting and familiar and warm and welcoming to the reader. And I hate to see that trashed and pooh-poohed for the same reason I'd hate seeing someone trashed for making cozy cooking. It's not wrong to only want to eat things wrapped in gold leaf, you do you!, but it's also NOT WRONG to like mac-and-cheese-with-hot-dogs.

Storify: Magical Body Modifications and Transgender Characters

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I've been thinking a lot this weekend about trans characters in magical / sciency settings where body modifications are available: A Thread. Nota bene: I am not the trans pope. But I am trans and here are some things to be aware of and/or avoid.

Let's talk about what transness is, really briefly. Bear with me, those of you who know this already. Gender is a social construct that has to do with how you view yourself, how you interact with the world, and how you interact with others. Other social constructs include things like "Texan", "Democrat", "Hufflepuff", "Spouse". Try telling a Texan they're not really Texan!

Social constructs are important even if there's not a physical component that doctors could point to and say, "there's the Democrat spleen." Now, our society likes to have genders for EVERYONE, including babies. And babies are notoriously bad communicators. So what we do is, we hold up a baby and say, "well, we don't KNOW your gender, so we're going to use [gender] until you say otherwise." Later, Baby can tell us what their gender is. If it matches what their assigned gender was, they're cis. If it doesn't match, they're trans.

Just so we're clear: Gender isn't determined by genitals. Gender doesn't change with genitals. So with that foundation laid, let's talk about writing trans people in settings where magical body modification is freely available.

Storify: Poor Relations and Transness

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

This thread is being kept for posterity.



@D_Libris: It is the year 2017. A luminary of SF is writing a new book. What does the plot turn on? FORCED GENDER REASSIGNMENT

I'm.......not okay with this.

[I posted three screengrabs from the piece.

Image #1:

Award-winning speculative fiction writer Jo Walton explores futuristic science fiction in Poor Relations, a tale of relentless social climbing throughout the solar system.

Described by Walton as “Mansfield Park on Mars,” Poor Relations is an eye-opening exploration of social and financial precarity, deeply pertinent to today.

“When it came down to it, you couldn’t legislate against the economics of sex and gender any more than you could legislate against people being poor.”

Image #2:

It’s the twenty-fourth century. Humanity has spread throughout the solar system—but for most of us, life is as precarious as it was in Dickensian England. Brothers Achille, Marcantonio, and Nore have been raised rich, but after their father spends the family fortune and puts a laser to his head, they’re forced to face facts. The wealthy Luke Bailey is willing to pay top dollar for what’s left of their estate, enough to buy Achille a commission in the space Navy. But only if Marcantonio and Nore will both become female—Marcantonio to marry Luke, and Nore to be their spinster housekeeper, for as long as Luke lives.

Image #3:

Poor Relations tackles familiar themes of hierarchy and oppression in a science fiction setting, depicting a world in which one’s gender can be easily reversed, but in which that flexibility has come to be used as a tool to make people more unequal rather than less.]

I'm not okay with this at all.

Storify: Queer Books for Queer Kids

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Okay, we gotta talk about queer children so pull up a chair, I guess.

Every time we acknowledge that some kids are queer (bi, gay, lesbian, ace, aro, trans), people say we're "sexualizing" kids. Nope.

The stigmatization of queer people means we're seen as hyper-sexual, while a "hetero" boy/girl pair of toddlers is just sweet and normal. The stigmatization of trans bodies means we're seen as hyper-genital focused, while it's normal to tell strangers your baby boy has a penis. The stigmatization of asexuality means that the statement that a kid could be ace brings bizarre accusations of "sexualizing" other kids, yet playful parental fantasies like "wouldn't it be sweet if mine and yours grew up to be married" isn't sexualizing at all, just normal.

LOTS of queer adults have stories about how, as children, we knew we were queer, trans, ace, aro, bi, gay, lesbian, etc. What many of us DIDN'T have was books explaining that we were normal. Books explaining that adults like us were normal.

And when a book comes out with a trans teddy bear or an ace shark or a lesbian giraffe, the howls go up to "let kids be kids!" But no one objects to stories in which a puppy falls in hetero crush, or in which het parents are married and have a baby. Because childish hetero romance is seen as sweet and innocent, but childish queer romance is seen as sexual and not-age-appropriate. And adult heterosexual relationships and reproduction are seen as necessary age-appropriate education, but adult queer relationships are not.

This is a way of continuing to invisible and shame and stigmatize us queer adults: the insistence that our EXISTENCE isn't age-appropriate.

One reason I write NA (new adult) rather than YA (young adult) is because I've been repeatedly told my themes aren't Appropriate. Bisexual characters, polyamorous characters, and transgender characters are all "inappropriate". Despite the fact that bi-attraction, polyam-feels, and transgender do not inherently have anything to do with sex. Despite the fact that hetero vanilla monoamory cigender sex in YA is considered a brave cutting edge new frontier by many.

I am tired, damn tired, of queer people being shouted down when we talk about what we needed, representation-wise, as kids. Queer kids exist. Many of us queer adults WERE queer kids. Stop telling us our own existence wasn't age-appropriate. Stop telling us that "kids should be kids" when you're lobbying for queer kids to be confused and alone and silenced and scared.

Open Thread: Six Pointed Star


When flowers come out I find myself continually stoping to snap photos.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are they:
   ● Avengers: Infinity War
   ● A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
   ● Black Panther

-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Storify: TERF Warning Flags and Rhetoric

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



[Content Note: Transphobia, Racism, Ableism, Eugenics]

After writing my Storify on an NYT Opinion article ("My Daughter Isn't Transgender"), I was subjected to an online dogpile by TERFs. This is a pretty typical response from the harassers: misgendering and accusations of mental illness.

LESBIAN-NATION
@LNation10
Ana is insane...not capable of reading, listening or understanding...leave him alone


So I decided to write a thread for followers watching all this happen in my mentions.

People who've been watching the mess in my mentions have been asking me about TERF ideology so here's a mega thread. Some of this is guesswork based on my experiences and possibly wrong, but eh, everything they say about ME is wrong so I'm not worried.

Oh, before we get started: "TERF" means Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist. It's not a slur; it's a description of behavior. For the most part, I now use "REG" (reactionary exclusionary gatekeeper) because it includes TERFs, SWERFs, and AERFs. "SWERFs" are exclusionary of sex workers; "AERFs" are exclusionary of ace and aro and aspec people. So "REGs" covers a spectrum. But THIS week has been TERFs and there are warning signs when someone pops into your mentions.

Storify: Transgender Terminology in 2017

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A very brief thread on transgender terminology for 2017:

"Trans" is short for transgender, which is an adjective when used with words like "woman", "man", and "people".

It is currently the fashion to place a space between adjective and modified noun. Trans woman, not transwoman. Blond man, not blondman. Similarly, 'transgender woman' not "transgenderwoman" and 'cis woman', not "ciswoman" or "cisgenderwoman".

Not everyone terminologies this way, but it's important to note that some REGs (reactionary exclusionary gatekeepers) use terms as flags. REGs tend to use "transwoman" so they can parse a TERFy difference between "transwomen" and "women".

So if you are cis, it is probably good practice to mind your spaces, lest you accidentally look like you're speaking the TERFy lingo. A good rule of thumb with "trans" is "would I have a space here if I spelled out 'transgender' in full?" Usually the answer is 'yes'.

Trans man, i.e., transgender man.
Trans woman, i.e., transgender woman.
Trans person, i.e., transgender person.

And this will save you from writing "trans gender" because that would mean "transgender gender" which would be rather silly looking. So remember: Trans woman. Trans man. Trans person. Transgender. (No space.) Because "trans" is short for transgender.

PLEASE note the "if you are cis" qualifier here. Some trans people DO refer to themselves without the space. Nothing more teeth-grinding than seeing cis people yell at a trans man for calling himself a "transman". He's allowed. Leave him alone. If you are ever in doubt about how to refer to a SPECIFIC person (like if you're writing about them), ask, ask, ask them directly.

When someone talks about being an Adjective Noun, please do NOT pop in to drop the Adjective off and insist they're just Noun. "You're not a disabled/trans/fat/brunette/mentally ill person, you're a person!" No, bad, stop. When you do that, you are suggesting that their Adjective is shameful or irrelevant, when it is neither. There ARE times when someone might refuse an Adjective for themselves. But when someone takes your Adjective away to be "nice", that's bad.

When I talk about being a trans person, some nice someone often pops up to say "you're not a trans person, you're a person!" and... no. That's not actually inclusive. I know people THINK it's inclusive, but it's not. It's annoying and even harmful. It telegraphs that my transness makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed or ashamed, like how we don't talk about farts in public.

I'm trans. I'm not ashamed of it and it profoundly affects my life. I'm a trans person. I fought hard for that label. Don't take it away.

Storify: Some Gender Identities

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



I feel I should just do a thread on gender terms? Would that help people at all? Maybe? A lot of them are going to be copy-pasta from this excellent round-up, but with some added commentary. Understand that there is not One True Definition for a lot of these. The words mean what the users mean them to mean.

Agender, defined by one link as "the feeling of no gender/absence of gender or neutral gender".

Agenderflux, sometimes defined as "being mostly agender except having small shifts towards other genders".

Anogender, defined above as "a gender that fades in and out but always comes back to the same feeling".

Anxiegender, which lemme tell you gives me FEELS: "a gender that is affected by anxiety".

Apagender: "a feeling of apathy towards ones gender which leads to them not looking any further into it".

Bigender, sometimes defined as having "two genders", but not necessarily always or at the same time.

Blurgender (sometimes Genderfuzz), "more than one gender but they blur together and are difficult to individually distinguish."

Boyflux, above defined as "when one feels mostly or all male most of the time but experience fluctuating intensity of male identity."

Demifluid, is another multi-gender one for demigender people. Some are static and some are fluid.

Demiflux is similar to Demifluid. Fluctuating demigenders. But what's "demigender", I hear you ask? Demigender: "a gender that is partially one gender and partially another". I'm a demigirl, btw. Some of my best friends are demigirls and I know a couple of great demiboys. We're girls/boys but we're also something else, gender-wise.

Exgender, defined above as "the outright refusal to accept or identify in, on, or around the gender spectrum".

Femgender ("a nonbinary gender which is feminine in nature") and Femflux and Femfluid are also genders I'm familiar with. (I tend to lump feminine nonbinary folks into a term I coined which is "femby". I'm fond of it for myself and friends.)

Genderflux, which is when your gender fluctuates in intensity. In general, "fluid" is about an identity that shifts sideways and "flux" is about an identity that shifts in intensity. You can be both!

Girlflux, defined above "when one feels mostly or all female most of the time but experiences fluctuating intensities of female identity".

Greygender, here defined as "having a gender that is mostly outside of the binary but is weak and can barely be felt".

Mascgender ("a non-binary gender which is masculine in nature") and Mascfluid and Mascflux all exist. (We saw the Fem versions earlier.)

Maverique is a specific gender that is "separate from masculinity, femininity, and neutrality". Some people call Maverique a "third gender", but there are a million "third" genders so I shy away from the numbering attempts.

Multigender and Polygender exist in addition to Bigender: "having more than one simultaneous or fluctuating gender". Omnigender exists too.

Oneirogender is mentioned here as "being agender, but having recurring fantasies or daydreams of being a certain gender".

Pangender is complicated because it's being all the genders, but this is tricky because SOME of the genders are not available to everyone. There are some genders that are only available to people of a certain race, or intersex people, or people with specific mental conditions. So Pangender has been retained with the understanding that it's all the genders available to that person, not All Genders Ever.

Quoigender, which I like the definition of here: feeling as if the concept of gender is inapplicable or nonsensical to one’s self".

Trigender, which you could probably extrapolate from bigender: "having three simultaneous or fluctuating genders".

Note that the bi, tri, poly, and multi genders don't require you to hold all your genders at the same time. They can fluid and flux.

So okay that's a bunch of words, Ana, help. Deep breath. Let me back up.

(1) We were most all of us assigned a gender at birth. If that gender still feels like a fit for you, that's "cisgender".

(2) If that assigned birth gender is NOT a fit for you, you're probably "transgender" (but note that not everyone embraces that word). (For example, there are some agender people who do not like being called transgender. We respect this choice!)

(3) If you're transgender (i.e., don't fit the assigned gender from birth), you get to work out what ACTUAL gender you are.

(4) If it's one of the Big Two in our society (Man and Woman), then you're a binary transgender person. Yay! That's awesome!

(5) If your gender is NOT one of the Big Two in our society, then you're a nonbinary (NB or "enby") transgender person. That's awesome too!

(6) If you're a nonbinary transgender person, you get to find words that fit your gender and those words MAY be the words defined above.

(7) NONE of those words are mutually exclusive. It's up to you to decide which and how many fit you. Your choice.

For the record, I'm:

- Genderqueer (umbrella term)
- Genderfluid (gender changes at times)
- Demigirl (predominantly girl+)

I hope this has been helpful? The point is there are a LOT of words out there to describe gender and you're allowed to look into them! And it doesn't make you a special snowflake or whatever and even if it did: You're Allowed!! Goddamnit, why shouldn't you be special? I don't die my gray hairs any old brunette color they have on hand, I'm Dark Caramel Blonde # FA1245 or whatever matches my roots best. Just saying!

Very occasionally when I talk about gender terms like these, someone will be like "well in that case, EVERYONE is nonbinary!!" I consider that a silly statement; we very clearly have binary men and women in our midst. But I will say if these terms resonate with YOU as something you feel you obviously are? like... it's okay... to just be nonbinary? You totally can!

You don't need a permission slip to be nonbinary. You don't even have to decide you're trans first! That can come later. I knew I was a demigirl but it took awhile for "trans" to fit. And I think that's very normal, to be honest. Not because trans is a bad thing but because our popular idea of it is very binary, plus I didn't want to take a term I hadn't earned.

But the more I embraced my nonbinary gender the more I realized just how much I was NOT cis. The concept didn't fit me at all. I was trans. So if you're exploring through your identity, just remember you're allowed to be gentle with yourself and you can take it slow if you need.

Oh, shit, I nearly forgot to talk about pronouns. This is my favorite list of gender-neutral pronouns. But people get confused about pronouns. Sometimes people ask which pronouns go with which gender. They don't! You can be nonbinary and still use he or she because it's what you're used to and it might not bother you. That's okay!

You're not LESS nonbinary for using he or she if you like. Pronouns don't have a gender attached to them. If he and she don't fit you, there are a zillion other pronouns to look into that might--and you can use ANY of them. Neo-pronouns ("new" pronouns) don't specifically map to certain gender identities.

If you'd like to read a book with neo-pronouns in them, just see what they look like, my SURVIVAL ROUT uses xie/xer (my pronouns!), and POISON KISS uses nee/ner pronouns in it. There's also a pronoun "dressing room" you can use for yourself. Here is a piece by a friend, which uses xie/xir and zie/zir!

And hopefully all the above explains why there's a big difference between being attracted to 2+ genders vs. all the genders.

Storify: Genitals Isn't Gender

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A Thread on Sexual Boundaries

I wish to note certain things first:

1. I am a transgender nonbinary demigirl.

2. I am bisexual.

3. I am a rape survivor.

4. This thread is in response to weeks of multiple incidents wherein OTHER bisexual transgender rape survivors were harassed online for disclosing that past trauma made various genital configurations triggering for them. These facts are pertinent to the tone and angle of discussion.

Now that things have calmed down a little in my mentions, I'm going to talk about the And Operator. The logical And (&&) operator allows you to place two unrelated premises together in combination. The logical operation returns TRUE if both statements (operands) are true and false otherwise.

So for example:
- The sun is out && it will be a warm day is only TRUE if both operands are true.

That statement may be false:
- The sun isn't out, and it's cold.
- The sun is out, but it's cold.
- The sun isn't out, though it's warm.

The important thing to understand is that in a logical And situation, the two operands are NOT related. One doesn't flow from the other. If the existence of Operand 1 implied the existence of Operand 2, you wouldn't need to check for both.

Now. We are going to start with the fact--I will not debate this fact--that Gender is not Genitals. My gender isn't my genitals. Fact. "My sexuality is [gender], therefore I'm not attracted to [genitals]" is a logical fallacy because the two are unrelated.

But "my sexuality is [gender]" && "I'm not attracted to [genitals]" are two separate unrelated statements joined by a logical And Operator. A problem is so many people have been hurt with the fallacious wrong false harmful "Therefore" that now the And Operator is suspect.

So if someone says "I'm bisexual" && "I'm not attracted to vaginas because of sexual assault trauma", they're accused of broad misgendering. Misgendering is denying the gender of a person or people. A stated avoidance of a genital configuration isn't misgendering as long as everyone involved understands that genitals aren't gender.

"You're transphobic because you don't like penises" isn't a gotcha when you're talking to a trans person who knows gender isn't genitals. Triggers are based around memory sensations. No one says I have to date men who wear my abusers' cologne or have his haircut. Saying someone can turn down a new lover based on hairstyle but not a resemblance of genitals is very hostile to this rape survivor.

If I misgender anyone, please tell me and I will correct it. But genitals aren't gender, and not liking [genitals] isn't misgendering. Also, ftr, you are allowed to disagree with me! I may not be safe for you to follow, and I'm sorry if that's the case. But if you come at me with full-aggression klaxons and dog-pile me with your pals, I'm going to have to block you. I'm sorry. The internet loves an excuse to harass a trans person and I have to protect myself by setting boundaries. I wish I didn't have to.

None of this would be controversial if our society weren't so hostile to boundaries when it comes to sexual consent. I can set any boundary I want to sexual access to me and people will argue. No Trump voters. No-one who listens to Mozart. No-one who eats garlic. No-one who has been to Alaska. I can set ridiculous boundaries if I want. My body. There is no boundary I can set for ACCESS TO MY BODY that someone won't argue with. This isn't happening in a vacuum.

If someone said "I can't date blonds because my abuser was a blond" and a million people popped up to make it about them:

"What about platinum blonds?"
"What about frosted tips?"
"What about strawberry blond?"

Demanding they define every nuance of their trigger?

- Would we understand that was hostile? To rape survivors and people with PTSD? This demand that they exhaustively document a trigger?

- Would we understand that people were taking a painful I-statement about an unwanted mental illness and making it about them?

- Would we understand that people were being hostile to the very concept of sexual boundaries by trying to negotiate them down?

- Would we understand the difference between a rando demanding vs. a flirty friend saying "oh hey if we're going further I need to know more?"

- Would we understand the difference between strangers on the internet being hostile to boundaries vs. close friends discussing them privately?

Because the people harassing me and other trans friends for saying boundaries are allowed to exist are hostile strangers. And that context is important.

I think it's important to understand in these discussions that the boundary is already there. All the person has done is state it. So the argument is either "you can't HAVE that boundary" which is not okay at all, or it's "you can't STATE that boundary".

Boundaries being stated are a good thing. You get to learn WITHOUT RISK whether that person is a good romantic partner for you. "I can't sleep with people who eat tomatoes" is a good thing to learn before you date them for six months. "Wait, but how does xie feel about garlic" is a thing you might want to ask me before dating. Otherwise, why do you need to ask for more?

There's a difference between a choice to share information with the public versus a demand for more. If I post a piece of myself online, you can consume or not as you choose, but demanding more than I want to give isn't cool.

Storify: Mis-Identifying People

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



Corrections are not hostility. Deliberate mis-identification is.

*raises hand* Hi, can we talk about a thing?

An identity is not a Get-Out-Of-Criticism-Free card. An example of this is an actress pulling out a bi card in response to trans criticism. HOWEVER, if you mis-identify someone mid-criticism and they correct you, that is not the same thing as trying to pull identity rank. I have see THIS happen too many times:

"This het woman thinks--"
"Er, I'm not het."
"THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT OKAY."

No, it doesn't necessarily make it okay. But correction when you have mis-identified someone is not Hostile nor Defensive.

In addition: It is not okay to mis-identify people purposefully to make a point. Calling someone white when you know they aren't white, het when you know they aren't het, [gender] when you know they're not = not okay. Identities are complicated and personal. You don't get to strip those away just because you're angry or the other person is wrong.

Identity isn't a courtesy we extend only to people we like.

I have this week seen someone say "feel free to criticize my opinions but don't erase my racial identity" in pretty much those exact words only for a pile-on of "being [racial identity] doesn't mean you're above criticism!!" when... yes... that is exactly what they said. It is not Hostile or Aggressive or Defensive to correct someone when they are wrong about your identity.

I went through this round the mulberry bush recently over pronouns. The mere act of CORRECTING someone re: pronouns isn't aggression. If you don't want to be corrected re: someone's identity mid-criticism, don't use their identity if it's not really relevant. If the identity IS relevant (like whether the book is #ownvoices or not), check before you start saying the person isn't XYZ.

Also: Work on precision. If you mean cishet, use that (not straight). If you mean non-black, use that (not white). If you mean non-woman, use that (not man). Very few identities have clear equal-and-opposite antonyms. "This person is not a gay man" is a fine thing to point out if it's relevant. "This person is a straight woman" may be suuuuper off-base.

Anger is a valid emotion, but doesn't magically excuse bad actions like purposefully mis-identifying people or shaming them for corrections. And as a transgender person who knows how violent identity-erasure can be, I'm not going to budge on the position that this is NOT okay. Like, if someone menstruates and wants to talk about that, their gender identity isn't a reason to shut them down.

Storify: Menstruator and Planned Parenthood

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



A couple people have asked that I break down the "menstruator" thing for those who missed it. Let's do that real fast. On Sept 2, @PPact tweeted out about menstruators affected by tampon taxes.

@PPact: Menstruators in New York started to #TweetTheReceipt celebrating the repealed tampon tax—but some are still charged.

The term was a choice to be inclusive of menstruating people who are not women: many trans men and non-binary transgender people. Many people objected to Planned Parenthood's inclusive language. Some of those people are TERFs: Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

These are a subculture of feminists who insist on misgendering and/or excluding transgender people from gendered spaces. These women insisted that "mensturator" as a term was reducing women to biology and therefore inherently offensive regardless of inclusion.

In response, @alexandraerin wrote a good thread about nouns like "eaters", "menstruators", etc. and their context. She also wrote an good thread on how alternative suggestions like "SanPro Users" are insufficient. The short version is that we need to be able to talk about menstruation frankly in non-stigmatizing ways.

By Sept 6, four days later, a reactionary hashtag was trending called "If Men Had Periods". The "joke" being that they supposedly don't. Many of us pointed out that many men DO have periods. They even have period underwear for men. We are now on day SIX of a reactionary wave of anger from some cisgender women that Planned Parenthood used an inclusive term re: periods.

Planned Parenthood provides services to a lot of transgender people. They are one of the places that offer testosterone to trans men. Many trans men rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control and other reproductive healthcare services. Planned Parenthood was being inclusive by using a broader term than "women", and they are weathering a great deal of pushback.

I have had many ostensible feminists tell me this week that: only women menstruate, and that ALL women menstruate. This is ridiculous. It misgenders trans people of ALL genders and it misgenders cis women who do not menstruate for health/other reasons. The position that menstruation is inherently linked to womanhood is harmful to transgender people and many disabled women.

It may be possible later to discuss whether "menstruator" is the best term, but RIGHT NOW that discussion cannot meaningfully happen because too many transphobic people are engaging in bad faith in an attempt to throw inclusive language in a garbage bin. In my personal opinion, the best way to support transgender people right now is to support the "menstruator" label and we can revisit later.

(Personally, I am fine with the term being used in this specific context. It is accurate, descriptive, and de-stigmatizing. But I digress.)

*extremely network news voice* And now you know... the rest of the story.

Storify: Stop Misusing 'Straight'

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



*looks askance at a viral tweet*

Maybe if a "straight woman" (!?????) is panicking over her husband's shitty childcare abilities, the answer is NOT to scold the woman?

Can we also STOP assuming that women married to men are straight? YOU. DO. NOT. KNOW. Trust me on this. There's this weird liberal word salad thing going on these days where "straight" is being flung around like a cheap insult. STOP.

"Straight people don't understand LBGT letters haha!" Dude, you know there are straight trans people, right? Sit doooown.

*holds your face closely* "Straight" is not some magical fairyland free of marginalization because INTERSECTIONAL OPPRESSIONS EXIST.

*beckons you closer with my finger* You cannot tell if someone is cishet by looking. Stop throwing that label around when you DO NOT KNOW.

There's pointing out labels because it's germane to the subject and there's pointing out labels because you want a winning Pokemon card.

"Haha, I threw Straight Married Women onto the table! That gives me a +2 to all rhetorical attacks." Dude, sit your ass back down.

Social Justice is not Magic: The Gathering and the fact some folks can't grasp that is frankly terrifying to me.

*rides off into the night*

Storify: How to Support LBGTQUIA+ People

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



[Content Note: Transphobia, Gun Violence, Pulse Shooting]

These tweets were written in the wake of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. As of writing, this act of terrorism is the deadliest shooting attack in US history. The motive for the shooting is unknown to me at this time, but it is important to note that this was a gay nightclub that catered to LBGT+ clientele, that the shooting happened while the club was holding a Latinx event, and that this month is both Pride month and Immigration Heritage month. The shooter has been reported to be Muslim. I have no further information than this at this time. (06/12/2016)

I have written a series of tweets detailing ways to support for Muslim, Latinx, and queer people in the wake of this tragedy. I will be using the terms "queer", "LBGTQUIA+", and "QUILTBAG" in a largely interchangeable manner in these tweets. QUILTBAG is an acronym used by some members of the queer community, defined below.

Q = Queer and Questioning
U = Undecided (which some people prefer to Questioning)
I = Intersex and Intergender
L = Lesbian
T = Transgender
B = Bisexual and Bigender
A = Asexual and Aromantic and Agender (NOTE: A does NOT stand for "Ally".)
G = Gay and Genderqueer

Open Thread: In Bloom


Sometimes my camera screws up by making purple come out as pink.  That's not the case this time.  This was very definitely a very pink tree.

Taken yesterday afternoon.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are they:
   ● Avengers: Infinity War
   ● A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
   ● Black Panther

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Storify: Transphobia and Caring About (Cis) Children

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



[Content Note: Transphobia]

If you're worried about "trans" kids who might be cis more than you're worried about "cis" kids who might be trans, yes, you're transphobic. Because you're not worried about making sure everyone has a safe path to body affirmation. You're only worried about cis kids.

That's if we take you at your word that you're only worried about cis kids. A cynic might note ur "worry" manifests as barriers to trans ppl. "I want to make life harder for trans people in order to protect cis people" can definitely be your rallying cry but it's a transphobic one.

Maybe it's just me, but "some people regret transition" sounds like the transphobe version of "some people regret abortion". Real talk here. Cards on the table for my cis friends. Tweet storm incoming. Take shelter and break out the umbrellas.

If you follow me, you've probably read my tweets about chronic pain and how hard it is to get my opioids. If you can understand why it's ableist to make pain pills harder to get for chronic pain sufferers because "think of the abled people!", then you can understand why it's transphobic to make transition care harder to get for trans people because "think of the cis people!"

If you follow me, you've probably read my tweets about oranges and #orangegate and disability access to food. If you can understand why it's ableist to make food harder for disabled people to access because "think of the children!", then you can understand why it's transphobic to make transition care harder to get for trans people because "think of the cis children!"

If you follow me, you're probably aware of my work to transcribe the testimony around the Texas HB2 abortion bill. If you can understand why it's anti-choice to make abortion harder to access because some women regret abortion, then you can understand why it's transphobic to make transition care harder to access because some people regret transition.

Pregnancy and puberty both seriously impact the body. Forcing children to go through either against their will is not a "neutral" choice. It is not necessarily anti-choice to wish to help women who regret abortion. But "Women Regret Abortion" IS a common anti-choice dogwhistle.

"I care about children!" isn't necessarily transphobic, but a lot of people are using Caring About Children to promote transphobic agendas. Because, AGAIN, denying transition access to trans children on the chance that a few cis kids might slip through is not a "neutral" choice.

@ElliotWake: And FYI, transition regret rate is VERY low and often due to OTHER people's reactions and lack of support.

TRUTH. I suspect it's comparable to the VERY low regret rate for abortion (less than 5%), much of which is prejudice-driven. (I.e., the 5% of women who regret abortion more often regret being subjected to anti-choice bigotry, which is not the same.)

IF you are genuinely concerned about cis children transitioning, there are better ways to approach it than erecting barriers to transition. (Though, again, as @ElliotWake points out, it is important to remember this is a VERY small number being inflated to push transphobia.)

If you want to help healthcare in ways that don't dovetail with transphobia, consider:

- making transition care free to access.

- changing the environment of patient/doctor relationship so that patients aren't viewed with suspicion ("drug-seekers").

- changing the environment of patient/doctor relationship so that patients are allowed to explore doubt without being denied care.

- accepting exploration of gender in ways that allow people to determine what is right for them. Use the pronouns they want, when they want.

- accepting exploration of gender in ways that allow people to determine what is right for them. Bathroom access, clothes, etc.

- accepting trans people. Period. Don't give them any REASON to regret coming out as trans.

- accepting that if trans people keep telling you something is transphobic, IT MIGHT BE and MAYBE YOU SHOULD STOP and RE-EXAMINE.

Simple stuff like that. That's not a comprehensive list, but I think it's a good start.

Storify: A Breakdown of Bathroom Bills

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



I feel I need to talk to some of the cis fence-sitters out there. I grew up with the same and I need to say this. Everyone else, mute me.

Let's say you believe that trans women are women and you DON'T think trans women are rapists waiting to pounce. So far so good. If the thing keeping you silent on these bills is the fear that cis men will PRETEND to be trans women in order to hang out in bathrooms? First of all, that doesn't happen. Several states have had bathroom rights for trans people for YEARS and that scenario isn't happening.

Storify: Niantic PokemonGo Ban

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

I'm posting this for historical value, because sometimes people still email me about it.




Welp, Niantic has confirmed that I've been banned from PokemonGo. That's that, then. Sigh.

The stated reason was "use of third-party apps" which is "considered cheating". Which, you know, whatever. Fuck disabled people. I'm kinda over it. It's sad to me, though, because I liked my Pokemon and I can't say goodbye.

And I was planning to spend more money on the game. Buy official gear. That sort of thing. But wev. But definitely buy lures to place at hospitals for the GOOD disabled people. *eyes roll into the next county*

To be clear, my crime was emulating an Android environment on my computer and "walking" up to the local park when bed-bound. I didn't hop to New York or London, which I would consider cheating and worthy of at least a warning or soft ban. But Niantic permabanned me without warning for emulating a walk up to the nearest park to my house.

I can think it's a fair cop while also thinking their lack of accessibility options are shit. I sent in an appeal. I might have been terminated just for side-loading the app itself, it's hard to tell from the form letter. Kinda funny the lengths I went to in order to play their game and give them my money. Hours of effort just to INSTALL the thing.

Someone should write a "how not to piss off disabled folks with your ham-handed launch" but no one will learn from this, I wager. People will say I deserve to get banned for breaking the rules, but the same people didn't want me to complain about accessibility options. So... if disabled people shouldn't complain but we shouldn't make our own accessibility options either... what's left? Not playing?

Yes, it makes sense to exclude disabled people from all major cultural touchstone events of our generation, sure. Sometimes it's just... really hard to be excluded from fun things because your body lost the genetic lottery. I don't like to talk about downer stuff on my TL, but I do live with depression over my disability and I frequently feel... not delighted.

So it's... difficult to have a fun thing you managed to make work for you taken away because you bootstrapped a way to make it work. And the funny thing is, it would be SO EASY to make a disability accessible version. So very easy. But when people asked, major game developers came out to mock us. I'm not naming names, but they did. (I responded to one.)

Oh well. This is a farewell to the four Ponyta I inexplicably hatched and the three Clefairy I caught. May you run free, dears.

@whodreamedit: Yeah, I saw a thread about this in a group I'm in on Facebook, so it's definitely not just you. Which is awful. (Not that it wouldn't be awful were it just you. But it speaks to widespread prejudice which, ew, c'mon @NianticLabs)

Update: Motherboard interviewed me on the Niantic ban and wrote a nice article.

Storify: What is Ableist Language?

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



Jumping from @civilwarbore's excellent thread on ableism and language, I think maybe a lot of people don't understand ableist language. This is going to be a long thread because I want to storify it, so please bear with me.

I think a lot of well-meaning people wish to be sensitive to disability issues. Good! But this is a complex topic. You cannot avoid ableism by memorizing a list of "bad words" and avoiding them, because ableism is more complicated than that.

Let us talk about what ableism is and isn't. Ableism is about dismissing, silencing, or stigmatizing disabled people. Ableist language is dismissive of disabled people and dehumanizing of us. Some examples (trigger warnings apply).

* Saying someone is "deaf to our logic" or "blind to the issues" falsely conflates disabilities with obtuseness, ignorance, cruelty.

* Saying an evil person is "crazy" or "insane" stigmatizes people with mental illness as dangerous and untrustworthy.

In these cases, people are using disability words to mean things: badness, ignorance, evilness. That is dismissive and stigmatizing. The words themselves are not necessarily bad, but you're using them wrong. Say "evil" or "inexplicable" or "unfathomable", not "crazy".

Moving on, ableist language impacts our rights. Ableism is about the legal rights denied to disabled people.

Thirty states in the USA have laws on the books barring mentally ill people from voting. There are regular proposals to block mentally ill people from gun ownership, and to keep databases on us as part of denying us gun access.

That is why there is a huge context behind calling someone "crazy" or "--tard" or "insane" or other mental illness words. You are applying a label to that person which could be used to strip them of constitutional rights. That is why it is NOT the same to call someone "foolish", "stupid", or "ignorant". Foolish people aren't denied rights in our country.

Well-meaning people have latched on to the understanding that "crazy" is bad, but they think it's bad because it's descriptive. So if "crazy" is bad, then "ignorant on this issue" must be bad! You've come to the wrong conclusion because you don't understand the root. Is the word a medical diagnosis you're foisting on someone? Is the word one used to strip people of rights? These questions matter.

Moving on, ableism is about denying us employment. Ableism is about our merit and chances of employment, and is NOT about our "right" of sexual access to others.

* Beauty standards which deny us a chance to work in various industries = ableist. We deserve a chance to work based on merit, not appearance.

* Beauty standards which deny me sexual access to Brad Pitt = not ableist. No one is owed attraction from another human being. NO ONE.

Again, people have latched onto the idea that beauty standards which exclude us are oppressive, but they follow to the wrong conclusion. Beauty standards = ableist = therefore if you won't date a specific disabled person, YOU are ableist. NO. That is bad math. That is wrong.

Beauty standards that bar us from employment are ableist because we're denied the chance to work on our own merit that everyone else has. That does NOT mean that every disabled person in the world deserves XYZ job. It means we deserve a chance at that job based on our merit. Similarly, I'm not owed attraction from any specific person in the world. I deserve only to move through this world like anyone else.

Moving on, ableism is about our freedom. Ableism is about our freedom to move in society without restraint.

Those words that deny us our rights to vote can also be used to deny us our freedom or to institutionalize us against our will. So, again (broken record) this isn't about "bad" words. This is about what those words mean. The threat beneath them. Words can be descriptive or stigmatizing, and we need to understand the difference.

What is NOT ableism is words that are simply descriptive. Let me elaborate.

* Are you using "blind" to mean someone can't see? That's probably fine. Are you using "blind" to mean they're ignorant? That's factually wrong.

* Are you using "crazy" to mean yourself who is mentally ill? That's probably fine. (More on this in a minute.) Or to mean "evil"? If you mean "evil", use "evil".

* Are you using stand to mean you are literally standing up? Great. To mean you're metaphorically standing? Fine! Are you using stand to mean someone MUST stand up with you? "If you aren't walking with Pride parade, you're NOT an ally!" That's ableism.

Do you see the difference? The problem isn't the word "stand". The problem is you're saying people MUST do this thing to meet a standard. That's why I'm annoyed by, say, an inspirational poster saying "there is no elevator to success; you must take the stairs." Because a standard is being set and people are being ordered to meet that standard without thought to whether they can.

I-language is your friend here. "I think of success as like a stairway." Cool, you do you. "And YOU have to climb it with me." No, thanks.

A caveat about triggering language. Now, caveat to all this: let's talk about "bad words" and triggers. A lot of disabled people have been marginalized throughout childhood by people throwing their disabilities in their face. Sometimes those words are triggering for them now, because of that trauma.

It is important to note that ANYTHING can be a trigger. There's a famous psych case where a fluffy bunny was a trigger. Something being a trigger does not make that word BAD or FORBIDDEN for everyone else. On Twitter, it means you have a choice: either don't use that word around the person who has it as a trigger, or you two can't interact. In the latter case, that is OKAY. There are a lot of people who have to unfollow me because I talk about heavy stuff as part of activism. In the former case ("don't use the word"), you're NOT avoiding it because the word is Bad. You're avoiding it because it's a trigger.

REPEAT: Anything can be a trigger. Being a trigger does NOT make something bad. There are several disability words that are common triggers for us because they were used so much against us. In those cases, and ESPECIALLY if you're not disabled, it's a good idea to avoid using those because the potential for harm is too great. But you need to understand that those words are triggers because of the way they were USED, not because of what they mean.

Most of us don't find "stand", "jump", "sit" triggering even if we can't perform those actions, coz we weren't traumatized with those words. You cannot extrapolate that if [word] is triggering to many of us, therefore anything a disabled person can't do is also triggering!

So to sum all this up.

Ableist language isn't about banning all the words. That's untenable, impossible, undesirable. We don't WANT that. Avoiding ableist language is about understanding:

- dismissal and silencing of disabled people
- stigma
- rights
- employment
- freedom

Sensitive language is about understanding:

- common triggers
- when to use, when to avoid, when to warn for
- the context of those words

What is NOT helpful is extrapolating wrongly over to exclude words like stand, sit, hear, jump, look, listen, talk, see, chew, etc. You must understand WHY [this word] is bad to use before you can attempt to extrapolate over to whether [that word] is bad to use.

Thank you for listening to this very long thread.

Storify: "Stand With" Hashtags and "Right Now" Activism

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.



Catching up on the #IStandForDiversity hashtag which was changed to #ISupportDiversity hashtag. Despite the change, the creator of the hashtag--a black woman--was subjected to a sea of harassment on Twitter.

Saying "stand with" is ableist ERASES THE CONTEXT OF THAT WORD in which an ACTUAL WOMAN stood up for 12 hours. Okay?

Second of all, ableism is not about whether 100% of people can do a word. For example, not 100% of people can "support" things. If you're out here saying that "take a stand" sounds like a physical, not metaphorical, thing but that "support" does NOT sound physical???? I have noodly arms and can't support a damn thing. Your hashtag is ableist against me, per your non-standard definition of ableism.

Ableism is NOT and has never been about whether you, personally, can perform a word being used. Ableism is about systems of oppression. I'm not gonna tell other people how to feel on this, but I'm weary of able allies being shouted into using a hash I find LESS inclusive. Because "stand with" has an actual history referencing a historical event. I know we don't like to remember anything before 2016, but.

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