It’s one of the last retreats and first rejoinders of people whose support of the transgender community isn’t rock-solid. It’s the base of operations of people who don’t oppose our existence but nevertheless find us grotesque and confusing. It’s tiresome, it’s exhausting, and it makes more of us more likely to date each other than our shared experiences and social spaces already did. We have to warn each other that our relationships might end if we transition, partly because of this specter.
The argument from “genital preference” simply will not go away, and that’s because its framing is tangled and often dishonest.
As a trans lesbian who herself finds one genital configuration more aesthetically and sexually desirable than the other, I come at this topic from a distinct perspective. And the most important thing I have to offer here is this point:
It is not the preference that is a problem, it’s how that leads a person to treat their prospective partners.
Continue reading “The Last Word on “Genital Preference””
There are two comments that are rarely far off when self-proclaimed allies encounter anti-queer politicians.
“I bet he’s secretly queer.”
“I hope he ends up with a queer kid.”
Naïve, ironic, and insensitive in the trademark way of ignorant would-be allies, these comments rankle deeply. Much has been written about how the first of the two effectively assigns all responsibility for society-wide anti-queerness on queer people and absolves from same the straight people who invented and perpetrate it, so today’s topic is the other one.
Continue reading “We Are Not Ironic Comeuppance”
CN suicide, transmisogyny, violence
To the endless bafflement of people whose sense of ethical behavior does not include driving strangers to self-harm, the transgender community faces intense hostility. What is interesting in our case is that people with extraordinarily different overall ideologies come to equally intense hatred of transgender people in general and trans women in particular, and this makes some words we are tempted to use to encompass all of our detractors a poor fit. This brings is to that famously deadly group, the TERFs.
Continue reading “What’s in a TERF?”
CN sexual assault, Donald Trump.
United States, I will not forgive you for this.
Continue reading “Compañero, We’re Done”
The hunter or warrior specialized in fighting a particular kind of enemy is a classic fantasy trope. The dwarven goblin-killer, the cleric with a knack for exorcising possessing demons, the well-armored knight with a notch on her shield for each dragon she slays, the hunter who knows from a pattern of broken branches the age of the werebear that stomped through this forest last week: these are well-worn archetypes found in great variety in fantasy literature and its freestyle derivative, roleplaying games.
They also provide an interesting opportunity to talk about racism. Continue reading “Apartheid Dragonslayer”
It’s easy to deride philosophy classes. Few people have jobs as philosophers, so the entire field is easy to dismiss as esoteric navel-gazing, dooming most of its practitioners to lives of unskilled menial labor. But there are few classes outside my specialization that I found more beneficial than my philosophy courses, because I acquired very valuable skills there. Philosophy courses present difficult problems, problems that require very careful terms and proofs, and set their students on them to flex and build brain pathways. Those problems touch on virtually the whole of human experience, between the various classical branches: What is real (metaphysics)? What is knowledge (epistemology)? What is truth (both)? What is beauty (aesthetics)? What is good (ethics)?
And every time my philosophy courses got around to that last question, one particular lump of nonsense would be treated with vastly outsized seriousness: the divine command theory.
Continue reading “Command and Convenience”
The paths are the same, the same Australian umbrella trees and thickets of palms and little yappy dogs, the same pervasive sun and smell of car exhaust, but they feel foreign now. I walk the 33 blocks to the grocery store that sells all the Latin specialties I quickly learn to miss when I’m away, and it doesn’t feel like coming home to something. It feels like traveling a long way away for my weird exotic tastes, bits of the old country I like to keep around, like the immigrants who define my past.
I lived here from 1999 to 2009, but I got used to counting it as eleven years in my mind. And I’ve finished with this place.
Continue reading “Chickadee”
One of my first exposures to overtly atheistic reasoning was in some required reading for my 7th grade English class. In the forewords and epilogues of Anthem, a short novel by Ayn Rand, I encountered a primer on Objectivism. The appeal of a worldview that was not based on any notion of the supernatural and which loudly proclaimed that I was morally obligated to not do anything I didn’t want to do was substantial for a teenage boy who really did not enjoy yardwork. For a little while, I lived in a frame of mind that would have leapt at the name “libertarian” on hearing it described. Fortunately, I got better.
For the uninitiated, libertarianism might be thought of as the political outgrowth of Rand’s Objectivism
, though it’s actually based on older modes of thought
. It is a political philosophy that places personal liberty as paramount, standing in opposition to all forces that would limit or circumscribe that freedom. At least, that’s what its claimants would like us to think it is. And that is the last charitable thing I will say about it or them.
Continue reading “The Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy of Libertarianism”