Saturday, January 30, 2010 Transgender issues edition

Where do you stand on transgender issues?

Where do I stand? Transgender people are people. Their body, their choice. Why is this even an issue? Shouldn't it just be a given??

Why do people think they have a right to question, prod, investigate, interrogate, judge, or comment on the self of another?

My stand on transgender issues is the same stand I have on every other issue: this group [be the group trans folk, intersex folk, LGBQ folk, women, people of color, people with disabilities... or whoever else I'm forgetting] deserves the same rights and privileges as your average cis, white, able-bodied, heterosexual, upper-middle-class man.

How has your support of transgender issues evolved? by lilithvf1998

I don't think I can use the word "evolved" yet, since I've just recently become aware of transgender issues.

I was sittin' pretty in my limited cis world, completely ignorant that the word "cis" existed. I had heard of drag queens and transvestites, and I was vaguely aware that there were people who said they were "a man trapped in a woman's body" or "a woman trapped in a man's body." But that was over there, far away, so I didn't really need to think about that, did I?

Now that I'm thinking about it, the closest I probably came to thinking about transgender people was when I read Isabel Allende's EVA LUNA, where one of the characters was a trans woman who worked as a prostitute -- I can't remember any of the details (now I feel I need to re-read the book *goes to get it from the bookshelf, realizes it's EVA LUNA, not PAULA as she had originally typed), but the main character is a young girl who somehow is taken in by these misfits (as in, a human Island of Misfit Toys), and one of the people in the house is the trans woman. I can't remember if Allende refers to her as a he or a she, but I remember the character wearing women's clothes and plucking her facial hair so she wouldn't have stubble.

But other than that and the episode on Friends with Chandler's dad being played by Kathleen Turner (which I think is further evidence of how misinterpreted and misrepresented trans people are in the mainstream media -- they still refer to his dad as a gay man and drag queen, not a trans woman, even though Chandler's dad lives their life as a woman -- or am I missing something?) I didn't really, for lack of a better word, notice trans people nor was I aware of their issues.

I think I first followed @nueva_voz because of a Twitter chat on women of color; through her I became aware of trans women's issues and -- as shameful as it is to say, but I'll say it because it's true -- trans women became "real people" to me (as opposed to fictional characters who only appeared in the controlled environments of books and movies).

I still want to call myself a "feminist" because I want to keep believing what I originally understood feminism to be: a movement to end oppression, especially the oppression of women... ALL KINDS of women. I know the movement started with cis white (rich) able-bodied women fighting against sexism, but it has grown to include the fight(s) against racism, heterosexism, and classism (in most cases...?) and I still want to believe it is still growing to include the fight(s) against ableism and cissexism and all other -sims I'm still not aware of (or that I'm forgetting as I type this... I'll blame it on the cold).

But I know the reality is that too many "feminists" are either still ignorant of trans issues (as I was) or choose to not take the opportunities given to them to learn and educate themselves on those issues. Then there are some who are openly and actively transphobic and transmisogynistic, which I cannot even comprehend. Which makes me hesitant to attach myself to a movement that would willingly exclude and attack an entire population of women who need it the most.

All that to say... my support of transgender issues is still in the "Behold! An amoeba!" stage, but I hope I am slowly making progress toward evolving into a multi-celled organism.

On Rape and Victim-Blaming

(This was a phone post. Which is why it all came out as one long and painful paragraph... ARGH. And no, I do not regularly drive my father's cat. Edited to fix...)

Every time a woman comes forth with her story of rape, the victim-blamers feel the need to chip in their two cents. So that's got me thinking...

... We all know that it doesn't "count" if you rape a sex worker, right? I mean, they have sex for money! So when you FORCIBLY take sex for free and AGAINST THEIR WILL, well, that's totally okay, right? So...

... it's okay for me to steal from a grocery store, right? Because they GIVE THE FOOD AWAY for money, so it's not like they mind if people just TAKE the food -- at least, they shouldn't mind. I mean, that'd just be hypocritical, if all of a sudden they got all pissy and told you you can't just TAKE IT just because you feel like it! What if I'm really hungry, huh??

And what about whores and sluts? The women who dress all skanky and then get mad when you sexually assault them and rape them? Aren't they just asking for it because of the way they dress? So...

... the other day I was at the mall. Have you ever been there? Dude, those stores are such sluts!! They have all their clothes ON DISPLAY right there in front of you, showing it all off. It's like they're ASKING ME to steal the stuff. I mean, if they didn't WANT me to steal it, wouldn't they put their merchandise behind a counter or something?

And what about the stuff they have "on sale"? How is it wrong if I steal that? They're practically GIVING IT AWAY? So what if I take it by force? Only because I really really want that shirt? That's not really "stealing" if it's on sale and they leave it lying around so I can just put it in my purse and walk away, is it?

There's this guy in my neighborhood who drives a motorcycle. He's always driving around in it, showing it off, making lots of noise. So if I want to ride it, it's okay for me to take it, right? He's ASKING FOR IT, showing off his cool motorcycle to everyone. Isn't he begging me to steal it and take it out for a joyride?

And what about date rape? You know, when one person says the other one took advantage of them and raped them? Like, most of the time they're friends, or they're on a date, or at a party, or they're hanging out together and stuff? Shouldn't the person know what they were getting into? Just like...

... the other day a coworker invited me to her house to play Guitar Hero. She showed me how to use the controllers, and how to play the game, and all that. She knew what she was doing when she invited me over, okay? And why did she show me how to play the game if she didn't want me to play it? So it's totally okay if I punch her in the face and take the gaming system with me, right? I mean, she invited me to her house! She asked me to play! She can't just CHANGE HER MIND and not let me keep the game, now can she? How is that fair??

And then there's, like, couples who have had sex before, or they're in a relationship. Just because you said "yes" ONCE, that means you said "yes" FOREVER, right? I mean...

... my friend let me drive his car the other day when mine was in the shop. He was totally cool with me driving his car, he said he wanted to help me out, and when I said "thank you" he said "anytime." Um, HELLO. That means that ANYTIME I want to borrow a car I can just take his, right? Didn't he give me permission to steal his car because he let me drive it once?

My dad lets me drive his car ALL THE TIME. He prefers that I drive his car when he comes to visit me. So what's the problem with me going into his house, taking the car keys, and driving his [cat] car whenever I feel like it? He let's me do it, because he let's me do it when he gives me permission!

Wow. Look at that, victim-blamers. Your logic totally makes sense, when you put it that way. Thanks for enlightening me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thank you, Dr. Tiller.

Thank you, Dr. Tiller, for giving your life to serve women and provide a service few others were brave enough to  provide. Thank you for trusting us, and helping us.

Thank you, Dr. Tiller's family, for the sacrifice you made allowing him to go to work every day, despite the threats. Despite the bombings. Despite the shootings. Thank you for the love you showed him and the women he treated.

Thank you to his nurses and staff, who also braved the protesters and suffered the death threats. Thank you to their families, who send them to work every day knowing what they face.

Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and staff, and escorts, who work at clinics that provide abortion services  (and those that work at clinics that don't, but still have to put up with protesters who don't even understand what they're doing). We know you're there, and we appreciate it, even if we forget to say it. We need you -- thank you for being there for us.

A Few Questions I'd Like To Ask Pam Tebow

As many of you are aware, Focus on the Family will air an ad during the Super Bowl (whose "network [CBS], which used to forbid "advocacy" advertising, agreed to air Focus on the Family's spot, which is valued at $2.5 million to $3 million"), where Pam Tebow, mother of demigod football player Tim Tebow, talks of her decision to carry her pregnancy to term, against her doctor's recommendations. According to The Christian Post
The 30-second commercial, which features football star Tim Tebow, will present the former Florida quarterback’s personal story and will also feature Tebow’s mother, who refused to have an abortion while she was pregnant with him despite having suffered from a life-threatening infection.
(Don't you love how Ms. Tebow doesn't even get a name? She's just "Tebow's mother." As if she were, I don't know, a mere object, a tool to birth sports stars... instead of a full person on to herself.)

I think it's great that Ms. Tebow is being given this chance to tell her story. In honor of the event, Criss Writes... interviewed Ms. Tebow* about the ad.

*Editor's note: Due to the fact that Criss Writes... is not an actual news entity, and that Criss L. Cox, owner, manager, and editor-in-chief of, does not have $2-$3 million to request a real interview with Ms. Tebow, the conversation below never actually took place. But, trust me, I researched stuff and things, and I read, like articles and blog posts (what -- which ones? Well, uh... like, all of them. You know) about "Tebow's mother," and her responses have been written based on the information gathered by the journalism and fact-checking staff here at Criss Writes... 

Criss: Ms. Tebow, thank you for meeting us here in my living room. Please pardon the cats.

Pam Tebow: I love all of God's creatures, even cats.

Criss: Now, Ms. Tebow, next Sunday, February 7th, you will be talking to the American-football-watching nation during an ad that will air during the Super Bowl. Is that correct?

PT: Yes.

Criss: Sources say you will talk about your choice to carry your pregnancy to term, the pregnancy that resulted in the birth of your son, Tim, even though doctors advised you to terminate because the pregnancy was endangering your life.

PT: Yes.

Criss: Did the doctors force you to terminate the pregnancy?

PT: No.

Criss: Did they force you to undergo medical treatment you disagreed with, because they were the doctors and they knew better?

PT: No.

Criss: They gave you the facts, gave you their medical diagnosis, and allowed you to make your own decision -- exercise your right to choose, so to speak -- on what to do with your pregnancy and your body?

PT: Yes.

Criss: Thank you, Ms. Tebow. No further questions, Your Honor.

I rest my case.

(Have something to say? Here, let me help you.)

Go read this, too.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday, pre-dated edition

(Yes, I'm cheating. I'm typing this on Friday. But I wrote it, in my head, on Thursday. I just had a very busy Thursday, so I didn't get to type it then. I didn't phone-post because I can't do nifty bullet points from my phone.)

I'm thankful for:
  • my job. Not just because I have a job, but because I really do like my job. I love working in an office; I share that office with cool people; I still get to work with kids and teach them stuff.
  • my sister Lindsey, who introduced me (and the rest of the fam) to Dave Ramsey, without whose financial planning Freddy and I would not have transitioned so smoothly from my previous paycheck to my current one (which is CONSIDERABLY smaller).
  • my critique groups, who make me a better writer.
  • my Twitter writing buddies, who help me write more often (even if I don't officially participate in #wordathon I still get tons written on the weekends because of it).
  • Twitter in general, who answers any writing question in seconds. Research was never this simple or speedy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stolen Words Wednesday

"... it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to."
~Anna Nalik, "Breathe (2 AM)

"So what? I'm still a ROCK STAR."
~P!nk, "So What"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scrubs, what happened to you?

Scrubs used to be such a great show. Funny, poignant, clever... and multiracial.

Yes, the majority of the cast was white, but at least we had Turk and Carla, two huge characters. And Laverne/Nurse Roberts, before she died. (The Chief of Surgery was Asian, but that kind of follows the Asians-are-super-studious-and-are-all-doctors stereotype, so I think that cancels out the diversity.)

Then last season, when they got the new interns, we had Sunny. We also had that guy who's now on Parks and Recreation, though he left early on. We had two blond girls (in addition to Elliot), but at least we had some color on the show.

But now?

Le sigh, Scrubs.

We still have Turk, but even though the other leads from the previous incarnation have made guest appearances, and Turk is a main character in the new incarnation, we have not even mentioned Carla. Is there some sort of contract dispute between Judy Reyes and Scrubs? Or is there one now, that they have dissed her like this?

Our new "main character" is a blonde. (And a really annoying character, too, but that's another post.)

The other girl in med school is a blonde who doesn't even get lines -- she's just a prop so they can make jokes about her Australian supermodel body.

Denise, another blonde is back from the intern class. But her foil, Sunny?


Oh, wait, that's right. She showed up at the end of that one episode. Giving me false hope -- thanks, Scrubs writers.

At this point, I'm watching the show out of habit more than anything. The blondness is really irritating me.

Scrubs, you had such a good thing going. And this is what you do with it?


At least bring back Sunny.

(And make Lucy flunk out. She really sucks. Cast a brunette as her replacement, ease yourself into it. I would,t want you to sprain something, making such a drastic move as casting a Black woman or doing anything RADICAL like that.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

I must be doing something right...

The other day I got the following ray of sunshine in my Facebook inbox: (beware, there is some foul language)
Stupid cunt, get back in the kitchen. Rape is hilarious, abortions should be mandatory, and you cunts should bow to your masters that are MEN. Pic related, its what you should be doing, instead of being a stuck up bitch looking for a reason to complain MEN are so much better than you.
fds In case you are curious about the "pic related," it's a lovely photograph of an erect penis with a girl's face behind it. She is somehow hanging from the top left-hand corner of the photograph, so she must have bee suspended from the ceiling when the photo was taken. Or maybe he was. Crazy kids...

I must be doing something right, if someone felt the need to take time out of his day to create a fake account, write this message, and attach a photo to it. When I'm getting on these people's nerves, well... can you ask for a higher compliment?

My Dream Job. For Serious.

(I heartz LOLcats.) How's Freddy doing?

How's Freddy doing?
Freddy's doing quite well. He was a little ticked at the Cowboys last weekend, but he's over that now (time heals all wounds, don't you know).

He's come to terms with last weekend's loss, and today's win by the Colts cheered him up. If the 'Boys can't go to the SuperBowl, at least he can cheer for his bud's Colts.

Oh, and since our home Internet had been broken for most of the last two weeks, and I had not been chained to my laptop the way I usually am, Freddy and I were spending some nice quality time together. Too bad I fixed teh Internetz today (sort of... wireless is still broken, but I'm plugged in and therefore confined to this one corner of the house), and we're back to me sitting at the laptop while Freddy does... something else. I don't know, he's in the other room...

Friday, January 22, 2010

What does TRUST WOMEN mean to you?

I don't even know how to start to answer this question. Is the answer not painfully obvious? Do we really need to spell it out for you??

Trust women. Trust us to know what we're doing. Trust us to know the consequences and effects of our actions. Trust us to know enough to make decisions for ourselves.

Trust that when we make a decision, we've thought about it. We've weighed all the options. And if this is what we decided, then there's a d@mn good reason for that.

Trust me -- I know better what's best for me than you do. Because I'm me, I live every day of my life as me. I know how I will react to the things that will happen to me -- okay, fine, I don't know the future, so I don't know exactly how I will react to something until it actually happens to me, but you know what? I know how I have reacted to everything in my life up to now... so maybe I can make a pretty darned good educated guess about how I will react to those unknowns in the future.

You, person who doesn't know me -- literally, we have never met (no, not you, people who regularly read this blog; I'm talking to the rabid antis) -- you, on the other hand, have no clue. And you know what else? You won't be there for all those unknowns; I will. So let me decide for myself what I need to have happen so that I can handle those things.

If I feel an abortion is the right choice for me, and for that potential child, then that is nobody's business other than mine and my doctor's. If you don't like it, for whatever reason, then... who cares? I don't. You know why? Because you are not involved in this.

I don't force you to do things my way -- see, I trust you to make your own decisions about yourself -- so why do you feel you have a right to force me to do things your way?

No other medical procedure has to put up with this. No, wait -- that's right. Silly me.

Did you know that if you're a cis woman, you can have all sorts of operations on your breasts, and even on your vagina, without anyone batting an eyelash? But if you happen to be a trans woman, and you want to have gender affirming surgery to make your body match your self... whoops! Sorry, now we need a note from a therapist. We need to know you've talked to someone about this "radical" move you're trying to make. Yes, you need to get permission from your doctor and your therapist to do this.

To go from a B-cup to a D-cup, just because you feel like it? Sure, go ahead! No, no note. No problem.

To treat gender dysphoria? Oh, no, we can't do that. That's... different. That's not what I would do!!! You must not know what you're doing -- we must stop you! Protect you from yourself! Do you really know what you're doing? Have you thought about it long enough? Maybe we should give you a mandatory waiting period. Here, talk to a therapist about it. Because I'm sure you have not thought this through well enough. Why? I don't trust you, because you are not like me!

Really, people.

Yes, I know we're talking about things that deal with the naughty bits. We're talking about -- shh! -- S-E-X. Oh noes!

Please note: things that make you more heterosexxxy are fine. Breast augmentation, vagina tightening, vagina dying... those are fine. Because, cis women, you are, after all, little more than a sex object. (Trans women, you can't even make babies. If you're of no use to us as an incubator, what use are you? Sheesh... Oh, wait -- we'll keep you around, for those of us with fetishes. Cool.)

I really meant to write an eloquent post for Blog for Choice day, but the whole idea that I'd need to explain what it means to trust women makes me too angry (maybe I'm still channeling the main character from my novel -- I've been working on the scene where she walks into the abortion clinic). So, instead, this post just turned into an angry rant. Yes, that's what you get from me today: angry wordvomit.

What does "trust women" mean to me? It means mind your own business. Trust me to mind mine, and to take care of what I need to, responsibly.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday, Roe v. Wade edition

(Edited to add linky-links and to correct some info as pointed out in the comments.)

I'm thankful for:
  • being lucky enough to live in a country, state, and large-enough city where I had access to a safe and legal abortion.
  • the support of my family and friends when I "came out" to them; I wish I'd done it when it happened instead of waiting 5 years to find out they didn't judge me and they loved me anyway.
  • being lucky enough to be employed, with an employer who offered health insurance, so I could afford birth control for the majority of my fertile life (so far).
  • the Internet, specifically blogs and Twitter, where I have found so many like minds who encourage and inspire me to keep fighting for what's right.
  • growing up on Chile, where I received comprehensive sex ed in school (along with religion class -- though I can't say I'm thankful for that instruction; I just wanted to mention the unusual spectrum) since I was in middle school. *EDIT* I'm thankful my parents could afford to send me to a private school which provided comprehensive sed ex (along with Catholic religion classes).
  • Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, NNAF, and all the other organizations who fight to offer reproductive choices and health care to low-income cis women. (I haven't done any research yet to know how/if these orgs offer those same services to trans men, or if they also offer basic health care to trans women, which is why I qualified the statement. Any info on the matter would be most welcome.)
  • all the people who choose to bring children into the world because they want to love them and care for them.
  • all the people who choose to remain child-free, for whatever reason.
  • all the people who choose to bring a child into their home when the biological parent was not able to care for them.
  • Roe v. Wade, all 37 years of it. I'm thankful I've lived in a society that respects me enough to grant me control of my own body, even if I have to fight each day to keep that right.
What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 9*: Where do YOU want your tax money NOT to go?

*Two posts in one day! Because I skipped days 9 and 12. So this is a make-up post.

And along those lines... HOW AWESOME IS THIS VIDEO???

Support the No Abortion Ban. We already have Hyde, where do you want your money NOT to go?

(Thanks to @dancerjess and @dubiouslygreat for tweeting this!)

Day 14: From The Onion: New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion

When I first saw this tweet, I almost passed out -- until I saw "via @TheOnion." Then I felt a little better.

I watched the video, which I'm embedding below, and while part of me wanted to share it, part of me didn't (and I'm still not entirely sure I'm going to publish this). I know The Onion is doing it's social-commentary-through-satire and that they are pointing out the ridiculousness of all the many, many laws mandating what a pregnant person* must do before being allowed to get an abortion (viewing a sonogram, mandatory waiting periods, and other crap I don't want to bother remembering).

The problem is that when in reality we do have such preposterous laws (or proposed laws; the most ridiculous ones have thankfully been defeated), the joke walks a fine line. "Crisis pregnancy centers" send you home with diapers and baby booties and onesies so you can "think over" what you're going to do with your unplanned pregnancy. So how far off are we really from painting a nursery?

I also hesitate to post it because of the language used (which is the language anti-choicers use all the time). We all know that a fetus has the potential to develop into a baby, but the fetus is not a baby. And it's not an "unborn baby," any more than I am an undead corpse; it is a developing fetus, one that could develop complications (or maybe already has). It is a parasite.

A baby is a living, breathing, autonomous human being (dependent, but autonomous -- it breathes on its own, eats and digests on its own. It can't hold the bottle, but it sucks and swallows and digests all on its own. For the purposes of this specific situation, that's an autonomous being); a baby has already been born and it is no longer part of the "incubator," no longer attached to them and dependent solely on them for survival -- a baby is dependent on someone, but since it is not attached to any one person's uterus, any other person, besides the person from whose uterus it came, can assume the caretaker role.

Many people who have an abortion do want children, and love children and babies, but for a wide variety of reasons, cannot carry that pregnancy to term at that point in their life. Therefore the flippant talk of babies and nurseries in the Onion video, as if the fetus were already a baby, can be triggering for those people who had to make a difficult choice -- for their sake and the sake of that potential child.

(This was supposed to be a short, quick blog post, showing you a funny video. Well, so much for that...)

So, if you want to watch it, there it is. The joke is very well done; I just wonder how long it'll take before we see this conversation play out seriously on Fox News.

New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion

*First I wrote "woman," but that's an incorrect generalization, as A) I meant cis women, not all women, and B) trans men can also get pregnant.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13: Help Haiti (stolen from @mightymarce)

Of course my home laptop decides to delude itself into thinking it doesn't have a wireless card anymore, so Criss has no home Internetz. During NaBloPoMo.

Since I am suffering technical difficulties, you will forgive me if I cheat today and send you over here, to Marcy's blog, where she has some info on the earthquakes in Haiti and links to Twitter accounts to keep you up to date on the events (and aftershocks), as well as links to donate money to rescue efforts, so people can get help, food, water, etc.

If you're too lazy to click over, then at least read this:
The simplest way to give money quickly is to text "Haiti" to 90999, which automatically sends $10 to the Red Cross (the charge shows up on your cell phone bill, and 100% of the $10 charge goes directly to the Red Cross). But if you have more time (and money) to give, do check out the Mashable list to find out where to donate.

Come on. It's $10. You can do it. I did.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11: How to warp the perfect Valentine's Day present

I know Christmas is over, but Valentine's Day is coming up! And what would your sweet someone love more than A CAT?

The only problem is they are so hard to wrap! So I'm sharing this how-to video with you.

(Video was shared with me by @maureenjohnson.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10: 6wS: Indy sez, "We helps u blog."

I'm phone-blogging again, because the laptop has decided that it no longer has wireless capabilities. (I suspect kitteh foul play.)

I also forgot to blog yesterday, which I was going to remedy today, but the laptop (and cats...?) decided to conspire against me. I'm not having a good online weekend. *sigh*

Fear not, faithful readers, I shall return soon. As soon as I figure out how to beat the laptop into submission.

(In the meantime, I may actually work on my long-ignored WIP... What a concept, huh? A writer, *writing*?)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Day 8: And since I am a virtual exhibitionist... #formspringme!

Because a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and whateverelseI'mforgetting are clearly not enough, I now have one of these.

So, just in case you don't already know everything you could ever possibly want to know about me -- and more!!! -- feel free to ask me anything!

Day 7: Thankful Thursday

(GARGH!!! I forgot to blog yesterday!! And I had the post all written up in my head already, all I had to do was type it! But I fell asleep.)

I'm thankful for:
  • a car with a working heater
  • a working car
  • Pandora on the drives to and from work
  • Twitter, and all the amazing, powerful, and empowering women I've met there
  • those women who understand what feminism stands for and that it applies to ALL women and ALL oppressed groups
How about you, blogosphere? What are you thankful for today?*

*(Or yesterday. Whatev.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Day 6: Transphobia and Transmisogyny CANNOT BE a Part of "Feminism"!

(Yes, this whole thing ticks me off so much, I forgot to title this post when I first published it.)

I'm new to feminism. I'm rather wholly ignorant of its history, and am just now, in pieces, starting to learn about it.

There are some names I've heard, often, and I thought they were "good people." Good women. Sisters.

They are not.

I know there are three "waves" of feminism, and apparently the third one is the least bad, shall we say, but I don't know what each one means or entails or whatever. And at this point, I don't really think I want to put the energy into finding out.

This morning I re-tweeted a quote by a supposed "feminist," saying something about women needing to let go of their own misogyny. It was a good quote. Too bad it came from a transmisogynistic hypocrite who claimed to fight for women's rights but worked even harder to oppress and erase women who didn't look like her.

Then I found out about this blog post, eulogizing Mary Daly. I had no idea who she was until yesterday, when someone else had tweeted about her death. I Googled her, and her Wikipedia entry (I was feeling very lazy) gave a brief overview of her which did not make me mourn her passing. She chose to resign from her teaching job rather than allow dirty, stinky men in her women's studies classes. She did not consider people of color to be people, and she did not consider trans women to be women.

I'm not familiar with Shakesville, but from the comments on the Daly post, and th sentiments expressed on Twitter, it used to be a fairly trans-friendly place. Even has regular contributors who are trans folk.

Yet the post on Mary Daly sings her praises as a wonderful champion of women's rights, a foremother ahead of her time, blah blah. Not a peep about her racism or transphobia. Oh, wait! What's that, there at the bottom? Oh, there it is! It's a little footnote, acknowledging someone pointed these facets of Daly's personality in the comments to the post, and the post author wanted to say someone pointed these things out to her.

No, dude. Not okay.

Maybe you write a quick footnote to note the error, apologize for it, and say "hold on while I check on it and fix it" and then you go back and fix it. You educate yourself (which, seriously, you should have done BEFORE writing the eulogy, dude. For serious -- you didn't even go to Wikipedia?? Because it was RIGHT THERE). Then you write and appropriate response, giving at least as much screen time to the lasting hurt this woman caused as you did to blowing her kisses.

You can check out the fail in the comments section. *sigh*

(I'm irked that my comment wasn't posted until after comments were closed -- I'd written it, but I had to "verify" my account before they'd show it, and I had technical difficulties. At least it posted, which makes me happy because I have apparently become a virtual exhibitionist, but I really wanted someone to respond to my comment. Oh, well...)

This afternoon I read this post on Feministe. Same violent photo, but at least both sides were presented. Fairly, equally? I don't know.

Hate harms more than good does good. The evil that men do, as Marc Anthony said, does live after them; the good is, often, forgotten with their bones. That's not our faulty selective memory; it's much easier to rally hate and fear than it is to breed love and solidarity (Tea-baggers, anyone?) I'm not going to put the energy into studying this woman to find out which legacy is more lasting -- her work to promote rights for cis-only, white-only women, or her work to oppress, other, exclude and exterminate women of color and trans women.

Later on @genderbitch tweeted this link, which tells the story of Mary Daly that cannot be erased or ignored. Please make sure you read that one.

And on that note, I'm off to unpack (yes, from the trip I returned from on Sunday. Hush it). I was so psyched when I first claimed the term "feminist" to describe myself. I had come out of two long, abusive relationships, and calling myself a "feminist" was so empowering. But the more I learn about the "feminists" who came before me, the more I wonder if I really want to be a part of that group... Can we save it? Are we, the "new" (or whatever wave) "feminists" enough to undo all that harm? Can we own our past enough to work through it, and overcome it?

Looking at the comments from "feminists" on Shakesville, it's not looking too likely, is it?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Day 5: I am Pro-Choice, therefore I am Pro-Trans Rights

I kind of went into this issue here, but it bears repeating.

I am pro-choice because nobody has a right to tell me what to do with my body. Nobody has a right to tell me how to use it or how not to use it. Nobody has a right to mandate what I must or must not do with or to my body. As long as I am not harming anyone else, it's my body and I have complete control over it.

Maybe you think pregnancy is a beautiful, wonderful thing. (And, while I'm at it, let me say I would agree with you.) But that does not give YOU the right to force pregnancy onto another woman who does not want it -- because then it ceases to be something natural and beautiful, and it becomes a violation.

Maybe you think pregnancy is dangerous and no woman should ever have to go through it. Or you hate children. Or you think that woman would be a horrible mother and she doesn't deserve to bear children. Or you think "illegals" shouldn't give birth, especially when they're rotting in immigration jail cells. Or maybe you don't think women should give birth to children with disabilities, especially when they have a low chance of survival after birth; that the most humane thing would be to abort the pregnancy before that "defective" child is born. That does not give you the right to force a woman to terminate a pregnancy -- it is her body, and she will do as she pleases with it.

As I've ranted before, "pro-choice" is not a euphemism for "pro-abortion." It's a shorter way of saying "pro-I-get-to-control-my-own-body-because-it's-mine-and-not-yours-so-back-off."

For the exact same reasons I am pro-choice and I fight for reproductive rights, I am -- and, to not be a hypocrite, I have to be -- pro-trans rights. My body, my business, right? I get to control it, and make all decisions relating to it?

Guess what!

Even more basic than the right to control my uterus and what may or may not inhabit it, is the right to identify my own d@mn body. To tell you my own gender.

I am, in many ways, very much a "girlie-girl" (even though I hate using that term because of the gender roles it implies/prescribes). I love all things pink, I love to wear frilly skirts, I like cats. I think bugs and snakes are gross. I hate sports, but love to dance. What other stereotypes can I throw in there?

Point being, the transgender experience is something completely foreign to me. I am as cis as they come. That doesn't give me a pass.

My skin is very pale. Does that mean I shouldn't worry about or fight against racism?

I'm able-bodied, and although I abhor sports I am athletic and coordinated. Not only do I not have any learning disabilities, but I'm also pretty darned smart, if I do say so myself. Does that mean I shouldn't be concerned with ableism and the discrimination people with disabilities face?

What it does mean, in all the above cases, is that I have little personal experience with those issues. And it is my job to educate myself about them. How can I call myself a feminist and claim I am working to end oppression if I don't fight against those oppressions?

I have to admit that, before I followed @nueva_voz on Twitter (and started adding more people from her feed to my list), I hadn't even thought about the existence of trans people. I didn't know what that meant. I knew there were drag queens, because Chandler's dad, on Friends, was one... even though the character was played by female Kathleen Turner; also, when Felicity Huffman was nominated for Best Actress (wasn't she?) for Transamerica, I'm sure the thought vaguely flittered through my brain that trans people were actual people, not mythical creatures like harpies or unicorns, but the thought didn't bother to stay long (I never saw the movie; seeing it might have helped?)

By the way, Warner Bros. and Hollywood, while I'm on the subject, nice #FAIL on casting cis women to play trans women's roles. Especially "a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual." Did you even bother thinking to try to look for an actual trans woman to play the part?

I'm not sure why I felt you had to know all that (in the paragraph before the rant). Maybe it's because I feel I have to confess my ignorance, or maybe it's because I want to get this info out to people who are like I was. Either way, there you have it.

If you call yourself a feminist, you'd better make sure you are actively advocating for all women's rights, not just cis women's. If you fight for the right to have control over your own body, make sure you are fighting for your neighbor's right to do the same, even when she doesn't look like you.

If you're feeling a little lost as to how to go about doing this, educate yourself.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Day 4: School is in session! Educate yourself on trans issues

(I decided to number my NaBloPoMo posts. I'm trying it out as a motivational tool. Or something.)

I spent way too much time today playing with other things (adding linky-links to the first three posts -- yes, it took me that long) and now it's almost 10:30, which is Criss's Completely Not Realistic Desired Bedtime. I have a couple of heavy topics I want and need to blog about, but I don't want to start any of them this late at night, when I'm already sleepy.

Luckily, I stumbled across this on Twitter.

I think I started following @nueva_voz from a Tweetchat on women of color. I liked what she said on that subject, and soon I found out she's a proud trans woman. In my limited world view, I had never met an "out" trans person before (is that the right term? I hope so...), and in my limited, priviledged thought process I had not ever thought about those women, or men, and how things I take so absolutely for granted can be life-threatening to them.

I've stuck my priviledged foot in my mouth (and this is a very candy-coated, understated way of phrasing it) several times, but @nueva_voz, and other amazing trans ladies I've met through her Twitter feed (I would link to them but I kind of feel that might be an invasion of privacy, me listing them as trans women here without their permission, and also some I'm not sure if they're trans or just solid allies), have been patient with me and helped me learn. They have taken the time to call me out when I've screwed up, and taught me how and why I've screwed up -- even though it's not their job, as the oppressed, to teach me, the oppressor (yes, as a cis woman, especially as a feminist, I am a member of the group that has, sadly, oppressed and attacked trans women).

So, all that rambling was supposed to be a quick introduction to the formspring question @nueva_voz answered tonight. The question: Advice for prochoice cis feminists? What should we be reading to educate ourselves on trans women's issues?

Did you click the link yet? Why not? Read her answer! Because it's useful, and detailed, and helpful. And it wasn't her job to do all that work for us cis fems.

Now, just because I like you, I'll do part of the work for you. See how nice I am?

If you call in the next five minutes, I will give you, absolutely free, the link to Questioning Transphobia. Call now!!!

(If you want to order Julia Serano's WHIPPING GIRL, you're going to have to go here to read about it, or look for it at your favorite indie bookstore. I don't like you enough to buy it for you.)

And I think this "short" blog post is long enough now. You have your reading assignments, get to it!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Day 3: 6wS: Welcome home! To a broken car...

I was going to blog today. I really was. About something good.

But the car kinda sorta took the wind out of my sails. Which is why I'm, once again, blogging via phone instead of using my beautiful laptop, to which I now once again have access since I am back home.

My dad offered to drive me back from Austin, since Freddy had left the week before with the car (and the laptop). So today, I said my good-byes and we departed around elevenish. We arrived in Ft. Worth, at Mom-in-law's, at four, as per The Plan; Freddy joined us shortly thereafter, in the then-functioning Stormy the Saturn ION.

She was still functioning when Freddy had to move her to the other side of the driveway. She was still functioning when Freddy followed my dad and me to the motel where my dad was spending the night before returning to Austin tomorrow morning (for some reason he doesn't like to stay at our house. I can't imagine why -- we have a futon and four cats. What more could one possibly want??)

When it was time for Freddy and me to return to our humble abode (and visit the aforementioned cats, whom I hadn't seen in over a week), Stormy decided to turn on an obscure, unknown, and secret (yes, all three) passive anti-theft device she possesses, which prevented us, her rightful and loving owners, from igniting the engine.

We could turn on the lights, the radio, pretty much any non-motorizing feature of the car. The engine? Nope.

After a lovely albeit bumpy ride in a tow truck, Freddy, Stormy, and I are back home. These events have put a damper on things, to say the least, which is why I shan't blog tonight. Tune it tomorrow when we return to our regularly scheduled programming. Hopefully from a full-sized keyboard.

UPDATE: This morning, after dropping me off at work, Freddy tried the ignition one more time, and this time it worked. He drove it to the dealer just to make sure everything was okay... turns out it was $350-not okay. And it took about four hours to figure all of that out. Meh.

At least the car works again [*crosses fingers*] and we have a shiny new battery. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Day 2: Meet my new BFF, Pinky "eReader" Tescadero!

***Edited to add linky-links!***

My mom-in-law, who is awesomely sweet, surprised me with a pink Sony eReader for Christmas. Because she rocks. I have named my eReader Pinky Tescadero, because pink and Gene Kelly are awesome. [EDIT: I must admit my stupidity here. I was thinking of Pinky Benson, Gene Kelly's character in What A Way To Go. But I like the sound of "Pinky Tescadero" more anyway, so I'm keeping that name. Even if I didn't really watch Happy Days -- they didn't play it in Chile. *shrug*]

I have half a bazillion ebooks on my wishlist, half of which I probably would have bought and downloaded this week if I'd had my laptop with me. Especially after I found out about
Books On Board, an independent ebookstore. But I guess that's one of the reasons Freddy was wise and took the laptop with him, so I'd have to run these purchases through him first. He's a sly one, that Freddy...

I'm slowly making my way through
bell hooks's FEMINIST THEORY FROM MARGIN TO CENTER, which I started in October for an online book club (yes, I know it's January now, thank you. I said "slowly," didn't I??) Also, Marcy gave me Gail Collins's WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED: THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF AMERICAN WOMEN FROM 1960 TO THE PRESENT for Christmas, so I have those two paper books to read (and blog about -- that's part of what makes the reading so slow, all the note-taking...) But fear not, Pinky is already loaded with JANE EYRE (which I need to re-read thanks to Jasper Fforde and his THURSDAY NEXT series) and a few other (free) classics I've been meaning to read for a while.

Every year I want to do one of those reading lists, or set a goal for how many books I want to read in the year, but I wimp out because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make the goal. I'm not going to set a goal this year, but I will keep a list of all the books I read this year. Probably through
Goodreads, or something. Maybe through Google Wave, as soon as I figure out how to do that nifty posting-to-Blogger-through-Wave thingie.

(I'm still posting from my phone, so when I can get to a computer, or decide to get up from this chair, I'll add links and other nifty things of the like.)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Day 1: NaBloPoMo starts today, too...

(Posting from my phone, since A) I'm still visiting fam and sans my laptop and B) I'm too lazy to see if I can sneak a log-on at another computer. This chair is comfy. So deal with phone post, which means no nifty embedded links.)

***EDIT: added linky-links! Made the post all pretty-like!***

I thought NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month, was a November thing (the blogger's NaNoWriMo...ish), but just a few minutes ago I came across a Tweet by @ecollins pointing me to this blog post.

I don't know if other people are NaBloPoMoing in January, but @ecollins is good enough for me. Plus, I have neglected this blog the past few months, so this will be a good way to get my lazy bum back into blog-writing gear.

Look forward to more blog posts (many of them probably consisting of some viral YouTube video everybody's sick of watching.)

***OTHER EDIT: So, turns out NaBloPoMo is now a year-round theme, you just pick which month you want to do it. Coolio! I officially signed up. Here's my profile page and everything!

Project 52: One year, fifty-two weeks, fifty-two posts

Clickety-clacketing on the Internetz I found out about Project 52 from AKAmamma's blog. Fifty-two weeks in a year, blog one post a week for a full year. Starting today, January 1st, 2010.* Should be doable, right?

If you want to join, sign up here. If you're just a curious lurker, follow @p52info on Twitter and check in on the #p52 hashtag. Oh, and leave lots and lots of nice, pretty comments on my blog.

(You can comment on other people's blogs, too, I guess. If you utterly feel the need to.)

*I admit it, I'm cheating. I'm writing this Dec. 31, 2009 at 9:47 PM. So sue me.