How to Stand with Standing Rock – And Why We Must

Long story short: white people have spent centuries trying to eradicate Native Americans in order to get their land, their resources, and their wealth. That hasn’t stopped. It’s ongoing today. It’s probably happening in your community without you even realizing. It’s happening in North Dakota, and if you’re not aware of the situation, please remedy that right now.

The Standing Rock Sioux are trying to preserve their land and their water from a pipeline that (overwhelmingly white) Bismarck refused to have passing through their city. You know why they don’t want it: pipelines break. They explode. They spill. And for women, there’s a whole other set of horrific problems that come along with a pipeline.

Image is a map that shows the current Standing Rock reservation and the much larger boundaries of the 1851 treaty.
We have taken so much from these tribes, and now we’re trying to take more, and this is where it needs to stop. It needs to stop for the health and safety of our indigenous peoples. It needs to stop so that corporations and governments no longer assume it’s no problem to take what they want from the reservations without regard to the residents. It needs to stop for the sake of our land, our water, and our air.

This is one of the most important movements for Native American self-determination and survival in our lifetime. The people of Standing Rock need you to stand with them. Here’s how you can do it: Continue reading “How to Stand with Standing Rock – And Why We Must”

How to Stand with Standing Rock – And Why We Must
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“One Official Document”

This article on transitioning and surgery. Go read it. If you haven’t got time to read it just now, read this paragraph (CN: Mention of suicide):

The latest research shows that it’s discrimination and stigma, not surgery itself, that causes the high suicide and attempted suicide rates. A study published in Ontario in 2015 revealed that those who have a supportive social environment (the most important social support being parents) were far less likely to seriously consider suicide. Other factors, like having one official document properly identifying your sex, also correlated with lower suicide attempts and rates. [emphasis added]

We have such a long way to go in making the world a better plans for trans people. And it kills me that it’s just simple things that can mean the difference between life and death. One document. Just one. Why can’t we manage just one? Continue reading ““One Official Document””

“One Official Document”

A Helpful Article for Those Unclear on the Concept of Consent

I’d like to draw your attention to this excellent article, written by a law professor, explaining consent with a series of scenarios that should be suitable for even dudebro-levels of reading comprehension. One thing becomes clear by the time you are finished reading it:

There’s really no excuse for being unclear on the concept of consent.

Continue reading “A Helpful Article for Those Unclear on the Concept of Consent”

A Helpful Article for Those Unclear on the Concept of Consent

Yes, Trans People Need to be Included in Abortion Discussions

Ophelia Benson recently harassed an abortion doctor who used inclusive language when advocating for abortion rights on Twitter. It’s pretty rich: a supposed champion for women’s rights decided it was far more important to pester an abortion doctor for using the term “pregnant people” than defend her against the howling anti-choice crowd attacking her for providing pregnant women, trans men, and non-binary people with a functional uterus. You can see the whole sordid exchange here.

As a cis woman with a (probably) functional reproductive system: No, Ophelia. You’re not doing a thing to help me avoid being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Abortion doctors using inclusive language doesn’t set women’s rights back a bit. Having trans rights included with mine doesn’t hurt me – it helps. If we could see trans people as people with full rights to bodily autonomy, it would be easier for everyone to see women as people with those rights, too. So let’s just get that clear right now.

People like Ophelia do more harm than good. Cis women like me aren’t going to get better and shinier rights by shitting all over trans people. We’re not going to better protect abortion rights by denying a place at the table for trans folk who are in need of reproductive services. All it does is further harms a minority that’s already quite harmed enough. Women have a rough time getting the reproductive care they need, true. Trans men and non-binary people with female-assigned reproductive organs run into the same obstacles we do, and then have to deal with even more barriers to care: Continue reading “Yes, Trans People Need to be Included in Abortion Discussions”

Yes, Trans People Need to be Included in Abortion Discussions

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To

Dear Bernie Sanders Fan Who is Outraged! Offended! by the Black Women Who Interrupted Him:

You’ve been all over my Facebook timeline with a wide variety of claims. As a fellow white person, I must beg you: please stop defending Bernie for a few minutes and listen to what people of color are saying. Look, I’ve even gone to the trouble of collecting a bunch of convenient links for you. And it’s important you listen up, because you know who’s going to make Bernie lose the Democratic nomination?

You.

Yes, you.

Okay, Bernie might fail to shut up and listen himself, and torpedo his own chances, but if all of you band together to make him understand he’d best be listening or else, we won’t have to worry about that. He’ll incorporate racial justice and excellent ideas on how to achieve it into his already awesome platform, he’ll make it a centerpoint of his campaign, and we’ll all be absolutely golden. (Look! He’s already started!)

But you’re the ones who will ensure he loses, if you keep trying to shush people whose lives depend on making this old white man understand what they need from him. You’re the ones who will sow division and disharmony in the ranks. I’ll tell you a secret about people of color I’ve learned by listening to them: They don’t need us, children. We have failed them time and time and time again. We need them to win. So I’ll appeal to that need to see another Democrat in office (a need I very much share), if I can’t appeal to your innate sense of justice and your progressive wish for the downtrodden to no longer be down and trodden: if you fail to listen to these voices that are telling you and your favorite candidate exactly what they need, you are the reason Bernie Sanders will lose.

It’s within your power to ensure we all become one big, happy progressive family.

So let’s lend an ear, shall we?* Even when – especially when – people are speaking in anger, let’s listen. Let’s listen like Seattle for Bernie Sanders’s admin did, right here. Continue reading “Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To”

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To

“The One Thing No One Seems to Want to Remember is How Much Opposition There Was to King”

David Futrelle reminds us that Martin Luther King, Jr. faced plenty of violence, frenzied opposition, and attacks by police and public. Sometimes, we recall the speeches without recalling the chaos. We hear “civil disobedience” and “non-violent opposition,” and forget that those opposed to civil rights used the power of state and terror in an effort to maintain white supremacy.

We should never forget that he didn’t back down in the face of those arrests and attacks. We should never forget his work isn’t finished.

It takes a lot of courage to change the world.

Image shows MLK Jr. in a pale suit and hat, sitting at a counter, surrounded by police.
AP photo of Martin Luther King Jr. getting arrested for loitering, Montgomery, AL, 1958.
“The One Thing No One Seems to Want to Remember is How Much Opposition There Was to King”

Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A Riot is the Language of the Unheard”

Sixty years ago, the color of your skin determined your treatment on Montgomery, Alabama busses:

Under the system of segregation used on Montgomery buses, white people who boarded the bus took seats in the front rows, filling the bus toward the back. Black people who boarded the bus took seats in the back rows, filling the bus toward the front. Eventually, the two sections would meet, and the bus would be full. If other black people boarded the bus, they were required to stand. If another white person boarded the bus, then everyone in the black row nearest the front had to get up and stand, so that a new row for white people could be created. Often when boarding the buses, black people were required to pay at the front, get off, and reenter the bus through a separate door at the back. On some occasions bus drivers would drive away before black passengers were able to reboard.

Rosa Parks wasn’t the first person to challenge that treatment. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the only community leader who fought for an end to Jim Crow. But they rightfully become icons of the Civil Rights movement. We remember them for their peaceful protest. MLK Jr., especially, we remember for nonviolence and civil disobedience. So much so that he’s now thrown in the faces of angry and upset protestors in an effort to shut them up.

On this day, let’s remember more than “I Have a Dream.” Let’s remember that King also said that “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Let’s remember “The Other America.” Continue reading “Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A Riot is the Language of the Unheard””

Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A Riot is the Language of the Unheard”

Racism and Society Week: The Unequal Opportunity Race

This past year saw a warranted wave of anger at white oppression, as the people of Ferguson, Missouri demanded justice for yet another unarmed black teenager murdered by police. Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, and far too many others didn’t get justice last year. But I hope history records 2014 as the changing of the tide.

It won’t happen unless we take a stand.

Image is the British crown on a red background atop the words "Stand up and fight racism."

Continue reading “Racism and Society Week: The Unequal Opportunity Race”

Racism and Society Week: The Unequal Opportunity Race

Happy 25th, Fall of the Berlin Wall!

Twenty-five years since that wall came down. I was a teenager, watching on teevee as citizens pulled it apart, climbed up on it and celebrated, uniting Germany. I remember being astonished that it was happening in my lifetime, and feeling giddy as I watched people reach out and grasp freedom with both hands. It was awesome.

The Scorpions captured the mood of the late 80s and early 90s well, as people in Eastern Bloc countries wrested political control from their masters, and embraced democracy. Winds of change definitely were blowing. Continue reading “Happy 25th, Fall of the Berlin Wall!”

Happy 25th, Fall of the Berlin Wall!

This Pwnage Applies to All Sniveling Dictionary Atheists

Another day, another white male atheist stuffed full of himself to bursting, all eager to tell us icky feminists, people of color, LGBTQ folk, and other sundry social justice warrior types that we’re getting smudge marks all over his atheism. It’s pristine! It’s pure! It’s just a dictionary definition! Ewww, stop getting your SJW cooties all over it, yucky! *runs away screaming like the boys we used to chase at recess in the first grade*

Today, it’s Michael Luciano. Tomorrow, it’ll be some other dumbshit waving a dictionary around and pompously declaring atheism a pristine nothing. Well, if you’re the sort who likes to sit around feeling all smug and superior over nothing, fantastic. It’s a big ol’ world full of chairs, and you’re welcome to drag one into the corner and sit there enjoying the fact you played the Wednesday Adaams Game and came up with no for an answer.

Image is two stills from The Adaams Family. The top image has Wednesday standing next to an electric chair, saying, "We can play a game." Bottom image shows her strapping Pugsley into the chair, and saying, "It's called 'IS THERE A GOD?'"

Should you decide to sit in your chair and enjoy your triumph, perhaps gently sneering at churchgoers as they pass by your window, no one will worry a bit about the fact you’re a pathetic specimen of a human being. Seriously. What the hell use are you if all you can do is wave your arms and shout, “The dictionary definition of an atheist is all atheism is!”?

Like Buffy and the Scoobies said, “Where do we go from here?”

Continue reading “This Pwnage Applies to All Sniveling Dictionary Atheists”

This Pwnage Applies to All Sniveling Dictionary Atheists