Spherical Cow in a Vacuum

There is this meme that goes around from time to time. There are many variations, but a generalized summary is something along the lines of “I’m a better person than you because I don’t unfriend people whose politics I don’t agree with.” The meme is part of a trend of political apathy where people claim to not care about politics, or just write off the entire institution as being an exercise in futility where all parties are ultimately the same and nothing ever changes. The belief is that politics is nothing more than just theoretical ideas about governance, and not really anything tangible or applicable to the “real world.”

Continue reading “Spherical Cow in a Vacuum”

Spherical Cow in a Vacuum
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Make Canada Proud: Disable Genocide

[My dear readers, I come to you with a request. The following letter has been emailed and sent by mail to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, as well as my MP. 

IF YOU ARE CANADIAN: Please post your support of what I’m asking here. That disabled Americans be allowed to immigrate into Canada and receive access to Healthcare as well as become a part of this great nation. 

IF YOU ARE AMERICAN: Please post in the comments about how President Trumps and the Republican Congress and Senates actions have put you or your loved ones at risk in the last few days. I will be including a link to this post in my email. 

ALL READERS: Tweet this to the Prime Minister @CanadianPM] 

January 28, 2017

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

CC: The Honourable Ahmed D Hussen, The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Anita Vandenbeld

To the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

I’m writing to you as a proud citizen of this country to beg and plead for the lives of my loved ones. Since Mr. Trump’s election many of those closest to me have been scared of what the future holds for them. They belong to various vulnerable communities: trans people, gay people, people of colour, people who belong to non-Christians faiths or no faith at all, and especially disabled people.

In the days since President Trumps inauguration, that fear has turned into outright panic. In just his first week, Mr. Trump has enacted and encouraged policies that will lead to the deaths of millions. His policies show a clear movement towards eliminating the social and physical protections granted to those most at risk for abuse. Continue reading “Make Canada Proud: Disable Genocide”

Make Canada Proud: Disable Genocide

Stealth Is Not Safe

CN suicide

There are many places where I won’t go. I hate moving, in general, and would gladly donate a kidney to whatever demiurge could reconfigure the universe to render this unwholesome task unnecessary for achieving any of my goals ever again, but that’s not what this is about. There are many locales where it is plainly unsafe for me to be, on any of various axes, and I intend to particularly avoid relocating to those places. Right now, that includes the United States, despite overwhelmingly better career prospects there than I seem to have where I am. This unsafeness is not something I’ve had an easy time getting a number of sympathetic people in my life to recognize, and it comes down to one crucial error: they think stealth is safe.

“Stealth,” for the uninitiated, refers to pretending one’s gender doesn’t bear the adjective “trans.” It means pretending to be a cis representative of one’s gender, to have been recognized as a member thereof for one’s entire life, and to have never borne a different name. “Going stealth” means hiding a large chunk of one’s past and papering over the resulting gaps with denial and occasional lies. This was once medically mandated for transgender women, who were expected to leave their hometowns and live somewhere where no one knew their history. And it doesn’t work. Continue reading “Stealth Is Not Safe”

Stealth Is Not Safe

“Don’t Have a Choice” Fallacy and Calling a Fig, a Fig

I wanted my next post on the blog to be about something other than the Russian installed President. I don’t want the entirety of my life to be dominated by this spiteful hateful bigot. We can’t always get what we want, however, and so here I am.

It is inauguration day. Today, a man who should be in prison for fraud, for rape, and likely a whole host of additional crimes that have yet to be discovered, is being sworn in as the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s largest military and nuclear arsenal.

My father has been playing the news in the car as we ran out to run errands, and one of the most common phrases being repeated is that “we have no choice, we have to accept it”. It’s not the first time this phrase has been passed around in response to this election. It started during the transition period with many non-activists saying that nothing could be done. Many encouraged everyone to “give the new government a chance” and to “learn to cooperate”. Continue reading ““Don’t Have a Choice” Fallacy and Calling a Fig, a Fig”

“Don’t Have a Choice” Fallacy and Calling a Fig, a Fig

Hey Abled Shits: This Is How We Get State-Sanctioned Mass Murder

Every day seems to bring a new terrifying development in the Orange PEOTUS’ Cabinet of Horrors. Between white supremacists being appointed to important positions by a man calling for the registration of minority religions, climate change deniers being appointed to oversee the environment, and anti-vaxxers being put in positions to determine the safety and implementation of vaccine regiments it can be overwhelming in trying to decide which problem to address first.

Meanwhile different factions are calling for the Cheeto-in-chief’s detractors to tone down their opposition in the interest of cooperation.

I’m scared, and I’m not the only one. Even as I do my best to draw attention to the terrifying rhetoric and the distressing similarities between the events leading up to the holocaust and the current events, I hope that I’m wrong. I spend much of my time wishing for me to turn out wrong. But even as I desperately hold on to the idea that maybe it won’t be as bad as we fear, there is one area in which I am already being proven right.

The next four years are already showing themselves to be potentially fatal for one specific vulnerable population: the disabled.

Continue reading “Hey Abled Shits: This Is How We Get State-Sanctioned Mass Murder”

Hey Abled Shits: This Is How We Get State-Sanctioned Mass Murder

It Didn’t Start with the Camps

It didn’t start with the concentration camps. It didn’t start with gas chambers and the ovens.

It started with existing racism. Anti-Semitism was widely pervasive in Europe, North America, anywhere where Jewish people existed really before the Nazis came to power. Even after they did, many countries refused Jewish refugees the right of entry. Many established restrictive quotas regarding how many Jews would be allowed to enter the country in a given year. This included both Canada and the United States.

When Hitler was rising in the political wing of his party, he seized onto that existing racism to propel him into power. He used the fear of the stranger, the fear of the other and the unknown. He used Jewish people as a scapegoat for all the misgivings and problems felt by post-Great War Germans. There was all sorts of propaganda spread around, including rumors that Christian babies were kidnapped and used to make Matzo. Rumors of how they used their access to gold to corrupt governments and control institutions. Access to gold that was granted to them when money lending was deemed an unchristian profession and best left to Jewish people. Continue reading “It Didn’t Start with the Camps”

It Didn’t Start with the Camps

This is the Time

If you know someone who was involved in resistance of some kind: Solidarność, Black Panthers, resistance movements in WW2, people who hid Jews during WW2, and so forth, NOW is the time to find out how they organized. How they got the systems in place to get people out. How they created the networks of information gathering and distribution.

While I hope that I am wrong, I fear that things are about to become even more difficult for oppressed minorities in the next few months. The global political climate is distressingly similar to the times leading up to both World Wars. There has been a trend towards fascism for some time now, with major political parties veering dangerously right. Essential human rights are treated as negotiable burdens by different governments. Too many people live in desperation borne not out of a lack of resources but because of restricted access with the majority of the world’s wealth concentrated in the hands of a privileged few, and their followers.

We have a new aristocracy, only now we call them CEOs, we call them politicians, and we call them “self-made men”. The sense of entitlement and of receiving what they’re due despite no actual merit remains the same. The greed remains the same, and so does the use of manipulation to convince those they have enslaved that their suffering is caused by those worse off then them. Continue reading “This is the Time”

This is the Time

Paying Attention

*Best Read in newscaster voice*

Earlier this week in SW Asia, a group of peaceful protesters were assaulted by officers of the state, wielding powerful water cannons. Health officials have stated that given the regions severe climate, the protesters are at severe risk of impairment and even death due to severe hypothermia.

This takes place just weeks after the election of a radical new regime, whose fascist campaign promises raised alarms from historians who warn of the potential for genocide in this unstable region – where an already highly militarized police force has been known to harass and kill minority populations. The election has already generated increased acts of violence and terrorism, raising concerns about what is to come after the newly elected party, which represents the more conservative adherents of the major religion, takes office.

Continue reading “Paying Attention”

Paying Attention

World Toilet Day

Today is World Toilet Day: A fact that seems to amuse a lot of people. Living in North American, it can be pretty easy to take toilets and running water for granted. Bathrooms have become such an integrated part of our daily lives and routines, it can be hard to imagine not having regular access to a toilet. Perhaps on a camping trip, or in a particularly deserted area of town one might be inconvenienced temporarily, but on the whole most of us have a reasonable expectation of having access. As such, it might come as a shock to learn that 1 in 3 people in the world, do not have safe and adequate access to toilets or running water.

Running water and the flushable toilet were not just breakthroughs in convenience and comfort. The development of the toilet meant serious progress in overall public health.

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World Toilet Day

Four Things Doctors Can Do For Their Trans Patients

Existing as a transgender person is hard. We face expenses and  hazards that few other people share, progressive organizations consider our rights a bargaining chip to trade for what they actually care about, and most of us lose a big part of our social circle when we emerge as ourselves, forcing us to rebuild at a time when we’re subject to tremendous abuse.

While the difficulties specific to trans people in any of various situations—airports and prisons suddenly come to mind—are worth discussing at length, one sphere in particular needs highlighting: the medical system. A lot of us travel by air and too many of us end up in prison, but virtually all of us see doctors, and seeing a doctor is a frustrating mess for people like us.

Continue reading “Four Things Doctors Can Do For Their Trans Patients”

Four Things Doctors Can Do For Their Trans Patients