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2016’s Non-White Authors Reading Challenge

2015 was my year of avoiding male authors. This year, I focused on non-white authors*. I’m not about to defend the experiment again, since I have done so already.

My top ten picks of what I read in 2016, in no particular order aside from #1 which is short and amazing and you must read or listen to it.

  1. The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family by Usman T. Malik (the short story is available for free at the link; there is also an incredible audio version)
  2. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  3. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
  4. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  5. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  7. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  8. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  9. The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
  10. White Nights, Black Paradise by Sikivu Hutchinson

After the jump: A full list of the books of 2016 by categories that I made up, along with my reflections on them. Continue reading “2016’s Non-White Authors Reading Challenge”

2016’s Non-White Authors Reading Challenge

Answers to Your Skepticon Polyamory Panel Questions

Last month, I did a panel on polyamory at Skepticon 9, moderated by fellow Orbiter Stephanie. My co-panelists are all people I like: fellow Orbiter Benny (who also did an amazing talk on the science of medical transition that weekend), Joshua Hyde, and Nola Olsen. It was fun to back on the main stage there.

There was a Q&A, but some questions weren’t addressed and some I feel I can answer better in writing. So here they are, in all their glory! Continue reading “Answers to Your Skepticon Polyamory Panel Questions”

Answers to Your Skepticon Polyamory Panel Questions

Holiday Gifting Guide Don’ts: Quran & Hijab

Let’s say a woman wrote into Ask A Manager asking about what to do about a coworker. This man seemingly exorcised his publicly-stated resentments towards management about being forced to participate in a gift exchange by giving her a bad gift. That gift consisted of a garment designed to cover a part of her body that she and most of her other female coworkers don’t normally cover, along with a book which states, among many other questionable things, that women should cover that part of their body lest they tempt men into sexually assaulting them.

Most would consider the gift inappropriate and would think his act misdirected and possibly discriminatory, not find the story hilarious. Yet somehow, when it’s a tweet written by a Muslim man rather than an advice letter written by a woman, people find it funny. To wit: A screencap of this tweet was uncritically splashed onto my Facebook Timeline courtesy of several never-Muslims I thought should know better.

There is a bit of humor here, but mostly, it’s just cringe-inducing misogyny — and specifically, for those who have lived experience with Muslim men pressuring us to cover our heads, chill-inducing slut-shaming. Continue reading “Holiday Gifting Guide Don’ts: Quran & Hijab”

Holiday Gifting Guide Don’ts: Quran & Hijab

Stop Blaming Consent Violations on Social Awkwardness

Content Notice for Consent Violations (including sexual assault and rape)

Consider those who share unsolicited images of their genitalia. Who sexually touch themselves and/or others in public. Who yell inappropriately-explicit comments at passersby. Who make obscene gestures. Who refuse to take “no” — whether stated a tone soft or hard, polite or angry — for an answer. Who violate consent.

They know exactly what they are doing, and they are relying on how people insist that socially-unacceptable behavior only originates with socially-awkward individuals to continue to get away with it. Continue reading “Stop Blaming Consent Violations on Social Awkwardness”

Stop Blaming Consent Violations on Social Awkwardness

Bad Arguments vs. Facts Regarding Omar Mateen

Yes, I’m still thinking about Orlando. As long as the unceasing parade of bad arguments posited about Omar Mateen continue, so will I continue to seethe about them.

That he was mentally ill. That he was an American, therefore Islam had nothing to do with it. That his reasons had entirely to do with his allegedly being closeted. That he couldn’t have been Muslim because he drank alcohol. That Islam is absolved because that one is theologically against LGBTQ people doesn’t mean one condones violence done against them.

Thankfully, others are speaking out as well: about the realities of mental illness, about the homophobic environment in which Omar Mateen was raised, about the homophobia revealed among Muslims by the attack, and about the responsibility of Muslims for combating that homophobia. Continue reading “Bad Arguments vs. Facts Regarding Omar Mateen”

Bad Arguments vs. Facts Regarding Omar Mateen

Toe Bean Tuesday: Pointer & Clicker Training a Kitty

Since May 2015, I have been a cat foster with Stray Cat Alliance, a no-kill org. Through them, I have helped rescue, reform, love, and adopt out 46 kitty lives and counting. I have two cat-related goals I hope to accomplish in the next two weeks.

To this end, I will be making a post about SCA and Duchess at least once a day every day for the rest of this week. Donating will help me to meet one goal, but sharing my posts will help both goals, so those of you unable to give in other ways have the chance to make a huge impact. In other words, every single share you make of this or any other SCA/Duchess related post goes a long way, so thank you!

Today, I’m going to talk about how I have been clicker-training our now-reformed Duchess. Yes, that Duchess is being directed with a stick. Continue reading “Toe Bean Tuesday: Pointer & Clicker Training a Kitty”

Toe Bean Tuesday: Pointer & Clicker Training a Kitty

Meow Monday: What “My Cat From Hell” Really Means

Since May 2015, I have been a cat foster with Stray Cat Alliance, a no-kill org. Through them, I have helped rescue, reform, love, and adopt out 46 kitty lives and counting. I have two cat-related goals I hope to accomplish in the next two weeks.

To this end, I will be making a post about SCA and Duchess at least once a day every day for the rest of this week. Donating will help me to meet one goal, but sharing my posts will help both goals, so those of you unable to give in other ways have the chance to make a huge impact. In other words, every single share you make of this or any other SCA/Duchess related post goes a long way, so thank you!

Today, I’m going to talk about the marvelous bait-and-switch titling of Jackson Galaxy’s excellent show, My Cat From Hell, and how it helped me reframe my view of cats like our foster, Duchess. Continue reading “Meow Monday: What “My Cat From Hell” Really Means”

Meow Monday: What “My Cat From Hell” Really Means

Erasing LGBTQ Muslims & Islamic Homophobia

In the wake of Orlando, there appears to be a move by the well-meaning to dredge up and bring up every example of anti-Muslim bigotry and non-Muslim anti-LGBT sentiment as well as absolve Islamic homophobia. All are well-meaning, and some are less blatant in their erasure of Islamic homophobia, but none reflect reality or do anything to help anyone except straight, cis Muslims.

One example I have seen across my feed one too many times is a screencap of this tweet:

Yes, the Christian Right has been behind a lot of awful actions against LGBTQ people. Yes, never-Muslims of all stripes have been, can be, and are anti-LGBTQ. No, that doesn’t somehow absolve Islamic teachings and bigoted Muslims from their culpability and complicity in anti-LGBTQ sentiments. Erasure and denial of a problem never did a thing to solve it. Continue reading “Erasing LGBTQ Muslims & Islamic Homophobia”

Erasing LGBTQ Muslims & Islamic Homophobia

5 Reasons Why Gullfrazie is the Orange Candidate Who Gets My Vote

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy!

The joke is that, eight years after electing its first black president, America is now ready for its first orange president. Orange is the new black and all.

ANIMALS-Seagull-135701.jpg-e1465479407799

Now that the orange man in question is no longer a joke candidate, if it really is the case that we need someone orange for president, I nominate Gullfrazie!

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Gullfrazie is the Orange Candidate Who Gets My Vote”

5 Reasons Why Gullfrazie is the Orange Candidate Who Gets My Vote