And you may be feeling helpless right now. You may have no idea what to do with your rage and sorrow and pain. If, like me, you’re white, you may not know what do to with the power invested in you by the color of your skin.
Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I was born in Indiana. I don’t like to talk about it. We moved away when I was three, and I’ve always been grateful for the choices my parents made. I’m sure some people love the state, but while there are tiny bits in my memory that stand out as fun or pleasant, most of it is a foreboding, empty gray abyss, and it’s full of cornfields. When my mom moved back there and tried to get me to follow her, I laughed bitterly. I loved her, but there was no way I’d ever be able to live there.
I’ve never been more happy about that decision than now. See, I’m a uterus-bearing American of reproductive age who doesn’t want to bear children under any circumstances, ever. In Indiana, they have decided to take that decision away from people like me. They’ve decided to take it away from people who want a kid someday, but not this soon. They’ve decided to take the choice away from people who are in a dangerous relationship and will be trapped by a child. They’ve decided to take it away from people who are already unable to feed the children they have, much less a new mouth. But they’ll generously allow people who became pregnant through rape or incest to abort, and they’ll even allow people to have an abortion if the pregnancy is putting their life at risk, but even if you fall into one of those categories, you’ll still be forced to listen to the fetal heartbeat first, and wait 18 hours, and other assorted things meant to strong-arm you into changing your mind.
And then, if you’ve stayed the course and cleared all the hurdles put in your way by the patronizing assholes of the Indiana legislature, you’ll be forced to have a funeral.
CONTENT NOTE: medical images of human fetuses below the jump.
There are few people in the world I find more irritating than secular pro-lifers. I mean, religious right-wing anti-abortion activists at least have the excuse of indoctrination. Secular folks should be able to reason without getting misty-eyed over a clump of cells. But there’s a group that fetishizes fetuses above all else. They pretend, occasionally, to care about the women forced to carry said fetuses, but those women are secondary to their desire to populate the earth with bouncing babies. And they have a remarkable amount of magical thinking going on. They believe a world without abortion will be some kind of utopia where men will take care of those darling little bebbies, and women are never ever tricked or forced into becoming pregnant, and the only problem they see is that since everything will be so wonderful, there will be no way to terrorize teens into never having sex.
America’s despicable right wing, having failed to prevent same sex couples from getting hitched, has now opened a new front in the culture wars. Their newest campaign is focused on denying transgender folk the right to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender. We’re seeing legislation spring up everywhere trying to force people to pee in the bathroom corresponding to their genitals or their chromosomes rather than their actual gender. It’s fucking ridiculous, and dangerous, and a horrible waste of taxpayer time and money on top of being horrifically bigoted.
Washington isn’t the only place where conservative legislators are figuratively burning transgender people at the stake during an election year. South Dakota has become the first state to pass a terrifying new anti-transgender discrimination law out of its state legislature.
House Bill 1008 states that “every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school that is designated for student use and is accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex.”
The bill defines “biological sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.”
So how the hell would schools and gyms check that people using restrooms and lockers have—in their minds—the correct genitalia? What about intersex people? HB 1008 sounds very, very similar to Washington State’s SB 6548, a bill that trans rights activists have dubbed the “Genital Check” bill for the same reasons. SB 6548 would allow businesses, gyms, individuals, whomever, to adopt the same policy. In South Dakota, however, it’s specifically for kids.
So yeah, it’s not bad enough that it targets transgender folk, it has to go after trans kids in particular. Kids who aren’t harming a single soul by being themselves. The only danger is in the poisonous minds of the people who have decided that genitalia is the only thing a person has that matters, and if your naughty bits happen to be the type generally assigned to the gender opposite yours, too bad. I can’t even understand this obsession.
Let me explain to the not-so-fine folks on the NECSS board why Richard Dawkins is such a divisive figure, and why giving him his talk back and asking him to be on a panel to discuss the issues “causing conflict both within the skeptical community and within society as a whole” is basically spitting in the faces of those of us who are trying very, very hard to end the abuses that are causing those conflicts.
Here is a brief history of Richard Dawkins being awful, pulled from my own archives, and therefore in no way comprehensive, because the man is a firehose of terrible statements and I have better things to do than spend 100% of my time trying to catalogue all his fuckery. Continue reading “Dear NECSS: You Have Seriously Fucked Up”→
Merril Jessop, arguably one of the worst husbands and fathers in the FLDS, decides after two weeks of being wedded to two new wives that the whole family needs a honeymoon. He’ll take his six wives and thirty-four children to the San Diego Zoo. In order to carry out this cunning plan, he rents a bus and assigns an elder son as the driver. But he does precious little else to arrange things, because that’s the sort of asshole he is.
Hold tight, kids, cuz this is gonna be quite a memorable trip.
Content note for rape, neglect.
Of his six wives, one is too detached from reality to know what’s happening. One is too depressed and neglected to give a shit. One is too much of a sociopath to lift a finger. One is too busy trying to curry favor with her new husband to do practical shit. That leaves Carolyn and Cathleen to prepare enough food and pack enough clothing for five days away with a family the size of an over-crowded elementary school classroom. Continue reading ““The Shell of a Human Being” – Escape Chapter 11: Honeymoon”→
If you are part of a major atheist organization or conference, you should be asking yourself a serious question right about now: Do we want to associate our good name with a man who thinks the height of hilarity is promoting racist and sexist videos, and who is now willingly hanging with the MRAs, GamerGaters, white supremacists, and other dregs of Twitter? Do we really want to extend that big a fuck you to women and minorities?
Because honestly, at this point, willingly coupling yourself with Dawkins is basically saying you give not a shit about women, people of color, or reason itself.
But don’t take my word for it. Take Dawkins’s own tweets for it. You can find them, along with other of his assorted nonsense, in the links I have collected. And this is the mere scrape of a fingernail across the surface.
I know it’s hard to accept. It took me a long time to accept the fact that the man I admired, whom I’d braved crowds for and hung on to the every word of, is actually a tremendous jerk. I didn’t want to think that my hero was harmful. But he is. And the sooner the movement accepts that, the stronger we can make it by leaving him and his dawkbros on the sidelines.
A bill that would eliminate Washington’s new rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity passed out of a Senate committee 4-3 Wednesday.
If you can make it to the hearing in Olympia on Monday at 1:30, please do go. If you are in the Seattle area and need a ride, I can take up to three people. I would only need you to chip in for gas. Let me know by end of day today if you want to carpool with me.
We’ve had a long and rocky history. On the one hand, you gave us things like the Women in Secularism conferences. On the other… let’s see, there was Ron Lindsay, and Ron Lindsay again, and Ben Radford. So let’s just say you’ve been sending mixed signals on whether you really wanted women in the movement or not.
HB 1794, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), would establish the All Lives Matter Act, an example of what activists view as anti-choice legislators using the Black Lives Matter movement for their own restrictive agenda. It would amend state law to define a fertilized egg as “a person” and life as beginning at conception.
These people are fucking rancid.
But fine. Whatevs. They’re going to keep doing this, so we need a law of our own. I’m gonna call it the “Your Life First” law.
If you’re going to propose pregnant people be forced to give birth no matter the circumstances, if you’re going to claim that “all lives matter,” and that includes little blobs of brainless fetal tissue (but obviously not the living, breathing, brain-possessing person they’re riding in, because if that life mattered to you, we wouldn’t even be discussing this), then here’s the deal: Continue reading “Put Up Your Organs or Shut Up”→